In the first meeting between #18 Notre Dame and West Virginia the Fighting Irish didn't get going until late, when three three-pointers pushed them past the Mountaineers in Morgantown. Mike Brey's team got going offensively much sooner in the rematch, as a two-point lead at the half turned into a 71-44 whipping, moving their win streak to nine. This marks the first time in school history that the Irish have won nine straight Big East games, and by the game this young team has the look of a group that can make some noise next month.
With games at #13 San Diego State and against #11 UNLV this week, Steve Alford's New Mexico Lobos had a great opportunity to not only take control of the Mountain West but also make a statement nationally.
With first place on the line in Columbus the expectation was that #11 Michigan State and #3 Ohio State would play a tight, physical affair. And that's exactly what it was, with the visitors from East Lansing seeming to be the more comfortable of the two teams in the first half. Michigan State shot 46.9% from the field but the reason for their 35-25 lead at the half was their defense, as they limited Ohio State to 33.3% and forced eight turnovers.
Rivalry games bring more to the table when it comes to intensity, and that was definitely the case in the battle between #4 Missouri and #8 Kansas in Columbia on Saturday night. In a game that featured many momentum swings and neither team leading by more than eight points, it was Frank Haith's Tigers who landed the final blow. Kansas led 71-63 with 3:25 remaining but they would not score again, as Missouri finished the game on an 11-0 run to win 74-71.
NO. 15 MARQUETTE (19-4, 8-2 Big East) AT NOTRE DAME (14-8, 6-3 Big East)
Time/TV: 1 p.m./CBS
Tuesday's night matchup between #9 Michigan State and Illinois wasn't a pretty affair, as neither team could establish much of a rhythm on the offensive end of the floor. Whether it was due to good defense or just an inability to make shots on a consistent basis, neither the Spartans nor the Fighting Illini had much succes on that end of the floor. But when it's all said and done what matters is the result, which was a 42-41 Illinois victory as Brandon Paul made two free throws with 45 seconds remaining.
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