Thursday's Big Games
The big winner on Thursday has to be St. John's. The Red Storm not only added a 5th RPI top 25 win, but they dominated the Huskies with a second half ambush. Unless there is a complete breakdown, St. John's has proven they belong and may have leapt Cincinnati for the time being in the Big East pecking order. At least until Sunday when the teams meet at Cincinnati. Connecticut on the other hand, lost for the 3rd time in 4 games and still has to contend with possibly the toughest remaining schedule in the nation. Their big early season wins will not be ignored, but a limp to the finish would definitely impact their seed.
Vanderbilt held off Alabama 81-77, denying the Tide a bid-sealing road win. Washington got back on track, crushing California by 32. Illinois got a huge road win for their resume, dropping Minnesota on Thursday. The Gophers fell to 5-7 in league play and need to navigate a fairly manageable schedule down the stretch.
The biggest losers were barely bubblicious teams in Penn State, California and Washington State. The Nittany Lions failed to show up in East Lansing, potentially getting Sparty back on track. As mentioned above, Cal did less than show up. Washington State may still have had the worst loss of the three losing at home to Stanford. The PAC-10 is clearly a 3-bid league.
The Weekend's Games
The weekend is always full of key games, and this weekend will be no different.
Syracuse at Lousiville - both teams could use this one to improve their seed
Kentucky at Vanderbilt - a battle for second best in the SEC - the teams meet Saturday in Nashville, but a game in Lexington also remains
North Carolina at Clemson - a chance for the Tigers to notch an NCAA worthy victory
Maryland at Boston College - just one game of many between ACC bubble teams down the stretch
Temple at Dayton - the last hurrah for the Flyers or a decent road win for the Owls
Ohio State at Wisconsin - will #1 finally take one on the chin and suffer the same fate as the football team?
Old Dominion at VCU - a huge game in the Colonial as VCU goes for the season sweep of the Monarchs
Mississippi at Alabama - two SEC bubblicious teams meet in Tuscaloosa
Baylor at Texas - the Bears could use a signature win to impress the committee
Tennessee at Florida - the Gators try to separate themselves from the rest of the SEC
Southern Miss at Memphis - a chance for both to make their case for potentially one C-USA at-large berth
Oklahoma State at Nebraska - the Huskers are likely NIT bound, but the Cowboys need this to avoid joining them
San Diego State at UNLV - the Aztecs get another chance to show they are for real
Kansas State at Colorado - the Wildcats need to put the off-court problems aside and add a good road win
Pittsburgh at Villanova - for Pitt, another game to solidify a #1 seed. for 'Nova, a chance to grab the #4 spot in the Big East pecking order
New Mexico at Colorado State - a Mountain West game that is the very definition of bubblicious
St. John's at Cincinnati - with West Virginia reeling, this game could be for the #8 slot in the Big East
Marquette at Georgetown - the Golden Eagles need a key road win, the Hoyas are smoking hot right now
Purdue at Illinois - the Illini continue to navigate a tough closing schedule
Xavier at Duquesne - some still think the Dukes are NCAA worthy - this game will give them a chance to prove it