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Tuesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Kicking off the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 22 Michigan at No. 10 Duke, 9:15 p.m. ET

The highlight of tonight’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge slate was supposed to pit two top ten teams against each other. Instead, both the Blue Devils and the Wolverines head into Tuesday night’s matchup with a pair of losses. Duke has been beaten by Kansas and Arizona this season, which is hardly a cause for concern for this group. What is concerning, however, is Duke’s front court, which isn’t big enough to handle the likes of Mitch McGary.

It’s not all peaches and cream for Michigan, however, as their three best players — McGary, Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III — have all been dealing with injuries this season. The story line that is going to be too overhyped here: McGary’s decision on where to go to school came down to Duke and Michigan.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: UC-Santa Barbara at No. 18 UCLA, 11:00 p.m. ET

UCLA has looked really good through the first month of the season, with their three wings — Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine — making up one of the nation’s most potent perimeter attacks. That said, UCSB is pretty good. They beat UNLV by 21 at UNLV and lost to Colorado and Utah State by single digits despite missing Alan Williams, who is currently averaging 29.0 points and 11.7 boards.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Belmont at Middle Tennessee State, 8:00 p.m. ET

Nothing but a pair of really strong mid-major programs in Tennessee. Both the Bruins and the Blue Raiders have put together strong starts to the season despite losing key pieces to graduation. Methinks Rick Byrd and Kermit Davis know what they’re doing.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

1) The Big Ten/ACC Challenge kicks off tonight. Our preview can be found here.

2) The best game of the night not including Duke or Michigan? Notre Dame’s visit to No. 23 Iowa.

3) But you’ll want to keep an eye on Pitt and Penn State as well. The Nittany Lions are a much-improved team, but I think Pitt can legitimately contend for the ACC title this season.

4) No. 21 UMass pays a visit to Eastern Michigan, a team that might be able to give them some trouble. EMU is coached by a Jim Boeheim disciple in Rob Muprhy. He plays zone and has some length and athleticism. Don’t be shocked to see UMass struggle against that kind of defense.

5) No. 2 Arizona takes the court again tonight as Texas Tech pays a visit to the McKale Center.

NOTABLES:

  • USC-Upstate at Cincinnati, 8:00 p.m.
  • Colorado at Colorado State, 9:00 p.m.
  • Creighton at Long Beach State, 10:00 p.m.
  • Utah at Boise State, 10:05 p.m.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has scary fall while carrying girl

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Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has turned into a fan favorite at Rupp Arena.

Every home game, during one of the TV timeouts in the second half, ‘Mony Mony’ will come on, Dancing Guy will hop into the aisle and he’ll break it down like only a middle-aged white guy from Kentucky can.

As you can see, it didn’t quite go all that well for Dancing Guy on Tuesday night, as he tried to do a rail slide while holding a young, female fan and completely ate it.

Here’s another angle of the fall:

It looks much scarier that it actually was, as all reports indicate that everyone made it through the fall healthy.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.