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Late Night Snacks: Seton Hall’s win over No. 3 Villanova highlights busy Thursday

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GAME OF THE DAY: Seton Hall 64, No. 3 Villanova 63

Conventional wisdom has three of the four one-seeds in the NCAA tournament spoken for, with Arizona, Florida and Wichita State being the teams occupying those spots. The fourth? That’s anyone’s guess at this point, and Villanova is seen as one of the possible options. But the Wildcats didn’t help themselves on Thursday afternoon, falling to eight-seed Seton Hall on a Sterling Gibbs jumper as time expired. Does this mean Villanova won’t get that one seed? The answer will depend on what happens in other conference tournaments, with multiple candidates still in action.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 10 Kansas 77, Oklahoma State 70 (OT) 

Playing without center Joel Embiid the Jayhawks needed an extra five minutes to beat the Cowboys, with Andrew Wiggins leading the way. Wiggins finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and three assists, continuing his recent run of excellent play. Wayne Selden Jr. added 14 points for Kansas, which takes on No. 16 Iowa State in a Big 12 semifinal. Le’Bryan Nash led four Oklahoma State players in double figures with 19 points.

2) Colorado 59, California 56

A 19-6 first half run gave the Buffaloes some needed separation, and Tad Boyle’s team will get a third shot at No. 4 Arizona on Friday. Askia Booker scored 17 points and Xavier Talton added 13 for Colorado, which looks to be on its way to the NCAA tournament as a result of this win. As for Cal, the Golden Bears lost five of their last seven to end the season and may have gone from being a tournament lock in February to the Postseason NIT.

3) Providence 79, St. John’s 74

With Bryce Cotton struggling with foul trouble the Friars needed someone to step up against St. John’s. Enter Josh Fortune, who scored 24 points to lead Providence to an important win at the Big East tournament. Four starters finished in double figures for Ed Cooley’s team, which advanced to the Big East semis and added a needed win to its NCAA tournament resume.

STARRED

1) Doug McDermott (Creighton) 

McDermott set a Big East tournament record by scoring 27 points in the first half of Creighton’s 84-62 win over DePaul. He finished the game with 35 points on 14-for-22 shooting, five rebounds and three assists.

2) Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)

Racked up 30 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in the Jayhawks’ 77-70 overtime win over Oklahoma State in a Big 12 quarterfinal.

3) Stephen Madison (Idaho)

Accounted for 26 points and 17 rebounds in the Vandals’ 73-70 win over Kansas City in a WAC quarterfinal.

STRUGGLED

1) Rutgers 

26 turnovers, 12 made field goals and 31 points in a  61-point loss to No. 5 Louisville in an American Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinal.

2) Mike Gesell (Iowa)

Gesell shot 0-for-10 from the field in Iowa’s 67-62 loss to Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

3) UCSB

Remove Alan Williams (7-for-17 FG) and Michael Bryson (7-for-10) and the other Gauchos combined to shoot 2-for-22 in a 69-38 loss to Cal Poly in a Big West quarterfinal.

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

  • American: Houston upsets SMU
    Thanks to wins over three of the other four top teams in the American, SMU’s seen as a team guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament. But outside of those wins (two over UConn and one each against Cincinnati and Memphis) there isn’t much on the Mustangs’ resume, which makes their 68-64 loss to Houston concerning. Nic Moore struggled for SMU, and TaShawn Thomas made some big plays late for Houston. Top-seed Cincinnati outlasted UCF, with Louisville beating Rutgers by a stunning 61-point margin and UConn outclassing Memphis.
  • Atlantic 10: Dayton, UMass avoid bad losses
    UMass is in good shape with regards to the NCAA tournament but a loss to rival Rhode Island likely would have impacted their seeding. The Minutemen won 65-61, joining Dayton (an 87-74 winner over Fordham) in avoiding a damaging result. The other winners on Thursday were St. Bonaventure (over La Salle) and Richmond (over Duquesne).
  • ACC: Bojanovsky’s dunk ends Maryland’s ACC tenure
    Maryland won’t officially move to the Big Ten until July 1, but a Boris Bojanovsky dunk with four tenths of a second remaining ended the Terrapins’ 61-year run in the conference. Florida State advances to play Virginia, and that game represents a great opportunity for the Seminoles. The other winners in Greensboro: Pittsburgh (over Wake Forest), N.C. State (over Miami) and Clemson (an overtime win over Georgia Tech).
  • Big 12: Baylor keeps rolling
    Scott Drew’s Bears have won nine of their last ten games, the most recent being a 78-73 win over Oklahoma in Kansas City. Next up for Baylor is Texas, which beat a West Virginia team that match up with very well for the third time this season. Kansas and Iowa State will meet in the other semifinal.
  • Big East: Xavier holds off Marquette
    How much work Xavier still had to do entering Thursday’s games was unknown, but their 68-65 win over Marquette certainly doesn’t hurt the Musketeers’ chances of receiving an at-large bid. Xavier will play two-seed Creighton in the semis, with the Bluejays beating DePaul 84-62. Seton Hall and Providence will meet in the first semifinal.
  • Big Sky: Portland State, Northern Colorado and North Dakota advance
    The Big Sky race was highly competitive this season and the first day of the conference tournament didn’t disappoint either. Portland State eliminated reigning champion Montana, joining Northern Colorado and North Dakota in the semifinals. Next up for the Vikings is top seed Weber State, which received a bye into the semifinals. Northern Colorado and North Dakota will meet in the other semifinal.
  • Big Ten: Northwestern drops Iowa
    The Hawkeyes have now lost six of their last seven games, and they’ll be limping into the NCAA tournament as a result. Northwestern won 67-62 with Tre Demps scoring 20 points and Drew Crawford 15. The other winners on Thursday were Illinois (over Indiana), No. 24 Ohio State (over Purdue) and Minnesota (over Penn State). The Golden Gophers are on the bubble, so earning a shot at Wisconsin can help their case if they take advantage.
  • Big West: Cal Poly steamrolls UCSB
    UCSB finished second in the Big West with a 12-4 conference record and had the look of a team capable of reaching the title game. Cal Poly had other ideas, beating the Gauchos 69-38. Next up for the Mustangs is top seed UC Irvine, which beat UC Riverside 63-43. Long Beach State and Cal-State Northridge will meet in the other semifinal, with the Matadors coming back to beat Hawaii 87-84 in overtime.
  • Conference USA: Southern Miss eliminates host UTEP
    Of the four teams that finished tied atop the C-USA standings Southern Miss drew the toughest quarterfinal matchup, with host UTEP being the opponent. Donnie Tyndall’s team took care of business, beating the Miners 64-56 to advance to the semifinals where they’ll play top-seed Louisiana Tech. The other winners on Thursday were Tulsa and Middle Tennessee.
  • MAC: Eastern Michigan wins again
    The Eagles are headed to the MAC semifinals after beating three-seed Buffalo, 69-64. Karrington Ward scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds for EMU, but the big story was the fact that the Eagles limited Javon McCrea to 2-for-13 shooting. They’ll take on two-seed Toledo in the semifinals, with Akron advancing to face top-seed Western Michigan on the other side of the bracket.
  • MEAC: No surprises on Thursday
    Coppin State’s win over Hampton on Wednesday was the only upset in the quarterfinals, with Morgan State and Norfolk State advancing on Thursday. Morgan State, which beat Florida A&M, will take on Coppin State Friday with the other semifinal matching Norfolk State and regular season champion North Carolina Central.
  • Mountain West: Preseason top four advance to the semifinals
    They didn’t finish the way the coaches expected them to back in October, but Boise State, New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV are all in the semis of the Mountain West tournament. Boise State beat three-seed Nevada, advancing to take on New Mexico with SDSU and UNLV in the other semifinal.
  • Pac-12: No. 4 Arizona, UCLA and Stanford roll
    Colorado’s win over California was the only result to provide any drama in Las Vegas, with No. 4 Arizona whipping Utah, UCLA dropping 82 points on Oregon and Stanford beating three-seed Arizona State by 21. Arizona and Colorado will meet in one semifinal, with UCLA and Stanford meeting in Friday’s nightcap.
  • SEC: Arkansas may have punched its ticket…to the NIT
    Arkansas has two wins over Kentucky on its resume, and after a 71-69 loss to South Carolina Mike Anderson’s team will find out just how much value there is in those wins. Missouri managed to escape a similar fate, beating Texas A&M in double overtime, with LSU and Ole Miss being the other winners on Thursday. The top four seeds, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia and Kentucky, begin play Friday.
  • Southland: Northwestern State, Sam Houston State advance
    There were no surprises in the quarterfinals, as Northwestern State handled Nicholls State and Sam Houston State beat Oral Roberts. Next up for the Demons is top-seed Stephen F. Austin, with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi awaiting Sam Houston State.
  • Sun Belt: UT-Arlington, UALR advance
    UT-Arlington and UALR advanced to the quarterfinals with wins over UL Monroe and Troy, respectively. Next up for the Mavericks is four-seed Arkansas State, and UALR will play three-seed Louisiana in the other quarterfinal. The top two seeds, Georgia State and Western Kentucky, have byes to the semifinals.
  • SWAC: Alabama A&M eliminates Arkansas-Pine Bluff
    Just one team ineligible for postseason play remained alive in the SWAC at the start of play on Thursday, but that would change with Alabama A&M’s win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. As a result of that outcome the remaining four teams are all eligible to play in the NCAA tournament, sparing the conference some embarrassment. Alabama A&M takes on Prairie View A&M in one semifinal, with Texas Southern and Alabama State meeting in the other.
  • WAC: Two-seed New Mexico State survives
    New Mexico State was the preseason pick to win the WAC, and they remain alive thanks to a 70-68 win over Seattle. Regular season champ Utah Valley advanced with a comfortable win over UTPA, with five-seed Idaho and six-seed Bakersfield joining them in the semifinals. Utah Valley and Idaho will meet in one semifinal, with NMSU and Bakerfield meeting in the other.

You Make The Call: Did Tyler Roberson set an illegal screen?

SYRACUSE, NY - JANUARY 28:  Tyler Roberson #21 of the Syracuse Orange dunks the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half at the Carrier Dome on January 28, 2017 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
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Syracuse was unable to cap off a thrilling comeback on Sunday night due, in large part, to the fact that Tyler Roberson was called for an illegal screen with 16 seconds left in the game and the Orange down just two points.

They had gone on a 20-9 run in the previous four minutes to close the deficit, and had gotten a stop in order to get the ball on that possession.

But here’s the thing: The call was, to put it politely, controversial. I don’t think that Tyler Roberson committed a foul here.

You make the call:

The loss put the Orange in a bad spot with just two weeks left before the end of the regular season. We go all the way through their at-large profile here.

Bubble Banter: Let’s talk about Syracuse, Georgetown and Georgia Tech

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 16:  Tyus Battle #25 of the Syracuse Orange during their game at the Dean Smith Center on January 16, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here. This is where the seeds you see listed below come from.

This post will be updated throughout the night. 

LOSERS

Georgetown (RPI: 61, KenPom: 53, first four out): The Hoyas missed a golden opportunity to add an elite road win to their profile, losing at Creighton by 17 points, and now I think we’re just about to a point where we can write the Hoyas off. They’re sitting at 14-13 on the season and 5-9 in the Big East. The win over Oregon on a neutral, at Butler and over Creighton at home got them back into the picture, but three losses in their last four games will probably be too much to overcome.

That said, I’m going to keep listing them here because I think that if they can win out – DePaul, at St. John’s, at Seton Hall, Villanova – they’ll have an argument. In the early bracket reveal, the committee made clear that they value good wins over anything, which is why Gonzaga was rated as the fourth No. 1 seed despite having fewer losses than any of the other No. 1 seeds. There aren’t many teams that would be able to match Georgetown win for win in they win out.

Syracuse (RPI: 77, KenPom: 46, No. 10 seed): The Orange lost to Georgia Tech on Sunday, so let’s talk about Syracuse, because they are on track to enter Selection Sunday with one of the weirder profiles. The bad first: they lost to a bad, injury-depleted UConn team at the Garden. They were blown out at Boston College. They were blown out by St. John’s at home by 33 points. There is no high-major team with that collection of awful losses to their name, and it doesn’t help that Jim Boeheim’s club has nine more losses to add to the mix.

They also have some good wins – Virginia, Florida State, Wake Forest, Miami – but they’ve only won two games away from the Carrier Dome: at Clemson, who is 4-10 in the ACC, and at N.C. State, who fired their coach three days ago. With FSU and UVA careening – combined, they’ve lost five straight games – neither of those games look at good as they did two weeks ago. So after today, for my money, Syracuse is out. That can change, however. They get Duke at home this week and Louisville on the road this weekend. Those are season-changers.

WINNERS

Georgia Tech (RPI: 79, KenPom: 78, first four out): The Yellow Jackets have a very similar profile to that of Syracuse, who they beat at home on Sunday. They have wins over North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame, but they also won at VCU – which is now a top 30 road win – and their worst loss came against an Ohio team that looked like they could win the MAC before their best player went down with a season-ending injury. Their problem? Their non-conference strength of schedule is 244th, and that RPI is dreadfully low for an at-large contender.

Michigan (RPI: 52, KenPom: 27, No. 10 seed): The Wolverines lost an overtime game on the road to Minnesota, which is not the kind of loss that is really going to hurt their profile beyond the opportunity cost of it. The Wolverines are still in a good spot.

Valparaiso (RPI: 74, KenPom: 97, No. 12 seed): Valpo is in as a No. 12 seed in our bracket, but they are in as an automatic bid, meaning that there are no at-large teams rated below them. Being the best automatic bid does not guarantee that they’ll be in as an at-large, not when their best win is a Rhode Island team that is fading and they’ve lost four games to sub-100 competition. Win that auto-bid.

Illinois State (RPI: 35, KenPom: 49, No. 12 seed): Illinois State beat Loyola (IL) on Sunday to keep themselves alive for a potential at-large bid should they lose in the Missouri Valley tournament. Their profile, however, is quite different than that of Wichita State. Their only top 50 win is a Wichita State team whose only top 50 win is … Illinois State. They have also lost to San Francisco, Tulsa and Murray State, who is 239th in the RPI. Pro-tip: Don’t risk it, even with the weak bubble. The committee is going to value wins over a lack of losses.

 

VIDEO: Valparaiso’s Micah Bradford makes 3/4 court shot off the shot clock

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Valparaiso freshman Micah Bradford made one of the most ridiculous shots we’ll see all season on Sunday against Detroit.

With time winding down in the first half, Bradford hoisted a 3/4 court buzzer-beater and watched as it hit the shot clock, flew high in the air, hit the rim and dropped through the hoop to the disbelief of everyone in attendance.

Unfortunately, Bradford’s wacky three-pointer did not count as he finished with five points in a 20-point Valpo win.

(H/t: Eric Fawcett)

Michigan State senior Eron Harris to have season-ending knee surgery

Michigan State's Eron Harris (14) shoots against Wisconsin's Jordan Hill (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
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Michigan State senior guard Eron Harris will undergo season-ending surgery on his knee after leaving Saturday’s loss at Purdue on a stretcher, the school announced on Sunday.

The 6-foot-3 fifth-year senior suffered the right knee injury during Michigan State’s loss at Purdue on Saturday as the unsettling injury resulted in some Michigan State players being brought to tears. Harris is a native of Indianapolis and received a standing ovation from the road crowd at Purdue as he was taken off the floor.

“We all feel absolutely awful for Eron,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in the release. “As I said last night, I couldn’t ask for more than what Eron has given me and this program. Over the last month he’s grown even more as a leader and been an example to his young teammates. And maybe I didn’t even fully grasp it until I walked on the court and saw the admiration his teammates had for him and the tears in their eyes. There’s no faking the respect they have for Eron as a man, as a player, and most importantly a teammate.

“It’s cruel to see a senior’s career end this way. If there is a silver lining, it’s that we expect Eron to be able to make a full recovery and pursue a basketball career after graduation. He’s always worked for everything he’s accomplished on the court, and that same passion and mindset will serve him well in his recovery. Basketball is important to all players, but for Eron it was a way of life. Very few have spent more time in this facility or worked harder than Eron has. That’s why I’m confident his best basketball is still in front of him.”

Although Harris was never able to recreate his awesome sophomore season at West Virginia after his transfer to Michigan State, losing him still hurts this Spartans team because he’s one of the team’s veterans and, at times, a capable scorer. Harris averaged 10.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as a senior while shooting 43 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three-point range.

The injury bug has hit Michigan State pretty hard this season as they’ve also lost Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling to season-ending injuries.

No. 11 Wisconsin takes down No. 23 Maryland

MADISON, WI - FEBRUARY 19:  Ethan Happ #22 of the Wisconsin Badgers works against Michal Cekovsky #15 of the Maryland Terrapins during the first half of a game at the Kohl Center on February 19, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Wisconsin snapped a two-game losing streak with a 71-60 Big Ten home win over No. 23 Maryland on Sunday. With senior guard Bronson Koenig returning to the rotation after missing the Michigan loss with injury, the No. 11 Badgers looked more like themselves for the first time in the last few games.

Here are some takeaways from this one.

1. This was an ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly game (just the way Wisconsin wanted)

Sorry to make you read the word “ugly” four times but I felt it was completely necessary to hammer home the point that this basketball game was not a pleasant viewing experience (and this has nothing to do with pace or style of play).

Wisconsin only shot 41 percent from the field, 16 percent from three-point range and 54 percent from the free-throw line and still won by double digits because they were the older and more physical team. While the Terps were able to hang in the game until the final five minutes or so because of junior guard Melo Trimble’s scoring punch, a younger Maryland team was physically dominated by Wisconsin for most of the game.

The Badgers owned the glass (44 to 27), got to the free-throw line 37 times and did a nice job of getting Maryland’s bigs into foul trouble.

Even though Wisconsin couldn’t generate a lot of consistent offense, they had enough from guys like Nigel Hayes (19 points) and Ethan Happ (20 points) to feel comfortable once they built a bit of a cushion. Wisconsin winning ugly isn’t any sort of new phenomenon, but it does bode well for the Badgers that they handled Maryland this easily despite such a poor shooting game.

2. Maryland needs even more help for Melo to be elite

Maryland has been able to stay in the top 25 this season because junior Melo Trimble has had a lot of help from a talented freshman class. Anthony Cowan has given the Terps another attacking guard, Kevin Huerter is one of the Big Ten’s better all-around freshmen and Justin Jackson has given Maryland a nice dose of athleticism.

Those three freshmen had a game to forget in Madison on Sunday. While Trimble went for 27 points, those three freshmen went a combined 3-for-15 from the field as they just didn’t show up to play during a very important game for conference implications.

Freshmen are going to have off games but this was the biggest game of Maryland’s season and they didn’t look ready to play.

Looking to fire up his team in the second half, head coach Mark Turgeon even went on the floor during a Wisconsin possession and basically forced the officials to whistle him for a technical foul. Even after trying to rally his team with that tech, the Terps didn’t fair much better.

It is also concerning that center Michael Cekovsky went down with an ankle injury in the second half. Cekovsky grabbed his ankle and left the game — looking noticeably frustrated on the bench — and that could be something to watch for Maryland in these final few weeks. Although Cekovsky is only a reserve big man, his 10-point showing on Sunday was one of his best games since returning from injury as he was just starting to look more comfortable.

Losing Cekovsky could hurt, but thankfully for Maryland, the remaining schedule isn’t too daunting. Three of four games come at home and the only road game comes at Rutgers. Even with Sunday’s lackluster effort, Maryland can stay in the Big Ten race if they continue to win.