Our quick thoughts on Tuesday's results:
It was more than a little ironic that the Clemson-Georgia Tech game came down to a pair of free throws, because each team could have built a state-of-the-art practice facility with the bricks they were throwing up for the first 39+ minutes. The teams combined to shoot 21-of-42 from the line, but in the end Zachary Peacock hit two big ones with 3.2 seconds left (after an ill-timed Trevor Booker reach-in) to give the Yellow Jackets a 66-64 win. Neither of these teams looked like a real challenger to Duke in this one - they played sloppy and combined for 29 turnovers - but it's still a huge win for Georgia Tech, who couldn't afford a loss at home. They now head to Tallahassee for a roadie with Florida State on Sunday, while Clemson gets ready for its showdown with Duke at home on Saturday.
Can the Northwestern faithful (Michael Wilbon included) pipe down for a couple days? The Wildcats looked far from bracket-worthy in Columbus on Tuesday, getting smoked 76-56 by Evan Turner and the Buckeyes. Ohio State led by double digits less than five minutes into the game and never looked back, building their lead to as many as 26 early in the second half. Turner (surprise, surprise) was a beast for the Buckeyes again: he finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. We love John Wall as much as anybody, but Turner might deserve the national POY award regardless of the time he missed. He's turned Ohio State from a bubble team to legitimate 5 seed in a matter of weeks.
The only black mark on Tennessee's impressive resume heading into this week was that they only had one true road win. They doubled that number on Tuesday night, fighting off a scrappy Alabama squad to win 63-56 in Tuscaloosa. The Vols started slow, but led by as many as 11 in the second half before the Tide chipped away. Scotty Hopson had 17 points and Wayne Chism scored all of his 11 points in the final seven minutes for Tennessee, who faces another tricky road test at Georgia on Saturday. It their last two home games, the Bulldogs have beaten Georgia Tech and lost by just four to Mississippi. If the Vols come out of Athens with a victory, they may find themselves on the 2 line next week.
Purdue was able to snap its three game losing streak at Illinois on Tuesday night thanks to a balanced attack that saw five players score in double figures. The Boilermakers will have the chance to climb back up the Big Ten standings (and the bracket) over the next few weeks with three straight home games and then a trip to Indiana before their showdown with Michigan State on Feb. 9. The Illini, who made their first bracket appearance since November this week, will now need to complete a season sweep of Northwestern in the biggest bubble matchup of the weekend to stay in the field.
For the past two weeks, we have been the only major bracketology site to have Wichita State in. Our faith was rewarded in grand fashion on Tuesday night, as the Shockers upset MVC front-runner Northern Iowa 60-51 at Charles Koch Arena. Wichita led 29-17 at the half, but the Panthers scored the first 10 points of the second half to make it a game. The Shockers battled right back, though, going 13-of-17 from the line down the stretch to put the game away. The victory is obviously ginormous for Wichita's at-large hopes (and for the long-term possibility of the Valley getting two bids), and it could earn the Shockers a single digit seed in our next bracket. Northern Iowa, which had won 15 in a row coming in, is still at-large worthy but will slip a seed line or two next week.
Of note: Texas A&M scratched out a win over Oklahoma at home; Miami lost to BC at home; Vermont beat Hartford at home.