Monday's Three Things To Know: Kansas won a title, Duke lost a game, Bamba didn't play
1. DUKE BLEW A LEAD AND LOST TO VIRGINIA TECH
The Blue Devils made the trip down to Blacksburg on Monday night and took a loss to Virginia Tech after blowing a lead in the final minutes. Duke’s defense looked as good as it has been over the course of the last three weeks, which is a good sign, but this was yet another game with Marvin Bagley III on the court where Grayson Allen struggled.
That’s becoming a worrying concern.
But if you’re asking me if I’m concerned that this happened on the same day that I wrote this … well, I’m not. Virginia Tech beat Duke at home by one point. They also won at No. 1 Virginia.
2. TEXAS TECH RESTED THEIR STUDS IN A LOSS TO WEST VIRGINIA
The Red Raiders don’t have anything left to play for this regular season. Not anything all that relevant anyway.
That’s why Keenan Evans and Zach Smith, two seniors and arguably the two best players on Chris Beard’s roster, did not play on Monday night. Kansas had all but locked up the outright Big 12 title. The Red Raiders had lost three games in a row. Evans is dealing with a toe injury. Smith is still coming back from a foot injury. If those two are healthy, Texas Tech has a real shot to be a team that wins the Big 12 tournament and get to a Final Four.
I truly believe that.
So sit them.
Get them healthy.
And we’ll see you in March.
3. KANSAS LOCKED UP THE BIG 12 TITLE
On Senior Night in Lawrence, the Jayhawks knocked off Texas in a game that Mo Bamba sat out.
Like Keenan Evans, Bamba is battling a toe injury. With the loss, the Longhorns are in danger of missing the NCAA tournament.
Southeastern Louisiana senior guard Jabbar Singleton is among three men who were arrested on Monday in connection with a shooting that occurred on campus on Feb. 23.
According to a report from Laura McKnight of the Times-Picayune, Singleton is accused of illegal discharge of a firearm and carrying a firearm while on school property. Singleton’s name and mugshot were released by the Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office, along with two other men, Hebert Joseph Jr., and Jacoby Senegal. Singleton’s bond was set at $85,000.
Both Joseph Jr. and Senegal face two counts each of attempted second-degree murder. The two men are also accused of carrying a firearm on school property. Senegal is additionally accused of possession of a stolen firearm. Bond for Joseph is set at $175,000 while Senegal’s bond is $225,000. The three men are accused of injuring two student-athletes in the shooting as school officials described the injuries as not life-threatening.
While Singleton was arrested Monday and suspended indefinitely from the men’s basketball program, according to school Athletic Director Jay Artigues, the senior played for Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday as the Lions extended a six-game winning streak.
That game was also notable for Southeastern Louisiana because teammate, and fellow senior, James Currington missed the contest for the Lions after he was shot late last week.
It’s unclear if the two shootings are the same, or connected, in any way at this point, but Southeastern Louisiana head coach Jay Ladner commented about Currington’s status when The Lion’s Roar, a Southeastern Louisiana student newspaper, asked about his status.
“One, it’s just a terribly tragic situation for all involved, and there are some young men who have made some very poor choices that are going to affect them for the rest of their lives,” Ladner said in the story. “It altered our team in a sense that one of our players is out and received a gunshot wound, and this is something that is a problem all over our country, and how people are settling disputes with guns and they end up making mistakes.”
There is no timeframe for Currington’s recovery. Southeastern Louisiana is currently second place in the Southland right now and a threat to win the league title and get to the NCAA tournament.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Jevon Carter scored 21 points and Daxter Miles Jr. added 18 in their final home game, and No. 20 West Virginia rode a hot start to an 84-74 victory over No. 12 Texas Tech on Monday night.
West Virginia (22-8, 11-6 Big 12) broke a second-place tie with the Red Raiders (22-8, 10-7) and moved closer to earning the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament with one game left.
Sagaba Konate added 16 points, Esa Ahmad had 11 points and 11 rebounds, and James “Beetle” Bolden scored 10 for the Mountaineers, who have won three straight.
Freshman guard Jarrett Culver scored 26 points, Niem Stevenson added 24 and Zhaire Smith scored 12 for Texas Tech, which lost its fourth straight. The Red Raiders were without injured starters Justin Gray, Keenan Evans and Zach Smith.
West Virginia busted out to a 16-0 lead with Carter scoring seven points and Miles hitting a 3-pointer and feeding Ahmad for a pair of dunks.
The Mountaineers have blown several double-digit leads in losses this season, including in a 72-71 setback at Texas Tech, and a hush came over the crowd when Brandone Francis’ 3-pointer brought the Red Raiders within seven early in the second half.
Despite the solid play of Stevenson, Smith and Culver, the short-handed Red Raiders couldn’t keep up with West Virginia’s 10-player rotation.
Lamont West and Bolden made 3-pointers and Bolden followed with two free throws to push the lead to 52-38, and it stayed in double digits the rest of the game.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders shot 1 for 11 from the floor over the first seven minutes and were desperate to catch up after that. They went 23 of 44 (52 percent) the rest of the game.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers made just 16 of 27 free throws (59 percent), a stat they’ll need to improve on if they hope to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Texas Tech finishes the regular season at home against TCU on Saturday.
West Virginia plays at Texas on Saturday.
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Svi Mykhailiuk had 17 points, Devonte Graham added 10 and 11 assists and No. 6 Kansas beat Texas 80-70 Monday night.
The Jayhawks (24-6, 13-4 Big 12) used a strong night from seniors Mykhailiuk and Graham in what was the pair and walk-on Clay Young’s senior night and final game in Allen Fieldhouse. Their powerful start helped them control the game early, forcing the Longhorns (17-13, 7-10 Big 12) to burn four timeouts in the first half.
Kerwin Roach II led the way for Texas, scoring 18 points and dishing out eight assists just days after hitting the game-winner against Oklahoma State. Jacob Young posted 14 points and five rebounds.
The Longhorns were without star freshman Mo Bamba, who missed the game with a toe injury. Bamba, who leads the team in rebounds (10.6) and is second in points (13) per game, had 22 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high eight blocks against Kansas back in December.
Udoka Azubuike had another strong night down low for the Jayhawks, scoring a game-high 20 points and making 10 of 11 shots. Azubuike led the nation in field goal percentage entering the game (77.1 percent).
Kansas has now won 35 consecutive home finales, dating back to the 1983-84 season. The Jayhawks are locked in to the Big 12 tournament’s No. 1 seed.
Kansas is now 31-8 all-time against Texas, and has won all of the last nine meetings.
Kansas seals an outright Big 12 championship after clinching at least a share of its 14th straight conference crown Saturday with a win over Texas Tech.
Texas remains on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. If the Longhorns aren’t chosen, it will be just the third time in the last 20 years they’ve missed the NCAAs.
Kansas wraps up its season on the road against Oklahoma State Saturday.
Texas will finish the year with a home tilt against No. 20 West Virginia.
As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Monday.
It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:
- Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
- Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
- Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
- Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus
The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.
VIRGINIA TECH (RPI: 47, KenPom: 31, NBC seed: 8): Virginia Tech is in. They were probably going to be in regardless of whether or not they beat Duke at home on Monday night. But … they beat Duke at home on Monday night. They now have wins over Duke, North Carolina and at Virginia, which is quite literally the best win that anyone can get this season.
MARQUETTE (RPI: 63, KenPom: 53, NBC seed: Next four out): Marquette flirted with disaster, but disaster couldn’t seal the deal, meaning that the Golden Eagles avoided losing to DePaul and Georgetown in back-to-back games. I still think Marquette is pretty far away from the bubble at this point. Not only is Saturday’s home game against Creighton a must-win, but they are going to have to win at least a game or two in the Big East tournament if they really, truly what to be in the mix for a bid on Selection Sunday.
TEXAS (RPI: 57, KenPom: 44, NBC seed: Play-in game): Texas lost their 13th game on Monday night, but it came without Mo Bamba and it came at Kansas. So I’m not sure just how much that loss is going to hurt the Longhorns, which is interesting. The Longhorns are now 17-13 on the season, but they are 5-10 against Quadrant 1 and 8-13 against the top two Quadrants. Put another way, they’ve play a ton of really good teams and beaten some of them. For that to be enough to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament, Ithink Texas needs to win a least two more games, including West Virginia at home on Saturday.
Virginia Tech secured another huge ACC victory on Monday night as the Hokies rallied to score a 64-63 win over No. 5 Duke.
Chris Clarke tipped in a Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed jumper with a little over 4 seconds left to claim the win for the Hokies as Marvin Bagley III’s tip-in to win on the ensuing possession came too late. The Hokies ended this game on a 13-3 run as Duke didn’t score a field goal for the final 7:08 of the game. Alexander-Walker led four Hokies in double-figures with 17 points.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) February 27, 2018
Now with ACC wins over Virginia, Duke and North Carolina, the Hokies (21-9, 10-7) have three really strong wins as they try to make a push for a better seed. Many bracketologists currently have Virginia Tech in the double-digit seed range, but this win could really help. Virginia Tech still has its ACC finale against Miami as well before the conference tournament begins next week. There’s still plenty of time of the Hokies to secure more quality wins and they’re going to be a dangerous team.
Duke (24-6, 12-5) had the lead for most of Monday’s game but they couldn’t close this one out in a hostile road environment. Senior guard Grayson Allen (22 points, 6-for-18 shooting) was aggressive as a scorer but he didn’t have his shot falling for a lot of the night. Playing in only his second game back from a knee injury, Bagley finished with 12 points and seven rebounds as it still looks like he’s getting his timing down.
It should also be noted that Duke used a new starting lineup on Monday as Trevon Duval came off the bench in favor of a bigger lineup that featured Javin DeLaurier at forward. With Wendell Carter, Bagley, DeLaurier, Gary Trent Jr. and Allen, Duke’s zone had even more size than usual as the group did a decent job of contesting Virginia Tech shots.
But Duke couldn’t get in any kind of rhythm offensively and Duval had a tough time getting into the game off the bench. The Blue Devils going without a field goal for that long to end a game is disturbing, especially when you consider how much talent this team has.
Duke’s cold perimeter shooting continued with an 8-for-28 effort from distance — including Trent going 1-for-7. After only going 2-for-18 from three in the win over Syracuse, Duke’s perimeter shooting will need to get better now that Bagley is back in the lineup.
Although the cold offensive stretch isn’t a good look from Duke, they continue to play better overall defense than they were earlier this season, so that’s a positive sign going forward.
The thing to watch for Duke right now is what kind of starting lineup they’ll choose to stick with and how that affects the overall gameplan. Duval coming off the bench didn’t seem to help the Blue Devil offense on Monday as they’re still working on a rotation now that Bagley is back.