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.

College Basketball Talk’s Top 25: Xavier, Syracuse, Texas A&M are big winners

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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At this point in the season, I think it is still too early to solely base rankings off of on-the-court results. That’s why you’re going to find North Carolina higher in this poll than likely anywhere else on the internet. Until we see what the Tar Heels look like with Marcus Paige — which, mind you, could happen on Tuesday night when they host Maryland — I’m not sure I’m ready to drop them, even for a team that looks as good as Michigan State or Kansas.

The biggest risers of the week: Xavier and Syracuse, who both won big tournaments over the Thanksgiving holiday. They also both happened to knock off rivals in the process, as the Musketeers blew out Dayton while the Orange knocked off UConn.

1. Kentucky (6-0, LW: No. 1): Kentucky got a real scare over the weekend, as Tyler Ulis hyper-extended his elbow against South Florida. He appears to be just fine.

2. Maryland (6-0, LW: No. 2): The Terps have not looked great early on this season, but they’re going to get a real test on Tuesday when they visit UNC.

3. North Carolina (5-1, LW: No. 3): Here’s to hoping Marcus Paige is healthy when Maryland comes to visit this week.

4. Michigan State (7-0, LW: No. 4): Denzel Valentine has been sensational this season, but the most impressive part of Michigan State’s win over Providence on Sunday was that they did it while Valentine was in foul trouble and struggling to shoot the ball.

5. Kansas (4-1, LW: No. 6): The Jayhawks had a pretty good week. They won Maui, they blew out a good Vanderbilt team, Wayne Selden showed up and Cheick Diallo got eligible. I hope Bill Self bought some lottery tickets.

6. Villanova (6-0, LW: No. 5): I really like the Wildcats this year, I do, but I dropped them a spot for two reasons: 1. I thought Kansas was better entering the season and the Jayhawks looked terrific this week in Maui, before Cheick Diallo played, and 2. Villanova hasn’t beaten anyone of note yet. Next Monday they get Oklahoma. We’ll know then.

7. Iowa State (5-0, LW: No. 7): The Cyclones are 5-0 with wins over three high-major programs, but their best win may be the win over Chattanooga. I think we’ll really get a feel for how good this team next month, when, in a 12-day stretch, they get Iowa, Northern Iowa and Cincinnati on the road.

8. Oklahoma (4-0, LW: No. 8): The Sooners put a whooping on Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon, the kind of performance that made it very clear Oklahoma is a contender this season and Wisconsin is not. Buddy Hield has been terrific, but so has big man Ryan Spangler.

9. Duke (6-1, LW: No. 10): The loss to Kentucky continues to look like the aberration in Duke’s early season schedule, as they rolled over Utah State and Yale this week. The big news: Luke Kennard has finally found his rhythm, as he scored 22 points and went 4-for-5 from the floor on Sunday.

10. Virginia (5-1, LW: No. 11): Virginia has won four straight since their loss at GW, scoring at least 80 points in every game and never giving up more than 66. It’s not the stiffest of competition, but it should go to show you (like I said at the time) that the loss at GW said more about GW than Virginia.

11. Xavier (7-0, LW: No. 21)
12. Purdue (6-0, LW: No. 15)
13. Vanderbilt (5-1, LW: No. 16)
14. Miami (5-1, LW: No. 9)
15. Syracuse (6-0, LW: UR)
16. Texas A&M (6-1, LW: UR)
17. Gonzaga (4-1, LW: No. 17)
18. Oregon (5-0, LW: No. 25)
19. Cincinnati (7-0, LW: No. 20)
20. Baylor (4-1, LW: No. 22)
21. Butler (4-1, LW: No. 23)
22. UConn (4-2, LW: No. 18)
23. Providence (6-1, LW: UR)
24. West Virginia (6-0, LW: UR)
25. SMU (4-0, LW: UR)

DROPPED OUT: No. 12 Cal, No. 13 Arizona, No. 14 Indiana, No. 19 Notre Dame, No. 24 Wichita State

WEEKLY AWARDS: Denzel Valentine’s big week, Kansas makes a statement

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State

In the title game of the Wooden Legacy, a game that was billed as a matchup between the two best players in college basketball — Valentine and Kris Dunn — Valentine was downright bad …

… by his standards. He finished with “just” 17 points, six assists and five boards. I say “just” because, in the previous two games of the tournament, the Spartan superstar averaged 30.5 points, 10.0 boards and 8.0 assists. He’s been, hands down, the best player in college basketball this season, and that didn’t change this week.


  • Ben Bentil, Providence: Kris Dunn is the guy that is going to get all the national praise, but it was Bentil’s emergence that was critical for the Friars. He averaged 21.7 points and 6.0 boards in three games in the Wooden Legacy, carrying PC when Dunn was battling foul issues.
  • Wayne Selden, Kansas: The highlight of Selden’s week was scoring 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting in the Maui title game win over No. 19 Vanderbilt. For the week, he averaged 19.3 points and shot 12-for-17 from three.
  • Justin Robinson, Monmouth: Robinson averaged 25.7 points in three games for Monmouth at the Advocare Invitational. The Hawks beat No. 17 Notre Dame and USC in the process, only losing to Dayton by three.
  • Justin Jackson, North Carolina: Remember when Justin Jackson was struggling? He averaged 21.5 points, 9.0 boards and 5.0 assists in wins over Northwestern and Kansas State. That came on the heels of a 25-point performance in the loss at Northern Iowa.
  • Henry Ellenson, Marquette: Ellenson notched three straight double-doubles for the Golden Eagles this week, which included 16 points and 11 boards in a win over Ben Simmons and LSU.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas headed out to Maui as a team that many weren’t really sure what to make of. They looked good against Michigan State for 30 minutes, then they blew that game as Denzel Valentine went bananas. They had as much depth as anyone in the country, but Brannen Greene was suspended, Cheick Diallo was ineligible and Wayne Selden was the most notable of a handful of talented players that had been somewhere between inconsistent and ineffective this year.

That all changed in Maui — well, other than Greene’s suspension — as Kansas rolled over Chaminade, UCLA and Vanderbilt to bring home the tournament title. Blowing out Chaminade was to be expected. But beating down a talented UCLA team? Dominating a very good Vanderbilt squad? That’s the Kansas we’ve been hoping to see show up for a few years now. The question is whether or not it’s sustainable, and at least on paper, it appears to be. Selden’s shooting percentages will come back to earth, but his raw numbers are less important than his confidence and aggressiveness. Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham are going to continue to take pressure off of each other in the back court. Perry Ellis isn’t going anywhere.

I questioned whether or not Kansas was truly one of the nation’s elite when the season started. I think they answered that question for me.


  • Xavier: The Musketeers not only won the Advocare Invitational in Orlando, they blew out in-state — and former Atlantic 10 — rival Dayton in the finals.
  • Syracuse: The Orange are going to be a factor in the ACC this season. How much? I don’t know. But after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis by knocking off No. 18 UConn and No. 25 Texas A&M, it’s clear they’re going to be involved all season.
  • Northeastern: The Huskies picked up a road win against No. 15 Miami on this buzzer-beating jumper.
  • Arkansas-Little Rock: The Trojans picked up their second huge road win of the year, going into Tulsa and knocking off the Golden Hurricane. They’re now 5-0 on the season, having also won at SDSU.
  • Tournament winners: West Virginia knocked off Richmond and San Diego State to bring home the Las Vegas Invitational title, No. 24 Cincinnati beat Nebraska and George Washington in the Barclays Center Classic and Marquette knocked off LSU and Arizona State to win the Legends Classic.


Tuesday: No. 2 Maryland at No. 9 North Carolina, 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Butler at No. 24 Cincinnati, 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday: Louisville at No. 3 Michigan State, 7:15 p.m.
Wednesday: No. 13 Indiana at No. 6 Duke, 9:15 p.m.
Saturday: No. 11 Arizona at No. 10 Gonzaga, 3:15 p.m.