CHARLOTTE (5-5, 0-0): Last weekend, the 49ers participated in the high-profile Pepsi Classic in Charlotte. On Friday, the 49ers played the Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago and coasted to an 82-69 win led by junior guard DEMON BROWN and his 6 three-point field goals. On Saturday, in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2, Colorado was the opponent and led by senior forward STEPHANE PELLE scored a season-high 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds as the Buffaloes slipped by in a 76-74 game in front of the Charlotte fans. And on Sunday, the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette finished off the 49ers in style as the Sun Belt favorites easily won 68-47. The upcoming schedule doesn't get any easier with games at Indiana, and at home against Louisville and East Carolina to start the conference season.
CINCINNATI (6-3, 0-0): Coming off last Sunday's disappointing loss at Clemson, the Bearcats returned to Cincinnati Saturday to play in-state rival Miami in the U.S. Bank Arena. Senior LEONARD STOKES became the 40th 1,000-point scorer in UC history as he put up 18 in a 66-44 rout of the Redhawks. For the sixth time this season, Cincinnati had single-digit total turnovers, while also shooting a season-high 55 percent from the three-point line.
DEPAUL (6-2, 0-0): The Blue Demons, off to one of their best starts in recent history, took on Seton Hall this past Saturday at home in the Allstate Arena. Center SAM HOSKIN scored a team-high 13 points and pulled down 9 rebounds in his 33 minutes on the court in a 52-41 win over the Pirates. For the game Seton Hall was held to only 3-23 (13%) shooting from behind the arc and the 41 total points was the lowest scoring output for the school in nearly 20 years. This week, the Blue Demons have a pair of home games before starting the conference season at Cincinnati in two weeks.
EAST CAROLINA (8-2, 0-0):
Before taking a break for the holidays, the Pirates had to travel to Conway,
South Carolina last Monday to take on Coastal Carolina. While never
trailing throughout the game, the determined Chants took out ECU with a 90-71
final. Coastal Carolina finished with a 43-28 rebound advantage and the
Pirates could only manage 4 assists in the entire game. This week, ECU
gets their first true test of the year this Monday as they start the Conference
USA schedule at home against Marquette.
LOUISVILLE (7-1, 0-0): With
semester exams ending, coach RICK PITINO used the holiday break for two-a-day
practices to prepare for the upcoming conference schedule. But first, the
Cardinals hosted arch-rival Kentucky last Saturday in a sold-out Freedom
Hall. Junior forward ELLIS MYLES had a breakout performance against the 14th-ranked
Wildcats, scoring 11 points to go with his game-high 14 rebounds in an 81-63
thrashing of UK. Senior MARVIN STONE, the reigning conference and national
player of the week, led the way with 16 points against many of his former
teammates. The Cards', who will likely be the second nationally ranked
team in Conference USA along with Marquette, now travel to Columbus, Ohio this
Saturday to face the Buckeyes of Ohio State before starting the Conference
USA season on January 8.
MARQUETTE (8-1, 0-0): The
Golden Eagles put on a show for the students who stayed on campus over the
holiday break with a 105-74 victory over Grambling State last Saturday.
For the first time this season, someone other than DWYANE WADE led the team in
scoring as center ROBERT JACKSON had a season-high 26 points against the Tigers.
The win was the 23rd straight win for Marquette in the Bradley
Center. This week, the Eagles start their conference schedule against East
Carolina on Monday and have a weekend non-conference home game against Dayton,
which will be shown on national television.
SAINT LOUIS (5-4, 0-0): This past Saturday, the Billikens hosted Southern Illinois, who made the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament last season. Led by a quick first half start, Saint Louis was in control throughout the game, winning 71-60. Guards MARQUE PERRY and JOSH FISHER led SLU in scoring with 22 and 21, respectively. This week, the Billikens travel to Kansas State on Thursday and return home to face a tough West Virginia team this weekend before diving into conference play.
NATIONAL DIVISIONALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM (8-2, 0-0): This past weekend, the Blazers traveled to El Paso, Texas to take part in the annual four-team Sun Bowl Tournament. On Friday, UAB outscored Air Force by 17 in the second half to win 69-59. The Blazers were led with 4 players scoring in double-digits. In the finals on Saturday, tournament MVP MORRIS FINLEY scored 15 points while UAB cruised to a 71-42 win over the Ivy League's Columbia to improve to the team's best start in seven years. The Blazers have a tough test this week when they host nationally-ranked Mississippi State on Thursday evening in Bartow Arena.
HOUSTON (2-6, 0-0): The Cougars looked to turn around a two-game losing streak last Monday when they traveled to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Huskies of Washington. Even though senior LOUIS TRUSCOTT scored 21 points and pu