The Associated Press

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Feb 21

Bubble teams UCLA and Utah highlight the Pac-12 week

A look at things to watch this week in the Pac-12 Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEK: UCLA at Utah, Thursday. Big bubble game for both teams. The Bruins (19-8, 10-5 Pac-12) are in decent shape for an NCAA Tournament berth after beating the Oregon schools last week. UCLA has wins over Arizona, Kentucky, Washington and Southern California, but is on the road the rest of the regular season. A loss to fellow bubble team Utah could put a dent in the Bruins resume, particularly if they lose another game down the line. The Utes (17-9, 9-6) are in a bit more precarious position and could need to win out to reach the field of 68. Utah can boost its resume with wins over UCLA and USC this week and closes the season against Colorado.

LOOKING AHEAD: No. 14 Arizona has a chance to clinch its 16th Pac-12 regular-season title and fourth in five years this week. The Wildcats (21-6, 11-3) have a 1 1/2 game lead over UCLA and USC, and can clinch the title with a win and losses by both southern California teams. Arizona plays at Oregon State on Thursday and at Oregon on Saturday.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Utah became the first team with two conference weekend road sweeps last week after beating both Washington schools last week. The Utes also swept the Oregon schools earlier this year. … An average of 8,430 fans has attended Pac-12 games through 86 league games so far. That’s just short of the 8,737 average during the 2016-17 campaign, most in the Pac-12 era. … Washington’s Matisse Thybulle has 82, three shy of cracking the Pac-12 top 10 for a single season.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Aaron Holiday, UCLA. The junior guard doesn’t always get the same recognition as the other top players in the Pac-12, but there’s no question he’s one of the conference’s best. Holiday is one of six players averaging at least 20 points (19.4) and five assists (5.7), putting him on pace to become the seventh player in Pac-12 history to hit those marks. He was the Pac-12 player of the week after averaging 23.0 points and 8.0 assists in a pair of wins last week.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: The Pac-12’s women’s race will go down to the wire, but No. 8 Oregon is in the best position. The Ducks (24-4, 13-2) have a half-game lead over No. 16 Stanford (19-9, 13-3) , with No. 10 UCLA (21-5, 12-3) another half-game back. Oregon is at the Arizona schools this week, Stanford at the Washington schools, and the Bruins host Colorado and Utah.

Compiled by AP Basketball Writer John Marshall in Phoenix.

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/bubble-teams-ucla-utah-highlight-pac-12-week-083926144--ncaab.html

Feb 19

The Top Twenty Five

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 18, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and previous ranking:

Record Pts Prv

1. Virginia (42) 24-2 1601 1

2. Michigan St. (19) 26-3 1565 2

3. Villanova (4) 24-3 1509 3

4. Xavier 24-4 1398 4

5. Duke 22-5 1292 12

6. Texas Tech 22-5 1206 7

6. Gonzaga 25-4 1206 9

8. Kansas 21-6 1166 13

9. Purdue 24-5 1130 6

10. North Carolina 21-7 1074 14

11. Cincinnati 23-4 954 5

12. Auburn 23-4 873 10

13. Wichita St. 21-5 870 19

14. Arizona 21-6 831 17

15. Clemson 20-6 683 11

16. Ohio St. 22-7 680 8

17. Michigan 22-7 615 22

18. Rhode Island 21-4 455 16

19. Tennessee 19-7 427 18

20. Nevada 23-5 330 24

21. West Virginia 19-8 329 20

22. Saint Mary’s (Cal) 25-4 291 15

23. Houston 21-5 263 –

24. Middle Tennessee 22-5 87 –

25. Florida St. 19-8 63 –

Others receiving votes: Baylor 52, Kentucky 33, Arizona St 32, Arkansas 23, UCLA 20, St. Bonaventure 13, Virginia Tech 12, Creighton 10, Penn St. 6, Kansas St 5, Missouri 5, Texas A&M 4, TCU 4, Butler 2, Loyola of Chicago 2, Alabama 1, Oklahoma 1, Boise St. 1, ETSU 1.

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/top-twenty-five-184918032--ncaab.html

Feb 19

The Top Twenty Five

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ men’s college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 18, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:

Record Pts Pvs

1. Virginia (42) 24-2 1,601 1

2. Michigan St. (19) 26-3 1,565 2

3. Villanova (4) 24-3 1,509 3

4. Xavier 24-4 1,398 4

5. Duke 22-5 1,292 12

6. Texas Tech 22-5 1,206 7

6. Gonzaga 25-4 1,206 9

8. Kansas 21-6 1,166 13

9. Purdue 24-5 1,130 6

10. North Carolina 21-7 1,074 14

11. Cincinnati 23-4 954 5

12. Auburn 23-4 873 10

13. Wichita St. 21-5 870 19

14. Arizona 21-6 831 17

15. Clemson 20-6 683 11

16. Ohio St. 22-7 680 8

17. Michigan 22-7 615 22

18. Rhode Island 21-4 455 16

19. Tennessee 19-7 427 18

20. Nevada 23-5 330 24

21. West Virginia 19-8 329 20

22. Saint Mary’s (Cal)25-4 291 15

23. Houston 21-5 263 –

24. Middle Tennessee 22-5 87 –

25. Florida St. 19-8 63 –

Others receiving votes: Baylor 52, Kentucky 33, Arizona St 32, Arkansas 23, UCLA 20, St. Bonaventure 13, Virginia Tech 12, Creighton 10, Penn St. 6, Kansas St 5, Missouri 5, Texas A&M 4, TCU 4, Butler 2, Loyola of Chicago 2, Alabama 1, Oklahoma 1, Boise St. 1, ETSU 1.

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/top-twenty-five-170203478--ncaab.html

Feb 16

Aggies face big test at Arkansas; UK tries to end slide

A look at the upcoming week around the Southeastern Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 21 Texas A&M at Arkansas: Texas A&M (17-9, 6-7 SEC) responded to its return to the Top 25 by losing at Missouri and now likely must beat Arkansas (18-8, 7-6) on Saturday to remain in the rankings. Although the Aggies have done a great job of rebounding from their 0-5 start to SEC competition, they still must show they can win on the road. Texas A&M is just 2-6 in true road games this year. Arkansas is particularly tough to beat at home, where the Razorbacks own a 13-1 record. Another Saturday game to watch is Alabama (17-9, 8-5) at Kentucky (17-9 6-7) as the Wildcats attempt to snap their four-game skid.

LOOKING AHEAD: What’s up with Kentucky?:The Wildcats are out of the Top 25 and dealing with their first four-game losing streak since the end of the 2008-09 regular season. They face the possibility of finishing a season below .500 in SEC competition for the first time since 1988-89 (though they did go 8-8 in league play in 2008-09). The schedule is partially to blame for Kentucky’s recent slide. This four-game skid featured three road games, two ranked opponents (No. 10 Auburn and Tennessee ) and two potential NCAA Tournament teams (Missouri and Texas A&M ). Kentucky is home for three of its next four games

IMPACT PERFORMER: Alabama forward Donta Hall has averaged 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds over the Crimson Tide’s last two games. He matched a career high with 20 points and also pulled down eight rebounds Tuesday in an 80-65 victory over LSU . That followed a 17-point, 11-rebound performance in a 78-50 blowout of Tennessee . Hall shot 8-of-10 from the floor in each of those two games. The 6-foot-9 junior had six dunks against Tennessee and five against LSU.

NUMBERS GAME: Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy’s 245 wins with the Rebels are 101 more than any other coach in program history. Kennedy announced Monday he would be stepping down at the end of the season . … Auburn’s 23-3 record is its second-best mark through 26 games in school history. Auburn started 25-1 in 1998-99 and went on to finish 29-4 with an NCAA regional semifinal appearance. … Alabama has won its last five games against Top 25 teams. … Georgia’s 72-69 overtime victory at Florida on Wednesday marked the first time the Bulldogs had beaten the Gators in Gainesville since 2002. Georgia has beaten Florida twice this season, the first time that’s happened since 1997. … Mississippi State is 17-1 at home or on neutral sites but is just 1-7 in true road games. The Bulldogs just finished a devastating 0-2 road swing in which they lost 89-85 at Missouri in overtime and 81-80 at Vanderbilt on a Riley LaChance 3-pointer with half a second remaining. … Arkansas has won each of the last 35 games it has led at halftime.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: No. 2 Mississippi State clinched at least a share of the SEC regular-season title Thursday with its 95-50 victory at Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs (27-0, 13-0 SEC) have a three-game lead over No. 8 South Carolina (21-5, 10-3) with three games left to play. … Alabama’s 72-63 triumph over No. 11 Tennessee on Thursday marked the first time the Crimson Tide had ever beaten the Lady Vols in Knoxville in 23 attempts. Alabama has now won its last four meetings with Tennessee overall after losing to the Lady Vols 42 consecutive times from 1984-2016.

Compiled by AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25 .

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/aggies-face-big-test-arkansas-uk-tries-end-090349985--ncaab.html

Feb 16

Duke-Clemson matchup could help decide 2nd place in ACC

A look at the upcoming week around the Atlantic Coast Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 12 Duke at No. 11 Clemson. The weekend’s only matchup of ranked ACC teams could help decide the race for the No. 2 seed in next month’s ACC Tournament, pitting the preseason favorite Blue Devils (21-5, 9-4) against one of the league’s biggest surprises. The Tigers (20-5, 9-4) were picked to finish 13th before the season but are trying to sew up a double-bye in the league tournament. They enter this one tied for second; Duke is coming off its second straight victory without injured star Marvin Bagley III while Clemson was knocked off by Florida State in overtime after leading by 18.

LOOKING AHEAD: At the other end of the ACC’s spectrum is Pittsburgh (8-19, 0-14), which is trying to avoid becoming the first team since Boston College two years ago to finish 0-18 in conference play. The Panthers’ best chance to avoid that dubious note in the history book might come next Wednesday night in a visit from Wake Forest – which is 14th in the conference, even after beating 13th-place Georgia Tech , and has taken a clear step back after making the NCAA Tournament last year.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Kyle Guy is the clear face of Virginia’s climb to its first No. 1 ranking since the Ralph Sampson era. The sophomore guard has scored in double figures in 11 straight games and in 14 of his past 15, and has made at least one 3-pointer in a league-best 25 consecutive games – the longest streak by a Cavalier in a decade.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The ACC entered Thursday night’s games with four teams in the top eight of the RPI, easily the most of any conference. That list is led by No. 1 Virginia and Clemson is at No. 6. Duke was one spot behind the Tigers, with rival North Carolina a spot behind them. According to the RPI’s formula, the Tar Heels have played the second-toughest schedule in the nation while Virginia’s strength-of-schedule rating is No. 7.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: Perennial league champion Notre Dame (23-2, 11-1) will need someone to pull a colossal upset to claim yet another No. 1 seed in the conference tournament that begins Feb. 28 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Louisville (25-2, 11-1) has the inside track to its first top seed since joining the conference – the Cardinals won the head-to-head matchup with Notre Dame – and none of its final four opponents are in the Top 25. Louisville plays at Boston College on Thursday night and at North Carolina on Sunday.

Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/duke-clemson-matchup-could-help-decide-2nd-place-090247325--ncaab.html

Feb 15

West Virginia’s trip to Kansas headlines Big 12 play

A look at the upcoming weekend around the Big 12:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: West Virginia at Kansas. The Jayhawks enter the weekend a game behind league-leading Texas Tech with five games left to play. The Mountaineers are two games behind the Red Raiders and can draw even with Kansas with a win in Allen Fieldhouse. West Virginia answered for a home loss to Oklahoma State with an 82-66 win over TCU to start the week, while the Jayhawks beat Iowa State 83-77 on Tuesday.

LOOKING AHEAD TO SATURDAY: Oklahoma, which has lost four straight and seven of its last nine games, will try to bounce back against Texas in Norman. Texas Tech puts its seven-game winning streak on the line when it travels to streaking Baylor – which beat Kansas in Waco a week ago – and Iowa State will face Kansas State on the road. TCU and Oklahoma State square off in a matchup that could prove crucial to each team’s hopes for an NCAA Tournament bid.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Trae Young, Oklahoma. Young is so dynamic he could be the guy picked for this category every week – but the freshman appears to have hit a wall. Young went 0 of 9 on 3s in Tuesday’s 88-78 loss at Tech, and he needed 21 shots to score 22 points in a loss to the Cyclones over the weekend. When Young is going right, the Sooners are a legitimate Final Four contender. When he’s not, they can look like the worst team in the league.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Tuesday’s win gave Kansas 20 on the year. The Jayhawks have won at least 20 games for 29 consecutive seasons, the longest active streak in the nation. … TCU’s Desmond Bane is a league-best 50.5 percent on 3s. Teammate Kouat Noi is second at 46 percent. … There were just nine shooters above 80 percent from the line, led by Iowa State’s Donovan Jackson at 91.5 percent.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: Baylor and Texas have been in holding patterns in the Top 25. The Lady Bears have been third and the Longhorns have been sixth for weeks. … The conference could have four teams end up with losing overall records. Texas Tech, Kansas and Iowa State will enter the weekend below .500, while Kansas State is just 13-12 ahead of Saturday’s game at TCU.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/west-virginias-trip-kansas-headlines-big-12-play-074510425--ncaab.html

Feb 14

Duel in the desert highlights this week in the Pac-12

A look at things to watch this week in the Pac-12 Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 17 Arizona at No. 25 Arizona State, Thursday. The Sun Devils (19-6, 7-6) have turned a once-lopsided rivalry into more of a fair fight this season after opening the season with 12 straight wins. The Wildcats (20-6, 10-3) still ended up winning the first meeting 84-78 to end the best start in Arizona State history. Arizona used its size advantage against the smaller Sun Devils and Pac-12 teams followed suit. Arizona State seems to have found an answer and completed the first conference weekend sweep in three seasons under Bobby Hurley last week. Wells Fargo Arena, also known as The Bank, has been rowdy all season and should be even more so for this rivalry game.

LOOKING AHEAD: UCLA and Southern California are running out of time to chase down Arizona in the Pac-12 race. Both teams are two games behind the Wildcats at 8-5 and have three weeks left before the Pac-12 Tournament. The Bruins and Trojans play the Oregon schools this week, swing through Colorado and Utah next week, and then close the regular season against each other at Galen Center on March 3.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: USC guard Jordan McLaughlin has 651 career assists, one shy of eighth all-time in Pac-12 history. … The conference has the closest race in the nation, with 10 teams within 4 1/2 games of the lead. … Arizona’s Allonzo Trier (19.6 points per game) and Deandre Ayton (19.5) are the Pac-12’s top two scorers, putting them on pace to become the first teammates since the formation of the Pac-8 in 1968-69 to finish 1-2 in league scoring.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Tres Tinkle, Oregon State. The coach’s son had quite a week, earning Pac-12 player of the week honors after averaging 24.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists in a pair of wins. He made 17 of 32 shots, including 5 of 10 from the 3-point arc.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: The Pac-12 women are going down to the wire. With two weeks left in the season, No. 7 UCLA, No. 9 Oregon and No. 14 Stanford are tied atop the league at 12-2. UCLA plays at Oregon on Monday in what could be a huge game toward determining the regular-season champion. The Cardinal have consecutive games against rival California on Thursday and Saturday.

Compiled by AP Basketball Writer John Marshall in Phoenix.

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/duel-desert-highlights-week-pac-12-080040372--ncaab.html

Feb 12

The Top Twenty Five

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 11, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and previous ranking:

Record Pts Prv

1. Virginia (30) 23-2 1557 2

2. Michigan St. (21) 24-3 1527 4

3. Villanova (9) 23-2 1518 1

4. Xavier (5) 23-3 1465 5

5. Cincinnati 23-2 1359 6

6. Purdue 23-4 1269 3

7. Texas Tech 21-4 1258 7

8. Ohio St. 22-5 1094 14

9. Gonzaga 23-4 1063 12

10. Auburn 22-3 1025 8

11. Clemson 20-4 945 16

12. Duke 20-5 942 9

13. Kansas 19-6 816 10

14. North Carolina 19-7 763 21

15. Saint Mary’s (Cal) 24-3 683 11

16. Rhode Island 20-3 666 18

17. Arizona 20-6 594 13

18. Tennessee 18-6 580 15

19. Wichita St. 19-5 495 22

20. West Virginia 18-7 339 19

21. Texas A&M 17-8 241 –

22. Michigan 20-7 239 20

23. Oklahoma 16-8 152 17

24. Nevada 21-5 87 23

25. Arizona St. 19-6 83 –

Others receiving votes: New Mexico St. 66, Florida 48, Creighton 44, Butler 43, Virginia Tech 29, Middle Tennessee 26, Alabama 22, Houston 16, Nebraska 15, Missouri 14, Miami 10, Kentucky 8, TCU 8, ETSU 5, Oklahoma St. 4, St. Bonaventure 3, Louisville 2, Vermont 1, Florida St. 1.

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/top-twenty-five-193946744--ncaab.html

Feb 12

The Top Twenty Five

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ men’s college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 11, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:

Record Pts Pvs

1. Virginia (30) 23-2 1,557 2

2. Michigan St. (21) 24-3 1,527 4

3. Villanova (9) 23-2 1,518 1

4. Xavier (5) 23-3 1,465 5

5. Cincinnati 23-2 1,359 6

6. Purdue 23-4 1,269 3

7. Texas Tech 21-4 1,258 7

8. Ohio St. 22-5 1,094 14

9. Gonzaga 23-4 1,063 12

10. Auburn 22-3 1,025 8

11. Clemson 20-4 945 16

12. Duke 20-5 942 9

13. Kansas 19-6 816 10

14. North Carolina 19-7 763 21

15. Saint Mary’s (Cal)24-3 683 11

16. Rhode Island 20-3 666 18

17. Arizona 20-6 594 13

18. Tennessee 18-6 580 15

19. Wichita St. 19-5 495 22

20. West Virginia 18-7 339 19

21. Texas A&M 17-8 241 –

22. Michigan 20-7 239 20

23. Oklahoma 16-8 152 17

24. Nevada 21-5 87 23

25. Arizona St 19-6 83 –

Others receiving votes: New Mexico St. 66, Florida 48, Creighton 44, Butler 43, Virginia Tech 29, Middle Tennessee 26, Alabama 22, Houston 16, Nebraska 15, Missouri 14, Miami 10, Kentucky 8, TCU 8, ETSU 5, Oklahoma St. 4, St. Bonaventure 3, Louisville 2, Vermont 1, Florida St. 1.

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/top-twenty-five-170154645--ncaab.html

Feb 09

UNC-NC State matchup headlines ACC’s big weekend

A look at the upcoming week around the Atlantic Coast Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 21 North Carolina at N.C. State. The Tar Heels face back-to-back rivalry games in a span of less than 48 hours, taking on No. 9 Duke on Thursday night before the quick turnaround trip to nearby Raleigh to face the Wolfpack (16-7, 6-4). N.C. State stunned North Carolina in overtime in Chapel Hill two weeks ago, and a season sweep of its biggest rival would be a welcome line on the Wolfpack’s NCAA Tournament resume under first-year coach Kevin Keatts.

LOOKING AHEAD: No. 2 Virginia visits No. 25 Miami in the biggest game of the early week. The Cavaliers, just the third ACC team since 2001-02 to win its first 12 league games , look to be a weekend victory over Virginia Tech away from returning to No. 1 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era in 1981 after losses by No. 1 Villanova and No. 3 Purdue. The Hurricanes’ defense has been solid, too, ranking fifth in the conference at 66.3 points allowed per game and beating Wake Forest in their first game back in the Top 25.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Boston College’s Ky Bowman is doing a little bit of everything for the Eagles. Bowman, the team’s second-leading scorer at 16.8 points per game, is the only player in the league who’s leading his team in both rebounds and assists in ACC games only. Bowman averages 8.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists in conference play.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Home-court advantage might not mean as much anymore in an ACC in which teams seem to be finding ways to win on the road. Over the last 23 conference games entering Tuesday night’s action, road teams in the ACC are 12-11. Five teams are at .500 or better on the road in league play, led by Virginia (7-0) and both Duke and Virginia Tech (3-2 each).

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: It’s a two-team race for the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament, with No. 4 Louisville (24-1, 10-1) holding the tiebreaker edge against No. 5 Notre Dame (22-2, 10-1) by virtue of its head-to-head victory. The Cardinals step out of league play Monday to rekindle an old Big East rivalry with top-ranked Connecticut.

Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/unc-nc-state-matchup-headlines-accs-big-weekend-140936387--ncaab.html