In two games this week, No. 1 Syracuse remained unbeaten with two thrilling victories over No. 25 Pittsburgh and N.C. State. Both of those wins came without senior center Baye Moussa Keita. Though the next time the Orange take the floor, the 6-foot-10 Keita could be back in the lineup.
Keita has been sidelined the last two games with a sprained right knee, though he might make his return on Wednesday night, at home, against Boston College, according to Donna Ditota of the Post-Standard.
“If it came down to it, I could have gone out there,” Keita told the Post-Standard on Saturday. “I ran for a little bit yesterday in practice. I felt good going up and down and getting back my breathing. And getting used to the brace: I have to wear it for the rest of the season and I have to get used to it, learn how to move with it. It’s going to be a little bit weird — that’s what the doctor told me.”
With Keita unavailable this past week, Rakeem Christmas has racked up the minutes, logging 35 minutes in each game against Pitt and N.C. State while forwards C.J. Fair and Jermai Grant continue to play the majority of each game on the Cuse frontline. Getting Keita back in the rotation will help with Syracuse’s interior depth, especially since Dajuan Coleman was lost for the season last month.
Keita is averaging 2.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 block in just under 16 minutes per game this year for the Orange.
No. 15 Cincinnati pounced on Memphis from the start, taking a 51-32 lead into halftime.
Then, Gary Clark decided to add insult to injury to start the second half. Seriously, how did he catch that?
Mick Cronin’s team is much better offensively than in previous seasons. I’m sure fans in the Fifth Third Arena can get used to seeing more plays like this.
Michigan State freshman guard Cassius Winston had just one field goal in the first half. And it was a half-court buzzer-beater as the Spartans capped a sizable run to take a 49-31 lead over Nebraska going into the break.
The Spartans ended the half on a 21-5 run.
Winston provided a serious boost off the bench during that stanza. Moments earlier, he helped the Breslin Center erupt when he lobbed a pass off the backboard to teammate Miles Bridges.
Michigan State opened the day projected as one of the final at-large bids in the NCAA Tournament. The margin for error is thing and it appears the Spartans are playing with a sense of urgency.
Wednesday’s slate of games had several wild results.
Former Ohio State walk-on turned blogger turned author Mark Titus, who is currently writing for The Ringer, joined Rob Dauster on the latest episode of the CBT Podcast to go over last night’s games. The two also discussed who is the best team in the nation at the moment, as well Frank Mason III’s rap single from several years ago #BIFM
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom
North Carolina’s Roy Williams called fellow Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino to apologize for a fan’s behavior during Wednesday night’s game in Chapel Hill.
While leaving the floor at halftime, Pitino had to be restrained by members of the Louisville coaching staff and he and a UNC fan exchanged words as he made his way to the locker rom. There’s video of Pitino pointing and shouting at a fan, who reportedly said, “Pitino, you suck!”
“I don’t like that,” Williams said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “I mean we’re in North Carolina. We don’t have to be like everybody else. We can raise Cain. You can boo, but you don’t have to say the stuff that we as coaches have to put up with.”
“I hope that never happens at North Carolina ever again.”
No. 8 North Carolina defeated No. 7 Louisville, 74-63.
STILL TO PLAY
Georgia at Alabama (RPI: 68, KenPom: 61, next four teams), 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Michigan State (RPI: 43, KenPom: 55, No. 10 seed), 7:00 p.m.
Towson at UNC Wilmington (RPI: 41, KenPom: 57, No. 12 seed), 7:00 p.m.