Friday, March 05, 2010

Kansas Wins, Duke Loses

#2 Kansas 82, #5 Kansas State 65
Kansas State stayed in this game for the first 25 minutes or so, but they just seemed to wear down in the second half with so many key players on the bench in foul trouble. The refs took over this game, calling a total of 47 fouls. Kansas State had four players end with four fouls apiece. Their dynamic backcourt duo of Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen put up 41 points, but couldn't get any help from any of their teammates. Kansas State continues to get 1 seed buzz, but I don't get it. They'd have to win the Big 12 tournament to have a shot at a 1 seed, and that means beating a Kansas team that has absolutely owned Kansas State for the entire existence of the Big 12 conference (Kansas has a 32-2 record against K-State over that stretch) and is just flat out the best team in the nation. I don't see it happening. It's much more likely to me that the Wildcats get knocked off by a team like Baylor or Texas A&M before they even get a shot at Kansas. The Jayhawks are, on the other hand, in an excellent position for a 1 seed. They could lose in the Big 12 tournament finals and still have a good shot at one. And if they win out then they'll have a great shot at the #1 overall seed.

#23 Maryland 79, #4 Duke 72
Duke played really well here at Maryland, but this was the classic Senior Night win. The Terrapins came out of the locker room fired up, opening up a 14 point lead while some fans were still finding their way to their seats. And after Duke clawed their way back into the game and grabbed the lead, it was senior star Greivis Vasquez who took over down the stretch nearly beating Duke by himself (he was outscored by Duke 16-to-11 over the final eight minutes). The win pulls Maryland even atop the ACC standings, with only a road game at Virginia left to go. If the season ended now Maryland would be a 5-7 seed, and they can move even higher if they can continue this strong run. As for Duke, this loss damages their chances of receiving a 1 seed, but I think they're still in good shape because of Villanova's struggles, Purdue's loss of Robbie Hummel and the fact that Kansas State would have to beat Kansas again to win their conference tournament title. If Duke beats UNC on Saturday and then wins the ACC tournament then I'd be pretty surprised if they don't get a 1 seed.

Notre Dame 58, Connecticut 50
Notre Dame won this bubble battle, collecting yet another great win without Luke Harangody. Harangody might not play again this season, but as long as the Irish are playing better without him it's really not as big of an issue as you'd have thought. They've won three straight games now, over Georgetown, Pitt and UConn, all without Harangody. But even now that they've pulled up to 9-8 in the Big East they end their regular season with another tough game: at Marquette. Even with a win there they'd still probably need at least one Big East tournament win to make the Tournament, and if they can't win at Marquette (which would be a fairly big upset considering how well Marquette has played the past month) then they'll have quite a bit of work to do. Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS is up to 46th with this win, so they're right on the bubble. UConn is in an even more precarious situation now that their Big East record has fallen to 7-10. They are a respetable 9-11 against the RPI Top 100 with a Sagarin ELO_CHESS of 54th, so they're still right on the bubble, but they now have to win their final game of the regular season: on the road at South Florida. There's no way that a 7-11 UConn team will make the Tournament, so they need to beat South Florida and then win at least two games in the Big East tournament. They will finish no better than 9th in the Big East, so they will play in the opening round of the Big East tournament.

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