— Kentucky 66, Tennessee 54— Wildcats are 8-3 in their last 11 games; they swept Tennessee this year, look like they’ll be going to the NCAA’s. Kentucky led 39-19 at halftime; Vols are 2-4 in their last six games, after an 18-3 start.
When you see the brackets in three weeks and start filling them out, think about this: in his long and successful career, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes is 25-26 in NCAA Tournament games. His team was favored in 18 of the 26 games they lost. His teams are 19-31-1 ATS in tournament games; they’re 9-16 SU in tournament games decided by 6 or fewer points.
— Kansas 87, Baylor 71— Baylor led by 17 at one point; they led 45-32 at halftime. Kansas outscored them 55-26 in the second half.
— Kansas State 61, Iowa State 55— Cyclones led 31-23 at halftime, were outscored 38-24 in the second half.
— TCU 100, Oklahoma 75— TCU star Miles returned, scored 15 points; Horned Frogs shot 74% inside the arc. That is how a fragile a lot of teams are; TCU went 1-4 in the games Miles missed, but they looked great here, with him back in lineup.
With two weeks left in regular season, Kansas/Texas are tied for first place, with a Baylor a game behind them in third place.
— Miami 96, Wake Forest 87— Miami has won five games in row; they’re 22-5, 13-4 in ACC, but somehow, when the selection committee unveiled its top 16 teams on the Bracket Preview Show, they left Miami out. There is no freakin’ way there are 16 teams better than the Hurricanes.
— Louisville 83, Clemson 73— This is a horrific, hideous loss for the Tigers, just the kind of thing bubble teams need to avoid. Bracketology has Clemson as the last team in, but this loss is going to stick out like a sore thumb on Selection Sunday.
— Cal-Riverside 74, UCSB 61— Riverside sweeps the Gauchos for the first time; they’re 18-10, 11-5 in Big West play, their best-ever season as a Division I team.
— Cal-Irvine 78, Cal-Davis 76— Santa Barbara got beat in Riverside, so the Anteaters take over first place in the Big West.
Lot of the mid-major leagues only have another week of games before their conference tournaments start. Here is a look at some of those leagues……..
— MAC— Kent State/Toledo are tied for first, with Akron a game behind them and Ball State another game back.
— Ivy— Yale-Princeton-Penn are in a 3-way tie for first with two games left; more importantly, Cornell/Brown are tied for 4th place. The Ivy Tournament is a 4-team event. Both teams play Yale/Columbia to finish the regular season.
— MVC— Drake/Bradley are tied for first place, with three other teams a game behind.
— Atlantic 15— Leagues shouldn’t have more than 12 teams; these 14 or 15-team leagues are so freakin’ cumbersome. With two weeks to go in regular season, VCU leads Dayton/Saint Louis by a game each. Fordham is 21-6 and having a great season.
— Big Sky— Eastern Washington is 21-7, 15-0 in league games, with a 3-game lead, but there will be a ton of pressure on the Eagles to win the Big Sky tournament; they ain’t getting an at-large bid. EWU is 5-7 in its D-I non-league games; their best non-conference win was over #138 Cal-Davis but they do have the nation’s longest active winning streak, 17 in a row.
— University of New Mexico offers a course called “Sports English” which deals with how athletes interact with print/TV media. Wish they had courses like this when I was in college.
— A high school kid in West Virginia made 20-28 3-pointers in a recent game; he scored 64 points in his team’s easy win. Making 20-28 3-pointers in an empty gym would be impressive.
— Apparently there are only two escalators in the entire state of Wyoming, both in a shopping mall in Casper. They were actually talking about that on TV during the Wyoming-Air Force game Friday night.
— Friday was quite a day for the athletic department at Grand Canyon University; during the day, MLB Network broadcast their baseball game against Cal State-San Diego, then at 11pm, the Antelopes’ basketball game vs Abilene Christian was on ESPN2. They have a terrific student section for their home basketball games.
Former Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew coaches Grand Canyon; they’re 17-10 this season, 8-6 in a pretty good WAC.
XFL season started Saturday:
— Renegades 22, Vipers 20— Las Vegas scored a TD with 0:08 left, but the game-tying 2-point play failed, so the home crowd in Arlington went home happy.
Vipers’ QB Perez threw three TD passes, but has also threw two pick-6’s, which were the only two TD’s Arlington scored. Perez was in training camp with the Rams last summer. Renegades’ QB Drew Plitt was in camp with Cincinnati; he threw for 179 yards.
— Roughnecks 33, Guardians 12— Wade Phillips coaches Houston; I remember when his dad coached the Houston Oilers way back when. Wade’s son is the OC in Minnesota now. Is there an advantage for teams in this league who have a head coach with experience?
Brandon Silvers is Houston’s QB; he played in the AAF in 2019, the XFL in 2020. He played college ball at Troy State. Orlando used two QB’s, Paxton Lynch, who used to play for Denver Broncos, and Qjuinten Dormady, who played at Central Michigan.
— Best part of leagues like this is that they give the TV viewer better access to what goes on behind the curtain; instant replay reviews, interviews on sidelines, stuff like that. There are different rules including being able to go for 1, 2 or 3 points after a touchdown— I think that rule will one day make its way into the NFL.
By the way, Houston Roughnecks have the ugliest helmets……ever. Worse than the Browns or the Bears’ throwback helmets.