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Back To School

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

CHARGED.fm’s roundup of last night’s college hoops action.

Back To School

As college basketball begins entering the conference portion of the season, it's time to start paying a little more attention.  The non-conference season has provided plenty of great games already this season, and there are still plenty ahead (as I will get to later in this post).  But in an effort to keep up with college hoops, "Back To School" will take a look at what happened the previous evening in the world of college basketball.  And on some occasions, like before the weekend, we will look ahead to some of the marquee match-ups in the coming days.

Rutgers - 85, #10 Florida - 83 (Double OT)

When I saw that score this morning, I did a double take.  If I had been sipping a beverage, it would have been a spit take.  This was definitely the most surprising outcome of the night as lowly Rutgers was able to knock off Billy Donovan's Gators.  ESPN's Dana O'Neil was at the game and had this to say:

That the Knights, who previously this season hadn’t beaten a team with a winning record or an RPI better than 224, were able to pull off the stunner was only slightly more stunning than how they did it.

Rutgers rode the backs of a trio of backcourt freshmen who managed to play with more skill and poise than Florida’s dynamic duo of Kenny Boynton (a junior) and Erving Walker (a senior). Eli Carter, who exploded for a career-high 31 points, Myles Mack (14) and Jerome Seagears (13) did more than just outplay Boynton and Walker for the game; they skewered them in the extra periods. The freshman trio scored 17 of the Scarlet Knights’ 19 overtime points to just five from Florida’s pair.

This is a really nice win for a young Rutgers team as they get set to begin the gauntlet that is the Big East regular season schedule.  If Mike Rice's freshman mature and progress, especially Carter, they can stay competitive during conference play.  O'Neil writes that while Florida shouldn't be too concerned, they still have a few kinks to work out.

...how UF processes this one is what people will be looking at. Brad Beal finally looked like a freshman, with seven turnovers, and Patric Young disappeared until the overtime periods. Neither can afford too many repeat performances.

More crucially, Walker and Boynton need to be more dynamic and less enigmatic. They can be a duo you love for their fearlessness and detest for their carelessness, sometimes in the span of two possessions.

If Florida is to be as good as advertised, the Gators need to find a rhythm with one another and within the game.

Donovan's had tougher year's with lesser talent, and I'm confident that Florida will be fine down the road. There's too much talent on this team, and even when things aren't quite clicking, they have several players that can take over games by themselves.

Vanderbilt - 74, #13 Marquette - 57

This was another surprising score considering how good Marquette has looked for most of the year and the struggles that Vanderbilt has had at times.  Festus Ezili still isn't fully back for the Commodores yet, coming off the bench last night in just his third game of the year.  But he can take time to recover when they get performances like Lance Goulbourne put up.  The forward scored 13 points, grabbed 16 rebounds (4 offensive) had three steals and blocked three shots in the win.

Eamonn Brennan points out that as well as Vanderbilt played, Marquette put up an equally awful performance, especially in the first half.  They started the game shooting just 2-19 from the field and ended up shooting a woeful 32.2 percent from the floor as well as 53 percent on their free throws (16-30).  It was by far their worst offensive performance of the season, so it will be interesting to see how Marquette rebounds going into their conference schedule.

#23 Harvard - 67, Boston College - 46

Things started out shaky for Harvard against BC, but the bench came up big.  Laurent Rivard (18) and Corbin Miller (12) scored 30 points off the bench to help Harvard beat Boston college for the fourth straight year.  As Brennan wrote yesterday, Harvard has a chance for a very special season now that they will enter Ivy League play.  They are 11-1 right now and could very conceivably run the table in conference play and get into the NCAA tournament on quite a roll.

St. Mary's (CA) - 98, BYU - 82

This probably isn't a sign of things to come for BYU in the West Coast Conference, but it sure isn't how you'd like to start things off.  It didn't help that their first opponent was St. Mary's, who along with Gonzaga has been the class of the WCC over the past five-plus seasons.  The Gaels were relentless, shooting 55 percent from the floor and knocking down 12 of 25 threes.  Not all of their conference foes will perform like that against BYU, but St. Mary's showed that they are not a team to take lightly.

Extra Credit: UNC got to the century mark against Elon last night, Kansas held Howard to just 34 points (while scoring 89 of their own), Cincinnati continued to win after their brawl with a nice comeback win against Oklahoma, and Danny Agbelese of Hampton swatted nine shots last night, just one night after Syracuse's Fab Melon blocked 10 for the Orange.

Future Assignments: There are a slew of good games as we approach New Year's Eve/New Year's Day.  On New Year's Eve, #2 Ohio State takes on #15 Indiana, fresh off their first loss.  Third-ranked Kentucky and fourth-ranked Louisville resume their in-state rivalry.  St. Johns tangles with #9 UConn in Connecticut, and Gonzaga travels to Xavier for a match-up with the reeling Musketeers.  Then New Year's Day is headlined by two fine Big East games: Villanova vs. #Marquette and Cincinnati vs. #22 Pittsburgh. 

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see Saturday's marquee game: Kentucky vs. Louisville.

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