Alabama fell on Saturday night to Arkansas 76-73, dropping them to 17-12 overall and 8-8 in conference. After a tough road stretch where Alabama lost on the road to Auburn and Kentucky, Alabama couldn’t get back in the win column on Saturday. A few missed free throws by Collin Sexton and Donta Hall late cost the Tide a valuable chance to send the game to OT. The starters for Bama combined to score 62 of their 73 points. Arkansas opened up the game by taking the lead 7-0 and controlled almost all of the first half. The second half was much more back and forth, but Arkansas had an 8-point lead with 3:21 left and the Tide couldn’t quite comeback. Real tough loss for Bama as they welcome in Florida, to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday, desperate for a win.
As for the rest of the college basketball landscape, how about Arizona. A report came out on Friday that the FBI had wire tapped recordings of Sean Miller telling his star big man Deandre Ayton that he would pay him $100,000 to convince him to commit to Arizona. Miller didn’t coach in the Wildcats game on Saturday against Oregon, but Ayton did play and man did he play well. 28 points, 18 rebounds, and 4 blocks in a losing effort against the Ducks. There are 25 other schools linked to this Yahoo! report of more teams paying players for them to play for their school. It will be really interesting to see what Arizona decides to do with Miller and if anything comes out about other teams paying some of their star players.
In some more positive news, Kansas clinched at least a share of their 14th straight BIG 12 title. No, that is not a typo. After a nail biting 74-72 win over Texas Tech on Saturday Bill Self and the Jayhawks yet again will head into the BIG 12 tournament as the number one seed in a couple weeks. In other Big 12 news, Oklahoma finally ended their losing streak after a nice win over Kansas State at home. Trae Young poured in 28 points with 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
One team who helped themselves this week was Creighton. Villanova is such a tough team to beat in the regular season, and even though it took overtime Creighton made some huge plays down the stretch to pull away and take down Nova, 89-83. Also, maybe the most bizarre stat I saw all day was that Pittsburgh scored 7 POINTS in the FIRST HALF against Virginia. Virginia’s stifling defense is well documented, but 7 points? My goodness. Pittsburgh falls to 0-16 in ACC play and Kevin Stallings it seems like is coaching in his last 3 games as the Panthers head coach.
On Thursday the calendar turns to March and next Saturday is the last regular season Saturday of the year. This is when college basketball is at it’s best. Things are just starting to get good.