College Basketball

CSN's Bucket List: Chaos, thy name is college basketball


CSN's Bucket List: Chaos, thy name is college basketball

Each Monday through the Final Four, our own Robbie Buckets -- known in some circles as Rob Snyder, associate producer at CSN -- will take a look at the world of college basketball: Games to watch each week, players who might be on the Celtics' radar come draft time, what's going on locally . . . and, of course, power rankings (which will eventually morph into bracketology). Enjoy!

Total. Chaos. That's what happened this week in college hoops. Losses piled upon losses for the Top 15, and now putting together a decent ranking has been thrown completely out the window. Kansas jumps into the No. 1 spot despite losing a game this week. In fact, 11 of last week's top 15 suffered losses, with only Baylor, Gonzaga, Arizona and West Virginia escaping unscathed. Bracketology can't come soon enough . . . (It's next week!)


1. Kansas (19-2) - Here's the deal: No one can play in Morgantown. A loss at West Virginia was masked by a great come-from-behind win at Kentucky.

2. Gonzaga (22-0) - Should the 'Zags be number one? I don't think so. While every other team in the country is getting tested, they're beating Pepperdine and Portland.  Not fair

3. Baylor (20-1) - The Bears keep winning with the formula they like. It isn't pretty, but it works. A date at the Phog is next.

4. Villanova (20-2) - 'Nova played two very similar games this week. In one of them, they blew a big lead and lost on the road. In the other, they came back from a big deficit to win at home. The win was against Virginia . . . no slouch.

5. Arizona (20-2) - Arizona may just be the hottest team in college hoops right now.  Their next real test comes at Oregon, which should be quite the showdown.

6. Kentucky (17-4) - Tough loss to Kansas. But even acknowledging that losing to KU is no disgrace, doubts have to be creeping up. As good as they are, Calipari teams just don't lose two home games in a season and don't struggle defensively as much as they have.

7. North Carolina (19-4) --- Literally right before the Miami game I would've predicted UNC to win the title based on potential, explosiveness and experience. Then the Tar Heels laid an egg. They tend to do that against bad teams on the road, which I just can't figure out.

8. West Virginia (17-4) - The Mountaineers are the problem child of college hoops. They're wild, frantic and a little off the rails. However in the end, they just figure out ways to get it done.

9. Louisville (18-4) - These RPI darlings still don't have a bad loss on their resume and are playing well despite (cough) distractions.

10. UCLA (19-3) - Back-to-back losses. Not good. Better fix the defense. Should be lower except for, ya know, everyone losing this week.

11. Virginia (16-4) - Oh so close to one of the best resume building weeks of the season. A win over Notre Dame before coughing up a buzzer-beater against Villanova. Virginia needs more offense to put teams away.

12. Oregon (19-3) - This team looked really hot and then . . . crash.  A loss at Colorado put the Ducks in the Losers Club this week.

13. Wisconsin (18-3) - The Badgers are very good, and they pile up wins, but I'm not all that impressed by their resume. Squeaking out an OT win over Rutgers makes it looks a tad better than if they lost that game.=

14. Butler (18-4) - The Bulldogs have allowed every opponent as of late to be in the game. That came back to bite them this week in a home loss to Georgetown.

15. Florida State (18-4) - The 'Noles looked like the ultimate surprise team in college basketball. Right up until this week, when they lost to Georgia Tech and Syracuse in games that really weren't that close.


Rhode Island (13-7) - Win one, lose one.  That's how it's been for the Rams all season.  I saw one expert with them IN, but I don't think that's the case. The resume is lacking and conference play just isn't what we expected from this team.

Providence (14-9) - The Friars suffered a really bad home loss against St. John's, but followed it up with a nice road win at Marquette. They're still on the outside looking in, but they host Villanova this week and still have games left against Creighton, Butler and Xavier.


  • Monday, January 30: Duke at Notre Dame
  • Tuesday, January 31: Creighton at Butler
  • Wednesday, February 1: Baylor at Kansas
  • Saturday, February 4: Arizona at Oregon; Notre Dame at North Carolina; Kentucky at Florida

Follow me on Twitter @RobbieBuckets for college hoops musings and off-the-cuff sports takes.

NCAA: Duke ends URI's run emphatically, 87-62

AP Photo

NCAA: Duke ends URI's run emphatically, 87-62

PITTSBURGH - Mike Krzyzewski might want to stop worrying about his team's inexperience. The loaded if young Blue Devils hardly seemed intimidated by NCAA Tournament's bright lights.

If anything, they're thriving under them.

Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Marvin Bagley scored 22 points to go with nine rebounds, fellow freshman big man Wendell Carter Jr. added 13 points and second-seeded Duke rolled by seventh-seeded Rhode Island 87-62 in the second round on Saturday to earn the program's 26th trip to the Sweet 16. Freshmen guards Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval combined for 29 points and 11 assists for the Blue Devils.

Duke (28-7) will play either Michigan State or Syracuse in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Omaha, Nebraska on Friday. The victory gave Krzyzewski 1,098 wins during his Hall of Fame career, breaking a tie with Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt for the most ever by an NCAA basketball coach.

The Rams (26-8) and their senior-laden roster never threatened after the opening 10 minutes. E.C. Matthews led Rhode Island with 23 points but the Rams were never really in it after the Blue Devils revved it up midway through the first half.

Krzyzewski's relationship with Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley dates back to when Krzyzewski recruited Dan's older brother Bobby to Duke 30 years ago. Krzyzewski praised the Hurley family for their love of the "dignity of work," an ethos that has helped Dan turn the Rams into a force in the Atlantic 10.

Work ethic is one thing. Talent is another. The Rams have plenty of the former. When the young but rapidly maturing Blue Devils are as fully engaged as they were on Saturday, they have a staggering amount of both.

The proof came in a clinically efficient opening half in which Duke picked the Rams a part. If Allen and Trent weren't knocking down 3-pointers then they were getting the ball inside to Bagley or Carter, the program's "other" potential lottery pick who is dealing with an achy Achilles. Though he winced at least once while trying to set up on the block, when Carter had the ball in his hands, the grimace disappeared. He scored nine of Duke's first 11 points to establish the Blue Devils' dominance in the paint and when the backcourt got going, the Rams simply couldn't keep pace.

A 23-5 surge midway through the first half put the Blue Devils firmly in command. Their extended zone defense with Allen at the top disrupted Rhode Island's rhythm, at one point forcing Matthews it put up an off-balance, one-handed airball from the 3-point line as the shot clock expired.

By the time Duval's second 3-pointer of the half went down, the Blue Devils were up 45-28 at the break.

As the Rams came out for the second half, junior guard Will Leviton went over to a section of Rhode Island fans and urged them to "get up, I still need you! It's still a game."

Not really. A pair of Bagley dunks shortly after intermission pushed Duke's advantage to more than 20 and the Blue Devils were on their way to Omaha.

Rhode Island: The Rams lose five seniors to graduation, including Matthews, Terrell and forward Andre Berry but have a solid nucleus returning. Whether Hurley is there to guide them is another matter. He acknowledged his name has been mentioned in connections with other jobs, including UConn. He said no last spring. It may be more difficult this time around.

Duke: For all of its offensive brilliance, the biggest difference for the Blue Devils over the last month has been their work at the other end of the floor. Duke held Rhode Island to 40 percent shooting (25 of 63).

The Blue Devils are 14-9 in Sweet 16 games under Krzyzewski.

© 2018 by The Associated Press. 

UMBC stuns Virginia, becomes first No. 16 seed ever to beat No. 1 in NCAA tournament

AP Photo

UMBC stuns Virginia, becomes first No. 16 seed ever to beat No. 1 in NCAA tournament

For the first time in NCAA tournament history, a No. 16 seed has beaten a No. 1.

UMBC (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) pulled off the impossible Friday night, beating No. 1 seed and tournament favorite Virginia, 74-54.

The Retrievers ended the seemingly never-ending streak of 135 matchups in which the No. 16 seed fell in the first round. They'll move on to the Round of 32 to take on No. 9 Kansas State.