Thursday turned into a day of missed opportunities for a number of bubble teams across the country, and the Pac-12 may be in danger of being a one-bid league as a result of two results that bookended the day in Los Angeles. Top-seed Washington dropped a tough 86-84 decision to nine-seed Oregon State and poor foul shooting for both teams played a role in the finish.
Three teams (Belmont, Murray State and UNC Asheville) punched their tickets to the NCAA tournament on Saturday.
Florida State's Ian Miller knocked down a three-pointer with eight tenths of a second remaining to give the Seminoles a 63-60 win at Virginia, who will finish the regular season without a win over any of the top three teams in the ACC.
Thursday night provides a big matchup in the Big Ten, as #8 Michigan State (20-5, 9-3) looks to remain tied for first place with a win over #17 Wisconsin (19-6, 8-4). Their first meeting, a 63-60 Michigan State win in overtime on January 3rd, ended with Ryan Evans' game-tying three being ruled to have come after time had expired, so the rematch in East Lansing will likely be just as competitive.
With first place on the line in Columbus the expectation was that #11 Michigan State and #3 Ohio State would play a tight, physical affair. And that's exactly what it was, with the visitors from East Lansing seeming to be the more comfortable of the two teams in the first half. Michigan State shot 46.9% from the field but the reason for their 35-25 lead at the half was their defense, as they limited Ohio State to 33.3% and forced eight turnovers.
As the streak grew longer, it seemed as if it became a foregone conclusion in the eyes of many that Murray State would simply run through the Ohio Valley Conference on their way to a Sears BracketBusters contest against Saint Mary's. Steve Prohm's head coaching career got off to a dream start, as the Racers won 23 straight games with Isaiah Canaan and Donte Poole leading the way. That run came to an end on Thursday night as the Racers fell 72-68 to a Tennessee State team that relied on balance to grab their eighth win in the last nine games.