13) NC State 88, Duke 66:
— Sunday, Wolfpack lost to a sub-par Boston College team
— This game, they ran the Blue Devils off the floor.
— Saturday, they host Florida State, another top 25 team.
To win the national title, you have to win six games in a row; not sure how many teams there are in this year of incredibly erratic play that can play well six games in a row.
12) Seton Hall 74, Butler 72— Pirates scored on a lob pass on an out-of-bounds under play with 0:00.6 left to win this game, after they blew a 5-point lead with 0:35 left. Butler lost for fourth time in last six games, despite shooting 58.8% inside arc.
11) Sounds like the NFL is expanding the playoffs to 14 teams next year, so the #1 seeds in each conference will be the only teams to get a first-round bye.
10) Mississippi State 79, South Carolina 76— Bulldogs won eight of last 11 games, are 8-5 in SEC as they try to get off the NCAA bubble.
Miss State coach Ben Howland got UCLA to the Final Four three years in a row, from 2006-08, never won the national title, and wound up getting fired after a 25-10, 13-5 season in 2013. He’s a really good coach; Starkville ain’t the easiest place to win. Would be impressive if Miss State makes it to the NCAAs this year, with experience team #287.
9) East Tennessee State 75, Furman 66— Buccaneers improve to 12-3 in SoCon, lead Furman and NC-Greensboro by game. In five years under Steve Forbes, ETSU is 124-47, 68-19 in conference games. How the hell has some big $$$$ team not hired this guy?
8) Stephen F Austin could be a very nervous team on Selection Sunday, unless they win the Southland Conference tournament. Lumberjacks are 23-3, have run away with the regular season title in Southland, and they won 85-83 in OT at Duke Nov 26. Big win.
But SF Austin is ranked #110 on KenPom, nowhere near the bubble; they lost by 12 at Rutgers, by 10 at Alabama, two losses that look better now than they did then- they also lost a league game in Corpus Christi, a bad loss.
If the Lumberjacks were to get upset in the Southland tourney, I’d still much rather see them in the NCAAs than the 10th or 11th place team in the Big 14. Don’t think it’ll happen, though.
— Central Florida (+11) 89, Cincinnati 87, 2OT
— Texas A&M (+10.5) 74, Alabama 68
— George Washington (+10) 70, Duquesne 67
— Lamar (+8.5) 77, Sam Houston State 65
— Tulane (+8) 80, SMU 72
— VMI (+8) 74, Western Carolina 71
— NC State (+7.5) 88, Duke 66
— Indiana (+6.5) 68, Minnesota 56
— Incarnate Word (+6.5) 65, McNeese State 59
6) Michigan 60, Rutgers 52— Scarlet Knights are much improved at 18-9, 9-7 in conference, but they look like they practice without a basketball. Rutgers is shooting 29.8% on arc (#318), 65.2% on arc (#320). No bueno.
5) Miami 102, Virginia Tech 95, 3OT— Kameron McGusty scored 21 points in 44:00 for Miami, and he didn’t start. Teams combined to make 53 of 60 foul shots. Hurricanes led by 12 early in second half, needed 3 OT’s to break their 6-game road losing streak.
Tech led by 7 with 4:35 left, but lost for sixth time in last seven games.
4) Someone posted a video on Twitter Wednesday; Bogdan Bogdanovic of Sacramento Kings, making 90 foul shots in a row at practice- they actually just showed him missing the 91st foul shot, but you get the idea. The skill level of NBA players is underrated, how hard they work to become as good as they are.
3) Drake 77, Valparaiso 75 OT— Bulldogs were up 18 at the half, survive in OT and improve to 18-10, 8-7 in Missouri Valley. Drake is on its fifth head coach in eight years; they’re 20-13 in MVC in two years under Darian DeVries.
2) ESPN runs a promo for SportsCenter during the NC State-Duke game, what is their big promo? Lebron James? Astros? Drew Brees? The Wilder fight this weekend?
Nope, they hype an interview with Zion Williamson, who would be on the network less if his mother ran ESPN. Enough already with the kid, at least for a while.
1) They called a flagrant foul on a Duke player early in the 2nd half last night; players were under the basket, jockeying for position, nothing major, but the NC State kid got slapped in the face, and they called it a flagrant foul. Rule makers are making basketball a much softer game, and I don’t think it helps the game— too many whistles, too many replay reviews.