#4 Pittsburgh 57, #10 Villanova 54
Maalik Wayns hit a three-pointer approximately half a second after the game ended that would have otherwise been the game tying basket. The crowd erupted, but on the court and on television it was extremely clear that the shot was late, and both head coaches immediately went into their hand shake without even asking the referees about that call. One thing that really stood out to me in this game was the composure that Pitt showed on the road against a hostile opponent, all without their best offensive player (Ashton Gibbs). Villanova actually committed more fouls, despite the homecourt advantage. Nova lost their cool at times, including an Isaiah Armwood punch of Nasir Robinson. And Robinson? He kept his cool, didn't retaliate, and got the technical foul called on Armwood. Offensively, Brad Wanamaker was the star for Pitt, scoring 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting.
With this win behind them, Pitt is close to locking up the Big East regular season title. It would take an epic collapse at this point. Notre Dame will lose again, which means that Pitt would really have to go 3-3 the rest of the way to even only end up with a share of the Big East title. Even if Pitt loses a game or two down the stretch they will still be able to lock up a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a Big East tournament title. Villanova falls to 7-5 in Big East play, and will now try to bounce back with a couple of relatively easy road games - Seton Hall and DePaul. Villanova would most likely be looking at a 4 or 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament if the season ended now. With games still to play against Pitt, Notre Dame and Syracuse, they will get plenty of chances to improve their seed.
Colorado State 68, New Mexico 62
The final score of this game ended up close, but Colorado State was in control the entire way. They opened up a 17 point lead midway through the first half that moved to 14 at the half. They held onto that double digit lead until New Mexico made a run late, but two clutch free throws by Dorian Green in the final minute put the game out of reach. Colorado State couldn't break through at home against BYU or San Diego State but they now have this win to go with a road win at UNLV. They did nothing out-of-conference, but they're now 5-5 against the RPI Top 100 and are in third place in the Mountain West with a record of 7-3. They have an RPI that has slipped inside the Top 40 and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will move inside the Top 50. If the season ended now they'd be right on the bubble. They'd be one of the final teams in or out. Colorado State still has to head to BYU and San Diego State, and also have a home game against UNLV. Their other games will be against the lower division of the Mountain West. If they can navigate that stretch with only two losses (presumably those two big road games) then Colorado State will most likely enter the Mountain West tournament in the Field of 68. One of the interesting things here will be Mountain West seeding. UNLV has to be the sleeper team because the tournament will be held on their home floor. But if Colorado State finishes strong then they will be the three seed and UNLV will be the 4 or 5. San Diego State is most likely to earn the 1 seed, but they could be rewarded with UNLV in the semifinals instead of Colorado State. No offense to Colorado State, but in Thomas & Mack Arena that's a raw deal for SDSU.
New Mexico is now 5-5 in the Mountain West and 4-6 against the RPI Top 100 with wins over BYU and Colorado State along with bad losses to Wyoming and Utah. Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will fall the way out of the Top 60 with the loss here. They still have to play San Diego State and BYU, but both games will be on the road. If they can't pull the upset in one of those two games they're going to be in quite the bind - they very likely will find themselves playing UNLV in the Mountain West tournament quarterfinals, on UNLV's home floor, needing a win to keep their Tournament hopes alive. I don't see it happening.
Colorado 58, Kansas State 56
This game had one of those endings where either team was going to feel heartbroken with a loss. Up by three with under ten seconds to go Colorado State chose to foul Kansas State, which is the correct play. Statistics show fairly conclusively that it makes sense to do that when there are less than ten seconds remaining. But Jacob Pullen hit one and missed the second and K-State came up with the offensive rebound and Rodney McGruder hit a game-winning three-pointer.... or would have, if it had left his fingers a split second earlier. Referees correctly ruled that Colorado ended this crazy game with the victory. With off-the-court rumors swirling around Curtis Kelly and a tenuous Tournament resume, Kansas State really, really could have used the win here. With the loss Kansas State falls to 4-6 in the Big 12 and 0-6 against the RPI Top 50. Their RPI is 40th but their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will be closer to 45th. It's impossible to state how important a win over Kansas on Monday would be. If they can't win that one then their final regular season chances for big wins will be at Texas or at home against Missouri. Kansas State needs a big win and they need to get to at least 7-9 in Big 12 play.
As for Colorado, this has been a tremendous season by their standards. They are 5-6 in Big 12 play and have wins over Missouri, Colorado State and Kansas State (twice). Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS could actually move into the Top 75 with this win. They'd have to nearly win out to get to the bubble, which I don't see happening, but certainly the Buffaloes deserve some serious NIT consideration. Tad Boyle deserves some attention as a potential Big 12 Coach of the Year. After the job he did with Northern Colorado (taking them from 4-24 in his first season to 25-8 in his fourth and final season), he should be considered an up-and-comer in the head coaching ranks.