Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Morning News: Virginia Bounces Back, Kansas Handles Iowa State, And Trey Lyles Is Sick

Brannen Greene is hitting 63% of his three-pointers in Big 12 play.

Virginia Bounces Back In Chapel Hill Virginia fans were having some flashbacks to the Duke game with some slow defensive rotations in the first half leading to easy North Carolina baskets. But in the second half, Virginia took away the easy baskets and offensive rebounds. North Carolina rebounded 46% of their misses and hit 50% of their two-pointers in the first half. In the second half it was 29% and 39%, respectively. And the Tar Heels offensive efficiency plummeted from 1.14 PPP in the first half to 0.89 PPP in the second half.

Fewer than 48 hours after that heartbreaking loss to Duke, it's really impressive that Virginia could come out and win by double digits on the road against a team as good as North Carolina. They're now the heavy favorites for the ACC regular season title, and a win at home against Louisville on Saturday would come close to wrapping things up. Five of their final eight games will come against Wake Forest (twice), Virginia Tech, Florida State and Pittsburgh.

North Carolina has dropped two straight, though there's no shame in losing to Louisville or Virginia. Things will get easier on Saturday when they take on Boston College. They still have their two Duke games to play, though, beginning with the game at Cameron Indoor on February 18th.

Kansas Handles Iowa State Kansas wasn't spectacular here, but they were solid in every facet of the game. After allowing 21 fast break points to Iowa State in their loss in Ames they totally shut the Cyclones out in the first half. And an Iowa State team that was leading the Big 12 with 54.8% two-point shooting hit just 45% here (and it was down around 35% before the Cyclones got some garbage-time buckets). Offensively, Wayne Seldon was the spark for Kansas, shooting 5-for-7 behind the arc.

Once again, here we are. Kansas has grabbed total control of the Big 12. The team best positioned to provide a challenge is West Virginia, sitting just a game back in the loss column and with a home-and-home against the Jayhawks still remaining. But realistically, the biggest question for Kansas will be whether they can win enough games so that a Big 12 tournament title will earn them a 1 seed rather than a 2 seed in March.

Iowa State drops to 6-3 in Big 12 play. They have the easiest game on their schedule (home vs Texas Tech) up next, but after that their remaining schedule is nasty. Five of their final eight will be on the road, including road games at Oklahoma, West Virginia and Oklahoma State.

Trey Lyles Is Ill Kentucky's Trey Lyles missed Saturday's game against Alabama, and it looks like he'll miss Tuesday's game against Georgia and he'll perhaps be out longer. It's unclear precisely what he's sick with, though some reports have suggested it's strep throat. Either way, Kentucky is going to see its depth tested more than expected, at least for a short while.

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