After a light week thanks to final exams, college basketball was back in full force this weekend with a trio of top-25 matchups—but the top of the poll remains unchanged with Villanova at No. 1 and Duke still at No. 5.
Monk's prayers answered
In an offensive shootout at the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas, then-No. 6 Kentucky topped No. 7 North Carolina 103-100 after freshman sensation Malik Monk notched a career-high 47 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with less than 20 seconds to play. The first-year guard shot 18-of-28 from the field in 38 minutes, hitting from all over the floor against a Tar Heel defense that had no answer for the projected lottery pick.
North Carolina—which dropped to No. 8 after the defeat—got 34 points from forward Justin Jackson and in his return from injury, guard Joel Berry II dropped 23 of his own as the duo went 7-for-12 from beyond the arc.
But the duo could not do enough to knock off Kentucky, which stayed at No. 6 this week.
A doubleheader at the recently-opened T-Mobile Arena Saturday featured No. 2 UCLA as well. The Bruins pulled away from Ohio State for an 86-73 win in the day's first game and had four double-digit scorers to stay undefeated on the season.
Hoosier State hoops
Although the highlight of Saturday's slate may have been in Sin City, Indianapolis also got to show off what the state of Indiana has to offer this season. The Crossroads Classic opened with No. 15 Purdue overcoming a 19-point deficit to knock off No. 21 Notre Dame 86-81.
The Fighting Irish came out blazing—guard Matt Farrell had 12 first-half points and Notre Dame shot nearly 60 percent from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes. But Boilermaker big man Caleb Swanigan made his mark with 26 points and 10 rebounds and helped Purdue surge late for the victory.
After the win, the Boilermakers stayed at No. 15 and Notre Dame fell to No. 25.
The second matchup of the afternoon saw No. 18 Butler upset No. 9 Indiana behind 28 points from guard Kelan Martin. The Bulldogs limited the Hoosiers to less than 45 percent shooting from the field, prevailing despite getting outrebounded 42-26 by Indiana. With the statement win, Butler moved up to No. 13 and the Hoosiers fell to No. 16 after their second loss of the year.
Get Overtime, all Duke athletics
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Although no top-25 team lost to an unranked opponent, multiple ranked team were pushed to the brink this weekend. No. 3 Kansas got tested by Davidson, which held a halftime lead before fading late, and No. 10 Creighton held on against Oral Roberts 66-65—despite neither side scoring a single point in the game's final 3:18. The Blue Jays moved up one spot to No. 9 this week because of Indiana's loss.
No. 19 Arizona nearly blew a double-digit lead to Texas A&M, No. 17 Xavier escaped at home 69-65, against Wake Forest and No. 8 Gonzaga used a 14-point halftime lead to beat Tennessee on the road in other close games during the weekend. Arizona and Gonzaga each moved up one spot this week and the Musketeers stayed at No. 17.
What's on tap?
The No. 5 Blue Devils return to action with a pair of contests against Tennessee State and Elon this week, but there are few big-name matchups slated for the final week of nonconference play. Wednesday night's slate will be headlined by a Bluegrass State battle as Kentucky heads to Louisville to take on the No. 10 Cardinals. Louisville has won five straight since dropping the title game to No. 4 Baylor at the Battle 4 Atlantis last month.