Late Night Snacks: No. 21 Iowa State remains undefeated

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 21 Iowa State 90, BYU 88

With Melvin Ejim, Dustin Hogue and DeAndre Kane all disqualified in crunch time, Iowa State was on the ropes in Provo. But the Cyclones were able to do enough to hang on, with a Daniel Edozie blocking a Tyler Haws jumper in the final seconds to preserve the lead. Georges Niang scored 19 points and dished out eight assists for Iowa State, which also limited the BYU tandem of Haws and Matt Carlino to 4-for-18 shooting in the second half.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) North Carolina Central 82, N.C. State 72 (OT) 

Levelle Moton’s Eagles earned their first-ever win over an ACC school and the foul line was the difference, as North Carolina Central outscored the Wolfpack by 18 (41-23) from the charity stripe. T.J. Warren scored 13 points before fouling out for the Wolfpack, and when he’s kept relatively quiet N.C. State is going to struggle.

2) No. 20 Baylor 69, Charleston Southern 64

Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson showed up for the Bears, combining for 32 points, 19 rebounds and nine blocked shots to help Baylor hold off Charleston Southern. Brady Heslip added 11 off the bench, while Will Saunders led the Buccaneers with 16 off the bench. Baylor shot just 38.9% inside of the arc, a number that’s a bit low when considering the amount of size at Scott Drew’s disposal.

3) No. 8 Ohio State 63, American 52

Amir Williams (16 points, seven rebounds) and Shannon Scott (13, nine and four assists) led the way for the Buckeyes, who played well enough defensively to take care of the Eagles in Columbus. One concern that needs to be addressed is the recent offensive production of LaQuinton Ross. Ross shot 1-for-7 on Wednesday, and on the season he’s shooting just 26.7% from the field. OSU will need more from Ross when taking on better teams.

STARRED: 

1) Alec Peters (Valparaiso): The Crusaders fell 100-92 at Evansville but Peters’ performance should be noted, as he scored 30 points one day after returning from his hometown of Washington, Ill., which was hit hard by a tornado on Sunday. D.J. Balentine led Evansville with 32 points, four rebounds and three assists.

2) Dylon Cormier (Loyola-MD): 34 points, ten rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Greyhounds’ 89-83 overtime win at UMBC.

3) Zaid Hearst (Quinnipiac): 22 points, 14 rebounds and three assists in the Bobcats’ 71-68 win over Hampton.

STRUGGLED: 

1) Central Arkansas: Turned the ball over 24 times in their 94-57 home loss to Louisiana Tech.

2) N.C. State’s three-point shooting: The Wolfpack shot 3-for-20 from beyond the arc, with players not named Ralston Turner (2-for-8) combining to shoot 1-for-12.

3) Fairfield: Remove Marcus Gilbert (8-for-17) from the equation and the Stags shot just 9-for-34 from the field in their 63-49 loss to Holy Cross.

NOTABLES: 

  • Remember Brendan Lane? The former UCLA Bruin is off to a good start at Pepperdine, with his most recent outing being a 23-point, nine-rebound, six-block effort in the Waves’ 83-77 loss to San Jose State.
  • Another big man who’s played well of late is Cincinnati senior Justin Jackson, who accounted for 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocks in the Bearcats’ 81-62 win over Campbell.
  • Princeton freshman forward Will Barrett will eventually be one of the best players in the Ivy League. Barrett scored 22 points in the Tigers’ 81-80 overtime win over Lafayette.
  • Dayton moved to 4-0 with an 82-72 win at Georgia Tech. Next up for the Flyers is an appearance in the Maui Invitational, which should give them a shot at at least one quality win (if not more).
  • Dave Sobolewski scored 25 points to lead Northwestern to an easy win at UIC, 93-58.
  • Wesley Saunders and Steve Moundou-Missi were excellent in the Crimson’ 86-68 win over Bryant, with Saunders going for 25 points and Moundou-Missi 23 (he also had nine rebounds and four blocks).
  • Talib Zanna scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Pittsburgh to a 77-58 win over Lehigh.

College Basketball Power Rankings: Kentucky drops out of the Top 25

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I’m not sure that this Kentucky season can be considered a worst-case scenario.

Kentucky fans have seen a worst-case scenario.

That came during the 2012-13 season, when a Wildcat team that was trending towards the back end of the top 25 lost their star center Nerlens Noel to a torn ACL in February, dooming them to the NIT, where they lost in the first round to Robert Morris.

That is a worst-case scenario, and barring something totally unforeseen, this Kentucky team is not going to turn into that Kentucky team.

This group looks much more like the team we saw the following year, the one that featured Julius Randle, James Young, the Harrison twins and Willie Cauley-Stein and entered the NCAA tournament as a No. 8 seed with a 24-10 record before making a run to the national title game. That team had plenty of talent, but they never quite gelled until March.

This year’s team does not have that same level of talent, but they are running into some of the same problems.

The question is whether or not this group actually has the potential to come together and make a run like that 2014 team.

RELATED: Kentucky just is not that good

And frankly, I still think they do. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has emerged as a go-to guy while Kevin Knox had seemingly regained his confidence before a poor performance in the home loss to Florida. Quade Green has returned to the lineup, as has Jarred Vanderbilt, who might be the key to unlock the potential on this roster.

In an ideal world, Kentucky’s length and athleticism allows them to be one of the nation’s best defensive teams while the playmaking of Vanderbilt and Green makes their offense fluid enough that they overcome some of their shooting issues. I can still tell myself a story where Kentucky finds a way to put it all together for six straight games in March.

But that’s not who they are right now.

And with each passing game, I grow less and less confident that the elite will ever come out of this group.

Kentucky is not a top 25 basketball team right now. They are nowhere near one of the favorites to win a national title right now. And, at this point, Kentucky fans would do well to adjust their expectations, as a trip out of the Sweet 16 should be considered a success.

Here is the full top 25.

1. Villanova, 18-1 (Last Week: No. 1)
2. Purdue, 19-2 (2)
3. Virginia, 18-1 (5)
4. Kansas, 16-3 (13)
5. Michigan State, 17-3 (7)
6. Duke, 17-2 (10)
7. West Virginia, 16-3 (4)
8. Arizona, 16-4 (8)
9. Xavier, 18-3 (11)
10. Oklahoma, 14-4 (6)
11. North Carolina, 16-4 (17)
12. Texas Tech, 15-4 (3)
13. Cincinnati, 17-2 (19)
14. Ohio State, 17-4 (22)
15. Auburn, 17-2 (18)
16. Tennessee, 13-5 (23)
17. Wichita State, 15-4 (9)
18. Clemson, 16-3 (20)
19. Saint Mary’s, 19-2 (NR)
20. Gonzaga, 17-4 (16)
21. Nevada, 18-3 (NR)
22. Florida, 14-5 (NR)
23. Rhode Island, 15-3 (NR)
24. Arizona State, 15-4 (14)
25. TCU, 14-5 (25)

DROPPED OUT: No. 12 Seton Hall, No. 15 Kentucky, No. 21 Michigan, No. 24 Miami

NEW ADDITIONS: No. 19 Saint Mary’s, No. 21 Nevada, No. 22 Florida, No. 23 Rhode Island

VIDEO: Northern Colorado wins game with halfcourt buzzer beater

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Northern Colorado knocked off North Dakota on Saturday night thanks to a half court buzzer-beating three from Andre Spight.

Spight is averaging 20.3 points on the season and finished with 34 points and six assists in the 94-91 win.

Clemson’s Grantham tears ACL

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The news on Donte Grantham’s knee was not good.

No. 20 Clemson announced on Sunday morning that Grantham, the team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder, would miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in a win over Notre Dame on Saturday.

“I’m disappointed that Donte’s career at Clemson had to end this way,” head coach Brad Brownell said. “He was putting together a terrific season statistically, but he really helps this team is so many ways. He’s been a pleasure to coach and it has been fun to watch him mature and grow into the leader of our program.”

Grantham was averaging 14.2 points and 7.1 boards this year.

The Tigers are 16-3 on the season and in line to make a run at an NCAA tournament bid.

VIDEO: West Virginia honored Andrew Jones before game vs. Texas

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The West Virginia basketball team donned burnt orange ‘Big 12 Strong’ warmup shirts with the No. 1 on the back in honor of Texas point guard Andrew Jones.

Jones was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this month.

Texas Tech also honored Jones before a game this week, and Texas has raised more than $100,000 for his medical expenses.

Saturday College Basketball Recap: No. 7 Wichita State, No. 8 Texas Tech lose

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PLAYER OF THE DAY

It’s hard to argue with the performance that J.P. Macura had on Saturday. No. 11 Xavier went into Newark and knocked off No. 19 Seton Hall, 73-64, behind 27 points, five boards and three assists from Macura.

This win was particularly important for Xavier, who remain just a game out of first place in the Big East and in great position to make a run at getting a top three seed, which would mean they likely won’t have to play Villanova until the Big East title game. The loss is the second in a row for Seton Hall and the their third loss in four games.

THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS

  • CARSEN EDWARDS, Purdue: Edwards finished with 22 points, eight assists, two steals and no turnovers as the No. 3 Boilermakers blew out Iowa on the road.
  • MALIK NEWMAN, Kansas: Newman finished with 24 points and seven boards, including a personal 7-0 run with three minutes left to help No. 10 Kansas remain in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with a 70-67 win over Baylor.
  • BRYCE BROWN, Auburn: Brown finished with 28 points as Auburn erased a 14-point halftime deficit to knock off Georgia 79-65 and remain within a game of first-place in the SEC.
  • DEAN WADE, Kansas State: In a win over No. 24 Kansas State, TCU’s second-straight win over a ranked team, Wade went for 20 pints, six boards, six assists, two blocks and two steals.

TEAM OF THE DAY

Houston landed themselves their first marquee win of the season as they pounded No. 7 Wichita State in Houston, 73-59. Rob Gray led the way with 24 points and four assists, putting the Cougars in a position where earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament is feasible. There is still plenty of work left to do, but this is the start they needed.

The bigger question mark, however, is Wichita State, who also lost at home to SMU this week. The Shockers are nowhere near as good as many expected them to be. Their offense isn’t good enough to make up for the fact that they aren’t guarding anyone.

GAME OF THE DAY

Trae Young went for 48 points, 34 of which came after halftime as the Sooners erased a 19-point deficit, but thanks to a Kendall Smith three at the end of regulation, this game went into overtime. Young had shots at the buzzer in regulation and in overtime to win the game and missed both, as the Pokes escaped with an 83-81 win.

Young needed 39 shots to get those 48 points. We went through whether or not that is too many shots for him here.

WTF???? OF THE DAY

Iowa State, who can’t guard anyone and is probably the worst team in the Big 12 this season, knocked off No. 8 Texas Tech, 70-52. The Red Raiders have now lost three of their last four games – all of which came on the road – after winning at Kansas. Texas Tech is also now just 1-3 in the four games since Zach Smith broke his foot, but they also beat Baylor by 24 points and won at Kansas when Smith played 10 total minutes.

So you explain Texas Tech to me. Because I don’t get it.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

The Florida Gators moved into sole possession of first place in the SEC thanks to a 66-64 win at No. 18 Kentucky on Saturday. It was hardly a pretty game – Florida shot 33 percent from the floor and 6-for-30 from three – but the Gators were able to hang on thanks to a questionable no-call in the final seconds.

No. 20 Clemson held on to beat Notre Dame at home on Saturday, 67-58, but missing out on a commitment from Zion Williamson wasn’t the only bad news of the day. Star forward Donte Grantham went down with a knee injury midway through the second half. He averages 14.3 points and 7.1 boards. Losing him would be disastrous for the Tigers.

No. 14 Arizona had to rally down the stretch, but the Wildcats did. Trailing by as many as 11 points late in the second half at Stanford, the Wildcats survived as Dorian Pickens missed a three at the buzzer. The win puts Arizona all alone in first place in the Pac-12.

Jalen Brunson scored 23 points and Donte DiVincenzo added 17 points off the bench as No. 1 Villanova blew out UConn in Hartford, 81-61.

No. 13 Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s both won, meaning that the Gaels still hold a one game lead over the Zags in the WCC. Nevada knocked off Boise State, giving the Wolf Pack a two-game lead in the Mountain West.

At this point, Pitt barely counts as ACC competition. But they are and No. 5 Duke beat them 81-54 tonight.

Jevon Carter went for 22 points and eight assists as No. 6 West Virginia knocked off Texas, 86-51. The game was closer than the final score indicates, as the Mountaineers pulled away late.

The star of the day for No. 12 Cincinnati was Gary Clark, who finished with 14 points, 14 boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks, in an 86-60 win over East Carolina.

Luke Maye went for 17 points and 11 boards to lead four players in double figures as No. 15 North Carolina held on to beat Josh Pastner and Georgia Tech, 80-66.

It ended up not being much of a game when the Big Ten invaded Madison Square Garden as No. 22 Ohio State put a beating on Minnesota, 67-49. Minnesota lost Jordan Murphy to an ankle injury in the game as well.