Even if you pull for a rival SEC team, take some time to root for Jermareo Davidson this season. Early on Nov. 12, Davidson and his girlfriend, fellow Alabama student Brandy Nicole Murphy, were in a car accident in Atlanta. Murphy's Ford Explorer flipped, and she was killed, while Davidson survived the wreck. In a statement released the next day, Davidson said, "I want people to know that I love Nikki. She was my girlfriend. We talked about having a future together, but she wanted me to graduate first." After attending Murphy's funeral, Davidson, a 22-year-old senior, rejoined the Tide in the Paradise Jam, where he recorded a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds) in a title-game win over Xavier.
Next three: 11/25 vs. Texas Southern, 11/28 vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 12/2 vs. Tennessee State.
If the college basketball nation didn't already know who Dominic James was, hearing Dickie V scream it 122 times on Tuesday night should be a more than ample introduction. James lit up No. 9 Duke for 25 points and seven assists (with just one turnover), and then dropped a money quote to Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "My grandma's [Thanksgiving] food is going to taste so good," said James. "This is unbelievable, I swear. I'm just sitting back and taking it all in." James' line put Blue Devils point-man Greg Paulus to shame: In 32 minutes, Paulus had just seven points, two assists and six turnovers.
Next three: 11/27 at Valparaiso, 12/1 vs. Northwestern State, 12/5 vs. Delaware State.
The Aggies (a.k.a. the Tate Moderns) were one of the nation's top defensive teams last season, but coach Billy Gillispie insisted, a few weeks ago, that D shouldn't be his team's defining characteristic. "We've had to emphasize defense in the first two years because we were limited offensively," he said. "We weren't able to score from all five positions, and we had to do that to give ourselves a chance to win." It's early, but I'm not sure if A&M's rep is actually going to change: Through four games it's giving up just 0.68 points per possession -- the seventh-stingiest mark in kenpom.com's defensive efficiency standings.
Next three: 11/25 vs. Idaho State, 11/27 vs. Arkansas Little-Rock, 12/2 vs. Pacific.
Alando Tucker offered the Appleton Post-Crescent this critique of our SI Wisconsin cover, in which he's mostly obscured by 6-foot-11 teammate Brian Butch: "It looks like I'm actually 5-2 in that, so I'm going to have to talk to the guys who shot that photo." It's fine, Alando; SI knows you're kidding, and that you're really 6-6 and not Butch's "sidekick." (Judging from Tucker's DVD collection, which is loaded with 'toons, he would have preferred a cover of him driving the Mystery Machine. Which I guess could be cool. Next time, perhaps ...)
Next three: 11/24 at Missouri State, 11/28 vs. Florida State, 12/2 vs. Florida International.
Something big happened last Friday in the world of Buckeye hoops, and it didn't involve Greg Oden: OSU wore gray jerseys for the first time in 10 years in a 74-45 rout of Eastern Kentucky. Clearly not worried about any kind of curse -- the Buckeyes were 10-17 in their last gray season, 1996-97 -- coach Thad Matta told the Columbus Dispatch, "I just like them in scarlet and gray." He then offered an alternate explanation: "'I told coach [Jim] Tressel I was going to tell you guys that when they took the gray out of the sleeves of the football uniforms -- which has really hurt the team -- that we just got all the leftover material. He told me, 'If you say that, I'll kill you.'" After week Tressel just had, he could probably get away with it.
Next three: 11/24 vs. Youngstown State, 11/29 at North Carolina, 12/2 vs. Valpo.