Florida State 66, #15 Georgia Tech 59
At this point, we know what Florida State brings to the table. They are athletic and tenacious, and so are excellent defensively (Pomeroy rates their defense 7th in the nation) and get a lot of offensive rebounds (Pomeroy rates their offensive rebounding 28th). But they haven't been able to replace Toney Douglas offensively, and not only struggle to score but are extremely sloppy offensively (Pomeroy rates their offensive turnover percentage 337th in the nation). In this game, Georgia Tech did a good job of rebounding (both teams had 40), but they were clearly bothered by Florida State's defensive length, especially on the inside. Gani Lawal was 1-for-7 from the field, and team as a whole only hit 33% from the field. Lawal has been the key for Georgia Tech for a couple of years now, and they struggle to win when he's not playing well. They might want to think about giving Zachery Peacock more playing time at the expense of Brian Oliver, who is a talented freshman who is just a little bit too inconsistent to start for a Top 15 team. Florida State is now 11-2 with wins over Marquette, Alabama and Auburn to go with this one, and both losses were quality losses. Their weak schedule is a detriment, but all of the computers have them around 40th-45th in the nation, which means they look like a true bubble team. They have two easy out-of-conference games remaining, which means that they should end up 12-2 in out-of-conference games with an out-of-conference strength of schedule that will probably end up around 250th. That's good enough that a 10-6 ACC record should get them into the Tournament. If they go 8-8 or 9-7 then it's going to depend on who they beat and when they beat them. As for Georgia Tech, they clearly seem to have fallen far below UNC and Duke atop the ACC. But I don't think they've played any worse than any of the other ACC teams, and so are still a serious contender to finish in third place.
UTEP 89, Oklahoma 74
I continue to be confused by Oklahoma's poor play. Willie Warren is one of the best players in the Big 12, and they have a few decent support players (Tony Crocker, Tommy Mason-Griffith), along with a pretty good coach. But they have are 8-4 with zero good wins, and with all four of those losses coming to mid-major conference teams. Their defense was truly atrocious here, forcing only 8 turnovers and allowing 58% shooting from the field. Part of it was UTEP just hitting their shots, but Oklahoma's defense has to take a lot of the blame. Oklahoma's lack of depth is also disconcerting (they had 2 points scored by non-starters in this game) when you consider how insanely deep Kansas and Texas are. Oklahoma gets a shot at Gonzaga on New Year's Eve, but even with a win there they'll still have some ground to make up on the other bubble teams in Big 12 play. As for UTEP, they along with UAB are really starting to make some noise in Conference USA. I, along with most analysts, felt the conference would be a battle all season long between Memphis and Tulsa. But UAB and UTEP have played as well as either of those two teams (Sagarin's PREDICTOR puts all four between 30th and 39th in the nation). UTEP still has a couple more chances for scalps before Conference USA play begins for them on January 6th, but they're going to have to win a lot of conference games regardless. Conference USA will not get four Tournament teams, so UTEP will have to distinguish themselves.
Nebraska 74, Tulsa 70
Speaking of Conference USA, this is a pretty disappointing loss for a Tulsa team that hasn't really found itself yet. They are now 9-3 with all three losses against decent, but not great opponents, and their only good win is over Oklahoma State. They obviously have as good of a chance as anybody at collecting Conference USA's automatic bid, but in lieu of that they will probably need to go 12-4 in conference play to get an at-large bid (unless they knock off Duke on February 25th). As for Nebraska, they are now 9-2, although this is their best win. I still don't think they have the horses for a serious at-large run, but they haven't played themselves out of anything yet. We'll see how they get started in Big 12 play.