2019-20 Rush the Court All-America Teams

Posted by Walker Carey on March 27th, 2020

Compiling preseason All-America teams is a difficult task because nobody knows what will come during the regular season. There will always be several players who fall short of expectations and there will always be several relative unknowns who unexpectedly emerge to stardom. When our unit of RTC pollsters selected their preseason All-American teams in November, nobody could have guessed that eight of the 15 players chosen would live up to that lofty standing: Marquette’s Markus Howard; Kansas’ Devon Dotson; Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike; Seton Hall’s Myles Powell; Maryland’s Jalen Smith; Michigan State’s Cassius Winston; Duke’s Tre Jones; and Louisville’s Jordan Nwora.

Here are the 2019-20 RTC All-America Teams.

First Team All-America

  • Obi Toppin, Sophomore, Dayton (consensus) (20.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 63.3% FG). Among the worst things about the college basketball season coming to an early end because of the COVID-19 crisis is that we will never get to see what Toppin and Dayton could have accomplished in the NCAA Tournament. The AP National Player of the Year was sensational all season, leading the Flyers to a program-best 29-2 record. Dayton finished the season ranked second at KenPom in offensive efficiency and the sophomore forward was a major reason why, as he dominated opponents from wire to wire, shooting an incredible 69.8 percent on two-point field goals. Toppin also drew a lot of attention nationally for his highlight reel dunks that helped make the Flyers one of the must-watch teams throughout the season.
  • Luka Garza, Junior, Iowa (consensus) (23.9 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 54.2% FG). Iowa has had several players emerge as big-time scoring weapons throughout Fran McCaffery’s tenure in Iowa City, and Garza burst onto the scene early with a 30-point effort against Oral Roberts and a 29-point outing versus North Florida. He began garnering national attention, however, after putting up 44 points at Michigan in early December. The Big Ten Player of the Year was so dominant through conference play that he tallied fewer than 20 points only once in 20 league games.
  • Markus Howard, Senior, Marquette (27.8 PPG, 3.3 APG, 41.2% 3FG). The Big East’s all-time leading scorer wrapped up an illustrious career with the Golden Eagles this season — and he went out in style. The dynamic guard left school with 2,761 career points, including seven career games where he topped 40. It is tough to predict what will happen in a sport as chaotic as college basketball, but it is a safe bet to say that Marquette will sorely miss Howard’s elite scoring prowess next season and into the future.
  • Devon Dotson, Sophomore, Kansas (18.1 PPG, 4.0 APG, 46.8% FG). There has been a long lineage of great point guards to come through Kansas during Bill Self’s time in Lawrence — from Aaron Miles to Mario Chalmers to Sherron Collins to Tyshawn Taylor to Frank Mason to Devonte’ Graham, the Jayhawks have found success when they have a terrific floor general. Dotson became the next in line during a sophomore season that saw him lead the Jayhawks to being the consensus #1 team in the country. The dynamic scorer’s ability to breeze past defenders to get to the rim, coupled with his knack for hitting outside jumpers, led to him finishing the season as the Big 12’s leading scorer.
  • Udoka Azubuike, Senior, Kansas (13.7 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 74.8% FG). Another enormous bummer of the college basketball season being cut short is that we will never get to see a fully healthy Azubuike in the postseason. The dominant big man missed both his freshman and junior postseasons with injury and was hampered by a knee issue during his sophomore campaign. A convincing argument can be made that Azubuike was the most valuable player in the country this season — and that was never more evident than in his 23-point, 19-rebound effort in the Jayhawks’ win at Baylor on February 22. In a sport that has recently gone the way of guard play and perimeter shooting, the senior big man proved that having a force in the interior can still lead a team to the top of the rankings.

Second Team All-America

  • Payton Pritchard, Senior, Oregon (20.5 PPG, 5.5 APG, 41.5% 3FG). The Oregon point guard established himself as one of the country’s most clutch players during his final season in Eugene. When it was winning time, Pritchard came through time and time again. Whether it was his game-winning three-pointer in an overtime comeback win at Washington or his 38-point effort in an overtime win at Arizona, the Ducks knew they could rely on their floor leader to guide the team to victory. While he just made the second team here, Pritchard’s season was so impactful that it led to him becoming Oregon’s first consensus first-team All-American in 80 years.
  • Myles Powell, Senior, Seton Hall (21.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.9 APG). The Seton Hall senior finished off an illustrious career that saw him go down as one of the most dynamic scorers in program history. His offensive ability was one of the key reasons why the Pirates took home a share of their first Big East title since 1993. Powell’s ability to take over games was never more evident than in the game where he scored his 2,000th career point. Needing a second half run to knock off St. John’s on January 18, Powell put up 23 of his game-high 28 points in the second stanza to lead the Pirates to an 82-78 win.
  • Malachi Flynn, Junior, San Diego State (17.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, 2.0 SPG). San Diego State remaining unbeaten until February 22 was among the most unexpected occurrences this season. A major facet of the Aztecs’ historic year was the emergence of Flynn as a big time player. The Washington State transfer came through for Brian Dutcher’s squad all season, but never more than in the regular season finale when he tallied 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting to lead the Aztecs back from a nine-point halftime deficit to knock off Nevada.
  • Vernon Carey Jr., Freshman, Duke (17.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 57.5% FG). The National Freshman of the Year shined throughout his inaugural campaign in Durham. The athletic big man was a match-up problem throughout ACC play, as his knack for scoring around the rim left many opponents unable to prevent him from taking over the game. If Carey Jr. departs for the NBA, his last game in a Duke uniform was a memorable one, as he dropped 25 points and collected 10 rebounds in an 89-76 victory over archrival North Carolina.
  • Jalen Smith, Sophomore, Maryland (15.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 53.8% FG). The sophomore forward was electric all season for a Maryland team that took home a share of its first Big Ten title since joining the conference in 2014. Smith, affectionately known as Stix due to his slender frame, was a true terror for opponents due to both his prowess in the post and ability to step out and hit shots from the perimeter. Smith’s marquee performance of the season came in the January 26 comeback win at Indiana when he scored 29 points, drained four of six three-point attempts, and corralled 11 rebounds to lead the Terrapins to victory.

Third Team All-America

  • Cassius Winston, Senior, Michigan State (18.6 PPG, 5.9 APG, 44.8% FG). Winston will go down in Michigan State lore in the same rarefied air that accompanied past four-year Spartan standouts Mateen Cleaves and Draymond Green. Winston’s Senior Day sendoff following a win over Ohio State should give you an idea of how much he meant to the Michigan State program. In a senior season marred by an unthinkable personal tragedy, the heady point guard still found a way to excel on the hardwood while leading the Spartans to a share of the regular season Big Ten crown.
  • Jared Butler, Sophomore, Baylor (16.0 PPG, 3.1 APG, 1.6 SPG). Baylor was likely going to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. A substantial reason for that was Butler, who, on a team with no top recruits, established himself as one of the country’s premier playmakers. The Bears set a Big 12 record this season with 23 consecutive wins and Butler’s steady play led the way. The sophomore guard’s most notable performance came in Baylor’s first-ever win at Kansas on January 11, where he poured in 22 points and turned in a dominant defensive effort.
  • Tre Jones, Sophomore, Duke (16.2 PPG, 6.4 APG, 1.8 SPG). While classmates Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish departed Durham after one season, Jones returned to school and took on a much greater role in his sophomore campaign. The ACC Player of the Year boosted his scoring average from 9.4 points per game as a freshman to 16.2 points per game as a sophomore. He also compiled a 2.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and turned in an elite defensive season.
  • Filip Petrusev, Sophomore, Gonzaga (17.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 56.2% FG). Petrusev was the latest in Gonzaga’s acclaimed line of breakout performers. After a freshman season that saw him play just 11.4 minutes per game and average only 6.5 points and 2.7 rebounds, he exploded onto the scene as a sophomore, putting up 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds in 26 minutes per game. The forward’s standout performance occurred in Gonzaga’s regular season finale when his 27 points lifted the Bulldogs to a win over conference rival Saint Mary’s.
  • Jordan Nwora, Junior, Louisville (18.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 40.2% 3FG). The dynamic forward made his decision to bypass the NBA Draft last spring worth it with a junior season that saw Nwora lead the Cardinals in scoring, finish second in rebounding, and help the team to a second place finish in the ACC.

Honorable Mention: Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky; Daniel Oturu, Minnesota; Xavier Tillman, Michigan State; Yoeli Childs, BYU; Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State.

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Five Questions: Big East Tourney Preview Edition

Posted by Justin Kundrat & Brad Cavallaro on March 11th, 2020

We made it, everyone. From Feast Week to December’s lull to conference tip-off and a February with no shortage of complete mayhem, we’ve somehow arrived at March in one piece. The Big East Tournament starts this evening at MSG with no clear favorite and a whole host of questions in tow. Microsite writers Justin Kundrat and Brad Cavallaro are here to break it down.

Q: With Marcus Zegarowski’s status in flux, where does that leave Creighton? Can the Bluejays win the Big East Tournament and/or advance in the NCAA Tournament without their star point guard at full strength?

How Will Creighton Respond Without Marcus Zegarowski (USA Today Images)

JK: It’s not that Creighton isn’t still a contender for the Big East crown, but I am seriously reconsidering their status as the top dog. The Bluejays excel offensively with dribble penetration and floor spacing to enable kick-out threes, and Zegarowski is a key cog in breaking his man down. His sophomore campaign has resulted in 16.1 PPG and 5.0 APG, and he’s shooting an absurd 45.6 percent from deep in conference play. Not only that, but this team isn’t deep, ranking only 343rd nationally in bench minutes. Outside of Ty-Shon Alexander, there’s nobody else to run this offense! For a team that relies so heavily on crisp offensive execution, I’m worried about their performance this week without him. Let’s see how his status trends, but it might be safe to hold him out until next week.

Q: Providence is one of the hottest teams in the country after rattling off six straight wins. Do you see this hot streak extending into the postseason?

JK: I think so, but I’ll caveat that by saying I’ve been slow getting on the Friars’ recent bandwagon. Their defense has been tremendous and ranks second in efficiency, per Barttorvik, since February 1. Providence is a long team that possesses an uncanny ability to force teams into shots they don’t want to take, and that’s enough to give plenty of opponents a problem. Where they struggle: 1) a propensity to foul; and 2) efficient scoring. Luwane Pipkins has been great and Alpha Diallo is finally showing some maturity, but outside of that duo, the Friars’ offensive output has been unpredictable. If this team runs into a similarly lengthy team (which they won’t face in the conference except maybe against Villanova) that can stifle its robust offensive rebounding, what happens? The impending run will come down to match-ups, in my opinion.

Q: Who is your pick to win the Big East championship and why?

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Big East Bubble Watch: Volume III

Posted by Justin Kundrat on March 10th, 2020

There’s only one week to go, which means no more fringe teams. Georgetown has played its way out of the discussion following a pair of losses, while Providence has solidified its place in the NCAA Tournament by cleaning up its home games. We’re oh so close to Selection Sunday, so let’s do one more round of bubble watch before the Big East Tournament kicks off tomorrow. Below is Rush the Court’s second bubble evaluation of the Big East. All figures below are from WarrenNolan.com.

Locks

Two of the Best Big East Teams are NCAA Locks (USA Today Images)

Creighton: 23-7 (13-5); NET: 11; SOS: 18.
Villanova: 24-7 (13-5); NET: 13; SOS: 3.
Seton Hall: 21-9 (13-5); NET: 15; SOS: 4.
Butler: 22-9 (10-8); NET: 19; SOS: 45.
Providence: 19-12 (12-6); NET: 36; SOS: 8.

  • Analysis: Hello, Providence. While the first four teams on this list secured their place weeks ago, the Friars extended a four-game winning streak to six, thereby eliminating the potential for a bad loss. Ed Cooley’s group now stands at 19-12 overall with a 12-6 record in conference play, which includes seven Quad 1 wins and a NET rating that has climbed to 36th over the last week. What a run it’s been. With a match-up against Butler pending in the quarterfinals, a loss won’t be damaging enough to derail the Friars’ train.

Should Be In

Marquette: 18-12 (8-10); NET: 26; SOS: 6.

  • Analysis: Marquette did nothing to help its case in the last week and has, as a result, cast serious doubts over its Tournament status. Realistically, the Golden Eagles needed just one win to secure a spot, but instead further damaged their resume by adding a pair of losses at St. John’s and DePaul. The worst part? Those losses were by a combined three points. Neither is more than a Quad 2 loss, but now we have a team that’s lost six of its last seven games and is clearly spiraling. Their metrics (NET 26, SOS 6) are propping them up, but it’s hard to make the case that this team is playing like a tournament team. For better or for worse, Steve Wojciechowski’s group draws Seton Hall in the Big East quarterfinals, avoiding yet another potentially bad loss while giving it an opportunity to put all concerns to rest with a win. Would a loss against the Pirates cost them a bid? Unlikely, but the possibility is there.
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Inside the ACC Numbers: Final Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins on March 10th, 2020

Here is the final edition of our weekly view at the current ACC standings with a focus on which teams are playing better or worse than their conference records may indicate. We will also delve into some advanced metrics to share a few interesting notes on teams, statistics, and trends around the conference. With the regular season in the books, this week we will compare how each ACC squad performed in the second half of league play, with an eye on the teams that might excel in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. Finally, we will examine the ACC standings and project what it may mean for teams’ ultimate postseason aspirations.

Note: All numbers are current for games played through Saturday, March 8.

Current Standings

Congrats to Tony Bennett’s crew for posting the ACC’s best defense for the fourth year in a row, and for the sixth time in the past seven seasons. On the other end of the floor, Duke had the most effective offense for the first time since 2015, ending up with the best overall point per possession margin (PPM) in ACC play. That was primarily accomplished by a league record five conference wins by more than 30 points, and the fact that Duke faced the ACC’s easiest slate of league games. Virginia was able to match the Blue Devils in the win column with an incredible 8-2 mark in games decided by three points or fewer (or overtime). While there may be some luck involved in such a performance, there’s also the fact that Virginia simply executed better during endgame situations than did its opponents. That’s a trait that will give the Cavaliers confidence in the postseason. At the other end of the spectrum we find North Carolina, whose PPM performance would suggest a record close to .500, but the Tar Heels were done in by an unfortunate 0-6 mark in one-possession outcomes. But the biggest story of the regular season is Florida State. Hats off to Leonard Hamilton for leading the Seminoles to their first-ever ACC regular season title.

Advanced Statistic of the Week: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?

Heading into this week’s ACC Tournament, it’s a good time to compare recent team performance to how schools were playing earlier in the year. Below we break down the ACC season into two fairly even timeframes to see which squads have improved and which have regressed.

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2019-20 RTC16: Week 16

Posted by Walker Carey on March 9th, 2020

The final week of the regular season saw the resolution to many conference championship battles. In the SEC, #7 Kentucky secured the outright championship last week. In the Big 12, #1 Kansas clinched a share of the league title with a win over TCU on Tuesday and earned the outright crown with a win at Texas Tech on Saturday. The ACC saw #4 Florida Statewhich was picked to finish fifth in the preseason — take home the outright league title with wins over Notre Dame and Boston College coupled with #15 Louisville falling at Virginia. #14 Oregon used comfortable home wins over California and Stanford along with some help via UCLA and Arizona State losing to earn the outright Pac-12 title. The Big Ten and Big East races ended with three teams earning the privilege to hang a banner. #8 Michigan State, #13 Maryland and Wisconsin shared the Big Ten title while #9 Creighton, #10 Villanova and #12 Seton Hall split the Big East crown. This regular season was defined by the unexpected, so be on high alert for some surprises as the postseason hits its stride later this. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty is after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

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What’s Trending: Let’s Dance…

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on March 9th, 2020

What’s Trending is a column examining the week that was in college basketball social media. Matthew Eisenberg (@matteise) is your weekly host.

After a January 18 loss at Boise State, Utah State’s record fell to 14-6 (3-4 Mountain West) with a NET Ranking of 83rd and any bubble hope seemingly out of reach. After a stretch of winning 11 of its next 13 games, however, Utah State found itself playing for a Mountain West title over the weekend against San Diego State. After a tightly fought second half, the Aggies had possession with the score tied and the clock winding down…

Sam Merrill’s game-winner was his sixth made three of the game. The star guard played every second of the game, scored 27 points and helped carry the Aggies right into the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. The senior averaged 27.7 points per game in the MW Tournament and is the type of player than can definitely wreck opponent’s dreams next week.

While winning the Mountain West title would have capped a tremendous pre-NCAA Tournament season for the Aztecs, Jon Rothstein outlines below why San Diego State’s loss could end up benefitting the team in the long run. The roughly 125-mile trip from Viejas Arena to Staples Center definitely beats the 2,800 miles between San Diego and Madison Square Garden (if the Aztecs had gotten the #1 Seed in the East Region).

Belmont last year made the NCAA Tournament in head coach Rick Byrd’s final season leading the Bruins. Entering the season, the school needed to not only replace Byrd, but also the team’s two-leading scorers — Dylan Windler (21.3 PPG) and Kevin McClain (16.8 PPG). New head coach Casey Alexander began the season with a shaky loss to Illinois State and an even more surprising defeat at the hands of SIU-Edwardsville, but things started to click by OVC play. Down a point to Murray State on Saturday, Belmont went to a program classic, the backdoor cut. Like last year’s team, the Bruins are dancing.

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What’s Trending: Goodbye February, Hello March!

Posted by Matthew Eisenberg on March 3rd, 2020

What’s Trending is a column examining the week that was in college basketball social media. Matthew Eisenberg (@matteise) is your weekly host.

Three words that the entire college basketball community has been waiting for have finally been spoken. Take it away, Jon…

The look back at what transpired on the court last week begins with a piece of history, thanks to Dayton. Two minutes and ten seconds into the Flyers’ weekend game against Davidson, Dayton’s Jalen Crutcher missed a jumper. It would end up being the Flyers’ only miss from inside the three-point line for the entire game. Anthony Grant’s team would go on to make 27-of-28 from two-point range in their 82-67 win over Davidson, which, incidentially, also clinched the Atlantic 10 title.

Dayton leads the nation in effective field goal percentage and two-point field-goal percentage this season, and the Flyers are in position to become just the fifth team to shoot above 60 percent on their two-point attempts over the past 15 seasons. Dayton’s 59.7 percent effective field-goal percentage has only been topped in the past 15 seasons by the Lonzo Ball UCLA team of 2016-17. Of course, Dayton shooting those high percentages should not be surprising when Obi Toppin is doing this…

Big Ten-leading Maryland began the week by trailing Minnesota by 16 points at the half. Down by a pair with the clock winding its way towards zero, the ball made its way into the hands of junior Darryl Morsell. The Terps had gone 5-of-27 from beyond the arc before Morsell found the range for his first made three of the game…

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Big East Bubble Watch: Volume II

Posted by Justin Kundrat on March 3rd, 2020

With only about a week remaining until the Big East Tournament, things only continue to get more interesting (looking at you, Providence). There’s still plenty of bubble movement to monitor, but the upper-tier teams are all but locked in. Below is Rush the Court’s second bubble evaluation of the Big East. All figures below are from WarrenNolan.com.

Locks

Seton Hall: 21-7 (13-3); NET: 12; SOS: 10.
Creighton: 21-7 (11-5); NET: 13; SOS: 17.
Villanova: 22-7 (11-5); NET: 17; SOS: 3.
Butler: 20-9 (8-8); NET: 20; SOS: 35.

  • Analysis: Lock city with this group. At this point, it’s difficult to see any of these four teams missing the NCAA Tournament. Villanova, Seton Hall and Creighton are shaping up to be somewhere in the #2-#4 seed range, while Butler is a #5 or #6 seed in most brackets. Sure a loss here or there will hurt seeding, but there isn’t a scenario whereby any would miss the Tournament at this point. You can thank the strength of the Big East for providing so few opportunities for Q2/Q3 losses.

Should Be In

Markus Howard Likely Has His Team Dancing Again (USA Today Images)

Marquette: 18-10 (8-8); NET: 25; SOS: 4.

  • Analysis: A late season stumble hasn’t helped Steve Wojciechowski’s group secure a spot in the Tournament, but it would take a drastic collapse at this point for the Golden Eagles to miss out. However, with two road games at DePaul and St. John’s remaining, an opportunity exists for two more damaging losses and a first round Big East Tournament exit. Even if those losses are in the Q1 or Q2 category, the damage is more in the name and signalling (see Creighton’s loss at St. John’s). One more win would put this team into lock territory and ensure a 9-9 conference record without much NET slippage. Consider me shocked if they miss the Dance.
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2019-20 RTC16: Week 15

Posted by Walker Carey on March 2nd, 2020

In case you have not heard by now, “This is March.” With the calendar finally turning to college basketball’s premier month, the regular season is winding down. And continuing with the unexpected nature of this season, several ranked teams were once again tripped up by unranked foes over the weekend. #13 Duke was the week’s most notable victim. The Blue Devils’ first loss came last Tuesday at Wake Forest when they blew a nine-point lead with 1:21 to play in regulation and ended up losing by 12 in double-overtime. Mike Krzyzewski‘s group then suffered its second loss of the week on Saturday when it was unable to overcome Virginia’s stifling defense in a 52-50 defeat. #4 Baylor had developed a well-earned reputation as one of the surest things in the country this season, but that reputation took a hit Saturday when the Bears suffered their second defeat in three games at TCU. #8 Florida State and #11 Creighton also joined the party in suffering upset losses on the road with the Seminoles falling at Clemson and the Bluejays getting hit with a flurry of three-pointers in a 20-point loss at St. John’s. If the trend of ranked teams taking unexpected losses continues throughout the rest of this month, it is likely this March will go down as one to remember. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

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Ten Questions to Consider: Will Rematches Lead to Similar Results?

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on February 28th, 2020

The end of February and beginning of March is upon the college basketball world. As the number of days remaining in the regular season dwindles to single digits, the importance of each game grows. Here are 10 questions I have for some of the meaningful match-ups this weekend:

  1. Coming off of its late rally against Minnesota, will Maryland be ready for a full 40 minutes of Michigan State? (Michigan State @ Maryland, Saturday, 8 PM EST, ESPN) In the earlier match-up between these two teams in East Lansing, Maryland jumped out to an early 15-point lead before falling behind 60-53 with 3:24 to go. Anthony Cowan’s heroics from deep ultimately saved the Terps and led to pole position atop the Big Ten. It was a game in which Michigan State made just 21 percent of its three-point attempts.
  2. Will Penn State’s bench be a difference-maker as it looks to sweep Iowa? (Penn State @ Iowa, Saturday, Noon EST, Big Ten Network) The Nittany Lions’ bench is averaging 21.6 points per game over the team’s last five games. In their win against Iowa earlier in the season, the Penn State bench scored 46 of the team’s 89 points, while Iowa’s bench managed just eight points of its own.
  3. Will Marquette get productive showings from anyone other than Markus Howard? (Seton Hall @ Marquette, Saturday, 2:30 PM EST, Fox) In the first showdown between Markus Howard and Myles Powell this season, each dynamic scorer finished with more than 20 points (Howard: 27, Powell: 23). For Marquette, though, the rest of the team went just 3-of-11 from inside the arc, 6-of-19 from beyond it, and 4-of-9 at the charity stripe.
  4. After dropping its last two road games at NC State and Wake Forest, how does Duke fare at Virginia? (Duke @ Virginia, Saturday, 6 PM EST, ESPN) As Rush the ACC noted earlier in the week, Duke on the road has been a very different looking team compared to Duke at home. In Duke’s nine road ACC games, the Blue Devils have trailed after the opening 10 minutes in eight of those games. At home, Tony Bennett’s team has held its ACC opponents to an average of just 9.4 points in the opening 10 minutes of action.
  5. Can UCLA slow the Arizona offense again and gain a big win for its resume? (Arizona @ UCLA, Saturday, 10 PM EST, ESPN) In UCLA’s win at the McKale Center earlier this month, the Bruins held Arizona to just 52 points on 25.4 percent shooting from the field. It was the worst home shooting night in Arizona history. The Bruins limited Arizona freshman Nico Mannion to a season-low five points on 2-of-14 shooting.
  6. Will any defensive changes for Saint Mary’s work in slowing Gonzaga? (Saint Mary’s @ Gonzaga, Saturday, 10 PM EST, ESPN2) In Gonzaga’s lopsided win over the Gaels earlier in the year, Corey Kispert’s jumper at the 8:03 mark of the first half pushed the lead to 22 points as Gonzaga led 34-12. Mark Few’s squad made 16 of their first 17 shots from the field. The only thing that slowed Gonzaga in the opening minutes was turnovers, as the Bulldogs committed seven in the first 10 minutes.
  7. Will Auburn be able to win the battle of the backboard and free throw line on the road at Rupp? (Auburn @ Kentucky, Saturday, 3:45 PM EST, CBS) In Auburn’s home win over Kentucky on February 1, the Tigers were +11 in free-throw makes (33 FTM), +20 in free-throw attempts (44 FTA), +14 on the glass, and won the turnover battle. On the season, Kentucky has averaged 9.6 more made free throws at home than its opponents.
  8. Can Michigan keep winning on the road? (Michigan @ Ohio State, Sunday, 4 PM EST, CBS) After dropping its first four road tests in league play, Michigan has won its last four Big Ten tests away from the Crisler Center. In its loss against Ohio State earlier in the season, 31 of Michigan’s 60 field goal attempts were from three-point range, its highest three-point rate on the season, a rate much higher than its season average.
  9. Has Stanford stabilized itself after its tough midseason stretch? (Colorado @ Stanford, Sunday, 6 PM EST, ESPNU) The Cardinal have won three straight games after a stretch where it lost seven of eight. Stanford takes on a Colorado team it lost to earlier in the month. That match-up is remembered for a scary scene involving Oscar da Silva’s head injury. Since returning from the injury suffered in that game, da Silva has scored 15 or more points in each of his four games.
  10. Can Davidson ruin Dayton’s quest for A-10 perfection? (Davidson @ Dayton, Friday, 7 PM EST, ESPN2) Bob McKillop’s Wildcats are shooting an Atlantic 10 best 37.3 percent from beyond the arc in league play while also holding opponents to a league-low 44.2 percent on field goal attempts from inside the arc. Slowing Dayton is easier said than done as the Flyers lead in the nation in effective field goal percentage and two-point shooting percentage.

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