College Basketball: Top 25 Roundup
The Top 25 roundup ...
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami coach Jim Larranaga mounted the ladder last and went to the basket hard, scissors in hand. The net came off with one final snip, and he twirled it over his head, then draped it around his neck.
Down to their third try and last chance, Larranaga’s Hurricanes came through Saturday. Kenny Kadji scored a season-high 23 points to help sixth-ranked Miami win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship outright by beating Clemson 62-49.
Then came the cutting of the net, a new ritual for Miami’s program.
“It’s a piece of memorabilia you’ll keep with you for a lifetime,” said Larranaga, who is in his second year with the Hurricanes. “It’s something the players feel is very, very special, because you don’t get to do it all the time. Some programs do it almost annually, but we haven’t done that here. And when you do anything for the first time, it’s very, very exciting.”
Miami (24-6, 15-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) clinched its first outright men’s basketball league title after being foiled by consecutive losses to Duke and Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes tied the school record for victories set in 2001-02, when they went 24-8, and improved to 14-1 at home in their regular-season finale.
The league championship is the second for the Hurricanes, who shared the Big East Conference title in 2000. Now comes the ACC tournament in Greensboro, where Miami will be the top seed.
“That’s not the last net I plan on cutting down,” Trey McKinney Jones said. “The sky’s the limit for us. If we play together, we have so many weapons.”
Clemson (13-17, 5-13) has lost six straight and nine of 10.
BAYLOR 81, No. 4 KANSAS 58
WACO, Texas — Pierre Jackson had 28 points and 10 assists as Baylor finished the regular season with an 81-58 victory over Kansas to keep the fourth-ranked Jayhawks from the outright Big 12 regular-season title.
Cory Jefferson added 25 points for Baylor (18-13, 9-9 Big 12), the 6-foot-9 junior forward combining his usual powerful dunks with his first three career 3-pointers.
Even after its worst loss in seven years, Kansas (26-5, 14-4) will still be the No. 1 seed for next week’s conference tournament in Kansas City, and now has at least a share of the last nine Big 12 regular-season titles. The Jayhawks had won the previous four outright, but have to share this one with rival Kansas State.
No. 8 LOUISVILLE 73, No. 24 NOTRE DAME 57
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng, who helped the Cardinals win the Big East tournament and advance to the Final Four last season, played key roles in a 73-57 victory over No. 24 Notre Dame that gave Louisville a share of the regular-season conference title.
KENTUCKY 61, No. 11 FLORIDA 57
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky faces a difficult road toward an NCAA tournament bid, but the Wildcats rallied past No. 11 Florida 61-57 Saturday to help their cause with the committee.
The defending national champions (21-10, 12-6) need at least another win in next week’s SEC tournament to solidify their tournament chances.
AIR FORCE 89, No. 12 NEW MEXICO 88
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Todd Fletcher hit a 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds remaining to give Air Force an 89-88 victory over No. 12 New Mexico
No. 13 OKLAHOMA STATE 76, No. 9 KANSAS STATE 70
STILLWATER, Okla. — Marcus Smart scored 21 points, but perhaps none of his plays were as big as the charging foul he drew that turned the momentum as the Cowboys beat No. 9 Kansas State 76-70.
No. 15 MARQUETTE 69, ST. JOHN’S 67, OT
NEW YORK — The 15th-ranked Golden Eagles beat St. John’s 69-67 in overtime to win a share of the Big East regular-season title. It was Marquette’s first championship in the Big East since joining the conference in 2005-06.
No. 16 ST. LOUIS 78, LA SALLE 54
ST. LOUIS— No. 16 Saint Louis trounced La Salle in the second half and clinched a share of the Atlantic 10 title with a 78-54 victory.
No. 18 ARIZONA 73, ARIZONA STATE 58
TUCSON, Ariz. — Jumping into passing lanes and blocking all paths to the basket, No. 18 Arizona turned turnovers into easy points on its way to a 73-58 rout of Arizona State that earned the Wildcats a first-round bye in next week’s Pac-12 tournament.
UTAH 72, No. 19 OREGON 62
SALT LAKE CITY — Jason Washburn had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Jarred DuBois added 15 points to propel the Utes to a 72-62 win. The victory marked a milestone for the Utes (13-17, 5-13), who won consecutive Pac-12 games for the first time since joining the league.
No. 20 PITTSBURGH 81, DEPAUL 66
ROSEMONT, Ill. — J.J. Moore hit a career-best five 3s and scored 21 points off the bench as the 20th-ranked Panthers shot a school-record 72 percent to beat DePaul 81-66 in their last Big East regular-season game.
No. 23 UCLA 61, WASHINGTON 54
SEATTLE — When Utah’s upset of Oregon became final, the Bruins’ locker room erupted with cheers; the Pac-12 Conference regular-season title was theirs alone.
Shabazz Muhammad scored 21 points, Larry Drew II came up with another huge shot against Washington, and No. 23 UCLA clinched the Pac-12 Conference regular-season title with a 61-54 win over the Huskies on Saturday.
NO. 25 MEMPHIS 86, UAB 71
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Even with No. 25 Memphis pulling away, Alabama-Birmingham continued to fight.
While the Tigers were able to ease home with an 86-71 victory, the Blazers’ effort to the end was enough to please coach Jerod Haase.