Seventeen ranked men's basketball teams were in action on what, for many schools, is the final Saturday of the regular season. But Saturday also marked the start of the 2022 NCAA Tournament field beginning to be filled in, as the Ohio Valley Conference will crowned a tournament champion when No. 22 Murray State took down Morehead State in Evansville, Ind.
However, the biggest story in the sport on Saturday was arguably in Durham, N.C., where North Carolina took down No. 4 Duke in Coach K's final game at Cameron Indoor.
Click here for the full recap from another historic edition of the Duke-UNC rivalry.
Here are the top-25 teams in action Saturday
- No. 5 Auburn 82, South Carolina 77
- No. 6 Kansas 70, No. 21 Texas 63 (OT)
- No. 7 Kentucky 71, Florida 63
- No. 8 Purdue 69, Indiana 67
- No. 11 Villanova 78, Butler 59
- Oklahoma State 52, No. 12 Texas Tech 51
- No. 13 Tennessee 78, No. 14 Arkansas 74
- LSU 80, No. 25 Alabama 77 (OT)
- No. 2 Arizona 89, California 61
- No. 18 UConn 75, DePaul 68
- No. 3 Baylor 75, Iowa State 68
- North Carolina 94, No. 4 Duke 81
- No. 22 Murray State 71, Morehead State 67 (Ohio Valley Conference championship)
- No. 17 UCLA 75, No. 16 Southern California 68
First automatic bid to be determined Saturday
Sure, the calendar says March but for men's basketball fans, Saturday night offers the first living, breathing proof that the Madness is here. The Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship game tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET between Top-seeded, No. 22 Murray State and third-seeded Morehead State.
The Racers haven't lost in — count 'em — 74 days. Oh, and that loss? On the road to Auburn as part of a 19-game winning streak for the Tigers that saw them reach No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time in program history.
Murray State, ranked No. 23 in the NET rankings and No. 27 on kenpom.com on Saturday afternoon, has a good enough resume to contend for an at-large bid, but the Racers can sweep the OVC regular-season and conference tournament titles, and enter Selection Sunday on a 20-game winning streak.
Murray State swept Morehead State in the regular season, winning by 11 in Murray and by four in Morehead.
Follow along with our auto-bid tracker here.
Tennessee holds off Arkansas to complete undefeated record at home
With a dramatic, 78-74 win over No. 14 Arkansas in Knoxville, No. 13 Tennessee will enter the SEC tournament as the No. 2 seed after finishing conference play with a 14-4 record, one game behind conference champion Auburn. With Saturday's win, the Volunteers completed an undefeated season at home, going 16-0, with wins over Arizona, Kentucky, Auburn and Arkansas.
Tennessee led by as many as 24 points in the first half, 44-20, after Zakai Zeigler made a 3-pointer, but after Tennessee's Brandon Huntley-Hatfield scored the first bucket of the second half, Arkansas went on a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to 13, 52-39, and another 10-0 run made it 73-70 after a pair of free throws from JD Notae. The game's final 11 points were scored at the free-throw line, as the Razorbacks attempted to make a furious comeback, falling just short.
Stanley Umude's 3-point attempt for Arkansas with four seconds left with the Hogs trailing by four was off the mark.
Both teams made two-thirds of their free throws — 20 of 30 for Tennessee and 18 of 27 for Arkansas — so the game was taking for either team with better free-throw shooting. Four Tennessee guards scored between 12 and 15 points: Kennedy Chandler and Santiago Vescovi with 15, Ziegler with 13 off the bench and Josiah-Jordan James with 12.
Arkansas finished the regular season with a 13-5 conference record.
MORE: 7 men's basketball programs that could be the next first-time champion
Bryce Thompson's 3-pointer lifts Oklahoma State over Texas Tech
In its final game of the 2021-22 season, Oklahoma State ended on a high note, upsetting No. 12 Texas Tech 52-51 in Stillwater on Bryce Thompson's game-winning 3-pointer with just under 20 seconds remaining. The Cowboys caught the Red Raiders' tenacious defense off guard with ball movement and player movement and Bryce Williams swung the ball to Thompson in the left corner.
Bryce Thompson hit the Go-Ahead 3 with 19.4 seconds left to put Oklahoma State up 52-51 over #12 Texas Tech (Video via @MrMatthewCFB) pic.twitter.com/9IU0fgaAAF— NCAA Buzzer Beaters & Game Winners (@NCAABuzzerBters) March 5, 2022
In the game in which neither side shot well — Texas Tech at 35.2 percent and Oklahoma State at 32.8 percent — the Cowboys crashed the offensive glass hard, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds, or 38 percent of their missed shots. Reserve guard Rondel Walker scored a team-high 12 points for Oklahoma State, thanks to a 3-for-6 3-point shooting performance.
In the first year of Mark Adams' tenure, Texas Tech finished the regular season with a 24-7 record (12-6 Big 12), as the Red Raiders will finish in third place in the conference, behind only No. 3 Baylor and No. 6 Kansas.
Kansas escapes OT scare with Texas to win Big 12
No. 6 Kansas secured the Big 12 regular season title in thrilling fashion with a 70-63 win over No. 21 Texas in overtime. The game almost ended in overtime on possibly the best buzzer-beater that never was, but the Jayhawks settled down in overtime to win.
This crazy Kansas buzzer-beater to end regulation was *just* late. Overtime vs Texas. 🏀 pic.twitter.com/fBMmALblbb— The Comeback (@thecomeback) March 5, 2022
The most surprising performance came from Kansas' Ochai Agbaji who went 1-11 from the field and 6-8 from the free throw line for eight points on the day. The rest of his team stepped up with three double-doubles coming David McCormack, Jalen Wilson and Christian Braun.
Kansas has been the dominant program in the Big 12 for years. In the last 26 seasons, the Jayhawks have now won 20 Big 12 regular season titles, per ESPN.
Purdue holds off Indiana in rivalry game
The first time in-state, Big Ten rivals Purdue and Indiana met this season, the final shot was a potential game-tying, step-back 3-pointer from Purdue's electric sophomore guard Jaden Ivey. It was off the mark, and Indiana upset then-No. 4 Purdue, 68-65.
On Saturday, the roles were reversed in West Lafayette, Ind., where Indiana point guard Xavier Johnson, who had a double-double with a game-high 18 points and 12 assists, took the game's final shot, a hurried, long heave of a 3-pointer as he attempted to draw a foul on Purdue's Eric Hunter Jr.
No foul was called and the shot was off the mark. Purdue won 69-67.
Four of Purdue's five starters scored in double figures, led by Hunter's 17.
The Boilermakers' win ended a two-game skid after they had lost three of their last six games, so they finished the regular season with a 25-6 record (14-6 Big Ten). If Illinois beats Iowa in its regular-season finale, Purdue will earn the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten tournament. Meanwhile, Indiana, which entered Saturday as the third team left out of the projected NCAA tournament bracket, according to Bracket Matrix, enters the Big Ten Tournament with an 18-12 record (9-11 Big Ten), having lost seven of its last nine. One can safely assume it will take multiple wins — how many remains to be seen — in the conference tournament for the Hoosiers to go dancing for the first time since 2016.