Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid help Kansas beat Baylor, more Monday night hoops
No. 8 Kansas 78, No. 24 Baylor 68: If the hype for Kansas center Joel Embiid gets any bigger, he’s going to win an Audience Award at Sundance. The freshman had 12 points, four rebounds and frequently disrupted the Bears’ offensive sets with his length as the Jayhawks picked up yet another big win over a Baylor team that has now suddenly dropped four of its last five.
Andrew Wiggins was a lot more active after scoring just one field goal against Oklahoma State, scoring 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds against the Bears on Monday. He also swtiched over to cover Baylor’s Brady Heslip (19 points), who hit four threes in the first half, and effectively shadowed the Bears’ perimeter threat. Kansas has so many skilled players that can do so many things, it doesn’t run the risk of stalling if one or two players have off nights like some other teams. If Wiggins is struggling, Wayne Selden will go off. If Embiid gets into foul trouble, there’s Perry Ellis.
The Jayhawks mights still be a bit too pliable for Bill Self’s liking, but that could end up being one of Kansas’s best characteristics down the stretch.
Oh, and we got to see Embiid do this:
Nebraska 68, No. 17 Ohio State 62: Ohio State needed a win. It desperately had to stop the losing streak from getting to four games. And this was exactly the chance to do it against a Cornhuskers team it had already beaten and was in the midst of a five-game skid of its own. The same problems that have plagued the Buckeyes recently haven’t been solved, though. Ohio State is tough. It can defend. It can take care of the basketball. What it doesn’t have is the kind of impact player who can take over when things get tight in crunch time. Aaron Craft has hit big shots in the past, but he has done it when he’s been open as an afterthought. He’s not a first option, and he was never intended to be.
Tim Miles is in his second year at Nebraska after five successful seasons at Colorado State, and you can start to see the program-building gears turning. The Cornhuskers haven’t finished in the top 50 in final KenPom ratings since the 2008 season and although this win isn’t a cure-all, it shows progress. Nebraska shot 50 percent on the day, and Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields led the Huskers each with 18 points.
Naturally, folks around Lincoln are excited:
— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) January 21, 2014
Virginia 76, UNC 61: At this stretch in the season, the question of “which UNC team is the real UNC team?” may have finally been answered. And it’s not the answer Tar Heel fans want to hear. North Carolina is simply not a good basketball team right now. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, certainly are. Virginia (14-5, 5-1 ACC) starts its offense with defense, forcing teams into uncomfortable situations with the packline. With Joe Harris (16 points, four assists) healthy and drawing a lot of attention from opposing teams, that allows the Cavaliers’ role players to get going. Anthony Gill and Malcolm Brogdon combined to score 24 on 10-of-20 shooting.