Notre Dame (18-7, 9-4) picked up its second straight big Saturday home win, slipping past No. 13 Louisville (19-6, 8-4) 71-66, thanks to 27 from Demetrius Jackson and 11 points and 10 boards from Zach Auguste. The Irish play their next three on the road, though games at Georgia Tech and Wake won't quite be the tests that the third, at Florida State Seminoles, will be.
A dramatic finish unfolded in Durham, where Grayson Allen's (15 points) controversial bucket as time expired pushed Duke (19-6, 8-4) past No. 7 Virginia (20-5, 9-4) 63-62, mere seconds after Malcolm Brogdon (18 points) looked like he won it for the Cavaliers with an even more impressive effort at the other end. UVa has not won at Cameron Indoor since 1995.
Cat Barber scored 38 for North Carolina State (13-12, 3-9) in its 99-88 win over Wake Forest (10-15, 1-12)
Clemson (15-10, 8-5) picked up a needed 66-52 home win over Georgia Tech (13-12, 3-9)—not the type of result that will get them on the right side of the cut line, but the type they need to merely stay in the conversation.
Well, the game of the day wasn't as thrilling as anticipated (thanks, Big 12-affiliated refs), but it was still entertaining. It also ended with sixth-ranked Kansas (21-4, 9-3) earning a hard-fought season sweep of No. 3 Oklahoma (20-4, 8-4) with a 76-72 win in Norman. Devonte Graham was the star of the day for the Jayhawks as he not only scored a career-high 27 points, he held Buddy Hield in check in the first half, though the Sooners' star did end up with 24 on the afternoon.
One week ago, Kansas State (14-11, 3-9) defeated Oklahoma and looked to be set to make a late run at a bid. But the Wildcats followed a loss to Baylor with a 58-55 overtime one at Oklahoma State (12-13, 3-9) that likely spells the end of K-State's at-large hopes. On the flip side, Texas Tech (15-9, 5-7) has new life, as the Red Raiders followed up their home win over Iowa State with an emphatic 84-66 win at No. 21 Baylor (18-7, 7-5)—Tech's first back-to-back wins over ranked foes since 2007, the last time it made the NCAAs. To make it three in a row, Tubby Smith's team will have to defeat visiting Oklahoma on Wednesday night.
No. 14 Iowa State (18-7, 7-5) claimed the second Big 12 game of the day to feature a pair of ranked squads, 85-75 over visiting 24th-ranked Texas (16-9, 7-5). The win featured an alley-oop that was almost worthy of the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest that was going on simultaneously in Toronto.
Going up... https://t.co/jLoO5oTNsm— Brian Goodman (@BSGoodman) February 14, 2016
The day opened with a near-miraculous rally, at No. 20 Providence (18-7, 6-6) almost blew a 26-point lead against Georgetown (14-12, 7-6) before holding on for a 75-72 win that snapped a three-game skid. As a needed change of pace, Rodney Bullock led the Friars in scoring, notching a 23-point, 10-board double double.
In the evening games, Creighton (17-9, 8-5) won at Marquette (16-10, 5-8) 65-62, meaning they can get a potentially important sweep of the Golden Eagles when the two meet again in Omaha on February 24th. Meanwhile, No. 1 Villanova (22-3, 12-1) struggled with St. John's (7-19, 0-13) early before recording a 73-63 victory.
Michigan (19-7, 9-4), who lost to No. 18 Purdue (20-6, 8-5) by 17 in West Lafayette and lost its previous two home games in unflattering fashion, overcame some poor shooting to top the Boilermakers 61-56. The Wolverines closed the game on an 11-0 run and won despite a rough outing from Derrick Walton Jr., who scored only five points and only hit his first field goal with less than two minutes to play.
Wisconsin (16-9, 8-4) got itself closer to an unlikely NCAA bid, as the Badgers snapped No. 2 Maryland's (22-4, 10-3) 27-game home win streak 70-57. The Badgers, who were also the first Big Ten squad to win a game in College Park, have won seven in a row and now have five wins against the RPI Top 50.
Elsewhere, Ohio State (16-10, 8-5) stayed alive for a bid with a 79-69 victory at Rutgers (6-19, 0-12). Nebraska (13-12, 6-7) took down Penn State (12-13, 3-9) 70-54 in Lincoln, and Illinois (11-14, 3-9) dropped a 58-56 decision at Northwestern (17-9, 5-8).
Wesley Gordon recorded a 17-point, 13-rebound double double to help push Colorado (19-7, 8-5) past Washington (15-10, 7-6) 81-80 in Boulder—a result that boosts the Buffaloes' hopes while shrinking the Huskies' further.
No. 11 Oregon (20-6, 9-4) was troublingly swept out of the Bay Area, falling at Stanford (12-11, 5-7) 76-72, snapping the Cardinal's four-game losing streak. Rosco Allen led the hosts with 25, while Dillon Brooks scored 24 for Oregon. California (17-8, 7-5) wrapped up a 2-0 weekend and earned itself some breathing room by topping Oregon State (15-9, 6-7) 83-71. Jabari Bird led the Golden Bears with 23 points on the afternoon in Berkeley.
No. 22 Kentucky (19-6, 9-3) walked into Columbia Saturday afternoon looking to knock the hosts out of a three-way tie for first, and that's what the Wildcats did in a game where John Calipari was ejected not three minutes in. South Carolina (21-4, 8-4) was no match for the preseason—and current—SEC favorites, who prevailed resoundingly 89-62. Tyler Ulis scored 27 and dished out 12 assists for the Cats, while Jamal Murray added 26.
Update: Kentucky is 33-for-66 from three over its last three games, with at least 10 threes in each contest.— Andy Hutchins (@AndyHutchins) February 13, 2016
In the afternoon's other big game, LSU (16-9, 9-3) grabbed an absolutely vital win (and remains tied at the top of the league table as a result), topping No. 15 Texas A&M (18-7, 7-5) 76-71. The Aggies have now dropped four straight and five of their last six. The Tigers' balance (and A&M's 19 turnovers) pushed them through, as Ben Simmons and Craig Victor II scored 16 (Simmons also grabbed 11 boards and seven assists) and Keith Hornsby added 15. Danuel House scored 20 for the Ags, who were without Anthony Collins for most of the game due to injury.
But the biggest winner of the day in the SEC might just be Alabama (15-9, 6-6), who picked up a fifth win over an RPI Top 50 opponent. The Crimson Tide won 61-55 at Florida (16-9, 7-5) despite the disqualifications of Retin Obasohan and Arthur Edwards with less than five minutes left. Alabama last won in Gainesville in 1995, before Billy Donovan's arrival.
Ole Miss (16-9, 6-6) got back to .500 in the league with a 76-60 home win over Arkansas (12-13, 5-7). Missouri (9-16, 2-10) won for the second time in SEC play, topping Tennessee (12-13, 5-7) 75-64 in Columbia. Georgia (14-9, 7-5) also picked up a needed win for its bubble hopes, topping host Mississippi State (10-14, 3-9) 66-57.
Cincinnati (19-7, 9-4) did itself no harm by grabbing a 75-60 home win over East Carolina (10-15, 2-10). However, Tulsa (16-9, 8-5) couldn't dig itself out of a hole at UConn (18-7, 8-4), which really wanted to give away its second game in a row. However, the Huskies held on by a score of 75 to 73.
Gonzaga (20-6, 12-2 WCC) was unable to grab a late marquee non-conference win. The Bulldogs, who really should win the WCC Tournament to keep their fate out of the Committee's hands, dropped a 69-60 decision at No. 16 SMU (21-3, 9-3 AAC)
VCU (18-7, 10-2) responded to its loss at UMass by crushing Saint Louis (8-16, 3-9) 85-52 back in Richmond. Saint Joseph's (21-4, 10-2), meanwhile, followed up its big win at GW by rolling past Big Five rival La Salle (5-18, 1-11)
George Washington's (18-7, 7-5) chances took a hit with a 64-57 setback at St. Bonaventure (17-6, 9-3), while Davidson's (14-9, 6-6) already slender hopes shrunk further with a 60-59 defeat at George Mason (9-16, 3-9).
The A-Sun race is all jumbled after the Jacksonville schools both lost on the road. As a result, NJIT (16-11, 7-4) who defeated visiting Florida Gulf Coast (15-12, 6-5) 68-59, and North Florida (18-10, 7-4), a 94-87 loser at Lipscomb (10-18, 6-5), are now tied at the top with Jacksonville (15-13, 7-4), who fell at Kennesaw State (9-18, 5-6) 90-69. Lipscomb and FGCU are in fourth, a game back, and Kennesaw State in fifth, two back.
First-place UNC Wilmington (20-5, 12-2) knocked off one of the three teams that entered the day in a tie for second in the CAA, James Madison (19-8, 9-5) by a 78-68 score. Hofstra (18-8, 10-4) is all alone in second place after surviving Delaware (6-19, 1-13) 78-66 in a game that the Pride led early and late, but was close in between. Towson (18-9, 9-5) completed a season sweep of William & Mary (17-8, 9-5) with a 99-82 home win over the Tribe, pushing both into a three-way tie for third with JMU.
The good news for Valparaiso (21-5, 11-2) is that it still leads the Horizon League by two games. The bad news is they may need to win the conference tournament—now in Detroit, not on campus—to make the field after blowing a home game to Wright State (16-11, 10-4) 61-59. Joining the Raiders in a tie for second is Oakland (18-9, 10-4), who put 111 up on Green Bay (15-11, 7-6) at the Orena, and the Phoenix could only manage 93.
With the Raiders having to visit the ARC, the Golden Grizzlies can take a big step toward securing the two seed in the Horizon tournament by topping the Phoenix at the O'Rena.
Yale (17-5, 8-0) won by 12 at Harvard (10-14, 2-6) 67-55 to remain in first in the Ivy. In the game for second place in New York, Princeton (16-5, 6-1) rallied to force overtime at Columbia (17-8, 6-2), which the Lions opened with a 7-0 run. Unfortunately for them, the Tigers scored 12 in a row to close the extra session and grab an 88-83 road win.
The Bulldogs visit Princeton next Friday night. It should be a fun one.
Akron's (21-5, 9-3) seven-game win streak ended with an 80-79 loss at Northern Illinois (17-8, 6-6). The Zips still lead the MAC by two games, though there are a whopping four/five teams with five losses chasing them.
Once upon a time, this looked like a MAC title preview (and it very well could be, given how wacky that conference's tournament typically is), but the Huskies have cooled off, dropping five in a row after starting the season off 16-3.
Northern Iowa (16-11, 8-6) snapped No. 25 Wichita State's (18-7, 12-2) 43-game home win streak, as the Shockers' Connor Frankamp's game-tying three attempt just missed at the buzzer, giving the Panthers a 53-50 win. The defeat knocks Wichita State to the edge of the RPI Top 50. They might have to win Arch Madness to dance now, though I suspect they could still get in with a loss in the final one week before Selection Sunday.
St. Francis (Pa.) (13-12, 9-5) remains in a first-place tie in the NEC even after a 66-61 loss at Mount St. Mary's (12-15, 9-5). That's because the lead pack grew to four from two, as the Red Flash and Mountaineers are joined by Fairleigh Dickinson (13-12, 9-5), a 72-70 loser to Robert Morris (8-19, 6-8), and Wagner (16-9, 9-5), a 79-55 winner at Bryant (7-20, 4-10).
Chattanooga (23-4, 12-2) continues to lead the SoCon by two games in the loss column after winning at ETSU (16-10, 9-4) 76-68. Furman (17-11, 11-4) remains a half-game up on the Bucs for second, following its 85-74 win over Mercer (18-9, 8-6).