Wednesday shaped up as a big day at Madison Square Garden, as four of the eight teams in action were looking to boost their respective NCAA tournament resumes. Two of the four teams, Connecticut and West Virginia, kicked things off in a tight contest that neither team led by more than eleven points (WVU). And while there were plenty of head-scratching decisions made down the stretch by both teams, Jim Calhoun's Huskies were the ones best able to navigate those issues, winning 71-67 in overtime to advance to Thursday's quarterfinals.
Day two of the Big East Championship features four teams looking to improve their chances of reaching the NCAA tournament, with the biggest game of the day being the first. Nine-seed Connecticut, who opener their tournament with an 81-67 win over DePaul on Tuesday, takes on eight-seed West Virginia with the winner likely locking up a tournament berth. These two teams met once during the regular season, a 64-57 UConn victory at the XL Center on January 9th, and with so much change over the nearly two months since that game there may not be a whole lot to take from it.
When Western Kentucky fired Ken McDonald on January 6th few envisioned the young Hilltoppers earning a bid to the NCAA tournament. But they did just that, beating North Texas 74-70 in the Sun Belt title game.
While there's plenty of conference tournament action on Tuesday's schedule, and three bids to be distributed, there's also a huge game in the Ivy League as Penn (19-11, 11-2) visits rival Princeton (18-11, 9-4). What's on the line for the Quakers? A share of the Ivy League title with Harvard, which would force a one-game playoff between the two teams at a site to be determined.
Three teams (Belmont, Murray State and UNC Asheville) punched their tickets to the NCAA tournament on Saturday.
#4 Kansas clinched their eighth consecutive Big 12 title with a wild 87-86 overtime win over #3 Missouri, placing head coach Bill Self in some esteemed company. Here are today's "Quick Hitters":
This eight-day stretch for Colorado State has the potential to be a season-defining on as Tim Miles' team faces all three of the teams ahead of them in the Mountain West standings. Thanks to Pierce Hornung the Rams are off to a good start, as the senior accounted for 13 points, 15 rebounds and four steals in the 71-63 win at Moby Arena. About a month ago the Lobos embarrassed Colorado State at The Pit, doing whatever they pleased in an 85-52 laugher that was part of a 2-5 stretch for the Rams.
In the recap of Tuesday's big game, Pierce Hornung led Colorado State to a key win over New Mexico. The rest of Tuesday's key happenings include: