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Afternoon Delight: Butler upsets No. 1 Indiana

Butler walk-on Alex Barlow was the unlikely source of a game-winning shot against No. 1 Indiana. (AP)

On busier Saturdays and Sundays this season, we’re not going to make you wait until the end of the slate of games to catch up with all that’s happened. Afternoon Delight (3-pointers in flight!) recaps the first six-or-so hours’ worth of action, the perfecta appetizer right before dinner.

The best we’ve seen so far: Butler plays spoiler again, knocks off No. 1 Indiana.

Good to see Butler’s move to the Atlantic 10 hasn’t slowed down its ability to pull off upsets — even if this was its first time beating a top-ranked team. The Bulldogs overcame two starters fouling out to take down No. 1 Indiana in overtime, 88-86. Walk-on Alex Barlow made a leaner in the lane with 2.4 seconds left to give Butler the victory. Butler looked like it would win in regulation, but Yogi Ferrell knocked down a 3 to tie it up — and with Roosevelt Jones and Andrew Smith both fouling out in regulation, Indiana should have had the edge in overtime. That didn’t happen. Rotnei Clarke led the way with 19 points for Butler, while Victor Oladipo had 18 for Indiana. Matt Norlander has some fine words about the significance of this win.

The second-best we’ve seen so far: Louisville makes up double-digit deficit, beats Memphis on the road.

When Memphis is playing together, it has the talent to beat anyone in the country. Saturday looked that way for about 30 minutes. Memphis jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half, and held a double-digit lead in the second half. Then Louisville hit three straight 3-pointers, Memphis couldn’t take care of the ball — and the Cardinals continued to get to the free-throw line. Couple of things worth noting from this game: Russ Smith left the game with a sprained ankle, but he returned to the game. Also, Memphis is now 0-10 against ranked teams since Josh Pastner took over as the head coach. With all the talent the Tigers have, that shouldn’t happen. Right now, there’s not another ranked team on Memphis’ schedule.

Deserving of a free dinner at the restaurant of their choice: VCU steamrolled Alabama.

It’s not just beating Alabama that gives VCU a spot in this category. After all, the Crimson Tide have a couple injuries, and aren’t an SEC contender. With that said, VCU absolutely ran Alabama out of the building from the opening tip. It wasn’t close. It was 26-7 with fewer than five minutes remaining in the first half, and it never got better for Alabama. VCU forced turnovers, hit 3-pointers, and didn’t make anything easy for the Tide. This win — final score: 73-54 — is yet another sign that the Rams could be the team to beat in the A-10 (even with Butler’s win).

No soup for you: Virginia Tech loses at home to Georgia Southern.

Virginia Tech had plenty of momentum during the first month of the season, starting off 7-0. Now, the Hokies have lost two of three — including a bad loss on Saturday to 4-5 Georgia Southern. The Eagles never trailed, beating an ACC team for the first time. C.J. Reed went for 22 points, including 16 in the second half. Georgia Southern led by as many as 15 points in the second half, before Virginia Tech made a late run. This loss puts the Hokies in perspective a little bit. They were not as good as we made them out to be during the hot start — but they will still win more games than expected in the ACC.

Afternoon all-stars

  1. Before fouling out, Roosevelt Jones had 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Butler. Jones is a Bulldog in every sense of the word.
  2. Cole Darling helped Wright State go on the road and beat Hofstra, compiling 25 points and nine rebounds.
  3. Kentucky’s Kyle Wiltjer had a great effort off the bench against Lipscomb, going for 23 points and 12 rebounds in the win.
  4. I know Virginia Tech lost, but Erick Green still shot well — and had 28 points, seven rebounds and four assists. All-American?

Other daytime action worth your attention

  • No. 7 Ohio State seems to be developing a more versatile offensive attack, with four Buckeyes scoring in double-figures in a 90-72 win over UNC-Asheville. Sam Thompson continues to work toward being a consistent performer.
  • Greg Whittington finally broke out of his slump, going for 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Hoyas to a 13-point win over Western Carolina.
  • No DeAndre Kane, no upset for Marshall. The Thundering Herd hosted No. 11 Cincinnati, and hung tough for a half — but simply didn’t have the pieces to hang with the Bearcats. Cincinnati moved to 10-0 with the 72-56 win.
  • East Carolina scored 61 points in the second half against North Carolina. The Pirates still lost by six, but where was the Tar Heels’ defense? That won’t fly in the ACC.
  • Marquette’s multitude of options is going to be fascinating to watch in Big East play. Someone always steps up for the Golden Eagles. They beat Savannah State, 71-51.
  • Roy Devyn Marble and Mike Gesell combined for 53 points as Iowa beat in-state rival Northern Iowa, 80-73.
  • Under-the-radar result: Ohio lost at home for the first time in 17 games, as Winthrop beat the Bobcats. Prior to Saturday, Winthrop hadn’t beaten a Division-I opponent.

Delightful (and not-so-delightful) thoughts

— If you missed it, the seven non-FBS football playing schools officially announced they were leaving the Big East conference.
— West Virginia has a big game Saturday night against Michigan — but the Mountaineers will be without Aaric Murray. He didn’t make the trip to Brooklyn.
— That’s the way Kentucky needs Ryan Harrow to play this season. Sure, it was “just” Lipscomb and Harrow had more shots (13) than points (12), but he was aggressive and tried to attack. Moreover, Archie Goodwin doesn’t need to be the full-time point guard when Harrow is on the floor.
— Illlinois-Chicago beat Eastern Michigan, 74-48. Might not catch your eye, but UIC is now 9-1 on the season – it won eight games all of last season.
— When I first saw that Texas AM and Oklahoma were playing on Saturday, I immediately thought that Big 12 play was beginning. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Oklahoma did get a 64-54 win, though.
— Rhode Island has seemed on the verge of breaking through for several games now — and the Rams finally got a big win, beating 8-1 SMU by 22 points.

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