|Brandon Paul should probably ask the prettiest girl he knows out on a date before his next game, because it's not getting better than this. (AP)|
Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday night’s slate of games …
Game of the Night: Baylor-Kansas State. We already wrote on it here, but I'll add this. Kansas State isn't one of the 16 best teams in the country. Winning at K-State is not easy at all -- it's an achievement for any team -- but Baylor's so nice, folks. This was affirming, but nothing to vault them. The Bears play at Kansas Monday night. Then we get the real answers. I don't think we need to adjust the kaleidoscope because of what happened in Manhattan, Kan., tonight.
Win to brag about: Illinois proved once again it’s tough to win on the road in conference against tournament-worthy teams. The 79-74 win was one that speaks to the depth of the Big Ten, a league that’s going to send more teams to the tournament than anyone … maybe. How do you like that for conviction? It should have more teams with higher seeds than any, though. We’ll get to Brandon Paul in a sec, but as for the rest of the team, four guys scored in double figures and went the distance against a thin-benched OSU.
Loss to hide from: C’mon. You know what it is. Louisville put up what will be measured as one of the worst losses of the season when this year’s said and done. A 90-59 sleep job to the Friars in Providence is inexcusable for a Rick Pitino team. Who knows what’s wrong. It’s more than Siva. It’s more than them being tired. This team could have peaked, though. And I still think they make the tournament, but thing is, they’re certainly no sure thing, not with these warning signs.
Player who deserves improper benefits: Borzello asks, “43 points, eight boards, two assists, two steals, four blocks. Five-point win over the No. 5 team. Brandon Paul: performance of the season?” And then there's this, from ESPN.com college basketball editor Brett Edgerton, "Paul was also incredibly efficient, becoming the 1st CBB player in the last 15 years to score 43+ on 15 or fewer FG attempts." An incredible performance. The hoop was eight feed wide for Paul -- but he did everything tonight. If he can channel half of what he did tonight on a regular basis, look out for Illinois.
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: I put out the feelers on Twitter and the overwhelming response was Peyton Siva. As Louisville goes, so does he? (Notice how I didn’t phrase that the other way around.) Siva fouled out in 19 minutes, score two points -- but only one turnover!
Before we move on, WASHINGTON, YOU'RE THE BANE OF THIS POST'S EXISTENCE. The Huskies actually almost gave the game away, a home game, to three-win Seattle, causing me to sit around like the loser I am, waiting to see if they actually blew it. UW got out of the arena with a 91-83 win. Issues abound. The Huskies are not to be trusted.
Numbers don’t lie
- 33. This wasn't the worst U of L loss for Pitino's tenure. The Cards fell by 33 to Notre Dame two years ago.
- 0. The number of bench points in the Ohio State-Illinois game.
- 2. Quietly, Harrison Barnes was bad at home against Miami. He made 2 of 12 field goals.
Three other notable results
- Virginia Tech is right where it wants to be: behind the ball in the ACC, falling to 0-2 after the 63-59 loss at home to Florida State. Seth Greenberg is in muted despair.
- Wichita State pulled off a 65-62 home win against Illinois State, who will be the thorn of the Missouri Valley this year.
- Creighton 63, Northern Iowa 60. It’s the type of game that will ultimately ensure Creighton becomes a lock as February comes, and what’s going to make things very hard for UNI, which is now a 2-3 Valley team. A very good 2-3 Valley team, but it’s all uphill now.
- This is notable. Fran McCaffrey got vicious with a chair.
- They can’t know if it will last, but Notre Dame being 3-1 in the Big East has to feel great for that program right now. Reaching the NCAA tournament is a tall order, but even just getting top eight in the Big East would be an incredible coaching job by Mike Brey. Long way to go, though.
- Not a good sign that Harvard got a close 70-61 win at 3-13 Monmouth tonight. Convinced the Crimson will get plucked at least once in the Ivy.
- One that’s easy to overlook: Florida 70, Georgia 48. Now, Florida’s 22 points better than Georgia at home, but it’s how the Gators respond to that awful Tennessee loss from Saturday. Good sign by Donovan’s team.
- After flirting with the horrifying, San Diego State put on its pants, won 73-65 and kept Chicago State winless. UNLV is next, Saturday.