Upsets Plague Tuesday's Tournament Teams; Help Others
For the second time this season, Kansas State upended Missouri, accounting for two-thirds of the Tigers losses this year. This latest win, along with the Wildcats' road victory over Baylor last week bolsters their resume, bringing them from the wrong-side of the bubble into the field of 68. Just as importantly, K-State has three games remaining, including this weekend's matchup with Iowa State, who stand 1.5+ games in fourth place above the Wildcats in the Big 12 standings. Missouri, on the other hand, put forth their second worst-shooting game of the season, 38.3 percent from the floor, which was only slightly better than the 32.7 percent the Tigers shot last time against the Wildcats of Kansas State; Against all other opponents, Frank Haith's squad averaged 81 points on 51 percent shooting from the floor, but managed to average 63.5 points on 35.8 percent shooting in two tries taking on Kansas State. The loss slightly defeats Mizzou's chances at a No. 1 seed, giving way to Kentucky, Syracuse, Michigan State and now, Big 12 rival Kansas.
Seton Hall rolled to 73 points, including a career-high 29 by senior guard Jordan Theordore to lead four Pirates in double-figures, while Georgetown had exactly zero players with 10+ points. This was the signature Seton Hall needed to bolster its Tournament resume and give the team their first bid since 2006. The Pirates are likely to win out against Rutgers and DePaul, giving them 21 wins, including a 10-8 record in conference with a RPI and strength of schedule in the 30s. Georgetown managed to let the Pirates put on a shooting clinic against their normally stingy defense (61 percent from the field, including 61.5 percent from 3 for the Pirates), which is surprising as the Hoyas were coming off a game where the nationally ranked top ten Hoyas held up-tempo Providence to 25.9 percent shooting from the floor. The loss drops them to fifth in the Big East with some work to do in the conference tournament to get a No. 2 seed in the field.
North Carolina State lost a much-needed signature win against in-state rival North Carolina, while the Tar Heels are inching closer to a No. 1 seed if they can close out the season in Durham with a win over Duke. NC State has lost three in a row to the likes of Duke, Florida State, and now, UNC, dropping the Wolfpack to 0-7 against ranked teams this season.
Last time out, Illinois caught fire, specifically from Brandon Paul, as the Fighting Illini took down Ohio State. This time, the Buckeyes dominated from the opening tip and Illinois had no answers and suffered their sixth straight defeat and ninth in their last ten games; clearly a much different team in the rigors of Big Ten conference play (5-10), then in non-conference (11-2, including ten straight to start the season). The Fighting Illini need to pickup victories in their final three games when they take on Michigan and Wisconsin or do some serious damage in the conference tournament to make amends for their recent woes. The Buckeyes are working their way towards a No. 2 seed, which seems likely at this point given their RPI of 7 and strength of schedule ranking 14th, and they have the means to move up to a No. 1 with a win at home against Wisconsin this weekend and a win over conference-leader Michigan State in East Lansing next week to close out the regular-season.