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.
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
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: