In their first game against a ranked opponent, the #2 Gonzaga Bulldogs lost Saturday 91-78 to Brigham Young. That same day, former #4 San Diego State fell 66-63 to UNLV, and #1 Baylor lost 64-61 to #3 Kansas. What does it all mean?
For starters, it’s clear that Gonzaga might not be as good as everyone (except us) thought. They’ve yet to face, much less beat, a top 10 team and their two losses have been by double digits against good-but-not-great teams, Michigan and BYU. To be fair to the ‘Zags, in both losses, their opponents got hot, making more than 53% of their field goal attempts. Still, you gotta play D, folks.
That voters remain so enamored of San Diego State is a puzzle. Yes, they’re 26-1, but that loss was against UNLV, which ESPN has ranked as #113 in the country. SDSU plays in the MWC, which has the 13th best winning percentage of the conferences, hardly a breeding ground for greatness. To their credit, they did beat Creighton, BYU and Iowa in November, but no one of note since.
The Jayhawks’ win over the Bears was huge, but hardly Earth-shaking; Kansas and Baylor are clearly the two best teams in the country, voters be damned. They have nearly identical records and play in the same conference, so have faced similar competition — in one of the country’s toughest conferences. They’ve now split two games this season, and if the scheduling gods are kind, we’ll get a third matchup, quite possibly in the NCAA championship game.
Here’s a look at this week’s men’s college hoops action on Sling…
Tuesday, February 25
#7 Duke Blue Devils (23-4) vs Wake Forrest Demon Deacons (11-15)
7pm ET on ACC
Duke recovered from their stunning beatdown at the hands of NC State to beat Virginia Tech 88-64 behind Cassius Stanley’s 21 points and 7 boards. Wake Forest managed just 7 assists during their 86-79 loss to Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
Wednesday, February 26
St John’s Red Storm (14-13) vs #12 Villanova Wildcats (21-6)
6:30pm ET on FS1
On Sunday, St John’s made just 33.8% of their shots as they suffered their 11th loss in their last 14 games, falling 81-65 to #13 Seton Hall. Saddiq Bey scored a game-high 22 points on Saturday to lead the ‘Cats to a 64-55 win over Xavier.
Thursday, February 27
#21 Colorado Buffaloes (21-7) vs Cal Bears (11-16)
9pm ET on PAC-12
Despite 20-7-4 from McKinley Wright IV, the Buffaloes dropped three spots in the rankings thanks to Saturday’s 70-63 loss to UCLA. Cal went just 11-of-46 from the floor on Saturday en route to a 87-52 loss to Washington.
Friday, February 28
Davidson Wildcats (14-12) #4 Dayton Flyers (25-2)
7pm ET on ESPN 2
Jon Axel Gudmundsson’s 23 points and 12 rebounds were each game-highs in Davidson’s 77-75 overtime win Saturday over Rhode Island. Obi Toppin scored 28 points and pulled down 7 boards in Dayton’s 80-70 win Saturday over Duquense.
Saturday, February 29
#7 Duke Blue Devils (23-4) vs Virginia Cavaliers (19-7)
6pm ET on ESPN
The Blue Devils are 3-1 against ranked opponents, their 82.6 points per game are third in the nation, and they’ve gone 13-3 in ACC play thus far. Kihei Clark scored 17 points Saturday to lead the Cavs to a 59-56 win over Pitt.
#24 Michigan State Spartans (18-9) vs #9 Maryland Terrapins (tk)
8pm ET on ESPN
The Terrapins beat the Spartans 67-60 on February 15 thanks to Anthony Cowan Jr’s 24 point effort. Since then, Michigan State beat Nebraska 86-65 on Thursday, while the Terps beat Northwestern 76-67 and then fell to Ohio State 79-72.
Sunday, March 1
Virginia Tech Hokies (15-12) vs #11 Louisville Cardinals (23-6)
6pm ET on ACC
The Hokies’ 88-64 loss Saturday to Duke was their seventh defeat in their last eight games since starting the season 14-5. The Cards lost 82-67 to #6 Florida State as Wooden Award finalist Jordan Nwora had an off night, making just 4-of-14 shots from the floor for 11 points.
Monday, March 2
#22 Texas Tech Red Raiders (18-9) vs #2 Baylor Bears (24-2)
9pm ET on ESPN
Jahmi’us Ramsey posted a 25-5-7 line to lead the Red Raiders to an 87-57 win over Iowa State on Saturday. The Bears pulled to within a point of the Jayhawks with 18 seconds to play on Saturday, but couldn’t close the deal, falling 64-61.