With 2017 in full-effect, the college basketball world has already graced the new year with some exciting matchups and noteworthy wins and losses. From the No. 1 team going down to two 50+ wins in the ACC, the new year has started off with nothing but headlining stories as we indulge in conference play for the next two months. Below, you will find the most noteworthy stories, visuals and trending news from this past week:
NO. 1 VILLANOVA LOSES TO NO. 18 BUTLER
The defending National Champions and top ranked program — Villanova — fell short to Butler 66-58 this past Wednesday giving the Wildcats their first lost of the season. Villanova, who has not lost a game since the Big East Championship, shot poorly from the field (37.3%) while only hitting 6 of 26 from beyond the arc. Senior wing and leading scorer — Josh Hart — shot 3 for 11 from the field while finishing with only 13 points on the night. Nevertheless, Villanova is still one of the toughest teams in college basketball right now in which they would most likely be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney if it had started today.
DUKE GRAYSON ALLEN RETURNS FROM SUSPENSION
Duke Blue Devils junior Grayson Allen returned to action this week after sitting out for a one-game suspension for tripping a player during a game against Elon. Allen, who is the team’s third leading scorer (15.6ppg), returned Wednesday in Duke’s 110-57 win over Georgia Tech where he finished with 15 points and 7 assist. What’s interesting is that Allen could have possibly tried to trip another player in yesterday’s win against Boston College. Check out the video below and let us know what you think by leaving a comment.
FRESHMAN TRIO LEADS PENN STATE OVER MICHIGAN STATE
In a classic matchup between two Big Ten programs at Philadelphia’s historical Arena, The Palestra, it was the Penn State Nittany Lions who defeated Michigan State 72-63 for the first time since 2011. In what was a rare game held at the Palestra, Penn State freshmen trio Lamar Stevens (18PTS, 6RBS), Tony Carr (14PTS, 6RBS) and Mike Watkins (11PTS, 9RBS) all were huge in the Nittany Lions win. This game was also a homecoming event for the three freshman along with head coach Pat Chambers, a Radnor native, who all had family and friends come out in the snow to watch them take the victory.
TAR HEELS DESTROY NC STATE BY 51
North Carolina brought out their ammunition today in a 107-56 blowout win over NC State, surpassing a previous record for biggest margin of victory in an ACC game. The Tar Heels jumped out to a 26-4 lead in the first half which eventually resulted to a 56-23 score at half. Juniors Justin Jackson (21PTS) and Joel Berry (19PTS) combined for 41 points while big men Isaiah Hicks and Tony Bradley both chipped in 11 points a piece. NC State star freshman Dennis Smith was held to just 11 points on 4 for 11 from the field after scoring 27 points in the Wolfpack last game against Virginia Tech.
NO. 2 BAYLOR & NO. 5 GONZAGA REMAIN UNDEFEATED
With Villanova taking a loss to Butler earlier this week (See Above), No. 2 Baylor and No. 5 Gonzaga remain the only two unbeaten teams in college basketball. Baylor, who will likely take Nova’s spot when the AP Rankings surface on Monday, continued their reign after defeating Oklahoma State yesterday in a 61-57 close win. Gonzaga, who is coming off a 95-80 win over San Francisco on Thursday, was scheduled to play Portland yesterday, but the game was postponed due to a winter storm.