PLAYER OF THE DAY
This was a game that No. 10 Kansas was supposed to lose. With Billy Preston still ineligible and Silvio De Sousa still awaiting clearance from the NCAA, a night where Udoka Azubuike picked up five fouls in just 13 minutes of action was supposed to be a night where the Jayhawks simply did not have enough size or enough depth to beat a good basketball team, let alone a good basketball team on the road.
But that’s exactly what the Jayhawks did.
Kansas knocked off No. 16 TCU in Fort Worth, 88-84, and they did so because Mitch Lightfoot played the game of his life. I’ve been hard on Mitch, questioning whether or not Kansas was actually a good team when one half of their front court rotation was the former three-star prospect. I’ll eat those words with a size of queso after he went for nine points, seven boards (six offensive) and six blocks on Saturday.
Lightfoot was terrific. Not only did he provide energy on the glass and some rim protection, he also knocked down a three and a 15-footer. If and when De Sousa (and/or Preston) get eligible, this provides Kansas with even more lineup versatility.
Mitch, consider this my humble apology.
THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS
- JEVON CARTER, DARIUS MILES and JAMES BOLDEN, West Virginia: Those three did the heavy lifting against Trae Young as the No. 7 Mountaineers knocked off No. 6 Oklahoma.
- VINCE EDWARDS, Purdue: Edwards doesn’t get anywhere near enough attention nationally. He finished with 21 points, 10 boards and six assists on Saturday as the No. 13 Boilermakers beat Nebraska 74-62.
- DEVONTE’ GRAHAM, Kansas: Lightfoot made the plays defensively, Graham did offensively. He finished with 28 points and six assists.
- TREMONT WATERS, LSU: Waters finished with 21 points, five boards and four assists in a win at No. 11 Texas A&M, but that’s not the full story: He also hit two threes in the final 12 seconds, including the buzzer-beater you see below, for the win.
TEAM OF THE DAY
No. 23 Tennessee’s season was getting ready to go off the rails. The Vols had were coming off of a loss at home to Auburn which came just days after they blew a lead at Arkansas, losing in overtime. That came a couple of weeks after they choked away a home win over North Carolina, and in the second week of the season, Tennessee blew a 14-point lead against Villanova.
That seemed like it was going to be the story of the season for the Vols, particularly if they lost at home to No. 17 Kentucky on Saturday evening. That would have dropped Tennessee to 0-3 in the SEC and 10-5 overall.
Then Saturday happened. Admiral Schofield went for 20 points, nine boards, four assists and four steals while Grant Williams chipped in with 18 points, eight boards and four assists as Tennessee landed a much-needed win. With a trip to Vanderbilt and a home game against a presumably healthy Texas A&M team coming up next week, this was a must-win.
And instead of blowing a lead down the stretch, Tennessee ran away with a 76-65 win.
GAME OF THE DAY
No. 21 Seton Hall won a thriller at Butler on Saturday, coming from 11 points down to knock off the Bulldogs in Hinkle behind 28 points, 15 boards and six assists from Angel Delgado and 29 points from Khadeen Carrington. All the details are here.
WTF???? OF THE DAY
Colorado completed a sweep of the Arizona schools on Saturday, jumping out to a massive lead on No. 14 Arizona and holding on to beat the Wildcats down the stretch.
We told you everything you need to know about the actual game itself here.
Let’s talk about what happened after.
First, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle was asked if there was any extra satisfaction in beating a team like Arizona, which was caught up in the FBI investigation in September.
“Absolutely,” he told reporters, adding he had great respect for Sean Miller. “They recruit very, very well. USC has recruit very, very well. The two most talented teams in our league from top to bottom are USC and Arizona. So, hell, yes, there’s extra satisfaction.”
Miller’s quote, while having nothing to do with Boyle’s, were equally as interesting.
“I can’t get them to play hard,” Miller said. “I really can’t. We do it for a while. I know we’ve had a win streak and we also have a good team. We have a lot of talent. A lot of times our offense can get us to the finish line, but you have to be able to play both offense and defense. And any really good team or good program, you’re going to have those days (when) the ball doesn’t go in, but you rely on your effort and your togetherness and maybe your defense to maybe keep you in the game.
“With our team, man, it’s really hard to get our guys to run as fast as they can. And that’s not them. That’s me. I have a hard time reaching our guys.”
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
Mustapha Heron finished with 17 points and six boards while Jared Harper chipped in with 14 points and eight assists as Auburn landed their second-straight win over a ranked team on Saturday, knocking off No. 22 Arkansas, 88-77. The Tigers were up by as many as 23 points, taking a 17-point lead into the half and cruising in the second half. This win comes just three days after Auburn beat No. 23 Tennessee in Knoxville. Suddenly, Auburn is sitting at 14-1 overall and 2-0 in the SEC while playing as well as any team in the SEC. It begs the question: Can this Auburn actually win the conference?
The easiest bet in sports is any team that is hosting a team coached by Mike Anderson. The second easiest bet is Virginia against North Carolina. The No. 8 Cavaliers beat the No. 12 Tar Heels, 61-49, today.
Florida‘s Chris Chiozza had the play of the day.
Jalen Brunson had 27 points and eight assists as No. 3 Villanova knocked off Marquette. Markus Howard, one game after going for 52 points, had 37 points and eight assists.
Providence got 19 points and nine assists from Kyron Cartwright as they landed a critical win over No. 5 Xavier. The Friars entered the night 10-6 overall, having lost two in a row without anything close to a marquee win on their résumé. The Musketeers had been flirting with a loss like this for a few weeks.
Marcquise Reed finished with 24 points, five steals and three assists as No. 25 Clemson knocked off Louisville in overtime, 74-69. The Tigers are now 14-1 on the season with their only loss coming to Temple on a neutral court.
Keenan Evans had 27 points as No. 18 Texas Tech blew out Kansas State. The Red Raiders look like they might be the best team in the Big 12 right now.
The Burn Offense is back! Notre Dame executed it to perfection in Mike Brey’s first win at Syracuse since 2007.