Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a full day of college basketball…….

Alabama 77, Auburn 69— No one knows who is going to win the NCAA Tournament, but right now, I’m pretty sure Alabama is the best team. They outscored Auburn 25-12 over final 9:35 of this game, improving to 12-0 in SEC games.

In the first half of this game, Auburn got most of the loose balls; they were quicker, they were playing with urgency and it looked like they would pull an upset. Didn’t happen.

My biggest red flag on Alabama is their youth; they’re #259 in experience, #283 in continuity, but they play the fastest pace in the country and they contest shots (#2 eFG% defense).

Missouri 86, Tennessee 85— I’m surprised, not shocked that Mizzou won this game, but I was totally shocked that the Tigers scored 86 points in Knoxville.

Kid on Missouri hit a 30-foot runner at the buzzer for the win; they blew a 17-point second half lead— Tennessee led by 6 with 4:32 left to play. Mizzou was 14-26 on the arc, Tennessee was 12-28. Vols outscored Missouri 25-12 on foul line.

The last eight years, Missouri was 43-99 in SEC games; this year, they’re 7-5. Dennis Gates has to be in the running for National lCoach of the Year.

Georgia 75, Kentucky 68— Kentucky is 16-9, 7-5; right now, they wouldn’t make the NCAA Tournament, but there are still three weeks left in regular season, plus the SEC tourney for them to make some noise.

Vanderbilt 88, Florida 80— Underdogs were 5-2 SU in SEC Saturday; Gators were upset after this game, when they shot 2-20 on the arc, 14-23 on foul line. Florida has now lost four of its last five games, is 13-12 overall, 6-6 in SEC.

Virginia 69, Duke 62 OT— if you took Duke +6 in this game, skip to the next conference.

Duke big man Filipowski played 30:00, didn’t score a point. Duke led by 5 with 9:01 left; ref called a foul at the buzzer with the score tied that would’ve given Duke two free throws, but after they reviewed the play, they said no foul, and they played overtime.

Virginia was 3-12 on the foul line in regulation; they start four seniors. Duke had 22 turnovers, Virginia 9. Cavaliers have won nine of their last ten games.

Duke is 17-8, 8-6, starting four freshmen with a first-year coach.

Wake Forest 71, Georgia Tech 70— Huge sigh of relief from Winston-Salem; Bracketology has Deacons in the “next 4 out” category. A loss to Georgia Tech would’ve been a dagger. Tech led this game by 5 with 2:07 left; it was a narrow escape for Wake Forest. 

— Big Sky
Portland State 88, Northern Arizona 87— Check out SportsCenter for the highlight; Portland State threw a 90-foot baseball pass (lefty) to a guy who caught the ball falling backwards, maybe 10-12 from the hoop. As he fell down, he just threw the ball up towards the hoop, and the damn thing went in at the buzzer, giving the Vikings a very unlikely win.

Portland State led by 13 with 9:36 left, blew the lead; they swept Northern Arizona this year, with both wins by a point.

— Big X
Oklahoma State 64, Iowa State 56— Cowboys have won seven of last eight games; they’ve got the #5 eFG% defense in country and are making their case to be in the Field of 68. Iowa State has lost six of its last nine games, after a 13-2 start.

Texas Tech 71, Kansas State 63— Tech is 3-2 in its last five games, after an 0-8 skid; they’re the best 13-12 team in the country. After a blistering start, K-State has lost four of its last six games and is in a 3-way tie for 4th in the Big X.

I’m going to have a hard time evaluating K-State for the NCAA’s; Nevada is the only top 100 team they played out of conference, and they beat the Wolf Pack in overtime. Wildcats are #326 in country in bench minutes; are they getting tired?

— Big East
Creighton 56, UConn 53— Bluejays basically used 7 guys in a slow-paced (60 possessions) game; an 8th guy played only 4:00. Creighton doesn’t foul much; their opponents score only 12% of their points on foul line, 2nd-fewest in country. Bluejays have won eight games in a row; they’re 11-2 in last 13, after a 6-6 start.

— Conference USA
Florida Atlantic 90, Louisiana Tech 85 OT— Owls blew a 15-point lead with 8:58 left; they’re 24-2, 14-1 in conference. Bracketology has them as a 9-seed, which means they can probably afford one more loss, before they’ll be sweating on Selection Sunday.

FAU is #13 in country in bench minutes, so playing in conference tournament should be good for them. Winning the conference tournament would obviously eliminate a lot of stress.

— Ivy League
Brown 80, Cornell 66— This win puts Bears in the top 4, which would qualify them for the Ivy League tournament, but they have four games left, three of which are against the other three teams in the top four. 

Yale and Princeton are tied for first place, at 7-3, with Penn/Brown at 6-4, Cornell/Dartmouth at 5-5.

— Mountain West
San Jose State 69, Utah State 64— Tim Miles is your Mountain West Coach of the Year; San Jose is 15-10, 6-6 in conference, which doesn’t sound like much, but consider this:

San Jose State has finished over .500 once in this century (17-16 in 2011) and they were 5-11 in conference games that year, Since 1997, the Spartans are 93-355 in conference games.

93 wins. 355 losses. This year they’re 6-6; they just signed 6’8 F Diogo Seixas from Portugal, who scored 18.5 ppg, shooting 44% on the arc, while grabbing 6.5 rebounds per game at the 2022 FIBA U18 European Championship.

Things are looking up for San Jose State.

— Pac-12
Stanford 88, Arizona 79— Cardinal made 10-18 on arc, scored 1.31 points/possession and pulled a big upset. Arizona was 14-35 on the arc, 14-26 inside the arc; they only played seven guys.

Oregon State 61, USC 58— Bad loss for the Trojans, who got swept in Oregon and are headed towards the bubble. Trojans are shooting 29.2% on the arc in Pac-12 games; no bueno.

— Sun Belt
Troy 80, Louisiana 65— Ragin’ Cajuns got outscored 50-30 in second half; loss gives Southern Miss a 2-game lead atop the Sun Belt standings.

Southern Miss is 12-2 in Sun Belt; the last three years, they were 10-43 in conference games. Jay Ladner is your Sun Belt Coach of the Year.

New Mexico State suspended its basketball program and put the coaching staff on paid administrative leave; they cancelled Saturday’s game with Cal Baptist.

The school’s chancellor pulled the plug on this season, after receiving reports of alleged hazing incidents within the team. This follows a deadly November shooting involving forward Mike Peake.

New Mexico State has been in eight of the last ten NCAA Tournaments, under three different head coaches. This year’s coach in his first year; sounds like he may not get a second year. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.