Temple v Kansas

Late Night Snacks: No. 6 Kansas hangs on and Colorado fails to bounce back

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Games of the Day

1. No. 6 Kansas 69, Temple 62
The Owls turned the ball over just three times at Allen Fieldhouse but that wasn’t enough to take down the Jayhawks. The reason why: they shot 30.7% from the field, with Kansas big man Jeff Withey serving as a major deterrent in the paint. Khalif Wyatt led all scorers with 26 points while Kevin Young led three Jayhawks in double figures with 16 (and grabbed ten rebounds).

2. Wichita State 69, Bradley 63
Cleanthony Early scored 24 points and grabbed four rebounds to lead the Shockers to the win in Peoria. Dyricus Simms-Edwards and Walt Lemon Jr. scored 15 points apiece to lead the Braves but that wasn’t enough in a matchup of teams that entered Sunday 2-0 in Missouri Valley play. Now 14-1 on the season (3-0 MVC), Wichita State has done a lot more than simply tread water while dealing with their injury issues.

3. Tulsa 48, SMU 47
The only reason why this game is here is because a Pat Swilling Jr. three-pointer with 3.8 seconds remaining determined the outcome. Offensively the matchup of teacher (Larry Brown) and student (Danny Manning) was ugly, with the two teams combining to shoot 8-of-41 from deep. But the Mustangs didn’t find Swilling Jr. in the first half when they played zone (five three-pointers)  and they allowed him to shake free on a baseline out of bounds play for the game-winner. Swilling Jr. led all scorers with 18 points and Jalen Jones paced the Mustangs with 15.

Important Outcomes 

1. Arizona State 65, Colorado 56 
The question regarding Colorado was how they would bounce back from Thursday’s defeat at No. 3 Arizona and they looked good in the beginning as they jumped out to a 13-2 lead. But Herb Sendek’s Sun Devils refused to wild, methodically fighting their way back into the game and ultimately beating the Buffaloes to move to 2-0 in Pac-12 play. Jahii Carson made just one field goal on the night but his teammates picked up the slack, with Carrick Felix scoring a game-high 20 points and Jordan Bachynski tallying 16 points, seven rebounds and nine blocked shots. Now 0-2 in league play, Colorado faces a very important weekend at home with the LA schools (USC and UCLA) visiting Boulder.

2. Virginia 61, North Carolina 52
Well, Reggie Bullock returned for North Carolina and looked good as he scored 22 points. But the other Tar Heels didn’t fare so well, shooting a combined 12-of-42 from the field in the loss in Charlottesville. Joe Harris was the lone Cavalier in double figures with 19 points but the biggest news for UVA (besides the win of course) was the return of point guard Jontel Evans. Evans, who missed the last four games due to the re-aggravation of an injury to his right foot, played 21 minutes off the bench and finished with eight points and six assists.

3. Oregon 79, Oregon State 66
Freshman Damyean Dotson scored 15 of his career-high 21 points in the first half and senior guard Johnathan Loyd gave Oregon a boost off the bench in the second half to push the Ducks past their in-state rival in Corvallis. Ahmad Starks led Oregon State with 21 points but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Dana Altman’s group in the second half, as Oregon scored 51 points in the final 20 minutes.

Starred

1. G Kenny Boynton (Florida) 
Entering Sunday’s game the senior guard shot 7-of-39 from beyond the arc in Florida’s last six games. Against Yale Boynton got out of his slump in a big way, shooting 8-of-10 from deep and scoring a game-high 28 points.

2. G Trey Burke (Michigan) 
It’s time for Burke to get more National Player of the Year pub. The sophomore finished with 19 points (7-of-10 FG), 12 assists and just one turnover in No. 2 Michigan’s 95-67 win over Iowa.

3. C Jordan Bachynski (Arizona State) 
Jeff Withey wasn’t the only 7-footer to tally nine blocks on Sunday, as Bachynski did so while also accounting for 16 points and seven rebounds in Arizona State’s 65-56 win over Colorado. Bachynski has been one of the most improved players in the country for the 13-2 Sun Devils.

Struggled

1. Tulsa and SMU from beyond the arc
Obviously there are marksmanship issues when a game finishes 48-47. But the two teams combined to shoot 8-of-41 from three, with the Golden Hurricane accounting for all eight makes (SMU was 0-of-13). At least SMU shot 17-of-20 from the foul line.

2. G Michael Carter-Williams (Syracuse) 
Carter-Williams did not have one of his best days at the office in Syracuse’s 55-44 win over South Florida, shooting 1-of-13 from the field. Good news for the Orange is that Brandon Triche scored 20 and James Southerland added 17, and to his credit Carter-Williams tallied nine rebounds, five assists and four steals.

3. Grambling State
The Tigers dropped to 0-12 on the season with an 82-43 home loss to Southern. And with Mississippi Valley State picking up its first win of the season (79-68 over Alabama A&M) the Tigers are one of two teams still searching for their first victory. The other is Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Three Facts 

1. While Austin Hollins’ marksmanship from deep (hitting five straight three-pointers in the second half) stole the show in No. 9 Minnesota’s win over Northwestern there was also a milestone. Rodney Williams became the 38th player in school history to score 1,000 points, finishing the game with nine points (1,005 for his career).

2. Siena’s 11-game losing streak is the program’s longest since losing 15 in a row to end the 1995-96 season. Rider, in beating Siena 72-53, swept the season series for the first time (the Broncs joined the MAAC in 1997).

3. With their 95-67 win over Iowa, No. 2 Michigan moved to 15-0 on the season. That’s their best start since the 1985-86 team won its first 16 games on its way to a 28-5 record and a Big Ten regular season title.

Top 25 Scores

No. 2 Michigan 95, Iowa 67
No. 6 Kansas 69, Temple 62
No. 7 Syracuse 55, South Florida 44
No. 9 Minnesota 69, Northwestern 51
No. 13 Florida 79, Yale 58

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

Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham arrested over unpaid ticket

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Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham was arrested and booked into Douglas County Jail late on Wednesday night on a failure to appear for court charge, according to jail records.

The charge, according to the Lawrence Journal-World, was a result of an unpaid ticket for an expired tag that Graham had received. It dates back to June of last year.

The arrest was a damper on what should have been a great night for Graham. He had 17 points and seven assists in a home win over TCU that clinched the 13th straight Big 12 regular season title for the Jayhawks. It was also his 22nd birthday.

He was released on $196 bond Wednesday night. Bill Self said he will not be suspended for the arrest.

Bracketology: Syracuse banks in a little Madness

SYRACUSE, NY - FEBRUARY 22:  John Gillon #4 of the Syracuse Orange celebrates tying the game with little time left on the clock during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils on February 22, 2017 at The Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse upsets Duke 78-75.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
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The bank was open Wednesday night in Syracuse. John Gillon’s three-pointer at the buzzer lifted Syracuse over Duke at the Carrier Dome and back (again) into the bracket.

It’s been a wild month for the Orange who now need to close the deal.  It was also a big night for Providence, who used a Kyron Cartwright trey to knock off Creighton in Omaha.  And then Dillon Brooks nailed a long-distance dagger to beat California, leaving the Bears teetering for bracket survival as February comes to a close.  Are we ready for March?

No changes on the No. 1 seed line. By a whisker, Villanova holds onto the overall No. 1 seed after its second loss to Butler, a team whose profile is far better than its AP ranking. Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga round out the group.  UNC moves up to No. 3 after dispatching Louisville.

If last night was any indication, it’s going to be fun ride toward Selection Sunday.

UPDATED: February 23, 2017

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Regarding bracketing principles, can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com. For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected. The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Seton Hall vs. Kansas State | East Region
  • Providence vs. California Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC-CENTRAL | East Region
  • UC-IRVINE vs. NEW ORLEANS | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York MIDWEST Kansas City              
Buffalo Tulsa
1) VILLANOVA 1) KANSAS
16) NC-CENTRAL / M.S. MARY’S 16) NEW ORLEANS / UC-IRVINE
8) South Carolina 8) Northwestern
9) VCU 9) Xavier
Milwaukee Milwaukee
5) Virginia 5) Notre Dame
12) UNC-WILMINGTON 12) ILLINOIS STATE
4) PURDUE 4) Butler
13) PRINCETON 13) VALPARAISO
Indianapolis Orlando
6) Saint Mary’s 6) SMU
11) Seton Hall / Kansas State 11) Providence / California
3) Kentucky 3) Florida State
14) AKRON 14) BELMONT
Indianapolis Salt Lake City
7) Maryland 7) Iowa State
10) Marquette 10) Wichita State
2) Louisville 2) ARIZONA
15) BUCKNELL 15) NO. DAKOTA ST
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Salt Lake City Greenville
1) GONZAGA 1) NORTH CAROLINA
16) NORTH DAKOTA 16) TX-SOUTHERN
8) Miami-FL 8) Dayton
9) Michigan 9) Arkansas
Buffalo Sacramento
5) CINCINNATI 5) Wisconsin
12) MONMOUTH 12) UT-ARLINGTON
4) West Virginia 4) UCLA
13) VERMONT 13) NEVADA
Greenville Orlando
6) Creighton 6) Minnesota
11) MID TENNESSEE ST 11) Syracuse
3) Duke 3) FLORIDA
14) FLA GULF COAST 14) E. TENNESSEE ST
Sacramento Tulsa
7) Oklahoma State 7) Virginia Tech
10) Michigan State 10) USC
2) Oregon 2) Baylor
15) CSU-BAKERSFIELD 15) UNC-ASHEVILLE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga.

Last Four Byes (at large): Michigan State, Wichita State, Marquette, Syracuse

Last Four IN (at large): Seton Hall, California, Providence, Kansas State

First Four OUT (at large): Wake Forest, TCU, Georgia Tech, Rhode Island

Next four teams OUT (at large): Vanderbilt, Clemson, Alabama, Houston

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Florida State, Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL, Syracuse

Big 10 (7): PURDUE, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maryland, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State

Big East (7): VILLANOVA, Butler, Creighton, Xavier, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence

Big 12 (6): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State

Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California

SEC (4): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), East Tennessee State (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

VIDEO: Bill Self tells hilarious Brandon Rush story

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 27: Bill Self head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks claps for his team as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Conference Championship after they defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 67-58 at Allen Fieldhouse on February 27, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. With the win, Kansas clinched its 12th straight conference championship. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Last night, as Kansas clinched their 13th consecutive Big 12 regular season title, the Jayhawk program retired for star Brandon Rush’s jersey. Rush was a member of the 2008 national title team and is still bouncing around the NBA despite a series of knee injuries.

He’s a helluva player.

He’s also a terrible liar, as evidenced by the story that Bill Self told about him in last night’s press conference:

I guess honesty really is the best policy.

No. 22 Butler ruins No. 2 Villanova’s seniors’ perfect Pavilion record

Butler center Nate Fowler and Villanova forward Eric Paschall, right, vie for a rebound in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Villanova, Pa. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson
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All Villanova players have known since they joined the program is winning at The Pavilion. Late into Wednesday’s game against No. 22 Butler, it looked like that would continue to be their only frame of reference for a group of seniors that were 45-0 in the building.

Then another ‘0’ turned that zero into a ‘1.’

The Bulldogs ripped off an 18-0 run in a 5-minute span to ultimately claim a 74-66 victory over second-ranked and defending national champion Villanova.

Villanova looked like it was going to cruise to another home win when Josh Hart’s 3-pointer with 10 minutes, 37 seconds remaining put the Wildcats up 49-42.

They wouldn’t score again until nearly the 4-minute mark.

During that span, Butler made 7 of 11 shots, with three being 3-pointers, while the Wildcats went 0 of 6 from the field and turned the ball over twice.

A seven-point lead for Villanova became an 11-point advantage for Butler. Villanova would try to rally, but couldn’t pull it off as it saw its home winning run stopped, its seniors’ perfect Pavilion record blemished and its seven-game winning streak come to a halt.

Beyond it probably being immensely annoying to the senior class, the loss probably doesn’t hurt Villanova too much as it looks to hold on to a No. 1 seed, preferably in the East region. The Wildcats’ resume is still as strong as nearly anyone in the country and they are, after all, the defending champs. They’ll be fine.

For Butler, it’s a signature win for a team that’s had a number of really good victories, but a few confounding losses, like St. John’s on the road and to Creighton (without Maurice Watson) and Georgetown at home. Beating Villanova – at the Pavilion, no less – could be worth a seed line.

Kelan Martin was fantastic for Butler, going for 23 points and eight boards, while Kamar Baldwin went for 15 points off the bench.

Jalen Brunson led the way for Villanova with 24 points while Josh Hart had 18 points and six rebounds. Kris Jenkins struggled, going 1 of 8 from the floor while scoring eight points.

The Wildcats get a chance to start a new streak at the Pavilion on Saturday with Creighton coming to town.

 

No. 8 North Carolina stakes their claim to the title of ‘nation’s best’ with beatdown of No. 7 Louisville

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 22:  Theo Pinson #1 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after a play against the Louisville Cardinals during their game at the Dean Smith Center on February 22, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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North Carolina may not have anyone on their roster that sends chills down the spine of opposing coaches, and they may not have anyone on their roster that is going to be targeted by NBA franchises as lottery pick, and they may not be dominating the headlines like undefeated Gonzaga, reigning champ Villanova, winner of 13 straight Big 12 titles Kansas or even Tobacco Road rival Duke.

They’re not a sexy pick, they’re not the favorite in Vegas and they may finally crack the No. 1 seed line in all bracket projections after beating No. 7 Louisville 74-63 on Wednesday night, but at this point, I’m not sure that the Tar Heels aren’t the best team in college basketball.

‘The Best Team In College Basketball’ is not an easy title to earn this season, not because there are too many candidates but more because everyone of those candidates have some kind of glaring flaw that makes you wonder have they’ve made it to late-February with a winning record. Think: UCLA’s defense. Or maybe: Kansas’ total lack of front court depth. How about: Kentucky can’t shoot. And then there’s: Duke doesn’t have a point guard, or: Gonzaga doesn’t play anyone.

We can play that game with every team in the country.

In fact, I did, just last week on a podcast.

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North Carolina didn’t escape our wrath. There are question marks about Joel Berry II’s consistency, as he had a nasty habit of laying an egg every once in a while. Is that defense going to hold up for six games in a single-elimination tournament? Do they have enough consistent three-point shooting? Can Isaiah Hicks and Theo Pinson stay healthy?

Here’s the thing: I think the answer to all those questions is ‘yes’.

Justin Jackson has developed into a bonafide all-american and quite possibly the ACC Player of the Year. He’s a versatile scorer that is shooting the grip off the ball and has proven the ability to be the guy to take and make big shots for the Tar Heels this season. That’s taken some of the pressure off of Berry, who can spend more time as a secondary offensive weapon, facilitator and a leader than having to worry about carrying the team offensively. Theo Pinson’s return has opened some things up offensively, while UNC’s four-headed front court monster — Kennedy Meeks, Hicks, Tony Bradley and Luke Maye — have shown that they can score in the post or off of a missed shot, where they lead the nation on offensive rebounding percentage.

And as far as the defense is concerned, they’re ranked 20th in adjusted defensive efficiency by KenPom.com. Yes, a lot of that has to do with the pistol-whipping that was Gameday on Saturday night against Virginia, but Louisville, who was the third-best offensive team in ACC play, managed just 63 points in 73 possessions on Wednesday.

My point?

That defense doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be good enough, and it probably is.

But here’s the most important number to know: Two.

That’s how big North Carolina’s lead in the ACC is as of today. Louisville, Duke, Florida State and Notre Dame have all lost five times this year. As long as the Tar Heels can go into Pittsburgh and get a win over the Panthers, they are going to clinch a share of the ACC regular season, and they can lock up the outright league title before the showdown with the Dukies on the season’s final night.

The margins are thin, yes, but after Wednesday, North Carolina has as much claim to the title of ‘Nation’s Best’ as anyone in college basketball.