In mid-November, Southern Utah -- picked in the preseason to finish ninth in the WAC -- waltzed into Allen Fieldhouse and struck fear into the soul of reigning national champion Kansas before falling 82-76. KU similarly played with its food in its first two Big 12 tilts vs. OSU and OU, as both the Cowboys and Sooners led for more time than did Kansas before ultimately succumbing to the inevitability of the Jayhawks inside Allen Fieldhouse. So what happened on Saturday as No. 14 Iowa State took on No. 2 Kansas on KU's homecourt?
Well, what do you think happened?
Iowa State, a 7.5-point underdog, did what underdogs in Lawrence have done for much of the season: it gave KU a fight (and then lost said fight). There were 15 lead changes, some big swings of momentum late and Iowa State even led with under three minutes to play. But, as most teams that face KU at KU do, Iowa State could not close the deal with Kansas on the ropes. And a late 3-pointer to take the lead in the final seconds from Caleb Grill couldn't find the bottom of the net. Kansas won at Allen Fieldhouse again because Kansas almost never does anything else.
The win moves Bill Self to 302-16 all-time as KU's coach at home and makes the Jayhawks – now the only team in the Big 12 with an undefeated record in Big 12 play -- one of the big winners of a bustling day in college basketball.
Here are the other winners (and losers) of the slate that was.
Winner: Shorthanded UK guts out gritty road win
Kentucky star center Oscar Tshiebwe openly challenged his team's toughness after an embarrassing home loss to lowly South Carolina on Tuesday. The Wildcats responded well four days later, making a statement on the glass in a massive 63-56 win at No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday afternoon. With and starting point guard Sahvir Wheeler out of the lineup due to injury, the Wildcats out-rebounded the Volunteers 43-23 and used a 12-4 edge in second-chance points to .
"This was a great road win," Calipari said, stating the obvious.
Calipari is a notorious tinkerer who makes tweaks throughout the season, and postgame Saturday he revealed his latest was a simple one: less screen time, more focus.
"I not only collected the phones [last night]; I collected the iPads and everything else," Calipari said. "All I told them was 'We're getting after this tomorrow.'"
UK still has a long way to go to sniff its lofty preseason expectations, but the Wildcats have a manageable stretch of games coming up, and Saturday's performance showed this squad has plenty of fight left in the tank. Who'd have thought cutting down on the screen time would be such a magical fix? (We'll see on that, of course, but winning on the road against this Tennessee team is a great step in the right direction.)
Loser: Arizona's top-rated offense hits another snag
The Pac-12 seemed to be Arizona's for the taking once again this season after rolling to the title by multiple games last season with Oumar Ballo and Azuolas Tubelis making huge leaps. But Arizona's death-star offense has hit several snags of late, culminating with a dud on the road Saturday at Oregon that led to the Ducks destroying the No. 9 Wildcats 87-68. It marked the second time in three games it has failed to score 70 points — both of which resulted in double-digit defeats for the suddenly-stumbling 'Cats.
Loser: Wisconsin's skid continues
Indiana appeared fed up with questions over its toughness as the Hoosiers ended a three-game slide by eviscerating No. 18 Wisconsin 63-45. The Hoosiers outscored the Badgers 42-22 in the paint and pulled away late despite making just 1 of 8 attempts from 3-point range. It's now Wisconsin that is on a three-game losing streak as the Badgers are struggling to find their way amid the absence of injured forward Tyler Wahl. Wisconsin stood at 11-2 overall and 3-0 in league games just over a week ago and appeared like a dark-horse candidate to compete in the wide open Big Ten. Now the Badgers are streaking in the wrong direction with three straight losses and the heart of the Big Ten schedule looking like it will not provide a reprieve anytime soon.
Winner: Isaiah Stevens is Ram tough
The performance of the day in college basketball belonged to Isaiah Stevens of Colorado State who poured in 33 points on the road and led the Rams to a 82-81 upset over UNLV in overtime. Stevens hit four late clutch shots -- including at the end of regulation to force OT and again with 3.4 seconds remaining in overtime to win the game -- that ultimately served as the difference in the game.
Winner: UCLA flips switch and blows out Colorado
Colorado had No. 7 UCLA on the ropes inside Pauley Pavilion with a lead midway through the second half as the Bruins struggled to generate offense. But UCLA, as UCLA does, completely flipped the switch when its backs were against the wall, reeling off a 17-0 (!) run and ramping up its elite defense to seize control of the game in a comfortable 68-54 win. The Bruins' win came after reigning Pac-12 champ Arizona stumbled earlier in the day further paving the path for UCLA to tighten its grip on the league as it improved to 7-0 in the Pac-12 and 16-2 overall.
Winner: Texas digs out of double-digit hole
For a second consecutive game, Texas found itself at home trailing by double digits. And for a second consecutive game, Texas dug out of said hole to win a nail-biter. The 10th-ranked Longhorns clawed their way back from a 12-point deficit against Texas Tech to escape with a 72-70 win behind Marcus Carr's 20 points. The win improved Texas to 4-1 in Big 12 play and simultaneously dealt cross-state rival Texas Tech a brutal blow as it fell to 0-5 in Big 12 play, its worst start to conference action since 2014-15.
Loser: West Virginia headed for Big 12 cellar again
On the heels of a 4-14 Big 12 season and last-place finish in 2022, West Virginia appears headed for the league's cellar once again after the Mountaineers fell to 0-5 in Big 12 play Saturday with a 77-76 loss at Oklahoma. The Mountaineers shot an impressive 56.4% from the field but were porous on defense, allowing the Sooners to make 55.6% of their attempts. WVU will be haunted by an 8 of 16 free-throw shooting mark.
Winner: Antoine Davis sets NCAA 3-point record
Detroit guard Antoine Davis did not ease his way into the NCAA record books during the Titans' 87-75 win over Robert Morris. Instead, he surged into rarified air with a whopping 11 made 3-pointers in a 41-point effort. Davis is now the NCAA's all-time leader in made 3-pointers with 513, passing the previous record of 509 held by former Wofford guard Fletcher Magee. Davis benefitted from an extra season of eligibility provided to players amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but there's no denying his status as an all-time great scorer and shooter in college basketball. He passed former La Salle forward Lionel Simmons for fourth on the NCAA's all-time scoring list with his outburst against Robert Morris.
And there you go, his 8th 3-pointer of the game and #510 in his career as Antoine Davis is now the NCAA all-time leader in @MarchMadnessMBB history @NCAAStats @JayBilas @DickieV @BradGalli @FOX2Sports @CBBonFOX @collegeinsider @SethDavisHoops— Detroit Mercy MBB (@DetroitMBB) January 14, 2023
#DetroitsCollegeTeam #HLMBB pic.twitter.com/BqzGh4wZKl
Winner: TCU makes statement in blowout of K-State
At 15-1 overall and 4-0 in Big 12 play, No. 11 Kansas State and first-year coach Jerome Tang raced out to the program's best start in 64 years (!!) after opening the season unranked and largely off the radar in the Big 12 title race. But the Wildcats on Saturday were served a fresh, and large, slice of humble pie in Fort Worth, Texas, as No. 17 TCU smacked K-State 82-68 after taking the lead with just over 30 minutes left to play and never relinquishing it.
K-State's got two guards who are bordering on All-American status in Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson and a roster around the two capable of continuing to make noise even in the Big 12. This was as good an example as any, though, that even really solid teams are going to have some sobering moments in the league's best conference this season given its top to bottom strength.
Winner: Jerry Stackhouse's tantrum pays off
With Vanderbilt trailing at home to No. 15 Arkansas in the first half, Vandy coach Jerry Stackhouse blew his lid and earned a technical to further dig his 'Dores into a deficit in a full blown it's a bold strategy, let's see if it pays off situation.
And lo and behold . . . it did indeed pay off! (For what it's worth, Stackhouse was extra steamed up over a sequence that quite frankly validated the reaction.)
Vandy rallied to win the second half by 21 points in an eventual; they took the lead midway through the second half for good and ran it to double figures for the win.
Loser: LSU gets steamrolled by Bama
No. 4 Alabama this season has a way of making history in ways that absolutely, positively embarrass opponents. Saturday, its latest victim claimed: LSU.
One week after smacking Kentucky around in its biggest win over the Wildcats in the century-long history of the series, Alabama cooked LSU to the tune of 106-66 – the largest margin of victory for Alabama over an SEC opponent … ever. Oh, and after setting the program record for made 3-pointers with 23 vs. LSU a few years ago, this Alabama team casually cashed only 20 deep bombs on 54 attempts behind Brandon Miller's 31 points and seven made 3-pointers.
Winner: Creighton hands Providence first Big East loss
No. 19 Providence and No. 12 Xavier entered Saturday's action as the lone Big East teams still unbeaten in league play. Then, the Friars took a 73-67 loss at Creighton as the Bluejays' up and down season received a much-needed jolt. The trio of Baylor Scheierman, Trey Alexander and Ryan Kalkbrenner combined for 60 points to pace Creighton, which had lost two straight and eight of its last 11 entering the game. The Bluejays did most of their work in a dominant first half as Scheierman racked up 17 points before the break. The Friars rallied to tie it up a couple times late in the second half before Alexander and Kalkbrenner iced it for Creighton with a ton of free throws down the stretch.
Loser: Loyola Chicago is disintegrating
After five straight seasons of winning records in the Missouri Valley Conference, which included a Final Four run in 2018 and Sweet 16 trip in 2021, Loyola Chicago's time in the sun is coming to an end. The Ramblers are 6-11 overall and now 0-5 in league play during their debut campaign in the Atlantic 10 after an 86-55 loss at Saint Joseph's. The Hawks entered winless in league play as well but steamrolled their new league foes with 14 makes from 3-point range. Saint Joseph's used a 16-0 run late in the first half to take command and never let the Ramblers back into the game.
Winner: Mike White getting results at Georgia
Two of Georgia's next three games are road contests against Kentucky and Tennessee that may ultimately reveal really just how improved Georgia truly is, but after a 62-58 win over Ole Miss, the Bulldogs are 13-4 (3-1 SEC) under first-year coach Mike White. This comes after the Bulldogs finished 6-26 (1-17) under Tom Crean last season. Adversity certainly awaits as league play progresses, but Georgia has a shot to reach 20 wins for the first time since the 2015-16 season when Mark Fox was patrolling the sideline. White was no rockstar hire when he came over from Florida after last season, but so far, he is getting results. Meanwhile, Florida and first-year coach Todd Golden quietly improved to 3-2 in SEC play Saturday with a gigantic win over No. 20 Missouri. The Gators started 0-2 in league play but have reeled off three-straight -- kicked off of course by a win over White and Georgia one week ago.
Loser: Ole Miss is toast
On a related note, this could have been a breakthrough season for Ole Miss under fifth-year coach Kermit Davis. With six of the SEC's 14 programs going through coaching changes and the Rebels returning the quality backcourt tandem of Daeshun Ruffin and Matthew Murrell, it seemed like a step forward from last season's 13-19 (4-14 SEC) mark would be in store. But with Ruffin out due to illness, the Rebels dropped to 0-5 in league play by losing at Georgia to remain the league's lone team without an SEC victory.
Winner: NC State looks like an NCAA Tournament team
NC State's only NCAA Tournament appearance under sixth-year coach Kevin Keatts came back in 2018 during his first season on the job. On the heels of an 11-21 (4-16 ACC) campaign, it feels like it could be Big Dance or bust for Keatts. Saturday's 83-81 overtime victory vs. No. 16 Miami suggests the Wolfpack may have what it takes to deliver. Now 14-4 (4-3), NC State has won three straight and has a 5-4 record in Quad 1 and 2 games with no Quad 3 or Quad 4 losses. The Wolfpack entered the day as a projected No. 7 seed in the projected NCAA Tournament field of CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm. A win over the Hurricanes should only solidify their standing.
Winner: Armando Bacot looks good
North Carolina star center Armando Bacot left Tuesday's loss at Virginia with a left ankle injury and was questionable for Saturday's game at Louisville. Though he didn't quite look 100%, he posted a double-double…..in the first half. Yes, Bacot scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the first half alone before taking it easy in the second half as the Tar Heels cruised to an 80-59 win over the Cardinals. If UNC (12-6, 4-3 ACC) is going to make a run at the ACC title, then it needs Bacot at his best. His performance against Louisville was an encouraging sign.
Loser: Missouri is fading fast
No. 20 Missouri began the season 12-1 (1-0 SEC) and rode into the new calendar year with consecutive double-digit wins over Illinois and Kentucky. By all accounts, it was the best start the Tigers could have hoped for under first-year coach Dennis Gates. But 2023 has not been kind to Mizzou, as the Tigers are now 1-3 since the calendar flipped following a 73-64 loss at Florida. Missouri forced a whopping 14 turnovers in the second half but converted those into just eight points while letting Florida shoot 51.7% from the field in the half. Games against Arkansas and Alabama are up next, and the Tigers will be 2-5 in SEC if they don't secure at least a split in those games next week.
Winner: FAU tightens grip in Conference USA race
FAU tightened its grip further in the Conference USA's regular-season race on Saturday with a win that pushed it to 6-0 in league play and dealt its leading challenger, North Texas, a tough blow to fall to 5-2 in conference play. FAU (16-1) has won its last five C-USA games by an average of only 3.6 points – and that margin was only four Saturday in a 66-62 win – but the Owls seem to always find a way in what is quickly turning into a dream start to the season. Big challenges lie ahead and the race to win the league is far from over, but you can chalk Saturday up to a huge win for the Owls, who have won 15 consecutive games, the second-longest winning streak in the nation behind No. 22 Charleston's 17 straight wins.
Loser: Duke is missing Jeremy Roach
Roach missed his third straight game with a toe injury as the. His absence was felt down the stretch as Duke went the final 5:07 without a field goal. As the only returning rotation player from last year's team, Roach is a much-needed veteran on a team relying heavily on freshmen. But don't let his absence take away from the magic of Clemson's 7-0 start to ACC play. The Tigers were picked to finish 11th in the league and now have a two-game edge on anyone else in the conference amid the program's best-ever ACC start.