Two unbeatens were tested last night, but both were able to flunk the challengers. Texas was especially vulernable in the 1st half in Arkansas, but dominated in the 2nd to post a 96-85 victory. It's hard to imagine the Longhorns losing another game until their February 8th clash of the gods with Kansas. The winner will likely have the inside track to the top overall seed.
Purdue had similar troubles with bubble rider Minnesota, leading by only 7 at halftime, but again the 2nd half proved key in the 79-60 victory. The Boilermakers had 4 players score 15 points or more. From the Gophers' perspective, this was one game they truely miss Rodney White. The freshman was counted on to make a significant effort, but off-court woes prevented him from even playing in a single game and he has since left campus. Now I'm not saying they would have won with him, but they would have been more competitive down the stretch. Still, Minnesota will be near the cut line for the rest of the season, a major downer from the preseason expectations which had them amongst the top 25.
Elsewhere in the Mountain West opener, preseason fave San Diego State reasserted itself in a 74-64 win over the current favorite New Mexico. The Lobos are trying to score a top 16 seed and a loss like this, even to the 12-3 Aztecs, certainly won't help.
Lastly, Rhode Island came out on top in a closely fought 68-63 victory of Akron in Rubber Town. Yes it was against a Mid-American Conference foe, but imagine what kind of pain the Rams would be in had they lost the game.
On tonight's lineup, Cornell pays a visit to Lawrence to face the #1 ranked Kansas Jayhawks, hopeful of at least being competitive, if not able to pull off an upset. Memphis is at the Carrier Dome to face Syracuse, hoping for a morale boost heading into Conference USA play. Marquette could have been on a 5-game winning streak, if things had broken their way, but they're not and they face a Georgetown team looking to keep pace with Syracuse, Villanova and West Virginia. And lastly, UNLV and Brigham Young get it on in Provo with the Rebels hoping to build their case for a bid and the Cougars looking to deny it.
As you probably can tell, I intend to make About Last Night a sort of semi-regular feature here on the blog, If you like it, please let me know on the comments page of this post.