Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday's Shootaround: Were there any bubble teams that didn't play last night?

Purdue 59, Minnesota 58: The Boilermakers kept their hopes of a Big Ten regular season title alive last night as they came back from nine down to beat Minnesota on the road last night. The win was costly, however, as Robbie Hummel looks to have suffered a serious knee injury.

Hummel went down with 7:11 left in the first half and a 26-14 lead. Minnesota blitzed a shocked Boilermaker team, going on a 30-9 run before Purdue figured out what hit them, taking a 44-35 lead with nine minutes left. The Boilermakers still had some fight left. Purdue started to get hot from the perimeter, as JaJuan Johnson and Keaton Grant knocked down jumper after jumper. With 40 seconds left, Lewis Jackson scored on a break to give Purdue the lead. After a tough runner at the other end by Lawrence Westbrook, Keaton Grant hit a pull-up 18 footer with eight seconds left to win it. Devoe Joseph missed a good look at the buzzer.

The loss is crippling to Minnesota's tournament chances. The Gophers now need to win out and make a serious run through the Big Ten tournament if they have any hopes of going dancing.

Baylor 71, Texas A&M 66: Baylor built up a 13 point lead in the middle of the second half last night, but you better believe the Aggies had a comeback left in them. Three times in the final four minutes, A&M was able to cut the lead to one point, and all three times LaceDarius Dunn had an answer. After Donald Sloan hit a three with four minutes left, Dunn rattled home his own triple to push the lead back to four. On the very next possession, BJ Holmes knocked down a three of his own before Dunn once again had an answer, burying a three from the corner. After Sloan once again cut the lead to one in the final minute, in was Dunn's two free throws that pushed the lead back to three with 17 seconds left. All told, Dunn finished with 23 points. Donald Sloan had 22 in the loss. Baylor moves into a tie with A&M in the Big XII standings at 8-5 owning a sweep of tying the season series with Aggies.

Maryland 88, Clemson 79: The Terps got themselves down 15 points early on to a hot shooting Clemson team, but they were able to fight their way back into the game despite a cold-shooting night from Greivis Vasquez. That said, Vasquez does much more than just score, and it was on display last night as he finished with 15 points and 13 assists. Perhaps more important for Maryland was the 20 points they got from Sean Mosley. Mosley is an important player for the Terps, and he has been struggling of late.

Bubble Watch: Who helped themselves last night?

  • Notre Dame 68, Pitt 53: Many people had written off the Irish after they fell to 6-8 in the Big East and as Luke Harangody continues to sit out with a knee injury. Those same people might be back on the bandwagon after ND smoked Pitt at home. The Irish at one point in the second half had opened up a 52-29 lead and were shooting an absurd 10-14 from three. Its not often you see someone lighting up Pitt's D or being shutdown by Notre Dame's D. Take this result with a grain of salt, however. Notre Dame is tough to beat at home. Louisville lost by 30 there last season. Look how that ended up. Tim Abromaitis had 17 to lead ND.

  • UTEP 59, USM 56: The Miners got 17 points a piece from Randy Culpepper and Derrick Caracter as they were able to squeak out a win against a scrappy Golden Eagle team. It wasn't a pretty win for UTEP, but at this point they don't need pretty wins; they just need wins.

  • Marquette 63, St. John's 61 OT: Marquette has been on the wrong side of close games all season long, and it looked like the same might happen last night as Malik Boothe, a 22% three point shooter that had hit just six threes on the season, forced OT with a three ball from the corner. But in OT, Jimmy Butler, who hit a game-winner against UConn three weeks ago, knocked down a tough jumper from the corner at the buzzer for the win. Marquette, who is 5-7 in games decided by five points or less, has won the last four of those games and two in a row on the road in overtime. Overall, they have won seven of eight, and may be the hottest team in the Big East.
  • Florida State 77, UNC 67: For those that weren't blinded by the silver UNC jerseys last night, you got a chance to see Florida State pick up a much needed win against UNC. The ten point final margin doesn't really do justice to how well the Seminoles played. Chris Singleton, who left at least one scout very impressed, led the way with 19 points and 8 boards.

  • Mississippi State 74, Alabama 66: The Bulldogs were just about left for dead a few weeks ago, but they have now won four of five games to get back into serious bubble consideration. MSU's biggest issue is a lack of quality wins. The only team's they have beaten with any shot at the tournament is Old Dominion and Ole Miss. Jarvis Varnado had 17 points, 10 boards, and 8 blocks in the win, setting the all-time blocks record.

  • Cinci 74, DePaul 69: Yancy Gates scored a career high 23 points as the Bearcats were able to hold on against a scrappy Blue Demon's squad. Cincinnati had lost four out of five and, like Notre Dame, was beginning to look like a lost cause. Perhaps more important for Cinci was the 18 points and 10 boards that Lance Stephenson had.

  • UNLV 78, TCU 62: UNLV got 16 points, 7 boards, and 6 assists from Chace Stanback to win a game they had to have. Tre'Von Willis also added 16 points.

  • Ole Miss 85, Auburn 75: The Rebels scored 63 second half points to avoid a crushing loss at home. Chris Warren had 23 of his 26 in the second half. Murphy Holloway had 15 points and 20 boards.

  • Charotte 95, St. Joe's 58: Apparently, Charlotte was upset about losing three in a row. They jumped all over the Hawks early, going up 22-6 and 50-23 at the half.

  • UAB 53, UCF 49: The Blazers avoided a crushing loss on the road to UCF as they got 10 points and 10 boards from Elijan Millsap and 13 points from Dexter Fields.

Bubble Watch: Who hurt themselves last night?
  • Temple 49, Dayton 41: The Flyers suffered a devastating loss last night to Temple. Not only does it drop them to 7-6 and ensure that with a win over Richmond, the Flyers will finished without double digit league wins. But Dayton looked awful doing it. They shot 26% from the floor, settled for jumpers all night, scored just 13 points in the first half, and guaranteed that anyone watching the game came away thinking "Dayton is not a tourney team".
  • Texas 69, Oklahoma State 59: The Longhorns got Dexter Pittman's best performance in weeks as he and Damion James combined for 35 points and 15 boards against a Cowboy team that was playing without their biggest inside player in Matt Pilgrim. The loss isn't exactly terrible for the Pokes -- Texas is not a bad team, and this was a road game -- but tey are now 7-6 in the conference with games against Kansas and Texas A&M. This might have been their easiest resume win (beating Nebraska to close out this season counts for nothing). Will 8-8 get them in? Of note, the Longhorns, playing their first game without their best defender in Dogus Balbay, held James Anderson to just 14 points on 5-13 shooting.
  • Clemson: We talked about the Tigers loss to Maryland already, but we didn't mention our dire the straits are for the Tigers. They are 7-6 in the league and very much on the bubble, and they still have to travel to Florida State and Wake Forest and host Georgia Tech, three teams also fighting for their bubble lives. Clemson may actually miss out of the tournament.
  • BYU 82, San Diego State 68: The Aztecs lost to BYU on the road, which is far from a bad loss. No one has won there in almost 14 months. But it was the Aztecs last chance at a resume building win, and thye desperately needed it. SDSU now may have to reach the finals of the MWC tournament to get a bid. Jimmer Fredette had 26 for BYU.
  • Boston College 80, Virginia Tech 60: So the Hokies didn't show up in Boston last night. The Eagles jumped out to a 15-2 lead, and the game was never in doubt after that. Joe Trapani had all 17 of his points in the first half. Malcolm Delaney had 21 points on just 5-16 shooting, and Tech has now lost two in a row in the league.
  • Villanova 74, South Florida 49: The Bulls may not have even been on the bubble anymore, but after getting smoked by the Wildcats, you can rest assured that they are now. Scottie Reynolds had 21 points to lead Nova.
  • Houston 92, Memphis 75: The Tigers were playing well coming into this one, but they got blitzed by the Cougars from the tip. Aubrey Coleman had 34 points in the win, which all but seals UTEP's regular season C-USA title.
  • Towson 83, William & Mary 77: So the Tribe is now off the bubble. For real this time.
Other notable scores
  • Xavier 73, St. Louis 71: Xavier was able to hold on against a scrappy St. Louis team and move into a three-way tie for first place in the A-10.
  • Ohio State 75, Penn State 67: Evan Turner had 25 points, 7 boards, and 7 assists, but the Buckeyes nearly blew a 17 point second half lead to the Nittany Lions.
  • Stony Brook 82, Vermont 78: A big congratulations has to go out to Stony Brook, who clinched the America East last night after finishing in last place last season.
  • Marshall 77, Rice 54: Another big congrats must go out to Hassan Whiteside, who went for 19 points, 17 boards, and 4 blocks last night, setting the C-USA record for blocks in a season.

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