Where to begin…
Justin Cobbs’ jumper with .8 second left stunned Arizona, 60-58. Arizona did not shoot well for the entire game and they paid dearly for it.
But the game of the night was in Syracuse:
A record crowd inside the Carrier Dome of 35,446 people and a nationwide ESPN audience saw a matchup worthy of being NCAA Final Four worthy. Duke and Syracuse traded shots like boxers packing a punch just to stay off the ropes. Both teams gave it their all, and yet 40 minutes was not enough. Syracuse appeared to have had the game won (even with Jabari Parker fouling out inside the last two minutes of regulation). Rasheed Sulaimon did his best Bobby Hurley impersonation and tied the game as time expired at 78. The lead changed hands eight more times in the extra period before C.J. Fair calmly sank down two free-throws as part of a career high 28 points in the Orange’s 91-89 close shave win. Expect Syracuse to be the new Number 1 ranked team come Monday.
Also on Saturday, more upsets galore:
Baylor got back on track, clipping Oklahoma State on the road 76-70.
In Madison Square Garden, Michigan State dug out the retro uniforms ala the Earvin “Magic” Johnson days circa 1978-79. But each time Gary Harris made a big play at one end, Georgetown always seemed to have an answer. It proved to be just enough in this Manhattan street fight as the Hoyas prevailed 64-60.
Iowa State also got back on the right side of the tracks, winning at home over Oklahoma 81-75.
Texas held Kansas to only 39 percent shooting in a 81-69 beatdown. Andrew Wiggins only tabulated seven points before fouling out. Isaiah Taylor had 23 points to lead all scorers as the Longhorns pulled to within one game of the Jayhawks in the always hot Big 12 conference race.
And if you want a really huge eye opener, look no further than in the Big Ten:
Aaron Craft played like himself in playing an excellent floor game despite not having really gaudy stats (7 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) as Ohio State won pretty much an elimination game at Wisconsin 59-58. Wisconsin has not been in a slump like this (17-5 overall, but a paltry 4-5 in Big Ten play) since 1998.
Also…Northwestern, yes Northwestern could possibly take a spot in the field of 68. The Wildcats won their third consecutive Big Ten game on the road, which was last accomplished during the Eisenhower Administration way, way back in 1959-1960. NU clipped the Golden Gophers 55-54, led by Drew Crawford’s 17 points and JerShon Cobb pitching in 15 points.
A very light schedule on Super Sunday, but I hope to be back with another cool blog either Monday or Tuesday in advance of a big bear of a snowstorm–possibly a record breaker for Chicago and the entire Midwest that has not been seen since January 12 to 14, 1979.
Stay safe, and hopefully the Super Bowl will live up to its’ advanced billing.