Our quick thoughts on Wednesday's results:
Anyone who reads this site on a semi-regular basis knows how much we love the little guy, so you can imagine how hard we were rooting for Cornell to pull off the upset of all upsets at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. The Big Red couldn't have played better for the first 35 minutes - they dictated the flow of the game, shut down Kansas' explosive offense, and for stretches the seemed like they couldn't miss a shot from the perimeter. In the end, though, give Sherron Collins (who made every play and some key FTs down the stretch) and the Jayhawks a lot of credit for walking away with a hard-earned W.
Kansas fans are probably going to be up in arms about the Jayhawks inconsistent play tomorrow, especially after the Temple game, but they need to realize that this game says more about Cornell than it does about Kansas. The phrase "team you don't want to play in the first round" gets thrown out a lot in March, but with Cornell, the label is legit. They have size, they can shoot, and they play a slow-down style that can handcuff even the most high-octane of offenses. If they breeze through the Ivy, which we fully expect them to (with the exception of their games against Harvard), they could be looking at an 11 seed come Selection Sunday.
Michigan State re-established itself, for the moment, as the second best team in the Big Ten by beating Wisconsin 54-47 at home Wednesday night. It was just the second win in the last six meetings between these two teams for the Spartans, who held the Badgers to just 20 points in the first half. On the bright side for Wisconsin, they get an immediate chance to put this game behind them (and stay on the 3 line) this weekend, as 4th-ranked Purdue visits the Kohl Center.
If the Big Ten switched their conference games to first-to-50 points and didn't tell people, would anyone even notice?
After two close, brutal losses to open Big East play, Marquette picked up a huge win against Georgetown at home Wednesday night. The win will definitely get them into the bubble conversation, but they'll have to exact revenge on Villanova on the road on Saturday if they are going to get a bid in our next bracket. Their five losses are still a troubling number at-large-wise right now. Georgetown, meanwhile, will fall off the 2 line. How far they fall will be determined by how they fare against UConn at home on Saturday.
Who needs scholarship players? Tennessee, in its first game without Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum, Melvin Goins, and Brian Williams, needed only six of them to beat Charlotte handily at home. Wayne Chism led the way for the Vols, scoring 18 points and adding five rebounds, six assists, and five steals. Tennessee's final tune-up for SEC play won't be as easy - the top-ranked Jayhawks pay a visit to Knoxville on Sunday.
Is any guard in the country playing better than Jon Scheyer right now? He scored 31 points in Duke's win at Iowa State Wednesday night. As ACC play gets ready to heat up, Scheyer is the front-runner for conference POY.
Evan Turner's return couldn't have come at a better time for Ohio State, which is staring at two tough road games over the next five games (at Purdue, at Minnesota). Losing both of those would drop the Buckeyes to 1-4 in the Big Ten. Turner scored eight points and added five rebounds and five assists in 20 minutes in his return to the lineup Wednesday night, as the Buckeyes cruised past Indiana.
An awful week got even worse for USC on Wednesday night. The Trojans tied Stanford at 53-53 with 32 seconds left on a Leonard Washington three, then fell behind one on a Jarrett Mann FT with 11 seconds left, then missed three shots (including two tip-ins), on their final possession to lose 54-53. Ouch.
Has there been a more disappointing team than Cal this season? The Bears were picked by many to win the Pac-10 before the year started, but injuries and inconsistent play have hampered them all season. After Wednesday's home loss to lowly UCLA (four days after they crushed Stanford), Cal's slide very well may end with them being knocked out of our next bracket. Their loss to the Bruins is their only "bad" loss of the year, but they still have no real good wins. It doesn't get any easier from here, either: they host USC on Saturday and then have a two-game roadie at the Washington schools next week.
As bad as Cal's loss was for them, it could prove more disastrous in the near future for the Pac-10 which, if the season ended today, could very well be a one-bid league. If it were not for Oregon's shocking road sweep of Washington and Washington State last week, the Pac-10 without question would only deserve a single bid. (USC's post-season ban obviously factors into the equation here too, but it's still really hard to defend the Pac-10's performance overall this season.)
William & Mary avoided its second straight terrible loss by pulling out a last-second miracle against Delaware on the road. The Tribe were down 71-65 with just over a minute left in OT, but the Blue Hens missed couple of free throws and David Schneider hit a three at the buzzer to give W&M a 74-73 win. As impressive as their early season resume was, the Tribe look very pedestrian right now, and their seed next week will reflect that.
In a game that both teams needed in order to pad somewhat underwhelming resumes, BYU (with a sick and ineffective Jimmer Fredette) beat UNLV 77-73 at home. The Runnin' Rebels now face the possibility of falling out of the bracket, and making the MWC a two-bid league, if they can't win at New Mexico on Saturday. BYU, meanwhile, faces a tough road test at UTEP on Saturday; if they win, they're looking at a low 6/high 7 seed in our next bracket.
The second best team in the Valley is officially Wichita State. The Shockers won 65-62 at Missouri State Wednesday after leading by as many as 25 in the second half. The win guarantees Wichita (who also beat Texas Tech, remember) a spot on our Last Eight Out list next week, and there's a good chance they'll be Last Four.
Can we all agree that our VCU pick never happened? OK, cool. Yikes.
Head-scratcher of the night: Seattle 99, Oregon State 48. Um...seriously?
Of note: Jerome Dyson was a rebound shy of a triple-double as UConn pulled away late to beat Seton Hall at home; Syracuse won by 17 at home against Memphis after the game was tied at the half; Temple beat St. Joe's at home in its A-10 opener; Richmond won by 12 at Duquesne in its A-10 opener; Northern Iowa won at Southern Illinois.