Night Court: Nebraska wins second game -- ever -- at Michigan State
Hard to hate a 7-footer who's this good and gives Wisconsin a threat it hasn't had in some time.
Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s solid Sunday of action ...
Game of the Day: Nebraska upsets Michigan State 60-51 -- in East Lansing.
It was only the second time in school history the Huskers won at East Lansing. This was also the first win on the road against a team ranked in the AP poll's top 10 for Nebraska in 17 seasons and the team's fourth win ever against a top-10 team away from home.
Terran Petteway, who might end up cracking the Big Ten's second team when it's all said and done, had 23 points. It was the eighth time this year he's scored 20 or more. Teammate Walter Pitchford put up a career-high 18. How do you win at Michigan State? Only turn it over five times, which is what NU did.
Tim Miles is building something, and no matter what happens at his career with Nebraska, I find it har to believe there will be five games that will go down as more meaningful than this one. The Cornhuskers might go another decade before winning in East Lansing. This is a distinctive win.
Gary Harris led the Spartans with 18. MSU was playing without starting forward
Afterward, Tom Izzo said his team shriveled up and did not match Nebraska's intensity. Plenty of MSU doubters out there now, but I still very much think the Spartans are headed to the Final Four if everyone is healthy. This team has been mired in injuries and illnesses for most of the season, and really, it's doing better than just about any other team could.
That’s a good win: Wisconsin gets nice win to avenge Michigan loss.
It's not a perfect team, maybe not Bo Ryan's best team, but you can't help but really like Wisconsin's big-picture changes going forward when you consider it has the diverse, reliable presence of Frank Kaminsky in the post.
Few other clubs have a weapon like Kaminsky, a 7-footer who pins and spins on the block as well as almost anyone in the country and seems a perfect fit for Wisconsin's system. Frank the Tank, he's been called. The Old School-swiped moniker is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, given his appearance is as intimidating as a labrador retriever's.
But he was stellar on Sunday; you could argue he's never been better than how he showed at No. 15 Michigan, a road game with a lot at stake regarding Wisconsin's standing in the Big Ten.
With 25 points (11-of-16 shooting) and 11 boards, it was the first career double-double for Kaminsky, who earlier this season made a name for himself when he put up a school-record 43 against North Dakota. But Michigan's not North Dakota, and Wisconsin was looking to make good on revenge after faltering at home against U of M on Jan. 18, dropping a 77-70 outcome.
The no-doubt-about-it 75-62 Bucky W improved Ryan's 21st-ranked team to 21-5. Now 8-5 in the league, Wisconsin's won four straight and steadied itself after the January skid that kicked the Badgers out of the rankings and brought the horde of Wisconsin doubters into the foyer. Following a 16-0 start, the Badgers dropped five of six and dropped three straight home games for the first time under Ryan.
Now it's looking like Wisconsin, a 6-2 team against top-25 teams this season, could be in the conversation as a Final Four dark horse -- even if the program will forever have its cynics. Kaminsky helped catalyze a 7-2 run in the second half to keep Michigan at bay.
What's particulary impressive: Despite the hostile road environment against a surefire NCAA tournament team, Wisconsin had a season-low two turnovers. Sam Dekker, Wisconsin's best player, had 15 points and nine rebounds.
The correlation to Michigan's struggles?
By the way, Nik Stauskas averaging just 10.2 points in his last five games. Almost seven points below his season average.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) February 16, 2014
In those five games, Michigan is 2-3. Stauskas (11 points, three turnovers on Sunday) isn't the only option for Michigan. Caris LeVert's had 16 or more in three of his past four games, including 25 on Sunday. Derrick Walton, Jr. is a program star in the making, but still a freshman. The Wolverines' issues stem from not having big man Mitch McGary -- though they've dealt with and overcome that better than most expected. Also, Stauskas' varying efficiency and the team's overall defense issues are causing them too much trouble to overcome on one side of the floor.
The Wolverines were outplaying expectations and perhaps even ability through most of December and January. This could be a regression to the mean for Michigan and an uptick toward promise once again for Wisconsin.
And that's a bad loss: SMU gives Temple its second win in AAC play.
The 20-6 Ponies are still in the tournament as of now, but this one was a damaging loss. Temple's been unusually bad this season; today marked the team's seventh win. By falling 71-64, SMU likely cost itself a seed line down the line. Temple's Dalton Pepper had a game-high 24 points.
A somewhat surprising outcome, given SMU had fewer fouls, fewer turnovers, more steals and more blocked shots.
Creighton has another huge night against Villanova: For the first time in school history beats two top-10 teams in the same season. It was also the same opponent.
Per Matt Eisenberg, Creighton averaged 1.44 points per possession in two games against Villanova this season. That is slap-me-in-the-face outrageous. CU was also 30 for 50 from 3-point range and 67-of-111 from the field (60.3 percent). Bonkeridiculousness.
There were a few headlines from this one, including Doug McDermott passing Larry Bird on the all-time scoring list in D-I history.
Regarding usurping Bird, McDermott on TV afterward said the following: "That means a lot. Imagine if he had a 3-point line and he had four years: he'd be way ahead of me. ... It's really cool. I'm going to embrace it, but there's a lot of season left."
Players with impact
- Billy Baron picked a great time to score a career-high. Our own Jeff Borzello just profiled Baron a few days ago. On Sunday, in triple overtime, the guard put up 40 points and grabbed a team-high 10 boards to lift Canisius past Siena.
- Joseph Young has tremendous upside and needs to be more consistent. Behind him and his 25 points, Oregon won the Civil War against OSU.
- Fred VanVleet had 18 points, eight assists and five steals. Did the Shockers win? What do you think.
- It was the 15th time in Doug McDermott's career that he had 20 points or more in a half. This was his 23rd 30-point game, the most in school history. He's kind of good.
Numbers to figure
33: The number of road games won by Big Ten teams in intra-conference play this season. Via Troy Machir.
21: The streak of games that's over for Nebraska, a streak of falling to ranked teams on the road that dated back to 2008.
41: How many years it's been since Creighton won at home against a team ranked in the top 10. That one came against Houston back in '73.
Other outcomes of note:
- Wichita State got to 27-0 with a road win against Evansville. That record matches St. Joseph's mark from a decade ago. Only SJU ended its season after 27 games. These days teams almost everywhere are playing 29 or 30 or 31 before their season is done. WSU has four to go.
- By way of falling 82-60 to St. John's, Georgetown dropped below .500 in the Big East and to 15-10 overall. Probably going to have too many scrapes to ever make something significant of this season. St. John's is entering the convo, though; Johnnies have won five straight.
- Believe it or not, Oregon still trails Oregon State in the Pac-12 standings. But the Ducks held strong at home over the Beavers, winning 93-83. Oregon is now 16-8 and has much work to do.
- Louisville defaced Rutgers, 102-54. Borzello was there and will file something later tonight.
- Minnesota improved to 17-9 by winning at Northwestern, 54-48. It was the first win for the Gophers at Welsh-Ryan Arena since 2008.
- The MAAC remains a great race. Manhattan got to 12-4 in the league by way of a 90-72 win over Niagara. The Jaspers keep pace with Canisius.
- Mercer was the preseason Atlantic Sun favorite (over Florida Gulf Coast). The Bears are now 12-2 in the league after beating Northern Kentucky 89-67.
-- Video above of Wright State's A.J. Pacher's winning shot with less than two seconds remaining against Oakland. A 72-71 final, Wright State rallied from a 10-point deficit with two minutes left.
-- Powerful moment at BC Sunday night, as the team held a moment of silence to honor former sports information director Dick Kelley, who lost his life to ALS a couple of days ago.
-- Lamar fired coach Pat Knight on Sunday.
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