Night Court: Ohio State is 7-8 after starting season 15-0
Not that many games, but plenty of movement and results worth getting to. March is so very much here.
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Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Sunday. We'll be updating this post until the final game ends. As always this time of year, check out every bubble-related game and its impact on the field of 68 in Poppin' Bubbles.
Game of the Day: Indiana earns another very nice home win.
The Hoosiers have had an erratic year. Diehards are still dreaming of an NCAA tournament bid thanks to Sunday's home win over Ohio State, though. And IU did it without possible future lottery pick Noah Vonleh on the floor (out because of a left foot injury).
But for as enjoyable as this 72-64 win was, the Buckeyes, truth be told, aren't that good. It's a nice win for IU, but know that OSU has now gone 7-8 after opening the season 15-0 against a non-conference schedule that currently ranks 279th. Ohio State's offensive issues will make it tough for Thad Matta's team to get out of the first weekend, really.
Wondering if Indiana is worthy of being in the at-large discussion? Its RPI was 87 entering the day. A lot left to do. It's the first two-game win streak for Indiana since Jan. 14. And at least Tom Crean's been able to to get home wins over OSU, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan. Those are very nice. The team's now 17-12 and has a home game against Nebraska and a roadie at Michigan remaining before the Big Ten tournament.
What else we’ll be talking about in the morning: Wisconsin chasing a No. 1 seed?
Could Wisconsin actually do it? It would need to win out to have a chance, but let's not forget Bo Ryan's team has wins over Virginia, Florida, Saint Louis, Michigan and Iowa. In total, the team has eight road wins and is now 24-5 after beating Penn State at PSU 71-66.
This means Wisconsin will finishin the top four of the Big Ten for the 13th straight year, all of them under Bo Ryan. And with 11 wins away from home, Bucky's never been better when leaving Madison in one season. Josh Gasser led Ryan's guys on Sunday with 15 points.
Wisconsin. One seed. Not as far-fetched as you think. Look at the losing Syracuse and Kansas have been doing. If Virginia or Arizona get taken out, then we really will entertain the possibility.
That's a good win: Iowa stops the bleeding.
The three-game losing streak is over. Purdue, which will be in the mix for a tournament bid next year, gave Iowa rough time before the Hawkeyes won 83-76. Iowa's now 20-9 and earned back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 2006.
Credit to the entire team for not being sloppy; Fran McCaffery's guys had a season-low five turnovers. Roy Devyn Marble, who should be a First Team All-Big Ten selection, led the group with 21 points. He's now the seventh-best scorer in school history. Four Hawkeyes players reached double figures.
When this group plays even a little D, it's a lot of fun to watch. Few better on offense, and Aaron White is crazy talented. He had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
But that's a bad loss: Marquette can't keep it competitive at Villanova.
Buzz Williams' team had begun crawling closer to possible NCAA tournament inclusion, but by losing 73-56 at Villanova Sunday, Marquette again is way down the totem pole. The Golden Eagles are now 17-12 with upcoming games at Providence and a home closer against St. John's next weekend.
Safe to say Marquette will need to reach the Big East tournament finals to have realistic hope. As for Villanova, we've got it covered in the sections below, but know VU did what it did with ease Sunday despite foul trouble, too. The team's 14 Big East wins this season ties a school record.
Players with impact
- Sunday night really was one of the better games of Aaron Gordon's season. He had 19 points and 15 rebounds and looked all the part of a possible top-five pick.
- Darrun Hilliard, absolutely. Don't know the name? That speaks to Villanova's way of winning. Team lacks elite talent and a true star, but almost like a Iowa State, this team is capable of getting a big game from five guys. Hilliard had 26 points, four assists and two steals. In getting to a career-best, Hilliard sank five 3s.
- K.J. McDaniels, one of the most underrated players in the country, had 26 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks in Clemson's 77-73 double overtime home win against Maryland. The Tigers are still alive for a bid, now sitting at 18-10 and 9-7 in the ACC.
- DeAngelo Harrison scored 25 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in St. John's 72-64 home win over DePaul.
Numbers to figure
26: Not only the number of points Hilliard scored for Villanova, but also the number of wins for the Wildcats. Here's the crazy thing: By getting win No. 26 today, the school set a new record for most Ws in the regular season. Would you have ever guessed VU's previous record was 25?
325: The record for steals in the Big Ten. Aaron Craft, with three swipes Sunday, tied that mark and currently shares it with former Illini guard Bruce Douglas.
367: Consecutive games Ohio State had gone by making a 3-point shot. The streak, which ended Sunday after Matta's team shot 0 for 11 from deep, dated back to Jan. 10, 2004, against Penn State.
.500 or worse: Via Patrick Stevens, Maryland, which leaves the ACC this summer, will conclude its run in the conference in men's basketball by finishing .500 or worse in nine of its 11 final season.
And even though Creighton played Saturday, this stat was passed along on Twitter Sunday.
Creighton's Doug McDermott led the nation in scoring in February at 29.3 ppg. Shot 59.4% from field, 46.2% from 3, 86.3 FT%.— McDermottALERT (@McDermottALERT) March 2, 2014
Other outcomes of note:
- Arizona is the outright Pac-12 champion after easily getting past Stanford 79-66. Wildcats still very much looking like a No. 1 seed. Many were wrong (yours truly included) about this team's resolve and ability after Brandon Ashley's season-ending injury.
- George Washington remains the most comfortable NCAA touranment team nobody knows anything about. The Colonials won 66-58 in the George v. George game, Washington beating Mason. Now at 21-7, Mike Lonergan's team is only a few more should-wins away from nestling into the 8/9 game. Senior Mo Creek led the team with 22 points.
- New Mexico is now 23-5 after winning 72-58 at Nevada. Kendall Williams dropped 10 dimes during the procedure.
- Conference USA is going to be an interesting tournament. UTEP kept pace by winning 74-54 over North Texas on Sunday.
- But Southern Miss, by beating Florida Atlantic 60-49, stayed a game ahead of UTEP in the C-USA. Donnie Tyndall's team is tied with Middle Tennessee, La. Tech and Tulsa -- with the latter two winning Sunday -- atop the standings.
- Congratulations to Vermont, which completed a 15-1 season in the America East with a 92-82 win in OT over Binghamton on Sunday.
- Big surprise result in the MAAC: Quinnipiac, which could absolutely win the league playoff, got beat 103-72 at 12-18 Marist.
- Florida State winning 81-71 over Georgia Tech keeps the Seminoles right around the cut line.
-- Can you believe it? The first league tournament starts TOMORROW.
-- UNLV announced late Sunday that forward Roscoe Smith is out for Wednesday’s game against San Diego State due to a concussion.
-- Changes are soon to be expected by the day, so look at the latest field of 68, per our Jerry Palm.
-- If you missed it, I had some thoughts on how this could still be a season that gets worse for Kentucky.
-- Very powerful video below from before and after Winthrop's regular season finale over Presbyterian on Saturday. Before you watch the video below, maybe take a look at this one to see the back story. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey was affected in a big way by the events at Sandy Hook, and the entire team paid huge tribute.
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