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Saturday Notes – February 28, 2015

March 1, 2015 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments

Amazingly, the calendar now turns over into March on Sunday. This is the last weekend before conference tournaments get going – time flies when you’re having fun. Saturday was one of the busiest days of the year with 150 Division I games on the slate, and a wild one in a couple of conferences whose regular season ended. Then later in the evening, a big showdown lived up to its billing.

The CAA finished with a four-way tie at the top, as William & Mary and UNCW – who entered the day tied for first – both lost, while James Madison and Northeastern – who entered the day a game out of first – both won. It figures to be quite a weekend in Baltimore coming up.

The Big South was similarly dramatic, though there was just one game determining the battle for the top. There, Charleston Southern won a wild triple overtime game against High Point to end the regular season with a tie for the title. And in a race that’s still going, the stage is set for Yale at Harvard on Friday night as both won on Saturday night to stay even atop the Ivy League.

There’s much more to come, but for now, here’s a look at notes from many of Saturday’s games.

Kansas 69, Texas 64: Idle thought: Isn’t it interesting that so many of us (yours truly among them) thought Texas would have a chance to beat Kentucky a couple of months ago? Who would think so today?

Baylor 78, West Virginia 66: Baylor is playing as well as anyone in the Big 12 heading into March.

Kansas State 70, Iowa State 69: Perhaps we might not dismiss the Wildcats from NCAA at-large consideration just yet. They’re not exactly at the front of the bubble team line, but they’ve put together a couple of quality wins lately.

Texas Tech 63, Oklahoma State 62: Speaking of bubble teams, Oklahoma State did themselves no favors in losing to the 3-14 Red Raiders.

North Carolina 73, Miami 64: The Tar Heels really needed a win to get back on track after losing five of seven. This helps; next up is a trip to Georgia Tech, who they blew out earlier this month.

Boston College 79, NC State 63: NC State is not making things easy on themselves. They seemingly expended all their energy for the week at North Carolina on Tuesday, looking like a team that had no energy while BC played perhaps their best game of the year.

Maryland 66, Michigan 56: Maryland does a nice job of protecting their home court this week, beating Wisconsin and now Michigan to stay solidly in second in the Big Ten. Big Ten Coach of the Year should come down to Mark Turgeon and Matt Painter of Purdue.

Kentucky 84, Arkansas 67: Arkansas played Kentucky about even… in the second half. It was too late by then.

Arizona 63, Utah 57: The game of the night lived up to its billing, and the Wildcats pulled it out like champions – and they have clinched a tie for the regular season Pac-12 title.

USC 70, Washington 55: Remember when the Huskies looked like they could challenge Arizona in the Pac-12? That seems like so long ago, when the thought was they would be closer to 12-4 in conference play than 4-12 (their current record) at this point in the season.

Brigham Young 73, Gonzaga 70: A huge win for BYU, their sixth straight and a signature win that comes on the road. They needed this badly, and the road team wins both games between these two this season.

Villanova 78, Xavier 66: A missed opportunity for Xavier, while Villanova continues to distance themselves from everyone else in the Big East.

St. John’s 81, Georgetown 70: The Red Storm had quite a month of February and have really responded to having their backs to the wall. Remember, they were 3-6 in the Big East at one time.

Wichita State 74, Northern Iowa 60: It was sure to come down to these two, and in the end, it’s the Shockers once again coming out on top. Northern Iowa’s loss at Evansville on New Year’s Day makes all the difference.

Dayton 59, VCU 55: A big win for the Flyers on the road pulls them into a three-way tie at the top of the conference and takes VCU out of the top spot.

Davidson 77, George Washington 66: The Wildcats remain on a roll and in a tie atop the Atlantic 10.

Rhode Island 59, La Salle 56: Rhode Island escapes Tom Gola Arena with this one to stay in the tie atop the Atlantic 10.

Tulsa 74, Memphis 72 (OT): Tulsa needed this one to maintain NCAA at-large hopes. They still have work to do, but this was a big one coming on the road and keeps them right there with SMU atop the American Athletic Conference.

Bucknell 71, American 69: The Bison win the Patriot League regular season title and the road to the title goes through Lewisburg.

Colgate 61, Lehigh 55: Colgate had to hold off a Lehigh rally, and in doing so they gave themselves a chance to snag the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament, before Bucknell held on at American.

Charleston Southern 97, High Point 93 (3 OT): A tremendous game with the Big South regular season title on the line, really all you could ask for. Call it the undercard to next weekend’s conference tournament, which should be tremendous.

Bryant 61, St. Francis Brooklyn 51: This is a great way for Bryant to go into the Northeast Conference Tournament: two straight wins to snag the No. 3 seed, and they snapped the regular season champions’ nine-game winning streak.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 61, Sam Houston State 59: There is still a week to go, but Sam Houston is now a game back of Stephen F. Austin in the loss column with the two teams set to meet next weekend.

North Florida 86, Stetson 71: North Florida takes home the Atlantic Sun regular season title thanks to this along with Florida Gulf Coast’s loss at Jacksonville.

UC Davis 68, Cal Poly 54: Add UC Irvine’s loss to UCSB, and UC Davis cliches a share of the Big West regular season title.

New Hampshire 65, Maine 56: Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the job Bill Herrion did with this team. They were no one’s choice to win 11 games in the conference, especially with the production they lost from last season, but they did just that.

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