Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rodney McGruder Leads K-State Over Aggies; Teams Positioning for NCAA Tournament

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On a night in which a handful of teams made their case for NCAA tournament bids, Kansas State stamped itself as tourney-worthy with a 76-70 road win over Texas A&M.

Led by Rodney McGruder's 26 points, the Wildcats led the Aggies, 44-33, at the break and held on stubbornly for the six-point win. McGruder was sharp from the outside, making 5 of 7 three-pointers on a 6-for-12 shooting night. He also canned all nine of his foul shots and grabbed three boards, two on the offensive end.

Kansas State improved to 9-8 in the Big 12 and 20-9 overall, looking very much like a mid-level seed, likely to land somewhere between #6 and #10 when the tournament committee makes its selections on March 11.

Elsewhere, #18 Indiana put on a clinic at home, pounding #5 Wisconsin, 70-55. The Hoosiers employed balanced scoring - putting five players in double figures - and tight, man-to-man defense to squelch the Spartans, holding them to 39% shooting while forcing 13 turnovers.

Indiana's win put the Big Ten title up for grabs again, dropping Michigan State to 13-4, with Ohio State and Michigan at 11-5. The Spartans host Ohio State in their final regular season game on Sunday, March 4.

Two Big East games were of particular interest. Connecticut dropped to 7-10 in conference play, losing, 72-70, to Providence. West Virginia topped DePaul, 92-75, improving their Big East tally to 8-9. A win at South Florida on March 3, their final conference game, may be crucial to the Mountaineers tourney hopes.

#5 Duke completed a sweep of their ACC road games with a 79-71 win at Wake Forest. The Blue Devils lead North Carolina by 1/2 game in the conference, the win setting up a showdown for the league title against North Carolina on March 3. Duke holds all the cards, as they beat the Tar Heels, 85-84, back on February 8, and will be at home for the regular season finale.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tyshawn Taylor Scores 27; Kansas Wins Big 12

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 27, 2012

Tyshawn Taylor pumped in 27 points as Kansas overwhelmed Oklahoma State late, 70-58, capturing their 8th straight Big 12 regular season crown. Kansas shared the title in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

The Jayhawks improved to 25-5 overall and 15-2 in the conference with just one game to play - against Texas, March 3 - well clear of their closest pursuer, 12-4 Missouri.

Taylor scored 10 straight points during a stretch late in the second half which helped seal the win. The senior guard hit on 10 of 15 shots, making 4 of 7 from three-point distance.

With the win, Kansas is assured of a #1 seed heading into the conference tournament and has a solid chance at being a #1 seed in the NCAA tourney.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jordan Taylor, Badgers Sink Homesick Buckeyes, 63-60

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 26, 2012

Remember all the early-season hype about how good Ohio State was and how Jared Sullinger should be considered a candidate for player of the year?

Well, whether you do or not, forget about all that because the Buckeyes don't even look like much of a Top 25 team presently, especially after losing their third straight game to a ranked opponent, losing at home to #16 Wisconsin on Sunday, 63-60.

The main problem with Ohio State seems to be one of depth. They simply don't have any, as evidenced by the floor time put in by their starters and the lack of punch coming off the bench. In their loss to the Badgers, five Buckeye players - all starters - logged 30 minutes or more and accounted for all but one of Ohio State points. Of the five, Sullinger scored only eight and guard Lenzell Smith Jr. didn't score at all in his 30 minutes.

Worse yet is the fact that the Buckeyes - at home - could not even match a team doing essentially the same thing, as four Badgers logged 34 minutes or more and 47 of their 63 points came from just three players.

One of those Badgers doing most of the scoring was Jordan Taylor, whose 19 points were high for the team. Taylor, an all-conference guard averaging 14.3 points per game, was 6-for-8 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line, contributing five rebounds and four assists.

Another glaring issue for #8 (not for long) Ohio State is their foul shooting. If they had done just a little better than their 10 of 19 at the stripe against Wisconsin, they would have won the game. Poor foul shooting won't cut it in the Big Ten and it is a pretty reliable indicator for an early exit from the NCAA tournament.

The Buckeyes dropped into a tie with Michigan for second place in the conference, the two 11-5 teams chasing 13-3 Michigan State with Wisconsin a game further back at 10-6. With two games left in the regular season, the Buckeyes' chances of catching the Spartans are slim. They would have to win at Minnesota and Michigan State just to tie, and the #6 Spartans would also have to lose at #23 Indiana.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson Power Wildcats, Jayhawks to Wins

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 25, 2012

With just two weeks to go before selection Sunday, there were plenty of surprises and hard-earned wins on the hardwoods of America on Saturday, though the finest performances were secured by two big men who will likely be 1-2 in voting for college player of the year, Kentucky's Anthony Davis and Kansas forward, Thomas Robinson.

Davis led the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats to an 83-74 win over a testy Vanderbilt bunch which pushed them until the very end. Scoring a game high 28-points, Davis was 10-for-11 from the field and 8-for-9 from the foul line, to go with 11 rebounds and six blocked shots. His 28 points surpassed his career high of 27 scored against Arkansas earlier in the season. It was his 12th double-double of the season.

Kentucky's win was its 20th straight and 14th without a loss in the SEC. The victory, coupled with Florida's 76-62 loss at Georgia, earned the Wildcats their 45th regular season conference title and second under coach Calipari.

The Wildcats have just two games remaining on the conference schedule - at home against Georgia, March 1, and at Florida on March 4. Should they win both, they would become just the third Kentucky squad to finish the SEC season without a loss. The 1996 team won the national championship, while the 2003 unit were taken out in the regional semi-final.

Kentucky will almost certainly take one of the four #1 seeds in the NCAA tourney and very likely could be the #1 overall seed.

At Kansas, Thomas Robinson led the Jayhawks back from a 19-point deficit with 28 points and 12 rebounds to take down Missouri in overtime, 87-86, in a fitting finale to one of college basketball's fiercest rivalries.

The Jayhawks and Tigers have been going at it on the courts since 1907. The game was the 267th time the two Big 12 contestants have met, and, with Missouri joining the SEC next season, possibly the last. The two teams, which have split wins on their home courts this season, may meet again in the conference tournament.

Robinson led the Kansas comeback on 10 of 21 shooting and an 8-for-9 effort from the stripe. He also had 12 boards, for his 20th double-double as the Jayhawks all but sewed up the Big 12 title. Robinson has scored in double figures in every game this season except one, a December 29 rout of Howard in which he played only 22 minutes and tallied nine points.

#4 Kansas, 24-5 and 14-2 in conference play, has just two regular season games remaining, at Oklahoma State on February 27 and at home for Texas on March 3. They lead the 12-4 Tigers by two games in the standings. Missouri is ranked 3rd in the latest AP poll and is 25-4 overall.

NOTABLE: Among the upsets dotting the college hoops landscape on Saturday were St. John's taking down #20 Notre Dame, 61-58; St. Joseph's taking out #22 Temple, 82-72; and TCU knocking off #24 New Mexico, 83-64. Since back-to-back wins over Mountain West powerhouses, UNLV and San Diego State, the Lobos have lost two straight, both on the road. The conference is deadlocked with New Mexico, UNLV and San Diego State all posting 8-4 marks, with TCU a game back at 7-5.

#2 Syracuse wrapped up the Big East regular season crown with a 71-69 victory at Connecticut, their ninth under head coach Jim Boeheim. The Orange are 29-1 and 16-1 in the Big East, their best marks ever. The win also secured a double bye in the upcoming conference tournament which Syracuse has won five times, all under the tutelage of coach Boeheim.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jae Crowder Carries Marquette to 61-60 Win over West Virginia

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 24, 2012

Marquette head coach Buzz Williams is serious about basketball and about team rules. So serious, that he benched three starters for violating those rules for the first half of Marquette's road trip to hungry west Virginia.

Riding the pine for the first twenty minutes were Darius Johnson-Odom, the team’s leading scorer, team assists leader Junior Cadougan and sophomore guard Vander Blue. The loss of three starters left a bit of a void in the Golden Eagles' lineup, but then again, they still had Mr. Do-it-all, Jae Crowder on the floor.

Crowder played all 40 minutes of the game and led all scorers with 26 points, but that still didn't prevent the undermanned Golden Eagles from falling behind by as many as 15 points and heading into intermission down 32-21.

With their full complement of players back for the second half - lessons learned - Marquette surged to a lead late in the second half and held on for the 61-60 win, a final heave by Mountaineer Darryl "Truck" Bryant missing everything as time expired.

Crowder was 9-for-17 with a pair of treys, and had his usual assortment of stats, with four rebounds, two steals a couple of blocked shots and an assist.

10th-ranked Marquette improved to 24-5, and 13-3 in the Big East, good for sole possession of second place in the conference behind 15-1 Syracuse and just 1/2 game ahead of Notre Dame, at 12-3. With just two games left on the regular season schedule - against Cincinnati and Georgetown - the Golden Eagles are close to assuring themselves of a first and second round bye in the upcoming Big East tournament, should they finish the season in the top four.

NOTABLE: Harvard rallied from a 10-point deficit to avenge their only Ivy League loss of the season, whipping Princeton, 67-64 to take a commanding two-game lead in the conference at 10-1, over second place Penn (8-2), who just happen to be visiting the Crimson for a Saturday night tilt. Harvard can clinch the conference title on their home court win a win and assure themselves of a spot in the NCAA tournament. After Penn, the Crimson finish up the regular season on the road, at Columbia and Cornell. Harvard is 24-3 on the season.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bearcats Drop Louisville Behind 22 Points from Cashmere Wright

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 23, 2012

There's no telling just how big Cincinnati's, 60-56, win over #17 Louisville was Thursday night. That will be determined in about two weeks, when the NCAA tournament selection committee gets down to seeding the 68 teams in the tourney.

Suffice it to say that the win was as huge as the game played by junior guard Cashmere Wright, who scored a game high 22 points and led both teams in assists with five dimes. Wright hit just eight of 19 shots, but was efficiently 6-for-13 from beyond the arc. He also helped out on the boards in his 32 minutes of floor time, grabbing five rebounds.

The Bearcats improved to a respectable 20-8 and 10-5 in the Big East, which, remarkably, is good for only sixth place in the 16-team conference. Still, since the Big East will likely send eight or nine teams to the big dance, the win by Cincy was enormously important, not only because it was at home, but also because it came against a team, Louisville, which has pretty much assured themselves of a #4 or 5 seeding.

Where Cincinnati will be seeded will depend not only on this win, but also on how well they perform in their remaining game against South Florida, Marquette and Villanova, and in the Big East tourney.

NOTABLE: The #5 Duke Blue Devils are at it again, surprising the rest of the college hoops world by winning key games late in February, their latest a 74-66 road win over Florida State that avenged an earlier loss and has put coach K's kids on a path to a possible #1 seed in the NCAAs. Guards Andre dawkins and Austin Rivers combined for 42 of Duke's points, mostly from 3-point range. Dawkins was 6-for-9 from outside the arc and Rivers 4-for-8 as Duke nailed 13 treys against the Seminoles.

Duke is now tied with Florida State at 10-2 in conference play, both teams 1/2 game behind 11-2 North Carolina. Duke hosts the Tar Heels in their regular season finale on Saturday, March 3, a game likely will produce the AVV regular season champion.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marquette Stays Tied for Second in Big East Behind Jae Crowder's 27 Points vs. Rutgers

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 22, 2012

If there's any college player who might earn the title of "Mr. Do-it-all," the moniker would probably apply best to Marquette's Jae Crowder.

The 6'6" senior forward - who redshirted his first two years for the Golden Eagles - has been as versatile a player as there is in all of college hoops. Crowder has averaged 17.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists this season, has nine double-doubles and can shoot the three or drive to the hole.

Crowder has stepped up his game even more recently, as Marquette has strung together four straight wins and 11 of their last 12, scoring 23 against Cincinnati, 29 against Connecticut and 27 Wednesday night in Marquette's 82-65 home win over Rutgers, adding seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocked shots in one of the finest all-around performances of this college hoops season.

Marquette (23-5), currently tied for second place in the Big East with Notre Dame, at 12-3, has not lost a conference game at home this season, and their only home loss was a 74-57 setback to Vanderbilt on December 29. Both the Golden Eagles and Fighting Irish are chasing #2 Syracuse in the conference. The Orange improved to 15-1 and 28-1 overall with their 56-48 home win over South Florida, while Notre Dame was also on their home hardwood, blasting West Virginia, 71-44.

Marquette's Big East losses have been to Syracuse, Georgetown and Notre Dame, all on the road. With just three games remaining on their regular season schedule - at Cincinnati, at West Virginia and home vs. Georgetown - the Golden Eagles are in a good spot heading into tournament time, looking like a sure bet for a first round bye in the conference tourney, possibly earning a double bye if they can finish in the top four.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jordan Theodore Boosts Seton Hall over Georgetown with Career High 29; Mizzou Upset; Kentucky Roars Back

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 21, 2012

As the college hoops regular season winds down, these final four or five games are important for teams already supposed to make the NCAA tourney, but moreso for those on the proverbial "bubble."

Bubble mentality came into sharp focus in a couple of Top 10 defeats Tuesday night, as Kansas State won its second straight road win over a Top 10 squad, defeating #3 Missouri - for the second time this season - 78-68, after winning at Baylor, 57-56, on Saturday.

The biggest bubble bursting came out of the Big East, however, as the Seton Hall Pirates dispatched #9 Georgetown, in a 73-55 rout. The Pirates improved to 19-9 overall and 8-8 in the conference behind a career high 29 points from senior point guard, Jordan Theodore, who ran roughshod over the Hoyas, making 8 of 11 shots from the field, including all five of his three-point attempts and an 8-for-8 effort from the foul line.

Theodore also pitched five assists and ripped down four rebounds as the Pirates shot a blistering 61% from the floor and turned a 35-28 half time lead into a blowout.

Seton Hall has had a frustrating season, but seems to be putting it together at the right time. After losing six straight Big East contests, the Pirates have rebounded to win four of their last five with just two more games left in the regular season - against Rutgers this saturday at home and at DePaul next Saturday to close out their season in preparation of the all-important Big East tournament.

NOTABLE: Trailing by double digits for most of the first half, the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats erased a 41-28 deficit at the break to take down a determined SEC rival at Mississippi State, 71-64. Five Wildcats scored in double figures, led by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's 18 points. The win was the 19th straight for Kentucky and their 7st consecutive win on the road. The Wildcats are 27-1 and have the look of the #1 overall seed in the upcoming NCAA tourney.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shabazz Napier, Jeremy Lamb Lead UConn to OT Win at Villanova

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 20, 2012

In overtime, Villanova's Ty Johnson tied the game with Connecticut at 70-all on a layup, leaving just 5.8 seconds on the clock. It looked like the game was going into double overtime, but Shabazz Napier had other ideas, racing down the court and throwing up a very long 3-point attempt that swished through the net, giving UConn a 73-70 lead that would hold up as the Wildcats had no answer with just 0.6 seconds left on the clock.

Napier and the Huskies saved their season, for the moment. With head coach Jim Calhoun sidelined with health issues, the Huskies had entered the road game at Villanova with just two wins in its last nine contests. The losses had been piling up and there was even talk that Connecticut, the reigning NCAA champions, might not make it into the NCAA field.

The Huskies fell behind early on, down 18 points in the first half, but rallied to tie the score at 30-30 at the break. Jeremy Lamb finished with a career high 32 points, scoring in just about every conceivable manner as the Huskies struggled to stay in the game. Lamb was 11-for-19 from the field with two 3-pointers. He was also 8-for-11 from the line and scored all 10 of Connecticut's points in overtime prior to Napier's game-winner.

Napier scored just six points, all on a pair three-pointers, but the last one was truly epic and important, getting the Huskies to 7-8 in conference play and 17-10 overall. For now, Connecticut appears to have found a path back to the big dance, though they face Syracuse, Providence and Pitt to close out the regular season and will probably have to earn a few wins in the Big East tourney to secure a spot.

As big as the win was for the Huskies, it cannot be overstated that the team they beat is just 4-11 in conference play and has an overall mark of 11-16. Connecticut earned their road win, but the opposition was not what most people would call a quality team.

NOTABLE: Quincy Acy scored 22 points to go with 16 rebounds (8 offensive) as #13 Baylor (23-5) took down Texas, 77-72, an important road win for the Bears who came into the game losers of three of their last four.

The loss left the unranked Longhorns (7-8, 17-11) roundly on the tournament bubble.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homes for Rent in Calgary

The city of Calgary is located in the province of Alberta, centrally located between the foothills of the Canadian Rockies and the prairies which stretch to the east and north.

It is the third most-populous city in Canada, with over 1.2 million people, with many residents employed in the oil and energy-production business. There are large neighborhoods of single-family homes and duplexes throughout the area. Calgary homes for rent can be found in all of the sections of the expansive city, from Black Diamond to Chester River to the metropolitan downtown area in all price ranges and configurations.

Calgary is unlike most other major metropolitan areas, in that it has incorporated most of the surrounding areas into the city proper, somewhat along the lines of Jacksonville, Florida. This helps keep taxes reasonable, with one major local body of government, rather than the city/county model employed by most municipalities, which suffer from overlapping tax districts and regulations.

Calgary is also a thriving sports, cultural and entertainment mecca, home to the NHL's Calgary Flames, the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL), the Calgary Vipers of the baseball Northern League and the Roughnecks Lacrosse Club, a member of the NLL. Calgary was the site of the 1988 Winter Olympics and Olympic Plaza remains a popular site for many civic events.

The Calgary Tower, with it's revolving restaurant, provides panoramic, majestic views of the city and environs and is one of the iconic features of Calgary's cityscape.

Iowa Dumps #18 Indiana Behind 30 From Matt Gatens

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 19, 2012

When talk turns to "bubble teams," there may be none more effervescent than the 14-15 (6-8 Big Ten) Iowa Hawkeyes, who turned their home court into an Indiana massacre scene Sunday, topping the youthful, 18th-ranked Hoosiers, 78-66, to keep their unlikely dream of reaching the NCAA tournament alive.

The Hawkeyes got 30 points from senior Matt Gatens, who was splashing from long range, making 7 of 10 3-pointers and 10 of 18 overall.

The 6'5" guard had his best game ever, his 30 points a career high, helping Iowa win its third game of the season against a ranked opponent. Earlier in the year, the Hawkeyes beat Wisconsin and Michigan, but have suffered a raft of losses - mostly on the road - to teams that will be going home in March instead of playing post-season hoops.

With just four games left on their regular season schedule, the Hawkeyes could make a bid if they can beat Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern and Nebraska and do well in the Big Ten tourney. Finishing over .500 is nearly a requisite for entry into the NCAA's, and the Hawkeyes still have an uphill climb.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Drew Gordon's 27 Points and 20 Rebounds Lead Lobos over UNLV

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 18, 2012

With 20 of the Top 25 teams taking to the hardwood on Saturday, there was plenty of fuel to turn February's frolics into March Madness, and, while some of the best teams in the country were easily handling their opponents, it was Drew Gordon and the New Mexico Lobos who turned a lot of heads.

Unranked New Mexico has been largely overlooked by the pollsters, but, after winning at #13 San Diego State, 77-67, on Wednesday and absolutely punishing #11 UNLV, 65-45, the Lobos stand alone atop the Mountain West with an 9-2 record in the conference and a gaudy 22-4 mark overall.

Gordon, a burly, 6'8", 245-pound forward devastated the UNLV front line with a career high 27 points and 20 rebounds, tying his season high number for board dominance. The senior, who transferred from UCLA after the 2009-10 season, made 13 of 20 field goals, passed off a couple of assists and made three steals. It was his eighth double-double of the season, a stat which should have most of the big men in the country seeking ways to slow him down.

The Lobos appear to have the conference title all but wrapped up, with four games remaining against some of the dregs of the Mountain West. Their upcoming opponents have a combined record in the conference of 16-24, and the Lobos have already beaten each of them earlier this season.

NOTABLE: At the top of the rankings, #1 Kentucky, #3 Missouri and #4 Kansas won without much of a problem. Syracuse and Duke, ranked 2nd and 5th, were idle, but #6 Ohio State was overthrown at Michigan, the #17 Spartans taking them down by a 56-51 score, while winning their 16th straight home game. The Spartans tied the Buckeyes for second place in the Big Ten at 10-4, both teams just 1/2 game behind 10-3 Michigan State.

Ohio State wasn't the only ranked team to be upset. #9 Baylor lost at home to Kansas State, 57-56, #13 San Diego State fell to Air Force, 58-56, and #24 Gonzaga fell to San Francisco, 66-65.

In Arkansas, both Florida's Erving Walker and the Razorbacks' BJ Young scored 31 points, but the Gators were 30 points better, winning on the road by a 98-68 final.

Another team getting some notice is Wichita State, as the Shockers, tied with Gonzaga at #24, rode Joe Ragland's 30 points for a 91-74 win over Davidson.

#16 Murray State proved to be as good as their 26-1 record implied, pounding #22 St. Mary's, 65-51.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Keith Wright Leads Harvard in Tune-up over Brown; Yale Next; Saturday Slate features Top 25 Teams

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 17, 2012

Harvard has been hovering around the lower depths of the Top 25 all season, but last week dropped out when they lost at Princeton, 70-62.

The Crimson will have a chance to make amends and get back into the rankings when they tip off at home against Yale on Saturday night. Yale is 7-2 in the Ivy League, a game behind the Crimson, at 8-1.

Since the Ivy League is more about books than basketball, the players usually compete twice on a weekend, usually Friday and Saturday nights, and the schedule favors Harvard this time around, as they hosted Brown on Friday, putting the Bears down hard with a stifling defense that held their opponents to 33% from the field and out-rebounding them 40-23, in a 69-42 rout.

Harvard committed only 11 fouls, sending the Bears to the line just twice in the entire game. Even though the Bears made both of their alloted free throws, Harvard players toed the line 21 times, making 14, a large determinant in the outcome of the contest.

Keith Wright, a 6'8" senior forward, had his second straight double-double and fifth of the season for Harvard, scoring 12 points with 10 rebounds. Wright played just 24 minutes, but was effective, hitting 6 of 8 of his shots. The Crimson ran away early on, building an insurmountable, 37-16 lead at the half.

NOTABLE: A slate full of Top 25 teams on Saturday features two nationally-televised contests (ESPN) between ranked opponents. At 6:00 pm ET, #16 Murray State hosts #21 St. Mary's in a non-conference tilt. The Racers were the last team in the country to be undefeated, losing at home to Tennessee State on Feb. 9, but since have rebounded with a pair of wins over Austin Peay and SE Missouri State. Murray State has already wrapped up the Ohio Valley regular season title, at 14-1 and will be tested against the Gaels, who have lost two of their last three but still lead the WCC by 1/2 game over Gonzaga.

At 9:00 pm ET, #17 Michigan hosts #6 Ohio State in a game that will be critical in determining Big Ten supremacy. The Wolverines, who are 14-0 at home, trail the Buckeyes and Michigan State by one game in the standings, at 9-3. Both Ohio State and Michigan State are 10-4.

Michigan dropped a 64-49 decision at Ohio State on January 29 and will be looking to overturn the Buckeyes, winners of seven of their last eight, the solitary loss coming at the hands of Michigan State, 58-48, last Saturday.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Duke Rallies Past Virginia Tech on Seth Curry's 26 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 16, 2012

There are few teams that can shoot 38%, be out-rebounded, 44-39, and still manage to win by five points, but the Duke Blue Devils sometimes defy conventional wisdom, logic and statistics.

Trailing by 20 points with under 12 minutes to play, Seth Curry rallied #5 Duke to a 78-73 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium, scoring 21 of his game-high 26 points in the second half.

Curry, the lone Duke player to hit 50% from the field, was 9-for-18 from the field, connecting on three of eight 3-pointers as the Blue Devils rallied to their 22nd win against four losses and remained tied for first place in the ACC with North Carolina and Florida State at 9-2.

While the Tar Heels had the night off, Florida State also rallied in the second half, beating Virginia Tech, 48-47 on a buzzer beating, 3-pointer by Michael Snaer

Curry's scoring outburst was a timely season high for the Junior guard.

Both of the Blue Devils' conference losses this season have been at home - to Miami and Florida State. Duke will have the chance to avenge one of those losses when they travel to meet the #20 Seminoles on February 23 and possibly break up the logjam atop the standings.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jack Cooley Dominates Paint in 71-53 Irish Win over Rutgers

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Notre Dame won its seventh straight game, topping Rutgers, 71-53, to run their record to 18-8 and 10-3 in the Big East, tying Marquette for second place in the conference behind 13-1 Syracuse (26-1 overall).

The Fighting Irish are the only team to have beaten Syracuse this season, taking advantage of the absence of center Fab Melo in a 67-58 home win back on January 21. That win, which ended a two-game losing streak, must have given the Irish confidence, because they haven't lost since and now appear to be a lock for an NCAA invite.

Hard-nosed center, Jack Cooley, led all scorers with 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting, going 6 of 9 from the foul line. While he wasn't putting the ball in the basket, Cooley was rebounding missed shots, pulling down 18, eight of them on the offensive end.

The way they're playing, Notre Dame should cruise into the Big East tourney in the first week of March with a full head of steam. They have only five games remaining on their schedule and just one is against a ranked team, a February 27 visit to #10 Georgetown. The Irish are ranked #23 in the latest poll, but could be moving up if they continue their winning ways.

NOTABLE: In the Top 26 pantheon, there's a new kid on the block. That would be the #24 Wichita State Shockers, the leader in the Missouri Valley conference, at 14-2, with a two-game lead over second place Creighton (12-4). The Shockers improved to 23-4 with a 73-58 road win over Missouri State on Tuesday, their fifth straight win and 13th in their last 14.

In the West, New Mexico dumped #13 San Diego State, 77-67, and #21 St. Mary's fell to Loyola Marymount, 75-60, both ranked teams failing on their home courts. All other ranked teams in action - Indiana, North Carolina, Missouri and Murray State - were victorious.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

TCU Tops #11 UNLV Behind Hank Thorns' 32 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's mid-February, traditionally the time of year that college teams start thinking seriously about the post-season and their chances for invitations to the NCAA tournament.

One such team with plenty on their collective minds is TCU, which is in the midst of a turnaround after going 11-22 last year. The Horned Frogs improved to 15-10 with a signature win Tuesday night over UNLV, topping the 11th-ranked Runnin' Rebels in overtime, 102-97.

TCU upset their Mountain West rivals after being behind by 18 points with 15 minutes left. Their surge to tie the contest and send it into overtime was largely the work of Hank Thorns a 5'9" senior guard who sat out all of the 2009-10 season when he transferred to TCU from Virginia Tech.

Thorns scored a career high 32 points, making 8 of 12 from beyond the arc in an 11-for-21 shooting performance, eventually tying the game with a 3-pointer with 2:58 to go.

Once the game got to overtime, Thorns put the Horned Frogs' offense in high gear, scoring eight points as the Frogs outscored UNLV, 17-12. Thorns added five rebounds and four assists, enabling his team to reverse an earlier, 101-78 win by UNLV in Las Vegas and get to 5-4 in the conference.

The Horned Frogs still have New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV ahead of them in the conference standings, but can look forward to the post-season with some degree of confidence as they can make their case in the Mountain West tournament later this year.

An NCAA bid? Maybe. An improving team with plenty of upside? Certainly.

NOTABLE: TCU's win wasn't the only upset Tuesday night. Clemson used home court and tight defense to their advantage, outscoring visiting Virginia, 36-24, in the second half to complete a 60-48 victory over the 22nd-ranked Cavaliers.

In other Top 25 action, #14 Florida topped Alabama, 61-52, and #6 Ohio State won at Minnesota, 78-68, though neither of the victors looked particularly convincing in their wins.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jeff Withey Powers #4 Kansas Past K-State, 59-53

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 13, 2012

Jeff Withey came within one blocked shot of a triple-double in Kansas' 59-53 road win over Kansas State. The 7-foot junior center tied his season high with nine blocks, while scoring 18 points and snatching 11 rebounds as #4 Kansas improved to 21-5, taking over sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with a 1/2 game lead over idle Missouri at 11-2.

The Jayhawks had their lowest scoring output of the season against the gritty Wildcat defense, shooting just 40% from the field, but held Kansas State to 31% shooting. Tyshawn Taylor scored 20 for Kansas, tying him for game-high honors with Kansas State's Jamar Samuels.

With Thomas Robinson saddled with foul problems for a portion of the second half, Withey provided some key buckets, going 6-for-8 from the field and also hit the offensive boards hard, getting 6 offensive rebounds.

Kansas should continue to roll towards its February 25th showdown with Missouri. The two games prior to that are against the two bottom teams in the Big 12, Texas Tech (1-11) on February 18, and at 3-9 Texas A&M on the 22nd.

NOTABLE: #2 Syracuse gutted out a 52-51 defensive win at #19 Louisville, snapping a seven game losing streak to the Cardinals dating back to 2006. The two teams meet again in their seasonal finale on March 3.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Robbie Hummel's Season High 27 Leads Boilermakers over Wildcats

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 12, 2012

Purdue's Robbie Hummel missed all of last season with a torn ACL, but he looks to be getting his game back in form just in time for the Boilermakers to make a late-season push and maybe get an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

Purdue's second win this season over Northwestern, an 87-77 home victory got the Boilermakers to 6-6 in the Big Ten, though they'll likely need a few quality wins down the stretch after recent losses to Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Indiana.

Hummel led five Purdue players in double figures with a season high 27 points and nine rebounds, offsetting the 30-point outburst from the Wildcats' leading scorer, John Shurna. Hummel converted six of 12 shots from the floor, including three triples. He also nailed down 12 of 14 free throws. The 6'9" senior leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.

Purdue is 15-9 overall and will hit the road in their next game, a Wednesday (Feb. 15) night date at Illinois.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thomas Robinson and Jeff Whithey Power Jayhawks Past Cowboys; No Shortage of Top 25 Upsets on Saturday

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Big 12 looks like it's going to come down to just two teams from bordering states - Kansas and Missouri - for the regular season, conference tournament title and a likely #1 seeding from the NCAA tournament committee.

While Missouri was all over Baylor on Saturday, whipping the Bears by a 72-57 score, the Jayhawks used their superior size inside to bury Oklahoma State, 81-66.

Kansas, ranked 7th nationally, raced off to a 51-24 lead at intermission and coasted to the easy win behind 24 points and 14 rebounds from Thomas Robinson and 18 points and 20 boards by Jeff Whithey.

The Jayhawks improved to 20-5 and 12-2 in the Big 12, tied with Missouri (23-2, 10-2) atop the conference standings. Missouri won the first meeting between the two squads, winning 74-71 at home on February 4, but the return engagement will be at Kansas, two Saturdays away, on February 25.

NOTABLE: There was plenty of Top 25 action around the country, and no shortage of upsets, including #11 Michigan State's 58-48 win over #3 Ohio State, Princeton's 70-62 victory over #25 Harvard and Tennessee's 75-70 win at #8 Florida.

Georgia whipped home-standing #20 Mississippi State in overtime, 70-68, and unranked Wichita State retained sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley conference with a determined, 89-68, win at #15 Creighton, losers of three straight and in second place in the standings.

The Shockers should get more than enough votes to place in Monday's fresh poll, as they are 23-4 overall and 13-2 in the conference, winning their last four and 12 of their last 13.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Loyola (MD) Takes Top Spot in MAAC as Eric Etherly and Dylon Cormier Score 22 Apiece

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 10, 2012

Winning their seventh game in a row, the Loyola (MD) Greyhounds grabbed sole possession of first place in the MAAC with a decisive, 87-81, win over Iona on Friday's limited slate of games.

The Greyhounds improved to 19-5 overall, but more importantly, 12-2 in the MAAC, taking the top spot away from the Gaels, who entered the game tied with Loyola at 11-2.

Taking an early lead on their home court, the Greyhounds raced to a 47-30 advantage at the break and held on, despite being outscored by 11 points in the second half.

6'7" junior forward Eric Etherly and Dylon Cormier each tallied 22 points to lead Loyala scorers. Etherly was 9-for-12 from the field and hauled down 10 boards for his eighth double-double of the season. Cormier, a 6'2" sophomore guard, was 8-for-16 from the field with two 3-pointers, adding five rebounds and three assists.

The Greyhounds avenged an earlier loss at Iona, but the regular season is far from secured. Loyola has four conference games remaining, three on the road, with their final game at 10-4 Manhattan, a team the Greyhounds beat by only a point, 61-60, on their home floor, January 5th.

NOTABLE: There's plenty of hoops action on tap for Saturday, with #5 North Carolina looking to rebound from their last-second loss to Duke on Wednesday when they tip at home against #19 Virginia at 1:00 pm ET. #2 Syracuse hosts UConn at the same hour. At 1:45, #4 Missouri hosts #6 Baylor in a Big 12 rematch, and, at 4:00, #13 San Deigo State visits #14 UNLV in a Mountain West showdown between the conference's two top teams.

At 6:00, #3 Ohio State hosts #11 Michigan State, and the evening is capped off with #1 Kentucky traveling to Vanderbilt at 9:00 pm. With a win, the Wildcats would improve to 25-1.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gonzaga Pays Back St. Mary's Behind Kevin Pangos' 27 Points; Murray State Last Unbeaten to Fall

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 9, 2012

Official attendance for Gonzaga's showdown with St. Mary's was quoted at 6,000, but inside the McCarthy Athletic Center in Spokane, Washington, it sounded more like 60,000 and the home Bulldogs treated the guest Gaels like they weren't invited.

Before a loud and often deafening crowd, freshman guard Kevin Pangos pumped in 27 points to lead Gonzaga to a 73-59 pummeling of #13 St. Mary's the leaders in the race for the West Coast Conference title.

St. Mary's came into the game riding a 12 game winning streak with an unbeaten, 10-0 record in the conference and a two game lead over the Zags, but Pangos and his fellow Gaels took St. Mary's dazzling point guard, Matthew Deledevoda out of his game, limited the Gaels to 38% shooting, and, with the win, may have secured themselves another trip to the NCAA tourney.

Earlier in the season, St. Mary's had treated the Bulldogs with disdain, pounding them, 83-62, and taking control of the top spot in the conference, but Thursday night, on their home floor, the Zags were clearly the better team, shooting 53% and out-rebounding St. Mary's 40-26.

Pangos, a speedy sharpshooter who is also developing into a slashing driver, was 8-for-16 from the field, making five of six of his three-pointers and going 6-for-6 from the line, along with four boards, two assists and a pair of steals.

The win upped Gonzaga's record to 19-4 overall and 9-2 in the conference. With non-conference wins over Notre Dame, Butler and Arizona on their resume, the Bulldogs appear poised to re-enter the Top 25 next week and ride a wave of confidence through the remainder of the season and into tournament play.

They still trail St. Mary's by a game in the conference schedule, but will likely face them again in the WCC tournament, the winner receiving an automatic bad to the the NCAA tourney.

NOTABLE: The last of the undefeated teams in Division I finally met its match as #7 Murray State fell to Tennessee Tech, 72-68, despite 31 points from Isaiah Canaan. The Racers entered the game at 23-0 with a stranglehold on the Ohio Valley conference. Following the loss, their lead is still 2 1/2 games over Tennessee State with just four more conference tilts left on the schedule, the final three of those on the road. The non-conference game with St Mary's on February 18 is of particular importance as both the Gaels and the Racers will be looking for a signature win to ensure a trip to the big dance.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Kris Joseph, Austin Rivers Each Score 29 to Lead Orange, Blue Devils to Rivalry Wins

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For college basketball rivalries, it doesn't get much better than Syracuse and Georgetown. Or, how about Duke and North Carolina?

Well, they were both highlighted on Wednesday night, and the players put on a show that portends well for upcoming conference and NCAA tournaments.

First though, the sweet ironic twist of the night, from the Kansas-Baylor game, in which the announcer (sorry, didn't catch his name) said, early on, [Jeff] "Whithey has been taken completely out of the offense." Those words came just before Whithey embarked on a career night, scoring 25 points on 8 of 10 shooting in a 68-54 Jayhawk win over Baylor. So much for "expert" commentators.

The evening's excitement began with Georgetown at Syracuse, the Carrier Dome filled to capacity as the two titans of the Big East met for the 87th - and possibly the last - time, as SU will be leaving the Big East for the ACC. The hype was equal to the game, however, as the two teams battled through multiple ties and lead changes.

Keeping the Orange in the game was their senior star, Kris Joseph, often overlooked because of themany offensive weapons Syracuse possesses and how well they share the ball. Joseph went off for a career high 29 points and the game-winning three-pointer in overtime as the 2nd-ranked Orange (24-1, 11-1) dropped the Hoyas, 64-61.

Tied at 55 at the end of regulation, the two teams traded points up to a 61-all tie with time ticking down. Joseph, who was 9-for-20 and 6 of 11 from beyond the arc, ripped a three from the left corner to put the Orange ahead with 26 seconds left. On Georgetown's final possession, Skip Jardine sealed it by stripping Jason Clark with 4.9 seconds to go, the ball going off Clark and out of bounds.

The two teams may meet again in the Big east tourney, but for Syracuse and Georgetown fans, the long-standing rivalry couldn't have ended on a more dramatic note. SU coach Jim Boehiem collected his 880th win, giving him sole possession of third place all-time, and having the distinction of setting the mark for most wins by a head coach at one school. Boeheim has been head coach of the Orange since 1976, guiding them to eight regular season Big East championships, five conference tournament titles and a national championship in 2003.

While the Orange and Hoyas were in overtime, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels tipped off in North Carolina, and freshman guard Austin Rivers was lighting it up, pushing Duke to an early advantage.

As the game wore on, the Tar Heels' big men up front - Tyler Zeller, Jon Henson and Harrison Barnes - began to exert control in the lane, and Carolina led at the half, 43-40, extending that edge to 12 points and 10 points with just two minutes to play.

But the Devils were not to be denied. Behind Rivers' career high 29 points, Duke clawed back and had a chance to win or tie after Zeller made just one of two free throws with 13.9 seconds to go.

Rivers let fly from the right wing over Zeller, nailing the trey as time expired to give the Blue Devils a stunning, shocking, once-in-a-lifetime 85-84 victory over the Tar Heels.

Playing 39 minutes, Rivers finished 9 of 16 from the field, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range. He was 5-for-8 from the charity stripe and had five rebounds, two assists and a steal.

The win sent the ACC standings into a three-way tie on top, as Boston College dropped #15 Florida State, 64-60. The Seminoles, Tar Heels and Blue Devils are all 7-2 in the conference, with Virginia and NC State close behind, at 6-3.

Duke improved to 20-4 on the season, the same record the Tar Heels now own.

It was a remarkable night for college hoops, with many more to come in the weeks ahead.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

William Buford Lifts Buckeyes with Career High 29 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 7, 2012

With their star player, Jared Sullinger, on the bench in the final minutes due to fouls and a late injury, senior William Buford stepped up and saved the game for #3 Ohio State as they held off a pesky Purdue squad, 87-84.

Buford, one of the best scorers ever to don a Buckeye uniform, will probably finish his four-year stint as #3 or #4 on the Ohio State career points list, picked the team up with a career high 29 points, scoring the seven points for the Buckeyes down the stretch, punctuating the win by tipping a loose ball ahead off a mad scramble in Purdue's end and taking the ball home with a thunderous dunk that put the Buckeyes ahead, 83-76, with 42 seconds left. Buford scored 21 in the second half, as the Buckeyes battled the Boilermakers from a 40-40 half time deadlock.

Buford was 10-for-17 from the field with three 3-pointers and was perfect at the line, making all six free throw attempts. He also led Ohio State with seven rebounds.

It was the second straight close call at home for Ohio State, which improved to 21-3 and 9-2 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes defeated Wisconsin, 58-52, this past Saturday. Ohio State leads 7-3 Michigan State by 1 1/2 games in the standings and will host the Spartans this Saturday in a crucial conference test.

NOTABLE: Top-ranked Kentucky extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 49 straight games with a 78-58 win over the Florida Gators. The game was close only for the first ten minutes. Once the Wildcats stretched their lead beyond ten points, they extended it with exceptional defense and a dunk display that kept the Gators at bay.

#17 Creighton lost its second straight game - both on the road - in a 65-57 loss to Evansville. The Bluejays dropped a 65-62 decision at Northern Iowa on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Marcus Denman, Ricardo Ratliffe Lead Missouri to 22-2 Record with Win at Oklahoma

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 6, 2012

After knocking off Kansas on Saturday, the #4 Missouri Tigers were back at it, this time on the road against the Oklahoma Sooners.

And, just like on Saturday, it was senior Marcus Denman stepping up with another big game.

Denman made four of nine 3-pointers to go along with his 9-for-16 shooting overall for a game high 25 points as the Tigers downed the Sooners, 71-68, capturing the lead in the Big Ten at 9-2. Idle Kansas and Baylor now trail the Tigers by 1/2 game in the conference standings.

Missouri, 22-2, shot 56% for the game, including a 6-for-6 effort from Ricardo Ratliffe, who continues his assault on the all-time season shooting percentage. Ratliffe had 15 points and is currently hitting at a .747 rate, easily the best in the nation and on pace to challenge or break the men's Division I record of .746 set by Oregon State's Steve Johnson in 1980-81.

Up next for the Tigers is #6 Baylor on February 11, in a return match-up after Missouri traveled to Baylor on January 21 and knocked off the Bears, 89-88. Baylor is 21-2.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Reggie Johnson Scores 27 to Lead Miami over #7 Duke

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 5, 2012

There's been a theory going around college basketball this season that Duke's bigs - primarily brothers Mason and Miles Plumlee - could be handled and thus, the Blue Devils taken down a few notches in the national picture.

On Sunday, while most fans were munching on chips and pizzas in anticipation of Super Bowl XLVI, the Miami Hurricanes made their case, getting 27 and 15 points from forwards Reggie Johnson and Kenny Kadji, respectively, to take down the #7 Blue Devils in overtime, 78-74.

The victory was the first ever for Miami at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke had also been defeated by Florida State at home earlier this season, another team with a strong inside presence. Johnson, a 6'10" forward, hit on 11 of 17 shots and five of 10 free throws, and wiped the boards for 12 rebounds as well, eight of them on the offensive end, some resulting in put-backs for easy scores.

The Hurricanes built a 16-point lead in the early part of the second half, but the Blue Devils clawed back and sent the game into overtime, where Johnson scored five of his career high 27 and the Blue Devils uncharacteristically missed all six of their free throws.

Duke drops to 6-2 in the conference and 19-4 overall, while the Hurricanes improved to 5-3 in ACC play and are 14-7 on the season. Miami has won four straight - three of them on the road. The other road wins came at Georgia Tech and Boston College.

The Blue Devils have another tough test when they travel this Wednesday, February 8, to play their Tobacco Road arch-rival, North Carolina, which is tied, at 7-1, with Florida State on top of the ACC standings.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

#4 Missouri Stuns #8 Kansas Behind Marcus Denman's 29 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Missouri Tigers don't boast a lot of size on their front line. In fact, the Tigers start four guards, leaving 6'8" forward Ricardo Ratliffe to handle the middle.

But, what Missouri lacks in size, they more than compensate for with a combination of speed, a nagging defense, deft passing, accurate shooting and senior leadership, all of those elements coming together in the 4th-ranked team in the country taking down #8 Kansas in what could have been the end of a 106-year tradition of border wars, 74-71.

After Tyshawn Taylor's dunk with 3:24 left to play made the score 71-63, senior Marcus Denman went to work, scoring the next nine points on a layup, free throw and two straight three-pointers to put the Tigers ahead, 72-71 with 56 seconds to go.

After Taylor missed a pair of free throws and then fouled Matt Pressey, who missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Teylor turned the ball over and then Elijah Johnson fouled Michael Dixon with 10 seconds left. Dixon cooled canned a pair and Kansas could only get off a desperation heave as time expired.

Denmon led all scorers with 29 points on 10 of 16 shooting, including a 6-for-9 effort from beyond the arc. The 6'3" guard made three of four from the foul line and collected nine rebounds in leading Missouri to its 22nd win against just two losses and a three-way tie atop the Big 12, at 8-2, along with Kansas and Baylor, both of which the Tigers have beaten.

Kansas dropped to 18-5, despite 25 points and 13 rebounds from player of the year candidate, Thomas Robinson. Missouri's superb sixth man, Dixon, scored 20 and Kim English added 18 points.

The game was the 266th meeting between the two schools, a rivalry that dates back to the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt, and could be the final time the two take the court in Missouri, as the Tigers have opted to depart the Big 12 for the SEC beginning next season. There will be one more match-up in the storied series when Missouri visits Kansas on February 25 and the two could meet again in the Big 12 tournament.

NOTABLE: #1 Kentucky had an easy time with South Carolina, bombing the Gamecocks, 86-52, as freshman Anthony Davis scored 22 points and blocked eight shots, breaking Shaquille O'Neal's SEC freshman blocks record.

#2 Syracuse welcomed the return of center Fab Melo with a 95-70 win over St. John's at Madison Square Garden. The win moved coach Jim Boeheim past Dean Smith into third place all-time with his 879th victory.

There were three upsets of ranked teams, all in the middle of the polls. #12 Creighton fell to Northern Iowa, 65-62; Wyoming took the measure of #13 UNLV, 68-66; and, giant-killer Notre Dame defeated #15 Marquette, 76-59. All three of the upsets were on the winners' home courts.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Fairfield Downs Niagara on Derek Needham's 32 Points; Top 25 Action on Super Saturday

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 3, 2012

Junior guard Derek Needham pumped in a career high 32 points to lead Fairfield to their fourth win in its last five games with a 77-69 win over Niagara.

Needham made 11 of 16 shots, including six threes and hit four of six from the foul line as the Stags turned a 34-31 half time deficit into a win with 46 second half points.

Even though the Stags were out-rebounded and turned the ball over 19 times, they shot 56% for the game (24-43) and hit 12 three-pointers, while the Purple Eagles converted on just 24 of 64 shots, a 37.5% clip.

The Stags, 7-4 in the MAAC conference, are alone in 4th place, behind the trio of Iona, Loyola (MD) and Manhattan, all bunched together atop the league at 10-2.

NOTABLE: After the usual paucity of games on Friday night, fans will be treated to a buffet of Top 25 action on Saturday. The premiere match-up comes out of the Big 12, where #4 Missouri hosts #8 Kansas at 9:00 pm ET on ESPN. The Tigers trail the Jayhawks by one game in the conference and will be looking to tie for the lead.

Prior to that prime time affair, #2 Syracuse gets their center, Fab Melo, back from a three-game academic absense when they travel to St. Johns for a noon tip. At 2:00 pm, #20 wisconsin hosts #3 Ohio State in a key Big Ten contest. The 7-3 Badgers have won six straight and are just 1/2 game behind the 7-2 Buckeyes for the conference lead.

21 of the Top 25 teams will be in action on Saturday, including #1 Kentucky traveling to South Carolina for a 6:00 pm tip with the Gamecocks. Elsewhere in the SEC, #11 Florida hosts Vanderbilt as the Gators try to keep pace with Kentucky. The game will be televised nationally on CBS at 1:00 pm. The Gators are riding a six-game win streak after opening SEC play with a loss to Tennessee and trail Kentucky by 1 1/2 games in the conference.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Isaiah Canaan Leads Murray State to Comeback Win for 22nd in Row

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 2, 2012

There's only one undefeated team left within the Division 1 ranks - the Murray State Racers - but, trailing SE Missouri State, 39-33, at the half, even that seemed to be in doubt.

In the second half, however, the Racers turned on the afterburners and outscored the Redhawks, 48-34, to post their 22nd straight win with the 81-73 home win.

Junior guard Isaiah Canaan caught fire, scoring 24 of his 32 points in the second half to lead the comeback. Canaan, the Racers' leading scorer, who is averaging 19.3 points per game, was 8-for-17 with six 3-pointers. He was also accurate from the foul line, making 10 of 12 attempts while adding five rebounds and three assists.

Murray State is ranked #10 in the latest AP poll.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson Lead Kansas over Oklahoma

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The 8th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks (18-4, 8-1) rebounded from their 72-64 loss at Iowa State Saturday with a resounding 84-62 home win over Oklahoma, scoring 50 second half points to pull away from the Sooners after the Jayhawks led 34-31 at the break.

Kansas was once again led by their inside-outside tandem of guard Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson, who combined for 41 points. Taylor led all scorers with 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting with a pair of three-pointers and a 5-for-6 effort from the foul line. Taylor also dished six assists and had two steals.

Robinson, routinely mentioned prominently in college player of the year conversations, had another monster game with 20 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots. Robinson was 9-for-12 from the field and 2-for-3 from the stripe. It was Robinson's 15th double-double of the season and the 21st time he scored in double figures in 22 games.

The Jayhawks, who had won ten straight before their Iowa State loss, shot 55% (31-56), while holding the Sooners to just 41% from the floor.

Kansas leads the Big 12 with an 8-1 mark, heading into their conference showdown with #4 Missouri this Saturday. The Tigers are tied for second in the conference with Baylor, at 7-2.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Anthony Davis Continues to Amaze as #1 Kentucky Improves to 22-1

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The way Kentucky is playing these days, there's a real possibility that they'll head to the NCAA tournament as not only the top-ranked team in the country, but also the #1 seed in the tournament.

The Wildcats won their 14th straight game, pounding Tennessee, 69-44, behind their budding superstar freshman center, Anthony Davis, who led all scorers with 18 points, adding eight rebounds, three assists and seven blocks to his impressive resume.

Davis, the heart of Kentucky's stifling defense, leads the country in blocked shots and leads his team in both scoring and rebounding. He was 6-for-7 from the field and did the same from the foul line. The Volunteers, which shot just 28% for the game, had no answers for the lanky center, falling to 10-11 and 2-5 in the SEC.

Kentucky leads the conference with an 8-0 record. Their closest pursuer, Florida, is two games back, at 5-2. The Gators have a meeting with the Wildcats at Rupp Arena on Tuesday, February 7. By then, the Wildcats should be 23-1. They play at South Carolina - last in the conference at 1-5 - on Saturday, February 4.

NOTABLE: The Big Ten continues to be the most contentious conference in America. Illinois upset Michigan State on Tuesday, 42-41, dropping the Spartans to third place in the conference at 6-3, while the Illini improved to 5-4 and 16-6 overall. Illinois is unlikely to unseat 7-2 Ohio State or Wisconsin (currently in second place, at 7-3) atop the standings, though they have a reasonable chance of receiving an at-large bid from the NCAA tournament committee.