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Wednesday’s Shootaround: Big road win for Michigan


Mike Miller

No. 22 Michigan 66, Purdue 64: The Wolverines picked up a huge win on the road against the Boilermakers, hanging on for the win after Purdue missed two good looks from three in the final minute. One of those looks came off the hands of Robbie Hummel with 12 seconds left in the game. Making this win all the more impressive is that the Wolverines did it despite getting just a mediocre performance out of Trey Burke. Tim Hardaway, Jr., didn’t exactly snap out of his shooting slump, but he did score 19 points to pace the Wolverines.

The enormity of this win cannot be understated for Michigan. Believe it or not, while this boosts them to 6-2 in Big Ten play and all alone in first place, it is also their first win on the road on the season. And while Purdue may not be the kind of powerhouse that they have been the past two seasons, this is still a tough team to beat in their arena. More than anything, Michigan needed this confidence heading into the stretch run. They have ten games left on their schedule. Six of them are away from Ann Arbor.

That said, confidence alone isn’t going to help them at Ohio State with first place on the line.

No. 12 San Diego State 52, Wyoming 42: SDSU further proved their merit in the MWC by going into Laramie and knocking off Wyoming. The win itself is pretty impressive considering how improved the Cowboys are this season. But once you factor in that the Aztecs were stranded in an airport in Utah for 20 hours because of snow, it become just that much more noteworthy. Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley had 12 points each.

Texas 62, Iowa State 55: At this point, any win that Texas can get is a big win. Coming off of three straight losses -- to Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri -- and with J’Covan Brown mired in a slump (he was 3-16 on Tuesday night), Texas couldn’t afford to drop this game to Iowa State, a fellow bubble-dweller. Myck Kabongo led the way with 13 points, but it was defense that won this game. ISU shot just 33.3% from the floor. Of note: Royce White is really, really good. He finished this game with 15 points, 15 boards and five assists.

Vanderbilt 65, Tennessee 47: It wasn’t pretty, especially in the second half, but Vanderbilt got a win they were supposed to get in the way that they were supposed to get it. Jeff Taylor had 15 of his team-high 23 points in the first half as the ‘Dores jumped out to a 30-10 lead. Tennessee never really made it interesting. It is noteworthy, however, that Vandy didn’t back down when Tennessee tried to turn this game into a slugfest. That’s a good sign for a team that isn’t exactly known for their toughness. Vandy is now 5-1 in the SEC with a two-game lead in the win column over Florida while sitting one game behind Kentucky.

No. 1 Kentucky 57, Georgia 44: I continue to have concerns about Kentucky’s inability to put together a complete game. There isn’t much doubt, in my mind, who the most talented team in the country is. And if I were forced to put everything that I own on one team winning the national title, odds are good that I’d have my money on the Wildcats. But the fact that they were only able to manage 57 points against Georgia -- and only 19 in the second half -- is a concern, one that we’ve come across before. Maybe I am being too demanding, but before I can get to a point where I am truly excited about what this team is capable of, I need to see it.

No. 7 Baylor 77, Oklahoma 65: I think all you need to know about the issues involving Baylor are this: after struggling against Missouri at home, Perry Jones III finally showed up, going for 21 points and 12 boards at Oklahoma. Take that as you will.

Marquette 67, South Florida 47: You want to know how wacky the Big East is this season? The winner of this game moved into a tie with Georgetown for second place in the league. With the loss, USF is tied for fifth with Cincinnati. That’s not a typo, either. None of it is.

Miami 64, Georgia Tech 49: After a 21 points, eight rebounds performance against the Yellow Jackets, Kenny Kadji has now scored in double figures in 10 of the last 11 games. He has four double-doubles in that span. Want to hear a weird stat? In the seven games that he hasn’t recorded a double-double, only twice has he gotten more than three rebounds. All or nothing.

The MAC: There were a couple of key games tonight among contenders in both divisions. Akron improved to 5-1 in league play with a 70-58 win over Ball State, dropping the Cardinals to 4-2. Buffalo knocked off Eastern Michigan 65-47, which further muddled the top of the league as both teams are now 4-2 in the conference. As it stands now, Akron is all alone in first place in the east with Buffalo a game behind them and Ohio lurking at 3-2 in the conference. In the west, Ball State and Eastern Michigan are both 4-2 with Western Michigan sitting just a game back in the win column.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.