Sean Kilpatrick, Corey Allen Jr.

Thursday’s Pregame Shootaround: Memphis-Cincinnati, Iowa-Michigan State

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 20 Memphis at No. 15 Cincinnati, 7:00 p.m.

Earlier this season, Cincinnati made a name for themselves when they went into FedEx Forum and put a whooping down on the Tigers. Might it be time for Josh Pastner’s club to exact their revenge? At this point, the only thing on the line for Memphis is seeding. Where will they be slotted in the NCAA tournament? Can they manage to avoid the 4-5 game in the AAC tournament? Cincinnati, on the other hand, needs a win to keep pace with Louisville in the conference standing.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: No. 24 Iowa at No. 22 Michigan State, 9:00 p.m.

Are there two teams in the Big Ten that are sputtering more than the Hawkeyes and the Spartans? The Hawkeyes can’t stop anyone lately, and the Spartans are playing like a JV team in recent weeks. They’ve lost at home to Nebraska and Illinois in the last ten days. That’s not a good sign. Will Keith Appling’s wrist ever be right again?

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 6 Villanova at Xavier, 7:00 p.m.

The Musketeers will be playing without Matt Stainbrook, who strained his MCL on Saturday. That’s certainly not good news, as he was their third-leading scorer and lead rebounder. Xavier needs this game badly, however, as their loss to Seton Hall over the weekend has put them in a bit of a predicament when it comes to making the NCAA tournament.


1) There are four Conference USA teams sitting at 12-3 in the league right now. They are all on the road tonight, and will all play at 8:00 p.m.: Louisiana Tech is at Rice, Southern Miss is at Tulane, Tulsa is at North Texas and Middle Tennessee State is at UAB.

2) George Mason will be squaring off with La Salle on the NBC Sports Network tonight at 8:00 p.m.

3) Who doesn’t love a good rivalry game? VCU-Richmond will be wild tonight, especially considering that Richmond’s tournament chances will be dead and gone without a win tonight.

4) UCLA caps off their season with a trip to the Washington schools. They play the Huskies tonight.

5) There are five conference tournaments taking place tonight: The Atlantic Sun semifinals, the Ohio Valley quarterfinals, and the first round for the MAAC, the MVC and the WCC.

Brooks’ big game leads No. 15 Oregon over Fresno State 78-73

Dillon Brooks, Torren Jones
AP Photo/Chris Pietsch
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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Dillon Brooks had 21 points and 10 rebounds and No. 15 Oregon staved off a late rally by Fresno State for a 78-73 victory Monday night.

Chris Boucher and Elgin Cook added 14 points each for the Ducks (6-0), who led 70-52 with 6:35 to play before Marvelle Harris scored 13 points in a 16-2 run by the Bulldogs (5-1) that cut the deficit to four.

A driving layup by Brooks put Oregon up 74-68 with 1:20 left, and the Ducks held on by making four of six free throws in the final 45 seconds.

Harris, who didn’t score until the 12:04 mark of the second half, led Fresno State with 18 points, while Paul Watson added 11 and Torren Jones had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 41-32 behind Jones and Karachi Edo, who had nine rebounds and 10 points.

Freshman Tyler Dorsey, Oregon’s leading scorer at 15.2 points per game, finished with 12.

The Ducks scored the game’s first 11 points, went up by as many as 14 and took a 37-25 halftime lead. The Ducks did most of the damage from inside the 3-point arc (9 of 10) and at the free throw line, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-5.

Fresno State, meanwhile, missed its first six shots from the field, shot 29.0 percent (9 of 31) and saw its top two scorers, Harris and Cezar Guerrero, held scoreless for the first 20 minutes.

The senior guards came in averaging 20.2 and 13.2 points per game, respectively.


Fresno State: Harris, the preseason choice for Mountain West Conference player of the year, needed one point to crack the Bulldog’s all-time top 10 in scoring. After going scoreless in the first half, he finished with 18 to rank 10th with 1,425, one behind Tod Bernard in ninth place, in 107 career games. . The Bulldogs fell to 2-10 all-time against Oregon. They last time they beat the Ducks, who have won the last five meetings, was in 1995. . Fresno State hasn’t beaten a Top 25 team on the road since 2000.

Oregon: The double-double was the second of the season Brooks and fourth of his career. . The Ducks are 40-2 against nonconference opponents since moving into Matthew Knight Arena five years ago. . The 6-0 start is Oregon’s second in the last nine years. The Ducks started 13-0 two seasons ago.

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.