By Matt Norlander
If anyone can explain what the hell Bo Ryan is doing, please drop a note. (Update here.) Until then, here's everything you need to know about Sunday in college basketball ...
Game of the Night: Wisconsin is determined to confuse and confound us for the rest of the year. Winning at Ohio State likely ensured the Buckeyes won't get a one seed. As for UW, it's just as likely to fall 49-46 to Illinois is its schedule finale on March 4. Jared Berggren, a 6-10 Badgers junior whose last name comes so close to being a palindrome it hurts, scored Wisky's final five points and essentially handed the Big Ten regular-season title to ... Michigan State. If Sparty beats Indiana or Ohio State it takes its third banner in four years.
Win to brag about: Miami found out it couldn't play with big man Reggie Johnson due to NCAA violations, then had to suit up a few hours later against Florida State. The Hurricanes responded by putting up their second-best performance of the year, knocking off FSU 78-62 and very much keeping themselves amid the bubble conversation. Durand Scott, one of our fringe guys in the top 100 players in college hoops before the season began, came off the bench and supplied 17 points, a team-high for UM.
Loss to hide from: When you lose 46-45 the way Cincinnati lost 46-45 to a South Florida team that won 46-45, it's a reputation-tarnishing transgression. No, USF isn't in the tournament field with that win, but is Cincinnati in worse position, and behind the Bulls, with this loss? That horrid non-con kills Cincinnati, which has a decent scalp collection within the Big East. But the Selection Committee was most definitely watching that game today -- so long as they didn't barf themselves into fainting -- and it couldn't have been impressed. Cincy needs a really nice, definitive win over a tournament team to feel safe.
Player who deserves improper benefits: Meyers Leonard will make millions in the NBA one day. He had 22 points and 13 rebounds and stopped Illinois' six-game losing streak. Seeing Leonard play is like watching a sculptor slowly take a tiny hammer and make out the muse for a statue. Leonard's getting closer each week to the player he knows he can be.
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Billy Crystal. Because seriously, who's making these decisions and when can their great grandchildren come to distract them?
Numbers don’t lie
- 33-0. That was Iona's run against defensive-minded, slog-it-through-molasses-basketball
- 32. In 1980, 32 years ago, Wisconsin had its last road win against a top-10 AP Big Ten team. Then today happened.
- Jared Sullinger had three assists; it was the first time since Nov. 25 he's had more than two.
Three other games of note:
- Remember that one week like 17 days ago when people thought Pitt was destined to play its way into the field? Cute times. Louisville 57, Pittsburgh 54. Russ Smith went for a Cards-high 18 points because it's only Pittsburgh.
- I give Indiana credit for winning by 19 at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers -- who were a tournament team last year; can you believe it? -- had made their way out of bubble talk, but this was still a slippery spot for IU. It was only the second third league road win for Tom Crean's team this season.
- The Pac-12 is determined to remain an existential impressionist comedy to the end, and I think we all owe it a bit of gratitude for that unflinching determination.
- That hilarious, tongue-in-cheek talk about Iowa having a chance at the NCAAs ended Sunday afternoon. Probably for the best. Hawkeyes-in-the-dance talk was almost as bad as Crystal.
- Stony Brook is your No. 1 seed in the America East thanks to its 55-48 win over Maine.
- Fairfield was so close to beating Iona Friday. It lost. Then it lost Sunday ... to Rider. Now the Stags are a four seed in the MAAC tournament. Been a disappointing season for FU.