South Carolina v Baylor

Late Night Snacks: More Big 12 OT action and North Carolina wins big road ACC game

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GAME OF THE DAY: Baylor 70, Oklahoma State 64, OT

Of course the Big 12 Big Monday game went to overtime. It’s becoming a Monday night tradition.

Leyton Hammonds played late-game hero for the Cowboys, stealing an inbounds pass and burying the game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer, but Baylor pulled away in overtime thanks to strong offensive rebounding and good scoring balance.

Baylor picked up its third consecutive win in the Big 12 and has some quality games coming up while Oklahoma State has lost seven consecutive games.

I have more on this one here.


1) North Carolina 81, Florida State 75

The Tar Heels picked up their seventh straight win in the ACC on Monday with a road win at Florida State. Despite James Michael McAdoo finishing scoreless and fouling out with only 13 minutes played, North Carolina took its first lead of the game with ten minutes left and held on to win as Marcus Paige (20 points) and Kennedy Meeks (23 points) each had great efforts.

I have more on this game here.

2) Towson 78, Delaware 63

Big win for Towson (18-9, 9-3) at home as they beat CAA unbeaten Delaware (19-8, 11-1) by double digits. The win snapped a 13-game winning streak for the Blue Hens, as they had yet to lose in 2014 and had already defeated Towson at their place in January. Jerelle Benimon went for 25 points, 18 rebounds and five assists to lead four Towson starters in double figures.

3) Georgia State 68, Texas State 41

Georgia State (18-7, 11-1) continued its strong season in the Sun Belt with a 68-41 win over Texas State (7-18, 3-9). Ryan Harrow led four starters in double figures with 17 points.


1) De’Mon Brooks (21 points) led five players with at least 13 points for Davidson (16-11, 12-1) in a SoCon victory over The Citadel. Davidson leads Chattanooga by a game in the SoCon standings.

2) Jeremy Ingram played all 40 minutes and scored 38 points as North Carolina Central (20-5, 11-1) knocked off Savannah State 76-62 for a MEAC road win. North Carolina Central has won 12 consecutive games and leads the MEAC.

3) Morgan State (10-13, 8-3) had three players with 20 points each in its win over Maryland-Eastern Shore (4-19, 2-9). Justin Black finished with 24 points, Ian Chiles had 22 points and Cedric Blossom had 20 points in the MEAC road win.


1) James Michael McAdoo played 13 minutes and fouled out in North Carolina’s win at Florida State. Even worse, McAdoo was passive on offense and was 0-for-2 for 0 points.

2) Big Sky leader Weber State (14-8. 11-3) took a road loss to Idaho State (10-14, 7-7) on Monday night in a game that could have helped them maintain their lead in the league.

3) Prairie View A&M became the latest victim of Grambling State as the Tigers won 83-81 for a Monday SWAC road win. Grambling State picked up its first road win of the season — and in nearly two years.

No. 1 Kentucky survives without Tyler Ulis in lineup

Tyler Ulis
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Less than a week after giving No. 2 Maryland all they could handle, Illinois State went into Lexington and gave No. 1 Kentucky fits.

The Redbirds never really threatened UK in the second half, but they went into the break tied and were within single digits down the stretch, eventually losing 75-63.

Kentucky was flustered. They turned the ball over 15 times compared to just eight assists, they shot 2-for-12 from three and just 29-for-46 (63 percent) from the charity stripe. They simply did not handle Illinois State’s pressure all that well.

And there was a reason for that.

Tyler Ulis didn’t play.

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate just what a player brings to a team until that player is not in the lineup, and that was precisely the case with Ulis on Monday night. It was crystal clear what he provides Kentucky. Beyond leadership and the ability to break a press without throwing the ball to the other team, he’s a calming presence. He doesn’t get rattled when a defender is harassing him and he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a situation like a mid-major threatening the No. 1 team in the country in their own gym.

He’s everything you look for in a pure point guard, and for as good as Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe have looked at times this season, it should be crystal clear who the most important player on this Kentucky team is.

LSU loses to Charleston, eliminates at-large bid margin for error

Ben Simmons
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Ben Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, the second time in his six-game career that the LSU freshman has collected that many caroms, but that wasn’t enough for the Tigers to avoid dropping a game on the road to the College of Charleston, 70-58. It was the third straight loss for Simmons’ crew, as they fell to Marquette and N.C. State at the Legends Classic last week.

But here’s the thing: LSU didn’t just lose.

The game really wasn’t close.

LSU was down by as many as 23 points. It was 39-17 at the half, and that was after Charleston had a shot at the buzzer called off upon review. They made a bit of a run in the second half but never got closer than seven. When LSU would cut into the lead, the Cougars would respond with a run of their own, killing LSU’s spirit while keeping them at arm’s length.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons’ one college year a waste?]

Now, there are quite a few things here to discuss. For starters, LSU’s effort was, at best, apathetic, and, at worst, regular old pathetic. The team has a serious lack of leadership that was plainly evident on Monday night; would Fred VanVleet let his team fold against a program picked to finish at the bottom of the SoCon? Would Tyler Ulis? For that matter, would Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski or John Calipari?

Perhaps more importantly, does any of that change when Keith Hornsby and Craig Victor get back?

Simmons did show off his potential — 18 boards, four assists, he even made his first three of the year — but he also showed precisely why there are scouts that are trying to curtail the LeBron James comparisons. Simmons was 4-for-15 from the floor with seven turnovers against a mediocre mid-major team. There are so many things that Simmons does well, but scoring efficiently — particularly in half court setting — and shooting the ball consistently are not on that list.

But here’s the biggest issue: LSU may have put themselves in a situation where they aren’t a tournament team. As of today, they’re 3-3 on the season with losses to a pair of teams that, at best, seem destined to be in the bubble conversation on Selection Sunday in addition to this loss to Charleston. The rest of their non-conference schedule is ugly. The only game worth noting is at home against No. 6 Oklahoma at the end of January.

The NCAA factors in non-conference schedule strength when determining at-large teams. You need to at least try, and LSU didn’t try; they have one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country.

The great thing about being in the SEC — as opposed to, say, the Missouri Valley — is that the Tigers will have plenty of chances to earn marquee wins. Six, by my court: Kentucky twice, Texas A&M twice, Vanderbilt on the road and Oklahoma at home. They probably need to win at least two or three of those games to have a real chance, and that’s assuming they can avoid anymore horrid losses in the process.

The season isn’t over six games in, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But LSU has done a hell of a job eliminating their margin for error.