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Saturday Notes – February 25, 2017

February 26, 2017 Columns No Comments

While Saturday was, as usual, a very busy day, it was one of the last games of the day that will lead the way. Gonzaga tried to finish the regular season undefeated, but BYU came into Spokane and shocked the Bulldogs. It was mainly a shocker because it was on the road and Gonzaga ran out to a big early lead.

There was much more, though. The Pac-12 had a big showdown, and there were plenty of key bubble games. The regular season has come to an end for a number of conferences, with others set to finish up on Sunday or Monday.

Here are notes from some of the day’s games for the last time this season:

BYU 79, Gonzaga 71: An incredible comeback by the Cougars after a start that could easily have buried them. The Bulldogs have lost six games at home the last three seasons, and three have come at the hands of BYU.

UCLA 77, Arizona 72: The road team wins both games between these two, and now we hope to get a rubber match between these two in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Oregon 75, Stanford 73: Two close calls on the road for Oregon, but both go down as wins and that’s what matters most.

North Carolina 85, Pittsburgh 67: The Tar Heels clinch the ACC regular season title, a pretty good accomplishment considering how strong the ACC is this year.

Florida State 76, Clemson 74: Another day, another tough close loss for Clemson. It’s the story of their season. Through all of this, you hope Brad Brownell’s job is not in danger.

Miami 55, Duke 50: Miami continues to play well of late, while Duke loses their second straight.

Virginia 70, NC State 55: Virginia needed to get back on track, and lately NC State has been a good team to get well against, even in Raleigh.

Villanova 79, Creighton 63: The Wildcats will almost certainly take over the top spot in the polls on Monday morning, but more importantly, they are playing very well while Creighton goes to 4-6 since Maurice Watson Jr.’s injury.

Kentucky 76, Florida 66: A very different game than the Wildcats’ visit to Florida, where the Gators dominated them. Malik Monk had 33 points in this one after being a non-factor in the first meeting.

Kansas 77, Texas 67: 13 straight Big 12 regular season titles. Nothing more needs to be said.

Oklahoma State 80, Texas Tech 63: If you still thought the Red Raiders could be classified as at-large hopefuls, no more. It’s Big 12 championship or bust for them.

Michigan 82, Purdue 70: A big win for Michigan at a good time, and one that certainly strengthens their NCAA Tournament case.

Iowa 83, Maryland 69: This makes two home losses by double digits this week for Maryland, something that doesn’t happen very often.

South Carolina 82, Tennessee 55: This is a blow to the Volunteers’ at-large hopes, simply put. A win would have helped, but a blowout loss really hurts.

Oklahoma 81, Kansas State 51: Speaking of a blowout loss hurting a team clinging to NCAA Tournament at-large hopes…

Providence 73, Marquette 69: Providence continues their hot streak to get to 8-8 in Big East play, and they continue to play their way into the NCAA Tournament conversation.

Rhode Island 69, VCU 59: Could the Rams still have some hope of an NCAA Tournament at-large bid? This helps, but the home loss to Fordham last week still stings just like the close losses to Dayton. As soft as the bubble is, they just might still have a chance.

Illinois State 63, Northern Iowa 42: An impressive close to the regular season for the Redbirds as they earn the top seed in the Missouri Valley Tournament for the first time in 20 years.

Ole Miss 80, Missouri 77: The Rebels aren’t a serious at-large contender, but they do clinch another .500 or better season in SEC play, continuing a pretty good run under Andy Kennedy.

Colorado State 56, San Diego State 55: The Rams continue their impressive run despite lots of adversity and limited numbers.

Georgia Southern 72, Arkansas State 60: A big road win for the Eagles to move into a tie for second in the Sun Belt with Georgia State.

UNCW 74, Northeastern 65: With two straight CAA regular season titles at UNCW, Kevin Keatts is going to be a hot name for coaching vacancies. A win in Charleston a week from Monday night will make that the case even more so.

Vermont 66, Stony Brook 51: Vermont becomes the first team in America East history to go undefeated in conference play. Once upon a time, this, as well as their long run as one of the conference’s signature programs, was unthinkable.

Mount St. Mary’s 77, St. Francis Brooklyn 62: This is the first regular season NEC title for The Mount in 21 years.

Princeton 75, Cornell 60: For now, the Tigers clinch a share of the Ivy League title. With Harvard also winning, they will have to wait to clinch the title outright.

UNC Asheville 63, Liberty 45: This was the big matchup that involved two of the three teams that entered the day tied atop the Big South, and UNC Asheville didn’t leave much doubt about this one in bouncing back from the loss to Gardner-Webb two nights earlier.

Winthrop 93, Presbyterian 56: Even with the big game in Asheville, Winthrop earns the top seed in the Big South Tournament and gets to host.

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