Our quick thoughts on Thursday's results:
Michigan's loss at Indiana (sans Maurice Creek) tells you all you need to know about the Wolverines' tourney chances. It also shows what a heck of a job Tom Crean is doing in Bloomington.
There's no shame in Ohio State losing at Wisconsin without Evan Turner, but their ineptitude on offense against the Badgers without Turner was a little alarming. The Buckeyes scored just 18 points in the second half and had just two bench points.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, is a solid 4 seed right now. How long can they stay that high? Their next five games (at Penn State, at Michigan State, Purdue, at Northwestern, at Ohio State) will go a long way in showing whether the Badgers can climb onto the 3 line and, more importantly, whether they can challenge for a Big Ten title.
Tennessee desperately needed a quality OOC win and, thanks to some tough defense and an intensity that would make Lane Kiffin smile, that exactly what they got at Memphis on Thursday. The Vols were the deeper and more physical team, and Memphis had no answer for Tennessee inside - three Memphis players fouled out, and Elliot Williams missed a big chunk of the first half after two early fouls. Tennessee held Williams and Willie Kemp to a combined 2-for-16 from the field.
Memphis could have snuck into our field with a win, but their consolation is they still have OOC games at Syracuse and home against Gonzaga left which could pad their resume. With Tulsa struggling, the Tigers appear to be the second-best team in C-USA heading into conference play.
The Pac-10 picture got cleared up quite nicely Thursday night. USC won its seventh straight game, disposing Arizona by six at home. The Trojans are looking at a single digit seed in our next bracket.
Washington State, meanwhile, lost a brutal game at home to Oregon. In what is sure to be one of the wackier finishes of the year, the Cougars celebrated what they thought was the game-winner in regulation a little too much, got T'd up, watched Oregon hit two FTs with under a second left to tie the game, and then lost to the Ducks in OT. Ouch. In another head-scratching result, Arizona State (fraud alert!) lost at UCLA.
Gonzaga beat Oklahoma in Spokane, no big deal. The big story from this game, if you haven't seen it yet, was the alley-oop gone wrong by Oklahoma's ironically-named Tiny Gallon. The 6-9, 300 pound forward rang in the New Year by shattering the backboard on a missed dunk attempt in the second half, delaying the game for an hour.
Richmond came thisclose to adding another OOC win to its already impressive resume. The Spiders took Wake Forest to OT before losing 74-68. Richmond plays at Bucknell tomorrow and opens A-10 play at Duquesne on Wednesday.
Of note: Georgetown beat St. John's at home in its Big East opener; Washington opened up Pac-10 play with a win at home over Oregon State; Butler beat Green Bay by 23 at home, handing the Phoenix their first Horizon loss; Mississippi State (thanks to Jarvis Varnando's 23 points and 17 boards) won at San Diego; Oral Roberts lost at South Dakota State in its first game since upsetting New Mexico.