Our quick thoughts on Wednesday's results:
Greivis Vasquez’s final home game ended just how he had hoped – with thousands of yellow-clad Maryland fans mobbing him at center court. The senior guard scored 20 points, including a tough, game-clinching floater with 37 seconds left, as the Terps upset Duke 79-72 at the Comcast Center. With what seemed like 10,000 students rooting them on, Vazquez & Co. got out to an early double-digit lead on the Blue Devils, only to that lead evaporate just after halftime. Duke led by three with 5:25 to play, but Maryland pulled away after that thanks to some clutch shots from Vasquez and six straight free throws down the stretch. The win moved the Terps into a tie with the Blue Devils atop the ACC standings at 12-3, and seed-wise, it will move them to the top of the 5 line in our bracket on Friday. The Terps would be even higher than that if they had more of an OOC resume, but they can still crack the 4 line if they make the ACC final. Duke will remain on the end of the 1 line on Friday, even with the loss, because they are more deserving than the teams below them. Kansas State proved it wasn’t worthy of a 1 seed right now with their blowout loss at Kansas, and Purdue is stuck on the 2 line because of Robbie Hummel’s injury.
Normally, we’d give the Maryland court rush a grade, but it wasn’t really a rush. There were so many students there, and they were so close to the court at the final buzzer, that it was more of a “walk onto the court” than it was a rush. There wasn’t a whole lot of running involved at all. We’ll give the students this, though – they were ridiculously load throughout the game, the court got completely covered in about a split second, and the rush looked pretty sweet (especially with all the yellow) on TV when it was all done. Cameron Crazies who?
Kansas may have fallen out of the #1 spot in the polls, but they are still pretty safe as the #1 overall seed in the bracket. The Jayhawks never trailed against Kansas State on Wednesday night, and they pulled away in the second half to win 82-65 and clinch the Big XII regular season title. Xavier Henry led the Jayhawks with 19 points, while Sherron Collins added 17 as Kansas shot 51% as a team. The loss for Kansas State puts to rest any talk of them getting a 1 seed, but the Wildcats are still very safe on the 2 line. They have a top 10 RPI, seven Top 50 wins, and will likely finish 12-4 in conference play. Their focus can now turn to the Big XII tourney, as they try to figure out a way to beat the Jayhawks should they face off again in the final.
At this rate, the selection committee might hold it against Notre Dame if Luke Harangody comes back. The Irish won their third straight game without their injured All-American on Wednesday night, beating UConn 58-50 in a battle of the two teams fighting for the Big East’s eighth and final bid. Tory Jackson scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half to lead Notre Dame, who improved to 9-8 in the Big East with the victory. We had the Irish in – over UConn – as the eighth Big East bid this week, and with the way they are playing right now, it’s hard to see them not making the tournament. They can lock up a bid with a win at Marquette on Saturday, but even with a loss, one Big East tourney win might be enough to get them in given what they’ve done the last 10 days. UConn, meanwhile, will need a minor miracle to get in at this point. The Huskies were absolutely awful offensively on Tuesday night, missing 11 straight shots in one first-half stretch, and scoring two points in one nine-minute span that straddled halftime. They shot just 35 percent from the field for the game, and Stanley Robinson finished just 2-of-4 from the floor and scored six points. The Huskies’ only hope for a bid at this point is to win at South Florida this weekend and then to win three games in the Big East tournament. Their first round game won’t help their resume at all, and their second round game won’t be against a real marquee team either. They need one more marquee win to get a bid, and a trip to the semifinals is the only way they’re going to get that.
It was not a good night for two teams barely hanging on to spots in our bracket. Mississippi State was unable to pull off a second straight SEC road win and fell 89-80 at Auburn, and UAB, who came in on a four-game win streak, lost at home to Memphis. Both losses are potential resume-killers, but UAB’s loss is definitely worse. The Blazers now have two losses to Memphis on their resume, they are in third place in C-USA, and they have to play at UTEP on Saturday in a game we don’t see them winning. That would give them an 0-4 record against the top two C-USA teams, with only an OOC win over Butler to fall back on. All of those negatives added together will land the Blazers on the outside looking in at our Friday field, and they’ll need to beat UTEP to be back in on Monday. Mississippi State might still be in the bracket, but that’s only because we think they will win at home against Tennessee this weekend. The Bulldogs have been poor on the road, but they’ve only lost one conference home game – to Kentucky in OT back on Feb. 16. If they lose to the Vols, they’ll be out, and they'll need a trip to the SEC final to make up for the fact that they still - amazingly - have just one Top 50 win on the year (Old Dominion).
The A-10 bubble battle of the night wasn't much of a battle at all. Rhode Island ran away from Charlotte in the second half, as they outscored them by 20 in an 80-58 win. The win makes the Rams the clear-cut favorite for the fourth bid out of the A-10 for the time being. Now they must win on the road (something they haven't done in the last three tries) against UMass this weekend to get to 10-6 in conference. The Rams will likely end up with the 5 seed in the conference tourney, and two wins (against a bottom feeder and against Saint Louis) will probably get them a bid, while a trip to the A-10 final would make them a lock. Charlotte, on the other hand, has now lost five of six and will need a win against Richmond this weekend to even get back into the discussion.
Hey, Wake Forest - welcome to the bubble. Just a few weeks ago, Wake was sitting pretty on the 3 line and was in the thick of the ACC title race, but that certainly seems like a long time ago. The Demon Deacons have now lost four in a row after their 51-47 loss at Florida State, and they are in danger of finishing 8-8 in conference if they cannot beat Clemson at home this weekend. At that point, they would be squarely on the bubble heading into the ACC tourney, regardless of all their big OOC wins. On the flip side, Florida State fans can sleep a little bit easier tonight. We won't go as far as to call FSU a lock yet, but if they can win at Miami this weekend, they will be. Then the discussion can turn back to what kind of seed the 'Noles can climb to with a deep ACC tourney run.
Of note: Texas A&M beat Oklahoma State at home; Temple won at Saint Louis; Virginia Tech beat N.C. State at home; Kentucky won at Georgia; Purdue beat Indiana at home; Wisconsin beat Iowa at home; Tennessee beat Arkansas at home; New Mexico beat TCU at home; BYU won at Utah; San Diego State beat Colorado State at home; Xavier won at Fordham.
Patriot League Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Lehigh beat No. 8 Army; No. 7 Holy Cross upset No. 2 Bucknell; No. 3 Lafayette beat No. 6 Colgate; No. 4 American beat No. 5 Navy.
Atlantic Sun Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 8 Kennesaw State upset No. 1 Lipscomb; No. 2 Jacksonville beat No. 7 North Florida.