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Hoops Marathon: Early-season Madness

It’s not March, but it had that feel.  Games all day and all night.  Credit ESPN with the idea and execution for a 24-hour hoops marathon.   Madness, you ask?  Well, the event tipped off at midnight and promptly rewarded those willing and able to watch with a double-overtime upset at Pauley Pavillion: Cal-State Fullerton 68, UCLA 65.  Next in line …. St. Mary’s dominated San Diego State 80-58.   Mark those down as potentially noteworthy wins for the Big West and West Coast Conferences.

Best for Last …

What a way to finish 24 hours of hoops!  Michigan State and Gonzaga traded blows as the Spartans won their 41st straight non-conference game at the Breslin Center, 75-71.  The Zags – who led much of the game – presented a stronger-than-expected challenge and showed why they’re favored to win the West Coast Conference again – and likely earn a seed in the top half of the bracket come March.  Meanwhile, the cupboard certainly isn’t bare at Memphis.  The Tigers took Kansas to the wire in St. Louis, missing a late 3-pointer.  KU did help Memphis a bit with 21 turnovers.  We can never read too much into November games, but here’s a takeaway: Don’t be surprised if Memphis challenges Tulsa in Conference USA and the league earns two bids to the Dance.

Afternoon | Evening observations …

Good win posted by Siena (59-53 over Northeastern).  Not spectacular, but one that won’t reflect negatively on the Saints in February or March … Georgetown escaped Temple 46-45 in what can only be described as something Big 10ish from last season.  A win’s a win, but the Hoyas still have plenty of work to do if they are going to bounce back as everyone expects.  Heard Doug Gottlieb of ESPN say he thinks G’Town may be running short on recruiting talent because of the Princeton-style offense run by John Thompson III.  Hard to say.  This same system took the Hoyas to the Final 4 in 2007 … Louisville played sloppy at times but has a lot of talent and potential.  They blew past a depleted Arkansas team 96-66 in St. Louis.  The Cards need to create a hectic pace.  Hofstra showed why the Pride figure to challenge in the Colonial, fighting Connecticut until the final moments.

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