Kentucky Ends Texas Tech's Home Streak, Baylor Dominates Florida, Top Highlights

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2020

Kentucky's Nick Richards (4) and Texas Tech's TJ Holyfield (22) try to rebound the ball during overtime in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)
Brad Tollefson/Associated Press

The Kentucky Wildcats are showing signs that they could be a contender for the men's college basketball national championship.

John Calipari's team earned one of Saturday's most impressive victories, as it ended the 54-game nonconference home winning streak of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Although they still have work to do to be included in the conversation of elite programs, the 15th-ranked Wildcats now have a resume with three Top 25 wins, and they could gain a fourth in one week.

The Baylor Bears have already established themselves in the upper echelon of the sport, and they added to their spectacular season through a controlling victory over the Florida Gators.

Saturday's slate also featured a pair of coaching milestones. North Carolina's Roy Williams and West Virginia's Bob Huggins both moved up the all-time wins list with triumphs by their respective sides.


Saturday AP Top 25 Scores

No. 1 Baylor 72, Florida 61

No. 2 Gonzaga 92, Pacific 59

No. 3 Kansas 74, Tennessee 68

No. 5 Florida State 85, Notre Dame 84

No. 6 Louisville 80, Clemson 62

No. 7 Dayton 87, Richmond 79

No. 9 Villanova 64, Providence 60

No. 14 West Virginia 74, Missouri 51

No. 15 Kentucky 76, No. 18 Texas Tech 74 (Final/OT)

No. 16 Auburn 80, Iowa State 76

SMU 74, No. 20 Memphis 70

No. 21 Illinois 64, Michigan 62

Arizona State 66, No. 22 Arizona 65

No. 23 Colorado 76, Washington 62

No. 24 Rutgers 75, Nebraska 72


Immanuel Quickley's Half-Court Heave to Beat First-Half Buzzer


Ashton Hagans Sprints Back to Halt Texas Tech's Offense


Ayo Dosunmu Leads Illinois Past Michigan


Geo Baker Keeps Rutgers Perfect at Home


Alonzo Verge Jr. Scores Arizona State's Game-Winner


Trent Forrest and Devin Vassell Combine on FSU Alley-Oop


Jordan Nwora Rises Up for Rejection


Quenton Jackson Soars for Baseline Jam


Villanova Finishes Off Providence with Slam


Kentucky Ends Texas Tech's Nonconference Home Winning Streak

With its 76-74 overtime win at United Supermarkets Arena, Kentucky snapped Texas Tech's 54-game nonconference winning streak:

Nick Richards was the star of the contest with 25 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. He became the first Kentucky player since Anthony Davis to record 20 points, 13 rebound and four blocks in a single game:

Richards' improvement has been one of the best individual stories in college basketball. The junior is averaging 14.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in his junior campaign after failing to break through as a freshman or sophomore.

The native of Jamaica could be the key to Kentucky's success in March because of his ability to score and control the glass.

Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley, who had 21 points Saturday, pointed out how important Richards has been to the squad, per Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald Leader.

"We have no chance of winning without Nick," Quickley said. "Nick, what he did for us ... not too many big men in the country are doing that."

Richards, Quickley, Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey all average 13 or more points per game for a team that should rise close to the Top 10 in Monday's polls.

Between the team's ability to score through different avenues, Richards' paint presence and Hagans' on-ball defending, Kentucky looks like it may have a good formula concocted to emerge as a favorite to win the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

The Wildcats' toughest in-conference test comes next Saturday, when they visit the Auburn Tigers, who just a week ago were ranked in the Top Five.

If Kentucky passes another road test, the buzz around the program's potential will only get louder.


Baylor Dominates Florida

For the second time in January, Baylor entered a road contest as an underdog.

Before their January 11 trip to Kansas, the Bears were a five-point underdog, and on Saturday, they came into Exactech Arena on the opposite end of a 1.5-point line in favor of Florida, per Matt Norlander of CBS Sports.

The top-ranked team in the country took control of the contest from the start and had an 11-point advantage before halftime.

CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein noted a few of the key factors that have helped the Bears thrive:

Baylor committed 13 turnovers, made all but one of its 16 foul shots and knocked down nine three-pointers compared to four from Florida.

The victory added to a resume that includes road wins over Kansas and Texas Tech, a neutral-site triumph over Villanova and home victories over Arizona and Butler.

If the selection committee chose a No. 1 overall seed right now, Baylor could make a strong case for it over the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Mark Few's side owns victories over Oregon, Washington and Arizona, but its West Coast Conference schedule is weaker than what Baylor faces in the Big 12.

Baylor has two more road tests ahead in the next three games, as it travels to Iowa State on Wednesday and Kansas State on February 3.

Where Scott Drew's team can gain separation from Gonzaga is in the final seven regular-season games, when it faces West Virginia twice and hosts Kansas and Texas Tech.


Roy Williams, Bob Huggins Earn Milestone Wins

After weeks of frustration, North Carolina finally earned its first win of January by beating the Miami Hurricanes by 23 points Saturday.

With the victory, Williams moved past former UNC head coach Dean Smith on the all-time wins list:

The current Tar Heels head coach is now 19 wins behind Bob Knight for third place:

While the milestone was nice, Williams was more focused on his team getting back on track, as he told Luke DeCock of the News & Observer.

"I would have been just as happy as if it had happened four or five games ago," Williams said. "I desperately wanted No. 9 for this team."

North Carolina is back in action Monday against the NC State Wolfpack to start a week that should be fairly easy. The team will be tested at the start of February with meetings against the Florida State Seminoles and Duke Blue Devils.

Huggins moved into a tie for seventh with legendary Kentucky head coach Adolph Rupp:

He is at the helm of one of the best turnarounds in Division I, as the Mountaineers are 16-3 after going 15-21 last season.

Huggins, who relayed a memory of when his father was climbing the Ohio high school victory chart, carried a similar sentiment as Williams with more focus on the current season than the achievement itself, per Alex Hickey of WV Metro News.

"I used to sit and listen to my dad, they'd tell him, 'That was win number whatever' and his response was 'Man, that just means I'm old.' Every one of those guys on there are old," Huggins said. "I'm more caught up on we're 16-3 and we need to be 29-3."

There will not be much time to celebrate inside the West Virginia camp, as it has to prepare for a visit to Texas Tech on Wednesday in what could be a crucial game for the resumes of both teams and for seeding in the Big 12 tournament.


Sunday AP Top 25 Schedule

No. 17 Maryland at Indiana (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

South Florida at No. 25 Houston (2 p.m, ET, CBS Sports Network)

No. 11 Michigan State at Minnesota (3 p.m. ET, Fox)

No. 4 San Diego State at UNLV (4 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

UCLA at No. 12 Oregon (5 p.m. ET, Fox)


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.


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