Wisconsin at Virginia Tech: Game of the Night
The ACC finally lost its stranglehold on home games in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. Wisconsin ended the ACC’s 11-0 home record over the last two years by taking down Virginia Tech 74-72 on the Hokies’ home court on Monday night.
Wisconsin’s leading scorer Trevon Hughes hit a leaning floater from 15 feet out with .9 seconds left to give Wisconsin the win, but it was hardly the only big shot of the drama-filled, back-and-forth final few minutes.
After Marcus Landry’s three pointer with 1:08 left put the Badgers up by seven, it looked like Wisconsin was going to get out of Blacksburg without a scare.
But the Hokies had other plans.
Three three-pointers later, Virginia Tech trailed by only one with 17 seconds remaining. Wisconsin’s Jason Bohannon then calmly nailed two free throws with 12 seconds left, but A.D. Vasallo hit yet another off-balance three-bomb to tie the score at 72.
It wasn’t meant to be for the Hokies, however, as Hughes’ heroics saved the day for Wisconsin.
For Virginia Tech, it was a frustrating loss, as Jeff Allen, the Hokies’ leading scorer, was held to two points in limited minutes due to foul trouble. A.D. Vasallo picked up the slack in Allen’s absence, delivering a career-high 30 points, including six three-pointers.
In the end, Virginia Tech’s rowdy crowd did all they could to spark the home team, but the Badgers simply had an answer for everything.
Wisconsin’s offense was, as usual, a shot clock eater. All night long, the Badgers forced Virginia Tech play defense for 35 seconds—and made the Hokies pay every time they gambled, drilling 12 of 18 three-pointers. The Badgers fight for every loose ball, hit the open man, and play solid defense. In other words, they are a typical Bo Ryan-coached team.
Meanwhile, Seth Greenberg has once again rounded up a group of fearless, long, athletic gunners. They are essentially a dream come true for Jay Bilas, who uses any excuse to say the words “length” and “upside.”
As a side note, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a head coach study a play-card during game action as Seth Greenberg occasionally does, like Steve Spurrier with a bald head and an expensive suit.
Regardless, the Hokies’ athleticism and offensive firepower will no doubt lead to some upsets this year as they fight for a spot in the Dance.
Delaware State at Connecticut
Another inferior opponent goes down in Storrs, as Connecticut pasted Delaware State 79-49.
After a sluggish start, UConn was only up by four points midway through the first half. Ten minutes later at intermission, the Huskies were on top 44-18, courtesy of a balanced scoring explosion—and from there, the rout was on.
Donald Johnson appeared to be the only player to show up for Delaware State, registering 16 of the Hornets’ 18 first half points. Johnson was 5-7 from the field while the rest of his team went an ice cold 1-21.
The second half held little drama, as UConn emptied the bench and kept the margin at more than 25 for the duration of the game.
For Delaware State, Johnson ended up with more than half of the Hornets’ points, racking up 25 points on 9-16 shooting, including six three-pointers. The Huskies, on the other hand, used a balanced scoring attack and another dominating performance from Hasheem Thabeet, who had 10 points, 17 rebounds, and four blocks.
Kent State at Kansas
In a game in which Kansas never trailed, the Jayhawks held off a solid Kent State squad, eventually pulling away for a convincing 87-60 win.
Despite an ugly first half, KU found themselves up 37-24 at the half behind even scoring from several contributors. Paced by the steady play of all five starters, the Jayhawks extended their lead to 20 points with 10 minutes to go and never looked back.
Kansas punished Kent State in the paint, getting to the line 36 times (and connecting on 32 of them) while settling for only 11 three-pointers on the night.
The Jayhawks balanced assault was led by Sherron Collins (19 points), who poured in 10 points in a little over three minutes to close out any hope for Kent State, while Cole Aldrich and Marcus Morris did the damage down low, both going for double-doubles.
For the Golden Flashes, Chris Singletary led the team in scoring with 13 points.
The Dayton Flyers: These boys are off to an impressive 6-0 mark, with wins over SEC-killer Mercer, Auburn (despite going 0-24 from three-point range in the game), and Marquette.
You know the good people in Ohio are gearing up for another tournament appearance.
The polls’ treatment of Kansas: The Jayhawks are the defending national champions, they have looked good in every game, and their only blemish this season is an overtime loss to a tough Syracuse team. Yet they are unranked? Huh?
Talk about a what-have-you-done-for-me mentality.
The best-laid plans…
Delaware State seems to be on a mission to lose big to well-known programs.
While the Hornets have had recent success in the MEAC, they struggled last year and now find themselves a middle-of-the-pack team.
After Monday night’s game, they now have nine losses in a row, including 30-point drubbings at the hands of Ohio State, Kentucky, West Virginia, and now UConn.
It’s one thing to prepare your kids for conference play by scheduling tough non-conference opponents. It’s something completely different, however, to rob a young team of all confidence 10 games into the season after getting drilled by teams completely out of your league.
From the Division II World
The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference, or GLIAC, features two powerhouse teams: Findlay College, currently the #1 team in D-II, and Grand Valley State University, who is ranked in the top 10 but surging after a great start to the season.
Findlay is led by senior Josh Bostic, who was picked as the Preseason Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Findlay’s head coach, Ron Niekamp, is entering his 24th season and has a whopping 514-174 overall record, several Coach of the Year Awards, and a bag full of GLIAC titles on his resume.
Grand Valley State’s coach is no slouch either, however, as Ric Wesley just completed a 36-1 season last year, leading his team all the way to the Elite Eight for the second time in two years. Wesley, who spent several years as an assistant at Iowa State, boasts an overall record of 110-20 as a head coach.
Expect both of these teams to be deep in the hunt for not only the GLIAC title but the title of national champion as well.
Wisconsin at Virginia Tech: Game of the Night