College basketball scores, winners and losers: Eight Top 25 teams fall to unranked opponents
Saturday was a big day for upsets and underdogs in college basketball
Saturday represented the noisiest day of the season in college basketball with 151 games slated and scattered throughout the day. Of the 25 teams ranked in the AP Top 25, 22 were in action. 22! The sheer volume of games only increased the likelihood of chaos breaking out in a season that's been ripe with it. And so what we got, fittingly: chaos.
A lot of it.
A whopping nine ranked teams lost on Saturday, eight of them to unranked opponents.
The Big East was hit hardest as all three of its ranked teams lost to unranked foes. Big Ten-leading Michigan State became second-place (for now) Michigan State by losing to Wisconsin.
But the top teams took care of business with the top seven teams notching victories.
Here's a look at how the Top 25 fared on Saturday:
1. Baylor (19-1) beat TCU 68-52. Next: at Kansas State, Monday.
2. Gonzaga (23-1) beat San Francisco 83-79. Next: vs. Loyola Marymount, Thursday.
3. Kansas (18-3) beat Texas Tech 78-75. Next: vs. Texas, Monday.
4. San Diego State (22-0) beat Utah State 80-68. Next: at Air Force, Saturday.
5. Florida State (18-3) beat Virginia Tech 74-63. Next: vs. North Carolina, Monday.
6. Louisville (19-3) beat N.C. State 77-57. Next: vs. Wake Forest, Wednesday.
7. Dayton (20-2) beat Fordham 70-56. Next: vs. Saint Louis, Saturday.
8. Villanova (17-4) lost to Creighton 76-61. Next: at No. 16 Butler, Wednesday.
9. Duke (17-3) beat Syracuse 97-88. Next: at Boston College, Tuesday.
10. Seton Hall (16-5) lost to Xavier 74-62. Next: at Georgetown, Wednesday.
11. Oregon (18-5) lost to Stanford 70-60. Next: at Oregon State, Saturday.
12. West Virginia (17-4) beat Kansas State 66-57. Next: vs. Iowa State, Wednesday.
13. Kentucky (16-5) lost to No. 17 Auburn 75-66. Next: vs. Mississippi State, Tuesday.
14. Michigan State (16-6) lost to Wisconsin 64-63. Next: vs. No. 24 Penn State, Tuesday.
15. Maryland (17-4) did not play. Next: vs. No. 25 Rutgers, Tuesday.
16. Butler (17-5) lost to Providence 65-61. Next: vs. No. 8 Villanova, Wednesday.
17. Auburn (19-2) beat No. 13 Kentucky 75-66. Next: at Arkansas, Tuesday.
18. Iowa (15-6) did not play. Next: vs. No. 19 Illinois, Sunday.
19. Illinois (16-5) did not play. Next: at No. 18 Iowa, Sunday.
20. Colorado (16-5) beat Southern Cal 78-57. Next: vs. California, Thursday.
21. Houston (17-5) lost to Cincinnati 64-62. Next: vs. Tulane, Thursday.
22. LSU (17-4) beat Mississippi 73-63. Next: at Vanderbilt, Wednesday.
23. Wichita State (17-3) lost to Tulsa 54-51. Next: vs. Cincinnati, Thursday.
24. Penn State (15-5) beat Nebraska 76-64. Next: at No. 14 Michigan State, Tuesday.
25. Rutgers (16-6) lost to Michigan 69-63. Next: at No. 15 Maryland, Tuesday.
And that's just a sampling of what went down across the landscape of hoops. As for the rest? Well, we've got you covered with everything you need to know to get up to speed.
Winners: LSU looking strong
It was nearly a year ago that wiretaps caught LSU coach Will Wade discussing a "strong-ass offer" with a prospective student-athlete, his Tigers tenure looking like it was all but doomed. Now the only strong-ass descriptor attached to Wade: his LSU team.
The No. 24 Tigers are looking more and more like the class of the SEC with each passing game, and with a 73-63 win over Ole Miss, it puts the cherry on top of an outright brilliant 8-0 start in conference play. The Tigers have a cushy lead in the standings. With 10 games left on the schedule it may be LSU's league to lose. This team's fun, too.
Losers: Michigan State was cold vs. Wisconsin
Here's a stat that seems relevant: No. 14 Michigan State shot 25 of 63 (39.7%) from the field in its 64-63 road loss to Wisconsin. Michigan State big Xavier Tillman from layup range in the loss was 2 of 8 (25%).
That's the difference in a one point road loss and, potentially, a nice road win. Of course, it's not the only flaws for Sparty -- they lost the turnover battle, had some key defensive lapses. But there's certain to be some key moments they can point to for why they lost the game -- and their lead in the Big Ten standings.
Winners: Badgers overcome turmoil
What's Michigan State's loss is Wisconsin's win, right? After all, the outcome was a confluence of Sparty not playing well and the Badgers -- pardon me -- badgering their way to a win. (Sorry.)
Count the win as impressive, because indeed, it was. But consider that Wisconsin was without Kobe King and Brad Davison -- King who left the program this week and Davisson who was serving a suspension -- and it makes it all the more inspiring. Wisconsin did it with seven scholarship players and kept its NCAA Tournament hopes on life support. Its resume is all over the place, but with four wins over ranked opponents, the top half of the dossier keeps looking better and better. Trending towards NCAA Tournament quality.
Losers: NC State folds vs. Cards
With an already curious NCAA Tournament resume, NC State did itself no favors by upchucking an early lead over No. 6 Louisville and turning it into a 77-57 loss at home Saturday. That one's gonna sting. It's the Wolfpack's third straight loss and a blown opportunity -- literally -- to solidify their dossier for March.
Winner: Huggins passes Rupp
For the second straight week, Bob Huggins is a winner for his history-making. On Saturday with his 12th-ranked Mountaineers beating Kansas State 66-57, it was Huggins who notched career win No. 877, moving past legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp for seventh on the all-time wins list.
Losers: Ranked Big East teams go down at home
It started early Saturday with No. 10 Seton Hall falling in stunning 74-62 fashion to Xavier. Then it continued with No. 8 Villanova falling 76-61 to Creighton, followed closely by No. 16 Butler taking a 65-61 loss to Providence. All three of the Big East's ranked teams scored 62 points or less and lost. Even worse, all three of those losses were by the home team.
Winner: Baylor looks like the boss
We've already seen No. 1-ranked teams this season falter, the weight of the top-ranking pushing teams to almost immediately take losses. Meanwhile, Baylor's transformed into Thanos since earning the top ranking two weeks ago -- it keeps collecting infinity stones and getting stronger. At home, on the road, on a neutral, this Bears team is an absolute force. Casually smacking an underrated TCU team 68-52 qualifies as another infinity stone for Scott Drew and Co. This team apparently feels no pressure -- or simply has too much talent to be pressured.
Losers: Major conference bottom feeders
I don't find joy in making light of struggling teams, but when you can't get off the mat, then sorry -- you'll find yourself in the column eventually. Even bad teams deserve some pub. And Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt: Pub you'll get!
What do these two programs have in common, you ask? Well, they're the only two major conference teams this season to have gone winless -- yes, winless! -- in conference play. Oklahoma State is 0-8 in the Big 12, Vanderbilt is 0-7. Vandy may legitimately go two consecutive seasons without a single win in SEC play after going 0-16 a season ago. The upcoming college baseball season may be a well-timed reprieve from hoops reality that looms in Music City.
Winner: Mid-major programs with superstar legacies
Murray State didn't wait long to retire Ja Morant's uniform. The Memphis Grizzlies rookie point guard is less than a year removed from his last game with the Racers and is just halfway through his NBA rookie season. But that's how good he was at Murray, and that's how good he's been in the NBA. Morant's No. 12 jersey became the 11th in program history to be retired as the Racers ran past SIU-Edwardsville 74-55 and improved to 10-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference. San Diego State State took a little longer to retire Kawhi Leonard's jersey, but the two-time NBA Finals MVP did not seem to mind. Leonard led the Clippers with 31 points in a 118-106 win over the Timberwolves in Los Angeles and then traveled down the coast for a special night remembering his legendary two-year tenure with the Aztecs. Leondard led SDSU to a 34-3 record as a sophomore.
Loser: Grand Canyon's run of success is over
Grand Canyon, picked to finish second in the WAC preseason coaches poll, could be headed toward its first losing season as a Division I basketball program since it joined the big boys for the 2013-14 season. The Antelopes lost at New Mexico State 72-52 on Saturday night, falling to 9-13 (4-4 WAC). That's a deep canyon for the Antelopes to climb out of if they want to keep their streak of four consecutive 20-win seasons alive. By the way, what happened to that great home court advantage? GCU is 5-6 at home this season.
Winner: Winthrop and D.J. Burns
Winthrop held its own in road losses to Duke and TCU early in the season. But the fact remained that the Eagles were 4-7 in mid-December. They have not lost since. Winthrop rattled off its 12th straight victory by going over 100 points for the third time this season in a 104-71 rout of UNC-Asheville. Since becoming a full-time starter on Jan. 16, redshirt freshman D.J. Burns, a Tennessee transfer, is averaging 17.5 points per game. The former four-star prospect brings a rare combination of size and talent to the Big South, where Winthrop (10-0) holds a two-game lead on Radford for first place.
Winner: Mississippi State and Reggie Perry
Speaking of big guys who are tearing up teams across the south. How about Mississippi State's Reggie Perry? Perhaps it's because Starkville is off the beaten path or because the Bulldogs started out 0-3 in the league. But for all the hype Kentucky's Nick Richards has gotten as a potential league player of the year, Perry has been just as good, if not better. Perry notched his 12th double-double of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds in an 86-73 win over Tennessee. The Bulldogs and are now 14-7 (5-3 SEC) and have won five of six SEC games to establish themselves as a likely NCAA Tournament team. Perry, meanwhile, continues to solidify himself as a likely first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Loser: Missouri's ability to cover the spread
No one expected Missouri to be great. SEC coaches picked the Tigers to finish 13th in the conference, after all. But the Tigers are often not even competitive. They lost 76-54 at South Carolina on Saturday, squashing the momentum of a Tuesday win over Georgia. Saturday's defeat, which featured 17 turnovers and a 4-of-19 3-point shooting clip, dropped the Tigers to to 10-11 (2-6 SEC). Five of Mizzou's six conference losses have come by double-digits, as did last Saturday's loss to West Virginia in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Winner: Hofstra has hell of a good week
If you think you had a good week, I'd advise you not to compare yours to Hofstra's. Because Hofstra's winning. The Pride went 3-0 in the last eight days and capped it all off Saturday with a 83-60 road drubbing of first-place William & Mary. So now there's a three-way tie atop the CAA between William & Mary, Hofstra and Charleston -- and Hofstra gets Charleston at home in two weeks. Still a tough road ahead but the Pride are positioned to parlay this week into a potential first-place CAA finish if they keep up this hot streak.
Loser: Kennesaw State's viability as a D-I program
The Owls are in their 11th season of Division 1 basketball and have yet to finish a season with a .500 record or better. That trend is on track to continue in historically bad fashion. The Owls trailed North Florida 52-17 at halftime on Saturday and lost 86-45, falling to 1-21 (0-8 Atlantic Sun) on the season. On the bright side, at least they didn't suffer such an embarrassing defeat in front of their home fans, assuming there are any.
Winner: Michigan's Howard still has a fab shooting touch
Michigan's coach Juwan Howard proved two things Saturday. The first: that he can coach, as evidenced by his 69-63 takedown of No. 25 Rutgers. The second: THAT HE'S STILL GOT IT!
If this coaching thing doesn't pan out, he may have a career with the Harlem Globetrotters.
Loser: Appalachian State gives coach a lousy birthday
Appalachian State coach Dustin Kerns would probably jump for joy if he knew his team would shoot 80% from 2-point range, 63% from 3-point range and 71% from the foul line. Only problem is, his team did -- and they still lost. The Mountaineers fell 93-86 to Little Rock on the road, bested by a Trojans team that went 60.7% from 2-point range, 52% from 3-point range and 85.7% from the charity stripe.
Oh, and to top it off, it was Kerns' birthday.
Winner: Providence's Cooley makes right moves
Providence star Alpha Diallo, the team's leader in points, rebounds, steals, minutes and blocks, was benched by coach Ed Cooley on Saturday. Cooley pulled Diallo not for his play, but for strategy: he wanted to get his biggest guys on the court to combat Butler's length.
Bold, indeed -- and it worked. Here's how it worked from the AP's news story:
He benched his best player so he could start his two biggest players side by side against No. 16 Butler.
Then the struggling Friars saw the strategy pay off. Luwane Pipkins hit six straight free throws in the final minute, finished with 22 points and helped Providence hold on 65-61 for its first road victory over a ranked team in nearly three years.
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