Our quick thoughts on Thursday's results:
Bigger than any results tonight was the news that Purdue's Robbie Hummel will be out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. The biggest question surrounding the Boilermakers now is what will happen to their seed going forward. The committee will not forget about what Purdue has done to this point, but their final three games as well as the Big Ten tourney will now have extra importance. If they win out, or go 2-1 down the stretch and win the Big Ten tourney, they will still get a 1 seed. If they struggle down the stretch, then they could really see their seed take a tumble. The only historical example that is somewhat similar to this case is the 2000 Cincinnati Bearcats. Kenyon Martin broke his leg in the C-USA conference tourney that year and the Bearcats were upset in their first game. They ended up with a 2 seed in the tournament, despite their #1 RPI, and ended up losing in the second round.
It took an overtime period, but Vanderbilt was able to survive at home against a pesky Georgia team on Thursday night. The Commodores were able to overcome a five point deficit with only 33 seconds to play in regulation to beat the Bulldogs 96-94. A.J. Ogilvy made the game-tying tip-in with 16 seconds left, and he and Jermaine Beal made some clutch free throws in overtime to seal the deal. The win avenged the loss that Vandy suffered a few weeks ago in Athens, and it moved them to 10-3 in the SEC. As long as the Commodores can pick up a win on the road against Arkansas this weekend, they will remain on the 4 line next week. If they can win out and reach the final of the SEC tourney, they have the chance to jump onto the 3 line with some help. If they can somehow find a way to beat Kentucky in the SEC final, they could even get as high as a 2 seed.
With their home win over Arizona, Cal is now just one victory away its first Pac-10 title since 1960. The Bears beat the Wildcats by 24 in Berkeley on Wednesday night to improve to 11-5 in conference, a half game better than Arizona State (who won at Stanford Wednesday). Cal hosts ASU on Saturday, and if the Bears win, and then take care of business at Stanford next week, the debate will intensify as to whether Cal would deserve an at-large bid. Our opinion on Cal all along has been that if they got to 13-5 in conference, won the Pac-10 regular season title, and maintained a solid RPI, that they would probably get an at-large. Regardless of how poor the Pac-10 has been this season, we find it very hard to believe that the selection committee would deny an at-large bid to a power conference champion with a top-30 (or so) RPI - even if that team had an OOC resume as weak as Cal's. Where the Cal debate gets really interesting is if they were to finish 12-6 and then lose in the semifinals or final of the Pac-10 tourney. Would that still get them a bid? One thing is for sure: no matter how these next few games play out, Cal will be one of the most debated bubble teams in the country on Selection Sunday if they don't end up getting the Pac-10 automatic.
Of note: Kentucky beat South Carolina at home; Duke beat Tulsa at home; Wisconsin won at Indiana; Gonzaga beat Santa Clara at home; Utah State won at Hawaii; St. Mary's beat Pepperdine at home; Wofford, which has now won 15 of 16, beat Charleston at home to take over first place in the Southern at 14-3; Murray State lost its first OVC game, falling 70-65 at Morehead State.