Sunday, February 21, 2010

Maryland Survives Ill-Timed Timeout

Maryland 76, Georgia Tech 74
Grievis Vasquez hit a miracle three-pointer to win the game at the buzzer, or so he thought. Gary Williams had actually called a timeout, which to be fair was a smart timeout - you couldn't have liked the odds on that Vasquez shot when it left his hand. But it didn't matter because Williams drew up a play and the ball ended in the hands of Cliff Tucker, who hit his own buzzer beater. Georgia Tech killed themselves at the line here, hitting only 55% for the game. Maryland now moves to 9-3 in ACC play, with a shot to win a share of the ACC title if they can beat Duke in College Park on March 3rd. As for Georgia Tech, all of the talent that they have hasn't kept them off the bubble, with a 6-7 ACC record. Their remaining schedule isn't so bad, but if they can't win more than one of those three games then they'll be on the bubble when they play their first ACC tournament game. Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will actually be close to 40th in the morning, meaning that they're already on the bubble.

Oklahoma State 82, #22 Baylor 75
James Anderson probably deserves more credit as one of the elite players in the country than he's been getting. Every team knows that Oklahoma State is going to try to get him 25-30 points, and every team knows that they need to stop him, yet nobody succeeds. He blew up here for 31 points on 17 shots from the field, along with 12 rebounds. Baylor also struggled to get inside scoring production, which is a bit surprising when you consider that Oklahoma State is an undersized team. With this result in the books both of these teams are only 7-5 in the Big 12, but despite that there's no question that neither of these teams are particularly close to falling out of the Tournament. Oklahoma State is 5-7 against the RPI Top 100 with wins over Kansas State and Texas A&M, and no bad losses. Their Sagarin rating is inside the Top 40. Baylor's numbers are even better, with a 9-5 record against the RPI Top 100, with wins over Xavier, Texas and Oklahoma State, and one weak loss against Colorado. Both teams would be safely in the bracket if the season ended now, and both should clinch an at-large bid if they can finish at least 2-2 down the stretch. Oklahoma State's final schedule is much more difficult, with a game against Kansas remaining, as well as road games at Texas and Texas A&M.

#17 Texas 71, Texas Tech 67
Texas is intent on proving that they're not going to fall apart like North Carolina, and they won here by getting a huge performance by Gary Johnson off the bench (22 points on 11 shots from the field, along with eight rebounds) in the place of Dexter Pittman (who fouled out in only 14 minutes on the floor). Texas Tech just does not have the bodies inside to hang with the Texas big men, who slaughtered them on the boards (17-to-4 advantage in offensive rebounds). Texas, like Baylor and Oklahoma State, is only 7-5 in the Big 12 but very much safely in the NCAA Tournament bracket. Texas would have to lose at least three of their final four regular season games to fall back to the bubble. If the season ended now they'd likely be a 4 or a 5 seed, and they have the opportunity to move up even further if they can take care of business down the stretch. As for Texas Tech, their at-large chances are getting long, with a 4-8 Big 12 record, and a 5-10 record against the RPI Top 100. Their Sagarin rating has fallen to near 70th in the country, and they'll have to finish at least 3-1 down the stretch to keep any plausible shot at an at-large alive. But with an easy remaining schedule, that's not out of the question.

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