Here's everything you need to know from college basketball's Tuesday …
Game of the Night: Wichita State wins its final road game of the season, makes history.
The last team to go 30-0 in college basketball was the 1990-91 UNLV Runnin' Rebels. But back then, seasons were shorter. Jerry Tarkanian's team needed postseason play to reach 30 games. So with Wichita State starting 30-0 in the regular season, the program set a new standard for flawless play through February. No one, until now, had done what Wichita State has.
The Shockers won 69-49 at Bradley Tuesday night. It wasn't even close. This looks easier by the game, which is astonishing. Argue against them as a No. 1 seed if you must, but it's a waste of your breath because WSU is getting a No. 1 with an unbeaten record. Proving to be as balanced as ever, Ron Baker led the team with 15 points and six rebounds.
Teams to run the regular season table since 1976:
2004: Saint Joseph's (27-0)
1991: UNLV (27-0)
1979: Indiana State (29-0)
1979: Alcorn State (27-0)
1976: Rutgers (28-0)
1976: Indiana (27-0)
And, if you missed it last week, I detailed nearly the past three decades of teams who were last to lose in college hoops and how they ended their seasons.
I thought this was funny and had to share. As I was watching the games and compiling Night Court, I was also letting the iPod shuffle through. What comes up? This. Any Soul Coughing fans in the room?
What else we'll be talking about in the morning: Florida's 20-game win streak solidifying its case for a No. 1.
Vanderbilt gave the Gators a good fight, but Florida won out 57-54 after Kyle Fuller's game-tying 3 did not become just that. It was too long and fell wrong, giving UF a 20-game win streak, the longest in program history, and improved UF to 26-2. At this point, it seems Billy Donovan's team is a lock for a No. 1. It would probably have to lose out to threaten itself of missing a top-line bid. The win also assured Florida of at least a share of the league title.
Considering Vandy was playing with seven scholarship players, this was a mighty effort. Florida's making a habit of winning close games as of late. Worrisome? I don't think so. It is interesting to note these close calls a year removed from one of the weirdest season ever, in which Florida never won a game by less than double digits. When it was close, UF lost.
That's a good win: Minnesota just played itself into the NCAA tourney ... for now.
In getting its third win in its last nine games, and scoring a season-high 95 points, Minnesota improved to 18-11 and 7-9 in the Big Ten with a 95-89 win over Iowa. Next up is Michigan for Minnesota, and if that game goes the Golden Gophers' way, they'd be in very good shape.
No matter what happens the rest of the way for Minnesota, Richard Pitino is outperforming expectations in Year No. 1 in Minneapolis.
Iowa, which saw Roy Devyn Marble move up to No. 8 on the team's career scoring list, dropped two straight for first time this season. The Hawkeyes are 19-8 (8-6) and in danger of getting a No. 7 or No. 8 seed. A month ago it seemed a No. 3 or No. 4 was much more likely.
And that's a bad loss: Clemson's NCAA tourney hopes take a massive hit with loss at Wake Forest.
Losing 62-57 and dropping to 17-10, Clemson's not doing itself any favors. The team has that great win over Duke, but elsewhere there's not a lot to brag about. Davidson and Florida State are the next best Ws for Brad Brownell's club. Losing to a 5-10 ACC team is very damaging. Wake Forest ended a seven-game skid in earning the victory. K.J. McDaniels only scoring 10 doesn't help. He's the Tigers' best player and was contained all night, hampered by foul trouble.
And, well, that's horrendous: Missouri fails to show up in Athens and gets run by the Dawgs.
Two years ago tonight Missouri was a three-loss team taking Kansas to OT in Lawrence, battling for a No. 1 seed. That was the last game between those two classic rivals. Missouri's been sputtering since. On Tuesday, the Tigers essentially lost the right to play in the NCAAs. By falling 71-56 at Georgia, Missouri is now 19-9 and lacking in good wins. The Tigers are going to have to probably get to the SEC title game in order to have legitimate hope. Sweeping Tennessee is now mandatory.
Some tweets, for perspective.
Georgia now legitimately the third-best SEC team (wins over Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss and about to sweep Mizzou) but little NCAA hope. Crazy.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) February 26, 2014
It does say a lot that Mizzou is about to lose to the SEC's third-best team (UGA) and it's considered a devastating blow to at-large hopes.— Ryan Fagan (@ryanfagan) February 26, 2014
Anyone predict that Mizzou would have more road wins in football than basketball after two years in the SEC? Because they do.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravisBGID) February 26, 2014
Players with impact
- Minnesota was able to separate itself from Iowa in part because of Austin Hollins' career-high 27 points.
- Dorian Finney-Smith led the Gators with 19 points and nine rebounds at Vandy.
- Jalen Reynolds had the best night from a guy you don't know enough about. Reynolds came up huge for Xavier, finishing with 17 points and 16 boards in that critical game at MSG.
- Give it up for Alex Kirk, who had 13 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in New Mexico's 67-58 win over Utah State. The 22-5 Lobos have an outside shot at a No. 4 seed if they can pull off a sweep of San Diego State.
Numbers to figure
82.6: Wichita State's road win percentage (38-8) over the past four seasons, per ESPN. That puts the Shockers above every other team in the country in terms of winning away from home. The next best team: Kansas' 74.4 win percentage, at 29-10. Still good, but what a difference between 1 and 2.
11: And now make it 225-73.
Wisconsin is 1 of 11 DI teams that have used the same starting lineup in every game this season. Those 11 teams are a combined 224-73 (75%).— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) February 25, 2014
987: The career-assist total for Jason Brickman following his 12 dimes in an 80-75 win at Sacred Heart Tuesday night. Brickman moved into fourth place all-time in assists.
25: Oh, ACC.
ACC team performances of less than 50 points this season: 25. The same 15 schools' total # of sub-50 outings last season: 21.— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) February 26, 2014
Other outcomes of note:
- Back-to-back losses for St. John's, which dropped a critical home game against Xavier. Jeff Borzello was there, and he'll have a story up shortly on the evening.
- Dayton losing big, falling 79-53 to Saint Joe's, is a hurting for the Flyers. But in getting to 20-7, Phil Martelli's team is putting itself in good position to earn a bid. Only one Dayton starter was in double figures -- and it was Devin Oliver, who had 10. SJU was led by Ronald Roberts, Jr.'s 22 points and seven boards.
- All Wisconsin starters reached double figures in scoring in pacing Bucky past Indiana 69-58. Remember, IU beat Wisconsin in Bloomington earlier this year. The 15-12 Hoosiers are clawing for an NIT bid at this point.
- K-State dodges what would've been a seed-hindering loss at Texas Tech. The Wildats win 60-56 and improve to 19-9. Marcus Foster, one of the best freshmen in the country, had 17 points.
- Sometimes, it feels good to kick butt when you should. San Diego State held on to its projected No. 2 seed by winning 90-64 at home against overmatched San Jose State.
- Duke had a home game against Virginia Tech. It was not competitive. Duke won 66-48. Rodney Hood led the way with 21 points.
- If the seeding process plays out as it should, North Carolina Central should be a MEAC team with a rare really good seed. A No. 13 perhaps? NCCU is now 22-5 and 12-1 in the league after winning at N.J.I.T. 81-62.
- Wyoming's woeful season continues with a 55-53 home loss to 11-15 Air Force.
- DePaul beat Seton Hall 65-60.
- Most unlikely win of the night? How about previously winless Horizon team Illinois-Chicago playing a road game at Milwaukee and heading home with an 80-58 victory. Random as all get out.
-- Funny. Kansas State's Wesley Iwundu had to shoot a technical foul free throw. No one on the line. What does he do?
-- Florida was again without freshman point guard Kasey Hill due to a tender groin. He'll likely return for the LSU game on Saturday.
-- Not good in Winston-Salem, despite the win that would come.
-- Decent column here on the state of Louisiana's college hoops, but there's an OK chance LSU or Louisiana Tech plays its way into the NCAAs.
-- Mentioned the N.J.I.T loss above at the hands of NCCU. Because the Highlanders are a team without a conference, their season ended tonight. Kinda crazy, right?
-- I posted a feature on Green Bay earlier that you might want to check out. The program has gone through a lot and actually is a legit Cinderella candidate.