Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun knew heading into Wednesday's game that his struggling team, losers of three straight, needed some kind of spark to get things going. That meant shuffling the lineup, with Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi being replaced as starters by Ryan Boatright and Roscoe Smith, and for a short time on Wednesday night the move paid off. UConn got out to a 13-7 lead at the first media timeout and generally played better basketball on the offensive end, which was likely the desired effect of the move.
NO. 20 MICHIGAN (16-5, 6-2 Big Ten) AT NO. 3 OHIO STATE (18-3, 6-2 Big Ten)
Time/TV: 1 p.m./CBS
It's been an interesting couple of days in college basketball when it comes to travel issues, with Purdue having to bus to Michigan State in the early hours of Saturday for a noon tip. While the Boilermakers hung tough in the first half they lost their legs in the second as the Spartans rolled. So what was going to happen to San Diego State, whose trek to Laramie for an important Mountain West game against Wyoming took 20 hours, not to mention the fact that they'd be playing more than 7,000 feet above sea level?
With the announcement that starting center Fab Melo would miss Saturday's game due to an unresolved academic issue, the chances that top-ranked Syracuse would remain undefeated took a hit. But few would have thought that the Orange would have few (if any) answers in the paint as a result of his absence, and that's exactly what happened at Purcell Pavilion. Jack Cooley scored 17 points and grabbed ten rebounds and Notre Dame led by as many as 18 points on their way to the 67-58 win, the eighth in school history over a top-ranked opponent.
Given how reliant Michigan is on the three-point shot, many would think it highly unlikely that John Beilein's team would win a game in which they shot 6-for-21 from beyond the arc. But thanks to a late basket from Stu Douglass and some solid defense on the final possession of the game, that's exactly what happened as the Wolverines beat in-state rival Michigan 60-59 at Crisler Arena. Trey Burke scored a game-high 20 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. and Zack Novak scored ten points apiece, but Novak's biggest contribution came on the defensive end of the floor.
It was thought that Pittsburgh's loss at DePaul last week was the epitome of "rock bottom" for Jamie Dixon's program, which is still without injured point guard Tray Woodall. But in hindsight that high-scoring defeat at the hands of the Blue Demons was nothing compared to what happened at the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday night. Pitt scored the fewest points in their history as a Big East member, falling 62-39 at Rutgers in front of a stunned crowd.
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