Rob Dauster

Andy Enfield
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

NEW PODCAST: Pac-12 hoops, Purdue and Kansas wins, Denzel vs. Buddy … and beer!

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It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for me to be joined by a guest on the podcast and today, it was Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports.

Jeff is a west coast guy, so we spent some time talking about Pac-12 hoops and USC vs. Oregon. We also got into Kansas-West Virginia, Purdue’s win over Michigan State and Denzel Valentine vs. Buddy Hield.

And like me, Jeff is a bit of a beer snob, so we did have a chance to chat about some of our favorites early on. At this point, I should be sponsored by Bell’s.

Anyway, you can listen to the podcast by clicking “play” on the Soundcloud player embedded below. Or you can do so through either iTunes or Stitcher if you so choose. Thanks for listening!

VIDEO: Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has scary fall while carrying girl

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Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has turned into a fan favorite at Rupp Arena.

Every home game, during one of the TV timeouts in the second half, ‘Mony Mony’ will come on, Dancing Guy will hop into the aisle and he’ll break it down like only a middle-aged white guy from Kentucky can.

As you can see, it didn’t quite go all that well for Dancing Guy on Tuesday night, as he tried to do a rail slide while holding a young, female fan and completely ate it.

Here’s another angle of the fall:

It looks much scarier that it actually was, as all reports indicate that everyone made it through the fall healthy.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.

No. 18 Purdue survives No. 8 Michigan State in overtime thriller

Purdue center A.J. Hammons (20), center, celibates with forward Vince Edwards (12) and forward Jacquil Taylor (23) following an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Purdue defeated Michigan State 82-81 in overtime. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Rapheal Davis hit a free throw with five seconds left and after missing the second, A.J. Hammons grabbed the offensive rebound and killed the clock as No. 18 Purdue survived No. 8 Michigan State in overtime, 82-81, in Mackey Arena.

It was a fitting way for the game to end, as Davis finished with a career-high 24 points, scoring 19 and hitting all five of his threes in the first half as the Boilermakers opened up a lead that, at one point, ballooned to 18 points. Hammons chipped in with 19 points, 13 boards (seven offensive), eight blocks and three assists, doing the majority of his damage in the second half.

Purdue needed this win for a number of reasons, not the least of which is seeding. This is easily Purdue’s best win of the season, depending on how you value beating Florida on a neutral court and winning at Pitt. Not only will it behoove them on Selection Sunday, but with how crowded the middle of the Big Ten is, this could be a valuable tie-breaker for the Big Ten tournament seeding.

Case in point: the Boilermakers are currently all alone in fourth place in the Big Ten standings. Michigan State is all alone … in seventh. It would be the other way around had the Spartans won.

But more than that, Purdue just needed a big win. Entering Tuesday night, the Boilermakers lost basically every big game they’ve played this season. There was that disappointing effort against Butler in the Crossroads Classic. There was the 19-point lead they blew at home against Iowa. They lost the rematch with Iowa two weeks later. They gave away a late lead against Maryland over the weekend.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Maybe, to Purdue, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge game at Pitt and the Hall of Fame Classic matchup with Florida mattered just as much to them. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the games that drew the most national attention all ended up in a disappointing performance — or, more accurately, a disappointing finish — from the Boilermakers.

But Purdue came very, very close to doing the exact same thing on Tuesday.

Because they were up by 18 points in the first half and, thanks to 27 points, 10 assists and eight boards from Denzel Valentine, Michigan State stormed back to take a late lead. In fact, Purdue scored the last four points of regulation just to get this game to overtime, and if Valentine had hit a tough, pull-up jumper at the buzzer, this would be a totally different column.

But Purdue survived, and it will be interesting to see how this will affect their confidence in big games moving forward.

As far as Michigan State is concerned, it was a bit worrisome how poorly Bryn Forbes and Eron Harris played. They combined to shoot 4-for-19 from the floor and 2-for-9 from three. Part of that can be attributed to Rapheal Davis and his ability to chase people off of screens, but that duo missed so open looks and, in Harris’ case, a pair of dunk attempts.

Sparty needs them to be better if they are going to reach their potential.

BUBBLE BANTER: Creighton’s huge win gets them back in the bubble discussion

Creighton's Maurice Watson Jr. (10) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Xavier in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Creighton won 70-56. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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The enormity of Tuesday night’s win for Creighton (KenPom: 39, RPI: 98) probably cannot be overstated.

Simply put, Creighton’s résumé entering the day was not close to strong enough for an at-large bid. They had just one top 50 win (at Seton Hall), a 3-8 record against the top 100, a non-conference strength of schedule in the 300s and a loss to Loyola (IL), who currently sits at 235th in the RPI. That’s not pretty. At all.

But the Bluejays are a perfect example of why the RPI is flawed. You see, the RPI doesn’t factor in margin of victory, and margin of victory matters. You lose to a team by 30, that team is probably way better than you. You lose to them on a shot at the buzzer, and that’s a totally different story everyone except for the RPI. That’s why KenPom’s rankings are a valuable tool, and KenPom has Creighton slotted in at 39th. That different is the result of four one-possession losses that the Jays have suffered, three of which came against RPI top 75 opponents … and one of which was against Loyola (IL).

In other words, Creighton is roughly four shots away from being on the right side of the bubble.

And after Tuesday, they’re far closer to the right side of the bubble than they were before. Xavier is a top ten RPI win, one that they can pin at the top of their profile. It certainly doesn’t mean their work is done, not by any stretch. I’d wager that Creighton needs, at the very least, five wins in their last six games and the Big East tournament to have a real shot on Selection Sunday. That’s what happen when you play a bad schedule and lose too many close games.

It won’t be easy — they still have to play at Marquette, at Butler, at Providence and at Xavier — but the chances are there.

WINNERS

  • No. 25 Wichita State (KenPom: 12, RPI 41): The Shockers did what they needed to do on Tuesday, blowing out a bad Drake team on the road. Wichita State is good, but given the lack of quality wins on their profile, I’m not sure they can afford two more losses.
  • Florida (KenPom: 28, RPI: 23): The Gators finished off their sweep of Ole Miss on Tuesday, picking up their seventh top 100 win of the season in the process. With just one sub-100 loss (at Tennessee, who may not be outside the top 100 by Selection Sunday) and terrific schedule numbers, the Gators likely just need to win the games their supposed to win to get a bid. In other words, they’re playing seeding more than they are for a bid.
  • Cincinnati (KenPom: 63, RPI: 31): The Bearcats beat UCF on Tuesday, a win that does nothing for them beyond guaranteeing they won’t lose to UCF. Cincinnati does have three top 50 wins, two of which came on the road, but a 4-6 record against the top 100 is not great. Like Creighton, Cincinnati’s KenPom numbers are far more impressive than their RPI numbers.

LOSERS

  • Georgia (KenPom: 80, RPI: 64): The Bulldogs better hope that no selection committee members were watching on Tuesday as they were absolutely manhandled by Kentucky. Embarrassed. Georgia has just one top 75 win (South Carolina) and a 4-9 record against the top 100. The good news? A top ten non-conference strength of schedule gives Georgia some margin for error.
  • Pittsburgh (KenPom: 53, RPI: 41): The Panthers blew a chance to land a key road win on Tuesday night, losing by two at Miami. A win would have been huge for a team that still is trying to fill out the top of their profile. They do have four top 50 wins, three away from home, but they’re 5-6 against the top 100 and they’ve lost five of their last eight games. More than anything, this group needs to simply turn that trend around.

VIDEO: North Carolina head coach Roy Williams collapses on sideline

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North Carolina head coach Roy Williams collapsed during the second half of No. 2 North Carolina’s visit to Boston College on Tuesday night:

Roy Williams has dealt with vertigo in the past; it’s not abnormal for him to collapse on the sideline during games, and given that his team is currently losing to Boston College, it’s understandable that he may have screamed himself dizzy.

He had to be helped off the floor:

It does appear that this isn’t something serious, according to a North Carolina release, that said Williams is “doing OK”.