Well, that was an awesome, wild weekend

What should you know about four Top 10 matchups, a couple of crazy finishes, and several games with NCAA tourney implications? This is the right place.

Ahhhh. That satisfied feeling you’re feeling? It’s the residue of a loaded hoops weekend of Top 10 showdowns, wild finishes, Morgan Freeman, and so much more.

Let's dive in.

1. Takeaways from a Final Four-esque weekend

It’s Monday morning. Given it was a football-free weekend, I’m gonna assume you got your fill of Saturday’s massive slate that included three Top 10 matchups, all lined up after one another. You probably filled up on analysis and highlights all day yesterday.

So for Saturday’s games, I’m gonna make it quick:

  • The Big 12 still goes through Lawrence. No. 8 Kansas hit nine of its first 10 shots and shot 69% for the game in its 78-65 win over No. 4 Houston — the best for any team against a Top 10 opponent since 2016. Johnny Furphy (17 points) provided early scoring punch and the Cougars (19-3, 6-3 in Big 12) would’ve have been close without a monster second half from LJ Cryer (24 points, 21 in the 2nd). The Jayhawks (18-4, 6-3) have sorted out their starting five in a significant way.

  • RJ Davis is awesome, but Armando Bacot showed that size still matters, at least when playing Duke. No. 3 North Carolina handled its Tobacco Road rival, 93-84, behind Bacot’s 25-point, 10-rebound, 5-assist night. The Heels (18-4, 10-1 in ACC) got him touches early and often, and it offset a so-so night from Davis (17 points on 5-fo-14 shooting). if there’s a silver lining for No. 7 Duke (16-5, 7-3), it’s that only UConn and Tennessee scored more efficiently against the Heels.

  • And No. 5 Tennessee? Well, it showed maybe it has more scoring pop than just Dalton Knecht. The Vols (16-5, 6-2 in SEC) got 26 from Zakai Zeigler and Josiah Jordan-James (season highs for both) as they lit up No. 10 Kentucky for 1.39 ppp in a 103-92 win. (OK, Knecht also scored; he had 24.) It’s also not all due to Tennessee. Kentucky (15-6, 5-4) has allowed 90+ in back-to-back games for the first time since 1994. The defense is a sieve (rated as 101 in kenpom), which is why this was the third time in the last four years UK has now lost back-to-back home games. That’s only happened eight times in school history.

Still need more? Check the After Dark show from Saturday. The Field of 68 had people on site at all three venues.

As for No. 2 Purdue? This image tells the clearest, strongest story from Sunday’s 75-69 win over No. 6 Wisconsin. The Badgers tried just about everything to slow down Zach Edey & Co. And it didn’t work.

Edey had 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks — and joined some elite company for his career — as the Boilermakers (21-2, 10-2 in Big Ten) took the lead midway through the first half and never trailed again. It got dicey late in the game; Wisconsin (16-6, 8-3) trailed by two with five minutes left, and pushed Purdue into a harried final minute, but this was a crucial road win for a team vying for the No. 1 overall seed next month.

“They're really complete,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “They've got a lot of pieces. We have a lot of pieces. But the difference maker obviously is Zach. You can't replicate or simulate that.”

Not that it was only Edey.

Braden Smith (19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) was a potent inside-outside combo with Edey, but it was senior guard Lance Jones (20 points) whose driving bucket with a minute left provided Purdue all the breathing room it needed at the end. His work as a secondary ball-handler for Smith, plus his on-ball defensive ability continues to be the important difference-maker for Purdue this season compared to last year.


Rewards just for being a fan

Before we get to the rest of the weekend’s news, stop what you’re doing and download the Autograph: Fandom Rewarded app … now!

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Click this link or use the QR CODE here to download the app, and use the code "F68' when you do.

2. UConn’t touch this

UConn sophomore Alex Karaban is, in Dan Hurley’s words “the brain center of the program.” So how did the No. 1 Huskies fare without their brain on Saturday against St. John’s?

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