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Saturday Notes – February 18, 2017

February 19, 2017 Columns No Comments

The regular season is winding down, as a number of conferences have just one week left of games before their conference tournament begins. Saturday didn’t have a ton of surprises, but there were some big games and some key results, especially in smaller conferences whose tournaments begin sooner.

The Big South and Southern Conferences appear to be a little tighter, and set for a great finish. The Northeast Conference has all but determined their regular season champion. And the CAA goes into the last week as a two-horse race just like it has been pretty much the whole way.

With that established, here are some notes from many of the day’s games.

Kansas 67, Baylor 65: The Jayhawks just find a way, especially in Big 12 games and against the Bears, as this was their tenth straight against Baylor. Another Big 12 regular season title is in plain sight.

North Carolina 65, Virginia 41: The Cavaliers are reeling now, having lost five of seven. Their offensive shortcomings have been a big-time undoing of late.

Duke 99, Wake Forest 94: Wake gave the Blue Devils all they could handle, especially John Collins (31 points, 15 rebounds), but Duke had enough for their seventh straight win.

Louisville 94, Virginia Tech 90: This was a wild, high-scoring affair, and Donovan Mitchell had another big game as he continus to break out for the Cardinals.

Pittsburgh 80, Florida State 66: It’s a good thing for Florida State that the NCAA Tournament isn’t held on other teams’ home floors, as the Seminoles are now 2-5 in ACC road games and 3-5 overall on the road.

Notre Dame 81, NC State 72: The Fighting Irish are back on track after a bit of a mid-season slump, with V.J. Beachem scoring 27 to lead the way.

Florida 57, Mississippi State 52: It didn’t come easily, though road wins rarely do, but this puts the Gators at 12-2 in SEC play.

Kentucky 82, Georgia 77: The Bulldogs continue to be a tough-luck team, especially against the Wildcats. J.J. Frazier had 36 in the home loss.

West Virginia 83, Texas Teh 74 (2 OT): Another tough loss for the Red Raiders, who have shown potential but are just 5-9 in Big 12 play.

Villanova 92, Seton Hall 70: Tale of two seasons: the Wildcats clinch the Big East regular season title, while the Pirates continue a frustrating season.

UCLA 102, USC 70: This was never a ballgame in the second half, as UCLA once again did something they’ve done a couple of times in recent years: put up at least 100 against their cross-town rivals.

Purdue 80, Michigan State 63: Michigan State has appeared very good at times this year, but all too often, they have looked a bit ordinary, too. Purdue took care of them, not being seriously challenged in the second half.

Miami 71, Clemson 65: This is a better win for Miami than you might think at first. At this point, Clemson has probably lost too many games – a lot of them close ones – to be a serious at-large candidate for the NCAA Tournament.

Vanderbilt 71, South Carolina 62: A big second half for the host Commodores derailed the Gamecocks in this one, their third loss in four games.

Arkansas 98, Ole Miss 80: This was a good week for the Razorbacks, but they still have some work to do as far as reaching the NCAA Tournament is concerned. But this week is all they could do anything about right now, and they handled it.

Dayton 76, St. Bonaventure 72: Jaylen Adams (35 points, six assists) continues to have a stellar season for the Bonnies, but it’s not enough to take down the Flyers, who stay right with VCU at the top of the Atlantic 10.

Saint Mary’s 70, BYU 57: A solid road win for the Gaels against a BYU team that isn’t quite as good as ones of recent years, but the Marriott Center is still not the easiest place for a team to come in and win.

SMU 76, Houston 66: The Cougars have been pushed by some as a trendy at-large hopeful, but they needed this one for any real consideration beyond today. It’s conference championship or another postseason tournament for them at this point.

College of Charleston 85, Northeastern 71: The road team wins both games between these two teams, and in winning this one, College of Charleston goes to 10-4 on the road, including 7-2 in CAA play. The Cougars also stay right behind UNCW, who won at Hofstra.

Mount St. Mary’s 79, Fairleigh Dickinson 74: The Mount clinches a share of the Northeast Conference regular season championship and hosts LIU, the team chasing them, on Thursday.

Winthrop 84, Liberty 67: The host Eagles move into a second-place tie in the Big South with this win, setting the conference up for quite a finish and surely a great tournament.

UNC Greensboro 73, Furman 52: A big win for the Spartans to tighten up the Southern Conference race, and in dominating fashion on the road to boot.

Princeton 66, Brown 51: The Tigers will have a chance to clinch at least a share of the Ivy League title next weekend, which is amazing considering they lost two key forwards to season-ending injuries in December.

North Dakota 77, Weber State 68: A big win with the lead in the Big Sky on the line, as this evens the two teams up in the loss column (North Dakota has one more win).

Kennesaw State 85, North Florida 68: Al Skinner continues to do a great job rebuilding the program, as the Owls are tied for third in the Atlantic Sun and in a good position to host a first-round game in the conference tournament.

South Dakota State 97, IPFW 89: This game would have made no one’s radar save for Mike Daum scoring 51 points, the most any player has scored in a single game this season. He hit seven three-pointers and was 16-17 from the free throw line, and also grabbed 15 rebounds.

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