Wednesday’s are truly the hump day of the week. No premier matchups but plenty of games to discuss and roundup from the day that had plenty of action. I will first begin on the situation at Louisville.
Chris Mack officially is out at Louisville
The biggest story of the day has to be that the Chris Mack era at Louisville officially came to an end on Wednesday. Mack received $4.8 million as part of the buyout while Mike Pegues will take over as the coach on an interim basis. Look it wasn’t going well, so much so that the players weren’t responding to Mack and when that happens it’s pretty much over. With Mack already being in trouble and missing six games due to the Dino Gaudio exit, his seat had been warming but at Louisville being around .500 was never going to work. It stinks for Mack that he had a Top-15 team and didn’t get a Tournament and most Bracketologists had them in a season ago, if either of those bad breaks don’t go against him, maybe this isn’t happening, but alas the Mack era is officially over.
It remains to be seen who Louisville will hire as their next head coach, while they will make an attempt at many different names, I think they will try to get bigger named guys like Bruce Pearl or Nate Oats but will eventually land on Chris Holtmann of Ohio State, whose buyout lowers following this offseason.
Providence stuns Xavier on Bynum’s three
There is winning on the road in conference play, then there’s winning on the road on a game-winning shot and the second feels even better. Providence had led this game pretty much the whole way, but Paul Scruggs hit a three to put Xavier on top, while Providence tied it back up on free throws. On the last stretch, Scruggs missed a go-ahead jumper clearing room for Providence to shoot the game-winning shot attempt and they got the ball to Jared Bynum who launched and drilled the game-winning three. Providence is now 17-2 overall and 7-1 in Big East play, good for first in the league standings. They still have games to make up later and a long road ahead, but having the lead this late into the season is a credit to how great Ed Cooley’s team has been and why he should get some National Coach of the year buzz.
Charlie Moore stuns Virginia Tech at the buzzer
How about this Miami team, they aren’t overly talented, they don’t jump off the page in any sort of metric rankings but they just find ways to win. The Hurricanes trailed much of the second half to Virginia Tech and were trailing 75-70 with two minutes left, but they made a run. Jordan Miller hit a layup to move within three, Isaiah Wong drew contact and made three free throws to tie the game and we seemed poised for overtime, although Miami called timeout with 1.8 seconds left. That’s when the play of the night took place as Charlie Moore drilled a halfcourt shot to stun the Virginia Tech Hokies crowd and give Miami a quadrant one win. Look it never looks easy and Miami certainly doesn’t have great metric rankings but winning accounts for a lot and right now that’s all Miami does.
Davidson’s 15-game win streak comes to an end
The Wildcats had one of the most impressive win streaks of the season as they have won 15-straight games and were rolling towards the top of the Atlantic 10. This matchup with VCU would present them with a challenge and one VCU wanted to get revenge for as they fell 63-61 just a week ago. The Rams led pretty big going into the final stretch but a 14-0 run cut the lead down to one. Luka Brajkovic had two chances to win, but was called for a charge down one, and had his game-winning three-point attempt blocked by Mikeal Brown-Jones. Davidson had played a lot of close games and while they were winning, they were due for the result to go the other way as it did in this game. They still are in a position to make the NCAA Tournament despite the loss.
LSU holds off Texas A&M
In what was a really close SEC matchup between two solid SEC schools Texas A&M went on the road hoping to get a marquee win against LSU. The Aggies seemed poised to get it as well as they lead 62-57 entering the under-4 timeout, but LSU was the tougher team down the stretch. After some free throws, Mwani Wilkinson drilled the game-tying three-pointer. Texas A&M missed and LSU got the ball back, but not before LSU guard Eric Gaines took a noticeable bump to the head, which may have given him a concussion. Gaines stayed in and drew a foul while making two free throws to give LSU the lead. Gaines then blocked a game-tying shot on the other end and after free throws, LSU won 70-64. The Tigers still will need to get Xavier Pinson back to look like themselves but it is huge to get this type of gutty win without him.
Marquette adds another quadrant one win at Seton Hall
Count them up, Marquette now has won seven consecutive games and has just about locked up an at-large bid after they won at Seton Hall. The Golden Eagles have gotten off to an incredible start in the Shaka Smart era but the question has been how much of this is just early success but an eventual regression to the mean. Well that seems to be thrown out as the Golden Eagles won once again, this time handily at Seton Hall. Justin Lewis continues to look like one of the premier players in the Big East, he scored 33 in this game, while the Marquette freshmen continue to step up for this team. For Seton Hall, this is a rough stretch that has put them closer towards the bubble, they’re still in for now but need to get back on the right track sooner rather than later.
Iowa State ends road losing-streak
This was certainly not one of the bigger games of the day, but Iowa State found a way to end a streak that had gone on for far too long as they ended their 24-game Big 12 road losing streak. The Cyclones did so against what might be the worst Big 12 team in Oklahoma State, played poorly for most of the game, but found a way to force overtime. Leading by one, Iowa State turned it over and Moussa Cisse dunked the ball to seemingly give Oklahoma State the lead, but it was a goaltend. Iowa State held on for the 84-81 victory and the streak was over. Izaiah Brockington had 26 points which were key for the Cyclones in their victory.