Adam Woodbury, Nigel Hayes

With the focus on Fran McCaffery, we’ve overlooked Wisconsin’s dominant second half vs. Iowa


No. 4 Wisconsin took down No. 22 Iowa in the first marquee matchup of the Big Ten regular season, erasing an 11-point halftime deficit in the process, and all anyone wants to do is talk about Fran McCaffery’s inability to keep his emotions in check.

And to a point, I get it.

When a coach explodes the way that McCaffery exploded — getting himself ejected fro a game that his team is winning on the road by bumping an official — people are going to pay attention. It doesn’t happen often, and McCaffery’s reputation precedes him.

So, like I said, I understand what the focal point is going to be the Iowa head coach.

But that shouldn’t take away from what Wisconsin did.

I wrote on Sunday night that McCaffery cost his team a win, and I still believe that he did. When you’re playing on the road and you give a team that is as good as Wisconsin is on their home floor four free points, it’s going to hurt. The four technical free throws that Ben Brust made turned into a 10-2 spurt for the Badgers, giving their first lead since it was 3-2. It changed the game, and I think we can all agree to that fact before I remind you that the final score was 75-71. Still don’t think those four free throws hurt?

But it’s also important to note that McCaffery’s ejection didn’t change the momentum of the game. Wisconsin had done that on their own, catching fire in the second half while all-but erasing that 35-24 Hawkeye lead. In fact, McCaffery admitted after the game that he was trying to get the first technical because he wanted to wake his team up. He knew that the Badgers had taken control of the game. He was trying to light a fire underneath his team.

The point I’m trying to make here is that while the spotlight is being shined on McCaffery, it’s forcing us to overlook the fact that Wisconsin had taken control of a game where they were utterly dominated in the first half. They beat a top 25 team and a top four team in the Big Ten despite getting ugly games out of their two best players. Frank Kaminsky hit three threes in the first ten minutes and didn’t score again the rest of the night. Sam Dekker finished 2-for-12 from the floor, hitting a couple of key baskets down the stretch after missing his first 10 shots from the field.

Just how good are the Badgers?

Well, I’m not sure, but they’ve gone 15-0 against a tough schedule this season, and they just notched one of their best wins on a night when they spent 20 minutes playing like they were shaving points.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.