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I Slept On It: Oklahoma Makes Its Case For No. 1; Clemson Wins Another

The Sooners are likely to jump Kansas in Monday's polls, following a nervy win over visiting West Virginia. The Tigers, meanwhile, keep rolling in Greenville.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports


Clemson (12-6, 5-1) did it again, winning its third straight home game over a ranked foe, topping No. 8 Miami (13-3, 2-2), 76-65. Jaron Blossomgame led the Tigers once again, scoring 25. Now they must prove they can win away from the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, and their chance comes on Tuesday at Virginia.

Notre Dame (12-5, 3-2) was the other big winner of the day, as the Irish picked up a much needed road win at No. 9 Duke (14-4, 3-2), 95-91. Bonzie Colson had a bonkers afternoon, scoring 31 and ripping down 11 boards. Luke Kennard scored 30 for the Blue Devils, who were again without Amile Jefferson (foot).

The top and bottom teams in the league remain in place following No. 5 North Carolina's  (16-2, 5-0) 67-55 home win over struggling North Carolina State (10-8, 0-5). Kennedy Meeks led the Tar Heels, who will jump up the polls on Monday, to 23.

In Atlanta, Georgia Tech (11-7, 1-4) led Virginia Tech (12-6, 4-1) by 10 with a little over four minutes to go and lost. The Hokies claimed their first ACC road win in 19 tries, 78-77. The Hokies join Clemson as surprise title contenders, at least for the moment. However, the Hokies go to South Bend on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Syracuse (12-7, 2-4) used a big first half from Trevor Cooney (25 points for the game) to blow out Wake Forest (10-7, 1-4) in Winston-Salem. The victory should give the Orange a confidence boost before their Big Monday showdown at Duke. No. 20 Pitt (15-2, 4-1) felt no ill effects of Thursday's loss at Louisville, as the Panthers routed Boston College (7-10, 0-4), 84-61.

Big 12

No. 11 West Virginia (15-2, 4-1) nearly picked up its second titanic win of the week, but Khadeem Lattin made up for his missed free throw in No. 2 Oklahoma's (15-1, 4-1) loss to Kansas in the first Big Monday of the year. His tip-in, followed by a big misdirection of a Mountaineer inbound by Buddy Hield, gave the Sooners a 70-68 home win. Oklahoma will likely be the country's top-ranked team on Monday.

That's when OU heads to Ames, where No. 17 Iowa State (13-4, 2-3) will lie in wait, following a needed 76-63 win at Kansas State (11-6, 1-4), which honestly also needed the win for its flagging NCAA hopes.

No. 22 Baylor (14-3, 4-1) handed Texas Tech (11-5, 1-4) its second straight home loss, but the Bears needed every last second in Lubbock.

No. 1 Kansas (15-2, 4-1) will fall from the top spot nationally on Monday, but the Jayhawks will remain in a four-way tie for first in the Big 12, following a tougher than anticipated 70-63 home win over TCU (9-8, 1-4).

In the final game of the day, Oklahoma State (9-8, 1-4) nearly overhauled Texas (11-6, 3-2) in Austin, but the Longhorns held on for a 74-69 victory.

Big East

The big winner of the day in the Big East was Seton Hall (13-4, 3-2) who took advantage of some foul trouble for Kris Dunn, who was disqualified with three minutes left. The Pirates topped 12th-ranked Providence (15-3, 3-2), 81-72, to pull even with the Friars in the league, while picking up a valuable road win for the old tourney profile.

No. 6 Villanova (16-2, 6-0) tapped the brakes on Georgetown's (11-7, 4-2) resurgence, by grabbing a 55-50 win in Washington, D.C. Seventh-ranked No. 7 Xavier (16-1, 4-1) remains a game back of the Widcats in the loss column, following a 74-66 win at Marquette (12-6, 2-4). Edmond Sumner scored 15 points in 25 minutes of action off the bench in his first game back after suffering a concussion against Villanova on New Year's Eve.

As expected, No. 23 Butler (12-5, 2-3) played inspired ball in memory of the departed Andrew Smith, topping woeful St. John's (7-12, 0-6), 78-58.

Big Ten

After falling at Michigan on Tuesday night, Maryland (16-2, 5-1) entered Saturday afternoon's home game against Ohio State (12-7, 4-2) in a bad mood. The Buckeyes paid dearly, falling by a 100-65 score on a day when Melo Trimble only managed eight points (and nine assists). Forward Robert Carter led the Terps with 25.

Indiana (15-3, 5-0) is now half-game up on Iowa Hawkeyes for the league lead, following an unconvincing 70-63 win at Minnesota (6-12, 0-6).

In a pair of games featuring teams unlikely to make it to the NCAAs, Nebraska (11-8, 3-3) got to .500 in conference play by topping Illinois (9-9, 1-4), 78-67, and Penn State (11-8, 2-4) surprised Northwestern (15-4, 3-3) in Evanston, 71-62.


Washington (12-5, 4-1) avoided the Cactus State sweep, by slipping past Arizona State (11-7, 1-4), 89-85. So, the Huskies will close this weekend tied with at least USC Trojans for first, and Oregon Ducks can join them with a win over Colorado Buffaloes tomorrow.

As expected, no. 18 Arizona (15-3, 3-2) completed a weekend sweep, handily dispatching Washington State (9-8, 1-4), 90-66.


It's pretty clear now that no. 15 Texas A&M (15-2, 5-0) is the conference favorite now, especially after the Aggies obliterated Georgia (9-7, 2-4) in Athens, 79-45. A&M is 5-0 in league play for the first time since the 1993-94, when they were in the old Southwest Conference! Another factor in this estimation is no. 14 Kentucky (13-4, 3-2) looking, again, more like the 2013-14 version than last season's near-historic squad. Yesterday, the Wildcats fell at Auburn (8-8, 2-3) by a 75-70 count—the Tigers first win in the series since 2000.

No. 19 South Carolina (16-1, 3-1) responded perfectly to its first setback of the season, defeating Missouri (8-9, 1-2), 81-72.

Ole Miss (12-5, 2-3) alum Mike White's Florida (11-6, 3-2) squad handed the Rebels their first home loss of the season, 80-71, as the Gators opened the game on an 8-0 run and never looked back. KeVaughn Allen led the victors with 27, while UF held Stefan Moody to 22.

Vanderbilt (10-7, 2-3) defended its home court, by topping Alabama (10-6, 1-3), 71-63, as the Commodores attempt to return to respectability. LSU Tigers (11-6, 4-1) did as well, defeating Arkansas (9-8, 3-2), 76-74.

Tennessee (8-9, 1-4) won at Mississippi State (7-9, 0-4), 80-75, in the only matchup of NCAA non-factors in the conference yesterday.

American Athletic

Cincinnati (13-6, 3-3) will have to live with a sweep at the hands of Temple (9-7, 4-2) on its shaky profile. The Owls topped the Bearcats for a second time in a little more than two weeks, winning 67-65 after needing 10 extra minutes in Philadelphia.

Memphis (12-5, 3-1) followed up its win over Temple with an easy 71-56 home victory over USF (3-16, 0-6).

Atlantic 10

A familiar face is all alone atop the A 10, as VCU (13-5, 5-0) took down archrival Richmond (10-7, 2-3), 94-89 after an overtime classic at the Robins Center. The Rams have sole possession of first thanks to St. Bonaventure's (12-4, 4-1) 95-88 setback at Duquesne (12-6, 2-3),


UC Irvine (15-5, 4-0) picked up its first win at UC Santa Barbara (7-9, 1-2) in eight years to remain in first place in the Big West, 61-52. Hawai'i (15-2, 4-0) hangs with the Anteaters, despite going to overtime at Cal State Fullerton (8-8, 1-2), where the Rainbow Warriors prevailed 86-79.

After a wild day in the CAA, a half-dozen teams own a share of the conference lead at 4-2. Northeastern (12-7, 4-2) picked up a 69-60 win at Delaware (5-12, 0-6) to jump up the standings, while UNC Wilmington (12-5, 4-2) drew level with William & Mary (12-5, 4-2) with a 97-94 home win. James Madison (14-5, 4-2) joined the party by prevailing 86-82 at Hofstra (12-6, 4-2) in another overtime contest. Plus, Towson (13-6, 4-2) slid in by topping Drexel (3-14, 1-5), 69-50.

Middle Tennessee (12-5, 4-1) handed Old Dominion (9-9, 2-3) another tough C-USA loss, 64-61. Meanwhile, co-leaders UAB (15-3, 5-0) got a 74-72 scare at Charlotte (4-13, 1-4). Marshall (9-9, 5-0) was also almost knocked off on the road, surviving a trip to Rice (6-12, 1-4), 94-90.

Valparaiso (15-3, 5-0) continues to outclass the competition in the Horizon, toying with Green Bay (11-7, 4-2) in an 85-70 win. Oakland (11-7, 3-2) got its title challenge back on track with an 86-82 road win over Detroit (9-7, 3-2).

San Diego State (12-6, 5-0) seized control of the Mountain West race by ending Boise State's (13-5, 4-1) 17-game home win streak and 10-game overall run, 56-53.

Chattanooga (16-3, 5-1) and Mercer (13-4, 4-1) were the big winners on the SoCon's showdown Saturday. The Mocs topped ETSU (11-7, 4-1), 94-84, to move a half game up on the Bucs and Bears, who took down Wofford (7-11, 4-2), 70-69 after OT in Macon.

In the SWACTexas Southern (5-11, 4-0) took the favorite's mantle from Jackson State (8-10, 3-2) with a 71-65 road win.

The Summit race is just a bit tighter today, as Omaha (12-7, 4-1) and IPFW (15-5, 4-1) are tied for the conference lead following the Mastodons' 106-101 OT win over the Mavericks in Nebraska. North Dakota State (13-6, 3-2) and South Dakota State (14-5, 3-2) are currently a half-game behind third-place IUPUI (8-13, 4-2). The Bison beat the Jackrabbits 68-57 in Fargo, while the Jaguars picked up a 76-61 home victory over Denver (10-9, 2-4).

It was a bit of a tumultuous day in the Sun Belt, where idle Little Rock (15-1, 5-0) is all alone in first, thanks to UT Arlington (13-3, 4-1) falling, again after OT, at South Alabama (7-10, 2-4) by an 88-85 score and Arkansas State's (8-8, 4-1) 86-72 home defeat at the hands of Appalachian State (4-13, 2-4). Defending conference tournament champ Georgia State (11-4, 4-2) was also not immune, crashing at home to UL Lafayette (7-8, 3-3), 87-54.

So much for that three-team WCC race. BYU (13-6, 4-2) followed up its big win in Spokane with a bad 84-81 loss at Portland (8-12, 2-5). On the other hand, no. 25 Gonzaga (14-4, 6-1) recovered well, pounding San Diego (6-11, 1-5), 88-52.

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