Sunday’s Snacks: No. 1 Kentucky, No. 6 Wisconsin among automatic bid winners on Selection Sunday

3 Comments

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 6 Wisconsin 80, Michigan State 69 (OT)

After a Gavin Schilling dunk with 6:43 remaining gave the Spartans a 59-49 lead, Bo Ryan’s Badgers closed the game on a 31-10 run to win complete the regular season/postseason double in the Big Ten. Nigel Hayes scored 25 points and Bronson Keonig put together another stellar performance with 18 points and nine assists. Wisconsin has now won a school-record 31 games, and the question now is whether or not it will be enough to land the program its first-ever one seed.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 1 Kentucky 78, No. 21 Arkansas 63

John Calipari’s Wildcats are now six wins away from becoming the first team to go 40-0 in men’s college basketball history. Kentucky completed a 21-0 run through the SEC with a 15-point win over Arkansas in Nashville, with Willie Cauley-Stein and Andrew Harrison scoring 15 points apiece and Aaron Harrison adding 11 and six assists. Cauley-Stein, who also grabbed ten rebounds, spent most of his day defending Bobby Portis and the SEC Player of the Year finished with 13 points (3-for-7 FG) and two rebounds.

2. No. 20 SMU 62, UConn 54

The Huskies dug themselves another deep hole with cold shooting, but unlike yesterday’s win over Tulsa they were unable to climb out against the best team in the American. Markus Kennedy led four Mustangs in double figures with 15 points, earning tournament MVP honors, and outside of Rodney Purvis (29 points) UConn could not establish anything offensively (32.7 percent shooting). With UConn’s loss one bubble team will receive a reprieve of sorts, but it’s uncertain who that team will be.

3. VCU 71, Dayton 65

Treveon Graham, who’s been struggling with a high ankle sprain for more than a month, led the Rams to their first Atlantic 10 tournament title with 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. He was one of four starters to reach double figures for VCU, which hit ten three-pointers and limited Dayton to 38.2 percent shooting from the field. Scoochie Smith led four Flyers in double figures with 16 points while also accounting for five rebounds, three assists and four steals.

4. Georgia State 38, Georgia Southern 36

Playing without Ryan Harrow the Panthers were able to claw their way to the NCAA tournament with a two-point win over Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt final. R.J. Hunter, who shot 3-for-15 from the field, hit two free throws with 21.6 seconds remaining to give Georgia State a two-point lead they would not relinquish. Kevin Ware, who began his college career at Louisville, was the only player who got going offensively as he scored 18 points.

STARRED

1. VCU’s Treveon Graham

Graham scored 20 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out four assists in the Rams’ 71-65 win over Dayton.

2. Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein

Cauley-Stein accounted for 15 points, ten rebounds and two blocks in the Wildcats’ win over Arkansas.

3. Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes

Hayes scored 25 points, making all 12 of his free throw attempts, as Wisconsin came back to beat Michigan State in overtime.

STRUGGLED

1. Georgia Southern’s Jelani Hewitt and Eric Ferguson

There wasn’t much offense to be found from anyone in the Sun Belt final, which Georgia State won 38-36. As for Hewitt and Ferguson, they combined to shoot 3-for-23 from the field and 14 points. As a team the Eagles shot 22.9 percent from the field.

2. Arkansas’ Rashad Madden

Madden made just one of his eight field goal attempts, scoring four points in the Razorbacks’ SEC title game loss to No. 1 Kentucky.

3. UConn’s Ryan Boatright and Daniel Hamilton

The Huskies left it all on the court in their loss to No. 20 SMU, but both Boatright (who left the game for part of the second half with a left shoulder injury) and Hamilton struggled offensively. They combined to score 15 points on 3-for-21 shooting from the field.