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Late Night Snacks: Tournament-record four overtime games on Thursday

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 7 Texas 87, No. 10 Arizona State 85

After Jonathan Gilling tied the game with two free throws, Arizona State’s season ended in cruel fashion as a Cameron Ridley basket as time expired gave the Longhorns the win in Milwaukee. The individual matchup between Ridley and Jordan Bachynski was entertaining to say the least, with Ridley finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots and Bachynski countering with 25 points and seven boards. Six Longhorns finished in double figures including Martez Walker, who scored 16 points off the bench. Next up for Texas is Midwest Region No. 2 Michigan.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 12 North Dakota State 80, No. 5 Oklahoma 75 (OT)

When star guard Taylor Braun fouled out with 1:18 remaining in overtime it seemed as if the Bison were in trouble in the West Region matchup. But what ultimately occurred was freshman Carlin Dupree taking advantage of his opportunity to shine, making two free throws and then converting a critical layup with 42 seconds remaining. From there NDSU would go on to pick up the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament victory, advancing to play either No. 4 San Diego State or No. 13 New Mexico State. Lawrence Alexander led the way for the winners with 28 points.

2) No. 5 Saint Louis 83, No. 12 NC State 80 (OT)

The Wolfpack, a trendy pick to beat Saint Louis, led by 14 points with 5:03 remaining and looked poised to make prophets out of many. But then NC State started missing free throws and doing other things teams looking to close out a game should not do, allowing Saint Louis to pick up an improbable comeback victory. T.J. Warren scored 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds but he fouled out in the final minute of overtime, robbing NC State of its best scoring option. Rob Loe led SLU with 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Jordair Jett played very good defense on Warren down the stretch in regulation as well as in overtime.

3) No. 11 Dayton 60, No. 6 Ohio State 59

Vee Sanford’s basket with 3.9 seconds remaining was the difference in the first game of the day, advancing the Flyers into the Round of 32 where they’ll face South Region No. 3 Syracuse. Dyshawn Pierre scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the balanced Flyers, who won despite shooting just 3-for-13 from beyond the arc. Sam Thompson scored 18 points and Aaron Craft 16 for the Buckeyes, with the latter having his college career come to an end in Buffalo.

STARRED

1) Adreian Payne (Michigan State) 

Payne shot 10-for-15 from the field and 17-for-17 from the foul line, scoring a career-high 41 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the Spartans’ 93-78 win over Delaware.

2) Lawrence Alexander (North Dakota State)

Alexander scored 28 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds and four assists in North Dakota State’s 80-75 overtime win over Oklahoma.

3) Rob Loe (Saint Louis)

Accounted for 22 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in the Billikens’ 83-80 overtime win over NC State.

STRUGGLED

1) Jordan Aaron (Milwaukee)

Aaron shot 1-for-15 from the field, scoring six points in the Panthers’ 73-53 loss to Villanova.

2) Askia Booker (Colorado)

Scored six points on 2-for-9 shooting to go along with five rebounds and four turnovers (no assists) in Colorado’s 77-48 loss to Pittsburgh.

3) Sam Rowley (Albany)

Rowley made just one of his eight field goal attempts, finishing with three points in the Great Danes’ 67-55 loss to Florida.

NOTABLES

  • After getting off to a slow start West Region No. 2 Wisconsin built its lead over American to ten points at the half, and they would go on to win 75-35.
  • South Region No. 9 Pittsburgh jumped out to a 13-0 lead on No. 8 Colorado and never looked back, beating the Buffaloes 77-48 in Orlando. The 29-point margin is the largest for a Pitt team in its NCAA tournament history.
  • Wesley Saunders scored 12 points and Siyani Chambers added 11 as East Region No. 12 Harvard established an early lead and held off No. 5 Cincinnati in Spokane, 61-57. Seniors Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson led the way offensively for Cincinnati, scoring 18 and 13 points respectively.
  • Trevor Cooney shot 4-for-8 from beyond the arc, scoring 18 points in South Region No. 3 Syracuse’s 77-53 win over Western Michigan.
  • West Region No. 7 Oregon proved to be too much for No. 10 BYU as the Ducks won 87-68 in Milwaukee. The star of the day for the Ducks: forward Elgin Cook, who finished the game with 23 points and eight rebounds.
  • South Region No. 1 Florida didn’t put forth its best effort against scrapping No. 16 Albany but they were able to establish some distance in the second half, beating the Great Danes 67-55.
  • Adreian Payne’s career afternoon will receive much of the attention as East Region No. 4 Michigan State beat No. 13 Delaware 93-78 in Spokane, but Travis Trice’s 19 points off the bench were important as well.
  • Amida Brimah’s three-point play with 39 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime, and with Saint Joseph’s forward Halil Kanacevic having fouled out East Region No. 7 UConn took over in the extra session to win 89-81.
  • Midwest Region No. 2 Michigan didn’t get to play as fast as it may have wanted to against No. 15 Wofford, but the Wolverines managed to shoot 47.8% from the field in their 57-40 win over the Terriers. Nik Stauskas scored 15 points and Glenn Robinson III 14 for the Wolverines.
  • East Region No. 2 Villanova didn’t get off to the best of starts against No. 15 Milwaukee, but the Wildcats woke up in the second half to beat the Panthers 73-53 in Buffalo. The Wildcats will face former Big East foe UConn Saturday.
  • Midwest Region No. 4 Louisville, a trendy pick to reach the Final Four, had its hands full with a Manhattan squad coached by former Rick Pitino assistant Steve Masiello. But the Cardinals managed to win 71-64, with Luke Hancock hitting two critical three-pointers down the stretch.
  • In spite of some shoddy play in the late stages of regulation, West Region No. 4 seed San Diego State managed to beat New Mexico State 73-69. This was the fourth overtime game of the day, something that hadn’t happened in the NCAA tournament prior to Thursday.

Weekend Preview: Villanova tested by Notre Dame, bounce-backs for Xavier, Butler

Notre Dame's Steve Vasturia (32), Bonzie Colson (35) and V.J. Beachem (3) talk during the second half of a first-round men's college basketball game against Michigan in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 18, 2016, in New York. Notre Dame won 70-63. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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SATURDAY’S SHOWDOWNS

No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 23 Notre Dame, Sat. 12:00 p.m.: This is a fascinating matchup for a couple of reasons. For starters, this is the first real test that undefeated Notre Dame is going to be getting this season. We honestly have no idea how good the Irish actually are, and you wouldn’t be alone in needing to see a team starting Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson prove it before buying in.

But we also haven’t see Villanova tested in a while, either. They won at Purdue earlier this season and, since then, have more-or-less coasted to their undefeated mark. This will not only be a nice gauge game for Villanova, but it will also be a chance for them to pad an NCAA tournament résumé that will need to be strong for them to get a No. 1 seed this year.

The other part of this that’s fascinating? Both of these teams play small ball. There are going to be times on Saturday where 6-foot-5 Bonzie Colson is playing center and being guarded by 6-foot-5 Kris Jenkins, who will be at center for the Wildcats.

No. 22 Cincinnati at No. 16 Butler, Sat. 4:30 p.m.: Butler could really use this win. Coming off of a road loss to Indiana State during the week, the Bulldogs will be playing back in Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday. But here’s the thing: Cincinnati could really use this win as well, and that Bearcat program already owns a road win over Iowa State.

The matchup here will be intriguing as well. Butler plays a more open, run-and-gun style than they did under Brad Stevens. Tyler Lewis is a show-man in transition, as is Kamar Baldwin, and getting Kelan Martin spotting up or attacking a close out is always a good coaching maneuver. Cincinnati is tough and big and physical. They try to wear you down. They pound the glass. They really, really defend. How does Butler handle it?

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FIVE MORE GAMES TO WATCH

  • No. 17 Wisconsin at Marquette, Sat. 2:00 p.m.: In one of the more under-appreciated rivalries in college basketball, Marquette will be looking to land a marquee win to bolster the non-conference portion of their NCAA tournament résumé. Will
    Nigel Hayes continue to play like an all-american?
  • Utah at No. 13 Xavier, Sat. 5:30 p.m.: The Musketeers have lost back-to-back games and are really struggling to shoot the ball from the perimeter. Utah has struggled this season as they have a young roster waiting on a pair of transfers to get eligible.
  • Michigan at No. 2 UCLA, Sat. 8:00 p.m.: UCLA is now a week removed from their win over then-No. 1 Kentucky in Rupp Arena. This will be the first time they see the floor since then. Michigan had the look of a tournament team earlier in the season, but they’ve lost a pair of winnable games in recent weeks.
  • Hofstra vs. No. 6 Kentucky, Sun. 3:00 p.m.: The Wildcats will square off with Hofstra on Sunday, a game that is only really notable because it will be played in the Barclays Center.
  • No. 21 Florida at Florida State, Sun. 4:00 p.m.: The Gators looked the part of an NCAA tournament team when they lost to Duke in New York City on Tuesday. Florida State is more talented, however, but it’s difficult to trust them. This will be a big win for whoever gets it.

FIVE STORY LINES TO FOLLOW

1. Kentucky’s perimeter shooting is officially a concern: The Wildcats are currently shooting 32.2 percent from beyond the arc, which is 254th nationally. The only real threat they have from three in their starting lineup is Malik Monk, and he’s streaky. They can play Derek Willis at the four, but Willis is such a step-down on the defensive end of the floor from Wenyen Gabriel that it may not end up being a net-positive to play him, not when the Wildcats rely so heavily on their defense to create offense in transition.

I’m not sure what the answer is. I’m not even sure there is an answer. This is just what Coach Cal has to work with this season. Can they improve? Probably. The great thing about being a bad shooting team is that shooting is the easiest thing to develop. Teams without size can’t get bigger. Teams without athleticism can’t get more athletic. The only problem? There are just four months left of the season. How much better can Kentucky really get?

One thing worth noting here: The 2010 Kentucky team, the one with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe, the one that lost in the Elite 8 because of their shooting issues, finished the season making 33.1 percent of their threes.

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 07:  De'Aaron Fox #0 of the Kentucky Wildcats dribbles the ball during the game against the Valparaiso Crusaders at Rupp Arena on December 7, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
De’Aaron Fox (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

2. Let’s see if Notre Dame is for real: The Fighting Irish are one of nine undefeated teams left in college basketball, but as good as they have been this season, Mike Brey’s club still hasn’t really beaten anyone. The Colorado win looks better after the Buffaloes beat Xavier. Beating Fort Wayne, the team that upset Indiana, is good. Northwestern and Iowa are Big Ten teams.

But none of those four wins – none of Notre Dame’s nine wins – have come against a team we know will be in the NCAA tournament. We know Villanova will be, and the interesting thing about this matchup is how well the two teams matchup, particularly up front. Neither the Irish nor the Wildcats have much size inside. If Notre Dame can pull off the upset, it will be time to start talking about them much more.

3. UCLA’s first action since the win at Kentucky: The last time that we saw the Bruins take the court they put up 97 points on Kentucky in Rupp Arena. That’s pretty good. It’s also an easy way to get a big head, especially for a team that has so many freshmen on the roster. UCLA will face off with Michigan at home on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how they come out early on in this one.

4. Bounce-back chances for Big East programs: No. 13 Xavier has lost two games in a row now, both of them coming on the road. They were felled at No. 4 Baylor before getting dropped at Colorado on Wednesday. The Musketeers will host Utah, a winnable game that could help them find a rhythm shooting the ball.

No. 16 Butler is coming off of a loss of their home, having been upset at Indiana State by the Sycamores. The Bulldogs will have a bigger test than the Musketeers, as they host a top 25 team in No. 22 Cincinnati.

5. Jonathan Isaac’s health, Florida State’s tournament hopes?: Isaac is the forgotten top ten pick. He’s been terrific this season and has a chance to play his way into the top ten if he continues doing what he’s been doing, but he’s missed the last two games with a hip injury. This is an important game for the Seminoles, as they host Florida this weekend. Will Isaac be available?

UT-Arlington dominates, upsets No. 12 St. Mary’s

Texas-Arlington's Kevin Hervey, left, reacts to a 73-68 NCAA college basketball game win as Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate looks on  in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
AP Photo/Paul Vernon
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UT-Arlington made a statement on Thursday night, completely dominating No. 12 Saint Mary’s in a 65-51 upset win in a true road game in Moraga.

Back in October, I ranked both the Gaels and the Mavericks in the top-5 of my Mid-Major Power Rankings. Saint Mary’s was the obvious top choice, one of the nation’s most efficient offenses that returned Emmett Naar and Jock Landale. UT-Arlington, ranked fifth, served as a dangerous opponent. The Mavs had defeated Ohio State and Memphis in 2015, but their season was derailed once Kevin Hervey, a player with serious pro potential, tore his ACL.

With five starters back, including Hervey, who is just now getting back to 100 percent, UT-Arlington looks every bit the part of a March Cinderella.

The Mavericks jumped out to an early lead by forcing the Gaels to play out of character. Saint Mary’s had already committed a season-high 14 turnovers before the midway point of the second half. The Gaels, who entered shooting 40 percent from three as a team, were held to 8-of-27 (30 percent) from beyond the arc.

UT-Arlington did an incredible job of closing out on shooters. And it didn’t matter the matchup, at times we saw Hervey, a 6-foot-9 junior, come out and run a guard off the 3-point line. While those statistics mentioned above up appear in the box score, the amount of deflections don’t. The Mavericks used its length and athleticism to get their hands everywhere on the defensive end of the floor, making it difficult to find good looks.

In the first half, UT-Arlington controlled the glass. Saint Mary’s found more success in that department after halftime, as Kevin Clark’s offensive putback capped an 11-2 run, which cut the deficit to 52-41. However, the Mavs were able to counter each time the Gaels threatened, never letting the lead get to single digits.

Aside from the struggles the typically-efficient Saint Mary’s offense had, the Gaels failed to keep UT-Arlington guards Erick Neal and Kaelon Wilson out of the lane, whether it be on a high ball screen or a handoff. Saint Mary’s never seemed to have a help-side defender there to protect the rim. Neal had 13 points and eight assists (five turnovers), while Wilson had 10 points off the bench. Hervey had a game-high 15 points and seven rebounds.

UT-Arlington is winners of eight straight after losing three straight. One of those wins includes a double-digit win over Texas in Austin. The Mavericks are the clear-cut favorite to win the Sun Belt. Come Selection Sunday, I’d say plenty of at-large teams would not like to be paired with Scott Cross’ team.

Iowa cruises past No. 25 Iowa State

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  Head coach Fran McCaffery of the Iowa Hawkeyes reacts in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 20, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Iowa picked up a major win on Thursday night, defeating in-state rival No. 25 Iowa State, 78-64, in a contest the Hawkeyes thoroughly dominated.

Let’s put it this way: the Hawkeyes have played four top-100 teams, according to kenpom. In those games, all losses by the way, their defense has surrendered 91 points to Seton Hall, 74 points to a Virginia team that plays at the slowest tempo in the country, 100 points to Memphis and 92 points to Notre Dame.

On Saturday, on the same floor Iowa demolished the Cyclones, its defense allowed 98 points in a loss to Nebraska Omaha.

This is exactly the sort of win Fran McCaffery and Co. needed to right the ship as we inch closer and closer to conference play.

When the Cyclones went to their bench in the first half, Nick Baer sparked a 10-0 run which helped set the tone for the remainder of the half. Iowa State went without a field goal for more than six minutes during that span.

Iowa kept Iowa State from getting out and running, holding the Cyclones to zero fast break points through the first 20 minutes and limiting them to only 36 percent from the floor as a team. Iowa, on the other hand, shot 47 percent, including 59 percent in the first half, which led to a 15-point halftime lead.

Peter Jok torched Iowa State to the tune of 23 points (4-of-7 from distance).

Monte Morris was held in check with 10 points, while Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas shot a combined 4-of-13 from three (they each hit a three with less than three minutes to play and the outcome all but decided).

Iowa State’s offense is becoming a bigger concern. Just like against Gonzaga, the Cyclones dug a first-half hole they could shoot out their way of. And like last week’s overtime loss to Cincinnati, they struggled from beyond the arc.

Iowa landed a marquee win it needed, while its rival headed home with questions to answer after losing three of four.

 

Alabama wing sidelined due to weight loss

ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Avery Johnson of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at HP Field House on November 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Alabama junior wing Nick King will not be with the team for Sunday evening’s matchup against No. 24 Oregon in Eugene.

According to Rainer Sabin of the AL.com, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said King undergoing a series of tests after losing more than 10 pounds in less than a week and a half.

Johnson told reporters that he is “very concerned” and estimates that as of now King will be sidelined for “a week or two.”

King, who played his first two seasons at Memphis, has appeared in all seven games for the Crimson Tide, averaging 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game.

Damonte Dodd out with MCL sprain

COLLEGE PARK, MD - FEBRUARY 13: Melo Trimble #2 and Damonte Dodd #35 of the Maryland Terrapins react to a call as Alex Illikainen #25 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks on in the second half at Xfinity Center on February 13, 2016 in College Park, Maryland. Wisconsin won 70-57.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Maryland could be without the services of starting center Damonte Dodd for the remainder of the non-conference slate, the team announced on Wednesday.

Dodd suffered a MCL sprain in his left knee during practice earlier this week. The injury caused him to miss Wednesday’s 76-56 win over Howard. He will not be available for matchups with St. Peter’s and Jacksonville State. The Terrapins then close out the non-conference slate at Charlotte on Dec. 20 before opening up Big Ten play a week later.

Dodd has started in six of seven games he’s appeared in this season. He’s averaging 5.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Michael Cekovsky started in place of Dodd on Wednesday night. Ivan Bender, who returned to the lineup against Howard after missing the previous contest, should also see an increase in minutes with Dodd sidelined.