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The Morning Dish – Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29, 2016 The Morning Dish No Comments

The 2015-16 season will go down as one where you didn’t want to be a highly-ranked team. Sunday was no different, capping a week in which only two teams in the AP top 10 did not lose. On the season, teams ranked in the AP top 10 have now lost a record 73 games in those positions in the poll. There is still one week to go, so that record will probably only grow.

Besides that, ESPN Stats and Info put out another great note later on Sunday, which is that every major conference team has at least four losses on the season. That means we will see just the third time since seeding began that all four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament have four or more losses, with 1990 and 2009 being the others.

Sunday continued this trend with two teams there going down. First, Seton Hall took down Xavier 90-81, which should put the Pirates in the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Kevin Willard. Not long after that, Ohio State beat Iowa 68-64 in Columbus for the Buckeyes’ best win of the season. Ohio State may not be in yet, given that their resume was relatively unimpressive prior to this, but it will go a long way towards putting them in if they can win more the rest of the way.

There were also some other examples on a smaller scale this weekend. Pittsburgh handed Duke a convincing 76-62 win, knocking off a Duke team that had been playing well of late. Houston went to Connecticut and beat the Huskies, a damaging loss for the home team’s NCAA Tournament prospects.

The NCAA Tournament bubble will be very big this season. The selection committee has quite a task, more so than ever this season, as there are many teams that have one reason or another to consider them. It would not be a surprise if one of the last at-large teams to get in goes on a run, or multiple teams among the last four in do that.

The best month of basketball beckons. Given what we have seen thus far, we have every reason to expect a wild month of March.

 

Side Dishes

In other Big Ten play, Wisconsin beat Michigan 68-57 to help secure its spot as a likely NCAA Tournament team, while Michigan State thrashed Penn State 88-57 and Illinois beat Minnesota 84-71 in a battle of also-rans.

The Pac-12 had a busy slate on the day as well. Oregon beat Washington 86-73 to remain perfect at home, Colorado beat Arizona State 79-69, Oregon State rolled over Washington State 69-49 and California remained hot by blowing out USC 87-75.

Another noteworthy result in the Big East is St. John’s getting annihilated 100-59 at Creighton. It ties for the largest margin of defeat in school history and is one more indication of the work Chris Mullin has in front of him in rebuilding his alma mater.

Monmouth had already clinched the top seed in the MAAC Tournament, but wrapped up an outright title by beating Niagara 77-68. They needed that since Iona also won, beating host Canisius 86-78 to finish a game back of the Hawks.

 

Tonight’s Menu

The last Monday before conference tournament play looks a lot like the ones that came before it.

  • In the ACC, North Carolina hosts Syracuse early in the evening.
  • The Big 12 is where the big matchup is, as Iowa State hosts Oklahoma State before Texas hosts Kansas in what should be a dandy.
  • The MEAC, Southland and SWAC all have a busy slate on the evening to keep an eye on.

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