All Syracuse needed to do was put a decisive win to even give them a shot at the #1 ranking. They got that decisive win, a 99-75 thrashing of #8 Villanova. At the start, Villanova looked poised to steal a win in front of a record Carrier Dome crowd behind terrific play behind guards Corey Fisher and Scottie Reynolds, taking a lead as big as 9 at 23-14. Syracuse answered the bell by going on a 20-6 run to end the half, giving them a 10 point advantage at 46-36. Syracuse never looked back, getting themselves easy layups and dunks. Syracuse held Villanova to 8-28 from three points, an important statistic when playing the Wildcats. Led by Rick Johnson with 19 points and Arinze Onuaku with 17, the Orange improved to 7-0 against ranked teams, a very important stat when it comes to the NCAA tournament.
Syracuse got some help when unranked Oklahoma State stunned #1 Kansas at home 85-77. Kansas as plagued by a 16 point halftime deficit which they could never overcome, thanks to the clutch threes hit down the stretch by Oklahoma State. Guard James Anderson led the game with 27 points for Oklahoma State while guard Sherron Collins of Kansas led the team with 22 points. Purdue’s campaign for the #1 ranking was likely cut permanently by the injury of all Big-Ten star Robbie Hummel. Hummel was dearly missed in Sunday’s game vs. the #14 Michigan State Spartans. Purdue led by 28-26 at the half, but Michigan State’s active defense allowed only 16 points in the second half. The top performers for Purdue were Center
JaJuan Johnson with 11 points and E’Tuan Moore with 12. The top performers for Michigan State were Raymar Morgan with 16 points and Draymond Green with 12.