Best Bets: Eight flawed teams that are dangerous enough to win title

Sam Wasson/Getty Images
0 Comments

Yesterday, we took a look at the six teams that can legitimately be called national title contenders as well as the three teams that are a small tweak or two away from joining them.

Those nine teams should be the consensus best in college hoops.

Today, we’re going to take a look at the rest of the teams around the country. Here are eight teams that are seriously flawed but dangerous enough to win six games come March. 

FLAWED BUT DANGEROUS

NEVADA (+3000)

THEY CAN WIN IT ALL BECAUSE: There is not team in the country that has as many tough shot makers on their roster as Nevada does. Jordan Caroline, Caleb Martin, Cody Martin. All three of those guys are capable of taking a game over and carrying Nevada to a win, and what makes that so relevant is that that trio — particularly Caroline and Caleb Martin — can do it regardless of the defense that is being played on them. Case in point: The Wolf Pack reached the Sweet 16 last season as an iso-heavy, jump-shooting team with wins over Texas and Cincinnati, two of the top ten defenses in college basketball.

When they get it going, they have the horses to beat anyone in college hoops.

BUT THEY’RE IN TROUBLE BECAUSE: Realistically, how often will the Martin Twins and Jordan Caroline go into their unguardable mode? Will it be often enough for a team that likely won’t end up as a top two seed to win four games in March, let alone the six games they need to win to win a national title? That’s a tough ask.

The other part of this is that Nevada just is not as talented as people think they are. Where is the NBA player on this roster? Both of the Martin twins and Caroline are fifth-year seniors that would have left school last year if there was a demand for them at the next level. They’re back in school. Nevada is loaded with veterans and grad transfers from smaller programs, but there’s a reason those guys were at smaller programs to begin with. Jordan Brown is a McDonald’s All-American, but if he going to be a one-and-done player if he can’t beat out Trey Porter for a starting spot?

WHAT NEEDS CHANGING?: The tournament needs to start. I’ve said this before, but I wonder just how much Nevada actually cares about the regular season. They’ve won the Mountain West already, and the three best players on the roster probably wish they were playing in the NBA right now. What they haven’t done is get past the Sweet 16, so I wonder if we’ll see a different Nevada team show up once the postseason kicks off.

(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

MARQUETTE (+8000)

THEY CAN WIN IT ALL BECAUSE: Markus Howard is not the only guy on this team that can takeover a game.

Howard is, as we’ve discussed many times in this space, the single-most dangerous scorer in college basketball. He’s popped off for 45 points twice this season, and that doesn’t include when he broke his own Big East record by scoring 53 points in a win at Creighton this month. The issue with Marquette is what happens on the nights that he doesn’t play well or runs into one of the nation’s elite defenders, and we now know: Sam Hauser can win them a game. He went for 31 points at Georgetown on the night where Howard injured his back, and he went for 25 points in the next game when Howard looked like he was still slowed with the injury.

If the Golden Eagles have an answer when Howard is not living his best life, they become much more dangerous.

BUT THEY’RE IN TROUBLE BECAUSE: Part of the reason that I was so high on Marquette coming into the season was that I thought the addition of Joseph Chartouny was the piece Marquette was missing. His addition would give them another perimeter defender and a playmaker that would allow Howard to move off the ball. As it turns out, Chartouny is not as good as we expected defensively and has been a turnover machine.

WHAT NEEDS CHANGING?: The big thing with this group is the turnovers. They rank 225th nationally in turnover rate, which is part of the reason that they’ve dropped from being a top 12 offense to the No. 39 offense, according to KenPom. I’m not too worried about that side of the ball, however, because I think we all know what their ceiling is offensively, and with their defense much improved this year, they don’t need to be quite as hyper-efficient to win games.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

AUBURN (+6000)

THEY CAN WIN IT ALL BECAUSE: They are just so dangerous when they get it rolling offensively. It came in a loss, I know, but we all saw what they did in the second half against Kentucky, turning a 16 point deficit into a lead in the span of about 15 minutes. Bryce Brown is arguably the best shooter in America when he gets it going, and Jared Harper has been dominant at times as well.

BUT THEY’RE IN TROUBLE BECAUSE: No team in the country gambles more defensively than Auburn does. They lead the nation in defensive turnover rate, they lead the nation in block rate and they’re fourth nationally in steal rate. The problem with that is that it has led to them giving up too many open threes, too many layups at the rim and too many free throws. Their defensive possessions either end up in a turnover or points for the other team, which is not the best way to beat the elite of the elite — the reason that pressing teams have a limited upside is that they rely on forcing their opponents to make mistakes, and the thing about really good teams (who typically have really good guards) is that they don’t make too many mistakes.

WHAT NEEDS CHANGING?: Chuma Okeke and Anfernee McLemore need to get back to being the players they were early in the season. What makes those two so valuable is that they are both versatile defenders with some size, strength and athleticism that can protect the rim, rebound the ball and stretch the floor offensively. McLemore hasn’t quite looked like himself coming off of last year’s horrific ankle injury, and Okeke’s work on the defensive glass is nowhere near what it was a season ago.

(AP Photo/Mic Smith)

VIRGINIA TECH (+6000)

THEY CAN WIN IT ALL BECAUSE: The Hokies have what may amount to the best backcourt in the ACC and are the nation’s third-best three-point shooting team. It’s really as simple as that. The combination of Justin Robinson and Nickeil Alexander-Walker gives Buzz Williams a pair of elite playmakers that thrive in ball-screen whom he can surround with 40 percent three-point shooters. You can’t ask for much more than that, and on the nights when they get it rolling, they are going to be able to score with anyone.

BUT THEY’RE IN TROUBLE BECAUSE: They haven’t exactly done anything of note this season. Yes, that win over Purdue is going to hold up well because Purdue’s computer numbers will get inflated playing in the Big Ten, but that’s their only win that matters right now. They also lost to Penn State (who is 7-12 on the season, 0-8 in the Big Ten and has not beaten another team in the top 100 on KenPom) and in the last nine days got embarrassed by both Virginia and North Carolina.

Granted, all three of their losses came on the road, but at this point all the positivity I have regarding Virginia Tech stems is a theory. They’ve done nothing on the court to prove themselves a top ten team to date.

WHAT NEEDS CHANGING?: The Hokies have to be better defensively. Getting to the defensive glass more will help, but the big thing is running people off of the three-point line. Virginia shot 13-for-24 from three against them. North Carolina shot 16-for-34. As a team, they rank 198th nationally in defensive three-point percentage. Monmouth — who is 286th on KenPom — is the only team in college basketball that gives up a higher percentage of points allowed from beyond the arc.

(Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

VILLANOVA (+3000)

THEY CAN WIN IT ALL BECAUSE: Are you going to be the guy betting against the team that has won two of the last three national titles?

We knew at some point that the Wildcats would figure it out, and it looks like they have. They’ve won seven straight games since losing at Kansas and are the only undefeated team left in the Big East. Some of that is due to their inexperienced role players getting more comfortable with what Jay Wright is asking of them — specifically, Collin Gillespie has really been shooting the ball well — but the big difference is that both Eric Paschall and Phil Booth have played like all-americans for the last month. During this winning streak, Booth is averaging 20.9 points, 5.4 assists and 5.1 boards while shooting 49 percent from three while Paschall has posted 20.6 points, 7.7 boards and 2.3 assists while shooting 42.6 percent from three.

When those two playing like that, Villanova can hang with anyone.

BUT THEY’RE IN TROUBLE BECAUSE: This entire seven-game run has come against six Big East teams not named Marquette as well as UConn. That’s not exactly a murderer’s row. We know about the issues facing the Big East conference this season. Before league play started, we said that there probably wasn’t a top 25 team in the conference, and now that Villanova is running roughshod over a bunch of teams that we know aren’t top 25 teams, we’re supposed to believe this team is suddenly as good as the Villanova teams of the last three years?

WHAT NEEDS CHANGING?: The biggest thing with this group is that they can’t simply be a two-man team. Jermaine Samuels, Cole Swider (when he gets healthy), Dhamir Cosby-Rountree. They have to be impact players. Beyond that, Villanova just needs to be better defensively. They currently rank 88th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric. That’s not good enough.

(David Purdy/Getty Images)

IOWA STATE (+4000)

THEY CAN WIN IT ALL BECAUSE: Iowa State has a roster that is built precisely the way that modern basketball is supposed to be played. They have five perimeter players (Marial Shayok, Nick Weiler-Babb, Tyrese Haliburton, Talen Horton-Tucker, Lindell Wigginton) that can on or off the ball — running ball-screens and spacing the floor with their shooting — who are all switchable defensively. They have a pair of big bodies (Michael Jacobson, Cam Lard) in the frontcourt that can score 1-on-1 in the paint, rebound the ball and protect the rim. They have NBA talent on their roster, and are probably the most talented team in the Big 12.

They create matchup problems offensively and have just enough size and versatility defensively that they can matchup well enough with just about anyone.

BUT THEY’RE IN TROUBLE BECAUSE: Injuries keep sapping their depth. I’m not sure there is a team in college basketball that has dealt with more key pieces missing significant stretches of games than the Cyclones have, and where this really shows up …

WHAT NEEDS CHANGING?: … is with Wigginton and Lard. At one point during Big 12 play last year, Lard was playing like the best big man in the conference. Wigginton was thought to be the best returning perimeter player in the conference. Lard has dealt with off-the-court issues (he was suspended to start the year) and an ankle injury and has yet to play more than 16 minutes in a game this season. He had five fouls in six minutes against Kansas on Monday. Wigginton has been equally ineffective. He’s shooting 31.9 percent from three and 37.5 percent from the floor and looks like a man devoid of confidence. Iowa State needs those two to play like they’re capable of if they have any hope of reaching their ceiling.

(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

TEXAS TECH (+3000)

THEY CAN WIN IT ALL BECAUSE: They are, quite simply, the best defensive team in college basketball. As of today, they rank No. 1 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric as well as No. 1 in raw points-per-possession allowed. That defense isn’t going anywhere.

BUT THEY’RE IN TROUBLE BECAUSE: The Red Raiders are really struggling to get anything going on the offensive end of the floor. Jarrett Culver has been sensational this season, but he’s more or less the only player that Chris Beard can rely on to create shots for his team. Personally, I think Culver is good enough to do that. People that I’ve talked to around the Big 12 think so. I’m sure Beard thinks so. The problem is that the only person that doesn’t realize just how good Jarrett Culver is is Jarrett Culver.

WHAT NEEDS CHANGING?: With the way that Texas Tech can defend, they don’t have to be great offensively to be able to make a run in March. Remember, in 2017, a South Carolina team that was not as good as this Texas Tech team reached the Final Four and lost to Gonzaga by four for the right to get to the national title game. This is doable, but the only way that can happen is if Culver decides to start playing like a guy that can take over games and has NBA teams considering him as a top ten pick. He makes teammates better, he’s a tough finisher around the rim, he can create out of ball-screens and he’s more-than-capable as a shooter. When he starts playing like that, Tech will snap out of this three-game losing streak.

(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

SYRACUSE (+6000)

THEY CAN WIN IT ALL BECAUSE: It literally does not matter what Syracuse does during the regular season. Jim Boeheim has proven this over and over again, sneaking into the NCAA tournament when we did not think he deserved to be there and then putting together a run that no one saw coming.

There’s a reason for this, too. That zone that the Orange play is so difficult to figure out if you’ve never seen it. There is so much length and so much size that it’s almost impossible to pass through the zone. They don’t let you get the ball to the short-corner. If you get the ball to the high-post, all those arms makes it like trying to play basketball in the middle of a bush. They dare you to shoot over the top of the zone, but you never get  shot in rhythm and their length allows them to contest even when it looks like they’re playing off you.

There isn’t a team in the country that they can’t frustrate, and that’s what makes them such a nightmare to see in March.

BUT THEY’RE IN TROUBLE BECAUSE: They still can’t shoot. Elijah Hughes is shooting 35.7 percent from three this year, and he’s far and away the best shooter on the team. Boeheim’s three best weapons offensively — Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, Frank Howard — all shoot under 30 percent from three. That’s not their only issue offensively, either. Howard is this team’s point guard, but he can be turnover prone. Ask Tre Jones.

WHAT NEEDS CHANGING?: Nothing’s going to change. This is who Syracuse is.

Alabama coach Nate Oats gets new 6-year, $30 million deal

alabama basketball
Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nate Oats has agreed to a new six-year, $30 million contract amid the program’s best regular season in decades.

Oats will average $5 million plus incentives over the deal running through the 2028-29 season under a deal approved by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees Compensation Committee.

It makes him the fourth-highest paid basketball coach in the Southeastern Conference and among the Top 10 nationally, athletic director Greg Byrne said.

Oats, who is in his fourth season, will make $4.5 million for the first year with $200,000 annual raises. The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide (19-3, 9-0 SEC) has the team’s highest ranking this deep into a season since 1976-77.

“I am honored and humbled to receive a contract extension from the University of Alabama,” Oats said in a statement. “As I have said many times, my family and I love this community, the city of Tuscaloosa and the university.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to build during our time at UA which is a direct reflection of the student-athletes, coaches and staff who have all played a big part in our success. I am excited for what’s happening in the future of our program and the direction we are heading.”

Alabama has gone 80-39 under Oats, winning the 2021 SEC regular season and tournament championships.

“Coach Oats has done an outstanding job leading our men’s basketball program, and we want him to continue doing so for many years to come,” Byrne said in a statement. “He and his staff have lifted the program back to national prominence and built a product that is exciting to be a part of for our team and for our fans.

“We were confident Nate was going to be an outstanding coach for us when we hired him, and he is not only that, but also a great leader of our young men.”

The new contract comes nearly three weeks after Alabama basketball player Darius Miles and another man were charged with capital murder following a fatal shooting near campus. Miles, a reserve forward, was removed from the team and suspended from the university following his arrest.

Duke women’s coach Kara Lawson says men’s ball used vs. FSU

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

Duke coach Kara Lawson said her team played with a men’s basketball for the first half of a loss to Florida Stated.

The 16th-ranked Blue Devils lost to the Seminoles 70-57 in Tallahassee, Florida – the team’s second Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season.

After her team beat Pittsburgh 53-44 , Lawson ended her news conference by speaking animatedly.

“This would never happen in a men’s game. This would never happen. It’s embarrassing for our sport,” she said.

The circumference of a women’s ball is about an inch smaller than a men’s ball and it is typically 2 ounces lighter. While it may not seem like a lot, that’s a big difference.

Lawson said throughout the first half, Duke players were “complaining about the ball.” The Blue Devils were 7 for 34 from the field in the opening 20 minutes of that game. They were 12 for 38 in the second half. Florida State made 10 of its 30 shots in the first two quarters and 14 of 31 in the second half.

“To have a game that, at the end of the season, could be the difference between a seed, between a title, my players don’t deserve that and neither do their players,” Lawson said. “It’s a complete failure. And you can figure out who the people I’m talking about that failed the sport and our players and both teams.”

Lawson said assistant coach Winston Gandy went to the scorer’s table at the half to check on the ball when he realized what the problem was. She said the game officials changed the ball to start the second half.

“We have concluded through our investigation that it was a men’s ball,” Lawson said. “The conference and Florida State is saying that it wasn’t.”

The ACC said it did a comprehensive review talking with game officials, administrators, the table crew and both schools.

“Following the thorough and objective review process, there was no evidence found to support the claim,” the conference said in a statement. “Per NCAA playing rules, there is no appeal or protest process.”

The ACC has instituted a procedural change that the game ball will be brought to the pregame meeting with the captains for approval.

“It’s very frustrating that (the game) … was not treated with the utmost respect that players on both teams deserve,” she said.

This wasn’t the first time this has happened in women’s basketball. In 2017, the College of Charleston played home games and practiced with men’s balls for most of its season until the error was was discovered.

“Let me be clear: Florida State beat us. They beat us playing with a men’s ball in the first half and a women’s ball in the second half. But I can’t say if we’d have played with a women’s ball in the first half and the second half that we would have won. But they can’t say that either,” Lawson said.

No. 1 South Carolina wins 28th straight 87-69 over ‘Cats

south carolina basketball
Jeff Blake/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dawn Staley’s pleased South Carolina had made its once-lopsided series with UConn more competitive the past few years.

She hopes her top-ranked team can accomplish another milestone when the teams meet for a top-five showdown on Sunday.

“It still stands true that we haven’t won up there,” Staley said.

Aliyah Boston had 14 points and 14 rebounds as South Carolina prepared for the top-five showdown with an 87-69 victory over Kentucky on Thursday night.

The Gamecocks (10-0 Southeastern Conference) improved to 22-0 and won their 28th straight, a run that included a 64-49 victory over the Huskies in Minneapolis last April to win the national championship.

Staley had lost her first seven games as South Carolina coach against UConn. The Gamecocks have won three of the past four matchups since.

“This particular class committed to each other,” Staley said. “When you have that type of commitment and you just want to win, you find yourself winning some games that you haven’t won before.”

Against Kentucky, reigning AP player of the year Boston extended her school mark with her 75th career double-double and moved within 11 of the SEC record of 86 games with a double-double held by LSU great Sylvia Fowles.

Things weren’t perfect for South Carolina, which fell behind early, then had its 15-point halftime lead cut to 54-48 midway through the third quarter.

Still, its dominant inside game – South Carolina outscored the Wildcats 62-14 in the paint – was more than enough to shut down Kentucky (10-12, 2-8), the last team to defeat the defending national champions at the SEC Tournament last March.

The Wildcats went on top 16-15 after a pair of baskets by Adebola Adeyeye.

That’s when South Carolina, fueled by its bench, took control with a 17-2 run. Ashlyn Watkins had three inside shots and Kamilla Cardoso scored four points during the surge.

The Wildcats used a 13-4 burst to start the third quarter to give South Carolina a few uncomfortable moments. But the Gamecocks got going once more with an 11-0 run to extend their margin.

Cardoso, the 6-foot-7 reserve, had 14 points and five of South Carolina’s 14 blocks. Defensive ace Brea Beal had 10 including both of the Gamecocks’ 3-pointers.

Beal thought the team held together well to blunt Kentucky’s runs and regain control. “I think it’s our mental aspect of the game and us believing in each other,” she said.

Robyn Benton had 24 points to lead Kentucky, which has lost three of its past four games.

Wildcats coach Kyra Elzy said South Carolina is difficult to match up with because of its deep bench. “They have depth after depth after depth,” she said. “They keep coming.”

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: The Wildcats are the not the same team that featured two-time SEC player of the year Rhyne Howard the past few seasons. They have 10 newcomers – and six freshmen – who are still learning how to play against the SEC’s top teams like South Carolina.

South Carolina: Forgive the Gamecocks if their focus wasn’t fully on this one at first with a big week ahead. In an eight-game span, South Carolina will face No. 5 UConn and No. 3 LSU, a pair of high-profile games could expose any flaw – or show how powerful the Gamecocks are in chasing a second straight NCAA crown.

UCONN KARMA

South Carolina has opened 22-0 twice under coach Dawn Staley, in 2014-15 and the following year. Both runs ended against UConn. Next up for Gamecocks are the Huskies, although South Carolina has won three of the past four games over UConn including last April’s 64-49 victory to win the NCAA Tournament title.

UP NEXT

Kentucky returns home to face Alabama on Feb. 9.

South Carolina heads to No. 5 UConn on Sunday.

Miles, Citron lead No. 9 Irish past Boston College 72-59

notre dame basketball
Erica Denhoff/Getty Images
0 Comments

BOSTON — Olivia Miles and Sonia Citron had already scored 10 straight points to put away Boston College when they turned their attention to other things.

“I told Sonia I needed two more assists for the double-double. And she was like, `All right, I’ve got you,”‘ Miles said after helping No. 9 Notre Dame beat BC 72-59 on Thursday night.

“That’s just kind of our communication on the court,” said Miles, who found Citron for baskets on the next two Irish possessions to complete a 14-0 run – with all 14 points from Miles and Citron. “We just really play off each other really well.

Miles scored 22 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Citron scored 23 for the Irish (18-2, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Maria Gakdeng scored 16 points, T’Yana Todd had 13 and Andrea Daly scored 10 with eight rebounds for BC (14-11, 4-8). The Irish beat BC at home 85-48 on New Year’s Day but hadn’t won in Chestnut Hill since 2019.

“This is such a tough place to play,” said Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey, whose team faces No. 16 Duke next. “We’ll celebrate it until about 12:30, and then we’ve got film. Tomorrow we start focusing on Duke.”

BC came within five points, 55-50, before the Irish ran off 14 points in a row – nine by Citron, and five by Miles. That put an end to what had been a back-and-forth game in which the Irish opened big leads and then frittered them away.

“I always feel like we’re close,” BC coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. “They’re young; I think consistency comes with experience.

“I think it’s a big improvement from the first time we played Notre Dame,” she said. “I still want to see more, and I want to see us grow up as fast as humanly possible because I think we do have a dangerous team when we going well.”

Notre Dame led by 11 in the first quarter and held a 38-30 lead with two minutes gone in the third. BC scored 13 of the next 18 points, capitalizing on back-to-back Irish turnovers to tie it 43-all with three minutes left in the quarter.

But Natalija Marshall put back the rebound of her own miss, Miles drove to the basket, Maddy Westbeld added a pair of baskets and then Miles stole the ball and found Citron on the fast break to make it 53-43.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame bounced back from their first league loss of the season, a 69-65 defeat at North Carolina State on Sunday. Now they face No. 16 Duke.

The Eagles, who beat Pittsburgh on Sunday to snap a five-game losing streak, were looking for their second victory over a Top 25 team this season, having also beaten then-No. 10 N.C. State on Jan. 5.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: Hosts No. 16 Duke on Sunday.

Boston College: Visits Syracuse on Sunday.

No. 16 Xavier beats No. 17 Providence 85-83 in OT thriller

xavier basketball
Kareem Elgazzar/USA TODAY NETWORK
1 Comment

CINCINNATI — Jack Nunge had 23 points and 14 rebounds as No. 16 Xavier held off No. 17 Providence 85-83 in an overtime thriller Wednesday night.

Colby Jones and Souley Boum each scored 20 for the Musketeers, who won a first-place showdown in the Big East without injured forward Zach Freemantle.

Noah Locke had 22 points and Ed Croswell added 21 for Providence (17-6, 9-3), which had beaten Xavier three straight times.

A layup by Boum put the Musketeers (18-5, 10-2) ahead 82-79 with 51 seconds remaining in overtime. A turnover by the Musketeers led to a layup by Devin Carter that cut Xavier’s lead to one with 24 seconds left.

Boum hit one of two free throws, and Jared Bynum’s 3-point attempt from the left corner rimmed out at the buzzer as the Musketeers held on.

Xavier played its first game without Freemantle, the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. He is expected to miss four weeks with a left foot injury, the same foot that required surgery in 2021.

Jerome Hunter, who has excelled off the bench for the Musketeers, made his first start of the season and scored nine points with eight rebounds. Xavier had used the same starting lineup in each of its previous 11 Big East games.

Things started well for the Musketeers. who went on a 12-1 run to build a 25-11 lead.

With Boum on the bench with two fouls, the Musketeers didn’t have a field goal in the final 4:18 of the first half and the Friars pulled to 39-35 at halftime.

Providence outscored Xavier 8-2 to start the second half and took its first lead, 43-41, with 17:41 left.

There was a frantic finish to the second half, with Adam Kunkel’s 3-pointer putting Xavier ahead 76-73 with 55 seconds left. But then Bynum banked in a tying 3 and Boum missed two long shots to send the game to overtime.

BIG PICTURE

Providence: The Friars, who won their first Big East regular-season title last year, entered the night tied atop the conference standings with Xavier and No. 14 Marquette, which hosted Villanova later. Providence was picked fifth in the preseason.

Xavier: Hunter, who averages 14 minutes, left with three minutes remaining in OT with an apparent cramp in his right leg. With Freemantle out, Hunter played 36 minutes.

UP NEXT

Providence: Hosts last-place Georgetown on Wednesday.

Xavier: Will host St. John’s on Saturday.