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Late Night Snacks: No. 11 Ohio State suffers third straight loss

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: UConn 83, No. 17 Memphis 73

Don’t be fooled by the final margin; this was an entertaining game that was tight until the Huskies made a few stops and knocked down their free throws in the final minute. DeAndre Daniels (23 points, 11 rebounds) and Shabazz Napier (17 points, ten assists) posted double-doubles to lead the way for the Huskies, who are now 2-2 in American Athletic Conference play. And there were other quality performances for the Huskies, who rose to the occasion to pick up a valuable road victory while picking up a teammate in need.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Minnesota 63, No. 11 Ohio State 53

Once again the Buckeyes struggled offensively, and the end result on Thursday night was a loss at Minnesota. For the Golden Gophers their big men took another step forward, and as a team Richard Pitino’s squad shot 51.1% from the floor. Elliott Eliason accounted for 12 points and 13 rebounds and Dre Mathieu scored 13 to go along with five assists to lead the way for Minnesota.

2) No. 25 UCLA 69, No. 21 Colorado 56

In their first full game without Spencer Dinwiddie the Buffaloes struggled offensively in a home loss to UCLA. CU players other than Askia Booker and Josh Scott shot 6-for-27 from the field and scored 16 points, which won’t get the job done against a team as talented as UCLA. Norman Powell scored 19 points and Jordan Adams controlled the glass with 13 rebounds (and 14 points) to lead the way for the Bruins.

3) Vanderbilt 78, Missouri 75 

Missouri dropped to 1-2 in SEC play with their loss in Nashville, as the Commodores shot 12-for-32 from beyond the arc. Rod Odom scored 24 points and Kyle Fuller added 22 for Vanderbilt, who played just seven players as a result of their depleted roster. Missouri shot just 6-for-23 from three and missed a number of attempts at the rim, with the combination resulting in defeat.

STARRED

1) Kareem Jamar (Montana) 

33 points, five assists and four rebounds in the Grizzlies’ 84-71 win over North Dakota.

2) Will Neighbour (UALR) 

32 points on 11-for-14 shooting and seven rebounds in the Trojans’ 87-83 overtime win at Western Kentucky.

3) Lucas Troutman (Elon) 

28 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots in Elon’s 87-85 overtime win at Davidson.

STRUGGLED 

1) Ohio State starters not named LaQuinton Ross

Ross scored 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting from the field. The other four starters in their 63-53 loss at Minnesota: 6-for-22, 19 points and ten turnovers.

2) Colorado outside of Askia Booker and Josh Scott

Booker and Scott combined to score 40 points on 14-for-23 shooting from the field. Their teammates in the 69-56 loss to No. 25 UCLA: 6-for-27, 16 points.

3) Tulane

In their Conference USA home opener the Green Wave shot 23.3% from the field, missed all 14 of their three-point attempts and finished with more turnovers (17) than field goals (ten) in their 73-45 loss to Louisiana Tech.

NOTABLES

  • Arizona State didn’t have Jermaine Marshall (groin) for their game against No. 1 Arizona, and it likely wouldn’t have mattered if he were able to play. In the top-ranked Wildcats’ 91-68 victory seven players scored in double figures, with Nick Johnson scoring 17 to lead the charge.
  • No. 18 Louisville had little trouble with Houston, beating the Cougars 91-52. The big development in this one for the Cardinals: Wayne Blackshear scoring 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds.
  • An R.J. Hunter bucket in the final seconds gave Georgia State a 73-72 win over Arkansas State, moving the Panthers to 4-0 in Sun Belt play.
  • Michael Alvarado scored 21 points to go along with seven steals and five assists to lead Manhattan to a 90-68 win over Siena.
  • Corey Walden led four players in double figures as Eastern Kentucky beat Belmont 74-63, handing the Bruins their first loss in OVC play.
  • Bryce Cotton’s three-point play with just over eight seconds remaining in double overtime gave Providence an 84-83 win at St. John’s.
  • Elon won 87-85 in overtime at Davidson to hand the Wildcats their first loss in Southern Conference play, creating a three-way tie for third place in the league standings.
  • Clarke Rosenberg led five Chicago State players in double figures with 20 points as the Panthers knocked off WAC favorite New Mexico State, 86-81. Chicago State and Utah Valley are tied for first with matching 3-0 records.
  • Delon Wright was all over the box score in Utah’s 84-66 win over USC, tallying 22 points, six rebounds, six steals, five assists and two blocked shots.
  • Alan Williams (15 rebounds) and Mitch Brewe scored 12 points apiece and Michael Bryson added 11 in UCSB’s 62-48 win over Long Beach State.
  • Paul Egwuonwu scored 13 points to lead Montana State to a 70-55 win over Northern Colorado, moving the Bobcats into a three-way tie for first in the Big Sky. These two teams, along with Northern Arizona, all have 4-1 conference records.

Report: Creighton’s Mo Watson Jr. suspended after sexual assault allegation

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 31: Injured guard Maurice Watson Jr. of the Creighton Bluejays looks on during the game against the Butler Bulldogs at Hinkle Fieldhouse on January 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Creighton defeated Butler 76-67. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Creighton announced on Wednesday that injured point guard Mo Watson Jr. was suspended from the program on Feb. 13th for “alleged actions that are contrary to university policies and core values.”

The reason for that suspension, according to a report from the Omaha World-Herald, is that he is being investigated for an alleged sexual assault that happened in Omaha this month.

No charges have been filed and Watson was not arrested as of Wednesday night, according to the paper.

Watson was having an all-american season and leading the nation in assists when he tore his ACL on Jan. 16th in a win at Xavier. He underwent surgery in his hometown of Philadelphia a couple of weeks later, but he has not been a part of a Creighton team activity since his return.

Creighton is 4-5 since Watson’s injury, losing on Wednesday night at home against Providence. They’ll likely make the NCAA tournament still.

Watson is not going to participate in Senior Night festivities in Omaha next week, per the OWH.

Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham arrested over unpaid ticket

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 26:  Devonte' Graham #4 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots the ball in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham was arrested and booked into Douglas County Jail late on Wednesday night on a failure to appear for court charge, according to jail records.

The charge was a result of an unpaid ticket for an expired tag that Graham had received. It dates back to June of last year.

Graham released a statement on the matter.

“This is my fault,” Graham said. “I was driving an ex-teammate’s car and I thought the ticket was paid so I didn’t pay attention to the notice to appear that I got. That’s on me, and I apologize to everyone. I learned a lesson the hard way.”

The arrest was a damper on what should have been a great night for Graham. He had 17 points and seven assists in a home win over TCU that clinched the 13th straight Big 12 regular season title for the Jayhawks. It was also his 22nd birthday.

He was released on $196 bond Wednesday night. Bill Self said he will not be suspended for the arrest.

Bracketology: Syracuse banks in a little Madness

SYRACUSE, NY - FEBRUARY 22:  John Gillon #4 of the Syracuse Orange celebrates tying the game with little time left on the clock during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils on February 22, 2017 at The Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse upsets Duke 78-75.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
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The bank was open Wednesday night in Syracuse. John Gillon’s three-pointer at the buzzer lifted Syracuse over Duke at the Carrier Dome and back (again) into the bracket.

It’s been a wild month for the Orange who now need to close the deal.  It was also a big night for Providence, who used a Kyron Cartwright trey to knock off Creighton in Omaha.  And then Dillon Brooks nailed a long-distance dagger to beat California, leaving the Bears teetering for bracket survival as February comes to a close.  Are we ready for March?

No changes on the No. 1 seed line. By a whisker, Villanova holds onto the overall No. 1 seed after its second loss to Butler, a team whose profile is far better than its AP ranking. Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga round out the group.  UNC moves up to No. 3 after dispatching Louisville.

If last night was any indication, it’s going to be fun ride toward Selection Sunday.

UPDATED: February 23, 2017

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Regarding bracketing principles, can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com. For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected. The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Seton Hall vs. Kansas State | East Region
  • Providence vs. California Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC-CENTRAL | East Region
  • UC-IRVINE vs. NEW ORLEANS | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York MIDWEST Kansas City              
Buffalo Tulsa
1) VILLANOVA 1) KANSAS
16) NC-CENTRAL / M.S. MARY’S 16) NEW ORLEANS / UC-IRVINE
8) South Carolina 8) Northwestern
9) VCU 9) Xavier
Milwaukee Milwaukee
5) Virginia 5) Notre Dame
12) UNC-WILMINGTON 12) ILLINOIS STATE
4) PURDUE 4) Butler
13) PRINCETON 13) VALPARAISO
Indianapolis Orlando
6) Saint Mary’s 6) SMU
11) Seton Hall / Kansas State 11) Providence / California
3) Kentucky 3) Florida State
14) AKRON 14) BELMONT
Indianapolis Salt Lake City
7) Maryland 7) Iowa State
10) Marquette 10) Wichita State
2) Louisville 2) ARIZONA
15) BUCKNELL 15) NO. DAKOTA ST
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Salt Lake City Greenville
1) GONZAGA 1) NORTH CAROLINA
16) NORTH DAKOTA 16) TX-SOUTHERN
8) Miami-FL 8) Dayton
9) Michigan 9) Arkansas
Buffalo Sacramento
5) CINCINNATI 5) Wisconsin
12) MONMOUTH 12) UT-ARLINGTON
4) West Virginia 4) UCLA
13) VERMONT 13) NEVADA
Greenville Orlando
6) Creighton 6) Minnesota
11) MID TENNESSEE ST 11) Syracuse
3) Duke 3) FLORIDA
14) FLA GULF COAST 14) E. TENNESSEE ST
Sacramento Tulsa
7) Oklahoma State 7) Virginia Tech
10) Michigan State 10) USC
2) Oregon 2) Baylor
15) CSU-BAKERSFIELD 15) UNC-ASHEVILLE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga.

Last Four Byes (at large): Michigan State, Wichita State, Marquette, Syracuse

Last Four IN (at large): Seton Hall, California, Providence, Kansas State

First Four OUT (at large): Wake Forest, TCU, Georgia Tech, Rhode Island

Next four teams OUT (at large): Vanderbilt, Clemson, Alabama, Houston

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Florida State, Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL, Syracuse

Big 10 (7): PURDUE, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maryland, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State

Big East (7): VILLANOVA, Butler, Creighton, Xavier, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence

Big 12 (6): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State

Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California

SEC (4): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), East Tennessee State (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

VIDEO: Bill Self tells hilarious Brandon Rush story

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 27: Bill Self head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks claps for his team as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Conference Championship after they defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 67-58 at Allen Fieldhouse on February 27, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. With the win, Kansas clinched its 12th straight conference championship. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Last night, as Kansas clinched their 13th consecutive Big 12 regular season title, the Jayhawk program retired for star Brandon Rush’s jersey. Rush was a member of the 2008 national title team and is still bouncing around the NBA despite a series of knee injuries.

He’s a helluva player.

He’s also a terrible liar, as evidenced by the story that Bill Self told about him in last night’s press conference:

I guess honesty really is the best policy.

No. 22 Butler ruins No. 2 Villanova’s seniors’ perfect Pavilion record

Butler center Nate Fowler and Villanova forward Eric Paschall, right, vie for a rebound in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Villanova, Pa. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson
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All Villanova players have known since they joined the program is winning at The Pavilion. Late into Wednesday’s game against No. 22 Butler, it looked like that would continue to be their only frame of reference for a group of seniors that were 45-0 in the building.

Then another ‘0’ turned that zero into a ‘1.’

The Bulldogs ripped off an 18-0 run in a 5-minute span to ultimately claim a 74-66 victory over second-ranked and defending national champion Villanova.

Villanova looked like it was going to cruise to another home win when Josh Hart’s 3-pointer with 10 minutes, 37 seconds remaining put the Wildcats up 49-42.

They wouldn’t score again until nearly the 4-minute mark.

During that span, Butler made 7 of 11 shots, with three being 3-pointers, while the Wildcats went 0 of 6 from the field and turned the ball over twice.

A seven-point lead for Villanova became an 11-point advantage for Butler. Villanova would try to rally, but couldn’t pull it off as it saw its home winning run stopped, its seniors’ perfect Pavilion record blemished and its seven-game winning streak come to a halt.

Beyond it probably being immensely annoying to the senior class, the loss probably doesn’t hurt Villanova too much as it looks to hold on to a No. 1 seed, preferably in the East region. The Wildcats’ resume is still as strong as nearly anyone in the country and they are, after all, the defending champs. They’ll be fine.

For Butler, it’s a signature win for a team that’s had a number of really good victories, but a few confounding losses, like St. John’s on the road and to Creighton (without Maurice Watson) and Georgetown at home. Beating Villanova – at the Pavilion, no less – could be worth a seed line.

Kelan Martin was fantastic for Butler, going for 23 points and eight boards, while Kamar Baldwin went for 15 points off the bench.

Jalen Brunson led the way for Villanova with 24 points while Josh Hart had 18 points and six rebounds. Kris Jenkins struggled, going 1 of 8 from the floor while scoring eight points.

The Wildcats get a chance to start a new streak at the Pavilion on Saturday with Creighton coming to town.