Syracuse 77, #8 Georgetown 70
Last week we had to wait until about 10pm to get our first Top 10 upset. This week, we had one in the first set of games. It looks like that South Florida loss was just a look-ahead game, as the Orangemen did a great job of out-working the Hoyas in this one. They won the rebounding battle 32 to 23, and made more free throws (23) than Georgetown even attempted (17). You can't stop Roy Hibbert, but Syracuse took the most effective strategy - get him in foul trouble. This win might have saved Syracuse's season, as they follow this one up with road games at Louisville and Notre Dame. A loss in this one could have meant a 6-9 record after that road trip. The tough schedule will still make it a tough finish (although it will help the RPI), but that 9-9 Big East record is looking more and more likely. I think that a 9-9 record will be enough, assuming Syracuse doesn't stink it up in the first round of the Big East Tournament.
Kentucky 67, LSU 63
Well it's not facetious anymore - Kentucky has now won six of seven to get to 7-3 in the SEC. The RPI is still 74th (as I type this), so they'd still have to be out of the Tournament if the season ended now. I talked about this a couple weeks ago as a pure hypothetical. But Kentucky has really just been taking care of business, while so many other bubble teams have been faltering. You have to figure that the game at Tennessee will probably be a loss, but every other game is winnable. So not only is 11-5 still a real possibility, but so is 12-4. At 11-5 they'd be right on the fat part of the bubble, and I'd have to evaluate how other bubble teams have done in comparison. At 12-4, though, it would be pretty hard to keep the Wildcats out. Especially when you consider how well they will have finished over their final twelve games.
Bradley 87, Creighton 59
I don't really know what's been going on with Creighton. They have a lot of talent, but it's just young and inexperienced. P'allen Stinnett, especially, will be a real Missouri Valley star someday. Losing at Bradley isn't embarrassing - but being down by 30 points is. And it follows up a disappointing loss to bottom-feeder Evansville. The RPI has spiraled out of the Top 60, and they don't have much to brag about right now. The 16-8 record is nice, but the 1-4 record against the RPI Top 50 is not. The fact is that Creighton needs to go on a serious run right now if they want an at-large bid. I'd say that their final three regular season games are absolute must wins - especially the match-up at Illinois State. A 10-8 record out of the Missouri Valley simply won't cut it this year.
Kent State 72, Ohio 62
Kent State firms up their lead in the MAC with this important win. They are now an impressive 21-5, including 5-3 against the RPI Top 100. Speaking of the RPI, Kent State is up to 50th right now. The Sagarin Ratings (62nd overall, PREDICTOR of 88th) and Pomeroy Ratings (85th) are not quite as kind. But the fact is that the MAC still has a chance at getting two teams in the Tournament. However, Kent State is their only realistic shot at an at-large, and the Golden Flashes need to win everything but the MAC Tourney final. If they win all the way to that final and then lose in a close one, they could still sneak in. Again, it will depend on what the other bubble squads do.