Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Arizona survives, No. 22 Gonzaga not as fortunate

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: DePaul 99, Butler 94 (2OT)

This wasn’t one of the games on the “marquee” for Thursday night, but the Blue Demons and Bulldogs combined to play an entertaining contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse. DePaul erased an 11-point deficit in the final 3:46 of regulation to force overtime, only to see Jackson Aldridge force a second overtime with a follow of a Kellen Dunham miss as time expired. But freshman Billy Garrett Jr. (22 points, five assists) and Tommy Hamilton IV (17 points, 12 rebounds) performed well for DePaul, as did forward Cleveland Melvin who scored 30 points. Dunham led five Butler players in double figures with 30 points.


1) No. 1 Arizona 79, UCLA 75

The top-ranked Wildcats looked to be well on their way to a 16th win of the season, but turnovers and missed free throws left the door open for the home-standing Bruins. Ultimately Sean Miller’s team was able to make the plays needed to remain undefeated, with USC standing between the Wildcats and the best start in school history.

2) No. 24 Memphis 73, No. 12 Louisville 67

After nearly forgetting that their big men needed to get touches in a loss to Cincinnati on Saturday, Memphis did a much better job of getting the ball to Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols (and sharing in general) in a six-point win at Louisville. While the Tigers now have a second win over a ranked team this season Louisville is still without a “signature” victory, which could impact their NCAA tournament seeding come Selection Sunday.

3) California 96, No. 17 Oregon 83

Jordan Mathews scored 20 of his career-high 32 points in the first half and Justin Cobbs added 20 points and 11 assists as the Golden Bears beat the Ducks for the 12th consecutive time. Cal’s now 2-0 in Pac-12 play, and keep in mind that this group is still without Jabari Bird and Ricky Kreklow.


1) Karvel Anderson (Robert Morris)

Anderson scored 36 points in the Colonials’ 79-70 win at Sacred Heart, shooting 15-for-19 from the field (6-for-7 3PT).

2) Tevin Calhoun (Troy)

35 points on 11-for-15 shooting (7-for-9 3PT) and six rebounds in the Trojans’ 98-84 win over Arkansas State.

3) Josh Williams (Lipscomb) 

34 points (13-for-17 FG), four rebounds and three assists in the Bisons’ 82-80 win at East Tennessee State.


1) Clemson

The Tigers shot 30% from the field and finished with more turnovers (18) than made field goals (15) in their 56-41 home loss to Florida State.

2) Chris Jones (Louisville) 

Jones couldn’t find his groove in the Cardinals’ 73-67 loss to Memphis, scoring just two points on 1-for-9 shooting.

3) C.J. Cooper (UTEP) 

Cooper shot 2-for-13 from the field (2-for-11 3PT) in UTEP’s 73-68 loss to Charlotte.


  • Derrick Walton Jr.’s layup with 21.8 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in Michigan’s 71-70 win at Nebraska, moving the Wolverines to 3-0 in Big Ten play. Nebraska missed two shots at the win before time expired.
  • Manhattan’s 81-76 loss at Quinnipiac could prove even costlier for the Jaspers, as leading scorer George Beamon left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury. According to the school he’ll be reevaluated on Friday.
  • Stanford dropped to 0-2 in Pac-12 play with an 81-72 loss at Oregon State, with Roberto Nelson scoring 21 points and Eric Moreland adding 17 to go along with 15 rebounds.
  • Semaj Christon scored 28 points to lead Xavier to an 86-79 win over Marquette, setting up a showdown for a share of first place in the Big East with Creighton this weekend.
  • Without the suspended Fran McCaffery No. 22 Iowa had little trouble with Northwestern, beating the Wildcats 93-67 with Aaron White leading the way with 18 points, ten rebounds and five assists.
  • Portland ended its 20-game losing streak to Gonzaga, beating the Bulldogs 82-73 in Portland. Bryce Pressley led the way with 16 points and nine assists.
  • Another WCC result that won’t help the conference earn multiple NCAA tournament bids was Santa Clara’s 57-55 win at Saint Mary’s. Jared Brownridge’s three-pointer with two seconds remaining proved to be the difference.
  • UC Irvine held on to beat Long Beach State 46-44 in a matchup of two of the teams expected to contend in the wide-open Big West.
  • While Montana and Weber State have been the standard in the Big Sky in recent years, keep an eye on Northern Colorado. B.J. Hill’s Bears whipped Weber State 70-51 thanks in part to a 21-point, 13-rebound performance from Derrick Barden.
  • Sam Mills scored 17 points to lead three La Salle players in double figures as the Explorers held off George Washington, 76-72.

College Basketball Talk’s Top 25: Xavier, Syracuse, Texas A&M are big winners

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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At this point in the season, I think it is still too early to solely base rankings off of on-the-court results. That’s why you’re going to find North Carolina higher in this poll than likely anywhere else on the internet. Until we see what the Tar Heels look like with Marcus Paige — which, mind you, could happen on Tuesday night when they host Maryland — I’m not sure I’m ready to drop them, even for a team that looks as good as Michigan State or Kansas.

The biggest risers of the week: Xavier and Syracuse, who both won big tournaments over the Thanksgiving holiday. They also both happened to knock off rivals in the process, as the Musketeers blew out Dayton while the Orange knocked off UConn.

1. Kentucky (6-0, LW: No. 1): Kentucky got a real scare over the weekend, as Tyler Ulis hyper-extended his elbow against South Florida. He appears to be just fine.

2. Maryland (6-0, LW: No. 2): The Terps have not looked great early on this season, but they’re going to get a real test on Tuesday when they visit UNC.

3. North Carolina (5-1, LW: No. 3): Here’s to hoping Marcus Paige is healthy when Maryland comes to visit this week.

4. Michigan State (7-0, LW: No. 4): Denzel Valentine has been sensational this season, but the most impressive part of Michigan State’s win over Providence on Sunday was that they did it while Valentine was in foul trouble and struggling to shoot the ball.

5. Kansas (4-1, LW: No. 6): The Jayhawks had a pretty good week. They won Maui, they blew out a good Vanderbilt team, Wayne Selden showed up and Cheick Diallo got eligible. I hope Bill Self bought some lottery tickets.

6. Villanova (6-0, LW: No. 5): I really like the Wildcats this year, I do, but I dropped them a spot for two reasons: 1. I thought Kansas was better entering the season and the Jayhawks looked terrific this week in Maui, before Cheick Diallo played, and 2. Villanova hasn’t beaten anyone of note yet. Next Monday they get Oklahoma. We’ll know then.

7. Iowa State (5-0, LW: No. 7): The Cyclones are 5-0 with wins over three high-major programs, but their best win may be the win over Chattanooga. I think we’ll really get a feel for how good this team next month, when, in a 12-day stretch, they get Iowa, Northern Iowa and Cincinnati on the road.

8. Oklahoma (4-0, LW: No. 8): The Sooners put a whooping on Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon, the kind of performance that made it very clear Oklahoma is a contender this season and Wisconsin is not. Buddy Hield has been terrific, but so has big man Ryan Spangler.

9. Duke (6-1, LW: No. 10): The loss to Kentucky continues to look like the aberration in Duke’s early season schedule, as they rolled over Utah State and Yale this week. The big news: Luke Kennard has finally found his rhythm, as he scored 22 points and went 4-for-5 from the floor on Sunday.

10. Virginia (5-1, LW: No. 11): Virginia has won four straight since their loss at GW, scoring at least 80 points in every game and never giving up more than 66. It’s not the stiffest of competition, but it should go to show you (like I said at the time) that the loss at GW said more about GW than Virginia.

11. Xavier (7-0, LW: No. 21)
12. Purdue (6-0, LW: No. 15)
13. Vanderbilt (5-1, LW: No. 16)
14. Miami (5-1, LW: No. 9)
15. Syracuse (6-0, LW: UR)
16. Texas A&M (6-1, LW: UR)
17. Gonzaga (4-1, LW: No. 17)
18. Oregon (5-0, LW: No. 25)
19. Cincinnati (7-0, LW: No. 20)
20. Baylor (4-1, LW: No. 22)
21. Butler (4-1, LW: No. 23)
22. UConn (4-2, LW: No. 18)
23. Providence (6-1, LW: UR)
24. West Virginia (6-0, LW: UR)
25. SMU (4-0, LW: UR)

DROPPED OUT: No. 12 Cal, No. 13 Arizona, No. 14 Indiana, No. 19 Notre Dame, No. 24 Wichita State

WEEKLY AWARDS: Denzel Valentine’s big week, Kansas makes a statement

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State

In the title game of the Wooden Legacy, a game that was billed as a matchup between the two best players in college basketball — Valentine and Kris Dunn — Valentine was downright bad …

… by his standards. He finished with “just” 17 points, six assists and five boards. I say “just” because, in the previous two games of the tournament, the Spartan superstar averaged 30.5 points, 10.0 boards and 8.0 assists. He’s been, hands down, the best player in college basketball this season, and that didn’t change this week.


  • Ben Bentil, Providence: Kris Dunn is the guy that is going to get all the national praise, but it was Bentil’s emergence that was critical for the Friars. He averaged 21.7 points and 6.0 boards in three games in the Wooden Legacy, carrying PC when Dunn was battling foul issues.
  • Wayne Selden, Kansas: The highlight of Selden’s week was scoring 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting in the Maui title game win over No. 19 Vanderbilt. For the week, he averaged 19.3 points and shot 12-for-17 from three.
  • Justin Robinson, Monmouth: Robinson averaged 25.7 points in three games for Monmouth at the Advocare Invitational. The Hawks beat No. 17 Notre Dame and USC in the process, only losing to Dayton by three.
  • Justin Jackson, North Carolina: Remember when Justin Jackson was struggling? He averaged 21.5 points, 9.0 boards and 5.0 assists in wins over Northwestern and Kansas State. That came on the heels of a 25-point performance in the loss at Northern Iowa.
  • Henry Ellenson, Marquette: Ellenson notched three straight double-doubles for the Golden Eagles this week, which included 16 points and 11 boards in a win over Ben Simmons and LSU.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas headed out to Maui as a team that many weren’t really sure what to make of. They looked good against Michigan State for 30 minutes, then they blew that game as Denzel Valentine went bananas. They had as much depth as anyone in the country, but Brannen Greene was suspended, Cheick Diallo was ineligible and Wayne Selden was the most notable of a handful of talented players that had been somewhere between inconsistent and ineffective this year.

That all changed in Maui — well, other than Greene’s suspension — as Kansas rolled over Chaminade, UCLA and Vanderbilt to bring home the tournament title. Blowing out Chaminade was to be expected. But beating down a talented UCLA team? Dominating a very good Vanderbilt squad? That’s the Kansas we’ve been hoping to see show up for a few years now. The question is whether or not it’s sustainable, and at least on paper, it appears to be. Selden’s shooting percentages will come back to earth, but his raw numbers are less important than his confidence and aggressiveness. Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham are going to continue to take pressure off of each other in the back court. Perry Ellis isn’t going anywhere.

I questioned whether or not Kansas was truly one of the nation’s elite when the season started. I think they answered that question for me.


  • Xavier: The Musketeers not only won the Advocare Invitational in Orlando, they blew out in-state — and former Atlantic 10 — rival Dayton in the finals.
  • Syracuse: The Orange are going to be a factor in the ACC this season. How much? I don’t know. But after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis by knocking off No. 18 UConn and No. 25 Texas A&M, it’s clear they’re going to be involved all season.
  • Northeastern: The Huskies picked up a road win against No. 15 Miami on this buzzer-beating jumper.
  • Arkansas-Little Rock: The Trojans picked up their second huge road win of the year, going into Tulsa and knocking off the Golden Hurricane. They’re now 5-0 on the season, having also won at SDSU.
  • Tournament winners: West Virginia knocked off Richmond and San Diego State to bring home the Las Vegas Invitational title, No. 24 Cincinnati beat Nebraska and George Washington in the Barclays Center Classic and Marquette knocked off LSU and Arizona State to win the Legends Classic.


Tuesday: No. 2 Maryland at No. 9 North Carolina, 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Butler at No. 24 Cincinnati, 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday: Louisville at No. 3 Michigan State, 7:15 p.m.
Wednesday: No. 13 Indiana at No. 6 Duke, 9:15 p.m.
Saturday: No. 11 Arizona at No. 10 Gonzaga, 3:15 p.m.