Five Things: Butler Did It Again, Arizona’s Big Day And The Big Exit
By Andrew Kahn
Saturday’s action was memorable, as a familiar Goliath slayer handed the No. 1 team its first loss, and a top-10 battle went down to the wire. There were other impressive performances and more conference realignment news. Here’s what happened this weekend in college basketball.
The Butler did it again
It really shouldn’t be a surprise anymore, considering Butler’s recent history. But any time the No. 1 team loses to an unranked squad, it’s a bit of a shocker. Butler beat top-ranked Indiana 88-86 in overtime on Saturday at the Pacers’ arena in Indianapolis. Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke led all scorers with 19 points and hit a few deep, contested three-pointers, but it was walk-on Alex Barlow who had the game-winner with five seconds left in overtime.
Arizona’s amazing day
Saturday was an incredible day for the fans of the Arizona Wildcats. Both the football team and the men’s basketball team overcame late deficits to win in thrilling fashion, the former in a bowl game in the afternoon and the latter against No. 5 Florida at night. The Arizona teams won by a combined two points and led for a combined 1 minute and 36 seconds. On the hardwood, the No. 8 Wildcats trailed by six at home with a minute remaining, but a running bank shot by Xavier transfer Mark Lyons with seven seconds left gave Arizona the 65-64 win.
The Big Exit
Conference realignment could be mentioned weekly in this space, but this news is particularly noteworthy: On Saturday, the seven Big East schools that don’t play major college football announced they will leave the conference on June 30, 2015. DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Villanova, all Catholic schools, will form their own conference and will likely try to add more members.
For the second straight game and third time this season, Creighton’s Greg McDermott hit the 30-point mark, dropping 34 in a 74-64 win over California on Saturday. The nation’s third-leading scorer hit four three-pointers and all 10 of his free throw attempts, dominating inside and out for the No. 16 Blue Jays, who improved to 10-1. Cal’s star, Allen Crabbe, shot just 6 of 26 from the field.
Louisville overcomes poor start
Memphis racked up the highlight-worthy plays in jumping out to a 25-9 lead on No. 6 Louisville at home. But the Cardinals didn’t panic and came away with an 87-78 victory. Memphis coach Josh Pastner is 0-11 against ranked teams. Louisville had a huge advantage at the free throw line—they hit 38 of 46; Memphis was 14 of 20—and turned it over half as many times as the Tigers (12 to 24). Sophomore star Chane Behanan scored 16 of his team-high 22 in the second half for Louisville.
Andrew Kahn is a contributor to CBS Local who has written for ESPN the Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about college basketball and other sports at http://andrewjkahn.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.