Perry Ellis

Perry Ellis, Kansas in position for No. 1 seed after Duke, Michigan, Georgetown all lose?

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Kansas and Iowa State went to overtime twice this season with both, one very controversial, ended with the Jayhawks pulling out the win. In the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament, Kansas only needed the minimum 40 minutes to top Iowa State, 88-73 in Kansas City to advance to the Big 12 title game. Perry Ellis was the hero for Kansas, leading the way with a game-high 23 points and six boards

Ellis’ performance lifted Kansas into the title game, but also could have provided much more. With the win for the Jayhawks, they may have moved into a No. 1 seed after Duke and Michigan were eliminated in their tournament quarterfinals while Georgetown was taken down by Syracuse in the Big East semifinal.

Duke didn’t win the ACC regular season title and now won’t have a chance to win the conference title. It’s the same story for Michigan. Indiana is in position to win the regular season and conference title, which will help lock up a No. 1 seed to go along with top-ranked Gonzaga. Louisville is still alive in the Big East, rolling with eight straight wins since the five overtime loss to Notre Dame. The Cardinals, if they leave Madison Square Garden with a conference tournament title, there are three No. 1 spots already taken

It’s unclear whether or not Kansas winning the Big 12 tournament is enough to secure a No. 1 seed?

The Jayhawks have played great ball, especially on the offensive end, since the three-game losing streak in the beginning of February, but as Rob Dauster points out, it may not be enough to take the last remaining top spot from Duke. Although Duke was horrible on the defensive end in its second loss to Maryland on the season, it’s still only the Blue Devils first loss with Ryan Kelly in the lineup. The way Duke plays will Kelly will have to be taken into consideration when the four top seeds are decided.

With Kelly on the floor, Duke proved worthy of a No. 1 seed especially in the early part of the season and then reaffirmed it when Kelly returned to the floor for 36 points against Miami on Mar. 2.

Kansas could end up winning the conference title Saturday and still end up as high as a No. 2 seed.

The loser of Saturday’s semifinal, Iowa State has the resume of a tournament team with a pair of top 15 wins, but a third loss to Kansas, albeit that two of them went to overtime (one of them controversial), however, Iowa State hurt its resume with losses to Texas and Texas Tech.

The Cyclones were projected as a a First Four participant in the latest bracket and had a chance to lock up a spot with a win against Kansas on Saturday. Unable to top the Jayhawks for the third time and Iowa State should now  feel uneasy during Selection Sunday.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)