The four-letter network likes to call this week “Judgment Week.” Usually this week seems to have games galore for bubble teams and the dwindling chances they have to impress of dissuade the Selection Committee heading towards that fateful Sunday March 11th.
Looking at this week however, the schedule seems to be devoid of those type of games. Perhaps the calm before the storm in the weeks to come. Even with the lack of sexy games with post-season implications, Tuesday had a bunch of results that would cause some to shake or scratch their heads.
Kansas State 78 Missouri 68:The Wildcats scored a season sweep of Missouri with a win at Mizzou Arena Tuesday night. The win did a couple of things; 1.) Let’s Frank Martin’s team rest easy on Selection Sunday and amps up their confidence heading into a game with Iowa State and the Big 12 Tournament. 2.) It cost Missouri a chance to win the Big 12 regular season outright when they face Kansas. The game in Lawrence could still decide the #1 seed in the St. Louis region during the NCAA Tournament, Missouri is about to find out that no matter what the standings say, the road to the Big 12 title still runs through Lawrence, Kansas.
Seton Hall 73 Georgetown 55: The Pirates got a key win for their at-large hopes. Seton Hall has been playing better of late led by seniors Herb Pope and Jordan Theodore (who had 29 in the win) but not only did the Hall win but they won by 18, a resounding win for a team mentioned in the same breath with Cincinnati, West Virginia and Connecticut in terms of the Big East bubble. The Pirates have won 4 of their last 5 to give them to get to 8-8 in the Big East.
Massachusetts 80 Xavier 73: A game after Xavier’s Tu Holloway played like himself, perhaps for the first time since the December brawl with Cincinnati in leading his team to an overtime win over Xavier, the Musketeers regressed to their recent play. The minutemen finished the 1st half on a 25-8 run for a 12-point lead. Xavier made their run in the 2nd half but never got closer than 5. Xavier might be the most intriguing team heading into the Atlantic 10 tournament and beyond. The question is, are there enough Q-tips in Cincinnati to clean out what is going on between the ears at Xavier.
Miami (OH) 62 Kent State 60: The Redhawks pulled off a little bit of an upset knocking off a Kent State, tightening up the race and seeding in the Mid-American Conference. Julian Mavunga and Quinten Rollins combined for 35 points and 13 rebounds for Miami (OH) in the win. The loss leaves Kent State battling with Buffalo and Ohio for the second seed in the MAC tournament.
Binghamton 57 Vermont 53: In the “HUH?” game of the night, Binghamton who took over the mantle of having the nation’s longest losing streak when Towson got that monkey off their back, knocked off America East co-leader Vermont. The win by the 0-25 Bearcats not only gets them in the win column but it is a huge blow to Vermont. The Catamounts are in a tooth-and-nail battle with Stony Brook for the top spot in America East. The loss means Stony Brook can win the America East title and #1 seed in the tournament with a win over Maine in the season finale The problem for Vermont is, the highest remaining seed gets to host the title game in the conference tournament, a huge advantage when the only NCAA bid for your conference is up for grabs.
Butler 69 Illinois-Chicago 44 : Don’t look now but the one team you wouldn’t want to get on a roll heading into the Horizon League tournament, it’s the 2-time NCAA runner-up Butler. The Bulldogs are clicking right now, having won five straight games and are creeping up the standings. With the win Butler is second in the Horizon and are trying to hold off Cleveland State and Detroit for the #2 seed in the Horizon League Tournament. It’s almost tournament time and Brad Stevens’ squad is rounding into form, that may not be good news for the rest of the Horizon.
Valparaiso 66 Loyola(IL) 62 OT: The Crusaders escaped at home with an overtime win over 1-15 Loyola to stay atop the Horizon. Kevin Van Wijk returned to the line up and scored 12 points to help Ryan Broehkoff (17 points 11 rebounds) carry Valpo to the victory.
Michigan 67 Northwestern 55 OT: Northwestern is a sentimental favorite to make the NCAA for the first time ever this season. They are however still on the bubble down the stretch, but had a big chance to get on the right side of said bubble with a win over Michigan at home. John Shurna and company took the Wolverines to overtime but fell short. Michigan started the extra session with three consecutive 3-pointers for a quick 9-point lead, en route to a 12-point win.
Creighton 93 Evansville 92 OT: Prior to Bracket Buster Saturday, the Bluejays had hit a road bump in their schedule. Then they won a thrilling game over a very good Long Beach State team at the buzzer. Doug McDermott and company then struggled with Evansville on Tuesday before Gregory Echenique tipped in the fourth opportunity as time expired to force overtime. In the overtime the Bluejays were able to overcome 43 points from Evansville’s Colt Ryan and squeak out a win.
Colorado State 71 New Mexico 63: New Mexico had arguably the best week of any team in the country last week with a road win over San Diego State and a home blow out of UNLV. The Lobos found themselves in the top 25 on Monday and proceeded to take a hit at Colorado State, a big win for the Rams resume and at large hopes. The Lobos still maintain a 1.5 lead over both San Diego State and UNLV.