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SATURDAY’S SNACKS: Six top ten teams lose in a wild day

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SATURDAY’S THINGS TO KNOW

Things got wild in the Big 12 on Saturday as the top three teams in the conference leaders all lost at home to unranked, bubble-bound teams.

It started when Iowa State earned one of the most important wins of the season by beating No. 3 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse. The Cyclones snapped the Jayhawks’ 54-game winning streak. I have more on this one here.

After Kansas fell, No. 2 Baylor had a chance to make a move in the Big 12 standings but they lost that opportunity by losing at home to Kansas State. The Wildcats nearly blew a 15-point halftime lead by held on as Kamau Stokes had 15 points. Rob Dauster has more on why this win is so important for Kansas State.

Then to cap it all off, No. 7 West Virginia lost at home to Oklahoma State, 82-75. It is the fifth straight win for the Cowboys, who have played their way off the bubble and into the NCAA tournament.

The afternoon started with an important game in the Big Ten as No. 23 Purdue traveled to No. 17 Maryland. Sophomore Caleb Swanigan had a solid outing and overcame some poor play from Purdue’s other interior options as the Boilers earned a huge road win. I have more on why this one was critical to the rest of Purdue’s season.

The biggest statement of the day was made by No. 13 Oregon, who pounded No. 5 Arizona into submission with an 85-58 win.

Speaking of statements, No. 24 Florida landed their first marquee win of the season as No. 8 Kentucky came to town and caught a backhand from the Gators. It was the best performance of Kasey Hill’s college career.

Keeping with the theme of unranked teams beating ranked teams on the road, Xavier pulled off a win at No. 22 Creighton without Edmond Sumner as the Musketeers had a balanced effort. I have more on why this one helps Xavier so much.

It was also a big afternoon for Syracuse as the Orange beat No. 9 Virginia and head coach Jim Boeheim coached in his 1,000th win with the program (although the NCAA vacated 101 wins, leaving him officially at 899 wins). CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on why this one mattered so much for the Orange and Boeheim and what it means for Syracuse’s NCAA tournament outlook.

Coach K returned to the sidelines for No. 21 Duke as they took down Pitt for a home ACC win. Junior Grayson Allen had 21 points to lead the Blue Devils and CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on the lineup changes that Duke could be using the rest of the season.

STARRED

Jaaron Simmons, Ohio: Facing Akron, the MAC’s only unbeaten team in conference play, the junior guard had a monster outing as Simmons finished with 38 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in an Ohio win. Simmons went 10-for-16 from the field and he was perfect from the three-point line (5-for-5) and 13-for-16 from the free-throw line.

Angel Delgado, Seton Hall: Maybe the best big man nobody in college basketball is talking about, Delgado had 26 points and 17 rebounds in an overtime road win over Georgetown. The Pirates are fighting to stay in the NCAA tournament picture and Delgado is putting up 15.4 points and 14.7 rebounds per game in 10 Big East games. He’s playing at an All-American level.

Keon Johnson, Winthrop: If Winthrop makes the NCAA tournament, don’t forget about this guy. Johnson went for 39 points in a win over Campbell. The Big South leaders have come to expect big performances like this from Johnson as this tops his previous season high of 38 in a win over Illinois.

RELATED: Get caught up on all of today’s bubble action

REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Gonzaga remained undefeated, although their streak of 267 minutes without trailing came to an end in the first half.
  • Easy win for No. 6 Louisville as they ran past Boston College for an ACC road win. Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell both finished with 19 points each.
  • No. 11 UCLA avoided getting upset by Washington.
  • No. 14 Cincinnati handled UConn without much trouble behind 27 points from Kyle Washington.
  • San Diego scored nine first half points and 27 total points as they got mollywhopped by No. 18 Saint Mary’s.
  • Tight win for No. 19 South Carolina over Georgia to stay among the SEC’s elite as P.J. Dozier had 21 points and Sindarius Thornwell had 18.

NOTABLE

  • In the ACC, Miami earned a solid road win at N.C. State as Davon Reed had 26 points. Freshman Dennis Smith Jr. had 31 points and nine assists in the loss for the Wolfpack.
  • Staying in the ACC, Wake Forest pulled off a home win over Georgia Tech as big man John Collins had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
  • TCU earned a Big 12 home win over Texas to keep its NCAA tournament credibility intact. The Horned Frogs had 18 points from Vladimir Brodziansky.
  • The Horizon League race got interesting with Green Bay beating Valparaiso by double digits at home. Kareem Kanter had 17 points and nine rebounds as the win snapped the Crusaders’ eight-game win streak. One game separates first-place Valpo and Green Bay in the conference now.

Calipari signs two-year extension with Kentucky

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Kentucky continues to take care of John Calipari.

The Wildcats coach has received a two-year extension, keeping him under contract in Lexington through the 2024 season, the school announced Wednesday.

The contract will pay Calipari $7.75 million next season and increase to $8 million per season thereafter.

“John has achieved consistent championship-level performance at Kentucky,” Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. “No one in America is better suited for everything that comes with being the coach here. Not only has he attained incredible success on the court, he is also a leader in our community and in college basketball.

“We have been blessed to have him and Ellen here for the last eight years and we are blessed they will continue to call Kentucky home.”

Not only does the deal extend Calipari, but it continues to keep Kentucky competitive with the NBA, which would seem to be the only outlet that would even potentially tempt Calipari away from Kentucky. An NBA franchise would have to make him among the highest-paid coaches in the league to even match Kentucky financially.

Of course, given that Calipari has spurned interest from the league since returning to college in 2000, it seems unlikely that financial considerations would be the lone or heaviest variable in making a decision to move on.

Certainly, Calipari has an excellent thing going at Kentucky as the premier recruiting program in the country that has enjoyed serious success on the court, culminating in a 2012 national title and a 38-0 start to the 2015 season before a loss in the Final Four.

“The last eight years at the University of Kentucky have been a terrific ride,” Calipari said in a statement. “This extension shows our full commitment to each other. I believe this school is the gold standard and I’m so thankful and blessed that this university has given me this opportunity at this point in my career.”

The Wildcats face UCLA in the Sweet 16 on Friday.

Louisville’s Mitchell declaring for draft, won’t hire an agent

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Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell is the latest to decide to see what the NBA might offer.

“I have decided to test the waters and not hire an agent!” Mitchell wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday. “I am excited to work out this summer for teams and hopefully participate in the NBA combine! I want it to be clear I have not decided to leave Louisville!”

Mitchell, who is expected to be joined by dozens of players, is taking advantage of new NCAA rules that allow him to work out for teams and attend the NBA draft combine before making a decision on whether to remain in the draft and return to school.

Players have until May 24 to withdraw from the draft and return to school.

Mitchell averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a sophomore, shooting 40.8 percent overall and 35.4 percent on 3-point attempts.

The 6-foot-3 guard is projected as a potential first-round pick, but should he return, the Cardinals would project as one of the top teams in the country with nearly the entire core returning from this year’s 25-9 squad.

Moe-mentum: Wagner stands tall for Sweet 16-bound Michigan

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Ask Moe Wagner who he looked up to when he was younger, and suddenly the Michigan big man’s fiery demeanor makes a little more sense.

“Kevin Garnett was always my biggest idol, even though our play isn’t really similar. Just the way he brings intensity and energy to his team,” Wagner said. “That always was something that really impressed me.”

Now Wagner is providing his own emotional leadership to a Michigan team that has become one of college basketball’s most remarkable stories this March.

The Wolverines have won six in a row since they were involved in a plane accident on the eve of their Big Ten Tournament opener.

After winning that conference tourney, they opened the NCAAs with victories against Oklahoma State and Louisville – with Wagner scoring 26 points in the win over Louisville that sent Michigan to the Sweet 16.

The 19-year-old Wagner is in his second season with the Wolverines. He showed some promise in 2015-16, but averaged only 8.6 minutes a game as a freshman. He’s been a starter the whole way this season, teaming up with D.J. Wilson to give Michigan some unexpected production in the frontcourt.

The Wolverines entered the season with high hopes thanks to the presence of seniors Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin.

The 6-foot-11 Wagner has made them even tougher to defend. The sophomore from Berlin is averaging 12.2 points a game, and unlike Mitch McGary and Jordan Morgan – two of Michigan’s top big men of the recent past – Wagner is a threat from beyond the arc. He’s made 41 percent of his 3-point attempts in 2016-17, putting even more pressure on opposing teams.

An expressive player on the court, Wagner admits he’s still learning how to keep his emotions under control.

Coach John Beilein says Wagner can be hard on himself, but he has an upbeat attitude the Wolverines can appreciate.

“I don’t want to rob him of his energy and his passion,” Beilein said. “If you heard him in timeouts – I mean, he is really into it. And it’s encouraging things he’s saying.”

The key for Wagner is to stay on the court. He’s been whistled for 100 fouls this season – no other Michigan player has more than 80 – and he picked up two in the first 3:11 when the Wolverines faced Oklahoma State in their NCAA Tournament opener Friday. Wagner played only 14 minutes in that frenetic game, which Michigan won 92-91 .

Against Louisville in the round of 32 , Wagner went 11 of 14 from the field and kept his poise after being called for his second foul late in the first half.

“He’s always just been an excited guy – play hard and play with a lot of passion,” Walton said. “I don’t think anything has changed. I think he’s just channeling it a little better.”

The seventh-seeded Wolverines face third-seeded Oregon on Thursday night in a regional semifinal. Michigan has won seven in a row, a streak that began with the team’s last game of the regular season.

What happened next is well documented. The day before its opening game in the conference tournament, Michigan’s plane slid off the runway .

There were no serious injuries, and the Wolverines arrived in time to play. Then they won four games in four days to take the title.

Now, Michigan is two victories away from an improbable Final Four appearance. If the Wolverines actually make it that far, Wagner will be a big reason why – and he’ll probably be as excited as anyone.

“One of my youth coaches actually used to say that I was somebody who, like, sees the basketball court as a stage and really enjoys it,” Wagner said. “Last year, I started to understand what that actually means, and kind of embraced that this year. That’s just me. I really love it. I really enjoy it.”

 

California’s Ivan Rabb declares for the NBA Draft

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Ivan Rabb announced on Wednesday that he will be declaring for the NBA Draft and foregoing his final two seasons with California.

“I want to thank everybody for their support,” Rabb said in a statement. “Since the day I committed to Cal, the love from Bay Area fans was overwhelming. I could genuinely tell that people really appreciated seeing me come to Cal and succeed and do well. Haas Pavilion will always hold a special place in my heart, and I won’t forget how incredible it felt to be “Oakland’s Own” as I ran onto the court in front of my friends, family and team.”

As a sophomore, Rabb averaged 14.0 points and 10.5 boards. He’s projected as a mid-to-late first round pick in the draft a year after making the decision to return to school as a projected lottery pick last season.

Duke’s Jayson Tatum declares for the NBA Draft

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Duke’s Jayson Tatum will declare for the NBA Draft and hire an agent, the program announced on Wednesday.

Tatum is a projected top five pick in the NBA Draft. He averaged 16.8 points playing the role of small-ball four for the Blue Devils this season after missing the first month of the season with a foot injury.

“I have absolutely loved coaching Jayson Tatum,” Coach K said in a statement. “His skill set and work ethic will make him a star in the NBA. Whichever team selects him will be getting a humble, thoughtful and talented young man whom we are proud to call a member of the Duke basketball brotherhood.”

Tatum was the most talented player on the Blue Devils this season, but it was an up and down year for Duke as a whole. They were predicted by just about everyone to win the national title back in the preseason, but they eventually bowed out of the NCAA tournament in the second round.