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Bubble Banter: Nebraska’s marquee win, St. Joseph’s problematic loss

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There are eight 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.

Our latest bracket projection can be found here.

WINNERS

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers knocked off No. 9 Wisconsin, picking up a marquee victory that could very well get them into the NCAA tournament. Tim Miles’ crew is now 8-8 against the top 100 with wins over Wisconsin (fifth in the RPI) and Ohio State at home as well as the win at Michigan State. That’s strong, but is it strong enough to overcome three sub-100 losses? Nebraska is the fourth-seed in the Big Ten tournament and should get Ohio State in the quarterfinals. Win that, and they’re in.

MOREBrowse through all of our conference tournament previews

Minnesota: The Golden Gophers won today, knocking off Penn State in their Senior Night, but that doesn’t do much to improve their resume. The 19-12 record can be explained away by a top five strength of schedule. Wins over Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa are nice, but a pair of sub-100 losses and a 3-9 record away from the Barn isn’t. The Gophers get Penn State in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament. They likely need to win that and beat Wisconsin in the second round to really have a chance.

LOSERS

St. Joseph’s: The Hawks lost at home to La Salle on Sunday, their second straight loss and one that will slide them closer to the wrong side of the bubble’s cutline. The RPI in the mid-30s is nice, and they have four top 50 wins, including top 15 foes UMass and VCU. But they are just 5-8 against the top 100 with a non-conference SOS that checks in at 128th. St. Joe’s is the No. 4 seed in the A-10 tournament, which means that, barring an upset, they’ll lock horns with Dayton in the quarterfinals. That could be a play-in game for a spot in a play-in game.

Florida State: The Seminoles whiffed on a chance to knock off Syracuse on Sunday. They needed the win to get themselves back into the bubble mix. They’re now a longshot to get an at-large bid.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has scary fall while carrying girl

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Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has turned into a fan favorite at Rupp Arena.

Every home game, during one of the TV timeouts in the second half, ‘Mony Mony’ will come on, Dancing Guy will hop into the aisle and he’ll break it down like only a middle-aged white guy from Kentucky can.

As you can see, it didn’t quite go all that well for Dancing Guy on Tuesday night, as he tried to do a rail slide while holding a young, female fan and completely ate it.

Here’s another angle of the fall:

It looks much scarier that it actually was, as all reports indicate that everyone made it through the fall healthy.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.