John Calipari, Ryan Harrow

Ryan Harrow, as good as any point guard in the country?

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Kentucky beat Marshall on Saturday afternoon by 28 points, which is an impressive win if you look at it in a vacuum.

Marshall was supposed to be the team that would give Memphis their toughest test in Conference USA.

The problem with that?

The Thundering Herd were playing without their star, Deandre Kane. So from a macro perspective, there isn’t much that you can take out of Kentucky’s win over Marshall beyond the fact that the Wildcats played well and Marshall didn’t.

But for Kentucky fans, there was reason for hope: Ryan Harrow, the point guard pegged as the savior of the Wildcat season, played great. He finished with 23 points and four assists and, according to John Calipari, proved that he’s as good as any point guard in the country:

“When he’s playing the right way with aggressiveness, talking to his teammates, that look in his eye, he’s as good as anybody in the country right now. I’m looking around at point guards, he’s fine. That other guy – you ready – the cool guy, he’s not very good. The guy that runs in and gets bumped and falls on the floor, throws the ball, that guy is not very good. That other guy we saw? Spurts today, just play that way. Every minute you’re on the court, play that way.”

Well, I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with that statement.

Ryan Harrow is not as good as any point guard in the country. This season, the point guard spot is as deep as it has been in years. Trey Burke. Phil Pressey. Michael Carter-Williams. Isaiah Canaan. CJ McCollum. Nate Wolters. I could keep going. For a while.

But the point that Calipari was trying to make was actually correct:

“He has a good feel for the game. He can run our team. I mean, there are point guards that are tougher than him, but if he would be tougher, then he’s just as good as them. … He’s made strides these last two weeks. Like I said, the difference in our team, he’s playing well and he’s able to put our players in a better position for themselves.” (Emphasis mine.)

The point is that when Harrow is playing well, he’s as important and effective as any point guard in the country. Kentucky as the talent. What they need is a) a player to set the table for that talent, getting them the ball where they are dangerous; and b) a guy that will be able to settle things down and get them into an offense set when things get hectic. Harrow can be that guy, and he just so happens to have enough talent to earn a spot on an all-SEC at some point down the road.

If you cut through the coachspeak and the spin, there actually is some value in what Calipari says.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: