College basketball is often won on the margins, and rarely is that more evident than it was Saturday. No. 2 Kansas won a nail-biter by two after TCU pushed the Jayhawks to the brink (and may have won if not for a questionable flagrant foul late). No. 6 Kentucky escaped Gainesville and the O'Dome with a two-point win over Florida. And No. 17 Florida Atlantic -- a preseason top-10 team fresh off a Final Four last season -- lost by two to Charlotte. The Owls squandered a potentially legendary comeback by sending the 49ers to the foul line to win it in the final seconds. Less than a week into the new year, FAU is already in possession of a polarizing resume 

Of course, just because games are often won on the margins doesn't mean they're always won on the margins. And guess what? That was also plenty evident Saturday! Just ask Arkansas -- humbled at home in a 32-point beatdown at the hands of Auburn. Or West Virginia -- which went into Big 12 newcomer Houston's digs and got pummeled, 89-55. Even No. 22 Ole Miss flamed out in spectacular fashion as No. 5 Tennessee stunted to a 26-point victory in Knoxville.

There is no through line or conclusions we can draw from the games in totality, either. Big or small, wins and losses often happen at random. That's what makes this beautiful sport so much fun to follow.

There was a lot to follow on Saturday, though, and with the College Football Playoff finale on tap for Monday and the NFL regular season winding down, we won't fault you if you missed some of the action. But guess what? We didn't. We pored over results, grinded tape, and -- fresh out of the oven -- we have a whole host of winners and losers from the day that was to dole out.

Winner: Kansas magic keeps Jayhawks unbeaten at home

TCU led by two points with just under one minute to play, but a questionable Flagrant 1 foul called on Ernest Udeh (ironically, a former Kansas player) gave Hunter Dickinson two free throws and returned possession to the Jayhawks. Dickinson nailed both shots from the charity stripe and Dajuan Harris Jr. followed that up with a bucket to lift KU to an 81-79 lead. 

By definition, a Flagrant 1 is given when contact is deemed excessive in nature, unnecessary, unavoidable, uncalled for or not required by circumstances of the play. By video review, the Flagrant 1 on Udeh was …. questionable. Ultimately, it aided KU in avoiding a brutal home loss. At the very least it was a fair call, but horrific timing on a play that likely decided the outcome of the game. -- Boone

Winner: Bang for your buck for fans at La Salle-Fordham

Those who chose to start their day at Fordham to watch the Rams take on La Salle were given a little more than they bargained for. Before the noon ET tip, a lighting display used for pre-game warmups malfunctioned and could not shut off, causing the start of the game to be delayed.

Per the television broadcast, folks in charge of the festivities had to reboot the system that controls the music and light, which apparently resolved the issue and transformed the arena from a night club back to a regular gym shortly thereafter. 

The defective lighting system turned out to be a harbinger of things to come for the home Fordham Rams, though, as they fell 81-76. -- Boone

Loser: Florida's struggles vs. Kentucky in Gainesville

Kentucky's dominance over SEC rival Florida continued Saturday with a narrow 87-85 win in Gainesville, giving the No. 6 Wildcats their fifth-straight win over the Gators in the series and their sixth consecutive win inside the fearsome O'Dome. Florida didn't make it easy on UK – it led for the majority of the game, and even after relinquishing the lead late, managed to push things to the final whistle – but it was an impressive road outing from a young and inexperienced Kentucky team. It serves as a statement to the rest of the SEC about the Wildcats' placement in the conference hierarchy . -- Boone

Winner: Houston makes a statement in first Big 12 game

The Cougars had a great day for a multitude of reasons. Houston made a statement in its first conference game as a member of the Big 12 by blowing out West Virginia 89-55 at home. The Cougars also find themselves standing tall as the last undefeated team remaining in Division l by virtue of James Madison and Ole Miss losing. The Dukes lost on the road to Southern Miss earlier in the day and the Rebels suffered a 36-point defeat in Knoxville to Tennessee. Houston doesn't face a ranked opponent until they travel to Provo, Utah to face BYU on Jan. 23. -- Salerno

Winner: Seton Hall stays hot

If you didn't believe in what Shaheen Holloway is building at Seton Hall, maybe now is the time to start. The Pirates knocked off No. 7 Marquette 78-75 for their third win over a ranked Big East opponent in the last three weeks. Seton Hall has won five of its last six games. The lone loss came at the hands of Xavier in the second conference game of the season. The Big East appears to be wide open at the top and if Seton Hall continues this hot stretch, they could be in the NCAA Tournament come March. -- Salerno

Loser: James Madison suffers first loss

No. 19 James Madison's unbeaten start finally came to an end as the Dukes lost 81-71 at Southern Miss. The Dukes fell to 14-1, ending a magical run of victories that began with an opening night win at Michigan State. The Sun Belt did JMU no favors with the schedule. After opening league play with a home win over Texas State last Saturday, the first full week of conference play brought a challenging road trip. First, the Dukes outlasted reigning Sun Belt Tournament champion Louisiana 68-61 in a hotly contested game on Thursday night. Less than 48 hours later — and after a 215-mile bus trip — JMU was on the floor against the league's reigning regular season champion. James Madison made just 2 of 17 attempts from 3-point range and never led in the second half. -- Cobb

Winner: South Carolina might be legitimate

South Carolina's 12-1 start came against a nonconference schedule ranked No. 326 nationally by KenPom, creating skepticism over the Gamecocks' legitimacy as they welcomed Mississippi State to town for the SEC opener. Don't pencil South Carolina in for an NCAA Tournament bid just yet, but a 68-62 win over the Bulldogs certainly suggested that improvement from last year's 4-14 league mark is in store during coach Lamont Paris' second season. South Carolina dominated the glass and got to the free-throw line far more often than Mississippi State to atone for a deficit made field goals and shooting percentage. It was the sort of physical, gritty performance the Gamecocks will need to be competitive in a deep SEC. Perhaps there was something to that gaudy nonconference record after all. -- Cobb

Loser: Clemson is off to rough start in ACC play

No. 16 Clemson's 9-0 start included wins over four teams that played in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. But after falling 65-55 at home to No. 8 North Carolina, the Tigers have dropped three of their last five and are 1-2 in league play. Clemson entered the game ranked No. 13 nationally in 3-point percentage at 39% and No. 32 in made 3s per game at 9.7. The Tigers made a hilariously pitiful 1 of 18 attempts from beyond the arc against the Tar Heels. For a program that seems to perpetually live on the NCAA Tournament bubble, what started as a comfortable ride is starting to feel all too familiar. Maybe this is destined to be another bubbly campaign after all. -- Cobb

Winner: Tobacco Road rivals

You may know the series between Duke and North Carolina is known as the Tobacco Road rivalry -- but the Tobacco Road extends to NC State and Wake Forest, too. And it was a good day for all four on Saturday. No. 14 Duke outlasted Notre Dame on the road, No. 8 North Carolina held off No. 16 Clemson, NC State trounced a hot-and-cold Virginia team, and Wake Forest defeated Miami in an overtime thriller. It's been years since all four teams from the Carolinas have been this good and this entertaining. It bodes well for the state and for the ACC. -- Boone

Loser: Virginia suffers another setback in loss 

Virginia has gone cold. The rough stretch for Tony Bennett's program started with a narrow win over a Northeastern team that ranks No. 209 in KenPom and continued Saturday with a 76-60 loss to NC State. Virginia has lost three of its last five games. The two wins during that stretch have come over Morgan State and Louisville. The Cavaliers started 9-1 and now appear to be on a downhill trend to open up 2024. -- Salerno

Winner: Isaiah Collier's career day 

New year … new USC? After ending the calendar year losers of six of their last eight games, the Trojans are off to a 2-0 start in 2024 with wins over Cal and most recently, Stanford. USC star freshman Isaiah Collier scored a career-high 26 points and added four assists during a 93-79 win over the Cardinal. Boogie Ellis and Kobe Johnson combined to score 43 points. Bronny James knocked down a pair of free throws in his seventh game back with the team. -- Salerno

Loser: Arkansas may be irredeemable 

Arkansas has followed a similar script each of the past three seasons under coach Eric Musselman, struggling early in conference play with a revamped roster before gelling and to make a run to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.  This time, it feels different. The Razorbacks fell to 9-5 (0-1 SEC) with an 83-51 home loss to No. 25 Auburn while shooting just 31% from the floor. The visiting Tigers outscored Arkansas 46-21 in the second half. That sort of thing just doesn't happen at Bud Walton Arena. Typically, it's safe to blindly trust that Musselman will figure things out, press the right buttons and get his team playing at an elite level by mid-February. But the SEC is too tough and the Razorbacks' struggles too glaring to assume this season will follow a similar trajectory. It might be a long year in the Natural State. -- Cobb

Winner: St. John's beats Villanova on the road

St. John's beat Villanova on the road for the first time since 1993, leading wire-to-wire in an 81-71 win over the Wildcats. The loss was Villanova's first in Big East play, meaning everyone in the league has at least one conference lossafter just four games. At 11-4 (3-1 Big East), St. John's appears to be finding its form under first-year coach Rick Pitino. The Red Storm began the day as one of the last four in the projected NCAA Tournament field, according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm. After a big road win, their standing will only improve. -- Cobb