PLAYER OF THE DAY
No. 4 Michigan State has one of, if not the best front line in all of college basketball this season. They are deep, they are talented, they are huge and they are the reason that the Spartans have been one of the best defensive teams in the country this year.
And on Saturday afternoon, Michigan’s Mo Wagner was the best big man on the floor. He finished with 27 points and four boards, shooting 8-for-13 from the floor and 3-for-4 from three, before fouling out. Those stats weren’t without highlights, either. There was this Dirk fadeaway …
… and this move that left Nick Ward on his backside:
The result was an 82-72 win in the Breslin Center, a win that will go down as one of the best wins that anyone lands this season, a win that essentially locks Michigan into an NCAA tournament berth as long as they do what they’re supposed to do the rest of the season.
We went more in-depth on this game here, including some words about Michigan’s defensive improvement and what is wrong with Michigan State.
THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS
- TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma: Young tied a career-high with 43 points and set career-highs in rebounds (11) and made threes (10) as the No. 16 Sooners beat No. 9 TCU in overtime, 102-97. Oklahoma moved into a four-way tie for first-place in the Big 12 with the win, but the story of this game may actually be TCU. Why? We break it down here.
- MARVIN BAGLEY III, Duke: It shouldn’t surprise anyone that, in a win over Wake Forest, Bagley went for 30 points, 11 boards and three assists. What is a great sign is that Bagley also added four steals and three blocks. The knock on him is defense. It’s getting better.
- SHANNON EVANS II, Arizona State: Evans went for 22 points and seven assists, making big play after big play down the stretch, as Arizona State landed themselves a come-from-behind win over Oregon State.
- DONTE DIVINCENZO, Villanova: DiVincenzo loves playing St. John’s. After torching the Red Storm three times as a freshman, he went for 25 points and a career-high six threes on Saturday night in the Garden as No. 1 Villanova won.
- SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER, Kentucky: Gilgeous-Alexander continues to be Kentucky’s best player. He had 22 points and six assists in Saturday’s win at Vanderbilt, including this beautiful assists to Hamidou Diallo for a three with less than two minutes left.
TEAM OF THE DAY
No. 8 Texas Tech did what they needed to do if they want to win the Big 12 regular season title this season: They defended their home court, erasing an 11-point second half deficit to knock off No. 2 West Virginia, 72-71, in Lubbock.
The win is the first that anyone has landed against the Mountaineers since the opening night of the season, when Texas A&M beat them in Germany. It’s the second win that Texas Tech has landed against one of the other top four teams in the Big 12 – they also won at Kansas – and it moved the Red Raiders into a first place tie with West Virginia, No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 12 Kansas.
It’s hard to believe that Chris Beard, in just his second season as head coach at Texas Tech, is doing this despite being just six years removed from getting fired by Texas Tech and being forced to take a job as the head coach of an ABA expansion team.
GAME OF THE DAY
No. 12 Kansas has now beaten Kansas State for the sixth straight game – and the 12th straight game at Allen Fieldhouse – but it didn’t come without a fight. Kansas State had a chance to win the back-and-forth affair at the buzzer, but Barry Brown missed a tough three at the buzzer.
The final score was 73-72. Devonte’ Graham led the way with 23 points and five assists.
The Jayhawks got Silvio De Sousa eligible for the first time this season, but the freshman had a limited impact in his debut.
WTF???? OF THE DAY
Mike Krzyzewski wasn’t the only one that was sick on Saturday.
No. 7 Duke played without their Hall Of Fame head coach when Wake Forest came to town on Saturday, winning 89-71 behind 30 points, 11 boards, four steals, three blocks and three assists from Marvin Bagley III. But Krzyzewski wasn’t the only one that was sick on Saturday. Apparently freshman Gary Trent Jr. was as well, because he spent one TV timeout puking into a bucket while the team managers held up towels around him.
He still finished with 19 points on 6-for-7 shooting from three.
That’s not bad.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
Texas A&M was back to full strength for the first time in ages, and it didn’t matter. The Aggies lost their fifth straight game to open SEC play, falling at No. 24 Tennessee, 75-62.
Allonzo Trier went for 25 points and Deandre Ayton added 24 as No. 17 Arizona survived Oregon, 90-83, in the McKale Center. The Ducks were coming off of a win at No. 11 Arizona State, who erased a 12-point second half deficit to beat Oregon State, 77-75, on Saturday.
Trevon Bluiett and No. 10 Xavier took their frustrations out on No. 25 Creighton, whipping the Bluejays 92-70 in the Cintas Center to snap a two-game losing streak. As Bluiett goes, so goes Xavier, and Bluiett snapped himself out of a dreadful slump with a 24-point performance, hitting 9-for-16 from the floor and 5-for-7 from three.
It looks like Minnesota may have given up on the season. The Golden Gophers suffered their second-worst home loss in the history of their home on Saturday, falling to No. 5 Purdue, 81-47. The only time Minnesota lost by more in their own building came when John Wooden and Lew Alcindor were at UCLA.
T.J. Gibbs had 19 points and six assists as Notre Dame came agonizingly close to beating
No. 20 North Carolina at home on Saturday. They lost 69-68 because this shot rolled out:
Donte Grantham went for 18 points and Marcquise Reed added 16 points as No. 19 Clemson hit 12-for-21 from three in a 72-63 win over No. 18 Miami. The Hurricanes have now lost two of their last three and three of their last six.
No. 22 Auburn improved to 16-1 on the season after landing a come-from-behind win at Mississippi State, 76-68.
Braian Angola went for 24 points and eight assists and Christ Koumadje added 23 points, eight boards and four blocks off the bench for No. 23 Florida State, who overcame 37 Tyus Battle points to beat Syracuse in double-overtime, 101-90.
A 31-10 run midway through the first half turned a 21-10 deficit into a 42-31 lead as No. 13 Seton Hall knocked off Georgetown, 74-61.
No. 5 Wichita State and No. 14 Cincinnati both avoided a road loss in league play, picking up wins at Tulsa and South Florida, respectively.