Morning Madness: Thursday, Feb. 23
Here's what you need to know in college hoops for Thursday, Feb. 23.
If Wednesday night was any indication of what March Madness is going to look like this year, let’s fast-forward to Selection Sunday. Because ... wow.
Wednesday featured a No. 7 vs. No. 8 matchup, but that was approximately the fourth-most interesting game of the night. Buckle up, folks.
In case you missed it
• First of all, wow again. Second, Jayson Tatum had 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for Duke, and teammate Luke Kennard had 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists. But Syracuse guard John Gillon banked in a game-winning 3 at the buzzer, and for a second, people weren't talking about the polarizing Blue Devils. They were talking about the Orange, and Gillon, who may have saved the Cuse's tournament hopes with one of the most dramatic shots of the season.
• We see your John Gillon and raise you a Dillon Brooks. Yes, that Brooks. The same one who stopped UCLA's perfect start with a game-winner in late December. Wednesday, Oregon was trailing most of last night against Cal, but the Ducks rampaged their way to a thrilling victory. Brooks hit his second near buzzer-beater of the season -- 0.2 seconds left -- to propel the Ducks, 68-65. Oregon is now 13-2 in the Pac-12.
• Ho, hum, Kansas won its 13th Big 12 championship in a row, tying a record set by UCLA's John Wooden for league dominance. The Jayhawks took down TCU at Phog Allen, and though they've only clinched a share of the Big 12, an outright title looks to be in their future. Kansas has three more games, two of them against Texas and Oklahoma.
• Oh, yeah, Butler snapped Villanova's 48-game winning streak at The Pavilion last night. The Wildcats have three losses; two against the Bulldogs. Kelan Martin, benched by Chris Holtmann a few weeks ago, rebounded nicely and scored 22 points to lead Butler. The Bulldogs have compiled one of the most interesting resumes in the country; their losses are terrible, their wins top-notch.
• No. 8 North Carolina handled No. 7 Louisville, one of the hottest teams in the country, by 11 points in Chapel Hill. Justin Jackson poured in 21 points for a UNC team that desperately needs his outside shooting.
What to watch today
• No Top 25 matchups tonight, but two top five teams will hit the road -- No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 5 UCLA. The Bulldogs look to extend their unbeaten streak to 29 at San Diego (10 ET), while the Bruins travel to Tempe to take on Arizona State (9 ET, ESPN2). UCLA hasn’t given up more than 79 points during its five-game winning streak.
• Ohio State doesn’t look like a particularly daunting matchup for No. 16 Wisconsin (9 ET, ESPN), but the game is in Columbus, and Wisconsin has been shaky away from the Kohl Center. Wisconsin lost to Michigan in its last road game.
• Memphis is at Cincinnati (7 ET, ESPN) in a sneaky-good AAC clash. The Bearcats are undefeated at home. If Cincinnati wins out, it takes a 27-3 record into the AAC tournament.
Social moment of the day
The shot was awesome. So was the call. Dickie V, ladies and gents:
Wait! A bonus social moment. Buzzer-beaters always light social media on fire, so here's the Brooks call:
So, so close ...
Coach K, the gold standard of college basketball coaches, has won five national championships in 37 years at Duke. So, yeah. winning a title is hard. Plenty of good programs have never won the big one -- Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Kansas State, to name three. See who else fits the bill in NCAA.com's latest High Five.
Bracket tip of the day: Know your 1
Everybody loves picking an upset. But that 16 seed over a No. 1? Come on, now.
|BRACKET CHALLENGE GAME|
The Madness is underway.
CHECK YOUR BRACKET
Yes, close games happen. In 1989, two No. 1 seeds won by a single point. Mostly, though, taking a 16 over a 1 is throwing away a point. More from NCAA.com's Daniel Wilco.
Mark your calendar
Selection Sunday: March 12
First Four in Dayton: March 14, 15
First Thursday of the NCAA Tournament: March 16
Final Four in Phoenix: April 1-3