No. 3 Oklahoma 87, Texas Tech 63-Blake Griffin returned to action and looked sharp, albeit against a bad Red Raider squad. Blake scored 20 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, while his balding brother Taylor added 22 and eight for the Sooners (26-3, 12-2).
Tommy Griffin, the ever-present father of the Griffin brothers, made Blake’s concussion sound serious. But he showed no ill-effects Saturday, even when flying into the scorers table while pursing a loose ball.
I think that Oklahoma is the best team in the country, as long as Blake is 100 percent. The Sooners head to Columbia to battle Missouri Wednesday on ESPN.
No. 18 LSU 73, Kentucky 70-Tasmin Mitchell hit a 3-pointer with 9 seconds remaining to give the Tigers a tough road win over the Wildcats and clinch the SEC regular season title for LSU.
LSU’s Marcus Thornton outplayed Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks in a battle of terrific guards. The underrated Thornton scored 23 points and played a solid floor game, while Meeks scored 24 points but shot just 1-9 from 3-point range.
Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson has been slowed by injuries this season, but scored 28 points Saturday. The Wildcats will probably make the NCAA tournament, but lately it has been a struggle for the flying Judd’s. South Carolina thrashed Kentucky by 18 points on Wednesday to knock the Wildcats out of 1st place in the SEC East.
LSU will skyrocket in the rankings this week and seems to be headed for a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament.
No. 23 Florida State 73, No. 12 Clemson 66-Toney Douglas scored 23 points to lead the ‘Noles to a big home win that will likely secure a berth in the NCAA tournament. FSU (22-7, 9-5) needed a quality win in ACC play, and nearly blew all of an 18 point lead before holding on against Clemson (22-6, 8-6).
Clemson is very inconsistent and struggles on the road. Trevor Booker needs to be the focus of the Tiger offense, but K.C. Rivers and Slim Shady Oglesby love launching from the outside. The duo shot 9-20 against FSU, while Booker took only eight shots.
Washington State 51, Arizona State 49, OT-Taylor Rochestie couldn’t make anything all game, but he ended on a high note by cashing a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining to give the Cougs a thrilling victory. Arizona State didn’t look ready after losing to Washington in OT on Thursday, and got little from stars James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph. Harden shot just 2-11 from the field and Pendergraph scored only eight points.
Big-numbered Washington St (16-13, 8-9) is likely headed to the NIT. ASU (21-7, 10-6) lost all four games against teams from Washington to fall from title contention. Harden is dynamic and Pendergraph is solid, but the Sun Devils have no depth and little talent beyond the two stars. Look for ASU to land a #4 or #5 seed in the Big Dance.
No. 22 UCLA 72, Cal 68-Darren Collison took over in the second half to carry the Bruins to a big road win in an unusual national glimpse of Pac-10 hoops on ESPN. Collison scored 16 of his 22 points in the second and UCLA made enough plays to defeat a solid Cal team.
There weren’t many good games yesterday, but I thought this was a strange game for ESPN to designate as the game of the week. ESPN rarely gives the Pac-10 any love, but this wasn’t the time nor the place.
UCLA (22-7, 11-5) will likely finish second in the Pac-10 and figures to have success in the NCAA tournament. Cal (21-8, 10-6) could also have some success in the tourney. Brian Randle and Patrick Christopher give the Bears a solid one-two punch.
No. 2 UConn 72, Notre Dame 65-Jeff Adrien scored 25 points as UConn dominated the Irish inside and held on to give Jim Calhoun win number 801 for his career. Luke Harangody shot just 7-18 against the bigger Huskies, who held ND to 38 percent shooting.
UConn (27-2, 15-2) has held things together following the loss of Jerome Dyson. Meanwhile, Notre Dame (16-12, 7-9) is running out of games.
No. 7 Duke 72, Virginia Tech 65-Gerald Henderson scored 21 points and Kyle Singler scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half to lead the Dukies.
Virgina Tech (17-11, 7-7) got 26 points from A.D. Vassallo but only seven from leading scorer Malcom Delaney. The Hokies looked to be a NCAA tournament team several weeks ago, but clearly have work to do.
Duke (24-5, 10-4) has played with more toughness since losing to Boston College two weeks ago, but I still don’t think Duke’s guards are good enough to engineer a deep NCAA tournament run.
No. 1 Pitt 89, Seton Hall 78-Sam Young scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers to a easy win in lovely Newark. DeJaun Blair had nine points and 10 rebounds despite sustaining a bruised knee during the first half. Pitt (26-3, 13-3) hosts Marquette and UConn to close out Big East play. Seton Hall (15-13, 6-10) should be better, but former Manhattan head coach Bobby Gonzalez should turn things around as soon as next season.