By Gary Parrish
Here’s everything you need to know about Wednesday’s slate of college basketball games …
Game of the night: Temple needed a win at La Salle to remain in first place in the Atlantic 10 standings, and the 22nd-ranked Owls got that win, but just barely, and despite the fact that they blew a 10-point lead with fewer than three minutes remaining. Temple 80, La Salle 79. That was the final score. In overtime. So that's 11 consecutive victories for Fran Dunphy's team. If they can get that streak to 14, they'll be the outright league champions regardless of what happens elsewhere.
Win to brag about: Kansas' 66-58 win at Texas A&M means the No. 4 Jayhawks avoided an upset on the road and ensured they'll take a one-game lead in the Big 12 standings into Saturday's showdown with No. 3 Missouri. It should be noted that Thomas Robinson missed seven of the 10 shots he took and finished with just 10 points against the Aggies. But the bottom line is the bottom line, and the bottom line is that KU is one step closer to an eighth straight league championship.
Loss to hide from: Everybody who has visited South Bend -- except UConn, oddly -- has lost this season, so there's nothing wrong with losing at Notre Dame. But West Virginia's 71-44 loss at Notre Dame was bad because it was more lopsided than an Adele-vs-Anybody matchup at the Grammys, and that it came at a time when the Mountaineers are on the bubble made it even worse. West Virginia has now dropped six of its past eight. Next up is a game against Marquette, which means Bob Huggins needs to figure out how to slow Jae Crowder. Speaking of ...
Player who deserves improper benefits: Jae Crowder took 14 shots, made 11 and finished with 27 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks in Marquette's 82-65 win over Rutgers. The senior forward is now averaging 17.1 and 7.1 rebounds for a team ranked 12th nationally and tied for second in the Big East. That's probably enough to get him in the CBSSports.com Player of the Year Watch on Thursday.
Numbers don’t lie
- 1: That's how many field goals Draymond Green had in the second half of No. 7 Michigan State's 66-61 victory at Minnesota. The senior forward still finished with 17 points, though. He's scored at least 17 in three straight games.
- 13: That's how many points No. 2 Syracuse was down to USF at one point in the first half. But, just like top-ranked Kentucky did 24 hours earlier, the Orange rallied and escaped with a win. The final score was 56-48. It gave Syracuse a 2.5-game lead in the Big East standings.
- 44: That's the number points Nick Barbour made in High Point's 98-60 win over Campbell. By doing so, the senior guard set a school-record for points in a game and points in a career.
- Wichita State's 68-55 win at Illinois State clinched the Missouri Valley Conference outright regular-season title for the 19th-ranked Shockers. So they'll be the No. 1 seed in Arch Madness next week in St. Louis. I'll be one of the writers there watching them.
- UTEP's 76-68 double-overtime win over Southern Miss dropped the Golden Eagles to 9-4 in Conference USA. Consequently, Memphis is now alone atop the league standings thanks to its 70-47 victory over East Carolina in which Will Barton got 25 points and eight rebounds.
- Iowa State's 72-54 win over Texas Tech gave the Cyclones their 20th victory of the season. This is the first time ISU has won 20 games in a season in eight years.
- Connecticut announced Wednesday that Jim Calhoun will have surgery on his back and miss at least the next two games, including Saturday's showdown with Syracuse. My colleague Gregg Doyel has another suggestion.
- My colleague Brett McMurphy reported Wednesday that Temple is close to joining the Big East as an all-sports member in time for the 2012-13 season. The additions of Memphis and Temple don't make up for the losses of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia. But there's no denying that they help on the basketball side of things.
On tap: A share of first place in the ACC will be up for grabs Thursday when No. 5 Duke visits No. 15 Florida State. Both schools are 10-2 in the ACC, just one game back of UNC and its 11-2 league record. Elsewhere, No. 14 Murray State is at Tennessee State. That means the Racers have a chance to avenge their only loss of the season.