Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Morning News: Bubble Watch, Iowa St Comes Back To Beat Oklahoma, Texas Wins A Fight-Marred Game, And Rasheed Sulaimon Allegations

"So who's gonna finish in 2nd place next year?"

Conference tournaments kick off today. Yes, today. It will be officially March Madness in just a few hours. So while yesterday had relatively few meaningful games, tonight is when the fun really gets going.

Bubble Watch No changes to the bubble last night. Still 16 teams locked in, with 18 teams on the bubble for 11 spots.

Iowa State Comes Back To Beat Oklahoma The Sooners actually led this game 48-28 with 15 minutes to go, but a frantic 22-0 run over fewer than six minutes completely turned this game around. At one point, Iowa State hit six straight shots while Oklahoma committed a turnover on four out of six possessions. Overall, Iowa State had a 66.7 eFG% in the second half, compared to 35.7% for Oklahoma. The Sooners offense can go through droughts, but I don't think they've been torched like that offensively for a half all season long. The 59 points in a half were a season high for Iowa State, and they're used to high-scoring games.

Iowa State and Oklahoma are now 11-6 in Big 12 play, which means a couple of things. First of all, Kansas has clinched at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title for the 11th straight season, which is perhaps the most incredible streak in college basketball. Second of all, unless Kansas loses at home against West Virginia on Tuesday, the Jayhawks will win the outright conference title. This means that Iowa State and Oklahoma will have nothing to play for but Tourney seed. Both teams are heading for something in the 3-5 seed range on Selection Sunday, most likely. It will all depend on how they finish.

Texas Wins A Fight-Marred Game At 6-10 in Big 12 play, Texas had no choice but to win this game. A loss almost surely would have dropped them to the NIT, despite the fact that they could finish the season in the Top 20 of Pomeroy and Sagarin PREDICTOR.A Jonathan Holmes three and a big time Prince Ibeh block got Texas into overtime, but that's when things got crazy. Isaiah Taylor started a fight that led to players from both benches getting involved and, by rule, ejected:
Texas had four regulars ejected, which meant that they were hit harder. Baylor lost three players, though only two were regulars. But weirdly enough, it was the guy who started the fight (Taylor) who stayed in the game and hit the game-winning shot:
We know that Texas is almost certainly out of the at-large bid hunt if they fall to Kansas State. But what happens if they beat Kansas State and go 8-10? Well, they're very likely going to play in the Big 12 tourney first round against either Texas Tech or TCU. They probably need to win that game. But if they win there and then lose in the Big 12 quarterfinals against a team like Kansas or Oklahoma? They'll be at the mercy of the bubble. It's impossible to see this far out if that will get them in or not.
Baylor drops to 10-7 in Big 12 play, though they still have seven RPI Top 50 wins, no bad losses, and an RPI in the Top 10. So they still have a shot at a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament if they can make a Big 12 tourney run.

Rasheed Sulaimon Sexual Assault Allegations The story broke yesterday that Rasheed Sulaimon, already gone from Duke, was at the center of a sexual assault scandal before he left. As with all explosive stories like this, my only advice this early on is to save the hot takes until we all know what happened. At some point, hopefully soon, Duke and Coach K will come public with what happened and what they did, and hopefully they behaved properly. If not, then feel free to use your hot takes once they are justified.

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