Purdue, Houston, Creighton lead winners and losers from men's college basketball weekend

Purdue guard Braden Smith (3) dribbles against Michigan guard Dug McDaniel (0) in the second half at Crisler Center.
Purdue guard Braden Smith (3) dribbles against Michigan guard Dug McDaniel (0) in the second half at Crisler Center.

On the road for a second consecutive Sunday against one of the Big Ten’s non-contenders, Purdue managed to avoid its fate of a week ago.

After coming up short at Ohio State seven days earlier, this time the Boilermakers were able to get out of Ann Arbor with an eight-point win against last-place Michigan. Naturally, the positive result was due in large measure to another day at the office by Zach Edey, a 35-point, 15-rebound performance for the reigning player of the year in men’s college basketball.

But "Big Z" might have company in the race for individual honors this year, as you’ll see in the next entry on our list of some of the weekend’s other winners and losers around the country.



The Cougars, however, will still likely assume the No. 1 spot in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll after holding on for a hard-fought victory at Baylor in overtime Saturday. L.J. Cryer helped sink his former team with six free throws in the extra period after a missed free throw by Yves Missi late in regulation would likely have given the win to the Bears.


The top-ranked Huskies got back to their winning ways with a convincing home victory against Villanova on Saturday night. While Cam Spencer led the score sheet with 25 points, the night really belonged to Tristen Newton. He recorded the fourth triple double of his career with 10 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, making a strong case for national awards himself.


The Volunteers avenged an earlier loss to Texas A&M with a 35-point drubbing of the Aggies in Knoxville. It was the 800th career win for Vols’ coach Rick Barnes, but more importantly the victory moved Tennessee into a tie with Alabama atop the SEC. You might start to see UT on the No.-1 seed line in bracket projections this week.


When the Wildcats’ offense is operating at the elite level it was in Saturday’s 117-point barrage against Alabama, the team’s inconsistency at the defensive end of the floor is less of an issue. Of course, that kind of execution could be difficult to duplicate, but the breakout performance by touted freshman Justin Edwards was a welcome sight for the faithful in Rupp Arena.

South Florida

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Bulls and the job first-year coach Amir Abdur-Rahim is doing in Tampa, it’s time to start. South Florida ran its winning streak to 13 games Sunday with a 79-68 triumph over SMU that now has them three games clear of the field in the American Athletic Conference. To say the Bulls weren’t exactly on anybody’s radar at the start of the campaign is an understatement, and their 2-4 start did little to make anyone take notice. Unfortunately, their schedule wasn’t constructed with a postseason résumé in mind, so they’re likely in the position of needing to win the AAC tournament anyway if they hope to go dancing.



After upending No. 1 Connecticut in what was indisputably their best game of the season, the Bluejays were brought back to earth Sunday at St. John’s. Trey Alexander scored 31 for Creighton hitting 4-of-8 three-point attempts, but the rest of the Bluejays went a combined 2-for-18 from long range.

Florida Atlantic

The Owls still have a sound at-large résumé, but they slipped a bit closer to the bubble Sunday thanks to a 78-74 setback at Memphis. It was a second consecutive solid outing for the Tigers, who appeared to hit rock bottom a couple of weeks ago in a 29-point loss to SMU.


There’s no shame in losing to a top-10 squad like North Carolina, even on one’s home court. But it’s the complete breakdown of the offense that has Cavaliers’ fans nearing panic mode with the season winding down. UVa failed to reach 50 points for the third consecutive game, an almost unheard of feat of futility in the shot-clock era. They have a few days of practice and a midweek trip to Boston College to figure something out before next Saturday’s visit to Duke.

Washington State

The Cougars got the win they needed Thursday night in their swing through the Grand Canyon State. But after taking down Pac-12 leader Arizona they came up short against a desperate Arizona State squad two nights later. Wazzu is still on solid footing as far as the NCAA tournament is concerned, but its margin for error shrank a bit. The good news is the Cougars won’t have to leave Pullman again until the Pac-12 tournament.

Big 12 road teams

Other than the aforementioned Houston and Oklahoma, which also needed overtime but survived what might be its final visit to Oklahoma State for the foreseeable future, no other road warriors in the "Large Dozen-plus-two" cracked the win column. Many of the results were expected, but setbacks for Brigham Young and Texas Tech, at Kansas State and Central Florida respectively, could prove damaging on Selection Sunday.

Mountain West contenders

With six teams in the top 45 of the NET rankings, the Mountain West’s bid seekers were well positioned to avoid bad losses. But they took a couple on Saturday anyway. Colorado State’s slipup at UNLV, a top-100 team itself, might be easier to overcome. New Mexico’s home loss to last-place Air Force, however, will be more of an anchor on the Lobos’ profile should they not bounce back quickly.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College basketball winners and losers include Purdue, Houston