Terps get much-needed lift with Duke upset; more hoops
One sizable upset and a number of other meaningful results. This Saturday wasn't the same kind of crazy we've seen in past weeks, but there were still a lot of talking points. Here's the best of what happened after dinnertime. If you missed the afternoon action,
The Terrapins claimed a potentially season-saving win thanks to two free throws by freshman Seth Allen in the final seconds. Maryland wasted a late 10-point lead, but won despite committing 26 turnovers. Shooting 60 percent from the field was a nice offset. Alex Len outplayed Mason Plumlee, finishing with 19 points (on 6-for-8 shooting), nine rebounds and three blocks. Seth Curry had a game-high 25 for Duke.
As for Duke, @JohnGasaway posed an interesting thought on Twitter. Paraphrasing, "If you can beat No. 1 while turning the ball over on 33 percent of your possessions, are you really No. 1?" It's a cutesy question in this season without a true "No. 1 team", but it also starts to dig at the relative weakness Duke has shown since losing Ryan Kelly to injury. The Blue Devils had won six in a row before Saturday after losing two of their first three post-injury, but the last three games (including this loss) have not been particularly impressive. If Kelly doesn't come back and/or if Duke's not any better than this when he does return, the committee will have an interesting quandary on its hands. Is *this* version of Duke worthy of a No. 1 seed? They have three more solid ACC tests -- at Virginia, home vs. Miami and at UNC.
The Zags finally get out of their personal house of WCC road horrors with a win. Kelly Olynyk continues his push for first-team All-America honors with 26 points and nine rebounds. Elias Harris was a big secondary contributor with 17 and 13 as the Zags' frontcourt wore out yet another opponent.
Bruce Weber's guys continue to share the lead in the Big 12 after a thorough performance against the win-needy Bears. The Wildcats made 11 threes and won the turnover battle 19-6. Angel Rodriguez had a big double-double with 22 points and 10 assists.
The Lobos stay a half-game ahead of Colorado State and now everything is set for a massive showdown at Colorado State next Saturday. Cameron Bairstow continues to make the most of his move into the starting lineup, leading the Lobos with 16 points. Hugh Greenwood, one of the heroes of my Twitter feed (#HughMeBaby), fouled out in 19 minutes. I appreciate him saving his energy for when I'll see him in person next weekend at Moby Arena.
Other meaningful results:
-- UNLV edged San Diego State for a win they somewhat needed to solidify their profile. The win also hands the Aztecs a fifth league loss, meaning it's now clearly a two-horse race for the league title. UNLV, San Diego State and Air Force will be jousting for the 3-5 seeds in Vegas, presumably. Maybe Boise can still nose into that mix, too.
-- Harvard handled Princeton at home to take a one-game lead in the loss column on the Tigers. The rematch in Princeton, which likely will decide the Ivy champ and auto bid, is on March 1.
-- No. 8 Michigan State handled a road trip to Nebraska and enters its upcoming four-game gauntlet still tied for first with Indiana. Coincidentally (and awesomely for us), the two teams meet Tuesday in East Lansing.
-- Missouri wasted a late lead and lost at Arkansas in the Mike Anderson Bowl. Twitter consensus (I didn't see the game) was that the Tigers were, uhmm, inconvenienced by the refereeing late. As they continue to fade, the question is starting to become: What happens if Florida wins the auto bid? #1BidSEC??? #CouldItBe?
-- Arizona State blew a late six-point lead in regulation, but won at Colorado at the buzzer in overtime on an Evan Gordon driving layup. It's a huge win for the Sun Devils' NCAA hopes and another step backwards for the Buffaloes in their ongoing quest for consistency. This was the nightcap on my personal Saturday double-dip. It was a very poorly officiated game that Arizona State handled better than Colorado overall.
-- No. 22 Memphis took another step toward an unbeaten C-USA campaign by winning at Marshall. They should be feeling better and better about their NCAA positioning, despite a lack of really good wins.
-- Shout out to my guys down at Houston Baptist. The Huskies have won six in a row now after winning at regional nemesis Texas-Pan American.