West Regional breakdown, team capsules

0 Comments

Who wins, who’s overrated and what’s the best game? We have an answer for each region. I had freelance writer Ray Glier pinch hit for the East breakdown, but the capsules are all me. Enjoy

Underrated: Arizona
These guys have some brutal losses: by 22 to BYU in December, by 22 to UCLA in February. But just watch them for a stretch here and there and they can score (47 percent field goal percentage) and they have a terrific player in Derrick Williams. They lost by just eight at Kansas. They pass that eye test and give you a reason to pause and consider ‘What if…”.

Arizona won 14 games in the Pac-10, which isn’t a deep league, but 14 wins is 14 wins.

Can a No. 5 seed be underrated? Sure it can because everyone else is thinking UConn and Texas are better. Arizona can play with both of those teams in this tournament because the Cats score and score.

Overrated: UConn
They have the best player in the country, Kemba Walker, but the Huskies are going to get erased. Their legs have to be wobbly after five games in five days. Serves the Big East right for its money-grubbing, team-hoarding ways.

UConn could run up against Missouri in the second round and the Tigers furious defense is going to take care of what’s left of UConn’s legs.

Most likely first-round upset
It is not going to be Oakland over Texas. Don’t even think about it.

Missouri is an 11th seed and Cincinnati is a sixth seed. Pick that one. It is a question of style with Mizzou’s frantic pressure giving UC something different than what it sees in the Big East. The Tigers get 10 steals a game with their rushing around the floor.

The upset won’t happen if the Tigers do not score in transition. When they get into halfcourt and start firing up 3s they can look like a dreadful team. But this is where upsets happen, 11 vs. 6.

Best matchup: Texas vs. Duke
For most of the season, Texas was lauded as the heir apparent to Duke. The Longhorns were nasty on defense and beat people up by covering the floor with defenders. They were being tabbed in January as the team that would sweep into the Final Four in their home state and close down on Ohio State’s shooters.

The Longhorns were seeded fourth, which is low for this team. You could call them the most underrated team in the region, but everyone knows the committee just blew this one. UT will show itself as a national title contender with a win over Duke in Anaheim: a match of defense vs. offense.

Plenty of people are going to get anxious to see UConn vs. San Diego State, but Duke is the defending champion playing across the country and Texas has been talked up all season. That’s the game to see, especially if Duke’s Kyrie Irving makes his return.

Impact player
Well, you would have to say Kemba Walker of UConn or Nolan Smith of Duke, but that’s too easy. Jordan Hamilton is a good one to look at. He has taken almost 20 shots a game the last eight games for Texas. That’s a lot of impact for one team. When he shot poorly against Nebraska (3 of 16), the Horns were upset.

Now, if Kyrie Irving of Duke suddenly reappears, that’s a different story. Might he play? He told reporters Sunday in Greensboro he has a shot.

Champion: San Diego State
It is a veteran team that can score and has a coach who has been there, done that. UConn has to be wasted after its Big East gantlet, so it will not survive. Duke is going to beat Arizona in a sensational game, but Texas is going to rub out the Blue Devils.

That leaves Texas vs. SDSU in the title game of the toughest region.

TEAM CAPSULES

No. 1 Duke Blue Devils

Location: Durham, N.C.

Conference: Atlantic Coast

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski

Pre-tournament record: 30-4, 13-3

Best wins: North Carolina, Temple, Marquette

Surprising loss: Florida State, Virginia Tech

Team stats

Key players: Senior guard Nolan Smith, senior forward Kyle Singler, sophomore forward Mason Plumlee, sophomore guard Seth Curry .

Full team roster

Strengths: Shooting, ball-handling, challenging shots.

Weaknesses: Defensive rebounding, forcing turnovers.

Outlook: The defending NCAA champions don’t hit the glass as hard as last year and are slightly worse beyond the arc, but that’s about it. The Devils remain one of the favorites to win it all thanks to their shooting – 38 percent from deep and 52 percent inside the arc – and ability to take care of the ball. If you want to beat Duke, you have to earn it. That means keeping track of their shooters (Curry and sophomore Andre Dawkins), limiting Smith’s dribble penetration and not allowing Singler to get into an offensive rhythm. Of all the Devils’ offensive stars, Singler’s the key. Smith has been a consistent scorer, while Singler has struggled with his shot and been ineffective off the dribble. If he regains his form from last year, Duke has a potent 1-2 punch to pair with a deep bench filled with shooters. That’s a tough team to beat.

No. 2 San Diego State Aztecs

Location: San Diego

Conference: Mountain West

Coach: Steve Fisher

Pre-tournament record: 32-2, 14-2

Best wins: UNLV (twice), Gonzaga

Surprising losses: None

Team stats

Key players: Sophomore forward Kawhi Leonard, senior guard D.J. Gay, senior forward Malcolm Thomas, senior forward Billy Thomas.

Full team roster

Strengths: Offensive rebounding, ball-handling, their frontcourt.

Weaknesses: Forcing turnovers, 3-point shooting.

Outlook: This is a senior-laden squad with an exceedingly efficient defense, a fantastic frontcourt and usually works for a high-percentage shot on offense. All three usually mean success in March. Throw in an NBA talent like Leonard – he can guard anyone and thrives in a half-court offense – and the Aztecs are a strong Final Four contender. Their biggest problem? Lack of a consistent outside shooter. Gay and sophomore Chase Tapley should be those guys, but have trouble creating their own shot. SDSU also doesn’t get many points at the free-throw line. They’re right at the D-I average for percentage (69.9), but rarely get to the line. That speaks to their lack of a go-to guy who can create his own shot or open things for others. (Leonard’s close, but isn’t ideal in that role.) It’s a really good team, but can be held back by its offense.

No. 3 Connecticut Huskies

Location: Storrs, Conn.

Conference: Big East

Coach: Jim Calhoun

Pre-tournament record: 26-9, 9-9

Best wins: Kentucky, Texas

Surprising losses:None

Team stats

Key players: Junior guard Kemba Walker, sophomore forward Alex Oriakhi, freshman guard Jeremy Lamb.

Full team roster

Strengths: Offensive rebounding, ball-handling, interior defense.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent shooting, forcing turnovers.

Outlook: Don’t let the 10 losses fool you. UConn’s as good as any team in the field. (Did you see the Big East tournament?) It’s just not as reliable as the likes of Pitt or Kansas because the Huskies are so dependent on how Walker plays. When the lightning quick guard is on, they’ll beat anyone. And have. But when his shot isn’t falling, UConn relies on guys like Lamb or freshman guard Shabazz Napier to carry the scoring load, which they’re not ready for yet. The wild card is Oriakhi. When he’s grabbing rebounds and getting putback scores, everything’s easier for Walker and the Huskies. UConn will be playing during the second weekend if Walker’s legs aren’t completely exhausted after five games in five days.

No. 4 Texas Longhorns

Location: Austin, Texas.

Conference: Big 12

Coach: Rick Barnes

Pre-tournament record: 27-7, 13-3

Best wins: Kansas, North Carolina

Surprising losses: Nebraska, Colorado

Team stats

Key players: Sophomore wing Jordan Hamilton, freshman Tristan Thompson, freshman guard Cory Joseph, senior forward Gary Johnson.

Full team roster

Strengths: Challenging shots, offensive rebounding, ball-handling.

Weaknesses: Forcing turnovers, 3-point shooting, free-throw shooting.

Outlook: Texas’ tumble at the end of the season – losers of three of the last five games – seemingly ended in the Big 12 tournament. The reason? Hamilton started hitting shots again. The 6-7 wing broke out of a prolonged shooting slump against Oklahoma, a promising sign for a team that desperately needs his scoring touch. Given that the Longhorns’ once ferocious defense turned meek at season’s end, Hamilton’s scoring is needed even more. Unlike last season, when Texas dealt with myriad injuries and chemistry issues, this year’s team is healthy and happy. If Hamilton’s on and Thompson, a gifted shot blocker and rebounder, stays out of foul trouble, this is a Final Four team. At worst, it’s bound for the Sweet 16.

No. 5 Arizona Wildcats

Location: Tucson, Ariz.

Conference: Pac-10

Coach: Sean Miller

Pre-tournament record: 27-7, 13-4

Best wins: Washington, UCLA

Surprising loss: Oregon State

Team stats

Key players: Sophomore forward Derrick Williams, sophomore guard Momo Jones, sophomore forward Solomon Hill .

Full team roster

Strengths: Shooting, 3-point defense, defensive rebounding.

Weaknesses: Forcing turnovers, interior defense.

Outlook: It all starts with Williams, the Pac-10 player of the year. The 6-7 forward is a future NBA lottery pick for his offensive

efficiency, rebounding skills and underrated defense. He’s the type of player a team can ride to the Final Four – if it has enough players to play supporting roles. That’s the biggest question surrounding the Wildcats, who are back in the Big Dance after missing it last season for the first time in 25 years. Can guys like Hill, junior guard Kyle Fogg and sophomore wing Kevin Parrom hit enough outside shots to prevent teams from focusing on Williams? And is point guard Momo Jones steady enough to avoid last-minute mistakes? Then there’s the defense, which is average. Teams feast on Arizona’s post players because Williams is their biggest guy, but has to stay out of foul trouble. Who slows down opposing forwards?

No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats

Location: Cincinnati

Conference: Big East

Coach: Mick Cronin

Pre-tournament record: 25-8, 11-7

Best wins: Louisville, Georgetown (twice)

Surprising losses: None

Team stats

Key players: Junior center Yancy Gates, sophomore guard Cashmere Wright, freshman guard Sean KIlpatrick.

Full team roster

Strengths: Offensive rebounding, forcing turnovers, perimeter defense.

Weaknesses: Shooting.

Outlook: The Bearcats ended a six-year tournament drought thanks to what they were known for in the ‘90s and early 2000s – defense. Led by the powerful Gates and solid guards, Cincinnati excels at forcing turnovers and making opponents work for tough shots. It also thrives at crashing the offensive glass and doesn’t turn the ball over. That’s a recipe for success, but doesn’t give the Bearcats much room for error against good teams, and especially ones that can hit 3s. That could be bad news against Missouri in the first round.

No. 7 Temple Owls

Location: Philadelphia

Conference: Atlantic 10

Coach: Fran Dunphy

Pre-tournament record: 25-7, 14-2

Best wins: Georgetown, Richmond, Maryland

Surprising losses: Cal, Duquesne

Team stats

Key players: Junior guard Ramone Moore, junior wing Scootie Randall, senior forward Lavoy Allen.

Full team roster

Strengths: Defensive rebounding, interior defense, ball-handling.

Weaknesses: Perimeter defense, forcing turnovers.

Outlook: The Owls sport a record almost as impressive as last season when they were a 5 seed. They’ve even won 13 of their last 15 games. But don’t be fooled. This team isn’t as good as last year – and that Temple squad was crushed in the first round by Cornell. Temple has similar issues as other slow-paced, possession-prizing teams – when the shots aren’t falling, things turn south. Temple tries using its outside shooters – Juan Fernandez, Moore and Randall – to take some of the pressure off Allen inside, but it doesn’t always work. Allen’s a force inside, especially on the glass and blocking shots. Yet he’s not an accomplished offensive player, occasionally leaving Temple as a one-dimensional offensive team. The defense isn’t good enough to make up for those deficiencies against an athletic team, either. A win against Penn State? Maybe. But against North Carolina? No way.

No. 8 Michigan Wolverines

Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.

Conference: Big Ten

Coach: John Beilein

Pre-tournament record: 20-13, 9-9

Best wins: Clemson, Illinois, Oakland

Surprising losses: UTEP, Northwestern

Team stats

Key players: Sophomore guard Darius Morris, freshman guard Tim Hardaway Jr., freshman center Jordan Morgan.

Full team roster

Strengths: Ball-handling, shooting.

Weaknesses: Offensive rebounding, forcing turnovers, interior defense.

Outlook: The Wolverines got hot at the right time, winning nine of their last 13 games. However, none were against elite teams as Michigan came up short against both Ohio State and Wisconsin late in the year. That’s this team’s M.O – they hang with most everyone, but can’t close out for wins. That’s partly because the Wolverines are young. Morris, Hardaway and Morgan spent the season adjusting to the rigors of Big Ten play and did well most of the time. Consider this team lucky to be in the NCAA tournament, and even luckier if they get a win. The future, however, looks very bright.

No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers

Location: Knoxville, Tenn.

Conference: Southeastern

Coach: Bruce Pearl

Pre-tournament record: 19-14, 8-8

Best wins: Pittsburgh, Villanova, Vanderbilt (twice), Belmont (twice)

Surprising losses: Charlotte, Arkansas, Miss State, Oakland

Team stats

Key players: Junior guard Scotty Hopson, freshman forward Tobias Harris, junior wing Cameron Tatum, senior center Brian Williams.

Full team roster

Strengths: Offensive rebounding, shot blocking.

Weaknesses: Shooting, ball-handling, fouls.

Outlook: The Vols are vying for the crown of team with the oddest season. And in a field like this, that’s saying something. Tennessee handed Pitt its first loss of the year, then turned around and lost to Charlotte and Oakland. It dealt with the eight-game suspension of Pearl, the maddeningly inconsistent play of Hopson and a defense that showed flashes of greatness. At times. Could Tennessee sneak under the radar and get to the Elite Eight again? No. Could they sneak into the Sweet 16? Well, that depends on the matchup. And Hopson. Don’t bank on either.

No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions

Location: College Station, Penn.

Conference: Big Ten

Coach: Ed DeChellis

Pre-tournament record: 19-14, 9-9

Best wins: Wisconsin (twice)

Surprising losses: Maine, Ole Miss

Team stats

Key players: Senior guard Talor Battle, senior forward Jeff Brooks, senior forward David Jackson.

Full team roster

Strengths: Ball-handling, defensive rebounding.

Weaknesses: Everything else on defense.

Outlook: Penn State’s lucky to be here. Two wins against Wisconsin and a .500 Big Ten record was enough to overlook an otherwise unimpressive season. The Lions play slow, ugly and not very well on defense. (Their biggest defensive virtue? Keeping foes off the free-throw line.) Battle’s a guard who lives up to his name, fighting through bigger defenders for baskets, but he’s one of the few shining lights. Brooks is a nice player, but not much else. Penn State won’t be around long, no matter how much they ugly up a game.

No. 11 Missouri Tigers

Location: Columbia, Mo.

Conference: Big 12

Coach: Mike Anderson

Pre-tournament record: 23-10, 8-8

Best wins: Vanderbilt, Kansas State

Surprising losses: Oklahoma State, Colorado

Team stats

Key players: Junior guard Marcus Denmon, junior wing Kim English, sophomore guard Michael Dixon, junior forward Ricardo Ratliffe.

Full team roster

Strengths: Forcing turnovers, ball-handling, shooting.

Weaknesses: Rebounding, fouling.

Outlook: Missouri is fun to watch. Their pressure defense usually creates a fast-paced game full of turnovers, exciting sequences and high scores. But lately it has backfired. Teams with mobile big men feast on Missouri’s lackluster frontcourt, while capable guards can handle the press when needed. You’ll hear a lot about the Tigers’ road issues, and with good reason. They’ve won two games away from home since Dec. 22. Missouri can frustrate teams who aren’t prepared for the press or don’t pay enough attention to shooters like Denmon or Dixon. Anderson is 5-1 in first-round games, but think carefully when studying their matchup. Will Cincy’s Yancy Gates dominate the Tigers’ frontline? Can Mizzou force enough turnovers on the Bearcats’ guards?

No. 12 Memphis Tigers

Location: Memphis, Tenn.

Conference: Conference USA

Coach: Josh Pastner

Pre-tournament record: 25-9, 10-6

Best wins: Gonzaga, UAB (twice)

Surprising losses: SMU, East Carolina

Team stats

Key players: Freshman guard Will Barton, freshman guard Joe Jackson, freshman forward Tarik Black, freshman guard Antonio Barton.

Full team roster

Strengths: Offensive rebounding, raw talent.

Weaknesses: Ball-handling, 3-point shooting, defensive rebounding.

Outlook: The Tigers are lucky. They have the potential to be good, but it’s been a lot of luck. They’re 15-1 in games decided by five points or less. Maybe it’s because they’re relying on talented freshmen and don’t run much on offense, which usually creates close games that allows guys like Jackson and Will Barton to make winning plays late. It’s not a rip (well, it’s kind of a rip), just a statement about Memphis’ season. It oozes talent. But that talent lacks cohesiveness on the court. They could go one of two ways in the NCAA tournament – the talent rises to the top and Memphis makes the Sweet 16, or it flames out early because it can’t hit shots and has too many defensive lapses. Lean toward the latter.

No. 13 Oakland Golden Grizzlies

Location: Oakland, Mich.

Conference: Summit League

Coach: Greg Kampe

Pre-tournament record: 25-9, 17-1

Best win: Tennessee

Surprising loss: IUPUI

Team stats

Key players: Senior forward Keith Benson, junior guard Reggie Hamilton, senior forward Will Hudson.

Full team roster

Strengths: Shooting, offensive rebounding, shot-blocking.

Weaknesses: Forcing turnovers, perimeter defense.

Outlook: Oakland played seemingly every major-conference team during its non-conference schedule, losing to the likes of Ohio State, Purdue, West Virginia, Michigan State and Illinois. By the time the Grizz beat the Vols, people had seen enough of them to know they could play. It was no surprise to see Kampe’s team roll through the Summit League. They were tested and have better players, starting with Benson, who’s bound for the NBA. He and Hamilton are the two playmakers on an offense that runs, shoots and scores as well as anyone around. That doesn’t leave much for defense, but that’s by design. Oakland’s topped 100 points six times this season. That might be enough for an NCAA tournament win, even against Texas’ stellar defense.

No. 14 Bucknell Bison

Location: Lewisburg, Pa.

Conference: Patriot League

Coach: Dave Paulson

Pre-tournament record: 25-8, 13-1

Best win: Richmond

Surprising losses: Wagner, Army

Team stats

Key players: Sophomore forward Mike Muscala, senior guard Darryl Shazier, sophomore guard Bryson Johnson.

Full team roster

Strengths: Ball-handling, 3-point shooting, defensive rebounding.

Weaknesses: Forcing turnovers, offensive rebounding.

Outlook: The Bison have won of their past 20 games. The last time they were that hot was 2006 when they knocked off Arkansas in the NCAA tournament as 9 seed. This year’s squad might have some of that magic in ‘em. Bucknell lost by 11 at Marquette and by four at Boston College. Pulling off an NCAA tournament win will mean amplifying a couple of things at which they thrive: Shooting more 3-pointers and hitting the defensive glass. The Bison make 40 percent of their 3s (D-I average is 34.4), but those 3s only account for 29 percent of their total points. If they boost that to 40 percent of their points and limit UConn’s second-chance opportunities, they’ll have a shot.

No. 15 Northern Colorado Bears

Location: Greeley, Colo.

Conference: Big Sky

Coach: B.J. Hill

Pre-tournament record: 21-10, 14-3

Best wins: Montana (twice)

Surprising losses: Louisiana Monroe, Denver

Team stats

Key players: Senior guard Drew Beitzel, senior forward Chris Kaba, senior forward Neal Kingman.

Full team roster

Strengths: 3-point shooting, rebounding.

Weaknesses: Turnovers, perimeter defense.

Outlook: The Bears are one of the tournament’s best stories. The school made the transition from Division II a few years ago and has only been eligible for postseason play since 2007. Now, a team with four seniors is off to its first NCAA tournament. Those seniors, led by Big Sky player of the year Devon Beitzel, can be fun to watch, too. Northern Colorado plays faster than most, doesn’t hesitate on 3-pointers and has pulled out its share of close games. That’s not promising for their tournament hopes, though. The berth is as good as it’ll get for the Bears.

No. 16 Hampton Pirates

Location: Hampton, Va.

Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic

Coach: Edward Joyner, Jr.

Pre-tournament record: 24-8, 11-5

Best wins: Colorado State, Boston

Surprising losses: Florida A&M (twice)

Team stats

Key players: Junior forward Darrion Pellum, junior guard Kwame Morgan, senior forward Charles Funches.

Full team roster

Strengths: Defensive pressure, ball-handling.

Weaknesses: Shooting, rebounding.

Outlook: Hampton pulled off one of the biggest first-round upsets ever in 2001 when it beat No. 2 seed Iowa State. The odds of that type of upset happening again? Mighty slim. The Pirates struggle to score. They’re among the nation’s worst shooting and rebounding teams. That’s not their focus – defense is – but those are severe obstacles. Unless they can harass Duke like they did during MEAC play, they’re going to lose. And lose big.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Zach Edey has 19 points, No. 1 Purdue beats Michigan 75-70

purdue basketball
Junfu Han/USA TODAY NETWORK
5 Comments

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Zach Edey had 15 of his 19 points in the first half and Fletcher Loyer finished with 17 points to help No. 1 Purdue hold off Michigan 75-70 on Thursday night.

The Boilermakers (20-1, 9-1 Big Ten) had a 15-0 run to go ahead 41-28 lead in the first half after there were 10 lead changes and four ties, but they couldn’t pull away.

The Wolverines (11-9, 5-4) were without standout freshman Jett Howard, who missed the game with an ankle injury, and still hung around until the final seconds.

Joey Baker made a 3-pointer – off the glass – with 5.9 seconds left to pull Michigan within three points, but Purdue’s Brandon Newman sealed the victory with two free throws.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said Michigan slowed down Edey in the second half by pushing him away from the basket.

“They got him out a little more, and got him bottled up,” Painter said.

The 7-foot-4 Edey, though, was too tough to stop early in the game.

“He’s one of the best in the country for a reason,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “He’s very effective, especially if he’s 8 feet and in.”

With size and skills such as a hook shot, the junior center from Toronto scored Purdue’s first seven points and finished the first half 7 of 12 from the field and 1 of 2 at the line.

“He did a great job in the first half, going to his right shoulder and using his left hand,” Painter said. “He made four baskets with his left hand which is huge.”

Freshman Braden Smith had 10 points for the Boilermakers.

Purdue’s defense ultimately denied Michigan’s comeback hopes, holding a 22nd straight opponent to 70 or fewer points.

Hunter Dickinson scored 21, Kobe Bufkin had 16 points and Baker added 11 points for the Wolverines, who have lost four of their last six games.

Dickinson, a 7-1 center, matched up with Edey defensively and pulled him out of the lane offensively by making 3 of 7 3-pointers.

“Half his shots were from the 3, and that’s a little different,” Painter said. “His meat and potatoes are on that block. He’s the real deal.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Boilermakers got the top spot in the AP Top 25 this week after winning six games, a stretch that followed a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 3 that dropped them from No. 1 in the poll. Purdue improved to 7-2 as the top-ranked team.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: Edey can’t beat teams by himself and he’s surrounded by a lot of role players and a potential standout in Loyer. The 6-4 guard was the Big Ten player of the week earlier this month, become the first Boilermaker freshman to win the award since Robbie Hummel in 2008.

“Fletcher is somebody who has played better in the second half, and on the road,” Painter said.

Michigan: Jett Howard’s health is a critical factor for the Wolverines, who will have some work to do over the second half of the Big Ten season to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Howard averages 14.6 points and is the most dynamic player on his father’s team.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Boilermakers were away from home for 12 of 23 days, winning all five of their road games. They won at Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan for the first time since the 1997-98 season and beat the Spartans and Wolverines on their home court in the same season for the first time in 12 years.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Hosts Michigan State on Sunday, nearly two weeks after the Boilermakers beat the Spartans by a point on Edey’s shot with 2.2 seconds left.

Michigan: Plays at Penn State on Sunday.

Miller scores 23, No. 10 Maryland tops No. 13 Michigan 72-64

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Diamond Miller scored 23 points, and No. 10 Maryland closed the first quarter with a 13-2 run and led the rest of the way in a 72-64 victory over No. 13 Michigan on Thursday night.

Abby Meyers contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins (17-4, 8-2), who won for the 10th time in 11 games. Lavender Briggs scored 14 points and Shyanne Sellers added 13.

Maryland gained a measure of revenge after losing twice to Michigan last season – including a 20-point rout in College Park.

Leigha Brown led the Wolverines with 16 points.

Michigan (16-5, 6-4) led 13-9 in the first quarter before a three-point play by Miller started Maryland’s big run. Briggs and Faith Masonius made 3-pointers during that stretch.

The Terps pushed the lead to 16 in the third quarter before the Wolverines were able to chip away. Miller sat for a bit with four fouls, and Michigan cut the lead to seven in the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines still wasted too many possessions with turnovers to mount much of a comeback.

Michigan ended up with 24 turnovers, and Maryland had a 25-5 advantage in points off turnovers.

Miller fouled out with 2:19 remaining, but even after those two free throws, the Terps led 65-57 and had little trouble holding on.

Michigan lost for the second time in four days against a top-10 opponent. No. 6 Indiana beat the Wolverines 92-83 on Monday.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: Whether it was against Maryland’s press or in their half-court offense, the Wolverines turned the ball over too much to score consistently. This was a lower-scoring game than the loss to Indiana, but the margin ended up being similar.

Maryland: While Miller clearly led the way, the Terps had plenty of offensive contributors. They also held Michigan to 13 points below its season average entering the game.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Wolverines have appeared in 48 straight AP polls, and although a two-loss week could certainly drop them, the quality of their opponents could save them from a substantial plunge.

Maryland is tied for 10th with an Iowa team that beat No. 2 Ohio State on Monday night. Now the Terps can boast an impressive victory of their own.

UP NEXT

Michigan: The Wolverines play their third game of the week when they visit Minnesota on Sunday.

Maryland: The Terps host Penn State on Monday night.

 

Boum, Jones lead No. 13 Xavier over No. 19 UConn, 82-79

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

STORRS, Conn. – Souley Boum scored 21 points, Colby Jones added 20 and No. 13 Xavier went on the road and held off No. 19 Connecticut 82-79 Wednesday night.

The win was the 13th in 14 games for the Musketeers (17-4, 9-1 Big East) and it gave them a season sweep over the struggling Huskies (16-6, 5-6).

Jack Nunge had 12 points and Jerome Hunter added 11 for Xavier, which led by 17 in the first half and 39-24 at halftime.

Jordan Hawkins scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for UConn, leading a comeback that fell just short.

Tristen Newton added 23 points for the Huskies, who won their first 14 games this season but have dropped six of eight since.

The Musketeers never trailed but had to withstand UConn runs that cut the lead to a single point four times in the second half.

A three-point play from Hawkins made it 78-77 with 2:40 left. But a second-chance layup from Nunge put the lead at 80-77 just over a minute later.

Newton was fouled with two seconds left by Desmond Claude, but his apparent attempt to miss his second free throw went into the basket.

Boum then hit two free throws at the other end, and Newton’s final attempt from just beyond halfcourt was well short.

Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead as UConn missed its first nine shots.

A 3-pointer from Zach Freemantle gave the Musketeers their first double-digit lead at 20-9, and another from Jones pushed it to 35-18.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers lead the Big East, and the win over UConn was their ninth conference victory this season, eclipsing their total from last season.

UConn: The Huskies came in with a 17-game winning streak at Gampel Pavilion dating to February 2021. They fell to 1-4 against the four teams in front of them in the Big East standings. The lone win came at Gampel against Creighton.

UP NEXT

Xavier: The Musketeers continue their road trip with a visit to Creighton on Saturday.

UConn: Doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, when the Huskies visit DePaul.

No. 12 Iowa State holds on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

AMES, Iowa – Jaren Holmes matched his season high with 23 points as No. 12 Iowa State held on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76 on Tuesday night.

The Cyclones (15-4, 6-2 Big 12) moved into a three-way tie atop the conference standings with the Wildcats and Texas.

Gabe Kalscheur added 19 points for Iowa State. Osun Osunniyi finished with 16.

Markquis Nowell led Kansas State (17-3, 6-2) with 23 points.

A 3-pointer from Holmes gave Iowa State a 59-49 advantage with 8:12 remaining. Kansas State responded with a 10-1 run to trim the margin to 60-59.

Caleb Grill’s 3-pointer steadied the Cyclones and pushed the lead back to 63-59 with five minutes left.

Free throws by Osunniyi, Grill and Holmes sealed the victory in the final 24 seconds.

The first half featured eight lead changes and ended with Kansas State up 33-31.

A 3-pointer by Kalscheur ignited an early 9-0 run for the Cyclones and helped them build a 19-14 lead. Iowa State made just one of nine 3-point tries in the first 20 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State was trying to extend its best start to a season since 1961-62.

Iowa State improved to 11-0 at home. The Cyclones have not lost back-to-back games this season.

UP NEXT

Kansas State hosts Florida on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Iowa State travels to Missouri on Saturday.

Georgetown snaps 29-game conference losing streak

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

WASHINGTON – Primo Spears scored 21 points and Georgetown snapped a 29-game conference losing streak with an 81-76 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night.

Georgetown (6-15, 1-9) won its first Big East game since March 13, 2021, ending the longest skid in the history of the conference. The Hoyas also ended a 10-game losing streak this season.

Spears also contributed six assists for the Hoyas. Akok Akok scored 12 points and added six rebounds and four blocks and Brandon Murray recorded 12 points.

Umoja Gibson led the Blue Demons (9-12, 3-7) in scoring, finishing with 24 points, four assists and three steals. Javan Johnson added 13 points.

Spears scored nine points in the first half and Georgetown went into the break trailing 37-36. Georgetown used a 10-0 run in the second half to build a 12-point lead at 75-63 with 1:39 remaining.