The fun part about the Big East tournament this season is that there are four teams that are going to be making a push for the NCAA tournament. Marquette, Xavier, Providence and Seton Hall all have profiles that are good enough to get them into the mix for an at-large bid, but I would hesitate at saying that all four have totally locked up a bid. It’s going to be interesting to see this thing play out.
The Pirates are going dancing.
A year after reaching the NCAA tournament as a darling of the Big East tournament, Seton Hall shouldn’t have to worry about needing to make a run next week to ensure their bid.
The Pirates used a 23-7 run to close their trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, knocking off No. 13 Butler, 70-64, and landing themselves one of the elite wins in the sport this season. Butler currently ranks 10th in the RPI, and the Pirates just beat them on the road. It’s their fourth top 35 win — the second of which came away from home — and their 10th top 100 win in total.
That should be enough for the Pirates to earn a bid, particularly when you consider that, as the No. 5 seed in the Big East tournament, they are now going to have to worry about slipping up against St. John’s, DePaul or Georgetown. Put another way, their profile isn’t getting worse from here, and right now it should be good enough to get them in with some room to spare.
The question this season is going to be whether or not Seton Hall can actually get a win in this tournament, and they certainly have the horses to be able to do some. Angel Delgado has been playing as well as anyone in the country, and when Khadeen Carrington plays the way that he did down the stretch against Butler, this is not an easy team to beat.
For the fifth time this season, Melo Trimble scored the game-winning points for Maryland in the final 30 seconds of a game.
On Saturday, in the Terps’ 63-60 win over Michigan State, it was this three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left from Trimble that made all of the difference.
With the win, Trimble is now 30-8 in his career in games decided by six points or less.
The Terps badly needed this one as well. Prior to beating Rutgers this week, Maryland had lost three in a row and five of their last seven games. This win is a nice confidence boost with the Big Ten tournament coming up in Washington D.C., which is more or less a home game for the Terps.
No. 9 Kentucky dug themselves another huge hole on Saturday afternoon, trailing Texas A&M 16-2 just seven minutes into the game.
The Wildcats made a run to take the lead at the half, thanks, in large part, to the play of Dominique Hawkins.
Malik Monk struggled in the first half once again, but he did have the highlight of the first half:
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Daxter Miles Jr. tied a career high with 23 points to lead No. 10 West Virginia to an 87-76 victory over No. 24 Iowa State on Friday night.
Nathan Adrian added 16 points for the Mountaineers (24-7, 12-6 Big 12), who clinched the second seed in next week’s conference tournament behind top-ranked Kansas.
Iowa State (20-10, 12-6) can earn the third seed if No. 11 Baylor loses at Texas on Saturday.
Naz Mitrou-Long led the Cyclones with 22 points. Monte Morris and Deonte Burton scored 17 apiece, and Matt Thomas had 16.
Miles scored 16 of his team’s 18 points during an eight-minute stretch spanning both halves.
Iowa State has relied on some strong 3-point shooting during a solid stretch in February, and that held true against the Mountaineers. But its accuracy was shoddy from other parts of the court.
ST. LOUIS (AP) Deontae Hawkins scored 19 points, Keyshawn Evans had 16 and Illinois State set a program record on Friday with its 26th win, beating Evansville 80-69 on Friday in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament quarterfinals.
Paris Lee added 13 points with seven assists and DJ Clayton had 12 points for the Redbirds (26-5), who blocked a tournament and school record 14 shots. Hawkins, Phil Fayne and Daouda Ndiaye had four blocks apiece.
The Redbirds face the Loyola-Southern Illinois winner in a semifinal on Saturday.
Illinois State, the top seed, shot 51 percent (27 of 53), had five more 3-pointers and was plus-six at the foul line but didn’t put away the Purple Aces (16-17) until they made 7 of 8 free throws in the closing minute.
Jaylon Brown, who had 24 points, scored four points and Christian Benzon had a layup as Evansville quickly cut a 10-point deficit down to 73-69 with less than a minute to play. But the Redbirds made their free throws and the Purple Aces missed their last two shots.
Benzon had 11 points and 10 rebounds and David Howard scored 14 points for Evansville.