It’s the first weekend of February … which means March Madness is right around the corner.
The race for the men’s NCAA Tournament heated up Saturday with six matchups of ranked teams going head-to-head – and that didn’t include the year’s first edition of the sport’s biggest rivalry, Duke vs. North Carolina at the Blue Devils’ Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The highlight of the day was No. 22 Indiana’s upset of No. 1 Purdue at the Hoosiers’ Assembly Hall. Indiana fans stormed the court after the victory over their rival, which marked the Hoosiers’ first win against the nation’s top-ranked team since 2013, when they took down Michigan.
Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s biggest men’s college basketball games, as told by the USA TODAY Network:
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. − Purdue had no answer.
No answer for Indiana’s in-your-face defense.
No answer for Trayce Jackson-Davis.
And no answer for Assembly Hall’s hostile environment.
At least not for the first half and by the time the No. 1 Purdue got to the second half, it was down 15 points in what proved to be just a big enough cushion in a 79-74 loss to the 22nd-ranked Hoosiers.
The Boilermakers (22-2, 11-2) turned the ball over 11 times, leading to 10 fast-break points for the Hoosiers in the opening half, including Indiana swiping the ball away from David Jenkins Jr. and Kaleb Banks scoring a layup to close the first half that put IU ahead 50-35.
Purdue made it interesting, getting within 71-70 with two minutes left, but the Hoosiers (16-7, 7-5) notched a huge win.
Trey Galloway made two free throws with 12.7 seconds left and Jalen Hood-Schifino put a stamp on the upset with a dunk in the final seconds to end Purdue’s nine-game win streak and send the fans storming the court.
— Sam King, Lafayette Journal & Courier
Tennessee and Auburn played a basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday. Or maybe the Vols and Tigers played a game on the carnival rims that make it nearly impossible to make a shot.
It could go either way.
There were 3-pointers that went all the way in but fell out. There were missed layups. There was miss after miss after miss preceding final-minute insanity.
After it all, there was a Tennessee win. The Vols edged Auburn 46-43, winning despite shooting 27% from the field and 2-for-21 on 3-pointers thanks again to its defense.
Josiah-Jordan James led No. 2 Tennessee (19-4, 8-2 SEC) with 15 points and 14 rebounds, his first double-double of the season. Santiago Vescovi converted a four-point play with 2:33 to play that provided the biggest shot of the afternoon against No. 23 Auburn (17-6, 7-3). Vescovi’s made 3-pointer was UT’s second after it was 1-for-17 on 3-pointers.
— Mike Wilson, Knoxville News Sentinel
AMES, Iowa – Iowa State would like to remind you how formidable Hilton Coliseum can be.
The 13th-ranked Cyclones shrugged off a two-game losing streak after back-to-back poor performances on the road to obliterate No. 8 Kansas, 68-53, on Saturday afternoon in their home gym.
Iowa State (16-6, 7-3 Big 12) stayed within a game of league-leading Texas with the victory and calmed any concerns about a second-half slide after they were blown out by Missouri and blew a 23-point lead to Texas Tech in the last week.
“From a mental focus standpoint, this is as strong as we’ve been,” said Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger.
The Cyclones are now a perfect 12-0 at home this season.
— Travis Hines, The Des Moines Register
MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Bramlage magic finally wore out for Kansas State, and Texas took full advantage.
The No. 9-ranked Longhorns rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit and held off a late charge by K-State to escape Bramlage Coliseum with a 69-66 victory Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd of 11,000. It was the first home loss for the No. 6 Wildcats, who fell to 18-5 overall, 6-4 in the Big 12.
Texas (19-4, 8-2) remained in the conference lead by one game over Iowa State, which knocked off Kansas at home earlier in the day.
Texas got a big lift from its bench with Sir’Jabari Rice and Christian Bishop each scoring 14 points to lead the way. Keyontae Johnson had 16 points, Desi Sills 11 and Markquis Nowell 10 for K-State.
K-State had a chance to tie the game, trailing by three points with nine seconds left, but Ismael Massoud’s 3-point attempt fell short.
— Arne Green, Topeka Capital-Journal
CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson basketball lost its second straight but still leads the ACC.
The Tigers dropped a Top 25 matchup to Miami, 78-74, Saturday afternoon at a sold-out Littlejohn Coliseum. But they’re still all alone at the top of the standings because Virginia lost at Virginia Tech, 74-68.
Clemson (18-6, 10-3) leads fourth-ranked Virginia (17-4, 9-3) and Pitt (16-3, 9-3) by a half-game. Miami improved to 18-5, 9-4.
Miami led from the opening minute of the second half. The Hurricanes went up 54-44 and the Tigers could get only as close as three at 61-58, 68-65 and 70-67 until Alex Hemenway made a 3-pointer with one second remaining to make it 76-74.
PJ Hall led Clemson with 19 points and Brevin Galloway added 15. Hunter Tyson had 13 points and nine rebounds.
Clemson is off until Feb. 11 in a 2 p.m. ET game at North Carolina. The Tigers have two remaining home games, Feb. 15 against Florida State and Feb. 22 against Syracuse.
— Todd Shanesy, Greenville News
DURHAM, N.C. – Duke men’s basketball and coach Jon Scheyer drew first blood against North Carolina as the storied rivalry began its next chapter without Mike Krzyzewski.
Saturday’s 63-57 win gave Scheyer his first career win over the Tar Heels and offered a slight reprieve from the angst of last year’s losses in the national semifinal and Coach K’s final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Jeremy Roach, the lone starter returning from last year’s Duke team, dealt the final blow, scoring the final four points in the win.
It was the first time since 1957 that neither Dean Smith nor Mike Krzyzewski roamed the sidelines of this rivalry. But this game always seems to deliver.
— David Thompson, The Fayetteville Observer
Story Credit: usatoday.com