Top 10 College Basketball Games in 2013


The New Year is here! To help you reminisce about the basketball that was during 2013, here is a list of the top ten games of the year.

What did we miss? What shouldn’t be on the list? Why are we smart or dumb or haters or biased? Let us know in the comments:

1. Luke Hancock outshines Spike Albrecht: In the most exciting national title games this side of Mario Chalmers, Spike Albrecht, Michigan’s no-name back-up point guard, did his best Trey Burke impression as he scored 17 first half points to give the Wolverines a double-digit first half lead which was erased in the span of two minutes as Luke Hancock went all Spike Albrecht on Michigan, hitting four threes and turning this back into a ball game.

Louisville would eventually go on to win the national title, but that first half will go down as one of the most exciting, unpredictable 20 minutes of basketball that I have ever seen.

2. Hinkle Magic?: On College Gameday, Butler and Gonzaga — the nation’s two preeminent mid-major programs — squared off in a thriller that ended with Roosevelt Jones  making one of the most unlikely buzzer-beaters you’ll ever see:

3. Jerian Grant brings Notre Dame all the way back: Notre Dame knocked off Louisville in a five overtime game last February in a game that was less great basketball than it was memorable. But the highlight of the game? Grant went for 12 points in 28 seconds to erase an eight-point lead in the final minute of regulation:

4. No. 1 Indiana falls at Illinois: Playing for their NCAA tournament lives, Illinois knocked off Indiana on this buzzer-beating layup from Tyler Griffey:

5. Indiana wins the Big Ten: Indiana won the 2013 outright Big Ten title in a thrilling, 72-71 win over Michigan in Ann Arbor. Cody Zeller went for 25 points and 10 boards, hitting the game-winner with 13 seconds left on the clock.

6. Kansas doesn’t believe in Hilton’s Magic: Elijah Johnson scored 18 of his 39 points in a game-changing, 21-9 run as the Jayhawks once again avoided getting upset by Iowa State with a 108-96 win in overtime.

7. Ben Brust forces overtime: This entire list could end up being made up of games from the Big Ten regular season, but there may not have been a more impressive shot made all year than this buzzer-beater:


8. Speaking of half-court buzzer-beaters:

9. Wichita State upsets No. 1 Gonzaga: We all knew that Wichita State could play heading into the tournament, but they solidified themselves as one of the strongest mid-major programs in the conutry with a run to the Final Four. That run got started with an upset of Gonzaga that featured a game-changing nine-possession stretch where Gonzaga scored 23 points.

10. Belmont beats Murray State: Belmont’s Kerron Johnson hit two huge shots down the stretch, including a game-winner with 1.2 seconds left, as the Bruins knocked off Murray State and Isaiah Canaan to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Wichita State’s 0-3 week makes chances for at-large bid small

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.

Having entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Missouri Valley, a top 15 team and a legitimate threat to reach a Final Four, after two weeks, the Shockers are in serious danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament altogether.

That’s not hyperbole, either.

Wichita State fell to 2-4 on the year after getting mollywhopped by Iowa in the 7th-place game of the Advocare Invitational. They ended up in the 7th-place game because they lost to USC and Alabama in the opening two rounds. The Hawkeyes look like the might be able to eke out an at-large berth if things fall the right way for them, but USC and Alabama are projected to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences. Even Iowa would do well to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Individually, none of those three losses are particularly terrible, and that’s before you factor in that all-american point guard Fred VanVleet sat out the trip to Orlando with a bad hamstring. They were also without back up point guard Landry Shamet in the tournament and it’s unknown when they’ll actually get Anton Grady back to full stretch. That matters to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They’ll factor it in when they determine where the Shockers will be seeded, or if they will even get an invite.

But throw in the loss at Tulsa from the first week of the season, and the Shockers are now 2-4 on the season.

And unlike the rest of the preseason top 25 — unlike the rest of the nation’s high-major programs — Wichita State won’t have a chance to load up on quality wins during league play. The Valley is better than we probably realized (more on that in a second), but it’s not like there are going to be a myriad of top 50 wins for the taking.

Look at Georgetown, for example. They Hoyas went 1-3 in the first week of the season, a stretch that included a home loss to Radford. But they also play in a conference where they’ll get home-and-homes against the likes of Villanova, Butler and Xavier.

The Shockers need to do their damage during the non-conference. They need to get the bulk of their resume put together before Valley play starts. Assuming they do win the rest of their non-league games, we’re not exactly looking at a daunting profile, either. The Shockers still have to visit Saint Louis and Seton Hall and host UNLV, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico State. UNLV and Utah should look like quality wins on Selection Sunday, but the rest of them?

Wichita State is putting themselves in a position where they may end up needing to win the Missouri Valley tournament just to get into the Big Dance, and the problem is that the Valley looks like it is really going to be tough this season. Northern Iowa notched a win over North Carolina already this year. Illinois State gave Maryland a fight and entered the season as a favorite to upset the Shockers. Evansville has two of the league’s five best players in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius.

They’re not waltzing through that conference by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s not exactly what VanVleet and Ron Baker had in mind when they decided to return to Wichita for one final season.

Carter leads No. 2 Maryland past Cleveland State, 80-63

Melo Trimble
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Robert Carter had 17 points and eight rebounds to help No. 2 Maryland beat Cleveland State 80-63 on Saturday night.

Jared Nickens added 16 points, and freshman Diamond Stone had a season-high 15 points for Maryland (6-0), set for a showdown with No. 9 North Carolina in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night.

Demonte Flannigan scored 11 of his 20 points in the first half, and Rob Edwards added 14 points for Cleveland State (2-4), which was 3 of 12 (25 percent) from 3-point range. Vinny Zollo went 5 of 7 from the field and had 11 points for the Vikings.

Maryland led by just four at the break and took control by increasing the pressure to open the second half. A dunk by Stone capped an 8-0 run and the Terrapins led 45-33 with 17:06 left.

From there, the Terps used their size and depth to wear down the Vikings, who could not get closer than nine points the rest of the way. Nickens and Jake Layman hit 3-pointers and Maryland opened a 64-49 lead with 7:43 remaining.

The 6-foot-7 Flannagan picked up his fourth foul with just under 10 minutes left, hampering the Vikings at both ends of the court. A putback by Nickens and a pair of free throws boosted Terrapins’ margin to 70-53 with 5:18 left and they were never threatened the rest of the way.

Maryland was 15 of 18 from the free-throw line and had a 27-22 rebounding edge.

Maryland could not shake Cleveland State in the opening half and a jumper by Kenny Carpenter gave the Vikings their first lead, 25-24, with 8:03 left. Nickens responded with three straight 3-pointers that helped the Terps take a 37-33 lead at halftime

Maryland shot 14 of 23 (60.9 percent) in the opening half.


Cleveland State: The Vikings also lost their only other matchup against the Terrapins, 95-84, on Dec. 5 1984. … Maryland was Cleveland State highest-ranked opponent since Nov. 26, 1999, when it lost to No. 1 Cincinnati, 90-56.

Maryland: The Terrapins won their 29th consecutive game at home against an unranked team. … Maryland extended its winning streak in November to 16 games, having not lost since Nov. 17, 2013, against Oregon State (90-83).


Cleveland State is at Toledo on Wednesday night.

Maryland plays at No. 9 North Carolina on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.