What a night of college basketball! Tuesday offered up a little of everything and Wednesday promises a ton of great games and the first real opportunity for the need for an automatic NIT bid.
About Last Night:
- Georgia Tech 67, Syracuse 62: This was the biggest stunner of the night as the Yellow Jackets went to the Carrier Dome and snuck out with the victory. This doesn’t change much. The Orange are now definitely not a No. 1 seed and GT is still 5-12 in the ACC and not playing postseason basketball unless it pays for a spot in the CBI.
- Michigan 84, Illinois 53: Well any talk of Illinois making a serious run at the NCAA tournament bubble is over. The Illini lost by 31 points to the Wolverines in a game that was never close. This win also makes Michigan the outright Big Ten champion. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here for Illinois. This was always going to be a hard one to get, but the magnitude of the loss might have some fans questioning what’s up. Winning at Iowa would be really nice for Illinois’ NIT hopes, but 6-12 will probably be enough if they can get one Big Ten Tournament victory. Assuming an 18-15 overall record, Illinois resume would be similar to Florida State, St. John’s and Stanford last season and they were all around a 4/5 seed in the bracket.
- Georgetown 75, Creighton 63: It’s probably time to find space for Georgetown in the bracket again. The Hoyas just have so many good wins that’s it’s hard to imagine them being left of out of the field at this point. Of course John Thompson III’s team finishes at Villanova, so that means the committee might have to take a Georgetown team that is 8-10 in the Big East and was swept by Marquette and Seton Hall. Of course that same team beat Oregon, Kansas State, VCU, Michigan State and Creighton. The Hoyas should probably plan on going to Dayton, OH for the First Four in a few weeks.
- Providence 81, Marquette 80 2OT: This was ridiculous, but in the end the Friars got the home victory to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive. The Golden Eagles look locked into a high seed in the NIT, unless they go on a fantastic run at Madison Square Garden next week. It Marquette finds some offense that scenario is still possible.
- Baylor 74, Iowa State 61: Baylor’s not necessarily the epitome of consistency, but the Big 12 is loaded and the Bears also had a strong out of conference performance. Nine of Baylor’s 10 losses have come during conference play. This win means they’re almost certainly in the NCAA tournament. Scott Drew’s team finishes at Kansas State, but even a loss there wouldn’t be particularly damaging. Expect to see Baylor in the Big Dance.
- Clemson 58, Miami (FL) 54: Clemson took care of business at home against the Hurricanes and guaranteed that they’d move up in the next bracket projection. They’re approaching 20 wins and even though the ACC is a bit down, that’s typically enough to earn a power conference team a nice seed in the NIT.
- Maryland 64, Virginia Tech 47: The Terrapins kept their slim NIT hopes alive by defeating Virginia Tech, the bottom of the ACC. UMD actually trailed by a point at halftime. If Maryland wants to get into a serious discussion about their NIT chances they need to beat Virginia at home on Sunday in the ACC finale. Right now all UMD has on their profile are wins over Providence and Florida State and that’s just not enough.
- Florida Gulf Coast 77, Stetson 55: All that’s important here is that FGCU, the Atlantic Sun regular season champion, doesn’t need an automatic bid to the NIT yet. The main challenger, Mercer, also won in blowout fashion, 85-64 over Jacksonville.
- Lots of #MACation: Toledo, Western Michigan, Ohio and Akron all won in the MAC. Their conference tournament is going to be one of the best in the nation and the hardest to predcit. It’s also likely the MAC could produce one, if not more, NIT teams. Akron’s victory came at Buffalo’s expense and while the Bulls are playing well lately, it’s tough to see an at-large bid to the NIT in their future. WMU and Ohio both have 20 wins now.
- Oregon 85, Arizona State 78: The Ducks look to be on the right side of the bubble right now and this win over the Sun Devils just helped a little bit more. Oregon is now 9-8 in the Pac-12 and 21-8 overall. They finish by hosting Arizona, which is another golden opportunity, but even if the Ducks were to lose that one they’d probably be safe. ASU is safe right now. (The Pac-12 is looking at a lot of bids.) They finish though at a hungry Oregon State team.
On Tap Tonight:
- Fairleigh Dickinson at Robert Morris: The NEC tournament starts tonight at the Knights might have a chance at the upset. The Colonials are the No. 1 seed and thus have an automatic bid to the NIT if they were to be upset at any point. Most media pundits are picking Wagner, which opens the tournament by hosting Central Connecticut.
- Lafayette at Boston U.: The Leopards are always tricky. The Terriers have the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League tournament and the league’s automatic NIT bid. So bubble teams are rooting for BU to advance.
- Nebraska at Indiana: Both teams still think they’ve got a chance at the NCAA tournament bubble. This should be a hard fought Big Ten game with the winner getting to hope for a few more days.
- Mississippi St. at Georgia: UGA is one of the biggest surprises of conference play. They need to get this win to solidify their position in the NIT bracket.
- Tennessee at Auburn: One of those games the Vols have to have in order to stay firmly on the bubble.
- Texas A&M at Missouri and Ole Miss at Arkansas: These are two similar SEC games that pit on team fighting for their NIT life (Texas A&M, Ole Miss) at another trying to stay on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble (Missouri, Arkansas). The results will move the brackets either way.
- Dayton at Saint Louis: A chance for the Flyers to improve their NCAA tournament credentials.
- West Virginia at Oklahoma: The Mountaineers have played a brutal schedule this season, so their 16 total wins are deceiving. A victory at OU would keep a potential NCAA tournament berth alive, but almost guarantee that the worst WVU could do was an NIT berth.
- Saint Joseph’s at George Washington: A bubble battle in the Atlantic 10.
- Arizona at Oregon State: A golden opportunity for the Beavers to sure up their NIT resume by beating one of the top teams in the country on their home court.
- Utah at California, Colorado at Stanford: Two Pac-12 games between four really talented teams.
- San Diego State at UNLV: A chance for the Rebels to get a victory on their home court that would really bolster the overall resume and make them even more attractive to the NIT. Beating SDSU would be the true quality win that their resume lacks right now.