The following are summaries of Value Add Basketball games with most recent game appearing first.
At San Diego State 87, Gonzaga 80. The first big upset in our season occurred in the Zags toughest game of the season - at San Diego State. Mitchell scored 27 points and his two opposing power forwards combined for 9 fouls (Zakharov 5, Strawther 4), as part of the Zags being called for 23 fouls compared to 18 called on the Aztecs. Time scored 17 points with a team-high 7 rebounds to help the Zags dominate the boards 35-24, but lost the turnover battle 21-12 (Gomez 6 steals).
At Arizona St. 69, Oregon 67. Chris Duarte (17 pts, 3 steals) led the Ducks to 49-39 lead with 11:58 to play, but ASU rallied. Luther Muhammad stole the ball with 5 minutes to play and scored on the fastbreak to tie it 59-59, scored on the next trip to finally out ASU up 61-59, then Verge scored to make it 63-59 and ASU held on for the 69-67 win.
Kentucky 68, at Auburn 59. Two talented but young and mistake prone teams (21 turnovers each) battled to a 53-51 Kentucky lead with 7:03 to play. However, Kentucky then went on a 13-0 run to take over, keyed by a 4-point play when Jackson scored and was fouled, missed the free throw, then Sarr grabbed the refund and out it in.
At VCU 76, Richmond 73. After the Spiders won at Kentucky in a real game, their fans might yell home job for the cross town loss in VABG to VCU. VCU led 65-52 with 7:03 to play, when the Spiders' Gilyard stole the ball five times in less than five minutes to lead a 19-9 run that cut the lead to 74-71 with 2:07 to play. However, it could have been even closer except that on one of those steals Gilyard passed ahead to Francis who was fouled on the way to the basket but did not get the call in the opposing Siegel Center. (in the game, the home team can switch a 36 to 66 - no foul - or with the ball switch a 66 to 36 to get a foul call. This changes 2 to 3 calls a game which accounts for the typical home advantage.)
At Wisconsin 78, Iowa 69
Baylor 72, Oklahoma State 50 - The starters return from our Baylor team that beat Winthrop, LSU and Kentucky before falling to Duke in the Elite 8 in our "what if" tournament in March. The played like a contender in their opener, as Butler has 17 points and 2 steals to lead a defense that shut down Oklahoma State and freshman phenom Cunningham 72-50.
UConn 68, at Marquette 61 - UConn's return to the Big East was a success. James Bouknight (16 points) and Andre Jackson (17) led the way, not only scoring but fouling out two of Marquette's key players in Koby McEwen and Theo John. The Marquette starters entered the game down 32-20, and rallied to within 49-48 on a dunk by John with 7:40 to play but could never take the lead.
Duke 75, UVa 57. Duke opened up looking like the potential favorite in the tough ACC. We expected a battle of power forwards between Duke's Matthew Hurt (ranked as the 43rd best offensive player in the country at www.kenpom.com and Virginia's Sam Hauser listed as one of the top three transfers to sit out the 2019 season. Hurt should have chances to top his actual 25 point performance against Boston College last year now that he needs to take more shots and Hauser expected to take more shots then he did while playing alongside volume shooter and All-American Markus Howard while at Marquette.
On this night it was all Duke in the game, as Hurt went crazy for 31 points and the UVa offense stalled in a 75-57 beat down at Duke. Like actual basketball, we do find wild swings for teams, so this does not mean UVa will not compete for the title, but Duke looks very good with Hurt surrounded by some of the top freshmen in the country.
Freshman center Mark Williams (8 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocked shots) and freshman shooting guard DJ Steward (10 points) gave him plenty of support.