Thursday, February 14, 2008

Big Ten Mash-up: Purdue, Wisconsin on Top

Wisconsin 68 Indiana 66
Following Tuesday's surprisingly easy win by Purdue over Michigan State, the Big Ten produced another upset as the Wisconsin Badgers upended Indiana in Bloomington, 68-66, handing the Hoosiers their second conference loss and third overall.

Down 66-65, Wisconsin senior Brian Butch hit a three-point shot with 4.5 remaining to propel the Badgers to their second victory over the Hoosiers this season and into sole possession of second place in the Big Ten standings at 10-2. Both of Wisconsin's losses have been to Purdue.

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Purdue leads the Big Ten with a 10-1 record, Indiana is third at 9-2, followed by 8-3 Michigan State.

Butch's big three-pointer capped a 13-point effort, including 9 of the Badgers' final 12 points. Michael Flowers had 15 and Jason Bohannon led the way with 18, but it was Butch's work at the rim that kept the Badgers in the game late, converting misses by Flowers and Bohannon into scores.

Indiana was led by Eric Gordon and D.J. White, who had 23 and 17, respectively.

The game itself was partially overshadowed by a NCAA report which took Hoosier head coach Kelvin Sampson to task for violating previously-imposed recruiting sanctions from his tenure at Oklahoma.

While Sampson defended his actions, penalties are likely, but not until the off-season, as Indiana has 90 days in which to appeal the charges that Sampson participated in recruiting phone calls and three-way calls which the NCAA had specifically prohibited him from making.

Texas Tech 84 Kansas State 75
Pat Knight's first win as a head coach was a big one, knocking K-State out of first place in the Big 12 and sending the conference into a February frenzy.

Knight, who took over the coaching reins when his father, Bob, abruptly retired on Monday of last week, got a career-high 30 points from Alan Voskuil and a big boost in job security.

Voskuil hit 5 of 6 3-pointers and canned 7 of 9 from the charity stripe in the Red Raiders' biggest upset of the season. The loss sends 7-2 Kansas State into a second-place tie with Texas, behind 8-2 Kansas. 6-3 Texas A&M and 5-4 Baylor remain in the mix, as the conference heads down the stretch to determine a regular season champion.

All of the contending teams have either 5 or 7 games remaining of the 16-game slate.

Around the Nation
17th-ranked UConn downed Notre Dame, 84-78, for its 8th straight win and an 8-3 record in the Big East. Georgetown leads the conference at 10-2, with Louisville second at 9-3. Notre Dame shares third with the Huskies at 8-3.

Three of the top four teams in the nation were in action on Wednesday. #1 Memphis rolled to 24-0, handling Houston, 68-59; #2 Duke held off Maryland, 77-65, and #4 Tennessee crushed Arkansas, 93-71.

In a story that didn't get as much coverage as it should have, #24 Vanderbilt pounded Kentucky, 93-52 on Tuesday night, the worst SEC loss ever for the Wildcats.

Kentucky, which shot 33% for the game, scored just 11 points in the first half while the Commodores piled up 41. The Wildcats hit only 1 of 10 3-pointers and committed 25 personal fouls and 15 turnovers.

It was a rout of historic proportions, unfortunately for first-year coach Billy Gillespie, who took over after Tubby Smith left the program in shambles. Smith is now head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who are 15-8 overall, but just 5-6 in the Big Ten.

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