Boise State v Kentucky

Late Night Snacks: No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 13 Kentucky, No. 25 Oklahoma lose on the road

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GAME OF THE DAY: Indiana 75, No. 3 Wisconsin 72

Indiana needed this win in the worst way. Although we are still in the beginning of conference play, Indiana has been sputtering. It’s never too early to begin analyzing resumes, and the Hoosiers’ one to date was lacking. It still leaves much to be desired, but their big win over previously unbeaten Wisconsin is exactly what they needed. It moves them to 2-2 in the Big Ten, finally gives them a quality victory, and — perhaps more importantly — some much needed confidence going forward. Yogi Ferrell was tremendous down the stretch, after being bench by Tom Crean early in the second half. Make no mistake, there are still plenty of questions for Indiana, but tonight demonstrated they can’t be written off just yet.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Arkansas 87, Kentucky 85 OT

Can you say buzzer-beating tip-dunk?

2) George Washington 76, Virginia Commonwealth 66

The Colonials picked up a huge win over VCU on Tuesday night, legitimizing their place in the A-10 pecking order. GW now has wins over the Rams, Maryland and Creighton without a truly bad loss on their resume. They have a lot of wins to pick in in league play, but GW has themselves set up nicely to make a run at an at-large bid.

3) Kansas State 72, No. 25 Oklahoma 66

Kansas State bounced back in a big way following their blowout loss at Kansas this past weekend by beating Oklahoma, a team who just entered into the Top 25 for the first time this season. It was a balanced attack for the Wildcats as five players scored in double-figures, led by Marcus Foster who poured in 18 points. After beginning the season 2-3, Kansas State is now 13-4 with solid wins against Gonzaga, George Washington, Oklahoma State, and now Oklahoma.

STARRED

1) One of the nation’s best forwards, despite any stigma or status of being a “mid-major,” Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon nearly had a triple-double as he went off for 27 ponts, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. More importantly, Towson defeated Drexel, 80-68. The Tigers now sit atop the CAA, alongside Delaware and William & Mary.

2) If he really wanted to, Doug McDermott could have gone off for 40+ against Butler. McBuckets’ first half points matched Butler’s halftime score — 24. He was “held” to a mere four points in the second half, but the game was all but over as Creighton won going away, 88-60. Creighton’s offense: scary.

3) There was no worrying tonight for Wichita State as they cruised by Bradley at home, 72-50. The No. 5 Shockers were led by Fred VanVleet who dropped in 22 points on an efficient 7-10 shooting from the field. VanVleet has taken over the title of the nation’s most under-appreciated talent.

STRUGGLED

1) Coming off of back-to-back wins, Georgia struggled against a depleted Florida team, losing to the No. 7 Gators on a night where the Bulldogs shot 33.3% from the floor and mustered all of 16 first half points.

2) It was a second straight rough outing for Cameron Clark who finished just 1-for-9 from the floor with two points in a loss to Kansas State.

3) Deonte Burton was just 1-for-8 from the floor as Nevada lost at home to Boise State, suffering their first loss in Mountain West play this season.

NOTABLES

1) DePaul beat St. John’s at home, 77-75. That’s not all that impressive as the Red Storm continue to disappoint as the season progresses, but get this: DePaul has won consecutive Big East games for the first time since the 2007-08 season. One has to go all the way back to January 3rd and January 5th of 2008 when the Blue Demons defeated Villanova and Providence as the last time they had a winning streak of any kind in the Big East. This was during the Jerry Wainwright era.

2) No. 22 Pittsburgh held on against Georgia Tech, 81-74. Many still don’t know what to make of the Panthers. Their 16-1 record is nice, but who have they played? Their best win is at a neutral site against Stanford. Let’s see what Jamie Dixon’s squad is made of this weekend as they travel to the Carrier Dome to play Syracuse.

No. 22 Cincinnati’s loss to No. 16 Butler shines light on AAC’s struggles

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 10: Head coach Mick Cronin of the Cincinnati Bearcats reacts against the Butler Bulldogs in the first half of the game at Hinkle Fieldhouse on December 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Kelan Martin scored 20 points and Andrew Chrabascz added 12 points, four boards and five assists as No. 16 Butler bounced back from a tough loss at Indiana State to beat No. 22 Cincinnati, 75-65.

The Bulldogs had been undefeated on the season prior to the loss to the Sycamores, but their ranking was built on the fact that they had beaten Arizona, who was No. 8 at the time, as well as a trio of high-major programs that look destined for the NIT.

Cincinnati probably isn’t destined for the NIT. Their top 25 ranking is justified, which is what makes this win valuable. Quality non-conference wins matter, and this is just one of a handful of good wins for what has proven to be one of the most top-heavy conferences in the country. Villanova, Creighton, Xavier and Butler all look capable of reaching the Sweet 16 this season.

The opposite is true for Cincinnati, who look like the flag-bearer in a conference that isn’t really all that good. They’re the best team in the AAC this season, but that’s a conference that has consistently disappointed this year. SMU, Temple and UConn have all struggled more than we expected them to. Tulsa and Memphis are in rebuilding mode. Houston was supposed to be good this season but they’ve yet to live up to the preseason hype.

Think about it like this: The only team in the AAC without multiple losses on the season is now UCF. That’s … not ideal, and it’s going to be interesting to see just how many bids the league is able to generate.

Think about it. Temple has beaten West Virginia and Florida State while losing to New Hampshire and UMass. SMU’s best win is either Pitt or TCU, both of whom are borderline tournament teams. UConn beat Syracuse but has some atrocious losses on their resume. Houston beat Rhode Island but lost to Arkansas and LSU. Memphis beat Iowa, but Iowa’s not all that good. UCF’s best win is … Mississippi State?

Cincinnati’s lone quality win is at Iowa State, who is about to drop out of the top 25.

POSTERIZED: Wichita State’s Daishon Smith dunks on Oklahoma big man

WICHITA, KS - NOVEMBER 13:  Guard Daishon Smith of the Wichita State Shockers drives up court past forward Roschon Prince #23 of the Long Beach State 49ers during the first half on November 13, 2016 at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
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Daishon Smith is 6-foot-1.

Kristian Doolittle is 6-foot-7.

The lil guy won this battle:

Here’s another angle of the dunk, which sent Wichita State’s bench into hysterics:

POSTERIZED: Duke’s Grayson Allen with a Dunk of the Year candidate (VIDEO)

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It looks like Grayson Allen’s toe is healthy. I’d say his explosivness is back:

Whoa.

Yeah.

POSTERIZED: Five-star Class of 2017 guard Trevon Duval dunks on 6’8″ defender

CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 9: Trevon Duval during the 2015  Under Armour All-America Basketball Camp on July 9, 2015 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)
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Class of 2017 point guard Trevon Duval put down a huge poster dunk on a 6’8″ defender on Saturday as the five-star prospect showed why many consider him the top lead guard in high school basketball.

The 6-foot-2 Duval is considered the No. 3 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.

Nigel Hayes shines against as No. 17 Wisconsin beats Marquette

MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 10:  Nigel Hayes #10 of the Wisconsin Badgers is fouled by Luke Fischer #40 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the first half of a game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on December 10, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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What a difference a year makes.

Last season at this time, Wisconsin dropped a home game to a Marquette team that was headed to the NIT.

This year?

The Badgers put six players in double-figures as they went into Milwaukee and knocked off Marquette, 93-84.

Bronson Koenig continued his hot shooting, finishing with 18 points and six assists while shooting 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. Vitto Brown chipped in with 15 points, Khalil Iverson had 16 and Ethan Happ chipped in with 11 despite battling foul trouble all afternoon.

But the really story here – hell, the story of Wisconsin’s season to date – has been the change in the way that Nigel Hayes plays.

Hayes was terrific again on Saturday. He had 17 points, nine boards, four assists and three steals. He shot 6-for-10 from the floor and attempted just a pair of threes, making one of them. He had the ball in his hands when Wisconsin was trying to kill off the game, and, more importantly, head coach Greg Gard has seem to start to take advantage of just how good Hayes can be as a facilitator.

There are a couple of points that need to be made here:

  1. When Hayes plays like this, he deserves to be in the all-american discussion. He’s averaging 18.0 points, 7.3 boards and 6.7 assists in the three games Wisconsin has played against high-major competition since the change, and the Badgers have won five straight games while playing easily their best basketball of the season.
  2. And it’s not just because of the numbers he puts up. When Hayes operates as Wisconsin’s de-facto point guard, it makes everyone else on the roster better. For starters, it allows Koenig to play off the ball, where he seems to be more effective. He’s at his best when he’s hunting shots and trying to create off the bounce, but his aggressiveness can be detrimental when he’s the only one touching the ball. It also means offense runs through Happ more often since Koenig isn’t dominating possession, and it lets guys like Brown space the floor because they’re actually able to get rhythm threes.

As of today, Wisconsin is the favorite to win the Big Ten, even if Indiana is far more likely to end up being a No. 1 seed in March.