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University basketball winners and losers: Baylor and Duke slide, Virginia and Kentucky shine

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University basketball winners and losers: Baylor and Duke slide, Virginia and Kentucky shine


March is on the horizon and the madness begins already in two weeks after the selection Sunday. As the bubble teams of the NCAA tournament sweat to know if they will hear their names, the best teams in college basketball are focused on closing their conference seasons and getting a seed favorable for the tournament.

Here’s a look at the biggest winners and losers in this regard on Saturday:

winners

Virginia: The Cavaliers have won six straight games, including Saturday’s 52-50 defensive victory over Duke, to get out of the bubble and get closer to number 7. Jay Huff’s 10 blocks in Duke’s victory show how point this team can be defensive, while leading the nation with 52.7 points awarded to opponents. Coach Tony Bennett won’t have the same offense he had for the defending national team last year, but his defense is good enough for UVA to beat just about anyone.

Virginia Cavaliers forward Jay Huff (30) celebrates with Cavaliers forward Mamadi Diakite (25) against the Duke Blue Devils in the closing seconds of the second half at John Paul Jones Arena.

Kansas: The Jayhawks (26-3, 1 NET score) took command of the Big 12 last weekend with a victory over Baylor. They were in danger of an upheaval in a round-trip game with Kansas State on the road before removing it for a 62-58 win behind Devon Dotson’s 25 points. KU is a lock at this point to clinch a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and if he finishes strong, it will be the seed in the tournament. Baylor’s loss to TCU also means Kansas is well positioned to win the Big 12 this year after placing second last year for the first time in 15 years.

Kentucky: The Wildcats (24-5, 18 NET points) clinched the SEC regular season title with a 73-66 home victory over Auburn. It also avenges Kentucky’s last defeat on February 1 at Auburn. Now the Wildcats have won eight straight games in March. In the grand scheme of things, this renowned victory keeps the United Kingdom in the mix for a seeded No. 2 or No. 3 in the NCAA.



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