Louisvile crushes Connecticut, bonus afternoon Saturday hoops
No. 11 Louisville 81, No. 19 UConn 48: This was the last time Louisville and Connecticut will play each other in a regular season conference game. Even given the emotion of the occasion, it's hard to explain the Huskies' poor shooting performance to start this one. UConn went just 5-of-25 from the floor in the first half, and missed all eight of its three-point attempts.
It's an overused phrase to say a team is lucky to be down only x points, but the Huskies must have had horseshoes in their pockets or something. This was their lowest scoring output in a half on the season, and to trail by just 12 seemed like a minor victory. That magic ran out in the second half as the Cards just kept adding to the lead. Russ Smith seemed content to dish it out rather than look for his own shot in this one, and he finished with 13 assists, making life easy for guys like Montrezl Harrell (20 points, 11 rebounds).
Louisville split the regular season AAC title with Cincinnati, and a coin toss at the Yum! Center after the game gave the No. 1 seed to Cincinnati.
Bill Raftery is gonna flip a coin to see who gets the top seed in the American tournament, Louisville or Cincy. Send it in Gov!!
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 8, 2014
If the basketball gods love us at all, they'll find a way to let UConn and Louisville play one more time in the conference tournament. If anything, coach Kevin Ollie and guard Shabazz Napier (2-of-13, 1-0f-10 from deep) would like one more crack at it after the paltry offensive performance on Saturday.
No. 6 Villanova 77, Georgetown 59: After Kansas dropped its game to West Virginia, Villanova's odds at landing a No. 1 seed improved slightly. A win over Georgetown still had to happen to keep pace with the other teams on the board, and the Wildcats did their job in a game that never really felt close after about midway through the first half.
The Hoyas helped their tournament cause with a 75-63 win over Creighton on Tuesday, but they still had plenty of work to do. They could have made a nice statement by toppling 'Nova on Saturday, but now they'll need to do work in the Big East tourney. Darrun Hilliard II led the way for Villanova with 19 points and five assists, and the Wildcats did work from beyond the arc, hitting seven of their 15 attempts.
Let's check in on Georgetown fans:
I was bruised and battered, I couldn't tell what I felt. I was unrecognizable to myself. On the Streets of Philadelphia.
— Casual Hoya (@CasualHoya) March 8, 2014
No. 16 Iowa State 85, Oklahoma State 81: Naz Long's three-pointer at the end of regulation sent the game to overtime after Oklahoma State was unable to shut the door on the Cyclones, and Iowa State won it in bonus ball thanks to a bunch of clutch free throws from DeAndre Kane (26 points, seven assists, eight rebounds). The two teams went to three overtimes in their Feb. 3 meeting this year, with Iowa State taking the game 98-97.
Since returning from his three-game suspension, Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State had gotten back to the type of play that had the Cowboys at 16-3 to start the season. The team's seven-game losing streak threatened to derail their NCAA Tournament chances, but it seemed to rally at just the right time.
Smart fouled out late in the game with the Cowboys trying to protect their lead, and he was missed in those critical overtime possessions. The Oklahoma State sophomore (27 points, five assists, four steals) has been a conversation starter to say the least this year, and he's caught his share of grief from opposing fanbases, including this creative display from the Iowa State crowd during player introductions:
(via Pokes Portal) The win snapped a two-game mini slide for the Cyclones and dropped the Cowboys to 8-10 in Big 12 play. Fred Hoiberg's team boasts one of the most impressive three-man combos in college basketball, and will be a tough out for whomever draws them in the NCAA Tournament.