The Daily Roundup: Day 64

College Football came to an end last night, and instantly College Basketball took the entertainment value and increased it by a billion. Tuesday was about as good as you could get when looking at the sport as a whole. Remember how we had two undefeated teams coming into today, that is now over as Baylor, as well as USC both lost on Tuesday in surprising upsets. Auburn meanwhile made their mark as being a potential top team in the sport, as they went on the road and beat Alabama, while we had a couple game-winners as well. Let’s dive into the daily roundup from a fantastic Tuesday of College Basketball. 

Texas Tech stuns Baylor on the road, ending their perfect season

Coming into this matchup, Baylor was not only the undisputed #1 team in the sport and for good reason, but also they were also the last undefeated team in the sport. What happened Tuesday could be best described though as College Basketball at its finest, as the Bears fell at home to Texas Tech. The Bears got out to a good start, behind hot shooting from Adam Flagler, the lead was 9-0 just two minutes in and was 31-16 late in the first half, for all intensive purposes, most teams would’ve lied down and taken defeat. Mark Adams and Texas Tech are not most teams, as they locked down defensively and finished the first half on a 10-0 run to make it just a five-point lead at the half. 

The Red Raiders were able to tie the game at 33 early in the second half and they kept the pace pretty much throughout the second half while making sure Baylor didn’t get rolling offensively. The game came down to which teams would make the clutch shots, and in the end, that team was Texas Tech. Trailing 52-51, Bryson Williams hit a three, then Adonis Arms scored on a cut to the rim, while Kevin McCullar followed that up with a corner three. Adam Flagler helped make it close, but Adonis Arms’ dunk seemingly sealed the deal, while Baylor’s last possession resulted in 20 seconds of dribbling and a bad three-point attempt. 

Baylor may have lost, but they still are the top team in the sport at least by everything you would measure. They still rank #1 in pretty much every analytics site and Strength of Record, so while there’s early talk about Gonzaga now being the top team in the sport, that is a lazy and uneducated narrative. Eventually, the Bears were going to lose, this just happened to be their first slip up of what probably will be a few. The Bears struggled shooting the ball and went cold, while they were going against a Texas Tech team that is extremely tough and determined to win. This loss should say more about Texas Tech than it does about Baylor. 

Taking this from the Texas Tech angle, the Red Raiders backed up a signature win with an even bigger win. The return of Kevin McCullar certainly helped, as he made some incredible passes, and hit a big three to seemingly put the game away. Adonis Arms stepped up and had a big game scoring and facilitating, while the Kevin Obanor-Bryson Williams frontcourt, might be the most underrated in the sport. This team plays tough defense, underrated offensive pieces that can score with ease inside while having floor-spacing. Texas Tech is not going anywhere and might be a legitimate threat to win the Big 12 and make it to New Orleans. 

Auburn gets signature win at Alabama in the Iron Bowl

The first of two Iron Bowl Basketball matchups saw the Auburn Tigers go on the road to take on Alabama in what was one of the biggest matchups in the SEC all season. To this point, the Tigers have looked like the team to beat in the league, but a road game at Alabama is always tough, and this was no different. The Tigers led pretty much throughout the first half of a high-scoring game and did so despite Walker Kessler being in foul trouble. The Tigers kept it rolling and extended the lead to 73-59 heading into the under-8 timeout, it felt like the game was over but as they say, it isn’t over until it’s over. Alabama responded with a 14-0 run and tied the game at 73 heading into the under-4 timeout. Late in the game, it was KD Johnson’s layup, followed by clutch free-throw shooting and timely stops that helped Auburn come away with the 81-77 win. 

This is now Auburn’s best win of the season, as beating Alabama on the road is one of the more impressive victories out there this season. The Tigers did it too with Walker Kessler being in foul trouble as well, which did allow Jabari Smith room to have an incredible game, scoring 25 points, Wendell Green had a key 19 points off the bench and acted as a sparkplug for Auburn. This Tigers team still can beat teams in a variety of ways, they can win ugly, they can win a shootout, and any other way you could imagine. I would still rank Baylor #1 but if you were going to make an argument for someone else to be ranked #1, that team would be the Auburn Tigers. 

Harris’ layup helps Kansas avoid upset to Iowa State

In the best finish of the day, Kansas avoided a potential upset against Iowa State, beating the Cyclones 62-61 thanks to a DaJuan Harris layup. This was a game where Iowa State dictated a lot of the tempo of the game, which is part of why they were able to keep this game close. Ochai Agbaji had himself a great game, scoring 22 points and helping Kansas have the lead late, but by no means did Kansas look like itself in this game. The game came down to the wire, first Caleb Grill drilled a two with his toe on the line, to put Iowa State up one, Kansas responded by putting Ochai Agbaji in a position to attack the rim and draw contact for two go-ahead free throws. Izaiah Brockington went to work on the way back down the court, drilling a contested two, but Kansas rushed the ball up the court and DaJuan Harris got to the basket for a layup to put Kansas up by one, a lead that would hold as Iowa State missed a three at the buzzer. Kansas was without Remy Martin in this one, which certainly didn’t help matters, while David McCormack was still not good. Until they get those two playing like expected preseason, this Kansas team is susceptible of losing to anyone, luckily they have Ochai Agbaji who can win games almost by himself. 

USC falls to Stanford, ending perfect record

While Baylor losing was the last domino to fall en route to there being no undefeated teams left, USC’s loss to Stanford was the first. The Trojans went on the road to play Stanford in an awkward matchup, given everything surrounding the game. Stanford hadn’t played since having to leave the Diamond Head Classic due to Covid and subsequently going on pause, USC had played once since December 18th, and this game already had to be re-scheduled. Stanford leaned on their duo of Harrison Ingram and Spencer Jones, who both had 21 to ultimately lift them to their win against USC. The Cardinal now are slowly sneaking up towards Tournament contention, they have solid wins, although lack the metrics to back it up. As for USC, this team was overrated just a little bit, having not played anything resembling a tough schedule and beating everyone on it just doesn’t warrant a Top-5 ranking, if it makes USC fans feel better, UCLA is overrated as well and has done nothing to warrant their #3 ranking.

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