Saturday, March 10, 2012

Conference tournaments UPDATE, afternoon games, 3/10/12; Norfolk State Reaches first NCAA; Kentucky, Tar Heels Prevail

SEC: Kentucky 74 Florida 71 - It was a struggle for the #1 Wildcats, but they outlasted a determined Gator team to advance to the SEC tourney final. Kentucky will face the winner of the Mississippi-Vanderbilt semi-final game on Sunday.

ACC: North Carolina 69 North Carolina St. 67 - Playing without center/forward John Henson, North Carolina trailed early, built a six-point second half lead but gave it up down the stretch to the Wolf Pack, a team they've beaten 12 straight times. Kendall Marshall's banked shot with 10.2 seconds remaining provided the slim winning margin for the #4 Tar Heels who will face the winner of the today's Duke-Florida St. game on Sunday.

Mid-Eastern: Norfolk State 73 Bethune-Cookman 70 - Winning their way to the school's first ever NCAA tournament, Norfolk State's Spartans held on for a game win in the conference tourney final and get the automatic bid. Kyle O'Quinn led the way with 18 points and 7 boards.

Big Ten: Michigan State 65 Wisconsin 52 - Draymond Green scored 14 points and ripped down 16 rebounds to lead the Spartans to the Big Ten final. On Sunday afternoon, Michigan State will face the winner of today's Ohio State-Michigan semi-final.

In the Atlantic-10 semi-finals, St. Bonaventure held on against UMass for an 84-80 victory. They will face either Xavier or St. Louis in Sunday's championship game.

Tickets Punched: Memphis Captures Conference-USA; Vermont grabs America East Title

America East: Vermont 51 Stony Brook 43 - The Catamounts reached the NCAA tournament for the 5th time in the last ten years by winning the America East conference tournament over a determined Stony Brook squad, holding the Sea Wolves to just 29% shooting. Brian Voelkel took just one shot, made it, added three free throws for five points, but hauled in 15 rebounds for Vermont. Four McGlynn, the only Catamount in double figures, scored 14 points with four 3-pointers. Vermont will likely be a 15 or 16 seed.

Conference USA: Memphis 83 Marshall 57 - The Memphis Tigers returned to the NCAAs, capturing the Conference-USA championship and automatic bid with a wide-open win over Marshall, which had made an unpredicted run to the tourney final. The Tigers took an 18-point lead into the half and expanded it in the second period. Will Barton led all scorers with 18 points and 13 rebounds to pace unranked, 26-8, Memphis, which has won the conference tourney six times in the last seven years.

Jared Sullinger, Trey Burke and Rob Wilson Each Score 30 in Big Ten Wins

College Hoops Players of the Day for Friday, March 9, 2012

Three players - all from the Big Ten - scored 30 points in Friday's tournament action, each richly deserving of Player of the Day honors, so as the number of teams in conference battles continues to be pared down, we salute their efforts.

In Michigan's 73-69 victory over stubborn Minnesota, whose NCAA tourney life was on the line, freshman guard Trey Burke continued to dazzle with his rapidly-developing skill set, scoring 30 points on 11 of 14 from the field with three 3-pointers.

Burke was on the money from start to finish. He scored 11 of Michigan's first 12 points and had seven of his career high effort in overtime, including the final dagger, a long-range three. The #10 Wolverines face #7 Ohio State in one of a pair of Big Ten semi-final games at 4:05 pm ET Saturday.

The Buckeyes rolled to an 88-71 quarter-final win over Purdue behind Jared Sullinger's 30 points and 12 rebounds, his third straight double-double and 14th of the season.

Sullinger nailed 12 of 17 shots, including a three-pointer and was 5-for-5 from the foul line. Three of his rebounds were on the offensive end and he had two assists and blocked three shots.

On the other side of the Big Ten bracket, #14 Wisconsin led the entire game in a 79-71 win over #15 Indiana. The unlikely scoring leader was senior Rob Wilson, who scored a career high 30 points on 11-for-16 shooting, including an amazing 7 of 10 from beyond the arc.

Wilson, primarily a bench-rider, had a previous high of just 11 points this season and throughout his career with the Badgers averaged 9.5 minutes and 2.6 points per game.

Wisconsin faces Michigan State in semi-final action at 1:40 pm Saturday.

NOTABLE: The Big East and Big 12, along with a number of smaller conferences will crown champions on Saturday, as Louisville matches up with Cincinnati at 9:00 pm ET inside Madison Square Garden. Prior to that contest, #5 Missouri will battle #12 Baylor for the Big 12 title at 6:00 pm ET. The 27-6 Bears lost both regular season meetings with the Mizzou, losing by a point at home and by 15 at Missouri.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Conference tournaments UPDATE: late, late games, 3/9/12

Big 12: Baylor 81 Kansas 72 - #12 Baylor upset #3 Kansas to advance to the Big 12 final on Saturday to face the winner of Texas-Missouri. The Bears ut six players in double figures, throwing the Midwest and West NCAA #1 bids up for grabs.

Big Ten: Ohio State 88 Purdue 71 - #7 Ohio State had few problems eliminating Purdue from the Big Ten tourney. Jared Sullinger's 30 points and 12 rebounds led five Buckeyes in double figures. Ohio State faces Michigan in a semi-final match-up Saturday.

Big East: Louisville 64 Notre Dame 50 - Peyton Siva continued to shine for the Cardinals, scoring 13 points with 9 assists and 8 rebounds, leading Louisville to the Big East final Saturday night against Cincinnati.

ACC: Florida State 82 Miami 71 - Florida State led the entire game, ousting Miami from the ACC tourney and setting up a semi-final showdown Saturday with #6 Duke.

Conference tournaments UPDATE, late games, 3/9/12, Cincy Upsets Syracuse

Big East: Cincinnati 71 Syracuse 68 - Cincinnati turned in the biggest upset of championship week, knocking off #2 Syracuse, handing the Orange just their second loss of the season. The Bearcats built a big, early lead and held on in the final minute against a furious Syracuse rally which cut the lead to one, but a run-out off a made Dion Waiters free throw sealed the victory. Waiters led all scorers with 28 points, but Yancy Gates and Sean Kilpatrick each had 18 for the Bearcats, who will play in the tournament final against the winner of tonight's Louisville - Notre Dame game.

Big Ten: Michigan 73 Minnesota 69 OT - Michigan outlasted Minnesota in overtime to advance in the Big Ten tourney. Minnesota's chances of making the NCAA's field will be in the hands of the selection committee. Wolverine freshman guard Trey Burke paced all scorers with a career high 30 points on 11 of 14 shooting with three trifectas. Michigan is looking like a 3 or 4 seed in Sunday's selection process.

Conference USA: Marshall 73 Southern Miss. 62 - Continuing to thunder though Conference USA, the Herd used Damier Pitts' 24 points and five rebounds to advance to Saturday's conference tourney final against regular season champion Memphis, which reached the final with an 83-52 rout of UCF.

In the ACC, Duke advanced against Virginia Tech with a 60-56 win.

Conference Tournaments UPDATE afternoon games, 3/9/12

Big Ten: Wisconsin 79 Indiana 71 - The 14th-ranked Badgers took an early lead and were never headed, advancing to a Big Ten semi-final meeting with Michigan State on Saturday. Wisconsin got a career high 30 points from senior Rob Wilson, who was on fire from beyond the arc, making seven of 10 three-pointers. Indiana's Verdell Jones, who left Thursday's game with a knee injury originally described as a sprain by the Hoosier staff, has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.

ACC: North Carolina State 67 Virginia 64 - Taking a 36-33 lead into the half, NC State played Virginia even in the second stanza to advance in the ACC tourney. The Wolf Pack will face #1 seed North Carolina on Saturday. CJ Leslie led the way with 19 points and 13 boards. The win may be just enough to get NC State into the big dance. Virginia is virtually assured of a spot in the tournament.

Atlantic-10: St. Bonaventure 71 St. Joseph's 68 - Upsets seem to be the order of the day in the A-10, as the Bonnies advance to a semi-final match-up with Massachusetts, Saturday afternoon. 20-13 St. Joseph's may be on the outside looking in, in terms of an NCAA bid.

SEC: Kentucky 60 LSU 51 - The Wildcats were hardly impressive, beating LSU in their first tournament action of the month, though Kentucky did manage to hold the Tigers to 29% shooting. The top-ranked Wildcats were just 1 of 9 from 3-point range and committed 18 turnovers.

Conference Tournaments UPDATE early games 3/9/12

Big Ten: Michigan State 92 Iowa 75 - Shooting 70%, the Spartans led by as many as 19 in the first half, and 28 in the second half, easily dispatching the Hawkeyes in a Big Ten quarterfinal contest. Draymond Green had his usual all-around game, leading the scoring column with 21 points and hauling in nine rebounds.

Atlantic 10: Massachusetts 77 Temple 71 - UMass erased a five point halftime deficit with an early second half burst and outplayed the Owls down the stretch, pulling off one of the bigger upsets of the conference tourney week. Jesse Morgan led the scoring parade with 21 points, while Chas Williams had 20 points and 10 assists for the 22-10 Minutemen. After going 9-7 in A-10 play during the regular season UMass advances to the tourney semi-final . Temple, which won the conference with a 13-3 record (24-6 overall), probably will still get an NCAA bid, but they'll be on pins and needles until shortly after 6:00 pm ET Sunday.

ACC: North Carolina 85 Maryland 69 - The #4 Tar Heels had little trouble taking out Maryland, but got a bit of a scare when forward John Henson landed hard and suffered a wrist injury to his non-shooting hand. Henson returned for a bit, but played only seven minutes overall, though the injury did not appear to be serious. Kendall Marshall went for 13 points and 15 assists, breaking the all-time ACC single season assist record in the process.

Perry Jones III Scores 31 with 11 Boards as Baylor Advances

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, March 8, 2012

Of all the fine individual performances on a day full of conference tournament play, the work of Baylor's budding superstar, Perry Jones III, stood out.

Jones led the Bears to an 82-74 win over Kansas State, setting up Friday's semi-final meeting with Kansas in the Big 12 tourney. Jones scored 31 points on 11 of 14 shooting, going 2-for-2 from the 3-point line, making seven of nine free throws. The sophomore forward - who most expect will make the jump to the NBA after the NCAA tourney - added 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double and eighth of the season.

Conference Tournaments UPDATE (late, late games):

Big East: Notre Dame 57 South Florida 53, OT - Determining the final entrant into the Big East semi-finals took overtime, as #23 Notre Dame outscored the Bulls in the extra session, 12-8, setting up a Friday night meeting with Louisville. Despite the loss, it's probably not the end of the road for South Florida. With a 12-6 mark in the conference, a 20-13 record overall and a win over Villanova in the opening round of the tourney, the Bulls should be one of the seven or eight teams from the 16-team Big East to receive an invitation on Sunday.

Big 12: Texas 71 Iowa State 67 - Even though J'Covan Brown missed all five of his three-point attempts, he still managed to lead all scorers with 23 points as the Longhorns advanced to the Big 12 tournament semi-final match-up with Missouri Friday night. The Longhorns may have needed the win over the Cyclones to qualify for the NCAAs, as they went through the conference regular season with a 9-9 mark and are now 20-12 overall. Iowa State (20-10, 12-6) is also projected to receive an at-large bid.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Conference Tourneys UPDATE: Key LATE games, 3/8/2012

Big Ten: Minnesota 75 Northwestern 68 OT - With both teams fighting for their NCAA tournament lives, it was Minnesota prevailing in overtime, in an opening round Big Ten tourney tilt. Even though Minnesota advances and can pad its resume with another win, they are still in doubt for the big dance due to their sub-par 6-12 conference record. Northwestern can now only sit and wait for selection Sunday to see if the committee deems their 8-10 conference resume as sufficient to make the field of 68. Could Northwestern or Minnesota end up in a play-in game? Stranger things have happened. Minnesota's Andre Hollins led all scorers with 25 points, making 10 of 18 shots, including five of 10 from 3-point range.

Conference USA: Marshall 105 Tulsa 100 3OT - The 20-12 Thundering Herd kept its slim tournament hopes alive with a triple overtime victory in the conference tournament quarterfinals. Though the Herd is still not guaranteed anything, the win over Tulsa probably got them on a short list for the NIT, but they can now aim higher, with a Friday meeting with Southern Miss, with whom they split a pair of games during the regular season. DeAndre Kane went 15-35, for a career high 40 points to pace Marshall.

Big East: Louisville 84 Marquette 71 - In one of the more stunning upsets thus far, Louisville upset #9 Marquette in a Big East quarterfinal game, leading all the way, getting 18 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds from point guard Peyton Siva. Kyle Kuric led the Cardinals with 20 points, despite a 7-for-19 shooting effort. Louisville led the entire game and dominated the glass, with 48 rebounds to Marquette's 35.

Big 12: Missouri 88 Oklahoma St. 70 - Kim English scored a game high 27 points and Marcus Denman poured in 24 as the #5 Missouri Tigers advanced to the semi-finals of the Big 12 tournament. The Tigers will face the winner of the Texas-Iowa State game with an eye toward playing Kansas in the tourney final and possibly earning a #1 overall seed in the NCAAs. The Jayhawks and Tigers split a pair of regular season games, each team winning on their home court.

Conference Tourneys UPDATE: Key games, 3/8/2012

Big Ten: Indiana 75 Penn State 58 - While the Hoosiers won this one easily, it was not all fun and games as senior guard Verdell Jones crashed to the floor, screaming and clutching his right knee with 5:45 left in the first half. Team officials say Jones suffered a sprained knee, but it sure looked worse than that. Will update as better information becomes available.

Big 12: Kansas 83 Texas A&M 66 - The #4 Jayhawks got 26 points from Elijah Johnson, built a 12-point lead at the half and expanded it in the second. The Jayhawks, ranked 3rd nationally, will face #12 Baylor on Friday at 7:30 pm ET.

Big East: Cincinnati 72 Georgetown 70 - Yancy Gates led all scorers with 23 points and had eight rebounds as the Bearcats eliminated the #13 Hoyas and will face #2 Syracuse in a semi-final game at 7:00 pm ET Friday.

Mountain West: San Diego State 65 Boise State 62 - The #18 Azetcs weren't supposed to be tested in the opening round of their conference tournament, but they managed to squeak past Boise St. on Jamaal Franklin's buzzer beating three-pointer as time expired. Franklin finished with 19 points. Teammate Chase Tapley led all scorers with 20, on 8 of 14 shooting with four threes. San Diego State shot 51% to Boise's 43%, but were out-rebounded 31-22.

Conference Tournaments UPDATE: Syracuse Ousts UConn; Baylor Drubs K-State

Big East (3rd round): Syracuse 58 Connecticut 55 - Syr: Dion Waiters, 18 points; James Southerland, 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks.

Big 12 (2nd round): Baylor 82 Kansas State 74 - Bay: Perry Jones III, 31 points (11-14), 11 rebounds. Baylor, 53% from field.

ACC (1st round): Maryland 82 Wake Forest 60 - Terrell Stoglin, 8-14, 25 Pts, 7 Rebs, 4 Assists. Maryland, 54% from field.

Shabazz Napier, Jeremy Lamb Lead Huskies to Big East Meeting with Syracuse

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It may not have been the prettiest of performances, but Connecticut's 71-67 overtime win against West Virginia was the 13th straight post-season victory for Jim Calhoun's Huskies.

UConn, the reigning national champion, won all five of their Big East games last season, six NCAA tourney tilts and now have won two straight in the current Big East feast.

The Huskies (20-12, 8-10) trailed the Mountaineers late in the second half by nine points, but that's whenShabazz Napier- who scored a game high 26 points, went off, scoring nine straight points to bring UConn even at 63-all. Throughout the game, Napier was aided by timely buckets from Jeremy Lamb,who went 9-for-18 with three triples for 22 points and added six rebounds.

Napier was not sharp from the field, making just seven of 22 shots, but that included four three-pointers and he was 8 of 9 from the foul line and dished six assists.

Connecticut shot just 40% for the game, but their defense held West Virginia to 28% from the field.

Connecticut's win - their second in as many days - put them into a third round match-up with second-ranked Syracuse, which took the Huskies' measure on February 25 with a 71-69 win. Tip time at Madison Square Garden is noon ET on Thursday.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Montana Moves On; South Florida Advances in Big East

Damian Lilliard scored 29 points for the Wildcats, but Kareem Jamar and Mathias Ward each dropped in 23, propelling Montana to the Big Sky conference title and a chance to dance in the NCAA tourney with a resounding, 85-66, victory.

Jamar keyed a second half rally by the Grizzlies, making 8 of 12 shots, with 5 of 8 from three-point range.

In the Big East second round, South Florida may have punched its own ticket with a 56-47 win over Villanova. The Bulls went 12-6 in conference play and, with Wednesday's win, are 20-12 on the season.

UPDATE: LIU, Lehigh Earn NCAA Invites; UConn, Louisville, Hoyas Advance in Big East

Long Island University-Brooklyn took its second straight Northeast conference title and another NCAA invite with a 90-73 victory over perennial contender Robert Morris. CJ Garner came off the LIU bench to lead all scorers with 21 points. Teammate Julian Boyd dropped in 18 with 10 boards. LIU topped the conference with a 16-2 record and are 25-8 overall.

The Patriot League tourney championship was a 82-77 shootout won by Lehigh. Bucknell center Mike Muscala scored 30 points and grabbed 14 boards, but CL McCollum scored 29 and Gabe Knutson added 23 for the Mountain Hawks.

Bucknell won the regular season title with a 12-2 record, splitting a pair of games with 13-3 Lehigh.

In Big East second round action, the Connecticut Huskies took out West Virginia in overtime, 71-67, and Louisville held off Seton Hall, 61-55. If any team is on the bubble, it is the Seton Hall Pirates, who won one tournament game and went through the conference with an 8-10 record. Their loss to the Cardinals should result in an NIT invite, at best.

Georgetown put away Pittsburgh, 64-52. Bye, bye, Pitt. NIT, maybe.

Teeng Akol Sends 15-18 Hilltoppers Dancing; Harvard Snags Bid

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, March 6, 2011

Western Kentucky completed their assault on Sun Belt opponents with their fourth straight tournament win, a 74-70 victory over North Texas in the conference tournament championship.

6'11" junior Teeng Akol led all scorers with 23 points, a career high for the import from Sudan. Akol also had five rebounds and blocked four shots.

The Hilltoppers were left for dead on January 5 when a loss to Louisiana Lafayette left the team with a 5-11 record and coach McDonald was fired. Ray Harper was named interim coach at that point, but the team lost three more games in a row. The Hilltoppers then began winning a little bit, taking six of their last 10 conference games, but still finishing the regular season with an 11-18 record and a 7-9 mark in the conference.

With nothing to lose in the conference tourney, the Hilltoppers beat Florida International, Arkansas Little-Rock (West division champion) and Denver before Tuesday's triumph in the final.

At 15-18, Western Kentucky becomes the first team with a losing record to qualify for the NCAA tournament since 16-20 Coppin State qualified out of the Mid-Eastern conference in 2008.


South Dakota State 52 Illinois State 50 - The Jackrabbits of South Dakota State snatched away an important automatic NCAA bid with their win over the Leathernecks of Illinois State in the Summit conference tournament championship. Senior Griffan Callahan made a pair of free throws to force overtime as the Jackrabbits rallied from a four-point deficit at the half and then made the game-winning three-pointer in overtime for the win.

The 'Rabbits were the fortunate beneficiaries of Illinois State's largesse, because the Leathernecks were the ones to knock off regular season champ, Oral Roberts, in one of the semi-final games, 54-53, Monday. South Dakota State's win leaves Oral Roberts in hoops limbo, hoping to get an at-large seeding from the tournament committee on Sunday. The Golden Eagles won the conference with a 17-1 record and are 27-6 overall, their biggest win a 64-42 win over Xavier in December. Losses at West Virginia, Oklahoma and Gonzaga will work against them.

Detroit 70 Valparaiso 50 - Valparaiso took the regular season title in the Horizon League with a 14-4 record, but could not deliver the goods when it mattered most. Against a Detroit team they beat twice during the season, the Crusaders made just 2 of 18 three-pointers and shot 34% for the game, missing out on their opportunity to go to the big dance.

Instead, the Detroit Titans proved their mettle, taking the tournament championship and the automatic bid, despite an 11-7 record in the conference and a 22-13 record overall. Ray McCallum led all scorers with 21 points, adding six rebounds in the victory. Detroit shot 58% in the second half and ran away with the win. This will be the Titans first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 1999.

Elsewhere, Princeton defeated Penn, 62-52, leaving the Quakers a game behind Harvard in the Ivy League. A Quaker win would have forced a one-game playoff with the Crimson, but the loss gives Harvard, which finished conference play with a 12-2 record, the automatic bid.

There are 27 games on tap for Wednesday, including second round games in the Big East and opening rounds in the PAC-12, Big 12 and Conference USA tournaments. A few ore tickets will be punched when Lehigh faces Bucknell in the Patriot League tourney final and Robert Morris and Long Island battle for the Northeast championship. Both championship games are at 7:00 pm ET. Weber State and Montana duel for the Big Sky tourney title at 9:00 pm ET.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Rob Jones, Matthew Delladevoda Lead St. Mary's over Gonzaga; Four More Teams Win Bids to Tourney

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, March 5, 2012

St. Mary's upended #24 Gonzaga in overtime, 78-74, taking home the West Coast Conference tournament trophy and earning the automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.

Senior forward Rob Jones scored 18 points, pulled in nine rebounds and had three steals for the Gaels, who will be making their second trip to the big dance in the past three years. Matthew Delladevoda pumped in 22 points and dished four assists in the victory.

St. Mary's (27-5, 14-2) also won the conference regular season title. It's the first time in school history that they've captured both championships in the same season. For the 25-6 Bulldogs, who finished the WCC regular season at 13-3, in second place, the loss means waiting until Selection Sunday to see if they've done enough to win over the committee for an at-large invitation.


Davidson 93 Western Carolina 91 - Davidson (25-7) was pushed to overtime by the Catamounts, but prevailed to capture the Southern Conference Tournament championship and secure an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney. Western Carolina and its 17-16 record will likely end up in the NIT.

Loyola (MD) 48 Fairfield 44 - The game wasn't exactly a sprint, but the Greyhounds of Loyola, Maryland took the final of the MAAC conference tournament after finishing second to Iona in the regular season standings. The Greyhounds (13-5, 24-8) will be making their first appearance in the NCAAs since 1995, when the team was coached by Skip Prosser. Loyola overcame a 30-26 half time deficit with an 11-1 run to open the second half and held the Stags to just 14 second half points.

VCU 59 Drexel 56 - Virginia Commonwealth ensured a return trip to the NCAA tourney with a 59-56 win over Drexel in the Colonial Athletic conference championship game. The Rams reached the Final Four last season and will have the opportunity to reprise their epic run when the madness ensues next week at locales across the country.

VCU built a 16 point lead early in the second half, but had to hold off a furious rally from Drexel, which entered the game on a 19-game winning streak, the second longest in the country behind Kentucky. The Dragons won the Colonial conference regular season with a 16-2 record. At 27-6 overall, they appear headed to the NCAA tournament despite their loss in the final.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Creighton Wins MVC Tourney on Doug McDermott's 33 Points; William Buford Leads Buckeyes to Win, Three-way Tie in Big Ten

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 4, 2012

There were two really big games on Sunday that mattered in terms of upcoming seeds n the NCAA tournament. The first was a barn-burner of a Missouri Valley tournament final and the other resulted in a three-way tie for the Big Ten regular season championship.

In St. Louis, #25 Creighton was pushed to overtime by a stubborn Illinois State squad intent on winning their way into the NCAAs. In the end, however, it was the Bluejays chasing off the Redbirds, 83-79 in OT behind likely MVC player of the year, Doug McDermott who paced all scorers with 33 points on 12 of 18 shooting, including three 3-pointers and a perfect 6-for-6 from the line. Creighton's leading scorer also grabbed six rebounds in his 41 minutes of floor time.

Illinois State had knocked off Wichita State on Saturday to get to the final, but fell just short. Creighton takes the automatic bid, while #15 Wichita State will have to be patient for a week to find out where they are seeded.

With a win at home against #10 Ohio State in their final regular season game, the 5th-ranked Michigan State Spartans could have claimed the Big Ten title outright, and the Spartans built a 15-point lead midway through the first half as the Buckeyes struggled to find their marks.

Despite the struggles of their star, Jared Sullinger, who was just 5-for-17 from the field and spent much of the last eight minutes on the bench with four fouls but still finished with a double-double (14 points and 10 rebounds, the Buckeyes never quit and eventually got the go-ahead bucket on a long jumper by William Buford with one second remaining in regulation.

Buford finished with one of his best games of the season, fitting for the only senior on the Ohio State squad, scoring a game-high 25 points on 8 of 14 shooting with three boards, three steals and an assist.

The Spartans had one last fling at the basket as time expired, but the ball never went near the hoop, as Ohio State took the 72-70 decision.

The result tied the Buckeyes with Michigan State and Michigan - who had topped Penn State earlier in the day - for the conference regular season lead, all three teams finishing with identical 13-5 records.

Michigan State will be the top seed in the Big Ten tournament which opens Thursday, with Ohio State #2 and Michigan the #3 seed.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Jamaal Franklin's 35 and 13 Lead Aztecs to Share WCC Title; Three NCAA Seeds In, More, Sunday

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, March 3, 2012

As expected, Saturday turned out to be a monster day in college basketball, with three teams clinching spots in the NCAA tourney - UNC Asheville (Big South), Belmont (Atlantic Sun) and Murray State (Ohio Valley) - and #6 North Carolina dusting #4 Duke on the Blue Devils' home court, 88-70, to capture the ACC regular season title, a #1 seed in the conference tournament and a probable shot at a #1 seed in the NCAAs.

With the PAC-12 sublimated to the role of bystander this season, the neighboring West Coast conference has picked up the slack, producing four tournament-eligible teams, each of which produced wins on Saturday.

Colorado State and #17 UNLV beat Air Force and Wyoming, respectively, while New Mexico and San Diego State ended up sharing the regular-season title at 10-4, after splitting their two games during the season. New Mexico topped Boise State, 76-61, while the #20 Aztecs blew an 18-point lead but eventually turned back TCU in overtime, 98-91.

Sophomore guard Jamaal Franklin was 9-for-18 from the field with three 3-pointers and 14-17 from the line for a game high and career high 35 points, to go with 13 rebounds and five assists. It was Franklin's third straight double-double and fifth this season.

While the top four teams in the WCC have the resumes to reach the field of 68, the conference is guaranteed only one automatic bid, to the team that wins the upcoming conference tourney, though all four have a reasonable chance of heading to the Big Dance.

Elsewhere in the Top 25, Iowa State cemented their claim as a tourney team with an 80-72 win over #9 Baylor and #3 Kansas looked the part of a #1 tournament seed, taking apart Texas, 73-63, in the Big 12 regular season finale.

#7 Missouri easily dispatched Texas Tech, 81-59. #20 Temple took care of Fordham, 80-60.

In the Big East, #8 Marquette took care of business against #11 Georgetown, 83-69, earning themselves some time off with a double bye in the conference tourney which begins Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. Georgetown, with the loss, will have to play an extra game in the tourney, finishing tied for 4th place in the standings with South Florida and Cincinnati, at 10-6, though the Bearcats held the tie-breaker and will get the double bye after dusting Villanova, 72-68, coupled with West Virginia's 50-44 win over South Florida.

#20 Notre Dame, third in the standings and #2 Syracuse hold the other two double byes. The Orange finished up their regular season undefeated at home with a 58-49 win over #19 Louisville that wasn't nearly as close as the final score indicates.

The bracket buster of the day belonged to Illinois State, who upended #15 Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference semi-final, 65-64. The Rewdbirds will face #25 Creighton in the final on Sunday, the winner receiving the automatic bid. Creighton pasted Evansville, 99-71, in the other semi-final.

Sunday's biggest game will be in the Big Ten, where #10 Ohio State invades #5 Michigan State, each team seeking a share of the regular season title. Opening tip is set for 4:00 pm ET.

NOTABLE: Besides the Atlantic Sun, Big South and Missouri Valley, the other remaining conferences outside the majors which will get one automatic bid are America East, Big Sky, Ivy, Horizon, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Northeast, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern Athletic, Summit, Sun Belt, Western Athletic. Most of these will be decided by tournament play. The Ivy League champion may be decided Sunday when Penn plays Princeton. The Quakers are 1/2 game behind Harvard in the standings and would tie the Crimson for first place in the conference with a win, forcing a one-game playoff.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Jack Cooley Leads Irish over Providence with 27 Points and 17 Boards

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, March 2, 2012

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame assured themselves of a double bye in the upcoming Big East tournament with a timely, 75-69, win on the road at Providence in their final regular season game.

Finishing with a regular season mark of 13-5 in the conference (21-10 overall), the Irish are in third place, with Georgetown and South Florida a half game back. The Hoyas and Bulls both play Saturday, but the Irish and Hoyas get the tie-breaker in case both teams win as they've both beaten South Florida during the regular season.

If South Florida wins their noon game vs. West Virginia and the Hoyas lose at Marquette, the Bulls would finish fourth and receive the automatic double bye.

For #20 Notre Dame, the win was essential after dropping back-to-back road games last week at St. John's and Georgetown, capping a remarkable mid-season turnaround. The Irish were just 3-3 in Big East games before embarking on a nine-game winning streak which included handing #2 Syracuse their only loss of the season.

In Friday's victory, center Jack Cooley was the unstoppable force in the middle, scoring 27 points with 17 rebounds, his tenth double-double of the season and a career high in scoring. Cooley was 10-for-15 from the field and 7-9 from the foul line. Seven of his rebounds came on the offensive end.

NOTABLE: Conference tournaments got underway in many of the smaller conferences Friday. The Horizon, Colonial, West Coast, Ohio Valley, Missouri Valley and Southern conferences all had opening round battles. Three ranked teams - Murray State, Creighton and Wichita State - each advanced in their respective tourneys.

Saturday offers a loaded slate of games, with more conferences starting tournaments and many ranked teams playing in their final regular season contests. The most-anticipated games will be at Syracuse, where the Orange host #19 Louisville at 4:00 pm ET, and at Durham, NC, where the #4 Duke Blue Devils host the #6 North Carolina Tar Heels, the winner to take possession of the ACC regular season title and a #1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament. Opening tip is 7:00 pm ET.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Tim Hardaway Jr. Scores 25 to Lead Wolverines Over Illinois

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, March 1, 2012

When they needed his scoring the most, Tim Hardaway Jr. came through for Michigan in a big way.

Hardaway was a perfect 4-for-4 on three-pointers and finished with a game high 25 points, going 6-for-7 from the field and making 9 of 10 free throws as the Wolverines won at Illinois for the first time since 1995, topping the Fighting Illini by a 71-62 score.

#22 Michigan led the entire game, opening a 35-27 lead by half time and extending their edge through the second half on 47% shooting from the field while making 21 of 23 free throws.

Hardaway was also an effective rebounder, wiping the glass with 11 boards for his second double-double of the season.

The Wolverine win put them in a position to share the Big Ten title if they can win at Penn State this Sunday and Ohio State whips Michigan State in their season finale. The Spartans are 13-4, while the Buckeyes and Wolverines share second place with identical 12-5 conference records.

Illinois, losers of 10 of their last 12 - all within the Big Ten - probably have played their way out of an NCAA invitation and may be costing coach Bruce Weber his job.

Elsewhere around the Top 25, top-ranked Kentucky tore apart a hopelessly overmatched Georgia squad, 79-49, for their 21st straight victory, the longest winning streak in the nation.

#22 Florida State used a late 16-2 surge to overtake #24 Virginia, 63-60.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Cincinnati Shreds Marquette Behind Jaquon Parker's 28 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cincinnati's junior guard, Jaquon Parker, is a tough guy to figure. A lean and lanky 6'3", he's either a tallish guard or a smallish forward, but whatever the case, the Marquette five couldn't manufacture a means to keep him away from the tin as Parker scored a career high 28 points, leading the Bearcats to a 72-61 upset win over the 8th-ranked Golden Eagles.

Parker, who scored just six points in a road loss to South Florida on Sunday and none in 14 minutes last week in a win over Louisville, was in his element Wednesday, hitting 10 of 18 shots, including 2 of 4 from outside the arc and 6 of 8 from the foul line, adding seven rebounds and a pair of assists in 35 minutes, the second most minutes he's played all season.

The Bearcats opened an early lead and were never seriously challenged after a late first half spurt put them up 42-26 at the break.

Cincinnati has won four of their last five in a late-season surge, upping the record to 20-9 and a respectable 11-6 in Big East play. With only Villanova left on the regular season schedule (March 3), the Bearcats appear to be peaking at the right time, as the Big East tournament begins next week.

NOTABLE: #6 North Carolina won their fifth straight, an 88-64 road thrashing of Maryland, setting up Saturday night's rematch at Duke which will determine the ACC regular season champion. The two long-standing rivals are tied atop the conference standings at 13-3.

The Terrapins couldn't handle the Tar Heel big men. John Henson tallied 19 points to go with 9 rebounds, while Tyler Zeller was putting up 30, making 20 of 23 free throws.

#10 Ohio State survived a scare at Northwestern, winning 75-73, keeping their hopes alive for a share of the Big Ten championship when they travel to Michigan State on Sunday.

#23 Temple maintained its one-game lead over St. Louis in the A-10. The 12-3 Owls can wrap up the regular season title with a win Saturday at 3-12 Fordham.

South Florida kept its tournament hopes alive with a nifty, 58-51, road win over #19 Louisville. Likewise, Colorado State improved its chances of dancing into the tournament with a 66-59 home win over #17 UNLV.

#7 Missouri topped Iowa State, 78-72. Michael Dixon paced all scorers with 21 points.

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.