Poppin' Bubbles: Iowa State, Villanova blow late leads

Iowa State let a marquee win slip away in the final minute to Kansas -- again. (AP)
Iowa State let a marquee win slip away in the final minute to Kansas -- again. (AP)

The final 30 seconds of regulation were not kind to bubble teams on Monday night.

There were only two of them in action, with Iowa State hosting Kansas and Villanova taking a trip to Seton Hall. And both looked on their way to wins heading down the stretch. Iowa State went up by five points with 47 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Georges Niang, but eight points by Elijah Johnson in the final 32 seconds sent the game into overtime -- which Kansas dominated and won by 12.

Meanwhile, Villanova was up by four with 27 seconds left after Mouphtaou Yarou hit a jumper. But a James Bell foul and then a Bell turnover helped Fuquan Edwin score five points in the final 16 seconds to give Seton Hall the win.

Let’s look at the ramifications:

Iowa State: If the Cyclones miss the field on Selection Sunday, they will look back at both Kansas matchups as the primary losses that kept them from making the NCAA tournament. In both games, they nearly had the game wrapped up in the final minute -- and in both games, they blew a late lead and lost going away in overtime. Without either win, though, the Cyclones’ resume needs work. There are home wins over Oklahoma and Kansas State, and a sweep of fellow bubbler Baylor. Outside of that, though, it’s fairly bare. The computer numbers aren’t great, and there is a sub-200 loss to Texas Tech to worry about. In the final three games, Iowa State takes trips to Oklahoma and West Virginia, and also hosts Oklahoma State. The Cyclones need to figure out how to close games.

Villanova: The Wildcats picked up some momentum over the weekend by knocking off Marquette, which was their third win in a row -- a streak that also included a solid win over Connecticut. But as we saw earlier this season after Nova beat Louisville and Syracuse, the Wildcats aren’t fond of momentum this season. With the loss to Seton Hall, Villanova now has two sub-100 losses, with the other one coming back in November to Columbia. And that’s not all the bad news -- the final two games of the regular season are at Pittsburgh and home against Georgetown. Beating Seton Hall would have guaranteed an above-.500 record in Big East play. Villanova could use one of these final two games to add to a nice quartet of good wins.

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