Murray State got the big name win they needed last night. The Racers who were originally slated to play in the MTE with the Mount and Cincy and Dayton opted out when they got an invitation to the 76 Classic for this very reason. And they didn't disappoint. They controlled the game the whole way with Stanford and they are into the Semifinals against UNLV. It's the second year in a row that the PAC 10 representative has lost in the opening round at Anaheim. That might be bad news for Washington State which participates in next year's event.
It seemed like nobody wanted to win that double overtime game in Orlando. Both Notre Dame and Georgia could have won the game in regulation if they had made free throws. But the epidemic of poor foul shooting continues. The Bulldogs let a double digit halftime lead get away by shooting 2-of-12 from the charity stripe in the second half. The Irish had plenty of chances to secure the victory in regulation but couldn't do it as they missed free opportunities. As it turns out Notre Dame won the game in the second overtime. They will now face California today.
The Golden Bears defeated #20 Temple as the Owls went cold down the stretch. You've got to give credit Mike Montgomery a lot of credit. Certainly the whole NBA thing didn't work out. But as far as being a good college coach, I think you'd be hard pressed to find one better than he is. Coming back on short rest might play to the Bears favor today against that experienced Irish bunch.
I'm really itching to go see some live basketball today. And there are plenty of options out there. I might just end up packing it up and going to Atlantic City to see the Orange take on Michigan. I think the opener there could be a good game as well. Might actually be one of the better matchups of the day with UTEP facing Georgia Tech. Other options include going to MSG to watch the NIT doubleheader or heading to the Palestra to see those games there. Not sure the matchups in Philly are as strong, but it's a little shorter and has the history of the Palestra.
Another interesting game to watch today is how Penn State fares at Mississippi. Ole Miss has played some good non-conference games here at the start of the season. The Rebels defeated Murray State, but lost to Dayton in overtime. Penn State was supposed to be part of the 76 Classic field but backed out and made way for the Racers. The Lions are one of those teams that always seems to be on the bubble but doesn't get the committee's respect come tournament time. Winning a game like this could help to change that perception.
There is also a pretty good double header at South Padre Island. St. Mary's takes on Texas Tech in one game, while South Florida plays BYU in the other. A good group of teams that I would think you'd expect to be on the bubble come March. So these games take on a lot of importance, even though its just the day after Thanksgiving. Losses here set a precedence for how the team will be perceived all season.