Just one more week to play before college basketball moves into postseason play. Many teams around the country have finished their regular seasons and are gearing up for their conference tournaments. The NCAA Selection Committee is hard at work already trying to determine who might make the field of 68 in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Here’s a look at last week’s action.
Gonzaga Falls, Ends Home Win Streak
It was bound to happen. Third-ranked Gonzaga hosted BYU in its final regular season game of the season on Saturday. The Cougars’ Kyle Collinsworth scored 20 points to lead BYU to a 73-70 upset over the Zags ending a 41-game home winning streak. With the loss, Gonzaga dropped from No. 3 to No. 7 in the latest Associated Press rankings. The loss will most likely cost head coach Mark Few’s squad a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Arizona Moves Up With Big Win
Arizona moved up a few spots to No. 5 in the latest rankings after surviving in a thriller with No. 13 Utah. Kaleb Tarczewski scored 13 points to lead the Wildcats now 26-3 overall and clearly in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 conference race at 14-2. Head coach Sean Miller and company will finish the regular season with home games against Cal and Stanford and then enter the Pac-12 tournament as, most likely, the top seed. Arizona still has an outside shot at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Kansas State Pulls Not One, But Two Upsets
The Big 12 continues to be college basketball’s battleground as .500 Kansas State pulled off two upsets in the same week. The first was a masterful 70-63 win over No. 9 and in-state rival Kansas. Upset number two came on Saturday as Kansas State’s Wesley Iwundu got his hands on an errant pass from Iowa State’s Georges Niang and dunked the basketball to give the Wildcats a 70-69 win over the now 17th-ranked Cyclones. Kansas State is now 15-15 overall, 8-9 in the Big 12.
Maryland Cracks Top Ten
The Terrapins cracked the top ten with their fourth and fifth consecutive wins last week, the first of which was a huge win over No. 6 Wisconsin. Dez Wells scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead No. 10 Maryland to a 59-53 win over the Badgers who hadn’t lost in almost two months. Maryland, now 24-5, 12-4 in the Big Ten, finishes the regular season with Rutgers and Nebraska. Wisconsin
Kentucky Wins SEC
Top-ranked Kentucky’s final big test of the season came Saturday as the Wildcats entertained 18th-ranked Arkansas. Trey Lyles and Andrew Harrison each scored 18 points to lead Kentucky to an easy 84-67 win. The nation’s No. 1 team is now 29-0 (16-0 in the SEC) and closes the season with a game at Georgia on Tuesday and one against Florida at Rupp Arena. Head coach John Calipari’s Wildcats will likely be the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Wisconsin Clinches Share Of Big Ten Title
After the upset loss to Maryland, Wisconsin rebounded with a 68-61 victory over Michigan State. The Spartans had visions of challenging the Badgers for a Big Ten title but a loss to Minnesota along with the defeat at Wisconsin leaves coach Tom Izzo’s squad on the fringe of even an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament. Senior 7-footer Frank Kaminsky saved his best for last scoring 31 points in his final home game in Madison. After watching Kaminsky display the skills of a point guard and shoot the lights out (11-of-17 from the floor), Izzo called the Badger big man the best player in the country. Wisconsin dropped one spot in the latest rankings to No. 6.
Missouri Valley Showdown
They are two of the nation’s best teams. Wichita State and Northern Iowa met in the Missouri Valley Conference regular season finale in Wichita. Ron Baker scored 17 points to lead the Shockers to a rather easy 74-60 win over the Panthers. Both teams will surely qualify for the NCAA tournament. The Wichita State win left both teams with identical 27-3 regular season marks. The Shockers will be the top seed in the upcoming MVC tournament.
Murray State might be the best team in the country that no one has heard of. The Racers snuck into the Top 25 after finishing the regular season with 23 straight wins. The Ohio Valley Conference regular season champs dropped three straight games in Nov. and promptly reeled off 23 consecutive victories, including 16 conference wins. At 26-4 overall, the Racers have a nice resume heading into the postseason.
The Hottest Team In The Nation?
It could have been Baylor prior to Monday, but the Bears dropped a 61-59 overtime decision to an unranked Texas squad. Baylor (22-8) had won four in a row, including consecutive wins over ranked teams, prior to the loss to the Longhorns. Baylor beat No. 12 Iowa State and No. 20 West Virginia to pad their NCAA tournament resume. With the loss plus another defeat at the hands of Kansas State, Iowa State dropped to No. 17 in the latest AP poll.