College basketball roundup: A stuffed schedule over Thanksgiving
Now that people have had some time to digest the food (and sports) they inhaled this holiday weekend, college basketball faithful can take stock of where their respective teams sit. Tipoff tournaments yielded some fun and interesting cross-conference matchups, but the reality of league play sets in soon.
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With December just a few days away, the conference slate is on the horizon. That means it's time to dig in for players and coaching staffs alike. And the beneficiaries will most likely be the fans.
No rest for the weary though, as the ACC/Big Ten Challenge is set to begin Monday. But before people get ahead of themselves, NCAA.com rewinds the tape and checks in on the most recent men's basketball action around the nation.
Top 25 teams in action:
- (Tied) No. 25: Michigan beaten by South Carolina, 61-46; defeated Mount St. Mary's, 64-47
- (Tied) No. 25: Florida State faltered against Temple, 89-86; bounced Illinois, 72-61
- No. 24: Michigan State took out St. John's, 73-62; lost to No. 20 Baylor, 73-58; defeated Wichita State, 77-72
- No. 23: Rhode Island staved off Belmont, 82-73
- No. 22: Texas lost to Northwestern, 77-58; fell to Colorado, 68-54
- No. 21: Iowa State survived Indiana State, 73-71; outscored Miami (Fl.), 73-56; came up short against No. 11 Gonzaga, 73-71
- No. 20: Baylor bounced VCU, 71-63; tripped up No. 24 Michigan State, 73-58; outplayed No. 10 Louisville, 66-63
- No. 19: West Virginia handled Illinois, 89-57; tripped up by Temple, 81-77
- No. 18: Syracuse tipped South Carolina State, 101-59; lost to South Carolina, 64-50
- No. 17: Purdue beat back Utah State, 85-64; demolished Auburn, 96-71; triumphed over NJIT, 79-68
- No. 16: Wisconsin defeated Tennessee, 74-62; bested Georgetown, 73-57; fell to No. 4 North Carolina, 71-56; rebounded against Prarie View A&M, 95-50
- No. 15: Saint Mary's (Cal) dropped San José State, 81-64; finished off UAB, 76-63
- No. 14: UCLA outran Portland, 99-77; beat down Nebraska, 82-71; bested Texas A&M, 74-67
- No. 13: Oregon lost to Georgetown 65-61; squeaked by Tennessee, 69-65 (OT), outscored UConn, 79-69
- No. 12: Creighton beat Ole Miss, 86-77; downed Loyola (MD), 82-52
- No. 11: Gonzaga pummeled Quinnipiac, 82-62; outpaced Florida, 77-72; outlasted No. 21 Iowa State, 73-71
- No. 10: Louisville outlasted Old Dominion, 68-62 (OT); downed Wichita State, 62-52; came up short against No. 20 Baylor, 66-63
- No. 9: Xavier beat back Northern Iowa, 64-42
- No. 8: Arizona bested Northern Colorado, 71-55; brushed off Santa Clara, 69-61; fell to Butler, 69-65
- No. 7: Virginia annihilated Grambling State, 90-34; smothered Iowa, 74-41; bested Providence, 63-52
- No. 6: Duke moved past William & Mary, 88-67; breezed past Appalachian State, 93-58
- No. 5: Kansas dropped UAB, 83-63; knocked off Georgia, 65-54; crushed UNC Asheville, 95-57
- No. 4: North Carolina ran through Chaminade, 104-61; upended Oklahoma State, 107-75; took apart No. 16 Wisconsin, 71-56
- No. 3: Indiana lost to Fort Wayne, 71-68 (OT); crushed Mississippi Valley State, 85-52
- No. 2: Villanova took apart Charleston, 63-47
- No. 1: Kentucky stopped Cleveland State, 101-70; downed Tennessee-Martin, 111-76
Need to know:
A double-double from Georgetown transfer Rodney Pryor (26 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks) paced the Hoyas in their upset of the No. 13 Oregon Ducks, 65-61. Admittedly, Oregon is still working Dillon Brooks back into the mix but there was no love lost when these two squads met in the opening round of the Maui Invitational. A buzzer-beater by Pryor just before halftime really pumped up the crowd before the Hoyas staved off Oregon in the second half.
Georgetown’s Rodney Pryor beats the buzzer https://t.co/bKmV6NWxvl— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) November 21, 2016
A rough week for the Texas Longhorns started in Brooklyn, NY, at the hands of the Northwestern Wildcats. Head coach Chris Collins got a balanced offensive performance with four players in double figures, including a game-high 20 points from junior guard Bryant McIntosh. 'Cats drop the Longhorns, 77-58.
Even ESPN's Mike Wilbon had to chime in for his alma mater NU:
How about Chris Collins and the Northwestern Wildcats taking down No. 22 Texas in Brooklyn in a beatdown!!! #KeepDougCalm— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) November 22, 2016
The news heard round the college basketball world on Tuesday was the fall of the mighty Indiana Hoosiers at the hands of the Fort Wayne Mastodons, 71-68 (OT). Fans who were riding high after Indiana took out Kansas earlier in the year were likely in disbelief at Tuesday's scoreline.
Last night, Fort Wayne shocked No. 3 Indiana in overtime — and celebrated accordingly: https://t.co/gaCiIww5Ld— ESPN (@espn) November 23, 2016
The Mastodons forced Indiana into an uncharacteristically sloppy game on offense, including 15 turnovers and a field goal shooting mark that barely topped 40 percent. Bryson Scott's double-double led the way for Fort Wayne in the upset.
A busy week of college basketball in Hawaii culminated in a title bout between North Carolina and Wisconsin, a rematch of their game from the Sweet 16 of the 2015 NCAA Tournament (a game won by the Badgers, 79-72).
This time around though, the No. 4 Tar Heels would get their revenge against No. 16 Wisconsin, 71-56.
A big double-double from UNC forward Kennedy Meeks (15 points and 16 boards) along with 22 points from Joel Berry II lifted UNC to the victory. A +9 margin on the boards as well as nearly 50 percent from the field helped in the winning effort as well.
On Thursday, the semifinals of the 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis tournament took center stage as No. 20 Baylor battled No. 24 Michigan State and No. 10 Louisville linked up with Wichita State.
Michigan State's frontline was not prepared for the onslaught it took at the hands of Baylor's Johnathan Motley, who scored 20 of his 26 points before the halftime buzzer in the Bears' 73-58 victory. Baylor head coach Scott Drew had to be pleased with 24 assists on 30 made field goals in this one.
Bears battle past Spartans!— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) November 24, 2016
No. 20 Baylor takes the W against No. 24 Michigan State, 73-58. pic.twitter.com/5qHXRV4QLE
A rematch of a National Semifinal from the 2013 NCAA Tournament was featured in the second semifinal on Thursday in Maui. No retribution for the Shockers this time around though as No. 10 Louisville raced to a 10-point lead in the game's first seven minutes and never looked back in a 62-52 win. Admittedly, the Cardinals did have to fend off a bit of a run in the second half as the Shockers closed to within six points on a few occassions, but four double-digit scorers for Louisville helped keep Wichita State at bay.
Some fans might argue that Butler's 69-65 win over the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats was the win of the weekend, but fans who have watched Butler in recent years know that this program has made a name for itself with high-profile victories. That's not to take anything away from an extremely entertaining contest between the Bulldogs and Wildcats, but rather an attempt to give Fort Wayne its due time in the spotlight for the real "upset of the week".
Nonetheless, four players with at least 10 points helped key a Butler upset of Arizona. A late run by Arizona made things interesting before the Bulldogs forged ahead to bury that comeback attempt.
The championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament pitted Baylor and Louisville in a grudge match. Brights colors were flopping and diving all over the court on Saturday, which ultimately ended in a 66-63 victory for the Bears. Baylor worked its way back from a 15-point halftime deficit to pull out the win. Sophomore guard King McClure scored all 15 of his points in the second half to help his team despite the fact that Baylor trailed at the midway point for the third day in a row (Baylor trailed by eight points at halftime in its Battle 4 Atlantis opener against VCU; and by three to No. 24 Michigan State on Thursday).
South Carolina made a statement in a matchup with No. 18 Syracuse. That statement is: Don't sleep on the Gamecocks. Normally Syracuse's 2-3 Zone is giving opponents trouble on offense, but on this occasion South Carolina head coach Frank Martin had his team ready to play. The win against Syracuse makes three straight games in which the Gamecocks have allowed 50 points or fewer. Combine that with balanced scoring and a veteran leader in Sindarius Thornwell and you might have a force to be reckoned with in the SEC.
The final of the AdvoCare Invitational Championship gave those who tuned in on Sunday quite a showing. Granted, No. 11 Gonzaga jumped out to a big halftime lead, No. 21 Iowa State threw everything they had at the Zags after the intermission. A Monte Morris potential buzzer-beater clanked off the iron at the final horn, giving Gonzaga a two-point win. With the victory, Gonzaga started 6-0 for the second time in three seasons.
Zags hold on!— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) November 27, 2016
No. 11 Gonzaga squanders 18-point lead but beats No. 21 Iowa State, 73-71, in AdvoCare Championship. pic.twitter.com/Qd4udBc9St
In other action:
It's been a tough go of it for some Big Ten teams so far in the 2016-17 season, but it's sink or swim these days in the college basketball world. Just ask Illinois who suffered a tough loss against Winthrop (Big South Conference) before heading to New York to get dumped in both of the team's games at the 2016 NIT Season Tip-Off.
But the focus here should be on the Eagles, who defeated a Big Ten opponent for the first time in school history (0-5 prior to playing Illinois). The loss for the Illini also marks the first time the team has lost a home game in November under head coach John Groce (in his fifth year).
A late 10-0 run from the Eagles, keyed by senior guard Keon Johnson, helped get the game into overtime. Johnson, who was battling severe cramps throughout most of the evening, finished with 38 points in the upset win.
Unranked team(s) having a big week
South Carolina wasn't the only unranked team to make some noise in the nonconference portion of their schedule. Just ask Temple, who beat No. 19 West Virginia and No. 25 Florida State. Temple head coach Fran Dunphy boasts another talented Owls team this year, one that is led by junior forward Obi Enechionyia (20.2 ppg, 9.0 rpg).
Indiana State's tough luck
Three losses in three games might not sound like much of a week, but Indiana State played far better than the collective outcome would imply. In those three losses, the Sycamores fell by a total deficit of eight points.
Brenton Scott's three at the buzzer against No. 21 Iowa State rimmed out in a 73-71 loss; a 3-point shot from Stanford's Dorian Pickens with three seconds left in regulation was the decisive bucket in a 65-62 defeat; and, last but not least, Quinnipiac got its first win of the season when a late bucket by Chaise Daniels in the last minute lifted the Bobcats past Indiana State, 80-77.
No. 9 Xavier does double take, beats Northern Iowa twice
These two schools are only separated by about 600 miles, but Xavier and Northern Iowa had never played one another before the season started. Then these two nonconference opponents met twice in a span of seven days. You can't make this kind of stuff up, but that's the fun of the early-season slate. The Musketeers and Panthers squared off on Nov. 20 in the championship of the Tire Pros Invitational and then again on Saturday. Xavier took both games — much to the chagrin of the Northern Iowa fans — but maybe this will be the start of something between the two.