Late Night Snacks: Three ranked teams fall on Sunday

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GAME OF THE DAY: Belmont 83, No. 12 North Carolina 80

Thanks to a J.J. Mann three-pointer in the game’s final seconds the Bruins knocked off the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. For the game Belmont hit 15 three-pointers on 37 attempts, and that combined with some incredibly poor foul shooting led to North Carolina’s demise. James Michael McAdoo scored 27 points to lead UNC offensively, while Mann led all scorers with 28. 


1) Iowa State 77, No. 7 Michigan 70: Both Melvin Ejim (Iowa State) and Mitch McGary (Michigan) made their season debuts on Sunday, and in the end it was Ejim and the Iowa State balance that won out. Ejim led five Cyclones in double figures with 22 points and nine rebounds, while Nik Stauskas led the Wolverines with 20. Michigan will now go through the process of re-adjusting to having McGary in the rotation, and they’ll be a better team as they do so.

2) Indiana State 83, No. 21 Notre Dame 70: Just a couple days after dropping a tough decision at Belmont, Indiana State rebounded in a big way in South Bend. Greg Lansing’s team hit 11 three-pointers, putting together a performance that illustrated why many expect Jake Odum and company to be Wichita State’s biggest threat in the Missouri Valley. As for Notre Dame, they need to tighten things up defensively if they’re to be a factor in the ACC.

3) No. 1 Kentucky 87, Robert Morris 49: While some may choose to focus on the whole “revenge” factor, last season’s Postseason NIT meeting had little to do with this matchup. The key for Kentucky: come out focused from the start after watching Michigan State score the first ten points of Tuesday’s showdown in Chicago and that’s what the Wildcats did, scoring ten of the first 11 points and never looking back. And Aaron Harrison rebounded from a rough game on Tuesday, scoring a game-high 28 points to lead the way.


1) Olivier Hanlan (Boston College): 38 points (11-for-19 FG), four rebounds and two assists in the Eagles’ 82-79 win over Florida Atlantic.

2) Devon Collier (Oregon State): 29 points and 11 rebounds in Oregon State’s 90-83 win at Maryland, providing quite the supplement to Roberto Nelson’s 31-point, seven-assist performance.

3) Eron Harris (West Virginia): 33 points (12-for-19 FG) and six rebounds in the Mountaineers’ 96-83 win over Duquesne.


1) Northwestern. Chris Collins’ Wildcats trailed by as many as 18 points before mounting a rally against Illinois State that fell four points short, 68-64.

2) North Carolina at the foul line. UNC shot a poor 22-for-48 from the foul line in a three-point loss, with J.P. Tokoto going 4-for-16.

3) Towson. Three days after beating Temple the Tigers struggled mightily against Villanova, shooting 30.9% from the field and committing 24 turnovers.


  • DeAndre Daniels scored 24 points to lead No. 19 UConn to a 77-60 win over Boston University. But the Huskies will need more from him on the glass, as through four games the junior has just ten rebounds.
  • K.J. McDaniels finished three blocks short of a triple-double, tallying 21 points, ten rebounds and seven blocks in Clemson’s 71-57 win over rival South Carolina.
  • Ronnie Johnson scored 16 points to lead four Boilermakers in double figures as Purdue held off Rider, 81-77.
  • No. 17 Gonzaga shot 11-for-20 from three in their 82-67 win over Oakland. Kevin Pangos hit five, finishing with a team-high 21 points.
  • Freshman point guard Nigel Williams-Goss led Washington to a 92-80 comeback victory over Eastern Washington with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists.
  • TaShawn Thomas is one of the American’s best big men, and he had another productive day in Houston’s 80-66 win over Lehigh. Thomas finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks.
  • Marcus Foster’s taken the reins for Kansas State as the Wildcats adjust to life without Rodney McGruder. In K-State’s 71-58 win over Long Beach State, Foster scored a game-high 17 points one game after scoring 25 in a win over Oral Roberts.

No. 1 Kentucky survives without Tyler Ulis in lineup

Tyler Ulis
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Less than a week after giving No. 2 Maryland all they could handle, Illinois State went into Lexington and gave No. 1 Kentucky fits.

The Redbirds never really threatened UK in the second half, but they went into the break tied and were within single digits down the stretch, eventually losing 75-63.

Kentucky was flustered. They turned the ball over 15 times compared to just eight assists, they shot 2-for-12 from three and just 29-for-46 (63 percent) from the charity stripe. They simply did not handle Illinois State’s pressure all that well.

And there was a reason for that.

Tyler Ulis didn’t play.

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate just what a player brings to a team until that player is not in the lineup, and that was precisely the case with Ulis on Monday night. It was crystal clear what he provides Kentucky. Beyond leadership and the ability to break a press without throwing the ball to the other team, he’s a calming presence. He doesn’t get rattled when a defender is harassing him and he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a situation like a mid-major threatening the No. 1 team in the country in their own gym.

He’s everything you look for in a pure point guard, and for as good as Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe have looked at times this season, it should be crystal clear who the most important player on this Kentucky team is.

LSU loses to Charleston, eliminates at-large bid margin for error

Ben Simmons
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Ben Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, the second time in his six-game career that the LSU freshman has collected that many caroms, but that wasn’t enough for the Tigers to avoid dropping a game on the road to the College of Charleston, 70-58. It was the third straight loss for Simmons’ crew, as they fell to Marquette and N.C. State at the Legends Classic last week.

But here’s the thing: LSU didn’t just lose.

The game really wasn’t close.

LSU was down by as many as 23 points. It was 39-17 at the half, and that was after Charleston had a shot at the buzzer called off upon review. They made a bit of a run in the second half but never got closer than seven. When LSU would cut into the lead, the Cougars would respond with a run of their own, killing LSU’s spirit while keeping them at arm’s length.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons’ one college year a waste?]

Now, there are quite a few things here to discuss. For starters, LSU’s effort was, at best, apathetic, and, at worst, regular old pathetic. The team has a serious lack of leadership that was plainly evident on Monday night; would Fred VanVleet let his team fold against a program picked to finish at the bottom of the SoCon? Would Tyler Ulis? For that matter, would Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski or John Calipari?

Perhaps more importantly, does any of that change when Keith Hornsby and Craig Victor get back?

Simmons did show off his potential — 18 boards, four assists, he even made his first three of the year — but he also showed precisely why there are scouts that are trying to curtail the LeBron James comparisons. Simmons was 4-for-15 from the floor with seven turnovers against a mediocre mid-major team. There are so many things that Simmons does well, but scoring efficiently — particularly in half court setting — and shooting the ball consistently are not on that list.

But here’s the biggest issue: LSU may have put themselves in a situation where they aren’t a tournament team. As of today, they’re 3-3 on the season with losses to a pair of teams that, at best, seem destined to be in the bubble conversation on Selection Sunday in addition to this loss to Charleston. The rest of their non-conference schedule is ugly. The only game worth noting is at home against No. 6 Oklahoma at the end of January.

The NCAA factors in non-conference schedule strength when determining at-large teams. You need to at least try, and LSU didn’t try; they have one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country.

The great thing about being in the SEC — as opposed to, say, the Missouri Valley — is that the Tigers will have plenty of chances to earn marquee wins. Six, by my court: Kentucky twice, Texas A&M twice, Vanderbilt on the road and Oklahoma at home. They probably need to win at least two or three of those games to have a real chance, and that’s assuming they can avoid anymore horrid losses in the process.

The season isn’t over six games in, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But LSU has done a hell of a job eliminating their margin for error.