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1dEamonn Brennan

Welcome to the Big East's big weekend

The Big East needs not prove itself, but three of its top teams (Villanova, Xavier and Butler) face teams from other power conferences. A sweep would give the conference even more credibility.

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

FiveThirtyEight: UCLA's Ball a unique, must-watch star

Lonzo Ball' vision, athleticism and the general sense of not-quite-rightness to his game make him a unique player in college basketball this season and certainly one of the most entertaining.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
2d

Bracketology: Kentucky (for now) takes a dip

Big Blue Nation didn't like losing at home to UCLA. It's probably fair to say it won't like falling from a No. 1 seed -- or being matched up against a team that already knocked off a major power this season.

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Iowa takes down Iowa State (0:38)
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Give and go turns into vicious alley-oop (0:31)
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Monk tries to destroy the rim with tomahawk dunk (0:32)
Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports
4d

Drake coach Giacoletti resigns after 1-7 start

Drake coach Ray Giacoletti resigned Tuesday after three-plus seasons, saying it was time for a "new voice" to lead the Bulldogs out of a skid that has them 1-7 this season.

Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports
4dThomas Neumann

Thinking globally helps Bradley rebuild

If you need more proof that basketball is a worldwide game, just look at Bradley's roster. With five overseas players representing four countries on three continents, the Braves are truly global.

Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images
4dDick Vitale

Remember John Saunders during Jimmy V Week

The late John Saunders had a strong bond to Jim Valvano and the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Dickie V will be thinking about Saunders at the Jimmy V Classic this week.

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Coach K has supported the V Foundation from the beginning (0:29)
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Injuries don't phase Duke, but leave Michigan State in survival mode (1:53)
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Isola praises the Ball family (1:02)

Now

Jeff Goodman ESPN Insider 

Josh Hart w/37 points & 11 boards in win over ND. It's time to put 'Nova's versatile senior as current leader for National Player of Year.

Bridges tip-in extends Villanova lead

Kris Jenkins puts up a 3-pointer that hits off the side of the rim, but Mikal Bridges races to the basket and tips in the rebound over a Notre Dame defender. The No. 1 Wildcats beat No. 23 Villanova 74-66.

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Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Great effort by Notre Dame. Gutsy game from Villanova. And a welcome to the spotlight - finally - for Josh Hart. Finishes with 37 points.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Kris Jenkins is an opportunist. Hits second field goal of game ... now

Jeff Goodman ESPN Insider 

Josh Hart has a career-high 31 for Nova so far. Guy is a terrific college player. NBA executives vary on what he will be at the next level, but he has gotten better in every area since last season. Has 12 of team's last 16 as Villanova now leads Notre Dame midway through the second.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Josh Hart has 31 points. And there's 9 minutes left. Has converted a steal, drained a three, scored on a jump stop and used a nifty spin to the hoop. And that's in the last three minutes

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Notre Dame has so many veteran players and it shows. Irish work nearly seamlessly together. Currently have 13 assists on 19'made buckets

Farrell races to hit buzzer-beating layup

No. 23 Notre Dame leads No. 1 Villanova 41-36 at the half, thanks in part to Matt Farrell's layup just before the buzzer.

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Jeff Goodman ESPN Insider 

South Carolina coach Frank Martin told ESPN that Sindarius Thornwell will not play Monday in New York against Seton Hall. Was suspended indefinitely last week.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

That last bucket from Matt Farrell emblematic of Villanova's entire first half. Caught flat footed. Trail at half for the first time this year, 41-36. Josh Hart scored 10 of Wildcats last 12 but can't keep them in it alone. Notre Dame really smart, fluid offense.

Jeff Goodman ESPN Insider 

Amazing what Notre Dame coach Mike Brey has done in South Bend. Two consecutive Elite Eight appearances despite losing Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton two years ago -- and Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste after last season. Not sure if Irish will hold on and beat No. 1 Villanova today, but up early and look for real.

Dana O'Neil @ESPNDanaOneil

Villanova currently playing a terrific version of Ole defense. Steve Vasturia just blew by Mikal Bridges, arguably Cats best athlete.

Jeff Goodman ESPN Insider 

URI's Dan Hurley told ESPN he will be without Hassan Martin again with the quad injury. Martin missed victory over ODU earlier this week. Also, sixth-man Christion Thompson (knee) out. Rhode Island plays at Houston this afternoon.

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanESPN

URI's Dan Hurley told ESPN he will be without Hassan Martin again with the quad injury. Also, sixth-man Christion Thompson (knee) out.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Notre Dame is shooting 63 percent. That's good

Dana O'Neil @ESPNDanaOneil

Jay Wright suggesting the officials 'Wake up.' Didn't exactly agree w/ that over and back call, I'd say.

Dana O'Neil ESPN Senior Writer 

Josh Hart only productive guy in a Villanova uniform right now. He has 7 points, 2 assists and a rebound. Teammates shooting combined 3 of 9 without him.

Jay Bilas @JayBilas

Notre Dame's Matt Farrell may be the most improved player in the country. Legit.