Caris LeVert, T.J. McConnell. Gabe York

Top-ranked Arizona survives with road win over Michigan

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Arizona was down 58-50 on the road at Michigan with around six minutes left to play on Saturday and it looked for a little while like we would have our fourth No. 1 team of the new season with the way the game was going.

But the No. 1 Wildcats (11-0) remained patient and stuck to their strengths, and — for now — they’ll remain the No. 1 team in the land with a 72-70 win over Michigan (6-4). Despite the Wolverines leading for nearly the entire game, Sean Miller’s group finally took a 63-62 lead with 2:30 remaining on freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s three-point play and held off Michigan despite the Wolverines shooting 50 percent from the field and 47 percent from three-point range (8-for-17).

Arizona stuck to their game plan, kept the tempo in their favor in a half-court style game in the second half, and wore down Michigan on the glass and on the interior. The Wildcats out-rebounded Michigan 37-24 and the Wolverines didn’t have an offensive rebound in the the second half until Mitch McGary pulled one down with 2:01 remaining as Arizona used 17 offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive and stay in the game until they clawed back.

A balanced scoring effort led Arizona as sophomore forward Brandon Ashley led with 18 points while Nick Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski and Aaron Gordon all chipped in 14 points each. Arizona will have to find a little more perimeter shooting, only going 4-for-10 from three in a game where they could have used more early firepower, but they stuck to what they were good at, worked the ball inside, hit the glass and earned a tough road win at Michigan.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: