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Re-ranking the 2014 recruiting class

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July’s live recruiting period, the last of its kind, just finished up, meaning that the Class of 2019 have fully had a chance to prove themselves to the recruiters and the recruitniks around the country.

Scholarships were earned and rankings were justified over the course of those three weekends, but scholarship offers and rankings don’t always tell us who the best players in a given class will end up being.

Ask Steph Curry.

Over the course of the coming weeks, we will be re-ranking eight recruiting classes, from 2007-2014, based on what they have done throughout their post-high school career. 

Here are the 25 best players from the Class of 2013, with their final Rivals Top 150 ranking in parentheses:

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1. Karl-Anthony Towns (5)

Everyone knew Towns was a stud before he joined Kentucky, but his one year in college basketball revealed that he was potentially a future franchise NBA player. Towns averaged just 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in John Calipari’s platoon system, but he still went No. 1 in the 2015 draft, was the Rookie of the Year and a first-time All Star this past season. His numbers dipped last season, but it’s clear he’s the best player from his recruiting class.

2. Devin Booker (29)

In the last two years Booker has become the face of the the Phoenix Suns. He averaged a career-best 24.9 points while shooting 43.2 percent from the floor and 383.3 percent from 3-point range. That led him to sign an extension with the Suns this summer that will pay him more than $27 million next season and nearly $36 million in the final year of the deal in 2023-24. Not bad for a guy who barely averaged double-digits with Kentucky as a freshman.

3. Myles Turner (9)

The 6-foot-11 center put up pedestrian numbers in his single season at Texas, but he’s become the cornerstone of Indiana’s plans in a post-Paul George world. He’s averaged 12.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game over his career, but his work with Team USA has really turned heads. He’s also begun shooting – and making – 3s, going from shooting 21.4 percent as a rookie to 35.7 percent last year.

4. Domantas Sabonis (UR)

Sabonis being unranked in the 2014 class is a technicality more than anything as a foreign prospect as Rivals did peg him as a four-star prospect, but the son of the Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis should have been slotted higher. His Gonzaga career included averaging a double-double as a sophomore, and he’s shown great strides as a pro. Since coming over to Indiana in the Paul George trade, he’s averaged 11.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while shooting 51.4 percent from the floor.

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

5. Kelly Oubre, Jr. (6)

After being drafted 15th overall in 2015, Oubre looked like he was headed for bust territory when he averaged 3.7 points as a rookie and 6.3 points in Year 2, but his third year in the NBA produced vastly improved results, with 11.8 points and 4.5 rebounds along with 1.2 assists per game as his role with the Wizards expanded. Most importantly, though, he got in one of the NBA’s better fights last year.

6. Justise Winslow (12)

Winslow was the clear No. 3 in Duke’s formidable  freshmen trifecta as it won the 2015 NCAA tournament championship, but he’s arguably shown the most pro promise from the group despite missing the bulk of his second season with a torn labrum. He bounced back well last season  he averaged 7.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists while playing in 68 games. This season, the last of Winslow’s rookie contract, will be a huge barometer in how the Heat view him as part of their future.

7. Trey Lyles (13)

Yet another member of the 38-0 Kentucky team, Lyles has been consistent if unspectacular in three years in the NBA, the first two with Utah and last year in Denver. The 12th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Lyles never has had a huge role – he hasn’t cracked 20 minutes per game – but averaged 9.9 points per game for the Nuggets last year along with 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He’s shot 43.5 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from 3-point range in his three pro seasons.

8. Emmanuel Mudiay (2)

Mudiay was thought to be in the mold of the modern point guard with his 6-foot-5 frame and athleticism, things haven’t quite worked out as planned for the Australian product. It started with his aborted collegiate career at SMU after eligibility questions pushed him overseas instead of the NCAA. He still went 7th overall in 2015 to the Nuggets, but later shipped to the Knicks for a pedestrian return. He’s seen his role and production decrease every season and would now look to be at a career crossroads.

9. Tyus Jones (7)

Jones was the floor general for Duke’s 2015 title, averaging 11.8 points, 5.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game before being picked by his hometown NBA franchise, Minnesota. The Twin Cities native rode the bench for much of his first seasons, but emerged as a valuable reserve for the Timberwolves last season. He appeared in all 82 games and averaged a career-high 17.9 minutes per game. He hasn’t put up big numbers, but in the last season he seemed to cement his place in the NBA for the immediate future.

10. Jahlil Okafor (1)

Things started off well for the former Duke center, starting with that ‘15 national title and going third to Philadelphia in the draft before averaging 17.5 points per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor as a rookie, but things have deteriorated quickly and ferociously for Okafor. Joel Embiid’s emergence in Philly pushed Okafor to the fringes, and the relationship with the 76ers soured rapidly. There have also been injury and off-court issues. This season in Brooklyn could be make-or-break for Okafor.

11. Grayson Allen (27)

The first player yet to make the list who hasn’t played in the NBA yet, Allen had one of the most interesting and productive college careers in recent memory. He burst on to the scene for the Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament en route to the 2015 national championship as a freshman and then evolved into one of the most polarizing players in the country. He was an All-American, and is one of jsut five Duke players to register 1,900 points, 400 rebounds and 400 assists in a career. He also was basically reviled by large swaths of the country. This summer he became a first-round draft pick and will begin his career with the Jazz.

D’Angelo Russell (AP Photo)

12. Kevon Looney (10)

Looney hasn’t put up big numbers during his pro career, but he does have a pair of World Championship rings thanks to the fact he was drafted by the most dominant team of the last three years, Golden State. Looney probably would be getting significantly more run on a lesser team, but he did show himself to be a valuable piece for the Warriors last year as they won their second-straight title and third in four years.

13. Stanley Johnson (3)

After averaging 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in his lone season with Arizona, Johnson was the 8th overall pick in 2015, but is squarely in bust danger zone. He’s never averaged more than 8.7 points or 4.2 rebounds per game and didn’t flash much more in an expanded role with the Pistons last year after coming off the bench in his first two seasons in the league.

14. D’Angelo Russell (18)

It speaks volumes that Russell is probably best known for his role in the breakup of teammate Nick Young and rapper Iggy Azalea (bet you didn’t expect to see that name in a college basketball post) than anything he’s done on the court. The No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, Russell has put up OK numbers on bad teams. He got traded to Brooklyn last summer after two years and one Snapchat controversy, and battled injury and ineffectiveness with the Nets.

15. Patrick McCaw (UR)

McCaw is in the same boat as Looney – not a lot in the way of stats, but he’s seen minutes in big moments thanks to being a second-round draft pick of the Golden State Warriors. The UNLV product has gone 2-for-2 in his NBA career in securing world championships, and he’s been a solid role player for a team dominated by superstars and future Hall of Famers.

16. Justin Jackson (11)

Jackson averaged 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a junior for North Carolina’s 2017 national championship team before being drafted 15th overall last summer. He appeared in 68 games for the Kings,  averaging 6.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He struggled finding his shooting touch, making just 30.8 percent of his 3-pointers after shooting 37 percent from deep his last season as a Tar Heel.

17. Dillon Brooks (UR)

Brooks is another player whose unranked status comes as a technicality. He was originally a four-star prospect in the Class of 2015, but reclassified to join Oregon a year sooner. After a solid freshman season, Brooks blossomed into one of the best players in the country that averaged 16.1 points in the Ducks’ Final Four season of 2017. Brooks was a second-round pick last season, but played in all 82 games and started 74 for the Grizzlies last season.

18. Tyler Ulis (21)

The 5-foot-10 point guard has carved out a successful, if nascent, NBA career after being picked in the second round following a breakout sophomore season with Kentucky in 2015-16. He’s started in 58 career games for the Suns, and has averaged 7.6 points, and 4.1 assists per game.

19. Chris McCullough (19)

McCullough finds himself on this list less for what he’s accomplished on the floor than his ability to spend the last three years on an NBA roster. The 6-foot-11 senior averaged 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in his one season with Jim Boeheim and Syracuse, and he has put up 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in 59 games over three years in the NBA. The Wizards declined his 2018-19 option last fall, and he’s currently unsigned for the upcoming year.

20. Chandler Hutchison (98)

Another player who has yet to don an NBA uniform, Hutchison was taken 22nd overall by the Bulls in June after a successful four-year career with Boise State. The 6-foot-7 wing became one of the nation’s premier players in his last two seasons with the Broncos, culminating in a senior campaign in which he averaged 20 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He’ll get a chance to see major minutes with a Bulls team whose roster remains in flux.

(Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

21. Devonte Graham (36)

Remember when Graham was originally signed with Appalachian State? He’s come a long way since then. He had a brilliant four-year career with Kansas, playing alongside Frank Mason for the first three before running the show last season,  averaging 17.3 points, 4 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game on the way to taking the Jayhawks to the Final Four. He was the fourth pick in the second round in June.

22. Mikal Bridges (95)

Bridges, who redshirted his first season on campus at Villanova, finds himself here after a huge junior season in which he averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists to help the Wildcats win a second NCAA national championship in three years. He was drafted 10th overall in June by Philadelphia before being flipped to Phoenix.

23. Jakob Poeltl (UR)

Poetl came into his own as a sophomore at Utah, averaging 17.2 points and 9.1 rebounds,  before being taken ninth in the 2016 draft. He played in all 82 games for the Raptors last season, but didn’t make much of a statistical dent. He recently was part of the deal that sent Kawhi Leonard north of the border and DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio.

24. Rashad Vaughn (8)

Vaughn was one of the most sought after recruits in the country before the Minnesota native decided to commit to UNLV after spending a year in Las Vegas with Findlay Prep. He averaged 17.8 points for UNLV, but the Runnin’ Rebels failed to make the NCAA tournament in his sole season there. Things haven’t fared much better for him in the pros. He’s been buried on the bench and was relegated to signing two 10-day contracts with the Magic last year before being waived

25. Isaiah Whitehead (16)

The New York product averaged 18.2 points and 5.1 assists in his sophomore season at Seton Hall before being drafted 42ns overall by the Jazz in 2016. He started 26 games for Brooklyn in 2016-17, but played in just 16 games last season. This summer he was traded to Denver, which waived him in July.

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

FIVE NOTABLES THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE TOP 25

Cliff Alexander (4)

Alexander’s career struggled to get off the ground at Kansas, where he averaged less than 20 minutes per game and dealt with eligibility issues. He then became just the second former top-five recruit to go undrafted when he did not hear his named called in the 2015 draft. He played eight games for Portland that season, and hasn’t made an NBA appearance since.

Jevon Carter (UR)

The West Virginia senior become one of the nation’s premier defenders under Bob Huggins and became the second pick of the second round in June. He averaged 17.3 points, 6.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game as a senior for the Mountaineers.

Caleb Martin (60), Mike Daum (UR), Reid Travis (44)

Redshirts have kept this trio in college heading into the 2018-19 season, but it’s not hard to envision an NBA future for all three of them. The most surprising story is Daum, who went from no-name recruit to All-American at South Dakota State and may have a chance in the NBA come June. Martin and Travis will both be looking to compete for national titles, Martin with a surging Nevada program and Travis at Kentucky after his transfer from Stanford.

NBC Sports Top 25: Kentucky beats Tennessee as injuries abound

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The big talking point this week comes with Kentucky’s win over Tennessee, which came just four days after Kentucky lost at home to LSU.

I wrote all about the top five battle on Saturday. Without taking anything away from what Kentucky did, I think that the way that game played out had as much to do with situation — Kentucky, at home, coming off a brutal loss against a team that hadn’t been tested in two months — and matchup as it did with what each of those two teams are.

Put another way, I still buy the idea that this Tennessee team can win it all, just like I still believe Virginia can win it all despite losing to Duke twice in the last month.

Beyond that, the toughest thing to do with ranking teams this week was figure out what to do about injuries. I dropped Michigan State to No. 17 because it appears that they have lost Nick Ward for an extended period of time. The Spartans were not all that talented to begin with and now they are down their top two scorers. I also dropped Kansas State over the uncertainty surrounding Dean Wade’s health. If he’s not 100 percent — and if Cartier Diarra isn’t playing — then Kansas State is a bad basketball team offensively.

Anyway, here is the rest of the top 25:

1. Duke (23-2, Last Week: 1)
2. Gonzaga (25-2, 3)
3. Virginia (22-2, 4)
4. Kentucky (21-4, 5)
5. Tennessee (23-2, 2)
6. Michigan (23-3, 6)
7. North Carolina (20-5, 7)
8. Marquette (21-4, 9)
9. Nevada (24-1, 11)
10. Iowa State (19-6, 15)
11. Texas Tech (21-5, 16)
12. Houston (25-1, 13)
13. Kansas (20-6, 17)
14. Villanova (20-6, 10)
15. LSU (21-4, 20)
16. Purdue (18-7, 12)
17. Michigan State (21-5, 8)
18. Virginia Tech (20-5, 18)
19. Kansas State (19-6, 14)
20. Wisconsin (17-8, 19)
21. Louisville (18-8, 21)
22. Iowa (20-5, 22)
23. Buffalo (22-3, 23)
24. Florida State (20-5, 24)
25. Wofford (23-4, 25)

Dropped Out: None
New Additions: None

St. John’s rallies from 14-point deficit to stun No. 13 Villanova

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NEW YORK (AP) — A 70-foot shot just before halftime gave St. John’s momentum, and LJ Figueroa and the Red Storm used a strong defensive effort in the second half to surprise No. 13 Villanova.

Figueroa scored 22 points and St. John’s rallied to beat the Wildcats 71-65 on Sunday night. It was the first win for the Red Storm at Madison Square Garden against Villanova in 17 years, and they accomplished the feat in front of an energetic sellout crowd of nearly 20,000 fans.

“It was as loud as I can remember, maybe louder,” St. John’s coach Chris Mullin said. “I’m happy for them they got to experience that too. There’s nothing like that. There are some great places to play college basketball, but when you get a full Madison Square Garden against a championship team like Villanova there’s nothing like that. It’s awesome. It helped us. It kept us in the game and took us to another level.”

Trailing by 17 late in the first half, the Red Storm scored the final six points, including Justin Simon’s shot from the opposite 3-point line that banked in just before the buzzer and made it 37-26.

“We were screaming the whole way into the locker room,” said Mustapha Heron, who added 19 points. “We had to do it on the defensive end (in the second half).”

The Red Storm (19-7, 7-6 Big East) were down 48-34 with 12:30 left. They scored 20 of the next 25 points to take their first lead on Figueroa’s 3-pointer from the corner.

During that run, Villanova coach Jay Wright was hit with a technical foul for arguing a call.

“Their half-court defense went to another level after they pressed us and the crowd got going,” Wright said. “We had it to 11-12 in the second half there and they started pressing us. They got that turnover at half court and we got the technical that really got them going. That was the turning point in the game.”

The teams traded the lead over the next few minutes before Figueroa hit another 3-pointer that gave the Red Storm a 58-57 advantage with 3:12 left and started an 8-0 run.

The Red Storm led 63-57 with 50 seconds left when Villanova’s Phil Booth was fouled shooting a 3-pointer. He made two free throws to get the Wildcats within four.

That’s as close as they could get as St. John’s converted its free throws down the stretch to complete the biggest comeback since the team rallied from a 20-point deficit against DePaul in 2010.

Joe Cremo scored 14 points for Villanova (20-6, 11-2), and Eric Paschall added 11 points and 14 rebounds.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Wright said. “We were really dominant in the first half, the second half they matched up the intensity.”

The game was a little bit of revenge for the Red Storm, who lost to Villanova by five after blowing an 11-point second-half lead on Jan. 8.

The Wildcats jumped all over the Red Storm early on, outscoring them 29-10 over the first 12 minutes. During that stretch, the Red Storm went without a basket for 7:39.

Bubble Banter: All of the weekend’s bubble action in one spot

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There is now just under a month left in conference play, so it is time for us to go all-in on the “who’s-in-who’s-out” discussion. Bubble Banter has never been more important!

Some quick housekeeping before we dive into it:

  • This page will be updated throughout the weekend, so be sure to check back on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the games get played. 
  • We’ll update them best that we can, but the NET rankings will be accurate through Friday morning. 
  • If you see something we missed, if you have an issue with a team we left out or if you want to congratulate us on a job well done, drop a comment below or hit us up here: @RobDauster.
  • The cut-off we will be using this year for teams that are “on the bubble” is the No. 9 seed line. If your favorite team is seeded as a No. 9 or better in our most recent bracket, they will not be discussed below. This does not mean that those teams are locks, but it means they need to do something dumb before they are in danger of missing out on the tournament. 
  • On Thursday, our Dave Ommen released an updated bracket, and these eight teams were placed in an 8-9 game: Buffalo, Alabama, Baylor, Syracuse, St. John’s, Auburn, Washington and TCU.

Onto the weekend’s action.

WINNERS

OKLAHOMA (NET: 41, SOS: 12): The Sooners finally snapped a five-game losing streak by going into Fort Worth and picking off TCU, 71-62. I still think that the Sooners are in a tough spot as it stands, but they now how four Q1 wins and just one loss to a team outside the top 35 in the NET — at West Virginia (115), a Q2 loss. A 4-8 mark against Q1 is not great, and neither is their 16-10 record or 4-9 mark in the Big 12, but OU does have three more shots at Q1 wins, and that doesn’t count Texas at home. Their bid is in their hands.

SETON HALL (NET: 61, SOS: 36): Seton Hall may have just about punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament on Sunday afternoon. They landed their third Q1 win of the season by going into Omaha and picking off Creighton (59), but making it all the more impressive is the fact that their first two Q1 wins came against Kentucky (6) on a neutral and at Maryland (21). They do have three unimpressive losses — they were swept by DePaul (91) and lost at home to Saint Louis (123) — but they are now 10-7 against Q1 and Q2 opponents. They end the season like this: Xavier (104), at St. John’s (49), at Georgetown (79), Marquette (20), Villanova (19). Win three more games and they’re in. Win two more and they’re probably feeling pretty good.

MINNESOTA (NET: 58, SOS: 60): The Golden Gophers got screwed on a bad foul call in the final seconds of a loss on Wednesday night, which cost them a Q1 win. They bounced back by absolutely humiliating Indiana at home, a win that won’t carry quite as much weight on Selection Sunday but that will keep the Gophers heading in the right direction. I personally think Minnesota is in really good shape right now given their win at Wisconsin and a win over Washington on a neutral. The 3-7 record in Q1 games isn’t ideal, but their worst loss is only a Q2 loss at Boston College. They close the season like this: Michigan (8), at Rutgers (118), at Northwestern (72), Purdue (11), at Maryland (21). If they go 3-2 in that stretch, they’re dancing, and 2-3 might even be enough to get the job done.

FLORIDA (NET: 42, SOS: 43): The Gators are not going to let us quit them. They picked up their best win of the season on Saturday, going into Tuscaloosa and pounding Alabama (45). That’s just Florida’s second Q1 win of the season. They are now 2-9 against Q1 opponents with a Q3 home loss to South Carolina in the mix. Their 14-11 overall record is not good, and their metrics are floated by the fact that they’ve played a lot of good teams close. Mike White’s team still has some ground to make up, but with two games against LSU (14) and a trip to Kentucky (6) on the schedule, they’ll have chances.

NEBRASKA (NET: 40, SOS: 70): I just can’t quit you, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers won their second straight game on Saturday, adding another Q2 win by picking off Northwestern (72) at home. I know that they lost seven straight earlier this year, but the Huskers are now 8-11 in Q1 and Q2 games with a pair of Q1 road wins. That’s enough to keep them in the mix, and with a schedule that is just absolutely brutal in the final three weeks of the season — at Penn State (70), Purdue (11), at Michigan (8), at Michigan State (7), Iowa (28) — they’ll get five more chances to notch Q1 wins.

WOFFORD (NET: 28, SOS: 167): Wofford absolutely beat the brakes off of the second-best team in the SoCon, UNC Greensboro. They won by 30 points. It’s not a Q1 win because it’s at home, but it is their fourth Q2 win to go along with a 2-4 mark against Q1. As long as the Terriers avoid losing at Chattanooga and at Samford, they are an at-large team in my mind. A 15-0 league record against a conference with more top 60 NET teams than the Pac-12 deserves to get in.

ARIZONA STATE (NET: 72, SOS: 67): Arizona State has one of the strangest resumes in college hoops this season. They are 4-1 in Q1 games and have another Q2 win at UCLA (107). But they’ve lost four Q3 games — Princeton (90), Utah (101), at USC (145), at Vanderbilt (189) — and that doesn’t court their worst loss of the year, at home to Washington State (230) by 21 points.

TEMPLE (NET: 55, SOS: 58): Here is the catch-22 for life on the bubble: Entering Saturday, Temple winning at USF (76) would have been a Q1 win. The Owls went out and they beat the Bulls in overtime. The problem? That loss dropped USF to 76th in the NET, meaning that it is now a Q2 win and Temple’s resume is still a win over Houston (5) and not much else. The reality is that won’t matter all that much. The committee will take into account that winning South Florida, whether it’s Q1 or Q2, is not a game-changer, which is why I’m still of the mindset that Temple needs to win at least four of their final five regular season games and avoid an AAC tournament loss to one of the teams at the bottom of the league.

BUTLER (NET: 53, SOS: 25): The Bulldogs beat DePaul on Saturday night, getting the win they needed to set themselves up for a shot at an at-large. Butler plays at Marquette on Wednesday and at Villanova in two weeks. With just one Q1 win to date, Butler might need to get both to really feel comfortable.

VCU (NET: 43, SOS: 40): The Rams were up by 22 points at Dayton (82) early in the second half and blew the lead, but thanks to a late Marcus Evans bucket, they were able to get out of Dayton Arena with a win. The win at Texas (35) continues to look better and better, a 3-2 mark against Q2 teams is solid and with just one bad loss — a Q3 home loss to Charleston (113) — the Rams are the Atlantic 10’s best chance at an at-large.

BELMONT (NET: 60, SOS: 166): For the Bruins to have a chance at an at-large, they need to win out and lost to Murray State and only Murray State in the OVC tournament. On Saturday night, they smacked around Tennessee Tech. So far so good.

UTAH STATE (NET: 38, SOS: 126): The Aggies probably couldn’t afford a loss to Air Force, and they did what they needed to win — win. There are two things that Utah State needs to do in they truly want to get an at-large bid to the tournament: 1. Beat Nevada at home, and 2. Hope that Fresno State cracks the top 75 in the NET. If they two, that’s one less Q3 loss and one more Q1 win on their resume.

UCF (NET: 45, SOS: 83): UCF won against Memphis in Orlando, which gives them a sixth Q2 win but doesn’t do much to change the biggest flaw in their profile: A total lack of Q1 wins. The Knights play at Cincinnati on Thursday. That will be the game-changer.

TEXAS (NET: 35, SOS: 6): The Longhorns did what they needed to do on Saturday, knocking off Oklahoma State in Austin to avoid picking up their second Q3 loss of the year. The Longhorns are now 15-11 overall and just 7-6 in the Big 12, but they have the No. 6 SOS and No. 11 non-conference SOS nationally. Combine that with a neutral court win over UNC (9), home wins over Purdue (11) and Kansas (18) and a win at Kansas State (26), and the Longhorns are in a pretty good spot.

LIPSCOMB (NET: 30, SOS: 188): Losing to a three-win Kennesaw State team would have been a dream-killer for the Bisons. They won and live to fight another day.

LOSERS

N.C. STATE (NET: 37, SOS: 239): The Wolfpack lost at Duke on Saturday, which is what we all expected to see happen. The chink in N.C. State’s armor is that they played the worst non-conference schedule in the country, and when combined with A) just one Q1 win and B) a Q3 loss, Kevin Keatts is not in a place where he can feel comfortable yet. The most troubling part: N.C. State’s season ends like this: Boston College, Wake Forest, at Florida State, Georgia Tech, at Boston College. They have one Q1 opportunity left. They really, really need to win it.

UNC GREENSBORO (NET: 46, SOS: 191): The Spartans were whipped at Wofford, losing by 30 to the SoCon leaders. It’s their second loss this week and probably takes them out of serious bubble consideration. We’ll keep them around, but they’re probably not going to have enough good wins.

ARKANSAS (NET: 63, SOS: 45): I don’t get the appeal of Arkansas as a bubble team. They won at LSU, which is nice, but that is their only Q1 win in seven tries and they are 3-10 against Q1 and Q2 opponents. They’ve also lost at home to both Georgia Tech (118) and Western Kentucky (121), which are Q3 losses. What is the appeal here? What am I missing?

INDIANA (NET: 49, SOS: 36): Indiana is off the bubble at this point. They went into Minnesota and got absolutely poleaxed. The Hoosiers have now lost 10 of their last 11 games to fall to 13-12 on the season and 4-10 in the Big Ten. If they can somehow find a way to put together a winning streak late in the year, they have some great wins — at Michigan State (7), Louisville (16), Marquette (20) — and no bad losses, but that feels like saying if I can lose 30 pounds and get my six pack back I could be an underwear model.

CLEMSON (NET: 42, SOS: 33): The Tigers had a shot to land their second Q1 win of the season, but after erasing and eight point lead in the final minute and forcing a turnover with 3.5 seconds left, the Tigers had a layup blocked with that would have won the game. The result doesn’t really hurt their profile other than the opportunity cost — this is the kind of win that, on this year’s bubble, can jump Clemson up four or five spots in the seed list. That’s a tough miss.

No. 11 Michigan State’s win over Ohio State overshadowed by Nick Ward injury

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No. 11 Michigan State used a 20-2 run over the course of the final eight minutes on Saturday afternoon, sending Ohio State back to Columbus with a 62-44 loss to keep pace with Purdue and Michigan atop the Big Ten standings, but no one is going to be talking about that today.

They’re going to be talking about Nick Ward.

The 6-foot-9 junior center for the Spartans emerged from halftime with his left hand — shooting hand — heavily bandaged and played just four second half minutes because of the injury. Michigan State announced after the game that Ward suffered a hairline fracture in his left hand towards the end of the first half. The injury occurred when Ward hit his hand on the rim, a source close to the program said.

Michigan State is already down their second-best scorer with Josh Langford injured. Losing Ward would mean losing their best low-post scorer and a guy that gets them a couple of easy buckets every night because of his ability to run the floor and the way Cassius Winston can find him in transition.

With Langford out of commission, Michigan State is going to have a tough enough time with Michigan in two of their last four game.

Without Ward?

It’s hard to see the Spartans winning much if Ward cannot return in time for the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

Saturday’s Things To Know: Barrett shines, Kentucky rolls, Kansas’ time is a flat circle

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PLAYER OF THE DAY: R.J. Barrett, Duke

Barrett has been something of a disappointment this season considering what the expectations for him were coming into the year. He was the No. 1 prospect in the class, the guy we thought was going to the No. 1 pick, and he’s been … just an all-american?

Heavy is the head that wears the crown, I guess.

One of the knocks on Barrett throughout the year has been that he can be too selfish and that he’s an inefficient gunner. Well, on Saturday, as Zion Williamson poured in 32 points while battling foul trouble in a 94-78 win over N.C. State, Barrett completed just the fourth triple-double in the history of the Duke program. He had 23 points (8-for-16 shooting), 11 boards and 10 assists, and he did it without committing a turnover.

Not bad.

TEAM OF THE DAY: Kentucky Wildcats

No. 5 Kentucky smacked around the No. 1 team in the country on Saturday, beating Tennessee, 86-69, in Lexington. It was their ceiling game. We wrote 1,000 words all about it here.

ONIONS OF THE DAY: Joe Wieskamp, Iowa

After Geo Baker hit a go-ahead three with 3.3 seconds left, Iowa answered with one of the wildest shots of the season. Check this out:

EXTRA ONIONS: David Jenkins, South Dakota State

Jenkins capped off a comeback from 17 points down in the second half as the Jackrabbits knocked off North Dakota State with a buzzer-beater from halfcourt:

WINNERS

MICHIGAN: The Wolverines kept a hold on first place in the Big Ten race by rolling over No. 24 Maryland in Ann Arbor on Saturday.

AVERY BENSON AND ANDREW SORRELLS: No. 15 Texas Tech steam-rolled another Big 12 opponent on Saturday, beating Baylor by 25 points. And while the win didn’t make all that much noise, Texas Tech did make some headlines thanks to a pair of walk-ons who through an alley-oop in the final seconds of a blowout win. Chris Beard was not happy:

My take?

Whatever the punishment ends up being — the suicides, the wall-sits, whatever it is — it was worth it. Walk-ons only get so many shots at glory. If you have a chance to throw a lob or catch a lob and dunk it as a walk-on, you take it. Those two already are legends on campus.

Like I said, it was worth it.

LSU: The Tigers hung on to beat Georgia on the road, their second road win of the week. This is significant because Kentucky knocked off Tennessee on Saturday as well, and that Wildcat win means that LSU is now tied with Tennessee for first place in the league standings. The best news? Four of LSU’s final six games are at home, including hosting a game against the Vols. And the Vols also have to play Kentucky against. Is … is LSU the odds-on favorite to win the SEC now?

LOSERS

INDIANA: This has to be rock bottom for the Hoosiers, right?

Not only have they now lost 10 out of their last 11 games, but this loss was a total and complete humiliation. The Hoosiers lost by 21 points at Minnesota. They trailed by as many as 30. With an NCAA tournament bid still up in the air, Indiana played as if they didn’t even want to make the trip up to Minneapolis. This has not been the sophomore season that Archie Miller wanted.

DEAN WADE’S FOOT: No. 18 Kansas State lost to No. 23 Iowa State at home on Saturday, which cost them the cushion they had in the Big 12 title race, but that might not be their biggest loss of the day. Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Dean Wade suffered another foot injury. It does not appear to be all that serious, but for a guy that has missed long stretches of each of the last two seasons with foot injuries, everything is serious.

CLEMSON: The Tigers lost their second straight game in demoralizing fashion on Saturday. Against Louisville, the Tigers erased a seven point deficit in less than 15 seconds and, with 3.5 seconds left in a one-point game, forced a turnover and had two shots two win it at the buzzer. Spoiler alert: They didn’t. On Wednesday, it was Miami — one of the worst teams in the ACC — hitting a last-second jumper that bounced off the backboard twice before going in. There’s only a bid to the NCAA tournament on the line here.

FINAL THOUGHT

Kansas is always going to find a way to win the Big 12.

Right?

I mean, it’s proven to be true for 14 straight years, regardless of what disaster or obstacle gets put in their way.

And after what transpired on Saturday, it looks like we’re heading down that same road again.

Kansas State entered the day holding a two game lead in the loss column in the league title race. But they lost at home to Iowa State and, in the process, lost Dean Wade. The injury does not appear to be serious, but it does appear to be something that will, at the very least, bother him for a little while. We know what Kansas State is without Wade on the floor at 100 percent (not very good), which opens the door for Kansas.

The standings, as of today, look like this:

  • Kansas State (9-3)
  • Texas Tech (9-4)
  • Kansas (9-4)
  • Iowa State (8-4)

Kansas still has to play at Texas Tech next Saturday in the game that appears to be the most likely to keep Kansas from calling themselves Big 12 champions one again. The Jayhawks also host Kansas State while Texas Tech pays a visit to Iowa State on the last day of the regular season.

Those are the games that will decide the Big 12 regular season title.

And despite starting four freshmen, one of whom was supposed to redshirt this season, while playing without Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett and Lagerald Vick, Kansas is very much in the thick of the race.

One win in Lubbock next week, and they might even be the favorites.

Someone once told me, time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re going to do over and over and over again.