Late Night Snacks: Florida beats Memphis inside Madison Square Garden

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 16 Florida 77, No. 15 Memphis 75

The Gators looked like they would cruise in the final minutes of second half, but the Tigers charged back. Joe Jackson had a chance to tie, but could not convert Florida, finally healthy and still getting players back, are showing how impressive it can be. In back-to-back games the Gators have defeated Kansas and Memphis.

OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: South Florida 68, Florida Gulf Coast 66, 2 OT

It took two overtimes, and almost a third but South Florida escaped with a win over its in-state foe. Chase Fieler caught a full-court inbound pass from Jamail Jones, and scored what would of been a tying bucket. However, he caught the ball with 0.3 seconds remaining, too much time to catch and shoot.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Cincinnati 44, Pittsburgh 43:  Titus Rubles put in the game-winning bucket with four seconds remaining. Pitt was 10-0, and after a weak non-conference schedule, the Panthers lost their first game.

No. 11 Wichita State 72, Alabama 67: The Shockers went into to Tuscaloosa and took the marquee win the Crimson Tide were looking for. Wichita State improves to 11-0 for the first time in school history.

New Mexico State 67, New Mexico 61: Big win for the Aggies, on the road against its arch-rival. The Lobos have lost two straight.

No 13 Oregon 91, UC-Irvine 63: Blowout win for the Ducks, but it was the first time they had sophomores Dominic Artis and Ben Carter, who each served a nine-game suspension, in the lineup. Artis ended with five points, eight rebounds and three assists while Carter ended with four points, four rebounds and three assists.

STARRED

Cleanthony Early, Wichita State: The senior forward scored 26 points and shot 11-of-11 from the free throw line in a win.

Cameron Clark, Oklahoma: Clark went for 31 points and six boards in the Sooners’ 91-89 win over UT-Arlington. He sunk two free throws with 9.7 seconds left for the win.

Shawn Long, Louisiana-Layfayette: Long scored 30 points off a perfect 12-for-12 shooting from the field in a lopsided 103-69 win over Centenary. Long added seven rebounds and had two blocks. He could of had 34 points, but missed four free throws.

STRUGGLED

Pittsburgh: Panthers lost their first game of the season and shot 34 percent (15 percent from three) from the field. Pitt made 19 free throws (missed 10), and only connected on 11 field goals.

Charlotte: The 49ers gave up 106 points (to their 62) committed 19 turnovers and shot 35 percent in a blowout loss to Florida State. Charlotte won last month’s Puerto Rico Tip-Off, the same event Florida State was in.

New Mexico’s first half: The Lobo’s shot 27 percent, which dug them into a 13-point hole heading into halftime. New Mexico’s late-game comeback came up short against rival New Mexico State.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 5 Michigan State 78, North Florida 48
  • No. 6 Louisville 90, Missouri State 60
  • No. 7 Oklahoma State 75, Delaware State 43

NOTABLES

  • Manhattan 86, South Carolina 68
  • Georgetown 85, Elon 76
  • Providence 76, Yale 74
  • VCU 72, Wofford 57
  • Toledo 78, Arkansas State 65
  • Creighton 88, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 51
  • Marquette 91, Ball State 53
  • Denver 90, Belmont 62

PHOTOS: Miami, Syracuse wear shirts honoring Florida shooting victims

Photo via Mike Waters, Syracuse.com
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Syracuse is playing in Miami on Saturday, the first game that the Hurricanes have played at home since the shooting at Parkland, Florida’s, Stoneman Douglas High School.

Both teams wore warmup shirts honoring the victims of the shooting prior to the game:

Parkland and Coral Gables are about 50 miles apart, but both towns are suburbs with the same Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area.

St. John’s guard Lovett to leave school, turn pro

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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Marcus Lovett announced on Saturday morning that he will be leaving St. John’s to pursue a professional career.

This decision doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Lovett, who averaged 14.9 points through the first seven games of the season, was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury despite reports that he was healthy enough to play.

According to the New York Post, Lovett was not even enrolled in school for the spring semester.

Lovett spent three seasons in New York with the Johnnies and played less than a year and a half.

Yale’s Makai Mason expected to play vs. Harvard

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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For the first time since the 2016 NCAA tournament, Yale basketball fans are going to have a chance to see Makai Mason play for the Bulldogs.

A star point guard that is already committed to play for Baylor as a grad transfer in 2018-19, Mason missed all of the 2016-17 season and the 2017-18 season to date with a series of foot injuries.

As a sophomore, Mason averaged 16.0 points and 3.8 assists for the Bulldogs as they won the Ivy League and knocked off Baylor in the first round of the NCAA tournament as a No. 12 seed. He had 31 points in that win.

The Elis are currently 5-4 in the Ivy League after beating Dartmouth on Friday night. With Mason back in the fold, they seem like a safe bet to get to the Ivy League tournament and a contender to win it all.

The way that Ivy League rules are written, players are not allowed to redshirt, even if they are injured for the season. Since Mason was in classes as a junior, during the season that he missed, this year is the last year that he would be allowed to play for an Ivy League program.

Bubble Banter: Texas, Syracuse land massive wins

AP Photo/Eric Gay
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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Saturday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.

WINNERS

TEXAS (RPI: 49, KenPom: 44, NBC seed: Play-in game): The Longhorns landed a massive, massive win for their NCAA tournament chances on Saturday afternoon when they went into Norman and picked off Oklahoma. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and put them into a position where a 2-2 finish to Big 12 play keeps them at 8-10 in the league. That’s relevant because no team more than two games below .500 in league play has reached the NCAA tournament since the early 90s. The Longhorns are now 6-7 against Quadrant 1 opponents with some elite wins in that mix — Texas Tech, at Alabama, a sweep of Oklahoma Butler on a neutral — and no losses worse than Quadrant 2. Texas is going to have a very real chance to be an NCAA tournament team with 14 losses this season.

SYRACUSE (RPI: 41, KenPom: 48, NBC seed: First four out): The Orange hold their bubble future in their own hands, and they got started in the right direction on Saturday by going into Coral Gables and picking off Miami. That’s their third Quadrant 1 win — assuming that Buffalo, who is currently 30th in the RPI, remains top 30 — but a Quadrant 3 loss and the lack of a truly marquee victory is a glaring hole in their résumé. The good news? This is the remaining schedule for the Orange: UNC, at Duke, at Boston College, Clemson. Go 2-2 in that stretch and they will enter the ACC tournament in pretty good shape.

VIRGINIA TECH (RPI: 59, KenPom: 42, NBC seed: 9): The Hokies beat the breaks off of Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Saturday, meaning they finished their three game road trip at 2-1 with a win at Virginia. Not bad. The rest of VT’s schedule looks like this: Clemson, Louisville, Duke, at Miami. With a Quadrant 3 loss and a non-conference SOS of 325, I still think the Hokies need to win two of these games.

BUTLER (RPI: 40, KenPom: 26, NBC seed: 10): The Bulldogs added another Quadrant 2 win to their profile on Saturday with an impressive win over Providence at home. Butler is 3-9 against Quadrant 1 opponents with three Quadrant 1 games left on their schedule: Creighton, at St. John’s, at Seton Hall. I think they’ll probably be in if they win one of those three games, but I would recommend winning two.

LOSERS

PROVIDENCE (RPI: 34, KenPom: 67, NBC seed: 8): Losing at Butler doesn’t exactly hurt Providence’s profile. Quadrant 1 road losses are what they are. The Friars are interesting because they have five Quadrant 1 wins but two Quadrant 3 losses and a hideous, Quadrant 4 loss to DePaul at home. I think they need two more wins (Seton Hall, at Xavier, at Georgetown, St. John’s) to lock up their at-large bid.

YET TO PLAY

KANSAS STATE
LSU
BOISE STATE
ARKANSAS
N.C. STATE
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
BAYLOR
WASHINGTON
TCU
LOUISVILLE
MARQUETTE
UCLA
USC

VIDEO: St. Bonaventure’s LaDarien Griffin blocks shot, saves ball missing a shoe

Screengrab via News 4 Buffalo
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One of my favorite plays of the season to date.

With St. Bonaventure down 72-69 with just over three minutes left of their win over No. 16 Rhode Island, LaDarien Griffin lost a shoe and was forced to play a defensive possession in just a sock.

What did he do?

Well, he blocked a shot, corralled the loose ball and threw the ball off of a URI player who was standing out of bounds to stop play. Check this out:

That wasn’t the only big play that he made.

He also blocked a shot with 4.2 seconds left that helped preserve the win for the Bonnies.