Morning Madness: Thursday, March 2
Here's what you need to know in college hoops for Thursday, March 2.
Ten days. Just 10 days until Selection Sunday. Time is winding down for teams to make their case for the NCAA tournament. Some are slipping a bit. Some are hitting their stride at just the right moment.
Speaking of which ...
Six teams peaking at the right time
Yeah, yeah, Michigan is on this list. And, yeah, the Wolverines lost to Northwestern on a crazy buzzer-beater -- which you should watch, by the way -- Wednesday night. Still, they've been playing well lately, and those February wins they racked up are twice as important as November wins (the math checks out, trust us). Quite a few teams are winning when it really counts, building momentum toward Selection Sunday (March 12).
NCAA.com's Joe Boozell goes into detail on six of those surging teams here.
We've got March basketball!
• The ACC has been crazy all year, but not too many people would have called Wake Forest's upset of Louisville, 88-81 on Wednesday. The Demon Deacons needed a signature win to help out their tournament hopes and, while I'm no bracketologist, I'm pretty sure beating the No. 8 team in the nation is pretty darn signature.
What to watch today
• No. 18 Cincinnati (25-4) vs. Houston (20-8) (7 ET, ESPN2). Cincinnati fell at UCF on Sunday 53-49 and dropped a game back of SMU for the AAC regular season title. The Bearcats have two games to play. First up is Houston, badly in need of a resume-boosting win.
• No. 22 Wisconsin (22-7) vs. Iowa (16-13) (9 ET, ESPN). Five games, four losses. Not exactly the trend Wisconsin was hoping for. If the Badgers can win their final two games, though, they still earn the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament. Iowa has won two straight and is coming off an 83-69 upset of then-No. 24 Maryland.
March Madness memories
Ron Hunter falling off his stool, buzzer-beating threes, Kansas stumbling in the first round ... 14-3 upsets are some of the best.
Naismith Trophy semifinalists
Lonzo Ball (UCLA), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Josh Hart (Villanova), Justin Jackson (North Carolina), Josh Jackson (Kansas), Luke Kennard (Duke), Frank Mason III (Kansas), Johnathan Motley (Baylor), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue), and Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga).
Check out a breakdown of their seasons here.
Social moment of the day
UNC fans, avert your eyes. College basketball fans, rejoice.
IT'S MARCH! pic.twitter.com/hK1Rm6ryWm— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 1, 2017
Conference tourneys galore
There's only one way to guarantee your team makes the NCAA tournament: win your conference tournament and grab its automatic bid. The ASUN, Big South, Patriot League, Ohio Valley, Northeast and America East have all started their conference tournaments. The Metro Atlantic Athletic and Missouri Valley tournaments begin today.
See the full conference tournament schedule and keep track of automatic qualifiers here.
Pop quiz time!
BRACKET CHALLENGE GAME
The Madness is underway.
CHECK YOUR BRACKET
Think you can name 'em from every year? Test your might (or your Google skills) with our national champions quiz here.
The Bracket Challenge is open already
You can't actually pick a bracket yet -- Selection Sunday, March 12, remember? -- but you can set up a group (or join one, if you have friends who are really on top of things).
Mark your calendar
Selection Sunday: March 12
First Four in Dayton: March 14, 15
First Thursday of the NCAA tournament: March 16
Final Four in Phoenix: April 1-3