Auburn Tennessee Basketball

Bubble Banter: Who helped their tournament chances?

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Villanova: The Wildcats beat Georgetown and now own victories over the top four teams in the Big East. While they still haven’t beaten anyone (except UConn) away from home and have losses to Columbia, Seton Hall and two to Providence, given what the rest of the bubble looks like, Jay Wright should feel pretty comfortable right now.

Iowa State: The Cyclones still have just OK computer numbers and a pair of bad losses, but they now have wins over three top 30 RPI teams. That’s monstrous compared to some of the other bubble teams. They aren’t safe yet, but they should feel pretty good about their standing.

Temple: The Owls didn’t want to leave any doubt tonight, so they went out and blew the doors off of Fordham. Fran Dunphy’s club would be smart to beat VCU at home on Sunday.

La Salle: The Explorers are in the same boat at Temple. They are probably sitting a better position right now because they don’t have the awful losses that Temple does, but La Salle’s profile is more or less supported by that one week where they beat Butler and VCU. They head to St. Louis this weekend. A win would be very, very helpful.

Tennessee: The Vols did what they needed to do on Wednesday: not lose to Auburn. That sets them up for a game on Saturday that could determine their NCAA tournament future. Tennessee will host Missouri with a chance to put themselves into a really good position heading into the SEC tournament. A loss wouldn’t be disastrous, but it would put Tennessee into a spot where they will need two wins — and maybe more, depending on how weak their matchups are — in Atlanta to go dancing.

San Diego State: The Aztecs probably are safe right now, and they probably would have been even if they lost to Air Force tonight. But their best road win is at USC, they have just four top 50 wins and seven top 100 wins, and their last game is at Boise State. They’ll likely have a rematch with the Broncos in the first round of the MWC tournament. Lose both and … they’re probably still in, but it’s not a lock yet.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.


Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.