3/7 – College Hoops Week in Review: March Madness cometh

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Game of the Week: West Virginia 72, Louisville 70

This is the kind of loss where you feel terrible for Preston Knowles. The senior point guard for the Cardinals shook off a poor shooting afternoon to score seven straight points and give the ‘Ville a 67-61 lead with two minutes left. But after one Casey Mitchell three and a missed free throw by Peyton Siva, Knowles got hung up on a screen and allowed Mitchell to get open for a deep, game-tying three with eight seconds left. Knowles pushed the ball in transition, but he missed a pull-up three and then proceeded to do about the dumbest thing he could in that situation:


March Madness Game Winners!!!

Lafayette 73, American 71 2OT: Jim Mower hit a 3-pointer with less than a second remaining to lead Lafayette over American 73-71 in double-OT in the Patriot League semifinals. Trailing by two with seven seconds remaining, Tony Johnson drove the length of the floor before kicking it to Mower for the game-winning basket. Ryan Willen hit a 3-pointer with ten seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game, and Mower hit 1 of 2 free throws under ten seconds left in the first OT to force a second over time. Vlad Moldoveanu led all scorers with 26 points, but it was not enough, as Lafayette upset the No. 2-seed Eagles on their home floor. The No. 6-seed Leopards will face top-seeded Bucknell in the Patriot League finals.


Missouri State 58, Southern Illinois 56: The Bears almost didn’t make it out of their first round matchup in the MVC Tournament. Down by nine with two minutes left, Missouri State hit three straight three to tie the game up at 56 before Kyle Weems bailed them out with this shot:


Robert Morris 64, Quinnipiac 62: Junior guard Velton Jones dribbled off of a ball screen and drove down the lane, hitting a tough floater over two defenders to knock off the Bobcats. Its the second straight season that Quinnipiac has had their season ended by Bobby Mo:


VCU 62, Drexel 60: Chris Fouch buried a three to tie the game with 10 seconds left in the CAA quarterfinals, but Jamie Skeen answered with a gorgeous, baby hook at the buzzer:


Player of the Week: Jon Diebler, Ohio State

You want to talk about a player being on fire? On Wednesday, Diebler drilled 10/12 threes against Penn State, finishing with 30 points, three boards, and five assists while setting the school record and tying the Big Ten record for threes in a game. He wans’t done, either, as Diebler had 27 points in Sunday’s 28 point win over Wisconsin. Diebler was 7-8 from deep, putting him at 17-20 for the week.

In the two games this week, Diebler averaged 28.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 4.5 apg. Not only was he 17-20 from three, he shot 18-22 from the floor. He raised his three point percentage — in the last week of the regular season — from 47.7% to 51.1%. I think its safe to say Diebler was feeling it this week.

The All-they-were-good-too team:

  • G: Brandyn Curry, Harvard: The Crimson clinched at least a share of the Ivy League title with wins over Penn and Princeton on Saturday. Curry was tremendous, averaging 11.5 ppg, 12.0 apg, 2.5 spg and just six turnovers on the weekend.
  • G: Tim Hardaway, Jr, Michigan: The Wolverines had a couple of huge wins to keep themselves in the bubble picture, and Hardaway was the star, averaging 21.0 ppg.
  • F: Kevin Jones, West Virginia: West Virginia clinched the six seed in the Big East Tournament with wins over UConn and Louisville, and Jones was the biggest reason why. He averaged 20.0 ppg and 13.0 rpg, including a 25 point, 16 rebound (11 offensive) performance in the win over the Cardinals.
  • F: Lavoy Allen, Temple: Allen has been terrific the past five games, averaging 17.6 ppg, 14.0 rpg, and 2.0 bpg.
  • C: Tristan Thompson, Texas: Thompson is doing his best to pull Texas out of this slump. While the Longhorns went just 1-1 this week, Thompson had 26 points and 10 boards in a loss to K-State before notching 19 points and 13 boards (nine offensive) in a win over Baylor.
  • Bench: Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall (26.0 ppg, 3.5 spg), Kendall Marshall, UNC (11.0 ppg, 9.5 apg)

Team of the Week: North Carolina Tar Heels

Believe it or not, but the UNC Tar Heels are now your outright ACC champions after knocking off Duke it what amounted to the ACC regular season title game. The game wasn’t all that close, either, as Kendall Marshall and Harrison Barnes and company jumped out to a big lead early and held on down the stretch.

Plenty of words have already been written on how much better this Tar Heel team is without Larry Drew and with Marshall running the show. The same can be said about Harrison Barnes’ recent play, as he is living up to those all-american expectations. But not much has been said about the play of John Henson and Tyler Zeller. They were the knock on Carolina early in the season, but both have developed into a big-time presence on the glass and in the paint.

If this team wins the ACC Tournament, there is still an outside chance that they can earn themselves a No. 1 seed on Sunday.

Teams deserving a shout out:

Kentucky: The Wildcats finally notched a key victory on the road, going into Tennessee and knocking off the Volunteers. It was a come-from-behind win, as the Wildcats played awful in the first half. But Brandon Knight made the plays late in the game, giving UK their first close, road victory of the season. That came just days after Kentucky knocked off Vanderbilt at home. UK earned themselves the second seed in the SEC Tournament and a first round bye.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers had a big week this week, as they beat both UConn and Louisville in Morgantown to take the sixth seed in the Big East Tournament. That means they will be playing the winner of Marquette-Providence on Wednesday.

Notre Dame: The Irish are making a serious case for themselves as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They finished in sole possession of second place in the Big East standings. Perhaps most important this week was that the Irish were able to stave off a UConn run and comeback on the road despite having their star and potential Big East player of the year Ben Hansbrough out of the game with five fouls.

Florida: Florida won the outright SEC regular season title by crushing Alabama at home and following that up with a solid win at Vanderbilt on Saturday. There is a lot not too like about Florida this season, but they just keep on winning basketball games. They are getting post production, their guard play has been more consistent, and Chandler Parsons is turning into a star.

Michigan: If the Wolverines end up missing the NCAA Tournament, you can’t say it wasn’t for a lack of effort. After starting league play 1-6, Michigan rallied to end the year tied for fourth at 9-9, including wins at Minnesota and over Michigan State this week. The Wolverines still have some work to do, but the fact that they are in this conversation is impressive.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats aren’t just going to back into the NCAA Tournament. They deserve to be their. After losing at home to UConn, Mick Cronin’s club bounced back with wins against Marquette and Georgetown, the latter coming by 22 points.

Fordham: Congratulations to Fordham as they avoided a winless regular season by knocking off UMass on Saturday.

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

Indiana’s late-run beats No. 11 Michigan State 67-63

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Joey Brunk scored 14 points, including a key layup with 1 minute left to play, and Jerome Hunter made two late free throws Thursday night to close out Indiana’s 67-63 victory over No. 11 Michigan State.

The Hoosiers (15-4, 5-3 Big Ten) have won two straight and four of their last five. It was coach Archie Miller’s 50th win since taking the job three seasons ago.

Cassius Winston had 13 of his 17 points in the second half to lead the Spartans (14-5, 6-2), who lost their third straight in the series.

Michigan State had a chance to force overtime after forcing a turnover, calling timeout and sending Winston through the lane. He flipped the ball to Xavier Tillman for a layup, but the ball rolled off the rim and Hunter grabbed the rebound.

His free throws sealed the win.

The Hoosiers needed everything they had to earn this one after blowing a seven-point halftime lead.

Michigan State rallied by making its first six 3-point attempts in the second half and finally took a 51-48 lead on Rocket Watts’ 3 with 11:05 to go.

It remained a one-possession game the rest of the way.

But Aljami Durham finally gave Indiana what it needed – a 3 with 1:52 left – to break a 60-60 tie. Brunk’s layup made it 65-62.


Michigan State: Trips to Indiana just haven’t been kind to the Spartans lately. On Jan. 12, they were routed at Purdue. This time, they got beat in the closing minutes. Clearly, Michigan State performed closer to expectations than it did at Purdue. But another slow start cost them another game. They will return to Indiana for the conference tournament in March.

Indiana: It doesn’t seem that long ago that the Hoosiers struggled to make shots. But they’ve figured out how to limit the 3s and take advantage of their size and athleticism inside, and it’s made a huge difference. If Indiana’s offense stays in sync this weekend, they just might crack the Top 25 for the first time.


Michigan State: Aaron Henry had 12 points, while Gabe Brown had 10 points and four 3s. Xavier Tillman finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. … The Spartans had 13 turnovers, but only gave up six points off those turnovers. … Michigan State started the game by missing its first nine 3s. It wound up 9 of 21 from beyond the arc.

Indiana: Trayce Jackson-Davis had 12 points and four rebounds, while Durham finished with 11 points and four 3s. … Race Thompson had four points, two blocks and two steals before leaving the game late in the first half after a hard foul. He sat on the bench the entire second half. … Nine of the 10 Hoosiers who appeared in the first half scored. Only Jerome Hunter, who logged four minutes, was shut out. … NBA star Victor Oladipo attended the game. The two-time All-Star is expected to make his season debut with the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.


Michigan State: plays two of its next three on the road, including Sunday’s stop at Minnesota.

Indiana: hosts another ranked opponent, No. 17 Maryland, on Sunday.

Three Things To Know: Marcus Carr beats Ohio State, Indiana wins, Yoeli’s back

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There were no brawls, but there is still plenty to talk about after a full slate of games on Thursday night.

Here are the three things that you need to know:


It was another bonkers night in the toughest conference in the country on Thursday.

Let’s start with the early game.

Ohio State lost for the sixth time in the last seven games, blowing an 11-point second half lead after Marcus Carr, who finished with 21 points, his a three with 3.3 seconds left on the clock to give the Gophers a 62-59 win.

Daniel Oturu added 11 points and six boards, all of which came in the second half, as he shut down Kaleb Wesson to give Minnesota the season-sweep of the Buckeyes.

Minnesota is now 5-4 in the Big Ten and 11-8 on the season, and while this loss drops Ohio State into 12th place in the Big Ten standings, the work that they did in the early part of the season combined with the depth and strength of the conference they play in means that, as of now, this is still a Quad 1 win for Minnesota.

The late game was just as crazy.

No. 11 Michigan State trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half before storming back to take a lead in the final four minutes. But Indiana responded, and caught a lucky break as Xavier Tillman missed a wide-open tip-in with less than a second left on the clock that would have forced overtime.

The Spartans are now 6-2 in the Big Ten, putting them in a tie for first place with Illinois, while Indiana an absolutely enormous win for Archie Miller and this program. With No. 17 Maryland coming to town on Saturday, this was critical for Archie Miller, whose lack of success has gotten the locals riled up.

This should give him some breathing room.


It hasn’t really been discussed much nationally to this point, but BYU is a really good, really dangerous team this season when they are at full strength.

The problem has been that they’ve barely been at full strength.

Their best player is Yoeli Childs, a 6-foot-9 center with all the tools that make him an intriguing NBA prospect and, in turn, an absolute monster in the WCC. But he missed the first nine games of the season because of a paperwork issue withdrawing from last year’s NBA draft, and then had to sit out the last four after injuring his finger.

But he’s back now.

And he put everyone on notice with a 26 point, nine rebound outburst in a 74-60 win at Pacific.The Cougars are a very real at-large candidate with the size and shot-making to threaten Gonzaga. Keep an eye on them.


In one of the weirdest end-of-game sequences I can remember seeing, No. 25 Houston managed to find a way to survive UConn’s upset bid.

Here’s what happened: The Cougars, who trailed for the entire game, finally took the lead late in the second half. They had pushed the lead out to six points, when UConn’s Jalen Gaffney scored with 7.3 seconds left to cut it to four. But after he scored, Houston’s DeJon Jarreau said something to Danny Hurley and was given a technical foul. After Gaffney made both free throws, Jarreau then committed a five-second violation on the ensuing inbounds.

UConn ball.

But this is the strangest part: Since UConn was in foul trouble, they brought in a walk-on — Temi Aiyegbusy — to commit a foul. But no time went of the clock on the turnover, so he had to remain on the court for the UConn possession. The ball ended up in his hands in the corner, and he passed up on a three took a pull-up that missed.

Houston grabbed the rebound, made their free throws, and that was that.

Three Things To Know: Memphis embarrassed; Luka Garza shows out again

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The story of the night in hoops was Zion Williamson’s return to the basketball court.

But there was plenty of action in the college ranks that is worthy of talking about.

Here are the three things that you need to know:


That is not a typo.

The 20th-ranked team in the country went into Tulsa, Okla., and lost to the Golden Hurricane, 80-40. Tulsa was up 40-17 at halftime. This was a butt-whooping that was so bad that all Tulsa needed to do was score a single point in the second half and they would have been able to get the win.

Memphis shot 28 percent from the floor. They were 2-for-21 from three. They finished the night with more turnovers (20) and fouls (22) than field goals (16). This was the worst loss that a top 25 team has suffered against a ranked team in 27 years, since UConn beat then-No. 12 Virginia by 41 points.

For Tulsa, this is a massive, massive win. They are currently sitting all alone in first place in the American standings, a half-game up on Houston.

So good for Frank Haith.

But the story here is Memphis, because the Tigers, considered title contenders before the season began, look anything-but right now.

“We let our defense dictate our offense,” head coach Penny Hardaway told reporters after the game. “We didn’t play any defense today. I think today was the first day we’ve done that ll year. I don’t know if guys overlooked Tulsa because of the name. We did our due diligence as a coaching staff to let them know what was going to happen with the matchup zone and how hard they play.

“It’s pretty embarrassing.”


If it seems like Garza is putting up monster numbers every games, it’s because he is.

On Wednesday night, the Hawkeyes welcomed newly-ranked Rutgers to campus and sent them home with an entertaining, hard-fought, 85-80 win. And Garza was the star of the show. He finished with 28 points, 13 boards, four blocks and two steals in the win, anchoring the paint as Iowa out-scored Rutgers 47-37 in the second half.

The big fella is now averaging 23 points and 10.5 boards.

Iowa has now won four straight games to move into a tie for third in the Big Ten standings — with Rutgers, among others — and they have won eight straight games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They are a third of the way through a three-game homestand as well.


Virginia Tech kept up their push to finish as the fourth-best team in the ACC with a 79-77 double-overtime win over North Carolina.

The Hokies are now 14-5 overall and 5-3 in the ACC, but the more interesting story might actually be the Tar Heels.

They are 8-10 on the season and 1-6 in the ACC. They have been a disaster for the last month, but there may be some reinforcements on the way in the shape of Cole Anthony. If he returns and the Tar Heels, who are 2-7 in his absence but have wins over Alabama and Oregon with him, get things back on the right track, they are likely going to find themselves in an incredibly awkward situation on Selection Sunday.

Big 12 hands down Kansas-Kansas State fight suspensions

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The Big 12 handed down suspensions to four Kansas and Kansas State players for their role in the fight that occurred in Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.

Silvio De Sousa, who tried to fight three different Kansas State players and picked up a stool during the melee, received a 12 game suspension from the conference. David McCormack, who went into the stands to confront James Love III, received a two game suspension. Love was given eight games for part in the fight, while Antonio Gordon, the freshman that turned a messy situation into a fight, was hit with a three game suspension.

“This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated and these suspensions reflect the severity of last evening’s events,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  “I am appreciative of the cooperation of both institutions in resolving this matter.”

In the final seconds on Tuesday night, after DaJuan Gordon stole the ball from him at halfcourt, De Sousa blocked Gordon’s shot and towered over him. That sparked an incident that turned into a full-fledged brawl, as De Sousa threw punches at three different players on Kansas State before picking up a stool as the fight spilled into the handicapped section of Kansas seating.

Self called the fight “an embarrassment” after the game, adding on Wednesday that “we are disappointed in [De Sousa’s] actions and there is no place in the game for that behavior.”

McCormack will be eligible to return for Kansas on Feb. 1st when they play Texas Tech at home. De Sousa will be available to play in the final game of the regular season at Texas Tech. Gordon can return on Feb. 3rd, when the Wildcats host Baylor, while Love will be out until late February. But he has played just one game and two minutes on the season, so there is no clear indication of when he will actually put on a Kansas State jersey again.

The four most important questions after Kansas-Kansas State fight

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Very other sport can treat brawls like comedy, and I think it’s about time that we did the same for basketball.

So let’s take a look at the four funniest moments from last night’s Kansas-Kansas State fight. Shouts to Jomboy:


Throughout the entire fight, the mascot is just in utter disbelief. He cannot believe what he just saw, and he certainly cannot be consoled:


Case is the video coordinator for Kansas. He’s also a former Kansas point guard. He knows what this rivalry is all about, and he also is not going to be afraid to get in the middle of it.

Case starts out on the wrong side of the melee:

But when he sees De Sousa and Love squaring up and throwing punches, he intervenes by throwing himself into a player six inches taller than him:


James Love the third has played in exactly one game this season. He has spent more time on the court fighting that he has actually playing, but he still found a way to get into the middle of this fight and, in the process, lost his shoe:

He’s not dressed for the game.

Did he bring an extra pair of shoes? Did he have to head back onto the bus without a shoe on this right foot? So many questions, so few answers.


He’s some kind of photographer.

He got his shot, that’s for sure: