Miami (Fl) 63, North Carolina State 50
A solid taking care of business game for the Canes. A loss in this one wouldn't have necessarily knocked them out of the Tournament, but they would've had to really sweat out the rest of the weekend. This win, as well, does not seal their fate. They could still miss the Tournament if they lose their next game and the bubble shrinks immensely. But I don't see that happening, and Miami is probably getting into the Tournament. They're up to 22-9, with an RPI tucked just inside the Top 30. This victory also moves them above .500, to 9-8, against the RPI Top 100. There are some gaps in the resume (8-8 in the ACC, only 7-5 in their final twelve games), but everybody's resume has some holes once you get out around the #9-12 seeds. Miami should be in.
Saint Joseph's 61, Richmond 47
St. Joe's is really finishing the season strong, on the back of an energized and suffocating defense. They held a good Richmond team to 37% shooting from the field, and have clinched a place among those teams that will be seriously considered on Selection Sunday. They also remain the Atlantic Ten's best shot (by far) to earn a third Tournament bid. This win brings them to 20 on the season, and puts both the RPI and the Sagarin Rating in the low-50s. The 11-7 record in the Atlantic Ten is decent, as is their 63rd ranked out-of-conference RPI. The sweep of UMass is very nice, as is the win over Xavier. Overall, they jump up to 8-7 against the RPI Top 100, although that's obviously got an asterisk as most of those wins were over the A-10. The Hawks get Xavier in the A-10 Semifinals, at 6:30 PM ET, and they can really build up the resume with a win there. A win over Xavier and they certainly won't lock up an at-large bid, but they'll put themselves in a good position. It will probably put them in the bracket, with less than 24 hours remaining to fall back out of it. A loss to Xavier will put St. Joe's in a tough position. They'll have a solid resume, but they'll probably need a bit of help in other conferences in order to sneak into the Tournament.
USC 59. Arizona State 55
An absolutely heartbreaking loss for Herb Sendek's boys. Jeff Pendergraph tied up the game for State with 16.9 seconds to go, until they called him for an insane over-the-back call. Now, it might have been the correct call, but it was definitely border-line. And that makes it the wrong call, because referees should not be determining a game like that. It's like that Nova loss to Georgetown a couple weeks ago - even if the ref is right, he's wrong. You have to let the kids play. Especially when one team has its season on the line. Arizona State is in a very precarious spot now, falling to 19-12 overall. They just don't really have any part of the resume that they can brag about: 9-9 in the Pac-10, 7-10 against the RPI Top 100, 6-8 in road/neutral games. The RPI has plummeted into the 70s, and the Sagarin Rating will be around 50th when tomorrow's numbers come out. I won't say that Arizona State is definitely out of the Tournament at this point in time, but it's a real long shot. But it's hard to see a scenario where they'd get in.
Colorado 91, Baylor 84, 2OT
It was a fitting season finale for Baylor, a team that has been in more roller-coaster games than any other team in the nation. The Bears were definitely in the Tournament bracket when the Big 12 Tournament began, but now they're going to have to sweat out the rest of the weekend. If we analyze the full resume, we see a decent set of numbers: 9-7 in the Big 12, 21-10 overall, RPI of 45th, Sagarin around 40th. The worst number is the 3-8 record against the RPI Top 50, but this was their first loss against the team with an RPI worse than 75th. They have wins over Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Kansas State, and were a solid 6-4 in true road games. A win here probably would have wrapped up an at-large bid, but this first "bad" loss of the season will definitely make Bears fans stress until they see their name in the bracket Sunday evening. I still think they're getting into the Tournament, although I'll certainly re-visit this issue throughout the weekend.
UTEP 80, Houston 77
It only took about two hours for Conference USA to knock out both of its bubble teams, as Houston takes a fall right after UAB did the same. They have a win over Kentucky, but not the version of Kentucky that we're seeing now. They finished 11-5 in a decent Conference USA, but the RPI is out near 80th. This loss drops them to a terrible 1-7 against the RPI Top 100, with that sole victory being over the aforementioned Kentucky (a team which obviously was not in the RPI Top 100 when Houston beat them). I just don't see any part of this resume that is very good, and Houston's Tournament hopes are definitely over.