Night Court: Duke's Wake loss means top seed no longer possible
The Blue Devils will have to take a tougher road to the Final Four this season due to losses like the one it incurred Wednesday night. That and a lot more from Wednesday night.
Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Wednesday …
Really rough night for Duke, which fell 82-72.
The Blue Devils didn't have any offense, going 6 for 27 from 3 and failing to score over a five-minute stretch in the final 10 minutes of the game. The anemic offensive display was abnormal for this team, which entered the night 11th in the country in 3-point percentage.
But most teams will endure off nights from deep, and with Duke's lack of interior play on both ends, that will mean trouble if this kind of performance resurfaces in the NCAA tournament.
In the here and now, know this: Duke will not be a No. 1 seed this season. The Blue Devils have 12 No. 1 seeds under Mike Krzyzewski, the last coming in 2011. The past two seasons this team has been a No. 2.
In the most recent Bracketology, entering Wednesday night, Duke was a No. 3 seed. There's still a chance the Devils could play to the two line, but winning the ACC tournament would likely be the necessary outcome for that.
Duke has not been a No. 3 seed since 2003, and was only a No. 4 seed once, in 1980, which was the second year of the NCAA tournament's seeding protocol.
Afterward, Wake Forest students decorated the campus with toilet paper.
What we'll be talking about in the morning: Behind big play of Russ Smith, Louisville hands SMU its first home loss of the season.
Montrezl Harrell and Russ Smith had huge nights. Harrell is a freak who's helped his draft stock in the past two weeks. Smith was ridiculous, going 6 for 6 from deep in the second half and finishing with 26 points and five assists in the Cards' 84-71 win.
This kind of great game on top of illness from Smith, who told CBS Sports Network he was sick last night. Reports during the game had him puking near the team bench during TV timeouts.
SMU just didn't have the athletes or schemes to keep up with Louisville, which got out to a big deficit early but then methodically swung away at the SMU lead.
Here's a thing that happened at the game.
George W. Bush embraced SMU’s mascot this evening (USATSI) pic.twitter.com/06TL7ShXss— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 6, 2014
The outcome also produced a circle of parity for the top half of the American.
SMU is 2-0 against Connecticut, which is 2-0 against Memphis, which is 2-0 against Louisville, which is 2-0 against SMU.— Andy Hutchins (@AndyHutchins) March 6, 2014
Biggest game of impact tonight: Dayton's 72-67 win at Saint Louis.
It put the Flyers in the field and dropped SLU to at least a No. 6 seed, given the team has lost three straight. And has to play at UMass to close out the regular season on Sunday.
Saint Louis' weak non-conference schedule and the way it's folded against the toughest stretch in the Atlantic 10 does not signal good things for the team, but overall will help the league get, perhaps, a record six bids into the field.
That's a good win: Nebraska: stayin' alive.
The Huskers got to 18-11 and remain a team on the cusp of inclusion after winning at Indiana 70-60. IU is hoping for an NIT berth, and should get it, but how about the Huskers? Beat Wisconsin on your home court Saturday -- OK, that's going to be really tough, but still -- and plenty of people will be putting you in the field.
I think NU needs two more wins for a very good case. Hey, to be at this point, in Tim Miles' second year at the school, is amazing.
But that's a bad loss: A home upset to Colorado for Stanford? Ouch.
Tad Boyle's team has rallied without its best player in Spencer Dinwiddie, but the story here is how the Cardinal have dropped three straight. Stanford is on the outside of the tournament now, in my opinion. Johnny Dawkins' team has a home date with Utah Saturday. Win that or else. I really think four straight losses would require Stanford to reach the Pac-12 title game to get back in the good graces of the selection committee.
Conference tournament results:
Patriot League quarterfinals
Upset: Bryant is taken out by St. Francis (PA) 55-54.
St. Francis (NY) was not so lucky, blowing a 19-point lead with less than 10 minutes remaining and falling to Mount <span data-shortcode=" data-canon="St. Mary's Gaels" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0">. Rashad Whack sank a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left to give MSM a 72-71 win.
Ohio Valley first round
Southeast Missouri State won 79-61 over Eastern Illinois.
Big South first round
Winthrop, the class program of the league, won 77-65 over Liberty.
Gardner-Webb ended Longwood's season 81-65.
Radford had a tight one against a close team but won 78-73 over Presbyterian.
Charleston Southern 81, Campbell 71.
Players with impact
1. Heck of a Senior Night for Shabazz Napier and Neils Giffey at UConn. Napier put up 26 and Giffey had a career-best 16 in UConn's 69-63 win over Rutgers. Napier had seven 3s and three steals. Wonder if Napier will have a few big postseason performances in him.
2. Ronnie Drinnon had 18 rebounds for the St. Francis Red Flash (PA) in that huge 55-54 win.
3. Ryan Watkins had 27 points and 14 rebounds in Boise State's brutal 83-81 loss at home to Nevada. Broncos were a preseason top-25 team in some people's eyes.
4. Oklahoma senior Cameron Clark had team highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds in OU's 72-62 win over West Virginia.
Numbers to figure:
8: Wisconsin has won eight in a row, the longest win streak in the "modern era" of the Big Ten. And the team's won at least 12 games in the league for the ninth time under Bo Ryan. Wisconsin beat Purdue 76-70.
No. 2: Believe it or not, if Oklahoma wins at TCU this weekend, the Sooners will be the second seed in the Big 12 tournament. What a year for Lon Kruger.
15: School record MWC wins for SDSU, which won a really fun game that was closer than the final score indicated: 73-64 over UNLV, at UNLV. The win put San Diego State at 26-3 and still in the conversation for a No. 1 seed.
Other outcomes of note
- It wasn't easy, but Arizona won 74-69 at Oregon State. The Wildcats were already virtual locks for a No. 1 seed, but this seals it. Losing out will still mean a No. 1 for Sean Miller's team, no matter what. Too much equity and not enough other teams capable of wrangling it away.
- Utah still clinging to hope for a bid after winning 63-59 at California. Now comes a huge game: Utah at Stanford Saturday. If the Cardinal loses that, it will be four straight and seriously treacherous for Johnny Dawkins' team going forward.
- Good A-10 game that didn't affect either team's standing all that much: George Washington won 76-71 over Saint Joseph's.
- Arkansas is comfortably in the field at this point. The Hogs absolutely steamrolled Ole Miss, winning 110-80. Remember when Marshall Henderson was relevant?
- Missouri escaped with a massive, season-saving home win against Texas A&M. The Tigers won 57-56 after an end-of-game play by the Aggies fell apart. Senior Earnest Ross, who hit the go-ahead free throws with seven seconds to go, broke up the inbounds pass. Missouri should have lost this game. It didn't, and now we've got a huge one upcoming ...
- Because a needed no-doubt-about-it win by Tennessee, which beat Auburn at Auburn 82-54, makes for more drama. The Vols play Missouri in a huge game Saturday. Tennessee lost round one earlier this conference season.
- Texas had no problem with TCU, winning 66-54.
- Kansas got to 23-7 by beating Texas Tech 82-57. Still in play for a No. 1 seed, absolutely.
- UMass got the dirty job it needed done, winning 78-74 at Duquesne. That could have been a slippery spot for the Minutemen.
-- A "side note" from the Louisville win. This awful news that point guard Chris Jones shared.
Chris Jones scored 21. He said he's dedicating season to his brother, Demetrius Ray, 24, who was shot and killed in Memphis Saturday.— rickbozich (@rickbozich) March 6, 2014
-- Indiana star freshman Noah Vonleh did not play Wednesday night, as he's still recovering from a foot injury.
-- Rick Pitino always seemed like a scotch man to me.
Pitino asked what he gave up for Lent... "vodka"— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) March 6, 2014
-- The most powerful story I've read related to college hoops in a good while. Please take the time.
-- Larry Brown, a man who knows basketball at all levels about as well as any human alive, says college is a much better pre-NBA option than the D-League.
-- Despite Kentucky not even qualifying so much as a six seed right now, the tickets for Saturday's Wildcats-Gators game at the O Dome are going for a pretty price. In part because UF is trying to go undefeated in the SEC for the first time in program history.
-- Jim Harbaugh attended Kansas practice looking like he just flew over from coaching a 24-10 win against the Arizona Cardinals.
Then Harbaugh dropped a big one.
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