Night Court: One great rivalry ends in perfect fashion

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Here's what you need to know of Saturday night's action around the country. For afternoon results of impact, check out Afternoon Delight from earlier.

Game of the Night: Maryland sends Duke off the one-seed line.

Well, I don't think this will end up being the final regular-season game between these two, as Maryland might have to play one more year in the ACC, but nevertheless, this was a good game that recalled the classics from the first half of the aughts. It was the third game in six days for Duke, and with a back-to-back with UNC and Maryland, it was exhausting a bit, sure.

Yet despite 25 turnovers, Maryland got the victory. And that's what matters, what will play big for the selection committee. Borzello's right, there's a lot of ground left to cover, and the Terps have to pull together a winning streak. Special mention here to Alex Len, who not only forced a foul-out for Mason Plumlee, but might've also ended Plumlee's POY campaign and dented his draft stock in the process.

Len, who could be a top-five pick, had 19 points, eight rebounds and one of his five best games of the year. Duke's loss means the No. 2-ranked team in the nation has dropped a game in five of the past six weeks.

I apologize for not being able to supply you with a Sonya Curry GIF tonight.

What else we'll be talking about: Arizona State leapfrogging Colorado.

It was ugly, but it was fun and it was big for Arizona State, which won, as you can see above, thanks to some frenetic end-of-game action. Spencer Dinwiddie -- DINWIDDIE! -- scored, then Evan Gordon sank a game-winning, off-balance layup in traffic. Because of the 63-62 win, ASU's in a better spot than Colorado. ASU: 19-7,-8-5; Colorado: 17-8, 7-6. As recently as the end of January, I would've said Buffs had twice as good a chance at the NCAAs. I am dumb.

Oh, and here's Jake Plummer, after the game.

That's a good win: Hey, UNLV needed it.

The Runnin' Rebels got a 72-70 home win in part because San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin traveled with 2.8 to go, down 71-70. I'll get to more of what this game meant for both teams in Monday's Power Pyramid, but in short, UNLV dodges something it doesn't deserve: an eight seed or lower. The Rebels have underperformed all season, but at least they didn't drop a home game to SDSU, who you could argue has been nearly as "meh" as UNLV.

Both will make the tournament. SDSU has Sweet 16-level talent. It's just not shown for a large part of the season. Aztecs are 6-5, same as UNLV, in the MWC.

But that's a bad loss: Well, it is Missouri ...

This was as much of a guarantee as you could expect. Few programs are as bad on the road as Missouri (1-6), and few are as reliable at home as Arkansas. There was some, uh, sketchy officiating that jobbed Mizzou out of a win, but then again, don't put yourself in that position on the road in the first place. Missouri is now 18-7 and has punted away any shot at a No. 5 seed or better. The SEC in general is as shaky as it's been all season, which is saying something.

A great A-10 rivalry ends: We'll miss you, Temple-UMass.

Temple at Massachusetts was the end of one of the A-10's best rivalries, ever. Temple earned a critical road win, 83-82. Ridiculously, this was the fifth straight game the Owls finished with a one-point margin. Silly streak. Now, I did miss this game, but here's how the AP recalled a great rivalry coming to an ending:

Considering the Owls' string of cliffhangers, the way this one ended was perhaps fitting. After a missed layup by Hollis-Jefferson, Massachusetts called time out with 17 seconds remaining, trailing by one. When play resumed, Temple did not allow the Minutemen to get off a shot. Hollis-Jefferson appeared to strip the ball away from Williams at the top of the key and a scramble ensued. A jump ball was called with no time showing on the clock. Officials looked at the replay and determined the game had ended.

Here's the Philly Daily News' recap and the MassLive.com account of the evening.

Special dispatch/report: I was in the Bronx for Fordham/Butler.

Sat (didn't cheer) in the student section for some of it, in fact.

Butler got out of there with a 68-63 win.

"I love Rose Hill Gymnasium," were the first words out of Brad Stevens' mouth at the postgame presser. He went on to talk about the toughness of road play, why the Fordham gym means so much to him/how it reminds him of the hallowed places in Indiana, where he grew up playing. He read up/studied on Rose Hill before arriving. It was his first trip there.

It was a terrific atmosphere; I'll be writing more on that in the near future. But seeing Butler in person for the first time this year left me feeling as I'd expect: It's a good team but it just doesn't wow you. The Bulldogs take a cheese grader against you and shave you to nothing. This isn't a sexy team. It will make some 3s, sure, but overall you'll get schemed to death, face a physical nightmare, and get frustrated at some of the unorthodox-type shots that fall.

Fordham would've won this game against most other teams if in the same position. I talked to Stevens afterward, and he harped that Andrew Smith's play was vital. Smith originally wasn't expected to play due to a bad hip, but he gave it a go Friday, then ended up playing 30 pretty crucial minutes.

Butler's now 21-5, 8-3 in the A-10 and probably a No. 3 seed as of Sunday morning.

Players with impact

  1. Kelly Olynyk balled out, scoring 26, grabbing nine rebounds in a 71-61 win for Gonzaga at San Francisco. Gonzaga is now a No. 1 seed on most bracketologists' boards, I'd think, and Olynyk is probably a first-team national guy on half of voters' lists.
  2. Creighton's Doug McDermott became the third Valley player in history to get to 2,000 points by his junior year, sharing that acclaim with -- oh, wow -- Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird. Goodness.
  3. No. 24 Colorado State played at Air Force, saw Michael Lyons put up 45 all over their faces, yet won 89-86. Lyons' output was the third-highest in hoops this season. Says a lot of CSU that it got this road win.
  4. Nate Wolters played his final home game Saturday, scoring 28, dishing six assists and grabbing three rebounds and SDSU beat Western Illinois, earning first place in a good Summit League race.
  5. Royce Woolridge scored a career-best 36 for Washington State in the team's 79-77 in OT to Oregon.

Numbers to figure:

46: The Cougars have lost eight straight overtime games to Oregon. That's a streak that dates back to 1967, 46 years ago.

17: Akron's winning streak is now 17 straight, and the 12-0 start to league play ties the '57-58 Miami (OH) team we all remember.

265: Jeff Withey is now the all-time leader in blocks after Kansas' 73-47 win over Texas. He has this many blocks in his career.

Other outcomes of note:

  • Syracuse won 76-65 at Seton Hall, and all reports show Jim Boeheim did not call any reporter an idiot after the game.
  • UCLA won 88-80 at Stanford, giving Stanford two Ls in a row, and effectively ending the Cardinal's (15-11) at-large hopes.
  • Saint Louis has won seven straight (19-5, 8-2 A-10) and is tied atop the league with VCU after winning a sneaky-good game against Charlotte, 75-58. VCU beat GW to move to 9-2. SLU and VCU play Tuesday.
  • Harvard beat Princeton at home to take control of the Ivy standings. Harvard hasn't won at Princeton in 23 years, and it will go to Jadwin on March 1 to presumably wrap up the Ivy title.
  • Memphis won at Marshall, is 11-0 in C-USA, and I think the Tigers won't lose the rest of the regular season.
  • Detroit at Valparaiso got funky. Valpo was up 15 with 9:27 left; Detroit won by 10, and now the Horizon League has opened up. With Butler gone, we could see this conference give us a random champ for the dance in a couple of weeks.

Notebook:

-- Taking care of business in OT and winning by 10 -- 84-74 -- is how you dodge being a bigger story. But Ole Miss could've/should've lost to Georgia at home in regulation. Instead, a no-call on an inbounds that would've won the game for UGA leads to OT and the Rebels hold out. Then there's this. Will we wake up to some rowdy-but-responsible Henderson party photos? We can only hope.

-- North Carolina Central was handed its first MEAC loss, at Savannah State no less, in the form a 44-36 outcome. I wonder if any team has ever lost its first league game this late and scored so few points. /MEAC'd. 3

-- All you need to know from Michigan State beating Nebraska.

-- Northwestern State won at Nicholls State, tying up the Southland race. And that's how it went for teams like Stephen F. Austin, Bucknell, UNC Asheville, Bryant, Northeastern. Good teams atop conference took tough losses. It's why I appreciate ...

-- Louisiana Tech rallied at Idaho -- these are conference rivals, by the way; yes, this is the modern WAC -- and won 67-61 to remain undefeated in conference.

-- Eli Carter will miss the rest of the season with a broken right fibula, per Rutgers' release.

-- Wyoming needed an 8-0 run to send its game against Fresno State into overtime. Wyoming won, but it's an NIT team, I'm afraid. This after a 14-0 start.

-- Grambling State lost at Jackson State. It is still without a win, and infamy is almost at its doorstep.


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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