Until Thursday night, no Division I college basketball (men's or women's) coach had ever reached 1,000 wins. Tennessee coaching legend Pat Summitt changed that on the court named after her with a 30-point Tennessee win over Georgia.
Tennessee's No. 17 ranking seems surprisingly low compared to Summitt's usual standards, but the Volunteers left no doubt about this game.
Summitt now has a career record of 1,000-186 at Tennessee, which translates to an .843 winning percentage. The 56-year-old coach has also led the Lady Vols to eight national championships in her 35 seasons.
To see how amazing Summitt's achievement is, consider Bobby Knight. Knight has the most career coaching wins in men's Division I college basketball. However, Knight had nearly 100 fewer wins in seven more years of coaching.
Big Wins in the Big Ten
On the men's side, the Big Ten Conference featured two similar games Thursday night. Michigan, a team struggling to maintain afloat in the conference standings, hosted Penn State, a team surprisingly in the logjam for second place in the conference.
The other game featured another surprising team tied for second place in the conference—Illinois—playing a road game against a team struggling after a strong start to the season—Wisconsin.
Both games also had similar results of rather emphatic wins by the home teams that desperately needed them.
Michigan trailed Penn State at halftime before clamping down on defense in the second half to win comfortably, 71-51. Michigan allowed just 20 points to the Nittany Lions after the break. The Wolverines held the conference's leading scorer, Talor Battle, to nine points on 3-for-16 shooting. The conference's second-leading scorer had a much better day, as Manny Harris led Michigan with 28 points.
Wisconsin used a strong first half to cruise to a victory over No. 21-ranked Illinois. Jason Bohannon led the Badgers with 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting from three-point range. The 63-50 win snapped a six-game losing streak for Wisconsin.
Many of the top mid-major teams were in action across the country on Thursday night, and all were able to showcase their talents well.
No. 9-ranked Xavier shot 11-for-19 from three-point range en route to an 83-74 victory over Temple on national television. The win was the 20th on the season for the Musketeers, who improved to 8-0 in Atlantic 10 play.
No. 11-ranked Butler held on for a conference road victory against Detroit by a score of 66-61. The Bulldogs will most likely experience a drop in the polls next week, however, after losing their first conference game of the season at Wisconsin-Green Bay on Monday night. Regardless, Butler is now 20-2 on the season and 11-1 in the Horizon League.
No. 18-ranked Gonzaga used a big second half to earn a road win against another top team in the West Coast Conference, Portland, by a score of 73-58. The Zags are 8-0 in WCC play.
No. 22-ranked Utah State used a strong second half to score a 78-59 victory over New Mexico State. Utah State is 22-1 on the season and 10-0 in the WAC Conference.
Gonzaga's conference rival, Saint Mary's, cruised to a 21-point victory over San Francisco for their 19th win of the season.
Stephen Curry had 29 points to lead Davidson to a 75-54 win over UNC-Greensboro and remain undefeated in the Southern Conference.
Newly ranked at No. 25, Washington most likely will be a one-week wonder in the polls after losing to California by a score of 86-71 on Thursday night. California's guards, Theo Robertson and Jerome Randle, each had 21 points in the effort.
The Arizona Wildcats had an important 66-63 road victory over Oregon State to move to .500 in conference play. Arizona has qualified for 24 straight NCAA tournament bids, the longest current streak in the nation and second-longest all-time.