SATURDAY’S SNACKS: Kansas, Kentucky make statements; Texas A&M, Wichita State both fall
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 6 Kansas 76, No. 3 Oklahoma 72
The Jayhawks have the inside track on the Big 12 regular season title after a season sweep of Oklahoma. Devonte Graham was the hero in this one for Kansas as he went for 27 points and played tough defense. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on this.
No. 22 Kentucky 89, South Carolina 62: Despite John Calipari getting ejected 2:26 into the game, Kentucky continued its recent stretch of SEC blowouts with another impressive road win. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on this one and examines if the Wildcats are ready for a Final Four run.
LSU 76, No. 15 Texas A&M 71: Staying atop the SEC with Kentucky was LSU who earned an important home win after falling to South Carolina earlier this week. The struggle continued for Texas A&M as they’ve now dropped five straight SEC games. I have more on why Texas A&M is struggling and how LSU had a balanced outing today.
Duke 63, No. 7 Virginia 62: Grayson Allen’s much-discussed shot as time expired gave the Blue Devils the win over Virginia at Cameron, but it was Brandon Ingram who led the way. Ingram finished with 25 points and seven rebounds, keeping Duke alive in a game the Cavaliers appeared poised to run away with in the first half. And with the loss, Virginia hasn’t won at Cameron since 1995.
Michigan 61, No. 18 Purdue 56: Michigan needed a few more wins over top-flight teams to feel comfortable about their postseason fate, so this was a big win for them. More importantly, Caris LeVert returned to the lineup and played some minutes off the bench. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on the Wolverines here.
Northern Iowa 53, No. 25 Wichita State 50: This loss was killer for Wichita State as it snapped a nation-leading 43-game home win streak while hurting the Shockers’ at-large chances. And, suddenly, Northern Iowa is really dangerous and playing good ball. See what this one means for the Missouri Valley Conference leading up to Arch Madness.
Wisconsin 70, No. 2 Maryland 57: Greg Gard’s Badgers picked up a huge win for their NCAA tournament hopes, handing Maryland’s its first-ever conference home loss as a member of the Big Ten. Vitto Brown scored 21 points and grabbed seven boards to lead the way, and his improved play of late has been a key development for Wisconsin.
BUBBLE BANTER: What do Saturday’s results mean for Selection Sunday?
Keon Johnson, Winthrop: One of the country’s underrated mid-major scorers, the 5-foot-7 Johnson scored 32 points and beat Radford at the buzzer with a cold-blooded jumper.
Cat Barber, N.C. State: The junior guard was cooking in an ACC win over Wake Forest as he went for 38 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Wolfpack. Barber was 10-for-20 from the floor and 17-for-20 from the free-throw line in the win.
Erik McCree, Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs picked up an important win over UAB in Conference USA as McCree had 33 points, six rebounds and three assists. The junior forward was 11-for-20 from the field and 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.
Cameron Oliver, Nevada: Oliver accounted for 20 points and 24 rebounds in the Wolf Pack’s overtime win over Fresno State.
Wichita State’s offense: In the loss to Northern Iowa, the Shockers shot just 30 percent from the field and 22 percent from 3-point range. Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker combined to shoot 8-for-31 from the floor and 4-for-16 from 3-point range.
Isaiah Taylor, Texas: Taylor scored nine points, shooting 3-for-14 from the field, in the Longhorns’ loss at No. 14 Iowa State.
Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga: Wiltjer scored four points, shooting 2-for-17 from the field, in the Bulldogs’ loss at SMU.
OTHER TOP 25 RESULTS
- No. 1 Villanova retained its two-game lead atop the Big East with a 73-63 win over St. John’s. Daniel Ochefu scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Wildcats.
- Behind a balanced effort, No. 5 Xavier came away with a 74-57 win over Butler for a Big East road win.
- No. 10 West Virginia forced 26 turnovers and rolled to an easy 73-42 home win over TCU in the Big 12. Jonathan Holton returned from suspension and contributed 14 points in the win.
- No. 11 Oregon suffered its second straight loss, as they fell 76-72 at Stanford. Rosco Allen led the Cardinal with 25 points, and the Ducks’ comeback attempt fell short. And after being hailed as the class of the Pac-12 prior to their trip to the Bay Area, this could be the wakeup call Dana Altman’s team needs.
- No. 13 Louisville also lost Saturday, falling 71-66 at Notre Dame. Demetrius Jackson scored 27 and dished out five assists for the Fighting Irish, who also received a much-needed boost from Steve Vasturia as they made their rally in South Bend.
- Georges Niang and Monte Morris scored 24 points apiece as No. 14 Iowa State beat No. 24 Oklahoma, 85-75. Also of note for the Cyclones was the return of Jameel McKay, who tallied eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks on the night.
- No. 16 SMU beat Gonzaga 69-60, keeping the Bulldogs from picking up a key win for their NCAA tournament hopes. Nic Moore was outstanding for the Mustangs, finishing with 25 points and 11 assists.
- One of the teams that desperately needed a win on Saturday was No. 20 Providence, as they outlasted Georgetown, 75-72. The Friars built a 20-point halftime lead and almost lost. Kris Dunn (20 points) and Ben Bentil (16 points) had help from Rodney Bullock (23 points, 10 rebounds) so that’s a positive sign.
- Texas Tech picked up a big win as it looks to earn an NCAA tournament berth, winning 84-66 at No. 21 Baylor. Keenan Evans scored 21 points and Justin Gray 17 for the Red Raiders, who shot 57.8 percent from the field.
OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS
- Clemson topped Georgia Tech in the ACC as Jaron Blossomgame had 17 points and seven rebounds.
- Playing without Josh Scott, Colorado escaped with a home win over Washington in the Pac-12 as Wesley Gordon had 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
- Ole Miss was a winner in the SEC over Arkansas as Stefan Moody went 4-for-17 from the floor but still finished with 17 points and seven assists.
- Oklahoma State outlasted Kansas State in overtime in the Big 12 as Leyton Hammonds had 13 points.
- Aaric Armstead his two free throws in the final seconds to give Northern Illinois an 80-79 win over Akron. The Zips still have a two-game cushion on the rest of the MAC.
- Tulane snapped a 12-game home losing streak in the American with an overtime win over Memphis. Shaq Goodwin also picked up one of the dumbest technical fouls of the season trying to pull a Vince Carter on a breakaway.
- Belmont, one of the leaders of the Ohio Valley Conference, blew a 14-point halftime lead in a loss to Morehead State. Brent Arrington scored 24 points for the Eagles as Belmont’s Craig Bradshaw (28 points) missed a look at the buzzer for the win.
- Louisiana Tech scored 56 second-half points as they beat UAB 85-76 in Ruston. Erik McCree scored 33 points for the Bulldogs.
- UNCW tightened its grip on first place in the CAA with a 78-68 win over James Madison. Craig Ponder scored 19 points and Chris Flemmings added 17 points and 11 boards for the Seahawks.
- VCU rebounded from its loss at UMass with an 85-52 beating on Saint Louis. Korey Billbury led five Rams in double figures with 20 points.
- Also adding a quality win to their résumé was Alabama, which won 61-55 at Florida. Avery Johnson’s Crimson Tide limited the Gators to 28.6 percent shooting in the win.
- After jumping out to a 20-point lead UConn held on to beat Tulsa by two, with the Golden Hurricane hitting a three as time expired.
- Princeton came back to beat Columbia 88-83 in overtime, grabbing sole possession of second place in the Ivy League. The Tigers take on first place Yale Friday night in a huge matchup in regards to the league race.
- Wright State completed a season sweep of Valparaiso, beating the Crusaders 61-59. Valpo shot 7-for-26 from three in the loss.
- Hawai’i maintained sole possession of first place with a 76-59 win over Cal-State Fullerton. UC Irvine, which received 36 points from Alex Young in a win over CSUN, remains a game back in the standings.