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Saturday Notes – February 8, 2014

February 9, 2014 Columns No Comments

Saturday saw a number of good matchups among the nearly 140 Division I games. Unfortunately, it’s a day that will likely end up being remembered for a bad incident near the end of a great day of basketball. As Texas Tech finished off a big win over Oklahoma State, Cowboy guard Marcus Smart shoved a fan behind the basket after he ran back to make a play and his momentum took him into the crowd. It was a shocking thing to witness from a young man who has the reputation of being a different kid than many others.

But focusing on basketball, there weren’t many matchups with two contenders battling one another. Still, a number of games saw teams a little back from the top of their conference playing one another. The end result in many cases seems to be that the picture isn’t much clearer than it was at the beginning of the day, especially in the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12. The Big 12 also saw several of the day’s best individual efforts.

Conference tournaments are now less than a month away, and that means a lot of good basketball is still yet to come.

Here are some notes coming out of the day’s games.

Florida 78, Alabama 69: Florida wins what is basically a tune-up for two tough road games this week, as they head to Tennessee and then Lexington for a showdown at Rupp Arena a week from tonight.

SMU 76, Cincinnati 55: Not only does Cincinnati’s run in American Athletic Conference play end, but in impressive fashion by the Mustangs. SMU is now 8-3 in AAC play and could be on their way to an NCAA Tournament bid.

Virginia 64, Georgia Tech 45: A fully healthy Georgia Tech might have made this one interesting in Atlanta. Virginia rolls on as they continue to quietly trail only Syracuse in the ACC.

Iowa 85, Michigan 67: A solid win for Iowa behind Roy Devyn Marble’s 26 points, a 38-29 rebounding edge and turning the ball over just seven times while assisting on 22 of 29 baskets.

Memphis 60, Gonzaga 54: The Tigers continue to turn a corner in Josh Pastner’s tenure with this comeback win. They continue to pick up big wins, and this was impressive not only because it came against Gonzaga but also because they had to rally to pull it out.

Kansas State 74, Texas 57: The Longhorns were probably due for a dud like this, but give Kansas State credit for this, too, as they jumped on Texas early and rode Marcus Foster’s 34 points.

Oklahoma 88, Baylor 72: At this point, put Baylor in the auto-only category as far as the NCAA Tournament is concerned. The Bears are 2-8 in the Big 12.

Iowa State 84, TCU 69: The headline in this is the play of Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim, who had 48 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Cyclones. He’s always been solid but overshadowed.

Texas Tech 65, Oklahoma State 61: A big win for Texas Tech as Tubby Smith continues to try and revitalize this program. Oklahoma State’s free fall continues with this one, as they fall to 4-6 in Big 12 play.

North Carolina 73, Notre Dame 62: This win won’t impress the NCAA Tournament committee, even though it was in South Bend, but it does get the Tar Heels to 6-4 in the ACC with Duke and Pittsburgh coming to Chapel Hill this week.

Pittsburgh 62, Virginia Tech 57: The Hokies gave Pittsburgh all they can handle in two overtimes, but the Panthers prevail to go to 8-3 in the ACC with Syracuse coming up.

Maryland 83, Florida State 71: The wackiness of the middle of the ACC continues as Seth Allen’s 32 points leads the Terrapins.

UCLA 83, USC 73: UCLA takes both from the cross-town rivals this season.

Arizona State 74, Oregon 72: As Oregon’s free-fall continues, Arizona State’s case for the NCAA Tournament is getting better all the time. Jordan Bachinski led the way with a near double-double of 26 points and nine rebounds, plus a block to seal it at the end.

Xavier 59, Providence 53: Xavier snaps a three-game losing streak that seemed like it was longer with this home win.

Georgetown 71, Butler 63: Simply put, Georgetown couldn’t afford a loss here, at home and against team that came in at 2-8 in Big East play.

Saint Louis 65, La Salle 63: Saint Louis finds a way to keep winning, moving to 9-0 in the Atlantic 10 after another road win.

Saint Joseph’s 69, VCU 62: This is big on two fronts. For one, combined with Saint Louis winning earlier in the day, it gives the Billikens a two-game cushion in the Atlantic 10. But it also brings the Hawks within a game of two teams that are now tied for second.

Ole Miss 91, Missouri 88: These two teams are basically battling for the third spot in the SEC behind Florida and Kentucky, and this goes to the host Rebels.

Yale 74, Harvard 67: The Bulldogs and Crimson are all even at 5-1 in the Ivy League. They don’t meet in New Haven until March 7, the next-to-last regular season game for both teams, and it could be for all the marbles.

Utah State 76, Boise State 70: It was already hard enough to see Boise State with a shot at an NCAA at-large bid, but now that they’re 5-6 in Mountain West Conference games the Broncos can be considered auto-only if they are to make it.

George Mason 74, Duquesne 68: The Patriots finally get their first Atlantic 10 win and it comes on the road.

Boston University 88, Lafayette 54: The Terriers keep pace with American as they get set to head on the road for two straight this week. This game was complete domination from start to finish.

Colgate 63, American 60: A shocker at Bender Arena as the Eagles drop one to fall into a tie with Boston University atop the Patriot League.

New Hampshire 73, Stony Brook 69: This is the shocker of the day, as it was at Stony Brook and drops the Seawolves a game behind Vermont in the loss column.

Milwaukee 73, Green Bay 63: Just the second Horizon League loss for Green Bay knocks their lead down to a game when combined with Cleveland State’s win.

Cleveland State 72, Wright State 68: Cleveland State is trying to keep up with Green Bay in the Horizon League and does so with this win in Dayton. That completes an unusual four-game road stretch in conference play (with a non-conference game at Eastern Illinois mixed in) where they won all four of them. Now they come home for four straight, including a possible showdown against Green Bay next Saturday.

Murray State 73, Tennessee State 65: Two nights after losing a tough one in a showdown at Belmont, the Racers got all they could handle from the Tigers but pulled this one out.

Norfolk State 72, Morgan State 63: Both teams are chasing North Carolina Central in the MEAC, and Norfolk State now has a leg up with this road win.

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