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Saturday Notes – February 1, 2014

February 2, 2014 Columns No Comments

The second-busiest day of college basketball this season was Saturday, with 150 games scheduled. One, Kennesaw State at East Tennessee State, was postponed. The rest were played and included a bunch of dandies, as well as some with important results. Included was the eagerly-awaited Duke-Syracuse matchup in the Carrier Dome, and let’s just say that many will be talking about that one for a while.

As if that wasn’t enough, the number one team in the country went down later in the night.

A great day like this on the hardwood begs a question: Who needs the Super Bowl when you have college basketball?

With that, some notes coming from the day’s games.

Syracuse 91, Duke 89: What more can you say? Syracuse now has the best start in school history at 21-0 in a game that lived up to its billing. One storyline that probably won’t get enough play given the result: Rasheed Sulaimon, at one point a forgotten man and buried in the Duke rotation, made two big three-pointers in the final 90 seconds to get the game into overtime.

California 60, Arizona 58: Arizona will probably fall from the top of the polls, but this loss means little in the long run, especially as it was in Berkeley. What could mean a lot is the status of Brandon Ashley, and Sean Miller said they’re worried he might have broken his foot.

Georgetown 64, Michigan State 60: Michigan State isn’t fully healthy right now, but Georgetown really needed this one given the slide they have been on of late.

Florida 69, Texas A&M 36: The surprise here is the margin, and a couple of box score numbers will leap out at you: Texas A&M shot below 26 percent from the field and Florida out-rebounded them 57-27.

Texas 81, Kansas 69: Texas hands the Jayhawks their first Big 12 loss and goes to 6-2 in Big 12 play. The jury was out on the Longhorns in non-conference play, but this is a team one can believe in given their performance in conference play.

Saint Joseph’s 73, UMass 68: Not only is this the second straight loss for UMass, but it puts Saint Joseph’s ahead of the Minutemen in the Atlantic 10 at 5-2. Phil Martelli’s team is quietly 15-6 overall with lower expectations coming into the season than a year ago.

Baylor 76, Oklahoma State 70: Baylor really needed this one, and in the process they drop the Cowboys to 4-4 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma State didn’t show up at the defensive end in this one.

Ohio State 59, Wisconsin 58: The real shocker in this isn’t that Wisconsin has lost three straight at home. It’s that both of these teams are 4-5 in the Big Ten. Chalk that up to the conference’s depth as much as anything else.

Kentucky 84, Missouri 79: This is the bounce-back win Kentucky needed after losing at LSU on Tuesday. The Wildcats next welcome Ole Miss for a second-place showdown on Tuesday.

Oregon 78, USC 66: Oregon badly needed to get back on track, and this helps. The Ducks have to turn this into a momentum booster, however, the next time out, because that one is at Arizona on Thursday.

Iowa 81, Illinois 74: Illinois continues to be competitive, but wins remain hard to come by as they’re 2-7 in the Big Ten after a big road win for Iowa.

SMU 87, Memphis 72: The Mustangs got a monster game from Markus Kennedy with 21 points and 15 rebounds and still haven’t lost at home all season. Both teams are 6-3 in American Athletic Conference play after this one.

VCU 81, Richmond 70: Round one of this city rivalry goes to the Rams, who have surprisingly been under the radar but are 6-1 in Atlantic 10 play. Junior guard Briante Weber broke the school’s career steals record in this one. Kendall Anthony had 31 points in the losing effort for Richmond.

Clemson 53, Florida State 49: A big second half for Clemson gives them this nice road win and keeps Florida State sliding after the 4-5 Seminoles appeared to be in a good place.

Providence 77, DePaul 72: Providence needed to bounce right back from losing at Marquette and did just that behind another day at the office for Bryce Cotton (28 points, six assists). Perhaps more importantly, they also avoid a bad loss.

Northwestern 55, Minnesota 54: Northwestern wins two in a row on the road after winning at Wisconsin earlier in the week. The Wildcats are 5-5 in the Big Ten, which puts them ahead of Ohio State and the Badgers.

West Virginia 81, Kansas State 71: The Big 12 continues to be super competitive. Both teams are 5-4 in conference play after the Mountaineers win this one in Morgantown.

Seton Hall 68, Xavier 60: Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. What, no hands? Well, Seton Hall has been a tough team to figure out, and Xavier has struggled defensively of late, but this is still a surprise.

Dayton 75, George Washington 65: Dayton looked very capable of a win like this in non-conference play, but it is just their second Atlantic 10 win.

Notre Dame 76, Boston College 73: The Eagles let one get away in overtime in South Bend, and the struggle continues.

Brigham Young 84, St. Mary’s 71: BYU needed this and got 33 from Tyler Haws to lead the way. But they still need more if they are going to have a shot at an NCAA Tournament bid, although their win over Texas earlier this season is looking better all the time.

Delaware 66, UNC Wilmington 65: The Blue Hens are used to close games and found a way to win another cliff-hanger over the winless (in CAA play) Seahawks.

Southern Miss 78, Tulane 47: The Golden Eagles are tied with UTEP atop Conference USA and are a win away from 20 wins.

Ohio 95, Toledo 90: The Bobcats go to 6-2 in MAC play, but more importantly, Toledo suffers a loss that may hurt at-large chances if it comes to that later in the season. Ohio is a top 100 team, so it’s not a terrible loss, and it was in Athens.

American 63, Holy Cross 57: Holy Cross had won five in a row and had been playing about as well as anyone in the Patriot League. But right now American has emerged as the team to beat at the halfway point.

Lehigh 82, Boston University 80: It was only a matter of time before Lehigh started to get some wins, as they have too much talent, albeit young talent. This was a big one on the road, and it was senior Mackey McKnight who came up big in overtime.

Dartmouth 78, Princeton 69: The first Ivy League weekend is officially a disaster for Princeton despite 28 points from Will Barrett. They got swept on the road and fall to 0-3, while Dartmouth evens their league record and continues to grow.

Canisius 84, Fairfield 58: The Golden Griffins had a big road trip to Connecticut, winning both to go to 10-2 in MAAC play.

Quinnipiac 103, Siena 95: It’s safe to describe this overtime win as the Bobcats outlasting Siena as a half dozen Saints fouled out. With this, they try to keep pace with Canisius in the MAAC.

Tennessee Tech 81, Belmont 76: Belmont had been on a roll with five straight wins. This can make it a little more interesting in the OVC East. Tennessee Tech did it defensively, as this was just the third time all season Belmont has shot below 40 percent from the field to go with giving the ball away 19 times.

Central Connecticut State 74, Robert Morris 73: It’s not shocking that Robert Morris won’t run through the Northeast Conference undefeated. But who would have figured that the Blue Devils, who are now 2-6, would be the ones to knock them off?

Sacramento State 78, Weber State 75: The most dramatic ending of the day had to be this one, as Dylan Garrity hit a buzzer-beater from well behind mid-court to win it. It came right after a game-tying three-pointer with less than a second to go.

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