Home » Blog » Four things we learned from Saturday

Four things we learned from Saturday

Men’s college basketball enjoyed another Saturday of top-notch action, with a couple of upsets sprung and a few favorites furthering their elite statuses. Despite March getting all the publicity, January and February are when tournament runs are made possible, especially for bubble teams hoping to make a strong case to the committee.

Here are four things we learned from Saturday’s contests:

1. Duke has its mojo back

Folks in North Carolina were starting to wonder what was wrong with the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils. After falling to the North Carolina State Wolfpack and Miami Hurricanes in decisive fashion, Duke faced the daunting proposition of traveling to play the No. 6 Louisville Cardinals. Duke, which allowed a combined 177 points in consecutive defeats, switched to a predominantly zone defense to stifle the Cardinals. Louisville shot 29.5 percent from the field and committed 10 turnovers. Meanwhile, Duke was able to get inside offensively. Freshman sensation Jahlil Okafor scored 18 points and notched seven rebounds. Forward Amile Jefferson led all scorers with 19 points, adding seven boards of his own.

2. Virginia is incredibly underrated

When the conversation of best team comes up, most gravitate to the Kentucky Wildcats, Duke or Louisville. Yet the Virginia Cavaliers are the best ACC team in the land, racking up a tremendous 17-0 mark, 5-0 in-conference. The Cavaliers pounded the Boston College Eagles 66-51 on Saturday, led by Malcolm Brogdon totaling 20 points along with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds from forward Anthony Gill. Virginia is perhaps the best defensive team in the country outside of Kentucky, and held the Eagles to 39.5 percent shooting. The Cavaliers controlled the contest via the boards, out-rebounding Boston College 35-20.

3. Syracuse remains a mystery

The Orange are always a factor come March. Each year, Jim Boeheim has his Central New York squad making a deep run behind a devastating 2-3 zone. This season, something is wrong. Syracuse (13-5, 4-1 ACC) has failed to perform consistently, falling to a middling Clemson Tigers team. The Orange had been winning for the most part but in unimpressive fashion. In three conference wins over the Virginia Tech Hokies, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Syracuse has won by a combined six points. The schedule remains soft until Valentine’s Day, which starts a stretch of five ranked opponents in six contests.

4. Ohio State appears to be a bubble team

The Ohio State Buckeyes seemed to be a certain tournament team through the first two months of the season. However, Thad Motta’s group has tumbled in a major way. Ohio State fell 76-67 to Iowa on Saturday, completing a season-sweep by the Hawkeyes. The Buckeyes are 3-3 in Big 10 play and could be in serious trouble without a bounce-back win at Northwestern on Thursday. The following two games are at home, but with a rematch against the Indiana Hoosiers and a test versus the No. 14 Maryland Terrapins.

  • 100%