One of the dangers of conference tournaments at the mid-major level is that the top seed, regardless of the margin by which they won the regular season title, are just 40 minutes away from seeing their dream of going to the NCAA tournament vanish. While there's still a chance as the Field of 68 won't be announced for another six days Iona and Middle Tennessee no longer have control of their own fate, and that has to be a concern for both fan bases along with the players and coaches.
Over the last 6 years, the highest RPI team not to make the field has consistently come from a non-BCS conference. In fact, over the last three years, the committee became even more biased. At least the 5 best RPI teams not to make the field were "mid-majors".
A week after being outclassed at home by first-place Saint Mary's there was no ignoring the importance of BYU's game against Gonzaga, especially if the Cougars were to remain alive in the race for second place in the WCC. Dave Rose's team responded as good teams should, taking control of the game with an 11-4 run to close out the first half on their way to an 83-73 victory. The frontcourt matchup proved to be the difference as BYU's duo of Noah Hartsock and Brandon Davies outplayed Elias Harris and Robert Sacre, with Hartsock's 24 points and 14 rebounds leading the way.
To say that there were some complaints about the "quality" of Saturday's schedule would be an understatement as many felt that the college basketball slate wouldn't provide much intrigue. But once again college basketball didn't disappoint the fans, with the big result being Iowa State's 72-64 win over #5 Kansas. The Cyclones won despite turning the ball over 19 times by getting to the foul line and controlling the boards. ISU attempted 34 free throws (making 25) to just sixteen for the Jayhawks (who made ten) in handing the visitors their first Big 12 loss.
There weren't many opportunities to watch ranked teams play each other (there was just one, which is discussed below), but Saturday's slate provided many teams the chance to improve their resumes. Florida State and Northwestern took full advantage of their opportunities as they both knocked off Top 10 opponents at home, albeit in different ways.