If last night is a sign of things to come, we are going to have a lot of fun on the road to March Madness! We saw 3 top-10 teams go down last night, reassuring the notion that there is no dominant team this season. That always means unpredictability and loads of fun come tourney time! Here is a recap of last night’s action.
#11 West Virginia 74, #1 Kansas 63
This game lived up to its lofty expectations, as Bob Huggins and the West Virginia Mountaineers took sole possession of 1st place in the Big 12 with a convincing 74-63 triumph over #1 Kansas. The Mountaineers were led by G Jaysean Paige (26 pts, 5 stls) and F Devin Williams (17 pts, 12 boards), and as a team, forced 22 turnovers and shot a whopping 47 free throws! Perry Ellis had a great game for Kansas, totaling 21 points and 7 rebounds, but the rest of the team really struggled with West Virginia’s pressure. The Mountaineers can’t celebrate too long, as they visit Norman to take on #2 Oklahoma on Saturday. Kansas returns home for a bounce-back game against TCU on Saturday.
#15 Texas A&M 71, Florida 68
The Aggies are off to an impressive start this season, and last night, they were able to hold off a surging Florida team to escape with a 71-68 win. G/F Jalen Jones was the star of the game for Texas A&M, finishing with 26 points on 8-13 shooting. Danuel House shot just 2-10 from 3-point range for the Aggies, but he still finished with 22 points to help contribute to the victory. Texas A&M will hit the road to take on Georgia on Saturday, while Florida will stop off in Oxford, MS to take on Ole Miss.
#13 Virginia 66, #8 Miami (FL) 58
It has not been the start to ACC play that Virginia wanted, but they got back on track last night ending Miami’s 8-game winning streak with a 66-58 home victory. Defensively, Virginia was able to keep Miami on the perimeter, holding Hurricane star center Tonye Jekiri to just 5 points on 2-4 shooting. The 58 points is a season-low for Miami. Malcolm Brogdon led the way with 20 points for the Cavaliers, while Anthony Gill chipped in 15 points to go along with 8 rebounds. Virginia will travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State on Sunday, while Miami will visit Clemson for a big match-up on Saturday.
Michigan 70, #3 Maryland 67
Michigan has been searching all year for a signature win, and they finally got one last night when they knocked off #3 Maryland at home 70-67, despite leading scorer Caris LeVert sitting this one out due to injury. G Zak Irvin led the way for the Wolverines with 22 points, while PG Derrick Walton was terrific down the stretch, as he finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Maryland’s star PG Melo Trimble was nowhere to be found in this one, as he ended with a season-low 2 points on 1-4 shooting, with 4 boards, 3 assists, and 4 turnovers. The Terrapins will look to get back on track at home Saturday against Ohio State, while the Wolverines will head to the road to take on a red-hot Iowa team on Sunday.
#12 Providence 50, Creighton 48
I feel like we’re going to have a lot of games like this in the Big East this season, but more often than not, the cream always rises to the top. Providence was able to eek out a 50-48 victory over Creighton when superstar PG Kris Dunn hit a step-back, fadeaway jumper at the buzzer, just one possession after his 5th turnover led to a game-tying layup by Blue Jay G Maurice Watson. Dunn finished with 20 points and 8 boards to lead the way for the Friars, who will return home Saturday to take on Seton Hall. Creighton will look to get back in the win column on Sunday in Chicago against DePaul.
Texas 94, #17 Iowa State 91 (OT)
Iowa State has fallen to 1-3 in the Big 12 after an overtime loss to Texas last night. PG Isaiah Taylor was fantastic for the Longhorns, finishing with 28 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Iowa State got big games from F Georges Niang (27 pts) and F Abdel Nader (10 pts, 16 rebs), but it wasn’t enough to outlast Texas. A controversial no-call sent this game to overtime, when it appeared that Taylor was fouled on a last second, game-winning shot attempt. Iowa State will now travel to Manhattan, KS where they look to end a 2-game skid against Kansas State. The Longhorns will look to keep their momentum going as they host Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Here is a look at what’s on tap for tonight:
#9 Duke @ Clemson, 7:00 pm, ESPN2
Houston (AAC Leader) @ Cincinnati, 7:00 pm, ESPNU
Marquette @ #6 Villanova, 8:30 pm, Fox Sports 1
Penn State @ #24 Purdue, 8:30 pm, Big-Ten Network
#19 South Carolina (15-0) @ Alabama, 9:00 pm, SEC Network
#2 Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State, 9:00 pm, ESPNU
Oregon State @ Colorado, 11:00 pm, ESPNU
USC @ UCLA, 11:00 pm, ESPN2
If you get a chance, check out some of these terrific games! My new Top-25 will be posted tomorrow, so be on the lookout!