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LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Come-from-behind wins lead ACC past Big Ten

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Virginia Tech 73, Michigan 70

Seth Allen scored five straight points in the final two minutes to cap a Hokies comeback from 14 points down as Virginia Tech landed a much-needed win on the road against Michigan. The Wolverines, who looked so impressive at the 2K Classic in New York two weeks ago, have now lost their last two games against quality opponents. This is a win that will look good for Tech on Selection Sunday.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 13 Indiana 76, No. 3 North Carolina 67: The Hoosiers cruised to another elite win without really getting tested. “Who is the real Indiana?” Dickie V asked on the broadcast. I answered that question here.

No. 14 Louisville 71, No. 15 Purdue 64: The Cardinals suffocated Purdue in the first half and held on down the stretch as the Boilermakers made their run. Our take on the game can be found here.

No. 6 Virginia 63, Ohio State 61: The Wahoos played unquestionably their worst half of the season, digging themselves a 32-16 hole at home against Ohio State. But as you might expect, Virginia came storming back in the second half to win, 63-61. London Perrantes led the way with 19 points, coming up especially big in the clutch.

Virginia’s win gave the ACC a 9-5 win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Mountain West wins: Boise State picked up a win over a good SMU team at home while Colorado State went into Boulder and knocked off a Colorado team that a lot of people think have a shot to make the NCAA tournament. For a league that has been trending towards one-bid territory of late, this was a good day.

STARRED

Obi Enechionyia, Temple: Enechionyia had 26 points to lead the Owls to a win over city rival Saint Joseph’s, hitting six threes, including a huge three in the final minute.

Rodney Bullock, Providence: 36 points, six boards, three assists, three steals, 5-for-8 threes. I don’t care that it came against New Hampshire, that’s an impressive stat-line.

Marcus Evans, Rice: One of the nation’s best mid0major players, Evans had 31 points and eight assists in a win over Houston Baptist.

STRUGGLED

Washington: The Huskies committed 25 turnovers and blew a 22-5 lead in a game they lost 86-71 to TCU while shooting 10-for-12 from three. It sounds hard to do, but it happened.

Northern Iowa: The Panthers, who looked like they might contend for an at-large bid early, lost to George Mason at home on a night where they shot 25.9 percent and 8-for-32 from three.

TOP 25

  • No. 9 Baylor coasted to a 79-45 win over Sam Houston State in Waco.
  • Lauri Markkanen led five players in double-figures with 19 points, six boards and five assists as No. 16 Arizona beat Texas Southern, 85-63.
  • No. 12 St. Mary’s trailed Stanford by four at halftime, but outscored the Cardinal by 19 in the second half to claim a 66-55 win. Calvin Hermanson went 9 of 11 en route to 25 points for the Gaels. No starters scored in double-figures for Stanford.
  • Lonzo Ball set a UCLA freshman record with 13 assists, and the No. 11 Bruins beat UC Riverside, 98-56. T.J Leaf (18 points and 10 rebounds) and Thomas Welsh (12 points and 12 rebounds)  both had double-doubles. Isaac Hamilton scored 27 points, hitting seven 3s.

NOTABLES

  • Chimezie Metu had 19 points and 13 boards in a win over San Diego, but it could’ve been costly for USC as Bennie Boatwright hurt his knee in the first half.
  • How weird is this sentence to read: UConn improved to 3-4 on the season with a 51-49 win over Boston U. at home.
  • Middle Tennessee State, the team that upset No. 2 Michigan State in the NCAA tournament last season, blew out Ole Miss on the road, winning by 15 after taking a 29-point lead into halftime.
  • Ivan Rabb had 25 points and 13 boards as Cal got past Louisiana Tech in overtime, 66-59.

Andy Kennedy resigns from Ole Miss effective immediately

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Andy Kennedy announced that, effective immediately, he will be stepping down as the head coach at Ole Miss. Tony Madlock will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

The reason is simple: Kennedy wanted to “relieve any external pressure being felt by our current players” and he did not believe that last week’s announcement that this would be his final season in Oxford accomplished that.

“It has become readily apparent to me that my continued presence as the head coach is proving detrimental to these players finishing the season in a fashion that is representative of The Standard for this program that has been clearly established and maintained for over a decade,” Kennedy said in a statement. “Yherefore, I believe that it is in everyone’s best interest that I exit my role as head coach effective immediately. We all know that “clean breaks” are always best, and I should have realized this last Monday. My apologies.”

On Saturday, Ole Miss lost by 17 points at Mississippi State. That came two days after Kennedy went viral for a brutally honest criticism of what his team was going through.

“I can’t get to them,” he said. “I can’t reach them.”

It’s sad that this is the way that it had to end for the best basketball coach that Ole Miss has ever had. But it had to be done.

No. 12 Duke beats No. 11 Clemson as defensive resurgence continues

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Grayson Allen finished with 19 points, four assists and four steals, scoring 17 of his points in the first half, and Wendell Carter added 15 points, 10 boards and three blocks as No. 12 Duke won their fourth straight game without Marvin Bagley III, 66-57.

No. 11 Clemson was short-handed as well, and that’s something that needs to be noted. Not only are they playing without Donte Grantham, who tore his ACL earlier this year, but Shelton Mitchell was not in the lineup after suffering a nasty concussion at Florida State on Wednesday.

The Tigers were a No. 3 seed when the bracket reveal occurred last Sunday, but like Ohio State and Oklahoma, they have now lost back-to-back games; 11 of the top 16 teams have lost a game in the last week.

But the story here more than anything is Duke.

Yes, Allen finished with 19 points and continues to play well without Bagley on the floor. Getting him into a rhythm is critically important for this team. He was averaging 14.7 points in 24 games with Bagley. He is averaging 22.3 points in the last three games that Bagley has missed, and that does not include the 37-point outburst he had when Bagley went down with an injury against Michigan State.

Coach K also has had a chance to develop some confidence in his bench. Javin DeLaurier had 10 boards on Sunday. Marques Bolden didn’t play a done of minutes, but he still finished with five points, three boards and a pair of blocks. He was, generally speaking, a positive influence on the game.

But here is the most important and perplexing nugget: Duke, for the third straight game, was excellent defensively. They’ve now allowed fewer than 1.0 points-per-possession in each of the last three games. They are clearly not the same time offensively without Bagley’s presence on the floor, but it is impossible to ignore what they have been defensively in the last 10 days without him.

The question we need to ask is whether or not that will continue once Bagley makes his return.

Because the only thing standing between Duke and a Final Four is their inability to defend.

No. 8 Ohio State falls at No. 22 Michigan, Michigan State moves into first in Big Ten

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After all of the drama and the speculation about whether or not Ohio State or Purdue was the best team in the Big Ten, water has seemingly found its level.

On Sunday afternoon in Ann Arbor, No. 8 Ohio State lost their second straight game, falling 74-62 at No. 22 Michigan and allowing No. 2 Michigan State — who had one of college basketball’s greatest comebacks on Saturday at Northwestern — to slide into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with just one week left of the regular season.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led the way with 17 points while Jordan Poole added 15 off the bench in the win.

The Wolverines did a good job of slowing down Ohio State’s all-american forward, Keita Bates-Diop. KBD finished with 17 points and seven boards, but he shot just 5-for-17 from the floor. Jae-Sean Tate led the way with 20 points and 15 boards for the Buckeyes.

There was a special moment before this game even started as Austin Hatch, a two-time survivor of plane crashes that killed his entire immediate family, took part in the team’s Senior Day.

VIDEO: Michigan celebrates plane crash survivor Austin Hatch’s Senior Day

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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:

Bubble Banter: All of Sunday’s bubble action in one place

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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

SETON HALL
NEBRASKA
HOUSTON
TEMPLE
PENN STATE