Our quick thoughts on Tuesday's results:
The comments section of this site is going to have to find another bubble team to complain about. Virginia Tech's not only off the bubble, they're a single digit seed. The Hokies dominated in the second half against Wake Forest on Tuesday night, scoring 55 points en route to an 87-83 upset of the previously red-hot and newly-ranked Demon Deacons. Malcolm Delaney scored 31 points for Virginia Tech in the win, which moved them into second place in the ACC at 8-3. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 21 first half points for Wake, which led 40-32 at the break, but he scored just four points in the second half. The win is obviously gigantic for Virginia Tech's tourney resume, as it now gives them a second Top 50 win and puts them in great shape to finish 11-5 in conference. Even with a loss at Duke this weekend, the Hokies will be at least an 8 seed next week, and they will likely be ahead of Clemson and Georgia Tech in terms of seeding. (Remember two and a half weeks ago when we said this was going to happen...?)
Dear Jerry Palm, it's time to put the Hokies in your field. Love, B101.
If Mississippi State fails to make the tournament, they will look back at tonight's loss to Kentucky and kick themselves. The Bulldogs had a chance to extend their winning streak over the Wildcats to four games in front of a record home crowd, but instead squandered a seven point lead with three minutes to play and ended up losing 81-75 in OT. The loss drops the Bulldogs to an unimpressive 6-5 in conference, but they do have a relatively easy schedule remaining (at LSU, Alabama, at South Carolina, at Auburn, Tennessee). If they get to 10-6, with a win over the Vols, they will still be in good shape for a bid as long as they win a game in the SEC tourney. Anything less than that would be dangerous, since all they have OOC is a win over Old Dominion to go along with a few questionable losses. Assuming they beat LSU, they will be one of our last teams in or out this weekend, and their ultimate fate will depend on what their fellow bubble teams do.
We know it's the work of just a few idiots, but between the dozens of harassing (and allegedly racist) voicemails and texts sent to DeMarcus Cousins in the days leading up to the game and the water bottle throwing to end the game (you stay classy, Starkville), it's safe to say that Bulldog Nation could brush up a little on its sportsmanship before its next home game.
BTW, how great was Cousins' "call me" sign to the crowd after one of his dunks in the first half? A very nice comeback, indeed.
The biggest bubble battle of the night took place in the Big East, and it was South Florida who came out with a huge 65-57 win over Cincinnati at home. Dominique Jones (who else?) scored 26 points to lead the Bulls, who for the moment are now the front-runners for the Big East's eighth bid. They still have a lot of work to do to secure an at-large, but their schedule isn't all that tough the rest of the way (save a road game at Villanova next week.) The Bulls play St. John's at home on Saturday, and after the 'Nova game, they play Providence at home, at DePaul, and at home against UConn. That game against the Huskies on March 6 might be a bubble-bursting game for the loser, while the winner would likely head into the Big East tournament needing just two wins to feel good about their chances at an at-large. Cincinnati, meanwhile, is now tied with USF in conference at 6-7, but their remaining schedule is brutal, and they'll be lucky to finish 8-10.
Of note: Michigan State won at Indiana; Baylor beat Texas Tech at home (LaceDarius Dunn scored 30 points for the Bears); Georgia Tech beat North Carolina at home; Northern Iowa beat Creighton at home; Old Dominion beat Towson at home; Northeastern won at UNC-Wilmington; William & Mary won at George Mason; San Diego State won at TCU; Murray State beat SE Missouri State at home; Stony Brook won at UMBC; Princeton won at Penn.