Rob Dauster

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 17:  Head coach Joe Dooley of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles reacts in the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Big Ten confirms that referee was at fault in Michigan State-FGCU ending

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The Big Ten confirmed what NBC Sports reported last night: That it was an error made by one of the referees – and NOT Michigan State’s timekeeper – that started the clock early on the final play of the Spartans’ win over FGCU.

“After a complete review of the timing error on the game’s final play with 1.6 seconds remaining, it was confirmed that a game official improperly set the clock in motion via his Precision Timing belt pack,” the Big Ten’s statement read. “The subsequent adjudication of rules, allowing for use of the courtside video monitor and a hand-held digital stopwatch to determine whether the shot was released prior to expiration, and if there was any time remaining in the game, were properly administered.”

The conference did not name the official.

FGCU had the ball under the Michigan State basket, down 78-77 with 1.6 seconds left last night at the Breslin Center. On the final play, the clock was started when the inbounder threw the pass as opposed to when it was caught by the FGCU player. That player, Antravious Simmons, caught the ball as the horn sounded and rushed a potential game-winning shot at the rim.

The officials went to the monitor to review the play and ruled that the game was over.

AP Poll: Kentucky is the new No. 1 team in the country

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The new AP poll is out, and Kentucky is your No. 1 team.

The Wildcats received 40 of 61 first-place votes, edging out reigning champs Villanova for the top spot.

Indiana, North Carolina and Kansas round out the top five, while Duke falls to No. 6 in the country. To see the NBCSports.com Top 25 Power Rankings, click here.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBCSports.com

1. Kentucky (40 first-place votes)
2. Villanova (20)
3. Indiana (1)
4. North Carolina
5. Kansas
6. Duke
7. Virginia
8. Arizona
9. Xavier
10. Louisville
11. Gonzaga
t12. Creighton
t12. Oregon
14. UCLA
15. Saint Mary’s
16. Wisconsin
17. Syracuse
18. Purdue
19. West Virginia
20. Baylor
21. Iowa State
22. Texas
23. Rhode Island
24. Michigan State
25. Florida State

Pregame Shootaround: The Maui Invitational kicks off

SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 20:  Tyler Dorsey #5 of the Oregon Ducks shoots a jump shot against the Saint Joseph's Hawks in the second half during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 20, 2016 in Spokane, Washington.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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The Maui Invitational, the best early season event of all the early season events, kicks off on Monday afternoon, and while there is quite a bit of talent in the tournament this year, the highlight of the first day’s action is centered on one game:

No. 4 Oregon vs. Georgetown, 4:30 p.m.

Entering the year, the Hoyas looked like a team that was going to make some noise in the Big East this season. Employing a new full-court press, they won their first game by 40 and followed that up by outplaying Maryland for 35 minutes. But the Hoyas collapsed down the stretch against the Terps and followed that up with a loss to Arkansas State at home.

The Ducks, on the other hand, were supposed to be a national title contender, but they lost their road opener by 17 points to Baylor. Granted, the Ducks were without Dillon Brooks, who makes his return to the Oregon lineup today.

The rest of Maui

  • No. 9 Wisconsin vs. Tennessee, 2:30 p.m.: The Badgers have a chance to restore their image somewhat after a loss at Creighton last week.
  • Oklahoma State vs. UConn, 9:00 p.m.: I’m not sure anyone needs a big week worse than the Huskies do. UConn is 1-2 on the season with a pair of mid-major losses.
  • No. 5 UNC at Chaminade, 11:30 p.m.: Is this the upset the Silver Swords always strive for?

Creighton vs. Ole Miss, 8:30 p.m.

Neither of these teams are ranked right now, but that is going to change soon enough. The Bluejays were one of the most impressive teams in college hoops last week and have one of the nation’s best back court while Ole Miss has a chance to be the second-best team in the SEC, particularly is Deandre Burnett and Sebastian Saiz play the way that they have played in the first week of the season. This is the title game of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

No. 25 Cal vs. San Diego State, 11:00 p.m.

This game will lose a lot of its luster if no one is healthy. SDSU has been banged up for a while and was without Malik Pope in their loss at Gonzaga last week. And Cal has been without all-american center Ivan Rabb this season, although that allowed freshman Charlie Moore to pop off for 38 points in a win over UC Irvine last week.

Dillon Brooks to return to Oregon’s lineup tonight

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Dillon Brooks #24 of the Oregon Ducks dunks the ball in the first half while taking on the Duke Blue Devils in the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at the Honda Center on March 24, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The good news for Oregon is that they should be getting their all-american Dillon Brooks back this week.

The bad news?

He’s still not going to be at 100 percent.

After multiple reports over the weekend that Brooks would be available for the Maui Invitational, which kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Monday for the Ducks, head coach Dana Altman finally confirmed that Brooks would be available to play, according to ESPN.

The expectation is that Brooks will give the Ducks around 10 minutes off the bench.

“We will play Dillon on the exact schedule the doctor gives us,” Altman said. “You have to gradually come back.”

Brooks is a preseason all-american that averaged 16.7 points for the Ducks last season. He has been out with a foot injury since the summer.

The Ducks mustered all of 49 points in a 17 point loss at Baylor last week.

College Basketball Talk’s Top 25: We have a new No. 1 team in America

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - NOVEMBER 14:  Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats goes up for a shot against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on November 14, 2016 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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1. Villanova (5-0, Last Week: No. 2): The Wildcats went 4-0 this week. Not only did they go on the road and beat Purdue but they also went down to the Charleston Classic and swept through that tournament with relative ease. I’m not sure they’re the best team in the country but it’s hard to argue against their résumé.

2. Kentucky (4-0, 4): The win over Michigan State sounds good, but the Spartans aren’t actually all that good this season, at least not right now. A 21-point win over the Spartans isn’t a season-defining win this year.

3. Indiana (3-0, 5): The Hoosiers smoked two more hapless opponents this week. I’m not totally sold that this team is a top five team just yet, but they did beat Kansas on a neutral court and Kansas beat Duke on a neutral court. So here we are.

4. Kansas (2-1, 6): They’re still my pick to win the national title, even if I came away more impressed with Duke after Kansas beat them.

5. Duke (4-1, 1): All I need to say about the Blue Devils is right here.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBCSports.com

6. North Carolina (4-0, 7): They’ve steam-rolled a bunch of teams they should steam-roll. With the Maui Invitational starting this week, we should know enough about the Tar Heels come Thanksgiving.

7. Oregon (2-1, 3): Ditto for the Ducks, who lost at Baylor by 17 points but who are still playing without their all-american Dillon Brooks. He’s expected to be in the lineup Monday for their Maui opener.

8. Gonzaga (3-0, 9): Gonzaga’s win over San Diego State is going to look a lot better on paper in March than it actually was, as the Aztecs are banged up.

9. Louisville (3-0, 10): Undefeated. Untested.

10. Virginia (3-0, 8): I dropped UVA two spots with the news of Austin Nichols’ dismissal. I’m not ready to drop them farther than that yet, not until I see what Tony Bennett can do with these guys.

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11. Arizona (3-0, 11)
12. Xavier (5-0, 14)
13. UCLA (3-0, 13)
14. Syracuse (3-0, 17)
15. Baylor (3-0, NR)
16. Creighton (4-0, 19)
17. Wisconsin (2-1, 12)
18. Virginia Tech (3-0, 18)
19. Purdue (2-1, 16)
20. Rhode Island (4-1, 22)
21. Saint Mary’s (3-0, 23)
22. Michigan (4-0, UR)
23. Cincinnati (3-1, 20)
24. Dayton (2-1, 21)
25. Maryland (4-0, 25)

DROPPED OUT: No. 15 Michigan State, No. 24 Florida State

NEW ADDITIONS: No. 15 Baylor, No. 22 Michigan

Player of the Week: Frank Mason III, Kansas

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15:  Frank Mason III #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks hits a game-winning shot with 1.8 seconds remaining against the Duke Blue Devils in the second half during the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden on November 15, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Frank Mason III, Kansas

Through the first two weeks of the season, I think it’s safe to say that Kansas point guard Frank Mason III is college basketball’s early favorite as National Player of the Year. This week along, he went for 18 points and three assists in a win over Siena just three days after he had 21 points and five assists, burying the game-winning jumper, as the No. 7 Jayhawks picked off No. 1 Duke at Madison Square Garden in the Champions Classic.

And that doesn’t even include the 30 points that Mason had in a season-opening loss to Indiana, or mention the fact that the Jayhawks have already flown from Lawrence to Honolulu to New York back to Lawrence this season.

This is not going to be the last time that Mason wins this award this season, you can bet on that.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Melo Trimble, Maryland: Maryland has played three games against Division I foes and Trimble is averaging 23.7 points in those three games. He made the game-winning plays in all three, including the free throws that beat DC rival Georgetown.
  • J.P. Macura, Xavier: Trevon Bluiett and Edmond Sumner are the big names for the Musketeers, but it was Macura that averaged 19.0 points, 4.7 boards, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals in the Tire Pros Invitational title.
  • Deandre Burnett, Ole Miss: Burnett went for 41 points in an overtime win over Oral Roberts in the opening round of the Paradise Jam, following that up with 20 points and four assists in a win over Saint Joseph’s.
  • Malik Monk, Kentucky: Monk went for 23 points and hit seven threes as the Wildcats picked off No. 13 Michigan State in the Champions Classic.
  • Tacko Fall, UCF: In four games this week, the 7-foot-6 Fall averaged 17.8 points, 12.5 boards and 2.7 blocks as the Knights pushed No. 3 Villanova in the Charleston Classic finals.

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TEAM OF THE WEEK: Michigan Wolverines

Did anyone see this coming from the Wolverines? They went into Madison Square Garden and worked over a Marquette team coming off of dominating win over their own and followed that up with a blowout win of a pretty good SMU team. I’ll have some more thoughts on Michigan in the #taeks below.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: Derrick Walton Jr. #10 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts after hitting a three pointer against the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the second half of the 2K Classic Championship at Madison Square Garden on November 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Derrick Walton Jr. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

FIVE HOT #TAEKS FROM THE WEEK

1. Luke Kennard has been the beneficiary of Duke’s injury woes: No one on Duke’s roster had better taken advantage of the opportunity created by injuries to Harry Giles III, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden than Luke Kennard has. With Grayson Allen also banged up – he’s reportedly dealing with a toe issue – Kennard has emerged as Duke’s go-to guy on the offensive end of the floor, and he’s thriving in the role. He was the best Duke player in the loss to Kansas, finishing with 22 points, five boards and five assists, and led the team with 24 points in Sunday’s win over No. 21 Rhode Island. On the season, he’s averaging 18.2 points while shooting 55.2 percent from the floor and 13-for-25 from three.

That’s massive for Duke for a couple of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that Kennard – and, frankly, Coach K – has learned that he is capable of carrying this team against some of the best opponents in the country. But it’s also evidence that the Blue Devils have more quality pieces that we may have realized, if that’s possible. Think about it like this: If Duke has everyone available to them, Jayson Tatum and Grayson Allen are the first two options offensively. Then it’s probably Harry Giles III. And then you get to the guy that’s leading them in scoring and was the best player on the floor the two times Duke played a ranked team.

That’s scary.

2. Michigan is better than Michigan State, at least right now: I don’t know if they’ll be better than the Spartans come March but I do know that right now, as of November 21st, the Wolverines are the best team in the state of Michigan. Their back court is about doing what we expected them to do. Zak Irvin has been scoring the rock and Derrick Walton has been doing the things we want senior point guards to do. The key, however, is that Michigan’s bigs look better than anyone realized they would be. Moritz Wagner and Mark Donnal have been somewhere between effective and above average while D.J. Wilson has been catching lobs, hitting threes and blocking shots, anchoring a defense that looks far better than it was a year ago.

Will it last? We’ll find out soon enough.

3. Is Baylor the second-best team in the Big 12?: We didn’t know who it was going to be, but entering the season, we knew that someone was going to set themselves apart from the pack as the second-best team in the Big 12. The early returns are in, and it looks like the Bears are Kansas’ biggest contender after they blew out Oregon at home. Johnathan Motley has been everything we expected him to be while Manu Lecomte and Jo Lual-Acuil have outperformed all expectations early on.

4. We underestimated just how good Creighton is: We knew about Mo Watson and Marcus Foster coming into this season. And we knew that Cole Huff had the talent to be better than his production last season. What we didn’t realize was just how talented Justin Patton is or how good Khyri Thomas is. Patton is an athletic, versatile 6-foot-11 center that makes plays on both ends of the floor – and adds a dimension that the Jays were previously lacking – while Thomas is a perfect compliment in the back court to Watson’s playmaking and Foster’s shot-hunting. If their win over Wisconsin didn’t convince, did a shellacking of N.C. State do the trick?

5. Is Northern Iowa the best team in the Missouri Valley?: At this point, I think it’s fair to wonder if they are. Wichita State is still in the midst of figuring out how they’re going to replace Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker while Illinois State doesn’t have the same kind of discipline that UNI does. They don’t make mistakes defensively, they execute their sets offensively and they make the open threes their offense creates. Throw in the fact that Klint Carlson is a terrific player and Jeremy Morgan is a future NBA player, and you’ve got a team that is going to make a run at the MVC title.

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 19: Luke Kennard #5 of the Duke Blue Devils greets fans after defeating the Yale Bulldogs 71-64 during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 19, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Luke Kennard (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)