13) Non-basketball note, but a great one: A young man from Central Florida did 20 reps on the bench press at the NFL Combine Saturday, using a prosthetic left hand- the young man has no left hand. Kudos to Shaquem Griffin, one determined dude. Hope you make it in the NFL.
12) Tennessee 66, Georgia 61— Vols were picked 13th in SEC preseason poll; there are 14 teams in the SEC. Instead, Tennessee tied Auburn for the regular season title, with only one senior in the Vols’ 10-man rotation.
11) Hawai’i 68, Cal-State Fullerton 60— This game was delayed for an extra half hour at the half, because a bracket on top of one of the backboards broke, and the school had no replacement.
After consulting with the Big West head of officials, it was decided to lower the baskets that hang from the ceiling (like high school backboards) and play the second half with those baskets, instead of the usual portable backboards. Very unusual.
Shot clocks were on the floor in the corners, the way they were in the NBA 40 years ago.
10) Illinois State 76, Southern Illinois 68 OT— Exciting game in semifinals of Arch Madness in St Louis; Redbirds play top-seeded Loyola in the championship game Sunday.
No one pays to watch the referees: In first half of this game, after a whistle, a ref calls a taunting technical on an Illinois State player; the replay showed he said something to an opponent as they passed each other after the whistle. No physical contact, just quiet talk. LET IT GO!!!
Before that could be sorted out, a second SIU player says something in passing to the Illinois State player who got the T, and a second referee gives HIM a technical. So now we have offsetting technical fouls, when nothing should’ve been called in the first place.
Problem for Illinois State was that the technical on their guy was also his third personal foul, and this was still in the first half. He eventually fouled out in overtime.
9) Miami 69, Virginia Tech 68— Hurricanes won their last four games, by a total of 8 points.
8) Xavier 65, DePaul 62— Musketeers win Big East regular season title, first team other than Villanova to do that since the league re-organized.
7) Upsets of the Day:
Little Rock (+20.5) 72, UL-Lafayette 61 OT
Cleveland State (+13.5) 89, Northern Kentucky 80
Marshall (+11) 76, Middle Tennessee 67
Stanford (+8.5) 84, Arizona State 83
Sacramento State (+8) 88, Northern Colorado 77
Arkansas State (+7) 83, UL-Monroe 79
Texas-El Paso (+6.5) 68, North Texas 66
Hawai’i (+6.5) 68, Cal State-Fullerton 60
6) Texas-El Paso 68, North Texas 66— Mean Green were improved this year; they finish 8-10 in Conference USA, after being 9-27 the last two years— 11 of their 18 conference games this season were decided by 4 or fewer points, or in OT.
5) Stanford 84, Arizona State 83— Sun Devils were 12-0 on Christmas, a top 10 team; they then went 8-10 in the Pac-12, going 3-9 in games decided by 7 or fewer points, or in OT. ASU will be a really tough team to handicap in the NCAAs; I’m assuming they’re going to make it.
4) NC State 76, Louisville 69— Louisville-Florida State is the 8-9 game in the ACC tournament, with both teams going 9-9 in ACC play. Could it be a play-in game?
3) Duke 74, North Carolina 64— Duke outscored Tar Heels 49-29 in second half; they took 20 foul shots (9-20), Carolina took five (4-5). My quick math says Blue Devils were 7-15 on arc in the second half. Teams could meet again next weekend in Brooklyn.
2) Murray State 68, Belmont 51— First bid in the Field of 68 goes to the Racers; over last five years, five different teams have won the OVC tournament.
1— Cleveland State 89, Northern Kentucky 80— Top seed in Horizon goes down in the biggest upset of the day. Norse had beaten Cleveland State by 17-15 points in two meetings during the regular season, but those games don’t matter nearly as much as this one did.