Wednesday’s Morning Shootaround: What a crazy night

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No. 5 Duke 79, No. 21 UNC 73: We got three posts on the Duke-UNC game from last night for you — here, here, and here.

No. 11 Georgetown 64, NO. 13 Syracuse 56: See here.

One last note on this game — Georgetown is slowly but surely reconvincing me that they are an elite basketball team this season. Its tough to give my full trust to a team that has betrayed that trust so many time the past two seasons, but with each impressive road win, I’m closer to becoming a believer. Again.

As for Syracuse? Well, this team appears to be flawed. They are not the same team on the defensive end of the floor that they were last year. The Hoyas may have only scored 64 points last night, but they were impressively effective against the Orange zone. They shot 45.3% from the floor and 9-21 from three. They grabbed 10 offensive rebounds. Most impressive? They had 20 assists on 24 field goals. The Hoyas did all of that with Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, and Jason Clark combining to go 12-34 from the field.

Does that sound like great defense to you?

Rutgers 77, No. 10 Villanova 76: Possibly the best finish you will see all season long. As far as Villanova goes, this loss drops them a game behind Notre Dame for second place in the Big East standings.

Idaho 64, No. 17 Utah State 56: See here.

Notre Dame 89, Louisville 79 OT: Don’t let the final fool you, this was a terrific, exciting, high-scoring basketball game. In the first half, it was the Kyle Kuric show, as he scored 18 of his 28 points, two of which came on this vicious throw down over Scott Martin to end the half. Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis combined to score 48 points, but Louisville was still the team with the chance at the end of regulation to win it. They missed twice, and it cost them. In overtime, Carleton Scott, who had been struggling, scored nine of his 16 points and Notre Dame opened with a 14-0 run to put the game away.

Tough loss for the Cards, but road losses in conference to top ten teams are no where near as disastrous as they are disappointing. The Irish, however, are putting together an impressive resume. They are now in sole possession of second place in the Big East standings, two games behind Pitt, who they own the tiebreaker with. They play for of their last six on the road, including trips to West Virginia and UConn, so we shall see where they end up, but right now this team has a legitimate argument for a spot on the No. 1 seed line.

No. 14 Wisconsin 62, Iowa 59 OT: The Badgers, like so many teams this season, are not the same on the road as they are at home. Maybe Saturday’s date with Ohio State was on their mind, but the Badgers struggled in the first half (6-33 shooting!) and needed all of Jon Leuer’s 19 points and 15 boards and Jordan Taylor’s 16 points and eight assists to pull this out.

No. 22 Texas A&M 73, Colorado 70 OT: The Aggies needed a 25 footer from BJ Holmes with 1.9 seconds left just to get this thing to overtime, but once they were in the extra frame, the Aggies scored the first six points to grab control. This was an enormous bounce back win for A&M, and the loss may have cost Colorado any chance at the NCAA Tournament.

No. 19 Florida 79, South Carolina 60: Chandler Parsons scored 14 points and added 12 boards and eight assists while Erving Walker went for 25 as the Gators shot 55% from the floor and cruised to a win on the road. Florida is now a full two games in front of the rest of the SEC East pack.

No. 3 Texas 68, Oklahoma 52: Just another 20 points and nine boards for Jordan Hamilton as the Longhorns cruised to their first 9-0 start in conference play since 1978.

No. 8 BYU 90, Air Force 52: Air Force got physical with Fredette, even banged up his knee a bit, but he still had 25 points while Brandon Davies finished with 13 points, eight boards, and six assists.

VCU 84, Delaware 74 2OT: The Rams got 32 points and 11 boards from Jamie Skeen as they were able to hang on in double overtime to knock off the Blue Hens. With the win, VCU moves into first place in the CAA standings.

Marquette 59, South Florida 58: This was a hideous game. USF blew a 40-24 second half lead, but couldn’t capitalize on seven straight missed free throws by Marquette to finish the game.

Baylor 74, Nebraska 70: The Bears look they are starting to find a rhythm. Lace Dunn had 24 points to lead the way tonight, but the Bears need to notch another big win or two if they want to end up dancing.

Richmond 69, GW 65: Justin Harper scored 20 points, including the go ahead bucket with 43.5 seconds left, as the Spiders remained a game behind Xavier and Duquesne in the loss column.

Memphis 63, UCF 62: The Tigers avoid a disastrous loss at UCF thanks to this three from Antonio Barton:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJlbUioMXro]

The Golden Knights have now lost eight straight games after winning their first 14 of the season.

UNLV 94, TCU 79: Yup, that gym was packed. Good thing TCU is joining the Big East next season!

Rhode Island 67, Dayton 53: At one point, Dayton was up 27-17 late in the first half.

Michigan 75, Northwestern 66: Can Michigan be a spoiler late in the Big Ten race? They’ve own four out of five, tonight thanks to 27 points from Jordan Morgan.

Bucknell 66, American 60: Mike Muscala scored 21 points and grabbed 10 boards as the Bison built a two game cushion in the Patriot League standings.

Indiana State 56, Illinois State 46: With 9:36 left in the game, Illinois State was up 45-37. They scored one point the rest of the way.

Other Notable Games:

  • Maryland 106, Longwood 52
  • New Mexico 68, Wyoming 57
  • Temple 77, Fordham 66
  • Miami 74, Wake Forest 73
  • UAB 74, Marshall 48
  • James Madison 68, Drexel 54
  • Hofstra 79, Georgia State 68
  • Old Dominion 69, William & Mary 53
  • Long Island 87, St. Francis 76
  • Vermont 80, UMBC 67
  • Charleston 85, Elon 67
  • Davidson 67, Wofford 58
  • Missouri State 77, Bradley 69

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

“I trust the SEC office will do the right thing,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes says after bump from official

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Tennessee 63-58 loss to Texas A&M wasn’t without some controversy.

In the final seconds of the game, official Mike Nance appeared to bump into Vols coach Rick Barnes, who was standing stationary on the sideline, and the two exchanged words.

“I really have a lot of confidence in the SEC office that they are going to look at that,” Barnes said after the game about the incident, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. “I believe they will look at this game and take it apart. I just think they will do that. That shouldn’t happen in any way shape or form. I would like to say what I want to say, but I won’t because I trust the SEC office will do the right thing.”

Nance was headed to the monitor to review a call when the bump occurred, and Nance appeared to ask Barnes if the coach initiated the contact.

“Coach (Bob) Knight told me a long time ago that in a game officials are going to miss seven to nine or 10, 11, 12 calls,” Barnes said. “He kept going up every year. He said, ‘You just hope things aren’t egregious at any point in time.'”

Coach K screams at Duke fans, defending Jeff Capel

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In one of the stranger things that we’ve seen in college basketball this season, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski went off on the Cameron Crazies for what he believed was a shot they were taking at former Duke player Jeff Capel.

The crazies were chanting, “Jeff Capel sit with us.” Coach K thought he heard something else.

Check out the video:

After the game, Coach K acknowledged that he misheard what the fans said, adding that he will apologize for the mishap.

“I made a mistake,” he said. “But I’d rather make a mistake for the protection of my guy.

“I love Jeff. I erred on that side. I just hope the ACC doesn’t fine me like they did [Mike] Brey.”

He ended the back and forth with this: “Jeff can sit with me anytime.”

 

Tuesday’s Things to Know: Villanova gears up for big stretch, Auburn wins ugly in 2OT and Rutgers keeps rolling

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The headliner of Tuesday night was Virginia regaining an NCAA tournament pulse with a win over No. 5 Florida State, but there were plenty of other developments on the bubble across the country.  Here’s what else you need to know:

1. Villanova runs streak to seven ahead of grueling stretch

Jay Wright’s team had little trouble winning its seventh-straight Tuesday with a 79-59 victory at Madison Square Garden over St. John’s. Saddiq Bey was brilliant, scoring 23 points on 8 of 14 shooting, including 5 of 9 from deep. Collin Gillespie was equally great, going for 17 points, 13 boards and six assists while Jeremiah Robinson-Early had 13 points and 14 rebounds. Cole Swider and Justin Moore both had 11 to put all five Wildcat starters in double-figures to help offset the absence of the injured Jermaine Samuels.

The victory, while unremarkable given St. John’s mediocrity, keeps momentum for Villanova heading into a huge stretch that very well could decide the Big East. They’ve got Creighton at home Saturday before a trip to No. 16 Butler and then back-to-back home games against No. 10 Seton Hall and Marquette, which handed the ‘Cats their lone conference loss this season.

How Villanova emerges from this four-game stretch – and subsequently what the Big East landscape looks like – will likely be determined by a couple of things. If the ‘Cats are going to make it through in the conference driver’s seat, it’ll probably because Villanova’s defense proves for real. The Cats’ defense this season on the whole has been fine, ranking 60th nationally on KenPom, but it’s been the best in the Big East during conference play. They’ve been stingier both inside and outside the arc while improving on the glass. They’ve kept opponents from launching a lot of 3s and have mostly kept them off the line.

Wright’s team is going to be fine offensively, even if they haven’t been elite in Big East play yet. If the defense holds up, the ‘Cats are going to be sitting pretty come March.

2. No. 17 Auburn comes from behind to win in 2OT

Things were looking pretty dire for Auburn. The Tigers narrowly avoided a third loss in four games over the weekend when they blew a big lead to a sub-.500 Iowa State team, and then they fell behind by 19 in the second half Tuesday at Ole Miss.

It turned out to be nothing to be worried about, unless you were on your couch hoping to watch good overtime basketball.

The Tigers narrowly escaped, 83-82, against the Rebels, overcoming a huge deficit and mistakes of their own making that could have negated their comeback but instead will be footnotes.

Auburn shot 56 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from 3-point range in the second half to mount its comeback while Ole Miss shot just 33 percent. They nearly gave the game away, though, after taking a two-point lead in the final seconds of overtime. The Tigers missed a jumper that would have put them up four with 25 seconds left, but the shot missed and they inexplicably fouled on the rebound to allow Ole Miss to tie the game with 22 seconds left on free throws. After a missed 3 in a tie game by Danjel Purifoy, Ole Miss gave Auburn a gift it just wouldn’t accept. Devontae Shuler’s inbounds pass under the basket with 2 seconds left went astray and was headed out of bounds, which would have resulted in no time coming off the clock and Auburn getting the ball on the baseline, but Isaac Okoro, for some reason, grabbed the ball, waited a second and called timeout. Samir Doughty’s forthcoming 3 out of the huddle as time expired miss to send things to 2OT.

Ole Miss led by as many as four in overtime, but Auburn took the lead with 1:41 left. The two teams traded missed opportunities for the remainder of the game, leaving the Tigers with a win.

College basketball: Not always pretty, but rarely boring.

3. Rutgers continues to build its case

It’s been 29 years since Rutgers last made the NCAA tournament. It’s been 13 since the Scarlet Knights even finished above .500 in a season. Both those streaks seem incredibly likely to fall in just a handful of weeks.

Rutgers ran its overall record to 16-5 and its Big Ten mark to 7-3 with a 70-63 victory Tuesday at home against Purdue.

Steve Pikiell’s team is building a bulletproof resume after losses to St. Bonaventure and Pittsburgh in the first month of the season made it seem as the status quo would be very much in place in Piscataway this winter. Since then, the only three losses Rutgers have taken have all been on the road to high-quality opponents, with Michigan State, Illinois and Iowa the only teams able to get the best of them.

Rutgers is doing it o the strength of a top-10 defense that overcomes an offense that can be clunky at times, especially at the 3-point line. Defense as stout as the Scarlet Knights are playing, though, makes up for a lot of deficiencies on the other end.

Bubble Banter: Virginia, Mississippi State the biggest winners of the night

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It was a wild night on the bubble on Tuesday night, as 12 teams with their NCAA tournament hopes still up in the air were in action.

A full bubble watch breakdown can be found here. Here are tonight’s winners and losers:

WINNERS

VIRGINIA (NET: 58, NBC: Off the bubble): It is impossible to overstate just how big a win over Florida State (15) for a Virginia team that entered the night without a top 50 win to their name. They had one Quad 1 win on their resume — at Syracuse (64) — to go along with wins over Virginia Tech (50) at home and Arizona State (56) on a neutral floor. That’s it. When combined with a pair of Quad 3 losses — South Carolina (89) at home and at Boston College (153) — there’s a reason that the Wahoos were completely out of the NCAA tournament picture entering the day.

And to be honest, I’m not sure that a win over a top 20 team at home is really going to change all that much. But with just three more games against the top of the ACC left on their schedule, this was an opportunity that could not slip through their fingers.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (NET: 48, NBC: Off the bubble): The Bulldogs added a critical road win on Tuesday night, going into Gainesville and knocking off Florida (37). It’s the second Quad 1 win in six days for Mississippi State, who needs to add some pop to the top of a resume that includes a pair of Quad 3 losses. This will help.

MICHIGAN (NET: 35, NBC: 10): Michigan entered Tuesday night having lost four games in a row and five of their last six and were playing without Isaiah Livers and Zavier Simpson at Nebraska (158). They could not lost this game. They did not.

RHODE ISLAND (NET: 47, NBC: First four out): Rhode Island is in a spot where they probably cannot afford to take a loss to anyone other than Dayton (5), who they play twice, the rest of the season. On Tuesday night, the Rams beat George Mason. Next up: VCU (39) on Friday night.

UTAH STATE (NET: 62, NBC: Off the bubble): Utah State absolutely could not lose at Wyoming (299) on Tuesday, and they didn’t. The Aggies have neutral site wins over LSU (25) and Florida (37), which is enough to keep them in this discussion despite road losses at Boise State (102), UNLV (130) and Air Force (184). They make the trip to Viejas Arena to take on San Diego State (2) on Saturday, and that feels like a must-win for Utah State at this point.

LOSERS

TENNESSEE (NET: 55, NBC: Next four out): The Vols took a loss that they just could not afford to take on Tuesday, falling to a bad Texas A&M (149) at home. It’s their first Quad 3 loss, meaning that now half of their eight losses are outside the Quad 1 level. With just two Quad 1 wins, neither of which came against a top 35 opponent, Tennessee is backing themselves into a corner. The good news? They still play eight Quad 1 games, and that doesn’t include Florida at home. The Vols can survive this if they get hot.

SYRACUSE (NET: 64, NBC: Off the bubble): The Orange saw their five game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday as they fell at Clemson (81). This is not a terrible loss, but for a team that is already trying to make up ground on the field, these are the kind of losses that really hurt.

RICHMOND (NET: 54, NBC: First four out): Tuesday’s visit to the Siegel Center was Richmond’s last shot at getting a Quad 1 win dueing the regular season. They lost to VCU (39) by 17 points. For my money, the Spiders’ at-large hopes are more or less dead.

ST. JOHN’S (NET: 67, NBC: 10): The Johnnies lost for the seventh time in their last nine games when Villanova (14) waltzed into MSG and beat the Red Storm by 20. That’s not ideal. St. John’s is still in the mix because of wins over West Virginia (7) and Arizona (10), the latter of which came on a neutral court. But with road games left against Villanova, Seton Hall (12) and Butler (9), Mike Anderson’s club has backed themselves into a corner.

PURDUE (NET: 36, NBC: Next four out): The Boilermakers dropped to 11-10 on the season with a 70-63 loss at Rutgers (23) on Tuesday night. That means Purdue has dropped five of their last seven games. They’re 2-7 against Quad 1 opponents with a 29 point win over Michigan State (8), but there are a lot of losses on their resume already and the Big Ten is a bear.

VIRGINIA TECH (NET: 50, NBC: First four out): The Hokies did themselves no favors by losing at Miami (106) on Tuesday night. In the last three days, they’ve suffered their two worst losses of the season. The Hokies also have a non-conference SOS that ranks 341st, which eliminates much of their margin for error. The good news? They still have pair of Quad 1 wins — including Michigan State (10) on a neutral — and four of their five Quad 1 and 2 wins came away from home. It’s not all bad.

GEORGETOWN (NET: 52, NBC: Next four out): The Hoyas lost their third straight game on Tuesday night and have now dropped six of their last eight. Making things worse is that they were up by 13 points on Butler (9) late in the first half. This was their best chance to land an elite win this season. They still get Villanova (14) and Seton Hall (12) at home, but the biggest issue with Georgetown’s tournament chances is that they are trending in the wrong direction with just seven scholarship players.

Virginia upends No. 5 Florida State, 61-56

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Remember back to the season’s opening night? Nearly three months ago? That was when Virginia embarrassed Syracuse in a 48-34 win. That game foretold a lot of the season up to this point for the Cavaliers. Their title-defending team would have the defense that’s defined Tony Bennett’s program while the offense, well, that would be a bit of a struggle. What it did not predict was more Quad 1 wins, as the Cavaliers, despite a dominating defense, failed to rack up another such victory after that season-opener.

Until Tuesday.

Virginia injected some life into its NCAA tournament hopes with a 61-56 win over fifth-ranked Florida State in Charlottesville to pick up a critical victory in an ACC that offers far fewer marquee opportunities than in years past.

The victory was exactly what Bennett’s team needed to help buoy that resume before the start of February. January was extremely rough on them with a 3-4 mark before the win over the Seminoles put them at .500 for the month. With only four chances left against the ACC’s best of FSU, Duke and Louisville, beating the Seminoles at home may not have been an absolute-must for the Cavs, but it sure makes it a lot easier to chart a path to the tournament now, even if it’s still a rocky road, than if they had dropped the game.

Point guard Kihei Clark scored 11 of his 15 points after halftime, changing the game offensively for the Cavaliers with his dribble penetration into the middle of the Florida State defense. He wasn’t wildly efficient, but his ability to get into the teeth of the defense – creating some buckets and free throws for himself and chances for his teammates – provided just enough lift for the offensively-challenged team. His beautiful reverse layup with a minute left gave Virginia a lead it would not relinquish as it closed the game on an 8-0 run.

Mamadi Diakite had 19 points and nine boards for Virginia while Braxton Key had 13 points and nine rebounds.

The loss stops a 10-game winning streak for the ‘Noles, who led for most of the game but could not ever find any meaningful separation. Devin Vassell had 17 points to lead Florida State, which had two shots to tie the game in the final seconds but missed both 3-point attempts horribly. If Virginia can surge a little in the season’s final month, this win won’t be much more than a missed opportunity for the Seminoles, but if it proves to just be a blip on the radar for Virginia, Florida State may have done some damage to its seed line Tuesday.