Saturday’s Things To Know: Everything you need to know from an insane Saturday
College basketball lost its mind on Saturday.
Auburn-LSU gave us the Game of the Year and then it wasn’t even the Game of the Day. Seton Hall basically won the Big East regular season title and no one seemed to notice. Isaiah Livers returned and we forgot about it already.
Here’s everything you need to know to get caught back up.
1. I’M STILL NOT QUITE SURE HOW, BUT NO. 7 DUKE BEAT UNC IN A THRILLER
In what might be the game of the season to date, No. 7 Duke erased a 13 point deficit in the final 4:31 to force overtime (off of a missed Tre Jones free throw!) at the buzzer only to erased a five-point deficit in the final 21 seconds to win the game (off another missed Tre Jones free throw!!) at the buzzer again.
It was bonkers.
Read all about it right here.
2. IT WASN’T QUITE AS CRAZY, BUT NO. 11 AUBURN SURVIVED NO. 18 LSU IN A THRILLER AS WELL
At this point, the game has been completely overshadowed, but No. 11 Auburn pulled into a tie for first in the SEC with a thrilling, come-from-behind, overtime win against No. 18 LSU. This game ended on a J’Von McCormick floater that bounced off the rim, the backboard and the rim again before going in.
It wasn’t quite as bonkers as Duke-UNC, but it was still pretty bonkers.
Read all about that game right here.
3. ISAIAH LIVERS’ RETURNED AND MICHIGAN LOOKED AWESOME AGAIN
After a wild Saturday, it feels like this game was played three weeks ago, but it doesn’t change the importance of what happened.
Livers is Michigan’s leading scorer. He is their best three-point shooter by a country mile. He’s the pice on the roster that allows Juwan Howard a measure of lineup versatility, and, in turn, he may actually be the most valuable defensive piece on the Wolverines. With Livers healthy for an entire game, Michigan is now 9-3 with wins over Creighton, Iowa, North Carolina, Michigan State and Gonzaga by 18 points in the only game the Zags have lost this season. Their “worst” lost was in overtime at home against Oregon.
Without Livers, Michigan is 5-6.
On Saturday, Livers scored 14 points, made a couple threes, blocked a couple shots and, most importantly, played 31 minutes as a starter.
The Wolverines are going to be a serious threat in March.
4. NO. 12 SETON HALL NOW OWNS A THREE-GAME LEAD IN THE BIG EAST
No. 12 Seton Hall did something they haven’t done since 1994 -- win at No. 10 Villanova -- and, as a result, they are now in a position do to something they haven’t done since 1993 -- win the Big East regular season title.
Myles Powell scored 19 points, Sandro Mamukelashvili went for 17 and the Pirates, who now own a three-game lead over the rest of the field in the Big East standings with just seven games left of the regular season.
Perhaps the most impressive and important part of this win was the play of Mamukelashvili. The 6-foot-11 native of Tbilisi, Georgia, has been maligned this season. He was knocked out the lineup with a broken hand back in December, right before the Pirates went on the run that changed the course of their season, and it wasn’t hard to connect those dots. Playing without Mamu forced Kevin Willard to go small, playing four perimeter weapons around Romaro Gill, and his team has not looked back since.
This game proved just how valuable Mamu is to this team. When Villanova took away Gill, it forced Mamu into action.
And he shined.
5. BOB KNIGHT RETURNED TO INDIANA TO SEE PURDUE WHIP UP ON THE HOOSIERS
The General made his triumphant return to Assembly Hall after two decades away from the program that fired him.
He was greeted with a rumbling ovation, hugs from his former players and tears from the fans that were in the stands. Knight has become something of a controversial figure over the course of the last decade, in no small part due to his affiliation with Donald Trump’s election campaign, but that building is his home and it was a pretty cool moment seeing the Hoosier faithful welcome him back.
6. OKLAHOMA LANDED A CRITICAL UPSET WIN OF NO. 13 WEST VIRGINIA
Perhaps the biggest upset of the day came in Norman, Okla., as the Sooners picked of No. 13 West Virginia, 69-59. They led by as many as 18 points in the second half.
The star of the show was Kristian Doolittle, who scored 27 points while helping to showcase just what teams need to be able to do to take down this Mountaineer team: Space the floor. When you have bigs that can operate in pick-and-pops and pull West Virginia’s bigger and slower frontcourt pieces away from the rim, you can beat them.
That’s precisely what Doolittle -- and Brady Manek -- were able to do.
The win is massive for Oklahoma’s NCAA tournament chances. The Sooners were an 11 seed in our most recent bracket projection. West Virginia is a top 15 team in the NET. This is the kind of win that will get Oklahoma a little bit of breathing room on the bubble.
7. THE FOUR NO. 1 SEEDS IN THE BRACKET REVEAL ALL CRUISED TO WINS
No. 1 Baylor had a bit of a sweat, but they were able to pull out a 78-70 win over Oklahoma State at home. No. 2 Gonzaga put up a 30 burger on Saint Mary’s in Moraga, which is not something that should be overlooked. No. 3 Kansas picked off TCU in Fort Worth as Bill Self became the second-youngest coach to get to 700 wins in his career. No. 4 San Diego State remains undefeated after winning at Air Force. Easy peezy lemon squeezy.
8. VIRGINIA LOST AT NO. 5 LOUISVILLE BUT MAY HAVE FOUND THEIR SHOOTING STROKE
The Cavaliers entered Saturday ranked a ridiculous 276th in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric despite having the nation’s best defense. The biggest reason for that? They are one of the ten-worst three-point shooting teams in all of college basketball.
Well, they went into the Yum! Center and shot 11-for-22 from beyond the arc ... and still lost! That has a lot to do with how good Louisville (and David Johnson) is.
But we knew that already.
What’s more interesting to me is what happens if this kind of shooting becomes a trend for the Wahoos. Now, I’m not saying that they are going to start making 50 percent of their threes the rest of the season, or that Tomas Woldetensae is going to be hitting seven per game the rest of the way. But part of the issue that Virginia has been dealing with this year is confidence, and one way to start building confidence in your shooting is to actually see the ball go through the basket.
I’m not betting on it.
Sometimes teams just get hot, even teams that are full of really bad three-point shooters.
But it will be something to keep an eye on next week.
9. THE PAC-12 IS ALL THE WAY DRUNK
Entering Saturday, there was, essentially, a three-way tie for first place in the Pac-12: No. 24 Colorado and No. 14 Oregon were sitting at 7-3 with No. 23 Arizona sitting at 6-3, a half-game back in the win column.
Arizona went out and got their tails kicked at home by UCLA thanks to a 25 percent shooting performance. Josh Green and Nico Mannion combined to shoot 20 percent from the floor. Oregon lost to in-state rival Oregon State in Corvallis. Colorado? They were trailing Stanford by 11 points early in the second half when Stanford’s best player was knocked out of the game after his head was driven into the floor by Evan Battey. Colorado would come back and win by seven.
On Thursday, the Buffaloes will head to Eugene to take on the Ducks in a game that could end up giving them a two-game lead for first.