AROUND THE CITY
OUTMUSCLED IN LEWISBURG
When La Salle loses this season, it will likely be when it runs up against a big, experienced well-coached front line, just like it did at Bucknell.
The Bison (9-1) got 36 points and 19 rebounds from bigs Mike Muscala and Joe Willman, led by 14 points early in the second half, repelled several La Salle rallies and won, 74-66.
La Salle (6-2) shot just 38.7 percent to 50 percent for Bucknell. The Explorers had just six turnovers, but had only three assists.
La Salle got 21 from Ramon Galloway and 14 from Tyreek Duren. Tyrone Garland, getting his first action after sitting due to transfer rules, had nine points.
La Salle got to within three points at the 11-minute mark, but no closer. This is anything but a bad loss. If anybody wins at Bucknell this season, it will be an upset.
ACROSS THE COUNTRY
GAME OF THE DAY
Butler's two best big men had fouled out in regulation. A key wing fouled out in overtime. No. 1 Indiana overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 2 minutes of regulation. The Hoosiers led by four in OT. Surely, this was the message for the Bulldogs to head back to campus with a moral victory. Instead, they just played better and got a real victory, due to extraordinary effort, best exemplified by 19 offensive rebounds.
Walk-on Alex Barlow, who came to Butler to learn how to coach basketball from Brad Stevens and not really to play, had scored 12 points in nine games. But that was Barlow with the ball in the final seconds of OT, dribbling into the lane, reversing away from defender Jordan Hulls and floating in the game-winner.
GET OVER IT
IU coach Tom Crean, one of those invent-the-game types, waited an hour to take questions after the game and then got testy when asked why star Cody Zeller was not in the game for the final defensive possession. His explanation was legitimate, but so was the question.
GAME OF THE NIGHT
If you stayed up late, you saw Florida put on a clinic for 36 1/2 minutes at Arizona's McKale Center. The Gators took good shots, played smart defense and controlled the game's flow. They led 64-50 for those 36 1/2 minutes.
The problems were the final 2 1/2 minutes of the first half (outscored 8-0) and the final minute of the game (7-0). Add it up and Arizona absolutely stole it, 65-64.
In those final 60 seconds, Florida's juniors and seniors, Elite Eight veterans from the last two seasons, came unglued. They committed two terrible turnovers and a 90-percent free throw shooter missed the front end of a one-and-one. Door opened, Sean Miller's team ran right through.
BEST GUARD COMBO
Hard to get past Michigan's Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. They combined for 52 points on 19-for-28 shooting against West Virginia.
HUGS NOT HAPPY
When last seen at the end of last season, WVU coach Bob Huggins called those Mountaineers the worst defensive team he had coached in 30 years. After the Michigan loss, he said: "I've never had guys like this before. I want some guys that care."
Was WVU really in the 2010 Final Four? Think Hugs is looking forward to those Big 12 road trips?
THE BEST PLAYER
Might very well be Creighton's Doug McDermott. In the Blue Jays' 74-64 win at California, he had 34 points and nine rebounds. A dozen NBA scouts and three general managers were there to see it.
It was 50 seasons ago when SEC champion Mississippi State snuck out of the state to play Loyola Chicago in a 1963 NCAA game. Chronicled by Daily News alum Dana O'Neil in a terrific story on ESPN.com, that team was told by state authorities not to play against a team with black players. They had been the SEC champs in 1959, 1961 and 1962 and did not go against the mandate, refusing to play in the NCAA. In 1963, they went to East Lansing, Mich. to play Loyola.
It was a real turning point for college sports. Nothing happened except a basketball game. Loyola won, 61-51, on the way to the national championship.
The Ramblers, with two black players from Nashville, two from the Bronx and an Irish-American point guard from Chicago, trailed two-time defending champ Cincinnati by 15 with 13 minutes left in the title game before coming back to win in OT.
Saturday, in Chicago, Mississippi State played Loyola for the first time since 1963. The score was nearly identical with Loyola winning, 59-51.
In East Lansing, Michigan State played Division II Tuskegee at old Jenison Field House, the site of the 1963 NCAA game. The Tuskegee Airmen, who trained at Tuskegee Institute, had front row seats and were honored. The score of the game was irrelevant.
DJ'S TOP 15
1. Duke (9-0): Off since beating Temple on Dec. 8. Scoring a sensational 1.2 points per possession.
2. Louisville (9-1): Came from 16 points down in the first half to win at Memphis, 87-78.
3. Michigan (11-0): Continued tour of New York boroughs with 81-66 win over West Virginia at Brooklyn's new Barclays Center.
4. Ohio State (8-1): Shot 59 percent in 90-72 win over UNC-Asheville.
5. Syracuse (9-0): Michael Carter-Williams had 12 points, 14 assists and two turnovers in 90-61 win over Canisuis.
6. Illinois (12-0): Beat fellow unbeaten Eastern Kentucky Sunday, 66-53.
7. Indiana (9-1): In the game of the season so far, lost to Butler 88-86 in overtime. A tidy 19,192 filled the Pacers' arena in Indianapolis to see the Butler do it again.
8. Arizona (8-0): Trailed by six in the final minute against unbeaten Florida at home before playing a perfect end game to win, 65-64.
9. Florida (7-1): Played brilliantly for most of the game, but finished both halves very poorly and it cost the Gators what would have been a monumental road win at Arizona.
10. Kansas (8-1): Had 25 assists on 33 field goals and blew away a pretty good Belmont team, 89-60.
11. New Mexico (11-0): Had just six turnovers and blocked 11 shots in 73-58 win over New Mexico State. A cool 15,411 were at the Pit to see Steve Alford's team.
12. Gonzaga (10-1): Rebounded nicely from the Illinois loss with 68-52 win over Kansas State at Seattle's Key Arena, winning the lane "battle," 38-12.
13. San Diego State (8-1): Beat crosstown rival San Diego, 72-56. Blocked eight shots and shot 52 percent.
14. Butler (8-2): It's not magic. It's great coaching and good basketball.