Our quick thoughts on Saturday's results:
All season long, we have refused to put more than four A-10 teams in our weekly bracket. We thought a perfect storm of events would need to happen for the A-10 to get five bids, so even though teams like Richmond and Dayton had quality resumes, they had been left on the outside of the bracket looking in. That's finally about to change on Monday. Richmond will be in - as the A-10's fifth bid - after the Spiders' impressive 71-55 win over Temple at home on Saturday. Dayton has a strong case to be in as well after their home win over Xavier on Saturday, but the Flyers will probably end up falling just short of a bid. There's no way the A-10 is getting six bids, and putting Dayton in would give them that number. Charlotte is still 2.5 games better than the Flyers in conference, and there's no reason to take the 49ers (or Rhode Island) out after 2-0 weeks.
The A-10 might want to send a thank you card to the Pac-10 on Selection Sunday. The way things are shaping up right now, the A-10 is going to be the biggest beneficiary of the Pac-10's demise this season. It strange to think that the A-10 could get four more bids than the Pac-10, but that's reality right now.
Illinois had more to lose on Saturday than any at-large team in our field, and the Illini (with an assists from the Orange Crush) responded with a ginormous 78-73 upset of Kalin Lucas-less Michigan State in Champaign. Demetri McCamey was the hero for Illinois, scoring 22 points and adding 11 assists. McCamey's three-pointer with 37 seconds left gave the Illini a five point lead, and then Mike Davis blocked Durrell Summers' potential game-tying three with 10 seconds to play to seal the victory. Lucas or no Lucas, the win was huge for Illinois, whose schedule is absolutely brutal from here on out. At 8-3 in conference, though, they at least have some breathing room. How long they stay in our field will be determined by how they play on the road the couple of weeks. Three of their next four games are on the road - at Wisconsin, at Purdue, and at Michigan - and those are sandwiched around a home game against Ohio State. For Michigan State, this loss ends a forgettable 0-2 week that left them only a game up in the Big Ten and without their starting point guard. They'll drop down to the 3 line next week, and will turn their attention to getting Lucas ready for their showdown with Purdue in East Lansing on Tuesday.
Last week in our Saturday Tweets, we applauded Kansas State's student section for being perhaps the loudest and most creative student section in the country. The Octagon of Doom is still top-notch, but they had nothing on the Orange Crush Saturday night. The orange-clad Illnois students not only pulled off a very fast court rush (stop complaining, Dickie V), they were insanely loud all game and seemed to really rattle the Spartans at some big points in the game. They get the award for B101's Student Section of the Week. Your certificate is in the mail.
Georgetown bounced back quite nicely from its home loss to South Florida by dismantling Villanova in snowy D.C. Austin Freeman led five Hoyas in double figures with 25 points, and Georgetown cracked the 50-point mark in both halves in a convincing 103-90 win. Had the Hoyas beaten the Bulls earlier in the week, they wold have been a 1 seed in our next bracket. Instead, they'll be the top team on our 2 line, and 'Nova will likely hang on to the final spot on the 2 line.
We can officially say "we told you so" now about Virginia Tech. We loved the Hokies' chances to go 2-0 this week and they rewarded us with two big home wins - the latest and most important coming against Clemson in Blacksburg on Saturday. VT's 70-59 victory over the Tigers (who are now an ugly 4-5 in conference) moved the Hokies to 5-3 in the ACC and 18-4 overall. Every bracketologist will have them in their field on Monday. We'll still have them in ours - as a 10 or 11 seed.
We hope Mississippi State enjoyed its stay in the bracket. The Bulldogs capped an 0-2 week with a 69-62 loss at Florida on Saturday, and as a result, they'll be on the outside of the bracket looking in next week. Florida, meanwhile, improved to 17-6 overall and 6-3 in the SEC, and will keep their 7 seed on Monday. (Dear Lunardi, it's safe to put the Gators in your bracket now. We promise.)
Elsewhere in the SEC, Mississippi might have avoided a trip to the Last Four Out list with a miracle comeback at home against Alabama. The Rebels were down 20 at the half, but came storming back to earn an improbable 74-67 win. Chris Warren scored 21 points and Terrence Henry had 20 points and eight boards to lead Mississippi, which improved to 5-4 in the SEC with the win. Next up for the Rebels is a huge bubble battle at Mississippi State on Thursday in what could amount to a play-in game for next week's bracket.
Mississippi State isn't the only big conference team that might have seen its bubble burst on Saturday. Oklahoma State lost its third straight game, falling 81-74 at Texas Tech, and could land on the wrong side of the bubble on Monday as a result. The Cowboys are now 4-5 in the Big XII, which is not good enough given their weak OOC resume. They still have to play at Texas, at Texas A&M, and at home against Kansas and Baylor.
Texas' free-fall continued on Saturday in Norman, as they lost to an Oklahoma squad that was playing without leading scorer Willie Warren. The Longhorns, who have now dropped four of six overall, made just five of 18 threes for the game and were an unthinkable 10-for-27 from the line in an 80-71 loss. Tommy Mason-Griffin stepped up in Warren's absence to score 24 points for the Sooners, who led by as many as 19 in the second half. Texas will likely fall from a 3 down to a 4 or a 5 with the loss, with Ohio State being the most likely candidate to take their spot on the 3 line.
No team in our bracket had a better week than Texas A&M. The Aggies won at Missouri on Wednesday and then picked up another huge Big XII win at home against 24th-ranked Baylor on Saturday. A&M trailed for the entire first half, but managed to chip away at Baylor's lead from the free throw line after halftime. The Aggies finished 28-of-33 from the line from the game, and hit 10 straight late in the second half to take the lead for good. They'll move up at least two seed lines next week, while Baylor will fall at least one line as a result of the loss.
Could BYU be the third best team in the Mountain West? That's certainly debatable, but the Cougars didn't look very good at all on the road against UNLV on Saturday. They trailed by 22 at the half and lost 88-74 to the Runnin' Rebels to fall into a first-place tie with UNLV in conference. Tre'Von Willis scored a career-high 33 points for the Rebels in the win, which was their 28th victory in their last 30 games at home in conference play. BYU will be a low 6/high 7 seed in next week's bracket as a result of the loss. If they are on the 7 line, they might be there alongside the Rebels, who have the easiest schedule left among the three MWC contenders.
Of note: Vanderbilt lost 72-58 at Georgia; Gonzaga pulled out a tough win at Memphis; Northern Iowa escaped at home against Southern Illinois; Kansas beat Nebraska at home; Kentucky blew out LSU; West Virginia won at St. John's; Pittsburgh beat Seton Hall at home; Marquette won at Providence; Louisville beat Rutgers at home; UConn beat DePaul at home; Duke won at Boston College; Wake Forest won at Virginia; Georgia Tech beat N.C. State at home; Florida State beat Miami at home; Kansas State won at Iowa State; Missouri won at Colorado; Wisconsin won at Michigan; Tennessee beat South Carolina at home; New Mexico held off San Siego State in OT at home; Butler beat Wright State at home; Rhode Island beat UMass at home; Cal won at UCLA; UAB won at Rice; Wichita State rallied to beat Indiana State at home; Cornell beat Brown at home; UTEP beat Tulsa at home; Utah State beat Nevada at home; Old Dominion lost at VCU (more on this in the comments section); St. Mary's beat San Francisco at home; George Mason lost at Drexel.