TMA: Seton Hall bows out


The Morning After is our semi-daily recap of the night's best basketball action. Before we move on to today's insanity, here's a quick conference tourney rundown. Try not to make it awkward.

Big East Tournament (four games yesterday): The biggest bubble issue of the day was resolved: If Seton Hall beat Notre Dame, did the Pirates belong in the NCAA tournament? The value for that function is null. Bobby Gonzalez's team was no match for a new-look Notre Dame squad with Luke Harangody back playing meaningful minutes. The former All-American had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return, and for those fans worried that Notre Dame had become a "better" team without its star, well, rest assured. Notre Dame wasn't a better team without Harangody -- just a different one. There's no reason Harangody can't come back and play within that style, and do so effectively. In the late game, Cincinnati came from nine behind to top Louisville, which probably could have used a deep tournament run to boost its wavering NCAA tourney seed a little bit. Instead, the bubble-eliminated Bearcats get a chance to barnstorm the Big East for at least one more day. Marquette outlasted St. John's in yet another close Golden Eagles game, while Georgetown's easy cruise over South Florida set up today's Hoyas-Orangemen matchup in the quarterfinals (not to mention what should be an entertaining NIT return from USF's Dominique Jones).

Big 12 tournament (four games yesterday, too): Nothing surprising happened in the Big 12 yesterday ... except for one thing, one that qualifies as "surprising" to "extremely surprising": Nebraska not only beat Missouri but pounded the Tigers into submission, 75-60. Doc Sadler's Cornhuskers team built on a 16-1 run early in the first half and never looked back, taking a first-round conference tourney win over a team most assume can do some serious damage in the NCAA tournament. How did the Huskers do it? Good old-fashioned domination: They made more shots (posting a 65.9 eFG percentage to Mizzou's 40 percent), rebounded more, and shot more free throws. Pretty simple stuff. Otherwise, the tournament progressed as planned -- Texas Tech topped Colorado, Oklahoma State easily handled the lifeless Sooners, and Texas survived a scare from the lately pesky Iowa State Cyclones, winning 82-75.

In the welcome to the tournament, folks dept. (two games yesterday): Anthony Johnson, prepare for your close-up. The Montana guard scored -- get this -- a career and Big Sky tournament record 42 points, 34 of which came in the second half, 21 of which were the last 21 points Montana scored in the game. All to erase a 22-point deficit to Weber State in the Big Sky tournament final and get the Grizzlies to the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years. That performance was the stuff of college basketball legends; go watch the replay if you don't believe me. Meanwhile, the Northeast Conference will send Robert Morris to the NCAA tournament after the Colonials unseated No. 1 Quinnipiac on the Bobcats' floor Wednesday night. Next goal: Win an NCAA tournament game, something no NEC team has done in 28 years.

Everywhere else: Quickly, today; there's previewing to be done. Just know that Oregon beat Washington State in overtime while you were sleeping, and that Ernie Kent's job continues to exist for at least one more day. And keep an eye on the C-USA tournament. It could have more intrigue than you'd imagine.