Our quick thoughts on Tuesday's results:
It looks like Evan Turner's back is just fine. He was able to lead Ohio State back from a double-digit halftime deficit with his 32 points, which included 14 out of the last 18 scored by the Buckeyes. The win is huge for Ohio State, as it prevented a 1-4 conference start and gives them their first true road win of the season. If the Buckeyes can manage to knock of Wisconsin this weekend in Columbus, they will see their 11 seed cut in half next week. Purdue has now dropped two in a row after their 14-0 start and will surely fall off the 1 line next week.
If the first half of the Ohio State-Purdue game was simulated on the old NBA Jam arcade game, Robbie Hummel would have had cartoon fire coming out of his shorts. Wow, what a performance.
Kansas State recovered nicely from their weekend loss with a easy win over Texas A&M (this time head coach Frank Martin didn't need to slap any players). Texas A&M now has to travel to top- ranked Texas this weekend. The Aggies were sitting on the 6 line going into the week, and with a likely 0-2 week on the horizon they will surely fall a few seed lines. At least they have enough of an OOC resume to prevent the bottom from falling out after a two-loss week.
Welcome home to the bubble, Florida State. Two days after losing at Maryland, the 'Noles suffered a real resume-killing loss at home to N.C. State. The Wolfpack, who were coming off a home loss to Virginia, used an early 16-1 run to take control of the game and led by as many 13 in the second half. The loss drops FSU to 1-2 in conference and makes Saturday's home game against Virginia Tech a must-win if they want to stay in the bracket. The 'Noles are relying very heavily on their road win at GT right now, but that can only keep them in the field for so long.
Kentucky looked every bit like the second best (the best?) team in the country against Florida. Eric Bledsoe led four Kentucky starters in double-figures with a career-high 25 points, and the Wildcats withstood a furious comeback by the Gators midway through the second half to win 89-77. Kentucky's next game is at Auburn on Saturday, and looking ahead, they have a very good chance to enter February undefeated. The Gators, meanwhile, are now 0-2 in conference, but still shouldn't be too worried about their standing in the bracket. Their next four games (LSU, at Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia) aren't all that tough, and they still have two good OOC wins to fall back on.
Maryland came oh-so-close to creeping their way onto the bubble, but lost at Wake Forest 85-83 on an Ishmael Smith floater with 20 seconds left in OT. The Terps has two good looks on their final possession, but Greivis Vasquez (who scored 30) and Sean Mosley each missed threes that would have given Maryland the upset win. A loss here would have been very troubling to Wake Forest, not only because it came at home but because their next two games are at Duke and at North Carolina.
Just when Baylor looked like it was getting comfortable in the bracket, the Bears went out and lost a real head-scratcher at Colorado. The Buffaloes forced 18 Baylor turnovers, and committed just five turnovers themselves, in a 76-68 win. The Bears’ next game is what amounts to a play-in game at home against Oklahoma State on Saturday. The winner's in next week; the loser will be on the Last Four list. (Hey Jerry Palm, how is Baylor’s 5 seed looking now?)
Of note: Illinois won at home against Penn State; Northern Iowa won at home against Bradley; Missouri State lost at Drake (much to the delight of our friends at Shockernet.net).