BC stuns ‘Cuse as +850 ML ‘dog, UF survives vs. Auburn

Published on Thursday, 2/20/14, at 1:38 a.m. Eastern.
Updated on Thursday, 2/20/14, at 12:15 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

This space didn’t hesitate to justifiably rip Boston College head coach Steve Donahue for his mishandling of the clock and his timeouts in a crushing loss last Thursday at Ga. Tech. On a similar note, we’ll eagerly pay props to Donahue for leading his team to the biggest upset of the 2013-2014 college basketball season last night at the Carrier Dome. BC took previously-undefeated and top-ranked Syracuse to overtime before winning a 62-59 decision as a 13.5-point road underdog. The Eagles hooked up money-line supporters with a monster +850 payout (risk $100 to win $850).

–I had never seen that look from Syracuse with those uniforms last night. Safe Bet: We’ll never see them again.

–Whether you watched Auburn at Florida live or merely saw the highlights late last night or early this morning, you heard analysts rip the Tigers for purposely fouling Patric Young in a tie game after missing a potential go-ahead free throw with 19.4 seconds remaining. Even AU head coach Tony Barbee was shocked (and pissed) when this happened. But if you had told me about that potential strategy in early January, I would’ve said it was a stroke of genius. Young has been a poor Shaq-like free-throw shooter his entire career, but hard work from the senior big man has resulted in him improving his percentage at the charity stripe to 63% in SEC play. Young sank both attempts to put the Gators in front against the Tigers and they held on for a 71-66 victory. Auburn easily covered the spread as a 16-point road underdog. Young scored all of his team-high 17 points in the second half to lead his team to a comeback victory. Casey Prather finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.

–These injury notes were posted to Florida247Sports by Gators’ beat writer Thomas Goldkamp after UF’s win over AU:

Billy said Patric Young wasn’t going to play today, his knees are really ailing him, but he decided to gut it out.

Prather is also still limited with his injury.

Kasey Hill’s groin is not progressing as expected and he is likely doubtful for Saturday at Ole Miss. They were hoping he could practice tomorrow but that’s not going to happen.

Donovan said Frazier’s hand is fine, he was just scared from how he landed on it.

–The win was the 18th straight for the Gators and that’s a school-record. They haven’t tasted defeat since a Dec. 2 loss at UConn on Shabazz Napier’s buzzer-beating jumper.

–UF’s Dorian Finney-Smith has now missed 17 straight attempts from three-point range.

–Alabama forward Nick Jacobs has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the team. Jacobs was averaging 8.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game for the Crimson Tide, one the nation’s most disappointing teams with an abysmal 10-15 overall record and a 4-8 mark in SEC play.

–The news for the Wyoming Cowboys and Larry Shyatt couldn’t possibly have been worse Wednesday. That’s when the news of an ACL tear for leading scorer Larry Nance Jr. came down. Nance was leading Wyoming in scoring (15.4 PPG), rebounding (8.6 RPG), blocked shots (2.1 BPG) and steals (1.4 SPG). The Cowboys have won eight of their last 11 games to give themselves a chance to earn an at-large NCAA bid, but that task became much more formidable with the loss of Nance. They are 17-9 overall and 8-5 in the Mtn. West.

–With BC’s upset win over the ‘Cuse, red-hot Virginia is now alone atop the ACC standings with a 13-1 record. The Cavaliers have three home games on deck (vs. Notre Dame, vs. Miami and vs. Syracuse) before finishing the regular season at Maryland.

–UCLA trounced California by an 86-66 count as a two-point underdog last night. Jordan Adams led the Bruins with 28 points, six rebounds and five assists. Kyle Anderson had another stat-stuffing performance, producing 11 points, nine boards and seven assists. I know UCLA is young and Steve Alford doesn’t have great postseason history, but this team has the talent to make a serious push in the NCAA Tournament.

–In a tough situation at Marquette last night, Creighton once again demonstrated why it is a legit candidate to get to Dallas for the Final Four with an 85-70 win as a 2.5-point road ‘chalk.’ Doug McDermott bolstered his case for National Player of the Year honors by hanging 25 points on the Golden Eagles. He also had eight rebounds. Ethan Wragge splashed the nets at a 6-for-8 clip from 3-point range en route to scoring 22 points.

–Florida and Kansas St. looked like great second-half wagers last night. UF trailed Auburn 38-30 at intermission and was listed as a 12-point favorite for halftime wagers (-4 adjusted). K-St. led TCU by only one and was an 8.5-point ‘chalk’ in the second half. UF and K-St both indeed cashed winners for halftime plays and I was on both of them. However, neither victory was easy as it looked, as both teams didn’t get ahead of the number until very late.

–LSU has failed to cover the spread in five straight games. The Tigers beat Mississippi St. 92-81 in Baton Rouge last night but it wasn’t enough for their backers as 15-point home favorites.

–New Mexico was in control from start to finish in last night’s 68-56 win at UNLV as a one-point road favorite. The Lobos avenged a home loss to the Runnin’ Rebels, who went into The Pit earlier this year and won outright as 8.5-point underdogs.

–Arizona St. fell victim to a classic letdown situation in last night’s loss at Colorado. The Sun Devils were off a huge home win over arch-rival Arizona in double overtime this past Friday night, so they were in a tough spot in Boulder. The Buffaloes won 61-52 and took the money as 4.5-point home favorites. Tad Boyle has done another great job at CU, especially when considering that he lost his best player Spencer Dinwiddie to an ACL tear earlier this season. They have won five of their last six games and are almost certainly headed back to the NCAA Tournament.

–Arizona was at the overtime thing again last night, escaping a game effort from Utah in Salt Lake City for a 67-63 win as a 3.5-point road ‘chalk.’ This was a horrible beat for Utah backers. The Utes were down three going to the free-throw line for two shots with 2.5 seconds left. But they missed both free throws and immediately fouled, and Arizona converted one free throw for a miraculous cover. Utah fell to 9-3 ATS at home and squandered a golden opportunity to earn a resume-bolstering victory.

–I would’ve normally been on Vandy as a 9.5-point underdog last night at Missouri. However, after an overtime win over Texas A&M this past Saturday, I was concerned about fatigue hitting the Commodores because their depleted roster has forced their key players to play major minutes all year, especially in recent weeks. Nevertheless, Vandy was in the game for 40 minutes and easily covered in a 67-64 loss to the Tigers, who are the best candidate to become the third SEC team to get to the NCAA Tourney (though Frank Haith’s squad still has work to do).

–Even though it covered, the aforementioned fatigue concerns for Vandy are legit. Kyle Fuller, who again played 40 minutes last night, was 1-for-12 from the field. Rod Odom, who also logged 40 minutes (again), saw his shooting slump continue with a 3-of-13 effort.

–As of early this afternoon, most books had Nebraska as a five-point home favorite vs. Penn St. The Cornhuskers, who are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games, own an incredible 7-0 spread record as single-digit favorites this year. Also, the ‘under’ is on an 8-1 run for Nebraska.

–Temple’s Anthony Lee is a question mark for tonight’s game vs. UConn. Lee averages 14.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

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