Our quick thoughts on Thursday's results:
We hate to say we told you so about the ACC bubble, but... Both Maryland and Virginia Tech - our much-debated sixth and seventh bids out of the ACC this week - posted huge victories on Thursday night, and in doing so, set themselves up to stay in the field for weeks to come. The Terps' 71-67 win over Florida State was extra impressive because it came in Tallahassee against a Seminoles squad that was coming off back-to-back quality wins at home (Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech). Greivis Vasquez led the way for Maryland, scoring 21 points and adding seven rebounds and seven assists. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, moved to 4-3 in the ACC and dropped North Carolina to 2-5 in conference with a 74-70 win in Blacksburg. If the Hokies can beat Clemson at home on Sunday, they will move up to as high as the 10 line in next week's bracket.
Duke has suffered some a few lopsided losses this season, but after each one, they have bounced back with a convincing win. Their latest such result came Thursday night at home against Georgia Tech. The Blue Devils, who were playing their first game since getting blown out at Georgetown, shot the lights out against the Yellow Jackets, hitting 12 threes in a 86-67 win. Kyle Singler hit eight of those threes and finished with a career-high 30 points for Duke, which moved back into first place in the ACC with the win. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, dropped to 4-4 in conference with the loss, which was their 11th in their last 12 ACC road games. They host N.C. State on Saturday before hitting the road for two games next week (at Miami, at Wake).
Here's hoping everyone in Gator Nation has a good cardiologist. In what has become an every week occurrence for Florida, the Gators pulled out a last-second victory - this time over Alabama on the road. Erving Walker (not Chandler Parsons) was the hero this time, hitting the game-winning floater in traffic with 11 seconds left. 'Bama had the ball last with a chance to win, but Florida's Dan Werner knocked away the Tide's inbounds pass from under their own basket to seal the victory. Florida has now played seven games this season that have been decided by three points or less, and they are 3-4 in those games. Next up for the Gators is a home game against Mississippi State on Saturday. Winning that game and then winning at South Carolina next Tuesday could be key to Florida ultimately making the tourney. Their schedule gets pretty tough after those two; they still have to play at Mississippi, at Kentucky, and at home against Xavier, Tennessee, and Vandy.
Cincinnati's grip on an at-large bid may be slipping away. The Bearcats looked all sorts of awful in South Bend on Thursday night, losing by 18 points to Notre Dame. It was Cincinnati's fourth straight road loss in conference, and all four of those losses have come against teams that are not currently in our bracket. What's even worse for the Bearcats is that their schedule doesn't get any easier from here on out. If they can't beat Syracuse at home on Saturday, they will almost certainly drop out of our next Field of 65 on Monday. Luke Harangody finished with 37 points and 14 boards for Notre Dame, who got back to 5-5 in conference with the win after coming into the game having lost four of five. The Irish still aren't worthy of at-large consideration, but they at least crept back into the bubble mix in the crowded Big East. Their next game is against red-hot South Florida at home on Sunday. (What's the over-under on combined points for Harangody and Dominique Jones in that game? 65? 70?)
Of note: Purdue escaped with a 78-75 win at Indiana; Tennessee won at LSU; Cal lost at USC; Arizona lost at Washington; Gonzaga beat Portland at home; St. Mary's beat Santa Clara at home; Butler beat Detroit at home.