Posted on: March 16, 2011 9:44 am

Searching for upsets? Look at the 11s

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Besides picking a champion and the Final Four, the most common question concerning the NCAA tournament brackets are Cinderellas and sleepers in the double-digit seeds. While the 13 seeds might be the strongest ever, many of the best mid-major teams received difficult draws.

Belmont has a disciplined opponent in Wisconsin, which won’t rattle or turn the ball over; Oakland drew Texas, which can match up with Keith Benson on the inside; Louisville shoots too well for Morehead State; and Kentucky will be able to play in the half-court with Princeton. For the No. 12 seeds, Vanderbilt has the defensive personnel to guard Richmond, while Kansas State should be prepared for Utah State.

For upsets, though, check out the No. 11 seed line. It’s not far-fetched to think that all four will advance into the round of 32.

Marquette: The Golden Eagles were up and down all season, but they proved time and time again that they are capable of beating high-quality teams. Against Xavier, Marquette has the personnel to come out on top. Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder are match-up nightmares in the frontcourt, as Xavier’s big men, Kenny Frease and Jamel McLean, will be drawn away from the rim. They can’t compete with Butler and Crowder on the perimeter. Tu Holloway is capable of carrying the Musketeers, but Marquette has the size and length on the perimeter to give him problems.

Missouri: I actually envision the Tigers reaching the Sweet 16. Sure, they were inconsistent during Big 12 play and were awful away from Columbia, but hear me out. Missouri runs the “Fastest 40 Minutes,” which is difficult to prepare for on short notice, but is beatable when you see it over and over again. The Tigers had a great non-conference season, but struggled within the conference. Big 12 opponents knew what to expect. Cincinnati will have trouble with Missouri’s speed and athleticism, while a tired Connecticut team that has struggled against defensive pressure all season is waiting in the second round.

USC/VCU: While I think USC will beat VCU, both teams are more than capable of knocking off Georgetown. USC gets great frontcourt production from Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson, which will make life difficult for the Hoyas in the paint. Marcus Simmons is a lockdown defender who can slow down Austin Freeman. VCU plays an aggressive brand of defense that relies on pressure and turnovers; without a healthy Chris Wright, the Hoyas won’t be able to handle the Rams. If Wright is back to 100 percent, though, Georgetown can make a deep run. It’s doubtful, though.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs were left for dead in early February, when they were 15-9 and struggling mightily. Since then, they have rattled off nine straight wins and get pitted against a St. John’s team not playing its best basketball of the season. The Red Storm lost two their final four games, and barely escaped against Rutgers. Moreover, they lost D.J. Kennedy for the season with an injury. Gonzaga struggles to defend the perimeter, but the Red Storm have a scant few players who can knock down the three – and Kennedy was one of them. St. John’s struggles on the glass, while Gonzaga has Elias Harris, Robert Sacre and co. down low. If Demetri Goodson and Marquise Carter take care of the ball against the pressure, Gonzaga should win.

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:30 am

Big East night cap a pair of snoozers

Posted by Matt Norlander

NEW YORK — After what the first two and a half days of Big East tournament basketball presented, a come-down was to be expected.

The good news for the conference is, while Notre Dame and Louisville’s cruise-control blowouts were snoozers, they set up the best possible scenario for Friday night. When given the bracket, most would’ve picked the four teams left standing as the best possible group if you combine talent, fan interest and television draw.

Louisville didn’t mess around in the late game. It defeated Marquette, 81-56, and made no question about its performance. This was crucial for Rick Pitino and his Cardinals because they defeated Marquette in one of the most unlikely ways earlier this season, when the Golden Eagles blew a 19-point lead in six minutes and fell, 71-70.

Pitino called that win over Marquette on “a fluke” on his team’s behalf. This one was certainly not. Afterward, Pitino said he hasn’t had this much fun coaching a basketball team since 1987, when he coached Providence to the Final Four.  

Three of the top four seeds won Thursday. The last time that happened was 2007, when all four favorites advanced to Friday-night play. In one of the most competitive years in the history of the conference, seeding has done a decent job of holding to form. Pitino said he was a little cautious coming in due to the elongated layoff.

“I worry about the double-bye sometimes, not being prepared,” Pitino said. “I don’t think any coach is a big proponent of the double-bye.”

Marquette was playing its third game in as many nights. And just as in 2010, it ran out of gas in the second half against a superior opponent.

“The same thing happened to us last year,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. “Ten minutes to go against Georgetown last year, our third game in three nights, it was a tie ball game—they beat us by 23. Halftime tonight, we’re down five, and we get blitzed.”

The Cardinals pretty much did what they wanted. They may not have looked as good as Notre Dame did against Cincinnati, but it was close. The Golden Eagles couldn’t stop the long ball.

“If the team you’re playing scores 50 percent of their points from 3, you can probably deduct it was a long night,” Williams said.

The loss may have been good for Marquette though, as it will surely dodge the 8/9 game, instead getting a 10 or 11, and thus an easier second-round opponent, should it get there.

“I think the carryover that I hope we will have is that we arrived in New York not knowing what tournament we would play in,” Williams said. “And we go back to Milwaukee knowing what tournament that is.”

Louisville and Notre Dame will face each other for the first time in Big East tournament history Friday night. The Irish will play for a one seed, while Louisville will continue to go about its business, not a future NBA player on the team.

“Not since 1996 did I walk into a place and feel as confident as this,” Pitino said. “We know Notre Dame is very, very tough. They’re very, very skilled. They put on a passing clinic each night.”

In 1996, Rick Pitino was coaching a Kentucky team that’s considered one of the greatest of all-time.

Mike Brey and Pitino have done two of the best coaching jobs this season. It’s only fitting they get the chance to face each other for the right to play for a conference title. And odds are Friday night’s going to go a lot better than Thursday.

Photo: AP

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 11:03 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:27 pm

Poppin' Bubbles: Picture starts to clear up

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Wednesday marked the first day in a five-day stretch where the bubble and at-large picture will change on a near-hourly basis. With the BCS-conferences kicking off their league tournaments, several teams face must-win situations and others need to search for a marquee victory. This is the last impression many bubble teams will get to make on the committee – they need to take advantage. By the time Saturday afternoon rolls around, many of the fringe bubble teams will have weeded themselves out, while at least two or three bubblers will become locks after a couple of wins. Take a look at the winners and losers of Wednesday, as well as what games matter the most for Thursday.


Marquette: The Golden Eagles punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament, beating West Virginia and becoming the 11th lock from the Big East. They now have five top-25 wins on their resume, improving to 20-13 overall. Without any sub-100 losses and an improving computer profile, Marquette has a chance to pass Villanova on the S-curve with a win over Louisville today.

Colorado: The Buffaloes couldn’t afford another bad loss – and they barely escaped Iowa State, needing late-game heroics from Alec Burks to get the win. The victory doesn’t improve Colorado’s profile; it simply doesn’t ruin it. With a third game coming up today against Kansas State, the Buffs can punch their ticket. As it stands right now, Colorado would be in. It has five top-50 wins and wins in five of its last seven.

Missouri: Because of the soft bubble, the Tigers were likely locked into the NCAA tournament regardless of their Big 12 tournament performance. However, they avoided some serious stress on Selection Sunday by hanging on to beat Texas Tech. Had Missouri lost to the Red Raiders, the terrible road record and lack of big wins would have been analyzed more closely.


Nebraska: The Cornhuskers needed to make a run to the Big 12 title game in order to have a chance; they didn’t even get out of the first round. A turnover by Lance Jeter on the final possession against Oklahoma State will relegate Nebraska to the NIT. A poor finish and a terrible non-conference resume will be too much to overcome.

Baylor: Without Perry Jones, not too many people expected the Bears to make the requisite run they needed to get an at-large bid. But getting blown by Oklahoma was a surprise. Baylor can now settle the debate of the most disappointing team in the country – at least Michigan State has a chance of making the NCAA tournament.

Thursday’s bubble games to watch:

Boston College vs. Wake Forest: The Eagles are fourth in the ACC pecking order right now; a loss here would send them packing. A win sets up a potential play-in game against Clemson.

Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech: After last week’s disaster of a performance, the Hokies need to win two games in the ACC tournament. A win over the Yellow Jackets will pit Tech against Florida State.

Michigan State vs. Iowa: The Spartans have already lost to the Hawkeyes once, although they did enact some revenge with a blowout win late in the season. Michigan State obviously needs to win this one to set up a quarterfinal match-up against Purdue.

Penn State vs. Indiana: The Nittany Lions have some good wins, but 13 losses is an eyesore. A run to the title game might be necessary – it starts against the Hoosiers, and could continue in the quarterfinals against Wisconsin.

Colorado vs. Kansas State: Colorado avoided a bad loss against Iowa State, and now could lock up a bid with a third victory over Kansas State. A loss here and the Buffaloes could be in trouble.

Memphis vs. Southern Miss: The Tigers probably have the best at-large profile in the conference, but they finished two games out of first place. They need to knock off a very good Southern Miss team, and then also likely beat UAB in the semis to have any semblance of a chance.

UAB vs. East Carolina: The Blazers don’t have a tremendous profile in terms of wins, but they did win Conference-USA outright and have very nice computer numbers. A run to the title game could get them consideration – a victory over East Carolina is a must.

Colorado State vs. New Mexico: Neither team has much of a case at this point, but if one were to reach the championship game, we can revisit their profiles. The loser is done.

USC vs. California: The Trojans stayed on the bubble with a win last weekend at Washington, but will need to pick up two wins in the Pac-10 tournament. A victory over the Golden Bears will likely bring a date with top-seeded Arizona.

Washington vs. Washington State: This could be a monster game. Washington needs a win to truly feel comfortable about its at-large hopes, while Washington State could get right back into the hunt with a big win over the Huskies.

Georgia vs. Auburn: The Bulldogs lost to Alabama in the season finale, but need to beat Auburn in order to gain a rematch with the Crimson Tide in the quarterfinals. That contest will be a de facto play-in game, but Georgia needs to get there first.

Tennessee vs. Arkansas: Given the terrible bubble, the Volunteers simply have too many good wins not to get a bid. A win here would end all doubt, though.

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 7:05 am

The Morning Drive: Big East steals the show

Posted by Jeff Borzello

As we get closer and closer to Selection Sunday, players are starting to realize that the next game could be their last. As a result, we’re seeing more and more big-time performances in conference tournament games, as well as hard-fought finishes. It’s perfect for fans. Follow me for all conference tourney updates on Twitter: @jeffborzello

Conference Tournament Updates:

Big East: The quarterfinals of the Big East were jam-packed, to say the least. Matt Norlander penned stories on Georgetown’s poor effort against Connecticut; the debacle that was the St. John’s – Rutgers ending; and Marquette locking up a bid against West Virginia. In the other quarterfinal, Cincinnati hammered South Florida, 87-61. Top performers: Yancy Gates, Cincinnati (25 points, four rebounds); Kemba Walker, Connecticut (28 points, six rebounds); Junior Cadougan, Marquette (15 points, five assists)

Big 12: Check out the tourney update for first-round summaries and second-round preview capsules.

Conference-USA: The first round of the C-USA featured three double-digits wins and a one-point squeaker. UCF finally ended its three-month freefall by losing to East Carolina by 15, while Southern Miss kept its hopes alive with a 63-47 win over Tulane. Marshall advanced with a 97-87 win over Houston, and Rice held on to beat SMU by one. Top performers: Arsalan Kazemi, Rice (24 points, 13 rebounds; Damier Pitts, Marshall (28 points, 10 assists)

MEAC: In the lone first-round game on Wednesday, Norfolk State handled Howawrd with ease, 68-53. In the quarterfinals, top-seeded Bethune-Cookman beat South Carolina State by 16, while No. 2 Hampton dominated Maryland-Eastern Shore, 77-55. Top performers: Darrion Pellum, Hampton (23 points, seven rebounds); Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State (25 points, 12 rebounds)

Mountain West: TCU won the right to face BYU in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, defeating Wyoming, 70-61. Going into the game, the ninth-seeded Horned Frogs had lost 13 in a row. Ironically, their last win was over this same Cowboys team. Top performer: Hank Thorns, TCU (16 points, nine assists)

Pac-10: Overshadowed by the Big East and Big 12 tourneys, the Pac-10 had some excitement. Oregon State held off a rally from Stanford in the final 30 seconds to win their first tournament game since 2006, while Oregon knocked down 11 3-pointers to beat Arizona State, 76-69. Top performers: E.J. Singler, Oregon (22 points, five rebounds); Jared Cunningham, Oregon (24 points); Jeremy Green (25 points)

Southland: In the most wide-open league in the country, it came as no surprise that three games were decided by seven points or fewer. No. 1 seed McNeese State defeated Nicholls State by seven, but second-seeded Northwestern State wasn’t so lucky. Texas-San Antonio’s Jeromie Hill had a dunk with two seconds left to give UTSA a 97-96 win over the Demons. Sam Houston State handled Stephen F. Austin by 16, while fourth-seeded Texas State came back to beat Southeastern Louisiana, 72-68. Top performers: Devin Gibson, Texas-San Antonio (28 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists); Anatoly Bose, Nicholls State (25 points, nine rebounds); Ryan White, Texas State (26 points)

SWAC: The top two seeds in the SWAC advanced, as regular-season champ Texas Southern came back to beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 50-45, while No. 2 Jackson State beat Prairie View by 12. Top performer: Travele Jones, Texas Southern (19 points, nine rebounds)

WAC: There were two first-round games played in Las Vegas on Wednesday. No. 8 San Jose State upset No. 5 Hawaii when Adrian Oliver nailed a pull-up jumper with five seconds left to give the Spartans a 75-74 win. No. 6 Nevada held on in the final minute to beat Fresno State, 90-80. Top performers: Malik Story, Nevada (34 points, six 3-pointers); Greg Smith, Fresno State (14 points, 20 rebounds); Adrian Oliver, San Jose State (29 points, seven rebounds)

Punching Tickets

Big Sky: Northern Colorado used a late 13-3 run to pull away from Montana down the stretch and advance to the NCAA tournament. The second-seeded Grizzlies had three players foul out, while Northern Colorado got 27 points from Devon Beitzel, including a clutch 3-pointer to put the Bears up seven in the final minute.

Northeast: Jamal Olasewere had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead top-seeded Long Island to its first NCAA tournament since 1997, knocking off Robert Morris in overtime, 85-82. RMU used a 10-2 run late in regulation to force overtime, but it could not get similar heroics in the extra session. Russell Johnson had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer for the Colonials, but it fell short.

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 2:17 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 10:20 am

Marquette needs only worry about one bracket now

NEW YORK — The Big East will be setting a record three days from now, when the NCAA tournament bracket is unveiled and the conference has 11 teams included. The current record is nine. The Big East owns that as well.

The impending, unprecedented statistic became as close to fact as possible Thursday night because Marquette did what so many others have failed to do this year: win against a good opponent to gain ground and leverage. The Golden Eagles won 67-61, making West Virginia the second team who earned a bye but not a win at the Big East tournament; Georgetown falling to UConn in the first of Thursday’s four games in the Garden was the other.

Marquette's Jae Crowder (right) shook his head in acknowledgment when asked if the team was worried in the past two weeks.

“It got really tense for us,” Crowder said. “We knew we had to come along really fast or this thing would get away from us. We knew time was slipping away from us.”

But Buzz Williams, like most coaches, publicly said he doesn’t care about seeding. And the Golden Eagles’ head honcho didn’t use winning against Providence or West Virginia, and what that meant for the teams tournament chances, as means of motivation. All he wanted to do was get his team wins to keep the momentum going and try to get his team into a groove that it’s failed to get into for most of the season.

“Relative to how it impacts our seeding, honestly, I don’t have an opinion on that because I think there’s so many games other than just our game that impact that,” Williams said, his voice slowly moving away from that hoarse tone he's become known for.

Now here comes Louisville, and despite the collective knowledge and understanding that this team will be dancing, Williams will try to keep his team's vision as narrow as possible.

“I don’t know that our mentality will change,” Williams said of the preparation for Friday night's game against Louisville. “We’ve had success every year we’ve been in New York because we’ve had great energy.”

And back to the Cardinals, who embody a double-edged sword. See, if Marquette loses, then fine, it’s done, goes home and waits to see a 10 or 11 next to its name in the 6 p.m. ET hour Sunday night. But if it wins against Louisville? Yeah, that’s terrific — but what if it vaults Marquette into an 8/9 game? That’s a bad spot. As weird as it may sound, big-picture, Marquette would likely benefit from losing to Louisville and having an easier road to making it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Now that he's in, Williams won't get greedy, though. He said he doesn't care where or against who. Just happy to be at the party. That's Buzz.

“We wanna play. Whether we’re eight or four or 12, we’re thankful we get to keep playing,” Williams said. “I think, when you start talking to 19- and 21-year-old kids about, ‘OK, now, if we do this and the other team does that, and the other tournament, if these team in the Big 12 got beat …’ I think that just dials down what makes us good.”

What was interesting about Marquette's at-large case that is no longer existent: by virtue of beating a 20-11 West Virginia team, the Golden Eagles leap-frogged the possibility of getting put in Dayton for the First Four. Most bubble teams aren't afforded such luxuries after winning a do-or-die game.

“We’re now not focused on being in (the NCAAs),” said. “We really want to get to Saturday, here. We get to Saturday, we’ll feel we have a chance to win it all.”

Marquette lost to Louisville in the only meeting between the teams this year, a 71-70 result at Marquette on Jan. 15.

“We let one slip in Louisville, and we’re thirsty to get those guys back,” said. “That’s one of the teams we picked out in the bracket.”

The bracket being the Big East bracket. The only one Marquette has to worry about now.

Posted by Matt Norlander

Photo: AP

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Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 5, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2011 12:58 am

Bubbles boiling over on Saturday

Posted by Jeff Borzello


With so many teams still teetering on the edge of the bubble, this weekend is the last opportunity for dozens of teams to send a message to the committee before the conference tournaments. Fortunately, there are a ton of bubble battles and must-win situations throughout the day. The games might be overshadowed by conference tournaments and top-25 match-ups, but keep it locked here for all your bubble action.

Note: This page will be updated all day, with bubble discussion and analysis.

USC 62, Washington 60: This game threw as much of a wrench into the bubble picture as any game all day. If Washington won, the Huskies would have likely locked up a bid and USC would have been out of the at-large discussion. Now, who knows? The Huskies lost three of their final five games to end the season, going 11-7 in the Pac-10. They have two wins over UCLA and a victory over Arizona, but the non-conference resume is porous. Three sub-100 losses also don't look good. They need to beat Washington State in the quarterfinals on Thursday. USC is squarely in the mix right now. The Trojans still have to make up ground on the teams in front of them, but at least they are in the picture. They won five of six to end the season, own wins over Washington, UCLA and Arizona and have a couple of nice non-conference victories over Texas and Tennessee. This could be an interesting case on Selection Sunday if USC wins two in the Pac-10 tourney.

Texas 60, Baylor 54: Baylor had a shot to play itself in the field at home against a team that seemingly every bubble team has beaten the past few weeks – and the Bears couldn’t get the job done. 7-9 in the Big 12, an RPI in the 70s, three sub-100 losses – should I keep going? A win Saturday night would have given Baylor a legitimate shot, adding to its two wins over Texas A&M. Without the victory, the Bears have an awfully barren profile. Depending on how things play out, Baylor might be auto-bid or bust.

Colorado 67, Nebraska 57: A head-to-head battle between two Big 12 bubble teams just clarified the at-large pecking order within the conference. The Buffaloes were my last team in the field heading into the weekend, and this win should keep them up there. They have five top-50 wins, including two over Kansas State and one over Texas. The three bad losses are an eyesore, but at least they’re .500 in the Big 12 after winning three of four. As for Nebraska, losses in three of its final four games and an awful non-conference profile will do them in.

Utah State 72, Louisiana Tech 30: Well, that wasn’t very nice. The Aggies absolutely destroyed Louisiana Tech, sending a message with the margin of victory. They finished the conference campaign with a 15-1 record, and the RPI has now moved into the top 20. Given the soft bubble, it is going to be very tough turning down a team with those numbers. On the flip side, though, Utah State has just two top-100 wins, with a borderline top-50 victory over Saint Mary’s. I think the Aggies are in good shape, although any loss in the WAC tourney is a bad loss.

San Diego State 66, Colorado State 48: About two weeks ago, Colorado State was 8-4 in the Mountain West and looking good for a bid heading into a difficult stretch. Well, the Rams went 1-4 down the stretch and are now going into the conference tournament needing to win it. They have two top-50 wins, although one is over Southern Miss. Colorado State has a very weak non-conference resume and three sub-100 losses. The Rams went only 1-5 against the top three of the MWC.

UAB 66, East Carolina 48: The Blazers won the outright Conference-USA title with the victory. While the Blazers are not really in great position for a bid (in my opinion), a regular-season title combined with their excellent computer numbers, and they are in the mix. UAB came into the day with an RPI of 28, and has now won seven of eight to the end the season. Now, for the negatives. The best non-conference wins are over Kent State and VCU, and the three top-50 wins – Southern Miss and a sweep of UCF – turn into zero top-50 wins by the morning. The Blazers should play it safe and win the auto bid. 

Butler 76, Cleveland State 68: The Bulldogs knocked off Cleveland State for the third time this season, earning a spot in the Horizon League title game on Monday. They have now won seven in a row, moving to 21-9 overall. Outside of those three wins over the Vikings, though, Butler has just one other top-50 win – on a neutral court against Florida State. When you throw in all the bad losses the Bulldogs have, it might be best for them to just win the automatic bid.

Seton Hall 85, Marquette 72: Big East getting 11 bids? Hold off on that for just a few minutes. The Golden Eagles seemed like a lock after winning at Connecticut last week, but back-to-back losses to Cincinnati and Seton Hall put them squarely on the bubble. Marquette drops to 9-9 in the Big East and 18-13 overall, meaning another loss would be the 14th of the season. The Golden Eagles don’t have any bad losses and own four top-25 wins. They need to win at least on in the Big East tourney.

Oklahoma 64, Oklahoma State 61: Oklahoma State had very slim at-large hopes heading into the weekend, but now the Cowboys are heading into the Big 12 tournament with only the automatic bid as an option. The Cowboys have some good wins, including over Kansas State and Missouri, but 6-10 in the Big 12 simply won’t get it done.

Memphis 66, Tulane 61: The Tigers are still hanging in there, despite a long list of bad losses and negatives on the resume. They technically have six top-50 wins, although that number can quickly drop to two if UCF and Southern Miss fall out of the top 50 at some point. A run to the Conference-USA final is necessary for Memphis to think about getting a bid.

UCLA 58, Washington State 54: Washington State had an outside shot at a bid if it could pull off the upset over UCLA and then make a run in the Pac-10 tourney. With Klay Thompson suspended and Reggie Moore injured, though, the Cougars couldn’t get it done, falling in overtime. They have wins over bubble teams Baylor and Gonzaga, as well as two over Washington, but 9-9 in the Pac-10 and three sub-100 losses don’t look good.

Indiana State 61, Wichita State 54: Without a single top-50 win on the resume, the Shockers had little-to-no shot at hearing their name called on Selection Sunday without the automatic bid. Getting to the title game and being competitive was a necessity; they did neither.

Michigan 70, Michigan State 63: The intrastate battle had big-time bubble implications. With the win, Michigan now owns a season sweep of Michigan State – a significant trump card if the two teams are on the fence come Selection Sunday. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, their only other top-50 win was over Harvard. They still have work to do in the conference tournament. Michigan State dropped to 9-9 in the Big Ten, joining a logjam of potentially four teams. The Spartans have better wins than Michigan, with victories over Wisconsin, Washington and Illinois. A loss in the league tournament would be their 14th of the season, tough.

Alabama 65, Georgia 57: Alabama kept its at-large hopes alive with an impressive home win, bringing its SEC record to 12-4. If Florida loses at Vanderbilt this weekend, the Crimson Tide will earn a split of the SEC title. The Tide already had solid wins over Kentucky and Tennessee, but their non-conference resume is horrendous and they have a slew of bad losses. They might need to win their first SEC tourney game. Georgia would have clinched a bid with the road win, but the Bulldogs are still in decent shape. They have a solid computer profile and zero bad losses. They need to avoid bad losses in the SEC Tournament.

Missouri State 60, Creighton 50: The Bears needed to come back again in the Missouri Valley tournament, overcoming a halftime deficit. It remains to be seen whether they even have an at-large shot, but the best way to end the questions would be to win the title game on Sunday.

VCU 62, Drexel 60: It might be time to dust off the VCU profile after Jamie Skeen’s buzzer shot sent the Rams to the semifinals. Quality wins over UCLA and Old Dominion are more than some bubble teams can claim. A litany of bad losses and a 12-6 CAA record brings the profile down.

Clemson 69, Virginia Tech 60: A huge bubble match-up in the ACC could result in neither team making the NCAA Tournament. Virginia Tech went down 24-9 in the first half and was never able to recover. With this and the blowout home loss to Boston College during the week, all the good will the Hokies picked up with their win over Duke has disappeared. As for Clemson, the Tigers join Tech at 9-7 in the ACC. However, Clemson’s two best wins are over Boston College and Florida State – not exactly marquee victories. Both teams might need two wins in the league tournament. 

Richmond 68, Duquesne 56: Richmond continues to do what it has to do in order to get a bid on Selection Sunday. The Spiders ended the first half on a run and then coasted for most of the second half. They finished 13-3 in the Atlantic-10, winning their last four games, and 11 of their last 13. Richmond doesn’t have many marquee wins, but it does own a neutral-court victory over Purdue. Avoiding a bad loss in the conference tournament is a necessity.

Illinois 72, Indiana 48: The Fighting Illini certainly took care of business on Saturday, jumping out to a big lead early to avenge an earlier loss to the Hoosiers. Of course, the victory doesn’t do much to enhance the profile, other than the fact it gets them to 9-9 in the Big Ten. With wins over North Carolina and Wisconsin, as well as victories over fellow bubble teams Gonzaga, Michigan State and Michigan, Illinois should be in good shape.

Others: Maryland ended its season on a sour note, losing at home to Virginia by 14; Dayton finished 7-9 in the Atlantic-10, completing a disappointing regular season. 

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 10:17 am

Buzz Williams 'sings' Beyonce

Posted by Matt Norlander

I have no idea what inspired this, but regardless, I'm eternally thankful. Marquette coach Buzz Williams really breaks out some moves on "All the Single Ladies," as he's given an iPod and a pair of headphones to, well, just watch and hope we get a part two later this month.

"Is it Boston?"

For shame, Buzz. Who can't immediately recognize the awful aural exercise that is Bon Jovi?

(Vid via many a Twitter account, tip)

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Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 28, 2011 3:37 pm

BracketBusters? How about Bubble Bursters?

Posted by Jeff Borzello

The last week of the regular season means bubble teams are running out of changes to impress the committee. Some teams took advantage of that desperation this past weekend, with Virginia Tech defeating Duke and Colorado beating Texas. Others, like Washington, Colorado State or Alabama, decided it would be the perfect time to add a bad loss to the resume. This season, there are still plenty of bids up for grabs – and no one seems to be dead in the at-large hunt. Coincidentally, several of the top bubble contenders play each other this week - it's like a bubble version of BracketBusters weekend. Which are the biggest bubble battles this week?

Boston College at Virginia Tech (Tuesday): After Virginia Tech’s win over Duke on Saturday, the Hokies took the lead in the race for a fourth bid from the ACC. Boston College overcame a first-half deficit to pick up a must-win game at Virginia. The Eagles have better computer numbers than the Hokies, as well as a head-to-head victory over Tech. But Tech has a two-game lead in the ACC standings, and is playing far better lately. A win here could lock things up for the Hokies.

Cincinnati at Marquette (Wednesday): Both of these teams are still in good shape heading into the week, after each picked up a monster road win last week. Cincinnati went on the road and defeated Georgetown, although it lost to Connecticut at home on Sunday. Marquette knocked off UConn, and then blew out Providence to keep the momentum rolling. Both teams have four top-50 wins, although the Golden Eagles have better computer numbers.

Michigan State at Michigan (Saturday): Back in November, would anyone have thought this intrastate battle could decide the Selection Sunday fates of both teams? After getting big wins over Illinois and at Minnesota, Michigan State lost by 20 at home to Purdue. The Spartans have a home contest with Iowa on Wednesday before heading to Ann Arbor. The Wolverines, on the other hand, have a week to prepare. They bounced back from a heart-breaking loss to Wisconsin by winning at Minnesota over the weekend. If Michigan wins, it would have a sweep of Michigan State.

Georgia at Alabama (Saturday): Alabama would have been in good shape had it defeated Ole Miss over the weekend – would the committee really turn down a 13-3 SEC co-champion? With the loss, though, the Crimson Tide are in trouble. They now have to head to Florida before hosting Georgia in a bubblicious match-up. The poor computer numbers and lack of good wins mean a split might not even be enough. Georgia, on the other hand, is buoyed by its solid computer profile. The Bulldogs need to beat LSU at home and then at least one in the SEC Tournament if they can’t beat Alabama.

USC at Washington (Saturday): Before last week, this game would not have been included. Since then, USC has entered the discussion with four straight wins. The Trojans have four top-40 wins and are 9-7 in the Pac-10. Washington dropped back into the pack with a blowout home loss to Washington State, killing any shot it had at a Pac-10 title. Moreover, with a fairly barren overall profile, the Huskies should start sweating.

Virginia Tech at Clemson (Saturday): This is only a must-see if Clemson wins at Duke during the week. If the Tigers fall short, they simply won’t have the profile to garner consideration for a bid. Wins over Florida State and Boston College merely balance out two sub-100 losses. They need a sweep of the Blue Devils and the Hokies.

Penn State at Minnesota (Sunday): Both teams are on the outside looking in at this point, with Penn State trending upwards and Minnesota going in the wrong direction. The Nittany Lions have won three of four, including one over Minnesota, to put themselves in the mix. They face Ohio State on Tuesday, which is likely a must-win if it wants serious consideration. Minnesota, losers of six of seven, need to beat Northwestern and Penn State and then do serious work in the conference tournament.  

Photo: US Presswire

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