Blogging Championship Week: Friday

Even though Pitt and UConn both lost in the Big East quarterfinals, they each still have a great shot at a #1 seed. The two Big 12 teams that might have had a case — Oklahoma and Kansas — lost to Oklahoma State and Bayor, respectively. If Louisville goes on to win the Big East Championship, they’re likely to get a #1 seed as well, so it’s possible that the Big East will get three #1 seeds. However, if Memphis, Michigan State, or even Duke wins their conference tourneys, they may leapfrog UConn (or Pitt) for a #1 seed. The only sure-thing when it comes to #1 seeds is that North Carolina is probably safe. (They have bigger worries with Ty Lawson sitting out the ACC tourney opener.)

On the other end of the spectrum, Arizona’s loss to ASU has really put the Wildcats on the hot seat. Their RPI (59) isn’t impressive, though their SOS (31) is. They are 2-1 versus top 25 RPI teams, so that’s something. USC doesn’t have the great wins that Arizona has, but their RPI and SOS are both better and the Trojans’ win against Cal has them back in the conversation. The fact that the three Big 10 bubble teams — Minnesota, Michigan and Penn St. — all won, doesn’t help either team’s chances, either. Michigan looks to be in (Joe Lunardi projects the Wolverines to be a #10 seed), while Minnesota (projected #11 seed) and Penn St. (#12 seed) are still iffy, but as of right now, he says they’re both in.

I’ll discuss the other bubble teams as the games get going today. Be sure to bookmark this post and check back for my thoughts as the scores roll in. Right now, Virginia Tech and North Carolina are doing battle in the ACC quarterfinals while Minnesota and Michigan State are squaring off in the Big 10 quarters. If the Hokies can beat the Ty Lawson-less Tar Heels, it will go a long way towards earning VT a bid. Michigan State is looking for a #1 seed while Minnesota would guarantee themselves a berth with a win over the Spartans.

11:55 PM: I’m signing off for tonight. We’re having a birthday party for my baby boy tomorrow (he’s turning one), so I won’t be blogging. Check back on Sunday for some reaction to the Sat/Sun action.

11:46 PM:
Illinois beat Michigan by 10. I think the Wolverines have done enough to get a bid, but only time will tell. Syracuse looks like they are going to beat the Mountaineers in overtime. Terrific mental toughness by the Orangemen. I’m interested to see how they play tomorrow against a very athletic Louisville team looking to earn a #1 seed. Again, I think that the fact that Syracuse plays zone has helped them deal with seven overtimes in two nights. They simply don’t burn as much energy on that end of the court as teams that play heavy man-to-man. Mizzou put away Oklahoma State. That Baylor/Mizzou matchup in the Big 12 final will have nationwide implications. Auburn beat Florida — the Gators are probably out and Auburn is back on the bubble.

11:40 PM: Duke beat BC by one with some good defense down the stretch. And…believe it or not…West Virginia and Syracuse just went into overtime!

11:20 PM: San Diego State beat BYU, so that strengthens the Aztecs’ argument that they should get a bid. Before the win, Joe Lunardi had the team as the last one in, and with a win over a NCAA team like BYU, you’d think they’d be safe. Arizona State upset Washington in a chippy one. It’s clear these two teams don’t like each other, especially the two point guards. Duke is up three with four minutes to go (ESPN2), Syracuse leads WVU by five with three minutes to play (ESPN), and Missouri is up four with 11 minutes to go (ESPN360).

10:57 PM: I’m perplexed by this Hyundai Assurance Plus program, where they cover your car payment if you lose your job. I would assume that this deal would appeal to people that are worried about losing their job, but my advice would be that if you’re in that situation, it’s not a good time to buy a new car. Buy a used car or keep driving whatever you’re currently driving.

10:48 PM: So much for Dayton helping the bubble teams out by winning the A-10 tourney. Duquesne is up 13 with 2:35 to play, so it’s not looking good. More bad news for teams on the bubble. Some great games going on right now…Duke/BC, Mizzou/OSU, WVU/Syracuse, ASU/Washington and Florida/Auburn are all within four points.

10:21 PM: He’s a heckuva shooter, but Eric Devendorf is really annoying. Stop with all the antics and act like you’ve made a play before. Maybe it’s the tats that bother me…

BC goes into halftime on a 20-5 run and leads Duke by seven. I don’t know what to think of this Duke team. I don’t see them getting out of the Sweet Sixteen, especially if they meet an athletic, well-coached team.

10:16 PM: Finally some good news for the other bubble teams. Purdue is blowing out Penn State. The Nittany Lions probably needed to keep things closer to get a bid, so they will be on the hot seat if they continue to get blown out.

10:03 PM: Good time for hoops fans — we have Duke/BC, ASU/Washington, Syracuse/West Virginia, Florida/Auburn and Oklahoma St./Mizzou. The winner of that Florida/Auburn game will still be alive for a bid, the loser will probably be on the outside looking in.

9:16 PM: Look at Baylor! The Bears beat Texas, so they’ll be heading to the Big 12 final with an NCAA bid on the line. Obviously, if they win, it will be horrible news for the bubble teams. Maryland closed out Wake Forest, so they’re probably going to get a bid.

8:46 PM: Oh boy, Temple beat Xavier. That’s bad news for the bubble teams, as is Maryland’s performance against Wake Forest. Bubble teams really need Dayton to win tonight and to go on and beat Temple in the A-10 final, because the Flyers were going to get a bid anyway. If Temple wins, there will be one fewer at-large bid to be had.

8:33 PM: Maryland is playing with a sense of urgency and Wake Forest isn’t. The Terps are up 13 points with 14 minutes to play, and if they can hold on, they’ll probably earn a spot in the NCAA tourney. Meanwhile, Louisville has a five-point lead with 14 minutes to play.

6:53 PM: Well, the Gamecocks lost to Mississippi State by 14, so that’s going to put them on the hot seat. The Bulldogs are still alive. The Michigan/Illinois game has tipped off, but it’s not on national television. In about five minutes, Villanova/Louisville and Maryland/Wake Forest will tip off. Louisville is playing for a #1 seed while the Terps really need to beat Wake to get back in the conversation for a NCAA bid.

5:05 PM: Bubble team South Carolina is tied with Mississippi State with less than eight minutes to play. MSU is a longshot to make the tourney, but might get a look if they make the SEC final. Joe Lunardi has the Gamecocks as an 11-seed, so a loss will having them squirming on Sunday. A win probably clinches a spot. The game is on ESPN360.

4:56 PM:
More on the OSU/Wisconsin fallout. The win should seal the deal for the Buckeyes. Wisconsin should already be in, but Bo Ryan will be sweating a bit on Sunday. The Badgers have a good RPI (40) and a tough SOS (16), but they’re just 1-3 versus top 25 RPI teams and just 3-6 against teams ranked 26-50. We’ll see…

4:40 PM: Great finish to the FSU/GT game. With the Seminoles down by one with 0:10 to play, ACC Coach of the Year Leonard Hamilton drew up a great out of bounds play that set up Derwin Kitchen for a reverse layup that gave Florida State the lead for good. Ohio State grinded out a win against Wisconsin but got the benefit of a bad call with less than a minute to play. Up two, the Evan Taylor got a rebound and the Badgers trapped. The ref blew the whistle and gave Taylor a time out even though he seemed surprised by the call. (After the call he signaled time out as he ran over to the bench as if he was explaining the call. Weird.) Anyway, there was a four second differential between the shot clock and the game clock and Wisconsin elected to start fouling instead of defending for the possession and hoping for a stop. I don’t like putting people on the line in that situation but far be it for me to second guess my former coach.

4:29 PM: Georgia Tech is giving Florida State a great run. The Seminoles are up three with a buck and change to play (ESPN2). Wisconsin and Ohio State are separated by just two points with three minutes to play. Typical Big 10 battle. The Buckeyes need this game more than the Badgers do.

3:02 PM: Looks like LSU is going to put Kentucky away, which means that the Wildcats’ slim hopes of earning a berth are gone. Wisconsin/OSU have a combined 16 points almost 10 minutes into the first half. Oi.

2:11 PM: It looks like the Spartans are going to put Minnesota away. The Gophers gave them a good run, which should be enough to get Minny a bid. The Gophers have a good RPI (36), SOS (37) and a marquee win against Louisville. The next game in the Big 10 tournament — Ohio State/Wisconsin — should be interesting. A bad loss might put the loser back on the bubble.

2:04 PM: Good news for the other bubble teams — UNC beat VT. The Hokies had the ball down one with 31 seconds left, but failed to get up a shot. Tyler Hansbrough forced a jump ball in the lane with five seconds to play. Greenberg wanted a foul but the replay showed that it was a pretty clean play. This loss should knock Tech out of the NCAA tourney.

1:52 PM: Virginia Tech leads North Carolina by three with two and a half minutes to play (on ESPN). I’m rooting for the Hokies if only to see Seth Greenberg making faces on the sideline next week.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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