Just four auto-bids remain to be decided after a busy night in college hoops. Then we find out which bubbles popped and which held firm. Here’s the upshot on what happened on the Night Before
Christmas Selection Sunday.
Game of the Night
No. 4 Louisville 78, No. 19 Syracuse 61: Amazing because it was the last dance for the Big East as we know it, and because both teams looked unbeatable for roughly 15-20 minutes at a time. It was Syracuse’s bad luck that they used up all of their genius in the first half, leaving the Cards to come back in a mighty rush in the second. Louisville forced 19 turnovers against a good team with a good point guard. That should be terrifying to the tourney field at large come Selection Sunday.
Hey!!! That’s tomorrow!!!!
No. 22 Wisconsin 68, No. 3 Indiana 56: Any discussion of who ‘deserves’ a number one seed this season will likely end in blows. Indiana has a stellar resume, but keeps losing tough games here at the end of the season, when all eyes are upon them. Bo Ryan’s Badgers, on the other hand, are serving notice that they will, once again, be one of the toughest outs in the Big Dance.
No. 15 New Mexico 63, UNLV 56: The Lobos have plenty of weapons this season, and we think that makes them worthy of a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.
No. 7 Kansas 70, No. 11 Kansas State 54: The Jayhawks shared the regular-season title with the Wildcats, so this clear victory may have settled state bragging rights in their favor. Kansas got a strong game from Jeff Withey, and saw backups Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe step up with 12 points apiece.
No. 16 St. Louis 67, Butler 56: The Billikens still have to get past Havoc to win the A-1o auto-bid, but they looked like a Final Four contender as they cruised past the Bulldogs in the Barclays Center.
Durand Scott, Miami: 32 points, three rebounds and four assists as the Hurricanes strolled past ACC preseason favorites NC State. He’ll be ready for a rematch with North Carolina tomorrow.
Aaron Craft, Ohio State: Craft was the motor for the Buckeyes, pouring in 20 points to go with a more standard nine assists and four steals to set up a rematch with his most effective nemesis, Wisconsin.
Dwayne Evans, St. Louis: 24 points, 11 boards, three steals vs. Butler.
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville: Harrell pulled Louisville’s fat out of the fire with his 20 point, 7 rebound explosion. Not bad for a freshman.
Brandon Triche, Syracuse: Triche had seven turnovers against the Louisville pressure.
The Great West: Two teams with identical 3-5 league records met to contest the Great West title, which confers no automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Chicago State Cougars won the dubious honor, while shooting just 41 percent from the floor and an even worse 14.3 percent from deep. Imagine Houston Baptist’s mortification.
D.J. Cooper, Ohio: Cooper is one of the best players in the country. He really is. He just didn’t look like it when the MAC auto-bid was on the line. Cooper shot 0-6 from deep as part of an 0-8 night from the floor. His three made foul shots were his only scoring output for the day. Cooper managed to dish out six assists, but those were tempered by the five turnovers he gave to the Akron Zips.
Eric Angevine is editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.