Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Freshman Kyle Guy's 17 Points Rallies #23 Virginia Over #5 North Carolina

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 27, 2017

After four straight losses - to Virginia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, and Miami - Virginia's season was on the ropes, the Cavaliers having dropped from #12 in the rankings to #23 in the most recent poll (2/26) at 18-9.

Then, along came freshman Kyle Guy, who came in off the bench to light up the NC State Wolfpack with 19 points in Saturday's 70-55 victory. So solid was the effort that head coach Tony Bennett named Guy a starter for the home game against North Carolina Monday night.

Guy's response was a huge boost for the Cavaliers, whose style is predicated on hard-nosed defense and opportunistic offense. Leading all scorers, Guy dropped in 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting, including going 5-for-7 from three-point range. He added four assists and six rebounds, helping the Cavaliers to a 53-43 win over the #5 Tar Heels.

Virginia's defense was exceptionally good in the victory, allowing North Carolina just 35% shooting while forcing 14 turnovers from the Tar Heels. It's the kind of gritty defense for which the Cavaliers have become renowned over the past seven years of Tony Bennett's coaching tenure.

A 6'3" guard from Indianapolis, Indiana, Guy has played sparingly throughout the season, but respectively logged 35 and 32 minutes in the wins over NC State and North Carolina and will likely be a fixture in Virginia's starting rotation through the ACC tournament and into the NCAA tourney later in March.

The win put the Cavaliers at 10 up and seven down in conference play, tied with Miami and Virginia Tech, but just three games behind ACC leader North Carolina in the nation's most-contested conference. A win over 4-11 Pitt on Saturday (3/4) and a win or two in the conference tournament would have Virginia at 11-7 and a near lock for an NCAA invite.

Monday, February 27, 2017

With 25 Points, Donovan Mitchell Leads Louisville Rout Of Syracuse

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 26, 2017

After defeating #10 Duke on Wednesday, 78-75, the Syracuse Orange had reason to be excited over their prospects of receiving an invitation to the NCAA championship tournament.

That thrill faded quickly, however, as the unranked Orange were devastated at Louisville by the #7 Cardinals, 86-66.

The culprit was defense, or, in the Syracuse case, the lack thereof, that led to the lopsided loss. The Cardinals shot a healthy 57% from the field, including a solid 45% (9-for-20) from three-point range, as Syracuse defenders were often out of position in their trademark 2-3 zone. Another fallback of the zone was in rebounding, where Louisville held a 39-28 advantage.

Topping the scoring barrage was Louisville's sophomore guard, Donovan Mitchell, who was 9-for-16, including six threes, amassing 25 points over 35 minutes of court time.

The 6'3" native of Greenwich, Connecticut added four assists, five rebounds, and a pair of steals to his outstanding performance.

Louisville penetrated and found the open man repeatedly throughout the onslaught, with a team total of 18 assists on 33 buckets. Tied with Notre Dame and Florida State at 11-5 in the ACC, the Cardinals are two games back of conference leader, North Carolina. An overall record of 23-6 has the Cardinals as high as a #3 seed heading into March Madness.

With only one game left in the regular season, Syracuse likely needs a win over visiting Georgia Tech, this Saturday, March 4, and a win in the opening round of the conference tournament to make a case for inclusion into the NCAA field. With the Louisville defeat their fourth in five games, the Orange are on the bubble, or, the ropes for tourney inclusion. The Yellow Jackets topped the Orange, 71-65, on February 19.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

BYU Stuns #1 Gonzaga, 79-71, Behind Eric Mika's 29 Points, 11 Boards

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 25, 2017

BYU ended the nation's longest winning streak at 29, defeating top-ranked and previously-undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs, with a 79-71 win at Spokane, Washington.

Sophomore forward Eric Mika led the assault, racking up 29 points and 11 rebounds for his 17th double-double of the season.

Working primarily against the Gonzaga interior, 6'10" Mika was 10-for-14 from the field, adding nine of 13 from the line. Aiding the effort were Gonzaga's long-range shooters, who were a combined 3-for-16 (19%) from three-point range.

The loss was the first of the season for the top-ranked Bulldogs, ending their regular season with a BYU blemish at 29-1 and a 17-1 mark in the West Coast conference. The Cougars finished up 21-10 overall, and 12-6 in the conference, good for third place and, with an important road victory now on their resume, a likely at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament.

In other key match-ups from Saturday, Miami dumped #10 Duke, 55-50, handing the Blue Devils their second straight loss, after they were upset at Syracuse earlier in the week. #5 UCLA prevailed over #4 Arizona, 77-72, putting five players in double figures.

In Lexington, Malik Monk score 30 of his game-high 33 points to lead #11 Kentucky over #13 Florida, 76-66, giving the Wildcats a one-game lead in the SEC standings.

On tap for Sunday, Syracuse seeks to add to their register of top 10 victims when the take on the #7 Louisville Cardinals at 2:00 pm ET. The game will be broadcast live on CBS, followed by Big Ten action as #16 Wisconsin travels to Michigan State. Later (6:30 pm ET), #21 Notre Dame hosts Georgia Tech on ESPNU.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Princeton Closer To Ivy League Title With Win Over Columbia; Devin Cannady Tallies 18

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 24, 2017

Princeton won its 14th straight, improving to 11-0 in the Ivy League, defeating Columbia, 64-45, closing in on another conference title.

Devin Cannady scored a game-high 18 points all on three-pointers, going 6-for-14 from the field, but 6-for-11 from beyond the arc.

A 6'1" sophomore guard from Mishawaka, Indiana, Cannady didn;t go to the foul line at all as the Tigers breezed to the win with a sharp second half.

Princeton has just three games left in the regular season, and needs just one win, over either Cornell, Harvard or Dartmouth to clinch at least a tie. Considering that the Tigers have beaten all three of their upcoming opponents earlier in the season, their chances for getting the automatic NCAA tournament invite are very good.

The Tigers travel to Cornell on Saturday, and play Harvard and Dartmouth next Friday and Saturday, respectively, at home next weekend.

Friday, February 24, 2017

T.J. Leaf Scores 25, Leads #5 UCLA Past Arizona State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 23, 2017

There's a serious showdown coming in the PAC-12 between the Arizona Wildcats and the UCLA Bruins, currently ranked numbers four and five in the AP Poll, and among the leaders in the conference (Arizona is on top; UCLA 2 1/2 back).

The colossal collision is expected to occur beginning with the tip-off Saturday night in Tuscon, when the Wildcats host the Bruins for the second time this season. The first meeting - at UCLA - went to Arizona, 96-85, but, since that result and a subsequent loss at USC, the Bruins have reeled off six straight wins, including Thursday night's 87-75 victory at Arizona State, and 25 points from freshman T.J. Leaf, who fell just shy of his 12th double-double, with nine rebounds.

Leaf dominated the middle, hitting 11 of 16 shots and making all three free throw attempts. The 6'10" frosh has become a mainstay for the Bruins as they improved to 25-3 overall and 12-3 in conference play.

With just two games left for Arizona, 16-0 in the conference, UCLA would have to win Saturday night and the wildcats would have to lose their remaining game against Arizona State, in order to tie the Wildcats for the PAC-12 title.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Syracuse Wins, 78-75, On John Gillon's Buzzer-Beater Over #10 Duke

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The bank was open for John Gillon.

With time running down and the scored tied at 75, the Syracuse guard let fly from 25 feet, the ball banking in off the backboard for the game winner as Syracuse prevailed at home over the #10 Duke Blue Devils, 78-75.

Gillon finished with a game-high 26 points on 9-for-14 shooting including three of five from three-point range. The Orange had trailed by as many as ten points in the first half, but trimmed Duke’s advantage and the game was tight for the final ten minutes. Syracuse never led by more than two points until Gillon’s heroic buzzer-beater.

Sending the partisan Syracuse crowd at the Carrier Dome into a court-rushing frenzy, the 17-12 Orange kept alive their hopes of receiving an invitation to the upcoming NCAA national championship tournament. It was the third win over a top 10-ranked team for the Orange. They previously upset Florida State and Virginia.

The victory leaves the Orange at 9-7 in the ACC with just two games remaining in the regular season. A Syracuse win on Sunday at #7 Louisville would likely result in a bid to the big dance, but a Marcvh 4 win over Georgia Tech in their regular season finale at home and a good showing in the ACC tournament would also weigh mightily on the selection committee’s decision.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

#13 Florida Powers To 9th Straight Win Behind KeVaughn Allen's 26 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 22, 2017

Winning their ninth straight, the Florida Gators moved into a tie for first place in the SEC with Kentucky, sending slumping South Carolina to their third straight loss, 81-66.

Leading the Gators was sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen, who took just seven shots from the field but ended up the game's high scorer with 26 points.

Allen was 5-for-7 overall, including 3-for-5 on three-pointers. He also made 13 of 14 from the free throw line, dished three assists, blocked a shot, made a pair of steals and had seven boards.

Florida, ranked #13 in the most recent poll, avenged a 57-53 setback at South Carolina back on January 18.

The Gators (23-5, 13-2 SEC) play at #11 Kentucky this Saturday, the result likely to determine the SEC regular season champion. Florida topped the Wildcats on February 4, dominating, 88-66.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Jevon Carter, Lamont West Lead West Virginia Past Texas

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 20, 2017

Alive and well in the Big 12, #12 West Virginia (22-6, 10-5) still trails Kansas in the conference standings by 3 1/2 games after the Mountaineers trashed Texas Monday night, 77-62, aided in large part by the 38 minutes of floor time from junior guard Jevon Carter.

Carter, 6'2", from Maywood, Illinois, was 9-for-17 from the field with a pair of three-pointers, 4-for-4 from the foul line and had his third double-double with a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds.

6'8" freshman, Lamont West, chipped in 23 points in the same number of minutes, went 7-for-10 from the field, including 6-for-8 from beyond the arc, adding four boards, two assists and a blocked shot. Carter also dished four assists and made a steal.

The Mountaineers may not be the ultimate class of the conference, but they're close, and continuing to meld as a unit. The win was their fourth of the last five games, the only defeat coming last Monday, in an 84-80 overtime loss at Kansas.

With just three games left in their regular season, the Mountaineers appear to be headed to the NCAA tournament for the third straight time, after having missed out in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Marcus Foster Pours In 35, Leading #20 Creighton Past Georgetown, 87-70

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 19, 2017

While the Creighton Blue Jays aren't likely to win the Big East conference - that seems to belong to Villanova - they are almost certainly going to the NCAA tournament, aided by Kansas State transfer, Marcus Foster, who scored a career-high 35 points in Sunday's 87-70 win over Georgetown.

A junior guard from Wichita Falls, Texas, Foster was 13-for-19 from the field, canning four of six from three-point range, adding five boards and five assists in his best game of the season. After two years at Kansas State, Foster sat out the 2015-16 season to ply his trade at Creighton and the results have been better than expected.

Foster's range and shooting percentage have improved markedly from his stint at KSU, and he leads the Bluejays in scoring, averaging 18.6 points per game.

Creighton took an 8-point lead (41-33) into halftime, then went on a 19-6 spurt early in the second to essentially put the game on ice.

Creighton (22-5, 9-5 Big East) shot 53%, avenging a 20-point road loss to the Hoyas on January 25. Georgetown (14-13, 5-9) shot just 38.5% and made only 3 of 22 three-point heaves.

The win leaves the Bluejays alone in third place, 3 1/2 games behind second-ranked Villanova (26-2, 13-2). Butler is second, three games back; Xavier, at 8-6 in conference play, is 4 1/2 behind the front-running Wildcats.

With four games remaining on the regular season schedule, Creighton has home games against Providence and St. John's, travels to Villanova on Feb. 25th, finishing up on the road at Marquette, March 4th.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Freshman Lauri Markkanen Scores 26 With 13 Rebounds in Arizona Win Over Washington

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 18, 2017

College teams in the PAC-12 and down the road in the NCAA tourney had best acquaint themselves with #5 Arizona's Freshman Finn, seven-footer Lauri Markkanen, who tallied 26 points and 13 boards in the Wildcats' 76-68 victory at Washington Saturday.

Markkanen, who hails from Jyvaskyla, Finland, is a potent scorer, who is equally deadly near the rim or from three-point range, where he splashes at a .457 clip. Though he did not connect on two attempts from beyond the arc Saturday, he was 9-for-17 overall and canned eight of nine from the charity stripe. He leads Arizona in minutes, scoring (15.7) and rebounding (7.5), and has the Wildcats a game better than second place Oregon in the conference standings, at 14-1 (25-3 overall).

Arizona won their fourth straight, following an 85-58 drubbing at Oregon two weeks ago, and they won't play the Ducks again unless they meet up in the conference tourney. The Wildcats have just three games left in the regular season, with a home game against #6 UCLA looming as the potential conference title clincher. UCLA is 11-3 in the conference, 2 1/2 games back after blasting USC on Saturday, 102-70.

Arizona, Oregon and UCLA look like locks for the NCAA tournament, with either Colorado or Cal becoming the fourth team from the PAC-12 to get invited, hinging largely on their performance in the conference tournament.

Notable: Mike Daum of South Dakota State scored a career-high 51 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Jackrabbits' 97-89 win over the Fort Wayne Mastadons (no really, that's their chosen name). Daum's point total was the highest in the NCAA this season.

Sunday Spotlight: #23 Maryland plays at #11 Wisconsin, Sunday at 1:00 pm ET in a Big Ten showdown. Both the Terps and Badgers trail Purdue by 1/2 game in the conference standings, making the game a must-see (CBS has the national broadcast) despite the NCAA tournament committee completely shunning the Big Ten in their early top 16 seedings last week.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Princeton Thumps Yale, 71-52, As Devin Cannady Leads 12th Straight Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 17, 2017

Devin Cannady matched a career high with 29 points and seven 3-pointers, helping the Princeton Tiger beat the Bulldogs of Yale, 71-52, on Friday night for its 12th straight win.

Cannady, a sophomore sharp-shooter, dominated the perimeter for Princeton, hitting nine of 11 shots from the field, including an impressive 7-for-8 from beyond the arc. He was 4-for-4 from the foul line, adding three rebounds and a pair of assists as the Tigers maintained their two-game lead in the Ivy League over Harvard. Yale's loss dropped them into third place, three games off the pace. Cannady scored 20 of Princeton's 38 first half points.

At 9-0 in the conference (16-6 overall), Princeton appears to be well on their way toward taking the Ivy League title and the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. They have five games remaining, one of them hosting Harvard, on March 3. Three of the games are on the road, and, in succession. The Tigers play at Brown this Saturday, then at Columbia and Cornell next weekend. The regular season sends at home, against Brown, March 4th.

Looking ahead across the college hoops spectrum, the big game on Saturday is #3 Kansas at #4 Baylor, a huge Big 12 meeting between two teams that are obviously heading to the Big Dance. The game will be broadcast live on CBS beginning at 1:00 pm ET.

On Saturday night, #14 West Virginia plays at #10 North Carolina, at 8:15 pm ET. ESPN has the coverage.

Friday, February 17, 2017

#1 Gonzaga Solid in 96-61 Win Over SF; Nigel Williams-Goss Drops In 30

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 16, 2017

The hits just keep on coming for top-ranked Gonzaga, as Nigel Williams-Goss pumped in 30 points, leading the Bulldogs to their 27th win without a loss, bombing San Francisco, 96-61.

Not only are the Zags the #1 team in the country, they're also demolishing the West Coast conference with a 15-0 mark, their closest competitor being #20 St. Mary's, at 13-2, though Gonzaga has beaten the Gaels twice, first by 23 points and most recently in a 74-64 road win this past Saturday.

The closest any team has come to defeating Gonzaga this season was back in December, when the Bulldogs hosted Florida and Iowa State back-to-back. The Zags dropped the Gators, 77-72, then slipped by the Cyclones, 73-71. Since then, blowouts - mostly of conference rivals - of 20, 30 points or more have been the norm.

In Thursday's game, Williams-Goss was at his usual best, making 10 of 14 from the field, including 4-for-6 from three-point range. He was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line, adding six boards and dishing seven assists.

One of the leading candidates for national player of the year, Williams-Goss averages 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game.

The Bulldogs have just three games left in their regular season, all against teams they've already mastered, Pacific, San Diego, and BYU. The season finale, February 25 at home against the BYU Cougars, should be the most competitive of the three. Gonzaga won at BYU, 85-75, on February 2nd.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Khadeen Carrington Carries Seton Hall Past #20 Creighton With 41 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for DAY, Month, 2012

If there's any team out there right now that's a textbook case of being on "the bubble" for the NCAA tournament, it has to be the Seton Hall Pirates.

At 16-9, the Pirates are 6-7 in the Big East conference, landing them in fifth place with the season winding down.

In terms of quality wins, count an early season win at Iowa, a December 12, 67-64, win over South Carolina, and last night's 87-81 upset over #20 Creighton as plus signs, but there are more than a few losses to teams like Xavier, Marquette, and Big East leader Villanova putting the Pirates in jeopardy of missing out on the big dance.

Seton Hall hosts #2 Villanova on Saturday, hoping to solidify their chances by avenging a 76-46 thumping by the Wildcats earlier in the season.

Getting back to what could be their most important win of the season, last night's win was a coming out party for the player known locally as "Deeno", junior forward Khadeen Carrington, who tallied a career-high 41 points and scored the final 10 points of the game for Seton Hall, securing the victory.

Carrington made six free throws and a couple of buckets in the final minute, including a steal and breakaway dunk that brought the fans out of their seats.

Carrington's totals were impressive: 10-for-15 from the field, including 3 of 5 on three-pointers, 18-for-22 from the foul line, four steals, five rebounds and seven assists.

The 6'4" junior from Brooklyn, NY, leads the Pirates in scoring at 17.6 points per game. He'll need to keep playing at a high level for the rest of the regular season and into the Big East tournament for the NCAA selection committee to consider them for the March tourney.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

VCU Wins 7th Straight, 91-81, Over St. Joe's Behind JeQuan Lewis' Career-High 34 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) appears ready for another wild ride through March as the Rams won their seventh straight, topping St. Joe's, 91-81, behind JeQuan Lewis' career-high 34 points.

Unranked despite a 21-5 record and an 11-2 mark atop the Atlantic 10 conference (tied with Dayton), VCU has been a mainstay of March Madness since the 2010-11 season in which second year head coach Shake Smart took them to the Final Four. After another year dmeolishing the Colonial Athletic conference in 2011-12, the Rams moved to the Atlantic 10 and continued their excellence.

Smart moved on to the University of Texas following the 2014-15 season, replaced by Will Wade, who guided the team to a 25-11 season, a tie for first in the conference and another NCAA appearance. The Rams were knocked out in the second round, but notice had been served that VCU was still on track, becoming one of the small conference powerhouses in the NCAA.

In Tuesday's home win, Lewis took just one shot that was not from beyond the 3-point line and missed it. He did, however, can 9 of 15 from downtown and made seven of nine from the foul line, adding five assists in 36 minutes on the court.

The 6'1" senior out of Dickson, Tennessee, leads the Rams in both scoring and assists, averaging 15.6 points and 4.5 assists per game.

The Rams have five games left in their regular season, including a key rematch at Dayton, tied with VCU in the A-10 standings. VCU kncked off the Flyers, 73-68, back on January 27.

A first or second place finish in the conference and a good showing in the conference tourney should be enough to land the Rams their seventh straight NCAA invite.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Defense, Bryant McIntosh's 25 Points Lead Northwestern Upset of #7 Wisconsin

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 12, 2017

Since North Carolina topped Wisconsin back on November 23, the Badgers had won 11 straight home games.

That was until Northwestern, and junior guard Bryant McIntosh, showed up on Sunday and dismantled the Wisconsin game plan, forcing 12 turnovers and limiting the #7 Badgers to just 7-for-19 (37%) shooting from three-point range.

Overall, it was Northwester's sprawling, clogging defense that took the initiative, while a game-high and season-high 25 points from McIntosh drove the offense. The 6'3" guard from Greensburg, Indiana, was 10-for-23, hit all four of his free throw attempts and had seven assists and seven rebounds. Doing his best imitation of a one-man wrecking crew, McIntosh played all 40 minutes in the 66-59 Wildcat victory that wasn't really as close as the score suggests.

Northwestern was down 17-10 midway through the first half but went on a 21-5 run to finish up 31-22 at the break. The streak included five three-pointers by Northwestern, including one by McIntosh that completed the first half scoring.

Wisconsin held Northwestern scoreless for the first four minutes of the second half, forging a 32-31 advantage, but the Wildcats quickly regained the lead and maintained it for the remainder of the game. The Badgers cut the lead to four points on a couple of occasions, but when Northwestern took a 60-50 lead with 1:16 remaining, the Badgers' first conference home loss was all but confirmed.

The win upped Northwestern's record to 19-6 and 8-4 in the Big Ten. They're two games behind Wisconsin in the conference standings, behind Maryland and Purdue, both 9-3.

Wisconsin remains in first place with a 10-2 conference mark. They are 21-5 overall and a no doubter to be headed to the NCAA tourney in March. Northwestern may have punched its own ticket with an impressive road win.

The wildcats face another big test when Maryland comes calling on Wednesday in the only meeting of the regular season between the two Big Ten foes.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fighting Irish Ride Bonzie Colson's 33 Points To 84-72 Win Over Florida State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 11, 2017

Less than a month ago, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish had won seven straight, their 16-2 record had them high in the national rankings and their 5-0 ACC record led the conference.

That was before a spate of five losses (and just two wins) dropped the Irish out of the Top 25 and down in the conference standings. The Irish lost to Florida State, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Duke and North Carolina, while defeating just Syracuse and Wake Forest.

Saturday may have been the start of what could be called the Irish Revenge Tour as Notre Dame hosted #14 Florida State and handed them an 84-72 defeat at South Bend.

Leading the charge was junior forward Bonzie Colson, who hung a career-high 33 points on the Seminoles and improved his conference-best double-double tally to 16 with 13 rebounds.

The win moved Notre Dame to 8-5 in conference play, tied with Syracuse in fifth place, but only 1 1/2 games behind ACC leader, North Carolina.

Colson, a 6'5" match-up nightmare out of Detroit, made 12 of 18 shots from the field including a three-pointer and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.

With the win, the Fighting Irish may have turned their season back into a sure invite to the NCAA tournament. At 19-7, the Irish have an excellent shot at being one of the six or seven teams out of the ACC to go to the big dance, They have games remaining against Louisville, Georgia Tech, Boston College (twice, home and away) and NC State prior to the ACC tournament.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Harvard Tops Brown 87-74 As Bryce Aiken Equals Career-High With 23

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 10, 2017

Limited action in college hoops on Friday, which means the Ivy League comes into focus.

Bryce Aiken scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half as Harvard pulled away for an 87-74 win over Brown Friday night.

Brown led at the half, 35-33, but the Crimson pulled away in the latter stages of the game, scoring 55 second half points, fueled by Aiken's outburst and contributions from Siyani Chambers and Seth Towns, who tallied 15 and 17, respectively.

Aiken, a six-foot freshman out of Randolph, New Jersey, came in off the bench as he normally does, but was on court for 32 minutes. He leads the Crimson in scoring, averaging 13.6 points per game. His 23 points equaled his career best when he put up the same number in Harvard's win over Howard on December 30.

Harvard improved to 5-2 in conference play and is two games back of 7-0 Princeton in the Ivy. The Crimson fell to Princeton, 57-56, on February 4. The rematch, at Princeton, is set for Friday, March 3rd. In between the Tigers and the Crimson stands 6-1 Yale, who hosts Harvard on Saturday, making for a robust trio of teams vying for the Ivy League title.

There's no conference tournament in the Ivy, so every game is important.

A slew of key games are on tap for the weekend, including #1 Gonzaga at #20 St. Mary's, #2 Villanova at #24 Xavier, and #5 Oregon at USC on Saturday. Sunday's action heats up with Oregon State at #10 UCLA, #11 Cincinnati at #25 SMU, and #12 Virginia at Virginia Tech.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Grayson Allen Scores 25, Leading Blue Devils Past Tar Heels

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 9, 2017

The first meeting between the two powerhouses of the ACC lived up to its advance billing as Grayson Allen poured in 25 points to lead #18 Duke past #8 North Carolina, 86-78, Thursday night in Durham, North Carolina.

Allen, a junior guard from Jacksonville, Florida, splashed in seven of 12 from three-point range and was 9-for-14 overall, adding three rebounds and three assists.

Both teams were on the mark all night. The Tar Heels shot 52.5% from the floor; Duke, 52.6%. The scoreboard difference was fueled largely by Allen, as Duke made 13 of 27 from beyond the arc (48.1%), while the Tar Heels were cold, making just four threes in 12 attempts (33.3%).

The victory was the fourth straight for Duke, which had suffered through an uncharacteristically rough patch in which they dropped three of four, including losses to Louisville, Florida State and North Carolina State.

North Carolina's loss dropped them into a tie for first place in the ACC with Florida State at 9-3. Duke is still 1 1/2 games back at 7-4 and 19-5 overall. North Carolina is 21-5 on the season.

The Blue Devils face a quick turnaround, with Clemson (13-10, 3-8, conf.) coming to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Baylor Holds Off OK State Behind Johnathan Motley's 24 Points, 11 Boards

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 8, 2017

#6 Baylor defeated Oklahoma State Wednesday, keeping the Bears a game back of Kansas in the Big 12. Kansas is 9-2 in conference action; Baylor is right behind at 8-3.

Johnathan Motley dominated inside play with 24 points in the 72-69 win at Oklahoma State. Motley was 9-for-12, all of his scoring coming from inside the paint or the foul line, where he nailed 6 of 8 free throws.

A 6'10" junior from Houston Texas, Motley has become one of the most overpowering figures in college hoops. With 11 boards Motley registered his third straight double-double, though the prior two were in losses to Kansas (73-68) and Kansas State (56-54).

This was also the tenth double-double for the big man, his most dominating performance coming in a 74-64, January 17 win over the Texas Longhorns, where he notched career highs with 32 points and 20 rebounds. Motley, who has improved his scoring a rebounding averages each of his three years at Baylor, leads the team in scoring at 16.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per outing.

The 21-3 Bears host TCU on Saturday and travel to Texas Tech on Wednesday prior to their February 18 showdown with the Kansas Jayhawks. The prior loss to the Jayhawks was in Kansas. Baylor will be home for the rematch, which is shaping up to be one of the most highly-anticipated games of the season.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Josh Hart Scores 25, Leading #2 Villanova Past Georgetown

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Josh Hart scored 25 points, leading #2 Villanova to a 75-64 win over the visiting Georgetown Hoyas.

Hart a 6'6" senior guard, hit eight of 18 shots from the field, including 4-for-9 from three-point range. He also canned five of six free throws and had seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.

Hart's been on a scoring tear, having put up 26 in the Wildcats' 92-79 win over St. John's on Saturday. He leads Villanova in minutes (33.3), scoring (19.2) and rebounding (6.6) per game.

The 22-2 Wildcats won their fourth straight game following a setback at Marquette on January 24.

Villanova has a meeting at #24 Xavier this Saturday. The Musketeeers knocked off #22 Creighton this past Saturday, 82-80.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Virginia On Track In ACC As Isaiah Wilkins Leads Cavaliers to 71-55 Win Over Louisville

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 6, 2017

Isaiah Wilkins had a double-double, scoring 13 points to go with 11 rebounds as the Virginia Cavaliers upended Louisville, 71-55.

Ranked #4 in by the AP, the loss was just the fifth for Louisville (18-5), but #12 Virginia's win pushed the Cavaliers into a second place tie with Florida State in the ACC at 8-3. Both the Seminoles and Cavaliers trail North Carolina (9-2) by one game. Louisville dropped to 7-4 in the ultra-competitive ACC.

Wilkins and his teammates dominated the glass against Louisville, outrebounding the Cardinals, 38-19. A 6'7" junior from Lilburn, Georgia, Wilkins was 5-for-7 from the field and made all three of his free throws. High scorer for the Cavaliers was London Perrantes, who leads the team in scoring (12.2), with 18.

The effort by Wilkins was one of his best of the season and shows why Virginia is a threat to go deep into the NCAA tournament in March. Including Monday's game, he averages 7.7 points and 6.1 boards per game.

Virginia showed resilience at home after losing at Syracuse on Saturday, 66-62. The Cavaliers take to the court next on Sunday, at Virginia Tech.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Dwayne Bacon Leads Florida State to 109-61 Rout of ACC Rival Clemson

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 5, 2017

With the vast majority of sports fans preoccupied with the Super Bowl, it's quite possible that some may have missed Florida State's dismantling of ACC rival Clemson on Sunday afternoon.

The Seminoles overwhelmed the Tigers in the first of two meetings of the teams. The rematch - if that's what anyone will consider it to be - is at Clemson, on Saturday, February 25. It's the second-last game of the season for Florida State, a team well on its way to the NCAA tournament.

Florida State drove to a 25-point lead at the half, fueled by sophomore guard Dwayne Bacon's 18 points. Unrelenting in the second half, the Seminoles strolled to a monstrous, 109-61, victory on their home court.

Bacon tied his career high with 29 in total, with six 3-pointers and 10 of 14. Florida State hit 17 threes, the most they've ever had in an ACC contest.

With subs coming in early, often and throughout the game for Florida State, the time for the starters was limited. Bacon played just 26 minutes, adding three boards and a pair of assists.

The 14th-ranked Seminoles improved to 20-4 overall and 8-3 in conference play, the conference losses all occurring on the road, at North Carolina, Syracuse and Georgia Tech. Florida State, second in the ACC behind North Carolina (9-2), hosts NC State Wednesday night.

Friday, February 03, 2017

#1 Gonzaga Busts BYU, 85-75, Behind Nigel Williams-Goss' 33 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hailing from Happy Valley, Washington, 6'3" junior transfer, Nigel Williams-Goss, has made the transition from playing two years for the Washington Huskies, across the state to Gonzaga, in Spokane.

At Washington, Williams-Goss averaged 13.4 points per game as a freshman and 15.6 as a sophomore. With 33 points in Gonzaga's' Thursday night 85-75 victory at BYU, Goss is again averaging 15.6 per game and the future for the 23-0 Bulldogs looks bright.

Proving to be one of the more versatile players in college hoops, Williams-Goss made 12 of 18 field goals including a pair of three-pointers and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe. He also dished four assists, hauled in seven rebounds, and made three steals.

The scoring outburst was the most by the junior since pouring in 36 in a 95-80 Zags win at San Francisco on January 5th. Because of rules surrounding transfers, Williams-Goss sat out the 2015-16 season at Gonzaga, paving the way for his return to action for the Zags this season. He leads the Bulldogs in scoring and assists (4.3) and is second in rebounding, averaging 5.7 per game.

Ranked #1 in both the AP and Coaches Polls, Gonzaga has cruised through their schedule thus far and has notched wins against three ranked teams, Iowa State, Arizona, and St. Mary's. They have seven games remaining in their regular season slate, hosting pushover Santa Clara on Saturday. On January 15, the Bulldogs bucked the Broncos, 88-57.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Malik Monk Leads Kentucky Over Georgia In Overtime

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 31, 2017

As fabulous freshmen go, Kentucky's Malik Monk ranks among the most "fab."

Monk, who has scored in double digits every time he's taken the floor (22 games), is averaging a solid 22.4 points per outing.

In Tuesday's meeting with the Georgia Bulldogs - incidentally, the final broadcast game for legendary announcer, Brent Musberger - Monk showed off his range, hitting on 7 of 11 three-point attempts and scoring a game-high 37 points.

After just six points in the first half, Monk carried the Wildcats in the second stanza, scoring 23 points to help Kentucky tie the score at 76 and send the game into overtime. He added eight points in OT, outscoring Georgia himself, 8-5, as the Wildcats pulled away from the Bulldogs for a 90-81 victory.

While the 8th-ranked Wildcats avoided a three game losing streak after losses at Tennessee (82-80) and to Kansas (79-73), Monk's 37 points were outstanding and necessary, though still shy of his best effort to date, a 47-point scoring spree in Kentucky's 103-100 win over North Carolina on December 17. In that game, Monk was 18-for-28 from the field, hitting 8 of 12 threes.

In Tuesday's victory over Georgia, the freshman star was 11-for-20, but hit a career-high 10 free throws on 12 attempts.

The Wildcats next match-up is with another SEC opponent, #24 Florida, on Saturday (2/4).