Here's everything you need to know from a light slate of college hoops that delivered the goods regardless. Pro tip: stop listening to the drive-bys who are saying college hoops is broken. Michael Snear, up right there, is a good example why. The guy has made five game-winning shots in the past two seasons. (H/T, Run the Floor, for the video.)
The first OT game of the season for either team ended with Michigan getting out of its home arena with a two-point win, 76-74. Some think Aaron Craft should've gone to the line at the end of overtime with a chance to go five more, but I was fine with the no-call. Craft was tunnel-visioned on the drive as is.
Overall, a beauty of a game. Trey Burke and Craft gave us one of the best one-on-one player battles we've seen this season. Michigan got help from 23 by way of Tim Hardaway, Jr., who was just nuts with some of his long-distance bombs. The teams combined for 21 made 3-pointers -- that's the same amount of free throw attempts taken by both clubs. A good sign for good basketball.
I've got a note on Deshaun Thomas below, but aside from that, I did like how Ohio State stepped up and was in position to take this from Michigan. It wasn't a meek, backdoor effort on an off night for the Wolverines. No, OSU looked Final Four-good on a top team's floor. The assembly of candidates at college hoops' peak remains as crowded as I've seen it in years.
Mere hours after I pointed you toward prognostications that indicated Florida was more likely than any other team to go unbeaten in conference play ...
... the Gators get dumptrucked at Arkansas, 80-69.
It was not that close, either. And that, friends, is how statistics and probability can undercut you. That said, and with lots of credit handed to Arkansas, I think anyone outside of Fayetteville has the right to be really surprised at this turn of events. Sure, you can say that plenty of pundits overstated Florida's prowess; that we overreacted to UF's unprecedented defensive performance to this point in the season; that a loss was coming at some point. Doesn't matter. This is pretty shocking, all the same. This is our college basketball season in a nutshell, or at least one of a few nutshells to examine amid the beautiful mess on the floor that is this sport in 2013.
It's been going like this: The minute we find the next really good team to prop up, to hold a light to, it does something to let us down. And that's fine. After all, Arkansas (14-8) is a team much better at home than on the road, but still, Florida got romped and womped and stomped. It wasn't interested in playing competitive basketball. That's perhaps the most surprising aspect to this.
It'll most likely go down as an aberration. Florida is not going to stop being really good. However, the strange thing in this loss is: Florida as a team isn't an arrogant one. It's not a group that buys into its hype or outgrows its britches. Billy Donovan's 18-3 club has come about this season in a mature way and developed into the most well-rounded group college hoops has.
Not the most talented, just reliable. No. 1 in overall defense and No. 2 in offense. For the first time all season, Florida didn't look like itself. If we can't trust the No. 1 team in Sagarin and KenPom, then who can we trust? No one. It's why this season is fun. Florida was close to separating itself from the pack but never fully did. It had a chance on national TV to run roughshod over an average Arkansas team and failed spectacularly.
It's one thing to lose in the SEC, but another to lose this way. Florida is vulnerable just like everyone else. It's really good, but not great, just like the rest of the cluster at the top of this sport. Pick your team, your favorite. On any given night, they're bound to make a fool of you, too.
That's a good win: Florida State escapes on the road.
At this point, FSU needs every W it can scrape out, and if that means Michael Snaer has to be the bail man, so be it. He's literally won the past three games for FSU, hitting the clinching shot in the closing seconds against Clemson, Maryland and Ga. Tech, on Tuesday night. Noles are now 13-9 and a 5-4 ACC team. They need to go on a real run in the next three weeks.
But that's a bad loss: Wichita State what are you doing??
Oh, god, the bad basketball. Southern Illinois is a bottom-feeder in the Missouri Vallely, yet Wichita State just fell 64-62 on the road against the Salukis, who were 1-10 in the MVC entering Tuesday night. Shockers have now killed their chances at a five seed or better, and in fact seemed destined for the 8/9 game at best. A road game at Creighton still looms, and that's a likely loss.
Players with impact
Burke and Craft and Hardaway, Jr. go without saying.
Colt Ryan, an Evansville senior who's respected in the Valley, led all scorers Tuesday night with 27 points. The Aces fell 76-70 at Bradley.
Radford's Javonte Green had 23 and 13 in a 75-70 loss at Liberty.
Nerlens Noel achieved a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, in addition to five blocks. Kentucky minced South Carolina, 77-55.
Numbers to figure:
- 14: Now the longest winning streak in the nation, belonging to Akron, after it pulled away late at home vs Central Michigan, 68-56.
- 0: The number of times Deshaun Thomas supposedly touched the ball in overtime for the Buckeyes. He definitely had zero shots. That's an easy way to ensure a loss. That will not happen again so long as Thomas wears scarlet and gray.
- This is effective in an 86-61 win.
Other outcomes of note:
- At least UNC is quietly making no business of the teams it should be taking out, like Wake at home (87-62).
- Villanova 94-71 over DePaul. DePaul lost. Again. The world, it spins on.
- Penn State had a decent chance to get its first B1G W of the year, but it fell 58-49 on its home floor to Purdue.
-- D-I teams cannot be scheduling non-D-I teams in February. Eastern Kentucky beat a restaurant establishment with a basketball team, named Crowley Ridge, 91-37. That's not helping anyone.
-- Miami is still an unbeaten in the ACC, moving to 9-0 with a 72-50 home win over Boston College.
-- Boston College, Penn State, Missouri State and Northern Iowa: all teams who scored 50 or fewer points. You are why the haters have a right to hate. Score more.
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