Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday's recap

No. 4 Missouri 72, No. 6 Baylor 57: Missouri and Kansas have, quite clearly, set themselves apart from the rest of the Big 12. But didn't we expect this? We know that Baylor lacks toughness and cannot take a punch. As Andy Glockner termed it on Saturday, Baylor lost two games this week in "we-can't-do-anything-to-stop-this-game-deciding-run" glory, getting mollywhopped by a 37-9 surge at the hands of Kansas and then seeing Missouri put a 14-1 run on them in the span of about two minutes. Baylor is as talented as anyone in the country, and there is no shame in having your only four losses on the season come against top ten teams. But think about this: Baylor has a massive size advantage against Missouri, but their most talented and biggest players -- Perry Jones III -- didn't shoot a single free throw against the Tigers in either game. That's a problem.

Kansas and Missouri are now tied for first place in the Big 12. They play again in Phog Allen on February 25th. I would stab Troy, although not fatally, for a ticket to that game.

No. 12 Michigan State 58, No. 3 Ohio State 48: Michigan State moved into a tie with Ohio State for first place in the Big Ten standings after going into Columbus and knocking off the Buckeyes. Jared Sullinger had a triple-double -- 17 points, 16 boards and 10 turnovers -- while William Buford and Deshaun Thomas were complete no-shows, shooting just 4-24 from the floor. I wrote about this game more in depth over at SI.com.

No. 16 UNLV 65, No. 14 SDSU 63: Can we get a rematch? Please? For the second time this season, the Rebels and the Aztecs played a instant classic, with Anthony Marshall picking up a ball knocked away by Mike Moser and taking it coast-to-coast for the game-winning bucket in this one. The win was huge for the Rebels, because a loss would have dropped them two games behind the Aztecs in the MWC standings. Now, we have a three why tie. I wrote more about it here.

No. 5 UNC 70, No. 19 Virginia 52: UNC made a statement. Not only did they beat a good Virginia team fairly handily, they did it playing the style that Virginia likes. North Carolina averages more than 74 possessions per game, which is the fifth fastest pace in the country. Virginia averages just 60 possessions, which is sixth-slowest nationally. This game had 65 possessions, and it seemed like every single one for UNC resulted in the ball getting pounded inside to Tyler Zeller, John Henson and James Michael McAdoo. I wrote more about this game here.

Tennessee 75, No. 7 Florida 70: There are really two ways to look at this game. On the one hand, Florida was short handed. Mike Rosario didn't play. Will Yeguete took a scary fall and knocked himself unconscious in the first half. Patric Young is still battling an ankle injury. Taking that into account, getting knocked off by a tough Tennessee team can be deemed acceptable. That said, this was not as close as the final score indicates. Florida was down double digits for much of the game, as much as 17 in the first half. They don't like to get pushed around, and Tennessee did exactly that. Throw in the fact that this game was in Gainesville, and there is cause for concern. We knew Florida was erratic on the road. Getting smacked at home by a middling SEC team is a bigger problem.

Wichita State 89, No. 15 Creighton 68: It was just one of those days for Creighton. They couldn't hit a shot, they couldn't get a stop and they were playing a determined Wichita State team that was out for revenge. And that's exactly what the Shockers did, sending the Bluejays to their third straight loss and taking firm control of the MVC race, two games up with three games left. The key for Creighton now is too turn around this losing streak. They have four games left before the postseason starts. That's plenty of time to get back into a rhythm.


No. 1 Kentucky 69, Vanderbilt 63: Kentucky blew a 13 point half time lead, but the 'Dores came all the way back. Brad Tinsley hit a jumper to put them up 63-61 with for minutes left, but Doron Lamb answered with a three and Vanderbilt didn't score the rest of the game.

No. 2 Syracuse 85, UConn 67: The final score looks bad, but UConn was within two points in the final five minutes. They actually played well, the Orange were just that much better. I wrote more about it here.

No. 7 Murray State 82, Austin Peay 63: Isaiah Canaan went for 23 points and six assists as the Racers bounced back from their first loss of the season with an impressive win.

No. 9 Duke 73, Maryland 55: The Plumlees combined 29 points and 32 rebounds -- 16 of which came on the offensive end of the floor -- as Duke ran through Maryland. Miles had 22 boards himself. Terrell Stoglin shot just 4-16 from the floor and 0-6 from three before getting benched.

No. 17 Florida State 64, Miami 59: Bernard James scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half as the Seminoles kept pace with both UNC and Duke at the top of the ACC standings. Miami, whose win over Duke thrust them into the NCAA Tournament discussion, still needs to put together a couple of quality wins to solidify their bubble standing.

Georgia 70, No. 18 Mississippi State 68 OT: So does anyone trust Mississippi State? Egads. This game was played in Starksville as well. And if that's not enough, MSU had a chance to win at the end of regulation and overtime.

No. 19 Marquette 95, Cincinnati 78: Marquette's inability to get out to good starts -- they were down 16-4 in the first minute -- will get overlooked thanks to their dominating performance over the following 35 minutes. But that doesn't change the fact that the slow starts are going to come back to bite Marquette eventually.

Princeton 70, No. 21 Harvard 62: Ian Hummer went for 20 points as the Tigers scored 48 second half points to knock off the Crimson for the first time in Ivy League play. Harvard had complete control over the Ivy League standings, but the loss puts both Yale and Penn -- who have two losses in league play -- back into the race.

No. 23 Louisville 77, West Virginia 74: The 'Eers were up by as much as 13 points in the first half, but Louisville's pressure got to them. The Cardinals made an impressive second half run to steal a win in Morgantown. Its the fifth loss in six games for West Virginia, who have to go to Pitt and Notre Dame before hosting Marquette. It could get ugly quickly.

LSU 67, Alabama 58: Anthony Grant sent JaMychal Green, Trevor Releford and Rodney Hood home from Baton Rouge for a violation of team rules. They joined Tony Mitchell on the suspended list, meaning that the Crimson Tide were playing without their four best players.

Atlantic 10: Temple took firm control of first place in the conference with a commanding, 85-72 win over Xavier. Michael Eric finished with 10 points and 14 boards for the Owls, who were up by 20 at the half. St. Louis knocked off La Salle to remain just a game behind Temple. It was the third straight loss for the Explorers since they took sole possession of first place in the conference. St. Joe's beat UMass and St. Bonnie's knocked off Duquesne as well.

Pac-12: Arizona avoided a disastrous loss to Utah thanks to a strong second half from Nick Johnson and Kyle Fogg, landing a come-from-behind, 70-61 win over Utah. The win means that the Wildcats keep pace with Oregon and Colorado, who both won today, just a game behind Cal and Washington.

Conference USA: Jonathan Mills scored 18 points to lead Southern Miss to a 78-74 win over Central Florida, helping them improve to 8-2 in Conference USA play. Memphis kept pace, knocking off UAB 79-45.


Notables:

- Butler got their revenge for a loss back in January, knocking off Cleveland State on the road 52-49. It was the second loss of the weekend for the Vikings, who fell to Valpo on Thursday. It wasn't all bad, however. Valpo lost to Youngstown State 71-53.

- New Mexico moved into a tie for first place in the MWC with SDSU and UNLV with a 48-38 win over Wyoming.

- Middle Tennessee State knocked off Arkansas-Little Rock 68-60 in a battle of the first place teams in the Sun Belt. LaRon Dendy scored 23 points in the win.

- Jack Cooley had 22 points, 14 boards and four blocks as the Irish knocked off DePaul 84-76 to win their sixth straight game.

- Texas climbed to a tie with Kansas State in the Big 12 race at 6-6 with a come-from-behind, 76-65 win over the Wildcats. J'Covan Brown had 23 points.

- Bradford Burgess scored 24 points, but it was Dareus Theus that capped off a game-ending, 10-3 run for the Rams as they knocked off ODU 68-64. The win means that VCU remains tied with George Mason and Drexel atop the CAA standings, sending the Monarchs two full games back with three to play.

- Indiana State's box score deserves mention. They beat Southern Illinois 78-68, but they only took 39 shots on the game, making 25. That's almost 64% from the field What's more impressive than that? The Sycamores shot 12-12 from three. And they turned the ball over 17 times and got just a single offensive rebound.

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