Bubble Banter: Washington, Alabama both in same spot — who woulda guessed?


Welcome to Bubble Banter.  In our latest update (Feb. 9), four teams have left and three have joined the bubble.  Two of the joiners are Washington and Minnesota, who we can no longer consider as Should Be In.  We’re now at 37 bubble teams with 15 spots available.  The next two weeks should help pare down the field; then we’ll have a more accurate look at the overall picture.  More at Bracketville.

Bubble Banter highlights the teams we believe are on the NCAA Bubble. If a team isn’t listed, they aren’t a bubble team at the time of the update. RPI and SOS data is credited to CollegeRPI.com.

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 9

Automatic Bids (31): None decided | Total Spots (68): Number of total teams in the Field.

  • Projected Locks (10): Teams who project to have secured a spot in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Some of these projected locks may become automatic qualifiers should they win their conference tournament.
  • Should Be In (16): While not yet locks, these are teams in good position to receive an at-large bid.
  • Bubble: (37): Teams projected to be at or near the cutline for being selected as at-large candidates, or those whose profiles are not yet complete enough to be considered as Should Be In as of the this update.
  • Spots available (15): Number of available openings for the bracket based on spots reserved for automatic qualifiers, projected locks, and teams projected as Should Be In at this update.
  • Leaving the Bubble: Butler, Rhode Island, California, Northern Iowa
  • Joining the Bubble: Minnesota, Washington, Alabama

Below is a conference breakdown of the bubble picture

Atlantic 10
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Temple, Xavier | Bubble: Duquesne, Richmond
  • Duquesne (15-6 | 8-1) | RPI: 76 | SOS: 133 | – Loss at St. Bonventure Saturday stopped some of the Dukes’ momentum, but it’s not panic time. A home date with Xavier is up next, followed by two more on the road. Nothing to report in the non-conference season, and the Dukes’ overall SOS is a concern. Right now, the Dukes’ best win is over Temple at home. Duquesne has to stay at or near the top of the A-10.
  • Richmond (18-6 | 7-2) | RPI: 74 | SOS: 138 | – The Spiders beat St. Joe’s and Fordham to hold serve. Neither win helps, but losses would have hurt. Richmond will keep hoping its non-conference win over Purdue holds a lot of weight; along with beating Seton Hall and VCU. The lopsided home loss to Xavier was troubling, and Richmond also lost to fellow-bubbler Old Dominion. Spiders need to pick up two more wins this week ahead of a big trip to Temple.
Locks: Duke | Should Be In: North Carolina | Bubble: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Virginia Tech
  • Boston College (15-9 | 5-5) | RPI: 43 | SOS: 20 | – Beating Virginia Tech at home Saturday ended a three-game slide, but Tuesday’s loss at Clemson continues to cloud the Eagles’ outlook. Losing big at home to Carolina didn’t look good, either. BC now hosts Maryland – another ACC bubble team. A loss would knock BC below .500 in ACC play – a rough spot in a down year. BC’s win over Texas Am is notable, although the Aggies are reeling. BC has lost (at home) to two Ivy League schools and has dropped 5 of its past 7 games.
  • Clemson (17-7 | 6-4) | RPI: 64 | SOS: 97 | Tigers saved their spot in Bubble Banter by winning at Georgia Tech Saturday, then backed it up by taking out fellow bubbler Boston College at home on Tuesday. North Carolina is up next and a victory over the Heels would jump the Tigers up a bit in the ACC pecking order. Other than home wins over Florida State and Miami, the resume is light, however. Clemson has non-league losses to Old Dominion, Michigan, and South Carolina. It will still take a strong month for the Tigers to be a serious at-large contender.
  • Florida State (16-7 | 6-3) | RPI: 54 | SOS: 73 | – The Seminoles took a lopsided loss at North Carolina on Saturday to tread water. Baylor is their best non-ACC win, and the Bears have struggled. While the loss at Auburn was probably a fluke, it’s an example of inconsistent play. FSU also lost to a struggling Butler team in Hawaii. A weak non-conferense SOS (no. 230), could ultimately spell trouble if FSU simply glides to the finish. The win over Duke is big, but not enough by itself. An important trip to Ga. Tech is next, followed by a home date with Virginia.
  • Maryland (15-8 | 5-4) | RPI: 79 | SOS: 66 | – Getting run over at home by Duke puts Maryland in a difficult spot as the Terps’ last chance for a marquis win is at North Carolina (Feb. 27). Between now and then, Maryland needs to pile up wins. At this point, going 50-50 won’t be good enough. Playing Longwood this week will be an RPI killer, too.
  • Virginia Tech (15-7 | 5-4) | RPI: 68 | SOS: 82 | – Hokies treaded water this week, winning at NC State and losing by two at Boston College. That type of scenario may not be enough down the stretch. Credit VT with playing a better non-conference schedule, the Hokies just failed to win many of the games – the best is over fellow bubble-dweller Oklahoma State. VT really needs to win its next four ahead of Duke’s arrival on February 26.
Locks: Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Villanova | Should Be In: Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville,West Virginia | Bubble: Cincinnati, Marquette, St. John’s
  • Cincinnati (19-5 | 6-5) | RPI: 35 | SOS: 105 | – As we’ve mentioned before, the Bearcats’ dreadful non-conference SOS leaves UC with little margin for error in the Big East. Cincinnati was rolled at Pittsburgh Saturday – not a surprise, but it does leave UC with only one notable road win (@St. John’s). The Bearcats escaped DePaul Tuesday ahead of a rematch with St. John’s. A sweep of the Red Storm would be helpful. Hard to say if UC can withstand a brutal closing stretch.
  • Marquette (14-9 | 5-5) | RPI: 65 | SOS: 30 | – Marquette is 3-8 vs. teams ranked in the Top 25 of the RPI. That’s an amazing number of games against strong competition. That said, the Golden Eagles can’t continue to rely on “good losses” to keep them in the Field. At some point, they have to win more games. A 2-7 mark away from home isn’t helping. And this week the Eagles road trip to South Florida and Georgetown.
  • St. John’s (12-8 | 5-5) | RPI: 22 | SOS: 1 | – The Red Storm have some very good wins – none better than a dominating win over Duke. After losing at UCLA Saturday, however, the Johnnies embark on a critcal three-game stretch. Losses are mounting. St. John’s hosts Connecticut and then travels to Cincinnati and Marquette – the other two teams on this list. We also can’t forget early losses to St. Bonaventure and Fordham.
BIG 10
Locks: Ohio State | Should Be In: Purdue, Wisconsin | Bubble: Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State
  • Illinois (15-8 | 5-5) | RPI: 38 | SOS: 25 | – It’s panic time in Champaign after another lackluster performance Saturday at Northwestern. The Illini have lost 5 of 7 games and would be in real trouble had they not handled Penn State at home last week. Next up is a trip to struggling Minnesota, followed by home dates with Purdue and Michigan. At some point, Illinois is going to need another road win. Good wins include N. Carolina and Wisconsin, along with Michigan State (perhaps). The losses at Indiana and UIC are sore points.
  • Michigan State (12-10 | 5-6) | RPI: 48 | SOS: 6 | The Spartans are now in real danger of missing the NCAAs after the lopsided loss at Wisconsin. It’s not a loss at the Kohl Center, it’s that MSU was non-competitive. Overall, the Spartans have lost 5 of 6 games, with the only win an OT game at home against Indiana. With Korie Lucious dismissed, the Spartans have yet to prove they are an NCAA team without him. It’s hard to count an Izzo team out in early February, but it’ll take a major comeback for the Spartans to Dance.
  • Minnesota (16-7 | 5-6) | RPI: 28 | SOS: 24 | As injuries and departures have mounted, the Gophers have put themselves in somewhat of a tough spot. They have lost three straight to fall under. 500 in league play and face an equally troubling Illinois team next at The Barn. Then it’s off for two on the road where Minnesota is just 2-5 this season. Early neutral-court wins over North Carolina and West Virginia are helping, but this isn’t the same Minnesota team – especially without point guard Al Nolan. The Gophers are 5-5 vs. the Top 100, and also have losses at Indiana and to Virginia. Much like Michigan State, Minnesota needs to re-prove itself as an NCAA team.
  • Penn State (12-10 | 5-6) | RPI: 69 | SOS: 5 | – The home loss to Michigan is troubling because the Nittany Lions are 1-4 in Big 10 road games (win at Indiana) and sub-.500 in league play. It also means Penn State will have to win at least one more road game to enter the Big 10 tournament with an even conference record. Next up is a trip to Michigan State, followed by home dates with Northwestern and Minnesota. Win all three and the Lions will have some momentum before a tough closing stretch. With non-conference losses to Maryland and Virginia Tech, there’s not much to fall back on.
BIG 12
Locks: Kansas, Texas | Should Be In: Missouri, Texas AM | Bubble: Kansas State, Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma State
  • Baylor (15-7 | 5-4) | RPI: 75 | SOS: 79 | – The Bears finally earned a notable win Saturday at Texas AM. Otherwise, its been a very average season. Other best wins are Oklahoma State and Colorado at home. Out of conference, the Bears failed to win a Top 100 RPI game and their non-league SOS ranks No. 236. Now it’s time to see if the Bears can build momentum with Nebraska arriving ahead of a trip to Texas. Has the real Baylor shown up in time?
  • Colorado (14-9 | 4-5) | RPI: 90 | SOS: 103 | – With 5 losses in 6 games, the Buffaloes are in real danger of slipping off the bubble. A non-league win over Colorado State is notable, but overall the Buffs non-conference SOS ranks No. 307. That spells trouble. CU was routed Saturday at Missouri, and has must-win home dates with Texas AM and Kansas State this week.
  • Kansas State (15-8 | 4-5) | RPI: 31 | SOS: 16 | – Late hoop by Jacob Pullen saved the day at Iowa State Saturday, pushing the Wildcats’ Big 12 record to 4-5. Up next is a trip to desperate Colorado followed by a visit from Kansas. K-State still needs to beat a Top 50 opponent – KSU is currently 0-7 vs. such teams. Best win is Virginia Tech. Other than that, the power numbers are workable.
  • Oklahoma State (16-7 | 4-5) | RPI: 42 | SOS: 62 | – The Cowboys saved a spot on Bubble Banter by holding off Oklahoma at home Saturday. Now, it’s make-or-break time – with three of four on the road – including trips to Nebraska and Texas this week. Against the Top 100, OSU is 5-6. Oklahoma State has head-to-head losses against several other bubble teams (Gonzaga, Colorado, Baylor).
Locks: BYU, San Diego State | Should Be In: UNLV | Bubble: Colorado State, New Mexico
  • Colorado State (15-7 | 6-3) | RPI: 41 | SOS: 44 | – Holding off Wyoming Saturday was a great save, as a loss would have been a blemish the Rams didn’t need. A solid win at UNLV is a high point, but there are also losses to Hampton and Sam Houston. Overall, good wins are still lacking as CSU is 2-3 vs. Top 50 teams (only UNLV would project as an NCAA-level win at this point). CSU will probably need to beat San Diego State and/or BYU to feel good about its chances. Up next is a home date with New Mexico followed by a trip to TCU. After losing at The Pit, it would help CSU to avoid being swept by the Lobos.
  • New Mexico (15-7 | 4-4) | RPI: 61 | SOS: 88 | – While the season hasn’t gone as planned, beating BYU at The Pit is a marquis win that will help the Lobos. They’ve also beaten Colorado State and Colorado at home. Troubling road losses are to Utah and Wyoming. UNM gets a must-win rematch with Wyoming at home before road trips to San Diego State and Colorado State. A win at CSU would give the Lobos a season sweep, something that could come in handy if the teams are being compared. The power number are okay, but leave UNM in dangerous territory.
PAC 10
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: NONE | Bubble: Arizona, Washington, Washington State, UCLA
  • Arizona (20-4 | 9-2) | RPI: 16 | SOS: 45 | – If nothing else, the computers love Arizona. How that translates into seeding remains to be seen. Get through a trip to Arizona State and home dates with the Washington schools, and Arizona will move off the bubble. With a 1-3 mark vs. Top 50 teams (UCLA is the only win), the Wildcats resume is light on quality. There’s nothing from the non-conference as the ‘Cats best win is Oklahoma. UA also has an ugly loss at Oregon State. A 9-2 mark in the Pac-10 looks good, and a regular-season title would put Arizona in a very strong position.
  • Washington (15-7 | 7-4) | RPI: 40 | SOS: 58 | – After a strong start in conference play, the Huskies have lost three straight – including a winless trip through Oregon and Oregon State last week. Any team can have a bad week, but it becomes more noteable when the Huskies best non-league win is over Portland. UW’s top wins are Arizona and at UCLA. Overall, Washington is 2-3 vs. Top 50 RPI teams. Big week with Cal and Stanford visiting. Two wins would change momentum before a trip through Arizona. At this point, Washington still looks okay, but it would help to stay within contact of the league-leading Wildcats.
  • Washington State (16-7 | 6-5) | RPI: 70 | SOS: 100 | – Losing at Oregon takes a little luster off the home win over Washington last week. Overall, WSU is just 1-4 vs. Top 50 teams and 4-6 vs. Top 100 teams. An early win over Gonzaga is not helping as much as expected, although the Baylor win could hold more weight if the Bears rebound. The Pac-10 isn’t deep, so it’s important that the Cougars improve a 6-5 league record and stay among the leaders.
  • UCLA (16-7 | 7-3) | RPI: 39 | SOS: 33 | – The home win Saturday over St. John’s gives the Bruins two notable non-conference wins (BYU was the other). At 7-3 in the league, UCLA currently stands alone in second place – a nice position. RPI and SOS numbers are good, but UCLA is still just 2-4 vs. Top 50 RPI teams, and an early loss to Montana is a blemish. What the Bruins may need is a win over one of the other title contenders. Being swept by Arizona and Washington could spell trouble if UCLA struggles down the stretch. The Oregon schools visit this weekend, so any loss would be a bad one.
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt | Bubble: Georgia, Alabama
  • Georgia (16-7 | 5-4) | RPI: 46 | SOS: 41 | – Losing to Xavier at home Tuesday isn’t a killer, but it doesn’t help a profile that’s still light on quality wins. Georgia is now 2-7 vs. Top 50 teams – a mark that suggests the need for a strong finish. The Bulldogs are talented enough to make the NCAAs, but can they win enough SEC games? An early victory over Kentucky helps, as does a win over UAB – another bubble team. All of the Bulldogs losses have been to teams ranked in the Top 40 of the RPI, so that’s a plus. The next three games could make or break Georgia’s at-large hopes.
  • Alabama (15-7 | 7-1) | RPI: 96 | SOS: 145 | – If you look strictly at the power numbers, the obvious question is … how does Alabama make the bubble? A 7-1 mark that leads the SEC is the quick explanation, with two of those wins being over Kentucky and at Tennessee. A win at Vanderbilt would make Alabama’s case even stronger. If you take away disappointing losses in early November, ‘Bama’s resume looks much better. Whether the Committee will overlook a poor start (losses to St. Peter’s, Iowa, Seton Hall) largely depends on how the Tide finish. If they post a strong SEC record and win the SEC west by multiple games, it could be enough to earn at-large consideration unless the Tide have an untimely flameout at the SEC tournament.
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: NONE | Bubble: Cleveland State, Missouri State, Wichita State, Old Dominion, George Mason, VCU, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, UAB, UTEP, Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Utah State
  • Cleveland State (19-5 | 10-4) | RPI: 37 | SOS: 125 | – Being swept by Butler and then losing at Detroit will make an at-large bid very difficult for CSU. Assuming the Vikings avoids any further upsets, the BracketBuster game at Old Dominion is huge. A loss would likely eliminate CSU from at-large consideration; a win could keep hopes alive. Right now, CSU needs to overtake Valparaiso and win the outright Horizon League title.
  • Missouri State (18-6 | 10-3) | RPI: 47 | SOS: 117 | – The good news is the Bears have league wins at Wichita State and Northern Iowa. The bad news is those are also the Bears’ best wins. A non-conference SOS of No. 225 hurts as does a 2-4 mark vs. Top 100 RPI teams. Winning the Missouri Valley regular-season title might be necessary. Sweeping Wichita State would also help.
  • Wichita State (19-5 | 11-3) | RPI: 52 | SOS: 113 | – A home loss to Southern Illinois Tuesday adds a “bad” loss to a resume light on good wins. The Shockers are just 1-4 vs. Top 100 teams, so an outright Missouri Valley title might be necessary at this point for serious at-large consideration. Missed chances in Maui will haunt WSU all the way to Selection Sunday. A 6-1 record in road games is a plus, but losing to Missouri State at home could hurt if the Shockers are swept in the season series. The BracketBuster matchup with VCU is now critical.
  • Memphis (17-6 | 5-3) | RPI: 45 | SOS: 61 | – The win at Gonzaga Saturday could come in very handy for the Tigers. The main prize, however, remains winning the C-USA title. Winning at UAB and Southern Miss will help that effort and they get rematches at home over the next two weeks. Sweeping both could be enough if the Tigers can also win at UTEP. It doesn’t help that Memphis was largely non-competitive in losses to Kansas, Tennessee, and Georgetown. An ugly loss at SMU still lingers, but the Tigers’ outlook is stronger than last week.
  • UAB (16-6 | 6-3) | RPI: 36 | SOS: 69 | – The Blazers are a solid team that lacks a marquee win. A home loss to Southern Miss last week won’t help UAB’s chances in C-USA, either. They are 0-4 vs. Top 50 teams (Duke, Memphis, Georgia, So. Miss). UAB’s best win is VCU at home. There’s also losses at Tulsa and Arizona State. Tough trips to Marshall and Memphis are on the horizon.
  • Southern Mississippi (16-5 | 7-3) | RPI: 44 | SOS: 112 | – Step one was winning a big game at UAB last week. Still, the Eagles are just 1-2 vs. Top 50 teams, so the resume is light. Losses to Colorado State and Mississippi won’t help; neither will a non-conference SOS ranked No. 256. Huge trip to Memphis up next, followed by UTEP at home.
  • UTEP (17-5 | 6-2) | RPI: 58 | SOS: 134 | – Of UTEP’s 17 D-I wins, 14 are to teams ranked outside the Top 100 of the RPI. The best is an early victory over Michigan. Add in three sub-100 losses and the Miners are here as a fringe candidate with a 6-2 C-USA mark. Probably have to win the C-USA title for serious consideration.
  • Old Dominion (18-6 | 9-4) | RPI: 29 | SOS: 52 | – A lopsided loss at George Mason last Saturday doesn’t help the Monarchs, but at least the teams split their two meetings. Solid non-conference wins include Xavier, Richmond and Clemson. ODU also played Georgetown to within three points. A 7-5 mark vs. Top 100 teams will help as will a non-league SOS ranked No. 25. A trip to VCU is the next big challenge.
  • VCU (19-6 | 11-2) | RPI: 56 | SOS: 154 | – The Rams’ loss at Northeastern removed a little luster from a strong streak, but VCU has still won 10 of 12 games. The Rams have a good neutral court win over UCLA, but also miscues at Georgia State and Northeastern, plus a loss at UAB. VCU is 5-3 vs. Top 100 teams. Rematches with ODU and Geo Mason at home are huge, as is a BracketBuster with Wichita State.
  • George Mason (20-5 | 12-2) | RPI: 23 | SOS: 72 | – Beating Old Dominion at home gave George Mason its first Top 50 RPI win and vaulted GMU into first place in the Colonial. The Patriots are also 7-4 vs. Top 100 teams. A lone miscue is Wofford in November. The closing CAA schedule is favorable, and an outright league title would look good. The BracketBuster game at Northern Iowa would help, too.
  • Gonzaga (14-9 | 5-3) | RPI: 73 | SOS: 42 | – The Zags’ home loss to Memphis adds further doubts about the Bulldogs’ at-large chances. There are some good wins – Baylor, Xavier, Marquette – that could get better. A good SOS always helps. At the same time, Gonzaga is now 2-6 vs. Top 50 RPI teams and 7-9 vs. the Top 200 – generally a big no-no for at-large consideration. The losses at Santa Clara and San Francisco are major issues. Any more “bad” losses probably eliminate Gonzaga from the bubble.
  • St. Mary’s (18-4 | 8-1) | RPI: 34 | SOS: 130 | – Winning an outright WCC title could be enough as long as St. Mary’s doesn’t lose many more games – especially to teams other than Gonzaga or maybe Portland. An early win over St. John’s helps, but the Gaels were blown out at Vanderbilt and have only the one Top 50 win. At 2-4 vs. Top 100 teams, St. Mary’s is far from a lock. A three-game road swing is up next.
  • Utah State (22-2 | 11-0) | RPI: 25 | SOS: 160 | – The Aggies have a lot of wins but none to teams ranked in the Top 100 of the RPI. That could be a major hurdle. USU missed against BYU and Georgetown and has only one Top 100 team left on its schedule – the BracketBuster at St. Mary’s. Lose that and USU may still have to win its conference tournament.

No. 22 Tennessee beats No. 3 Kansas 64-50 for Atlantis title

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Tennessee’s players proved to be determined defenders and relentless rebounders, along with having the kind of toughness to ensure the reigning national champions would have little chance to get comfortable.

It was all enough to give the 22nd-ranked Volunteers a title of their own, along with the blueprint that coach Rick Barnes hopes they follow the rest of the year.

Santiago Vescovi scored 20 points while Tennessee locked down on third-ranked Kansas in a 64-50 win Friday night in the championship game at the Battle 4 Atlantis, snapping the Jayhawks’ 17-game winning streak.

Vescovi hit five 3-pointers as the tournament’s most valuable player for the Volunteers (5-1), who dominated the glass, overcame their own turnover troubles and made the Jayhawks work for clean looks. And for the third time in as many days, Tennessee won without leading scorer Josiah-Jordan James (knee soreness).

Perhaps that’s why reserve guard Zakai Zeigler, who had 14 points and four steals, showed up wearing sunglasses to the postgame news conference after the Volunteers had danced and hollered through the on-court trophy ceremony.

“We know if you can’t stop the man in front of you, then you’ll have no shot at winning the game,” Zeigler said, adding: “We just like to play defense, and we just happen to be good at it.”

The Vols held the Jayhawks to 32.1% shooting, bothering them with size and length around the rim. They also took the ball right at the Jayhawks with 5-foot-9 Zeigler leading the way, down to him refusing to let go of a jump ball and trading words with 6-8 forward Jalen Wilson.

Zeigler’s night included a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock at the 7-minute mark to push Tennessee’s lead to 56-38. He followed with another big one from the right wing with 4:42 left after Kansas had closed within 11.

Wilson and Joseph Yesefu each scored 14 points to lead the Jayhawks (6-1), who shot 28.6% in the first half and never warmed up. They made 5 of 21 3-pointers in what was an all-around rough night, from losing starting guard Dajuan Harris to fouls with 9 minutes left to failing to keep the Vols off the glass (45-27).

“We played a team tonight that was older and more mature and obviously played stronger and tougher,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “We didn’t handle the situation near as well as what I would hope a poised team would.”


Tennessee: The Volunteers opened the tournament with a win over Butler, then grinded through an overtime win against Southern California in Thursday’s semifinals. This time, Tennessee played in front the entire way en route to its first title in three tries at the Atlantis resort.

“I think the main thing from the whole week was stay together through tough times, that’s what you’ve got to do,” Vescovi said.

Kansas: The Jayhawks didn’t have an easy first two days in the Bahamas. First came a battle to the final minutes with North Carolina State. Then came Thursday’s overtime win against Wisconsin on Bobby Pettiford Jr.’s last-second putback. But they never looked in any type of offensive flow this time with their smaller lineup.

“I feel like if we were able to get them out of place and not just have them standing there, waiting to contest a layup, that could’ve gave us some better chances at finishing at the rim,” Wilson said.


Tennessee held its three Atlantis opponents to 36.9% shooting and 15 of 59 (25.4%) from 3-point range. The Volunteers also averaged a +9 rebounding margin, ending with having Jonas Aidoo (nine) leading five players snagging at least six rebounds against Kansas.

“You can be a good defensive team but if you can’t be a great one if you give them second and third shots,” Barnes said.


Beyond Harris’ foul trouble, the Jayhawks played most of the way without Pettiford, who exited midway through the first half grabbing at his right leg.

Afterward, Self said he would be out “for a while” with a hamstring strain.


Tennessee: The Volunteers return home to host McNeese State on Wednesday.

Kansas: The Jayhawks host Texas Southern on Monday.

BYU erases 23-point deficit, beats Dayton in overtime 79-75

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

NASSAU, Bahamas – Gideon George scored 21 points and combined with Jaxson Robinson and Rudi Williams for BYU’s 15 overtime points as the Cougars came back from a 23-point deficit to beat Dayton 79-75 in overtime Friday.

BYU’s victory came in the seventh-place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

George’s 3-pointer with 2:19 left in regulation gave BYU (4-3) its first lead after Dayton scored the first 10 points of the game and led 32-9 with six minutes left in the first half.

Mike Sharavjamts’ basket gave the lead back to Dayton but George’s free throw with a minute left sent the game into overtime.

Dayton got the first points in overtime but Robinson’s 3-pointer gave BYU the lead for good halfway through the extra period.

Robinson had 14 points, Dallin Hall 12 and Williams 11 to join George in double figures for BYU.

DaRon Holmes II scored 21 points and Sharavjamts 15 for Dayton (3-4). The Flyers lost starting guards Kobe Elvis and Malachi Smith to lower-body injuries in the second half, Smith with with just seconds left in regulation.

Portland beats Villanova 83-71 in Phil Knight Invitational

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

PORTLAND, Ore. – Moses Wood scored 16 points and Portland beat Villanova 83-71 on Friday in the Phil Knight Invitational.

Villanova (2-4) has lost three straight games, including an overtime loss to Iowa State on Thursday to drop below .500 for the first time since March 7, 2012.

Vasilije Vucinic’s layup with 4:16 remaining in the first half gave Portland the lead for good. The Pilots had an eight-point lead at halftime and scored the first 10 points of the second half.

Wood added six rebounds and three blocks for the Pilots (5-3). Tyler Robertson scored 15 points while shooting 6 for 12 (1 for 5 from 3-point range) and added seven rebounds and eight assists. Kristian Sjolund recorded 14 points and shot 5 for 7 (2 for 3 from 3-point range).

Caleb Daniels finished with 18 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats. Villanova also got 14 points from Jordan Longino. Brandon Slater had 11 points.

Caleb Grill, Iowa State topples No. 1 North Carolina 70-65

Syndication: The Des Moines Register

PORTLAND, Ore. – Caleb Grill has followed T.J. Otzelberger from South Dakota State to UNLV and now back to Iowa State hoping the pair could share a moment like they did Friday.

Taking down the No. 1 team in the country was another bookmark moment in a long journey for the pair.

“I’m actually really enjoying sitting next to him from this moment right now just thinking about how long we’ve known each other and how cool this really was,” Otzelberger said.

Grill hit seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 31 points and Iowa State rallied in the final five minutes to stun No. 1 North Carolina 70-65 in the semifinals of the Phil Knight Invitational.

Iowa State (5-0) picked up just its third win over a team ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25. The Cyclones are 3-22 against No. 1 teams, with the other wins coming against Kansas in 1957 and Oklahoma in 2016.

The Cyclones can now add North Carolina (5-1) to the list.

“I was just staying the course of the game. I never really thought about it and the game just kind of came to me,” Grill said.

Grill was averaging 7.3 points and had made just 4 of 24 3-point attempts for the season entering Friday. But he couldn’t be stopped from beyond the arc, hitting a pair of big 3s to spark Iowa State’s late rally. His deep fadeaway jumper just inside the 3-point line with 1:40 left gave Iowa State a 63-61 lead and the Cyclones did just enough at the free throw line in the final minute to close out the upset victory.

Grill’s previous career high was 27 points while playing for UNLV in the 2020-21 season against Alabama. He also hit seven 3-pointers in that game.

Grill originally signed with South Dakota State when Otzelberger was the coach there. He was released from his commitment when Otzelberger took the head job at UNLV and started his career at Iowa State before deciding to join his coach in Las Vegas.

When Otzelberger returned to Ames, Grill followed again.

“Just having him be the first person that really had belief in me, it’s just really special what he’s done for me and my family and everything we’ve done,” Grill said.

Jaren Holmes added 22 points and the Cyclones withstood off shooting games from Aljaz Kunc and Gabe Kalscheur, who combined for three points and missed all eight of their shot attempts. Both were averaging double figures scoring for Iowa State.

RJ Davis led North Carolina with 15 points, Armando Bacot added 14 and Caleb Love scored 12. But the Tar Heels will lament a series of mistakes in the closing minutes that allowed Iowa State to rally.

“We had wide open threes. We were able to get to the basket. We were able to get whatever we wanted, we just didn’t make those shots,” North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said.

North Carolina led 57-49 after Leaky Black’s layup with 5:43 left, but missed four of its final six shots and had four turnovers during that span.

“We turned the ball over a couple of times and you just can’t do that in late-game situations,” Davis said. “You have to be sound and discipline and you have to do that on both ends of the floor and we just didn’t do it.”


North Carolina lost as the No. 1 team in the country for the first time since Nov. 21, 2015 when it lost 71-67 at Northern Iowa. The Tar Heels also lost as No. 1 to UNLV in 2011 at a Thanksgiving tournament.


North Carolina: Pete Nance wasn’t able to contribute in the same way he did in Thursday’s opening round. Nance, who tied his career high with 28 points against Portland, didn’t score for the first 27 minutes and finished with seven points.

Iowa State: The Cyclones were playing a No. 1 team from outside their conference for the first time since 1999 when they faced Cincinnati in the championship game of the Big Island Invitational.


Iowa State will face either No. 18 Alabama or No. 20 UConn in the championship game while the Tar Heels will face the loser for third place.

No. 8 Duke locks down late, holds off Xavier 71-64

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

PORTLAND, Ore. – After a shaky offensive performance in the opening round of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament, Duke coach Jon Scheyer wanted to see Jeremy Roach get back to playing more instinctively, especially at the offensive end of the floor.

Roach responded with a season-high 21 points, Mark Mitchell added 16 and No. 8 Duke withstood Xavier’s second-half comeback for a 71-64 win on Friday.

The Blue Devils (6-1) advanced to the championship game thanks to the play of their standout guard and another strong defensive effort. Roach came one point shy of matching his career high, and the Blue Devils rebounded after an unexpectedly tight victory over Oregon State in the opening round of the event.

Roach was 3 of 14 shooting against Oregon State as the Blue Devils scored a season-low 54 points. He made 9 of 15 shots and had five assists against Xavier.

“There’s a lot that falls on your shoulders so you can end up overthinking it a little bit,” Scheyer said. “The thing that I love for him today is he just was him. And when he’s that way, he is to me the best guard in the country.”

The Musketeers (4-2) were held to two points over the final five minutes and missed their last four shot attempts. Souley Boum scored 23 points and Adam Kunkel had 13. Kunkel didn’t play the last 11 minutes after taking a hard fall committing a foul.

Xavier leading scorer Jack Nudge was 1 of 13 shooting and finished with five points.

“Jack played a great effort. He really did. He was ready for the game. He just had one of those nights where the ball didn’t go in the basket,” Xavier coach Sean Miller said.

At the same time, Miller was disappointed in what he called the “fracturing” he saw from his team.

“There were spurts and segments of the game where I thought we reflected our style, how we’re trying to play, whether it be defense and offense. But there were way too many segments of the game, if not most of the game, where we were at times in our own way,” Miller said.

Mitchell scored seven points in the opening minutes of the second half, including a pair of layups, and he hit a 3-pointer from the wing that gave Duke a 49-36 lead, its largest of the game.

That’s when Xavier’s comeback started. The Musketeers pulled within three points on several occasions, but Duke answered each time. Desmond Claude’s driving layup pulled Xavier within 63-60 with 5:51 left, but Ryan Young scored for Duke and Xavier didn’t make another basket.

Roach’s jumper with 2:40 left pushed Duke’s lead to 69-62.

“We like to play inside out but I mean, when guys are hitting shots it just opens up for everybody else,” Roach said. “Just try to continue to be consistent hitting shots and I think we’ll be fine.”

Kyle Filipowski had 12 points and was not Duke’s leading scorer for the first time in five games.


Duke: The Blue Devils’ dominance on the backboards finally came to an end. Duke had outrebounded each of its first six opponents by double figures, the longest such stretch in school history. But Xavier’s interior size limited Duke to a 33-32 advantage on the glass. The Blue Devils had 12 second-chance points.

Xavier: The Musketeers played an Atlantic Coast Conference team for the first time since beating Virginia Tech in last year’s NIT Season Tip-Off. Xavier dropped to 0-2 against ranked opponents this season, having lost to Indiana last week. The Musketeers will play another ranked foe in Sunday’s third-place game.


Duke will face the Gonzaga-Purdue winner in the championship game on Sunday, while Xavier will play the loser.