Much has, and will, be made about the new points of emphasis in college basketball regarding contact. With the goal being to increase scoring after the sport’s worst season in five decades, the days of using a hand or forearm while defending a player are (seemingly) over. A number of touch fouls that have been let go for years are being called, leading to higher foul totals and longer games.
That brings us to what happened in Blacksburg, Va. on Tuesday, with such a call nullifying what would have been the best poster dunk of the first week of the season. West Virginia guard Juwan Staten threw down an impressive one-handed dunk over Virginia Tech’s Joey Van Zegeren with the Mountaineers holding a 26-12 lead at the time. That kind of finish can provide a significant boost in momentum, and with the score being what it was it could have been a killer for the Hokies.
Only one problem: the dunk didn’t count because of a foul called prior to Staten attempting the shot. But that’s not even the biggest problem for the Mountaineers: despite jumping out to a big lead early, they lost 87-82.
And kudos to Van Zegeren for making the attempt to defend the basket, as far too many move away from such situations in fear of landing on a highlight package.
(MORE: Watch all of this year’s #POSTERIZED’s here)
Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.
Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.