College basketball winners and losers include Iowa, Arizona State

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The Big 12 might be the deepest conference in men’s college basketball this season but on Saturday, the Big Ten and Pac-12 stole the show with two ‘how did that just happen?’ victories by Iowa and Arizona State. 

First, in a stunning comeback, Iowa rallied from a 13-point deficit to force overtime against Michigan State, eventually winning 112-106. How they did it was crazy, to say the least. 

Trailing 91-78 with 1:30 left to play, the Hawkeyes reeled off a 23-10 run — including hitting 6-of-9 from 3 — over the final 90 seconds to force the extra period. Iowa didn’t need any treys in overtime, holding MSU to just five points in the extra five minutes. Kris Murray scored 26 for Iowa, chipping in eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

As we creep closer to March, the selection committee is scrutinizing every game and this is sure to make a good impression for the Hawkeyes, projected as a No. 8 seed in the East Region in USA TODAY Sports latest bracketology. 

A couple hours later and 1,500 miles away in Tucson, unranked Arizona State likely caught the committee’s eye when the Sun Devils stunned No. 7 Arizona on a 55-foot buzzer beater. 

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After Oumar Ballo hit one of two free throws with 2.9 seconds to play to give Arizona an 85-83 lead, ASU inbounded to Desmond Cambridge Jr. Cambridge took one dribble and launched a prayer from behind half court that swished cleanly through the net. The win keeps ASU’s tournament hopes alive. 

Arizona, meanwhile, suffered its fifth conference loss — on senior day, no less — putting even more distance between itself and first-place UCLA. 

Elsewhere, there were other impressive — and puzzling — performances. Here are Saturday’s winners and losers. 


Unranked ACC teams

North Carolina and Florida State pulled off upsets over ranked conference foes Virginia and Miami, respectively, reminding us that the madness of March is just around the corner. 

The Tar Heels never trailed against Virginia, hitting 10 threes on their way to a 71-63 win over the No. 6 Cavaliers. The victory couldn’t have come at a better time for UNC, a bubble team trying to solidify its resume for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. 

Farther south, in Miami, Florida State stunned No. 11 Miami 85-84 despite trailing by 25 early in the second half (seriously). A buzzer-beating three from Matthew Cleveland gave FSU the surprise win, dealing the Hurricanes their first home loss of the season. Miami had been 15-0 at the Watsco Center before Saturday. 


Behind 22 points apiece from Kam Jones and Tyler Kolek, the Golden Eagles clinched at least a share of the Big East regular season title with a 90-84 win over DePaul. 

It’s No. 9 Marquette’s first regular season title since 2012-13, when it shared with Georgetown and Louisville. The Golden Eagles have never won a regular season championship outright but if they beat either Butler or St. John’s next week, the title will belong to them alone. 


The No. 12 Zags clinched a share of their 22 regular season WCC title under Mark Few, beating St. Mary’s 77-68 in Spokane. The win also got the Zags some revenge over the No. 14 Gaels, who beat GU earlier this season. 

Five Zags scored nine points or more, led by 19 points from Drew Timme and 17 from Anton Watson. 

This is one of the best rivalries in college hoops so the biggest winners might be hoops fans — because these two teams are likely to meet again in the WCC Tournament championship. 


One week after getting blitzed by Kansas on the road, No. 10 Baylor came back in impressive fashion Saturday at Texas, overcoming a 14-point first-half deficit and earning an 81-72 win over the No. 8 Longhorns. 

Basketball is a game of runs, as the saying goes, and that was especially true in this contest. Texas went on a 16-0 run at one point to build its double-digit lead, only to let Baylor go on an 18-0 run of its own as it pulled in front. Five Bears scored in double figures in the win, led by Jalen Bridges’ 17 points and eight rebounds. 

One caveat in this win for Baylor though: superstar freshman Keyonte George played just six minutes after turning his right ankle and leaving the game in obvious pain. It’ll be interesting to see if George, who came in averaging almost 17 points, plays at Oklahoma State on Monday. 


The Horned Frogs hadn’t won in Lubbock since 2015, but escaped with an 83-82 win over Texas Tech thanks to two made free throws from JaKobe Coles with 4.3 seconds left.

Coles’ clutch points at the charity stripe were the difference after TCU blew an 12-point lead in the final eight minutes. Coles finished with 15 points, and Mike Miles Jr. led all scorers with 24. But there’s little time to celebrate because there are no off days in the Big 12: TCU is 2-5 in February, and next week doesn’t get any easier when it hosts No. 8 Texas Wednesday. 

San Jose State

With a 74-68 overtime surprise over Boise State, San Jose State clinched its 17th win of the season, the first time since 2010-11 that the Spartans have won 17 games. Omari Moore led SJSU with 24 points, also dishing out four assists, but the most impressive stat came from non-starters. Two Spartans, Robert Vaihola and Garrett Anderson, came off the bench to score 15 and 13 points, respectively. Vaihola also grabbed 11 rebounds. 

Tuesday, the Spartans go for another major milestone when they host Colorado State: SJSU hasn’t won more than 17 games since 1980-81. Can they do it against the Rams? 



Never mind that the Tide, a likely No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, held on to beat Arkansas 86-83 at home. The team and standout freshman Brandon Miller have been in hot water the last few days after news came out earlier this week about Miller’s alleged involvement in a murder — police say he brought the weapon to the scene — that took place on Jan. 15. 

Despite the microscope on him, Miller continued his tasteless and tone deaf introduction ritual of pretending to be pat down by a teammate after being announced as a starter. 

Coach Nate Oats said afterward that while he didn’t see it, “I can assure you it definitely will not happen again the remainder of this year.” 


Miami’s 85-84 loss at the final horn to unranked Florida State ruined the Hurricanes’ perfect home record, but that was only the beginning of the problems. 

Most importantly, the loss knocked Miami out of first place in the ACC, putting them  half a game behind Pittsburgh. Additionally it’ll go down in the record books as flat out embarrassing: FSU’s 25-point comeback is the biggest in Division-I this season, and the largest comeback win in ACC history. The Seminoles shot 68% in the second half, which doesn’t say much — or at least, nothing nice — about Miami’s defense. 


Losing in conference isn’t the end of the world by any means, but losing at home and giving up 35 points to an opponent, well, that’s not great. But that’s exactly what happened with No. 5 Purdue, as the Boilermakers lost 79-71 to visiting Indiana. 

The No. 17 Hoosiers trailed 38-34 at halftime but came back behind 35 points and seven rebounds from Jalen Hood-Schifino, who was one of four Hoosiers to score in double figures. For the game, Purdue shot just 35% from the floor and 22% from three, while allowing Indiana to shoot 51% and 47%, respectively. 

Purdue, previously the top-ranked team in the country, has now lost four of its last six, including two to Indiana. 


It’s been a rough stretch days for the No. 19 Blue Jays, who recorded their third loss in four games Saturday at Villanova, falling to the unranked Wildcats 79-67. The Blue Jays are one of the best teams in the country but haven’t looked like it lately, especially after letting Villanova shoot 50% from the field and 41% from 3. 

Creighton isn’t in danger of missing the postseason by any means, but needs a strong finish to the regular season and a good Big East Tournament to solidify a decent seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

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