Late offensive fouls and the foul line made the difference in the first meeting between #5 Kansas (23-5, 13-2) and #3 Missouri (25-3, 12-3), with the Tigers gaining the edge in both categories and ultimately winning 74-71. There's a lot more on the line in the rematch as the Jayhawks can clinch at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title with a win, but a Missouri win would not only move the Tigers into a tie for first but also give them the all-important head-to-head tiebreaker.
AT NO. 1 KENTUCKY (27-1, 13-0 SEC)
With hopes of not only remaining a factor in the ACC race but also notching their first win at #5 Duke since 1995, NC State was more than motivated for Thursday night's battle. And they played that way out of the gates, scoring the first eight points of the game and leading by as many as 19 points in the first half. But while the Wolfpack would continue to control play in the early portion of the second half, the foul trouble that developed for Mark Gottfried's team in the first half began to take its toll.
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.
NO. 1 KENTUCKY (24-1, 10-0 SEC) AT VANDERBILT (17-7, 6-3 SEC)
Time: 9 p.m.
Saturday is the day that many college basketball fans have been waiting for, with a number of important matchups on the slate. One of those games is #4 Missouri (22-2, 9-2) hosting #6 Baylor (21-3, 8-3) with the Bears looking to keep alive their fleeting hopes of winning the league title. Scott Drew's team is 0-3 in games against the two teams now ahead of them in the standings, most recently being whipped by Kansas in Waco.
VANDERBILT (16-6, 5-2 SEC) AT NO. 11 FLORIDA (18-4, 6-1 SEC)
One of the consequences of conference realignment has been the ending of some of the best rivalries in college sports. With #4 Missouri (20-2, 7-2) headed to the SEC after this season Saturday night's game with #8 Kansas (18-4, 8-1) could be the last time for a while these two teams meet in Columbia. But that's a mere subplot in this one as the Tigers are looking to move into a tie for first in the Big 12 while Kansas can strengthen their grip on the top spot with a win.
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