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Barry scores 14, No. 12 Florida handles Arkansas 78-65

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Canyon Barry scored 14 points, his best game since injuring an ankle two weeks ago, and No. 12 Florida handled Arkansas 78-65 on Wednesday night.

Kasey Hill, KeVaughn Allen and Chris Chiozza added 12 points apiece for the Gators, who bounced back from their first loss in 10 games and clinched the No. 2 seed in the Southeastern Conference Tournament next week.

Florida (24-6, 14-3) controlled the game much of the night, building a double-digit lead early, extending it to as many as 16 in the first half and then holding on after the break.

Arkansas (22-8, 11-6) made it close midway through the second half, cutting the lead to 51-45 on Trey Thompson’s straightaway jumper. But the Gators responded with clutch shot after clutch shot to make it a 14-point game again. Barry hit a driving layup out of a timeout, Devin Robinson followed with a 3-pointer from the wing and then Keith Stone completed a three-point play.

Jaylen Barford led the Razorbacks with 18 points. Moses Kingsley added 17 points and nine rebounds. Arkansas had won five straight and 10 of 13.

Coach Mike Anderson’s biggest issue was his team allowing the Gators, who improved to 9-1 at home this season, to shoot 51 percent from the field.

Stone finished with eight points, his best performance since mid-January. Florida had another comeback outing from Gorjok Gak, who missed the previous seven games because of a sprained foot. He had two points and two rebounds in 8 minutes.

But Barry was the story. The senior swingman got one of the largest ovations on Senior Night – Barry, Hill, center Schuyler Rimmer and forward Justin Leon were honored – and he delivered.

BIG PICTURE

Arkansas: Despite the loss, the Hogs are still having their best season in years. With a victory in the regular-season finale. Arkansas would have 12 conference wins for the fifth time in program history and just the second time in the last 22 years (2014-15). The Razorbacks also have 22 regular-season wins for the second time in the last 22 years.

Florida: The Gators need Hill, Barry and Stone to continue to play like they did against Arkansas. Hill and Barry make the offense go, and Stone provides a defensive presence in the middle and another 3-point threat on the other end.

UP NEXT

Arkansas: The Razorbacks end the regular season Saturday against Georgia at Bud Walton Arena, where they have won five of their last six.

Florida: The Gators wrap up the regular season at Vanderbilt on Saturday. Florida has lost three of its last four against the Commodores, including a home loss in January that helped better focus coach Mike White’s team and sparked a nine-game winning streak.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Beachem leads No. 19 Notre Dame past Boston College

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) V.J. Beachem scored 22 points Wednesday night to lead No. 19 Notre Dame to its sixth straight win, 82-66 over Boston College.

Bonzie Colson added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Irish (23-7, 12-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have all but locked up a top-four finish in the ACC and a double-bye for next week’s conference tournament.

Colson’s double-double was his ACC-best 18th of the season.

Ky Bowman scored 19 points and Mo Jeffers had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Boston College (9-21, 2-15 ACC), which has lost 13 in a row and 15 of 16, including a Feb. 14 home game against Notre Dame in which the Eagles let a 10-point lead slip away in the second half.

The Irish again got off to a slow start against BC, falling behind by seven in the first half before ripping off 15 straight points. Beachem knocked down two 3-pointers during the run and Boston College went over 6 minutes without a field goal.

Beachem had 15 points as the Irish took a 36-28 lead.

Matt Farrell and Rex Pflueger hit consecutive 3-pointers to cap a 10-2 run that extended the Irish lead to 16 points with 11:31 to play. Farrell finished with 14 points.

Beachem turned in the highlight of the game with a baseline drive and twisting scoop shot from behind the backboard with 6:40 to play.

BIG PICTURE

Boston College: The Eagles dropped to 0-8 on the road in ACC play, have not beaten Notre Dame in nine straight, and have not won in South Bend since 1997.

Notre Dame: With a win at No. 8 Louisville, combined with a North Carolina loss to Duke on Saturday, the Irish would earn a share of the ACC regular season title.

VETERAN WINNERS

Playing their last home game at Purcell Pavilion, seniors Steve Vasturia and Beachem have helped the Irish win 94 games during their four years, tying them for the fifth-most wins in program history, three away from matching the 97 victories the 2009-10 class compiled.

UP NEXT

Boston College: The Eagles finish the regular season at Clemson on Saturday.

Notre Dame: The Irish also play their regular season finale on the road, at No. 8 Louisville on Saturday.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

VIDEO: Illinois forward Malcolm Hill moved to tears after senior night win over Michigan State

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It was Malcolm Hill’s last home game on Wednesday night, and he went out in impressive fashion, as his Illini team knocked off Michigan State to put themselves in a position where an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament is a real possibility.

When interviewed after the game, Hill could hardly hide the emotion he was feeling:

Bubble Banter: It’s a busy night for bubble teams

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Here is the latest NBC Sports Bracketology. This is where the rankings you see below are from. This post will be updated throughout the night. 

WINNERS

Northwestern (RPI: 50, KenPom: 37, No. 9 seed): The Wildcats are dancing. Thanks to the play of the year. Check this out.

Wake Forest (RPI: 45, KenPom: 33, first four out): Northwestern may not even be the biggest winner of the night, as the Demon Deacons landed a win that they desperately needed, picking off No. 8 Louisville at home. Wake Forest is now 18-12 on the season and 8-9 in the ACC with a game left at Virginia this weekend, but what make this win so important is that Wake literally had just one top 60 win entering Wednesday and no top 35 wins. They’d beaten Miami, Georgia Tech and Pitt. They had a win over Bucknell, at Charleston and at Richmond. That was it. With no bad losses to their name, they just needed to prove that they could actually beat the big boys. This doesn’t lock them into a bid, but now a win at Virginia Tech probably would. If not, a win or two in the ACC tournament would. I can promise you this: Wake won’t be one of the first four out tomorrow morning.

Marquette (RPI: 69, KenPom: 32, No. 10 seed): The Golden Eagles are getting closer and closer to punching their ticket to the dance. With a game left at home against Creighton, Steve Wojciechowski’s team is now sitting with four top 30 wins — including a win over Villanova — and nine top 100 wins with St. John’s being the only bad loss in their 11 losses. Beating Creighton should be enough, although avoiding a loss to DePaul, St. John’s or Georgetown in the Big East tournament would be sensible. One thing to watch for with Marquette: Will the committee take into account that three of their four best wins came when the opponents (Xavier twice and Creighton) had lost their star point guard to a torn ACL?

Illinois (RPI: 56, KenPom: 64, first four out): The Illini have made a remarkable run down the stretch of the season, winning their fourth in a row on Wednesday night as they knocked off Michigan State at home on Senior Night to get to 18-12 on the season and 8-9 in the Big Ten with a game left at Rutgers. John Groce’s club has just one top 40 win — VCU on a neutral — but they have five top 50 and 10 top 100 wins. They’re right there with everyone else on the bubble, and while they still have quite a bit of work left to do — I’d say they need to win at least two more game, preferably three, to really feel comfortable on Selection Sunday — the fact that they are even close is impressive.

Georgia (RPI: 52, KenPom: 52, next four out): The Bulldogs are still in the NCAA tournament mix after beating Auburn at home on Wednesday. The Bulldogs have to beat Arkansas in Fayetteville to have a real chance on Selection Sunday. While Georgia has no sub-105 RPI losses and nine top 100 wins, they have no top 45 wins to their name. Even with a win at Arkansas, they probably need to win a game or two in the SEC tournament. But after Yante Maten went down with a knee injury two weeks ago, no one thought that this team would even be in this position right now. So there’s always a chance, especially if J.J. Frazier keeps doing what he’s done the last four games, averaging 31.3 points.

Kansas State (RPI: 67, KenPom: 36, first four out): The Wildcats landed a nice win at TCU that will help them — top 100 road wins are always good — but I think that Kansas State isn’t in quite as good of a position as some may think. They have just three top 30 wins and, after tonight, five top 100 wins. Yes, four of them came away from home, and that is a good thing, but that’s an impressive lack of quality wins for a committee that showed us during the bracket reveal they are valuing wins quite heavily.

USC (RPI: 38, KenPom: 67, play-in game): At this point, here’s what USC cannot do: They cannot lose to either of the Washington teams at home this week, and they cannot lose to anyone in the Pac-12 tournament not named UCLA, Arizona or Oregon. Even then, I would recommended that they probably beat one of those three teams if they really want to go into Selection Sunday without the stress of wondering if your name isn’t going to get called. The Trojans have two top 20 wins this season but just a total of five top 100 wins and a 1-6 record against the other top five teams in the conference.

Rhode Island (RPI: 41, KenPom: 53, play-in game): Rhody won a game that they couldn’t lost at Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday. They play another game they can’t lose on Saturday against Davidson at home. Basically, URI cannot afford to take a loss unless it’s against either VCU or Dayton in the A-10 tournament, and even then, they really lack quality wins. They have two top 25 wins but just four total top 100 wins.

LOSERS

Xavier (RPI: 26, KenPom: 40, No. 10 seed): Xavier, man. They needed their own separate post.

Arkansas (RPI: 28, KenPom: 44, No. 9 seed): The Razorbacks missed a chance to lock up a bid by winning at Florida on Wednesday. They are still pretty safe, but I do think they would do well to win one more game, whether it is against Georgia at home this weekend or in the SEC tournament opener.

VCU (RPI: 23, KenPom: 46, No. 9 seed): The Rams are still probably safe, but after losing at Dayton three days after they lost at URI, VCU is still in a spot where I think they need one more win, whether it is over George Mason at home this weekend or in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament next week.

TCU (RPI: 58, KenPom: 41, next four out): The Horned Frogs are probably out after losing at home to Kansas State on Wednesday. They’re now 6-11 in the Big 12 with just two top 65 wins.

Collins, Wake Forest upset No. 8 Louisville 88-81

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — John Collins had 25 points and 11 rebounds to help Wake Forest rally from 14 down to upset No. 8 Louisville 88-81 on Wednesday night.

Keyshawn Woods added 20 points for the Demon Deacons (17-12, 8-9 Atlantic Coast Conference), who came into the game desperately needing a big win to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume.

They got it, with Dinos Mitoglou and Mitchell Wilbekin hitting back-to-back huge 3-pointers in the final 3 minutes to turn a 75-72 lead into a nine-point margin.

Wake Forest is trying to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010.

Deng Adel scored 22 points for the Cardinals (23-7, 11-6), who got off to a fast start but shot just 39 percent after halftime. They also struggled to slow the Demon Deacons once their offense got rolling, with Wake Forest shooting 46 percent and making 10 of 24 3-pointers.

This one ended with Wake Forest fans storming the court to celebrate.

Collins, a sophomore who has made himself a candidate for ACC player of the year, finished 7 of 12 from the field and 11 of 12 from the foul line to earn his 12th straight 20-point performance.

Wake Forest trailed 41-30 late in the first half but used a 20-4 run spanning halftime to take its first lead — and eventually pushed it to 11. Louisville got as close as three before Mitoglou and Wilbekin’s huge 3s.

BIG PICTURE

Louisville: The Cardinals made 12 of their first 20 shots, but 17 of 41 (41 percent) the rest of the game and couldn’t keep pace with Wake Forest’s confident attack.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons entered this game at 1-9 against RPI top-50 teams after failing to close out several close game, and also with the same number of league wins they had managed the past two seasons combined. Closing this one out is a huge boost for third-year coach Danny Manning’s program.

UP NEXT

Louisville: The Cardinals host No. 19 Notre Dame in Saturday’s regular-season finale.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons close the regular season Saturday at Virginia Tech.

Valparaiso’s Alec Peters to miss the rest of the season

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Valparaiso star Alec Peters is done for the year, a source confirmed to NBC Sports.

Peters, who is one of the best players in the mid-major ranks and a legitimate NBA prospect, has missed the last two games as he’s dealt with a stress reaction in his left leg, and that injury will keep him out for the rest of the season.

The Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune was the first to report the news.

Any senior seeing their final season come to an end as a result of an injury is awful, but this injury is particularly cruel given Peters’ story. He graduated from Valpo in three years and, after Bryce Drew left the program to take over at Vanderbilt last spring, he had the opportunity to go literally anywhere in the country to play as a grad transfer.

He opted to remain at Valpo because of his loyalty to his team, to the coaching staff and to his school.

He wanted one final shot at getting his team to the NCAA tournament. He won’t get it.