March Madness: 16 impacts of Saturday's results on NCAA tournament field
As the selection committee prepares to unveil a snapshot of their top 16, here are 16 items to glean from Saturday’s results:
1. There is no clear cut No. 1, and that means seeding will be the toughest part for the NCAA tournament selection committee. Some teams will clearly be seeded a bit lower based on records and results. Can you imagine if any of these teams that took a turn at the top spot dropped to a 3 or 4 seed? That could set up some monster Sweet 16 matchups.
About the Top 16 reveal:
What: For the second year in a row, the NCAA selection committee will reveal the top 16 teams, with seeding, at this point for the NCAA tournament. Selection committee chairman Bruce Rasmussen will explain why each team would be placed on their respective seed lines, giving a behind-the-scenes look at how the committee operates.
When: 12:30, ET
Stream: CBS All Access
2. The candidates for the top spot in the polls could range from Villanova to Michigan State, Xavier to Cincinnati, Ohio State to even Texas Tech.
3. Running the table in a power conference, let alone any of the 32, is extremely difficult and that’s why when it’s done, it should be celebrated. Virginia is the latest example, as the Cavaliers lost at home to Virginia Tech in overtime. If you were to pick which game Virginia would lose a few weeks ago it would have been possibly at Duke, not this one.
4. If I had to pick the most important player in the Big 12, not the most valuable or the most talented, it may be Keenan Evans, not Trae Young. Evans led first-place Texas Tech with 19 in a road win at Kansas State. The Red Raiders are in the pole position to unseat Kansas as the Big 12 champs, the first time that may happen in 14 seasons. There’s no way anyone predicted Texas Tech was going to be the team that prevented Kansas from winning 14 in a row. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s looking more likely.
5. The most impressive win of the night was actually in Moraga, California where Gonzaga rose up and beat back Saint Mary’s by 13. Rui Hachimura led the way with 23 points and is maturing into a star for the Zags. Gonzaga refuses to yield the WCC to Saint Mary’s and would gladly share the title after the Gaels won in Spokane. Once again, Gonzaga has a real shot to go deep in March, especially if the Zags defend like they did against the Gaels (65 total points and only four for Jock Landale, who was averaging 22).
FINAL: @ZagMBB grabs a big win at No. 11 Saint Mary's! Rui Hachimura led all scorers with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field. Johnathan Williams finishes with 12 points and 11 rebounds.#UnitedWeZag pic.twitter.com/aHncbeAyUv— Gonzaga Athletics (@GonzagaBulldogs) February 11, 2018
6. The last five seconds of the Xavier-Creighton game were as wild as any end of game situation outside of Penn State-Ohio State this season. Trevon Bluiett fouled Ronnie Harrell Jr., on a 3-point shot with five seconds left. For the call, it could be argued that there wasn’t enough contact, but the officials saw it differently and Harrell Jr., made three free throws to give Creighton a one-point lead. Quentin Goodin drove to the lane and Harrell was called for the foul as he apparently brushed him. Goodin made both free throws with 0.3 seconds remaining. Both calls could be debated. But officials will/should call fouls, no matter when they occur in the game and if they believe they saw contact enough to warrant a foul then it should be called. Still, it was a wild swing of emotions. And Xavier picked up one of the toughest road wins to snag this season.
Here is the stat recap from today's thriller in Omaha! pic.twitter.com/4Ckxxrr2eF— Xavier Gameday (@XavierGameday) February 10, 2018
7. Miles Bridges made what could be the most significant basket of his career when he buried a game-winning 3-pointer for Michigan State to knock off Purdue at home. The Spartans desperately needed this game and the manner in which they won. Michigan State still has as high a ceiling as any team in the country and they could easily get on a run through the rest of the regular season, the Big Ten tournament and to San Antonio. Bridges returned for his sophomore season to make big-time plays and continue his development. This was a memory maker for Bridges.
Big time players. Big time plays. Big time games.— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) February 10, 2018
Sparty on. pic.twitter.com/sgQbeoalzz
8. Texas A&M is going to make the NCAA tournament -- I’m now convinced. The Aggies have had one of the most surreal seasons. Good wins, tough schedule, injuries, suspensions, losing streaks and now a winning streak that included an 11-point win over Kentucky at home. Wild.
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10. The road can be cruel in conference, just ask Washington and USC, which both got swept and stunted their momentum to attempt to topple Arizona. The Huskies lost both in the state of Oregon while the Trojans fell to both in the state of Arizona. The Wildcats salvaged the weekend split against the L.A. schools, while Arizona State got a sweep -- the first time the Sun Devils have won two in a row in 2018.
11. St. John’s still has a mountain to climb just to be on the bubble after winning three in a row by beating Duke at home, at Villanova and then taking out Marquette behind Shamorie Ponds’ 44 points. But the Red Storm must be taken seriously now as a team that could win the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.
12. Oklahoma State has two of the most impressive road wins in a conference and they happened on consecutive Saturdays by winning at West Virginia after knocking off Kansas. Mike Boynton wasn’t a headline name when he got the gig last year but he’s made quite a splash in the conference in his first season.
"That's the beauty of this league. You've always got another opportunity," @thacoachmike.— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) February 11, 2018
The Cowboys took advantage of their opportunity at No. 19 West Virginia. Here's what the head coach had to say after the win. #letswork #okstate pic.twitter.com/0aGPqmCw4c
13. The freshman that has received little pub but is having a standout season is Lindell Wigginton at Iowa State. He scored 26 in the win over Oklahoma in Ames. Wigginton scored 22 in the home win over West Virginia on Jan. 31. He can ball.
14. Who knew Donte DiVincenzo could go for 30? He did in an impressive 11-point Villanova win over Butler. Luke Maye’s 33 in North Carolina’s win at NC State, Jordan Caroline’s 26 for Nevada over San Diego State, Jared Harper’s 24 in Auburn’s win at Georgia, Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.,’s 19 for Baylor in its upset over Kansas, Jerome Robinson’s 29 for Boston College over Miami, Vladimir Brodziansky’s 25 for TCU over Texas, Kassius Robertson’s 22 for Mizzou in the overtime win over Mississippi State Marcus Derrickson’s 22 for Georgetown over Seton Hall, Tres Tinkle’s 29 for Oregon State over Washington in double-overtime and Koby McEwen’s 23 for Utah State’s win over Boise State were some of the most impressive performances of the day in results that all had significant impact on conference races and potential bids.
15. Slow down on Penn winning the Ivy League. Harvard isn’t about to hand anything to Penn as the Crimson beat the Quakers 76-67 to give Penn its first conference loss of the season and pull them into a 7-1 tie for the top spot in the Ivy.
16. The one name to remember from Saturday, if you didn’t know him already, is New Mexico State 6-5 senior Jemerrio Jones. Jones scored 27 points and grabbed 20 boards in a 74-70 win over Grand Canyon for the 22-3 Aggies. Jones is on a remarkable streak. He has not one, not two, but three-straight 20-rebound games and he’s only 6-5.