Night Court: Florida earns 16th consecutive 20-win season

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

It took Andrew Wiggins 20 minutes to score his first points Tuesday night at Baylor -- and they came in wowing fashion. Wiggins buried a 50-footer as time expired to put No. 8 KU up 35-27 over the Bears. Check that grin on Wiggins as he heads to the locker room.

Now, here's everything you need to know from college basketball's Tuesday ...

Game of the Night: Chris Walker's debut in Florida's win.

First off, didn't know you were rocking the triple Kenyon Martin, Chris.

Florida won 68-58 against Missouri in a game that was pretty entertaining. Walker had four points, two boards and two blocks off the bench. The victory makes for 16 consecutive 20-win seasons, fourth-longest such streak in the in NCAA right now, per the telecast. At 20-2 overall and 9-0 in the SEC, Florida's in the catbird seat for a No. 1 seed.

Missouri is now 16-6 and 4-5 in the SEC.

What else we'll be talking about in the morning: Is it finally bye, bye, Baylor?

Had the Bears beaten Kansas on Tuesday night, they probably would have locked up an NCAA tournament bid. But now Scott Drew's team is 2-7 in the league and still has five more road games. It's a guarantee this team will reach double-digit losses in the Big 12 regular season. We know it's not winning the Big 12 tournament. Wins against Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Dayton and a Colorado team that's not now what it was then. It's enough to keep Baylor afloat, but how many more losses can this team take? I think it's on a collision course with the First Four.

As for Kansas, you see what Wiggins did above. He finished with 14 points. Naadir Tharpe had a really nice night and led all Jayhawks with 22 points. Of course, the man with the (14 and 10) double-double, Perry Ellis, gets overshadowed again. Joel Embiid was asked afterward about his future. Yes, in early February. So it goes. Here was his answer.

That's a good win: Ohio State gets its second successive road dub.

The 18-5 Buckeyes went into Carver-Hawkeye and put their season back on track by winning 76-69 over Iowa. The Hawkeyes' Mike Gesell had a season-high 16 points, but the Buckeyes showed signs of offensive life that they've seldom been able to produce this season. Shannon Scott was a surprising spark off the bench. I like Scott a lot when he's doing just a little of everything. Aaron Craft was the star, and there's more on him in the "players with impact" section below. If you saw the game you saw a team that was relatively composed and executed a game plan that Thad Matta and his staff have to be proud of.

This doesn't mean I consider Ohio State an automatic pick for the Sweet 16, but at least the bottom hasn't come out. The Big Ten is still the best league top to bottom, and stealing a road win, even against an Iowa team that's not proven itself against the best, is good currency in this conference.

Iowa only hit three of its 20 attempts from long range.

And that's a bad loss: Providence, you can't drop the home games.

The Friars are in the middle of a four-out-of-five-games-on-the-road stretch. The Big East is not a strong league, and PC needs to rack up the wins to have a chance at a bid. Its lone home game in this stretch came Tuesday, against St. John's. The Friars had one of their worst showings of the season, falling 86-76 after getting out to a 53-37 deficit at the half. Bryce Cotton went for 32 in the loss; DeAngelo Harrison had a team-high 21 for the Johnnies. According to the AP, St. John's now leads the all-time series between these teams 58-44.

Players with impact

  1. Have to lead with Aaron Craft. Seventeen points, six assists and six steals, two of those points coming in a crucial spot after drawing an and-one on Devyn Marble in the closing minute.
  2. Willie Cauley-Stein went for 18 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.
  3. If not for Jonathan Holmes, Texas would've taken a terrible TCU loss Tuesday night. Holmes finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds.
  4. Chris Crawford, a guard, had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Tigers, who won huge tonight. More below.
  5. Marcus Paige had 25 points, seven assists and three steals for a UNC team that's chugging back to decency.
  6. Side note on Wiggins, via NBC's Rob Dauster:

Numbers to figure

1-6: That's Iowa's record against the best of the best this season, its mark against teams ranked in the top 20 of KenPom.com.

2-6: That's Baylor's record against the best of the good this season, its mark against teams ranked in the top 35 of KenPom.com.

36-1: Kentucky's all-time record at Rupp Arena against Ole Miss. The Wildcats won Tuesday night 80-64. Aaron Harrison had a team-high 16 points. John Calipari had a few things to say after the win, and we've dedicated a whole post to that. Kentucky is now 17-5 and 7-2 in the SEC.

Other outcomes of note:

  • Memphis absolutely bludgeoned Rutgers, winning 101-69 in Memphis. Six Tigers reached double figures and even the team managers saw PT, it was so bad. (Not really, but you get the point.)
  • Wisconsin got a win it absolutely needed, winning 75-63 at Illinois. The 18-5 Badgers had to stop the bleeding.
  • TCU is now an 0-9 Big 12 team, but it did give Rick Barnes' Texas troupe a scare. The Longhorns pulled out a 59-54 win behind the noted performance from Holmes above. No. 15 Texas is now 18-4.
  • Clemson wins, but never does it with sex appeal. The Tigers won at home 45-41 over Georgia Tech in a game I can only hope was witnessed by as few people as possible. We're trying to keep a society afloat here. Not one Tigers starter cracked double digits in scoring.
  • Quietly, UNC is keeping itself around in the ACC. Just beat the teams you should, Heels. Tuesday night gave UNC fans a 75-63 win over Maryland, which played its final ACC game at the Dean Dome.
  • Marquette was a 69-62 victor over Butler. Neither team will sniff the NCAAs, alas.
  • The team with the best record in the MAAC? It's not Manhattan anymore. Iona is now 10-2 after winning 89-71 at Monmouth Tuesday night. The Gaels are tied with Canisius atop the league. The MAAC tournament be pretty freaking good this year.
  • Vermont and Stony Brook both won Tuesday night, meaning both teams are now 9-1 in the America East. It would be shocking if one of those two teams didn't rep that league come NCAA tournament time.

Notebook:

-- Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble surpassed the 1,500 career-point benchmark in the team's loss.

-- Citing "personal reasons," Richmond senior forward Derrick Williams left the team Tuesday. He averaged 7.7 points and 4.0 rebounds this season.

-- Doug McDermott with a playful poke at his pops on Twitter Tuesday night.

-- Senior power forward Derrick Williams has left the Richmond basketball team for what coach Chris Mooney described as "personal reasons."

-- A lot of Kansas fans took to Photoshop to rib Marcus Smart's penchant for flopping. A lot of those are really funny.

-- A well-crafted chant from the clever Blue Devils students during Duke's 83-63 victory against Wake.

 
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