Our quick thoughts on Friday's results:
There have been 179 installments of the Backyard Brawl, but Friday's night's game between Pitt and West Virginia might have been the best of the bunch. The Panthers prevailed 98-95 in triple overtime in what was a crazy, back-and-forth, big shot-filled game that had more twists and turns than an episode of "Lost." Pitt staged a ridiculous rally to come from five points down in the final minute to force the first OT, and then West Virginia's Darryl Bryant hit a deep three with a second left - after a missed FT by Pitt - to force a second OT. Pitt's almost ended the game at the end of the second OT, but Gary McGee's tip attempt rimmed out at the buzzer. In the third OT, the Panthers finally put the game away on four straight FTs in the closing seconds by Gilbert Brown and Ashton Gibbs. Da'Sean Butler finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds for West Virginia, whose two-loss week will drop them down from a 2 to a low 3/high 4 next week. Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker had 24 points each for Pitt, who will be back up to a top five seed in Monday's bracket.
It was not a good night for two of best small conference teams in the country. Siena lost its first MAAC game of the season - 87-74 at Niagara - and Cornell, in what Doug Gottlieb called the "upset of the year in college basketball," lost to lowly Penn 79-64 at the Palestra. The Quakers, who came into the game with just three wins on the year, used a 15-0 run to start the second half to upset the 22nd-ranked Big Red. The loss not only erases Cornell's hopes at an at-large, it drops them into second place in the Ivy League, a game behind unbeaten Princeton. Cornell and Princeton square off Saturday in New Jersey, and then again on Feb. 26. In between those games, Cornell still has to play at Harvard (next Friday) and at Dartmouth. We'll still have the Big Red in as the Ivy automatic next week because we think they're the best team in the league and that they'll eventually win it.
Injury updates for Saturday: Luke Harangody will not play for ND against St. John's because of a bone bruise in his knee; Kalin Lucas will start for Michigan State against Penn State.
Of note: Weber State beat Northern Arizona at home.