Villanova stuns No. 2 Kansas; holiday tournament roundup
Football gets most of the attention of the sports world during Thanksgiving, but hopefully, for your sake, you’ve found some time to watch college basketball over the last few days. From the Bahamas to New York, this year’s holiday tournaments have provided some of the most compelling action of the week.
Battle 4 Atlantis: Villanova capped the action in Nassau with arguably the biggest upset of the young season, knocking off Kansas 63-59. The Wildcats held the Jayhawks to 38.9 percent shooting from the field, and limited Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden to a combined 12 points on 4-13 from the floor. Dylan Ennis led the Wildcats with 14 points and made all three of his attempts from behind the arc. Ryan Arcidiacono had a rough shooting night, but made his only bucket count, as his three with 10 seconds left proved to be the game-winner.
The Wildcats will take on Iowa in the championship game in the Battle 4 Atlantis after the Hawkeyes cruised to a 89-53 win over UTEP. Aaron White had 17 points for Iowa, shooting 5-6 from the floor and making all seven of his free throw attempts. Iowa’s return to relevance would certainly be punctuated with a tournament championship, though a date with Kansas would have been a nice litmus test early in the season.
Old Spice Classic: Oklahoma State advanced to the championship of the Old Spice Classic with a 69-67 win over Butler, despite down games from both Marcus Smart and Markel Brown. We had a full post on the implications of that game, which you can read here.
Rarely do two teams play each other twice in November, but that’s exactly what will happen in Orlando on Sunday when Memphis squares off with OSU in the championship game after its 76-69 win over LSU on Friday. The Tigers got 19 points and eight rebounds from Austin Nichols, 17 points from Chris Crawford and 16 points and seven assists out of Joe Jackson. No. 21 Memphis was embarrassed in Stillwater fewer than two weeks ago, as Oklahoma State used a 33-16 first-half run to pace itself to grab a 101-80 victory. Memphis finds itself in a conference with legitimate competition for the first time since ascending to the upper ranks of the college basketball pyramid. A win over Oklahoma State over the weekend would put Louisville and Connecticut on notice.
The Wooden Legacy: No. 25 Marquette advanced to the championship of The Wooden Legacy in Fullerton, Calif., with a comfortable 76-60 win over George Washington. The Golden Eagles had four players in double figures, including Davante Gardner with 20 points and nine rebounds. They appeared destined for a matchup in the championship with new conference foe Creighton, but the 20th-ranked Blue Jays fell to San Diego State, 86-80, on the other side of the bracket. Doug McDermott poured in 30 points, but it wasn’t enough for the tourney favorite to advance to the final. Xavier Thames had a monster game for the Aztecs, scoring 26 points on 7-10 shooting, including 4-5 from three. Winston Shepard had 16 points while JJ O’Brien added 15.
The win was San Diego State’s most impressive of the season, and while expectations for this season are certainly lower than they have been the last two years, the Aztecs were within four points of Arizona with 90 seconds left in their loss to the Wildcats two weeks ago. The Mountain West remains eminently winnable, and a win in Sunday’s game with Marquette provides an opportunity for a resume-building victory.
NIT Season Tipoff: No. 4 Arizona claimed the championship in the NIT Season Tipoff at Madison Square Garden, beating No. 6 Duke, 72-66. Arizona had five players in double figures, with Nick Johnson leading the way with 15, while Aaron Gordon had 10 points and seven rebounds. Rodney Hood had 21 points and eight boards for the Blue Devils, and Jabari Parker had 19, though he shot just 7-21 from the floor. Here’s an in-depth look at that game.