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Thursday News:

VCU vs. Richmond - 7:00 pm ET - CBS Sports Network
Marist vs. Fairfield - 7:00 pm ET - ESPN3

Since their dismal performance against Iowa, Northwestern (12-8) has been playing some inspired basketball. Facing a third straight ranked team, the Wildcats befuddled Minnesota, taking control with an 18-4 second half run on their way to a 55-48 triumph.

Denver (11-7) did not fair well at New Mexico State, shooting 3-18 from three point range in a hard-to-watch 53-42 loss.

A 74-66 decision over Washington gave Oregon State (11-8) their first Pac-12 victory of the campaign.

Ian Hummer cracked the Top 100 in StatSheet's national player rankings.

There's a feature on Kareem Maddox in advance of Newcastle's trip to Birmingham.

Tonight it is the Black & Blue classic wherein Richmond and VCU will face off. Fairfield will also host Marist.

Around the Ivy League: Penn (3-15) led as late as the 5:25 mark of the second half versus Temple until an 11-0 Owls run sealed the Quakers' fate.

George Clark said,

January 24, 2013 @ 11:55 am

Did three things last night, only two of which were enjoyable. Watched Lehigh get the best of Bucknell in Lewisburg and without NBA draft probable CJ McCollum. Also took in the Northwestern victory over Minnesota. I was in the "Carmody's in trouble camp" until the Wildcats' late run which should save the coach's job even without a tournament bid. Then I decided to watch a Tigers-Quakers rerun on my DVR. Shouldn't have. Penn missed a ton of shots they should have made and not because of particularly good defense. Quakers have too much talent to play this badly. Maybe they can get something positive from last night's effort against Temple. Columbia and Brown far more impressive on the road than Tigers were at home. Glad we have a Dlll tune-up and stay at home for Cornell before tangling with Columbia. That game will be a great test for both teams.

Steven Postrel said,

January 24, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

The Denver game was indeed ugly. The Pioneers looked young and small and nervous on TV, committing way too many turnovers, getting clobbered on the boards, and missing a ton of open threes. (Chris Udolfia, though, impressed me with his athleticism, effort, and shot-blocking ability.) You could see the outline of what Denver wanted to do, but their tentativeness showed on both ends of the floor.

Great work by Northwestern. To add to their usual disadvantages, they are overcoming some big injuries to key players. It's funny how the 1-3-1 is working so well the last few games--I've seen their use of that defense excoriated in the last few years by a lot of fans. I guess they're so small and weak under the rim that it doesn't really matter if they leave one guy on an island back there, since the opposition would muscle through or jump over multiple guys anyway. May as well play those extra defenders out in the passing and driving lanes, where they can force turnovers and get the opponent to take bad shots.

@George: Yeah, my worry about Princeton all year has been mediocre FG% defense. Too many decent, in-rhythm shots for the opponent even in many of the wins. They're going to have to make up for that with high offensive efficiency, positive turnover balance, good defensive rebounding, and, please God, decent FT shooting.

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