What a week for academy basketball.
Navy became college basketball’s darling on Tuesday, Army turned some heads on Friday, beat an NCAA Tournament team on Saturday, and Air Force picked up a big road win just minutes before the Black Knights. If every week could be like this past one for the next couple of months, we could be in for one damn good basketball season.
- Army 83, SUNY-New Paltz 52
- Navy 66, No. 25 Virginia 58
- South Dakota 59, Air Force 53
- No. 9 Duke 82, Army 56
- Virginia Tech 77, Navy 57
- Air Force 59, Tulsa 58
- Army 86, Hartford 79 (in Durham)
- Navy vs Louisville — 8 p.m. EST (ACC Network)
- Merrimack vs Army — 6 p.m. EST (ESPN+)
- Texas Southern vs Air Force — 9 p.m. EST (Mountain West Network)
- Holy Cross vs Air Force (Daytona Beach, FL) — 2:30 p.m. EST (FloSports)
- Army vs La Salle — 4 p.m. EST (ESPN+)
- Navy vs Radford (Greenville, S.C.) — 5 p.m. EST (ESPN+)
Air Force vs Bethune Cookman/Bryant — Noon/2:30 p.m. EST (FloSports)
Navy vs Furman — 3 p.m. EST (ESPN+)
It was a historic week for Navy basketball. On opening night, they went down to Charlottesville and upset the 2019 national champions, and 25th ranked Virginia Cavaliers, becoming the talk of the college basketball world.
On Tuesday, the defense and three-point shooting were really the keys for the Midshipmen as Virginia went on multiple long droughts without a score, only shooting 4-of-16 from deep. Navy, on the other hand, shot a super impressive 11-of-21 from three-point range.
John Carter Jr. had his coming out party to the college basketball world with 19 points.
On Friday, they would host another successful Veterans Classic. Although the Mids’ result was not exactly what they wanted, a 77-57 loss to Virginia Tech, they had the eyes of the college basketball world once again.
Navy really struggled from three on Friday, but if they have output like they did against Virginia on Tuesday, on Monday against Louisville, the Midshipmen might have another ACC win.
The Cardinals lost to one of Navy’s weekend opponents, Furman, on Friday. Navy, Furman, and Radford will play a two-game MTE in Greenville, South Carolina this weekend.
The week went about as expected for the Black Knights, but they turned some heads on Friday evening at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Outside of a late run by Duke to end the first half, Army kept it close with Duke throughout. In the second half, they got it down to single digits with 10:44 remaining, but it was all Blue Devils there on out.
Army really struggled offensively against Duke, shooting 39% from the field and going 5-of-22 from three. The only threes on the evening were from sophomore leader Jalen Rucker, who scored 19 points on the night.
Earlier last week, the Black Knights took care of business against Division III SUNY New Paltz. Although they struggled from three again, they shot better than 50% from the field.
In the final game of the Duke Veterans Day Weekend Showcase, Army faced off against a 2021 NCAA Tournament team in Hartford. It was a battle throughout, but the Black Knights picked up the big 86-79 victory over John Gallagher and the Hawks.
Jalen Rucker went crazy again, shooting 8-11 from three and scoring 29 points on the afternoon. Josh Caldwell followed him with 24 points on 10-20 shooting.
This week, the Black Knights will face a good Merrimack team and a La Salle team out of the A-10 that has struggled in recent history.
Man, the South Dakota game on Thursday was brutal, but at least the Falcons made up for it with a big victory at Tulsa on Saturday.
Air Force roared back down double digits in the final ten minutes on Saturday, led by a big 7-0 run to cut the Tulsa lead to four. The Falcons would trail for nearly the whole second half until Cameron Vander Zwaag hit a three with 23 seconds left for the victory. This was quite possibly Joe Scott’s biggest non-conference victory since he’s returned to Colorado Springs.
Not a single Falcon scored in double digits, but they shot effectively at 49%.
On Thursday, that was a different story. They trailed for the final 24:47 in a low-scoring, dragged-out game. They might have owned the boards by a margin of 10, but they shot a rough 36.2% from the field. Air Force can’t allow that to happen too much more.
This week, Air Force will host a perennial NCAA Tournament team in Texas Southern and play a two-game tournament in Daytona Beach Florida against fellow mid-majors, Bethune-Cookman, Bryant, and Holy Cross.
If we learned anything from week one, it is expect the unexpected.