Night Court: Three unbeatens make it to Feb. for first time since 1976

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Andre Iguodala and Nick Johnson. (USATSI)
Arizona alum Andre Iguodala and Nick Johnson after the win at Maples. (USATSI)

Here's everything you need to know from college basketball's Wednesday ...

Game of the Night: Arizona shows resolve and guts out a 60-57 win at Stanford.

I really wanted to see college hoops have three teams at 20 wins or more -- without a loss -- for the first time in 38 years. And thanks to Arizona and Syracuse winning Wednesday night, that's what we got. How cool, right? Stanford was pretty strong in this one, until it was afflicted with the same issue on its home court that prevented Iowa from winning at home over Michigan State on Tuesday: it couldn't hit a shot.

The Cardinal went more than eight minutes without a field goal in the second half of the second half, and a Nick Johnson bucket with 2:30 to go gave Arizona its first lead since first minute of the game. At that point it was 55-53 and the Wildcats elbowed Stanford to a loss. Johnson led all scorers with 16.

Chasson Randle got a nice look at a game-tying shot at the buzzer, but it didn't fall. Really good atmosphere at Maples Pavilion. Many watching had flashes back to when Stanford was the one that was able to keep its unbeaten season alive against Arizona, a decade ago.

Arizona is now 21-0 and plays at Cal Saturday. I do think that is where it finally drops a game, and even if that happens, to get to February without a scar is something that any team should carry with pride.

Game of the Night, Vol. 2: Penn State hands Ohio State yet another loss.

D.J. Newbill put a stun on Aaron Craft with a crossover that was absolutely deadly. This came in overtime, gave Penn State a 71-70 lead with 1.9 to go, and allowed Newbill to tie his season high with 25 points.

Look:

Newbill was absolutely huge in this game. He also hit a 3 that tied that game at 65 in regulation to send the game in overtime.

At the end of the game Craft couldn't get a shot off in time, and Ohio State lost its fifth in the last six. The Buckeyes are now 16-5; it's the worst start for Thad Matta since 2009-10. I never bought into OSU as a top-15 team, but let's remember this was once the No. 3 team in the country. Amazing freefall.

When you turn it over just eight times at home against a team not going to the NCAA tournament and still lose, shooting has to be the reason. OSU was at 38 percent tonight.

This was Penn State's first win in league play this season.

What else we'll be talking about in the morning: We're going to enter February with three unbeaten teams.

Wake Forest lost its first home game of the season and is now 14-7 after losing 67-57 to 20-0 Syracuse. Tyler Ennis: always doing the right thing. The Cuse frosh point had three big plays down the stretch and finished with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists. C.J. Fair had 16, adding to the fact that, in terms of two really good players that create off each other, no team in the country has a tandem like these two. Both are on pace to be either First or Second Team All-Americans.

If you want some historical context to Syracuse's recent success, know that Jim Boeheim has started the past three seasons combined at 60-3 entering February, and is 99-8 over the past five years from November through January. There's also this:

That's a good win: Kansas closes out strong against Iowa State.

Iowa State trailed by 16 at one point. But it rallied and made it a game. Cyclones fans who watched probably feel like another chance to steal one against KU was ripped away by the fact that an intentional foul really changed the course of the game. The call on Dustin Hogue against Andrew Wiggins with 3:28 to go in a three-point game didn't seem too harmful. Wiggins made two shots, and KU went on an 8-0 in a 1:18 span to separate the game to 81-72.

The Cylcones are now 15-4, loses of four of their last five, and still have vs. Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State before a reprieve comes on the slate. Splitting the next two would be optimal in terms of ISU not nose-diving its seed possibilities down the road. Georges Niang had 24 for ISU, while Kansas saw all five starters reach double digits, including a double-double for Joel Embiid.

For more on Wiggins, keep scrolling.

And that's a bad loss: For the second time in 16 years, Wisconsin loses back-to-back home games.

Northwestern won at Wisconsin for the first time since 1996. You know it's an all-time weird night in the Big Ten when Penn State and Northwestern are winning at Wisconsin and Ohio State. Bizarre. How bizarre? Actually the definition of unique.

But Chris Collins is already making believers out of Northwestern fans.

Wisconsin, meanwhile, has lost four of five and is completely adjusting expectations for March. Maybe this is better in the long run. When Wisconsin makes it to the Sweet 16, it'll be a little more of a surprise, and maybe we'll give Bo Ryan more credit, then. Who knows? This team, this league, is an enigma. Badgers' offense was 26.3 percent from the field Wednesday night.

Cal falls flat at home in OT after a nice back-and-forth with Arizona State.

This one ended at 1:22 a.m. ET, so plenty of you reading this didn't watch all of it. The 89-79 Arizona State road win over Cal was a really good win for the Sun Devils, who should be able to make this year's NCAA tournament. It's three straight wins in league play for 16-5 ASU -- and Cal (14-7) has now dropped three straight.

A 3-pointer from Jermaine Marshall (22 points) in the closing seconds of regulation allowed the game to get to free basketball. Jahii Carson closed with 29 points. The Sun Devils are inconsistent but dangerous. That mantra speaks to half the Pac-12, really.

Justin Cobbs (21 points), who was not good in OT at all but was pretty awesome in the second half, had one of the weirdest plays you'll see all season.

Ole Miss can't conquer at Tennessee.

This is more of a bad loss for the SEC in general, because the league is mediocre and its going to eat itself out from the inside, and in the end four bids will seem like a miracle.

Tennessee won 86-70 Wednesday at home over Ole Miss, knocking the Rebels to 5-2 in the league and clipping a four-game winning streak for Andy Kennedy's team in the process. The Vols never trailed and Jordan McRae went 6-of-7 from 3-point range, being much more efficient than Marshall Henderson's 8-of-19 (he had 26 points) showing in the losing effort. Jarnell Stokes put up his 11th double-double of the season (13 points, 14 boards) for UT.

Players with impact

  1. Wiggins had a career-high 29 points, his second straight game with 27 or more. He also added seven rebounds.
  2. Jordan McRae tallied 26 points for Tennessee in its win. McRae's had a nice year that's gone overlooked in large part because his team can't find a groove for more than two games at a time.
  3. Drew Crawford put up a season-high 30 points for Northwestern in that win at Wisconsin.
  4. Your high scorer of the night is D.J. Balentine of Evansville, but it came in a 95-81 loss to Northern Iowa.
  5. T.J. Warren had 30 for N.C. State. If the Wolfpack were any good, he'd be getting run for Third Team All-American. Warren's averaging more than 22 per game.

Numbers to figure

18: Penn State's losing streak to Ohio State, which ended Wednesday night.

80: The number of consecutive wins for Ohio State at home against unranked teams, a streak which ended Wednesday night. Via 247Sports.

19: The Memphis Tigers won 69-59 at South Florida, and it was the 19th straight road win for the Tigers. Impressive that Josh Pastner's team has been able to win away from home. Joe Jackson led Memphis with 17, and got goofy by trying to bring the windmill flash.

Other outcomes of note:

  • From a practical standpoint, everyone knows that the toughest place to travel to and come away with a win in A-10 play is in Olean, N.Y., at St. Bonaventure. The Minutemen are now 5-2 in the conference after falling 78-65.
  • Saint Louis is now 19-2 and 6-0 in the A-10 after winning 77-57 over 14-7 Richmond. The Billikens are cruising toward a No. 4 seed, just like last season. The defense is ridiculous. I really don't know how Jim Crews does it.
  • Toledo is now 18-2 and 6-1 in the MAC after winning 83-70 after Miami University. The Rockets can win that league, and if they get to the NCAAs with two or three losses, they'll be in the mix for a No. 9 or No. 10 seed.
  • Wondering what Gonzaga's up to these days? It's now 19-3 after barely getting out of Santa Clara 54-52. Gary Bell, Jr., who will prove to be vital come March, led the team with 15.
  • Maryland survived at home to beat Miami 74-71. Mark Turgeon really needed that.
  • No surprise to see VCU handle Fordham at home (76-60), but it's important for the Rams to keep pace in the A-10. Shaka's guys are now 5-1 in the league. The team's 17-4 is the best start under Shaka Smart and best start at VCU since 2006-07
  • George Washington also 5-1 in the Atlantic 10 after beating La Salle 69-47.
  • On the other side? Dayton, which has a good non-con resume. But it's now 1-5 in the A-10 after falling at home to St. Joe's 60-57. The game ended on a banked-in 3-pointer by Langston Galloway. The Flyers must go on a huge run to get back in the bubble mix.
  • Undefeated in the CAA is Delaware, now 7-0 after winning at Bill and Mary 89-72 -- with two player suspended. Blue Hens and Towson will battle for the Colonial crown, it appears.
  • Florida State falls 74-70 at N.C. State, and now the Seminoles are backing themselves into a corner. FSU is not the No. 6 seed I thought it could be at one time.
  • North Carolina won 78-65 at Georgia Tech, moving the Tar Heels to 3-4 in the ACC. Plenty of shoveling remains. Marcus Paige had 19.
  • For those who think Indiana State is going to beat Wichita State when the Shockers come to town: ISU lost at 7-15 Southern Illinois by 19 on Wednesday night.

Notebook:

-- If you missed it, Alabama-Auburn, Towson-UNC Wilmington and South Alabama-Georgia State were postponed due to weather.

-- Valparaiso retired coach Bryce Drew's jersey tonight. The team beat a hobbled, previously unbeaten in the Horizon Green Bay team (75-60) that didn't have starting center Alec Brown available. Also, it was a bad sign from the start for the Phoenix.

-- Frank Martin's Gamecocks got their first SEC win this season, beating Texas A&M 80-52.

-- Doug Flutie hopped behind the kit at tonight's Virginia Tech-Boston College game. He accounted for 1/37th of the attendance. Photo via @akulawolf.

 
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