Night Court: Bloody night as five of six ranked teams in play lose
An upside-down night in college basketball. But a lot of teams locked up regular-season championships, too.
Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Thursday …
For a complete breakdown of the bubble happenings, check out our daily Poppin’ Bubbles feature.
Game of the Night, Vol. I: Oregon needs double OT to get a crucial win at UCLA.
Wild game. First off, UCLA announced a few hours before tip that its two best players, Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, would sit due to a violation of team rules.
So Oregon got a break, in a way, with that. Winning here doesn't make the victory look as good -- but who's to say the Ducks would've won if those guys had played? The Ducks were up double figures at halftime. The lead whittled away down the stretch. Bryce Alford -- who had a career-high 31 -- hit a 3 to cut the lead to one with 6.8 to go. Then, at the end of regulation, insanity ensued after David Wear hit a 3 with no time remaining to send the game into overtime.
It wouldn't have come to that if Joseph Young had missed the second foul shot. UCLA had no timeouts. Ah, well. The first overtime was an ugly watch. Somehow, Oregon got to a second free session, and there Joseph Young (who led the Ducks with 26) played well to win 87-83.
The win, even against an undermanned UCLA team, will keep Oregon in the mix for a bid.
Game of the Night, Vol. II: Arkansas sweeps Kentucky.
The Hogs have won twice over UK, and in the process, have put themselves -- temporarily -- in the field of 68. It's hard to believe Mike Anderson's team has made a run like this (considering nobody had Arkansas as a tourney team this season), but at 19-9 and 8-7 in the SEC, this is the third-best group the league can offer up.
The Razorbacks won 71-67 ... and really didn't play well. Kentucky had spurts of inspired play, but overall too many guys took too many plays off. There were a few sets in overtime where UK's guys just stood ... and watched the man with the ball. Arkansas' free throw shooting really helped its causes, going 16-of-16 from the stripe. Michael Qualls led the team with 14 points.
Willie Cauley-Stein had 16 points and 13 rebounds, his third double-double of the season. Kentucky's probably a No. 6 seed at the moment. If it doesn't win at Florida in the regular-season finale, it'll need to then beat Florida in the SEC tournament for any hope at a No. 5 seed.
What we’ll really be talking about in the morning: The fight between New Mexico State players and Utah Valley fans. We covered that in its own post here. Video included.
What else we’ll be talking about in the morning, basketball-only variet: How Saint Louis losing to Duquesne affects Wichita State.
Unfortunate/true. Until Thursday night, SLU was undefeated in the A-10. Until Thursday night, the only home loss of the season Saint Louis suffered was to the Shockers. But an 11-15 Dukes team went in -- with a 6 percent chance of winning, according to KenPom -- and pulled off a 71-64 upset. The winning streak (a school-record 19) for the Bills is done. This will hurt SLU's chances at a No. 3 seed in a major way. The team still has road games remaining at VCU this weekend and UMass next.
It could lose both of those, no doubt. And in doing so this will hurt Wichita State's power numbers. But that shouldn't affect WSU's No. 1 seed hopes, if it continues to win out. Either way, some people will use SLU's slip-up as more evidence to toss at the Shockers. It's going to be exhausting until Selection Sunday in this regard.
That's a good win: Marquette is very much in the bubble picture with a home W over Georgetown.
A layup in the closing seconds from D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera did not fall for Georgetown, resulting in a 75-73 Georgetown loss to the Golden Eagles. Game was interesting and dramatic -- but took forever to finish. Davante Gardner came off the bench to score 26 for the 17-11, surging Golden Eagles.
And now Georgetown, which has some nice wins, absolutely is on the outside looking in. The team is 16-12 -- but still has chances against Creighton and Villanova. So all's not lost. But this group is just frustrating to watch. It should be better. Of all the teams in college hoops, few are more mysterious than the Hoyas.
And that’s a bad loss: Ohio State drops two to Penn State for the first time since 1998.
If you think you'll have the guts to put Ohio State in your Sweet 16, I'm guessing you have dated a few beautiful people in your life. The Buckeyes were unable to hit many open shots down the stretch -- including a wide-open 3 from Lenzelle Smith, Jr. in the final seconds -- and fell 65-63 to move to 22-7 on the season.
The offense just isn't there. OSU had 10 turnovers to PSU's 16. It had a higher assist rate. But the ball wasn't falling (42.6 percent from the field).
Ohio State closes its season with a road game against Indiana and a home tilt vs. Michigan State.
Great shot afterward of ESPN analyst Sean Farnham interview Tim Frazier amid the scrum.
Who locked up league titles tonight:
Stephen F. Austin -- the only unbeaten team in league play outside of Florida and Wichita State -- secured the Southland with a 103-63 win against New Orleans.
Georgia State won 77-49 at Texas-Arlington, clinching at least a share of the Sun Belt.
Gonzaga wins the West Coast Conference yet again with its 70-53 win at Pacific, improving the Bulldogs to 14-3 in the league.
The Vermont Catamounts clinched the America East regular-season title with a home win over second-place Stony Brook, 69-53.
Kentucky's loss means Florida earned the outright SEC title.
Green Bay became outright Horizon League champions with a 71-63 come-from-behind road win over Oakland. Earlier this week I had something on why this team should be on your March radar.
North Dakota State clinched the Summit League regular-season title by winning 82-54 over South Dakota.
Davidson clinched the Southern Conference regular-season title after beating UNC Greensboro 79-46. Then this happened.
Very cool. The Davidson seniors crawled into the student section for a final good-bye ... pic.twitter.com/KC5wgmkiOF— Ryan Fagan (@ryanfagan) February 28, 2014
Players with impact
- Will Sheehey had a career-best 30 points in Indiana's home win over Iowa.
- High scorer for the night? Patrick Miller of Tennessee State, who went for 38 in the team's 70-68 win.
- D.J. Newbill came up big, scoring 23 points, snaring three bounds and putting out three assists for Penn State.
- Eight steals or eight blocks in a game will get you a mention here. Congrats to La. Tech's Kenneth Smith for the eight swipes in the team's win. Teammate Michale Kyser had eight swats.
- Amdy (sic) Fall had 10 blocks for St. Francis of Brooklyn Thursday night. Team won 62-59 over Bryant. Dude is 6-feet-6-- and had 10 swats!
Numbers to figure
27: This was lower than I would've expected.
Weber State has set a new Big Sky record with 27-straight regular season conference home wins. #bigskymbb— Weber State Wildcats (@weberstate) February 28, 2014
48.5: Davidson's shot 111-229 from 3-point range in its past 11 games, a 48.5-percent clip. Ridiculous rate. That stat via the terrific Ryan Fagan.
18,967: The number of days it's been since the last time Duquesne won on the road at a top-10 team. (Bradley on March 5, 1962)
Other outcomes of note:
- Utah Valley beat New Mexico State 66-61 in overtime to take a one-game lead in the WAC. But the story from that game wound up being the on-court fight amid the court-storm afterward.
- Houston closed the game out on a 14-5 run, beating Memphis 77-68. Bad loss for the Tigers, but they'll be fine overall. Just another ranked team that went down.
- Iowa is in some serious trouble. The Hawkeyes fell to 19-9 with a 93-86 loss at Indiana. Fran McCaffery's team has lost three straight and still has to go to Michigan State. Iowa's defense is just miserable.
- Give it up for the one ranked team that won Thursday night! Louisville 88, Temple 66. Cardinals are somehow having as quiet a season for a defending champion that's playing for a No. 2 seed that I can ever remember.
- Meaningful C-USA game: Louisiana Tech's sluggish 55-39 win over Middle Tennessee State put both teams at 11-3 in the league. Southern Miss also won Thursday night, getting it to 11-3.
- Tulsa beat UTEP in the other critical C-USA tilt, 65-60, moving the Golden Hurricane to 11-3 and bumping the Miners to 10-4.
- Quinnipiac took on a bad loss, falling 72-70 to Siena. The Bobcats are in a five-team fight to win the MAAC.
- Big doings in the Big West: tied atop the league entering the night, UC Irvine won at home over UC Santa Barbara 71-60. Irvine, a D-I school since 1977, has never made the NCAA tournament.
-- A terrific look by one of the more talented newspaper enterprise reporters in the country at the machine behind one of the most hyped 12-year-old basketball players -- ever.
-- Michigan State is getting closer to being fully healthy.
-- Northwestern's had a good year, all things considered, but got some bad news Thursday.
-- Did you catch our latest look at the Player of the Year race?
-- Closing with this, via Deadspin. "Snap Peters. Aside from having one of the greatest names in college basketball, Snap is a 6-foot-2 guard who plays for Talladega College"
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