Whatever the reason, 12th-ranked Saint Mary’s was a shadow of itself Thursday night during a surprising 65-51 home loss at the hands of quality mid-major Texas Arlington. A Saint Mary’s team that entered play leading the nation in points per possession didn’t crack 50 points until less than a minute remained in the game. The previously unbeaten Gaels shot 32.7 percent from the field and committed 16 turnovers, costly mistakes on a night when even open shots weren’t falling.
Wichita State took a massive step toward proving it will remain nationally relevant without graduated stars Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet. The Shockers notched their most impressive victory of the season on Saturday, a 76-73 win over Oklahoma in pro-Sooners Oklahoma City. Strong defense carried Wichita State against Oklahoma just like it has in so many previous big games.
SATURDAY’S SHOWDOWNS No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 23 Notre Dame, Sat. 12:00 p.m.: This is a fascinating matchup for a couple of reasons. For starters, this is the first real test that undefeated Notre Dame is going to be getting this season. We honestly have no idea how good the Irish actually are, and you wouldn’t be alone in needing to see a team starting Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson prove it before buying in. But we also haven’t see Villanova tested in a while, either. They won at Purdue earlier this season and, since then, have more-or-less coasted to their undefeated mark. This will not only be a nice gauge game for Villanova, but it will also be a chance for them to pad an NCAA tournament