Arkansas v Kentucky

No. 17 Kentucky suffers a setback, losing to Arkansas at home

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This one is going to hurt.

No. 17 Kentucky lost to Arkansas in overtime for the second time this season, falling 71-67 to the Razorbacks. This time, it didn’t come on a fluky tip-dunk, but it did come at Rupp Arena to a team coach by Mike Anderson. As of the start of February, Anderson had won just two SEC road games in his two-and-a-half seasons as the head coach of Arkansas.

So yeah, that’s a bad sign for the Wildcats, because this was more than just a loss.

It would be one thing if Arkansas came out and played their best basketball. We might be able to look past this if they hit 15 threes or if Bobby Portis had another one of those 35 points games in him. But the Razorbacks didn’t play well. They turned the ball over 20 times. They shot 41.7% from the floor. They gave up 26 offensive rebounds to the Wildcats … and won.

In Rupp Arena.

This was a setback for Kentucky. Plain and simple. Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison and James Young combined to go 11-for-39 from the floor with 11 turnovers, and despite playing poorly throughout the night, those three insisted on wild drives to the rim instead of pounding the ball into the paint down the stretch. Guard play was a major question mark for this group earlier in the season. Decision-making, shot selection, leadership. Few thought the Harrison twins were up for the challenge, and while they played much better in recent weeks, this looked like a performance from back in December.

Here’s the other issue: all of a sudden, Kentucky looks destined for a middling seed. They have one win — one! — over a surefire NCAA tournament team at this point, and that came against Louisville at home when Luke Hancock was still banged up.

Tomorrow, when our new bracket is posted, they are likely going to be sitting somewhere around a six or a seven seed. Their ceiling, if they can beat Florida in the season finale and win the SEC tournament, is probably a No. 3 or No. 4 seed. Lose to Florida and flameout early in the SEC tournament, however, and Kentucky might end up playing a top two seed in the Round of 32. If they get that far.

As far as Arkansas is concerned, the enormity of this win cannot be overstated. This is a team that had won two of their last three on the road entering the night that now has a pair of wins over the Wildcats to go along with two other top 50 wins. With this win, the Razorbacks just played their way onto the right side of the bubble.

Rick Pitino: ‘We should be penalized … but not this team’

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.

Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.

How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?

Well, it seems.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.

And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.

“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”

He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.

But credit the Cardinals for responding.

Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.

Oklahoma State without Jawun Evans, questionable moving forward

Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans (1) goes up for a shot between Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and forward Perry Ellis (34) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Oklahoma State won 86-67. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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Oklahoma State’s star point guard was not in the lineup on Saturday against No. 13 Iowa State.

Evans injured his shoulder in the Cowboys’ loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday and was ruled out of Saturday’s game.

According to the school, his official status moving forward is questionable. The Pokes are just 11-11 on the season and likely need to earn the Big 12’s at-large bid to get into the NCAA tournament. It makes sense to let him get healthy.

Evans was averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 boards this season, but he had been arguably the best point guard in the Big 12 during league play, averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 assists.