Kentucky survives another challenge at upset-minded Florida

Normally, this SEC matchup would settle first place in the conference.

On Saturday night, Willie Cauley-Stein’s dunk with 12:09 left to play (in which ESPN analyst and former Duke player Jay Bilas termed on the broadcast as, “Black Griffinesque”) helped fuel Kentucky to a hard-fought 68-61 victory at Florida.

The Gators could not hit from the charity line, even if their players had blindfolds on.  Kentucky went 21 of 22 from the free-throw stripe, while the Gators were only shooting at a 50% clip, 7 of 14.

In other key games of note…

Kansas loses at Oklahoma State 67-62 in which the Jayhawks blew an 11 point lead.  KU should more than likely be settling for a 2 or at worst a 3 seed when Selection Sunday rolls around.

VCU was upset by the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure as Marcos Posley won the team’s second straight game at the buzzer, 73-71.  He won a game earlier in the week in a similar circumstance over the 2008 Cinderella darlings in Davidson.  Even as dramatic as George Washington’s last second win on Friday night in overtime over a determined Dayton squad, there were able to use their Twitter tag pasted on their revised court of #RaiseHigh and take their game to a different level.

Also, Illinois is suddenly back in the picture after stunning a hungry Michigan State squad 59-54.  This brand of Orange Crush is 6-5 in Big Ten play, and that has not made Champaign/Urbana and most of Chicago this happy since 2011–which was the last time the Fighting Illini had an over .500 record in conference play.

In the AAC, SMU is back on track winning at previously undefeated in conference play at Tulsa.  Tulsa would have had a three-game lead had they won, but the Mustangs are still on track to possibly get the #1 seed heading towards their conference tournament a month from now.

And finally…

Wichita State, Villanova, and Duke earned big-time wins at home, while Utah won comfortably at Colorado.

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One small note of concern as Providence Coach Ed Cooley had to leave during the Friars’ game on Saturday afternoon due to what the school reported as an “undisclosed condition.”  Please try to keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers in what I am sure is an uneasy and uncomfortable time for those associated with the Providence men’s basketball program.

Sunday’s slate features a light schedule with Maryland at Iowa (3:15 p.m. Eastern on BTN), Oakland (Michigan) at Valparaiso (3:30 p.m. online only), and an ESPNU doubleheader at the same time ESPN features a 30 For 30 that could be destined for ratings records.

Just fyi, the 2 hour special covers a different angle of the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Team USA hockey victory over the once feared and vaunted former “Red Army” of the former Soviet Union is put under the microscope for the first time from the loser’s point of view.  That will be interesting viewing, unless if those evening’s matchups look appealing after last week’s memorable Super Bowl:  Clemson at Miami, 6:30 p.m. and USC at Stanford, 8:30 p.m.

See you in a few days.  Take it easy for those affected up and down most of the West Coast with their record flooding and mudslides, while the upper reaches of New England are continuing their record blizzards and yet more snow where their area just cannot seem to catch a break like the Midwest is currently enjoying.

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