Here's what you need to know in college hoops for Thursday, Feb. 16.
The best conference in the country -- argue among yourselves if you feel chippy, but really? -- strutted its stuff Wednesday night with some in-league beatdowns. North Carolina (No. 10 in the AP Poll) smeared one-time rival NC State and No. 12 Duke took care of defensively dominant but offensively dubitable Virginia (No. 14), with both winners doing the job on the road. Despite the wipeouts, the Atlantic Coast Conference, depending on which prognosticator you lean on, could have as many as 11 teams in the NCAA tournament.
Before that, though, comes the rest of the conference schedule and a killer of a conference tournament. That's trial by fire. That's the ACC.
In case you missed it
• Virginia's defense held Duke, averaging 81.9 points a game, to a mere 65. We've ID'd the problem with UVa, though: The Cavaliers, averaging a mere 69.3 a game (14th in the 15-team ACC), scored only 55. Forward Jayson Tatum put up 28 points for Duke. The Cavs, losers to in-state rival Virginia Tech in double OT on Sunday, now have North Carolina coming up. They've probably had enough heat.
• North Carolina cake-walked against NC State 97-73, and the vociferous Wolfpack faithful -- just reporting here -- let their head coach, Mark Gottfried, know that they expect a little more from their team. Talk about some heat. UNC devastated NC State in two games this season by an average score of 102-65ish.
• In the only other ACC game of the night, two unranked teams played, and Georgia Tech lost on the road to Miami. How good is the ACC? Both are still in contention for a spot in the tournament.
• Those Northwestern Wildcats, bidding for their first trip to the big tournament, aren't going to make this easy, are they? Maryland's Melo Trimble racked up a career-high 32 points in a 74-64 win over the unranked Wildcats in Evanston, Ill.
• Two ranked teams fell to unranked squads: No. 20 Creighton to Seton Hall and No. 21 South Carolina to Arkansas.
• Not everyone can pull off the sweatband look. We counted down the best to rock the headband in college.
What to watch today
• Top-ranked Gonzaga gives someone else a chance to mess up its unblemished record when the Bulldogs host San Francisco (9 ET).
• No. 11 Wisconsin, coming off a disappointing loss at home to Northwestern, travels to Ann Arbor to try to get back on track against Michigan (7 ET, ESPN).
• No. 5 Arizona is at Washington State (9 ET, FS1) and Utah heads to No. 7 Oregon (9 ET, ESPN) in a pair of Pac-12 bouts.
Social moment of the day
Arkansas just shocked South Carolina 83-76. UK & Florida now tied for SEC lead with 11-2 marks while USC is 10-3. USC is at Florida Tuesday.— Oscar Combs (@wildcatnews) February 16, 2017
Little men, big scorers
Central Michigan features two of the country's top five scorers -- Marcus Keene and Braylon Rayson -- who stand at 5-foot-10 or under. They might not be able to see past the big guys, but at 29.8 (Keene) and 20.7 (Rayson) points a game, they can pretty clearly see the hoop.
NCAA.com's Ryan Cooper has our list -- complete with highlights -- of the Top 5 little guys who can fill it up.
New coaches take charge
It's not easy being a head coach in a new place. Squeezing the most out of an unfamiliar roster, managing expectations among boosters and fans, balancing budgets, finding the best place off-campus for a late-night nachos splurge. Jamie Dixon, Josh Pastner, Brad Underwood and others have made the most of it, though.
NCAA.com's Joe Boozell recognizes a handful of coaches who are settling into their new surroundings just fine.
Bracket tip of the day: The allure of the 16 seed
It's never happened in the NCAA tourney, a 16 seed beating a No. 1. But more and more bracket players, according to our data analysis, are going for the ultimate upset.Putting your faith in such a huge underdog might not be the smartest move -- because, you know, it's never happened -- but that feeling that it's bound to happen, sooner or later, may be driving some to try to beat the odds. The chance to scream in your co-workers face, "HA! I picked that!" might be compelling others.
Whatever the case, NCAA.com's Mike Benzie dives into the numbers behind our often foolish attraction to No. 16.
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Mark your calendar
Selection Sunday: March 12
First Thursday of the NCAA Tournament: March 16
Final Four in Phoenix: April 1-3