Chaos reigned supreme across the college basketball landscape as seven ranked teams fell to unranked teams in a shakeup Saturday of stupendous proportions.
No. 2 Alabama was the (unfortunate) poster child of such chaos as the Crimson Tide -- No. 3 in scoring margin among power conference teams headed into the weekend -- got flattened by Oklahoma by 24 points on the road in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Here's how the final SEC/Big Challenge played out:
SEC/Big 12 Challenge
Big 12 wins 7-3
|West Virginia 80, No. 15 Auburn 77
|Oklahoma 93, No. 2 Alabama 69
|Texas Tech 76, LSU 68
|Missouri 78, No. 12 Iowa State 61
|Mississippi State 81, No. 11 TCU 74
|No. 17 Baylor 67, Arkansas 64
|No. 4 Tennessee 82, No. 10 Texas 71
|No. 5 Kansas State 64, Florida 50
|No. 9 Kansas 77, Kentucky 68
|Oklahoma State 82, Ole Miss 60
Oh, [Billy Mays voice] but wait, there's more!
Monmouth -- which had the fewest wins of all Div. I teams entering Saturday -- defeated North Carolina A&T by 15 points as a double-digit underdog. Meanwhile, No. 18 Charleston -- which had the most wins of all Division I teams entering Saturday -- lost in a stunner to Hofstra, ending what was the longest winning streak in college basketball at 20 games.
That's but a sampling of the madness that arose in college basketball from a wild day. Here is a look at the others with some of the day's biggest winners and losers.
Winner: Tennessee gets hot
No. 4 Tennessee's defensive reputation is well-known — the Volunteers rank No. 1 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency at kenpom.com — but their offense has been a source of concern at times this season. In an 82-71 win over No. 10 Texas, offense carried the day. The Vols shot 55.6% from the floor led by a career-high 27 points from Olivier Nkamhoua and 22 from Zakai Ziegler. The win marked a bit of revenge for Tennessee, which dropped a 52-51 thriller at Texas last season as coach Rick Barnes returned to the school where he spent 17 seasons. The Longhorns have struggled to find consistency since Barnes' tenure ended while the Volunteers appear destined to be a No. 5 seed or better in the NCAA Tournament for a fifth time in Barnes' eight season with the program.
Winner: Kansas dominates offensive glass
No. 9 Kansas beat Kentucky at its own game in a 77-68 win inside Rupp Arena as the Jayhawks used an 11-0 advantage in second-chance points to snap a three-game losing streak. Kentucky entered the game ranked No. 5 nationally in offensive rebounds per game at 14 while Kansas ranked No. 145 in the same category at 10.7 per game. With the Jayhawks relying on an undersized center in KJ Adams Jr. and the Wildcats boasting one of the game's top rebounder in Tshiebwe, it seemed UK would have an obvious advantage on the glass. Instead, it was Kansas that dominated in that regard.
Loser: Kentucky goes cold
The Wildcats entered their loss to Kansas on a four-game winning streak that had changed the trajectory of their once-directionless season. However, a developing problem bubbled to the surface and haunted the Wildcats on Saturday as they hit just 2 of 13 attempts from 3-point range. After shooting 35.4% from beyond the arc in their first 16 games, UK is shooting just 24.1% from 3-point range over its last five contests. Unless Antonio Reeves and CJ Fredrick find their perimeter stroke again, the Wildcats risk losing the progress they made over the past two weeks.
Winner: Arizona finds top gear
No. 6 Arizona has looked like an elite, well-oiled machine at times this season and also had moments when it has looked disjointed and vulnerable. The Wildcats put the better version of themselves on display in a 95-72 thrashing of Washington. Azuolas Tubelis scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Arizona outscored the Huskies 57-36 in the second half for a fourth straight win. Arizona turned the ball over just twice in the second half, made 7 of 16 attempts from 3-point range, hit 10 of 11 free throws and won the battle of second-chance points 10-0. It was a near-perfect half and it was a reminder of how scary the Wildcats can be when at their best.
Winner: K-State's Johnson beats old team
The prospect of Keynotae Johnson playing college basketball again seemed bleak in the months after he collapsed on the court while playing for Florida early in the 2020-21 season. The idea that he would one day suit up against the Gators seemed even more improbable. But that's what happened Saturday as Johnson and No. 5 Kansas State beat Florida 64-50. Johnson finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Wildcats jumped out to a 37-16 halftime lead and cruised to a stress-free win.
Loser: Sky is falling on Ohio State
The sky fell on Ohio State during its 86-70 loss at Indiana. Literally. A piece of metal fell from somewhere above the court at Assembly Hall and narrowly missed striking Ohio State freshman star Brice Sensabaugh at halftime. OSU coach Chris Holtman told reporters that he inquired about a delay or postponement of the game. But to no avail. The Buckeyes dropped to 11-10 (3-7 Big Ten) with the loss, which was their seventh of the past eight games. At this rate, Ohio State should consider asking for a postponement of the rest of the season.
Winner: Clemson survives again
Clemson trailed 81-79 at Florida State when Chase Hunter took an inbounds pass on the opposite end of the floor with 8.5 seconds left and took off with a full head of steam. Instead of looking for a go-ahead 3-pointer, he took FSU defender Matthew Cleveland to the basket off the dribble and banked in a contested lay-up.
As the ball went through the basket, the whistle sounded. It was a foul call on Cleveland, which sent Hunter to the line with a chance to put the Tigers ahead. He drilled the free throw, and Clemson held on for yet another dramatic victory. Last Saturday, it was Hunter Tyson who was the hero in a 51-50 win over Virginia Tech.
This time it was Hunter as the Tigers improved to 18-4 (10-1 ACC) and maintained their edge in the ACC standings. Despite its gaudy record, Clemson entered as just a projected No. 10 seed in Jerry Palm's Bracketology. A loss to the struggling Seminoles would have been a bad look. But thanks to their penchant for late-game heroics, the Tigers stayed in the win column for their 10th time in the past 11 games.
Loser: Miami goes cold in loss to Pitt
No. 20 Miami took a 68-60 on Pittsburgh lead with 2:26 remaining until disaster struck. The Hurricanes choked in epic fashion as the Panthers closed on an 11-0 run for an improbable and much-needed 71-68 win. Pitt entered the day as one of the "Last 4 In" the projected NCAA Tournament field according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm. Pitt won the battle of second-chance points by a whopping 17-2 margin and has now won four of its past five games, improving to 15-7 (8-3) in what has been a redemption campaign for the program under embattled fifth-year coach Jeff Capel.
Winner: West Virgina gets a bubble win
West Virginia entered the day as one of the "First 4 Out" of Jerry Palm's Bracketology and emerged with a critical Quad 1 victory as the Mountaineers outlasted No. 15 Auburn 80-77. Erik Stevenson piled up 31 points to lead the Mountaineers as he drilled 7 of 10 attempts from 3-point range in critical victory.
Winner: Baylor rounding into form
No. 17 Baylor blew an 11-point lead and then came back from an eight-point deficit in a 67-64 win over Arkansas that featured some wild momentum swings. Now, all of the sudden, the Bears are winners of six straight and sitting pretty at 16-5 overall. Keynote George keyed Baylor with 24 points and LJ Cryer added 20 as the Bears' backcourt continued to look like one of the nation's best. This team faded from the national radar following a three-game losing streak to begin Big 12 play but appears to be rounding into form with the potential return of big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua looming as a possibility at some point in the days ahead.
Loser: VCU takes bad loss
VCU entered the day as a projected No. 12 seed in Jerry Palm's Bracketology but suffered a Quad 4 home loss by falling 61-58 against a St. Bonaventure team that entered the day ranked No. 184 in the NET. The Rams (16-6, 7-2 A-10) entered on a six-game winning streak that featured five double-digit victories but made just 2 of 16 attempts from 3-point range and only 10 of 18 free throws. Defense was also an issue in the second half as St. Bonaventure shot 56% from the floor and drilled 5 of 6 long-range attempts after the break.
Winner: Creighton turning corner
Following a meltdown of shocking proportions at the end of November and the start of December, preseason top-10 Creighton is slowly but surely rounding into form with the look of a top-10 team in the sport. The Bluejays pounded Big East-leading and No. 13-ranked Xavier 84-67 on Saturday for their fourth consecutive win to move to within 1.5 games of the conference's top spot in the regular-season race. The hole they put themselves in early with a 3-3 start in conference play may be too difficult to overcome for a league title, but it's clear this talented roster is finding its confidence and seems to be rolling into the stretch part of the season full steam ahead.
Winner: Julian Strawther goes off
Entering an 82-67 win at Portland, Gonzaga's Julian Strawther owned a career-high of 23 points. Strawther matched that total in the second half alone as the 6-foot-7 wing exploded for 40 total points. He drilled 8 of 12 shots from 3-point range as the No. 14 Zags improved to 18-4 (7-1 WCC).
Loser: BYU suffers another crushing loss
Speaking of Strawther, he was the first player to rip BYU's heart out with a game-winning shot back on Jan. 12 when his deep 3-pointer to lift Gonzaga to a 75-74 win over the Cougars. Saint Mary's guard Aidan Mahaney became the second to do it on Saturday night as he drilled a jumper with 0.3 seconds left to lift the No. 22 Gaels to a 57-56 win. Saint Mary's improved to 18-4 (7-0) with the win as Mahaney continued an illustrious freshman campaign.
Loser: Charleston's winning streak ends
The longest active winning streak in college basketball came to an unceremonious end on Saturday as No. 18 Charleston fell at home as a 9-point favorite to Hofstra 85-81. The loss, which moved Hofstra to within one game of the CAA's regular-season No. 1 spot, was Charleston's first in more than two months after falling to North Carolina in its second game of the season, only to reel off 20-straight in the win column since.
Winner: FAU takes Charleston's place
What was Charleston's loss (literally) was FAU's win (also literally!) as Florida Atlantic with a 70-63 win over Western Kentucky extended its winning streak to 20 games and took Charleston's spot as the team with the longest winning streak in the sport. No. 21 FAU improved to 21-1 on the season and remained perfect in Conference USA play with a perfect 11-0 league record.
Loser: Georgia Tech struggling under Pastner
Year 7 for Josh Pastner at Georgia Tech went from bad to humiliating in an 86-43 home loss to Duke as the Yellow Jackets suffered their seventh straight loss and fell to 8-13 (1-10 ACC). Georgia Tech shot just 30.9% from the floor and got manhandled 44-12 in paint points. Of the Yellow Jackets' 10 league losses, nine have come by double digits, and it's a near certainty that the season will conclude with Pastner still lacking an NCAA Tournament victory at the school. The 2021 team that won the ACC Tournament — though it played only two games in the event due to COVID-19 issues with other teams — bought Pastner some goodwill. But after a 12-20 campaign in 2021-22 and this horrendous clunker of a season, the reasons for Georgia Tech to continue with Partner are running thin.
Winner: NC State finally gets another Quad 1 win
NC State made just 8 of 17 free throws and somehow managed to pick up a Quad 1 road victory anyway as the Wolfpack outlasted Wake Forest 79-77. D.J. Burns led NC State with 31 points on a whopping 14 of 26 shooting, and the big man would have scored even more if he'd made more than 3 of 8 attempts from the charity stripe. Nevertheless, the win was huge for the Wolfpack as it marked just their second Quad 1 victory. NC State entered the day as a projected No. 7 seed in Jerry Palm's Bracketology and needed a little meat on the resume to give itself margin for error. Saturday's win provided it.
Winner: Bethune-Cookman wins it to cap chaotic week
With Bethune-Cookman's football program, the basketball team took it upon itself to provide a positive highlight. And boy did it deliver exactly that to cap what must have been an exhausting week for Wildcats basketball coach Reggie Theus, who is also the B-CU athletic director and in charge of dealing with the issues in the football program.
The Wildcats won 64-62 on a last-second shot over Alabama State at home and did so in fashion while covering the 1.5-point spread to boot.
Loser: UCF's fall continues
After a 107-104 win over Memphis on Jan. 11, UCF stood at 13-4 (4-1 AAC) and ranked No. 35 in the NET. The Golden Knights were on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble and appeared to be building momentum ahead of next season's transition to a far more difficult life in the Big 12. But over the last two weeks, reality has come crashing down on UCF, which dropped its fourth straight with a 77-70 overtime home loss against Temple on Saturday. The Owls entered the day at No. 125 in the NET but have suddenly won four straight, including a road win over Houston last Sunday. But this one will be hard to swallow for UCF, which led by 10 in the first half. The Golden Knights' football program is on firm footing and should be competitive in the Big 12, but the last couple weeks have been a reminder that the school could be in for a rude awakening on the hoops side.
Loser: TCU's injury luck
With big man Eddie Lampkin Jr. out, TCU's injury luck went from bad to worse on the road vs. Mississippi State as star guard Mike Miles Jr. hyperextended his knee and reserve guard Shahada Wells briefly left the game with an injury before returning. Miles did not return to the game and Lampkin is sidelined indefinitely, and adding insult to the injuries, the No. 11 Horned Frogs came out on the losing end of an overtime effort, falling 81-74 on the road.
Winner: Fordham matches best win total in 17 years
Fordham basketball appeared to have finally found a coach worth keeping when former Villanova assistant Kyle Neptune led the Rams to a 16-16 record last season, marking the program's first season with a .500 record since 2015-16. Then, Neptune left to replace Jay Wright at Villanova. But after choosing to elevate associate head coach Keith Urgo to head coach, Fordham has multiplied the momentum that Neptune sparked. The Rams improved to 17-4 (5-3 A-10) with an 85-70 win over George Washington on Saturday to match the program's best win total of the past 17 seasons. With two more wins, Fordham will have its most victories since the 1991-92 season. The next step for Fordham may be hanging on to Urgo, who has assistant coaching stops at Villanova and Penn State under his belt and is a candidate for Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.
Loser: Alabama gets pummeled by OU
For most of the season Alabama has been ganging up on inferior opponents and not just winning, but winning big; its scoring margin entering Saturday was third-highest among all major conference teams. But against unranked OU on the road, it was Auburn by 21 points.)handing them their largest loss by margin of the Nate Oats era. (Its last loss by 20 or more came in 2018-19 when it fell to rival
"I thought the guys kept on bouncing back. I've seen some crazy runs by Alabama [this season]," said OU coach Porter Moser. "We had some good offensive possessions, good defensive possessions. That was the key to stopping their runs, and they didn't really have any against us."
Winner: Marquette ties for Big East lead
The Big East coaches picked Marquette to finish ninth in the conference before the season. After an 89-69 win at DePaul and Xavier's loss at Creighton, the No. 16 Golden Eagles are now tied for first. David Joplin exploded for a career-high 28 points on 8 of 11 shooting from 3-point range and Tyler Kolek added 24 as Marquette racked up 56 points and 11 made 3-pointers in the second half. The Golden Eagles have won eight of their last nine and now sit at No. 1 nationally in offensive efficiency, per Kenpom.com. In just his second season as coach, Shaka Smart has revitalized the Marquette program and his own reputation as a coach.
Loser: Wisconsin's season slipping away
After an 11-2 start to the season for Wisconsin with wins over USC, Marquette and Iowa and a close OT loss to reigning national champion Kansas, the Badgers looked like a formidable force in the Big Ten and beyond. Fast forward three weeks and some change and the momentum they carried into 2023 has all but totally dissipated with its 61-51 loss to Illinois, its sixth loss in seven games. Wisconsin has been a consistent winner under Greg Gard, Bo Ryan's successor, but it matches the worst seven-game stretch under Gard since he took over the program in 2015.