This is the glorious time when out of conference play blends into league play, and it is a wonderful thing.
1. Arizona fans should be thrilled that their team is 14-0. They should also recognize that this team has a long way to go before they can be considered elite. First they escaped Colorado in overtime following a controversial call. Then they allowed Utah, who may finish last in the Pac 12, to take them to the game's final possession. They are 190th in turnovers if you're looking for the Achilles heel.
2. There is no 2nd best team in the Big 12 behind Kansas. Is it Baylor? They've already lost four times, including to Charleston, and needed OT to survive Texas at home today. Is it Oklahoma State? They got a great game from their best player – Marcus Smart – and still couldn't beat Kansas State. Is it Kansas State? It seems that way at the moment, but does anyone really believe that? What happens when McGruder doesn't show up?
3. Gonzaga's Kevin Olynyk is the best player no one is talking about. The 7-footer scored 33 points and grabbed 10 boards picking up a big win at Santa Clara. He's made over 70% of his 2s. At times Mark Few was having him bring the ball up the court – which is every big man's dream. This is a player who redshirted following his sophomore year, in case any other players out there are paying attention. Some times its better to slow things down and just work on getting better. He beefed up. He practiced. And now he's a star.
4. Sticking in the West Coast Conference, is there any doubt that Mattew Dellavedova is going to be earning some postseason awards? Loyola Marymount double teamed him every time he touched the ball, and all he did was score 17 points, rack up 8 assists, and grab 5 rebounds. And he played all 40 minutes for the fifth time this season.
5. What is up with Pittsburgh? Last year the Panthers started 11-1 before completely collapsing in league play. This year they started 12-1 and have now lost two straight in Big East play. They lost at home to Cincinnati as 3-point favorites, and today lost on the road to Rutgers. Rutgers! Rutgers is certainly improved this year, but it's relative – it doesn't mean they escaped Sacred Heart.
6. Florida Gulf Coast needs to find some consistency if they hope to achieve their goals – which isn't to just have the first winning record in program history. They want a bid. After beating Miami earlier in the year they finished ooc play by beating the teams they were supposed to beat and losing to the teams they were supposed to lose to. Until the end, when they lost to Maine. They started league play with a ho hum road win, then lost in OT to Mercer (who lost today to 1-13 Kennesaw State). Today they absolutely trucked Jacksonville behind 18 points from star-to-be sophomore Bernard Thompson. With Mercer not as good as expected, the A-Sun appears to be FGCUs for the taking.
7. Florida State's Okaro White has athleticism that is just ridiculous.
8. Oklahoma State's Markel Brown has athleticism that is just ridiculous.
9. Anthony Bennett needs to be in the conversation for Player of the Year. Against Cal State Bakersfield Bennett had 28 points behind 7-9 2s, 3-4 3s, and 5-6 FTs. He also had 10 rebounds.
10. Shabazz Muhammad continues to impress, even though a lot of us can't watch the games thanks to the spat beteen the Pac 12 Network and DirecTV. He's slowly getting into shape and tonight had 23 and 10, helping to send Stanford home winless from their weekend in LA.
11. You may not care about the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Utah Valley or the Great West Conference. But conference play kicked off in what will be the final Great West season before the league folds. NJIT won, by the way, behind 14 points from PJ Miller.
12. Bucknell was a baseline away from securing a huge win for the Patriot League. Unfortunately, the baseline in question was the one Mike Muscala stepped on with 4 seconds left in the game. The Bison star had his typical 25 and 14 in front of a national audience, while Mizzou won 66-64.