Rob Dauster

North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks (3) and Marcus Paige, left, react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. North Carolina won 67-55. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

VIDEO: Marcus Paige’s emotional Senior Night speech


It is the year of the senior in college basketball, which means that Senior Night gets just that much more meaningful. On Monday night, after his final game in the Dean Dome, North Carolina senior Marcus Paige gave a heartfelt speech to the Tar Heel fans in attendance.

At the 4:30 mark, Paige give a tearful speech thanking head coach Roy Williams. It’s worth the watch:

Is it getting dusty in here?

VIDEO: Georges Niang on Senior Night: ‘I got a home forever in Ames’

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It is the year of the senior in college basketball, which means that Senior Night gets just that much more meaningful. On Monday night, after his final games in Hilton Coliseum, Iowa State senior Georges Niang gave a heartfelt speech to the Cyclone fans in attendance.

Is it getting dusty in here?

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

No. 1 Kansas mollywhops No. 23 Texas, locks up a No. 1 seed

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) scores over Texas forward Connor Lammert (21), center Prince Ibeh (44) and guard Kendal Yancy (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

By the time Javan Felix of No. 23 Texas finally hit a little runner in the lane, more than six minutes had run off the clock and No. 1 Kansas was already holding a 15-0 lead thanks, in large part, to an 0-for-14 start from the floor from the Longhorns.

Once Kansas built that lead, Texas was only able to get the deficit to single-digits for 25 seconds midway through the first half. It wasn’t until there were about six minutes left in the half that the Longhorns finally had more made field goals (six) than they had shots blocked by Landen Lucas (five).

And if that’s not enough to summarize the 86-56 mollywhopping that Kansas put on Texas, this should be:

The Jayhawks shot 11-for-16 from three, 64 percent from the floor, totally took advantage of the mismatch they had with Perry Ellis offensive — he had 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting seemingly without breaking a sweat — and shut down Texas’ Isaiah Taylor, who was 1-for-10 from the floor as the Jayhawks took away any space he had in the lane.

Credit Kansas. They looked every bit the part of the best team in the country, winning by 30 on the same floor that, on Saturday, Oklahoma lost on by 13 points. I’m not sure the Jayhawks are quite this good or that Texas is anywhere near this bad — sometimes there are night where one team catches fire, it happens — but what we did see here was Kansas’ ceiling. This is how good they can be when everything is clicking.

This win all but locks Kansas into a No. 1 seed come Selection Sunday, and they are now the favorite in the clubhouse to have the No. 1 overall seed.

No. 8 North Carolina survives against Syracuse

North Carolina's Brice Johnson blocks a shot by Syracuse's Tyler Roberson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. (Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP)
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Brice Johnson finished with 14 points and 10 boards and Joel Berry chipped in with 13 points off the bench as No. 8 North Carolina held on to beat Syracuse in the Dean Dome on Monday night, 75-70.

The win itself wasn’t overly impressive — the Tar Heels opened up a double-digit lead in the second half and nearly gave it all back — while the result didn’t mean much for either team’s tournament standing. Losing at UNC isn’t going to hurt Syracuse in terms of their bubble standings and a win over the Orange isn’t going to be the difference between a No. 2 seed and a No. 1 seed for the Tar Heels.

But that doesn’t mean this outcome is meaningless.

Because there are two things that North Carolina fans can take out of this:

  1. Marcus Paige really struggled shooting the ball again. He’s been out of rhythm since going for 30 points in a win at Florida State, and tonight’s 2-for-10 effort didn’t change that. Paige did, however, finally look like he was involved on the offensive end of the floor. Paige finished with eight assists to just one turnovers, leading the way as UNC was able to break down the Syracuse 2-3 zone. That’s not something that he has done consistently this season, partly because North Carolina has had him spending more time playing off the ball. Will that be an adjustment that the Tar Heels make moving forward?
  2. Isaiah Hicks finished with 10 points and six boards in 21 minutes. Five of those six boards came on the offensive end of the floor. I’ve mentioned this before, but I think that Hicks is a better fit alongside Johnson than Kennedy Meeks is. Where as Johnson and Meeks both need to occupy essentially the same spot on the floor to be effective, Hicks is more active, tougher and more aggressive getting to the offensive glass. For a team that lacks toughness, I think you need to play the guy that makes toughness plays.

POSTERIZED: Abdel Nader’s dunk counted, Jameel McKay’s was blocked … by a head?

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.12.00 PM
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No. 21 Iowa State knocked off Oklahoma State on Monday night in fairly easy fashion, winning 58-50 in a game that never really felt as in doubt as the final score would have you believe.

The star of the night was Abdel Nader, who finished with 19 points, five boards and this vicious poster:

It was Nader’s final game in Hilton Coliseum, just like it was Jameel McKay’s last home game as a Cyclone.

McKay tried to get a poster of his own on Monday. He was denied … by a defender’s head?

AP POLL: Kansas, Michigan State take over top two spots

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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The Jayhawks won their 12th consecutive regular season title on Saturday, and they were rewarded with the top spot in the new AP Poll.

Michigan State slides into the No. 2 spot while Villanova falls to third after their loss to Xavier. Virginia resides in fourth while Xavier remains in the top five after beating the No. 1 team in the country and losing to Seton Hall.

Here is the full AP Poll:

[ Top 25 | Coaches Poll | NBC Bracketology   ]

1. Kansas (25-4, 63 first-place votes)
2. Michigan State (24-5, 2)
3. Villanova (25-4)
4. Virginia (22-6)
5. Xavier (25-4)
6. Oklahoma (22-6)
7. Miami (FL) (23-5)
8. North Carolina (23-6)
9. Oregon (23-6)
10. West Virginia (22-7)
11. Louisville (22-7)
12. Indiana (23-6)
13. Utah (23-7)
14. Maryland (23-6)
15. Purdue (22-7)
16. Iowa (20-8)
17. Duke (21-8)
18. Arizona (22-7)
19. Baylor (21-8)
20. Texas A&M (22-7)
21. Iowa State (20-9)
22. Kentucky (21-8)
23. Texas (19-10)
24. SMU (24-4)
25. Cal (21-8)