Our quick thoughts on Friday's results:
Purdue looked every bit like a Final Four team against West Virginia. The Boilermakers dominated the game with their defense, forcing 17 turnovers, and the Mountaineers had no answer for Robbie Hummel (18 points on 7-of-8 shooting) or JaJuan Johnson down low (25 points, 10 rebounds).
If we did a bracket tonight, Purdue might still be the top 2 seed, and not the last 1 seed, because of Syracuse's edge in computer numbers. The fact that the Big East is the top-rated conference RPI-wise (the Big Ten is 6th) favors the Orange down the road if both teams win their respective leagues. (*UPDATE: see comments section).
What should have been a day to celebrate turned into a disaster for Bruce Pearl. Four Tennessee players, including Tyler Smith, were busted in Knoxville on felony gun and misdemeanor drug charges. According to the police report, officers smelled marijuana coming from the car and found a handgun with an altered serial number, a bag of marijuana and an open container of alcohol. If these charges stand up - and if the four are suspended - Tennessee's seeding will take a serious hit.
Is it too early to bust out the overrated tag on Texas Tech? The Red Raiders followed up their shellacking at New Mexico by winning by just a point at home against McNeese State on Friday. Pat Knight and Co. better right the ship soon - their next two games (vs. UTEP, at Oklahoma State) are very loseable.
New Mexico added another quality OOC win to its impressive resume Friday night, beating Dayton by two at The Pit. The Lobos, who open their MWC schedule at San Diego State on Tuesday, are the favorites in what looks like a three-bid league.
Dayton, meanwhile, missed out on another chance to pad what is a good-but-not-great OOC resume. The Flyers are pretty bubbleicious right now, and are one of the more interesting at-large hopefuls in the country. They do have several things going for them: wins over Georgia Tech and fellow mid-major bubble boy Old Dominion are certainly nice, as is the A-10's conference RPI (4th, ahead of the SEC and Big Ten). It's hard to see the A-10 getting fewer than three bids with a top 4 RPI, and it looks like there's an outside chance they could get four.
On the other hand, there are a couple of factors working against the Flyers. The A-10 is very deep (Temple and Richmond look tourney-bound, and Xavier, Charlotte, and Rhode Island all have tourney hopes) and the Flyers' conference schedule isn't all that resume-friendly. Dayton plays Temple and Richmond just once each this season, and both are on the road.