Kentucky received the news it dreaded Wednesday when freshman forward Nerlens Noel was declared out for the season with a torn ligament in his left knee.
Noel tore his ACL on Tuesday night when No. 25 Kentucky lost at Florida. An MRI exam revealed the injury, and the 6-foot-10 forward will have surgery in the next two or three weeks.
The projected recovery period is six to eight months.
Noel's injury deals a serious postseason blow to the defending national champions, who had appeared to be gaining some footing after struggling earlier this season while trying to blend in four freshmen. Leading the way defensively for the Wildcats was Noel, who began Tuesday first in the nation with 4.5 blocks per game.
Noel was hurt with 8 minutes left in the Wildcats' 69-52 loss to the seventh-ranked Gators. He ran into the basket support after blocking a layup from behind. Noel landed awkwardly, dropped to the floor and started screaming while clutching his knee.
Projected as an NBA lottery pick by some scouting services if he were to leave after the season, Noel's draft stock seemed unaffected by his injury. Several blogs still consider him a top-five selection.
Indiana 76, Nebraska 47: Cody Zeller scored 16 points and Christian Watford finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds to help the No. 1 Hoosiers (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) rout the visiting Cornhuskers (12-13, 3-9).
Duke 73, North Carolina 68: Mason
P.J. Hairston scored 20 points for North Carolina, which missed 7 of 10 free throws during a key stretch in the second half.
Miami 74, Florida State 68: Shane Larkin scored 13 of his 22 points in the final 71/2 minutes to help the No. 3 Hurricanes (20-3, 11-0 ACC) hold off the host Seminoles (13-11, 5-6) for their 12th straight victory.
"We didn't have an answer for Larkin," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said of the son of baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin.
"His speed, quickness and his ability to make decisions is phenomenal for a sophomore guard. I haven't seen anybody that has the whole package like he does."
Connecticut 66, Syracuse 58: Freshman Omar Calhoun scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers in the deciding second-half run, and the host Huskies (17-6, 7-4 Big East) upended the No. 6 Orange (20-4, 8-3).
It was the last scheduled game between the longtime Big East rivals. Syracuse moves to the ACC next season.
Charlotte 71, Butler 67: Pierria Henry scored 17 points to lead the visiting 49ers (18-6, 6-4 Atlantic 10) to an upset of the No. 11 Bulldogs (20-5, 7-3).
Rotnei Clarke scored 18 points for Butler, which lost at home for the first time in 12 games.
The 49ers went on a 7-1 run late in the game and then withstood a late charge by the Bulldogs.
Oregon 65, Washington 52: Johnathan Loyd scored all 11 of his points in the second half, and the No. 23 Ducks (20-5, 9-3 Pac-12) defeated the host Huskies (13-12, 5-7).
Utah 60, Arizona State 55: Jason Washburn scored 26 points to help the host Utes (11-13, 3-9 Pac-12) beat the Sun Devils (18-7, 7-5).