If you like defense, Saturday’s slate of games was for you

It started early, as Duke used the zone defense to throw Louisville completely off guard.  The Cards ended up shooting only 18 of 61 for a meager 29.5 percent.  Duke did not shoot the three that well, either but made a lot of huge plays inside for a rather easy 63-52 victory.

Virginia remained undefeated, along with Kentucky.  Gonzaga and Wichita State won their games on the road by double digits.  However, there were a few eye openers in the afternoon and evening.

Texas A&M survived a tense game at LSU, 67-64.  Georgia stopped Florida’s 24 game SEC winning streak by a 73-61 count.  Iowa State shot less than 50 percent from the foul line, but made big plays down the stretch to upset Kansas, 86-81.

In other games of interest…

UConn appears they will not be able to defend their championship from a year ago, as Stanford creamed the Huskies in Palo Alto, 72-59 after a very close first half.  Iowa State raced out to an early lead and held off pesky Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena 76-67, and Ole Miss shocked Arkansas in the land of Pigggggggggggggggg-Suhey, 96-82.  Texas pounded West Virginia and Notre Dame stopped their brief slide, squeaking by Miami (Florida) at the Purcell Pavilion inside the Joyce Center in South Bend (where it wasn’t snowing for a change).

But the game of the night was at Fresno State.  New Top 25 entrant in the Wyoming Cowboys struggled mightily to put the Bulldogs away.  Both teams felt like the lid was firmly locked and sealed after 50 minutes of play.  Up to the free throw line stepped Larry Nance, Jr. (the son of former NBA great Larry Nance).  He missed both free throws that could have won the game for Wyoming.

In the third overtime, it was Nance’s 21st point on a jumper in the final minute that proved to be the difference in a hard-fought 70-65 decision.  Wyoming The Cowboys (16-3 overall, 5-1 in Mountain West play) came into this game having lost all nine previous road games in Fresno.  Both teams attempted 126 shots, making only 50 of them.  The last time Wyoming played 55 minutes or more was a 83-76 home win over Air Force in quadruple overtime back on January 28, 2002.

A very light schedule on Sunday as Indiana and North Carolina are at home, plus a few teams out East will be playing on the afternoon of the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday on Monday.

Hope to see you back on Monday night for some more big games in the ACC and Big 12:

Coach K looks to win game #999 for Duke at Cameron vs. Pittsburgh at 7 p.m..  Meanwhile, Kansas looks to get back on track at home against Oklahoma at 9 p.m.


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