NBA All-Star weekend may have grabbed a lot of attention in the basketball world, but there was plenty going on in the college game. Saturday featured a few conference showdowns of note, either with first place on the line or between two contending teams. What stood out overall, though, were teams either coming back to life with a big win or teams re-asserting themselves as teams to beat.
A few races, like the Atlantic 10, Big South and Patriot League, remain tight. Saturday didn’t change much there.
With that, here’s a look at notes from some of the day’s games.
Pittsburgh 89, North Carolina 76: Just when you might have been ready to move the Panthers out of the NCAA Tournament discussion, they get a convincing win like this over a good team. Pittsburgh shot 64.9 percent from the field, the highest UNC has allowed in the three-point shot era.
Virginia 61, Wake Forest 60: A week after Justin Anderson went down, the Cavaliers nearly lose to Wake Forest. Give the Demon Deacons credit, though, as they have pushed several teams in ACC play.
Florida State 57, Georgia Tech 53: Georgia Tech loses another close one – seemingly the story of their season.
Kansas 74, Baylor 64: The Jayhawks get closer to another Big 12 title and conclude a tough week for the Bears.
Iowa State 79, West Virginia 59: A terrific bounce-back for the Cyclones after losing at Oklahoma earlier in the week.
TCU 70, Oklahoma State 55: While TCU finally beat someone good, this is a big loss for Oklahoma State as they had been on a role and don’t have a lot of room for error.
Kansas State 59, Oklahoma 56: The Wildcats needed this one badly. They could use more wins to solidify their NCAA Tournament resume given that they’re still below .500 in Big 12 play.
Michigan State 59, Ohio State 56: Michigan State goes a half game ahead of the Buckeyes into third place. No one will catch Wisconsin at this point, but the Spartans are positioning themselves well.
Maryland 76, Penn State 73: Maryland has survived a few of these, but a win is a win and the Terrapins are 9-4 in the Big Ten.
UCLA 72, Oregon 63: Both teams are now tied at 8-5 in Pac-12 play, and both have work to do for the NCAA Tournament.
VCU 79, George Washington 76: A big win for VCU to re-assert themselves in the Atlantic 10. In fact, it’s about as big a win as it is a loss for George Washington, which had has a disastrous stretch that included a loss at Duquesne.
Rhode Island 81, Saint Louis 68: The Rams keep pace with three others in a four-way tie atop the Atlantic 10 at 9-3. As important as the bottom line is that two freshmen played big roles: Jared Terrell with a game-high 21 points and Jarvis Garrett with a game-high five assists.
UMass 82, Duquesne 74: This isn’t a quality win, but the Minutemen stay hot and avoid a bad loss, something George Washington couldn’t do against the Dukes a few nights earlier.
Davidson 77, La Salle 69: Davidson keeps pace with others in the Atlantic 10 with this road win.
San Diego State 72, Colorado State 63: The Aztecs had a big week against a pair of contenders, winning at Wyoming and now against Colorado State.
Villanova 68, Butler 65: Two straight road wins for Villanova to start a decisive stretch with five of seven on the road, and both against top challengers Providence and Butler. Not a bad week for Jay Wright’s team.
Providence 69, Seton Hall 62: Seton Hall is in trouble now, as they fall to 5-8 in Big East play and miss out on a chance for a quality road win.
St. John’s 78, Xavier 70: St. John’s has a ways to go, but evening their Big East record at 6-6 with this road win certainly helps.
Texas A&M 63, Florida 62: A nice win for Texas A&M, and it puts Florida in a lot of trouble. The Gators are looking like an NIT team at best.
LSU 73, Tennessee 55: Tennessee may be fading, as they are 6-6 in SEC play and this one came in Knoxville.
Auburn 69, Georgia 68: This one hurts Georgia, as the Bulldogs don’t have a lot of room for error and it came at home.
SMU 73, Connecticut 55: SMU continues to have success despite a lot of adversity, convincingly winning this one over the Huskies, who look more and more like an NIT team.
Tulane 50, Cincinnati 49: Cincinnati has battled gamely without Mick Cronin since December, but recent losses to East Carolina and now this buzzer-beater (at home) mean it’s a championship or bust as far as reaching the NCAA Tournament is concerned.
Delaware 73, William & Mary 70: Delaware sweeps William & Mary, the CAA leaders, and they won at Northeastern last week. The Blue Hens will be a dangerous team in Baltimore in three weeks.
UNCW 66, Northeastern 61: Free throws hurt the Huskies again, and with that UNCW takes advantage and ties William & Mary atop the CAA.
Murray State 94, Southeast Missouri State 92 (OT): The Racers clinch the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title as they move to 13-0.
Navy 70, Colgate 69: The Patriot League continues to be wacky, as Navy gets this win with a late run on the road.
Radford 62, Presbyterian 56: The Big South remains a tight race, but with this win Radford moves into a three-way tie at 10-4. Three more are right behind at 9-5.