Wednesday night in college basketball didn’t have major top-25 showdowns or a lot of noteworthy upsets.
But national runner-up Texas Tech earned its biggest win in weeks to help its postseason profile while Marquette had to figure out a way to win without All-American guard Markus Howard.
1. Texas Tech beats No. 12 West Virginia for important profile win
Entering Wednesday night, defending national runner-up Texas Tech had a very unusual NCAA tournament profile. The Red Raiders were ranked in the AP top 25 just last week. An overtime home loss to Kentucky on Saturday continued a troubling trend of Texas Tech losing Q1 games.
The Red Raiders found themselves only 1-7 against Q1 teams entering this week. They only had three Q2/Q3 wins as well.
Things changed dramatically for the Red Raiders’ on Wednesday. Texas Tech tore apart the nation’s No. 1 defense in a convincing 89-81 Big 12 win over No. 12 West Virginia.
The Red Raiders still have some work to do to feel completely safe when it comes to their tournament stature. Beating West Virginia is a huge step in the right direction before Texas Tech plays at No. 3 Kansas this weekend.
2. Markus Howard leaves with injury as Marquette outlasts Xavier in double OT
Marquette gutted out an impressive double overtime win at Xavier in the Big East on Wednesday night. The road win gives the Golden Eagles a very solid 4-5 mark in Q1 games while keeping them in the middle of a crowded Big East race.
And the win is even more impressive when you consider Marquette basically won without Markus Howard.
While the nation’s leading scorer still had an impact by finishing with 18 points, Howard exited the win with 12 minutes left in the second half and didn’t return. Taking an inadvertent elbow trying to secure a defensive rebound, Howard watched two of his teammates step up.
Sacar Anim (28 points) and Koby McEwen (18 points) both came through with monster efforts to push Marquette to victory. Anim now has 20-plus points in three straight games. He’s becoming a legitimately difficult second option for opposing teams to defend. And if McEwen can maintain that type of aggressiveness as a third scorer it makes the Golden Eagles that much more dangerous.
Howard’s status for Marquette’s next game at home against DePaul will be something to monitor. But Marquette deserves credit for pulling out this win and showing that they are more than a one-man operation.
3. Potential No. 1 seeds Baylor and San Diego State roll to road wins
Baylor and San Diego State are trying to break the narrative that college basketball lacks elite teams this season.
The No. 1 Bears and No. 4 Aztecs both did their part by securing double-digit road wins on Wednesday night.
Baylor continued its Big 12 dominance with a 67-53 takedown of Iowa State. Defense and a balanced offense paced the Bears — winners of 17 consecutive games.
San Diego State, meanwhile, jumped out to an absurd 17-0 start and coasted from there. The Aztecs destroyed New Mexico in the Pit with an 85-57 Mountain West win. Still undefeated, San Diego State gets a much stronger test when they face Utah State this weekend.