Here is the latest NCAA tournament bracketology projection.
It’s been a while since we could say this: All four No. 1 seeds remained in place between bracket updates: Baylor, Gonzaga, Kansas and San Diego State.
Elsewhere, more than a handful of teams still have significant resume questions. And several current bubble teams have important showdowns this weekend – including key matchups in the Big 12 / SEC Challenge.
On a closing note … remember that the Selection Committee evaluates a team’s entire profile, from beginning to end. How a team performed in its last ten games is no longer an official criteria (although each Committee member may have his or her own perspective on its importance). So while Ohio State and Michigan, as examples, have both struggled of late, each team’s early wins remain relevant considerations with regard to team sheet evaluation.
The latest look at where our NCAA tournament bracketology projection stands …
UPDATED: January 24, 2020
FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
Oklahoma vs. VCU
Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
PR VIEW AM vs. NORFOLK ST
MONMOUTH vs. ROBERT MORRIS
SOUTH – Houston
WEST – Los Angeles
16) PV-AM / NORFOLK ST
16) MONMOUTH / ROB MORRIS
8) Wichita State
12) EAST TENNESSEE ST
13) S.F. AUSTIN
13) NEW MEXICO ST
11) Virginia Tech
11) NC State
3) West Virginia
14) LITTLE ROCK
2) Florida State
15) AUSTIN PEAY
EAST – New York
MIDWEST – Indianapolis
1) SAN DIEGO STATE
9) Ohio State
5) Penn State
13) NORTH TEXAS
11) Oklahoma / VCU
11) Minnesota / Texas Tech
14) WRIGHT STATE
10) Saint Mary’s
2) SETON HALL
2) MICHIGAN STATE
15) WILLIAM & MARY
15) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Last 4 Byes
Last 4 IN
First 4 OUT
Next 4 OUT
Top Seed Line
Baylor, Gonzaga, Kansas, San Diego State Seed List
Breakdown by Conference … Big Ten (11) Big East (6) ACC (5) SEC (5) Big 12 (5) Pac 12 (5) American (3) West Coast (3) Atlantic 10 (2) Mountain West (1)
College Basketball Top 25 Power Rankings: Baylor and Gonzaga lead the way
Baylor is not the No. 1 team in my poll, and I suspect that they are going to be the No. 1 team in the country when the AP poll is released on Monday morning. The only reason they weren’t No. 1 last week is because four people (like me) had Duke at No. 1, stealing votes from the Bears. That … did not go well, so here we are.
I also want to talk through something else: Last week, I wrote extensively about why I think that it’s foolish to allow the result of one possession games to have a significant impact on the way that you view a team. One shot in a 70 possession game that is just one of more than 30 games that will be played this season is insignificant when determining the quality of a team, and I truly believe that.
But I also think it is important to consider how and why teams are winning close games, not just games that are one-possession games.
So let’s use Duke and Baylor for this example once again.
One thing that the Bears have proven over and over this season — at Texas Tech, at Kansas, at Oklahoma State — is the ability to close out a tough game, particularly on the road. That’s because they have a number of players on the roster that are capable of taking and making clutch shots. Against Tech, it was Jared Butler. Against Oklahoma State, it was Devonte Bandoo. The Bears may not look as good in the metrics because they haven’t obliterated the mediocre teams they have played, but they are 15-1 because they come through in the clutch.
Now, some of that may eventually regress. I believe in the clutch gene because I think life — not just sports, but everything every human being does — is confidence. Baylor has confidence in clutch situations, as much as anyone in the country. They do not get rattled by the moment, and they have a number of different options they can go to down the stretch.
Duke, on the other hand, does not. Their three losses this season have all been close games where the Blue Devils have struggled to find an outlet for offense in the final minutes. Maybe that will come with more experience — Duke is loaded with freshmen, Baylor is as old as anyone in the country — but as it stands, that’s the difference between these two teams.
The other thing that I want to discuss in this space is where I have San Diego State and Dayton ranked in the college basketball top 25. They are currently sitting and eighth and ninth in my poll, exactly where they have been for a couple of weeks now. And that is where they are going to stay for the foreseeable future.
The reasoning for me is simple: I don’t want to fall into the trap where I’m bumping a team up in the rankings simply because they keep winning in a league that is not as tough as the leagues where the rest of the teams in consideration for the top ten are playing, and losing.
I’m sure there are going to be people in San Diego and Dayton that call me a hater for this, and that’s fine. Maybe I am being a hater.
But the truth is this: I love both of these teams. SDSU is so tough defensively and Malachi Flynn has proven himself to be a flat-out winner at the point, while Dayton runs a pro-style, aesthetically-pleasing offense heavy on three-balls and Obi Toppin.
I just don’t believe they are one of the top six or seven teams in the country, and beating the likes of Nevada and Saint Louis is not going to change my mind.
Anyway, here is the rest of the NBC Sports college basketball top 25.
2. NO. 4 AUBURN LOST THEIR SECOND GAME THIS WEEK, TOO
Auburn entered this seek as one of just two undefeated teams left in college basketball, but there were question marks.
The Tigers don’t have a single win over a team ranked in the top 40 on KenPom. They have only played three Quad 1 games this season. Their only Quad 1 win is barely a Quad 1 win: It came at Mississippi State, who currently ranks 70th in the NET; the cutoff for Quad 1 road wins is top 75.
The other two Quad 1 games that Auburn has played this season?
They were both this week.
And they were both ugly losses.
On Tuesday, it was Alabama that ran over Auburn in the basketball version of the Iron Bowl, 83-64. On Saturday, it was Florida doing the damage, as they held Auburn to 25.5 percent shooting from the field, 4-for-23 shooting from three (17.4%) and to just a single point during an eight-minute stretch late in the second half that saw the Gators push their lead from 47-43 to 69-44. They won 69-47.
Suddenly, those concerns look prescient.
The truth is this: Auburn is dangerous. They are a team that can make a lot of threes, that can force turnovers and play in transition and has the ability to play big (with Austin Wiley) or small (without Austin Wiley). They have a lottery pick in Isaac Okoro and they have a couple of guards on their roster capable of taking games over in J’Von McCormick and Samir Doughty.
But they haven’t consistently played up to the level of a top five team, and their 15-0 record was inflated by feasting on teams that are just good enough to make us believe.
Auburn is still good.
They’re just not a top five team.
3. OH, AND NO. 5 BUTLER LOST THEIR SECOND GAME THIS WEEK AS WELL!
But this game said a whole lot more about DePaul than it did about Butler.
4. PAYTON PRITCHARD REALLY WANTS TO BE NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The reason Payton Pritchard is one of the frontrunners for National Player of the Year is the fact that he is putting up terrific numbers this season for a top ten team and doing so while putting together some incredibly impressive performances in crunchtime.
Saturday might have been his statement game.
Oregon erased a 13-point second half deficit thanks in large part to Pritchard, who hit a huge three with a minute left to tie the game. In overtime, he hit a floater to give the Ducks the lead before burying this insane three to win the game with 3.2 seconds left:
No. 8 Oregon avoided going 0-2 on the Washington road trip with a 64-61 win. Pritchard finished with 22 points. The Ducks are now 3-0 in overtime games this season largely due to the fact that Pritchard is arguably the most clutch player in college basketball.
Is there anyone that you would want taking a big shot in a big game more than him?
5. BUT SO DOES MYLES POWELL
Seton Hall capped off an absolutely stellar week by going into Madison Square Garden and knocking off their biggest regional rival, St. John’s, on the road despite trailing by 13 points at the half.
That’s a big time win.
And Powell was, as you might expect, once again a big time player.
He scored 23 of his 29 points in the second half and made big shot after big shot down the stretch. This came just three days after he went for 29 points as Seton Hall erased a 10 point halftime deficit on the road against No. 5 Butler.
In fact, the Pirates are currently sitting at 6-0 in the Big East after a slow start to their season, and they already have won at DePaul, at Xavier, at Butler and at St. John’s.
And now they get three straight home games.
Kevin Willard’s club has put themselves in a great position to make a run at the 2020 Big East regular season title.
6. KENTUCKY RALLIES AFTER COACH CAL GETS TOSSED
This was awesome.
Coach Cal was ejected on Saturday in the most mild-mannered way I’ve ever seen.
He was arguing with the refs about the way they were implementing the flop rule against his team, and — I think — he was given two technicals for being out of the coach’s box and staying out of the coach’s box to curse at the refs. Look at this:
7. HOUSTON BLEW OUT WICHITA STATE TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE AMERICAN
The Houston we expected to see all season long showed up in Wichita on Saturday night.
The Cougars beat the No. 16 Shockers in their own building, 65-54, and it wasn’t really that close. Wichita State was down 49-27 at one point, allowing just one player to crack double-figures.
The Shockers lost two games this week and now sit a game off the pace in the American, behind Houston and Tulsa, who are tied for first.
8. WEST VIRGINIA SOMEHOW GAVE UP 84 POINTS TO KANSAS FREAKIN’ STATE
Kansas State entered Saturday ranked 198th in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric. James Madison, the 275th-best team in college basketball, and VMI, the 291st-best team in college basketball, ranked directly behind them. The only “high-major” players worse than Kansas State offensively this season?
Temple, South Florida, Virginia, East Carolina and Boston College.
West Virginia, on the other hand, entered Saturday ranked as the single-best defensive team in the entire sport. They were playing defense at a level that would rank among the very-best defensive teams that we have ever seen. Their four Big 12 opponents were averaging 51 points against them.
Kansas State had 42 points at halftime. They scored 84 points on the night. They won 84-68 to drop the Mountaineers two games out of first place in the Big 12 title race, because …
9. … BAYLOR ERASED A 12 POINT DEFICIT ON THE ROAD
The Bears looked like they were going to be the top five team to blow a win they should not be blowing on Saturday.
Oklahoma State threw a 2-3 zone on the Bears, doing the exact same thing that Washington did to Baylor late in the only game that they lost thus far this season, and Baylor was lost for the first half. They trailed 36-24 at one point late in the half before slotting MAtthew Mayer at the high post and thwarting all of Oklahoma State’s plans.
In the end, however, the Cowboys still had a shot to win late, but that was until Devonte Bandoo banged home three threes in the final eight minutes, including two in a one minute span after the final TV timeout, to secure a 75-68 win.
Bandoo scored 14 points off the bench. He is the fourth-best guard on this Baylor roster.
Put another way, this team is deep, they are loaded, and the guys all the way down their bench can make the shots that beat you.
10. SAN DIEGO STATE IS STILL UNDEFEATED
The Aztecs trailed at the half but ran Nevada off the court after halftime, taking home a 68-55 win.
No. 11 Butler blows 23-point lead, survives St. John’s 60-58
NEW YORK — Christian David hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 43 seconds left and No. 11 Butler rallied after blowing a 23-point lead to beat St. John’s 60-58 Tuesday night in the Big East opener for both teams.
St. John’s (11-3, 0-1) staged a 29-4 run in the second half and took a 48-46 advantage on Marcellus Earlington’s layup with 6:49 remaining.
Butler (13-1, 1-0) trailed 58-53 when Raheem Dunn hit an uncontested layup with 3:08 left, but then the Bulldogs clamped down defensively. Kamar Baldwin’s jumper made it 58-57 with 2:01 remaining, and following a series of wild sequences at the rim, Butler took the lead.
Earlington blocked Bryce Nze’s layup with 49 seconds left, but Butler retained possession when Aaron Thompson grabbed the rebound. Baldwin found David, who hit an open 3-pointer from the right corner.
Dunn missed a layup with 19 seconds remaining and LJ Figueroa missed a 3-point try with one second left.
Baldwin led Butler with 19 points and a career-high five 3-pointers. Sean McDermott and Jordan Tucker added 12 points apiece as Butler shot 40% and overcame 24 turnovers.
Nick Rutherford led St. John’s with 15 points and Dunn added 12 as the Red Storm shot 34.5% and missed 18 of 22 3-point attempts, including their first 11 tries.
Butler: Butler continued to be stout defensively, using an aggressive defense that held another opponent under 60 points. The Bulldogs have held 10 of their first 14 opponents under 60 points.
St. John’s: It was a tough night for leading scorer Figueroa, who picked up his fourth foul early in the second half and sat for most of the Red Storm’s comeback. He went scoreless in 13 minutes.
Butler hosts Creighton in its first Big East home game Saturday.
St. John’s visits Xavier on Sunday, which lost at Villanova in its conference opener.
Monday’s Overreactions: St. John’s, McKinley Wright and why Kentucky and Arizona are overrated
It’s probably not a coincidence that, in the first game that the Buffaloes played where they legitimately looked like a team that could contend for the Pac-12 title, McKinley Wright was the best player on the floor.
In what will likely go down as the biggest game of Colorado’s non-conference slate, Wright finished with 29 points and 10 boards to lead the Buffaloes past No. 13 Dayton in overtime. Colorado desperately needed that win, too. Entering Saturday, the best win that the Buffaloes had this season came in the season-opener, when they picked off Arizona State. The Sun Devils are only marginally better, according to KenPom’s metrics, than Clemson.
That’s unless you want me to be impressed with wins over the likes of UC Irvine or Colorado State.
And while the Pac-12 is improved this season, there are still four teams that rank outside the top 100 on KenPom in the league and just two teams currently in the top 40. As weird as it sounds, beating Dayton gave Colorado their marquee non-conference win.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: St. John’s Red Storm
I don’t know how many coaches are the country have had a better start to the season than Mike Anderson.
He entered St. John’s without a shred of expectation this season, and while I was more bullish than the field on Anderson long term, I didn’t expect this: On Saturday, the Johnnies flew across the country to play a neutral site event against Arizona in San Francisco to honor Chris Mullin, the head coach they fired in April.
And they won despite the fact that their best player, Mustapha Heron, was injured.
It will go down as the second top 25 win of the season for the Johnnies, who also picked off West Virginia this month.
We’ve seen this St. John’s program land big wins before disappearing in recent years – anyone else remember when they won at Villanova and then beat Duke in back-to-back games after starting Big East play 0-11? – so I’m not going to overreact to this just yet, but rest assured, the Johnnies are now on everyone’s radar.
1. IT’S OK IF YOU STILL THINK KANSAS IS THE BEST TEAM IN THE COUNTRY
On Saturday, Kansas went on the road in their last game before the Christmas break, played in front of 20,000 Villanova fans and lost, 56-55, to a program that has won two of the last four national titles because Devon Dotson missed this shot:
If you believed heading into this game that Kansas was the best team in college basketball, than you are more than justified in keeping the Jayhawks at No. 1 today. If your opinion of a team boils down to what happens on the final possession of a one point game, than you probably shouldn’t be allowed to rank teams.
That’s not to say that it shouldn’t impact the way that NCAA tournament bracket projections work.
Wins and losses should matter there. There should be some tangible impact on whether or not that last second shot goes in. It should lower Kansas a bit in the No. 1 overall seed pecking order.
But if it has an impact on the way you view Kansas in the longterm, or whether or not you buy into them as the best team in the country, you’re doing this wrong.
2. KENTUCKY IS NOT FIXABLE
Kentucky more or less invented the superteam era in college basketball, so it would be awfully ironic if the team that has thrived in the one-and-done era as much as any program in the country had their season saved by a grad transfer fro Bucknell.
And that may end up being the case this season.
Nate Sestina came back from injury on Saturday and scored a team-high 17 points while hitting five threes. That’s important for a couple reasons. For starters, the Wildcats have been just atrocious shooting the three this season. They entered Saturday making just 27.5 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, and if you take Sestina’s shooting on Saturday out of the equation, the rest of the roster was just 2-for-15 from deep against Ohio State.
Getting someone on the floor that will punish defenses for selling out on drives is pretty important. Sestina does that.
But just as important is that Sestina provides some scoring pop at the four. E.J. Montgomery and Nick Richards have had some good moments this season, but most of those moments have come against the bad teams that the Wildcats have faced. Combined, those two are averaging 10.5 points and 8.0 boards against the four high-major opponents Kentucky has faced. Keion Brooks has had some flashes of potential, but that’s about it. Kahlil Whitney has looked less like a lottery pick and more like a guy destined to be in Lexington until he transfers because he’s sick of being recruited over.
Sestina has his limitations physically, but he plays hard, he provides some leadership and he does the thing none of those guys have been able to do: Provide some scoring pop.
And with him back in the fold, it does feel like Kentucky is getting closer to figuring this thing out. Tyrese Maxey’s making shots again. Ashton Hagans has really been the one guy that has consistently performed for the first seven weeks of the season. The execution wasn’t there against Ohio State – that has as much to do with Ohio State and Chris Holtmann as it does Kentucky and John Calipari – but the effort was there. The fight was there.
I don’t think Kentucky is ever going to look like a top ten team, and I doubt Cal is ever going to feel comfortable about what’s going on at the five, but the good news is that given the landscape of college basketball this season, you don’t have to be great. You just have to give yourself a chance.
3. ARIZONA AND DAYTON HAVE THE MOST OVERRATED RESUMES IN THE COUNTRY
Dayton is objectively good this year. They’ve blown out Virginia Tech, they’ve blown out Georgia and they have a convincing win over Saint Mary’s on a neutral court. That’s before you consider how well the Flyers can shoot and the fact that they are built around a future lottery pick in Obi Toppin. They’re legit.
Their biggest issue is that they lost to Kansas and Colorado in overtime. Those might end up being the two best teams that they play this season, and while those losses shouldn’t affect how you view the Flyers, they assuredly will affect how they are seeded come Selection Sunday. Results matter on a resume, and right now, Dayton’s resume does not match where they (deservedly) are being ranked.
The same can be said about Arizona, but I have much less conviction about this team actually being good. Arizona has now lost three of their last four games. The losses are by a total of 12 points, but in each one of those games, Arizona rallied late to make the final score respectable. They were down double-figures in the second half of all three.
And as it stands today, their best wins are Illinois at home, New Mexico State at home and Wake Forest on a neutral. That’s not exactly worthy of a No. 1 seed.
4. SAN DIEGO STATE IS 2014 WICHITA STATE
At this point, it is undeniable that San Diego State is a good basketball team. I’m not sure why any one would argue against one of the three remaining unbeatens being good, but if you are, you’re wrong. The Aztecs are 12-0 with wins over Creighton, Iowa, at BYU and by 28 against a Utah team that, just three days earlier, beat Kentucky. They’re good. I promise.
The question, however, is just how good they actually are, and that’s somewhat up for debate. I think that Iowa and Creighton will end up being tournament teams, but there’s no guarantee that will happen. I think BYU is good, but generally speaking, WCC teams with four losses in non-conference play aren’t making runs for at-large bids. Could all three end up being NIT teams? That’s certainly in the range of outcomes.
Which leads me to my next point: There really aren’t any great wins available in the Mountain West this year, not if Utah State’s actually the 48th-best team in the country, as KenPom says they are. The only other top 100 teams in the league are New Mexico (who just lost a pair of starters) and Nevada (who may or may not have last season’s success baked into their rankings right now). Is it crazy to think that the Aztecs, like the 2014 Shockers, can climb to the very top of the polls as the nation’s last remaining unbeaten even if their body work doesn’t necessarily justify it?
5. THE STATE OF COLLEGE HOOPS IS PROVEN BY THE IRRELEVANCE OF UNC-UCLA
We spoke about this on the podcast in each of the last two weeks, so I’ll be brief here.
I never would have thought that a Saturday afternoon tip off between UNC and UCLA would be a complete afterthought nationally for college hoops, but that is precisely what it was this Saturday. This epitomizes a point that I’ve made repeatedly – and one that was backed up by both Jay Wright and Bill Self on Saturday: College basketball is down this year. The talent level is down, the quality of the teams is down and, as a result, the level of play is down.
In total, these two teams lost six players to early entry. That’s part of the problem. Cole Anthony being injured is another part of the program. UCLA going through a coaching change certainly doesn’t help.
But the simple fact of the matter is that two of college basketball’s bluebloods were playing on Saturday, and it was overshadowed by Utah State-Florida and Butler-Purdue, which tipped at the same time.
Ten Things To Know: Injuries pile up, Ohio State wins, No. 1 Kansas goes down
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.