Tonight was an absolutely ridiculous night of college hoops. I won’t be able to recap all of the games because it is after 1 AM Pacific time and I need my beauty sleep, but here is a look at some of the more interesting contests played Wednesday…
No. 10 Clemson 74, No. 4 Duke 47-Duke looked positively scared from the opening-tip Wednesday night in South Carolina, as Trevor Booker and Clemson used full-court pressure to rattle the Blue Devils early and never looked back. Booker scored a loud 21 points, including a ferocious dunk that we will try to post tomorrow. Duke shot 30 percent from the field, committed 16 turnovers, and got only 6 points from star forward Kyle Singler.
After watching Duke lose to a suddenly struggling Wake Forest team, I thought they needed better guard play in order to be a real threat to make noise in the NCAA tournament. Wednesday’s game showcased Duke’s lack of speed and ball-handling and raised questions about the Blue Devil’s composure. Meanwhile, Clemson looked great and played with amazing energy.
Miami 79, No. 7 Wake Forest 52-I don’t know what has gotten into Wake, but the Deacons got destroyed in Miami and looked disinterested at times. Underrated G Jack McClinton scored 32 points and the ‘Canes held Wake to 30 percent shooting, including a woeful 3-20 performance from 3-point land.
Miami has a good deal of talent and has a decent shot to make the NCAA tournament for the second straight season. Wake Forest needs to find another perimeter shooter besides Jeff Teague, because teams are really clogging the middle against the Deacons. The ‘Canes are now 15-7 overall and should finish strong.
No. 20 Syracuse 74, West Virginia 61-Eric Devendorf and Jonny Flynn led an energetic effort to propel the Orange to a nice home win. ED and Flynn scored 22 apiece and Syracuse held West Virgina to 35 percent shooting.
The Orange had lost four of five, but have enough talent to make a good run to finish the regular season. C Arinze Onuaku has a mysterious knee injury that is apparently some type of tendinitis. He has played limited minutes over the last two games and needs to get healthy.
No. 13 Michigan State 76, No. 19 Minnesota 47-MSU completely dominated Tubby’s boys, harassing the Gophers and racing to a 42-16 halftime lead. Durrell Summers scored 21 points on 8-10 shooting to lead the Spartans.
Summers has really emerged since Raymar Morgan went down with pneumonia. Michigan State is without question the best team in the Big Ten, and should have Morgan back at full strength by mid-February. Minnesota is probably a flash in the pan, but we’ll see how the Gophers finish this season.
No. 2 Oklahoma 77, Texas A&M 71-Tyler Griffin, the more-bald less-good of the Griffin brothers, made a layup with 46 seconds remaining to complete a late rally by the Sooners against the Aggies. Oklahoma led by 15 in the first half, but Josh Carter’s 15 points helped Texas A&M make a surprising comeback. Blake Griffin had 16 and 14 for Oklahoma.
The Sooners dodged a bullet Wednesday, but I believe that Oklahoma is still the best team in the country. Meanwhile, Mark Turgeon has done a good job this season and has an excellent recruiting class coming in next year. The Aggies have 17 wins but have some work to do with just a 3-5 conference record.
Missouri 69, No. 16 Texas 65-Zaire Taylor completed a 3-point play with 10 seconds remaining to give the Tigers a thrilling road win. Missouri couldn’t stop Texas C Dexter Pittman, who scored 25 points and helped the Longhorns build a early lead. But the Tigers kept chipping away and trailed by one before Taylor’s drive.
Missouri is quietly having a great season under former UAB coach Mike Anderson. The Tigers are 19-4 overall and 6-2 in Big 12 play and should have a good run in the NCAA tournament. DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons lead the fast-paced attack that averages over 80 ppg this season.
No. 17 Villanova 94, Providence 91-Scottie Reynolds highlighted an offensive explosion with 31 points to lead the streaking Cats to a fourth straight win on the road. Villanova led by 15 in the first half, but Friar G Sharaud Curry scored 25 points to help the Friars rally late.
Both of these teams are underrated, but Nova should climb into the top-10 next week. Meanwhile, Providence is only 14-8 overall but maintains a solid 6-4 record in the Big East. First-year head coach Keno Davis led Drake into the NCAA tournament last season and could do so this season with his talented Providence squad.
No. 15 UCLA 76, USC 60-Jrue Holiday outplayed DeMar DeRozan in a matchup of allegedly terrific freshman and the Bruins rolled to a victory against the inconsistent Trojans. Josh Shipp led UCLA with 19 points.
I’m not sold on UCLA, mainly because of a relatively average front court, but Shipp and Darren Collison are really good defensively and have the Bruins in contention for another Pac-10 title. USC is one of the most underachieving teams in College Hoops this season.
Cincinnati 93, Notre Dame 83-I am officially writing off Notre Dame this season. I don’t care what the ESPN “experts” say, the Irish are done, after losing for the sixth straight time Wednesday in the ‘Nati. Deonta Vaughn erupted for 34 points to lead the Bearcats, while Dicky V’s Big East Player of the Year (as stated Monday night during the UConn-Louisville game on ESPN) Luke Harangody scored 28 points and grabbed 14 boards for the Irish.
Don’t worry Irish fans, ND signed some good recruits today that will help the Irish return to glory on the gridiron next season. Or at least beat Washington State.
Indiana 68, Iowa 60-I would bet that Tom Crean would never have imagined that his first victory in Big Ten play would not come until February. It wasn’t easy, as the Hoosiers survived an unlikely comeback by the woeful Hawkeyes to escape with a home win. JC transfer Devan Dumes poured in 27 points for Indiana on 8-9 shooting. Iowa looked horrible once again. Both of these teams have a great chance to finish last in the Big Ten.