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Ten Things To Know: College basketball’s wildest day of the season

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THAT WAS THE BEST DAY OF THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON!!!

We had game-winners. We had upsets. We had game-winners that landed upsets. We had upsets that earned automatic bids. We even had a game-winner that landed an upset for a team that earned an automatic bid.

What a wild and wonderful day of basketball.

I can’t imagine a better way to put a bow on the regular season and get ready for tournament hoops.

Here are the ten things you need to know from Saturday.

1. UTAH STATE IS DANCING, BABY!!! SHOUTS TO SAM MERRILL.

Sam Merrill hit this shot to beat San Diego State, win the Mountain West tournament and earn Utah State an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

He scored 83 points in three games in Las Vegas this week. That’s pretty impressive.

2. BELMONT IS TOO, SHOUTS TO LIBERTY.

Belmont beat Murray Sate to win the Ohio Valley’s automatic bid, and they did it on this beautiful backdoor play drawn up by Casey Alexander:

The play, according to the broadcast, was called Liberty.

Might it be derived from this?

3. DID WEST VIRGINIA PUT NO. 4 BAYLOR’S 1-SEED IN JEOPARDY?

For weeks, the four projected No. 1 seeds in the 2020 NCAA tournament have stayed the same. Kansas and Baylor dominated the Big 12. They’ve seemingly been ranked in the top five all season. San Diego State and Gonzaga have mostly steamrolled their respective conferences on the West Coast.

After No. 4 Baylor’s road loss at West Virginia, however, the No. 1 seed line is intriguing for the first time in months.

With three losses in the last five games –including road losses to unranked TCU and West Virginia — the Bears aren’t exactly playing their best ball over the final few weeks.

If Baylor ends up with an early exit in next week’s Big 12 tournament could they be in trouble? That remains to be seen — especially after another potential No. 1 seed in San Diego State fell to Utah State on Saturday. But there are a few teams on the current No. 2 line who are knocking on the door. And it makes for a fun storyline to follow for the final week of the season.

RELATEDBubble Watch | Bracketology | Conference Tournaments

4. WE HAVE A THREE-WAY TIE ATOP THE BIG EAST

After Seton Hall beat Marquette in Milwaukee last weekend, the Pirates were sitting two games in front of both Villanova and Creighton in the Big East regular season standings with two games left to play.

Based on the way this season has gone, it should come as no surprise that the Pirates went ahead and lost to both Villanova and Creighton this week, meaning that we will be ending this season with a three-way tie for first in the league. Tri-champions, if you will.

And honestly, after watching three months worth of Big East basketball, that seems like the right outcome. Villanova, Creighton and Seton Hall all looked like clearly the best team in the league at different stretches during the year, and I am all the way here for four days in the world’s most famous arena to try and determine the one true champion of the Big East.

5. NO. 6 KENTUCKY LANDS MIRACLE COMEBACK WIN AT FLORIDA

A crazy week for Kentucky continued with the Wildcats taking an inspired SEC road win at Florida.

Finding themselves down 18 points, Kentucky used a furious rally — without two starting guards — to knock off one of the league’s most talented teams. Playing without Ashton Hagans (personal reasons) and with guard Immanuel Quickley limited to only 21 minutes before fouling out, the Wildcats manufactured an unlikely road win with their backs against the wall.

The final nine minutes saw Kentucky will their way into the lead. Quickley was glued to the bench with his disqualification. It was big man Nick Richards who shined the final 20 minutes. Going to work with Florida center Kerry Blackshear Jr. exiting with a wrist injury, Richards scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the second half.

A few days after blowing its own 17-point lead in an ugly home loss to Tennessee, this is one of the biggest wins of the season for Kentucky. Although the Wildcats comfortably claimed the SEC title awhile ago, Kentucky is still in the mix for a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. And if Baylor continues its recent slide, and Kentucky can mount a run in the SEC tournament, this win could be a focal point.

6. DID WISCONSIN REALLY WIN A SHARE OF THE BIG TEN TITLE?

A month ago, it was easy to picture Wisconsin missing the NCAA tournament.

A blowout loss at Minnesota on Feb. 5 put the Badgers at 13-10 and a mediocre 6-6 in the Big Ten. Greg Gard’s ballclub were losers in four out of the last six games.

Even worse, off-the-court storylines overshadowed the on-court product.

Brad Davison became a national story with a low-blow against Iowa. That play resulted in a suspension. Kobe King, one of the team’s key perimeter scoring threats and a starter, shockingly transferred from the school with a month left in the season. A Wisconsin staff member resigned over the use of a racial epithet.

Wisconsin was in a major tailspin they couldn’t seem to correct. Then, something miraculous happened. Gard and the Badgers pulled it all together and rattled off eight straight Big Ten wins.

And here we stand, on March 7, with Wisconsin claiming a share of the Big Ten regular-season title with a 60-56 road win at Indiana. Down by eight with 8:52 left, the Badgers clamped down on defense and shut down the Indiana offense. Nate Reuvers paced four double-figure Wisconsin scorers with 17 points. It wasn’t flashy, but the Badgers found a way to get it done for another tough road win.

It’s part of one of the more remarkable turnarounds in college basketball this season. Wisconsin was facing as much off-court scrutiny as any team in the country. The Badgers were sluggish in the middle of a brutal Big Ten schedule.

This group rallied around each other and figured things out once King left the program. Now at a notable 16-5 since Ohio State transfer Micah Potter joined the lineup, the Badgers are one of the hottest teams in the country. And, depending on what Maryland and Michigan State do on Sunday, Wisconsin still has an outside chance at being outright Big Ten champs.

Who could have possibly seen this coming?

7. JONAH MATHEWS ENDED UCLA’S DREAM OF A PAC-12 TITLE

UCLA has finally taken the lead at USC thanks to a pair of Cody Riley free throws when Mathews, on his senior night, did this:

Thanks to Oregon’s win over Stanford on Saturday night, the Bruins dream of winning at least a share of the Pac-12 regular season title died a quick death.

8. FLORIDA STATE WON THE ACC, BUT DUKE AND VIRGINIA IMPRESSED

Duke looked as good as they have in a long time in a win over rival North Carolina on Saturday night, and Virginia won for the 10th time in their last 11 games by beating Louisville at home, but none of that mattered.

No. 7 Florida State blew out Boston College at home on Saturday, earning themselves the outright ACC regular season title, the first time they have won a regular season title since 1989. As hard as it may be to believe, Florida State, Miami, Virginia (four times) and North Carolina (five times) have won regular season ACC titles since the last time Duke won one.

9. RUTGERS IS DANCING

The biggest bubble news of the day came in West Lafayette, Indiana, when Rutgers knocked off Purdue in overtime. The Scarlet Knights got a road win they desperately needed, and it looks like they are headed for the NCAA tournament.

All of our bubble content can be found here.

10. TEXAS GETS TEXAS TECH IN A KNOCKOUT GAME IN THE BIG 12 TOURNAMENT

Texas and Texas Tech are both very much on the bubble right now. According to the latest Bracketology from our Dave Ommen, they are both sitting in a play-in game at this point.

They will play each other in the first round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday. That will be fun.

West Virginia takes down No. 4 Baylor

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Emmitt Matthews ended a long slump to give West Virginia a much-needed boost heading into the postseason.

For No. 4 Baylor, Matthews’ re-emergence came at the worst possible time.

Matthews scored a season-high 18 points, freshman Oscar Tshiebwe had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and West Virginia used a big second-half run to beat Baylor 76-64 on Saturday.

Baylor (26-4, 15-3 Big 12) went more than eight minutes without a field goal midway through the second half to take itself out of contention for the league championship. The title went to top-ranked Kansas, which beat Texas Tech 66-62 later Saturday.

“This really hurts,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “I don’t think another team in the Big 12 has lost a conference championship with 15 wins. We did what you normally would do when you win a conference championship and we don’t have anything to show for it. It sucks.”

Instead, it was West Virginia (21-10, 9-9) celebrating. The sellout crowd stormed the court after the Mountaineers’ second consecutive win and just the third in nine games.

Matthews had scored in double figures just once in his previous 20 games. A season-long starter, the 6-foot-7 sophomore entered Saturday’s play averaging 5.9 points per game and with twice as many turnovers as assists.

“This is really the work, putting in all of the time that I’ve put in,” Matthews said. “My slump was a little longer, it was a prolonged slump, something I had never seen before for myself. Things are clicking at the right time.”

RELATEDBubble Watch | Bracketology | Conference Tournaments

West Virginia looked as if it were headed for more disappointment against a ranked team when Matthews’ dunk attempt was blocked and Baylor’s Devonte Bandoo made a basket at the other end to put the Bears ahead 37-30 with 13:40 remaining. But Matthews kept going to the rim, dunking twice to ignite the crowd and his teammates.

“I just wanted to make the right plays. That’s all it was,” Matthews said. “I haven’t been dunking the ball lately, and I miss dunking on people. I want to get back to that, from here on to the national championship.”

Tshiebwe and Jermaine Haley scored six points apiece during the decisive 21-5 burst that put West Virginia ahead 57-46 with 3:02 remaining.

Baylor got 3-pointers from Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell to give the Bears some hope. But West Virginia, the league’s worst free-throw shooting team, made 16 of 19 from the line over the final two minutes to seal it.

Miles McBride added 12 points for West Virginia and Sean McNeal scored 11. Butler led Baylor with 21 points and Mitchell added 15.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said he hadn’t been as tough on his players this season as he normally would be because he likes this group so much. That changed in practice on Thursday and Huggins saw positive results from the Big 12’s youngest team.

“We had two of the best practices we’ve had in a very, very long time,” Huggins said. “They were enthusiastic. They had bounce in their step.”

That energy transferred to Saturday’s game. Just not right away.

West Virginia missed its first eight shots, and Huggins ripped into his players during an early timeout. The Mountaineers responded with a 19-2 run, with Matthews scoring eight. to put West Virginia ahead 19-11.

The momentum quickly changed after a Baylor player stepped on the end line retrieving an errant pass at the opposite end of the court outside of the referees’ view. With the sellout crowd screaming in protest, MaCio Teague then made a three-point play and another basket 40 seconds later to pull the Bears to within 24-22 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: Despite losing three of their last five games, the Bears finished with their best regular-season record in school history. Against the Mountaineers, Baylor was outrebounded 42-28, got into foul trouble and was outscored 24-10 at the line.

“From this game, we’ve seen some weaknesses that we have,” said Baylor’s Mark Vital. “They exposed them, Coach Drew will fix them for us. We’ll get back on the run.”

West Virginia: The Mountaineers will take some momentum into the league tournament after going 3-6 in February.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Baylor could fall out of the top five in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time in 10 weeks. West Virginia could re-enter the rankings after dropping out this past week.

SENIOR PROPOSAL

A pregame ceremony marked the final home game for West Virginia seniors Haley, Chase Harler and Logan Routt. Harler then got down on his knee on the court and asked his girlfriend, Lindsey Baker, to marry him. She said yes.

UP NEXT

The league tournament starts Wednesday in Kansas City.

Top of AP poll steady as Baylor, Kansas set collision course

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A new college basketball AP Poll has been released, and Baylor and Kansas just keep winning, setting up a monumental showdown Saturday between the top-ranked Bears and No. 3 Jayhawks that could help decide not only the Big 12 title but the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.

The two teams were separated once again by Gonzaga in the latest college basketball poll from The Associated Press on Monday. The Bears (23-1) had 48 first-place votes from the 63-member media panel, while the Bulldogs (26-1) had 14 first-place nods and the Jayhawks (22-3) had the only remaining first-place vote.

Dave Ommen’s latest bracketology can be found here. Rob Dauster’s Bubble Watch can be found here. The full NET rankings can be found here.

“The best we could be right now is being the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. We’re No. 2,” said Kansas coach Bill Self, whose team beat West Virginia and Oklahoma last week. “The reason we’re not No. 1 is Baylor beat us on our home floor. They deserve it. I’m not looking at it like we haven’t done as well as our record because we’re in second place. I’m looking at it like we played pretty good that day and got beat by a better team, and now we have a chance to get them back.”

The Bears and Jayhawks both have business to handle before they collide on Saturday, though. Kansas got a visit from Iowa State to Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night while Baylor will be visiting Oklahoma on Tuesday night.

If both win, it would set up one of the biggest games in the history of the Ferrell Center.

“I think it’s a tribute to the players, their belief,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “We’ve been operating under joy … (and) focusing one game at a time and we’ll keep doing that.”

San Diego State (26-0) remained the nation’s last unbeaten team and was No. 4 in the latest poll, while Dayton (23-2) climbed one spot to fifth after wins over Rhode Island and Massachusetts and a rough week for then-No. 5 Louisville.

“I told our team, `Let’s get greedy. Let’s play for perfection,”‘ Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher said. “If we’re this close, we might as well play for a perfect regular season. … Let’s do something special.”

That’s exactly what the Flyers are trying to do, too.

“We’re trying to win a national championship,” Dayton guard Jalen Crutcher said. “We feel like that there’s no team in the country we can’t beat. We feel like we can go and win a national championship, and we talk about that a lot.”

The Cardinals lost to Georgia Tech and Clemson to plummet all the way to No. 11, but they weren’t the only ranked team to lose to an unranked foe on Saturday. Auburn fell at Missouri, Seton Hall lost to Providence, Butler lost at Georgetown, Illinois lost at Rutgers, Houston fell at SMU, Texas Tech fell at Oklahoma State and LSU was beaten on the road by Alabama.

Throw in then-No. 14 West Virginia’s loss to Baylor and nine ranked teams were beaten. Eight lost to unranked opponents, the most in a single day this season.

“This week wasn’t a good week for us,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “The teams we’re playing are too together and we’re not right now. It’s unfortunate, but it happens sometimes and my job is to keep our team on course and get better.”

The Penn State Nittany Lions moved up into the No. 9 spot, tying the school’s highest ranking ever in the AP Poll era.

Here is the full college basketball AP Poll:

1. Baylor
2. Gonzaga
3. Kansas
4. San Diego State
5. Dayton
6. Duke
7. Maryland
8. Florida State
9. Penn State
10. Kentucky
11. Louisville
12. Villanova
13. Auburn
14. Oregon
15. Creighton
16. Seton Hall
17. West Virginia
18. Colorado
19. Marquette
20. Iowa
21. Butler
22. Houston
23. BYU
24. Arizona
25. Ohio State

Others receiving votes: Texas Tech 92, Michigan State 87, Michigan 83, LSU 55, Rhode Island 39, Virginia 32, Cincinnati 14, Stephen F. Austin 14, Illinois 12, Northern Iowa 9, Utah State 8, Rutgers 6, Florida 6, East Tennessee State 5, Saint Mary’s 4, Tulsa 3, Richmond 3, SMU 2, New Mexico State 2, Wright State 1, Arizona State 1

More AP college basketball: http://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Wednesday’s Things to Know: Texas Tech’s huge win; Markus Howard exits Marquette’s win; Baylor, San Diego State roll

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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.

Ten Things to Know: Long road losing streaks end during wild day of college hoops

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College basketball was all about big road wins.

The Big 12 and ACC saw two huge road losing streaks end. The rest of the day saw some upsets along with an injury to keep tabs on.

BAYLOR GOT ITS FIRST-EVER WIN IN PHOG ALLEN FIELDHOUSE

Everything you need to know about the biggest game of the day can be found right here.

CLEMSON GOT ITS FIRST-EVER WIN (IN 60 TRIES!) IN CHAPEL HILL

Clemson basketball kicked off a big sports weekend for the school. The Tigers snapped their 0-59 mark in Chapel Hill with a 79-76 double-overtime win over North Carolina.

Brad Brownell’s team celebrated in euphoric fashion.

This isn’t your typical ACC road win. It was one of the premier streaks in college basketball. Clemson and North Carolina first played men’s basketball during the 1925-26 season. Both programs are founding members of the ACC.

Same conference.

Since 1953.

So for the Tigers to FINALLY earn a win in Chapel Hill, even if North Carolina happens to be down right now, is a monumental accomplishment.

For North Carolina, the recent freefall continues. The Tar Heels have lost three straight and dropped to 1-4 in ACC play. Following the loss, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams made some emotional remarks blaming himself.

Even though North Carolina is well outside of the top 25, they remain one of the most compelling teams in college hoops.

WEST VIRGINIA SHUTS DOWN TEXAS TECH

Things weren’t particularly pretty in Morgantown on Saturday night. Using seemingly its whole roster to wear down the Red Raiders, West Virginia earned an impressive Big 12 home win.

Despite only making three shots from three-point range on the night, West Virginia held a comfortable advantage thanks to one of the nation’s best defenses. The Mountaineers held Texas Tech to 28 percent shooting. The Red Raiders simply had no answer for the swarm of West Virginia defenders.

While West Virginia has continued to climb up the national rankings with an underrated array of quad one wins, this is one of the program’s best wins this season. The Mountaineers are surely a contender in the Big 12. The major question becomes if they are more than just a conference title contender. And more of a potential national title contender.

NICK RICHARDS IS THE KEY TO KENTUCKY’S SEASON

Over the course of the last four games, No. 14 Kentucky has asserted themselves as one of the best teams in college basketball once again. They’ve knocked off Louisville, Missouri, Georgia and Alabama during that run, and it should come as no coincidence that the best stretch of Kentucky’s season has come at the same time that Nick Richards has played the best basketball of his career.

In those four games, Richards is averaging 16.0 points, 10.0 boards and 2.5 blocks, but more importantly, he’s staying on the floor for more than 29 minutes per game. He’s starting to figure things out, and that, in turn, has helped build his confidence, his belief in himself.

“You can’t coach a kid’s confidence,” a source close to Kentucky said. “He needs to build it himself.”

He’s posting harder, he’s demanding the ball, he’s doing all of the things that Kentucky has been waiting for him to two do two-and-a-half years. And it hasn’t only helped Richards, the guards that feed him the rock have confidence in him as well. If you’re a point guard and you know Richards doesn’t want the ball, are you going to give him a post touch? Are you going to throw a post entry when you don’t think anything good will happen?

Saturday proved my point.

In the first half against Alabama, Richards had 11 points, six boards and four blocks, and Kentucky went into the break with a 45-35 lead. He finished with just two points in the second half, and Alabama cut the lead to one in the final two minutes.

OHIO STATE HAS NOW LOST FOUR STRAIGHT GAMES

The 12th-ranked Buckeyes dropped to 11-5 on the season and 1-4 in the Big Ten after losing their fourth straight game on Saturday, 66-54, to Indiana.

During that four game losing streak, Ohio State has shot 28-for-97 from three, a cool 28.9 percent. Prior to the start of this losing streak, after they beat Kentucky in Las Vegas and when they were sitting at No. 1 in KenPom and splitting votes with Gonzaga for No. 1 in the AP poll, the Buckeyes were shooting 41.5 percent from three as a team.

The reason why they are struggling from beyond the arc is a bigger question. Part of it is just regression — water eventually finds itself — and part of it is that as D.J. Carton has struggled, who had seven turnovers on Saturday, Ohio State’s offense has struggled. They don’t have the individual playmakers to create offense for themselves, and if Carton (and C.J. Walker) are struggling to create easy shots for their teammates, Ohio State becomes really limited offensively.

Oh, and should I mention that Ohio State’s second-leading scorer, Duane Washington, didn’t take a single shot and was benched for the final 30 minutes. He’s either hurt or Chris Holtmann is fed up with his defensive lapses.

Either way, what was clicking for the first month of the season is clearly no longer working.

AUBURN AND SAN DIEGO STATE ARE STILL UNDEFEATED

The No. 5 Tigers cruised past Georgia at home, winning 82-60, while the No. 7 Aztecs took care of business against Boise State at home, 83-65.

Auburn’s biggest tests of the season to date will come next week, as they travel to take on Alabama and Florida. SDSU heads to Fresno State on Tuesday and then will host Nevada next weekend.

OBI TOPPIN ROLLED HIS ANKLE

The star big man for No. 15 Dayton stepped on someone’s foot early in the second half of an 88-60 win over UMass and had to leave the game. He ended up leaving the game and returning to his team’s bench with a boot on his left foot.

Toppin told reporters after the game that, “it’s good.” Head coach Anthony Grant, speaking in his press conference after the game, said that he thought it was a sprained ankle and that the team would know more in the next 24 hours, but he did not sound overly concerned.

VIRGINIA DROPS SECOND STRAIGHT TO UNRANKED OPPONENT

It’s looking like defending national champion Virginia will fall out of the top 25 next week. A second consecutive loss to an unranked team on Saturday likely sealed the Cavaliers’ new fate.

After falling on the road at Boston College last game, Virginia fell to Syracuse at home.  The Orange earned an unlikely overtime win while also avenging its season-opening home loss to the ‘Hoos.

Hitting some massive three-pointers once overtime started, the Orange played completely free and with a lot of confidence once the extra session started. It also pointed to a continuing glaring issue Virginia has faced. Who is this team’s go-to player when they need a bucket?

Things don’t get easier for Virginia when they head on the road to Florida State next game. With three of their next four coming on the road, the Cavaliers have some work to do to stay with the ACC’s best.

GONZAGA AND DUKE CRUISE TO VICTORY

Easy day for No. 1 and No. 2 on Saturday.

Gonzaga made quick work of Loyola Marymount. The Bulldogs won by 25 on the road.

In the ACC, Duke ran past Wake Forest. The Blue Devils were fueled by Tre Jones in a 31-point victory.

MYLES POWELL, SETON HALL OUTDUEL MARKUS HOWARD, MARQUETTE

CBT’s Preseason All-America Team featured Myles Powell and Markus Howard both on the first team.

So Saturday’s Big East clash between Seton Hall and Marquette was must-see TV. Both stars finished an identical 8-for-22 from the field as Howard dropped 27 points and Powell delivered 23 points.

Most importantly, however, was the Pirates claiming the 69-55 Big East win. Seton Hall has six straight wins since Powell returned to the lineup from a concussion. Saturday’s win gives the Pirates a leg up on the rest of the league and Powell a leg up on Howard with one matchup to go.

Not many people seem to be talking about Seton Hall. That’s a mistake. This team is playing really well over the last several weeks and look like the possible team to beat in the Big East.

No. 6 Baylor ends No. 1 UConn’s 98-game home win streak

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HARTFORD, Conn. —  Tea Cooper scored 27 points and No. 6 Baylor used a dominant fourth quarter to beat top-ranked UConn 74-58 on Thursday night, ending the Huskies’ 98-game home winning streak.

UConn fell one victory short of tying its own NCAA record of 99 in a row at home. The Huskies previous loss at home came in the Big East final against Notre Dame on March 12, 2013.

Baylor (12-1) led by three going into the fourth quarter and neither team could get much going on offense in the first few minutes of the final period. The Huskies cut the deficit to one on Christyn Williams’ jumper with 6:36 left. Then the defending national champions took over.

The Lady Bears responded with the next 15 points to put the game away. The run started on a layup by Lauren Cox and two baskets by Nalyssa Smith. Smith finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

UConn (12-1) didn’t score a basket after Williams’ jumper until Crystal Dangerfield hit a 3-pointer in the final minute and the game decided.

Christyn Williams scored 21 points to lead the Huskies.

This was UConn’s first real test of the season. Since 2007, the Huskies (12-1) have played at least one team ranked in the top five before the New Year. This season the only ranked opponent before Thursday that UConn has faced was then-No. 16 DePaul.

While UConn hadn’t been tested this season until this game, Baylor suffered its only loss of the season in the Paradise Jam Tournament over Thanksgiving to then-No. 5 South Carolina.

Baylor was up 33-25 late in the second quarter when UConn coach Geno Auriemma called a timeout. The Huskies responded by scoring the next nine points before Baylor hit the last basket before the half to take a 35-34 lead into the break.

The Lady Bears extended that lead to 55-52 after three quarters. The Huskies had a chance to make it a one-point game, but Walker missed a layup with a few seconds left. Auriemma slammed the scorers table with both hands in disgust after she missed it.

STREAK BUSTERS: This wasn’t the first time that Baylor ended one of UConn’s streaks. The Lady Bears topped UConn last season, ending the Huskies’ 126-game regular season wining streak.

BUSY MONTH: UConn has three more games against ranked teams coming up over the next few weeks with No. 23 Tennessee coming to Connecticut on Jan. 23 in the first matchup of the former rivals since 2007. The Huskies then face No. 2 Oregon on Feb. 3 and fourth-ranked South Carolina on Feb. 10.

TIP-INS:

The Lady Bears also beat UConn last season when the Huskies were ranked No. 1. The two victories are Baylor’s only wins over a No. 1 team. … These two teams are 1-2 in victories since 2010-11, with UConn going 339-18 and Baylor 324-24. … UConn will be ranked in the poll this upcoming Monday for the 500th consecutive week. … A host of WNBA coaches and GMs were in attendance checking out Cox, Crystal Dangerfield, Cooper and Juicy Landrum.. … Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont sat behind the UConn bench. … Caitlin Bickle played her first action for Baylor in over a month after she had surgery to repair a partial tear in her right meniscus. … UConn’s 99-game home winning streak ended against St. John’s on Feb. 19, 2012.

UP NEXT:

Baylor: Hosts Oklahoma State on Sunday

UConn: Hosts Houston on Saturday.