Sunday and Monday were both not very busy so what I did was combine both days and will just be doing a daily roundup for both days in one. This might be something I try out going forward but I’m still not sure about that. Either way, let’s dive into the two-day roundup, which will start at the top with Monday’s action and one of the games of the year in Kansas against Texas Tech
Kansas survives Texas Tech in double overtime
In what is easily the game of the year in Big 12 play thus far, Kansas squared off against Texas Tech, hoping to extend their lead in the Big 12 race, while Texas Tech was hoping to tie, as well as become just the third team to sweep Kansas in the regular season. For both programs, there was a lot on the line, the crowd delivered, and the game over-delivered. Let’s start it from the beginning.
The game was pretty close early on, but really changed when Remy Martin came into the game, he made a couple of great passes and was game-breaking this Tech defense. His energy and speed helped key Kansas to go up six at the half. In the second half, Kansas began to pull away and when Ochai Agbaji finished a lob play with 6:30 left, the game seemed over as Kansas was up by 12. Texas Tech wouldn’t go away like most teams though, as they battled back to get in the game. Kevin Obanor made a couple of clutch baskets, and a Davion Warren drilled a three to cut it to 4. Obanor made two straight baskets, but Kansas still lead by 2, needing a stop to put the game away, after forcing a miss, Ochai Agbaji got the rebound but had his hand hit out of bounds. Terrence Shannon got to the line and Texas Tech tied the game and forced overtime after getting a stop.
In overtime, Texas Tech took early control thanks to Bryson Williams and Kevin Obanor, who scored the first eight points of overtime for Texas Tech. The teams exchanged goaltends, but after Agbaji missed a free throw, Mylik Wilson had two free throws to put Tech up 4, but only went 1 of 2. Kansas responded by being patient and getting a look for Ochai Agbaji, who drilled the game-tying three for his 36th point of the night and to force double overtime. The two teams seemed somewhat gassed in double overtime and neither got good shots, but it was rebounding that seemingly made the difference, Kansas scored on a KJ Adams tip-in, the Jayhawks also got an offensive rebound on a miss while up 1, which helped Kansas go up 3, which was enough to win the game 94-91.
This is now Kansas’ fourth one-possession win in Big 12 play alone, and all of them had either a game-tying or game-winning shot in them. The Jayhawks now have a two-game lead on Texas Tech atop the Big 12 standings and a one-game lead over Baylor for first place. They may not have looked incredible in these games, but when it comes to winning a league title, winning these close games will go a long way towards winning the league title. For Texas Tech this was an incredible effort, most teams would give up when down 12 with five minutes left, but they found a way to force overtime and are a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12. This game seemed to be the signature performance for Ochai Agbaji and might have been what moves him to the top of the National Player of the year race, 37 points including the game-tying basket to force double overtime is fantastic, at this point it is either Agbaji or Johnny Davis. Bryson Williams deserves credit as well, he scored 33 points and was basically keeping Texas Tech in the game, to begin with, while his overall presence offensively helped Tech get other guys involved. What a game.
Louisville falls again at Virginia
It should be no surprise that Virginia beat Louisville, it happens pretty much every single time that these two teams play, no matter who the coach is. It was the way it happened and what has become of Louisville that has to be the most concerning. The Cardinals were never really in this game, the Cavaliers aren’t ever going to blow teams out, but the game was in their control throughout. The Cardinals simply don’t look like they want to win, Malik Williams gave no comment to a question about whether the players respond to the coaching staff and that’s about all you need to know. Minus something unexpected, it appears that the Louisville job will be available for the second time in four years.
Michigan gets on track against Indiana
For much of this season, we have waited for the pieces to come together for Michigan, Sunday it looked like that finally became the case. The Wolverines went into Assembly Hall, a building that just saw Purdue lose on Thursday, and came out with a dominating victory. Hunter Dickinson dominated the game inside, the key though was the outside shooting. Caleb Houstan had one of his best games, scoring 19 points on 5-7 shooting from deep, DeVante Jones played his role running the point, and Terrence Williams provided some scoring from the bench. The question now remains whether they can sustain this going forward. For Indiana, they’re fine, it’s a prime letdown spot after their biggest win in years. I never bought into the Top-25 hype even with that win and Indiana seems to be destined for an 8-9 game because of their inconsistent play.
Lewis propels Marquette to another quadrant one win
There are surprises that happen in College Basketball, but the undeniable biggest surprise in the Big East has been the start from Marquette. The Golden Eagles were expected to finish near the bottom of the Big East and maybe get into the NIT. Instead, they are beating the Big East’s best and are just about locked into the NCAA Tournament. After having a big game to lead Marquette past Villanova, Justin Lewis had a 20 point, 13 rebound performance as the Golden Eagles pulled away from Xavier. The impressive part is the buy-in that Shaka Smart has gotten, aside from Justin Lewis, this is a team of blue-chip players that aren’t going to the NBA, but everyone buys into their roles, plays great defense and that has resulted in this success.