It's tough enough for most teams to manage the emotions that come with Senior Night; what happens when you add in a conference title and a team that's beaten you six straight times? If you're Greivis Vasquez and company all that meant on Wednesday night was the opportunity to show the nation that you can play with a highly-touted Duke team that blew you out in the first meeting this season.
With there still being one day left in the weekend we've gout ourselves quite the question: who should be the nation's top-ranked team when the new polls are released on Monday? The top two teams, Kansas and Kentucky, went on the road Saturday and return to their respective campuses with losses. The Jayhawks fell to an Oklahoma State team likely one marquee win away from sewing up an NCAA bid 85-77 as they were unable to slow down James Anderson (27 points, eight rebounds) and three other Cowboys who finished in double figures.
Connecticut went into their game against West Virginia back in the NCAA Tournament conversation following wins over Villanova and Temple. But consistency has been a problem for the Huskies all season long, so it can be understood if some expected them to fall to West Virginia at the XL Center. A mediocre rebounding team for most of the season, the Huskies received a far better performance on the glass on Monday night, out-rebounding the Big East's best 37-33 in a 73-62 win.
The big game on Monday matches up the nation's top-ranked team and one of the hotter teams in the Big 12. Kansas has taken care of all comers since their loss at Tennessee, taking full control of their contest at Texas last Monday. However, in Texas A&M they'll take on a squad that's playing better basketball than the Longhorns were and Mark Turgeon's team is also "more secure" in their roles than Texas was.
Jay Wright's Wildcats didn't look their best on Saturday afternoon, falling behind big early on their way to a 103-90 loss at Georgetown. But something changed between that loss at Monday night, with youngsters playing with poise and the Wildcats taking better care of the basketball, and the end result was an 82-75 win over West Virginia to move into a tie for first place in the Big East. In the first half nine different players scored for Villanova with senior Scottie Reynolds being limited by the defense of Devin Ebanks.
A pair of games between ranked teams take center stage on Monday night, with Villanova's trip to Morgantown preceding Kansas taking on Texas in Austin. Jay Wright's team will look to bounce back from their disappointing showing at Georgetown on Saturday and they're going to need to hit the glass with a vengeance in order to beat the Mountaineers. West Virginia averages 15.6 offensive rebounds per game, good for third in the Big East. Of the 795 rebounding opportunities on Mountaineer shots Bob Huggins' team grabs the board 43.3% of the time, tops in the conference.
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