Winners and losers of college basketball: Kentucky, Wisconsin looking up while Kansas, Michigan fall


The schedule of school parties on Saturdays is the busiest of the season. Given the volume (150 games in total across the country), it is not surprising that the day provides us with a steady diet of disorders that threaten an impending reorganization at the top of the polls on Monday.

The hustle and bustle began on Saturday with a stunner in Wisconsin as the Badgers ousted second ranked Michigan 64-54 to throw a key in the Big Ten race tightening. It continued when West Virginia, who had not won since December 30, lived up to the occasion to produce an equally amazing result, knocking down the No. 7 Kansas 65-64.

Elsewhere, No. 17 NC State kept its start up and down in the ACC game with a rebound victory over Notre Dame, the No. 13 North Carolina improved to 4-1 in the ACC with a victory over Miami, and No. 3 Tennessee survived a scare – and the 30-point heat test of John Petty – to maintain its perfect record in the SEC.

Let's review the day with some of the biggest winners and losers of a wild Saturday.

Winner: Duke

Duke had a week enough. He lost to Syracuse in OT on Monday, lost point guard Tre Jones indefinitely with a shoulder injury, and lost momentum from his nine-game winning streak that broke in the process, all in the run-up to Saturday's showdown. against No. 4. Virginia.

And the Blue Devils responded as they would expect a team of their kind to do: with a 72-70 victory over the Cavaliers. It is the first loss of the season for Virginia, falling to 16-1 in the season and 4-1 in the ACC.

Winning over Virginia is impressive from any angle you examine it, but for Duke to do it without Jones, his best perimeter defense says a lot about how much talent the team has. Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett combined to get 57 points and 14 rebounds, the only Duke players, to reach double figures, and increased a level they were not five days ago. This was the best team in college basketball flexing their muscles and proving that it is real.

Winner: Wisconsin

There is no more ideal way to break a two-game losing streak, as Wisconsin did on Saturday, than to break the longest winning streak in college basketball. That's what the Badgers did Saturday at home when they overthrew the Wolverines 64-54 decisively.

After a slip of two games and four losses in five games entering the game against the Wolverines, this victory could put Wisconsin back on a collision course to a place in the NCAA tournament. If you do, you can tilt your hat to the great older man Ethan Happ, who was offensively with a Michigan defense that qualified within the top five on the day. Happ had 26 points, 10 rebounds, seven badists and two steals.

Loser: Miami

The stations can light a penny. A near loss instead of a victory makes a big difference on paper. And we're seeing how big things can be small for Miami, which fell to 9-8 in total and 1-4 in the ACC game on Saturday in an 85-76 loss to North Carolina.

The Hurricanes' first three losses of the season were two, three and four points, respectively, and things have not improved much after their 5-0 start collapsed to 5-4. They only won once in 2019, at home against Wake Forest, and now they have lost four of their last five.

And things do not seem to be easier.

Miami travels to Syracuse on Thursday, faces Florida State three days later and then hosts Virginia Tech and Virginia that same week. It is possible, maybe even probable, we are in the middle of seeing how the season of Hurricanes dissipates right in front of our eyes.

Winner: Idle Maryland

The hierarchical order in the Big Ten may need a re-evaluation after the Saturday developments. Maryland, which did not even play on Saturday, seems to be among the biggest winners in the league.

The Terps won 75-61 on the road over the state of Ohio on Friday night, and were able to enjoy it on Saturday, as Wisconsin's victory put them in a real heat for second place in the league. Makes the game Michigan State vs. Maryland on Monday, which already had tons of intrigue, is even more attractive. A victory of the Spartans places them in the place of the Catholic bird to win the league, but a Maryland victory would officially mark the moment we took this team seriously as a contender.

Loser: Indiana

Consecutive road losses were expected in Michigan and Maryland. A non-competitive loss three days after Nebraska at home was a surprise. But the evils of Indiana were quickly to who as! Saturday after not only falling to the Purdue Boilermakers, but also being beaten 70-55. Indiana is not going anywhere fast. The only victory in 2019 that he has on his resume is close to Illinois, a team that heads to the basement of the Big Ten this season.

Winner: Tennessee

Alabama really looked like it was about to do the thing! After dragging 44-32 in half, the Tide returned all the way back, and even led in the final minutes, before falling victim to the relentless Volunteers. John Petty was fabulous, since he scored 30 points, 20 of which came in the second half, but players who did not call themselves John Petty shot only 14 of 41 from the floor and 4 of 16 from 3. Donta Hall was Excellent in general, too, ending with 16 points. The triumph-turned-return-win triumph gives Tennessee a 12-game winning streak that goes back to November 28, the longest in the program's history since 1977.

Loser: Gravity

What goes up, you have to go down, they said.

They lied!

The only real loser here are the spectators, who were robbed of Ian Eagle shouting: "OH, IT'S A WEDDING!" a basic element of Eagle's repertoire when a ball is wedged between the edge and the board.

Winner: Kentucky

In a tough road environment against a talented Auburn team, with a player like Bryce Brown going absolutely out, Kentucky survived an 82-80 thriller to improve to 14-3 on the season and 4-1 on the road. game of the SEC. The Wildcats still have ways to reach both ends of the court, but this could be a turning point with the young stars of the United Kingdom, Ashton Hagans, Keldon Johnson, who are really leaders in defense and offense, respectively.

Loser: Auburn

Auburn has had a good season. Not great, just good. And that is, in large part, a testament to how he has fared in his greatest games.

With the 82-80 loss to Kentucky on Saturday, the Tigers are 0-4 against their toughest opponents and are preparing a strange resume in the NCAA Tournament that leaves one in search of more. More victories against quality opponents. More victories against the enemies of Quad 1. More information to prove that deserves a low seed of single digits in March. So far, they have taken advantage of their biggest opportunities.

Winner: West Virginia

As for the surprises, we're not likely to find this weekend that exceeds what West Virginia did to Kansas on Saturday.

The Mountaineers entered the game with zero wins the conference. Zero! And yet, with the balance in the final stretch to score the last seven points, including the winner of the game, they defeated the best team in the league 65-64. Let the moonlight flow!

Loser: Texas Tech

Kansas losing to West Virginia inexplicably paved the way for Texas Tech to extend its lead over the Big 12. The Red Raiders did not obey. Instead, they suffered the worst loss of the season, a 73-62 loss at Baylor. It's Texas Tech's second consecutive loss, falling to 15-3 after a 15-1 start.

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