NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25:  Dwayne Bacon #4 of the Florida State Seminoles drives to the basket against the Illinois Fighting Illiniin the second half during the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center on November 25, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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No. 9 Florida State manhandles No. 7 Duke

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For the second time this season, No. 7 Duke went on the road and got smacked around, this time losing to No. 9 Florida State, 88-72, in Tallahassee.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes led the way with 21 points.

It’s the 12th straight win for the Seminoles, who are one of just two undefeated teams left in the ACC, while Duke falls two games off pace. This is just the second true road game for the Blue Devils, and they played it without their leader on the bench (Coach K) and their leader on the floor (Amile Jefferson).

Does this say more about Florida State or Duke?

Here are four takeaways from the FSU win:

1. It’s time to count Florida State as an ACC title contender: There’s really nothing else to say about this.

The Seminoles have more than proven that they are capable of competing with anyone in the conference. They handled Duke easily on Tuesday just three days after they handled Virginia Tech on this same floor. That came a week after they went into Charlottesville and knocked off Virginia, which is never an easy thing to do. They’re 15-1 on the season, they’ve won 12 straight games and are a three-point loss to Temple away from being one of just two undefeated teams left in the sport.

What makes Florida State so dangerous is that there really isn’t a single strength that you can identify with this team. They are excellent in transition but they have the offensive talent to be able to execute in the half court. They are dangerous when they get out and press, but their bread-and-butter defensively is tough, aggressive man-to-man in the half court. They have a ton of size, length and athleticism along their front line but they are probably at their best when they play small-ball.

Given that every other ACC contender has proven themselves to be vulnerable, why can’t FSU win the conference title?

2. They did all this and their all-american didn’t play well: Jonathan Isaac is the best NBA prospect on Florida State’s roster. On Tuesday night, Rathan-Mayes was the best player on the Florida State roster. But throughout the season, Dwayne Bacon has been their guy. He leads the team in scoring and, after struggling with his efficiency throughout last season, has become a much more effective shooter while cutting down on his turnovers.

None of that was apparent against Duke.

Bacon finished with 13 points, six boards and five assists, but he was 6-for-15 from the floor and turned the ball over seven times. He didn’t play all that well. It happens. What doesn’t happen quite as often is to see a team like the Seminoles beat a team as talented as Duke is on a night where the best player on their roster doesn’t have a good game.

3. So does that mean we should be concerned with Duke?: Yes, because Duke’s defense is a major, major issue right now, particularly their defense on the interior. For as talented as Harry Giles III and Marques Bolden are, they are not yet anywhere close to being good enough to be the defensive anchor on a team that wants to play small-ball with four guards. For starters, their understanding of positional defense and where they are supposed to be on rotations is about what you would expect from a pair of freshmen that entered Tuesday having played a combined 125 minutes this season. Watching them defend ball-screens is as cringe-worthy as watching the most awkward scenes from The Office.

And it wasn’t just their positioning that was an issue. Duke is soft. Florida State on Tuesday was bigger, they were more physical and they were tougher, and that played as big of a role in the outcome of this game as anything. It might sound weird for some people to hear this, but Duke could really, really use a Plumlee – any Plumlee – right now.

Some of that will change when Amile Jefferson gets back from this foot injury, although if Duke’s recent history with defining injuries is any indication, we’re not going to know when he’ll be back until he’s announced in the starting lineup. Jefferson is as good of a positional defender as you’re going to find at the college level. But he’s also about 6-foot-8, meaning that he’s not exactly a shot-blocking presence and he’s not exactly going to push around anyone in the ACC. His presence did nothing to keep the Blue Devils from getting poleaxed by Virginia Tech.

This has been an issue with past Duke teams. In 2014, they couldn’t solve it and got upset by Mercer in the first round of the tournament. In 2015, they went on to win the national title.

4. So don’t totally abandon this team just yet: Duke has played just two games with their ideal starting lineup – Grayson Allen, Luke Kennard, Jayson Tatum, Amile Jefferson and Harry Giles III – intact. Tuesday night was just the second time that this group has played a true road game, and it came without their leader on the bench (Coach K) and their coach on the floor (Jefferson).

We were all ready to give up on Duke in 2015 when Angel Rodriguez and Manu Leconte looked like Steph Curry and Russelll Westbrook when Miami beat Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium, and that team got it figured out.

This team will probably get it figured out, too.

But as of now, Saturday’s trip to Louisville looks like quite a daunting task.

No. 9 North Carolina beats Syracuse for Roy Williams’ 800th win

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On Monday night, Roy Williams became the ninth men’s Division I college basketball coach to reach 800 wins.

The only man that has ever done it faster is Adolph Rupp, who needed all of 976 games to get to 800 wins.

Williams, after a 85-68 win over Syracuse in the Dean Dome on Monday, has a career record of 800-212, and only Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Bobby Knight, Dean Smith, Jim Calhoun, Rupp, Eddie Sutton and Bob Huggins have more.

So while the 20 points that Isaiah Hicks scored tonight matter, as does the 19 posted by Justin Jackson and the double-double from Kennedy Meeks, this night was about Williams and this milestone in his career.

“Eight hundred wins means I’ve had very good players,” Roy said at a ceremony after the game honoring him. “It’s the players, players that have made me every day.”

“It was never a dream of mine to win 800 games,” Roy added. “But it was a dream of mine to coach guys like this.”

Whenever he finally decides to retire, Ole Roy’s legacy will be an interesting one. For starters, the man has had two head coaching jobs in his life: Kansas and North Carolina. Spend enough time at those two programs and piling up the wins is almost inevitable, which is one of the reasons that Williams has developed a reputation for being a guy that brings in talent and just rolls the ball out there. Put another way, people talk about the other names on that 800-win list as some of the greatest coaches that have ever lived, but when was the last time you heard someone put Williams in that conversation?

And all that comes before you consider that Williams has been the face of the UNC program while they’ve spent the last five years dealing with an academic scandal surrounding the fake classes in the African-American studies department and the association it had with the basketball team and keeping players eligible.

Is that what Williams legacy will be? An overrated coach that needed to cheat to keep his kids academically eligible at UNC? Or will people realize that 800 wins and a pair of national titles aren’t a fluke or an accident?

Lobos assistant apologizes for altercation with Rams player

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) New Mexico assistant coach Terrence Rencher has apologized for his role in a verbal confrontation with Colorado State forward Emmanuel Omogbo outside Moby Arena following Saturday’s game.

The Mountain West Conference admonished both schools on Monday, but took no action over the altercation. The league said the behavior after the Lobos’ 84-71 win was unacceptable and poor judgment was used by several individuals. It also said it was unclear how the incident began.

The confrontation between Rencher and Omogbo was caught on video by The Albuquerque Journal.

In the video posted on Twitter , Omogbo and Rencher scream insults at each other while standing between two Lobos assistant coaches. Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy is seen holding back Omogbo, who eventually leaves the parking lot.

The conference left any possible punishment up to the schools after its investigation failed to determine who was at fault, and New Mexico vice president of athletics Paul Krebs said Rencher would receive a letter of reprimand.

Rencher released a statement apologizing “to my family, UNM, CSU and everyone affected by the incident and I acknowledge my fault in the situation. I should have walked away. The situation could have been diffused and I am very regretful of that momentary lapse in judgment. I don’t know Emmanuel personally but he seems to be a good person and good teammate.”

Rencher added that he didn’t instigate the confrontation nor did he make light of Omogbo’s personal tragedy as some media outlets including ESPN have reported. Wednesday marks the anniversary of Omogbo losing his parents, a niece and a nephew in a house fire in Maryland.

Rencher, who had been ejected from the game, also said he didn’t “make racially derogatory remarks to him.”

Both men are black.

During the confrontation following the Lobos’ 84-71 win, Rencher tells Omogbo, “Learn how to lose, boy.”

Colorado State said Monday it would have no comment on the matter.

The incident was the latest embarrassment for the Mountain West Conference, which has seen a large number of technical fouls over taunting and trash talk in men’s games this season and three women’s players suspended for their roles in a brawl in a game between Utah State and UNLV .

During the confrontation between Rencher and Omogbo, Eustachy’s wife, Lana, suggests the three New Mexico assistants get on the Lobos charter bus to defuse the situation. Instead they stayed and watched as Larry Eustachy and guard J.D. Paige, among others, finally steer Omogbo toward the parking lot.

Lobos coach Craig Neal told ESPN hours after the confrontation that Rencher didn’t do anything wrong.

Rencher and fellow Lobos assistant Chris Harrima were ejected late in the game for leaving the bench when Lobos forward Joe Furstinger flexed after a hard screen and then made contact with Rams guard Anthony Bonner as he jogged back down the court. That flared tempers that were already on edge following pregame trash talk.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported that Rencher taunted the Rams during warmups at Moby Arena last year, according to former Rams forward Fred Richardson, and did so again Saturday.

Eustachy called Furstinger’s blind screen with 2:10 left a clean play but noted the bad blood began before the game.

Colorado State’s Prentiss Nixon and New Mexico’s Obij Aget were assessed technical fouls and Rencher and Harriman were ejected.

The league said it “examined all facets of the event, from pregame warmups through the postgame confrontation” and found “a number of conflicting perspectives … and, in some cases, there is no definitive proof as to the responsible party or parties.”

“What has been determined is the entire incident created an undesirable athletic competition environment and did not reflect favorably upon either basketball program, either member institution or the conference,” the league continued. “There were a number of errors in judgment throughout the course of the afternoon and poor decisions made by various individuals. Such conduct is unacceptable.”

The Mountain West added that the league’s board of directors and joint council “have been adamant in their emphasis on good sportsmanship and behavior. Those involved with this most recent incident will be under close scrutiny going forward – as will all Mountain West constituents.”

The Rams (11-7, 3-2) visit New Mexico (10-8, 3-3) on Feb. 21.

Injured hip sidelines Louisville guard Snider for 2-3 weeks

LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 10:  Quentin Snider #4 of the Louisville Cardinals dribbles the ball during the game against the Texas Southern Tigers at KFC YUM! Center on December 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville guard Quentin Snider will miss 2-3 weeks with an injured hip, leaving the No. 12 Cardinals without their assists leader and No. 2 scorer.

The school said Snider won’t need surgery and should heal with rest.

Snider strained a hip flexor early in the second half Saturday in a win over Duke. The junior stayed in the game and finished with 13 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Snider is averaging 12.1 points and 4.0 assists per game.

The Cardinals (15-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) host Clemson on Thursday night before visiting No. 10 Florida State on Saturday.

More AP College Basketball: collegebasketball.ap.org

Mountain West issues statement on Colorado State/New Mexico altercation

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The Mountain West issued a statement on Monday in response to the altercation that happened after New Mexico’s win at Colorado State on Saturday.
Following the Lobos’ 84-71 road victory, Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal captured an incident on video between Colorado State forward Emmanuel Omogbo and the New Mexico coaching staff.
Both sides claimed that the other was the instigator and the incident didn’t make anybody in the video look good.
For as bad as things might have looked, the Mountain West has decided not to hand down any sort of punishment. After an investigation, the conference could not truly determine the root cause of all the drama saying in the release, “A number of conflicting perspectives have emerged and, in some cases, there is no definitive proof as to the responsible party or parties.”
What has been determined is the entire incident created an undesirable athletic competition environment, and did not reflect favorably upon either basketball program, either member institution or the Conference. There were a number of errors in judgment throughout the course of the afternoon and poor decisions made by various individuals. Such conduct is unacceptable.
The Colorado State and New Mexico athletic departments have already initiated follow-up conversations with all appropriate parties to address the events of this past Saturday. Those will continue, with the institutions taking corrective measures they deem appropriate and advising the Conference office accordingly.
The Mountain West Board of Directors and Joint Council have been adamant in their emphasis on good sportsmanship and appropriate behavior. Those involved with this most recent incident will be under close scrutiny going forward – as will all Mountain West constituents.

Obviously there is a lot to sift through with this incident but hopefully these two teams don’t have any further incident when they play at New Mexico on Feb. 21st.

No. 22 Xavier’s slide continues with loss to short-handed No. 7 Creighton

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 16:  Chris Mack the head coach of the Xavier Musketeers  gives instructions to his team against the Creighton Blue Jays during the game at Cintas Center on January 16, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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It’s officially time to be concerned about No. 22 Xavier.

The Musketeers have now lost three straight games, all to the top three teams in the Big East, and currently sit at 13-5 on the year with just a single good win to their name: Clemson.

But prior to Monday’s loss to No. 7 Creighton, Xavier had lost all of their games on the road to teams that will either get a top five seed in the NCAA tournament (Villanova, Butler, Baylor) or play at altitude (Colorado). On Monday, the Musketeers not only lost 72-67 to Creighton, but they did so on a day where the Bluejays lost star point guard and all-american candidate Mo Watson to a knee injury midway through the first half and spent the majority of the game playing with star center Justin Patton saddled with fouls.

Should I mention that Creighton, who is third-nationally in three-point percentage, shot 5-for-19 from beyond the arc, or that their two best healthy guards – Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas – shot a combined 10-for-31?

All of the stars were aligned. Coming how to an afternoon game against a top ten team on a holiday after losing back-to-back games on the road, and that top ten team lost their most important player early in the first half?

This should have been where Xavier landed that first elite win.

Instead, the Musketeers are left scratching their head again.

And it begs the question: If not now, when?

The Musketeers still play Villanova and Butler at home, visit Creighton and have the Crossroads Classic at Cincinnati. There are opportunities for them to get wins that they need.

But if they cannot get a win over a short-handed Creighton team at home, who are they actually going to be?