If you’re like me, your favorite time of the year is March. The snow is starting to melt, flowers are starting to bloom and, most importantly, March Madness begins. I may be biased because I have been an avid college basketball fan my entire life but I truly believe the NCAA Tournament is the best event in all of sports. Continuous great college basketball games between some of the best teams in the country; what more could you want? Thankfully, we have midseason hoops to hold us over until March and that is exactly what last night was all about. 12 of the Top 25 teams in the country were in action and although only two of them lost, it still made for an exciting night of college basketball.
Leading the headlines was a top 10 matchup between #8 Texas Tech and #9 Oklahoma. The main storyline coming into this game was Oklahoma freshman phenom Trae Young. Could he maintain his rapid pace in a season where he is averaging 29.2 points and 10.1 assists per game? In short, yes he could. Texas Tech was able to shut down Young in the first half, holding him to just 5 points on 1-12 shooting. However, the game is 40 minutes long for a reason and Young took advantage of all 40, finishing the game with 27 points, 9 assists and leading his team to a 75-65 victory over a tough Texas Tech team. Keenan Evans led the Red Raiders with 19 points.
Last night was a night that finally saw North Carolina come back into form after losing 3 out of their last 5 games. This was due in large part to Luke Maye, who finished the game with 32 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Tar Heels to a 96-66 victory over Boston College. This is the same Luke Maye that averaged a lowly 5.5 points last year in his sophomore season. “The basket was pretty big tonight,” Maye said after the win. “It was really fun.” It just goes to show what work in the offseason and trust from your coach will get you.
Luke Maye is the first North Carolina player with at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in a home game in the last 20 seasons.
The last to do it was Antawn Jamison in 1997-98. pic.twitter.com/uOSeRL9QnD
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 10, 2018
Last night was almost a very exciting night with three missed buzzer beaters that if made, would have resulted in three top 25 upsets, two of which would have been top 5 upsets. Texas A&M, Baylor and Michigan all had last second possessions that could have resulted in three huge upsets. However, it was not to be and #21 Kentucky, #2 West Virginia and #5 Purdue could breathe a sigh of relief as they escaped with victories against their respective opponents. Despite the lack of upsets, Tuesday night was a great night for college basketball and we can only hope that it is a sign of things to come.