Night Court: A-10, MWC, Pac-12 races only get more tangled

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Hell of a night for highlights in hoops. We had a dude from Eastern Kentucky give us a dunk that will be hard to top for the remainder of February, and above we have North Dakota's Troy Huff with a beastly alley-oop send-in of his own. ND -- which has no nickname at the moment -- beat Idaho State 69-52. Here's everything else you need to know from college basketball's Saturday night. If you're looking for what happened in the first half of the day, be sure to read up in Afternoon Delight.

Game of the Night No. 1: Miami got a lift thanks to Reggie Johnson's soft and timely touch.

Read Parrish's Miami take here. The Hurricanes have knocked off Duke, Michigan State, NC State and North Carolina and have two-seed potential as of now. Just nutty.

I'll riff on NC State again. This team cannot be trusted. It has moved from an almost-elite team, to a good team, to now a team that's scary for what it can be instead of what it will be. The Wolfpack are fun but frustrating. I'm long at the resolution that this team will not ever put it all together, even when Lorenzo Brown -- who missed Saturday's game -- comes back. It could reach the Sweet 16 again, yes, but it's quite clear the preseason ACC pick to win the league isn't one of the two best teams in the conference.

Game of the Night No. 2: Julius Mays saves Kentucky from getting swept by Texas A&M.

Kentucky came very close to being swept by Texas A&M in the Aggies' first season as SEC residents. And what a trivia question that would've been. But 15-6 UK survived overtime in College Station, 72-68, thanks to 19 points from Nerlens Noel and Julius Mays, the latter coming up big in the right spots. Noel's 19 was a career-best for him; he only managed two blocks after that 12-swat showing vs. Ole Miss earlier in the week.

Random note: Billy Gillispie was initially supposed to go to this game (he used to coach both teams) but had to back out at the last minute.

What else we'll be talking about before the Super Bowl: Indiana staking claim again to being No. 1 in the nation.

An extended read on one of the biggest games of the season can be found here. My thoughts: I'm glad both teams played well, it's a good sign for IU that it held serve at home and looked good in the process, and I'm no less a believer in Michigan's national-title chances than I was at 8:59 p.m. ET.

The Hoosiers got tremendous help from Cody Zeller, with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He and Victor Oladipo brought the house down a few times with some vicious action around the rim. Oladipo deserves his own video game. The kind where you're tasked to destroy everything in your path. When Indiana's offense can move like lizards across the sand, it's sublime. Basketball with intent, power, speed and undeniable skill is the best. Indiana houses that brand of ability better than any team in the country.

IU's now atop the Big Ten (8-1) after its third win against a No. 1 team at Assembly Hall.

Trey Burke went for 25 for Michigan in the loss. The Wolverines just couldn't overcome the 28-13 deficit from the first half. They got close but IU always had a cushion and an answer.

That's a good win: Cal takes advantage at home over a wounded group of Ducks.

It's two straight losses for Oregon without Dominic Artis. The Golden Bears won 58-54 in Berkeley, and now Cal (13-8, 5-4 Pac-12) trying to scratch its way to an at-large, so this one was key. It's going to take 12 league wins to stand a chance, but you've gotta start somewhere.

But that's a bad loss: Wichita State is taking on losses that will hurt its seeding.

I maintain the Shockers won't see much trouble on the bubble, but losing 57-52 at Northern Iowa could be a compound result that keeps WSU from earning a single-digit seed in a few weeks. The Shockers are now 19-4 after shooting 40 percent from the field and taking just five foul shots.

Players with impact

When I run Night Court, I have a rule: Swat or steal eight or more times, and you get a mention here. So congrats to Nigel Spikes of Marshall for his nine blocks Saturday.

Zeke Marshall came up big with 17 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Akron's win over Ohio. The Zips now lead the MAC after the battle of the MAC East unbeatens finished 86-72 in Akron's favor. The team's 13-game winning streak is also now longest in the nation after Kansas fell to Oklahoma State.

Georgia State's R.J. Hunter was our leading scorer for Saturday. The man put up 38 in his team's 83-63 home win over Old Dominion.

On the heels of an SI.com profile, Mike Muscala scored 11 and grabbed a Saturday-high 19 rebounds in Bucknell's 69-54 win against Navy.

Numbers to figure:

  1. 8: How many ranked teams fell this Saturday. Last weekend it was 10.
  2. 60: Finally, an SEC has cracked the 60-point threshold against Florida, which surrendered 64 to Ole Miss. Stop slacking, Gators. Only a 14-point victory? Boo.
  3. 23-0: Mike Montgomery's record vs. Oregon.
  4. 200: With Cincinnati's 65-59 win over Seton Hall, Mick Cronin got his 200th win.

Other outcomes of note:

  • Oklahoma State over Kansas is a biggie. I covered the OSU angle here. As for Kansas, no reason to fret. Teams lose. The eventual national champion will have at least three losses. This was Kansas' second. Point guard is kind of a concern, but I'm not gripping yet if I'm a KU fan.
  • Boise State hosted UNLV and beat the Runnin' Rebels 77-72. This is a pretty vital win for the Broncos, who are now 3-4 in the MWC and need to get to .500 to remain in the at-large convo. So good for them. But UNLV is now 17-5, 4-3 and has been something of a let-down to this point. I had UNLV as a potential Final Four team, and I wasn't the only one.
  • Iowa State's 79-71 win over Baylor at home is an easy one to overlook, but these are the games ISU started winning last season on its way to the Round of 32. The Clones are 15-6 and aligning themselves with another tournament bid. Fred Hoiberg getting it done again.
  • Oklahoma's getting there, but it's a year away from being a real player in the Big 12. The Sooners hosted Kansas State Saturday and fell 52-50. OU is now 14-6 overall and well on its way to being the anonymous bubble team you know nothing about.
  • Jahii Carson could very well end up the Freshman of the Year. He had 32 in Arizona State's 96-92 loss to Washington. Same as it ever was, the Pac-12 remains a mess, a quagmire of coagulating congruency -- or lack thereof.
  • Late into the night, Gonzaga barely edged out San Diego 65-63. Johnny Dee is the Torero with the story to be told in time. We'll learn more about him next season, I'm guessing.

Notebook:

-- Saturday was a good day for dunks. Witness another: Aaron Bowen.

-- Saint Joseph's 70, Temple 69. Hoo are these Owls? They're 14-7 and have lost three of five. Saint Joe's keeps pace in the A-10.

-- Alabama hadn't won at Vanderbilt in -- well, how many years would you guess? Give it a second and mull. OK, the answer was 23. Alabama 58-54.

-- Wyoming is now a 2-6 Mountain West team in real danger of leaving the at-large conversation. Pokes weren't even competitive in losing 65-46 at Colorado State.

-- Xavier blew it by losing 73-71 at Richmond. Xavier could've been 6-2 and in a good spot in the A-10. Now it's just part of the jumble with its at-large case all but vanished.

-- Devin Booker is player No. 36 in Clemson history to have 1,000 points. His team-high 19 wasn't enough in Clemson's seven-point loss at Boston College.

-- Southern honored alum Avery Johnson Saturday by naming its court after him.

-- From a decade ago, Syracuse over No. 2 Pitt, when SU was unranked in the lead-up to its only national championship. A ridiculous three court-storms. Boeheim does in fact look younger. Melo's a baby face.


For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to the thrice-a-week podcast on iTunes. You can follow Matt Norlander on Twitter here: @MattNorlander.

 
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