The Morning After is our semi-daily recap post. Try not to make it awkward.
Villanova 92, Louisville 84: Rick Pitino had his white suit and his full-court press, but he didn't have Scottie Reynolds, and that's really all you need to know about Villanova's win in Louisville Monday night. Pitino's Cardinals jumped out to an early lead thanks to Pitino's trademark press defense; if you thought it would be impossible to effectively press a team like Villanova with a guard like Reynolds, you were wrong ... sort of. After Louisville built a 17-point lead on the strength of Villanova's turnovers, it was only a matter of time until Reynolds calmed the Wildcats down and got them back on track, and that's exactly what he did. Reynolds scored 16 points in the final six minutes, shot 9-for-10 from the field (including 5-of-5 from beyond the arc) and made 13 of his 17 free throws as Nova climbed back into the game and sealed a tough road victory against a good team late. If you wanted to, you could make the argument that Villanova is not quite as good as last year's Final Four team. You could not make the same argument about Reynolds.
Oklahoma 62, Oklahoma St. 57: There were a few good reasons to tune in for Oklahoma-Oklahoma State. For one, it's a great rivalry, and great rivalries tend to be great whether the teams on offer follow suit. Second, those of you who, like me, were confused about Oklahoma's brutal first 15 games -- 9-6 with losses to VCU, San Diego, Houston, UTEP and Gonzaga even with a projected lottery pick in Willie Warren running the frontcourt -- got a chance to tune in and see just what's wrong with the Sooners. And I think I figured it out: They're enormously disorganized. That could go for the Cowboys, too; Oklahoma State got in its offense well last night but failed to make smart plays in several key situations down the stretch. But Oklahoma especially showed signs of discombobulation. Late in the game and in overtime, Warren would receive an inbounds pass and have plenty of time to get a good shot, and instead would chuck up a short-clock 3. Trying to close out the game in regulation, the Sooners completely failed to switch on a high screen and gave Oklahoma State a wide-open 3, which the Cowboys made. (After this play, as Warren turned and yelled in confusion at his teammates, I yelled: "Come on! Coach 'em up, Jeff!" I have nothing invested in the Sooners. I didn't care if they won. That was just how I felt. Lord knows what it must be like to be a hoops fan in Norman this winter.)
Oklahoma built its lead after the Big 12's leading scorer, James Anderson, was knocked out of the game in the second half. After watching Oklahoma for 40-plus minutes, neither this, nor its season to date, seems all that surprising.