Night Court: Marathon comes to an end, oh what a fun run it was

VCU's Treveon Graham, right, hit the game-winner for the Rams against UVa. (USATSI)
VCU's Treveon Graham, right, hit the game-winner for the Rams against UVa. (USATSI)

If you've read the blog the past couple of seasons, you’re going to be familiar with this nightly staple. If not, you’ll get used to it pretty quickly. Every night, we’re going to recap the night that was -- giving you everything you need to know.

So here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Tuesday night, so far. We'll update this as games go final ...

Game of the Night: Kansas outruns Duke, overcomes Parker's huge night.

It was a 94-83 final that doesn't indicate how close this one was -- and how Duke held serve for most of the first 30 minutes. By the way, I can't tell you how happy I was to see college basketball's biggest regular-season event be so successful. Neither game was epic, but bother were highly entertaining, close, filled with freshmen who delivered on the hype. As for this one, it's interesting to note that Andrew Wiggins had 22 points, a quiet 22, in my opinion. And I think we'll get that a lot from him this season. Kansas displayed all the talent around him -- Wayne Selden, Frank Mason and Joel Embiid, the standout freshmen -- in addition to Perry Ellis, Naadir Tharpe and Jamari Traylor.

KU won despite only sinking three 3-pointers and committing one more turnover. Duke had control for most of the game, but never pulled away. Foul trouble was a concern for Duke as well, and the Blue Devils were a poor 57 percent from the line. That said, I'm guessing Duke fans will walk away from this loss as happy as they could be because, well, Jabari Parker, errbody.

Parker had 27 points, nine rebounds and three steals. He was the most impressive player of any on Tuesday night, except maybe Keith Appling. More on him shortly.

Game of the Night, No. 2: Kentucky and Michigan State give a good show in Champions Classic undercard.

Before we go further, click this to read Parrish's column from Chicago.

Branden Dawson's tip-in with five seconds to go gave Michigan State a four-point lead and allowed the Spartans to hang on, 78-74. This one was all MSU in the first half, and throughout the second half Gary Harris' disappearance combined with Julius Randle absolutely owning the low block allowed Kentucky to close in and make it a game. But they never led once in this one, and so now myriad narratives will spool out from the outcome. Fair enough, I suppose. I'm of the group that says, Hey, UK didn't play well at all (17 turnovers to MSU's seven, shot 20 for 36 from the foul line) yet very nearly took down the No. 2 team in the country. That's oddly encouraging.

Randle's line is listed below, in our Players with Impact section. As is Keith Appling's. More on them there. Solid game. I love this sport.

That's a good win: VCU goes into Virginia and steals one.

Eight ties, six lead changes and the Rams get out of Charlottesville with the dub. They probably shouldn't have, but Malcolm Brogdon missed one of two with 9.7 seconds left to set the game up as a tie, instead of a one-point UVA lead. That brought on Treveon Graham's (22 points) chance to launch a wild 3 -- which fell in. The Cavs will be a good team this season, but they really could've used this one. Most didn't watch this one because of Kentucky-Michigan State, but it was tight and worth the second-screen viewing.

And that's a bad loss: West Virginia blows it on the road against Virginia Tech.

Bob Huggins' team had a 19-point lead at Va. Tech, and wound up losing 87-82. Making matters more embarrassing, Virginia Tech fell the other night to USC Upstate, and the Hokies were without one of their key players, C.J. Barksdale. Hard to figure how WVU will rally to make the NCAA tournament this year.

Also a bad loss: UNLV drops one at home to UC Santa Barbara.

Possible that UNLV -- an underachieving team from a year ago -- won't even sniff the NCAAs this year? Don't want to jump to conclusions just yet, but falling by 21 at home to the Gauchos is weeeeak. An 86-65 loss, and Alan Williams goes for 21 points and nine rebounds. That guy's really good. UNLV has a long way to go.

What else we'll be talking about in the morning:

--> The SEC comes up short. Florida gave a good, short-handed effort in Madison, falling to Wisconsin 59-53. You might've heard, Florida's down quite a few guys due to suspensions and injuries.

--> Tennessee had a tall task of going into Xavier to pull off a W. Good effort from Cuonzo Martin's team, including a bonkers off-the-glass 3 from Jordan McRae with 6.1 to go, but X comes out a winner, 67-63, and returns the favor on the Vols, who won this game last year by four poitns. In addition to these two SEC, teams, Kentucky and LSU lost as well on Tuesday.

Players with impact

  1. Julius Randle did have eight turnovers, which was a huge factor in giving Michigan State opportunities to bloat that first-half lead. But to those who watched, he canceled out the giveaways by completely dominating MSU on the offensive end otherwise. A game-high 27 points and 13 rebounds. He was impossible to contain on the block -- and the Spartans have a solid front line. I find it impossible to see how he won't be a First Team All-American.
  2. Keith Appling was everything MSU fans prayed he'd be. The senior Sparty point guard -- who had serious issues with running the 1 last season -- was so good Tuesday night. Twenty-two points, eight assists, four steals. Gary Harris and Adreian Payne were also solid for MSU, but to me it was Appling's consistency that allowed MSU to remain steady.
  3. Props to UNC Greensboro's Tevon Saddler, whose 34 points Tuesday led all scorers across the nation. They came in an 84-83 losing effort to East Carolina.
  4. Marcus Smart: nine steals in Oklahoma State's 93-40 trouncing of Utah Valley.

Numbers to figure:

3: Michigan State now has three wins in program history against No. 1-ranked teams. The first came in '07 against Wisconsin, the second in '09 against Louisville. Kentucky is now 3-1 all-time as No. 1-ranked team playing against No. 2.

54-9: Cincinnati's nonconference record under Mick Cronin. They have quietly been really good outside of league play, even if the schedule hasn't always been demanding.

Other outcomes of note:

  • We'll start with this. College of Charleston eked out an 83-82 home win over Charlotte by doing this.

  • Indiana escapes 73-72 at home over LIU-Brooklyn. LIU's Jason Brickman airballed a 3 at the buzzer. Indiana has a lot of points lost from last year, and the Hoosiers could struggle to put together winning streaks. This tweet was telling.
  • Baylor almost got upset on its home floor by South Carolina. That would've been rough for Scott Drew's team, which went 22 for 41 from the charity stripe en route to the 66-64 victory. A foul blown JUST after the buzzer ended prevented South Carolina from going to the foul line to shoot two to send it to overtime.
  • Manhattan College beat Columbia 71-70 on what was said to be a ridiculous ending. Columbia led by two with four seconds to go. A missed foul shot at 70-69 put Manhattan back on the line. George Beamon hit both, and Manhattan escaped.
  • The Bearcats didn't have too much trouble at home with N.C. State, winning 68-57 and improving to 2-0. How was the Wolfpack's night?
  • Texas sneakily got out alive at home against South Alabama, winning 84-77.
  • La Salle won 73-67 against Quinnipiac. Hmm. Shouldn't have been that tough for the Explorers, a Sweet 16 team from a year ago.
  • Good on Longwood, a program that has been at the D-I level for only a few years now, for going on the road and beating TCU.


-- Sick oop from Oakland-UCLA:

-- Our take on UMass' sloppy but impressive victory against LSU from Tuesday afternoon. The Minutemen are much more than Chaz Williams.

-- If you went to bed early, Saint Mary's beat Akron "last night" by the score of 85-63.

-- Wake Forest won 98-71 against VMI, the second-largest margin of victory in Jeff Bzdelik's career with the Deacs.

-- Chane Behanan returned from suspension for Louisville tonight. He had four points, a steal and a rebound in 14 minutes of the bench. Luke Hancock also returned, coming back from an achilles injury. Hancock played 15 minutes and scored eight points in U of L's 97-69 victory against Hofstra.

-- Key LSU frosh Jarrell Martin hurt his ankle early against UMass. It's unknown how much time he'll miss, but the injury isn't thought to be serious.

-- Florida Gulf Coast gets its first win of the season.

-- Murray State has to be in for a long season.

-- Nike outfitting a few teams in turquoise jerseys. Yay or nay?

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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