Big Wins in Big Games

It’s been a crazy couple of days for college basketball. First, we’ll start with the biggest win of all: UNC defeating NC State 85-84 in overtime on Wednesday. I’m a big Carolina fan and I was nervous the entire game! The lead kept changing on every possession and it pretty much went down to this: whoever had the ball last will win the game. Well, UNC sophomore point guard Marcus Paige took the last shot of the game and ended up winning it for the Tar Heels. He finished that shootout of a game with 35 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. The way he’s been playing this year, it wouldn’t surprise me if he won ACC Player of the Year. The Tar Heels have now won 10 games in a row, all of those wins coming in the ACC. They beat NC State earlier in the year 84-70 and this win was show who the best Carolina team is this year. Now UNC will have to keep this streak alive when they travel to Virginia Tech this Saturday. Another team that won by the skin of their teeth was Michigan. They defeated Purdue in overtime as well, winning 77-76 last Wednesday. Glenn Robinson III had the game-winning basket and led his team with 17 points. The Wolverines have faded away from national championship contention talks, but they’re starting to pick things up again after that win against Michigan State on February 23rd.

Glen Robinson III has been averaging 13 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this season. Credit: zimbio.com
Glen Robinson III has been averaging 13 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this season.
Credit: zimbio.com

That same Wednesday night, Virginia improves to 15-1 in the ACC after a 65-40 win over Miami (Florida). They are quietly becoming a force to be reckoned with in this loaded conference. Their only loss came at Duke, but they have also beaten UNC and Pitt earlier this year. It’s hard to believe that they are 12th in the nation right now! Watch out for the Cavaliers when the ACC tournament comes around in March!

Malcolm Brogdon had 15 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in the win against Miami. Credit: college-basketball.si.com
Malcolm Brogdon had 15 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in the win against Miami.
Credit: college-basketball.si.com

Then Thursday night, we had a few upsets. Duquesne takes down Saint Louis 71-64, to give the Billikens their first conference loss of the season. What’s even more embarrassing is that Duquesne has a losing record: 12-15 overall and 4-10 in the Atlantic 10 conference. Saint Louis was ranked 10th in the nation, so we’ll see how far they drop next week. Also, Arkansas beat Kentucky again! The Razorbacks pull off their second-best win of the season, beating the Wildcats 71-67 in another overtime game. That win gives Arkansas a winning record in the SEC (8-7). Michael Qualls proves to be a nightmare for John Calipari. In the last game, he scored the game-winning put back dunk and in this game, he led this team with 14 points and 3 steals. Kentucky getting swept by Arkansas will definitely affect their rankings next week. Hopefully they can get back on track at South Carolina this Saturday.

The last game I want to mention is also an upset. Penn State, one of the worst teams in the Big Ten, took down Ohio State 65-63. All seven of Ohio State’s losses were against Big Ten opponents. This does not bode well for them in the upcoming conference tournament. What’s even worse is that Penn State beat Ohio State earlier this year, a 71-70 victory in overtime. If Ohio State wants to make it far in the national tournament, they’re going to have to worry about beating their own conference opponents first.

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