Lauren Rakes/Getty Images

Saturday Recap: No. 2 Virginia gets upset, carnage in the Big 12, Gonzaga’s back

Leave a comment

PLAYER OF THE DAY

The easiest pick in the college basketball this weekend was to beat against No. 21 North Carolina.

The Tar Heels had just knocked off No. 9 Duke in Chapel Hill on Thursday night in a come-from-behind win, and 42 hours later, they had to tip-off on the road against a good N.C. State team that Joel Berry II had said was not an actual rival of the Tar Heels.

Classic trap game.

Luke Maye made that null and void. He scored 27 of his 33 points in the second half and added 17 rebounds in a thrilling, 96-89 win over the Wolfpack. He is now one of two ACC players to have two 30-15 games in one ACC season. The other is Marvin Bagley III.

RELATED: All of Saturday’s Bubble Banter in one place

THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS

  • SHAMORIE PONDS, St. John’s: Nobody in college basketball is hot the way that Shamorie Ponds is hot. Since scoring two points in a loss at Butler, Ponds is averaging 33.5 points, including a 44-point outburst in a win over Marquette on Saturday.
  • DONTE DIVINCENZO, Villanova: The Wildcats bounced back from their loss to St. John’s on Wednesday by beating Butler on Saturday behind a career-high 30 points from the Big Ragu. He outdueled Kelan Martin, who finished with 30 points and eight threes for the Bulldogs.
  • RUI HACHIMURA, Gonzaga: Hachimura came off the best to score 21 points as No. 12 Gonzaga jumped out to a huge early lead as they beat the No. 11 Gaels, 78-65, in Moraga. The WCC title race is back on.
  • LINDELL WIGGINTON, Iowa State: The best freshman point guard on the floor on Saturday wasn’t Trae Young, it was Wigginton, who had 26 points, five boards and five assists in a win over No. 17 Oklahoma.
  • JEROME ROBINSON and KY BOWMAN, Boston College: The pair combined for 53 points in a win over No. 25 Miami.

TEAM OF THE DAY

How about Virginia Tech?

Not only did they go into No. 2 Virginia’s building and knock off the ACC favorite during College Gameday, but they did it despite the fact that they had all-but given the game to the Wahoos. Check this out: With less than a minute left in the game, Virginia Tech was up 49-45 on UVA. But they turned the ball over, gave up an easy layup, missed the front end of a one-and-one, allowed Virginia to tie it and then turned the ball over again with 4.2 seconds left.

Luckily, Virginia missed the game-winning shot, but they did go up 59-54 on the Hokies with less than a minute left, but Virginia Tech rallied, scoring seven points in the final minute to earn a shocking, 61-60 overtime win.

Oh, and that might end up being the win that keeps them on the right side of the bubble.

GAME OF THE DAY

It was a chess match (we wrote all about that here) between two great coaches that ended with the Preseason National Player of the Year hitting a game-winning shot with 2.7 seconds left.

And, it’s probably worth noting here, that this win moved No. 14 Ohio State into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. Who had that in November?

WTF???? OF THE DAY

What a weird finish to a wild game.

First, Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett fouled Ronnie Harrell’s non-shooting elbow on a three with six seconds left and a two-point lead. Harrell hit all three free throws for the lead. Then at the other end, there was this foul call that allowed Xavier to get the two free throws they needed to win the game:

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

We are as close as we’ve ever been to No. 10 Kansas having their Big 12 title streak snapped. On the same day that the Jayhawks lost at Baylor, 80-64, to snap an 11-game winning streak over the Bears, No. 7 Texas Tech went into Kansas State and smothered the Wildcats, 66-47, to take a one-game lead on Kansas with six games left. Oh, and the Red Raiders get to host the Jayhawks later this month. Buckle up.

Sticking in the Big 12, Oklahoma State kept themselves in the bubble picture by going into Morgantown and knocking off No. 19 West Virginia. OSU has lost four of their last six games. The two wins were at Kansas and at West Virginia. Explain that one.

No Bryce Brown, no problem. No. 8 Auburn bounced back from a loss to Texas A&M by smacking around Georgia. Speaking of Texas A&M, they absolutely embarrassed No. 24 Kentucky in College Station. It was the first time this season that Kentucky looked like they had their spirit broken.

While we’re in the SEC, Alabama beat No. 15 Tennessee by 28 points. Seriously.

The Pac-12 did themselves no favors in the race to earn NCAA tournament bids. No. 13 Arizona knocked off bubble team USC while Oregon State earned a thrilling, two-overtime win at the buzzer to beat Washington, another bubble team:

Elite Class of 2020 point guard to reclassify

Leave a comment

Nico Mannion, a five-star point guard from Arizona, announced on Friday that he will be reclassifying into the Class of 2019.

Mannion was a top 20 player in 2020 but, according to 247 Sports, he will be ranked No. 11 in 2019. The athletic, 6-foot-3 Mannion was long-rumored to be considering a move up a class because of his age. He’ll turn 18 in March of next year, meaning that he’ll arrive on campus the same age as a typical college freshman.

Mannion cut his list to ten schools in June — Duke, Arizona, Villanova, Kansas, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Vanderbilt, Marquette and Utah — but Duke and Arizona appear to be the favorites at this point.

Mannion plays his high school ball for Pinnacle High School in Phoenix and with West Coast Elite on the Under Armour Association circuit. He played for Team USA’s youth ranks, but his mother is Italian and, in June, he was called up to the Italian men’s senior national team, scoring nine points in 29 minutes of a FIBA World Cup Qualifier.

Nebraska to lose junior big man to transfer

Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nebraska’s frontcourt depth took a blow on Thursday as junior big man Jordy Tshimanga informed the program that he will be transferring.

“Jordy called me tonight and asked for his release,” head coach Tim Miles said in a statement that was given to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “The University of Nebraska and our program wish Jordy and his family the best.”

Tshimanga averaged 4.0 points and 4.6 boards in 13 minutes this past season, and a source close to the program told NBC Sports he wasn’t expected to play much more than that this season.

Miles’ has spent the better part of the last two seasons on the hot seat, and this certainly doesn’t make his job easier, but with the talent the Cornhuskers have on their roster, they look like an NCAA tournament team already. They bring back their top four scorers, including former five-star prospect Isaac Copeland and potential first-team all-Big Ten wing James Palmer. With or without Tshimanga, Nebraska has a shot to finish top four in the Big Ten.

North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State part of Las Vegas event

Al Bello/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LAS VEGAS (AP) — North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State and Texas will play in an early season basketball tournament in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Invitational will include games at campus sites, then the final two rounds on Nov. 22-23 in Las Vegas. North Carolina takes on Texas in one semifinal, and Michigan State faces UCLA in the other.

UNC, UCLA and Michigan State are all top 20 teams in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

The championship is Nov. 23, and the semifinal losers also play each other that day.

NCAA to study possible effects of widespread legal wagering

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA plans to study how the expansion of legalized betting could affect college athletics and member schools.

The NCAA announced Thursday it will create a working group of “subject matter experts” to assess areas such as officiating, NCAA rules, federal and state laws, and the use of integrity services. NCAA leadership has already called for federal regulation on sports betting. NCAA rules prohibit sports wagering by athletes and athletic department employees.

The Supreme Court opened the door for states to have legal wagering on sporting events when it struck down a federal ban in May. Schools in some states such as West Virginia, Mississippi and New Jersey are already exploring the possibility of collecting integrity fees in anticipation of legal sports books opening in their states.

“While we certainly respect the Supreme Court’s decision, our position on sports wagering remains,” said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer. “With this new landscape, we must evolve and expand our long-standing efforts to protect both the integrity of competitions and the well-being of student-athletes.”

The NCAA Board of Governors has already suspended the association’s ban on holding championships in states with legalized sports betting, a policy that only affected Nevada.

“Legalized sports gambling across the country is rather new, but the NCAA and its members have committed significant resources over the years to policy, research and education around sports wagering,” said Joni Comstock, senior vice president of championships and alliances. “With student-athlete well-being as the centerpiece, we will continue to build upon these efforts to assist members as they adapt to legalized sports wagering in their states and regions.”

Arizona releases non-conference schedule

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A trip to Maui, a home date against Baylor and trips to UConn and Alabama highlight Arizona’s non-conference schedule, which the school released Thursday, this season.

Despite losing nearly the entirety of last year’s talented-but-troubled group, Sean Miller still scheduled aggressively. The first test will come the week of Thanksgiving in Hawaii at the Maui Invitational. It’s an extremely competitive field with Duke, Auburn, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Illinois, San Diego State and Xavier. The bracket for the event has yet to be released.

The Wildcats travel to Storrs to face UConn in Dan Hurley’s first season on Dec. 2, and then a week later visit Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

The marquee home game will be Saturday, Dec. 16, when Scott Drew and Baylor come to Tucson.

Here’s the full schedule:

Day Date Opponent Location

Sunday Nov. 11 Cal Poly Tucson, Ariz.

Wednesday Nov. 14 UTEP Tucson, Ariz.

Monday Nov. 19 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Tuesday Nov. 20 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Wednesday Nov. 21 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Wednesday Nov. 28 Texas Southern Tucson, Ariz.

Sunday Dec. 2 at UConn Hartford, Conn.

Thursday Dec. 6 Utah Valley Tucson, Ariz.

Sunday Dec. 9 at Alabama Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Saturday Dec. 15 Baylor Tucson, Ariz.

Wednesday Dec. 19 Montana Tucson, Ariz.

Saturday Dec. 22 UC Davis Tucson, Ariz.