College basketball winners and losers: Kentucky blows out No. 1 Vols, Wake Forest and Indiana in freefall
Plus, Michigan has rebounded in a big way to put itself in position for the Big Ten title
Wake Forest's beautiful and behemoth-sized 14,665 seat arena -- Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum -- was opened in the summer of 1989. It has been home to hundreds upon hundreds of men's basketball games for the Demon Deacons over the last three decades. Yet on Saturday, No. 8 North Carolina did what no team has ever done since its doors opened for men's basketball games, handing Wake a 95-57 loss -- the worst in the building's history, and the second worst in program history.
A dark day indeed for Wake, which fell to 9-15 overall on the season, and for the beautiful Coliseum that housed Saturday's disaster. The venue has hosted concerts, wrestling events, men's and women's basketball, bull riding and more since it opened, but Wake put out such a stinker Saturday that season ticket holders might rethink returning this season.
That's why Wake -- and the captain of its sinking ship -- are among Saturday's biggest losers in the sport.
Winner: Kentucky's national title prospects
Kentucky's stock continues to 📈📈📈. The fifth-ranked on Saturday, 86-69, their 11th win in 12 games dating back to early January.
UK outdid the top-ranked Vols. It out-hustled them, out-physicaled them, out-rebounded them, and out-scored them in one of its most complete showings of the season. Not only did the 'Cats validate their status as one of the premier teams in college basketball this season, but maybe pushed their way into the 1 seed discussion for the NCAA Tournament.
Loser: Danny Manning's job security
It's one thing to lose to a superior team, but it's quite another to get steamrolled at home by 38 -- even one as good as North Carolina. The calls for Manning's job will not get any more quiet after this debacle. In his fifth season at the helm in Winston-Salem, Manning has made just one NCAA Tournament, losing in the First Four to Kansas State in 2017.
Winner: Louisville's unease
When you're down 7 points with 17 seconds remaining, you're supposed to lose -- and Clemson did indeed fall to Louisville. But boy oh boy did the Tigers ever make Louisville earn every bit of its 56-55 win. In the final 17 seconds of the game, Clemson forced two turnovers, hit two 3s and gathered the ball off a failed Louisville inbounds attempt for a would-be game-winner. They fell just short.
Only days removed from a collapse of epic proportions against Duke, another Louisville meltdown was just seconds away from happening again. The vibe was tense. Fans at the Yum! Center at one point even applauded UL when it broke a full court press -- something it couldn't do against Duke (and a big reason why it lost). Getting a win should help alleviate the tension everyone in Louisville and the surrounding area was probably feeling most of the afternoon.
Loser: Indiana's postseason hopes
At the rate of Indiana's plummet, the Hoosiers are almost certainly out of the NCAA Tournament picture, and potentially at risk of missing the NIT, too. They lost their third straight and 10th of their last 11 on Saturday to Minnesota, which, on paper, would be an understandable road loss. But IU got hammered 83-64. They're going nowhere fast, and are officially set to squander Romeo Langford's first (and likely only) season in college.
Winner: Iowa State's mettle
After stringing together an impressive four-game winning streak, Iowa State lost a stunner on its home court to TCU last Saturday. Then Saturday it pulled off one of its most majestic showings of the season by taking out Kansas State -- the Big 12 leader -- 78-64. It's a potential league-altering outcome that could favor the Cyclones, who are now 8-4 in league play and in the thick of the ever-thickening conference race.
Loser: Garbage time dunkers
Texas Tech found itself in quite a spot Saturday. It was up 23, and in position to run out the clock. Pretty great spot to be in, right? A pair of walk-ons, however -- Avery Benson and Andrew Sorrells -- had other plans that upended a smooth ending, as they connected for an alley-oop in garbage time. It immediately made Tech coach Chris Beard transform himself into Anger from "Inside Out."
Was it a bit over the top from Beard? Maybe. Should the walk-on have dunked, knowing that it might be the only time he can do so against a Big 12 opponent? Heck yes! (However, he might have a different answer after running suicides for this incident.)
Winner: This walk-on
Admittedly, dunking in junk time is a bad look. It has an in-your-face feel to it. But the 3-point shot by Kanas walk-on guard Chris Teahan is still pure, unadulterated bliss and joy.
Winner: Michigan's Big Ten title chances
The 65-52 final tally of Michigan's win over No. 24 Maryland doesn't do justice to how good the Wolverines were on Saturday. Michigan got out to an early 16-4 lead over the Terps, and never trailed as they improved to 12-3 in the Big Ten. They're now the lone 12-win team in Big Ten play. Michigan State plays Ohio State on Sunday for a chance to match that 12-3 mark.
Winner: This very intense KU drummer
When you're more laser-focused as a drummer than the team you're drumming in front of, you deserve a medal. World: Meet Donovan Miller, the stone-faced talent who, incredibly, does not blink. Like at all. Someone prove me wrong.
Powered by Miller, No. 14 KU improved to 20-6 on the season with a 78-53 win over West Virginia.
Loser: Clemson's no-good, very bad week
On Wednesday, Clemson held a 64-63 lead over Miami until this happened. Heartbreaker.
On Saturday, Clemson had two semi-clean looks at the rim to win the game, but this happened. Heartbreaker -- again!
What a week it's been for the Tigers. The difference between 17-8 and 15-10 -- and potentially NCAA Tournament consideration -- all decided by two wildly close finishes.
Winner: The Southern Dakota State
Two days removed from being the victim of a last-second shot, South Dakota State made its own victim at Saturday's final buzzer against rival North Dakota State with an incredible halfcourt buzzer-beater.
The Jackrabbits trailed for the entire second half before taking the go-ahead lead from that David Jenkins hail mary.
Winner: Chris Clemons' road to history
Campbell Fighting Camels star Chris Clemons scored 28 points -- including a perfect 16-of-16 from the charity stripe -- to eclipse the 3,000 career point mark on Saturday, albeit in a loss to Presbyterian. He ranks ninth all time among Division I players in scoring with 3,006 points, two behind Hersey Hawkins, just two days after .
Loser: Rutgers' fortunes
After Rutgers hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining to take a 69-68 lead over No. 21 Iowa, it surely thought it was going to win. Then Iowa, for a second consecutive game, won with a wild three that fell as time expired. Brutal beat for Rutgers -- and for fans who seconds before the final outcome was decided were jumping for joy in the arena.
Winner: Duke's invincibility
Duke isn't unbeatable. Gonzaga and Syracuse have knocked it off this season. But was more proof of its sudden rise into near invincibility. Between RJ Barrett recording a triple-double, Zion Williamson making 32 points look as casual as a stop at the grocery store, and Coach K -- one of the best to ever do it -- guiding the ship, it's hard to argue that Duke isn't peaking at just the right time.
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