Watching Arizona in the first half last night, we couldn’t help but say it: this looks like a team that is just dying for one star player. That guy left for the NBA this summer, and because of it, the ‘Cats struggled to lose Valparaiso early, up by only a bucket at the half. But in the second half, the defense picked up, the intensity picked up and ‘Zona ran away 73-64. We’ve heard both ends of the spectrum of expectations for this team this season. They have some decent players – and a great freshmen backcourt with Nick Johnson (14 points, six assists) and Josiah Turner – but right now, we don’t see special. Valpo head coach, Bryce Drew (yes, THAT Drew), was rocking one of the illest sky blue blazers we’ve ever seen though … St. John’s and their blueprint for success was a carbon copy, falling behind in the first half to William & Mary and then dominating the second half (they won the final 20 minutes 48-26) behind pressure defense and feasting on turnovers. Even without Steve Lavin – who watched from home coming off prostate cancer surgery – we’re gonna have to start watching more of the Red Storm, only because they have a big man named God’s Gift Achiuwa … The only other game from last night saw Mississippi State – a dangerous sleeper team in the SEC West – beat Eastern Kentucky 76-66. Another player who could make our All-Name Team, Dee Bost, went off for 23 points, six boards and six dimes … Not only did we preview the team y’all love to hate (Duke) yesterday, but we found out that there are plans for a Duke vs. UNC alumni game. The first annual “Kings of Tobacco Road” game is going down on Nov. 17 at North Carolina Central University, and both squads are bringing out the heavy artillery. Raymond Felton, Vince Carter, Brendan Haywood and Antawn Jamison will play for UNC while Duke has Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, Corey Maggette, Chris Duhon, Elton Brand and Gerald Henderson. The retired Rasheed Wallace is also there so he can stand under the hoop and get dunked on, and then get thrown out … Mitch McGary is going to Michigan. HighSchoolHoop’s No. 6-ranked high schooler chose the Wolverines over both Florida and Duke, a relative surprise even as he said he wanted to go somewhere that he could create his own tradition. McGary is probably the most talented prospect this school has had in over a decade. How many backboards will he break next year? … RIP Smokin’ Joe Frazier … We’re out like MW3.
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