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Night Court: Mizzou, Miami, Hoosiers take in huge wins

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
Missouri got a resume-building win over the Gators. (US Presswire)

Here's everything you need to know from college basketball's Tuesday night ...

Game of the Night: Indiana wins at Michigan State for the first time in 22 years.

This was about the 13th Game of the Year so far in college hoops since the campaign began last November. It's a great season for our sport. If you want the longer take, Goodman wrote on Indiana over here. My thoughts, in short.

1. Indiana's now as close to a lock as it can get after the 72-68 road W. It's in a better spot than any other team. And if it avoids taking two bad losses, it will be a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday.

2. It's easy to kneejerk and claim Indiana's the country's best team, but I still don't know if that's the case. I still put IU in the class with all the other teams that will take 1s and 2s. Just my humble opinion.

3. I love Victor Oladipo's game and have for some time. I sang his praises last season. But that said, I'm 10 times more surprised by Kelly Olynyk than I am Oladipo.

4. Uh, Cody Zeller's season this year basically = Cody Zeller's season last year, in terms of data and performance. Speaks even better of Dipo that things are like this. IU has a litany and embarrassment of offensive riches.

5. Michigan State is still as much a threat for Atlanta as it was before this game. If anything, Gary Harris' past seven games of scoring 14 points or more is a huge turn of events. Sparty is as in the conversation for Final Four as any other team.

6. Per ESPN, Indiana is now 6-0 against Top-25 AP opponents. By far the best mark in the country.

7. Derrick Nix love-tapped Cody Zeller, but it ended up being inconsequential.

8. Tom Crean can snarl with the best of them. You'd best believe he'd have had a rant ready if IU hadn't won the game.

9. Which brings me to the officials. Oh, right, inconsistent whistles are basically a tenant of basketball at any level. Moving on.

10. Props to the Izzone horde for waiting on line in the snow and proving that arena can be top-five in the country when it's fully invested.

What else we'll be talking about: Mizzou wins 63-60 and locks up a tourney berth.

I've always been a stickler for a calling a team a tourney "lock." To me, it means you can afford to lose every game -- no matter how unrealistic that hypothetical is -- and still get into the tourney. Beating Florida affords 19-7 Missouri that opportunity, I think. The Tigers' road mark is garbage, and they'll probably lose at Kentucky on Saturday, but the wins and resume are now strong enough.

Missouri took its first lead of the game after a Phil Pressey and-one with 2:51 to go, a 58-57 lead. UF's Scottie Wilbekin then hit a ridiculous 3 on the next possession, but it was ultimately a few bad choices on shot selection from the Gators that led to the outcome.

Pressey had 10 assists but nearly as many plays that were detrimental. That has become his MO, and it's weird to see. I wonder why?

That's a good win: Last-minute brilliance from The U extends school-record streak.

It's a weird night for Miami and its former coach. I didn't even mention Frank Haith's connection to Miami, what with the school receiving its Notice of Allegations well after dinnertime on Tuesday. Just a weird night. I could vamp on the NCAA wrapping up its our-bad-totally review of the botched Miami investigation, then turning around being all, "OH BTW HERE YA GO" with the NOA. Huh? We'll discuss this plenty on Wednesday's pod.

As for the hoop, it's going to be hard to talk myself out of taking Miami to go to the Final Four. The Canes beat Virginia after Reggie Johnson took a pass (he was so wide open it was ridiculous) from Shane Larkin to take a late 52-50 lead. Then Durand Scott stole the ball, was fouled and sealed it with two freebies.

Miami has won 14 in a row, school record, is 22-3 overall, 13-0 in the ACC. Virginia is 18-8, 8-5 and still has heavy lifting to do to reach the NCAAs.

Damn, is Miami fun and good and deserving of this. No, I don't think punishment will prevent Miami from going to this year's NCAA tournament.

But that's a bad loss: Maryland, you totally unredeemed yourself.

Beat Duke then take a bad loss to Boston College. How very Virginia Tech of you, Terps. Maryland loses on the road 69-58 -- that's right, it wasn't even close -- and didn't get any help from Alex Len, who had more fouls (five) than points (four), and yeah, MD's not gonna do damage whenever that happens.

I maintain Maryland will right itself and barely sneak into the dance, though. You'll see this team in Dayton at the First Four.

Players with impact

Just so we're clear, Dipo's 19 points, nine rebounds and five steals goes without saying.

Longwood's Tristan Carey put up 40 points in a game that I detail more below. He also had 12 rebounds. The guy scored 31 in his previous game. Only the fourth player to crack 40 this season in D-I.

Jordan McRae had the second-best offensive output on Tuesday night, scoring 34 for Tennessee in its win over LSU.

T.J. Warren's 31 and 13 was a beastly effort for NC State.

Numbers to figure:

15: Virginia has 15 straight losses in the state of Florida since 2001. Neat streak. Unfortunate for the Hoos.

1,000: Four IU players: Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, Zeller and Oladipo are 1,000-point scorers. First time that four on same team at once has been the case for the Hoosiers. Have I mentioned that team has options on O?

Other outcomes of note:

  • Saint Louis mollywhopped VCU. A 76-62 final that felt like a 30-point difference. Self-promotion is so lame. In related news: I picked SLU to win the A-10 this year. VCU's got itself a situation where it's probably only gotta dodge the bad losses in order to make the NCAAs. This is a glaring result, though. A-10 fun, to be sure. If you're wondering, VCU had just five steals, certainly a big factor in this.
  • Indiana State's chances had about run out, but Wichita State's 66-62 win at ISU Tuesday night was the nail in the coffin. Better for the Valley this way, since the best way to a multi-bid season is through Creighton and WSU winning out as much as possible.
  • Utah State played at BYU in a really good game that just about nobody paid any attention to. BYU got the home win, kept its over-so-slight NCAA at-large hopes on life support with the 70-68 outcome. Pretty much need to make WCC title game and beat Saint Mary's in the process, though.
  • NC State handled FSU at home, 84-66. Credit to the Wolfpack for not dilly-dallying with an underwhelming FSU team that could be under .500 were it not for Michael Snaer's penchant for game-winning buckets. By the way, C.J. Leslie did this.

Notebook:

-- Here's an interesting one. Longwood beat Liberty 102-101. It was the first time, per KenPom, that two teams cracked a hundy in regulation since 11/11/11, when VMI and The Citadel got their crazy ways on.

-- After a 67-46 loss at home to Marquette, this happened. Weak, Willard.

-- Creighton stopped the bleeding. It had to. Won 59-45 at home over Southern Illinois.

-- San Diego State slugged Wyoming at home. The Pokes' fall from grace remains sad and unnecessary.

-- North Carolina won by 12 at Georgia Tech, but, snore. UNC needs quality wins. Road W at the Bees isn't the bee's knees.


For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to the thrice-a-week podcast on iTunes. You can follow Matt Norlander on Twitter here: @MattNorlander.

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