1/17 – College Hoops Week in Review: Louisville comes back, Khris Middleton’s clutch


Game of the Week: Louisville 71, Marquette 70

This game was over. Marquette was up 65-47 with jut 5:45 left on the clock. After beating Notre Dame by 22 at home, it looked like the Golden Eagles were finally putting together a string of impressive victories. And then Preston Knowles woke up.

Louisville’s leading scorer had just two points in the first half. In the final 5:45, he had 12 points on four threes and added two assists as the Cardinals came storming back. After a Knowles three made the score 65-62, Jaw Crowder snapped the 15-0 run with a bucket at the other end. Knowles hit another three on the ensuing possession, but again Marquette had an answer, this time in the form of a Dwight Buycks bucket.

Louisville would get Marquette’s lead down to 70-69 after four Terrence Jennings free throws surrounding one from Junior Cadougan, but 16 seconds left, Dwight Buycks challenged Jennings on a layup at the rim with the shot clock turned off. He was blocked, Louisville got the ball back, and it set up this ending:


Also deserving a mention:

  • Texas A&M 91, Missouri 89 OT: Once again, Missouri was involved in a a great game with an exciting finish. Both teams blew double digit leads in regulation, with the Tigers making a late run sparked by Phil Pressey and Ricardo Ratliffe to take a four point lead late. A&M answered, and the two sides proceeded to trade big shot after big shot for the rest of regulation and throughout overtime. In the extra frame, Khris Middleton — who had 11 of his 28 points in overtime and forced the OT with two free throws with 14 seconds left — stole the ball from Marcus Denmon with 40 seconds left and scored the go-ahead layup.
  • Portland 79, Loyola Marymount 78 2OT: This game was wild. Portland was up seven early, trailed by ten late in the first half, opened up their own ten point lead in the second half, and was still leading by seven with less than three minutes left on the clock. But LMU would go on a 9-0 run to take a 60-58 lead with five seconds left before Jared Stohl drew a foul and hit both free throws to force OT. In the first overtime, Luke Sikma answered an Anthony Ireland three with a jump hook to put Portland up 66-65, but Edgar Garibay hit one of two free throws to force the second OT. In that second overtime, Portland pulled away and opened a five point lead, but the Lions fought back and even had a good look at a three from Drew Viney that would have given them the lead. He missed, and Portland held on for a tough win.

Player of the Week: Draymond Green, Michigan State

For the first time seemingly all season long, Green played like we expected him too. Is it any surprise that the Spartans went 2-0 this week? Against Wisconsin, Green finished with 26 points, nine boards, and four assists, making seemingly every big play down the stretch. In a win over Northwestern, Grene had 16 points, eight boards, and two assists. He got an offensive rebound, drew a foul, and hit two free throws to force overtime. He jumped a passing lane and had a dunk in the extra frame with MSU down three. He found Keith Appling for the go-ahead three pointer. Green was attacking the basket, he was hitting the offensive glass, and he was making plays for his teammates. When he plays like this, he make the Spartans a much better team.

All they-were-good-too-team:

  • G: Jimmer Fredette, BYU: Fredette had 47 points and six assists in the Cougars only game this week, beating rival Utah on the road.
  • G: Derwin Kitchen, Florida State: Kitchen averaged 16.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg in a 2-0 week for the Seminoles, including 22 points and 10 boards on 9-13 shooting in an upset of then-No. 1 duke.
  • F: Khris Middleton, Texas A&M: Middleton had 28 points in an overtime win over Missouri. He tied the game with 14 seconds left in regulation, then scored 11 points in overtime, making big shot after big shot, to lead the Aggies to a win.
  • F: Aaron Brackett, UNC-Greensboro: Bracket had a career-high 28 points and a career-high 15 boards (in fact, the 15 rebounds were more than his career high in scoring coming in) as the Spartans won their first game of the season at conference favorite Appalachian State despite trailing by 15 points.
  • F: Kawhi Leonard, SDSU: Leonard averaged 17.0 ppg, 16.0 rpg, and 4.0 apg as the Aztecs beat UNLV and New Mexico.
  • C: Mike Muscala, Bucknell: Muscala averaged 28.0 ppg and 11.5 rpg in two games this week as Bucknell gave American and Holy Cross their first Patriot League losses. The Bison are currently sitting alone atop the conference standings at 3-0.
  • Bench: Mickey McConnell, St. Mary’s (18.5 ppg, 8.5 apg); John Flowers, West Virginia (19.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.5 spg, 2.5 bpg); Isaiah Thomas, Washington (27 points, 13 assists in win over Cal); Kyle Weems, Missouri State (20.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg); Derrick Williams, Arizona (31 points, 10 boards vs. Arizona State); DJ Gay, San Diego State (30 points, 7-11 3PT vs. New Mexico); Blake Hoffarber, Minnesota (26 points vs. Purdue); Diante Garrett, Iowa State (21.5 ppg, 8.0 apg); Gary Flowers, Southern Mississippi (20.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.5 bpg)

Team of the Week: Texas A&M Aggies

The Aggies were an after thought in the preseason. They were losing so much senior leadership and scoring, few expected them to be in the thick of the Big XII race come mid-January, but that they are thanks to a 2-0 week. A&M beat Oklahoma State by 23 on Wednesday, and then on Saturday the Aggies knocked off Missouri in overtime to improve to 3-0 in Big XII play. We’ll have a better feel for just how good A&M is after the next ten days — when they play Texas twice and Kansas State once — but it is time to start discussing this team as a legitimate conference title contender. After those three games, A&M only has one more game against a ranked opponent (Kansas in February) and they only play Missouri, Kansas, and Kansas State once each.

Deserving of a shoutout:

San Diego State: Can we finally call the Aztecs legit? They may not be as good as Ohio State, Kansas, Duke, or Syracuse, but this is a team that truly deserves to be in the conversation for best of the rest. This week, they went 2-0 against fellow MWC contenders, beating UNLV at home and then manhandling New Mexico on the road.

Florida State: The Seminoles have a legitimate chance to be the second place team in the ACC. After beating No. 1 Duke and NC State this week, FSU is tied for first in the conference at 3-1. The Noles are going to be an inconsistent team all year long — when they are hitting offensively, you’ll get performances like this week; when they aren’t, they lose to Auburn.

West Virginia: The ‘Eers had quite a good week this week. They smoked Providence at home on Thursday before No. 8 Purdue came to town. WVU got a number of late, clutch buckets from John Flowers and Kevin Jones as they were able to land a marquee win they really needed on their resume. WVU had now won four in a row and seems to finally have gotten their season on track.

Minnesota: The Golden Gophers had a terrific week, as they evened up their record in the Big Ten with wins over Purdue and Iowa. All three of Minnesota’s losses have come on the road to top 25 opponents — Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin. The top of the Big Ten is loaded, which means that Minnesota is going to need more wins like the one they got against Wisconsin if they are going to make a run at the top of the league.

Michigan State: Are the Spartans finally turning that corner? This week, they picked up a couple of nice wins in overtime, beating both Wisconsin and Northwestern at home in overtime. It was a turnaround the Spartans needed, as they were coming off of a loss to Penn State last Saturday.

Colorado: This Buffalo team is looking more and more like a team we are going to have to keep an eye on all season long. They are now 3-0 in the Big XII with wins against Kansas State and Oklahoma State this week.

Valpo: After a weekend that featured four games between the top four teams in the Horizon, Valpo came out 2-0 and in sole possession of first place in the conference after winning on the road at Wright State and Detroit. The Crusaders also own a win over Cleveland State this season. For the first time is seemingly forever, it looks like the Horizon has more contenders than just Butler.

Belmont: The Bruins are playing at historic levels right now. They are 7-0 in the Atlantic Sun, and they are currently beating their opponent’s by an average of 28.8 ppg. By comparison, UNLV beat their opponents by an average of 29.6 ppg in 1990-1991. This week, they beat Lipscomb and Campell by a combined 71 points, holding Lipscomb’s Adnan Hodzic seven points and five boards.

Duquesne: After sweeping St. Louis and Duquesne this week, the Dukes are currently sitting tied for first a top the A-10 with Xavier and George Washington. They’ve now won six games in a row.

Matchups of the Week

  • 1/17 – 3:30 pm: Villanova @ UConn
  • 1/17 – 5:30 pm: Kansas State @ Missouri
  • 1/17 – 7:30 pm: Syracuse @ Pitt
  • 1/17 – 9:30 pm: Kansas @ Baylor
  • 1/18 – 7:00 pm: Michigan State @ Illinois
  • 1/18 – 7:00 pm: Tennessee @ Georgia
  • 1/19 – 7:00 pm: Memphis @ Southern Miss
  • 1/19 – 9:00 pm: Texas @ Texas A&M
  • 1/20 – 10:00 pm: Arizona @ Washington
  • 1/22 – 12:00 pm: Ohio State @ Illinois
  • 1/22 – 12:00 pm: Villanova @ Syracuse
  • 1/22 – 2:00 pm: Tennessee @ UConn
  • 1/22 – 2:00 pm: Kansas State @ Texas A&M
  • 1/22 – 3:00 pm: Temple @ Xavier
  • 1/22 – 4:00 pm: Texas @ Kansas
  • 1/22 – 9:00 pm: Michigan State @ Purdue

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

No. 20 Maryland upsets No. 7 Notre Dame at the buzzer, 74-72

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Diamond Miller scored 31 points, including the game-winner at the buzzer, to lead No. 20 Maryland to a 74-72 victory over seventh-ranked Notre Dame on Thursday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Irish guard Sonia Cintron’s layup had tied the game with 15 seconds left off before Maryland held for the last shot. Miller hit a contested mid-range jumper just before time expired to give the Terrapins a victory over a top-10 opponent. It was the 15th lead change of the game.

Miller also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with five assists. Shyanne Sellers added 17 points.

Maryland (7-2) picked up its first win over Notre Dame (6-1) since 2007.

Cintron’s double-double led the Irish with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Notre Dame’s leading scorer Olivia Miles got off to a slow start on Thursday due to foul trouble. She scored 12 of her 14 points in the final 15 minutes of the game to go along with seven assists and two steals.


Maryland: The Terrapins picked up their second top-20 win of the season ahead of the upcoming Big Ten opener.

Notre Dame: The Irish have had issues with foul trouble this season, a problem that persisted on Thursday. Miles played just 25 minutes, including the majority of the fourth quarter, due to picking up her fourth foul late in the third quarter.


Maryland: Returns to College Park for the program’s Big Ten opener Sunday against Nebraska.

Notre Dame: Stays home to host No. 3 UConn Sunday.

Virginia’s depth helping its rapid climb in the AP Top 25

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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The starting five is the same, but that is where comparisons between the Virginia team that has climbed to No. 3 in the AP Top 25 and last year’s NIT quarterfinalists ends.

Yes, one more year together and a trip to Italy has made the first five significantly better, but part of the credit for that surely goes to another group: the reinforcements. They’ve helped the Cavaliers (6-0) already knock off No. 6 Baylor, No. 16 Illinois and Michigan.

Virginia has scored 70 points or more in its first six game for the first time since the 2003-04 season, and coach Tony Bennett said it was the offense – and not UVA’s signature relentless defense – that saved them in a 70-68 victory this week at Michigan in the ACC/Bg Ten Challenge.

“Our offense kind of kept us in it in the first half,” Bennett said, before the team put it all together, erasing an 11-point halftime deficit to disappoint a raucous Wolverines crowd.

Reece Beekman was the offensive catalyst, scoring 15 of his 18 points before halftime, but four others joined him in double figures, including Jayden Gardner. His foul-line jumper with 39.9 seconds left provided the last of his 11 points, and the winning margin.

Gardner, who led Virginia in scoring last season (15.3 ppg), is averaging 11.5 this year.

“We’ve got a lot of capable scorers and we’re just gonna keep playing together. And we’re playing very unselfish basketball right now,” Gardner said after scoring 24 against Maryland Eastern Shore. He went into the game with 31 points through four games.

“He’s not the most jumping type of guy, but he’s got so much power,” Hawks coach Jason Crafton said of Gardner, an East Carolina transfer with 2,068 career points. “That low center of gravity and the flexibility that he has to be able to get under people and hold his position is elite. When he wants the ball at a certain spot, he can get it there.”

The leader remains guard Kihei Clark, who already has a place in Virginia history, having retrieved a loose ball and fed Mamadi Diakite for a jumper that sent the Cavs’ Elite Eight game against Purdue into overtime on the way to winning the 2019 national championship.

Newcomers Ben Vander Plas, a transfer from Ohio, and freshman Isaac McKneely have given Bennett more options, and more scoring power than a year ago.

As a junior, Vander Plas had 17 points for No. 13 seed Ohio when the Bobcats upset Virginia 62-58 in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

He scored seven straight in the second half against the Wolverines, twice scoring inside and then swishing a 3-pointer while trying to slow down bruising big man Hunter Dickinson.

“Ben, yeah. Just his poise and composure in the post, took advantage of some mismatches and he really gave us a great lift,” Bennett said. Vander Plas is the son of a teammate of Bennett’s at Green Bay, and his first name is a tribute to Bennett’s father, Dick.

McKneely scored 15 and made 4 of 6 3-point tries in an 89-42 victory against Monmouth

“He was standing in front of our bench. I’m like, `Listen, we’re not helping off him,”‘ Monmouth coach King Rice said he told his team, pointing at McKneely, a two-time player of the year in West Virginia. “And he kind of looked at me and I said, `Yeah, you, because you make all of them,’ and he started laughing.”

Ryan Dunn also made quite the impression on Rice in his first collegiate appearance, scoring 13 points with six rebounds and three blocks in almost 27 minutes.

“I was in the building when De’Andre Hunter came off the bench and had a breakout game,” Rice said of Hunter, now with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. “Dunn reminds me a lot of Hunter, and you can tell he’s young. But when he grows into that body with that skill set, he’ll be giving people problems for a long, long time.”

The Cavaliers open Atlantic Coast Conference play against Florida State, then host top-ranked Houston, which beat them 67-47 last season, a week later.

“A good schedule for sure and it tests you, it kind of shows you, win or lose, you see where you’ve got some holes,” Bennett said.

So far, the Cavaliers have been able to fill them all.

No. 4 Arizona turning heads early in the season

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd knew there was talent on his roster. He wasn’t exactly sure how good the team would be.

The former longtime Gonzaga assistant had a similar view of last year’s team and that one turned out to be pretty good, running all the way to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.

This year’s team could end up being even better.

Buoyed by transfers and improved returning players, Arizona has rolled through the early part of its schedule, climbing to No. 4 in this week’s AP Top 25 after winning the Maui Invitational.

“I learned that we’re good,” Lloyd said. “We’re tough. We’re gritty. I think there’s going to be some great things for us to really double down on and some things to show our guys where we went the wrong way.”

Lloyd had a superb first season in the desert, earning coach of the year honors last season with a team that lost three players to the NBA.

The Wildcats (6-0) had to replace three NBA players again this season. Again, they made a seamless transition.

Improvement on the part of the returning players has been a big part of it.

Oumar Ballo, considered a project as a freshman at Gonzaga, has transformed into one of the nation’s best big men. The 7-foot, 260-pound center from Mali has vastly improved his footwork and developed patience in the post, setting himself up for good shots instead of trying to bull his way to the basket.

Ballo is averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 76.7% from the field, fourth-best nationally. He was named Maui Invitational MVP after finishing with 30 points and 13 rebounds against No. 7 Creighton in the title game.

Not bad for a player who averaged 2.5 points and 6.3 minutes per game two years ago at Gonzaga.

“When he struggled, I still believed in him,” Lloyd said. “I didn’t need for him to be instantly successful for me to reaffirm my belief in him. When he struggled, we continued to love him and work with him and then he continued to hang in there and I think it is a great story.”

Fellow big man Azuolas Tubelis has made a few strides of his own, adding strength and toughness to his athletic, fluid game. The 6-10 forward leads Arizona with 19.3 points per game while grabbing 8.0 rebounds.

Fiery point guard Kerr Kriisa has rounded into a reliable floor leader, averaging 15.3 points and 7.5 assists while shooting 51% from the 3-point arc.

“I don’t pay attention to the antics because they don’t mean anything to me,” Lloyd said. “I know maybe that draws attention to him from other people but when it comes to just pure basketball, I mean he is doing a good job and I think he is really showing something.”

So is Courtney Ramey.

The Texas transfer has given the Wildcats a huge boost in his first season in Tucson, providing hounding defense, leadership and another scoring option. He’s averaging 16 points per game and has hit 10 of 16 from 3-point range so far this season.

Campbell transfer Cedric Henderson Jr. has provided an athletic lift off the bench and 7-foot Estonian Henri Veesaar has given Arizona solid minutes.

The mix of new and old has helped Arizona lead the nation with 97.5 points a game and rank second with 21.8 assists per game. The Wildcats climbed 10 spots in this week’s poll after wins over Cincinnati, No. 24 San Diego State and Creighton.

Arizona opens Pac-12 play Thursday at Utah.

“It was good to get the recognition, but we’re not satisfied,” Ramey said. “Our ultimate goal is to be No. 1 at the end of the season and be the final two teams playing, so I think the regular season matters but it’s not the ultimate goal for us.”

The Wildcats are certainly off to a good start.

Gardner, No. 3 Virginia rally for 70-68 win at Michigan

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Tony Bennett’s team passed all its tests in the opening month of the season.

Jayden Gardner made a go-ahead jumper with 39.9 seconds left and blocked Jett Howard’s 3-point shot just before the buzzer, allowing No. 3 Virginia to stay undefeated with a 70-68 win over Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers (6-0) won their first true road game against a team that was ranked in the first two polls this season, a little more than a week after beating then-No. 5 Baylor and then-No. 19 Illinois in Las Vegas.

“It got pretty intense in here,” Bennett said.

Virginia trailed by 11 points at halftime, rallied to go ahead with 7:25 left and built a five-point lead that didn’t last.

The Wolverines (5-2) went ahead 66-65 at the 1:42 mark when Hunter Dickinson made one of two free throws.

Michigan missed chances to stay or go ahead when Dickinson missed a hook shot with 1:01 to go and Princeton transfer Jaelin Llewellyn turned the ball over with 16 seconds left.

“Hunter has made that running hook before,” coach Juwan Howard said. “The turnover, yes, down the stretch, it hurt, but overall that’s not the reason we lost the ballgame.

“We could’ve easily put our heads down when they came out in the second half and made a run.”

Reece Beekman, who finished with 18 points, stepped in front of Llewellyn’s pass in the final minute and made one of two free throws.

Virginia’s Armaan Franklin missed two free throws with 5.7 seconds left, giving Michigan a chance to extend or win the game. Howard took a contested shot beyond the 3-point arc on the right wing – near his father, Michigan’s coach – and Gardner came up with the block against the freshman guard while Wolverines coaches and players screamed for a foul call.

It appeared that Gardner got all ball on the block.

Kihei Clark scored 16 points, Gardner had 12, Kadin Shedrick fouled out with 12 points and Ben Vander Plas added 10 for the balanced Cavaliers.

“You need different guys, and that’s what it takes, to make plays offensively and defensively,” Bennett said.

Dickinson scored 23 points, Jett Howard had 11 of his 15 in the first half and Kobe Bufkin added 11 points for Michigan.

“Jett is a gamer, he’s going to compete no matter what,” Juwan Howard said. “He’s loved basketball since he was a little baby boy.

“He’s going to help us win a lot of games this year.”

The Wolverines started slowly, trailing 9-2 in the opening minutes, before Howard scored eight points to lead a 13-2 run. Michigan led 45-34 at halftime when Bufkin made a layup after a steal.

“We can’t be sloppy like that on the defensive end, but we did battle hard in the second half,” Bennett said.

Vander Plas scored nine points during an 11-2 run that put Virginia ahead 65-60. The Cavaliers then went 4 1/2 minutes without a basket before Gardner’s big shot.


Virginia: The Cavaliers have their highest ranking since the 2018-19 season – which ended with a national title – and are off to their best start since being 7-0 three years ago. The team continues to honor the memory of three football players who were fatally shot on campus earlier this month, wearing warmup jerseys with their names.

Michigan: Juwan Howard’s team matched up well in its first game against a ranked opponent this season.

“When we come out with the effort like we did today for 40 minutes, I love our chances against any college team in the country,” he said.


Virginia: Hosts Florida State (1-7) on Saturday.

Michigan: Plays No. 19 Kentucky (5-2) on Sunday in London.

Marquette’s defense overwhelms No. 6 Baylor in 96-70 win

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

MILWAUKEE – Marquette has developed a habit under Shaka Smart of saving its top performances for the best opponents on its schedule.

Olivier-Maxence Prosper scored 24 points and Marquette capitalized on a dominant start from its defense to roll past No. 6 Baylor 96-70 on Tuesday night in the Big 12-Big East Battle. This was the highest-ranked team Marquette (6-2) has beaten under Smart and the Golden Eagles improved to to 7-6 against AP Top 25 squads in his tenure.

“Most of the time against these great teams, they don’t have us winning that game,” said David Joplin, who scored 19 points. “We just come out, we want to go out and prove everybody wrong. And that feeling, that chip makes us play so much better.”

Marquette nearly produced its most lopsided victory against a Top 25 team. The Golden Eagles trounced No. 16 Providence 88-56 on Jan. 4 in Smart’s debut season.

“When you go into a game and the game is bigger in the minds of your players than anything else, to me that’s the best recipe for winning,” Smart said. “It should be that way all the time, but human nature sometimes messes with that.”

Marquette’s defense embarrassed a highly regarded Baylor backcourt.

The Golden Eagles raced to a 51-25 halftime lead thanks to a 24-0 edge in points off turnovers. Baylor (5-2) already had a season-high 16 turnovers by halftime.

Baylor entered Tuesday ranked third among Division I teams in assist-turnover margin. The Bears had 20 turnovers and 12 assists against Marquette.

“I didn’t see that coming,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Credit the crowd. Credit them for building momentum. Credit Shaka for having them prepared and how hard they played. At the end of the day, we fed to the fire by turning it over and making some uncharacteristic mistakes.”

Prosper scored 10 points and sank two 3-pointers during a 23-2 run that turned an early 7-2 deficit into a 25-9 advantage. Chase Ross capped the spurt by getting a steal and throwing down a left-handed dunk.

Baylor never cut Marquette’s lead below 22 points in the second half.

Kam Jones had 20 points as Marquette shot 58.3% overall to win its third straight. The Golden Eagles shot 12 of 25 from 3-point range, with Jones going 4 of 7 and Prosper and Joplin each going 3 of 4.

Baylor’s LJ Cryer had 17 of his 19 points, in the second half. Adam Flagler had 16 and Keyonte George added 12 for the Bears.


Baylor: The Bears shot 48.2% (27 of 56) but had no answers for Marquette’s defense and dug too deep a hole. Baylor rallied from a 25-deficit to force overtime in an NCAA Tournament loss to North Carolina last season, but the Bears never mounted any kind of comeback Tuesday.

Marquette: After losing to Purdue and Mississippi State earlier this season, the Golden Eagles delivered the kind of performance that showed they’re capable of beating anyone. Marquette will try to prove that again when it hosts Wisconsin on Saturday.


The Big 12-Big East Battle started Tuesday and runs through Sunday. Last season’s Big 12-Big East Battle ended in a 5-5 tie.


Marquette came out of its locker room wearing shirts with No. 24 to honor George Thompson, who died in June of complications from diabetes. Thompson played for Marquette from 1967-69, and he was the school’s career scoring leader for 40 years.

Tuesday would have been Thompson’s 75th birthday. A No. 24 banner with Thompson’s name hangs from the Fiserv Forum rafters.

“I really felt like we needed to win tonight to honor George,” Smart said. “If you make it George Thompson Night, you couldn’t lose.”


Baylor: Faces No. 14 Gonzaga on Friday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Marquette: Hosts Wisconsin on Saturday.