SATURDAY’S THINGS TO KNOW
Quality win for No. 10 Florida State as they jumped out to a 16-2 lead and held on to beat No. 16 Louisville for a home ACC win. I have five takeaways on this one, including when we’ll know if this Seminoles team is a legitimate contender for the ACC title.
No. 18 Duke played their best half of the season in a 70-58 win over Miami. Matt Jones not only sparked a game-changing, 31-4 run, but he also may have been responsible for the turning point in the Blue Devil season.
Playing their first game without senior point guard Mo Watson Jr., No. 7 Creighton struggled in a home loss to Marquette. The Bluejays had some promising production from reserve guard Davion Mintz (17 points, eight assists) and Marcus Foster went nuts (30 points) but they allowed seven double-figures scorers for Marquette. Rob Dauster has a deeper look at Creighton here.
I don’t think it’s possible to overstate just how critical Kansas State’s win over No. 7 West Virginia was. There’s a chance that it can be what saves Bruce Weber’s job.
No. 5 Kentucky smoked No. 24 South Carolina, but the game itself isn’t the big story from Saturday. That would be the health of P.J. Dozier, who missed the game with back spasms, and De’Aaron Fox, who left the game with a sprained right ankle.
The SEC had a pretty bad day for its NCAA tournament hopes on Saturday. No. 19 Florida dropped a game a home against a struggling Vanderbilt team that lost four straight entering the game. That loss won’t take the Gators out of the field but it leaves them with little room for error.
Georgia was also comfortably ahead of Texas A&M by double digits in the second half on the road before squandering that lead and losing 63-62. A clock malfunction ultimately cost Georgia a possession in the end. The Bulldogs led by nine points with 2:09 left and the Aggies closed the game on a 10-0 run. That’s the kind of loss that could keep Georgia out of the NCAA tournament.
For all the concern about Indiana since O.G. Anunoby’s injury, they went out and smacked around Michigan State. The Spartans made a late run on Saturday, but the Hoosiers were in control for most of the game.
Marcus Keene, Central Michigan: The nation’s leading scorer went off for 50 points in a win over Miami (OH).
V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame: The senior had a monster outing in an Irish win over Syracuse as he went for 30 points and shot 6-for-10 from three-point range. Beachem also added seven rebounds and two blocks.
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin: Happ finished with a cool 28 points, 12 boards, six assists and five blocks. No one has done that in a college basketball game since at least 2010.
Deonte Burton, Iowa State: When Burton plays well, Iowa State reaches a new level and he hit for 31 points in a double-overtime road win over Oklahoma on Saturday. Burton also had this thunderous dunk to send the game to overtime.
Josh Hart, Villanova: Adding another solid game to his Player of the Year campaign, the senior had 25 points (10-for-16 shooting), six rebounds and four assists in a Wildcat win over Providence. Hart was also 2-for-2 from three-point range and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line for the game.
Jared Brownridge, Santa Clara: The senior sharpshooter knocked in the game-winning three-pointer with five seconds left for the Broncos in a WCC win over Loyola Marymount as he tallied a game-high 25 points.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- Top-ranked Villanova took care of Providence for a Big East home win as Josh Hart had another strong game and Kris Jenkins added 19 points.
- Devonte Graham led four double-figure scorers with 18 points as No. 2 Kansas moved to 7-0 in the Big 12 with a home win over Texas.
- Gonzaga, ranked No. 4 in the country, is still the only undefeated team left in America after the Zags picked off Portland out in The Kennel.
- No. 6 Baylor remained within striking distance in the Big 12 as they took care of TCU.
- It was tight for a little while but No. 9 North Carolina scored 56 points in the second half and ran past Boston College for an ACC road win. Justin Jackson (22 points) and Kennedy Meeks (20 points) paced the Tar Heel offense. Rob Dauster has more on the Tar Heels winning on an off-game from Joel Berry.
- No Dillon Brooks, no problem. No. 11 Oregon cruised past Stanford for their 16th straight win.
- Not the prettiest win but No. 13 Butler escaped DePaul with a one-point road win in the Big East. Kethan Savage had 20 points and freshman Kamar Baldwin added 18 more points.
- All of Notre Dame’s ACC wins came by single digits until Saturday as the No. 15 Fighting Irish ran past Syracuse for a home win. V.J. Beachem had 30 and Bonzie Colson had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
- No. 16 Virginia got past Georgia Tech for an ACC home win as Marial Shayok had 19 points.
- Wins continue to come easy for No. 20 Cincinnati as the Bearcats cruised to an American road win at Tulane. Cincinnati has won 10 straight games as Jacob Evans led with 15 points.
- Easy win for No. 21 Purdue as they made quick work of Penn State for a Big Ten home win. Sophomore big man Caleb Swanigan stayed in the Player of the Year discussion with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.
- It took two overtimes but Iowa State came through with the road Big 12 win at Oklahoma. The Cyclones had 31 points from Deonte Burton.
- Sticking in the Big 12, Texas Tech suffered a bad home loss for its NCAA tournament credibility as they got blown out by Oklahoma State. Jeffrey Carroll led the Cowboys with 25 points.
- Rutgers earned its first Big Ten win of the season with a one-point home win over Nebraska. Sophomore Corey Sanders had 25 points and the game-winner with one second left.
- Earning its first conference road win in three years was Wake Forest as the Demon Deacons shocked N.C. State with another bad home loss. John Collins had 21 points and nine rebounds in the win.
- D.J. Wilson had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists as Michigan won at home in the Big Ten over Illinois.