Trey Burke

Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Michigan rolls, Notre Dame, Oklahoma earn big conference wins

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Game of the Day

Oklahoma 74, Baylor 71

Brady Heslip’s shot fell off the rim as Oklahoma held on to a 74-71 win. The Sooners were up by as many as 16, but the Bears chipped away at the lead, twice getting it to a single point. Oklahoma is now second in Big 12 standings with the win, aided by 20 points from both Amath M’Baye and Steven Pledger. Isaiah Austin had 21 points and 21 rebounds as the freshman continues to shine for Baylor

Xavier 66, Dayton 61

Matt Derenbecker’s last-game three rimmed out as Dayton’s came up short in a 66-61 loss to Xavier. The two rivals swapped leads four times in the final two minutes. The Musketeers held a 30-16 advantage on the glass. The Musketeers continue its streak of 28 straight wins over the Flyers in Cincinnati. Dayton has won in Cincy in 33 years.

Also of Note: New Mexico tops Wyoming by four 63-59 on the road.

Important Outcomes

Florida State 73, Maryland 71

Michael Snaer hit a game-winning shot to give the Seminoles a big conference win over Maryland. The win keeps Florida State above .500 in conference play at 4-3. The Seminoles are a game out of a share of second place in ACC standings. Maryland, has lost three of four, and is now on the wrong end of the bubble.

Notre Dame 65, Villanova 60

Villanova, after two home wins against top-5 teams, lost on the road to the Notre Dame, after the Irish had dropped two of three in South Bend. The Irish shot 9-of-21 from the three, thanks in large part to freshman Cameron Biedscheid’s five 3-pointers. The win gives Notre Dame in a tie for third place in the Big East. Villanova have lost four of six, albeit the two wins come against Louisville and Syracuse in a five-day span. The Wildcats have three winnable games before a road game against No. 24 Cincinnati.

Stanford 76, Oregon 54

Oregon suffered its first conference loss as Stanford rolled past the tenth-ranked Ducks late Wednesday night. Oregon is without freshman guard Dominic Artis, who is sidelined with a foot injury. Stanford uses the win to climb back to .500 in the Pac-12 play.

Also of Note: Indiana rolls past Purdue 97-60. All five starters score in double figures. Indiana hosts No. 1 Michigan on Saturday.

Starred

Player of the Year candidates

Mason Plumlee, Duke: 32 points, nine rebounds, two blocks in a 75-70 win against Wake Forest. Doug McDermott, Creighton: 29 points, 10 rebounds, four assists in a 91-77 win against Missouri State. Trey Burke, Michigan:  18 points, eight assists, zero turnovers in a 68-49 win against Northwestern for No. 1 Michigan.

Anthony Hickey, LSU

The nation’s leader in steals caused problems all night for Missouri’s offense. In the second half, he did his damage on the offensive end with 14 of his 20 points after halftime to go along with four assists and two steals. Oregon had only one scorer in double figures, Carlos Emory with 12. Stanford shot 52 percent from the field (57 from three) in a home win.

Florida

The Gators are rolling in SEC play, winning all seven games by a minimum of 17 points. Florida rolled past South Carolina 75-36. Saturday Florida hosts Marshall Henderson and Ole Miss, with Florida looking for its 10 consecutive win.

Also of Note: Jack Cooley (17 points, 16 rebounds)Isaiah Austin (21 points, 21 rebounds)

Struggled

Philadelphia schools

Villanova beat Louisville and Syracuse in back-to-back games — the first unranked team to be consecutive top-5 teams since 2001 — but lost on the road to Notre Dame. La Salle welcomed Butler and VCU to the A-10 by beating both of them in a five day span. The Explorers lost by one at home to UMass.

UCLA

The Bruins have lost two of three after winning 10 straight, including a overtime loss to USC on Wednesday. UCLA shot 38 percent from the field (2-of-19 from three).

Alex LenMaryland

Only four points, five rebounds for the Terrapins sophomore star. Len was limited to only 17 minutes in what could be a devastating loss to Maryland’s resume. Maryland is now 3-5 in the ACC following a loss to Michael Snaer and Florida State.

Nigel Hayes’ comment on basketball brands hits on greater point

Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes (10) drives on Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Madison, Wis. Hayes had a team-high 21 points in Wisconsin's 79-68 win. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
AP Photo/Andy Manis
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Much is made about the ball when it comes to how the sport of basketball is played and rightfully so, as the ball is the most important piece of equipment. Different brands have different characteristics, and with college basketball programs being able to pick the ball they use for home games there are adjustments to be made during the season.

Wisconsin will play at No. 2 Maryland Saturday, meaning that in the days leading up to the game the Badgers needed to get used to the Under Armour basketball. The brand became a conversation point in the aftermath of Maryland’s win over No. 4 Iowa last month, with the Hawkeyes (while not blaming the ball for their loss) made note of the differences between the Under Armour ball and the Nike ball they use for their home games.

Thursday Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes offered up his observations on the basketball while also pointing out (albeit sarcastically) the goal of intercollegiate athletics.

“It’s definitely different,” Hayes said. “Personally, we don’t like it too much. I don’t like the Under Armour ball whatsoever. But that’s the way this amateur sports league is set up. We’re supposed to be having fun, but all the money is in these basketballs that colleges play with. But it’s an amateur sport, we’re just here for fun. It’s not really that serious. So I guess any ball should be OK.

“Maybe we should have a universal ball like the NBA. You don’t go to the Clippers’ stadium and play with a Nike and then go to Golden State and play with a Rawlings. But in this amateur sport of college, where money isn’t the goal — it’s the student education and experience that you get — we play with a million different basketballs.”

Hayes makes a good point here, and in regards to the NBA all hell would break loose under similar circumstances (remember the leather vs. microfiber composite controversy in 2006?). If these games are solely about fun and the college experience, wouldn’t having one ball used by all schools better fit that mission? This isn’t the biggest of deals when it comes to “amateur” athletics, as different basketball brands have been used for years.

But Hayes was able to take this situation and work it into the discussion of the goals of intercollegiate athletics. Is it about the experience? Or does the ability to profit, be it through a minor move such as using a particular ball or the more impactful step of moving from one conference to another, take precedence? Given the shifts that have occurred in college sports in recent years, it’s quite apparent that the search for additional revenue streams has won out.

Hayes did note that neither he nor his teammates would make excuses, saying that the team would simple “have to get used to” the unfamiliar basketball according to the Wisconsin State Journal. In the end, this was a good use of sarcasm by Hayes to make a greater point about the collegiate athletics machine he and his teammates are but minor parts of.

Marquette fan sends Providence money for missed free throw

Providence's Kris Dunn reacts to his shot during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against Villanova, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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It goes without saying that sports can inspire some interesting promises, from players and coaches guaranteeing victory to fans making statements that hinge on the outcome of a particular game or play (see: tattoos celebrating a team’s triumphs before they’ve even won the game in question). For one Marquette fan, the need for Providence’s Kris Dunn to miss a free throw during Wednesday night’s game (which Marquette won in overtime) inspired him to make a promise that he intended to keep.

Jamey Schilling took the approach of yelling that he’d pay Dunn $10 if he missed the free throw. Sure enough Dunn missed the shot, and Schilling made good on his promise. But with players themselves unable to receive such funds due to NCAA rules, Schilling sent the check to the Providence athletic department.

Schilling’s gesture did not go unnoticed by Marquette either, as the school sent him a gift card to use in the Marquette Spirit Shop.

H/T For The Win