Around the Top 25 MBB: College basketball enters March 


March is here, but the last weekend of February showed that March may have arrived before the first conference tournaments were underway. Saturday included many game-winning plays in what was one of the best college basketball regular season days in recent memory. We’ll highlight all of that as we enter March for the final week of the regular season. 

Best Games 

No. 10 Marquette edges No. 19 Creighton, 73-71 

After a huge game in Omaha last week, it seemed that Marquette would clinch their first Big East regular season title since 2013. Kam Jones put up a game-high 19 points as the Golden Eagles put the Bluejays away with a jumper by Tyler Kolek with 29 seconds remaining. 

Arizona State stuns No. 7 Arizona at the buzzer, 89-88 

For the craziness on Saturday, we will begin in Tucson, where Desmond Cambridge heaved a half-court buzzer beater to give the Sun Devils the rivalry win on the road. Cambridge had a season-high performance with 19 points. Arizona’s starting lineup was strange, with Ąžuolas Tubelis coming off the bench. 

Florida State upsets No. 13 Miami (FL) with buzzer-beating 3, 85-84 

Florida State stormed back after being down 25 points early in the second half. Miami was hoping to keep their undefeated home record alive, but Matthew Cleveland had other plans as he hit a three-pointer from the logo to stun the Hurricanes in Coral Gables. Florida State’s huge victory over Miami is an unforgettable moment in a forgettable season. 

No. 3 Kansas holds on to defeat West Virginia, 76-74 

Thanks to a 17-point performance from Dajuan Harris, the Jayhawks were able to hold off the Mountaineers in Lawrence on Saturday. Erik Stevenson led West Virginia with 23 points, but the ball was in Joe Toussaint’s hands in the final seconds of the game. However, Toussaint traveled on the final possession, giving Kansas the narrow win. 

No. 22 San Diego State ends a wild Saturday with a buzzer-beating victory at New Mexico, 73-71 

A ranked team was on the winning side of a buzzer beater, with Lamont Butler giving the Aztecs a two-point victory over New Mexico at The Pit. The loss puts New Mexico’s bubble in jeopardy, as they might need to win the Mountain West Tournament to go dancing. 

Best Performances 

Brandon Miller, F, Alabama (at South Carolina: 41 pts, 8 reb, 3 stl, 2 blk, 6 3pt) 

After controversy surrounded him, Miller decided to take that anger and put it into a career-high 41 points, including the game-winning basket as Alabama barely got past South Carolina in Columbia. He’s one of the best players in the country, and should have received SEC Player and Freshman of the Week honors for his performances. 

J’Wan Roberts, F, Houston (at East Carolina: 17 pts, 12 reb, 4 blk) 

Houston’s best player is Marcus Sasser, but along with his strong performances game after game comes Roberts, who was a force on both ends of the court in the blowout win at East Carolina. He shoots over 65% from the field and will be just as important as Sasser is at making a run in the NCAA Tournament. 

Jalen Hood-Schifino, G, Indiana (at Purdue: 35 pts, 7 reb, 14-24 fg) 

Trayce Jackson-Davis wasn’t the star he normally is, but he didn’t need to be as other Hoosiers stepped up in Indiana’s biggest road game of the season. Hood-Schifino averages over 13 points per game and has come up big in each game. He didn’t look like a freshman on the floor, but that has been the trend the entire season. The Pittsburgh native had his career high in points and will be crucial in how far the Hoosiers go. 

Tyler Kolek, G, Marquette (vs. DePaul: 22 pts, 14 ast, 2 stl) 

Kolek may have locked the Big East Player of the Year award up as he continues to look like the best point guard in college basketball. The Cumberland, Rhode Island native ranks second in the nation in assists per game at 7.8, and 14 assists was just one away from his career high. 

Ed Croswell, F, Providence (at Georgetown: 25 pts, 13 reb, 6 ast, 3 stl) 

Yes, Zach Edey is not mentioned this week. It may shock you, but there were five performances better than what Edey did in the past few games. Croswell wraps up the list with a career-high 25 points on Sunday in Washington, D.C. The Philadelphia native averages over 13 points per game and is 14th in the nation in field goal percentage at 61.7%. Bryce Hopkins and Devin Carter may be the two most valuable players on Ed Cooley’s roster, but the Friars won’t get far in March without help from their big man. 

Upcoming Games 

No. 19 Xavier at No. 20 Providence (6:30 p.m., FS1) 

Speaking of Providence, they begin the month of March with a huge battle tonight against Xavier, a team that looks to still be without Zach Freemantle. The Friars will clinch a top-3 seed in the Big East Tournament if they can win in their next two games, both at home. Can Xavier put an end to Providence’s perfect home record? We’ll find out tonight. 

No. 9 Texas at No. 22 TCU (9 p.m., ESPN2) 

Tonight is Senior Night for the Horned Frogs, hosting in-state rival Texas in one of the final guaranteed matchups between the two programs before Texas leaves for the SEC. TCU must win tonight to stay in the race for a top-3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, as they are two games out of third place in the loaded conference. The Longhorns have won eight of the last nine games against the Horned Frogs, a sign that points in the direction of a bounce-back win after falling to Baylor on Saturday. Two of the best guards in the conference face off again: Texas’s Marcus Carr and TCU’s Mike Miles Jr. 

No. 2 Alabama at No. 24 Texas A&M (Saturday, 12 p.m., CBS) 

Texas A&M entered the top 25 and moved up a spot on Monday after beating Tennessee last week. However, Alabama comes to town as one of the best teams in the country. Both teams have won four of their last five games, setting up a big noon game on the last Saturday of the regular season. 

No. 3 Kansas at No. 9 Texas (Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN) 

Jalen Wilson has been one of the best forwards in college basketball, and he could make one last argument for Big 12 Player of the Year with Saturday’s road matchup at Texas. The Jayhawks came out on top last time, led by Gradey Dick’s 21-point performance nearly a month ago. Texas wants revenge, but this will be tough against the defending national champions. 

No. 8 Arizona at No. 4 UCLA (Saturday, 10 p.m., ESPN) 

Stay up for this one. I promise it will be a good one as the top two Pac-12 teams battle at Pauley Pavilion as the nightcap of a loaded Saturday. The two best players in the conference will be on the floor: Arizona’s Tubelis and UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. This could potentially determine who wins Pac-12 Player of the Year. The Bruins fell to the Wildcats in Tucson, but they can get revenge and continue their winning streak if they beat both Arizona State and Arizona to wrap up their regular season. 

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