Late Night Snacks: Cal Poly upsets No. 11 UCLA, champions crowned in Anaheim and Orlando

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Games of the Day

1. Cal Poly 70, No. 11 UCLA 68
A day that began with news of Tyler Lamb deciding to transfer ended with a comeback that boggles the mind. With 12:21 remaining the Bruins led 51-33, and many (myself included) determined that to be the end for the Mustangs given their half-court style. But Joe Callero’s team didn’t quit and the Bruins took possessions off, and the end result is a stunning upset. Jordan Adams tied the game at 68 but for some reason Norman Powell gave the foul thinking UCLA was still behind. Kyle Odister’s free throws clinched a huge win for the Cal Poly program.

2. Illinois 63, Gardner-Webb 62
A post-Maui title hangover nearly did in the Fighting Illini, who won thanks to a Tyler Griffey three-pointer in the final seconds. Four Illinois players finished with 13 points, and Gardner-Webb’s Donta Harper led all players with 16 points. With the victory it’s probably safe to assume that John Groce’s club will make its debut in the national polls on Monday.

3. No. 25 San Diego State 66, USC 60
San Diego State jumped out to a 29-8 lead and looked as if they were going to run the Trojans out of their own arena. But the absence of Chase Tapley caught up with the Aztecs in the form of sloppy play and Kevin O’Neil’s team refused to quit, opening the second half on an 18-4 run to take a 41-39 lead. SDSU ultimately won the chippy affair thanks to Jamaal Franklin’s big shots late and 17 points from James Rahon.

Important Outcomes

1. California 78, Pacific 58 
The Golden Bears didn’t know it at the time but their win over the Tigers in the title game of the DirecTV Classic saved the Pac-12 from going 0-2 against the Big West on Sunday. Justin Cobbs, who was named MVP of the tournament, tallied 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Allen Crabbe scored a game-high 24 points.

2. La Salle 77, Villanova 74 (OT)
The first Philadelphia Big 5 game of the season was won by the Explorers, who were led by guards Ramon Galloway (26 points) and Tyreek Duren (23). Mouphtaou Yarou (20 points) and JayVaughn Pinkston (19) led the Wildcats but freshman point guard Ryan Arcidiacono (1-of-7 FG) had a tough afternoon offensively. One more positive for Dr. John Giannini’s team: Steve Zack accounting for eight points and 14 rebounds.

3. Temple 80, Delaware 75
Jamelle Hagins and Devon Saddler combined to score 54 points for the Blue Hens but it was the Owls’ balance that carried the day. Four Temple players finished in double figures, with Scootie Randall and Khalif Wyatt scoring 18 apiece to lead the way. Delaware misses out on their third opportunity in less than a week to pick up a quality non-conference win.

Starred

1. G Xavier Munford (Rhode Island) 
Munford shot just 11-of-24 from the field but without him bombing away (eight three-pointers) the Rams don’t pick up their first win of the season. Munford went for 33 to lead the Rams to a 78-72 double overtime win at Auburn.

2. G Ed Townsel (Arkansas State) 
Townsel finished with 27 points (10-of-17 FG), seven steals and five rebounds in the Red Wolves’ 93-53 pasting of Lamar.

3. F Jamelle Hagins (Delaware)
29 points (11-of-17 FG) and 12 rebounds in the Blue Hens’ 80-75 loss at Temple.

Struggled

1. UTEP
Like some I believed than a favorable Conference USA slate and some solid returning players could make the Miners a factor in that mélange of teams picked to finish behind Memphis. But after their 73-49 loss to Vanderbilt in the 7th place game to go 0-3 at the Old Spice Classic? Not so much.

2. G Jamaal Franklin (San Diego State)
Franklin made some big plays late, make no mistake about it. But he also finished the night 4-of-15 from the field and turned the ball over five times. With Chase Tapley out of the lineup the reigning Mountain West Player of the Year has to be more efficient.

3. F Ryan Anderson and F Dennis Clifford (Boston College)
Anderson (4-of-14) and Clifford (1-of-4) both struggled for the Eagles, who lost 56-54 to Bryant. BC won each of the prior four meetings by at least 16 points.

Three Facts

1. McCollum makes history
Congratulations are in order for Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum, who became the Patriot League’s all-time leading scorer in the Mountain Hawks’ 91-77 win at Sacred Heart.

2. Louisville loses Dieng 
Louisville released the news that fans did not want to hear on Sunday, announcing that center Gorgui Dieng broke the scaphoid bone in his left wrist. There’s no timetable just yet on how long the Cardinals will be without their starting pivot.

3. Zeigler runs afoul of the law
Pittsburgh junior guard Trey Zeigler has been a bit quiet on the floor in his first six games with the program after spending two years at Central Michigan. And Zeigler got into some trouble off of it, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Sunday night that he’s been charged with driving under the influence.

Other notable scores

1. No. 1 Indiana 101, Ball State 53
Things got out of hand in Bloomington, as the Hoosiers rolled in their final tune-up before hosting North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday night.

2. No. 15 Michigan State 63, Louisiana-Lafayette 60
The Spartans are without injured freshman Gary Harris, and it certainly looked like they missed him in holding off the Ragin’ Cajuns. Keith Appling led the way with 19 points and five assists, and Michigan State won despite turning the ball over 20 times.

3. No. 6 Syracuse 87, Colgate 51
James Southerland scored 18 points off the bench and Michael Carter-Williams dished out 13 assists with just one turnover for Syracuse. Jim Boeheim is now just six wins away from 900 for his career.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Player of the Year Power Rankings: Jalen Brunson is making up ground

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1. TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma: Trae Young is the runaway favorite for National Player of the Year. At this point, if he doesn’t win the award, something crazy will have to happen.

So I’ll be using this space simply to take a look at my favorite part of the way that the players on this list play. Here is a look at the way that Young was able to create space to his threes off against TCU. Like Steph Curry, Young is short, doesn’t get all that much elevation when he shoots and a relatively low release-point. But quick feet, a super-quick release, ridiculous range and an innate ability to stay on-balance lets him do things like this:

(Some of these shots are insanely difficult.)

2. JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova: Brunson has added a new wrinkle to his game this season, as he is now being allowed to post up with more impunity. This creates a nightmare scenario for opponents. He is simply too good and too big for just about any point guard to stop on the block, but you cannot send an extra defender because double-teaming one of the best point guards in the country is just not doable, not when he is surrounded by four knock-down shooters.

Here’s a breakdown of why this makes Villanova that much more dangerous.

3. MARVIN BAGLEY III, Duke: The debate over whether or not Bagley is better than Ayton is going to rage all season long. Personally, I think that Ayton is a better prospect that Bagley largely because I think he has an easier fit defensively at the next level. Right now, however, Ayton is probably a marginally better defender while Bagley is a better offensive weapon.

But Bagley is clearly the leader in terms of the Player of the Year race for the simple fact that he has won games on his own by simply being absolutely dominant in the paint.

4. DEANDRE AYTON, Arizona: See above.

5. KEENAN EVANS, Texas Tech: For my money, four of the spots for first-team all-american are more or less locked in: Young, Brunson, Bagley and Ayton. There is a lot of season left to play, but right now those four have a solid lead on the field.

My favorite subplot of the race for the Big 12 title is that each of the four teams at the top of the conference are led by point guards that have a real shot at being first-team all-americans. Young, obviously, is going to be there. But the fifth-spot is race between Evans, Devonte’ Graham and Jevon Carter. A week ago I thought Carter was the pick. After seeing what Evans did down the stretch in a win over the Mountaineers over the weekend, I’m now leaning his way. But Graham, who has been terrific all season long, was good down the stretch in a win at West Virginia.

6. DEVONTE’ GRAHAM, Kansas
7. JEVON CARTER, West Virginia
8. TRA HOLDER, Arizona State
9. KEITA BATES-DIOP, Ohio State
10. TREVON BLUIETT, Xavier

ALSO CONSIDERED: MIKAL BRIDGES, Villanova; JOCK LANDALE, Saint Mary’s; DAKOTA MATHIAS, Purdue; YANTE MATEN, Georgia; LUKE MAYE, North Carolina; SHAKE MILTON, SMU; JORDAN MURPHY, Minnesota;  DESI RODRIGUEZ, Seton Hall; LANDRY SHAMET, Wichita State; KHYRI THOMAS, Creighton; ALLONZO TRIER, Arizona

VIDEO: Providence coach Ed Cooley always needs a mic

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On Friday night at DePaul, Providence head coach Ed Cooley allowed himself to be mic’d up for a TV broadcast, and things got interesting.

Around the 36 second mark, Cooley starts talking about … vampires and bats and dracula?

Then robbing banks and saying thank you?

I don’t know. Just watch.

VIDEO: Kansas celebrates in locker room after West Virginia win

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After coming from 16 points down to knock off No. 6 West Virginia in Morgantown on Monday night, Kansas had themselves some fun in the visitor’s locker room.

I’m not exactly sure what is happening here, but I do know Devonte’ Graham is having a hell of a time.

COLUMN: Kansas is back on top in the Big 12

My only question … where is Billy Preston’s shirt? He didn’t even play:

No. 10 Kansas overcomes deficits and its own issues to win at No. 6 West Virginia

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It’s hard to look at Kansas – the roster, the stats, the resume and all that comes with it – and not conclude this is the most vulnerable squad the Jayhawks have fielded since its current domination of the Big 12 began in 2005. The flaws are apparent, and they’re serious. They could easily be enough to sink the Jayhawks in an unforgiving conference.

It also could just be business as usual for Bill Self’s program

Tenth-ranked Kansas sputtered and struggled Monday night, but, ultimately, it didn’t matter as the Jayhawks stole a game at a rowdy WVU Coliseum, topping sixth-ranked West Virginia, 71-66, to keep its spot atop the Big 12 despite whatever issues bothered them against the Mountaineers and may persist well into the winter.

One of the major differences of this Kansas team from the 13 that preceded it is the Jayhawks can’t overwhelm with talent and athleticism. There’s no Andrew Wiggins, Josh Jackson, Thomas Robinson or any other surefire lottery pick to just go get buckets. There isn’t a host of high-level athletes that can help Kansas just run inferior teams off the floor. When you have two things, your margin of error gets padded. Mistakes aren’t magnified. They’re minimized. That’s not a luxury Kansas now enjoys.

Then there’s the issue of the roster. Even with Silvio De Sousa being declared eligible, Kansas is still incredibly thin and inexperienced up front. Udoka Azubuike is a load, but he’s the only big man that even inspires a bit of fear from opponents. If Billy Preston ever gets on the floor, maybe this becomes less of an issue for the Jayhawks, but it’s difficult to believe a true freshman making a whole host of difference this late in the season.

So for Kansas to win its 14th-straight Big 12 regular season championship, the Jayhawks are going to have to have to play a specific way. There’s not much wiggle room. They’ve got to defend. They’ve got to shoot 3s. They’ve got to be tough. They’ve got to be resilient.

That’s exactly what the Jayhawks were against Bob Huggins’ team Monday. If you can out-tough, out-hustle and out-work a Huggins team on their home floor, you’re on to something.

West Virginia led by as many as 16 in the first half. The Mountaineers had Kansas shook. Well Sagaba Konate did, at least. Eulogies were already being written for Kansas, especially as West Virginia’s lead stayed in double digits past the midway point of the second half.

West Virginia is designed to wear down opponents. The Mountaineers try to create a crucible, especially in Morgantown, that will force opponents to wilt. That’s supposed to be its most potent late in games.

That’s when Kansas thrived.

The Jayhawks outscored West Virginia 26-11 over the final 8 minutes. The Mountaineers were 5 of 14 (35.7 percent) from the floor with four turnovers during that stretch. Kansas, conversely, make 7 of 10 shots overall and 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

It wasn’t exactly rope-a-dope, but Kansas saved its best for last. They made winning plays. That’s really what’s going to have to separate them from the pack this season. As good as Devonte Graham is, as effective as Svi Mykhailiuk can be and as good as Self is, the Jayhawks are going to have to grind more than they’re accustomed to. 

The Big 12 is unmerciful this season. Texas Tech already has a win at Allen Fieldhouse, Trae Young has gone full supernova and even the league’s bottom tier looks like tough outs. Kansas faces a major test, and they’ll do so without a roster that compares to some of the powerhouses Self has assembled. The Jayhawks have often been able to win just by delivering broad strokes. They were bigger, faster, stronger and, simply, better. When they coupled that with a mastery of the finer points of the game, they dominated.

If The Streak is going to reach 14, it won’t be with that blueprint. The grittier parts of the game are going to have to come to the forefront. Outlasting West Virginia in Morgantown while shooting 44 percent and facing double-digit deficits would suggest the Jayhawks have the toughness and ability to make clutch plays that can paper over other issues.

Kansas isn’t going to overwhelm the Big 12 this year. They still very well could win it.

Monday’s Three Things to Know: Duke wins, Kansas wins and … BC wins?

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1. SO MAYBE KANSAS IS GOING TO WIN THE BIG 12 AFTER ALL

It happens EVERY YEAR.

Kansas goes on some prolonged slump, plays like a hot garbage for a few weeks and gets all of us thinking that yes, this year is different than all of the other years, that this is the year the Jayhawks won’t actually win the Big 12 regular season title.

I am a member of that club, and I feel pretty stupid after Monday night.

Kansas went into Morgantown and knocked off No. 6 West Virginia, 71-66, despite trailing for the majority of the game and spending the first 12 minutes of the second half staring up at a double-digit deficit. Simply put: the Jayhawks had no business winning on Monday night, and yet they did anyway, moving themselves into sole possession of first place in the Big 12 and making up for the fact that they lost at home to Texas Tech earlier this season.

Our Travis Hines penned a column on this game, so I’ll let him elaborate more, but one thing I will note here is that Silvio De Sousa played well in some important minutes at the end of the first half. Turning him into a player that can be a competent energy for 10-15 minutes off the bench will be massive.

2. BC’S ROLLING

The Jim Christian era at Boston College hasn’t exactly been sunshine and rainbows. The Eagles have never finished a season above .500 and failed to reach double-digit wins the last two years. That put Christian on the hot seat coming into the season and with little reason to believe the temperature would come down in the always-competitive ACC.

Things, though, have been pretty good – at least when judged against the last three years – in Chestnut Hill. With Monday’s 81-75 win over Florida State, Boston College is now 3-3 in the ACC, which exceeds its conference win total from the last two years…combined. Yes. BC won just two games against ACC opponents combined in 2016 and 2017, winning two games last year after going 0-18 the season prior.

It hasn’t really been a function of scheduling or luck, either. Other than getting stomped by North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Boston College has been competitive every night out, losing by a combined five points to Virginia and Clemson. Now, don’t go putting Boston College in the FIeld of 68 or anything like that just yet, but it’s easy to see that after three years in the woods, the Eagles may be closer to finding something akin to consistent competency.

3. DUKE IS STARTING TO PLAY SOME DEFENSE

The Blue Devils won at No. 25 Miami tonight. Rob Dauster has a column up on that game right now which gets into everything you need to know.

But there is this tidbit that is important to know: Duke allowed less than 1.00 points-per-possession on Monday night. It’s the third straight game that they have allowed less than 1.00 PPP, and that’s the first time that they have done that since 2014.

Granted, the best offense in those three games ranks outside the top 50 in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric (Wake Forest) and two of them (Miami, 107th, and Pitt, 236th) rank outside the top 100. but you have to start somewhere. Is this the beginning of another defensive renaissance?