Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s slate of college basketball games …
Game of the day: Charleston and Chattanooga played two overtimes, and – oh, who am I kidding? Clearly the best game of the day – and possibly the year – was the much-anticipated Kentucky vs. North Carolina tilt. The two teams went back and forth for 40 minutes, with about 10 future first-round picks trading shots and blocks. Down by one in the final seconds, UNC’s John Henson had a chance to hit the winning shot – but Kentucky’s Anthony Davis reached out and blocked the shot, sealing the victory for the Wildcats. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Win to brag about: Marquette went to in-state rival Wisconsin and snapped the Badgers’ 23-game home winning streak, 61-54. The Golden Eagles were without Junior Cadougan, but Darius Johnson-Odom and Todd Mayo stepped up for Buzz Williams’ group. Jordan Taylor struggled for the Badgers, turning it over early and getting saddled with four fouls. Marquette dominated the glass, especially on the offensive end, and also didn’t let Wisconsin get open outside shots.
Loss to hide from: Hate to keep going to the well, but Boston College’s 14-point home loss to Boston University was the latest in a bad Eagles’ defeats. BU had started 0-4, but has now won four in a row. Boston College was outrebounded by 13 and gave up 13 offensive boards.
Player who deserves improper benefits: Tu Holloway didn’t scored the most points of anyone on Saturday, but he proved once again he is the most clutch player in college basketball. He led Xavier to a 19-point comeback in the final 10 minutes, beating Purdue, 66-63. Holloway hit three 3-pointers in a 70-second span in the final two minutes, and also hit the game-clinching free throws.
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Robert Sacre didn’t have a bad stat line on Saturday, finishing with 16 points in an 82-75 loss to Illinois. However, he scored only two points over the final 24:22, and grabbed just two rebounds all game. Defensively, he allowed Meyers Leonard to post 21 points and six rebounds. Despite having Sacre and Elias Harris, Gonzaga was also outscored in the paint. That just shouldn’t happen.
Numbers don’t lie:
- 1.95: That was the points per possession for Xavier in the final 8:03, when it overcame a huge second-half deficit.
- 1991: The last time Tulane started a season 9-0, which the Green Wave now are after beating Georgia Tech on Saturday. It was their first win over an ACC win in eight years.
- 23: The number of offensive rebounds Connecticut allowed against Arkansas, despite winning 75-62. When’s the last time a UConn frontline allowed so many second chances?
Three other notable results:
- Spurred by seven points in 90 seconds from Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh beat Tennessee in the Panthers’ first game without Travon Woodall.
- Led by 19 points from Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan defeated Iowa State, 76-66. Royce White had 22 and 13 for the Cyclones.
- Kansas outscored South Florida by 25 points in the second half en route to a 70-42 victory.
- Evan Ravanel started in place of the injured Jared Sullinger for Ohio State. He had 11 points and seven rebounds in an easy win over Texas Pan American.
- Reeves Nelson played zero minutes in the second half, as Texas outscored UCLA by 16 after halftime and won 69-59. Ben Howland said Nelson missed a defensive assignment in the first half.
- USC’s Dewayne Dedmon was expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot, but he started on Sunday, playing 26 minutes.
On tap: There’s no Kentucky vs. North Carolina for you, but Sunday has a pretty solid slate of games. Two undefeated teams go at it when Baylor travels to Northwestern, and UNLV puts its 8-0 record on the line against Missouri Valley contender Wichita State. Out west, California and San Diego State will wage battle. An under-the-radar matchup could be Dayton against 8-0 Murray State.
Photo: US Presswire