Previewing your college hoops weekend



Sun. 2:00 pm: No. 12 Villanova @ La Salle: No city in the country does rivalries quite like Philly. Known as the Big 5, Villanova, Temple, La Salle, Penn, and St. Joseph’s play a yearly round robin, with the winner getting city bragging rights for the whole year. While the tradition and the rivalry today may not be what it was in its heyday, these games are still intense and hold much more meaning than your average non-conference game.

Villanova has not looked as good as many people expected them to be this season, and a huge reason for that has been the struggles of the Wildcat’s two best perimeter players. Corey Fisher has not become the leader everyone expected him to be this season. He’s been ice cold shooting the ball (32.7% from the field, 21.1% from three) and was even benched for the beginning of Villanova’s game against Penn on Wednesday because he talked back to Jay Wright at practice. Maalik Wayns hasn’t been much better. He came into the season being hyped as a potential first round pick, but he’s shot worse from three than Fisher (15.6%) and has lost his scoring touch since Villanova’s win over UCLA. Throw in JayVaughn Pinkston’s suspension and injuries to Maurice Sutton and Isaiah Armwood, and the Wildcats are playing at far from 100%.

La Salle, on the other hand, has been impressive this year. They are 6-3 on the season, and all three losses have been in close games to major conference opponents. Aaric Murray has been terrific, averaging 16.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, and 3.1 bpg, while Reuben Guillandeaux has become a capable secondary option, scoring 15.9 ppg and hitting 46.9% from three. Villanova needed a 34 point effort from Corey Stokes to beat Penn by 12. If the Wildcats play like that on Sunday, they will take a loss.


Sat. 12:30 pm: No. 8 Michigan State vs. Oakland: Michigan State has been struggling this season, especially in the paint, where the Spartans are usually rock solid. The best big man on the floor in this one will be Oakland center Keith Benson, a 6’11” center putting up 18.2 ppg, 11.7 rpg, and 3.3 bpg early this season. How will the Spartans bounce back from the whooping that Syracuse put on them?

Sat. 6:30 pm: Colorado State vs. No. 4 Kansas: I hate to use the term, but its fits perfectly here. The Rams are the quintessential trap game for the Jayhawks. Kansas is coming off of a big, nationally televised win over Memphis and the Jayhawks are one game away from getting Josh Selby back in the lineup. Colorado State is the team everyone forgets about in the MWC, but they were the consensus sleeper in the conference coming into the season. Travis Franklin and Andy Ogide are quality forwards and could give the Morrii some trouble. Another potential issue — will there be players gunning to try and prove themselves worthy of minutes when Selby gets thrown into the mix?

Sat. 7:00 pm: Wofford @ South Carolina: Bruce Ellington has turned out to be the real deal for South Carolina as a freshman, leading the Gamecocks to a 6-1 start to the season. Wofford, however, is a tough defensive team that really needs a win. The Terriers were picked to win their conference — the SoCon — in the preseason.


Sat. 12:00 pm: No. 19 UNLV @ Louisville: Louisville gets their biggest test of the season as the Runnin’ Rebels come to town. UNLV has looked very good early in the season, as they like to press, play an uptempo game, and spread the floor, allowing their talented perimeter players room to operate and create. Replace UNLV with Louisville at the start of the last sentence, and the same thing is true. This one should be a lot of fun for those that get to watch it. There are few teams in the country that consistently get better shots that UNLV. Will they be able to do it against Louisville’s press?

Sat. 2:30 pm: Wisconsin @ Marquette: Let’s put aside the fact that Marquette is in Wisconsin. Let’s also put aside the fact that these two teams are natural born enemies. Think Louisville-Kentucky, only with cheese, not bourbon. Finally, let’s put aside seeing whether Marquette can slow down Badger big man Jon Leuer or Wisconsin has the perimeter quickness to handle Marquette’s back court. The most interesting part of this game is that Vander Blue, a Madison native, originally committed to Wisconsin when he was 15, but backed off of that commitment later on in the process. Wisconsin fans let him have it online. Blue didn’t like that, and eventually committed to Marquette. Too bad this game isn’t in the Kohl Center. That would have been interesting.

Sat. 3:15 pm: No. 13 Tennessee @ No. 3 Pitt
: The Panthers are a physical defensive team that have been absolute monsters on the offensive glass. As a team, they lead the country by grabbing 48.5% of the available offensive rebounds, which is a ridiculous number. More impressive, however, is that every one of their front court players has a offensive rebound percentage over 10, meaning that every player in Pitt’s front court gets at least 10% of the available offensive rebounds when they are on the floor, led by Dante Taylor, whose 25.4 OR% is out of this world. The Vol’s bread and butter this season is tough perimeter defense. Guys like Melvin Goins, Cameron Tatum, and Scotty Hopson are all excellent defenders that will have their work cut out for them with Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker.

Sat. 4:30 pm: No. 22 Washington @ Texas A&M: You will struggle to find a better contrast of styles than Washington and Texas A&M. The Huskies love to get out and run the floor, allowing their talented guards and athletes to create in the open floor. Texas A&M is a grind it out team, relying on their toughness on the defensive end to keep them close. Which style wins out?

Sat. 6:00 pm: Arizona @ No. 21 BYU: Last year, Jimmer Fredette went into Tucson and set a McKale Center record by putting 49 points (and 9 assists and 7 boards) on the Wildcats. This year, the Wildcats appear to be much improved, however, and boast one of the best big men in the country in sophomore Derrick Williams. How good is Williams? Kenpom ranks him as No. 1 in the country in terms of offensive rating. Fredette is 9th. It is possible the best big man and the best guard in the country will be sharing a court?

Sat. 7:00 pm: VCU @ Richmond: We talked about intra-city rivalries with Villanova and La Salle. This is an intense intra-city rivalry as well, as VCU is also located in Richmond. Making things even better is that these two teams are both expected to be in the running for a tournament spot come March. Two key matchups are going to be between Joey Rodriguez (VCU) and Kevin Anderson (Richmond), and Jamie Skeen (VCU) and Justin Harper (Richmond). I have a feeling this result will be relevant again when the bracket gets released.

Sat. 8:30 pm: Gonzaga @ No. 23 Notre Dame: The Zags really need to get a win, and it just so happens that they matchup pretty well with the Irish. In terms of roster makeup, the Zags are fairly similar to Kentucky. They have a big goof at center, a talented and athletic power forward, and a guard that can really fill it up. That said, Gonzaga has defended anyone this season, especially three point shooters. Notre Dame just so happens to have a number of very good three point shooters, led by Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis.



  • 8:30 pm: Iowa State @ Iowa: Is there a major conference, in-state rivalry with as little fanfare on a national level as a battle of the Iowas?


  • 12:00 pm: St. Louis @ No. 1 Duke: Duke continues to play with Kyrie Irving’s status up in the air. Will Mike Krzyzewski drop anymore hints in the post game about his point guard’s status?
  • 12:30 pm: Auburn vs. Rutgers: I thoroughly disagree with you there, Coach Rice.
  • 4:00 pm: No. 4 Kansas State @ Loyola (IL): Jacob Pullen gets a home game back in Chicago. Also of note — only one team in the country shoots free throws worse than Kansas State at 54%.
  • 4:00 pm: Florida Atlantic @ Hofstra: FAU is coming off of wins over Mississippi State and South Florida. Can Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins change that path?
  • 4:30 pm: Cleveland State @ Sam Houston State: Cleveland State is still undefeated.
  • 5:00 pm: San Diego @ No. 15 San Diego State: Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Dee-ah-go
  • 5:15 pm: Indiana at No. 16 Kentucky: This is one of the more underrated rivalries in college hoops. Christian Watford going up against Terrence Jones will be fun.
  • 7:00 pm: Dayton @ Old Dominion: Dayton’s been downright bad this season, while ODU has taken a bit of a step back in the last week. Both of these teams are big and athletic.
  • 8:15 pm: Morehead State @ Northern Iowa: If you haven’t see Kenneth Faried play yet, you need to.
  • 9:00 pm: New Mexico State @ New Mexico: The Lobos host the second leg of this rivalry.


  • 1:00 pm: Penn State @ Virginia Tech: Two of the best back court players in the country square off. Both could end up with 40+ the way they defend.
  • 4:00 pm: Boston College @ Maryland: ACC play is starting.
  • 5:00 pm: Southern Miss @ Cal: USM desperately needs this win with their weak non-conference schedule.
  • 6:15 pm: Clemson @ Florida State: Florida State is the nation’s best defensive team, but rank 165th in the nation in offensive efficiency. That has to be the biggest gap in the country.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

No. 1 South Carolina tops fifth-ranked UConn 81-77

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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HARTFORD, Conn. – In a rematch of last season’s national championship game, South Carolina came out on top again over UConn thanks to a strong fourth quarter by Aliyah Boston.

Geno Auriemma stepping onto the court to spike a water botte, that helped them, too.

Boston scored 23 of her 26 points in the second half, including 14 in the final period, to help the No. 1 Gamecocks beat the fifth-ranked Huskies 81-77 on Sunday in front of a sellout crowd.

“Aliyah is just relentless, she plays relentlessly although she had a subpar (first half) as far as statistics, she impacted the game,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “She doesn’t get flustered. she knew she didn’t play up to her standards. What does she do? Raise her standard. Bad first half or not she’s going to continue to play.”

While there wasn’t as much on the line as the title game last April, there was a high intensity to it, including Auriemma getting the technical late in the fourth quarter after getting frustrated by the officiating enough to throw the bottle.

“I thought there were a lot of things being overlooked. It was difficult for some of our guys to move out on the floor,” said Auriemma, UConn’s coach. “I didn’t think it was one key play, I just couldn’t keep quiet any longer. It was bad. … Dumb mistake by me. Bad decision.”

The Gamecocks (23-0) have won 29 consecutive games since losing to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament title game last year. They’ve won four of the past five meetings with the Huskies, including a victory in the NCAA championship game last season. That ended UConn’s perfect 11-0 record in title games.

“This was a national championship-like game. I wanted us to feel what it takes to do this,” Staley said.

Now South Carolina finally has a win in Connecticut after winning there before.

South Carolina used its size again to top the Huskies. The 6-foot-7 Kamilla Cardoso and Boston, the reigning AP Player of the Year helped the Gamecocks have a 42-30 advantage on the boards, including grabbing 25 offensive rebounds.

Boston finished with 11 rebounds for the 76th double-double of her career. Cardoso added 17 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.

With her team leading by four in the fourth quarter, Boston took over. She scored the next 12 points for South Carolina, two of those came when Auriemma tossed the water onto the court and was charged with the technical foul.

Boston hit the two free throws. She then hit a jumper, a 3-pointer and another basket to give the Gamecocks a double-digit advantage.

“I’m kind of in attack mode. In the second half I made more shots then I did in the first half,” Boston said.

Despite seeing their starting backcourt foul out, the short-handed Huskies (21-3) wouldn’t go away. They whittled the lead down to 80-77 with 10.8 seconds left on Aubrey Griffin’s three-point play.

Raven Johnson hit the first of two free throws a second later and UConn couldn’t convert to close out the game

“They have a lot to feel good about once they get past what it feels like to lose,” Auriemma said. “I feel better at 3 o’clock today then I did at 12 o’clock. I didn’t know how we’d respond. I knew we’d play hard and compete like hell. I didn’t know who was going to make a big play, who was going to get a big rebound, make a big shot. I know now more than I did at noon and I feel better about my team.”

Aaliyah Edwards led UConn with 25 points.

UConn got off to a solid start, outscoring South Carolina 25-14 in the opening period. Lou Lopez Senechal capped the strong start, hitting a running 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

South Carolina asserted its size in the second quarter with Cardoso scoring 11 points in the period. Her putback with just under 10 seconds left tied the game at 34 heading into the half.


UConn is 8-10 against No. 1 teams all time. … The Huskies are still missing guards Azzi Fudd (knee), Caroline Ducharme (concussion) as well as Paige Bueckers (knee) and Ice Brady (knee), who are both out for the season. … Many former UConn players were in the crowd including Sue Bird, Jen Rizzotti, and Napheesa Collier sitting a few rows behind the Huskies bench. … South Carolina has gone 41-6 against ranked teams since the start of the 2019-20 season.


The Gamecocks reserves outscored UConn’s 37-0. The Huskies only had eight healthy players.


South Carolina: visits Auburn on Thursday before a showdown with No. 3 LSU on Feb. 12

UConn: visits Marquette on Wednesday.

No. 16 Duke tops No. 9 Notre Dame 57-52 for 1st place in ACC

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Celeste Taylor scored 14 points and No. 16 Duke came from behind for a 57-52 victory at No. 9 Notre Dame on Sunday to move into first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Trailing for most of the game’s first 28 minutes, the Blue Devils (20-3, 10-2 ACC) took the lead for good in the final minutes of the third quarter to knock off the Fighting Irish (18-4, 9-3) before a sellout crowd of 9,149 at Purcell Pavilion.

A jumper by Jordyn Oliver put Duke ahead 45-44 with 1:20 left in the third quarter and the visitors never trailed after that.

“I’m proud of my players for finishing the game,” Duke coach Kara Lawson said.

Duke led 48-46 going into the fourth quarter after trailing Notre Dame by as many as five points in the third quarter. A steal by Elizabeth Balogun in the final 15 seconds helped seal the win.

A 13-4 run helped Notre Dame take its biggest lead of the first half for either team at 31-23. The Irish led 31-25 at halftime.

“We fell short, but you know it’s a part of our growth,” Irish coach Niele Ivey said. “It’s part of our journey.”

Taylor scored 10 points for Duke in the second half. Balogun and Shayeann Day-Wilson finished with 9 points apiece and Taya Corosdale and Oliver had 8 each.

Maddy Westbeld, playing all 40 minutes, led Notre Dame with 15 points, Sonia Citron scored 14 and Olivia Miles added 11.

“She’s one of the best players in the country,” Lawson said of Miles, who logged just over 31 minutes. “We didn’t have to go against her for a quarter of the game.”


Neither team shot well in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame made just 2 of 13 shots from the floor and Duke was 3 of 13.

“We just talked about staying disciplined defensively and making it hard,” Lawson said. “I though we challenged shots.”

Ivey also addressed that stretch of the game.

“Some of those opportunities were in transition and we didn’t get a chance to capitalize,” she said. “We did a good job of finding the open person, we just didn’t nail the shots.”


Led by Corosdale and Oliver, Duke enjoyed a 21-4 edge in reserve scoring.

“I’m really proud of my players off the bench,” Lawson said. “Jordyn Oliver was really good.

“We needed to have that depth in scoring. Not only did they score but they were efficient from the field.”

The Blue Devils’ bench shot 9 of 15.


Notre Dame graduate student Dara Mabrey was lost for the season in the Jan. 22 game against Virginia.

Lauren Ebo, a 6-foot-4 graduate student, has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury.

“Ebo does a great job of being a precence on the block with her size and ability to rebound and play post defense,” Ivey said. “She’s been working really hard (at rehabilitation).

“It’s kind of day to day.”


Notre Dame: The Irish fell out of a first-place tie with Duke in the ACC standings.

Duke: The Blue Devils are now alone atop the conference standings.


Notre Dame: The Irish meet Pitt in two of the next four contests – on Thursday in South Bend and on Sunday, Feb. 19 at Pittsburgh.

Duke: The only regular-season meeting between the Blue Devils and Boston College is Thursday at Boston.

Colorado State sorry for ‘Russia’ chant at Ukrainian player

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Colorado State has apologized for a group of fans who chanted “Russia” at a player on an opposing team who is from Ukraine during Saturday’s game.

Utah State’s Max Shulga is from Kyiv and was shooting free throws when TV cameras picked up the chant from the student section during the game in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago.

“On behalf of Colorado State, we apologize to the student-athlete and Utah State. This is a violation of our steadfast belief in the Mountain West Sportsmanship Policy and University Principles of Community,” Colorado State said in a statement.

“Every participant, student, and fan should feel welcomed in our venues, and for something like this to have occurred is unacceptable at Colorado State.”

Utah State beat CSU 88-79.

Duke edges North Carolina 63-57 behind Roach, Lively

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

DURHAM, N.C. — Jeremy Roach scored 20 points, Dereck Lively II had career highs of eight blocks and 14 rebounds and Duke defeated North Carolina 63-57.

Kyle Filipowski added 14 points and Tyrese Proctor 11 for the Blue Devils (17-6, 8-4 ACC), who won their third straight and beat the Tar Heels (15-8, 7-5) for the first time in three meetings, including in last year’s Final Four in the NCAA Tournament.

North Carolina’s Armando Bacot had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his 63rd career double-double, extending his own program record, Leaky Black had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Caleb Love added 12 points and RJ Davis 11.

Roach scored eight of Duke’s final 10 points, including the last four after Lively’s tiebreaking dunk with 1:35 to go. North Carolina missed its last five shots, including a trio of 3-point tries in the final minute.

The Blue Devils’ six-point winning margin matched their largest lead.

Neither team reached 40% shooting but Duke outscored North Carolina 20-2 off fast breaks and was 11 of 15 at the free-throw line to only 2 of 3 for the Tar Heels.

The stat sheet was fairly even at halftime when Duke led 33-32 except for one telling stat, a 16-0 advantage for the Blue Devils on fast-break points as they scored repeatedly off transition.

A 14-5 run erased a seven-point North Carolina lead — the Tar Heels’ largest — and put Duke in front 26-24 with just under four minutes left in the half. A Proctor 3-pointer broke the fourth tie before Bacot cut it to the one-point margin at the break. Bacot had 12 points in the first half. Roach had 10.

The game matched two men who played in this rivalry and are now leading the programs they played for: first-year Duke coach Jon Scheyer and Hubert Davis, in his second year for North Carolina.

The teams will meet again in their regular-season finale at Chapel Hill on March 4. Duke plays at No. 23 Miami on Monday. North Carolina is at Wake Forest on Tuesday.

No. 13 Iowa State rolls past eighth-ranked Kansas 68-53

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

AMES, Iowa – Jaren Holmes scored all 15 of his points in the second half as No. 13 Iowa State rolled past No. 8 Kansas 68-53 on Saturday.

Osun Osunniyi added 13 for the Cyclones (16-6, 7-3 Big 12), who stayed within at least a game of front-running Texas in the conference standings. Tamin Lipsey added eight rebounds and 10 assists.

“Today, we came out and played desperate,” Holmes said.

Jalen Wilson led the Jayhawks (18-5, 6-4) with 26 points for his sixth straight game with at least 20. No other Kansas player had more than 8 points.

“It’s not a formula for success for us,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “We need balance from our starting five. If one guy feels like he’s got to go do it all on his own, it crashes the offense.”

The Cyclones led for all but 1:14 of the game, building a 34-16 scoring edge in the paint. Kansas struggled early, making just two of their first 10 shots and committing 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

Iowa State shot 46% for the game.

“From the beginning, we gave them some easy buckets,” Wilson said. “That’s something we’ve struggled with (defensively) … the easiest way to get comfortable is easy buckets, layups, stuff like that.”

Iowa State was up 33-21 at the break.

Holmes missed all four shots in the first half, but after getting sick at halftime, he helped the Cyclones stretched the lead to 42-31 early in the second half with a 3-pointer and layup.

“I felt a little nauseous the whole day,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with some sickness over the past week and a half.”


Kansas: The Jayhawks dropped to 3-4 during a stretch in which six of its seven opponents were ranked. The lone unranked foe was Kentucky. … Kansas committed a season-high 20 turnovers Saturday. … The loss to Iowa State was Self’s first in five meetings with second-year Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger.

Iowa State: Improved to 12-0 at home this season and 5-0 in the Big 12. It was also the Cyclones’ fifth win over a top-10 opponent in the past two seasons.


Kansas: Hosts No. 10 Texas on Monday.

Iowa State: Travels to West Virginia on Wednesday.