|It's not over yet, Northwestern. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday night’s entertaining and landscape-shifting set of games …
Game of the Night: Northwestern got taken to, then beat in, overtime by 13th-ranked Michigan. The Wildcats aren’t out of this NCAA chase, though. I’ll save the majority of the bubble talk for the Poppin’ Bubbles (Borzello, what a predictably awful name you came up with), but it’s key to remember Northwestern still has chances, and if it wins its final three games (Ohio State, at Iowa, at Penn State) and gets one win in the Big Ten tournament, it’s probably getting in.
The game itself was as riveting as 49-all affairs with less than a minute left can be. Michigan played Northwestern's 1-3-1 fairly well and continually hit tough shots. Northwestern did as well. Then the 3-point barrage came in OT, with the Wolverines making three straight and never letting Northwestern flirt with a W.
Win to brag about: Few teams actually do what K-State just did, meaning it walked into a tough road environment desperately needing a prove-it win and getting it. Very impressive by the Wildcats, who are on track for a six seed with the wins they've put together. Rodney McGruder's 24 set the tone, and if he can do that continually? Kansas State can make the Sweet 16.
Loss to hide from: Picking on Illinois here, but man, oh, man did Illinois get dumptrucked at Ohio State tonight. Brandon Paul left the game briefly with an injury, Meyers Leonard got an elbow to the mouth. Buckeys won 83-67 and it wasn't that close.
Player who deserves improper benefits: Because of the field’s relative weakness Creighton is still in OK shape, but man would it have made things a lot hairier if it hadn’t come back at home to beat Evansville 93-92 in overtime. The Bluejays trailed by 14 in the second half thanks to Aces junior Colt Ryan, who went for 43. Forty-three on the road? From a guy named Colt? Love it.
Another player who deserves improper benefits: Kendall Marshall put up 22 points, was 4-of-5 from 3-point range, dished 13 assists and didn't have a turnover in the North Carolina 86-74 win over North Carolina State. It was a game every N.C. State fan not named Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani hated.
Player team who does not deserve improper benefits: 73-55. I don't know. Seton Hall really needed a win (and got a career-best 29 from Jordan Theodore), but there's something so ordinarily boring about Georgetown. Don't trust this team. Remember the Hoyas group that got waxed by Ohio in the first round two years ago? It's not that I think a repeat of that is coming, but this team could still earn a three or four seed and stand a decent chance at getting swiped in its first NCAA game. Nate Lubick is better than he displays himself on a lot of nights. Hollis Thompson only had eight points in this one -- and he wasn't commanding enough.
Numbers don’t lie
- Kentucky finished its win over Mississippi State with a 20-4 run. There's not much for me to write about UK here, as Gary Parrish was at the game and he'll have is no-way-UK-isn't-winning-it-all column up on the site shortly.
- 38:18. Amazingly, that is the 3-point to 2-point ratio Michigan had tonight. Insane. But, worked.
- 32.7 pct and 38.3. According to ESPN, Missouri's two worst shooting performances this season from the field have come against Kansas State.
Other games of note:
- Colorado State defeated New Mexico at home, 71-63. That'll quiet some of the New Mexico horns, but what it really does it keep Colorado State's faint hopes of getting into the dance alive.
- I could have easily placed this in the loss-to-hide-from category, but since it was a road game, and since Miami is Miami, I didn’t. Blowing a lead and losing 75-70 at Maryland was a brutal job, but the Hurricanes aren’t really an NCAA tournament team anyway. I always appreciate when the fringers go out and lose in hideous fashion. Just let the fruit rot a little quicker.
- Virginia got out of Blacksburg with a 61-59 win over the Hokies. The Cavs were always in, but this cemented their status in the NCAAs. Tony Bennett’s team could lose every game until Selection Sunday and it’s still getting in.
- Oh, right. Xavier lost. At UMass, 80-73. Goodman was there and he'll have something up on the blog about it Wednesday morning.
- If you missed it, I talked with Binghamton’s head coach after the Bearcats dodged having the first 0-30 season in college basketball history.
- Will Yeguete's got a broken foot, so he's now believed to be done for the season at Florida. Gators could realistically turn into a five seed before this thing gets to tournament time.
- I do find myself intrigued and unable to pull away from following Butler, which got to 11-6 in the Horizon tonight. This pairs with Cleveland State losing its fifth straight game and relinquishing the Horizon League lead. Truth be told the Bulldogs aren’t a threat for the second weekend this year, but if they do win the league, man would I love to be sent to the region they play in.
- With Cleveland State out, Valpo earns at minimum a share of the title thanks to beating Loyola (Ill) to get to 13-4. Bryce Drew doing a great job in his first year as head coach.