Malcolm Brogdon’s game-winning 3-pointer gives Virginia a 48-45 upset win over No. 18 Pitt (VIDEO)

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If Super Bowl XLVIII is anything as exciting as this weekend of ACC basketball, we are in for a treat tonight.

One day after Syracuse outlasted Duke in front of an NCAA on-campus record crowd, Virginia and Pittsburgh — the Nos. 2 and 3 teams in the ACC — went head-to-head, each getting an opportunity to strengthen its case as a contender in the conference.

With 9.1 seconds remaining, and tied 45-45, London Perrantes brought the ball up the floor. Joe Harris came off a staggered screen, but stumbled on his curl. Trailing Harris was Malcolm Brogdon, who took Perrantes’ pass and stepped into a game-winning 3-pointer from several feet behind the line to push Virginia past No. 18 Pitt, 48-45 on the road on Sunday afternoon.

Brogdon’s game-winner was the first field goal for the Cavaliers in over eight minutes.

Moments earlier, Pitt had two looks for a go-ahead bucket. James Robinson had a good look at a three from the wing. Jamel Artis corralled the rebound, but missed his second-chance opportunity.

Virginia was a top-25 team to start the season. But the Cavaliers stumbled in December. On Dec. 4, they scored 38 points in a loss to Wisconsin at home. Three days later, they were upset on the road against Green Bay. Virginia ended 2013 with a 35-point beatdown from Tennessee on Dec. 30.

Recently, Virginia has been much improved, winners of five straight following a four-point loss at Duke. The Cavaliers have had their bumps in the road, but the remaining ACC schedule is quite favorable.

Boston College, Georgia Tech, Maryland (twice), Clemson, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Miami and Syracuse (at home) remain on its regular season slate.

Compare that to soon-to-be top-ranked Syracuse.

The Orange still have to go to Pittsburgh and to Duke; the latter game being the start of a three-game road trip, which ends in Charlottesville, Va. on March 1.

The Cavaliers are half a game out of first place in the ACC standings, two games ahead of the Panthers and Blue Devils. Given its upcoming schedule, what are the chances Virginia ends up being the ACC regular season champion?

Tom Izzo’s point is valid, but he’s wrong about the new fouling rules

Eron Harris, Tom Izzo
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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On Sunday night, after No. 3 Michigan State knocked off No. 23 Providence in the final of the Wooden Legacy, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo made sure to make his feelings known about the new college basketball officiating mandates.

He doesn’t like them.

At all.

“I just think we’re taking the flow of the game away,” Izzo said. “Maybe it’ll change. We’ll play by the same rules everybody else does. But I think I can voice my opinion to say that I don’t agree with it.”

Part of what frustrated Izzo was that, in a matchup between the two best players in college basketball, both Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn were sent to the bench with foul trouble.

“I didn’t like it either way,” Izzo said. “I didn’t like having Denzel on the bench, and I didn’t even like watching Dunn on the bench.”

“Don’t tweet this now and leave out the officials,” he added, according to CBSSports.com. “It’s not their fault. Because that’s the way they’re mandated to call them. So I am really either blaming the rules committee, which ends up on the coaches somewhat. So I’m looking in the mirror and blaming myself because I should have argued it more maybe. I just don’t think it’s fun to have these guys sitting.”

This is nothing new for Izzo. This was calculated. He basically said the same thing after Michigan State, then No. 1 in the country, beat Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic two seasons ago, when the rules committee tried to implement these same rules. It was his pushback that started the campaign to get rid of the freedom of movement rules.

But here’s the thing: we all knew this was going to happen. We knew there was going to be an adjustment period, for coaches and players and referees alike. In the long run, freedom of movement is good for basketball. It’s part of the reason the NBA is so much fun to watch these days, as their emphasis on the freedom of movement got us out of the days where the Detroit Pistons were winning titles without scoring 80 points.

Physicality is ingrained in college basketball. Coaches teach defense a certain way. Players play defense a certain way. The guys in the NBA are stronger, but the style of play is much more physical in the college game than the pro game. That doesn’t change overnight.

It changes when those rules are enforced and those fouls are called, and, as a result, the players and coaches learn to adjust to them.

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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