Headliner: If you were told a certain Duke opponent was going to march into Cameron Indoor Stadium and seriously threaten the Blue Devils near-perfect home record against unranked opponents under Coach K, most would have predicted Virginia Tech. Or Maryland. Or possibly Florida State.
I doubt anyone would have suggested the Rhode Island Rams. Not even Vegas saw this coming with the spread at 21.5. Both myself and Nostradamus Patrick (look at that record!) went with the Dukies. Sure, URI has been dangerous in previous years, getting off to a tremendous early season start last year before fading down the stretch. They’re well-coached and have some talent. But in Cameron? No chance.
Well, they almost pulled it off. Behind the absolutely unreal shooting of Jimmy Baron and the all-around game of Delroy James, the Rams almost shocked the college basketball world in the first week of the season. Would it have been bigger than VMI over Kentucky? Considering Duke is ranked #5 in the land according to the coaches poll, I’d say so.
But Kyle Singler would not let it happen. I can’t possibly stress how much this kid has improved from last season. He’s stronger, he’s more aggressive, and he appears to be the dominant force the Blue Devils have lacked since Redick and Williams departed. DeMarcus Nelson was never one to decide he was going to take over a game and not let anyone stop him. Same with Gerald Henderson. Singler appears to be that man- he did everything for Duke last night, not letting them lose that game. Whether it be nailing clutch free throws, swishing threes in the face of Baron or contributing defensively, Singler was awesome. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jon Scheyer hitting all 13 free throws he took in the game, none of them under especially relaxing circumstances.
Two other Duke notes: Lance Thomas played well once again and was on the floor for every crunch time minute late. Who wasn’t? Greg Paulus. He was buried on the bench for Scheyer-Singler-Smith-Thomas-Henderson. Delroy James went 9/12 from the floor, totaling 21 points and 8 rebounds and was the best player on the floor for most of the contest. Jimmy Baron hit some miraculous threes for URI, 8 of 9 altogether. He has unlimited range and should be feared in the A-10 this season.
Clemson and Creighton with quality wins: Clemson was able to hold off red hot Dionte Christmas and Temple in the championship game of the Charleston Classic. They improve to 3-0 after holding off a late Temple run that cut the lead to 2 with 38 seconds remaining. Clemson is shooting the three ball very well early in the season, namely long range bomber Terrence Oglesby. Also, Creighton defeated a decent New Mexico squad behind a tremendous effort from P’Allen Stinnett- 30 points, 4 rebounds, 11/16 FG, 21 points in the second half. Congrats P’Allen, your effort earns you the Horse Trailer for Sunday!
Old Dominion might contend for the CAA title this year and got off on the right foot defeating Charlotte on the road; Iowa State went 15-27 from deep in their win over Milwaukee, a school record.
UPSET ALERT!!!- Mercer has done it again. Last year, they marched into Los Angeles and defeated USC in O.J. Mayo’s debut. This year they go into Tuscaloosa and knock off Alabama in JaMychal Green’s debut, 72-69. Not a good start to a campaign where Mark Gottfried is trying to keep his job. Bama fans can be encouraged with Ronald Steele’s return- 7/15 FG, 6/7 FT, 25 points, 3 steals, 3 assists. But they were outrebounded 49-32 by an Atlantic Sun team. Another shocker in college hoops.
NW Wins Horse Trailer of the Day- P’Allen Stinnett, Creighton
Top 25 Action
- #7 Michigan State dominated Idaho 100-62 behind a career high 21 points from Chris Allen
- #9 Notre Dame out-muscled USC Upstate 94-58 with Luke Harangody totaling 30 points/14 boards
- #19 Florida looks great thus far, dominating Bradley 81-58; Werner and Hodge with 17 points each
- #21 Wisconsin escaped at home against Long Beach State 68-61; senior Marcus Landry with 23 points
- #23 Kansas defended their crown by downing UMKC 71-56 behind 16 from Sherron Collins
Monday on the Tube
- Eastern Michigan @ Purdue- 7pm (ESPN2)
- Loyola (MD) @ Boston College- 7pm (ESPNU)
- New Jersey Tech @ Penn State- 7pm (BTN)
- Hartford @ Connecticut- 7pm (ESPN FC)
- Miami (OH) @ Pittsburgh- 7pm (ESPN FC)
- North Texas @ Oklahoma State- 8pm (ESPN FC)
- Chattanooga @ Missouri- 8pm (ESPN FC)
- Sam Houston State @ Texas Tech- 8pm (ESPN FC)
- Chicago State @ Marquette- 8pm (ESPN FC)
- Mississippi Valley State @ Oklahoma- 9pm (ESPNU)
- Florida Atlantic @ Arizona- 11pm (ESPNU)