Wednesday was a big night for bubble teams as a few had opportunities to either bolster or solidify their NCAA tournament resumes. Three were able to take advantage with wins over ranked opponents: Cincinnati, Colorado State and USF. Tim Miles' Rams were at the end of a three-game stretch in which they took on the top three teams in the Mountain West, and CSU's 66-59 comeback win over #17 UNLV may have punched their ticket to the Big Dance. Dorian Green scored 16 points and dished out three assists to lead the way for the Rams, who outscored UNLV 40-18 in the second half.
Throughout the course of conference play in both the Atlantic 10 ad Big East many have been waiting for the moment when Xavier and Connecticut, two teams many thought to be Final Four possibilities at the start of the season, would turn things around. At this rate the Musketeers and Huskies seem destined for the NIT, as both teams' ships have taken on an incredible amount of water in recent weeks. And it's not for a lack of skill either, despite the struggles of these two teams.
One of the first things a team has to do when taking on Notre Dame is defend the three-point line, because even though the Irish shoot just 32.8% from beyond the arc they rely on the shot a great deal. According to statsheet.com Notre Dame scores 29.4% of its points on three-point shots, a number that ranks third in the Big East behind Cincinnati and Seton Hall. Georgetown knew what they had to limit on Monday night and they did so, getting out to the Notre Dame shooters and limiting them to 3-for-17 in the 59-41 win.
The line's been written many times over the years by many writers: death, taxes and Kansas winning the Big 12. All three seem to essentially be guarantees, but many (myself included) felt that this would be the season in which that would change given the Jayhawks' personnel losses from last year's Elite 8 team. No Morrii, Brady Morningstar of Tyrel Reed meant that this was supposed to be a rebuilding year of sorts for Bill Self and his staff...or so many thought.
With their three most important big men all in foul trouble in the first half, #4 Duke could have been in some trouble at #16 Florida State on Thursday night. But Florida State was unable to take advantage of this offensively, and the Seminoles were unable to corral Andre Dawkins or Austin Rivers either. Dawkins was on fire in the first half as he knocked down five of seven three-pointers (18 points) on his way to a 22-point night and Rivers added 20 in Duke's 74-66 victory.