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

Saturday was a great day of college basketball; we’re five weeks from Selection Sunday. The next six weeks should be a lot of fun, and then I’m going to Las Vegas 🙂

Our daily update on college basketball referee John Higgins:
January 24— Penn State @ Rutgers
January 25— Utah State @ San Diego State— Long plane ride for a back/back
January 26— Utah @ Oregon State
January 28— California @ Stanford
January 29— Michigan State @ Purdue— Day game after long plane ride.
January 30— Baylor @ Texas
January 31— Kansas State @ Kansas
February 1— Northern Iowa @ Drake- A double overtime game!!! Eight games in nine nights, and a double overtime game on the 9th night.
February 2— Wisconsin @ Ohio State— Ohio State coach Holtmann was ejected with 0:27 left in first half, after a charging call. Buckeyes have lost eight of their last nine games; tensions are running high.

February 4— Oklahoma @ West Virginia— Mountaineers won by 32, so stress-free game for the officials. 10 games in 12 nights adds up to a lot of $$$. He’s worked 65 games since November 7, which is 65 games in 91 days. Not bad for a 54-year old guy.

— Saint Mary’s 78, Gonzaga 70 OT— Gaels are 21-4, 10-0 in WCC; their freshman G Aidan Mahaney is really good. He was 1-10 in first half of this game, but 7-9 in the second half- he wound up with 18 points.

— Pepperdine 94, Portland 93, 2OT— Waves get off the schneid in their 11th WCC game; their last win was December 23rd. Portland loses despite making 31-40 free throws.

Saint Mary’s has a 2-game lead in the WCC; they’re also improving their seeding for the NCAA’s. Gaels visit Spokane February 25, just before the conference tournament.

Big 14
— Indiana 79, Purdue 74— Hoosiers led 50-35 at halftime, handing rival Purdue their second loss this season. Zach Edey had 35 points, 18 rebounds for the Boilermakers, but the rest of the Purdue squad shot only 36.8%.

Purdue has a 2-game lead over Rutgers; there are four teams tied for third place at 7-5.

— Duke 63, North Carolina 57— Tar Heels didn’t score in last 3:58 of this game; they were 2-3 on the foul line, Duke was 11-15. Hubert Davis seemed annoyed by the officiating at halftime; I’m guessing he wasn’t any happier after the game.

8 of the 10 starters in this game played 34+ minutes. Dereck Lively only scored 4 points for Duke, but he blocked 8 shots, pulled down 14 rebounds and was a force in the paint.

— Virginia Tech 74, Virginia 68— Hokies never trailed; they’ve won three of four games since an 0-7 skid. Loss ends a 7-game win streak for Virginia.

Clemson-Virginia-Pitt are all tied for first place in the loss column; North Carolina is 15-8, 7-5, with only two top 50 wins. They’re 4-6 in games decided by 7 or less points.

Big X
— Iowa State 68, Kansas 53— Cyclones were +10 in turnovers; they led 33-21 at halftime. Kansas has lost four of its last six games, dropping last three Big X road tilts. Jayhawks are shooting 47.8% inside the arc in conference games, 2nd-worst mark in the league.

— Texas 69, Kansas State 66— K-State led by 14 late in first half, but was outscored 44-30 in second half by a Texas squad that won seven of its last nine games. Longhorns’ two leading scorers in this game had 14 points each; neither one of them started.

Texas leads Iowa State by a game; four other teams are tied for third at 6-4. Oklahoma is 2-8 and in 9th place; they beat Alabama 93-69. Big X is the best league in the country.

Big East
— UConn 68, Georgetown 62— Hoyas lost 32 of their last 33 conference games, but they’re still trying. Georgetown beat the spread in their last six games.

— Creighton 66, Villanova 61— Creighton is in Nebraska; Villanova is in Philadelphia; they’re in the same league, despite being 1,212 miles apart. Why???

Creighton has won six games in a row and nine of last 11; they were only 6-5 in pre-conference games.

Marquette/Xavier are tied for first, a game ahead of Creighton/Providence.

— Tennessee 46, Auburn 43— James Naismith must’ve been turning over in his grave watching this game; teams combined to make 5-48 on the arc. Auburn led 10-2 4:19 into the game, then scored nine points the rest of the first half.

— Kentucky 72, Florida 67— Wildcats have won six of seven games; three weeks ago, there were geniuses whining about Calipari’s coaching. Now? Not so much.

Alabama has a 2-game lead over Tennessee/Texas A&M; Bracketology has six SEC teams in the Field of 68, leaving Texas A&M/Florida out— Kentucky/Arkansas are bubble teams. 

Ohio Valley
— SIU-Edwardsville 84, Little Rock 81— Kid on Edwardsville sunk a 50-footer at the buzzer for the walk-off win; Cougars never trailed, but blew a 15-point lead- they made 10-21 on the arc. Little Rock made 13-25 on the arc in a losing cause.

Earlier this week, Little Rock lost 99-98 to SE Missouri State; their last eight losses were all by 7 or less points.

Morehead State leads the OVC by a game over SE Missouri State; this conference is entertaining, if nothing else.

Big West
Long Beach State 93, Cal-Irvine 88, OT— Long Beach has won six games in a row, with five of the wins by 5 or less points, two of them in overtime. They were 29-37 on foul line in this game; they have two big guys who are both pretty good. 

Irvine led this game 53-40 with 14:42 left; they get into too many late shot clock possessions, then wind up taking bad shots. 

Northridge 72, Santa Barbara 67— Rough night for the teams on top of the Big West; Gauchos were a 13.5-point road favorite- they led 57-49 with 9:53 left. UCSB starts four seniors; they’re not supposed to lose games like this. 

UCSB leads Irvine by a game; four other teams are two games behind. Big West conference tournament is going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Sun Belt
Louisiana 77, Marshall 67— Ragin’ Cajuns never trailed, out-rebounded Marshall 47-25; Jordan Brown scored 26 points with 20 rebounds for Louisiana, which is tied for first place in Sun Belt with Southern Miss.

Oregon 75, Arizona State 70— Ducks were 18-26 on foul line, ASU 8-10; Oregon trailed 30-27 at halftime, then scored 48 points in second half. ASU coach Hurley got another technical foul; he is a jerk with the officials. Pretty sure it is the 4th game in a row when I’ve watched Arizona State where Hurley got at least one technical.

USC 80, Washington 74— Ten years ago, Andy Enfield took #15-seed Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16; before that, no one had ever heard of Florida Gulf Coast. He parlayed that success into the USC and this is his 10th year with the Trojans.

After going 5-31 in conference play his first two seasons, USC is 88-54 in Pac-12 games; Enfield is a really good coach.

UCLA leads Arizona/USC by a game in loss column; Bracketology has only those three teams in the Field of 68, with fading Arizona State a bubble team.

How to build a roster:
Kansas State is 18-5 this season, 6-4 in the tough Big X; the last three years, Wildcats were 34-58, 15-41 in Big X games. They changed coaches last spring. The coach did some recruiting. 

#1 Markquis Nowell, 5-8 senior— Played three years at Little Rock; this is his second year at Kansas State. He’s taken 10+ foul shots in five games this year

#11 Keyontae Johnson, 6-6 senior— Played three years at Florida, then had acute myocarditis  and stopped playing. He’s scored in double figures every game this season. 

#35 Nae’Qwan Tomlin, 6-10 junior— Played two years at Chipola College, another year at Monroe Community College. At Chipola, he played for former Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall.

#13 Desi Sills 6-2 senior— Played three years at Arkansas, another year at Arkansas State; he is 24 years old. In this day and age, having more mature players helps.

#5 Cam Carter, 6-3 sophomore— Played at Mississippi State last year.

So the five guys who are getting the most playing time for one of the biggest surprises in the country? None of them started their career at Kansas State. Jerome Tang has done a great job bringing these players together and having them compete, but with the transfer portal being what it is, that’s the college coach’s job these days. 

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.