Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas will be on the case for ESPN at 9 p.m. Thursday night as No. 1-ranked Kentucky makes its first-ever trip to historic Pauley Pavilion to play UCLA.
If you get the chance, you should check out Richard Deitsch’s recent podcast with Bilas. Sports Illustrated’s media critic talks to the former Duke Blue Devil about how he prepares for a game, his history in broadcasting and Bilas’ unique twitter account.
Meanwhile, the Big 10/ACC Challenge finished up Wednesday night with the Big 10 winning the annual battle 8-6 thanks to wins by Minnesota over Clemson; Michigan over North Carolina State; Northwestern over Virginia Tech; Purdue over Pittsburgh; Michigan State over Louisville; Wisconsin over Syracuse; Penn State over Boston College and Iowa over Florida State.
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The ACC got victories from Wake Forest over Rutgers; North Carolina over Maryland; Virginia over Ohio State; Miami over Nebraska; Duke over Indiana and Notre Dame over Illinois
You had to come away impressed with Louisville, who led third-ranked Michigan State by as many as 13 points in the first half at East Lansing before losing 71-67. The Cards were up 32-29 at the half. Michigan State did not take its first lead until there was 6:43 left. Denzil Valentine scored 25 points and Gary Forbes added 20 to help the Spartans pull it out.
Louisville got a combined 44 points from its backcourt of Damion Lee and Trey Lewis. Lee hit eight of 15 shots on the way to 23 points. Lewis made seven of 13 shots on the way to 21 points. Had the Cards hit a few more three-pointers (four-of-17) and done a little better on the boards (40-30 Michigan State), Rick Pitino’s club may have pulled off the upset.
At Durham, Indiana proved yet again it can’t guard anybody. Duke shot 52.9 percent on the way to the 20-point triumph. Indiana actually led 26-22 with 8:48 left in the first half before Duke scored on 12 straight possessions. It was 51-42 Blue Devils at the half and Mike Krzyzewski's club pulled away in the second half.
Freshman Brandon Ingram made 10-of-14 shots -- Dick Vitale kept repeating that when he arrived at Cameron at 4:45, Ingram was out on the floor taking extra shots -- to score 24 points. Matt Jones added 23. Duke hit 11 of its 24 three-point attempts and averaged a ridiculous 1.52 points per possession.
As a point of reference, even in these boom John Calipari years, Kentucky highest PPP was 1.493 against Hartford on Dec. 29, 2009.
Here's the (short) list of college basketball games on television Thursday night.
Thursday, Dec. 3
▪ 8:00 - Central Arkansas at Oklahoma (ESPNU)
▪ 9:00 - Kentucky at UCLA (ESPN)
How Top 25 fared Wednesday
- No. 3 Michigan State beat No. 24 Louisville 71-67
- No. 7 Duke beat Indiana 94-74
- No. 13 Gonzaga beat Washington State 69-60
- No. 14 Syracuse lost to Wisconsin 66-58 (OT)
- No. 16 Vanderbilt beat Detroit 102-52
- No. 17 Cincinnati lost to Butler 78-76
- No. 18 Texas A&M beat Florida Gulf Coast 75-65
- No. 22 SMU beat TCU 75-70
- No. 23 Providence beat Hartford 89-66
- No. 25 Baylor beat Prairie View A&M 80-41