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Bubble Banter: St. Joseph’s, Xavier, Minnesota celebrate big wins

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There are 23 days left until Selection Sunday. Every morning from now until the bracket comes out, we’ll help you get caught up on the happenings with impact on the bubble from the night before. 

You can see NBCSports.com’s latest bracket here.

Dayton (RPI: 54, KenPom: 64) went to Philly and got worked over by St. Joseph’s (RPI: 38, KenPom: 57) on Tuesday in a key bubble game. Both the Flyers and the Hawks entered the night sitting right around the bubble’s cut line, and that probably’s won’t change much after the 26-point win.

Dayton has a stronger resume than you realize. They have two top 30 wins and are 7-6 against the top 100. Their issue is three losses to teams sitting outside the top 100. The good news? With homes games left against UMass and Richmond and a road trip to a Saint Louis team that will have already clinched a league title, Archie Miller’s club has three chances to earn quality wins that will put them on the right side of the bubble.

The Hawks have a fairly similar profile. The win over Dayton moved St. Joe’s to 6-6 against the top 100, which includes top 25 wins against UMass and VCU. They only have two losses to teams outside the top 50, against LSU and at Temple, which is a bad loss on paper but doesn’t look as awful when you factor in the fact that it was a rivalry game.

Phil Martelli’s club has three more games against top 100 competition, heading to St. Bonaventure and GW while hosting La Salle. They probably need to win two of the three and avoid a loss in their first game in the Atlantic 10 tournament to truly feel comfortable.

THE REST OF TUESDAY’S BUBBLE ACTION

  • Minnesota (RPI: 48, KenPom: 49) picked up a huge win, knocking off Iowa at home. It’s their fourth top 50 win and sixth top 100 win. The Gophers are still sitting right around the cutline, but a win at Michigan on Saturday would change that.
  • Xavier (RPI: 60, KenPom: 44) beat St. John’s (RPI: 52, KenPom: 37) in a game between Big East bubblers. It was a huge win for Xavier, who is now 7-7 against the top 100. They have just one top 50 win (Cincinnati), but they get home games against Creighton and Villanova still. The Johnnies are in a bit of a tougher spot. They’re 5-9 against the top 100, and while the win over Creighton is nice, they missed out on chances to improve their resume the last week. They cannot afford a loss to Marquette or DePaul.
  • Missouri (RPI: 45, KenPom: 61) is in a tough spot after a loss at Georgia. The Tigers were already sitting close to the bubble’s cutline, and another loss to a team with an RPI outside the top 65 — their seventh — certainly doesn’t help. They do have eight top 100 wins, but only one top 50 win. The Tigers cannot afford another loss before the league tournament.
  • Georgia (RPI: 88, KenPom: 81) is still a long way from being on the bubble even after Tuesday’s win over Missouri but … they can dream, right? Win out, which would include roadies against Arkansas and LSU, and make the finals of the SEC tournament — which would include a win over Kentucky or Florida — and who knows? No one else seems to want to win their way in.
  • Kansas State (RPI: 43, KenPom: 43) avoided what would have been a damaging loss at Texas Tech with a late rally. It’s their second Big 12 road win, although both have come against the bottom two teams in the conference.
  • Clemson (RPI: 67, KenPom: 47), barring some kind of miracle, is done after losing at Wake Forest.

Gill’s 16, ‘D’ lead No. 7 Virginia past Virginia Tech, 67-49

Lehigh Virginia Basketball
AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Anthony Gill scored 16 points and No. 7 Virginia turned the tables on state rival Virginia Tech with a 67-49 victory Tuesday night, the Cavaliers’ seventh straight.

Isaiah Wilkins added a career-best 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 12 for the Cavaliers (20-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia avenged a 70-68 loss to the Hokies in Blacksburg on Jan. 4 in what rates as their worst performance of the season, and extended their winning streak at John Paul Jones Arena to 17 games.

Freshman Justin Robinson scored 16 points and classmate Chris Clarke had 11 in his first action for the Hokies (13-12, 5-7) since breaking his right foot in late December. Virginia Tech’s top two scorers, Zach LeDay (16.0 ppg) and Seth Allen (14.5), were limited to seven and six points, respectively, in part because of foul trouble.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said his team wasn’t ready to play when it lost to the Hokies earlier, but they have been surging of late and were focused from the outset. They were credited with assists and 14 of their first 15 baskets and forced 10 turnovers in the first half; they forced just eight in the last meeting of the teams.

For most of the game, the Hokies had more turnovers than field goals.

The Cavaliers led 32-20 at halftime and extended their advantage to 47-29 on a three-point play by Mike Tobey with 12:11 remaining. It capped an 11-4 run for Virginia, during which LeDay was whistled for his fourth foul. On Virginia’s next trip down court, it got the ball to Gill inside and LeDay basically backed off and let him score, quickly earning a spot on the bench.

The Cavaliers’ lead never dipped into single digits again.

The Hokies had just eight turnovers and outscored Virginia 26-6 off turnovers in their first meeting. This time, Virginia Tech had 10 turnovers by halftime and the Cavaliers had already turned them into 15 points. Virginia Tech finished with 16 field goals and 15 turnovers.

Already leading 9-6, Virginia got scoring from eight players in a 23-8 run that spanned about 8 1/2 minutes.

Gill started it with a dunk, Brogdon hit a 3-pointer, London Perrantes had a four-point play and Wilkins finished it with two free throws, giving the Cavaliers a 32-14 lead with 2:06 left in the half. They didn’t score again, and the Hokies closed within 32-20 by halftime.

TIP-INS

Virginia Tech: The Hokies shot 57.1 percent (15 of 26) from the field in the second half of their 70-68 victory against Virginia on Jan. 4. … Virginia Tech’s starting five totaled four points in the first half.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have held four consecutive opponents to 50 points or fewer.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech plays at No. 12 Miami next Wednesday.

Virginia plays at Duke on Saturday.

Follow Hank on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr

The AP’s college basketball page: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org

No. 25 Wichita State pounds Drake 74-48

Gregg Marshall
AP Photo/AJ Mast
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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Ron Baker and Shaq Morris had 11 points each and No. 25 Wichita State pounded Drake 74-48 on Tuesday night for its 13th win in 14 games.

Thirteen players scored for the Shockers (18-5, 12-1 Missouri Valley Conference), who moved within two victories of clinching at least a share of its third straight league title.

Wichita State had little trouble with the Valley’s worst team, rattling off a 27-5 run to close the first half in beating the Bulldogs for the ninth straight time.

Reed Timmer scored 20 points for Drake (6-19, 1-12), which lost for the 15th time in 17 games.

Wichita State was coming off just its second Valley loss in three seasons, as it fell at Illinois State 58-53.

The woeful Bulldogs didn’t stand a chance against a Shockers team seeking a measure of redemption.

Drake hung in for a few minutes, even closing within 17-16 at one point midway through the first half. But the Shockers tightened up their defense and spread the ball around, getting baskets from nine players in the first half to pull away from the overwhelmed Bulldogs.

Wichita State went 7 of 12 from 3-point range in the opening half, while Drake went 1 of 16 from the field and failed to score in the final 5:23 before halftime.

Fred VanVleet’s wide-open 3 with 17 minutes left made it 50-25.

The Shockers held Drake to 25 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers.

TIP-INS

WICHITA STATE: The Shockers were the eighth team in this week’s Top 25 to play a road game in Iowa – and that doesn’t include the fourth-ranked Hawkeyes or 14th-ranked Iowa State. … Early in the second half, the 6-foot VanVleet was alone in the paint to defend a 3-on-1 break. VanVleet forced a jump ball.

DRAKE: Timmer twice tricked opponents into fouling him on a 3-point attempt. He converted all six free throws. … Dominik Olejniczak, a freshman from Poland, had nine points in his second career start.

UP NEXT

Wichita State hosts Northern Iowa on Saturday.

Drake plays at Southern Illinois on Saturday.