SATURDAY’S THINGS TO KNOW
The NCAA tournament men’s basketball selection committee unveiled its top 16 seeds at this current point in the season. In the televised event, defending champion Villanova was given the current No. 1 overall seed while one notable major power conference didn’t have any top-16 seeds. We have more on this here.
Speaking of Villanova, they went on the road to play Xavier and won convincingly to help head coach Jay Wright win his 500th game. I have more on how the Wildcats have been really tough to stop offensively with the emergence of new scorer.
Another one of those No. 1 seeds is Gonzaga, the No. 1 team in the country that now looks like a sure-bet to get to undefeated during the regular season. If you didn’t already think this was a team that can win the national title, a 10-point win at Saint Mary’s should convince you.
The Big East had an interesting start to the afternoon that saw Georgetown beat Marquette and St. John’s upset Seton Hall. The Golden Eagles and Pirates are fighting for a spot in the Field of 68 while the Hoyas are trying to win enough to be in bubble consideration. More on this in Bubble Banter.
Freshman Josh Jackson had one of the best games of the year to help lead No. 3 Kansas to a tight road win over Texas Tech. I have more on why Jackson’s game is important to Kansas down the stretch.
No. 9 Arizona remained in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 on Saturday thanks to a tough home win over a better-than-you-realize Cal team. No. 5 Oregon was given a fight by USC on the road, but they shook off their collapse against UCLA on Thursday to beat the Trojans.
Luke Kennard had 25 points to help lead No. 18 Duke to a two-point win over Clemson. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on why the Blue Devils have a glaring issue that is starting to hurt them.
No. 14 Florida State went into South Bend and got worked over by Notre Dame, who seemed to take umbridge with the fact that they were dropped out of the top 25 this week.
J.J. Frazier, Georgia — Frazier finished with 29 points and six assists as Georgia went into Knoxville and knocked off a Tennessee team that is still fighting for their spot on the bubble.
Josh Jackson, Kansas — Frank Mason fouled out with a few minutes left and only played 26 minutes for Kansas on Saturday. So Jackson took over. The freshman played all 40 minutes and knocked in the game-winning free throw as he had a career-high 31 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Jackson was 12-for-15 from the field and very efficient. He willed the Jayhawks to victory.
Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame: The undersized four went up against one of the biggest front lines in the country for No. 14 Florida State and put up 33 points and 13 boards.
Johnathan Motley, Baylor — Keeping pace with the Jayhawks was Baylor as Motley also had himself a great afternoon. Motley finished with 25 points and seven rebounds as he was 12-for-15 from the field.
Tadric Jackson, Georgia Tech — Jackson scored 29 points for the Yellow Jackets in a come-from-behind win over Boston College that kept Josh Pastner’s club in the conversation for an NCAA tournament bid.
REST OF THE TOP 25
- It took a second-half rally but No. 4 Louisville held off Miami for an ACC home win. Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell both finished with 18 points. Point guard Quentin Snider finished with 13 points after missing six games with injury.
- Convincing home win for No. 6 Baylor over TCU as the Bears attempt to keep pace with Kansas in the Big 12 race. The Bears had a really good game from Johnathan Motley in this one as he tallied 25 points.
- In a game that was tied at halftime, No. 13 West Virginia outscored Kansas State by 19 in the second half to pull away with a Big 12 home win. Junior guard Jevon Carter had 19 points and nine rebounds.
- There was a late rally that put a scare into No. 15 Kentucky but they ultimately pulled away for an SEC road win at Alabama. Malik Monk had a so-so shooting game but still managed 17 points.
- A big second-half run gave No. 17 Florida a home SEC win over Texas A&M. Justin Leon paced the Gators with 18 points while John Egbunu had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
- No. 21 Maryland held off Ohio State at home thanks to a terrific first half. The Terps had lost back-to-back games to fall out of the Big Ten title race.
- Just hours after being listed as a top four seed in the NCAA tournament selection show preview, No. 22 Butler went out and lost at Providence.
- Easy win for No. 23 Creighton as they rolled past DePaul for a Big East road win. The Bluejays had five players finish in double-figures, led by Toby Hegner’s 14 points.
- Minnesota did what they were supposed to do and beat Rutgers on the road. Sophomore Jordan Murphy led the Golden Gophers with 17 points while also unleashing a poster dunk.
- Playing the role of potential spoiler was Pitt as they beat Syracuse at home. The Orange had won five straight games but the Panthers were led by 22 points from Cameron Johnson and 21 points from Michael Young.
- Another embarrassing loss for N.C. State as they lost by 30 on the road at Wake Forest. Since winning at Duke, the Wolfpack have dropped five consecutive games — three by 20 or more points. Center John Collins continued his stellar stretch with 23 points and seven rebounds.
- After earning an important road win at Northwestern earlier this week Illinois lost by double-digits at home to Penn State. The Illini have lost seven of nine games and head coach John Groce’s job could be in trouble. Payton Banks led the Nittany Lions with 24 points.