There was a fight as time expired in the Kansas State-Kansas game, and it was bad.
3 things from Tuesday
Sunflower Showdown ends with a throwdown
Kansas was dribbling out the clock on what turned out to be 81-60 win over Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse when, with three seconds remaining, the Wildcats' DaJuan Gordon stole the ball from Silvio De Sousa. Gordon was going in for a layup as time expired when De Sousa swatted away his shot. With Gordon sprawled on his back on the baseline, De Sousa stepped up to Gordon and lingered over him while appearing to voice some sentiments.
Both benches emptied, the ensuing chaos engulfed the seating behind the basket and, at one point, De Sousa even waved a stool menacingly WWE-style before it was grabbed from his hands. According to Fran Fraschilla, who was working the game for ESPN2, all the reserves on both teams were, in theory, "ejected" for leaving their benches in a game that appeared to have already ended.
There will be plenty of video to dissect, as it appeared that punches were thrown in both directions. At a minimum, De Sousa would seem to be at risk for a suspension of significant duration.
Villanova's Moore spins for the layup
Justin Moore spins past a defender to get to the rim for the layup.
Villanova's looking more like Villanova on offense
After a slow start to Big East play, Jay Wright has his Wildcats scoring just a bit more like what we're used to seeing from this program. Villanova hosted Butler on Tuesday and came away with a 76-61 win, highlighted by 20 points from Jermaine Samuels. Wright's team has scored 1.16 points per possession over its past three conference games, a far cry from the 0.94 this same offense recorded in its first three Big East outings.
On the other side of the ledger, the Bulldogs have now lost three straight. LaVall Jordan's team was ranked No. 5 in the country 10 days ago, but losses to Seton Hall, DePaul and now Villanova have dropped Butler to 3-3 in the Big East.
The 13-point defeat on the road to the Blue Demons was not this team's best outing, to be sure. Nevertheless, Butler could well survive this challenging stretch in fairly good shape. Even counting the loss to the Wildcats, this is still a defense that forces misses and limits opponents to one shot. Don't count out the Bulldogs just yet.
McCarty out, Lickliter in at Evansville
As Tuesday night's games tipped off, the University of Evansville announced it had fired basketball head coach Walter McCarty. The university's news release said an investigation had "uncovered persistent and troublesome facts" regarding alleged sexual misconduct by McCarty. Evansville had put McCarty on administrative leave on Dec. 26.
An Evansville native who starred at Kentucky under Rick Pitino and then played 10 seasons in the NBA, McCarty was in his second season as head coach of the Purple Aces. Evansville made headlines in November when it beat Kentucky 67-64 at Rupp Arena. Since McCarty was put on leave, however, the Aces have lost six straight and are now in last place in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Late Tuesday, Evansville announced that Todd Lickliter would replace McCarty as head coach. The former Butler and Iowa head coach served as an assistant at Evansville last season.
3 things for the rest of the week
Rutgers plays its first game as a ranked team since March 16, 1979
The AP pollsters have pegged the Scarlet Knights as the No. 24 team in the nation, thus taking up the challenge reportedly flung down by a sign seen at Sunday's win over Minnesota in Piscataway, New Jersey: "RANK US, COWARDS."
When Steve Pikiell's men visit No. 19 Iowa on Wednesday night, the program will be taking the floor as a ranked team for the first time since Tom Young was coaching James Bailey and Abdel Anderson in the Eastern Athletic Association.
Rutgers can thank its defense for this historic moment. The Scarlet Knights have held conference opponents to 0.92 points per possession, the best mark achieved by any defense in Big Ten play so far. Geo Baker, Ron Harper Jr. and Myles Johnson all do good work scoring on the interior, but where Rutgers really excels is in forcing misses. That ability will be sorely tested in Iowa City: Luka Garza and the Hawkeyes' offense have been excellent this season. Expect a strength-on-strength collision between two ranked teams. Yes, two!
Chasing Stephen Curry
You might not be tracking Dru Kuxhausen's every move this season, but the McNeese junior leads the nation in both made 3s per game (4.3) and in total makes from beyond the arc (78). His per-game rate is therefore similar to what Stephen Curry recorded at Davidson in 2008, when the sophomore sank a Division I-record 162 3-point shots. True, Kuxhausen's pursuit of glory has received an assist from the schedule maker. The Cowboys have played no fewer than four non-Division I opponents, and in those 160 minutes alone, Heath Schroyer's perimeter ace connected on a rather remarkable 28 3s.
Watch to see what Kuxhausen can get done Wednesday on the road at Southeastern Louisiana. For that matter, watch to see what McNeese can get done this season. For Curry to really lose sleep over this, the Cowboys probably will have to play something in the neighborhood of 36-plus games -- no easy task in the Southland Conference, where the notorious Duke slayers at Stephen F. Austin look to be the favorites.
High stakes for both the Big 12 and SEC
The seventh annual Big 12/SEC Challenge comes your way on Saturday, and while all 10 games are of course great, this season two pairings in particular commend themselves to your rapt attention. For starters, tune in to see how No. 15 Kentucky performs in what promises to be a tough road environment at No. 18 Texas Tech (ESPN, 6 p.m. ET). This will be just the Wildcats' fourth true road game of the season, and all three previous contests were decided by single digits. For their part, the Red Raiders have quietly opened Big 12 play not only by playing defense to the usual Chris Beard standard but also by hitting their shots.
Then in the final game of the Challenge, No. 1 Baylor will visit Florida (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET). Many preseason observers might have expected it would be the Gators carrying the top ranking in this game: Mike White's men entered the season ranked No. 6, but four losses in their first 11 outings relegated Florida to the realm of the unranked. Still, Noah Locke has been a one-man wrecking ball for the Gators on the perimeter, as he has connected on 55% of his 3s in SEC play. The Bears will need their A-game in Gainesville to win their 16th straight.