It was, all things considered, just a terrific day of sports on Saturday, whether you are a football or basketball fan.
Here is everything you need to know to get yourself caught up on today’s college basketball action.
1. INJURIES HAVE TAKEN A TOLL ON KANSAS …
Kansas watched as starting guard Marcus Garrett had to be helped off the floor with an injured right ankle on Saturday afternoon. He did not return to the game in the second half.
“He’s our toughest kid. So if he says he can’t play, it’s probably not good,” Self said. “I don’t think that it is going go to be something that, hopefully, drags out to conference play, but we don’t know yet.”
Garrett is averaging 9.0 points, 4.5 assists and 4.0 boards for the Jayhawks this season and has developed into a critical piece for the Kansas rotation. He’s a secondary ball-handler that takes some of the pressure off of point guard Devon Dotson, he is shooting 38.9 percent from three, he is their best perimeter defender and, perhaps most importantly, he is the piece that allows them to play with four guards on the floor. It’s tough for the Kansas coaching staff to trust Ochai Agbaji, Tristan Enaruna and Isaiah Moss to be able to guard when one of them is forced onto a bigger player.
Should I mention that the Jayhawks, the No. 1 team in the country, lost as a result?
I probably should, right?
2. … AND TENNESSEE
Star point guard Lamonte’ Turner’s season is over.
After struggling to play through a shoulder issue for two years, Turner told reporters after Sunday’s win over Jacksonville State that he is going to get season-ending surgery. His season is done, and since he is a fifth-year senior that has already played in too many games for a medical redshirt, his Tennessee career is over, too.
That’s a terrible way to end a career.
3. … AND UTAH STATE
The health of Aggie center Neemias Queta has been a concern all season long. He injured his knee while playing with the Portuguese U-20 national team over the summer and had to sit out the first eight games. He only returned to the starting lineup two games ago. On Saturday, in a win over Florida in the state of Florida, Queta hurt his knee again and did not return after leaving the game.
He’s Utah State’s second-best player. He is a 7-foot defensive anchor with NBA potential. He cleans up a lot of mistakes at the rim for a team that is not great at keeping people out of the lane. I’m not sure just how good Utah State can be without him.
4. DID YOU EVER THINK A UCLA-UNC GAME WOULD BE AS IRRELEVANT AS TODAY’S WAS?
Be honest with me: Did you know that UCLA and UNC played today?
Because they did. They are part of the CBS Sports Classic. They played the opener in Vegas, the game that tipped off right before the Ohio State-Kentucky thriller. On a day where there were more than 100 college basketball games played, I’m not sure that this was even in the top 20.
It’s hard to believe that is possible.
These are two of college basketball’s bluebloods, and the 3 p.m. ET tip was completely overshadowed by Butler vs. Purdue and Utah State vs. Florida despite the fact that it was on network television.
And it’s understandable. UCLA is in the midst of another coaching change while North Carolina lost their top five players from last season and had their star freshman hurt his knee and get arthroscopic surgery. It happens.
I just didn’t think it could happen to these two programs, this badly, and at the same time.
5. DAYTON’S RESUME IS NOT AS GOOD AS YOU THINK
The Flyers lost a thriller to Colorado on a neutral court on Saturday, and while the Buffaloes are hardly a bad team – they currently sit at 40th in KenPom’s rankings – this is a tough loss to take.
The reason I say that is because Dayton’s resume doesn’t quite match what the eye test tells us. When you watch the Flyers, what you see is a team with a top ten pick surrounded by shooters and playmakers. They took Kansas to overtime. They took Colorado to overtime. No one is questioning whether or not this team is objectively good.
The problem is that they don’t necessarily have the wins to prove it.
As of today, the Flyers have three top 100 wins. Two are against Georgia and Virginia Tech, which are fine and came by an averaged of 23 points but those teams aren’t getting to the NCAA tournament. It’s like beating Rhode Island, at least in how it is going to look in the NET nitty gritty sheets. The win over Saint Mary’s is nice, especially if they somehow find a way to keep shooting 45.7 percent from three, but that’s really it.
And since they play in the Atlantic 10, not only are there going to be a limited number of quality wins available, they are going to play every single game as the targeted team. The way I figure it, there are six other teams in the league (VCU, Richmond, Duquesne, Saint Louis, Rhode Island and Davidson) that are going to have some chance of playing their way into the NCAA tournament with an at-large bid. Dayton plays those six teams ten times, and every one of those ten games are going to be make-or-break games for their opponent.
I trust the Flyers to get the job done, but I do think that there is a better chance than some realize that Dayton is going to end up with something of a disappointing seed on Selection Sunday.
6. SAINT LOUIS WINNING AT KANSAS STATE IS GOOD FOR THE ATLANTIC 10
Not for nothing, but it is worth noting that Saint Louis went into Bramlage Coliseum and landed themselves a nice win over a regional rival in Kansas State. I don’t think Kansas State is all that good, but given the way that Big 12 league play drives up the computer numbers of everyone in that conference, that’s a nice chip for Travis Ford’s team to have.
7. D.J. CARTON HAD HIS COMING-OF-AGE GAME
Carton scored a team-high 15 points and led No. 5 Ohio State to a win over No. 6 Kentucky on Saturday. Here is a column on how impressive he was and what makes that performance so important for Ohio State.
8. WHAT HAS ARIZONA DONE THAT SHOULD IMPRESS US?
Let me preface this by saying that I think No. 15 Arizona is a pretty good team. In theory, they should be. They have Nico Mannion and Josh Green and Zeke Nnaji. The talent is there.
But through the first seven weeks of the season, the results haven’t been. Arizona’s best win right now came at home against an Illinois team that is currently sitting at 8-4 on the season. They also beat Wake Forest on a neutral and picked off New Mexico State at home. The most impressive thing they’ve done is, what, hang with Baylor on the road? Rally to make a blowout home loss against Gonzaga look respectable?
After losing to St. John’s on a neutral court, the Wildcats are sitting at 10-3 on the season with as many sub-75 losses as top 75 wins.
That’s not a good place to be with league play starting.
9. BUTLER CAN WIN WHEN KAMAR BALDWIN STRUGGLES
Baldwin has been Butler’s best player this season, but he has not always played well for the Bulldogs.
Take Saturday, for example. He shot 2-for-9 from the floor, committed for fouls, turned the ball over five times and finished with just five points. The Bulldogs still won fairly easily. In their win over Florida earlier this season, Baldwin had just 12 points on 4-for-13 shooting. He has 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting in a win over Missouri.
That is a good sign for Lavall Jordan moving forward.
10. SAN DIEGO STATE WHIPPED UTAH
It was time to start taking San Diego State seriously a while ago. If you’re just now jumping on the bandwagon you’re probably jumping on a little bit late.
They’ve won at BYU. They beat Creighton by 31. They beat Iowa by ten. They’re now sitting at 11-0, one of just four teams left in college basketball without a loss to their name, after they went out and beat Utah, 80-52, on Saturday evening.
That’s the same Utah team that just beat Kentucky on Wednesday night.
You might want to start familiarizing yourself with these Aztecs.