Dec 29, 2013, 1:30 AM EDT
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 18 Kentucky 73, No. 6 Louisville 66
The home team won both of Saturday’s games matching ranked teams, with the young Wildcats beating their in-state rival despite not having Julius Randle for much of the second half. The Harrison twins and James Young grew up in the second half, and that certainly bodes well for the Wildcats down the line. As for Louisville, they need to get more from guys other than Chris Jones and Russ Smith.
1) No. 2 Syracuse 78, No. 8 Villanova 62
After a hot start by the visiting Wildcats the Orange found their groove, winning the matchup of former Big East rivals behind the point guard play of Tyler Ennis. Villanova attempted 31 three-pointers, allowing themselves to be seduced into taking those shots by the Syracuse zone. And while those shots fell early, they didn’t fall with the same regularity as the game progressed.
2) No. 25 Missouri 68, N.C. State 64
Jordan Clarkson scored 21 points and Jabari Brown added 17 as the Tigers beat the Wolfpack in their first true road game of the season. Another important development for the Tigers moving forward was the play of freshman Johnathan Williams III, who accounted for ten points and seven rebounds. T.J. Warren led N.C. State with 24 points and 13 rebounds, but he didn’t score in the game’s final 11 minutes.
3) No. 23 UMass 69, Providence 67
A Derrick Gordon putback with just over a second remaining proved to be the difference as the Minutemen beat the Friars by two points for the second consecutive season. UMass was able to win despite the fact that starting point guard Chaz Williams fouled out late in regulation.
1) J.J. Avila (Colorado State)
33 points (14-for-17 FG), eight rebounds and four assists in the Rams’ 86-71 win over Lamar.
2) Rayvonte Rice (Illinois)
28 points (10-for-16 FG), seven rebounds and three assists in the Fighting Illini’s 74-60 win over UIC.
3) Trevor Releford (Alabama)
34 points (11-for-15 FG) and five steals in the Crimson Tide’s 75-67 loss at UCLA.
The Zips’ road trip came to an end at South Carolina and it’s a good thing it did, as they shot 32.5% and committed 21 turnovers in a 78-45 loss to the Gamecocks.
The Green Wave scored ten points in the first half and shot 28.6% from the field in a 72-41 loss to Kansas State.
3) Boston College
The Eagles shot 3-for-18 from beyond the arc and committed 23 turnovers in their 69-50 loss to VCU.
- BYU is in trouble when it comes to the NCAA tournament. The Cougars lost their WCC opener 87-76 at Loyola Marymount, with Evan Payne leading the victors with 27 points.
- In its first game without Mitch McGary, Michigan beat Holy Cross 88-66. Glenn Robinson III led the way offensively with 23 points.
- No. 24 Gonzaga was also without a starting big man, as Sam Dower missed the Bulldogs’ 74-60 win over Santa Clara. David Stockton accounted for 21 points and four steals.
- Chris Perry (18 points) led USF to a 61-57 win at Bradley, with the game being the eighth straight contest decided by five points or less for the Bulls (h/t Ray Curren).
- Justin Jackson tallied 15 points, ten rebounds and four blocks in Cincinnati’s 74-59 win over Nebraska.
- Kyle Cain scored 18 points and grabbed ten rebounds to help lead UNCG to a 55-52 win at Virginia Tech.
- Jake Odum finished with 25 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals to lead Indiana State to an 86-73 win over Belmont. The Bruins won the first meeting of the season between the two teams last month in Nashville.
- Jabari Parker tallied 23 points and eight rebounds and Andre Dawkins hit six three-pointers in No. 9 Duke’s 82-59 win over Eastern Michigan. Also of note: Amir Jefferson grabbing 14 rebounds in the win.
- Kareem Jamar (26 points, eight rebounds) hit four free throws in the final 13 seconds to give Montana a 72-71 win at Idaho.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 4 Wisconsin 80, Prairie View A&M 43
- No. 5 Michigan State 101, New Orleans 48
- No. 15 UConn 82, Eastern Washington 65
- No. 17 Memphis 75, Jackson State 61
- No. 21 Colorado 84, Georgia 70
- 2014 American Athletic Conference Tournament Preview: Louisville looks to win its only year in the AAC 1
- NBCSports.com National Player of the Year: Doug McDermott, Creighton 2
- 2014 ACC Tournament Preview: Will a newcomer crash the party in Greensboro? 1
- NBCSports.com National Freshman of the Year: Jabari Parker, Duke 3
- Bracketology: Delaware, Manhattan, Wofford punch tickets 1
- 2014 SEC Tournament Preview: How will Kentucky, bubble teams fair? 1
- Joel Embiid out for Big 12 tournament, ‘longshot’ for NCAA tournament first weekend 1
- NBCSports.com’s 2014 College Basketball All-Americans (12)
- Wichita State will head into the NCAA tournament 34-0 as a No. 1 seed (12)
- Assigned Reading: Dean Smith’s health continues to deteriorate (6)
- No. 1 Florida’s undefeated SEC season not just a by-product of their league (6)
- South Carolina suspends Frank Martin for regular season finale at Mississippi State (5)