#1 North Carolina 98, #12 Michigan State 63
I talked last week about how long it might be before the whispers of "undefeated season" start around this Carolina team. It looks like the answer was the first week of December, because it's already starting on ESPN. And it's hard to argue with that, because the destruction of Michigan State here was incredibly impressive. The speed at which this team turns turnovers into layups is insane. I've never seen a collegiate player run the break faster than Ty Lawson. From Michigan State's point of view, there are some contrary interpretations of this big loss. For one thing, Goran Suton is still out, and that's a big problem. Not only is Suton a great scorer and rebounder, but Delvon Roe will be so much better coming off the bench. As a starter, at this point in his career, he's still mediocre. But how many teams have an inside presence like that who can come off the bench? Also, the team just played badly. The turnovers can be attributed mostly to Carolina's defense, but part of the bad shooting can just be attributed to a bad day. Also, despite missing Suton, and despite missing more shots from the field, they still drew to a draw in the rebounding department. Michigan State's inside size is going to be really tough for anybody, especially when they're completely healthy. Finally, that game might as well have been on a neutral court. What an awful decision to play in Ford Field - I've never heard a quieter "home" Michigan State crowd.
Penn State 85, Georgia Tech 83
You have to like the way that Penn State withstood several Georgia Tech runs and a hostile crowd to collect their best win in some time. But that said, there are just some things about this team that make me uncomfortable about projecting big things for them. They don't seem to play well as a team, meaning too much dribbling of the ball on offense, and atrocious team defense. I saw way too many players moving slowly off of picks, leading to way too many open shots from the perimeter. Also, I can only judge what I saw on television, and it's possible I would have gotten a different impression in person, but the players on the team just don't seem to get along as well as they should. You can tell a lot about a team by how the players interact when the clock's not running, and I got bad vibes from this Penn State team. All of that said, this team is more talented than they've been in years, and this won't be their last good win of the year. One quick note about Georgia Tech: I love Gani Lawal. He's got some great moves in the post, and he's a great rebounder. He's only failed to get a double-double once this season, when he had only 27 points and 9 rebounds against Mercer. Whenever Tech gets a big win this year, it's going to be because Lawal had a big night. He had a big night here, and they almost got that nice win.
Northwestern 73, Florida State 59
How about Northwestern? After being the doormat of the Big Ten for years, they got everybody's attention with this big win, even if nobody watched the game because everybody had Carolina/Michigan State on. As usual, Kevin Coble led the Wildcats, scoring 15 points to go with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. But even so, this Northwestern team wins with good passing and solid defense. I'm not exactly putting them in the BP65 after this win, but there's no doubt that they're worth keeping an eye on. For Florida State, I really don't understand how the Seminoles continue to waste the career of Toney Douglas. He continues to play so well while the rest of his team is so mediocre. Tournament teams shouldn't be losing by 14 points to a Northwestern team that hasn't made an NCAA Tournament since... ever (they've only even made the NIT three teams). Northwestern is clearly very improved from last year, but this is nothing but a bad loss for FSU.