We’re getting down to crunch time as February draws to a close. Many games on Saturday had implications for NCAA Tournament bubble teams and more could also be big when it comes to seeding for conference tournaments. A few big showdowns were on tap, including ones in the American Athletic Conference and Mountain West, and also out west we saw a team we usually figure to be in the tournament lose another on the road, further throwing their status into question.
Here are notes from some of the day’s games.
Florida 75, Ole Miss 71: Florida is now 14-0 in the SEC after pulling this one out. The Gators just win, and now they are bound for the top of the polls.
Arizona 88, Colorado 61: In a battle of teams that have each lost a key player for the season, the Wildcats blew it open in the second half.
Duke 66, Syracuse 60: Not quite the classic we saw in the Carrier Dome a couple of weeks earlier, but it will be remembered for Jim Boeheim getting run in the final seconds from a questionable call. Syracuse was going to fall from the top of the polls anyway, and they might fall another spot as a result of losing a second straight.
Virginia 70, Notre Dame 49: Your ACC leaders are now the Cavaliers thanks to Syracuse’s loss. The stage is almost set for a big showdown next Saturday. Only a Wednesday night matchup with Miami stands between the Cavaliers and a showdown with Syracuse at John Paul Jones Arena.
Kansas 85, Texas 54: This is Kansas re-asserting themselves as the team to beat in the Big 12. Texas beat them in Austin earlier, but this was never really a ballgame.
Saint Louis 66, George Washington 59: The Billikens just keep on winning, with the streak reaching 19 games after this one.
Louisville 58, Cincinnati 57: Finally, a big game from Montrezl Harrell (21 points, 10 rebounds) and a big shot from Russ Smith bring Louisville even with Cincinnati in the loss column in the American Athletic Conference.
New Mexico 58, San Diego State 44: Now it’s all even at the top of the Mountain West after a terrific effort by New Mexico shuts down the Aztecs and gets 26 points and 11 rebounds from Cameron Bairstow.
Villanova 57, St. John’s 54: It was a battle with one of the best in the Big East hosting one of the hottest, and the former came out on top. Villanova hasn’t lost a game by five points or less all year.
Kentucky 77, LSU 76: This one will go down as a missed opportunity for LSU. A sweep of Kentucky would have been huge for their NCAA Tournament chances.
Wisconsin 79, Iowa 74: The Big Ten gets more interesting as these teams are even in the loss column after this one in Iowa City.
Oklahoma 86, Kansas State 73: The Sooners go a game up on the Wildcats in the Big 12 standings.
Oklahoma State 84, Texas Tech 62: Think the Cowboys missed Marcus Smart? While he wasn’t playing well before the suspension, they certainly missed this version of Marcus Smart, the one who scored 16 points and handed out 10 assists on the day.
Baylor 88, West Virginia 75: Don’t look now, but the Bears have made it to 6-8 in Big 12 play after this road win and still have a win over Kentucky as part of their non-conference resume. They are very much in the conversation right now
Stanford 83, UCLA 74: The Cardinal really needed this one for their NCAA Tournament chances, and they got a big game from Chasson Randle (26 points with seven three-pointers) to pull it off.
San Diego 69, Gonzaga 66: In recent days, talk has picked up about how Gonzaga might not be the NCAA Tournament lock that we always figure they are. Two straight road losses will do that. It’s getting to where they might need to win the conference tournament to be in.
Boise State 91, UNLV 90: This overtime game had a wild ending, as Deville Smith appeared to hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer, but it was waived off and the host Broncos escaped. Derrick Marks scored all 13 of their points in overtime.
Saint Joseph’s 87, Fordham 72: With this road win behind 33 points from Langston Galloway, the Hawks are all alone in second place in the Atlantic 10.
Alabama 80, Missouri 73: This deals a blow to Missouri’s NCAA Tournament hopes. A win wouldn’t have helped much, but losing to a team that was 4-9 in conference play before the day began is even worse.
Marquette 96, DePaul 94: It took overtime, but Marquette continues to win and get back into the at-large picture.
Georgetown 74, Xavier 52: The picture gets even more cloudy among Big East teams with this one. Georgetown keeps its at-large hopes alive while Xavier moves backwards among its bubble brethren.
Southern Miss 77, UTEP 68: Now we have a four-way tie in second in Conference USA as the Golden Eagles rally to take this one. These two, plus Louisiana Tech and Tulsa, are all a game behind Middle Tennessee.
Quinnipiac 90, Niagara 88: The Bobcats keep pace with the other leaders in the MAAC behind a huge game from Ousmane Drame as he had 26 points and 18 rebounds.
American 58, Army 54: A big win for the Eagles over another contender to get back on track after they lost four of five.
Brown 81, Cornell 75: This overtime game is most noteworthy for the stat line that Brown forward Cedric Kuakumensah put up: 30 points and 14 rebounds.
Buffalo 78, Kent State 69: Buffalo continues its run as they reach 10-4 in the MAC behind a huge game from Javon McCrea (31 points, 11 rebounds).