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NCAA Basketball News and Notes: February 9, 2019

Duke vs. Virginia Should Be A Classic

In arguably one of the most exciting rematches of the season, the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (20-2, 8-1 in the ACC) will travel to take on the Virginia Cavaliers (20-1, 8-1 in the ACC). This game has major implications on numerous levels. First, there is the ACC. While North Carolina also sits at 8-1 in the conference, whoever wins this matchup will take a huge advantage in the conference. Additionally, as March quickly approaches, this game could have major implications as seeding starts to be thought about.

Still, for the players and coaches, they have to focus less on the long term and more about the game at hand. The first time these two played, back on January 19, Duke was able to narrowly get by with a 72-70 victory. Playing at Virginia this time, though, the Cavaliers are hoping that their home crowd can help them exact a little revenge.

Leading the way for Duke are freshmen phenoms Zion Williamson (22 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.2 steals, 2 blocks, 68.2% shooting) and R.J. Barrett (23 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1 steal per game). For Virginia, the leaders on the court are De’Andre Hunter (14.7 points, 5.4 rebounds), Kyle Guy (14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds) and Ty Jerome (13 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.6 steals).

Kansas To Lose Star For Foreseeable Future

The Kansas Jayhawks are quickly finding their season going from bad to worse as they will now be short another leading figure on their roster. Senior guard Lagerald Vick has decided to take a leave of absence for personal reasons. Vick is currently the second leading scorer for Kansas, averaging 14.1 points, 4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Having already lost Udoka Azubuike for the season, the Jayhawks are truly testing the depth of their roster. With forward Dedric Lawson leading the way averaging 19.4 points and 10.8 rebounds, the Jayhawks thought they would be in a different position at this point. After starting the season 10-0, they have started to slide, currently sitting at 17-6 overall and 6-4 in the Big 12. Even worse, in their last game, they lost 74-67 in a shocker to Kansas State. With time running out before March Madness starts, the Jayhawks better hope they can get it figured out sooner rather than later.

Michigan State Spiraling

Speaking of teams that are not playing good basketball right now, Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans have certainly been struggling as of late. No. 9 Michigan State has lost three in a row before hosting Minnesota on Saturday. If losing three wasn’t bad enough, two of those losses were against unranked teams as they lost 79-74 to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Tuesday and 79-75 to the Indiana Hoosiers last Saturday. Prior to that game, they had lost to No. 15 Purdue 73-63 on January 27th. The Spartans are 18-5 now overall and 9-3 in the Big Ten. Offensively, the Spartans are led by Cassius Winston (18.9 points, 7.3 assists) and Nick Ward (15.2 points, 6.6 rebounds), but if they hope to contend down the stretch, they are certainly going to have to play more consistent basketball than what they have shown as of late.

U-Conn Leading Scorer Out With Knee Injury

For the University of Connecticut Huskies, this hasn’t exactly been a stellar season. They currently sit 13-10 overall and 4-6 in the American Athletic Conference. Things got a little worse Wednesday when they lost leading scorer Jalen Adams due to a sprained MCL in his left knee. On the season, Adams is averaging 17 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He is also shooting 49.7% from the field and 84.7% from the free throw line. With Adams out, Christian Vital (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Alterique Gilbert (12.9 points, 3.8 assists) are the only Huskies averaging double-digits. Their next game is on Sunday against Memphis.

NCAA To Examine Use Of Instant Replay On All Buzzer-Beaters

What did Oklahoma versus Iowa State on Monday and Creighton vs. Villanova on Wednesday have in common? They both featured buzzer-beating three-point shots…or did they? In both instances, it appeared that time had expired prior to the shots being let go. However, since neither of them impacted the outcome of the game, they both stood as being good. As the NCAA tournament approaches, though, the NCAA is considering the use of instant replay on all buzzer-beaters, even if it doesn’t impact the outcome of the game. The reason for this is due to the high level of sports betting that takes place on the tournament. Since the Supreme Court ruling that allowed states beyond Nevada to authorize betting on sports, the idea of sports betting is starting to spread, with eight states allowing legal sports gambling. As the NCAA tries to keep the integrity of the game in check, it also can help these services, that can be deeply impacted by a random shot at the end of the game, especially for those betting the spread. While nothing is concrete, the fact that they are even considering it is a good step in the sports betting world.

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