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Michigan State (28-8) plays on in the national semifinals next
Saturday in Indianapolis because of Izzo’s game management and direction
of his players. A team that appeared fractured at some junctures this
season by multiple benchings to Durrell Summers and injuries to Kalin
Lucas, Delvon Roe and Chris Allen isn’t fully healed, but is getting it
done. As has been the case a half-dozen times before, Izzo has everyone
gelling at the perfect time. He joins Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and UCLA’s
John Wooden as the only coaches to take six teams this far over this
short of a span. “Tom Izzo does his best job every year during the NCAA tournament,”
Johnson said as reporters swarmed. “This team is representative of him.”
In a game that came down to the final frenetic seconds, Izzo’s troops
were cooler, calmer and more collected than the Volunteers. The score
was tied 10 times. The Spartans’ biggest lead was eight points,
Tennessee’s six. Michigan State met its match defensively and on the glass in
Tennessee. The Volunteers led 41-39 at the half. But in the end, the
Spartans executed and the Vols failed. When Tennessee’s Scotty Hopson made one of two free throws with 11
seconds remaining, it was 69 all.
Izzo called timeout to set up a play and Draymond Green wound up with
the ball in his hands. Green spotted a wide-open Raymar Morgan under
the basket and delivered a hard pass. Morgan went to the hoop and was
fouled by J.P. Prince. Morgan icily knocked down the first free throw and purposely missed
the second, trying to kill the clock. Tennessee called timeout with 1.6
seconds left, but a desperation heave by Prince never made it to the
basket as time expired. Izzo’s strategy worked. The game was over. The Sparty party was on.
A wild celebration ensued at midcourt as well as a stream of tears.
Izzo was shaking hands all over press row, his eyes welling with
emotion. He slapped a high five with a beaming Green. Fill-in point
guard Korie Lucious was bawling. Lucas hobbled around on crutches,
Duke's players and fans weren't the only ones
celebrating the Blue
Devils' win against Baylor Sunday night.You can bet CBS
executives were doing the same thing.When the day started, the TV folks faced the very
real possibility of trying to sell a Final Four
composed entirely of Cinderellas. That's not as appealing as it sounds. If
everybody’s a Cinderella, than nobody is. The story doesn’t work without
an evil stepsister. Nobody watches it.That’s why CBS had to be hoping Baylor didn't beat
Duke, the team nearly every college fan loves to root against.A Bears win would have
made for a marvelous Sweet 16 and Elite Eight weekend, one of the best
ever. It would have given us three 5-seeds — Butler, Baylor and Michigan
State — along with West Virginia, a team that last went to the Final Four in
1959, when Jerry West was their leading player.Unfortunately, that's a
group with great stories and no drama. The public usually wants
superstars and celebrity. When the biggest name is Michigan State, that
doesn't cut it. It has nothing to do with the quality of the basketball.
True fans would be delighted to see Baylor instead of Duke playing for
the championship, but true fans don’t drive the ratings, casual fans do.
SYRACUSE, N.Y.—It’s almost heaven, West
Virginia. The Mountaineers are off to the Final Four for the first time
since 1959. Joe Mazzulla scored a career-high 17 points in his first start of the
season and West Virginia handled a cold-shooting Kentucky team stocked
with future NBA players almost from the opening tip for a 73-66 victory
in the East Region final yesterday. Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins, back with his alma mater, is in the
Final Four for the first time since taking Cincinnati in 1992. It’s an
even longer stretch for West Virginia—Jerry West was the star of the
team 51 years ago, and not yet a Hall of Famer or NBA logo.
The young Wildcats could have used West’s famous shooting touch in
this one. They were awful from 3-point range, missing their first 20
attempts and finishing 4 of 32 (12.5 percent). DeAndre Liggins finally
hit a 3 with 3:29 left to end the drought, but by then, it was too late. West Virginia went the other way, making eight 3s in the first half
without a two-point basket. It’s been a turbulent time for Huggins since his previous Final Four
appearance. He was forced out at Cincinnati, had a heart attack in 2002
and spent a year coaching Kansas State before he found the roads back to
Huntington in 2007. He couldn’t have imagined at the start of the tournament relying on
Mazzulla to take his team to Indianapolis. Mazzulla came off the bench
in 35 games this season and averaged 2.2 points—barely worth a mention
in most scouting reports.
He dashed uncontested to the rim for several easy baskets. When he
was out of the game, he was on all fours in front of the bench slamming
the court in encouragement. West Virginia fans chanted “Final Four! Final Four!“ as the players
took their spots at halfcourt after the final buzzer. Da’Sean Butler,
who scored 18 points, led the Mountaineers in a little Final Four dance
and they cupped their ears to the crowd.
“I talked about it being special,“ Huggins told the crowd. “Two more
and it will be really special.“
They had the stage after Kentucky had the spotlight all season. The
Wildcats (35-3), who also went 16 for 29 at the foul line, were a strong
favorite to win their first national championship since 1998 once
overall No. 1 seed Kansas went down in the second round.
Instead, a team loaded with NBA-caliber players—John Wall and
DeMarcus Cousins among them—is left to wonder how its season ended in a
SALT LAKE CITY — As Butler’s buses rolled to the Indianapolis airport
earlier this week, they passed Lucas Oil Stadium, the site of the Final
Four. Hanging from the side of the stadium is a sign that reads: The
Road Ends Here.
As his bus moved by, Butler Coach Brad Stevens pointed out the sign to
his wife, Tracy.
“He said, boy, I hope we’re happy when we get here on the way home,” she
The Stevenses will indeed be happy and they will not be alone as Butler
continued its joy ride through the N.C.A.A. tournament Saturday,
knocking off second-seeded Kansas State, 63-56, to win the West Regional
and advance to its first Final Four. Butler will play Michigan
State or Tennessee on Saturday in the national semifinals.
As the final buzzer sounded, Butler’s players stormed the court and
piled atop one another. When they picked themselves up, they gathered
near their fans, who serenaded them with chants of “Let’s Go Home.”
The fifth-seeded Bulldogs may not be the lowest seed in Indianapolis —
Tennessee is a No. 6 — but they will be the most endearing. Their
boyish-looking coach and a group of mostly homegrown players will
rekindle the story of “Hoosiers.”
The climactic scene from that movie, about a tiny high school that wins
the state championship, was filmed at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler’s home
Gordon Hayward, a sophomore forward who grew up just outside
Indianapolis, again showed why he captured the eye of N.B.A. scouts, scoring 22 points, grabbing 9
rebounds and collecting the region’s most outstanding player honor.
His alley-oop layin with a little less than three minutes to play gave
Butler the lead for good, and when he drove to the basket and scored
with 1 minute 2 seconds left, after the Bulldogs twice recovered blocked
shots to keep the possession alive, it all but sealed the victory.
“It’s O.K. to call us a midmajor, by the way, Cinderella, whatever you
want to call us,” Stevens said. “We still get to play.”
Kansas State, which was coming off a double-overtime thriller against
Xavier, was clearly taxed.
The Wildcats’ star guards, Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen, who were
scintillating against Xavier, combined to make just 11 of 30 shots. In
the final minutes, Pullen missed two 3-pointers and Clemente missed a
3-pointer and was short on a free throw.
Whether it was fatigue or the defense of Ronald Nored, Willie Veasley or
Shawn Vanzant, the Wildcats’ guards could not say. CONTINUE READING
(03-17) 16:10 PDT
A Cal team that is light on size will play in the NCAA Tournament
without starting power forward Omondi Amoke.
Bears head coach Mike Montgomery announced Wednesday morning that the
6-foot-7 sophomore has been suspended indefinitely from the team for a
violation of team rules. No specifics on the nature of the violation
Comments and TrackBacks Amoke has started 14 games and averages 4.6 rebounds and 4.8 points.
He had 15 rebounds in an early-season loss to Ohio State.
Cal will likely insert guard Jorge Gutierrez into the lineup against
Louisville Friday night in Jacksonville. Six-foot-six small forward Theo
Robertson would slide over to the power forward spot as Cal goes small.
The other option would be to start 6-7 center Markhuri Sanders- Frison
and move Jamal Boykin over to power forward, but Montgomery has been
hesitant to do that due to Sanders-Frison's propensity to pick up fouls.
Cal was getting on the plane to Jacksonville and school officials
didn't anticipate Montgomery making a statement on Wednesday.
Amoke, from Oxnard, averaged 2.6 points and 2.1 rebounds last year
after missing the 2008 season due to calf surgery.
Amoke's loss "presents a problem because it hurts Cal's depth," said
Comcast college basketball analyst Dan Belluomini. "He's a tough kid and
a good defender. It puts more pressure on the seniors to play more
It also may hamper the Bears in how they try to cope with 6-9
Samardo Samuels, who leads Louisville in scoring (15.3) and rebounding
(7.0), Belluomini said. "If you're going to use multiple fouls on, Amoke
gives you another play to rotate against him. So this shortens their
By Gerry Ahern and Jason King, Yahoo! Sports ~ If March plays out anything like February finished, we are in for one wild, unpredictable and entertaining NCAA tournament. The nation’s Nos. 1, 2 and 3 teams fell this past weekend, setting
the stage for plenty of handwringing among those who like to speculate
what the NCAA Selection Committee will make official on March 14. Which brings us to this week’s question: Who are the four No. 1 seeds for the Big Dance?To me, the biggest tournament-changing development was not the weekend
upsets, but the unfortunate, season-ending knee injury suffered by
Purdue’s Robbie Hummel at Minnesota on Wednesday. Without Hummel, the
Boilermakers lost their key Big Ten matchup with Michigan State on
Sunday and showed just how important Hummel is to their offense. They
also likely kissed goodbye any chance of earning a No. 1 NCAA seed. My
top three teams remain the same. Syracuse moves up to the No. 1 overall
seed after destroying a very good Villanova team on Saturday. The
Orange are the best team in the best conference in the country.
Kentucky and Kansas are both solid No. 1s though they showed serious
flaws in Saturday’s losses. The Wildcats couldn’t hit a shot all day in
bowing to Tennessee. The Jayhawks didn’t defend anyone in getting beat
up by Oklahoma State. You can bet John Calipari and Bill Self will be
working on correcting those shortcomings this week. The fourth No. 1
seed is harder to discern. For now, I’ll go with Duke, the class of a
down ACC. The Blue Devils can play with anyone when Kyle Singler is on
and lose to lesser teams when he’s not. Their spot remains tenuous as
they have to travel to Maryland and beat struggling but angry archrival
North Carolina to finish the regular season. Kansas State has a shot at
stealing a No. 1, at least on paper. But it would have to beat Kansas
at Allen Fieldhouse and I don’t like those odds. So if not Duke then
who? How about Purdue if it can run the table in the regular season and
win the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis? It’s not as though the
cupboard is bare without Hummel. But JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore,
Keaton Grant, Chris Kramer and Lewis Jackson are all going to have to
elevate their games to make that happen.
North Carolina Wins N.C.A.A Men's Basketball Championship The Tar Heels blasted Michigan State, 89-72, to win the university's fifth national championship. A Michigan State run hallmarked by hope ended in a game where they had none, as U.N.C. jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first 10 The Tar Heels led Michigan State from the early minutes and never looked back, coasting to an 89-72 victory.
After Michigan State upset UConn in the first of yesterday’s Final Four games, Jim Calhoun said, “We’re pretty good, but they’re close to special.”
But are the Spartans special enough now to handle North Carolina? State
came out hot like cayenne pepper on UConn, seemingly scoring on every
offensive possession for the first five minutes, punching UConn in the
mouth first and maintaining that momentum throughout … Kalin Lucas scored 21, Raymar Morgan had 18 points, nine boards and five steals, and Durrell Summers provided the “One Shining Moment” image with his poster dunk on Stanley Robinson. MSU’s defense took A.J. Price out of his game (5-20 FG) and made Hasheem Thabeet
a non-factor early, and the offense ran better than anyone expected,
showing an athleticism that could help them hang in there against UNC …
Now about those Tar Heels. They didn’t quite play their “A” game, yet
they still dispatched of Villanova pretty easily. The Big Three of Ty Lawson (22 pts, 7 rebs, 8 asts), Wayne Ellington (20 pts, 5 threes) and Tyler Hansbrough (18 pts, 11 rebs)
carried UNC, and the defense was too much for ‘Nova on an off shooting
night … You notice how State has already been cast as the ultimate good
guys? No only are they underdogs, Tom Izzo has played up the
feel-good story of representing Detroit in these tough economic times
for the city. Surprisingly, Carolina and its lineage of rich plantation
owners doesn’t come off as sympathetic … What was up with ESPN’s Hubert Davis acting like it’s just a “possibility” Thabeet is going pro? Nate Miles
will play another game at UConn before Thabeet does … Some of the Dime
crew is in Detroit for some Final Four-related business. We’ve been
watching the MSU fans drink all weekend like they’re gearing up for
battle, and after they beat UConn somebody warned, “The city may be
destroyed tonight.” … We were at UNC’s hotel a few hours before
tip-off, and some former Tar Heels were getting mobbed by their fans
(guys like Eric Montross). And for at least an hour, there was this older man with a huge crowd of people around him. For the longest we couldn’t tell who it was. Bill Guthridge? No. “The Kangaroo Kid” Billy Cunnigham? No. Turns out it was Tyler Hansbrough’s dad.
Seriously. People were treating him like a rock star, asking him to
autograph Psycho T’s #50 UNC jersey and pose for photos. That’s how
nuts the Final Four can get …CONTINUE READING..
Michigan State got support from a Final Four record in-state crowd, and now the Spartans are one victory away from their third national championship. Kalin Lucas scored 21 points, as the Spartans pulled away in the second half and held off Connecticut, 82-73, in front of 72,456 fans at Ford Field. Raymar Morgan added 18 points, Korie Lucious scored 11 and Durrell Summers netted 10 for the Spartans (31-6), who will play Monday against the winner of tonight's other semifinal between North Carolina and Villanova. The Spartans are just the 13th team in Final Four history to play within their state borders and the first since Duke took the court in Charlotte in 1994.
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Michigan State got support from a Final Four record crowd, and now the Spartans are one victory away from their third national championship. Kalin Lucas scored 21 points, as the Spartans pulled away in the second half before holding off Connecticut, 82-73, in front of 72,456 fans at Ford Field. Raymar Morgan added 18 points, nine rebounds and five steals for the Spartans (31-6), who will play Monday against the winner of tonight's other semifinal between North Carolina and Villanova.Korie Lucious scored 11 and Durrell Summers netted 10 for the Spartans, who are just the 13th team in Final Four history to play within their state borders and the first since Duke took the court in Charlotte in 1994. Michigan State's home court, the Breslin Center, is just 91 miles from Ford Field, marking the closest home of any Final Four team since Kansas won the 1988 championship in Kansas City.The Spartans, the second seed from the Midwest Region who took down top overall seed Louisville in the Elite Eight, are appearing in their nation's- best fifth Final Four in the last 11 years. Michigan State is looking to join the school's 1979 and 2000 championship teams.Connecticut (31-5), the No. 1 seed from the West Region, got 17 points from Hasheem Thabeet. Stanley Robinson added 15 points and 13 rebounds, while A.J. Price also scored 15. Jeff Adrien ended with 13 points for UConn, which was in the Final Four for the third time in school history, having won the national title in 1999 and 2004.The Huskies, who trailed by only two at the half, shot 12-of-34 from the field in the final 20 minutes.Robinson sank a pair of foul shots to get UConn within 53-51 with 12:49 left, but the Huskies got no closer, as the Spartans came right back with an 11-3 spurt. Draymond Green had six points during the run, which was capped by a Goran Suton jumper off an inbounds play with 7:05 to go.Summers then continued Michigan State's dominance in emphatic fashion, rising for a dunk on a fast break over Robinson despite a partial block, moving the difference to 66-56.The Huskies continued to struggle as the Spartans hustled to more loose balls, and a turnover by UConn led to a Morgan breakaway jam with under 3 1/2 minutes left for a 71-60 margin.Costly mistakes by Michigan State gave the Huskies life late. Summers dribbled the ball off his foot, and Price hit a layup at the other end with 1:27 left for a 73-67 difference. Thabeet was fouled by Suton away from the ball, and Austrie came in to sink both from the foul line as Thabeet sat after landing hard on his tailbone.Lucas made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe with 1:18 left, but Robinson's jam had UConn within 74-71 with 69 seconds remaining The hope for the Huskies ran out when they didn't get back on defense, and Summers hit a layup, which turned into a three-point play only nine seconds later.
The Spartans soared to a 9-2 edge, but UConn used an 11-2 spurt later to grab a 21-16 lead. Later, a jumper by Price extended UConn to a 29-25 lead with nearly six minutes left in the half, but the Spartans came back with the next eight points before tempers flared. Morgan started the burst with a layup, and Lucious added a three-pointer and a trio of free throws after being fouled outside the arc. SOURCE: THE SPORTSNETWORK.COM
MEMPHIS — Oklahoma had the best player. North Carolina had the best team. The anticipated matchup between the nation’s two dominant power
forwards, the Oklahoma sophomore Blake Griffin and the North Carolina
senior Tyler Hansbrough, quickly turned into one between Griffin and
the Tar Heels’ breadth of talent. From the beginning, it was no contest. North
Carolina, seeded No. 1 in the South Regional, overwhelmed second-seeded
Oklahoma, 72-60, on Sunday to advance to the Final Four in Detroit. “That’s
the way I recruit, that’s the way we try to run our program, that’s
what we try to have in every team I’ve ever coached, is more than one
guy as the star,” North Carolina Coach Roy Williams said. “You’ve got
to have other guys, you’ve got to have good balance inside, scoring
outside.” The Tar Heels got it on Sunday, and the Sooners did not. North Carolina will play Villanova on Saturday in one national semifinal. Connecticut and Michigan State will play in the other. It
will be North Carolina’s second consecutive Final Four appearance, and
18th over all, the most of any program. The Tar Heels (32-4) last won
the championship in 2005. With the FedEx Forum bathed in the
dueling hues of Carolina blue and Oklahoma crimson, the Tar Heels
received only 8 points and 6 rebounds from Hansbrough, the Atlantic
Coast Conference’s career leading scorer and last season’s national
player of the year. Hansbrough took only four shots. His
teammates, instead, traded star turns, slashing and shooting the Tar
Heels to a quick lead that they never lost. Guard Ty Lawson,
unencumbered by a sore big toe on his right foot, led North Carolina
with 19 points. Danny Green added 18 points, including 14 in the first
half. They were among the five Tar Heels starters from last year’s Final Four team that returned, some eschewing the lure of the N.B.A., to take another try at the national championship. “It’s a challenge guarding those guys,” Oklahoma Coach Jeff Capel said. “They’ve got pros at just about every position.”Capel’s own future N.B.A. player, Griffin, tried to plow the Sooners into the Final Four.With
teammates unable to consistently score points — Oklahoma missed its
first 13 3-point shots and finished 2 of 19 — Griffin bulled through,
around and over double teams for 23 points and 16 rebounds. But he
could not keep pace with the superior roster of the Tar Heels. “We
were doubling him as soon as he got the ball and made his supporting
cast try to make plays,” Green said of Griffin, who is expected to be
named this season’s player of the year and declare for the N.B.A. draft. CONTINUE READING..
6:40: In the South it is
No. 1 North Carolina vs. Radford; No. 8 LSU vs. Butler;No. 5 Illinois
vs. Western Kentucky; No. 4 Gonzaga vs. Akron; No. 2 Oklahoma vs.
Morgan State; No. 7 Clemson vs. Michigan; No. 3 Syracuse vs. Stephen F.
Austin; No. 6 Arizona State vs. Temple. Oklahoma's Blake Griffin vs.
Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough? How about that for a matchup?
6:30: In the East: No 1 Pitt vs. East Tennesee State; No. 8
Oklahoma State vs. Tennessee; No. 5 Florida State vs. Wisconsin; No. 4
Xavier vs. Portland State; No. 2 Duke vs. Binghamton; No. 7 Texas vs.
Minnesota; No. 3 Villanova playing in Philly against American
University and No. 6 UCLA vs. VCU. The experts like VCU to be a
surprise and Duke and Pittsburgh to meet when the smoke clears.6:00:
Louisville Cardinals are No. 1 overall seed. Going to Midwest Region.
Pittsburgh going to East as No. 1 seed. North Carolina going to South
and Connecticut is going to the west.
6:21: Top seed UConn will get Chattanooga in the West; BYU
vs. Texas A&M; No. 5 Purdue vs. No. 12 Northern Iowa; No. 4
Washington vs. No. 13 Mississippi State; No. 2 Memphis vs. Cal
State-Northridge; No. 7 California vs. Maryland; No. 3 Missouri vs.
Cornell and Marquette vs. Utah State. Maryland getting in as a No. 10
has to be making some bubble teams nervous.
6:10: The Midwest Region goes first. Big surprise is Arizona
getting an at-large bid going up against Utah. Louisville gets play-in
winner (Alabama State vs. Morehead State). Ohio State vs. Siena; Wake
vs. Cleveland State; Michigan State vs. Robert Morris; Boston College
vs. USC; defending champion Kansas vs. North Dakota State and West
Virginia plays Dayton.
6:03: UConn and not Memphis as a No. 1. Let the bickering begin.
5:54: Memphis coach John Calipari: "If we are one we are one, if we are a two, we are a two. We just want to play." Amen.
5:43: Jamie Dixon of Pittsburgh tells CBS he doesn't often
listen to prognosticators but since they have him as a No.1 seed he's
happy to go along. Says maybe the early loss in the Big East tournament
will help them heal since "they were a little banged up."
5:36: Bill Self, coach of defending champion Kansas, says to
Greg Gumbel that he figures his team to be around a third-seed. "We're
rested now,we made sure of that," he says about their early exit of the
Big 12 tournament.5:30: While you wait, click here for a final look at Tim Gardner's Bubble Tracker.
5:17 p.m. Forty-three minutes to to your team's future. Let the sweat beads form. Click here
to vote in our instant poll to tell us who you think will win the
national title. North Carolina leads early with 26% of the vote
followed by Pittsburgh at 21% and Memphis at 11%.
West Va. stuns No. 2 Pittsburgh 74-60 DeJuan
Blair spent most of Thursday night sitting on the bench, mired in foul
trouble and watching Pittsburgh struggle mightily against overmatched
West Virginia.Baylor upsets Kansas in Big 12 quarters Coach Scott Drew says everyone on Baylor can hear when LaceDarius Dunn is open. No. 11 Kansas does, too. Oklahoma St. upends No. 6 Oklahoma 71-70 As
James Anderson prepared to shoot what he said were the biggest free
throws of his career, teammate Byron Eaton came up to him to try easing
Nova beats Marquette 76-75 at buzzer At
first, it seemed the game clock was moving faster than it should have
been for Villanova. Then, less than a second was taking forever. NEW YORK (AP) — Rick
Pitino still roots for Providence, the team he led to the Final Four
more than 22 years ago. He likens the program to his alma mater, and
still considers it his first big break in the coaching profession. If the Friars were playing
anybody else Thursday, Pitino surely would have cringed. Instead,
he watched the Friars nearly match a Big East tournament record with 26
turnovers, and his fifth-ranked Louisville Cardinals eventually find
their own offensive rhythm in a sloppy 73-55 quarterfinal victory.
do a very good job of moving the ball and defending,'' said Pitino,
whose team advanced to play No. 10 Villanova in Friday's semifinals. Meeks' 25 help Kentucky end 4-game skid Jodie
Meeks scored 25 points and Patrick Patterson had 15 points and 14
rebounds Thursday to help Kentucky stop a four-game losing streak with
a 71-58 victory over Mississippi on Thursday in the opening round of
the Southeastern Conference tournament.Missouri avoids upset bug at Big 12 DeMarre
Carroll scored 19 points and No. 14 Missouri used a pair of second-half
spurts to avoid an upset at the Big 12 tournament, beating Texas Tech
81-60 in the quarterfinals Thursday night.
Expect emotions to be running high on the hardwood Thursday. It's elimination day. Many teams on the bubble begin league-tournament play today in must-win situations — or their NCAA dreams will go up in smoke. A sampling of Thursday's menu:
• Miami and Virginia Tech face off in an elimination game in the ACC.
• Also in the ACC, Maryland has to beat N.C. State to get a shot at Wake Forest.
• Florida must beat Arkansas in the SEC to get to a showdown with Auburn.
• UNLV and San Diego State also play an elimination game in the Mountain West.
• Penn State can't afford a loss to Indiana.
• Northwestern absolutely needs to beat
Minnesota, while the Gophers can't afford a loss or the seed line drops
significantly (think Texas A&M).
• Also in the Big Ten, Michigan can't afford to lose to Iowa.
And the list goes on …
As for Wednesday, Oklahoma State sealed up a bid
while Texas A&M lost a big lead … and several lines on the seed
list with their devastating loss to Texas Tech.
Providence did what it needed to with a win over
DePaul, but that win does nothing to impress so the Friars will look to
upset Louisville to leap up into the field of 65.
Check back Friday for another update after what should be an exciting day of action.
Last four in: Arizona, Penn State, New Mexico, South Carolina
First four out: Florida, San Diego State, Maryland, Creighton
A dozen NCAA men's basketball tournament
berths were nailed down by the end of Tuesday, and 19 more are to be
settled by conference tournaments in the next five days. That's the
easy part.Wednesday, the 10-person committee that puts the
Division I tournament together gathers in Indianapolis' downtown Westin
Hotel and begins the exhaustive process of filling out and seeding the
65-team field. First ballots are due by 4:30 ET Wednesday.The clock is ticking toward 6 p.m. Sunday, when
the bracket — who's in, who's not, who'll play whom — is unveiled on
national TV. For every given, there's a question mark. North
Carolina and Pittsburgh appear assured of No. 1 seeds, and the Big East
Conference should land another in Connecticut or regular-season
champion Louisville. Can the powerhouse league score a
precedent-setting three? Oklahoma and Memphis lead the No. 1 options. Also to be determined:Will the deep Big Ten wind up with more
tournament entries, as many as eight, than the more celebrated Big East
and Atlantic Coast? Will the Southeastern settle for as few as three berths, its fewest since 1990? Kentucky, which hasn't missed the field since
1991, is a longshot unless the Wildcats turn heads in the SEC
tournament. Arizona, whose 24 consecutive appearances represent the
longest active streak, also is iffy going into the Pacific 10
tournament. What of 2008 Elite Eight qualifier Davidson and
national scoring leader Stephan Curry, who fell in the Southern
Conference tournament semifinals and have questionable credentials for
one of the 34 at-large bids handed out by the NCAA committee? Same for
Saint Mary's, which got point guard Patty Mills back from a broken hand
but hardly showed tournament chops in an 83-58 loss to Gonzaga in
Monday night's West Coast final. The Gaels (25-6) have added another, probably
inconsequential game to their schedule vs. Eastern Washington. "Get
that done on Friday," center Omar Samhan said, "and say some prayers on
Saturday night. We're a good team. And God, I'd love to be in the
tournament again. But I wouldn't have to go in front of them (the
selection committee) at all if we took care of business." SOURCE:USATODAY
After much debate and many mixed feelings, the Big East invited all 16
of its teams to Madison Square Garden for its conference tournament
this year. And by the end of the first two games of the expanded affair, two
teams that would not have qualified for the tournament under last
year’s format had advanced to its second day with upset victories. First
16th-place DePaul, 0-18 in the conference’s regular season, defeated
ninth-seeded Cincinnati in the Tuesday’s opener. As an encore,
13th-seeded St. John’s followed by bruising its way to its second win
against Georgetown in a week, 64-59.In previous years since the
Big East ballooned in size, only the top 12 came to New York for the
tournament. St. John’s did not make the tournament four of the last six
seasons, including last season, and had not won a conference tournament
game since 2003 — also against Georgetown. This year, the top four
seeds received byes through the first two rounds and will not play
until Thursday’s semifinals. “If you’re in the league, everybody should be in the tournament,” St. John’s Coach Norm Roberts said. A
physical, tight game between St. John’s and Georgetown, two old-school
Big East rivals, energized the Garden crowd that gradually grew
throughout the afternoon that featured games involving teams from the
league’s bottom half of the standings.The Hoyas were bigger and
stronger than the Red Storm, but St. John’s did not shy away from
contact. DaJuan Summers, Georgetown’s leading scorer this season,
picked up three fouls in nine minutes in the first half, and Greg
Monroe, the second-leading scorer, fouled out late. In all, officials whistled the teams for 46 fouls as they shot 56
free throws. Still, Georgetown Coach John Thompson III noted after the
game that the officials “let us play” and “weren’t going to call too
much going to the rims.” On one play in the second half, the
official Mike Kitts was knocked out of the game when D.J. Kennedy
knocked heads with Kitts after being fouled on a fast break. Kitts was
motionless on the floor for a few minutes before walking off the court
under his own power with a towel over his face.The Red Storm
pressed and trapped and played physical defense all around, keeping the
Hoyas from establishing their offense in the lane. SOURCE:NYT.COM
The NCAA bubble is a tricky place.Sometimes in the midst of all the resume analysis, pundit chit-chatter —who, me?— and over-the-shoulder glances, all a team really needs to do is win.It's really that easy. And after yet another
wild weekend on the college hardwood, several teams have made the climb
back into the field by doing just that one thing: winning. GAME ON! LIVE: Bubble talk from the USA TODAY newsroom BRACKET RACKET: Weekend analysis of the NCAA bubble • Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators kept
their heads above water with a victory over reeling Kentucky. The win
propelled the Gators back into the RPI top 50 and kept them from
falling to 8-8 in league play. Up next is a must-win for the Gators
against Arkansas in the first round of the SEC tournament. • South Carolina got a top-50 win back on the
resume when Florida made its jump and so the Gamecocks' win over
Georgia did enough to regain a spot. Their 10-6 SEC mark against the
Eastern Division schedule helps as well. • Arizona's offense hit high gear in a win over
Stanford, emerging with a much-needed victory to stop the bleeding from
a four-game slide. And thanks to losses from those above them, the
Wildcats claw back into the picture for an at-large spot. Is their
matchup with Arizona State in the Pac-10 tournament a must-win? It's
close. Those that stumbled over the weekend to fall out
of the field are Maryland (loss at Virginia), Rhode Island (home loss
to UMass) and Creighton (Missouri Valley semifinal loss to Illinois
State). Maryland and Rhode Island can work their way
back in but will need some magic in their respective conference
tournaments. For Creighton, the 24-point loss in the MVC semifinals was
a major blow — one they likely can't recover from for an at-large bid.
Last four in: Penn State, UNLV, Florida, South Carolina
First four out: San Diego State, New Mexico, Maryland, Miami (Fla.)