Oregon 71, #22 Stanford 66
Oregon definitely stole a win in this one. Overall, not a very impressive performance for the Ducks. They were out-rebounded fairly badly (36 to 26). They did a good job of controlling the ball, but couldn't force any turnovers. The fact that Tajuan Porter had his best game in a month had to be encouraging (he has the potential to be a future Pac-10 player if the year if he eschews the NBA for a year or two). But he's not there yet. In this one, the difference was Stanford's 3-for-19 shooting from behind the arc. Oregon's strength will continue to be in speed and hustle, but they need to find a way to deal with a powerful inside player. They had no match for Brook Lopez on the inside, who sprung for 26 and 6 (on only 16 shots). But the three-point shooting was the difference, and Oregon knocked Stanford out of the Top 25. The Ducks are moving closer to locking up a Tournament spot. They are 3-1 in the Pac-10 and 12-4 overall. The wins over Stanford, Cal and at Kansas State will remain solid results. And the losses at St. Mary's and Arizona State don't look nearly as bad as they did when they happened. The RPI is up to 25th, and I expect it to stay near there. With a lack of any "bad" losses left on the schedule (save Oregon State), it's hard to see these guys missing the Tournament even if they're only 10-8 in conference. If they get to 11-7, they're a lock.
#16 Pitt 69, #6 Georgetown 60
I really like the way that Pitt's senior leadership is stepping up to fill in for their injured talent. Keith Benjamin, specifically, is taking advantage of his first real chance to start. He tied for the lead among all players in this game, with 18 points. DeJuan Blair was probably the star in this one. His 15 points and 9 boards were nice, but his real accomplishment was holding Roy Hibbert to 12 points. He also energized the team (and the Zoo) every time he came down with a big rebound. This will will help a lot on Selection Sunday as Pitt hopes to get something like a two or a three seed, instead of something like a five or six. The loss isn't that bad for Georgetown either, as it's never embarrassing to lose at a team like Pitt. The Hoyas are still the favorites in the Big East. Although the quirky Big East schedule means that they don't get a rematch with Pitt. And that's too bad.
#3 Kansas 85, Oklahoma 55
What else is there to say about this Kansas team? Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush all have the NBA scouts drooling. Darnell Jackson could find himself playing with the big boys next year as well. The announcers during this one mentioned that fifteen NBA scouts were in the crowd. They could have been exaggerating, but I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't. It's interesting how much the top three teams in the country have separated themselves from everybody else. At this point, is there even a five percent chance that either Kansas, UNC or Memphis is going to miss a #1 seed? Throw in the fact that UCLA has made some room between itself and #5 in the country after the win over Wazzu and you can practically pencil in the four #1 seeds at this point. Compare this to last season. At around noon on Selection Sunday, we still had nine teams thinking they had a shot at a #1 seed. In the end, I was one of the few brackets to get the four #1 seeds correct, but it took me about 2000 words to figure it all out. Kind of remarkable how much those four teams have separated themselves this season. As for Oklahoma, this is where the loss at home to Kansas State really hurts. It's not a "bad" loss by any means, but it's one that they probably counted on as a likely win. Now they're 0-2 in the Big 12 with games at Baylor, at Texas A&M, and at home vs. Texas among their next five. Those home games against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are practically must-wins at this point. I still think the Sooners are making the Tournament, but they need to start winning the games they're supposed to win. A real resume builder, like a win over Texas A&M or Texas, would go a long way toward an at-large bid.