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Atlantic 10 Preview: Can Rhode Island unseat Davidson?

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Beginning in October and running up through November 13th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2015-2016 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Last year, many people were reminded never to bet against Bob McKillop. The Davidson coach, in a new league for the first time in 23 years, took little time navigating his way to the top of the conference standings, leading the Wildcats to the Atlantic 10 regular season title.

Davidson graduated Tyler Kalinoski, the A-10 Player of the Year, but there’s reason to believe the Wildcats can repeat in the A-10 this season. The back court is anchored by Jack Gibbs and Brian Sullivan, both of whom averaged double figures and finished top-3 in the league in assists. Jordan Barham, as 6-foot-4 senior who led Davidson is rebounding, adds another upperclassmen on the perimeter. The front court will build off of last year’s experience with six forward logging 10 or more minutes, including Payton Aldridge and Jake Belford, who was missed all but six games last season.

The Wildcats may be a favorite to repeat, but no team in the A-10 has as much upside as Rhode Island. The Rams are coming off a 23-win season, bringing back all-conference selections E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin, along sophomores Jared Terrell and Jarvis Garrett. The roster was bolstered by the additions of graduate transfer Four McGlynn, who will help with the Rams’ deficiency behind the 3-point line, and Kuran Iverson, the ex-Memphis forward and former top 30 recruit, who will create matchup problems for opposing defenses.

The Dayton Flyers have become a team no one wants to be paired with on Selection Sunday. Archie Miller’s team has won five games in the last two tournament appearances and is primed for another postseason appearance with Kendall Pollard, Scoochie Smith and Kyle Davis returning. James Madison transfer Charles Cooke and redshirt big man Steve McElvene could both make an immediate impact. At the moment, Dyshawn Pierre is not with the team. It’s a blow to the roster, but remember, Miller was able to guide the Flyers to a 20-7 finish after dismissing two players last winter.

The major offeseason storyline in the Atlantic 10 occurred in April when Shaka Smart left for Texas. Chattanooga head coach and former VCU assistant Will Wade takes over a program dealing with the graduation of two of the program’s all-time greats, Treveon Graham and Briante Weber, and departures of some of Smart’s top recruits (Terry Larrier and 2015 commits Tevin Mack and Kenny Williams). However, Melvin Johnson, Mo Alie-Cox and JeQuan Lewis is a solid core to have in Wade’s first season.

George Washington and Richmond headline a list of teams that could fight to round out the top fiver. The Colonials have one of the best starting fives in the league, but depth could be a concern. The Spiders return Terry Allen and T.J. Cline, but lose Kendall Anthony. ShawnDre’ Jones will step into that role after earning A-10 Sixth Man of the Year honors.

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

1. Shaka Smart gone, Havoc remains: Texas was able to uproot Shaka Smart from VCU this spring. VCU was quick to hire Smart’s former assistant, Will Wade, who had built Chattanooga into a Southern Conference contender in just two seasons. In Wade’s introductory press conference, he made it clear, “Havoc still lives here.” Wade served on Smart’s staff for four years, which included the 2011 Final Four run.

Will Wade (AP Photo)
Will Wade (AP Photo)

2. Dyshawn Pierre suspended: The 6-foot-6 senior forward was suspended for the entire fall semester back in September. He was the team’s top returning scorer and rebounder at 12.7 points and 8.1 boards per game. The Flyers could be without the versatile forward for marquee non-conference games against Vanderbilt and at the AdvoCare Invitation in Orlando, which includes potential matchups against Notre Dame and Wichita State/Xavier. He is currently fighting this suspension.

3. Rhody rising: The fourth year of Dan Hurley’s tenure in Kingstown is expected to end with the Rams first NCAA tournament appearance since 1999. Rhode Island finished third in the A-10 standings last year, but settled for an NIT bid. Rhode Island has the most talent in the league, bringing back E.C. Matthews, Hassan Martin, Jared Terrell and Jarvis Garett, while adding transfers Kuran Iverson and Four McGlynn, both of whom immediately eligible. Is that enough to dethrone Davidson and stave off Dayton and VCU?

4. Coming off a ‘down year?’: Following back-to-back seasons in which the league earned five and six NCAA tournament bids, the A-10 sent just three (Davidson, Dayton and VCU) to the Big Dance in March. Entering this season, you’d expect all Davidson, Dayton, Rhode Island and VCU to be in the conversation.

5. A big slate on NBCSN: Twenty-four Atlantic 10 Conference games, in addition to two rounds of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, will be aired on the NBC Sports Network.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

COACH’S TAKE:

  • Favorite: “I think someone has to prove that they’re better than Davidson. I know they lost a good player, but their style of play is never predicated on a star system or on a single player. I’d have to go with Davidson until someone proves otherwise.”
  • Sleeper: “I’d say George Washington or Richmond. Those are two teams I’d really keep my eye on.”
  • Best player:
    • “DeAndre Bembry. When people use the phrase, ‘he does everything,’ it’s usually exaggerated. It’s not exaggerated in his case. He’s outstanding at just about every area of basketball. He can rebound, he can defend, he can pass, he obviously can score, he can make threes, he can finish. … I really think he’s a great NBA prospect.”
    • “Bembry. He can shoot the three, he post up, he can get offensive rebound. I think he can do it all. I think he’s the complete package. He’s too big for most small forwards to guard him and he’s too versatile and skilled for power forwards.”
  • Most underrated player:
    • “I think Kendall Pollard should have been all-league. I don’t know how underrated he is, but I think a guy who doesn’t get as much attention is Hassan Martin at Rhode Island. I think he’s terrific.”
    • “Probably, [Patricio] Garino. Are people talking about him? I think he’s gotten better every year. He had a great summer against a high-level of competition.”

PRESEASON ATLANTIC 10 PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DeAndre Bembry, Saint Joseph’s

Giving a guy on a sub-.500 team player of the years honors is a tough sell. Perhaps that’s why Bembry wasn’t named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year as a sophomore. No player in the Atlantic 10 has more of an impact on his team than 6-foot-6 forward. Bembry logged a ridiculous 38.6 minutes per game (tops in Division I) and won the A-10 scoring title at 17.7 points per game. He finished in the top-10 in points, rebounds, assists and steals.

THE REST OF THE ATLANTIC 10 FIRST TEAM:

  • Jack Gibbs, Davidson: The junior point guard went for 20 or more six times (missed seven games to injury). He also led the A-10 in assists at 4.8 per game
  • Hassan Martin, Rhode Island: The 6-foot-7 forward was a second-team A-10 selection, corralling 7.7 boards and blocking 3.1 shots per game, sixth-best in the NCAA.
  • E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island: URI’s top returning scorer averaged 16.9 points per game and like Martin second team A-10 selection
  • Jordan Price, La Salle: The redshirt junior was second in the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 17.2 points per game.

FIVE MORE NAMES TO KNOW:

  • Patrico Garino, George Washington
  • Melvin Johnson, VCU
  • Kuran Iverson, Rhode Island
  • Kendall Pollard, Dayton
  • ShawnDre’ Jones, Richmond

BREAKOUT STAR: Donte Clark, UMass

The 6-foot-4 freshman was inserted into the starting lineup in early January. He had his ups-and-downs scoring, but ending the season averaging 14.4 points per game in the last five games. Clark could be a big part of UMass’ future, one that has one of conference’s top recruiting classes coming in.

COACH UNDER PRESSURE: Jim Ferry, Duquesne

Ferry received a contract extension at the end of June despite failing to finish better than 10th in the A-10 standings in three seasons at the helm. While he doesn’t appear to be on the hot seat, that act of good faith comes with the expectations that the Dukes will improve this upcoming season.

ON SELECTION SUNDAY WE’LL BE SAYING … : The same old same old, arguing about the A-10 getting too many bids, or not enough bids

I’M MOST EXCITED ABOUT : Is there another surprising team?

Last season, newcomer Davidson was slotted 12th in the preseason before winning the regular season title. In 2013, George Washington, picked 10th in the preseason, reached the program’s first tournament in seven years. From the coaches’ quotes above, George Washington and Richmond will be in the conversation. But what about that next tier of teams? St. Joe’s and La Salle both benefit by having two of the top scorers in the league, while St. Bonaventure and Duquesne each have experienced lineups. Will any of those teams defy preseason projections?

FIVE NON-CONFERENCE GAMES TO CIRCLE ON YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Nov. 16, Virginia at George Washington
  • Nov. 20, VCU vs. Duke (in New York)
  • Nov. 26, Dayton vs. Iowa (in Orlando)*
  • Dec. 5, Providence at Rhode Island
  • Dec. 6, Davidson at North Carolina

*Dayton could renew a rivalry with Xavier at the AdvoCare Invitational

ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @CDiSano44

PREDICTED FINISH

1. Davidson: Yes, Tyler Kalinoski is gone, but Bob McKillop returns three guards who averaged double figures, including Jack Gibbs. Wildcats also have a experienced frontline.
2. Rhode Island: The Rams is the most talented team in the A-10 led by E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin. But that February slate is brutal. URI is at VCU, at Davidson and at Dayton in three of their last six regular season games.
3. Dayton: The Flyers were expected to return four starters, but as of right now, the status of Dyshawn Pierre remains uncertain. Dayton still has the chemistry and depth to make a run at the A-10 title.
4. VCU: Depending on how graduate transfer Korey Billbury fits in to the offense alongside JeQuan Lewis, Melvin Johnson and Mo Alie-Cox, this could be a really good first year for Will Wade.
5. George Washington: A veteran lineup of brings back Joe McDonald, Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen and adds 6-foot-10 transfer Tyler Cavanaugh. But do the Colonials have the depth to support a talented starting lineup?
6. Richmond: The loss of Kendall Anthony is tough, but the trio of ShawnDre’ Jones, Terry Allen and T.J. Cline make the Spiders a real sleeper in the A-10 this season.
7. St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies could be another surprise team, returning Marcus Posley, Dion Wright and Jaylen Adams.
8. La Salle: The Explorers took an early foreign tour to Prague in May, hoping to jumpstart a 2015-16 campaign in which players are stepping into larger roles alongside the returning Jordan Price.
9. Duquesne: Derrick Colter and Micah Mason, two of the better 3-point shooters in the A-10, will have no issues putting up points, but the Dukes will need to focus on limiting points on the other end. Duquesne gave up the most points per game in the A-10 last season.
10. Saint Joseph’s: The Hawks have arguably the best player in the conference, but DeAndre Bembry will need some help.
11. Saint Louis: Four starters back could lead the Billikens to a higher finish. In order to do so, Saint Louis will need to make major improvements to its offense, which ranked the worst in the conference.
12. UMass: A streak of three straight 20-win seasons was snapped in 2014-15. Despite a stable back court, Minutemen are likely enter a rebuilding season after losing Cady Lalanne, Maxie Esho and Derrick Gordon.
13. George Mason: A rebuilding effort begins under Dave Paulsen, who is taking over a program that will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Final Four run this spring. The Patriots return three starters, including 6-foot-11 center Shevon Thompson, who averaged a double-double last season.
14. Fordham: Jeff Neubauer inherits a 10-win team that saw Eric Paschall, the 2015 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, transfer to Villanova.

Davidson lands transfer big man from Boston College

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(Getty Images)

Davidson picked up a key big man transfer late this week as former Boston College big man Will Magarity committed to the Wildcats. The 6-foot-11 Magarity is a native of Sweden. He’ll have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules before he has two more years of eligibility remaining.

“We’re very, very happy to have Will Magarity join our program,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said to the Charlotte Observer. “He is a perfect fit for our style of play. He will be a superb addition to Davidson as both a student and an athlete.”

Magarity appeared in 22 games as a sophomore for the Golden Eagles and averaged 15.7 minutes per contest. Shooting 39 percent from the field and stretching the floor a little bit at 31 percent from the field, Magarity averaged 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

With a year to sit out and by moving down a level, this could be a good move for Magarity, since his skill level as a big man will be coveted by a coach like McKillop.

WATCH LIVE: Atlantic 10 tournament: La Salle vs. No. 24 Davidson and VCU vs. Richmond

Tyler Kalinoski (AP Photo)
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It’s day three at the Atlantic 10 tournament in Brooklyn, and the top four seeds will finally take the court. No. 24 Davidson, playing as a ranked team for the first time this season, is the top seed and they’ll take on La Salle in the first quarterfinal of the day. Bob McKillop’s team has far exceeded the preseason expectations, winning the outright regular season title and Tyler Kalinoski earning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors.

The Explorers will counter with shooting guard Jordan Price, and the action begins at Noon on NBCSN. And if you can’t get to a television, the game can be watched on NBC Sports Live Extra.

WATCH LIVE: Stream La Salle vs. No. 24 Davidson here.

Following that game, rivals VCU and Richmond meet for the third time this season with the Spiders having won both regular season meetings. Chris Mooney’s team has kept the live-ball turnovers to a minimum against the Rams, who have struggled with consistency since losing point guard Briante Weber to a knee injury.

VCU needs Treveon Graham and Melvin Johnson to be consistent scoring options if they’re to make a run in Brooklyn, as they survived a challenge from Fordham on Thursday. Also key for VCU: keep Richmond’s Kendall Anthony in check. The senior guard was a first team All-Atlantic 10 selection, and Chris Mooney’s team has played its best basketball of the season in their current six-game win streak.

WATCH LIVE: Stream VCU vs. Richmond here.

Pregame Shootaround: No. 6 Wisconsin, two other ranked teams hit the road

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 6 Wisconsin at Minnesota, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)

The Badgers, who wrapped up a share of the Big Ten title on Sunday, can clinch it outright with a win over the Golden Gophers. National Player of the Year candidate Frank Kaminsky leads the way for one of the nation’s most efficient offenses, but this could be a tricky game for Wisconsin. Minnesota’s been inconsistent this season, but Richard Pitino’s team managed to snap a three-game losing streak by knocking off Michigan State in double overtime last week. In their first meeting, a 63-53 Wisconsin win February 21, the Badgers shot just 6-for-17 from three. Minnesota will need to force a similar shooting performance if they’re to pull off the upset.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: VCU at Davidson, 9:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Davidson’s still in the running for the Atlantic 10 title, and a win over the Rams would move Bob McKillop’s team into a tie for first with Dayton heading into the weekend. The Wildcats have won seven straight games thanks in large part to a highly efficient offense led by Tyler Kalinoski and Jack Gibbs. How they handle VCU’s pressure will have a major impact on the outcome, and the same can be said of VCU senior Treveon Graham. He’s struggled offensively in recent games, and Shaka Smart needs his leading scorer to get going ahead of the Atlantic 10 and NCAA tournaments.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

1. No. 5 Arizona is the lone ranked team playing at home tonight, and with a win over California (9:00 p.m., ESPN) the Wildcats will wrap up their second consecutive outright Pac-12 title. Can Kaleb Tarczewski continue his recent run of solid play in the pivot? He’ll need to be a factor if the Wildcats are to make a run at their first Final Four appearance since 2001.

2. No. 13 Utah is one win away from locking up the two-seed in next week’s Pac-12 tournament, and Thursday night they visit Washington State (11:00 p.m., ESPNU) on the Palouse. In their first meeting a 22-point Utah win January 21, guards Delon Wright and Brandon Taylor combined for 35 points and 15 assists.

3. Two of the top teams in the Sun Belt meet in Monroe, as ULM host Georgia State (8:00 p.m.). Both teams are 13-5 in conference play, Georgia State won the first meeting by 20, but that game was played December 30. Keith Richard’s Warhawks are looking to get back on the right track, as they’ve lost two of their last three games.

4. No. 18 Arkansas looks to rebound from its loss at No. 1 Kentucky, and they’ll be doing so on the road against South Carolina (7:00 p.m., ESPN2). The Razorbacks won the first meeting by 20 points in Fayetteville, with Bobby Portis accounting for 18 points and 13 rebounds.

5. UConn and Memphis meet at Gampel Pavilion (9:00 p.m., ESPN2), with both teams looking to build some positive momentum ahead of the American Athletic Conference tournament. Memphis will be shorthanded, as the injured Austin Nichols did not make the trip to Storrs.

“BUBBLE” GAMES

  • Temple at East Carolina, 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Stanford at Arizona State, 11:00 p.m. (FS1)

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

  • Atlantic Sun semifinals: Lipscomb at North Florida; USC Upstate at FGCU
  • Metro Atlantic first round: Niagara vs. Siena; Fairfield vs. Saint Peter’s; Marist vs. Quinnipiac
  • Missouri Valley first round: Southern Illinois vs. Missouri State; Bradley vs. Drake
  • Ohio Valley quarterfinals: Morehead State vs. UT Martin; Eastern Illinois vs. Belmont
  • Patriot League quarterfinals: Boston University at Lafayette; American at Lehigh; Holy Cross at Bucknell; Navy at Colgate

Bubble Banter: Xavier lands a critical non-conference win over Cincinnati

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WINNERS

  • Xavier: The Musketeers landed a massive win for the tournament profile on Wednesday, as they knocked off Cincinnati on the road. Entering the day, the Musketeers were squarely on the cut-line, sitting as a No. 11 seed in our latest bracket, and adding a top 50 road win to that resume will certainly help their cause. There’s still plenty of work left to do, however, as Xavier is currently 17-10 overall and 7-7 in the Big East. They also still have to play Butler and Villanova at home and head to St. John’s. I’d want to win at least two of those if I’m Chris Mack, because the four sub-100 losses Xavier has suffered take the luster off of their three top 25 wins and eight top 100 wins.
  • Davidson: The Wildcats added a top 100 road win on Wednesday, knocking off George Washington, but they still have a long way to go to get onto the right side of the bubble. Winning out maybe a necessity to help the committee see past three sub-100 losses and just four top 100 wins.
  • Rhode Island: The Rams landed their first top 50 win of the season and just their third top 100 win as they knocked off UMass at home. Rhody is still in the picture, but they probably need to win out to have a realistic shot.
  • Providence: The Friars are in a really good spot to return to the NCAA tournament for a second straight season, and a 27-point win over DePaul certainly doesn’t hurt their case.
  • Colorado State: The Rams are in a tough spot. They’re probably in the tournament as of today, but they have just five top 100 wins and every opponent they play from here on out — including Fresno State on Wednesday night — are sub-150 teams. They cannot afford to lose any of those games if they want to feel comfortable entering Selection Sunday.
  • Oregon: The Ducks picked up a home win over Colorado, which, like their road loss to UCLA last Saturday, doesn’t really change their situation much. Oregon is right there on the cut-line — probably on the wrong side as of today — and the only way they’re really going to change that fact is by beating Utah this weekend.
  • Boise State: The Broncos avoided a second-straight bad loss by winning at UNLV on Wednesday, but they’re still essentially in the same position. Boise State is on the wrong side of the bubble, which is what happens when you have as many sub 100 losses — three — as you do top 100 wins. The Broncos have five games left on the regular season. Three are against sub-200 teams. One is against New Mexico, who is No. 141. And one is at San Diego State, which would be a top 30 win on the road. The Broncos basically need to win out.
  • Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane avoided falling to East Carolina at home, which is a good thing. Tulsa is one of the teams that is generally found in the last four in, first four out range of most brackets. One top 50 win and three top 100 wins will do that. The good news? They have three more top 50 teams on their schedule: Temple, Cincinnati and at SMU.

LOSERS

  • Cincinnati: The Bearcats lost their second straight on Wednesday, falling to Crosstown Shootout rival Xavier, but the still should be in pretty good shape. Their RPI is good, their non-conference strength of schedule is in the top 25 and they have five top 50 wins that will help the committee overlook the eyesores that are losses to Tulane and East Carolina.
  • UCLA: The Bruins lost to Arizona State in Tempe on Wednesday, which isn’t a killer for the Bruins. It’s a road loss to a team in the top 100, and all-in-all, that’s not a killer. But it certainly doesn’t help the Bruins with wiggle-room, as they’re currently in the play-in game of our latest bracket. At the end of the day, the Bruins are in the same position that they were entering the night: Saturday’s game at Arizona is basically a must-win if UCLA doesn’t want to have to sweat out Selection Sunday.
  • Minnesota: Any dim hope that the Golden Gophers had of dancing are probably gone after losing at home to Northwestern.
  • George Washington: If the Colonials chances didn’t end after the loss to Duquesne or the loss to VCU, they’re definitely out of the bubble picture.
  • UMass: It was going to be a long shot for UMass to make the run they needed to put together an at-large caliber profile, and Wednesday’s loss at Rhode Island is a major blow. The Minutemen need all the quality wins they can get.

Weekly Awards: D’Angelo Russell’s ascension, Kansas takes the next step

D'Angelo Russell (AP Photo)
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D’Angelo Russell (AP Photo)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State

It took a while for Russell to find his rhythm against high-major competition, but the talented freshman is rolling these days. This week, he went for 33 points, seven boards, six assists and no turnovers in a win at Northwestern, following that up with 22 points, 10 assists and six boards as the Buckeyes got revenge on No. 23 Indiana at home. He shot 21-for-32 (65.6 percent) from the floor and 8-for-18 (44.4 percent) from three in the two wins. If you do that math, Russell missed just one shot from inside the arc in those two games.

Russell has shot his way up NBA Draft Boards of late, turning himself from a potential first round pick down the road into a guy that not only appears to be a lock to be a lottery pick, but could climb his way into the top five. The 6-foot-4 lefty is a big-time scorer that has made Sportscenter for his ability to throw mind-bending passes, and while he lacks that next-level explosiveness of a point guard like John Wall or Russell Westbrook, he’s crafty around the rim. And, more importantly for our purposes, he’s making sure that Ohio State remains relevant in the Big Ten.

THE ALL ‘THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM

  • Hassan Martin, Rhode Island: Rhode Island moved to 5-2 in the Atlantic 10 with wins over La Salle and St. Bonaventure this week, and Martin was the biggest reason why, averaging 12.0 points, 10.0 boards and 8.0 blocks.
  • Maurice Ndour, Ohio: After scoring 17 points in a win at Ball State, Ndour followed it up with 31 points, six boards, three blocks and this game-winning dunk against Buffalo.
  • Saah Nimley, Charleston Southern: In wins over UNC-Asheville and Gardner-Webb, Nimley averaged 34.0 points and 3.5 assists. In his last four games, he’s averaging 32.0 points and shooting 25-for-57 (!!!) from three.
  • Gary Payton II, Oregon State: The Beavers are a surprising 5-2 in the Pac-12 after sweeping the LA schools. Payton had 39 points, 17 boards, eight assists and seven steals in the two wins.
  • Stanley Johnson, Arizona: Johnson led the Wildcats to wins at Stanford and Cal this weekend, playing his best basketball while leading a second half charge in the win over the Cardinal. In his last four games, Johnson is averaging 20.0 points and 8.3 boards.
  • Notables: Cam Payne (Murray State), Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington), Nic Moore (SMU)
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TEAM OF THE WEEK: Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas made a statement on Saturday, going into Austin and smacking around No. 17 Texas, 75-62. That came after the Jayhawks built a 19-point lead on No. 19 Oklahoma, blew that lead in 10 minutes of game time and managed to come-from-behind to win anyway.

Yeah, I don’t get it either.

I don’t think anyone does.

But the bottom-line is that the Jayhawks, with all the inconsistencies and question marks that they’ve had this season, are sitting all alone in first place in the toughest conference in college basketball. And, finally, Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre seem to be hitting their stride. This team has always had the potential to be among the nation’s elite, and they got a step closer this week.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Georgetown: After blowing out Villanova in Washington, D.C., the Hoyas went up to Milwaukee and survived a scrappy Marquette team in overtime. Their freshmen have been terrific of late, with Isaac Copeland, who averaged 17.0 points in the two wins, leading the way.
  • Duke: The Blue Devils have officially bounced back from their two losses. This week, they beat Pitt and won at St. John’s — Coach K’s 1,000th win — due in large part to the play of Tyus Jones. He averaged 22.0 points and 5.0 assists.
  • Davidson: Despite playing without Jack Gibbs, who has a knee injury, the Wildcats blew out Dayton at home and won at George Mason in overtime.
  • Murray State: The Racers have now won 15 straight after winning at SIU-Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois this week. Cameron Payne may be the best player you’ve never seen play.
  • Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane moved to 7-0 in the American with a blowout win over Memphis at home and a victory in a trip to East Carolina, which turned into a bittersweet homecoming for head coach Frank Haith.
  • Notables: Butler, Miami, Texas A&M

SET YOUR DVR

  • No. 17 Texas at No. 9 Iowa State, Mon. 9:00 p.m.
  • No. 5 Duke at No. 8 Notre Dame, Tue. 7:30 p.m.
  • No. 14 Wichita State at No. 20 Northern Iowa, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
  • No. 15 North Carolina at No. 10 Louisville, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
  • No. 5 Duke at No. 2 Virginia, Sat. 7:00 p.m.