Thursday’s Three Things to Know: North Carolina surging, Arizona faltering and a new 20-20 club member

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
1 Comment

1. DUKE SUFFERS SECOND-STRAIGHT LOSS

There are no shortage of storylines every time Duke and North Carolina get together, and Thursday was no different in the Tar Heels’ 82-78 win over the Blue Devils in Chapel Hill.

Duke has now lost back-to-back games after Saturday’s inexplicable loss to St. John’s at Madison Square Garden, and have loss three of its last four as well. The Blue Devils’ lackluster defense seems to be catching up to them.

As for North Carolina, Thursday was a huge step in getting things pointed back in the right direction after three-straight losses to end January. They blasted Pitt, which may not be all that impressive but sure beats the alternative, and now they’ve got Duke on their resume as well.

The biggest storyline from the Dean Dome, though? That’s UNC’s Cameron Johnson. Let CBT’s Rob Dauster explain.

2. WILDCATS FALTER, UCLA IMPROVES RESUME

Other than that early-January blip at Colorado, Arizona has spent the majority of its time since those three-straight losses in the Battle 4 Atlantis proving they were a national title contender and not a mess of distraction and doom. The Wildcats won 16 of 17 and looked the part of a Final Four participant.

Then the last week happened.

Arizona lost to Washington over the weekend, and then Thursday got manhandled by UCLA in an 82-74 at the McKale Center. The Wildcats simply look like a team without a lot of fight right now, as detailed here.

The Bruins, though, they look ascendent with a serious boost to their NCAA tournament resume thanks to a win in Tucson. They’ve won four-straight heading into Saturday’s showdown in Tempe against Arizona State.

3. MUNNINGS SIXTH 20-20 PLAYER THIS YEAR

Louisiana-Monroe beating Georgia Southern 66-64 in overtime isn’t usually a result that makes its way into Three Things, but tonight is the exception.

The Warhawks’ Travis Munnings, a 6-foot-6 forward, became just the sixth player this season to lodge a game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. The junior tallied 26 points and 20 boards as he played all 45 minutes. He was 9 of 17 from the field with 16 of his rebounds coming on the defensive glass.

Munnings joins Dukes’ Marvin Bagley III, Baylor’s Jo Lual-Acuil, Washington’s Noah Dickerson, UNC-Wilmington’s Devontae Cacok, and Missouri State’s Alize Johnson (who has done it twice) as members of this year’s 20-20 club.