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and still generating surprises.

The entire C-USA tourney has been a surprise (or hot mess, depending on your view): The championship game will feature the #6 seed (Tulsa) v. the #8 seed (UCF). UCF, straight of their upset of top-seed SMU, continued their hot play by taking down UTEP, 89-77. Tulsa used a stubborn defense to hold off #2 seed East Carolina, 72-59.

The MAC finals will feature a surprise team: Central Michigan earned a (fair) shot at the title by holding off top-seed Toledo. Tough for fans of Naama who’d hoped she’d get a chance at the Dance. The Chippewas will go up against Akron’s Zips, who defeated Ball State.

The Southland finals will feature top-seed Oral Roberts against #2-seed Sam Houston (who seem to have survived their brief bout with the WHB curse.)

No surprise, Hampton has rolled into the MEAC finals. No surprise, their opponent will be Howard.

Big Sky Finals: Montana v. Northern Colorado.

In the Big West, Cal State Fullerton couldn’t overcome top-seed Pacific (though it took a last-second three to do it). In the finals, the Tigers will go against Cal Poly (another team that seems to have survived the WHB curse).

The Vandals ruined my WAC brack(et). The finals feature Idaho and Seattle U.

D’em Penguins didn’t make it into the Horizon finals. Instead, it will be Loyola (IL) taking on Green Bay.

Revenge of the former team? #4 Prairie View upset Coop’s new team, Texas Southern, 58-62. That mean’s they’re in the SWAC finals against Mississippi Valley State.

San Diego State rolled over New Mexico, which means they’ll face Fresno State, which just escaped Wyoming, in the MWC finals.

It’s Delaware v. Hofstra and Drexel v. James Madison in today’s CAA semis.

The MVC has held serve through their semis: #1 Wichita State v. #4 Northern Iowa and #2 Creighton v. #3 Illinois State.

When Holy Cross takes on Navy, the Middies will be looking to three-peat as Patriot League champs

The biggest surprise of the day would probably be up Albany, if somehow Hartford could take down conference big dog, the Great Danes.

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Could be emotional: Senior Day at Tennessee. (ESPNU, 3:30EST)

Could be a massacree: Duke v. UNC (3pmESPN2/3)

Could be a trap: Minnesota v. Penn State and Georgia v. LSU (5pm, ESPN2/3)

Could have implications: South Carolina v. Arkansas (3pm, ESPN3)

Could be a chance to rebound: Nebraska v. Ohio State.

Could be perfect: UTEP v. Rice.

Could be a spoiler: MSTU v. WKU (2pmEST, ESPN3).

Could be the start of a Colorado team making the tourney: Denver v. North Texas.

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If you were, once again, scoreboard watching, I’m sure there was a moment when you went, “Whaaaaaa? Is someone messin’ with the ESPN numbers?”

Well, they sure were — ‘cept it was the players on the other teams. Six, count’em, six ranked teams got upset. Some by a bit, some by a ton. Awesome for the game.

Undefeated no more: #9 Green Bay got schooled by the other Mitten, Detroit. At home (the ESPN front page picture contrasting the players and the GB fans is, as they say, worth a thousand words).

WHBlog readers had this game penciled in their calendars: #18 Gonzaga v. BYU in the WCC. Well, it wasn’t much of a game as the Cougars ran roughshod over the Bulldogs, 70-40. Man, the conference tournament ought to be fun!

And how about Arkansas, knocking off #24 South Carolina. By 21. Perhaps the Gamecocks were a little cocky?

In her chat, Mechelle wondered about the Vols emotional state and how much they had in the tank. Well, they had enough to pull even with Vandy in the second half, but then ran outta gas. Glory fouls out, Comodores win pulling away, 93-79.

There had been some talk of #10 Ohio State being leery of going in to Champaign to face Illinois, but it felt more like “don’t look past an opponent, ’cause the Purdue game is coming up” talk (and the Buckeyes had beaten the Illini by 12 two weeks ago). But who thought Illinois, down twelve, would squeak out the 1-pt victory courtesy of an Alexis Burke layup with two seconds left?

The other other Mitten (no, not Central Michigan) went into Lincoln and made first-half life absolutely miserable for the Cornhuskers, holding them to 12 points. Michigan did manage to hold on through Nebraska’s second half surge and come away with the 63-52 win.

Chelsea Gray made sure Duke didn’t become the seventh ranked to fall as Boston College got all feisty at the Forum.

In an off night (27 pts, 15 rebounds, 2 ast, 3 blks), EDD made sure Delaware stayed undefeated in the CAA.

In the CAA under-card, James Madison (9-3) and Drexel (7-5) went to overtime, and it was the Dukes over the Dragons.

In the other CAA under-card, VCU (7-5) took down Hofstra (8-4), 76-60. Man, get your tickets now – that’s going to be a fierce conference tourney.

UTEP still rules all in the C-USA. (There are some off-court distractions, though.)

In a battle of bears, the Golden took down the Bruin.

Has anyone noticed that Eastern Washington is now 10-2 in the Big Sky, quietly leap frogging the Montanas?

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by ESPN (Baylor, Notre Dame, Purdue, Duke, Kentucky, Stanford, right?)

American University Eagles

Boston University Terriers

Bowling Green Falcons

Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens

Eastern Illinois Panthers

Florida A&M Rattlers

Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles

Fresno State Bulldogs

Green Bay Phoenix

Hampton Pirates

High Point Panthers

Idaho State Bengals

McNeese State Cowgirls

Marist Red Foxes

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders

Princeton Tigers

St. Bonaventure Bonnies

San Diego State Aztecs

University of Texas-El Paso Miners

Wichita State Shockers

By the way, HUGE win for Jennifer Azzi’s San Francisco squad: they got their second win in the WCC by taking down St. Mary’s (who’ve defeated conference leaders BYU and Gonzaga) courtesy of Mel Khlok’s 32pts, six steals  a buzzer-beater by Rheina Ale. The Dons played the Gaels a couple of weeks ago and got stomped by 22.

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Proving there’s no deja vu in basketball, Baylor went in to Lubbock and escaped a stubborn Texas Tech team, 72-64.

It was close early on, but eventually Duke pulled away from the Yellow Jackets (another double-double for Williams).

Mizzou couldn’t hang with Texas A&M, and Gary Blair got his 200th win with the Aggies.

Louisville returned home and enjoyed every minute of it, taking down Providence 64-48.

In an important match up in the A-10, Charlotte (now 4-0 in conference play) defeated La Salle, 77-66. The Bonnies are next on their schedule.

Also in the A-10, Temple squeaked by Duquesne, 67-64.

Patriot League’s American ran its conference record to 4-0 (12-6).

Others undefeated in conference play: UTEP (5-0, C-USA), St. Bonaventure (4-0, A-10), Chattanooga (8-0, Southern), Marist (MAAC, 7-0), Middle Tennessee (7-0, Sun Belt), McNeese St. (4-0,Southland), San Diego State (3-0, MWC).

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by their names won, but…

the Vols have an injury scare to deal with.

the Boilermakers needed a key block

the Blue Hens needed a ridiculously productive 22 minutes from EDD

the Orange have a Sugar (and cupcake?) problem

the Hurricanes needed a Yderstrom to break a quarter-century drought

revenge tasted sweet as the Lions ate Cornhuskers for lunch

the Gamecocks had a huge turnover problem

In the world of the unnumbered:

Kansas sent Missouri to 0-4 in the Big 12

Florida derailed LSU’s SEC winning streak

Davidson gave Appalachian State their first loss in the Southern, and improved their record to 7-1 in the conference.

Bowling Green dismantled Buffalo, and is now 4-0 in the MAC.

In a tight battle, the Owls topped the Flyers, 61-57.

“Down” Marist is now 6-0 in the MAAC.

This is the kind of loss that F.O.B Lady Swish says is killing the Tribe: VCU takes down William & Mary 83-80.

One step forward, one step back. St. John’s lost to Marquette. At home. (Well, at the Garden.)

Hofstra’s win over ODU (their first ever at) puts the Pride at 5-0 in the CAA. Looking ahead, they’ll face Delaware on the 26th and VCU on the 9th.

It took OT, but UTEP squeaked by Tulane, 65-64.

Cal pulled away from Utah in the second half to earn a 63-58 win. Any bets on how many bids the Pac-12 gets?

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When you get a chance, make sure you scan Kim’s TV Schedule page. You never know what’s going to sneak on in your area. For instance, on the bill for this weekend (all in Central Time):

SATURDAY, JANUARY 8
Iowa State at Baylor……….11:00am……….Fox Sports Net
Ohio at Akron……….11:00am……….SportsTime Ohio/Comcast/Comcast SportsNet
Tampa at Lynn……….11:00am……….CBS College Sports
UConn at Notre Dame……….1:00……….CBS
Wyoming at New Mexico……….1:00……….CBS College Sports
Albany at Hartford……….2:00……….CTSN
Ohio State at Iowa……….3:00……….CBS
DePaul at St. John’s……….3:00……….Big East Network
Southern California at UCLA……….3:30……….Fox Sports Net
Southern Utah at UMKC……….4:00……….KSMO
Utah at San Diego State……….4:30……….The Mtn.
Texas Tech at Kansas……….7:00……….Metro Sports
Missouri State at Bradley……….7:05……….Ozarks CW
LA Tech at Hawaii……….9:00……….KFVE
SUNDAY, JANUARY 9
Minnesota at Wisconsin……….TBA……….Big Ten Network
Pitt at Louisville……….11:00am……….ESPNU
Ole Miss at Tennessee……….11:00am……….CSS
North Carolina at Boston College……….12:00……….Comcast SportsNet/Fox Sports Net/NESN
James Madison at Old Dominion……….1:00……..CSN+ (Check out Dawn Evans)
Georgia at Kentucky……….1:00……….ESPNU
Oklahoma State at Kansas State……….2:30……….Fox Sports Net
Arkansas at Mississippi State……….3:30……….Fox Sports Net
Tulane at UAB……….4:00……….ESPN2
UTEP at Marshall……….4:00……….CSS/CBS College Sports
James Madison at Old Dominion (tape delay)……….5:00……….Comcast Sports Net/The Comcast Channel PA
Dayton at Xavier……….6:00……….ESPNU
UAB at Central Florida……….6:00……….Bright House Sports Network

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Bret Bloomquist: Ex-UTEP women’s star finds success

Portraying the two years former UTEP women’s basketball star Natasha Lacy spent in Europe as a kind of exile was an easy assumption to make when she finally broke into the WNBA this year.

After a spectacular start in her first few games for Nolan Richardson’s Tulsa Shock, she and her team cooled off a bit. But by the end of the WNBA season, Lacy had cemented herself as a valuable bench player for a building team.

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