Michigan v Ohio State

College Hoops Team of the Week: Ohio State Buckeyes

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Team of the Week: Ohio State

The Buckeyes certainly weren’t concerned with the number of people questioning whether or not they deserved to be mentioned as a contender in the Big Ten, and they did just about all that they could to prove to the country that they deserve to be mentioned alongside Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota. After going into Mackey Arena and beating a Purdue fairly soundly during the week, Ohio State put on one of the more impressive defensive performances that we’ve seen this season as they handed Michigan their first loss of the season on Sunday.

There were a lot of teams that did some impressive things this week, but I don’t think any of it was as valuable as what the Buckeyes were able to do. The Big Ten is absolutely loaded at the top of the league, and I think most have accepted the fact that Indiana and Michigan are the two most likely teams to win the conference. But the same way that Minnesota stated their case for relevancy by blowing out Illinois and storming back against the Hoosiers on the road, Ohio State did the same with their wins.

Five Teams Deserving a Shoutout

  • Oregon: Oregon is in the same boat as Ohio State. After beating then-undefeated Arizona at home on Thursday night, the Ducks knocked off Arizona State late on Sunday night. Oregon is now 3-0 in the Pac-12 and just a half-game behind UCLA, who they play on Saturday night in Pauley Pavilion. That one should be fun.
  • Miami: Playing without starting center Reggie Johnson, the Hurricanes went into the Dean Dome and knocked off North Carolina, following that up with a win at home over Maryland. They are now tied with NC State for first place in the ACC. And they’ve spent about a month of the season playing at 100%. This team is for real.
  • Butler: I’m not sure that the Bulldogs could have imagined kicking off their tenure in the Atlantic 10 in a better way. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs went into Philly and knocked off St. Joe’s 72-66 on the strength of 28 points from Rotnei Clarke. They followed that up on Saturday with a win at Dayton in which Clarke suffered a scary neck injury and had to be taken off the court on a stretcher. That’s impressive.
  • Boise State: Playing without four players — including leading scorer Derrick Marks, Boise State went to Wyoming and handed the Cowboys their first loss of the season in utterly thrilling fashion. After blowing a seven-point lead in the final two minutes, Jeff Elorriaga buried a three at the buzzer for the win. The Mountain West is going to be awesome this year.
  • NC State: It doesn’t matter that Ryan Kelly was sitting out and Seth Curry spent the end of the game dealing with yet another injury. NC State still beat Duke in a game that they absolutely needed to: a) help bolster their tournament profile, and b) put them in the driver’s seat for an ACC regular season title. CJ Leslie had 25 points in the win while Richard Howell went for 16 points and 18 boards.

The Best of the Rest: Evansville, Indiana, Long Beach State, Northeastern, Ole Miss, Stephen F. Austin, UCLA, Wisconsin.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.

Gill’s 16, ‘D’ lead No. 7 Virginia past Virginia Tech, 67-49

Lehigh Virginia Basketball
AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Anthony Gill scored 16 points and No. 7 Virginia turned the tables on state rival Virginia Tech with a 67-49 victory Tuesday night, the Cavaliers’ seventh straight.

Isaiah Wilkins added a career-best 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 12 for the Cavaliers (20-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia avenged a 70-68 loss to the Hokies in Blacksburg on Jan. 4 in what rates as their worst performance of the season, and extended their winning streak at John Paul Jones Arena to 17 games.

Freshman Justin Robinson scored 16 points and classmate Chris Clarke had 11 in his first action for the Hokies (13-12, 5-7) since breaking his right foot in late December. Virginia Tech’s top two scorers, Zach LeDay (16.0 ppg) and Seth Allen (14.5), were limited to seven and six points, respectively, in part because of foul trouble.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said his team wasn’t ready to play when it lost to the Hokies earlier, but they have been surging of late and were focused from the outset. They were credited with assists and 14 of their first 15 baskets and forced 10 turnovers in the first half; they forced just eight in the last meeting of the teams.

For most of the game, the Hokies had more turnovers than field goals.

The Cavaliers led 32-20 at halftime and extended their advantage to 47-29 on a three-point play by Mike Tobey with 12:11 remaining. It capped an 11-4 run for Virginia, during which LeDay was whistled for his fourth foul. On Virginia’s next trip down court, it got the ball to Gill inside and LeDay basically backed off and let him score, quickly earning a spot on the bench.

The Cavaliers’ lead never dipped into single digits again.

The Hokies had just eight turnovers and outscored Virginia 26-6 off turnovers in their first meeting. This time, Virginia Tech had 10 turnovers by halftime and the Cavaliers had already turned them into 15 points. Virginia Tech finished with 16 field goals and 15 turnovers.

Already leading 9-6, Virginia got scoring from eight players in a 23-8 run that spanned about 8 1/2 minutes.

Gill started it with a dunk, Brogdon hit a 3-pointer, London Perrantes had a four-point play and Wilkins finished it with two free throws, giving the Cavaliers a 32-14 lead with 2:06 left in the half. They didn’t score again, and the Hokies closed within 32-20 by halftime.

TIP-INS

Virginia Tech: The Hokies shot 57.1 percent (15 of 26) from the field in the second half of their 70-68 victory against Virginia on Jan. 4. … Virginia Tech’s starting five totaled four points in the first half.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have held four consecutive opponents to 50 points or fewer.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech plays at No. 12 Miami next Wednesday.

Virginia plays at Duke on Saturday.

Follow Hank on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr

The AP’s college basketball page: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org