- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger42 mins ago
On the holiday synonymous with his last name, Denzel Valentine delivered a performance that will spawn a thousand cliched headlines.
The versatile Michigan State star led a gradual turnaround Sunday against Indiana from a first-half 10-point deficit to a one-sided 88-69 Spartans victory.
Valentine showcased his trademark all-around game with confidence and ease, scoring 30 points, dishing out 13 assists and seldom letting any of Indiana's talented perimeter scorers get by him at the other end. The only reason Valentine did not record his third triple-double of the season was that he only managed to grab five rebounds.
Between his scoring and assists, Valentine had a hand in 59 of the 88 points Michigan State scored against an Indiana team that began the day just a half game back of Iowa in the Big Ten standings. The senior was especially effective during the 40-14 surge the Spartans used to take control of a game the Hoosiers led for most of the first half.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger16 hrs ago
It was only a month ago that Wisconsin was 9-9 overall and 1-4 in the Big Ten after a humiliating loss at Northwestern.
Now the Badgers have reeled off seven straight victories to get back into position to not only make the NCAA tournament but perhaps contend for yet another top-four Big Ten finish.
The most impressive win during Wisconsin's streak came Saturday when the Badgers went to Maryland and toppled the second-ranked Terps 70-57. Wisconsin survived foul trouble for center Ethan Happ thanks to 21 points from stretch forward Vitto Brown and 16 from point guard Bronson Koenig.
Saturday's victory over Maryland adds to the Badgers' list of quality wins that already included Michigan State, Indiana, Syracuse, VCU and Temple. That list is offset by several damaging sub-100 RPI losses, most notably a season-opening loss to Western Illinois and December setbacks against Milwaukee and Marquette.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger19 hrs ago
The white-knuckle grip Oregon had on first place in the Pac-12 entering the week is no longer nearly so tight anymore.
In fact, by the time the weekend is over, the Ducks may not be alone in first place anymore.
Two nights after wholly non-competitive 20-point loss at Cal, Oregon didn't show up for the first 35 minutes Saturday against a Stanford team that will need a late-season surge to reach the NIT. The Ducks rallied from an 11-point deficit to briefly tie the game, but their comeback stalled and they fell 76-72.
Oregon was within one in the final minute when Dillon Brooks missed a jumper from the wing and Oregon sent Stanford's Marcus Allen to the foul line with 13 seconds to play. Allen split a pair of free throws, but Brooks again could not come through, this time because he didn't get a call when Stanford's Michael Humphrey blocked his difficult runner.
Allen sank two free throws with three seconds remaining, sealing a Stanford win and narrowing Oregon's lead in the conference standings to just a half game. Arizona could tie the Ducks for first place on Sunday if the Wildcats are able to defeat USC at home.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger20 hrs ago
Wisconsin fans already had ill-will toward Maryland freshman Diamond Stone before Saturday for choosing to be a Terrapin instead of a Badger out of high school after growing up in Milwaukee.
Stone gave them a legitimate reason to dislike him when he fell to the floor with Wisconsin forward Vitto Brown late in the first half and intentionally pushed Brown's head into the floor as he got up. Perhaps Stone was annoyed by his performance to that point or the fact that his second-ranked team was losing by 16 points to an unranked opponent.
Wisconsin went on to post a huge upset 70-57 on the road, boosting its hopes for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament next month.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger21 hrs ago
Duke basketball fans have another reason to love Grayson Allen. College basketball fans not cheering for the Blue Devils have another reason to dislike the feisty sophomore guard. At the start of the week, Allen earned national attention for intentionally tripping a Louisville player and earning a flagrant foul for the act. On Saturday, Allen made a determined drive into the paint in the waning moments and tossed up a one-handed shot off the backboard that went in at the buzzer, giving coach Mike Krzyzewski a 63-62 win on his birthday over No. 7 Virginia.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger23 hrs ago
It's hard to believe Texas A&M once was 17-2 undefeated atop the SEC standings through seven league games and looking like a team well on its way to a memorable season.
The Aggies suddenly can't win a game and can't get a break and they have only themselves to blame after dropping another winnable game Saturday 76-71 on the road at LSU. It's their fifth consecutive SEC loss, dropping two games behind league frontrunners Kentucky and LSU.
It should be noted that Texas A&M played most of the game without guard Anthony Collins, who had to return to the locker room because of a stomach illness and Jalen Jones also was hobbled.
Down a starter, Texas A&M hung in there with the Tigers, who boast some of the best young talent in the nation in Ben Simmons, Tim Quarterman and Antonio Blakeney. Simmons once again flirted with a triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Craig Victor also scored 16.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger23 hrs ago
If Kansas goes on to capture its 12th consecutive conference title next month, the Jayhawks may declare Saturday's brilliant performance from Devonte Graham the turning point.
The junior guard was indispensable throughout Kansas' 76-72 road victory at third-ranked Oklahoma in the rematch of their epic triple-overtime thriller from five weeks ago.
Awarded the unenviable assignment of defending national player of the year favorite Buddy Hield, Graham shadowed the Oklahoma star relentlessly and held him without a first-half field goal. Hield caught fire from behind the arc midway through the second half, but Graham still chased him around every screen and made him work for each of his 24 points.
It would have been understandable if all the energy Graham expended on defense left him too fatigued to contribute offensively, but the Kansas guard was actually his team's top scoring threat. With Wayne Selden struggling through an off shooting night and Perry Ellis also quiet, Graham scored a career-high 27 points and sank six 3-pointers.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
For someone who had just been assessed a technical foul, Memphis forward Shaq Goodwin appeared to be awfully pleased with himself.
He chest bumped one teammate and slapped hands with another during a loss to Tulane after channeling Vince Carter on a fast-break dunk.
With Memphis trailing Tulane by three in the final minute of Saturday's first half, Goodwin poked the ball away from T.J. Oliver, found himself alone in the open floor and soared for Carter's trademark elbow dunk. It was a display of remarkable athleticism, but it also earned a technical foul from the referees for hanging on the rim.
Goodwin's dunk will surely make the rounds on social media and all the highlight shows Saturday, but he doesn't deserve those accolades. This was a selfish, ill-advised decision from a senior who should know better.
Memphis (14-10, 5-7) is in the midst of a disappointing season in which it had lost five of its previous seven games to put coach Josh Pastner's job in jeopardy. Worse yet, the Tigers were trailing a Tulane team that entered play Saturday just 2-10 in the American Athletic Conference.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
The strangest part of the tantrum John Calipari threw Saturday are the circumstances that preceded it.
It occurred less than three minutes into Kentucky's 89-62 victory and immediately after a foul was called on South Carolina.
When referees whistled Gamecocks forward Mindaugas Kacinas for an over-the-back foul as he fought for an offensive rebound, Calipari was subsequently hit with a technical foul. TV cameras did not catch the initial exchange between Calipari and referee Doug Sirmons, but it's possible the Kentucky coach was still upset about the lack of an over-the-back call on a previous possession when South Carolina's Michael Carrera scored a put-back.
As soon as Calipari received his first technical, he approached Sirmons at the scorer's table and shouted at him nearly face-to-face, resulting in an ejection. Enraged and wild-eyed, Calipari had to be held back by guards Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe for several seconds before regaining his composure and exiting the floor as jeering South Carolina fans waved goodbye to him.
- Sam Cooper at The Dagger2 days ago
Former Boise State kicker Dan Goodale is working as a manager for the Broncos’ men’s basketball team this season, and it’s given him a chance to show off some other skills aside from kicking.
During shootaround ahead of Wednesday’s controversial game at Colorado State, Goodale showed off his arm strength by hitting this insane shot.
That basket is at least 30 rows up from the court, and Goodale’s shot – his first try – was nothing but net. He made it look effortless, too.
As a senior in 2014, Goodale was an honorable mention All-Mountain West selection on the football field and led the nation with 65 touchbacks. He also hit on 16-of-21 field goal attempts.
He’s another shining example that kickers are athletes, too.
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