Below is a rundown of all of today’s action, and a look back at some notable outcomes from yesterday…
NEWS AND NOTES
-For Chad Sherwood’s Under the Radar Game of the day between James Madison and William & Mary, who are two of the better teams in the Colonial – CLICK HERE
-We’ll start off with the Team of the People, who suffered their first WAC loss when they fell at home to Seattle after missing a last second shot. It was somewhat surprising given how well the Lopes have played at home this year, but they’re still in first place, they’ve still looked like the best team in the WAC most of the time, and….THEY STILL NEED A WAIVER!!! CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!
-We say this every Saturday, and maybe many other nights during the week as well, but yesterday was another incredible day for college basketball. The Big Twelve/SEC Challenge gave us two games that ended up being far more exciting than I thought they would going into the day. I knew it wouldn’t be the easiest thing in the world for Oklahoma to go into LSU, but figured it’s a huge deal for any team that gets to play Oklahoma at home and figured the Sooners would be used to it. They had to overcome a double digit second half deficit to come back and win in the final seconds. It’s another big win for the Sooners, who continue to look like the #1 overall seed, and it is a crushing loss for an LSU team who still needs big wins in order to land inside the bubble.
-Coming into Saturday, Kentucky had lost at Auburn, and at LSU rather badly, neither of whom currently look like tournament teams. So, I didn’t think they’d fare too well going into Kansas, who is a protected seed that’s extremely difficult to beat at home. Kentucky didn’t win the game, but I was far more impressed with how they played yesterday than I have been with them at any other point this season. They overcame foul trouble to force overtime, and kept hitting big shot after big shot throughout regulation every time it looked like the momentum was shifting toward Kansas. If they play like that the rest of the year they’ll probably win out.
-Texas A&M and Iowa State was entertaining as expected. Iowa State led for much of the game, but TAMU finally got the momentum in the final minutes and picked up one of their biggest wins of the year.
-West Virginia went into Florida, and the chirping between the two teams started before the game even tipped off. That could have been a tactical error for West Virginia if they were doing that to get into the heads of the Florida players. Florida ran them off the court, and picked up their highest profile win of the year, which suddenly makes their tournament resume look a lot better.
-Virginia got a big road win at Louisville, and made it look easy. That helps their profile out a ton because they had really struggled on the road coming into the game.
-Miami FL lost at NC State. Miami has looked really good for most of the season, but they’ve had some really bad games that made you scratch your head, and yesterday was one of them.
-I think Butler is in trouble. They lost to Marquette, and are suddenly just 3-6 in conference play. Losing to Marquette in and of itself isn’t that bad, but it’s bad when they have multiple other losses just like it, and are lacking in big wins. I think they need to get to .500 in order to feel safe, and if they finish any more than two games below 500 in league play I think they’re out.
-Saint Mary’s barely held on to beat Pacific. The only reason I bring that up is because I think losing that game would have killed them.
Last, and perhaps least, it was a bad day for our Big West frontrunners after we just got done talking them up. We felt that if either UC Irvine or Hawaii won out (and we realize that only one of them could have) that they would land inside the bubble. Both lost yesterday. At home. That’s not good. So, it looks like that in order for either of them to make it they’ll need the automatic bid.
-VILLANOVA AT SAINT JOHN’S (Big East). Nova continues to look like they could end up on the #1 line, and this is a very winnable conference road game for them.
-GEORGE WASHINGTON AT GEORGE MASON (Atlantic Ten). I know the A10 wants this to be a rivalry, but right now GW is slipping further and further outside the bubble and George Mason isn’t good enough to get excited about playing.
-WAKE FOREST AT NOTRE DAME (ACC). Notre Dame is coming off a loss, but they’re still in good shape and should stay that way so long as they hold serve at home in this one.
-MARYLAND AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten). Maryland is coming off their biggest win of the year at home against Iowa, but it’s still never easy to win on the road, and if they want to keep their profile solid and prove they are a protected seed then this is the kind of game they need to win.
-TEMPLE AT SOUTH FLORIDA (American). Temple is so far outside the bubble right now that I’m hesitant to even highlight this game, but if they win out I guess it’s possible.
-NORTHWESTERN AT IOWA (Big Ten). I don’t think losing at Maryland did anything to hurt Iowa, so I still feel they can end up as a #1 seed, and shouldn’t have too much trouble winning today.
-CONNECTICUT AT UCF (American). I don’t know if it’s more accurate to say that UConn needs more wins, or that UConn cannot afford any more losses. Either way, UConn needs to win this game. Or, UConn can’t afford to lose this game.
-WICHITA STATE AT EVANSVILLE (Missouri Valley). I think Evansville still has a chance to land inside the bubble, but it’s an outside shot at best due to a weak strength of schedule, and they’ll need to win out to the conference championship to do it. Wichita, on the other hand, has been playing outstandingly well since getting back to full strength, and this would be another solid road win for their profile.
-CALIFORNIA AT COLORADO (Pac Twelve). I like Colorado’s profile and feel that they’ll land in the field so long as they continue to hold serve. Cal, on the other hand, has been pitiful on the road, and the more rumblings I hear, the more important I think that’s going to be to the real committee. Cal desperately needs some quality road wins or else they’ll be watching the tournament on television.
-RUTGERS AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten). Michigan State seems to have turned things around, and plays what is perhaps their most winnable remaining home game of the season today.
-VIRGINIA TECH AT PITTSBURGH (ACC). VA Tech is getting better, but they still have a ways to go. Pitt’s profile is good enough to get them in right now, but there is room for improvement, and they don’t want to worsen it by losing at home to a non tournament team.
-OREGON AT ARIZONA STATE (Pac Twelve). Oregon has been playing really well lately, and they have some big road wins to go along with that, including at Arizona earlier in the week. I think they pick this one up as well and continue to work toward earning a protected seed.