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Saturday Notes – February 20, 2016

February 21, 2016 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments
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Another Saturday full of consequential games is in the books. The bubble is very large this year, with so many teams seemingly in the discussion, and unlike other years where that has been the case, this time around it doesn’t represent a large drop-off from teams that are locks at this point for the NCAA Tournament – and to be honest, there aren’t many that you can solidly put in that category just yet, either, although that’s going to change by the time the conference tournaments roll around.

On Saturday, it seemed like for every bubble team that got a big win, there was at least one that lost a game they couldn’t afford to. In the one that doesn’t have a tournament, the top three teams in the Ivy League held serve, so they exit the weekend with one game separating the top three teams.

With that, here’s a look at notes from some of the day’s games.

Oklahoma 76, West Virginia 62: You knew the Sooners were going to bounce back at some point, and they did it in impressive fashion here. Buddy Hield outscored the Mountaineers’ starting lineup all by himself.

North Carolina 96, Miami 71: While I agree with friend and colleague Ted Sarandis that Miami has gotten surprisingly little love for what they’ve done this year, this was a game for them to forget as North Carolina bounced back in a big way.

Texas A&M 79, Kentucky 77 (OT): A tremendous game between these two just like last year in College Station, though a big story is the technical foul that gave the Aggies a chance for a win they really needed given their downward momentum before beating Ole Miss on Tuesday night.

Louisville 71, Duke 64: Duke couldn’t quite complete the recent four-game gauntlet undefeated, but let’s give them credit for going 3-1 with a depleted roster. Matt Jones should be back soon as well, as he warmed up but did not play.

Xavier 88, Georgetown 70: Another missed opportunity for Georgetown to get a quality win, and it wasn’t all that close. The Hoyas look more and more like a team that will at best be NIT-bound.

Baylor 78, Texas 64: The Bears sweep the Longhorns, with this one being a solid win after the Longhorns surely would love to have the first meeting back.

Texas Tech 81, Oklahoma State 71: The Red Raiders needed this to avoid a bad loss, especially given the momentum they have now. At this point, Tuesday’s home date with TCU is the biggest land mine remaining before a possible one in the conference tournament.

UCLA 77, Colorado 53: The Bruins continue to be the enigma of the Pac-12, looking great on this occasion right after getting nipped by Utah.

Indiana 77, Purdue 73: The Boilermakers made a late charge, but it wasn’t enough to give the Hoosiers their first home loss of the season.

South Carolina 73, Florida 69: The Gamecocks needed to bounce back from a thrashing by Kentucky and then a loss at Missouri, and they did just that with a quality win.

Mississippi State 67, Alabama 61: Alabama, on the other hand, right after looking more and more like a team we need to talk about on the bubble, loses a game they can’t afford to.

Tennessee 81, LSU 65: A damaging loss for the Tigers, who already have little room for error and lose a little more.

Georgia Tech 63, Notre Dame 62: What if… what if… what if Georgia Tech had won more close games like this one? Yellow Jacket fans have to simultaneously be happy for a change and wondering what could have been had they pulled out a few more of these.

Pittsburgh 66, Syracuse 52: A nice road win for the Panthers in an old Big East matchup. It probably helps their NCAA cause, but how much is unknown.

Virginia Tech 83, Florida State 73: The Seminoles are running out of room for error with their NCAA Tournament at-large chances, with this setback being the latest blow as they fall to 6-9 in the ACC.

NC State 77, Clemson 74: The Tigers continue to have trouble winning on the road, but this time it comes against a struggling Wolfpack team. This one hurts a little more.

St. Bonaventure 79, Dayton 72: Dayton loses twice this week to bubble teams who really needed to beat them, with this one coming at home. That means the road team won both games between these two teams this season, and the Bonnies are just a game back of the Flyers in the Atlantic 10.

Davidson 99, Saint Joseph’s 93: A few days after they beat Dayton, the Hawks go on the road and take a tough one. It’s not a bad loss, but the Hawks don’t exactly have a big margin for error.

Saint Mary’s 63, Gonzaga 58: Gonzaga was already looking like a “strictly automatic” NCAA Tournament team, and now it should be official. As it is, the Gaels lead the West Coast Conference by virtue of having swept the Bulldogs (the two teams are tied).

Brigham Young 91, San Diego 33: This game stands out just from the score. BYU scored more points in the first half – 39 – than San Diego did for the entire game.

Drexel 74, William & Mary 69: Just two days before this home loss, the Tribe halted UNCW’s 11-game winning streak and grabbed sole possession of second place in the CAA.

USF 80, Memphis 71: How bad has this year been for Memphis? The Tigers, who are 6-8 in American Athletic Conference play, have lost to each of the bottom three teams in the conference after this one.

Hawaii 75, UC Irvine 71: The Rainbow Warriors remain undefeated on the road in Big West play, an amazing stat considering that even good Hawaii teams over the years have struggled on the road.

Winthrop 81, UNC Asheville 80: These two were tied coming into the day atop the Big South, and now it’s Winthrop alone at the top.

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