#13 Purdue 86, #18 Michigan State 76
I had thought that the Big Ten Player of the Year race was between just Jared Sullinger, JaJuan Johnson and Jon Leuer, but E'Twaun Moore was spectacular in this game. JaJuan Johnson did have 20 points in this game, but they were quiet, and he only had four rebounds. Moore had 26 points in this game with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, and also was the primary playmaker for Purdue. And he had some ridiculous made shots near the basket. Both of these teams hit 50% of their three-pointers, but the difference was two-point shooting: 61% for Purdue, 42% for Michigan State. Kalin Lucas, in particular, was eaten up by Purdue's backcourt defense. He shot 3-for-16 from the field for the game. Michigan State falls to 4-3 in Big Ten play, and they are 1-4 in true road games this season (the one win was a three-point victory over Northwestern). With road games remaining at Ohio State, Wisconsin and Minnesota, I don't see any realistic path to a Big Ten title for Michigan State. I think they're in a battle for fourth place, and could only realistically rise as high as third. As for Purdue, they finally have a nice win. This is their first win all season against an RPI Top 45 team (they have beaten one team currently in the RPI Top 50 - Valparaiso). So they are 9-3 against the RPI Top 100 and 6-2 in the Big Ten, but I still have huge questions about them. On Tuesday night they head to Ohio State, and after that they get Minnesota at home and then head to Wisconsin. Both Sagarin and Pomeroy rate Purdue in the Top Ten, clearly the second best team in the Big Ten, but I am not completely sold yet that they could contend for a Big Ten title. They have to prove it to me over the next two weeks.
#9 BYU 94, Colorado State 85
You have to give Colorado State a lot of credit for trying to keep up with Jimmer Fredette in this game. Despite falling behind 23-11 to start the game and never really pulling closer than about six points the rest of the night, they kept scoring at a tremendous pace to try to stay in the game. Jimmer had 42 points on 4-for-9 shooting behind the arc and 16-for-17 at the line. Colorado State scored approximately 1.2 points per possession on a BYU team that was giving up only 0.92 PPP coming in. This was always going to be a long shot against the team that I think is the best in the Mountain West, particularly when you combine BYU's explosive offense with CSU's weak defense, but it's a missed opportunity for a Colorado State team that is near the bubble but not yet on it. Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS should stay near the 66th it was coming in, but with only one win against the RPI Top 70 they are going to need that ELO_CHESS inside the Top 50 to have any chance on Selection Sunday. They play Air Force at Wednesday and then head to Utah, but after that they get their shot at home against San Diego State. A win over BYU or SDSU will do wonders for their resume, and that game against SDSU will be their last chance against those two teams at home. As for BYU, they move to 18-1 with an RPI that is up to second in the nation. Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS was 7th coming into this game and will not move much, and they'd probably actually be a 3 seed in the Tournament if the season ended now, but they have their huge home game against San Diego State coming up on Wednesday. if they prove me right and turn out to be the best team in the Mountain West they've really got to win that game.
Arizona 65, Washington State 63
Arizona survived this one to re-affirm themselves as the second best team in the Pac-10 after getting thumped by Washington earlier in the week. And this was an extremely narrow victory, with Wazzu star Klay Thompson missing a 12 footer at the buzzer to tie the game. When the new numbers come out in the morning Arizona will be rated as a Top 20 team by both Sagarin and Pomeroy, but they do have holes in their resume. They are 0-3 against the RPI Top 50 and have a bad loss to Oregon State, although they are 16-4 overall including 5-2 in Pac-10 play. Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS is inside the Top 40, so if the season ended now they'd be safely in the Tournament with something like a 9-11 seed. But with the weakness of the Pac-10 and the lack of big wins, Arizona could go 11-7 in Pac-10 play and end up in the NIT, so they've got to keep taking care of business against inferior teams. This coming week they will play the Los Angeles schools at home, and then they head on the road to play the two northern California schools. Washington State will be rated near 40th in the Sagarin PREDICTOR and Pomeroy ratings when the new numbers come out tomorrow, but their resume is nowhere near the 40th best right now. They are 3-6 against the RPI Top 100, including 0-4 against the RPI Top 50. Both their RPI and Sagarin ELO_CHESS are outside the Top 50. They are 4-3 in Pac-10 play and will have to finish at least 11-7 to have a chance on Selection Sunday.