‘Canes destroy Duke, Northwestern stuns Minnesota

Published on Thursday, 1/24/13, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

–Miami made a huge statement with Wednesday’s never-a-doubt 90-63 win over top-ranked Duke as a 2 ½-point underdog in front of a raucous crowd in Coral Gables. The loss was the third-worst defeat by a No. 1 team in NCAA history. The Blue Devils hadn’t lost by this many points in the regular season since 1984. This was a beatdown for Duke like none seen since UNLV was destroying it in the finals of the 1990 NCAA Tournament in Denver. The Hurricanes improved to 14-3 thanks to a 25-point effort from senior guard Durand Scott. Kenny Kadji added 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field.

–Miami got a big pre-game boost when senior center Reggie Johnson returned early from a broken thumb suffered on Dec. 18. Johnson, who was expected to miss at least another week or two, had two points and five rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. But his presence gave the ‘Canes a bigger lift than his box-score number suggest.

–Miami had seen all 10 of its totals stay ‘under’ before last night’s 153 combined points hurdled ‘over’ the 132-point total.

–And how about the job Jim Larranaga is doing at UM?! I was critical of the school for not going after Frank Martin when Frank Haith left South Fla. for Missouri, but I was clearly off the mark as the former George Mason coach is doing an incredible job.

–Speaking of Haith, how about that stay of execution he got yesterday with the incomprehensible developments in the NCAA’s investigation of Miami? I thought Lance Armstrong got lucky with the Manti Te’o story last week, but Haith’s good fortune trumped that by a mile.

–Oregon leads the Pac-12 and is 6-0 in league play for the first time in 39 years. The Ducks improved to 17-2 overall with last night’s 68-61 win over Washington St. The Cougars took the money as 10 ½-point road underdogs.

–Florida never led in the first half and trailed 27-24 at halftime in Athens last night. But the Gators poured it on Georgia in the second half en route to a 64-47 win as 15 ½-point favorites at Stegeman Coliseum. They hooked up their backers for second-half wagers as 10-point favorites. Scottie Wilbekin matched his career-high with a team-high 17 points, while Kenny Boynton and Erik Murphy chipped in with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

–UC-Santa Barbara will be without its best player indefinitely. Sophomore center Alan Williams, who averages 17.4 points, 9.9 boards and 2.4 blocked shots per game, is out with a knee injury.

–Butler tasted defeat last night for the first time since losing 78-61 to Illinois in the Maui Classic finals on Nov. 21. The Bulldogs had their 13-game winning streak snapped in a 54-53 loss at LaSalle. However, they still covered the number for a fifth straight time as 2 ½-point underdogs. Brad Stevens’s team now owns a 7-1 spread record in eight underdog situations.

–Even though it couldn’t throw it in the ocean from the charity stripe, Northwestern picked up a huge win for Bill Carmody by knocking off Minnesota 55-48 last night. The Wildcats won outright as eight-point home ‘dogs, hooking up money-line supporters with a plus-320 payout. Jared Swopshire was the catalyst with 16 points and eight rebounds.

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