LAWRENCE, KS – FEBRUARY 8: Joel Embiid #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks grabs his back as he walks off the court during a game against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse on February 8, 2014 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Joel Embiid
If you don’t know the story of Michigan senior Austin Hatch, you should.
He’s survived two plane crashes in his life. The first, in 2003, robbed him of his mother, 11-year old sister and five-year old brother. In 2011, to celebrate his commitment to the Wolverines, Hatch’s father flew them up to the family’s vacation home, but the plane crashed into a garage killing Hatch’s dad and his stepmom and leaving Austin critically injured.
He had a severe brain trauma, a punctured lung, broken ribs and a broken collarbone, and in order to manage the swelling in his brain, he was put into a medically-induced coma for eight months.
He managed to return and even played for the Wolverines during the 2014-15 season, but he eventually made the decision to retire from basketball at the end of the year. He did, however, remain a part of the program and on Sunday, during Michigan’s Senior Day, he warmed up with the team and was introduced to the crowd as a starter and no, I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying:
As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Sunday.
It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:
- Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
- Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
- Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
- Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus
The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.
YET TO PLAY
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Injured South Carolina guard Kory Holden has left the team.
Gamecocks coach Frank Martin announced Holden’s decision Saturday, before South Carolina took on No. 10 Auburn at home.
Holden is a 6-foot-1 fourth-year junior who had sat out last season for the Gamecocks after transferring from Delaware. He was expected to be a big part of South Carolina’s backcourt this season with the departures of guards Sindarius Thornwell, Duane Notice, P.J. Dozier and Justin McKie from last year’s Final Four team.
Instead, Holden played just 14 games off the bench and missed the past 11 games with a hamstring strain. He had averaged about 11 minutes and 3.4 points per game this season.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
What’s the best way to shake off a 3-for-18 day that included a 1-for-13 showing from three-point range? By making nine straight three-pointers the next game.
That’s exactly what Notre Dame senior point guard Matt Farrell pulled off in a Saturday afternoon ACC road win at Boston College. With the Irish desperately needing wins to stay in the NCAA tournament picture, Farrell let it fly for 37 points while going 10-for-12 from three-point range.
Farrell also added seven assists and only turned the ball over twice even though he navigated Notre Dame’s high-octane offense through the full 40 minutes.
THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS
- MIKAL BRIDGES AND DONTE DIVINCENZO, Villanova: With Jalen Brunson having a slow afternoon, these two picked up the slack for Villanova. Bridges knocked down four first-half three-pointers on the way to 25 points for the Wildcats. DiVincenzo helped extinguish a Xavier second-half run with some big three-pointers, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
- CALEB AND CODY MARTIN, Nevada: Playing its first game without starting point guard Lindsey Drew, the Martin twins stepped up in a road win at Utah State. Cody played point guard and dropped 30 points on 13-for-18 shooting while adding nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. Caleb added 23 points and six rebounds.
- JOEL BERRY II, North Carolina: The senior point guard put together a solid overall game in a road win for the Tar Heels over Louisville. Berry finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists while knocking down five three-pointers.
- FLETCHER MCGEE, Wofford: You might remember the junior guard for his performance in helping the Terriers stun North Carolina earlier this season. McGee had a monster outing to top that game in a win over Chattanooga. Knocking in a school-record 11 three-pointers, McGee had 45 points on 17-for-26 shooting.
TEAM OF THE DAY
Mark this one down as a tie. Kansas and Villanova both picked off fellow top-25 teams. More importantly, they both end Saturday tied for first place in their respective leagues after entering the day in second place.
Although the Jayhawks needed some help and got it with Baylor’s huge upset win over No. 7 Texas Tech, Kansas deserves credit on its own for its second-half, double-digit comeback win over No. 20 West Virginia. Now tied atop the Big 12 with the Red Raiders, Kansas will get a crack at Texas Tech in Lubbock next Saturday.
As for the Wildcats, they continued their domination of No. 4 Xavier with a convincing road win over the Musketeers. While Villanova has struggled with perimeter shooting the past few games, they had no such issues in this one as 11 first-half threes helped them gain control.
GAME OF THE DAY
As if this season hasn’t produced enough insane outcomes to begin with, things got even crazier on Saturday when No. 2 Michigan State rallied to beat Northwestern for a Big Ten road win.
The Spartans found themselves down by 27 points and still came back to win. It matches the largest comeback from the last decade of college basketball. The Big Ten has never had a bigger men’s basketball comeback.
It was a strange game in which the Spartans didn’t even need star sophomore Miles Bridges to have a big game to win one of the biggest comebacks in college basketball history.
WTF???? OF THE DAY
This win probability chart from Michigan State’s unlikely victory over Northwestern is ridiculous. We all understand how you feel, Chris Collins.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
We went this long without talking about Trae Young, so here’s the mandatory update. Texas actually came out of this one as the big story thanks to a huge Big 12 road win over Oklahoma. Dylan Osetkowski paced the Longhorns with 21 points while Young finished with 26 points on 7-for-21 shooting. This one really helps the bubble case for Texas.
Syracuse and Baylor were among the other teams earning huge bubble wins on Saturday as the Orange beat Miami and the Bears knocked off No. 7 Texas Tech. The Red Raiders also lost Keenan Evans to injury in that one as another this is yet another subplot to keep an eye on in the hectic Big 12 race.
Another wild day in the SEC as three ranked teams lost to unranked teams. South Carolina took down No. 10 Auburn but the biggest news in that one could be the Tigers’ loss of leading shot blocker Anfernee McLemore to injury. Georgia raced past No. 18 Tennessee behind a big effort from Yante Maten. And Arkansas earned another important resume win by handling No. 21 Texas A&M.
Of course, you can’t talk SEC with Kentucky as the Wildcats had some positive news. They snapped a four-game losing streak as Kentucky took down Alabama.
In the ACC, No. 14 North Carolina won its first game at Louisville as they knocked off the Cardinals.
SPOKANE, Wash. — Pepperdine had closed within two points with more than seven minutes left, and forwards Johnathan Williams and Killian Tillie of No. 9 Gonzaga rose to meet the challenge.
Williams had two dunks and a block, and Tillie hit a couple of 3-pointers, to sink the Waves 81-67 on Saturday night.
“I’m playing with confidence,” said Williams, who had 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks for his sixth consecutive double-double. It’s rebound first. Points will come second. It’s been working for me.”
Coach Mark Few said Williams’ exceptional play during February was not a surprise.
“When he plays assertively, athletically … he’s a handful,” Few said. “He’s cutting loose a little bit.”
Tillie and Josh Perkins each scored 15 points for Gonzaga (25-4, 15-1 West Coast), which has won nine consecutive games and remains in first place in the West Coast Conference.
Colbey Ross scored 21 points for Pepperdine (4-24, 1-15), which has lost seven straight.
“Give them credit,” Williams said about Pepperdine. “They played a hell of a game out there. It was gut-check time.”
Gonzaga has won 35 straight games against Pepperdine dating to 2002. The Waves have not won in Spokane since 1998.
“They dialed it up defensively late in the game and got on a run,” Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson said of Gonzaga.
“We talked about not letting the crowd get in our heads, but it did,” Wilson said. “They went on a couple runs and the more the crowd was in the game, the better they played.”
Gonzaga hit four 3-pointers during an early 20-6 run to take a 26-12 lead.
Gonzaga began missing and Pepperdine clawed back to trail just 34-28 late in the first.
The Zags led 39-32 at halftime, after holding the Waves to 41 percent shooting.
Three 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half lifted the Bulldogs to a 54-40 lead.
But the Waves came back and a basket by Trae Berhow cut Gonzaga’s lead to 66-64 with 7:32 left. Tillie hit a 3-pointer and Williams dunked to push Gonzaga’s lead back to seven.
The Waves were scoreless for more than six minutes, missing seven shots, as the Zags built a 77-64 lead.
“In the end we were solid in the last four minutes,” Few said. “We were making plays at the end. We started the game well, but we couldn’t quite put them away (until the closing minutes).”
Gonzaga shot nearly 57 percent from 3-point range (13 of 23), but just 53 percent from the free throw line (8 of 15). Pepperdine shot 41.4 percent in each half.
TWENTY FIVE WINS
Gonzaga has won at least 25 games for 11 consecutive seasons, trailing only Kansas’ streak of 12. “That’s really significant,” Few said. “Those are hard to come by. I don’t take them for granted.”
Pepperdine: The school announced earlier this week that Coach Marty Wilson, in his seventh season, will not return next year. “I was blessed to be able to coach at my alma mater for seven years,” Wilson said. “Not many people get that opportunity.” Few said the close game was a sign of how much Wilson’s players respect him. Nine of the Waves have missed games with injuries this season. Ross leads all WCC freshmen in scoring at 14.3 points per game.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs and No. 3 Villanova are the only teams in the nation that have six players averaging at least 10 points per game. The Zags are seeking a 20th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. This was senior night for Williams and Silas Melson.
Pepperdine plays at No. 15 Saint Mary’s next Thursday.
Gonzaga, which wrapped up its home season on Saturday, plays at San Diego next Thursday.