Creighton lost to Northern Iowa, 61-54, on the road Wednesday night for its third straight loss and dropping the Bluejays into a tie for second place in the Missouri Valley.
We’ve seen every contender at the top of the MVC go through its own struggles. Wichita State lost three in a row before bouncing back with two straight wins. Indiana State has yet to put together more than a two-game winning streak in conference play and is fresh off a loss Tuesday to Missouri State. Now Creighton, featuring perhaps the National Player of the Year in Doug McDermott, is in a hole.
It’s a blessing and curse for tough mid-major conferences. On one hand, parity is a good thing. It makes for a more interesting conference slate. Games are more competitive. We see some good upsets.
The NCAA tournament selection committee could see it differently, though.
As more Missouri Valley teams knock each other off, losses start piling up on resumes that really can’t afford when viewed in the larger scope of the field of 68 in the NCAA tournament. As the conference slate begins to come down the home stretch, a three-game losing streak by Wichita State or Creighton won’t look good for an at-large bid if Indiana State ultimately wins the conference.
The same can be said for any of the either two, depending who wins the conference. Northern Iowa is still in the mix too, with a favorable schedule coming up.
Right now, the league looks competitive enough to have at least one at-large bid in addition to the conference tournament champion, but that could change. We wanted a competitive Missouri Valley race. We’re getting it. For all that, though, it might only be hurting the very teams vying for an NCAA bid.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
No. 15 Cincinnati pounced on Memphis from the start, taking a 51-32 lead into halftime.
Then, Gary Clark decided to add insult to injury to start the second half. Seriously, how did he catch that?
Mick Cronin’s team is much better offensively than in previous seasons. I’m sure fans in the Fifth Third Arena can get used to seeing more plays like this.
Michigan State freshman guard Cassius Winston had just one field goal in the first half. And it was a half-court buzzer-beater as the Spartans capped a sizable run to take a 49-31 lead over Nebraska going into the break.
The Spartans ended the half on a 21-5 run.
Winston provided a serious boost off the bench during that stanza. Moments earlier, he helped the Breslin Center erupt when he lobbed a pass off the backboard to teammate Miles Bridges.
Michigan State opened the day projected as one of the final at-large bids in the NCAA Tournament. The margin for error is thing and it appears the Spartans are playing with a sense of urgency.
Wednesday’s slate of games had several wild results.
Former Ohio State walk-on turned blogger turned author Mark Titus, who is currently writing for The Ringer, joined Rob Dauster on the latest episode of the CBT Podcast to go over last night’s games. The two also discussed who is the best team in the nation at the moment, as well Frank Mason III’s rap single from several years ago #BIFM
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom
North Carolina’s Roy Williams called fellow Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino to apologize for a fan’s behavior during Wednesday night’s game in Chapel Hill.
While leaving the floor at halftime, Pitino had to be restrained by members of the Louisville coaching staff and he and a UNC fan exchanged words as he made his way to the locker rom. There’s video of Pitino pointing and shouting at a fan, who reportedly said, “Pitino, you suck!”
“I don’t like that,” Williams said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “I mean we’re in North Carolina. We don’t have to be like everybody else. We can raise Cain. You can boo, but you don’t have to say the stuff that we as coaches have to put up with.”
“I hope that never happens at North Carolina ever again.”
No. 8 North Carolina defeated No. 7 Louisville, 74-63.
STILL TO PLAY
Georgia at Alabama (RPI: 68, KenPom: 61, next four teams), 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Michigan State (RPI: 43, KenPom: 55, No. 10 seed), 7:00 p.m.
Towson at UNC Wilmington (RPI: 41, KenPom: 57, No. 12 seed), 7:00 p.m.