It wasn't pretty but USF found a way to get the job done, beating Cincinnati 46-45 to move to 11-5 in the Big East and 18-11 overall. Freshman point guard Anthony Collins made a pair of free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining to give the Bulls the win, and while it isn't a resume-building win the Bulls did the simplest thing a bubble team can do this time of the year: they won. Collins, who is going to be an outstanding point guard in the Big East as he gains experience, led USF with 14 points and five assists and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick added eight and ten rebounds.
Friday's schedule may be light but there's some good action to take in as direction of the Ivy and Metro Atlantic races will be determined. Iona (19-5, 11-2) and Loyola (MD) (18-5, 11-2) are tied for first place with two games separating them from the pack (Manhattan and Fairfield leading that group), and the winner would take a big step towards grabbing the regular season crown. What should viewers look forward to?
Light schedule tonight with Ivy League Fridays not really getting going on a consistent basis until next weekend, but there are some entertaining matchups to keep fans occupied. Both MAAC matchups consist of top-half (of the standings) teams taking on squads hoping to avoid "First Round Friday" in March's conference tournament. One such game is Iona hosting Rider on ESPNU, and while Tommy Dempsey's Broncs have been a major disappointment this year they have the firepower necessary to keep up with the Gaels.
Sunday's a quiet day with regards to the number of games on the college basketball schedule, but there's a critical matchup of Top 10 teams in Columbus as #7 Indiana (15-2, 3-2) visits. #5 Ohio State (15-3, 3-2) in their second meeting of the season. The Hoosiers won the first meeting 74-70 back on New Year's Eve, and a big reason why was the way in which they defended point guard Aaron Craft. Tom Crean threw multiple guys at the sophomore point guard, and the varying looks were a big reason why Craft turned the ball over a season-high six times.
In the midst of watching Tony Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers wrap up a good 67-54 win at Oregon on Sunday afternoon, the following statement trickled across my Twitter timeline: Virginia is the third-best team in the ACC. At 9-1 on the season coming on the heels of their first road victory of the season, the Cavaliers can definitely make that argument.
Also on tap this weekend were the Jayhawk Invitational in Lawrence, Kansas, the Hoop Group Providence Jam Fest and the Double Pump Best Buy Challenge Spring Classic in Las Vegas.