NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Seton Hall

There's always drama in college basketball. The descriptor is virtually synonymous with the sport thanks to March Madness. But this much drama? In one day of action not involving a bracket? It rarely happens.

That's why Saturday might have rocked your socks all the way off. It was a full day of mayhem that delivered all the things we love about the sport. 

There was Texas hitting a buzzer-beater to down in-state foe No. 9 Baylor. There was Syracuse hitting a 3-pointer at the horn to escape Miami. There was No. 17 Marquette on the happy end of a last-second shot, thanks to a miss on a 3-pointer at the buzzer from St. John's

Oh, but there was plenty more, too. No. 18 Creighton outlasted Seton Hall in a triple-overtime (!!) thriller. 

And mid-majors joined the part, too. Lafayette survived in OT after Bucknell missed a double-OT forcing 3-pointer. Same for Morgan State, which forced an airball at the buzzer in OT to win 89-86 over Coppin State.

And there was plenty of more.

There's always surprises in the sport, but Saturday was especially theatrical. Let's take a spin through the rest of the landscape and sort out the winners and losers of the dramatic day that was. 

Winner: UNC, Auburn stay perfect in conference play

And then there were two. The last two teams from a Big Six Conference yet to lose a conference game this season are No. 4 North Carolina and No. 13 Auburn. Coming into the week, UNC and Auburn were in a group with Alabama, Baylor, Texas Tech, Wisconsin and Oregon as the last seven teams that hadn't lost a conference game.

North Carolina was in a close one in the first half on the road at Boston College but pulled away at the end behind big performances from RJ Davis, Harrison Ingram Cormac Ryan to win its eighth straight game 76-66. Auburn won its 11th consecutive game in a blowout 82-59 win over No. 22 Ole Miss to improve to 5-0 in SEC play. -- Salerno

Winner: UConn grabs top spot in Big East

No. 1 UConn nearly blew a nine-point lead in the final 10 minutes but managed to escape Villanova with a 66-65 win on the road. The Huskies (17-2, 7-1 Big East) grabbed sole possession of first in the conference standings by virtue of the victory and Seton Hall's loss to Creighton. Tristen Newton led the way with 25 for UConn, which has now won seven straight since opening conference play with a loss at Seton Hall. -- Cobb

Loser: Kansas can't grab the basketball

No. 3 Kansas gave up three offensive rebounds on a single possession while trailing in the final minute of a 91-85 loss at West Virginia. The Jayhawks began the possession trailing just 82-81 with plenty of time remaining to get a stop and potential go-ahead score. But by the time they got the basketball back with 33 seconds remaining after three Quinn Slazinski free throws, the deficit was 85-81. Kansas had plenty of other problems in its second Big 12 loss, but an inability to grab the basketball when it mattered most was the most maddening. -- Cobb

Winner: Persistent Kentucky fans get their wish

Kentucky coach John Calipari this week called Wildcats fans "crazy" after learning that they raised enough money to erect a billboard in Indianapolis near NCAA headquarters with the words "FREE BIG Z" -- a slogan and plea to help push the governing body to clear big man Zvonimir Ivišić so he could play.

It might've been crazy, but it worked.

Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart on Saturday tweeted out that Ivišić's eligibility was officially cleared up just hours before the Georgia game. Then on Saturday, Big Z delivered with 13 points, five rebounds, three blocks and a pair of assists in 16 minutes of action in No. 8 UK's 105-96 win vs. Georgia.

"That probably worked," Calipari said of the billboard. "That's aggressive." -- Boone

Loser: Rhode Island's Miller plays defense

Former Dayton coach Archie Miller took his Rhode Island Rams to his old stomping grounds and walked away with two Ls on the same court. The first and most obvious: Dayton dismantled his Rams 96-62 improving to 15-2 overall and a perfect 5-10 in Atlantic 10 play. The second on-court loss for Miller came before the final whistle, as he was caught red-handed playing defense as his team's sixth-man. 

Look at this screenshot! And he got off easy, too, with just a warning.

Coaches meandering onto the court and into the line of fire has been an unfortunate trend this season that won't go away. Shaka Smart and Travis Ford have been among the litany of violators this season, and it's a trend that will hopefully be officiated away for all the obvious reasons it should be officiated away. -- Boone

Winner: Creighton's Scheierman's shows resilience

Three Creighton players logged 53 or more minutes in the No. 18 Bluejays' 97-94 triple-overtime win at Seton Hall. Headlining the marathon was wing Baylor Scheierman, who played all 55 minutes of the game without committing a foul. Creighton is not deep, but it is one of the best in the country at avoiding fouls, which allows coach Greg McDermott to keep his rotation short. Seton Hall had two players foul out, but Creighton's marathon men went the distance with no such problems. It looks like they were more relieved than exhilarated once the outcome went final -- Cobb

Loser: The Muss Bus has flat tires

The collapse of Arkansas remains among this season's most confounding storylines. The Razorbacks were picked to finish third in the SEC but are 1-4 in conference play after a 77-64 home loss to South Carolina.  At just 10-8 overall and 1-5 record in Quad 1 games, Arkansas is well outside the NCAA Tournament picture as the season enters late January. Fifth-year coach Eric Musselman often does his best work late in the season. But the tires on the 2024 model of the Muss Bus are flat, and it looks like the engine is about to catch fire. It's going to take some rocket fuel to get this smoking hulk of parts back in the race. -- Cobb

Loser: Alabama still hasn't beaten anyone

Metrics such as and the NET Rankings consider Alabama a top-10 team. But you would think by now such a great team would actually have a resume. Instead, the Crimson Tide continue to struggle against quality opposition. Alabama fell 91-71 at No. 6 Tennessee, bringing its record to 0-5 against ranked opponents. The Crimson Tide are just 2-5 in Quad 1 games, and the wins against Mississippi State and Indiana State aren't particularly awe-inspiring. Advanced metrics are necessary and useful, but they appear to be misleading us about what Alabama is capable of accomplishing. -- Cobb

Winner: Boise State holds on for big win

Boise State led San Diego State by nine with two minutes remaining in a Mountain West battle. When the dust settled, the Broncos were left clinging to a 67-66 victory. But the tenser than preferable outcome won't diminish the significance. Boise State entered the day projected as a No. 8 seed for the NCAA Tournament in CBS Sports' Bracketology and will be going nowhere but up after beating the defending league champions. The win improved Boise State to 4-2 in Quad 1 games and underscored just how competitive the MWC is this season. -- Cobb

Loser: USC's tournament hopes are (pretty much) over

USC's chances of making the NCAA Tournament via an at-large berth are over. The only way the Trojans will make the Big Dance is if they win the Pac-12 Tournament, which looks increasingly unlikely. 

USC dropped to 8-11 overall and an abysmal 2-6 in conference play with an 82-67 loss to Arizona State on the road. Sure, the Trojans didn't have Isaiah Collier or Boogie Ellis on the floor but for a team that had preseason aspirations of making a deep tournament run, this is a collective failure. Just like in football a few months prior — USC is tracking to be one of the most disappointing teams in the sport unless something drastic changes quickly. If the last month has shown us anything, that also looks unlikely. -- Salerno

Winner: Texas Tech completes huge comeback

No. 25 Texas Tech roared back from a 16-point halftime deficit to beat No. 20 BYU 85-78 and improve to 4-1 in Big 12 play under first-year coach Grant McCasland. On the heels of a blowout loss at No. 5 Houston on Wednesday, the Red Raiders appeared destined for their first back-to-back defeats of the season before a memorable second half. The Red Raiders shot 63% from the floor and made 6 of 9 attempts from 3-point range after the break. Pop Isaacs led the way with 23 of his game-high 32 points in the second half. The Red Raiders also stepped up the defensive intensity, holding BYU to 3 of 19 shooting after the Cougars made 10 of 20 from deep in the first half. -- Cobb

Loser: UCF turns in historically bad shooting performance

Texas coach Rodney Terry called UCF players this week "classless." UCF players on Saturday? Well, on the court, they looked listless. In a 57-42 loss against a fifth-ranked Cougars team, the Knights mustered a season-low in points and shot 15.9% from the field in the process – setting a record for the worst shooting performance in the history of the Big 12. It was the lowest-scoring outing for UCF since Feb. 6, 2018, when it fell 77-40 to Cincinnati – back when the now-Big 12 teams were still in the AAC. -- Boone

Winner: Arizona tracks down UCLA

The last month of the season for Arizona has been quite the mystery. At times, the Wildcats look like one of the best teams in the country but then days later … look like someone heading toward an early exit in the NCAA Tournament. For the first 30 minutes against UCLA, the latter certainly looked like the case until the No. 12 Wildcats erased a 19-point deficit for a 77-71 win. This could be the spark Arizona needed to climb back up toward the top of the Pac-12 standings for good. -- Salerno