Drama doesn't have to wait for March Madness
Team of the Week: Kansas
-- Andy Katz
Editor's note: This edition is only for games played from Monday, Feb. 20, to Sunday, Feb. 26.
More teams that impressed us
-- Andy Katz
Player of the week: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
-- Andy Katz
More performances that wowed us
Quincy Acy, Baylor: 22 pts (7-10 FG), 16 rebs in win at Texas
Nick Barbour, High Point: 44 pts (7-10 3-pt FG) in win over Campbell
Julian Boyd, LIU Brooklyn: 21 pts, 20 rebs in win at Fairleigh Dickinson
Bradford Burgess, VCU: Career-high 31 pts in win over George Mason
Scott Christopherson, Iowa State: 29 pts (10-13 FG, 5-5 3-pt FG) in win at Kansas St.
Jae Crowder, Marquette: 53 pts (20-31 FG), 5 blks, 6 stls in wins over Rutgers, WVU
Jamaal Franklin, San Diego St.: 31 pts, 16 rebs in win over Colorado St.
Chris Gaston, Fordham: 35 pts, 15 offensive rebs, 4 blks in win over La Salle
Matt Gatens, Iowa: 33 pts (12-18 FG, 7-10 3-pt FG) in win over Wisconsin
Reggie Hamilton, Oakland: 62 pts (8-13 3-pt FG), 13 asts in wins over UMKC, USD
Elias Harris, Gonzaga: 19 pts, 16 rebs in win over BYU
Ken Horton, CCSU: 61 pts (22-32 FG), 20 rebs, 8 asts, 10 stls in wins over FDU, Wagner
Kendall Marshall, UNC: 22 pts (4-5 3-pt FG), 13 asts in win at NC State
Preston Medlin, Utah State: 32 pts (11-13 FG, 6-8 3-pt FG), 8 rebs in win over Idaho
Daniel Mullings, New Mexico St.: 28 pts, 12 rebs, 10 asts, 5 stls in win over Hawaii
Charles Odum, Portland State: 38 pts (11-16 FG) in win at Sacramento State
Kevin Olekaibe, Fresno State: 43 pts (14-14 FG) in win over Seattle
Thomas Robinson, Kansas: 28 pts, 12 rebs in win over Missouri
Colt Ryan, Evansville: 43 pts (17-24 FG), 6 rebs, 5 stls in OT loss to Creighton
Parker Smith, North Florida: 46 pts (11-17 3-pt FG) in win over Mercer
Jordan Theodore, Seton Hall: 29 pts (5-5 3-pt FG), 5 asts in win over Georgetown
-- Brett Edgerton
King's observations from the week that was
They said it (or tweeted it)
"I know they sick of me !!!! F.O.E [family over everything]"
-- A tweet from Kansas forward Thomas Robinson after he scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in 87-86 overtime victory against Missouri.
-- A tweet from Missouri guard Marcus Denmon, who scored 28 points but saw his Tigers blow a 19-point lead to KU. "We've got the worst group of seniors right now that I've ever been associated with. Their mentality is awful. Their attitude is awful. It's been their [custom] for the last three years. To come out in a game like this, with no emotion and flat, it's terrible. These guys are stealing money by being on scholarship with their approach to things. When I played, if you acted the way some of these guys did, you got shoved in a locker with a forearm up against your neck and told: 'You don't do that. That's not how we do things at Indiana,' and that's what we need."
-- Lamar head coach Pat Knight following his team's 62-52 loss to Stephen F. Austin. "As a shooter, sometimes you get in those zones, and luckily for me it's going over a few games. You get in that zone and you don't really care who's on you or where they're at. You just want to get the ball and put it in."
-- Kansas State head coach Frank Martin following a 65-61 loss to Iowa State.
-- Myron Medcalf
What's On Tap
7 p.m.: Notre Dame at Georgetown (ESPN)
9 p.m.: Kansas at Oklahoma State (ESPN) Tuesday
7 p.m.: Michigan State at Indiana (ESPN)
9 p.m.: Florida at Vanderbilt (ESPN)
9 p.m.: Xavier at Saint Louis (CBS-SN)
9 p.m.: UCF at Memphis (CSS)
9 p.m.: Weber State at Montana (Altitude) Wednesday
7 p.m.: Maryland at North Carolina (ESPN)
7 p.m.: Marquette at Cincinnati (ESPN2)
7 p.m.: South Florida at Louisville (ESPN3)
8 p.m.: Iowa State at Missouri (ESPN3)
8:30 p.m.: Ohio State at Northwestern (BTN)
9 p.m.: Miami at NC State (ESPN3)
10 p.m.: UNLV at Colorado State (CBS-SN) Thursday
7 p.m.: Michigan at Illinois (ESPN)
7 p.m.: Florida State at Virginia (ESPN2)
9 p.m.: Georgia at Kentucky (ESPN) Saturday
Noon: West Virginia at South Florida (ESPN3)
Noon: Big South title game (ESPN2)
2 p.m.: Ohio Valley title game (ESPN)
2 p.m.: Georgetown at Marquette (ESPN3)
4 p.m.: Louisville at Syracuse (CBS)
4 p.m.: Vanderbilt at Tennessee (ESPN)
7 p.m.: North Carolina at Duke (ESPN)
7 p.m.: Atlantic Sun title game (ESPN2)
7 p.m.: Baylor at Iowa State (ESPN3)
7 p.m.: San Diego State at TCU (the Mtn.)
9 p.m.: Texas at Kansas (ESPN) Sunday
Noon: Kentucky at Florida (CBS)
2 p.m.: Missouri Valley title game (CBS)
4 p.m.: Ohio State at Michigan State (CBS)
6 p.m.: Purdue at Indiana (BTN)
Pickeral on North Carolina-Duke
Memphis (UCF at Memphis): The seemingly wavering Tigers righted their ship with a definitive win at Marshall on Saturday. Meanwhile, UCF held off UTEP -- a suddenly dangerous team that had knocked off Southern Miss and Memphis in the past two weeks -- in the Knights' home building. That win at least kept UCF on the fringes of the bubble picture, but if the Knights are going to overcome their shaky computer numbers, they may have to take down Will Barton & Co. in the FedexForum. Easier said than done, that. St. Louis (Xavier at Saint Louis): If there's such a thing as a signature loss -- the kind of defeat that can take you from safe tourney territory to teetering on the bubble brink -- Saint Louis' loss at Rhode Island on Saturday (RPI: 251) might just qualify. The Billikens are still in the field but if they want to lock it up, they'll probably have to hold off Xavier, a desperate team fighting for its postseason life in this final, frenzied regular-season week. This one should be good. Wednesday
Cincinnati (Marquette at Cincinnati): Will Cincinnati's big wins be enough? The Bearcats have a bunch of quality Big East victories on their ledger, but they also have a prohibitively high RPI number and a really bad nonconference schedule (No. 322, if you can believe it) weighing heavily on their at-large chances. Sunday's loss to South Florida wasn't exactly good news, either. The Bearcats can't do much about their nonconference (or the loss to RPI No. 244 Presbyterian) now; all Mick Cronin's team can do is stack good wins and hope for the best. Wednesday's home date with Marquette is absolutely crucial. Evanston, Ill. (Ohio State at Northwestern): The Wildcats prevailed over Penn State on Saturday; if the season ended today, this team would be making its first NCAA tournament appearance in school history. But the season doesn't end today, and Iowa could very well topple NU on March 3, so Northwestern might want to take this opportunity -- a home game versus a very good, but nonetheless beatable, Ohio State team -- to impress the committee. Raleigh, N.C. (Miami at NC State): The ACC's two outside bubble teams aren't much to look at, resume-wise, and NC State in particular has squandered big opportunities in recent weeks (the come-from-ahead loss at Duke, plus home losses to UNC and Florida State), any of which might have pushed them over the top in the season's stretch run. Now, the Wolfpack are in win-or-go-home mode. The Canes, fresh off a home win over Florida State but without Reggie Johnson, are in a better spot but are far from safe. Fort Collins, Col. (UNLV at Colorado St.): Colorado State is undefeated at home in Mountain West play. If the Rams keep that streak alive Wednesday night, they'll add another really solid win to an at-large resume that has always featured very good RPI and SOS numbers but, until this week's win over New Mexico, boasted few impressive wins to back those numbers up. Meanwhile, despite their recent slump, the Rebels -- a tourney lock -- are still in the hunt for the MWC title, tied with UNM and SDSU at 8-4 with two games left.
Eugene, Ore. (Colorado at Oregon): Can either of these teams sneak in the tournament? The odds of the Pac-12 sealing more than two or three bids -- and right now those bids would belong to Cal, Washington and Arizona -- seem slim. In other words, the loser here is almost certainly done, while the winner would still need to get another win or two, or make a deep Pac-12 tourney run, to get on the right side of the bubble. The Buffs kept their hopes alive with a win over Cal on Sunday. Can they keep it going in Eugene? Friday
St. Louis (MVC tourney begins): The Missouri Valley tournament has a way of providing thrilling basketball even when the conference is down, and that's not the case this season. Wichita State is the nation's best true mid-major, while Creighton boasts a likely All-American in forward Doug McDermott. That duo will have to ward off challengers such as Northern Iowa, Missouri State, Illinois State, Evansville and Drake, all of which finished 9-9 in MVC play and need the automatic bid to get to the tournament. Anyway, long story short: Mid-major conference tournaments are uniformly awesome but the MVC's might be the best. Arch Madness! Saturday
Tampa (West Virginia at South Florida): South Florida got a nice (if ugly) 46-45 win over Cincinnati on Sunday, which moved the Bulls to 18-11 overall and 11-5 in the Big East. West Virginia would hardly count as a marquee win; instead, after seven losses in nine games, the Mountaineers find themselves at 7-9 in the Big East and fighting for a tournament spot much later in the season than anyone would have expected. If USF loses at Louisville but wins here, they'll be 12-6 in the Big East with an otherwise mediocre resume. The committee says it doesn't look at conference record (and we believe it), but still: Could a team with a 12-6 Big East record, imbalanced though it may be, really miss out? This victory feels like a must. Starkville, Miss. (Arkansas at Mississippi St.): Like West Virginia (a team it vanquished at home back in December), Mississippi State has gone from near surefire tourney squad to suddenly flirting with the bubble, and for good reason: The Bulldogs have lost their past five games, including at home to Georgia and road losses to LSU, Auburn and Alabama. Rick Stansbury's talented but inconsistent team certainly looked like it belonged in the tournament in a frisky home loss to Kentucky last week, but if they go awry on the road at South Carolina this week, or lose at home to a young Arkansas team in the regular-season finale, they would have thoroughly jeopardized what should have been an academic path to the NCAA tournament. Big week in Starkville. -- Eamonn Brennan
Brennan on Kentucky-Florida
O'Neil: Three questions
• Should Harvard fans be nervous?Yes. The Crimson's loss to Penn put Harvard back in a familiar but uncomfortable position. If the Crimson and Quakers win out, there will be a one-game playoff to determine the Ivy League's automatic qualifier. If one team stumbles -- Harvard in its final two road games or Penn in two home games plus a road trip to rival Princeton -- the other wins the title. Some might argue that Harvard still deserves an at-large seed but remember the selection committee has never awarded an extra berth to the Ivy League. There's no way the Crimson can afford to lose anything less than the playoff game and expect a bid. Cornell is 11-15 overall and Columbia 14-14, plus 3-9 in the Ancient Eight.
• What of UConn now?The good news: The Huskies finally showed life, scrapping for loose balls and playing against Syracuse the way this team could have and should have been playing all season. The bad news: It might be too late. The defending national champions won't pick up any bonus points in their final two games, against Providence and Pitt. Consequently, they're going to have to once again turn heads in the Big East tournament -- and hope other bubble teams slip up -- so they can rest easy on Selection Sunday. • Does anyone want to win the Mountain West?
Apparently not. This conference is in a three-way stranglehold at the top, with New Mexico, UNLV and San Diego State unable to sustain enough success to wrestle the title. This week it was the Lobos' turn to ease off the gas pedal, losing to Colorado State and TCU -- or as Mountain West frontrunners like to call the Horned Frogs, The Spoilers. All three teams knotted at the top will get in the tourney and CSU is making a late push too, but before March arrives it would be nice if one of these teams could emerge the victor.
-- Dana O'Neil
King on Missouri Valley tourney
Medcalf on Ohio St.-Michigan St.
Upset pick of the week
Providence over Connecticut, Tuesday: Traditionally, the Huskies haven't played well at Providence. And the pressure will be immense on UConn to win this game after failing to score on a final possession against Syracuse. Providence has the offense to score against Connecticut from the perimeter. Of course, the question will be whether UConn has the focus to lock in and defend the Friars in what is a must-win game. Can the Huskies lose this game, beat Pitt on Saturday and make a mini-run in the Big East tournament to still earn a bid? Yes. But falling to PC would zap them of any momentum, save a return to the bench by Jim Calhoun if his surgery goes well Monday.
-- Andy Katz