Frustration, tempers and outright tantrums were among the biggest stories of the day in college basketball on Saturday.
On the frustration front, Iowa State coach TJ Otzelberger had us covered, delivering a lengthy statement after his team’s win over Kansas wherein he denied accusations from earlier in the week that someone was trying to videotape the huddle of Kansas State from the crowd at Hilton Coliseum.
On the tempers front, Providence fans not-so-kindly gave former coach Ed Cooley a homecoming in Friartown with a smattering of boos and other vulgarities aimed in his direction with Georgetown in town.
And on the tantrums front, Clemson’s Joe Girard appeared to try and charge at an official in the moments right after the Tigers lost to No. 12 Duke 72-71 inside Cameron Indoor Stadium on the heels of a controversial finish in which Duke took the lead in the closing seconds at the charity stripe off of an iffy foul call.
We love ourselves some drama in sports and college hoops delivers the goods in spades, doesn’t it?
Our recap of the day and drama that unfolded from Saturday is below in full replete with all the winners and losers across the sport.
Winner: Kentucky’s Reeves continues to shine
No. 6 Kentucky righted the ship with a 63-57 road win over Arkansas just days after a loss at South Carolina behind a big 24 points from senior guard Antonio Reeves. On a UK team loaded with NBA talent (and on Saturday missing Rob Dillingham), Reeves again led the way in scoring — as he’s done all season — to help the Wildcats to a huge road win.
There’s far more talented guards in college basketball than Reeves but you’d be hard-pressed to find one who is both as important and underrated as Reeves is to UK’s success. — Boone
Losers: Providence fans go nuts over Cooley
Even before Saturday’s Providence-Georgetown game — a homecoming for Hoyas coach Ed Cooley and a chance for Friars fans to air their grievances — things got off the rails.
Oh, yes. Literally.
A borderline belligerent fanbase of Friars knocked over rails set up to restrain fans and nearly caused a trampling incident. And things didn’t calm much the rest of the day, either, as ramped-up security thankfully — and miraculously — kept a rambunctious crowd from blowing the lid right off the Dunk.
Cooley had to brave taunts and chants of ranging vulgarity in one of the most hostile environments since Chris Beard returned to Texas Tech and had to take a close loss home on top of it. It was an eye-opening visual that reminds us of two things: college basketball is simply the best, and Providence fans are genuinely nuts. — Boone
Winner: King goes off for Iowa State
Iowa State forward Tre King had made three 3-pointers all season entering Saturday’s showdown with No. 7 Kansas. Against the Jayhawks, he made a career-high four as the No. 23 Cyclones used a season-high 14 makes from beyond the arc to fuel a 79-75 victory. King led all scorers with 21 points as the Cyclones won their seventh straight home game against a ranked opponent and improved to 13-0 at Hilton Coliseum this season. This program went 0-18 in Big 12 play in 2020-21 before coach T.J. Otzelberger’s arrival. Three years later, Hilton Magic has returned, and the Cyclones are firmly in the league title hunt with two wins over top-10 league foes already on their resume. — Cobb
Loser: Kansas continues to stumble in Big 12 play
If it feels like Kansas is taking more Ls in Big 12 play than it usually does, then … your spidey senses are tingling properly. No. 7 Kansas dropped a roadie to No. 23 Iowa State 79-75 dropping KU to 16-4 on the season and to just 4-3 in league play. That start in-conference is not just bizarre, either: it’s unheard of. KU’s never had a worse start to conference play than 4-3 since Bill Self took over the program in 2003. — Boone
Loser: Horns go down at BYU
Texas continues to be unwilling to brush off opposing crowds or players doing the “Horns Down” gesture. A group of BYU fans were asked to remove shirts that spelled out H-O-R-N-S D-O-W-N (by BYU this time, but still!) and it comes days after coachafter they did the gesture following an upset win.
On the court, Texas looked sluggish and fell on the road to BYU 84-72 for its fourth Big 12 loss already. If things couldn’t get any worse, BYU fans chanted “SEC, SEC, SEC” in the final moments. These are the kind of games Texas needs to win if they want to stay off the bubble. — Salerno
Loser: Baylor blows big lead in 3OT loss to TCU
No. 15 Baylor led TCU by as much as 10 in the second half and never trailed after halftime. Yet, the Bears found themselves in overtime. Three of them, actually. In the Big 12’s first triple-overtime game since 2019, TCU eventually outlasted Baylor 105-102. Jameer Nelson Jr. led all scorers with 30 points and scored the final six for the Horned Frogs after Baylor took a 99-95 lead early in the third overtime. Losing at home is always painful, especially when it comes in triple overtime against an in-state foe inside your brand new venue. — Cobb
Winner: Texas Tech runs the Big 12
No. 20 Texas Tech rallied from a nine-point deficit over the final 7:30 to stun No. 11 Oklahoma 85-84 on the road. It was only the latest impressive victory for the Red Raiders (16-3, 5-1 Big 12), who maintained solo possession of first in the nation’s most brutal league. The Red Raiders also won at Texas earlier this month, meaning their final visits to both departing Big 12 rivals will go down as triumphs. — Cobb
Loser: Auburn fails (again) to secure Quad 1 win
Bruce Pearl and his paper Tigers failed — once again — to secure a Quad 1 win on Saturday, falling 64-58 at Mississippi State. They are, and remain, the only top-25 team in the NET rankings to still not have a Quad 1 win on the resume.
No. 8 Auburn is 16-4 overall, 5-2 in SEC play and viewed highly in the metrics at both KenPom (No. 7) and BartTorvik (No. 3), but it has a lackluster resume at the top — hardly the type of problem you’d expect for a team that up until this week has looked like the class of the SEC. — Boone
Winner: Cadeau helps UNC stay perfect in ACC
UNC freshman guard Elliot Cadeau picked a great day to have the performance of his young career. The former five-star prospect scored 16 points and dished out six assists in a 75-68 win on the road against Florida State. The Tar Heels are the last Big Six school to have a perfect record in conference play and Cadeau deserves credit for helping North Carolina improve to 9-0 in ACC play for the first time since 2001. — Salerno
Winner: Love shines in Arizona’s win over Oregon
The Caleb Love experience is like no other. The former North Carolina star has had his fair share of memorable moments while also having games to forget. The former was on display in the Wildcats’ statement win over Oregon when Love scored a career-high 36 points to help his team get back to the top of the Pac-12 standings. Love remains the X-Factor on the roster that can elevate the Wildcats to the Final Four. At this point in this season, he should be one of the favorites to win the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Saturday may go down as his signature moment this season. — Salerno
Loser: Louisville’s situation gets even worse
Virginia waltzed into the KFC Yum! Center and flat-out embarrassed Louisville, a team that has shown all season it needs absolutely no assistance this season in doing so, with a 69-52 beatdown. The visiting Cavaliers raced out to a 41-13 halftime advantage — Louisville’s third-largest halftime deficit in program history — before coasting the rest of the way to the finish line.
The final score didn’t tell the story of what a lopsided beating it was for Virginia nor what an embarrassment it was for Louisville, which at this point is just business as usual. The Cardinals just looked disinterested — and that went both for players and for coaches this time, with one video surfacing during a timeout showing that assistant coach Nolan Smith appeared more engaged with timeout entertainment than his team’s planning.
Not good. — Boone
Winner: Florida’s Handlogten has career day
Florida squandered a 21-point lead in the second half and wound up in overtime against Georgia before escaping with a 102-98 win. The huge lead would never have existed in the first place if not for the performance of center Micah Handlogten. The Gators’ 7-foot-1 center exploded for a career-high 23 points and 17 rebounds on 10 of 13 shooting. His seven offensive boards fueled Florida’s 12-3 edge in second-chance points. The offensive output was particularly stunning since Handlogten was averaging just 5.8 points in UF’s first six SEC games. Included in his memorable day was his first made 3-pointer since Dec. 19. It came in ridiculous fashion. — Cobb
Loser: No 3-pointers for Indiana in loss to Illinois
Indiana isn’t a good 3-point shooting team and hasn’t pretended to be one often this season. But the Hoosiers’ lack of perimeter firepower reached new depths in a 70-62 loss at No. 10 Illinois. The Hoosiers (12-8, 4-5 Big Ten) finished 0 of 9 from beyond the arc, marking the first game since the 2009-10 season that Indiana failed to make a single 3-pointer. IU took a 49-42 lead with 12:43 remaining, but an endless procession of bricks followed as the Illini (15-5, 6-3) closed the game on a 28-13 run. The Hoosiers have lost four straight. — Cobb
Winner: Dayton’s winning streak is over
Richmond took down No. 16 Dayton 69-64 in a big-time Atlantic 10 battle, ending the Flyers’ winning streak at 13 games. That left McNeese State with the nation’s longest winning streak as the Cowboys notched their 13th win in a row by thrashing New Orleans earlier 102-65. It’s been a spectacular turnaround for McNeese under first-year coach Will Wade, who was suspended for the first 10 games of the season because of violations committed at LSU. The Cowboys haven’t exactly been playing the nation’s toughest schedule — a win over the Mississippi University for Women is included in the tally — but there is at least some meat on the bone. Wins over Michigan and upper-half Sun Belt teams Louisiana and Southern Miss suggest that McNeese could have some bracket busting potential come March. — Cobb