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3-point shot: Grant has Tide rolling

1. Alabama coach Anthony Grant has built up quite a bit of leverage. Grant held his ground on the suspensions of JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell and the Tide has won two straight. Mitchell is done for the season, but Green has been reinstated, though, Grant didn’t play him at Arkansas Thursday night. The Tide, which looked lost and out of the NCAA tournament discussion a week or so ago, are now back in position with three winnable games to close the season against Mississippi State, Auburn and at Ole Miss.

2. Could Iowa make a run to the NCAA tournament? Well, it’s not totally crazy. The Hawkeyes have won two home games in a row over ranked Indiana and Wisconsin as Matt Gatens scored a combined 63 points in two games. What if Iowa were to win at Illinois, Nebraska and beat Northwestern at home to finish 10-8 in the Big Ten? It’s not implausible. The Hawkeyes may be more than a spoiler in the Big Ten tournament. There is a chance the Hawkeyes could be playing their way toward a bid. The beauty of a league like the Big Ten is that the opportunities are still available.

3. Duke has a more favorable schedule than North Carolina. What would really be remarkable is if Duke won the ACC despite losing two conference home games and neither was against North Carolina. But it’s possible. The Blue Devils aren’t going to wow you, but they have risen in the games that mattered most on the road in the ACC. Duke could end up being one of the softest No. 1s among the four, but could earn it if the Blue Devils can get past the Tar Heels in the coming weeks.