NOTES FROM WEDNESDAY
-After a boring first couple of nights of games, we saw some great ones last night.
-Duke beat North Carolina. It was a rivalry game. It was an exciting game. As far as it being a meaningful game, a top line team beat a mid-line team at home. Virtually nothing changes on either team’s profile.
-Colorado State continues to play well as they won an exciting, back and forth game against San Diego State. They were the beneficiaries of a bad call down the stretch. A play that should have been a charge in the final seconds was ruled a block, and that call along with a made basket (that should have been waived off) put the game out of reach for the Aztecs. What’s surprising is that Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said after the game that they got the benefit of a bad call. Having said that, Colorado State did play very well, and even if the call hadn’t gone their way they still would have been up a point with ten seconds to go. Their profile continues to improve, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them finish first in the Mountain West.
-Creighton lost their third straight game when they fell on the road to Northern Iowa. UNI is a very tough place to play, and that loss in and of itself didn’t hurt Creighton too much, but the fact that it is their third straight, and the fact that outside of a win against Wisconsin on a neutral floor Creighton has nothing of note on their profile, is pushing the Bluejays close to the bubble. They are definitely in a tailspin and need to come out of it.
-Charlotte got a big win at Butler. They had a lead the entire way, but Butler came close to pulling off yet another miracle. Rotnei Clarke scored 15 pts in the final 3:30 or so of the game, and actually put Butler in a position where they were down two with the ball and three seconds to play, but they turned it over and came up empty. For Charlotte, it was a much needed quality win on the road, that finally puts something good on their profile.
La Salle, another bubble team, had a bizarre finish in a game they could not afford to lose. Chances are you didn’t see it because it was only available via streaming, and the stream wasn’t free, so here is how it played out….
-La Salle with a three point lead, opting not to foul, but fouling by mistake as Bona was attempting a three.
-Bona is at the line with a chance to tie if they hit all three freethrows.
-He misses the first.
-He misses the second.
-He tries to miss the third on purpose, but makes it. La Salle up two less than five seconds to play.
-La Salle is fouled. Misses the first freethrow.
-They foolishly try to miss the second freethrow (presumably so the clock will start right away), but makes it by mistake. I’ve never seen a game where two attempted misses went in.
-Bona inbounds. Again, La Salle opts not to foul. Bona gets off a terrificl look…..and it rattles out.
La Salle wins.
-ARIZONA AT COLORADO (Pac Twelve). The last time these two met we saw one of the more controversial endings as a three point shot that should have counted for Colorado was waived off, and Arizona went on to win in overtime. Not only that, but tonight’s game is very important on paper as Colorado needs big wins to get safely inside the bubble, and Arizona needs a nice road win to stay on the top lines.
-MONTANA AT WEBER STATE (Big Sky). Montana is unbeaten in Big Sky play and can get a three game lead over Weber with a win tonight. Since they own the head to head tiebreaker, it’s virtually a four game lead. The first place finisher byes into the conference semis and hosts the conference tourney. On top of that, Montana may reach the bubble if they win out, and this is hands down their toughest remaining game outside of a trip to Davidson.
-GONZAGA AT SAINT MARY’S (West Coast). SMC is a bubble team that desperately needs a big win. Gonzaga is hoping to play their way into the discussion for a #1 seed, and if they want any chance of that at all they pretty much need to win out.
-WISCONSIN AT MINNESOTA (Big Ten). Both teams have solid profiles, but Minney has been in a bit of a tailspin and could use a big win at home to build their momentum back up.
-DUQUESNE AT TEMPLE (Atlantic Ten). Who knows what Temple will do tonight?? It’s always anybody’s guess.
-NORTHWESTERN AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten). Ohio State needs to hold serve at home. Eventually they need a big road win to solidify a good seed, but they also need to hold serve at home.
-BELMONT AT TENNESSEEE STATE (Ohio Valley). I really like this Belmont team, but they need to win out.
-WESTERN ILLINOIS AT NORTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit League). Both of these teams are probably too far outside the bubble, but it is a big match up that will impact first place in the Summit League.
-STEPHEN F AUSTIN AT NICHOLLS STATE (Southland). SFA needs to win out to get the attention of the committee.
-SAINT JOHN’S AT LOUISVILLE (Big East). Saint John’s is on the bubble. Louisville is solidly in, but they’re a long way from the #1 line right about now. The Johnnies need a big win on their profile. Louisville needs to come out of the tailspin that they’re in.
-UCLA AT CALIFORNIA (Pac Twelve). UCLA is in fairly good shape and can add another road win to their profile.
-IOWA AT PENN STATE (Big Ten). I have Iowa outside the bubble. If they lose tonight, they will fall further outside of it. Much much much further outside of it.
-UMASS AT VCU (Atlantic Ten). I have UMass right on the bubble, and if they want any attention at all then this is the game they have to win. With a Butler loss, VCU has a clear shot at winning the A10., so they have a lot to play for as well.
-LOUISIANA TECH AT SEATTLE (WAC). At 21-3, LA Tech is a solid team, but with no really good wins. Winning out is their only shot of reaching the bubble, and even that may not be enough.
-USC AT STANFORD (Pac Twelve). Stanford has been playing well lately. They’re far away from the bubble, but if they keep winning they may end up reaching it.