13) Something to consider when filling out your brackets next month:
There have been only six national champions who didn’t win either:
a) the regular season title in their league, or
b) the conference tournament in their league. One or the other.
Last two teams to do it: UConn in 2014, Duke 2015.
12) North Carolina 99, Louisville 54:
— Louisville has had two COVID pauses; they lost by 37-45 points in their return games.
— Apparently Louisville requested this game be moved to Sunday, so they could have a couple more players eligible to play. North Carolina declined; will there be hard feelings?
11) West Virginia 84, Texas 82:
— Texas led 62-43 with 18:18 left in the game.
— Two Longhorn players had to be separated from each other during a timeout with 15:52 left to play. West Virginia outscored Texas 34-18 the rest of the game.
— Texas is 3-5 in its last eight games.
— West Virginia was 26-37 on the foul line, Longhorns 4-10.
10) Arizona 81, USC 72:
— Loss snaps Trojans’ 7-game win streak.
— Arizona has five starters, from five different countries.
9) South Alabama 56, Appalachian State 54:
— Jaguars have won 8 in a row, the last seven by 6 or fewer points.
— South Alabama played 6 guys in this game; that almost never happens.
— Kayo Goncalves was 6-16 from floor; all 3-pointers. No foul shots.
8) Michigan State 78, Indiana 71:
— Spartans are 11-9 overall, 5-9 in the Big 14.
— Michigan State hasn’t missed the NCAA’s since 1997.
7) Upsets of the Day (it was an upsetting day):
— George Mason (+11.5) 79, VCU 76 OT
— DePaul (+11.5) 88, St John’s 83
— Cal-Fullerton (+9.5) 67, Cal-Irvine 64
— Eastern Illinois (+8.5) 76, Austin Peay 69
— Cal-San Diego (+7.5) 83, Cal-Riverside 82
— Marist (+7.5) 51, Saint Peter’s 50
— Arizona (+7.5) 81, USC 72
— Kentucky (+7.5) 70, Tennessee 55
6) Washington State 85, Stanford 76, 3OT:
— Stanford didn’t score in the third OT.
— Wazzu trailed by 8 in 2nd half; they were 13-40 on the arc, 14-35 inside arc.
— Costly loss for Stanford, which is squarely on the bubble.
5) Syracuse 75, Notre Dame 67:
— Notre Dame was up 59-39 with 16:49 left in the game.
— Buddy Boeheim (yes, his son) scored 29 points.
4) Hornets 102, Warriors 100— Draymond Green got two technicals with 0:09 left, and Golden State up two; this is not ideal. Charlotte made the two foul shots, tied the game, then won it on a jumper from the corner as time expired.
Golden State isn’t a great team anymore; they’re 16-15, a marginal playoff team. Giving away games like this one is damaging.
3) LSU 104, Auburn 80— Auburn is #346 in experience, #34 in tempo. They’re fun to watch, but they’ve been getting pounded, giving up 80+ points in seven of their last eight games.
This game had a total of 166, the biggest total in a college game this season, and it went over, by 18 points. ESPN’s Dalen Cuff was openly talking about the total on air during the game, which is unusual. Seems like ESPN is trying very hard to promote their show Daily Wager.
2) Baylor is 17-0 and is heavily favored to make the Final Four, but they haven’t played in three weeks; how many games will Baylor need to play before the tournament, to get their legs back, if they’re going to make the Final Four?
NCAA Tournament starts March 18-19, that’s 25 days from now.
1) Selection Sunday is three weeks away; I have no idea what’s going to happen between now and then, and neither do you. This is unchartered territory; games will be added to schedules on the fly, some teams won’t want to add games, because they’re secure in the Field of 68.
One thing to remember going forward; every player can come back and play next season; no one loses any eligibility. If you think this regular season has been weird, wait until the transfer season begins this spring.