Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Northwestern Stays Alive

Northwestern 64, #20 Purdue 61
Northwestern is still a long shot for the NCAA Tournament even after this victory, but boy they don't want to go away, do they? This is a program that has been around for over 100 years yet has never been in the NCAA Tournament, has never won 20 games in a season, and has only ever been to the NIT on three occasions. They now have 17 wins, and while that fourth NIT bid looks likely they are still in the NCAA picture, especially if they can pull an upset at Ohio State on Sunday afternoon to get to 9-9 in the Big Ten. As for Purdue, this sure was a clunker of a Senior Day. And if they can't win at Michigan State on Sunday night they could potentially fall to fourth place in the Big Ten (depending on how the tie break works). You know they want to make sure they keep that third seed so they can have an easier path to the Big Ten tournament finals.

#4 Pittsburgh 90, #15 Marquette 75
I was actually surprised this game was as close as it was for so long. Marquette has been playing well since Dominic James went down, and my belief is that it's because Lazar Haywood has picked up the leadership slack. I've been very impressed with him since James has been out of the lineup. Marquette is now tied for fourth place in the Big East, which is a situation that I talked about here. As for Pitt, they are now really in the driver's seat for a 1 seed. They should take care of business at home against UConn, and then they will be able to lock up the 1 seed with a Big East tournament title. And no team in any major conference has been as dominant in conference tournament in recent years as Pitt has been. They are just unbeatable in Madison Square Garden.

NC State 74, Boston College 69
NC State needed a win to stay alive for an at-large bid, and in doing so they pulled Boston College all the way back to the bubble. Everybody forgot about NC State after they got off to an atrocious start to their ACC season, but they're back to 6-9 with a chance to get to 7-9 at Miami this weekend. If they can get to 7-9 and then win a couple of games in the ACC tournament they'll be a serious bubble team. As for Boston College, they fall to 8-7, but should close with a win at home against Georgia Tech. The computer numbers are not great, but the Selection Committee will be impressed by their big wins (North Carolina, Duke and Florida State). Assuming they beat Georgia Tech and then beat Virginia or Georgia Tech in their first round ACC game, they will most likely make the Tournament. But they can probably lock things up if they can pull an upset in their quarterfinals match.

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