March 10th, 2011 by Raphielle Johnson
With more games come more opportunities to see who actually wants to go to the NCAA Tournament. Now that the Big 12 (for the most part) has sorted itself out it's time for conferences such as the ACC, Big Ten, Mountain West, Pac-10 and SEC to begin their tournaments in earnest (the Mountain West and Pac-10 had games yesterday but none had an impact on the field of 68).
One game to keep an eye on tips off late in Greensboro with banged-up Virginia Tech taking on Georgia Tech in the final game of the day.
March 6th, 2011 by Raphielle Johnson
By this time next Sunday there will be more than 20 teams guaranteed inclusion in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and the first three tickets were punched on Saturday. UNC Asheville (Big South), Belmont (Atlantic Sun) and Morehead State (Ohio Valley) all won their conference tournament finals while Princeton (Ivy) missed out on a chance to join the fun with their loss at Harvard. Now the Tigers need to beat rival Penn at the Palestra to forge a tie atop the standings, forcing a one-game playoff with Harvard for the Ancient Eight's automatic bid.
March 2nd, 2011 by Raphielle Johnson
This point in the season offers many at-large candidates the opportunity to boost their resumes with another big win before going into conference tournament play. But having the chance and taking advantage of it are two entirely different things, and this was on full display Tuesday night. Baylor went on the road to Oklahoma State with a chance to simply show that they were effective at staying out of their own way...didn't happen.
March 1st, 2011 by Raphielle Johnson
Despite an overall record of 19-9 and an SEC record of 11-3 Alabama is still in need of wins to ensure their presence in the field of 68. Why? Further inspection of their schedule provides the reason, with a non-conference schedule that boasts some bad losses and the mixed fortune that comes with playing in the SEC West. On the line tonight is at least a share of the overall SEC title as the Crimson Tide visits Florida (22-6, 11-3) in their lone regular season meeting.
February 25th, 2011 by Raphielle Johnson
Just a month ago the question was not just whether or not Gonzaga would get to the NCAA Tournament but also if their run atop the West Coast Conference was coming to an end. But what's said on the outside doesn't have to be accepted inside of a locker room, that's been the case for Mark Few's team as they've hung around. The end result was the chance to pull into a tie for first place, an opportunity the Bulldogs took full advantage of in their 89-85 overtime win at Saint Mary's.
February 23rd, 2011 by Raphielle Johnson
There comes a point in many teams' season where they're faced with a choice: fold up the tent and accept the result, or put up a fight in the face of adversity. That point for Tennessee may have come at the 13:02 mark in the second half, as a Festus Ezeli dunk extended Vanderbilt's lead to 42-31 in front of a raucous crowd at Memorial Gym. Bruce Pearl called a 30 second timeout, making sure to also send Melvin Goins, Tobias Harris and Scotty Hopson back into the game, and from that point forward the Volunteers outscored Vanderbilt 29-9 and winning by the final score of 60-51.
February 22nd, 2011 by Raphielle Johnson
While Vanderbilt (20-6, 8-4) would need a lot of help to catch Florida atop the SEC East standings there's still the matter of sewing up a first round bye in next month's SEC Tournament, and they can move one step closer with a win over Tennessee (16-11, 6-6) Tuesday night. Tennessee won the first meeting between the two, with the Volunteers slumping at the time and needing a second-half revival of sorts (combined with some poor decisions from the Commodores) to pull off the comeback.
February 17th, 2011 by Raphielle Johnson
The game between Purdue and Wisconsin was a big one as the two teams were tied for second place in the Big Ten with matching 9-3 league records. Add in Wisconsin's 66-59 win over the Boilermakers just 15 days prior and the rematch in West Lafayette was even more important for Matt Painter's team. And they rose to the occasion, turning the ball over just four times and limiting the Badgers to 3-for-19 from beyond the arc in winning 70-62.
February 14th, 2011 by Raphielle Johnson
Many fans and pundits alike felt that Ohio State's trip to Madison would be the point where they'd suffer their first loss of the season. But after a first half that didn't do much to separate either team those prospects didn't look good as Thad Matta's group went on a 23-6 run to push their lead out to 15 points with 13:21 left in the game. Thankfully for the Badgers Jordan Taylor and company had other ideas, answering with a 30-8 run of their own and eventually going on to win 71-67 at the Kohl Center.
February 11th, 2011 by Raphielle Johnson
Outperformed, outworked and outclassed. That would sum up what happened to the Connecticut Huskies in the second half at Madison Square Garden, where the St. John's Red Storm built upon the momentum gained from a Malik Boothe buzzer-beater before halftime to win 89-72 in one of their best performances of the season. Just days after scoring 32 points in a losing effort at UCLA, Dwight Hardy once again lived up to his nickname ("Buckets") in scoring a new career-high 33 points and D.J.