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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.

Waters, Smart lead No. 19 LSU over Georgia, 83-79

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ATHENS, Ga. — Tremont Waters scored 20 points, Ja’vonte Smart added 19 and No. 19 LSU won its fourth straight game, holding off Georgia for an 83-79 victory Saturday night.

The Tigers (21-4, 11-1 Southeastern Conference) are off to their best start in league play since the 1981 Final Four team was 11-0. They never trailed after Smart’s 3-pointer midway through the second half, but Georgia stayed close and didn’t allow LSU to lead by more than eight the rest of the way.

LSU was down six midway through the first half, but went on a 17-2 run to take a 31-22 lead on Skylar Mays’ layup. Georgia remained in the game, thanks in part to a sixth straight sellout crowd at Stegeman Coliseum making it tough on the Tigers.

Nicolas Claxton finished with 17 points and Rayshaun Hammonds had 13 for Georgia (10-15, 1-11). The Bulldogs have lost six straight in their first season under coach Tom Crean.

TIP-INS

LSU: The Tigers keep finding ways to win on the road. They sneaked out of Rupp Arena this week with an upset victory on Kavel Bigby-Williams’ last-second tip-in against Kentucky, and they’ve won three times in overtime. It’s a big turnaround after LSU lost its final seven SEC road games last season and dropped nine in a row away from Baton Rouge before starting league play this year. The Tigers are 7-0 on the road in the SEC for the first time since 1981.

Georgia: In 24 SEC halves played this season, the Bulldogs have been outscored 20 times. … Crean went with a three-guard starting lineup, sitting forward Derek Ogbeide and guard Teshaun Hightower in favor of Turtle Jackson, Jordan Harris and walk-on redshirt senior Christian Harrison. … The Bulldogs have struggled all season off the dribble and in giving help, so Crean mostly used a 2/3 zone in hopes to jump-starting the defense. It didn’t help much as LSU, the SEC’s best free-throw shooting team, still made it to the rim to draw fouls and score 18 points from the foul line.

Bracketology: Happy Valentine’s Day for Duke, LSU

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Since it’s Valentine’s Day, we’ll sweep the epic crumbles of futility – otherwise known as this year’s bubble – under the proverbial rug and try not to look.

Instead, we’ll send Happy Heart greetings to the Duke Blue Devils and LSU Tigers, both of whom celebrated huge road wins in the Commonwealth on Tuesday. ¬†For their efforts, Duke remains the No. 1 overall seed in today’s bracket. ¬†LSU rises to No. 12 on the seed list, good for the final No. 3 seed.

As for those crumbles, today’s cutline decisions included serious consideration for teams like Oklahoma, Indiana, Butler, and Florida, all of whom have significant resume issues. There are no clear answers, especially with regards to how the Selection Committee will use the NCAA’s new NET ratings. ¬†The good news for those four, and others, is we still have games to play.

BRACKET UPDATE: February 14, 2019

FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
WEST REGION Clemson vs. Arizona State
MIDWEST REGION UNC Greensboro vs. Utah State
EAST REGION Norfolk State vs. Quinnipiac
MIDWEST REGION Robert Morris vs. Prairie View

EAST¬†Washington, DC ¬† SOUTH¬†–¬†Louisville ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†
Columbia Columbia
1) DUKE 1) TENNESSEE
16) QUINNIPIAC / NORFOLK ST 16) BUCKNELL
8) BUFFALO 8) Baylor
9) Alabama 9) Syracuse
San Jose Salt Lake City
5) Wisconsin 5) KANSAS STATE
12) LIPSCOMB 12) BELMONT
4) Iowa State 4) VILLANOVA
13) VERMONT 13) OLD DOMINION
Des Moines Tulsa
6) Florida State 6) Maryland
11) UCF 11) Texas
3) Marquette 3) HOUSTON
14) YALE 14) UC-IRVINE
Hartford Jacksonville
7) Mississippi State 7) Ohio State
10) NC State 10) Seton Hall
2) Michigan 2) North Carolina
15) LOYOLA-CHICAGO 15) RADFORD
WEST – Anaheim MIDWEST –¬†Kansas City
Salt Lake City Hartford
1) GONZAGA 1) Virginia
16) SAM HOUSTON 16) ROB MORRIS / PR VIEW
8)¬†St. John’s 8)¬†WASHINGTON
9) Auburn 9) TCU
San Jose Des Moines
5) Louisville 5) Texas Tech
12) Clemson / Arizona State 12) NC-Greensboro / Utah State
4) NEVADA 4) Purdue
13) NEW MEXICO ST 13) HOFSTRA
Jacksonville Tulsa
6) Virginia Tech 6) Iowa
11) Temple 11) VCU
3) LSU 3) Kansas
14) NORTHERN KENTUCKY 14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Columbus Columbus
7) Ole Miss 7) Cincinnati
10) WOFFORD 10) Minnesota
2) MICHIGAN STATE 2) Kentucky
15) MONTANA 15) TEXAS STATE

BUBBLE NOTES
Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN      First 4 OUT Next 4 OUT
Minnesota Clemson Oklahoma Arkansas
Texas Arizona State Indiana Georgetown
UCF UNC-Greensboro Butler Fresno State
Temple Utah State Florida Davidson

TOP SEED LINE: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Tennessee, Virginia, and Gonzaga

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): DUKE, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, NC State, Clemson

Big 10 (8): MICHIGAN STATE, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio State, Minnesota

BIG 12 (7): KANSAS STATE, Kansas, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Texas

SEC (7): TENNESSEE, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama

Big East (4): VILLANOVA, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall

American (4): HOUSTON, Cincinnati, UCF, Temple

Pac 12 (2): WASHINGTON, Arizona State

Mountain West (2): NEVADA, Utah State

Southern (2): WOFFORD, UNC-Greensboro

Atlantic 10 (1): VCU

Mid American (1): BUFFALO

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Quinnipiac (MAAC), Old Dominion (C-USA), Texas State (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Northern Kentucky (HORIZON), Sam Houston (SLND), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Lipscomb (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), Radford (BSO), Norfolk State (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Robert Morris (NEC), Prairie View (SWAC)

Tuesday’s replay fiascos must result in changes in how we use the monitor

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The insanity that was Tuesday night in the state of Kentucky was a perfect encapsulation of why the NCAA rulebook can be ridiculous at times.

It started with No. 5 Kentucky losing at home to No. 19 LSU in a game that ended in controversy. With the score tied on the final possession of the game, LSU took the ball the length of the court, Skylar Mays missed a runner that would have won the game, but Kavell Bigby-Williams was there for a tip-in at the buzzer.

The only problem?

That tip in clearly was basket interference. It wasn’t even close:

The officials went to the monitor to review whether or not the tip came before the buzzer, and while reviewing the play, they no doubt saw that the call was objectively wrong:

As you can see, the ball is still clearly in the cylinder when Bigby-Williams touched it, but since the rules state that basket interference is not a reviewable play, the bucket counted.

Instead of going into overtime, LSU wins and Kentucky loses, all because a call that can definitively be determined on review is not allowed to be reviewed.

Just two hours later, No. 2 Duke found a way to win on a similar technicality. With less than 20 seconds left on the clock, Cam Reddish drives the lane, is out of control and goes barreling into Ryan McMahon. It’s the easiest charge call that official has ever had to make, proof being that Mike Krzyzewski didn’t even bother to argue whether or not the official made the right call:

What Coach K argued, and correctly so, is that McMahon’s left heel was in the charge circle.

The officials went to the monitor, reviewed the call, saw this picture and overturned the ruling:

Reddish made both of his free throws, Louisville couldn’t find a way to get a good look at the rim at the other end and the result was the biggest second half comeback in Coach K’s career.

That’s just a brutal way for Louisville to lose a game, but the right call was made. McMahon is very clearly in the restricted area. The officials went to the monitor and made the correct call. But at the same time, this is a ridiculous way for Kentucky to lose.

What is the difference between what we can see on replay in the Kentucky-LSU game and the Duke-Louisville game?

Truth be told, there is no difference, and the way that these events played out last night should change the way that the end of college basketball games work. There’s absolutely no reason to have the ability to go back, look at the monitor, see that the call that was made was clearly incorrect and then not be allowed to change the call.

I would be hesitant to say that referees should be able to review any call in the final minute because it becomes a slippery slope. Are we going to review every foul call in the final minute, too? If everything is reviewable, as some people have suggested, are we going to go to the monitor because a coach is trying to get a basket waived off by arguing that a screen that was set earlier in the possession was, by the letter of the law, an illegal screen?

But basket interference?

Yeah, we need to get this one right.

And it wouldn’t be the first time that a bad call going against Kentucky has resulted in a rule change. We can now review whether or not a shot beat the shot block in large part due to this basket that was scored by Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes in the 2015 Final Four, a call that helped cost Coach Cal an undefeated season.

“We‚Äôre like Wilt Chamberlain,” Cal said last night after the game. “We change rules.”

Tuesday’s Things To Know: Duke’s incredible comeback; LSU stuns Kentucky; Penn State upsets Michigan

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It was a wild night full of action in college hoops on Tuesday as the schedule had four matchups between ranked teams. The results didn’t disappoint as we saw a memorable comeback from a top-five team while another top-five team lost at home at the buzzer. And that doesn’t even include two more matchups and an additional top-ten team getting picked off by an unranked conference opponent.

No. 2 Duke earns incredible comeback win over No. 16 Louisville

In the largest second-half comeback win of Coach K’s storied career at Duke, the Blue Devils overcame a 23-point halftime deficit to beat Louisville for an ACC win. Left for dead, Duke started to ramp things up on the defensive end as full-court pressure led to Louisville turnovers and easy buckets.

Freshman Zion Williamson had 27 points, 12 rebounds and three steals while Cam Reddish made multiple huge shots late to step up with 22 points. This win will give Duke a lot of confidence in the national title journey as they were able to overcome a significant disadvantage to come back and win against a top-20 team on the road.

No. 19 LSU stuns No. 5 Kentucky with buzzer-beating win at Rupp

Earlier in the night, the SEC saw a great comeback road win of their own as the Tigers clawed back to take down Kentucky. Even though LSU’s stars struggled for much of this game, the Tigers put together a gritty performance to help them secure their biggest win of this season.

Although LSU isn’t getting a lot of love from national college hoops pundits, they’re only a game back of Tennessee in the SEC standings as the Tigers are unbeaten on the road in conference play. Also 6-2 against both Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2 teams, LSU is looking like one of the most intriguing teams in the country down the stretch thanks to a young and emerging lineup.

Penn State upsets No. 6 Michigan as John Beilein gets tossed

In the most shocking upset of the night, Penn State — 1-11 in the Big Ten entering this one — pulled off a win over the Wolverines. Building a double-digit first-half lead against a subpar Michigan team, the Nittany Lions were aided when Wolverines head coach John Beilein received a double technical right before halftime and was ejected.

The moment allowed for a 13-point lead to grow into a 16-point lead out of halftime for Penn State as Michigan could never overcome despite a late charge. The Nittany Lions had a double-double from Lamar Stevens (26 points, 12 rebounds) to earn their best win of the campaign. The loss puts Michigan tied with Michigan State atop the Big Ten standings as the Wolverines need to figure things out before their Big Ten schedule gets much tougher from here.

No. 11 Michigan State, No. 24 Maryland beat ranked Big Ten foes

It’s tough to match the excitement of the first three matchups on this list, but the Spartans and Terps both earned notable wins in the Big Ten over fellow top-25 opponents.

To start the night, Maryland clamped down on defense and received a balanced effort with five double-figure scorers to outlast No. 12 Purdue. While the Boilermakers had the edge with an eight-point halftime lead, that was quickly erased when Purdue was held to 18 second-half points as everybody outside of Carsen Edwards (24 points). Impressive comeback for Maryland in this one as freshmen like Jalen Smith (16 points) and Eric Ayala (15 points) were huge difference-makers down the stretch.

In the second Big Ten ranked matchup, the Spartans pulled even with in-state rival Michigan for the Big Ten lead with a good road win at No. 20 Wisconsin. In a matchup of Big Ten Player of the Year candidate, Spartans point guard Cassius Winston (23 points, six assists, five rebounds) got the best of Badgers forward Ethan Happ (20 points, 12 rebounds).¬†Happ struggled with six turnovers and 0-for-6 free-throw shooting and he didn’t receive much help either as Wisconsin drops two games back in conference play.

No. 19 LSU stuns No. 5 Kentucky on buzzer-beating tip

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A buzzer-beating tip propelled LSU to a stunning SEC road win at Rupp Arena as the Tigers knocked off Kentucky, 73-71, on Tuesday night.

Senior big man Kavell Bigby-Williams tipped in a Skylar Mays miss for the final LSU bucket as referees reviewed the play and determined it was good (basket interference is not reviewable, but it wasn’t necessary either way). The decision led to an uproar from Big Blue Nation, but ultimately it was correct to score this a bucket. Even if refs missed the initial goaltending on Kentucky that they should have called in the first place.

The win means LSU remains only one loss behind No. 1 Tennessee in the SEC standings as the Tigers have been one of the hottest teams in the country. Winners of 13 of their last 14 games, LSU is unbeaten on the road in SEC play as they’ve quietly amassed a credible amount of solid victories.

The Tigers didn’t find themselves in the NCAA’s early top-16 projection over the weekend. They only rated as No. 5 seed in our latest CBT Bracketology from Dave Ommen¬†from this weekend. After a road win at Kentucky, it might be time to start taking LSU more seriously in the SEC, and national, landscape.

Pulling out a massive road win is one thing. But LSU is a young team that needed to grind this win out until the very last tip-in to secure its most important win of the season. Up to this point, head coach Will Wade has built a top-25 program, mostly on-paper, based on strong recruiting classes and returning players. Tuesday’s win is tangible proof that LSU isn’t just a roster of McDonald’s All-Americans who need seasoning. The Tigers are ready to compete with any team in the country this season.

On a night where star sophomore point guard Tremont Waters (15 points, five assists) and Mays (11 points) each went only 3-for-13 from the field and freshman big man Naz Reid (12 points, seven rebounds) struggled with foul trouble and consistency, LSU still fought back when they were down in the second half. Javonte Smart struggled to a 2-for-7 shooting night. The Tigers were only 28 percent (6-for-21) from three-point range.

Part of LSU’s comeback was the strong play of freshman forward Emmitt Williams as his relentless energy led to him finishing 5-for-5 from the field for 12 points, six rebound and two blocks. With Reid in foul trouble, the Tigers were able to still limit Kentucky’s deep and talented frontcourt group despite not having a full assortment of weapons. It speaks to the depth that Wade has built through recruiting while also to his coaching staff guiding a young team to this point in the season.

With a 6-2 record in both quadrant 1 and quadrant 2 scenarios, LSU’s NCAA tournament credibility is quickly on the rise. And at 10-1 in SEC play, they’re right on the heels of Tennessee. The schedule is also favorable for the Tigers down the stretch as the road game at Tennessee is the only scheduled game against a major opponent.

But the most fun thing about LSU in all of this is the ceiling this team possesses the final few months of the season. If LSU can manage a road win at Rupp Arena during an off-night from four key players, then what is this team capable of when multiple guys are playing at their best?