Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Indiana falls and eight overtime games on Thursday


Game of the Night: Marist 105, Iona 104 (2OT)

On a night that featured eight games that went to overtime this thriller in New Rochelle took the cake. A Chavaughn Lewis 65-footer as time expired in the first overtime tied the game, with Marist winning by a point when Lewis blocked a Sean Armand shot attempt at the end of the second overtime. Adam Kemp led the way for Marist with 29 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots, and Lamont Jones scored 37 off the bench to pace the Gaels. Iona allowed an opportunity to close the gap at the top of the MAAC slip away, as first-place Niagara lost at Rider.

Important Outcomes 

1. Illinois 74, No. 1 Indiana 72 

This was a win the Fighting Illini, who entered Thursday with a 2-7 record in Big Ten play, needed for their NCAA tournament resume. A Tyler Griffey layup as time expired gave Illinois the win in a game they trailed by as many as 13 in the second half. Indiana still has yet to beat an NCAA tournament-worthy team on the road, and the lack of such a victory could get them in trouble when it comes to landing in the Midwest Region on Selection Sunday.

2. No. 4 Duke 98, N.C. State 85 

In the first of two games the Blue Devils will play against teams whose fans stormed the court after beating Duke, Mike Krzyzewski’s team put together its best half of offense this season. Duke scored 58 first-half points, then held on as Richard Howell (23 points, nine rebounds) attempted to come back in the second half. But Howell fouling out on a flagrant 1 with 8:54 remaining essentially shut the door on the Wolfpack. Mason Plumlee led the Blue Devils with 30 points and nine rebounds, and both Seth Curry (26 points) and Quinn Cook (21) surpassed the 20-point mark as well.

3. Colorado 48, No. 19 Oregon 47 

Illinois wasn’t the only team to pick up a needed resume-building victory. Colorado led just once all night in Eugene: on an Andre Roberson layup with 23 seconds remaining. But all that matters for the Buffaloes is that they were able to get the win, which drops Oregon to 1-3 without point guard Dominic Artis and leaves Arizona alone atop the Pac-12. Roberson (ten points, 13 rebounds) was the lone Colorado player to reach double figures, and E.J. Singler and Carlos Emory scored 14 apiece to lead Oregon.

Other Notable Outcomes 

1. Murray State 79, Belmont 74 

Belmont may still have the best record in the OVC but the Racers made sure that it was understood who the defending champions are. Isaiah Canaan led all scorers with 26 points and hit the three-pointer that gave Murray State the lead for good with 35 seconds to go. Ian Clark led Belmont with 22 points, but the Bruins’ comeback from 16 down in the second half fell short.

2. San Diego 74, BYU 68 

The Cougars had the most damaging loss of the night when it comes to the NCAA tournament, falling by six at San Diego. Tyler Haws (27 points) and Brandon Davies (20) combined to shoot 18-of-31 from the field, but their teammates shot 8-of-31. Johnny Dee scored 19 to lead the victorious Toreros.

3. Texas A&M 70, No. 21 Missouri 68

The Tigers dropped to 0-5 in true road games, losing in College Station on a Fabyon Harris three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining. Harris led the Aggies with 17 points while Missouri once again struggled with turnovers. The Tigers turned the ball over 16 times, which resulted in 22 points for Texas A&M.


1. G Nate Wolters (South Dakota State) 

Wolters went off on Thursday, scoring 53 points on 17-of-28 shooting to lead the Jackrabbits past Fort Wayne, 80-74. Wolters also grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists. On Saturday Wolters and the Jackrabbits take on an Oakland team led by Travis Bader, who scored 47 (the previous high in college basketball this season) in a win over IUPUI on January 24.

2. F Jamal Olasewere (LIU Brooklyn) 

Olasewere shot 12-of-13 from the field in the Blackbirds’ 81-75 win at Central Connecticut State, scoring 25 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

3. C Adam Kemp (Marist) 

29 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots in the Red Foxes’ 105-104 double overtime win at Iona.


1. Central Arkansas

The Bears had a rough night offensively, shooting 31.3% from the field and turning the ball over 20 times in their 72-36 loss at Stephen F. Austin.

2. F Milton Jennings and F Devin Booker (Clemson) 

These two controlled the first meeting between the Tigers and Virginia, combining for 36 points and 20 rebounds. To say the least that didn’t happen tonight as they combined for nine points and 12 rebounds in a 78-41 loss in Charlottesville.

3. Virginia Tech players not named Cadarian Raines or Erick Green

While Raines (14 points, five rebounds and five blocked shots) and Green (29 points) combined to score 43 points, their teammates accounted for just 12 points on 5-of-29 shooting in a 60-55 loss to Maryland.

Top 25 Scores

Illinois 74, No. 1 Indiana 72

No. 4 Duke 98, N.C. State 85

No. 6 Gonzaga 82, Pepperdine 56

Colorado 48, No. 19 Oregon 47

Texas A&M 70, No. 21 Missouri 68

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

The end was disappointing, but Kentucky’s season outpaced all expectation

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
1 Comment

In yet another example of what makes March Madness the greatest and most unpredictable sporting spectacle on the planet, Kentucky’s run to the Sweet 16 this season is going to be looked at as a disappointment.

Who saw that coming back in January?

Who thought that this team had second weekend potential when they were in the midst of the first four-game losing streak of John Calipari’s tenure in Lexington?

And please, show me who, at that point in time, predicted that Kentucky media would be calling a loss in the Sweet 16 “the worst loss” in the Calipari era back when there were actual discussions being had over whether or not the Wildcats were going to get into the NCAA tournament?

It’s amazing how quickly the tide turns in college basketball

Kentucky lost on Thursday night. The fifth-seeded Wildcats fell to the ninth-seeded Wildcats of Kansas State in a game that turned into drama-filled slugfest down the stretch. The final score was 61-58. Kentucky had two shots at the end of regulation to force a tie or take the lead. They also gave up an offensive rebound to a 6-foot-3 no-name with 40 seconds left that led to the game-winning bucket.

The narrative is going to be that Kentucky choked this game away, that their inability to run offense — and P.J. Washington’s free throw yips — cost them the Final Four that seemed a given Thursday morning and a pipe dream on Selection Sunday.

The truth is that Kentucky was a flawed basketball team that got hot at the right time before running into a team that executed a game-plan to perfection while getting the benefit of a couple of bounces and whistles going their way.

And let me be perfectly clear: In no way, shape or form am I saying that Kentucky or Big Blue Nation should be happy with this loss. It should be disappointing. It should hurt — more so for the players than the fans, but whatever. The bracket broke perfectly for them. Everyone in their region was a cinderella. We weren’t wrong in thinking that Coach Cal’s kids were the heavy favorites to get to San Antonio out of Catlanta.

But we need to say that while also acknowledging this: There is a reason that Kentucky was a No. 5-seed this season.

This was a flawed basketball team.

They were young. They didn’t have enough shooting. Their offense was entirely too predictable, even when they were winning. If Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox weren’t carrying the load for them on that end, they didn’t really have anywhere to turn. And on Thursday night, they ran into a team that had the personnel and a game-plan to take away Kentucky’s two go-to guys.

Kansas State is not overly talented, but what they have in abundance are tough, athletic and older guards that are going to put in a shift on the defensive end of the floor. Kentucky fans may not know who Barry Brown is, but I guarantee you that fans of every Big 12 team can tell you just how good he can be. I guarantee that coaches in the Big 12 can tell you just how annoying their guards are, and those little guards played that role to perfection.

To put it another way, it wasn’t a fluke that Gilgeous-Alexander struggled to make plays off the dribble the way he has for the last two months of the season. It wasn’t an accident that Kevin Knox struggled to find a way to get the looks he had become accustomed to getting coming off of Kentucky’s circle sets.

And in a 40 minute basketball game, when one team matches up well with another, something as simple as Xavier Sneed catching fire and Washington going 8-for-20 from the foul line will get you beat.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Because the real point that I am trying to make here is that this particular Kentucky team just wasn’t all that good. They were young. They were injured. They had their flaws masked by the improvement of a couple of kids who played out of their minds for long stretches of the season, and I just don’t think that’s something that should be overlooked.

Maybe this is just my mindset as a fan. I enjoy the ride more than I need to celebrate the ending. Give me a reason to tune in every game. Make me excited to have the monotony of a week broken up when the ball tips. I’m good.

And I think this Kentucky team accomplished just that.

But two weeks ago, no one thought this team had a shot of getting to the Elite 8. Two months ago, every Kentucky fan would have taken a trip to the second weekend in a heartbeat.

The ending sucked.

No doubt about it.

But this team kept fighting and kept improving and, in the end, lost because someone took makeup remover to the cosmetics that Calipari applied.

Be disappointed, but don’t lost sight of the big picture.

VIDEO: Townes’ late 3 seals Loyola’s win over Nevada

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nevada was faced with a dilemma. The Wolf Pack were down just one possession – just one point – and were on defense with with a five-second differential between the game and shot clocks.

Foul and extend the game or play it out and hope for a stop?

Nevada opted to play it straight-up, and Loyola hit them with the worst-case scenario – a 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock.

The 3-pointer from Marques Townes made it a two-possession game and the clock all but ruled out the possibility for two possession.

And that’s why Loyola is now in the Elite Eight.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Saturday’s tip times, TV channels, announcer pairings

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Half the spots in the Final Four are up for grabs Saturday. Be sure you know where your TV needs to be before the nets are cut down.

Atlanta: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber and Lisa Byington

  • 6:09 p.m. – No. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 11 Loyola, TBS

Los Angeles: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner and Dana Jacobson

  • 8:49 – No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 9 Florida State, TBS

VIDEO: This is the shot that ended Kentucky’s season

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Barry Brown has spent all season being underrated.

And Kentucky found that out the hard way on Thursday night.

This bucket with 18 seconds left gave Kansas State a lead they would never relinquish in a win over Kentucky in the Sweet 16.

Florida State advances past Gonzaga to Elite Eight

Harry How/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Florida State was an afterthought heading into the season in an ACC that was as loaded as it was top-heavy.

They were a No. 9-seed in the NCAA tournament in part because they were able to pick off North Carolina and Clemson at home by a combined three points.

They needed three overtimes to hold off Miami and Syracuse at home. They needed a win over Boston College on Senior Night to avoid heading into the ACC tournament with a losing record, and they ended up going and losing in the first round of the ACC tournament to a Louisville that never really sniffed the bubble and parted ways with their interim head coach as soon as their NIT run ended.

They were almost universally picked to lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Missouri because everyone knew Michael Porter Jr. was back and secretly hoped that the potential top five pick might actually make some noise as a collegian before his run came to an end.

The Seminoles have been written off and ignored for the entire college basketball season.

And now they are a win away from the Final Four.

Terance Mann scored 18 points and Florida State held fourth-seeded Gonzaga to 35 percent shooting as the Seminoles advanced to their first Elite 8 since 1993 with a 75-60 win on Thursday night. The Seminoles will advance to take on No. 3-seed Michigan with a trip to the Final Four on the line. They have not been to a Final Four since 1972, which was the last Elite 8 before their last Elite 8.

Put another way, the program that has been ignored all season long has been to precisely one Elite 8 since 1972.

That’s a long time to be irrelevant.

So I guess it’s time that we all started to pay attention.

And here’s the interesting part of this: The Seminoles are actually a fun team to watch this year. This is not the kind of grind-it-out Florida State teams that we have become accustomed to with Leonard Hamilton at the helm of this program. They don’t try to play as many enormous human beings at one time as they can. Florida State plays a lot of small-ball. They have a lot of physical, athletic and switchable defenders. They press. They try to force turnovers. They get out and run in transition. They have a couple dudes; Mann and Braian Angola and M.J. Carter. They’re not exactly VCU and they’re not exactly West Virginia and they’re not exactly last season’s South Carolina, but there’s a little bit of all of them there.

And that’s what did Gonzaga in.

The Zags entered this game short-handed, as their starting five-man Killian Tillie was unable to go due to a hip injury that he aggravated during warmups, but that would not have made all that much of a difference in the Staples Center.

The issue was guard play.

Florida State’s pressure simply overwhelmed Gonzaga’s guards. Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Zach Norvell were a combined 10-for-36 from the floor and had a nightmare-of-a-time trying to get the ball into the lane. The Zags committed 13 turnovers, trailed by 12 within the first ten minutes of the game and never really made a run keeping this thing within striking distance.

If there was an issue with Tillie being out, it came when Gonzaga tried to space the floor.

The Zags were playing without enough shooters, particularly in the front court. That clogged the paint and made it difficult for the likes of Johnathan Williams III and Rui Hachimura to get some space down there to operate. Perhaps the most telling stat on Thursday — more than Gonzaga’s 34 percent shooting or the 5-for-20 that they shot from three — was that the Zags were 8-for-27 on layups on the night.


For 27.


And it makes me wonder just how Michigan is going to be able to handle this group, but that’s neither here nor there.

We’ll get to it in time.

For now, it is time for the Seminoles and their fans to basket in this moment.

They were right, we were wrong.