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Saturday Notes – February 15, 2014

February 16, 2014 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments
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In recent days, the winter weather has been in the news a lot, and that includes the context of college basketball as a number of games have been postponed due to the weather. Two more Atlantic Sun games fell victim to the weather on Saturday, as Lipscomb at Kennesaw State and Northern Kentucky at Mercer were both postponed.

Saturday started out with a few dandies, including an AAC and an ACC battle that each came down to the wire. An Atlantic 10 showdown was also on the slate, and late in the day a big SEC showdown was on tap. We also saw what is almost certainly the last in what’s become a great rivalry, and the Patriot League race got a little more interesting.

With that, we have notes from some of the day’s games.

Syracuse 56, NC State 55: The Orange somehow, some way win again at the end to stay undefeated. That’s about all there is to it, although it is noteworthy that Tyler Ennis actually looked human in the final minutes of this one.

Florida 69, Kentucky 59: A very impressive road win for Florida puts them in full control of the SEC. It’s their 17th straight win and is also further evidence that they are a national title contender.

Virginia 63, Clemson 58: The Cavaliers continue to fly under the radar, but they also continue to win and this was more impressive than many realize. Littlejohn Coliseum is always a tough place to win, and Clemson is better this season. It’s all setting up for a big showdown against Syracuse at John Paul Jones Arena in less than two weeks.

Duke 69, Maryland 67: It’s only fitting that what is almost certainly the last meeting between these two for a long time came right down to the final seconds, with a teaser rolling out that would have put Maryland up by one in the final seconds. This became a great rivalry in the last decade or so, but we’re losing it with Maryland’s mind-boggling departure for the Big Ten.

Connecticut 86, Memphis 81: Shabazz Napier comes up big again, scoring 34 as the Huskies sweep Memphis and even up with the Tigers at 8-4 in American Athletic Conference play.

Ohio State 48, Illinois 39: What jumps out at you in this is the low score. Illinois continues to struggle to break through to get wins, but on Saturday can’t break 40 points at home.

North Carolina 75, Pittsburgh 71: A good win for North Carolina and another missed opportunity for Pittsburgh as they fall to 8-5 in the ACC.

Iowa State 70, Texas Tech 64: Texas Tech couldn’t stay on a roll despite a fine double-double by Jaye Crockett (23 points, 11 rebounds).

Oklahoma 77, Oklahoma State 74: The Cowboys’ free-fall continues against their arch-rivals. Give Oklahoma credit as well, though, for bouncing back after losing to Texas Tech earlier in the week.

Baylor 87, Kansas State 73: The Bears still have some life left after this double overtime win over the Wildcats. Still, they’re not getting to the NCAA Tournament without an automatic bid.

Saint Louis 64, VCU 62: Quietly, the Billikens have won 17 in a row and are 10-0 in Atlantic 10 play. With this win, they are three games up on everyone else in the standings.

UMass 67, George Washington 61: The Minutemen haven’t been playing well of late, but this win in the nation’s capital helps stop the bleeding.

Marquette 81, Xavier 72: Don’t bury the Golden Eagles yet. They are 7-5 in the Big East and are on a roll with four wins in their last five.

Indiana State 60, Southern Illinois 57: The Sycamores are trying to keep pace with Wichita State and are quietly having a solid season of their own. This is their 20th win, and it comes at the earliest point in the season since the magical 1978-79 season.

Middle Tennessee 81, Southern Miss 64: The Blue Raiders have flown very much under the radar in their first season in Conference USA, but are now tied with UTEP and Louisiana Tech on top after winning this battle of 8-2 teams entering the day.

Troy 85, Georgia State 81: The Trojans hand R.J. Hunter and the Panthers their first Sun Belt loss.

Yale 66, Princeton 65: The Bulldogs stay right with Harvard by pulling out a thriller in overtime. Princeton, meanwhile, falls to 2-5.

Harvard 67, Cornell 44: The Crimson had a little easier time in this one after needing overtime the night before. They stay right with Yale atop the Ivy League at 7-1.

Lafayette 74, American 62: All of a sudden, American has lost three of four and is now in second place in the Patriot League. In addition, they’re only a game up in second, and that can evaporate on Wednesday when they visit Boston University. Lafayette has managed to win four of five after an 11-game losing streak.

Boston University 88, Loyola (Md.) 72: The Terriers are back on top of the Patriot League with this win and American’s loss.

Holy Cross 72, Lehigh 67: Lehigh had been hot, but Holy Cross has been hotter as the Crusaders have won four in a row and nine of ten to move just a game back of American for second place in the Patriot League.

Eastern Michigan 65, Toledo 44: Who saw this one coming? Granted, the game was in Ypsilanti, but the Rockets have had a nice season that certainly isn’t worthy of at-large discussion anymore. They have to win the MAC Tournament.

Stephen F. Austin 67, Sam Houston 60: A big showdown in the Southland goes to the Lumberjacks, who are now 13-0 in conference play.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff 64, Southern 58: A nice win for the Golden Lions on the road to knock the first-place Jaguars back to 10-2 in SWAC play.

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