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March Madness 2017: Saturday roundup

In men’s college basketball on Saturday afternoon, nothing much was shaken up in the AP Poll. We saw another win from the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs, keeping them as the only undefeated team in the land. Head coach Mark Few has to be thinking about a potential unbeaten season at this juncture, and if the Bulldogs pull it off, they would be the first since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.

Elsewhere, we saw a bunch of chalk. The best game of the day was between No. 3 Kansas and No. 4 Baylor down in Waco. The Bears are trying to make the case for the best in the Big 12, but couldn’t get in down in their own building, losing at the buzzer, 67-65. Kansas was able to win for a few reasons. First, Baylor ran a terrible play at the end of the game, looking disjointed and never quite getting a shot off. Second, the Jayhawks only turned the ball over nine times, compared to Baylor’s 16 occasions. Additionally, the Bears only got to the line 11 times, while Kansas shot 20 attempts.

In what was a potential Final Four preview and almost certainly a Big 12 conference championship preview, the more experience Jayhawks walked away with a key win.

In the Pac-12, it was the No. 5 Arizona Wildcats and No. 7 Oregon Ducks holding serve. Arizona took care of business against the unranked Washington Huskies, who fell to 2-13 in conference play. The Wildcats scored 76 points, led by Lauri Markkanen, who notched a game-high 26. Oregon rolled at home over the Colorado Buffaloes, winning 101-73 behind 56 second-half points.

Over in the ACC, there were a few contests that went down to the final minutes. The Louisville Cardinals were able to hold off the Virginia Tech Hokies, 94-90. Virginia Tech fell to 18-8 and 7-7 in conference play, losing a golden opportunity to all but punch its ticket into the field of 68 come March Madness. Meanwhile, the eighth-ranked Cardinals continue to make their case for being on the second line, winning another game over a quality opponent. The Duke Blue Devils also garnered an important win, holding off a game Wake Forest squad. Duke was led by Amile Jefferson’s 16 points and seven boards.

Of all the top 25 teams, the only to lose were the Florida State Seminoles and Virginia Cavaliers. While the Seminoles lost to a dreadful Pittsburgh team, it was Virginia that came out of the weekend looking like a non-threat once again come tourney time. The Cavaliers had a showcase game on the road against the North Carolina Tar Heels and were held to 41 points in a 65-41 pasting. For years, Virginia has not been able to score against good teams, and this can’t make its fans feel good.

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