Michigan State answered my question from Friday: The Spartans aren’t as good as I thought they were, as they lost to Michigan, 82-72.
Just proves the point a lot of people have been saying: Everyone has flaws. The Spartans’ flaws are difficult to define, but two areas that hurt them are free throw shooting (65 percent) and ballhandling (they commit more turnovers than they force). They still rebound ferociously and hold opponents below 40 percent shooting.
So there is still hope. Maybe.
Trae Young: He had another incredible game Saturday as Oklahoma beat TCU, 102-97, in overtime. Young had 43 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and regrettably 9 turnovers. He could have easily had a triple-double, as teammates missed several easy shots after receiving passes from him. And he just needed one more turnover for a dubious quadruple-double. He’s now averaging 30.1 ppg.
UMass: I made my annual trek to the Mullins Center Sunday, and the crowd was noticeably more involved in the game. The fans have taken to new coach Matt McCall, and the Minutemen won again, rallying from a 16-point deficit with 18 minutes left to beat Saint Joseph’s, 72-69. There are new video boards, including one spanning the court that you could say is a mini-version of the one at AT&T Stadium in Texas.
Some announcing thoughts: Steve Physioc is still one of the best, but you don’t hear him that often. I really enjoy it when he’s doing a game. He’s mostly doing Big East games for Fox. Mark Plansky, Wakefield’s own, is kind of growing on me. He has been doing Atlantic 10 games.
. . .
Looking back on last week:
ELEVATOR GOING UP
Auburn: We keep waiting for something bad to happen to Auburn concerning the FBI investigation of college of basketball. which included Tigers assistant coach Chuck Person. A player involved in that, Austin Wiley, was declared ineligible for this season just last week. Plus there’s coach Bruce Pearl’s history with the NCAA. None of it matters when the Tigers are playing; they continue to roll, having won 13 straight, including a nice win at Mississippi State Saturday.
Fullerton State: The Titans are 4-0 in the Big West for the first time since 1983-84. That team was led by a great guard, Leon Wood, who played 39 minutes per game and averaged 24 points. He went on to a 10-year NBA career, then morphed into an NBA referee. The Titans look like they’re going to be tough at home; they’re 6-1.
Jackson State: The Fightin’ Paytons beat SWAC favorite Texas Southern Saturday and are 5-0 in the league.
Michigan: The Wolverines had a notable win at Michigan State Saturday and have won seven of eight, with the loss a difficult 1-pointer to Purdue.
Montana: The Grizz have taken charge in the Big Sky at 6-0. Overall they’ve won eight of their last nine.
Mount St. Mary’s: This season seemed doomed when three starters transferred up to bigger schools after a Northeast Conference championship season, but coach Jamion Christian is surviving. His Mountaineers are 4-2 in the NEC after beating preseason favorite Saint Francis of Pennsylvania Saturday.
Stanford: This was looking like a lost season for the Cardinal, then they reeled off four straight, beating UCLA, USC, and the two Washington schools. They are now 4-1 in the Pac 12.
ESCALATOR GOING DOWN
Chattanooga: I bet Matt McCall is really happy he left to coach UMass. The Mocs are 0-5 in the Southern Conference.
Minnesota: What a demise. The Gophers suffered the second-worst loss in the history of Williams Arena, getting obliterated by Purdue, 81-47. The worst loss was a 90-51 loss in 1968 to UCLA, which had some guy named Lew Alcindor at center. This comes after a ridiculously bad 83-60 loss to Northwestern. Minnesota is missing two key players; center Reggie Lynch faces possible expulsion following sexual assault allegations by two women and guard Amir Coffey is out with a shoulder injury. It’s probably not going to be better.
Pitt: The Panthers can’t compete in the ACC; they’re 0-5 after losing to Georgia Tech, 69-54, Saturday and their average margin of loss is 18.8 points.
SMU: The Mustangs couldn’t compete with Cincinnati last Sunday, losing, 76-56, and returning home didn’t help. They lost to Temple, which ended their 33-game home-court winning streak.
Texas A&M: The Aggies could be going from a No. 5 ranking to the NIT; their losing streak reached five with a loss at Tennessee. Who knows how long they’ll remain on the escalator?
THIS WEEK’S FINAL FOUR: Villanova, Wichita State, Oklahoma, Virginia.
THIS WEEK’S NATIONAL CHAMPION: Villanova. The Wildcats emphasized how superior they are last week by thrashing Xavier, 89-65.Joe Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan