AP photo

How the Final Four teams have fared against each other

Leave a comment

Now that the Final Four field is set, it’s time to take a look at the four teams and how familiar they are with each other. Florida, the top overall seed, has played all three teams this season. While the Gators, who went 21-0 against SEC competition, swept all three meetings with No. 8 Kentucky their two defeats this year have come at the hands of No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 7 UConn.

Below is a look at each possible matchup, beginning with the two games that are guaranteed to take place.

6:09 p.m. EST: No. 1 Florida vs. No. 7 UConn (TBS) 

This season’s meeting: UConn 65, Florida 64 (December 2, 2013)

The Huskies won in Storrs, with Shabazz Napier’s jumper as time expired being the difference. Napier made nine of his 15 shots from the field and scored a game-high 26 points, with DeAndre Daniels adding 14 to go along with seven rebounds. Casey Prather (19 points, seven rebounds), Patric Young (17, seven rebounds) and Scottie Wilbekin (15) all reached double figures for Florida, and it should be noted that Wilbekin left the game with just over three minutes remaining with a sprained ankle (also, Kasey Hill missed the game due to injury).

Series Record: Tied, 1-1

NCAA Tournament history: Florida’s win in this series came in the Sweet 16 of the 1994 NCAA tournament, with the Gators beating the Huskies 69-60 in overtime. With the game tied at 57 with 3.4 seconds remaining in regulation Donyell Marshall missed two free throws, sending the game into overtime. A critical Craig Brown three with just over a minute remaining in overtime gave Florida a four-point lead.

Approx. 8:49 p.m. EST: No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Kentucky (TBS)

Series Record: Kentucky leads, 3-1

The Wildcats and Badgers have not met this season but they do have NCAA tournament history, with Kentucky beating Wisconsin 63-57 in the Sweet 16 of the 2003 NCAA tournament. Marquis Estill scored a career-high 28 points in that one, making 12 of his 18 field goal attempts.

Other Possible Matchups

Florida vs. Kentucky: 3-0 this season; Kentucky leads the all-time series 94-37

Florida won both regular season meetings by double figures, beating the Wildcats by ten in Lexington (February 15) and by 19 in Gainesville (March 8). However with the stakes higher in the SEC tournament final Kentucky put forth its best effort, losing to Florida by a single point (61-60). Michael Frazier II and Patric Young scored 14 points apiece to lead four Gators in double figures, with a 15-point advantage from deep (24-9) and the Harrison twins and Julius Randle combining to shoot 8-for-29 from the field factoring into the Florida victory.

Florida vs. Wisconsin: 59-53 Badgers on November 12; all-time series tied at two wins apiece

In this season’s meeting the Gators were without two key pieces, as both Wilbekin and Dorian Finney-Smith were serving suspensions at the time. Also of note: Michael Frazier II, now in the starting lineup, scored 20 points off the bench. Sam Dekker scored 16 points to lead three Badgers in double figures, and Wisconsin outscored Florida by 12 points (27-15) from beyond the arc. These two programs have never met in the NCAA tournament.

UConn vs. Kentucky: UConn leads the all-time series 3-1

All four games in this series have been played in the last eight years, with two being played in the NCAA tournament. In the 2006 Round of 32 the Huskies held off the Wildcats 87-83 in Philadelphia, and in the 2011 Final Four they beat Kentucky 56-55 in the national semifinals. All four games have been played on neutral courts, and Kentucky’s lone victory came at Madison Square Garden in 2009 (64-61).

UConn vs. Wisconsin: UConn leads the all-time series, 1-0

The Huskies and Badgers have met just once in their respective histories, with UConn winning 76-57 on November 24, 2008 in the finals of the Paradise Jam. Jerome Dyson scored 21 points and Jeff Adrien added 14, with Hasheem Thabeet earning tournament MVP honors.

Carter leads No. 2 Maryland past Cleveland State, 80-63

Melo Trimble
Leave a comment

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Robert Carter had 17 points and eight rebounds to help No. 2 Maryland beat Cleveland State 80-63 on Saturday night.

Jared Nickens added 16 points, and freshman Diamond Stone had a season-high 15 points for Maryland (6-0), set for a showdown with No. 9 North Carolina in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night.

Demonte Flannigan scored 11 of his 20 points in the first half, and Rob Edwards added 14 points for Cleveland State (2-4), which was 3 of 12 (25 percent) from 3-point range. Vinny Zollo went 5 of 7 from the field and had 11 points for the Vikings.

Maryland led by just four at the break and took control by increasing the pressure to open the second half. A dunk by Stone capped an 8-0 run and the Terrapins led 45-33 with 17:06 left.

From there, the Terps used their size and depth to wear down the Vikings, who could not get closer than nine points the rest of the way. Nickens and Jake Layman hit 3-pointers and Maryland opened a 64-49 lead with 7:43 remaining.

The 6-foot-7 Flannagan picked up his fourth foul with just under 10 minutes left, hampering the Vikings at both ends of the court. A putback by Nickens and a pair of free throws boosted Terrapins’ margin to 70-53 with 5:18 left and they were never threatened the rest of the way.

Maryland was 15 of 18 from the free-throw line and had a 27-22 rebounding edge.

Maryland could not shake Cleveland State in the opening half and a jumper by Kenny Carpenter gave the Vikings their first lead, 25-24, with 8:03 left. Nickens responded with three straight 3-pointers that helped the Terps take a 37-33 lead at halftime

Maryland shot 14 of 23 (60.9 percent) in the opening half.


Cleveland State: The Vikings also lost their only other matchup against the Terrapins, 95-84, on Dec. 5 1984. … Maryland was Cleveland State highest-ranked opponent since Nov. 26, 1999, when it lost to No. 1 Cincinnati, 90-56.

Maryland: The Terrapins won their 29th consecutive game at home against an unranked team. … Maryland extended its winning streak in November to 16 games, having not lost since Nov. 17, 2013, against Oregon State (90-83).


Cleveland State is at Toledo on Wednesday night.

Maryland plays at No. 9 North Carolina on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Kris Dunn vs. Denzel Valentine; Two 6-0 teams from Ohio battle in Orlando

Kris Dunn
AP Photo
Leave a comment

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 3 Michigan State vs. Providence, 9:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Two Player of the Year candidates lock horns on Sunday night as Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine battles Providence’s Kris Dunn. Both players are strong threats to record a triple-double each time they take the floor and both are key reasons why their teams are 6-0. The Friars could probably use this game a bit more than Michigan State since they enter this game unranked and could use another confidence-boosting win for a team filled with newer players. As for the Spartans, winning the Wooden Legacy would mean another great accomplishment before December even started for a team that has national title aspirations.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 23 Xavier vs. Dayton, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

These two 6-0 teams from Ohio will meet in Orlando in the championship game of the AdvoCare Invitational. The Musketeers have six different players averaging at least 9.7 points per game this season as they’ve received great balance on the offensive end. As for Dayton, Charles Cooke as emerged as a go-to player early this season while guard Scoochie Smith has also been outstanding. This will be the first time these two schools have played since Feb. 16, 2013.


  • One of the fun teams to watch this week has been Monmouth and their amusing end-of-bench antics. On the floor, the Hawks knocked off Notre Dame and gave Dayton a scare and they’ll face USC for the second time this season to close out the AdvoCare Invitational. The Trojans won the first one 101-90, but this is a 12:30 p.m. EST tip, so that could benefit Monmouth the second time around.
  • Wisconsin visiting No. 7 Oklahoma is an intriguing Sunday matchup. The Badgers could certainly use a true road win here as they’re off to a 4-2 start. The Sooners get more of a real test after only playing Memphis as a notable opponent their first three games.
  • Also going on in the AdvoCare Invitational is No. 20 Wichita State facing Iowa and No. 17 Notre Dame battling Alabama. The Shockers are going without senior starters Fred Van Vleet and Anton Grady as they try to escape Orlando with a win. Notre Dame is hoping to close out the event strong after its surprising upset to Monmouth.
  • Action also continues in Anaheim at the Wooden Legacy as No. 11 Arizona will take on Boise State, while Boston College plays Santa Clara and UC Irvine faces Evansville. Arizona will look to get back on the right track after the close loss to Providence in the semifinals.
  • No. 6 Duke gets an afternoon tilt with Utah State at home before they face Indiana during the week. It’ll be interesting to see if Blue Devil freshman wing Brandon Ingram keeps his strong play going from earlier in the week.
  • UCLA returns home and could badly use a win against Cal State Northridge. The Bruins went a disappointing 1-2 in the Maui Invitational and need to get back on the right track before the face No. 1 Kentucky next week.


  • Brown vs. No. 25 SMU, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)


  • Jackson State at Marquette, 12:30 p.m.
  • Rider at Rhode Island, 1:00 p.m.
  • Savannah State at South Florida, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • South Carolina State at Kansas State, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Northern Colorado at Colorado, 2:00 p.m. (PAC12)
  • UC Santa Barbara at Arizona State, 4:00 p.m. (PAC12)