Pregame Shootaround 1.15.13: Indiana has lost 10 straight to Wisconsin?

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Game of the Day: Wisconsin at No. 2 Indiana (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Want to hear one of the stranger stats in college hoops? Wisconsin has beaten Indiana the last ten times they played. Seriously. The Badgers also come in having won their last six games — including a 23-point thrashing of Illinois over the weekend — and playing their best basketball of the season as they seem to have finally figured out a way to thrive without Josh Gasser in the fold. But Indiana also played their best basketball of season in the first half against Minnesota on Saturday, which can only mean one thing: this should be a great game.

Who’s Getting Upset?: No. 20 Notre Dame at St. John’s (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Notre Dame is coming off of a loss at home against UConn while St. John’s knocked off Cincinnati at Fifth Third Arena two weeks ago. The Johnnies have pretty good perimeter attack and a shotblocker in the paint that should help keep Jack Cooley in check. The Johnnies have plenty of athleticism, the question is whether or not they are going to be disciplined enough defensively and can execute well enough offensively.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Northern Iowa at No. 12 Creighton (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Two months ago, we would have thought that this was going to be one of the best games of the Missouri Valley regular season. While Creighton has been as good as advertised, Northern Iowa hasn’t held up their end of the bargain. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Panthers can’t knock off the Bluejays, which is why this falls under out Mid-Major Matchup of the Day. UNI has a really good trio of guards and a couple of talented big men.

Also worth noting: Doug McDermott originally signed his LOI with Northern Iowa before his dad took the coaching gig at Creighton.

Five Things to Watch For

1) The night kicks off with one of the more intriguing games in the SEC this season. Kentucky hosts Tennessee, with both teams desperately needing to pick up a win for their at-large profiles. Big Blue Nation might revolt with another loss in Rupp.

2) George Mason was one of the favorites in the CAA heading into the season, but they’ve started out league play just 2-2. Tonight, they host James Madison, who is a game out of first place.

3) Ole Miss puts their undefeated SEC record on the line in Nashville tonight as they take on a Commodore team that managed all of 33 points against Arkansas on Saturday.

4) Stony Brook is probably the best team in the America East this year, but Boston U. has a talented enough back court to challenge the Terriers.

5) Cincinnati had climbed into the top ten a couple of weeks ago, but they needed a win over Rutgers to snap a stretch where they lost three out of four games and fell out of the top 25. The Bearcats shouldn’t have trouble at DePaul tonight.

The Top 25

  • Wisconsin at No. 2 Indiana, (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Northern Iowa at No. 12 Creighton, (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
  • No. 20 Notre Dame at St. John’s, (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Other Notable Games

  • Tennessee at Kentucky, (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Cincinnati at DePaul, (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
  • Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, (9:00 p.m. ET ESPN2)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

No. 5 Villanova beats Tennessee 85-76 in Battle 4 Atlantis

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats drives against Elijah Long #55 of the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers in the first half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Jalen Brunson scored 25 points to help fifth-ranked Villanova rally from 15 down and beat Tennessee 85-76 in Thursday’s semifinals at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

The Wildcats (5-0) trailed 44-29 with 1:39 left before roaring out of a break with a dominating run. Villanova scored the first 11 points as part of that 23-2 burst, with the Wildcats playing far more aggressively and getting out in transition.

Mikal Bridges added 21 points for Villanova, which shot 52 percent after halftime and built a 15-point lead with 4:40 left before having to hold off a late rally by the Volunteers.

Grant Williams scored 20 points for Tennessee (3-1), which clawed to within 79-76 on Admiral Schofield’s 3-pointer with 51.6 seconds left. But that was as close as the Volunteers got, with Villanova hitting four free throws and getting a breakaway dunk from Donte DiVincenzo with 13.2 seconds left to seal it.

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee: The Volunteers were coming off an overtime win against No. 18 Purdue in the first round and they were poised to add an even bigger upset. But that flat second-half start wiped out a strong half’s worth of work and squandered the momentum that came through their board work and converting turnovers.

Villanova: That’s two straight days the Wildcats put together a second-half spurt to take control in the Bahamas. They did it in Round 1 against Western Kentucky to finally break the game open, but this one — full of active hands, deflected passes and guys diving on the floor — brought them back in a game that was once getting away from them.

UP NEXT

Tennessee: The Volunteers will play the North Carolina State-Northern Iowa loser in Friday’s third-place game.

Villanova: The Wildcats will play the N.C. State-Northern Iowa winner in Friday’s championship game.

VIDEO: Mike Brey celebrates Maui win shirtless

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Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey celebrated his team’s win in the Maui Invitational by going shirtless in the team locker room:

This came after Brey spent the entire tournament coaching in shorts and a t-shirt:

Mike Brey (Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

I think it’s safe to say Brey enjoyed himself on the islands.

No. 13 Notre Dame lands come-from-behind win to beat No. 6 Wichita State in Maui

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Notre Dame led twice during Wednesday night’s Maui Invitational title game.

At 4-2, and, after Martinas Geben hit the second of two free throws with 2.3 seconds left, at 67-66.

That score would end up being the final, as the 13th-ranked Irish erased a 14-point second half deficit to knock off No. 6 Wichita State and bring home that Maui trophy.

Bonzie Colson led the way with 25 points and 11 boards while Matt Farrell chipped in with 15 points, four assists, four boards and three steals. Geben chipped in with 12 points, including those two free throws that served as the eventual game-winners.

Beyond the simple fact that they did it against one of the best teams in the country, what makes this comeback so impressive is that the Irish didn’t rely on a flurry of threes to change the course of the game. This comeback came through grit, toughness defensively and, if we’re being honest, a little bit of luck.

With less than 20 seconds left on the clock and the Irish down by three points, Colson airballed a pretty good look at a three from the top of the key. On the ensuing inbounds, Farrell stole the ball and happened to find Colson under the rim for a layup. The lead was cut to one, and Wichita State proceeded to miss the front end of a one-and-one after being fouled.

The ball once again ended up underneath Notre Dame’s basket, but this time it was the Irish ball, and after a gorgeous inbounds play, Geben headed to the line for two shots. The first shots somehow managed to go down after bouncing off the back of the rim, the backboard and the front of the rim twice.

And with that, Notre Dame would get off of the islands with another quality win for their résumé and a title to their name.

No. 8 Kentucky finally has it easy against Fort Wayne, 86-67

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Nick Richards had career highs of 25 points and 15 rebounds, and 70 percent first-half shooting propelled No. 8 Kentucky to an 86-67 rout of Fort Wayne on Wednesday night.

Kentucky’s 19-of-27 shooting before halftime countered the Mastodons’ eight 3-pointers that kept them close for a while. Once Fort Wayne started missing, it couldn’t match the length or speed of the young Wildcats (5-1), who eventually led 78-48 with 6:50 remaining on the way to their most decisive win this season.

Richards thrived in both halves and on both ends, making 9 of 10 from the field and all seven free throws for his first career double-double. The 6-foot-11 freshman’s previous highs were 10 points against Utah Valley and nine rebounds against Kansas last week.

Quade Green, Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander each added 11 points as Kentucky shot a season-best 33 of 55 (60 percent) and dominated the rebounding 44-21.

Junior guard John Konchar had 19 points and Bryson Scott 18 for Fort Wayne (3-2), who had won three in a row before losing on 40 percent shooting.

BIG PICTURE

Fort Wayne: A year after upsetting Indiana, the Mastodons led Kentucky 37-36 with 3:51 left in the first half behind 8-of-22 shooting from long range. They went cold from outside and elsewhere after that and the Wildcats pounced to lead at the break and stretch the advantage to 30 points in the second half. The Mastodons’ 12 3-pointers were their third-highest total this season.

Kentucky: Something had to give after all those tense performances and the Wildcats thrived because of their size and best shooting effort this season. Richards couldn’t be stopped on either end, and teammates seemed in sync for the first time. Sophomore forward Wenyen Gabriel came up just short of a double-double with 10 rebounds and nine points.

UP NEXT

Kentucky hosts Illinois-Chicago on Sunday to wrap up the Rupp Classic before getting a few days off.

Fort Wayne visits East Tennessee State on Saturday. ETSU lost 78-31 to Kentucky last Friday.

VIDEO: Providence beats Belmont on Kyron Cartwright’s buzzer-beating three

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We got the first wild buzzer-beater of the college basketball season on Wednesday night, as Kyron Cartwright answered a Belmont bucket with 3.7 seconds left by going 94-feet to hit a leaning three at the buzzer:

Providence won the game 65-63.

Cartwright finished with 17 points in the win.