Kansas v Baylor

Naadir Tharpe leds No. 6 Kansas to a win at Baylor

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Baylor had their chance to knock off No. 8 Kansas on Tuesday night.

Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, the two superstars on the Kansas roster, did not score in the first half until Wiggins his a halfcourt shot at the buzzer. They finished a combined 5-for-19 from the floor. Wiggins had 14 points, seven boards, five assists, three steals and two blocks on the night, which is ridiculous when you consider that he played pretty poorly outside of a seven or eight minute stretch in the second half.

Embiid? He had five points, four fouls and three turnovers.

In other words, the Jayhawks were primed for an upset, and Baylor could do nothing about it, shooting 29.1% from the floor in a 69-52 loss. Take away Brady Heslip’s 4-for-5 start from three in the first 10 minutes, and Baylor shot 12-for-50 from the field.

That ain’t good.

And it puts them in an even bigger hole when it comes to the NCAA tournament.

Baylor is 14-8 on the season and 2-7 in league play. But they beat Colorado and Kentucky in non-conference play and the Big 12 has enough good teams that the Bears are still going to have plenty of chances to land the wins they need to win to go dancing. I’m just not convinced that they can get there, not when their zone is about as effective as using a coffee filter as a coffee mug and half of the roster has apparently already checked out.

As far as Kansas is concerned, this game was just another example of the growth of Naadir Tharpe. He had 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting and handed out four assists with just two turnovers, hitting a number of big shots in the process. He’s come up huge in a lot of big games this season, and it’s certainly a comforting sign for Bill Self that he can count on Tharpe to play like this on the nights that his best players are off.

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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