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Thursday, February 25, 2010
TMA: Wave goodbye

By Eamonn Brennan

The Morning After is our semi-daily recap of last night's hoops. Try not to make it awkward.

No. 3 Purdue 59, Minnesota 58: We'll get to the implications of Robbie Hummel's injury -- the extent of which is still unknown -- and the effect it will have on the Boilermakers' tournament hopes, later. For now, there is one main consequence of last night's one-point Purdue win in Minneapolis: the Gophers, as an at-large team, are effectively done. This is unfortunate for Minnesota fans, of course. It's also kind of a bummer for anyone convinced that Minnesota has played better than their record in 2009-10 -- they have. Roster issues have crippled Tubby Smith's lineup for much of the year and turned what could have been a Big Ten contender into what is now a near-lock for the NIT. Robbie Hummel will be the thing we remember from last night's thriller; the death of Minnesota's season, however, is its most immediate consequence.

Notre Dame 68, No. 16 Pittsburgh 53; No. 8 Villanova 74, South Florida 49: Last night was a night for fringe bubble teams to make their respective cases in simultaneous fashion, and perhaps no two teams were more similar than Notre Dame and South Florida. How'd that end up? Notre Dame blew out Pittsburgh on in South Bend without Luke Harangody. With Dominique Jones, the Bulls went to Philadelphia and were handed a 25-point beatdown. Perhaps most ignominious is South Florida's offensive output against Villanova's usually soft defense -- the Bulls scored .74 points per possession and committed a turnover on 35 percent of their trips; this is not a tournament-worthy output. Meanwhile, Notre Dame still has work to do to get back on the bubble, but a convincing win over Pittsburgh is an awfully good place to start.

No. 18 Temple 49, Dayton 41: Speaking of not scoring any points and thus dooming your ever-dwindling tournament hopes -- ladies and gentlemen, Dayton! The Flyers didn't just fail to score last night. They must have put some sort of plastic top over the rim, like the ones at big sporting goods stores that take all the fun out of shooting the basketball in aisle 42. Dayton scored 13 points in the first half -- 13! -- which might not seem so bad except that Temple was likewise afflicted with shooting woes and scored only 19 points in the first half. Dayton merely needed to play mediocre offense to take what would likely have been a blowout victory over conference a conference rival and a top 25 team. Instead, the Flyers' 28-point second half explosion wasn't enough, and Dayton is looking more and more like one of the few teams in the top half of the A-10 that's not going to be making the NCAA tournament. I mean, really. 13 points?

Everywhere else: A 20-point loss at Boston College is not the best thing in the world for a Virginia Tech team still trying to overcome that horrific nonconference schedule ... North Carolina's silver jerseys didn't add much, as the Tar Heels fell to Florida State in Chapel Hill last night ... Maryland came back from an early deficit to Clemson, exploding for 88 points in the win ... At least for a night, Texas figured things out, topping Oklahoma State by 10 in Austin ... Jimmer Fredette led with 26 as BYU beat up on tourney hopeful San Diego State ... LaceDarius Dunn keyed Baylor to a tough win over Texas A&M ... and a typically brilliant Evan Turner (25 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals, two blocks; try to control your saliva, fantasy basketball players) helped Ohio State avoid an ugly collapse in Happy Valley.