One Heel of a night

RJ Davis joins elite North Carolina company with 42-point effort vs. Miami. UNC needed it, too. Plus, Baylor's defense delivers, K-State's remarkable OT record, McNeese clinches, Miss Valley St. finally wins, and exclusive content from Jeff Goodman about the future of ODU hoops.

Conference realignment never stops. UMass reportedly is cleared to join the MAC as a full-time member starting in the 2025-26 academic year. For a program steeped in East Coast hoops — it’s thrived in the Yankee Conference, been in the A-10 for more than 40 years and is where Dr. J played, for crying out loud — it’s quite a shock. The school hasn’t confirmed the move yet.

Let's get to the rest of Monday’s news.

1. RJ Davis’ historic night saves North Carolina

Miami didn’t have starters Nigel Pack or Wooga Poplar for Monday night’s trip to North Carolina. Should’ve been an easy win for North Carolina.

Or, you know, it just needed a career-high 42 points from RJ Davis to ensure No. 9 UNC could come away with a 75-71 win.

“It wasn’t just his points,” Tar Heels coach Hubert Davis said. “I thought he was great defensively, took care of the ball. We needed every bit of his 42.”

It was quite the 42, too. He joined Andrew Wiggins and Steph Curry as the only players to score 42 points and add 4 steals for a top 25 team in the last 20 years. It was the most points by a player in the Dean Dome, along with a host of other records, as noted by UNC SID Steve Kirschner. It was the first time a Tar Heel outscored the rest of the team (42 to 35) since Michael Jordan did it in 1983.

Know what? Just watch the highlights.

“I kind of felt good most of the game,” Davis said. “Came out hot. I told myself since I had a good first half to continue to stay on it. I was aggressive and shots were falling. For me to have a performance like that tonight means the world to me.”

OK, now that the accolades are out of the way, let’s talk about the Heels (22-6, 14-3 in ACC). No other player hit double figures in scoring and they nearly blew a 14-point second-half lead.

They lead the league by two games with three to play, but haven’t looked the part of a Final Four contender in a month. They’re just 5-3 in their last eight games and the offense has scored less than 1.04 points per possession in five of those games. Whether that’s part of the late-season grind, or a team that peaked in January, how they close the season against NC State, Notre Dame and Duke will be telling.

For some reason, Miami also plays a part in this. The Heels swept the season series vs. the Canes (15-14, 6-12), but blew leads in both games. I’d chalk it up to Miami-specific issues, but when you include losses to Georgia Tech and Syracuse, plus the Virginia game last week … well, let’s just say the Heels could use a couple get-right games.

2. Baylor bears down with its zone + more results

Baylor’s defense hasn’t been one of its strengths this season. That changed in Monday night’s 62-54 win over TCU.

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