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Late Night Snacks: Shockers move to 31-0 and eight ranked teams fall to unranked foes

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GAME OF THE DAY: Southeast Missouri 118, Murray State 115 (2OT)

This OVC contest was wild, with the Redhawks holding on for the three-point win despite giving Murray State one last shot at the tie with less than a second remaining in the second extra session. How’d it happen? SEMO’s Nino Johnson was hit with a technical foul with four tenths of a second remaining for hanging on the rim. Luckily for the Redhawks after making the free throws the Racers turned the ball over, thus ending the game. Jarekious Bradley led the way for the winners with 24 points and 14 rebounds, with Jarvis Williams pacing the Racers with 25 points and 15 rebounds. And as a result of this outcome Belmont is the outright OVC champion.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1) No. 2 Wichita State 68, Missouri State 45

Gregg Marshall’s Shockers finished its regular season with a 31-0 record, beating Missouri State convincingly to cap what’s been an incredible run thus far. Cleanthony Early scored 19 points and Ron Baker added 11 for Wichita State, which limited the Bears to 31.4% shooting from the field. Next up for the Shockers is the Missouri Valley conference tournament, and three wins there would make them the first team since UNLV in 1991 to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated.

2) Oklahoma State 72, No. 5 Kansas 65

There was no bigger winner amongst bubble teams on Saturday than the Cowboys, who knocked off the Big 12 champions in Stillwater thanks in large part to Marcus Smart. Smart scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half, and over the final 11:53 he accounted for 14 points and three assists without committing a turnover. As for Kansas, they committed 22 turnovers and that combined with the health of Joel Embiid is of far greater concern than the result.

3) No. 12 Virginia 75, No. 4 Syracuse 56

The last time Virginia took the court in the ACC tournament as the top seed was way back in 1981, when Ralph Sampson was patrolling the paint and Terry Holland the sidelines. Thanks to an impressive second half put together by the current edition of the Cavaliers that 33-year streak will come to an end in a couple weeks, with Virginia shooting 57.7% in the second half against Syracuse. Malcolm Brogdon led four Virginia players in double figures with 19 points, and Virginia’s performance on the boards also factored into the outcome.

STARRED

1) D.J. Covington (VMI)

33 points (12-for-17 FG), 14 rebounds and six blocked shots in VMI’s 86-66 win at Longwood.

2) Jared Brownridge (Santa Clara) 

38 points (12-for-22 FG), seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in the Broncos’ 86-78 win at Pepperdine.

3) Tim Williams (Samford)

32 points (10-for-11 FG), six rebounds and three assists in the Bulldogs’ 93-86 win over Western Carolina.

STRUGGLED 

1) Kendall Anthony (Richmond)

Anthony shot 2-for-20 from the field in Richmond’s 66-43 loss at Rhode Island.

2) Sheldon Strickland (Charleston Southern) 

Strickland made just one of his ten field goal attempts, finishing the Buccaneers’ 63-61 loss at Coastal Carolina with three points, six rebounds and five assists.

3) Askia Booker and Xavier Talton (Colorado) 

Colorado’s starting backcourt combined to shoot 2-for-16 from the field, scoring seven points in their 75-64 loss at Utah.

NOTABLES

  • No. 1 Florida extended its win streak to 21 games with a 79-61 win over LSU in Gainesville. Dorian Finney-Smith scored 16 points off the bench to lead the way.
  • UConn didn’t make a field goal over the final 7:39 but the Huskies made nine of their 13 free throw attempts, beating No. 11 Cincinnati 51-45 in Hartford.
  • Two other Big 12 bubble teams, Baylor and West Virginia, avoided what would have been crushing defeats by beating Texas Tech and TCU, respectively.
  • The same can be said for SEC teams Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee, with all three winning by comfortable margins.
  • No. 21 Memphis picked up a solid win for its resume, beating No. 7 Louisville 72-66 to complete a sweep of the season series. The Cardinals looked to be well on their way to sole possession of first place in the American, but Memphis would come back thanks to some solid defense.
  • No. 18 Michigan State had everyone back on the floor but they didn’t look good at all, falling 53-46 at home to Illinois. Is this a matter of the players needing more time together, or should Tom Izzo be worried about this team’s postseason prospects?
  • Oklahoma converted 16 Texas turnovers into 23 points in their 77-65 win over the Longhorns. Isaiah Cousins scored 24 points and Buddy Hield added 17 for the Sooners.
  • LIU-Brooklyn point guard Jason Brickman became the fourth player (Bobby Hurley, Chris Corchianni and Ed Cota being the others) in NCAA history to compile at least 1,000 assists in a career, reaching the mark during the Blackbirds’ 81-62 loss to Bryant. The final assist count for Brickman, whose college career came to an end on Saturday: 1,009.
  • Justin Martin racked up 19 points and 16 rebounds to lead Xavier to a 75-69 win over No. 9 Creighton in Cincinnati.
  • For the second consecutive game No. 10 Saint Louis was made to pay for its turnover issues, committing 17 in a 67-56 loss at VCU. The Billikens have now lost two straight.
  • No. 16 Michigan clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title with a 66-56 win over Minnesota. Michigan can win the title outright with a victory at Illinois on Tuesday night.
  • No. 17 Kentucky came out sluggish at South Carolina, digging themselves a hole that proved too difficult to climb out of with the Gamecocks winning 72-67.
  • Harvard’s one win away from a third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament after beating Columbia 80-47. Next up: at Yale on Friday, with the Bulldogs being the only team capable of catching the Crimson in the standings.
  • Gonzaga made quite the statement in its regular season finale, whipping rival Saint Mary’s 75-47 in Moraga.
  • Stephen F. Austin moved to 16-0 in the Southland with a 75-62 win at Southeast Louisiana, with Desmond Haymon leading four Lumberjacks in double figures with 17 points.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

Player of the Week: Lauri Markkanen, Arizona

TUCSON, AZ - JANUARY 12:  Lauri Markkanen #10 of the Arizona Wildcats drives the ball past Torian Graham #4 of the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half of the college basketball game at McKale Center on January 12, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Lauri Markkanen entered this week mired in an awful slump.

Over the course of his last four games, he was shooting 20 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three. He hadn’t scored more than eight points in any of the four games and, frankly, looked nothing like the seven-footer who had drawn comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki as he averaged 15.4 points and shot 45.7 percent from three.

That was until the Wildcats had to play against the Washington schools.

With Dusan Ristic and Kadeem Allen both battling injury, Markkanen played some of his best basketball of the season, averaging 22.5 points and 12.0 boards in the two wins. The most promising part of it is that Markannen was more than willing to change his game, going away from being a perimeter oriented player to anchoring Arizona’s post offense. On the season, roughly 45 percent of Markannen’s field goals come from beyond the arc. This past week, just six of the 30 shots he attempted were three-balls.

Yes, it came against Washington State and Washington.

But that’s not what matters here.

What matters is that Lauri got his groove back and Sean Miller figured out that he has another option to work the post if Ristic gets himself into foul trouble or sprains an ankle during the NCAA tournament.

RELATED: Player of the Week | Team of the Week | Takeaways | Top 25

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THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Mike Daum, South Dakota State: Daum went for 51 points and 15 boards, hitting seven threes as a 6-foot-9 forward, as the Jackrabbits beat Fort Wayne on Saturday. That came on the heels of a 26-point performance during the week. Daum is the first player to score 51 points in a game since … South Dakota State’s own Nate Wolters in 2013.
  • Frank Mason, Kansas: Mason played just about his best game of the season on Saturday, finishing with 23 points and eight assists as the Jayhawks went into Waco and knocked off No. 4 Baylor. That came on the heels of a 24-point, 5-assists, 4-rebound performance in Monday’s comeback win over No. 9 West Virginia.
  • Jayson Tatum, Duke: Tatum had 19 points and seven boards in Duke’s win over Wake Forest on Saturday, but his most impressive performance came on Wednesday night, when he had 28 points and eight boards – including three game-changing threes in the final five minutes – as the Blue Devils landed an impressive road win over No. 14 Virginia.
  • Markus Howard, Marquette: Howard went for 34 points and tied a Marquette record by hitting nine threes on Saturday night as the Golden Eagles landed a statement, 22-point win over Xavier. That win may be enough to get Marquette into the NCAA tournament.
  • Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall: Carrington went for a career-high 41 points and seven assists as the Pirates landed a critical win over No. 20 Creighton last week, one that could be enough to get Seton Hall into the tournament. He also had a team-high 22 points in the loss to Villanova on Saturday.

College Basketball Talk Top 25: So what do we do with Baylor and Virginia right now?

LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 28:  London Perrantes #32 of the Virginia Cavaliers dribbles the ball during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC YUM! Center on December 28, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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The big question this week is what to do with Baylor and what to do with Virginia.

With Baylor, it’s pretty clear: They’re still a top ten team, but as of today, they’re just not playing as well as they were earlier in the season. They’ve lost four of their last six games, but it’s not like they were embarrassed in any of the four. They came back and had three shots to win or force overtime in their loss at home to Kansas State. They lost at Texas Tech, who very nearly beat Kansas in that same gym. They got swept by Kansas, turning the ball over when they had a chance to force overtime at Phog Allen Fieldhouse and losing by two at home after their best guard, Manu Lecomte, injured himself midway through the second half.

What’s that tell us?

Baylor isn’t some dominant team. But there is no dominant team anywhere this season, and while Baylor has been on the wrong end of some bad luck and a couple poor finishes, they’re still the same Baylor they’ve been all season. They’ll get this thing turned around soon enough.

Virginia is a different story. They’ve now lost three in a row and five of their last seven games, falling all the way off the pace in the ACC title race. The Wahoos, however, are in much more trouble than Baylor because they simply are running out of ways to score. They had 44 points with two minutes left in their loss to Duke. They managed just 41 points in their loss to North Carolina.

But here’s the question that needs to be asked: Is Virginia struggling because they aren’t good enough to win a game or two in March, or is this a direct result of having to play Duke and North Carolina in back-to-back games?

You tell me.

Anyway, here are the full rankings:

RELATED: Player of the Week | Team of the Week | Takeaways | Top 25

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1. Gonzaga (28-0, Last Week: No. 1)
2. Villanova (26-2, 2)
3. Kansas (24-3, 3)
4. Louisville (22-5, 4)
5. Oregon (24-4, 6)
6. North Carolina (23-5, 6)
7. Arizona (25-3, 8)
8. UCLA (24-3, 9)
9. Baylor (22-5, 5)
10. West Virginia (21-6, 10)
11. Kentucky (22-5, 12)
12. Duke (22-5, 12)
13. Purdue (22-5, 13)
14. Florida (22-5, 15)
15. Wisconsin (22-5, 15)
16. Cincinnati (24-3, 18)
17. SMU (24-4, 19)
18. Notre Dame (21-7, 20)
19. Saint Mary’s (24-3, 21)
20. Florida State (21-6, 17)
21. Iowa State (17-9, UR)
22. Virginia (18-8, 14)
23. Northwestern (20-7, 23)
24. Butler (21-6, UR)
25. Wichita State (25-4, UT)

DROPPED OUT: No. 22 South Carolina, No. 24 Xavier, No. 25 Creighton
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 21 Iowa State, No. 24 Butler, No. 25 Wichita State

You Make The Call: Did Tyler Roberson set an illegal screen?

SYRACUSE, NY - JANUARY 28:  Tyler Roberson #21 of the Syracuse Orange dunks the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half at the Carrier Dome on January 28, 2017 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
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Syracuse was unable to cap off a thrilling comeback on Sunday night due, in large part, to the fact that Tyler Roberson was called for an illegal screen with 16 seconds left in the game and the Orange down just two points.

They had gone on a 20-9 run in the previous four minutes to close the deficit, and had gotten a stop in order to get the ball on that possession.

But here’s the thing: The call was, to put it politely, controversial. I don’t think that Tyler Roberson committed a foul here.

You make the call:

The loss put the Orange in a bad spot with just two weeks left before the end of the regular season. We go all the way through their at-large profile here.

Bubble Banter: Let’s talk about Syracuse, Georgetown and Georgia Tech

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 16:  Tyus Battle #25 of the Syracuse Orange during their game at the Dean Smith Center on January 16, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here. This is where the seeds you see listed below come from.

This post will be updated throughout the night. 

LOSERS

Georgetown (RPI: 61, KenPom: 53, first four out): The Hoyas missed a golden opportunity to add an elite road win to their profile, losing at Creighton by 17 points, and now I think we’re just about to a point where we can write the Hoyas off. They’re sitting at 14-13 on the season and 5-9 in the Big East. The win over Oregon on a neutral, at Butler and over Creighton at home got them back into the picture, but three losses in their last four games will probably be too much to overcome.

That said, I’m going to keep listing them here because I think that if they can win out – DePaul, at St. John’s, at Seton Hall, Villanova – they’ll have an argument. In the early bracket reveal, the committee made clear that they value good wins over anything, which is why Gonzaga was rated as the fourth No. 1 seed despite having fewer losses than any of the other No. 1 seeds. There aren’t many teams that would be able to match Georgetown win for win in they win out.

Syracuse (RPI: 77, KenPom: 46, No. 10 seed): The Orange lost to Georgia Tech on Sunday, so let’s talk about Syracuse, because they are on track to enter Selection Sunday with one of the weirder profiles. The bad first: they lost to a bad, injury-depleted UConn team at the Garden. They were blown out at Boston College. They were blown out by St. John’s at home by 33 points. There is no high-major team with that collection of awful losses to their name, and it doesn’t help that Jim Boeheim’s club has nine more losses to add to the mix.

They also have some good wins – Virginia, Florida State, Wake Forest, Miami – but they’ve only won two games away from the Carrier Dome: at Clemson, who is 4-10 in the ACC, and at N.C. State, who fired their coach three days ago. With FSU and UVA careening – combined, they’ve lost five straight games – neither of those games look at good as they did two weeks ago. So after today, for my money, Syracuse is out. That can change, however. They get Duke at home this week and Louisville on the road this weekend. Those are season-changers.

WINNERS

Georgia Tech (RPI: 79, KenPom: 78, first four out): The Yellow Jackets have a very similar profile to that of Syracuse, who they beat at home on Sunday. They have wins over North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame, but they also won at VCU – which is now a top 30 road win – and their worst loss came against an Ohio team that looked like they could win the MAC before their best player went down with a season-ending injury. Their problem? Their non-conference strength of schedule is 244th, and that RPI is dreadfully low for an at-large contender.

Michigan (RPI: 52, KenPom: 27, No. 10 seed): The Wolverines lost an overtime game on the road to Minnesota, which is not the kind of loss that is really going to hurt their profile beyond the opportunity cost of it. The Wolverines are still in a good spot.

Valparaiso (RPI: 74, KenPom: 97, No. 12 seed): Valpo is in as a No. 12 seed in our bracket, but they are in as an automatic bid, meaning that there are no at-large teams rated below them. Being the best automatic bid does not guarantee that they’ll be in as an at-large, not when their best win is a Rhode Island team that is fading and they’ve lost four games to sub-100 competition. Win that auto-bid.

Illinois State (RPI: 35, KenPom: 49, No. 12 seed): Illinois State beat Loyola (IL) on Sunday to keep themselves alive for a potential at-large bid should they lose in the Missouri Valley tournament. Their profile, however, is quite different than that of Wichita State. Their only top 50 win is a Wichita State team whose only top 50 win is … Illinois State. They have also lost to San Francisco, Tulsa and Murray State, who is 239th in the RPI. Pro-tip: Don’t risk it, even with the weak bubble. The committee is going to value wins over a lack of losses.

 

VIDEO: Valparaiso’s Micah Bradford makes 3/4 court shot off the shot clock

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Valparaiso freshman Micah Bradford made one of the most ridiculous shots we’ll see all season on Sunday against Detroit.

With time winding down in the first half, Bradford hoisted a 3/4 court buzzer-beater and watched as it hit the shot clock, flew high in the air, hit the rim and dropped through the hoop to the disbelief of everyone in attendance.

Unfortunately, Bradford’s wacky three-pointer did not count as he finished with five points in a 20-point Valpo win.

(H/t: Eric Fawcett)