College Basketball Scores, Winners and Losers: Kentucky Gets Its Groove Back; Iowa state slump continues – CBS Sports

Do you smell that sweet, sweet nectar? That’s the unmistakable March aroma wafting through the air. It may still be days on the calendar, but college basketball has shifted into March mode by all accounts, with Saturday delivering highlights, summer beaters and general mayhem of all kinds as only college basketball can.

If drama is your taste, Iowa and Fran McCaffery have given us plenty on that front. McCaffery had an odd stardown with an official late in the second half when the game seemed in Michigan State’s hands – only for the Hawkeyes to dig out of a late double-digit deficit, force overtime and defeat the Spartans 112-106.

If buzzer beaters and late drama are more your style, Arizona State served up one of the best of the season in its rivalry against No. 7 Arizona. At the McKale Center, ASU’s Devan Cambridge started one foot from across the halfcourt to the Wildcats, 89-88, when the last horn sounded. Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley described the post-game scene as “euphoric,” but not before wild farewell to the faithful from Arizona as he got off the ground.

If buzzer-beaters and comebacks are more your style, then Golly’s Florida State has had great success on both fronts. FSU pulled from a 25-point deficit(!) to stun No. 13 Miami 85-84 in the biggest comeback in ACC history. Matthew Cleveland punctuated the win from behind in style with a jump on the buzzer.

Of course, if you’re just a fan of college basketball in general, you already know this, but I’ll state the obvious: you’ve come to the right place. This is a safe place to catch up on your fandom and catch a glimpse of the day’s winners and losers as we recap the mayhem of the day.

Winner: Kentucky Rounding in Form

Remember when Kentucky was 10-6 overall and 1-3 in the SEC game and British fans wanted John Calipari gone? That feels like a loooong time ago. Kentucky still hasn’t quite made the top five levels as the preseason rankings suggested, but the Wildcats are on form and playing their best basketball as the postseason emerges with their 86-54 drubbing by Auburn and them her fourth win in a row brings dating back to two weeks ago.

“People tried to talk us out of the NCAA tournament. They tried,” Calipari said. “‘They’re out, they’re done, they’re terrible, they are that.’ It’s never really over when you have an auto-bid tournament. I kept convincing them that what they say has no bearing on what we’re going to do.”

Loser: Miami extends 25-point lead over FSU

No. 13 Miami needed a win to stay in control of their own destiny in the regular-season ACC title chase. Instead, it suffered a historic 85-84 defeat. Florida State shot 67.7% from the floor in the second half and beat Miami 10-0 in points from turnovers after the break as the normally sovereign Hurricanes eased under pressure. Blame Matthew Cleveland’s buzzer-beater on bad luck, but overall the second-half performance was more than an accident. As a result, the ‘Canes missed a golden opportunity to increase their chances of winning the league title.

The Big East Tournament was already developing into a slugfest behind the strength of the conference’s top five teams, all of which are safely projected as NCAA tournament teams. Now, after a 79-67 win over No. 19 Creighton, you can officially add Villanova to the list of squads making the Big East tournament a must.

The Wildcats (15-14, 9-9 Big East) are nowhere near the NCAA tournament bubble, but have won five of their last six. With back-to-back victories over Xavier and the Bluejays, this team suddenly looks like the kind of team you wouldn’t want to face in a league tournament. While the return of veteran guard Justin Moore from an Achilles injury has helped freshman trainer Kyle Neptune steer Villanova in the right direction in recent weeks, Saturday’s hero was Eric Dixon. The 6-foot-8 bruiser set a new career high with seven points by dropping 31 on 6-of-8 shots from beyond the arc. Dixon hit more 3 points alone than Creighton as a team.

Loser: Alabama makes another blunder

Alabama coach Nate Oats spent most of the week apologizing after denying Brandon Miller’s connection to a January murder – in which he is accused of supplying him with a friend’s gun that was later used in a murder – had described as a “wrong place at the wrong time” situation. He continued on that theme Saturday by speaking in his post-game press conference following the No. 2 Crimson Tide’s 86-83 win over Arkansas, this time for Brandon Millers Pre-game introductory routine where he was groped by a teammate, crawls.

“After the game, I was made aware of our performance before the game. I think that’s something that’s been happening all year. I don’t really know, I don’t watch our show,” Oats said. “I’m working on plays during this time. Regardless, it’s not appropriate, it’s been addressed and I can assure you it won’t happen again for the rest of this year.”

Alabama was led by Miller’s 24 points.

Winners: The Hurley brothers win big

UConn Coach Dan Hurley and Arizona State Coach Bobby Hurley both secured big wins on Saturday against St. John’s and Arizona, respectively. The No. 18 Huskies won 95-86 at Madison Square Garden, avenging their loss to the Red Storm earlier in the season, while the Sun Devils stunned No. 7 Arizona in one of the wildest finishes of the season at McKale Center:

The victories, of course, meant something different for the brothers. For UConn, this meant a necessary win to stay the course as the projected #3. For Arizona State, it’s a win that’s likely to keep them near the bubble and in the tournament discussion as March nears.

Loser: The burglary in the state of Iowa takes an ugly turn

After a 4-0 start in Big 12 play, the No. 23 Iowa State has been down 4-8 ever since after suffering a 61-50 home loss to bottom-ranked Oklahoma. The Cyclones shot a horrendous 31% from the ground, accumulating just five second chance points out of all the misses. ISU actually led 28-23 at halftime before falling stone cold after the break with a 7 of 26 shooting performance. The Sooners extended their lead to 15 points while shooting 56.5% in the second half against an Iowa State defense that is usually stingy.

Iowa State is in no danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament, but five losses in their last six games doesn’t do the Cyclones any favors in the seeding talk as it continues to slide down the stretch. This team made the Sweet 16 last season as No. 11 after entering the Big Dance after a three-game losing streak. To pull off a similar turnaround two seasons in a row, this team needs to identify some more consistent sources of attack.

Loser: McCaffery goes all out on Heisenberg

Iowa’s miraculous comeback win over Michigan State, which saw it dig from a double-digit deficit with just over a minute remaining to a 112-106 victory in overtime, was almost overshadowed by the antics of Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery. McCaffery was hit by a technical error with two minutes left for arguing with a foul call and with just over 90 seconds left and his team seemingly out of control, he let the official go , who booed him, know how he felt by pounding Heisenberg in a truly bizarre and awkward staredown. The only comment missing here is McCaffery asking the officer to say his name.

McCaffery and Iowa later made a series of 3-pointers to force overtime and win in overtime with two possessions, but the hot-tempered Hawkeyes coach did so while facing an officiating side that mostly did , behaved childishly and unprofessionally called fair play.

Winner: Conference title secured

It’s not March yet, but some nets across the country were cut down on Saturday. Hofstra captured a slice of the CAA title with the College of Charleston, earning first place in the CAA tournament by beating Northeastern 84-52. Speedy Claxton, second-year coach and honored alum, has worked wonders with the Pride in his two years leading the program.

Oral Roberts had already bagged the Summit League crown, but the Eagles completed a perfect 18-0 run through league play with a 69-65 win over South Dakota State. For comparison, ORU was only 10-5 in league play in the 2020-21 season when they reached the Sweet 16. The star of this side, Guard Max Abmas, is still picking up points.

Merrimack is still not qualified for the postseason as it completes the final season of its mandatory four-year probationary period amid the Division I transition. But for the second time in that tenure, the Warriors are the NEC champions after an 80-59 LIU win.

Much further south, FAU clinched their first Conference USA title with a 75-49 win over UTEP. The Owls have a week left in the regular season, but Saturday was the perfect time to celebrate as the win capped a perfect 17-0 record for the program at home before FAU’s regular season at Rice and Louisiana next week tech completes.

The stakes were high for Saturday’s game between Furman and Samford as a win gave Samford a league title and the No. 1 spot for the Southern Conference Tournament. But the Paladins dashed those plans, stealing part of the league crown and claiming the No. 1 seed with a 93-79 away win. Furman has consistently been among the top rosters at SoCon under sixth-year coach Bob Richey and has another golden opportunity to weather an NCAA tournament drought that dates back to 1980.

Never say never — especially in the always unpredictable Big 12 — but Texas Tech’s tournament hopes took a hit Saturday after losing a late lead on No. 24 TCU. After four straight wins in league play, the Red Raiders were close to fifth with a lead in the final 10 seconds before giving two free throws to TCU who sealed their fate in an 83-82 loss.