Michael Lyons

Air Force’s Michael Lyons scores 45, but Colorado State gets a big MWC win

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Cadets at the Air Force Academy are used to flying high, but this is ridiculous.

Michael Lyons, who has been a scoring machine all season long for the Falcons, put on a big-time show for his home crowd, scoring 45 points in a 89-86 shootout loss to Mountain West leader Colorado State today. His line was predictably insane: 17-25 from the floor overall, 6-13 from deep and 5-9 from the free throw line. He did little else but score, grabbing just two boards and one steal, and giving away two turnovers to zero assists.

Lyons’ performance was the third highest individual point total this season, just behind Nate Wolters (53 points) and Travis Bader (47), both of whom ply their trade in the Summit League.

The Rams, who have held steady atop the wild Mountain West, countered Lyons’ heroics with the solid team play they’ve become known for under Larry Eustachy. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Dorian Green’s 22.

This was a huge win for Colorado State, running their winning streak to six straight games. The Rams – 8-2 in league play and currently No. 24 in the nation – are trying to keep pace with N0. 19 New Mexico, which takes an identical 8-2 record into a home game against Boise State tonight. Should the Lobos stumble, CSU will be in the driver’s seat.

Lyons’ Falcons fell to 6-5 in the league and will likely have to run the table in the MWC tournament to get a shot at the Big Dance.

Eric Angevine is editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POWER RANKINGS: Buddy Hield isn’t going anywhere

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket as LSU guard Antonio Blakeney (2) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
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It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.

And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.

The rest of the top 10?

They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: