Dan Fahey, Ben Brust

VIDEO: Ben Brust thrusts Wisconsin into B1G title contention


Just another day in the Big Ten.

No. 3 Michigan had a chance to put themselves into a great position for a run at the Big Ten regular season title by winning in the Kohl Center, and it looked like they were going to do just that when Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a contested three from the top of the key with 2.4 seconds left.

But there was too much time left on the clock.

Junior guard Ben Brust took the in-bounds, Michigan’s Caris LaVert didn’t foul him and Brust hit a running 40-footer to send the game into overtime:

In the extra frame, the two teams traded baskets before Brust hit another three, this one with 39 seconds left, to put the Badgers up 65-62. Michigan would miss a layup at the other end, and after Ryan Evans missed the front-end of a one-and-one, Trey Burke’s three fell short and Wisconsin escaped, 65-62.

This was a huge win for the Badgers, as they now tied with Michigan and Ohio State for the second-best record in the Big Ten, a game behind Indiana and Michigan State. Indiana plays at Ohio State on Sunday, and this afternoon with feature the Spartans visiting Purdue. There’s a realistic chance that, come Monday morning, the Badgers will be sitting in a five-way tie for first place in the Big Ten.

Even if they still wind up a game out of first place, the Badgers are in a great position to make a run at the regular season title. They only play Michigan and Indiana once this season, and won both of those games. They visit Minnesota on Thursday and host Ohio State next Sunday, but in their last five games, the only other tournament team that the Badgers will face is a trip to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. They lost to the Spartans by two points back in January.

That schedule’s not a cakewalk, but no one in the Big Ten is going to have it easy down the stretch of the season. What’s important is that Wisconsin has swept the two best teams in the league. It’s not crazy to think that the Badgers can win six of their last seven games.

A 14-4 Big Ten record might be enough to earn them a regular season title, especially if they hold the tie-breaker with Michigan and Indiana.

But regardless of all the big picture postulating, what really matters is that Saturday got kicked off with yet another incredible game and thrilling finish.

And it’s only 2:00 p.m.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.

Tyler Ulis injured as No. 1 Kentucky beats South Florida

Tyler Ulis, Ky Howard
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MIAMI (AP) Jamal Murray had 21 points and No. 1 Kentucky scored the final 15 points of the first half on the way to beating South Florida 84-63 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational on Friday.

Skal Labissiere added 17 points for the Wildcats (6-0), who led by as many as 31. Charles Matthews scored 11 points and Isaiah Briscoe finished with seven assists for Kentucky, now a winner of 37 consecutive regular-season games and 39 in a row against unranked opponents.

Chris Perry scored 14 points for USF (1-5), which has lost 18 consecutive games against teams ranked in the Top 25. Jaleel Cousins added 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting, and Jahmal McMurray scored 11 points for the Bulls.

Kentucky played the second half without starting guard Tyler Ulis, who departed with a right elbow injury after getting hurt while fighting for a ball loose on the floor.

Kentucky announced after the game that the injury was a hyperextension of the elbow and that he will be day-to-day.

The Bulls were within 27-21 with 6 minutes left in the first half after McMurray banked in a 3-pointer only a few feet away from where John Calipari was standing, and the look of anguish on the Kentucky coach’s face was clear.

It didn’t last long.

The Wildcats scored on seven of their next nine possessions and the game was over by halftime, Kentucky going into the break with a 42-21 lead.

It was a reunion for plenty of people on both benches. Calipari squared off with his former assistant Orlando Antigua, now in his second year leading USF. Antigua’s staff includes another former Calipari assistant in Rod Strickland, plus former Kentucky basketball staff members Mike Malone and Dominic Lombardi.

So the staffs have plenty of familiarity. On the court, there was plenty of disparity. Kentucky finished with a commanding 23-6 edge in points off turnovers and finished with 16 assists to the Bulls’ six.