#8 Georgetown 103, #2 Villanova 90
This game was never close. Georgetown led by 23 points in the first half, and Villanova never got within single digits again. Georgetown continues to play up-and-down basketball: they have had a few clunkers, but when they're clicking they're possibly as good as any team other than Kansas. This win comes after a shocking home loss to South Florida, which itself came off of a dominating win over Duke. I had called this game a must-win for Georgetown if they were to have any shred of a hope of winning a share of the Big East title, because a loss would have put them a full five losses behind Villanova. They're still in fourth place, and a full 2 1/2 games back of Nova, but at least they have a shot if they can win out. If Georgetown can get to 13-5 or better and then win the Big East tournament title then they will be in the discussion for a 1 seed on Selection Sunday. As for Villanova, even though they failed to put the final nail in Georgetown's title hopes here, they still remain in a tie for the Big East lead with Syracuse at 9-1. Although they don't get a breather, with a road game upcoming at West Virginia, the team currently sitting in third place. They have a road game at Syracuse on February 27th which could be a de facto Big East regular season title game. If Villanova can win the Big East with something like a 16-2 record then they can earn a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament even if they fail to win the Big East tournament.
Arizona State 81, Washington State 70
This seemed like it would be a dominating win for Arizona State, but it ended up being a little bit of a nailbiter. A 25-10 run by Washington State early in the second half made this one close, but in the end they ran out of steam. Wazzu did a good job of hustling here, winning nine extra offensive rebounds and six extra turnovers, meaning a lot of extra shots. Usually a team wins when they get 11 more shots from the field, but Arizona State kept finding open shots, and they kept hitting them, at a 57% clip from the field. And Washington State just could not get that big shot from star Klay Thompson, who was a volume shooter here with 20 points on 20 shots, including 2-for-10 behind the arc. The win moves Arizona State to 6-4 in the Pac-10, in a tie for second place in the conference behind 7-4 California. The Sun Devils are a solid 16-7 overall, but only 2-6 against the RPI Top 100. They have no particulary bad losses, but their best win is over San Diego State. With as bad as the Pac-10 is, they could go 11-7 and still miss the NCAA Tournament. In fact, I'd bet against it: I think they've got to go 12-6 and then win at least one more game in the Pac-10 tournament. Washington State's numbers are even worse, as they have fallen off the bubble altogether. They are 4-6 in the Pac-10, but an atrocious 5-8 against the RPI Top 200. Their RPI has slipped all the way to 110th in the nation. They'd have to win four or five games in a row just to get themselves back in the bubble discussion.
Dayton 90, Xavier 65
It seems like Dayton got a lot of frustrations out of their system this game. The preseason Atlantic Ten favorites have had a frustrating and disappointing season, but they were absolutely dominant over a quality Xavier squad here. The Flyers shot 56% from the field (including 54% behind the arc), and won the rebounding battle over an undersized Xavier squad by 17. Dayton is a deceptively good rebounding team, and I actually think they're the best in the conference. At 5-3 in the A-10 they are only in a tie for sixth place, but they could move up with a very easy next two weeks. They are 16-6 overall, including 4-5 against the RPI Top 100, with this win or a win over Georgia Tech being the best of the bunch. This win pushes their RPI up to 31st, and they are in a battle with Rhode Island for third place in the A-10 pecking order (I still think that Xavier is clearly ahead of both of those teams, and obviously Temple has the best resume in the conference). For Xavier, this is a game that they knew would be tough to win, so it is not a bad loss - even if the margin of victory is disappointing. They now fall out of a tie for first place into second at 8-2, with a chance to grab first place back in two weekends when they head to Charlotte. They also get a chance for another nice win next Saturday when they have a bizarre game against Florida (I'd love it if somebody could inform me why that game was scheduled for February). Xavier still has no bad losses, and have quality wins over Cincinnati, Rhode Island and Dayton. They are 6-7 against the RPI Top 100, and their RPI remains 26th. If they can beat Florida next weekend and then get to 12-6 in A-10 play (a 4-2 finish) then it's hard to see them not making the NCAA Tournament.