Bubble teams hitting the home stretch

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We still have 37 teams on the Bubble with roughly 15 spots up for grabs as we head into the final three weeks of the regular season.  Butler and Michigan joined (or re-joined) the fray this week.  We also saw Arizona and St. John’s join those teams listed as Should Be In.  There remain few Locks at this point, but that number should grow as teams head down the stretch.  Looking ahead, the bubble will start to shrink as several teams are close to moving up.  Others will be leaving.  Should be a great race to the finish.  More at Bracketville.

If you think we’ve missed something, send a rebound.  Include some data or notes to support.  Conversation is great. 

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 16  |  Records, RPI, and SOS data for Division-I games through Tuesday, February 15

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 (18): 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: Maryland (off), Penn State (off), Arizona (in), St. John’s (in)
  • Joining the Bubble: Butler (up), Michigan (up)
  • Below is a conference breakdown of the bubble picture
Atlantic 10
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Temple, Xavier | Bubble: Duquesne, Richmond
  • Duquesne (15-7 | 8-2) | RPI: 83 | SOS: 122 | – After losing to Xavier on Sunday, Duquesne has lost two straight and has two more road games this week (UMass, Dayton). It’s critical the Dukes stay at the top of the A-10 standings because there’s nothing to report in the non-conference season. Duquesne has a win over Temple at home, but little else is helping. Key losses include Penn State and a 2-OT affair with George Mason. The Dukes need a strong finish and a solid run in the A-10 tourney.
  • Richmond (20-6 | 9-2) | RPI: 69 | SOS: 154 | – The Spiders have won four straight to remain among the last four teams currently in the field. This week’s game at Temple is important, as is a closing game at home vs. Duquesne. With iffy power numbers, Richmond can’t afford much of a slip. The Spiders continue to hope a non-conference win over Purdue holds a lot of weight. Other key wins are Seton Hall and VCU. Richmond has a loss to fellow bubble-team Old Dominon. It may still take a long A-10 tourney run to feel safe.
ACC
Locks: Duke | Should Be In: North Carolina | Bubble: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech
  • Boston College (16-9 | 6-5) | RPI: 43 | SOS: 19 | – Beating Maryland Saturday gave the Eagles a season sweep of the Terps, something that could come in handy if Maryland re-appears on the bubble. That said, the loss at Clemon keeps BC in a questionable spot – hovering around .500 in the mediocre ACC. Other than the early win over Texas AM, there’s nothing out of conference helping the Eagles, and BC is just 1-5 vs. Top 50 RPI teams. BC has also lost (at home) to two Ivy League schools and has dropped 4 of its past 6 games. A trip to Carolina is next followed by a must have at home vs. Miami-FL.
  • Clemson (17-8 | 6-5) | RPI: 72 | SOS: 88 | Beating Boston College last week was an important win, but the Tigers couldn’t beat North Carolina at home on Sunday. Thus, Clemson had a neutral seven days. That won’t be good enough moving forward. The Tigers need to win four of their last five – they can probably afford a lose at Duke, but that’s it. Other than a home win over Florida State, the resume is light. Clemson has non-league losses to Old Dominion, Michigan, and South Carolina.
  • Florida State (18-7 | 8-3) | RPI: 49 | SOS: 83 | – If the Seminoles sweep a week of winnable road games (@Wake Forest, @Maryland), they’ll be in good shape to move off the bubble. While the loss at Auburn was probably a fluke, it’s an example of inconsistent play. A weak non-conferense SOS (no. 230), could still spell trouble if FSU stumbles down the stretch. The Seminoles are just 2-4 vs. Top 50 teams, so there’s not a lot of high-level wins. Beating Duke was huge. Finishing third in the ACC standings would likely be enough.
  • Virginia Tech (17-7 | 7-4) | RPI: 59 | SOS: 91 | – The Hokies took care of business by beating Georgia Tech at home last week. Next up is Maryland at home followed by a trip to Virginia. In reality, VT needs to win its next three ahead of Duke’s arrival on Feb. 26. 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. Virginia Tech controls its destiny. Can the Hokies take advantage?
BIG EAST
Locks: Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Georgetown | Should Be In: Syracuse, Villanova, Louisville,West Virginia, St. John’s | Bubble: Cincinnati, Marquette
  • Cincinnati (19-6 | 6-6) | RPI: 54 | SOS: 106 | – Losing at home to St. John’s puts the Bearcats in a tough position. The closing stretch is brutal and begins with a home game vs. Louisville – followed by road trips to pesky Providence and then surging Georgetown. While there are opportunites for big wins, UC needs another marqee victory or two. The Bearcats are 2-6 vs. Top 50 teams (Xavier, St. John’s) and it will likely take a 9-9 finish in the Big East to feel good – especially given UC’s horrible non-conference SOS.
  • Marquette (15-11 | 6-7) | RPI: 66 | SOS: 30 | – Another loss to a good team Tuesday as the Golden Eagles dropped a home game to St. John’s. With a 3-8 mark away from home, losing home games could yet prove disasterous. If there’s good news, it’s that Marquette’s schedule is favorable down the stretch – other than a road trip to UConn. Posting wins is critical as Marquette is 3-10 vs. Top 50 teams and just 5-11 vs. Top 100 teams. If Marquette wins the games it should down the stretch, the Golden Eagles may still Dance. But the margin for error is now very thin.
BIG 10
Locks: Ohio State | Should Be In: Purdue, Wisconsin | Bubble: Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Michigan
  • Illinois (16-9 | 6-6) | RPI: 40 | SOS: 21 | – The Illini split last week, winning at Minnesota and losing at home to Purdue. Any road win helps, but had Illinois held serve at home, they could have given themselves a bit more breathing room. Next up is Michigan at home followed by back-to-back trips to Michigan State and Ohio State. Finishing 9-9 in the Big 10 would make Selection Sunday somewhat tenuous without a run in the league tournament. Good wins include N. Carolina, at Gonzaga, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. The losses at Indiana and UIC are sore points.
  • Michigan State (13-11 | 6-7) | RPI: 46 | SOS: 5 | After a debacle at Iowa, the Spartans pounded Penn State in East Lansing ahead of a good showing in Columbus on Tuesday. That said, MSU has just two wins since the dismissal of Korie Lucious – Indiana and Penn State at home. Can’t imagine those wins will carry a lot of weight. If there’s any magic left in Tom Izzo’s hat, now’s the time to pull out the rabbit. MSU is 3-8 vs. Top 50 teams and is 9-11 vs. the Top 200 – stat lines that often suggest NIT. Can MSU get to 10 league wins? That might be what it takes. Up next is home visit from Illinois.
  • Michigan (15-10 | 6-7) | RPI: 56 | SOS: 18 | While there’s not a lot to love about the Wolverine’s profile (2-7 vs. Top 50 teams), they have won 5 of 6 to creep into the at-large conversation. The win at Michigan State is helping. The Wolverines also have a sweep of Penn State. It’ll take a strong finish to warrant serious consideration – and it starts at Illinois. Michigan also has games against Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Minnesota remaining. Win those, and the Wolverines could have the league’s fourth-best in-conference profile. Would that be enough?
  • Minnesota (17-8 | 6-7) | RPI: 36 | SOS: 29 | Since the Gophers play Illinios only once in the regular season, losing at home to the Illini could prove problematic. Minnesota continues to fight through its injuries and personnel issues. Winning at Iowa ended a four-game slide, but how will the Committee view Minnesota with its current roster? Some of the team’s best wins came with players no longer on the active roster. Much like Michigan State, it could take 10 league wins for the Gophers to feel good heading into the Big 10 tourney in Indianapolis. Up next is a trip to Penn State followed by a home date with Michigan State.
BIG 12
Locks: Kansas, Texas | Should Be In: Missouri, Texas AM | Bubble: Kansas State, Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma State
  • Baylor (16-8 | 6-5) | RPI: 62 | SOS: 62 | – While the win at Texas AM helps, the Bears can’t rely on one quality victory as a ticket to the Dance. Their overall profile remains very weak with a 1-4 mark vs. Top 50 teams and only 4 Top 100 victories. Out of conference, the Bears failed to win a Top 100 RPI game and their non-league SOS ranks No. 236. Up next is a must-win at home over Texas Tech followed by a trip to Missouri. The closing three won’t be easy, so time if of the essence. Baylor may need four more Big 12 wins.
  • Colorado (15-10 | 5-6) | RPI: 90 | SOS: 82 | – Thanks to a replay that saved Colorado from Jacob Pullen’s last-second trey in Boulder, the Buffaloes remain on the bubble. The victory also gave CU a season sweep of the Wildcats – something that could be useful. Three of the Buffs’ closing games are away from home – including a trip to Kansas – and one of the remaining home games is Texas. Tough spot, but the Buffaloes need big wins, so opportunity awaits. A non-league win over Colorado State is notable, but Colorado’s overall non-conference SOS ranks No. 307. Ouch. It’ll be tough to overcome weak power numbers, but CU remains alive.
  • Kansas State (16-9 | 5-6) | RPI: 32 | SOS: 7 | – Beating arch-rival Kansas in Manhattan gave K-State it first Top 50 RPI win (1-6 overall). But … one big win won’t push the Wildcats into the Field of 68. Other than a trip to Texas, the closing stretch is favorable for a nice run. K-State was swept by Colorado – we’ll see if that comes into play. So far, the Wildcats have avoided a bad RPI losss, something other bubble teams can’t necessarily say. A resurgence by Baylor, Washington State and Gonzaga would also help. Next up is a home date with Oklahoma followed by a trip to Nebraska.
  • Oklahoma State (16-8 | 4-6) | RPI: 55 | SOS: 64 | – The Cowboys’ loss at Nebraska puts OSU in a difficult spot. Up next is a trip to Texas. Then it’s home to Texas AM before a trip to Kansas. OSU is 2-6 in road games so it may not be long until the Cowboys leave the bubble. Oklahoma State has head-to-head losses against several other bubble teams (Gonzaga, Colorado, Baylor), too. It’s best non-conference win is Alabama in December. The Big 12 is taking a toll and OSU may not win enough to stay in the top half of the standings.
MOUNTAIN WEST
Locks: BYU, San Diego State | Should Be In: UNLV | Bubble: Colorado State, New Mexico
  • Colorado State (16-7 | 7-3) | RPI: 42 | SOS: 45 | – Beating New Mexico last weekend sets up a tough closing stretch with 4 of 6 away from home – including trips to league frontrunners BYU and San Diego State. CSU will probably need to beat San Diego State and/or BYU to feel good about its chances. CSU is 2-3 vs. the Top 50 and 5-5 vs. the Top 100. Winning at UNLV is a hight point, but the losses to Sam Houston and Hampton are not.
  • New Mexico (16-8 | 5-5) | RPI: 68 | SOS: 108 | – After falling at Colorado State to split the season series, the Lobos prepare for a trip to San Diego State. Since New Mexico has beaten BYU at The Pit, taking down the other league heavyweight could do wonders – especially on the road. Troubling road losses are to Utah and Wyoming. The power number are okay, but not ideal. Out of conference, there’s not much helping the Lobos and the number of quality wins remain light (2-3 vs. Top 50 / 4-6 vs the Top 100). Closing games include UNLV at home and a return trip to BYU. So there are chances if UNM can avoid any untimely losses.
PAC 10
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Arizona | Bubble: Washington, Washington State, UCLA
  • Washington (17-7 | 9-4) | RPI: 37 | SOS: 58 | – The Hukies took care of their home games with Stanford and Cal last week in preparation for a swing through Arizona this weekend. Win both and Washington will put itself in good position for a closing slate of home games. A split would be okay. Losing both would be a signifcant step backward. UW’s top wins are Arizona and at UCLA – and overall Washington remains just 2-3 vs. Top 50 RPI teams. At this point, Washington still looks okay, but it falling off the pace wouldn’t be advised.
  • Washington State (17-8 | 7-6) | RPI: 74 | SOS: 99 | – WSU saved a potentially disasterous homestand by beating Cal on Saturday – they opened last weekend with a loss to Stanford. Overall, WSU is just 1-4 vs. Top 50 teams and 4-6 vs. Top 100 teams – so work remains. 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 next three (@Arizona, @Arizona State, and @Washington) may decide if the Cougars head to the NCAAs or the NIT.
  • UCLA (18-7 | 9-3) | RPI: 41 | SOS: 41 | – Having won 5 straight, the Bruins are good position with a second-place standing in the Pac-10. Victories over St. John’s and BYU are solid, although UCLA is still light on quality wins (2-4 vs. Top 50 teams). RPI and SOS numbers are good, but not outstanding. The Bruins only real blemish is an early defeat to Montana. So what’s ahead? … trips to Cal and Stanford this weekend. Getting both would be ideal, as the Arizona schools come to Pauley next week.
SEC
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt | Bubble: Georgia, Alabama
  • Georgia (17-7 | 6-4) | RPI: 39 | SOS: 36 | – The Bulldogs are talented enough to make the NCAAs, but can they win enough SEC games? The next three should be telling – Vanderbilt at home, followed by road trips to Tennessee and Florida. UGA has an early victory over Kentucky, and a win over UAB could also help. All of the Bulldogs losses have been to teams ranked in the Top 40 of the RPI, so that’s a plus. Sounds a lot like Marquette. Time to start a winning streak.
  • Alabama (16-8 | 8-2) | RPI: 87 | SOS: 119 | – Assuming Alabama continues to beat its SEC West opponents, the Tide’s biggest closing games are at Florida and vs. Georgia. Thanks to a rough November and early December, Alabama’s overall resume remains questionable. Whether the Committee will overlook the Tide’s poor start (losses to St. Peter’s, Iowa, Seton Hall) largely depends on how the Tide finish. If they win the SEC West by multiple games, and notch another win or two over East Division contenders, there could be enough to warrant at-large consideration in March.
BEST OF THE REST
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: NONE | Bubble: Butler, Cleveland State, Missouri State, Wichita State, Old Dominion, George Mason, VCU, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, UAB, UTEP, Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Utah State
  • Butler (18-9 | 11-5) | RPI: 44 | SOS: 51 | – Butler has won 5 straight to re-enter the Bubble picture | – 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 would keep hopes alive. After being swept by Butler in head-to-head games, the best thing CSU can do is catch Valparaiso in the Horizon League standings.
  • Cleveland State (20-5 | 11-4) | RPI: 38 | SOS: 123
  • Missouri State (21-6 | 13-3) | RPI: 48 | SOS: 132 | – Missouri State has won four straight MVC games and remains tied with Wichita State atop the standings. The good news is the Bears have league wins at Wichita State and Northern Iowa. MSU hosts Wichita State on Feb. 26 with a chance to sweep the series. A non-conference SOS of No. 225 hurts as does a 2-4 mark vs. Top 100 RPI teams. The Bears’ best non-conference win is Pacific, so an MVC title might be necessary.
  • Wichita State (21-5 | 13-3) | RPI: 47 | SOS: 112 | – The Shockers are just 2-4 vs. Top 100 teams, so an outright Missouri Valley title might be necessary for serious at-large consideration. The good news is Wichita State travels to Missouri State on Feb. 26 – so avoiding any league losses between now and then is critcal. The winner would claim the MVC’s top seed in the league tournament. Missed chances in Maui continue to haunt WSU. An 8-1 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 big as well.
  • Memphis (19-6 | 7-3) | RPI: 33 | SOS: 46 | – With a sweep of Southern Miss and a win at UAB in hand, the Tigers are in the best at-large position of any Conference USA team. Memphis also has nice road win at fellow bubble-dweller Gonzaga. The main prize, however, remains winning the C-USA title. Up next is a home date with UAB that would give Memphis another sweep. Then, the big date is at UTEP on Feb. 26 – assuming the Miners keep winning. It doesn’t help that Memphis was largely non-competitive in losses to Kansas, Tennessee, and Georgetown – and an ugly loss at SMU still lingers – but the Tigers’ outlook is better than some.
  • UAB (16-6 | 6-3) | RPI: 36 | SOS: 69 | – The Blazers are a solid team that lacks a marquee win. They are 0-4 vs. Top 50 teams (Duke, Memphis, Georgia, So. Miss). UAB’s best non-conference win is VCU at home. Within the league, their best is a 3-OT affair with UTEP. There’s also losses at Tulsa and Arizona State. Up next is a critical trip to Memphis. Overall, the Blazers close with 3 of 5 on the road. Staying with the C-USA leaders is a must.
  • Southern Mississippi (16-6 | 7-4) | RPI: 50 | SOS: 101 | – The Eagles are just 1-2 vs. Top 50 teams and have now been swept by Memphis. USM is also a game back of the C-USA leaders, so time is of the essence. Losses to Colorado State and Mississippi won’t help; neither will a non-conference SOS ranked No. 256. Next is a must-win game at home vs. UTEP. Beat the Miners and the closing stretch is manageable. A regular-season title would be a huge plus. Without it, the Eagles probably need a run to the C-USA final.
  • UTEP (18-5 | 7-2) | RPI: 53 | SOS: 127 | – Of UTEP’s 18 D-I wins, 15 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 because of their C-USA standing. Not much has changed, the Miners need to win a C-USA title for serious consideration. Even then, it could take a trip to the conference tournament final.
  • Old Dominion (21-6 | 12-4) | RPI: 30 | SOS: 67 | – Winning at VCU was a big get for the Monarchs, who look to be in decent shape at this point. Solid non-conference wins include Xavier, Richmond, and Clemson. ODU also played Georgetown to within three points. An 8-5 mark vs. Top 100 teams will help as will a non-league SOS ranked No. 25. Next is the BracketBuster with Cleveland State. Closing the regular season on a three-game winning streak would put ODU in a good spot heading into the CAA tournament.
  • VCU (20-8 | 12-4) | RPI: 63 | SOS: 130 | – Losing back-to-back home games to George Mason and Old Dominion could put VCU in a tough spot. VCU is 5-5 vs. Top 100 teams but would fall behind George Mason and Old Dominion in the CAA at-large pecking order. Not a great place to be. The Rams BracketBuster game at Wichita State might be a must-get ahead of the CAA Tournament. A game at Drexel to close won’t be easy, either.
  • George Mason (22-5 | 14-2) | RPI: 21 | SOS: 66 | – After a dominant road win at VCU on Tuesday, the Patriots lead the CAA by two full games. Winning the league by that margin could be enough to give GMU an at-large bid, if needed. The Patriots are 8-4 vs. Top 100 teams. The lone miscue is Wofford in November. The BracketBuster game at Northern Iowa isn’t critical, but another Top 100 victory would certainly make the Patriots’ case even stronger. GMU’s final two CAA games are very winnable (N’Eastern, Ga. State).
  • Gonzaga (16-9 | 7-3) | RPI: 71 | SOS: 69 | – The Zags’ home loss to Memphis could still hamper the Bulldogs’ at-large chances. There are some good wins – Baylor, Xavier, Marquette – but only Xavier is a solid NCAA team at this point. A good SOS always helps. At the same time, Gonzaga is 1-6 vs. Top 50 RPI teams and 7-9 vs. the Top 200 – generally a big no-no for at-large consideration. Winning at St. Mary’s (Feb. 24) is important, too.
  • St. Mary’s (20-4 | 10-1) | RPI: 31 | SOS: 116 | – Winning an outright WCC title would likely be enough as long as St. Mary’s doesn’t slide to the finish. 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 3-4 vs. Top 100 teams, St. Mary’s can’t breathe too easy. A BracketBuster matchup with Utah State holds some weight, too.
  • Utah State (23-3 | 12-1) | RPI: 26 | SOS: 144 | – The Aggies have a lot of wins but only one (Long Beach No. 99) to a team ranked in the Top 100 of the RPI. That could still be a major hurdle – especially if the Aggies lose their BracketBuster game at St. Mary’s. USU missed against BYU and Georgetown. Would the Committee leave USU out if they lose in the WAC tournament? We’ve seen it happen before.
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College basketball broadcaster Billy Packer dies at 82

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Billy Packer, an Emmy award-winning college basketball broadcaster who covered 34 Final Fours for NBC and CBS, died Thursday. He was 82.

Packer’s son, Mark, told The Associated Press that his father had been hospitalized in Charlotte for the past three weeks and had several medical issues, and ultimately succumbed to kidney failure.

Packer’s broadcasting career coincided with the growth of college basketball. He worked as analyst or color commentator on every Final Four from 1975 to 2008. He received a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio and Sports Analyst in 1993.

“He really enjoyed doing the Final Fours,” Mark Packer said. “He timed it right. Everything in life is about timing. The ability to get involved in something that, frankly, he was going to watch anyway, was a joy to him. And then college basketball just sort of took off with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and that became, I think, the catalyst for college basketball fans to just go crazy with March Madness.”

Packer played three seasons at Wake Forest, and helped lead the Demon Deacons to the Final Four in 1962, but it was his work as an analyst that brought him the most acclaim.

He joined NBC in 1974 and called his first Final Four in 1975. UCLA beat Kentucky in the title game that year in what was John Wooden’s final game as coach.

Packer was also part of the broadcast in 1979 with Dick Enberg and Al McGuire when Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team beat Larry Bird’s Indiana State squad in the title game. That remains highest-rated game in basketball history with a 24.1 Nielsen rating, which is an estimated 35.1 million viewers.

Packer went to CBS in the fall of 1981, when the network acquired the rights to the NCAA Tournament. He remained the network’s main analyst until the 2008 Final Four.

In 1996 at CBS, Packer was involved in controversy when he used the term “tough monkey? to describe then-Georgetown star Allen Iverson during a game. Packer later said he “was not apologizing for what I said, because what I said has no implications in my mind whatsoever to do with Allen Iverson’s race.?

Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, said Packer was “synonymous with college basketball for more than three decades and set the standard of excellence as the voice of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.”

“He had a tremendous impact on the growth and popularity of the sport.” McManus said. “In true Billy fashion, he analyzed the game with his own unique style, perspective and opinions, yet always kept the focus on the game. As passionate as he was about basketball, at his heart Billy was a family man. He leaves part of his legacy at CBS Sports, across college basketball and, most importantly, as a beloved husband, father and grandfather. He will be deeply missed by all.”

Packer was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale took to Twitter as word of Packer’s death spread. “So sad to learn of the passing of Billy Packer who had such a passion for college basketball,” Vitale tweeted. “My (prayers) go out to Billy’s son Mark & the entire Packer family. Always had great RESPECT for Billy & his partners Dick Enberg & Al McGuire-they were super. May Billy RIP.”

College basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla tweeted: “We fell in love (with) college basketball because of you. Your voice will remain in my head forever.”

Packer was viewed as a controversial figure during his broadcasting days, often drawing the ire of college basketball fans, particularly on North Carolina’s “Tobacco Road.”

“As a kid, I was a big NC State fan growing up, and I would watch a game and the next day I’d be like, `Boy you sure have it out for NC State, don’t you?’ And he would just laugh,” Mark Packer said.

The younger Packer, who is the host of ACC PM on the ACC Network, said it didn’t matter what school – most fans felt the same way about his father.

“He would cover North Carolina game and Tar Heels fans would be like, `you hate North Carolina,”‘ Mark Packer said. “Wake (Forest) fans would be like, `you hate us.’ And Billy just sort of got a kick out of that.”

Mark Packer said that while most fans will remember his father as a broadcaster, he’ll remember him even more for his business acumen. He said his father was a big real estate investor, and also owned a vape company, among other ventures.

“Billy was always a bit of a hustler – he was always looking for that next business deal,” Packer said.

Clemson starter Galloway will miss time after surgery

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson starter Brevin Galloway is expected to miss games for the 24th-ranked Tigers after having surgery on his groin area Thursday.

The 6-foot-3 Galloway has started 20 of 21 games after transferring from Boston College this past offseason.

Galloway posted on social media that he’d had the surgery. Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that Galloway had the operation.

Galloway said in his post he will be in uniform soon. He is not expected to play at Florida State on Saturday.

A fifth-year player, Galloway has averaged 10.6 points a game this season. He’s second on the Tigers with 55 assists and 18 steals.

The Tigers (17-4) lead the Atlantic Coast Conference at 9-1 in league play.

Clemson is already down two experienced players due to injury.

Point guard Chase Hunter, who started the team’s first 18 games, has missed the past three with a foot injury.

Guard Alex Hemenway, in his fourth season, has missed the past nine games with a foot injury. Hemenway was the team’s leading 3-point shooter (27 of 54) before getting hurt.

Zach Edey has 19 points, No. 1 Purdue beats Michigan 75-70

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Junfu Han/USA TODAY NETWORK
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Zach Edey had 15 of his 19 points in the first half and Fletcher Loyer finished with 17 points to help No. 1 Purdue hold off Michigan 75-70 on Thursday night.

The Boilermakers (20-1, 9-1 Big Ten) had a 15-0 run to go ahead 41-28 lead in the first half after there were 10 lead changes and four ties, but they couldn’t pull away.

The Wolverines (11-9, 5-4) were without standout freshman Jett Howard, who missed the game with an ankle injury, and still hung around until the final seconds.

Joey Baker made a 3-pointer – off the glass – with 5.9 seconds left to pull Michigan within three points, but Purdue’s Brandon Newman sealed the victory with two free throws.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said Michigan slowed down Edey in the second half by pushing him away from the basket.

“They got him out a little more, and got him bottled up,” Painter said.

The 7-foot-4 Edey, though, was too tough to stop early in the game.

“He’s one of the best in the country for a reason,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “He’s very effective, especially if he’s 8 feet and in.”

With size and skills such as a hook shot, the junior center from Toronto scored Purdue’s first seven points and finished the first half 7 of 12 from the field and 1 of 2 at the line.

“He did a great job in the first half, going to his right shoulder and using his left hand,” Painter said. “He made four baskets with his left hand which is huge.”

Freshman Braden Smith had 10 points for the Boilermakers.

Purdue’s defense ultimately denied Michigan’s comeback hopes, holding a 22nd straight opponent to 70 or fewer points.

Hunter Dickinson scored 21, Kobe Bufkin had 16 points and Baker added 11 points for the Wolverines, who have lost four of their last six games.

Dickinson, a 7-1 center, matched up with Edey defensively and pulled him out of the lane offensively by making 3 of 7 3-pointers.

“Half his shots were from the 3, and that’s a little different,” Painter said. “His meat and potatoes are on that block. He’s the real deal.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Boilermakers got the top spot in the AP Top 25 this week after winning six games, a stretch that followed a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 3 that dropped them from No. 1 in the poll. Purdue improved to 7-2 as the top-ranked team.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: Edey can’t beat teams by himself and he’s surrounded by a lot of role players and a potential standout in Loyer. The 6-4 guard was the Big Ten player of the week earlier this month, become the first Boilermaker freshman to win the award since Robbie Hummel in 2008.

“Fletcher is somebody who has played better in the second half, and on the road,” Painter said.

Michigan: Jett Howard’s health is a critical factor for the Wolverines, who will have some work to do over the second half of the Big Ten season to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Howard averages 14.6 points and is the most dynamic player on his father’s team.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Boilermakers were away from home for 12 of 23 days, winning all five of their road games. They won at Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan for the first time since the 1997-98 season and beat the Spartans and Wolverines on their home court in the same season for the first time in 12 years.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Hosts Michigan State on Sunday, nearly two weeks after the Boilermakers beat the Spartans by a point on Edey’s shot with 2.2 seconds left.

Michigan: Plays at Penn State on Sunday.

Miller scores 23, No. 10 Maryland tops No. 13 Michigan 72-64

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Diamond Miller scored 23 points, and No. 10 Maryland closed the first quarter with a 13-2 run and led the rest of the way in a 72-64 victory over No. 13 Michigan on Thursday night.

Abby Meyers contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins (17-4, 8-2), who won for the 10th time in 11 games. Lavender Briggs scored 14 points and Shyanne Sellers added 13.

Maryland gained a measure of revenge after losing twice to Michigan last season – including a 20-point rout in College Park.

Leigha Brown led the Wolverines with 16 points.

Michigan (16-5, 6-4) led 13-9 in the first quarter before a three-point play by Miller started Maryland’s big run. Briggs and Faith Masonius made 3-pointers during that stretch.

The Terps pushed the lead to 16 in the third quarter before the Wolverines were able to chip away. Miller sat for a bit with four fouls, and Michigan cut the lead to seven in the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines still wasted too many possessions with turnovers to mount much of a comeback.

Michigan ended up with 24 turnovers, and Maryland had a 25-5 advantage in points off turnovers.

Miller fouled out with 2:19 remaining, but even after those two free throws, the Terps led 65-57 and had little trouble holding on.

Michigan lost for the second time in four days against a top-10 opponent. No. 6 Indiana beat the Wolverines 92-83 on Monday.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: Whether it was against Maryland’s press or in their half-court offense, the Wolverines turned the ball over too much to score consistently. This was a lower-scoring game than the loss to Indiana, but the margin ended up being similar.

Maryland: While Miller clearly led the way, the Terps had plenty of offensive contributors. They also held Michigan to 13 points below its season average entering the game.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Wolverines have appeared in 48 straight AP polls, and although a two-loss week could certainly drop them, the quality of their opponents could save them from a substantial plunge.

Maryland is tied for 10th with an Iowa team that beat No. 2 Ohio State on Monday night. Now the Terps can boast an impressive victory of their own.

UP NEXT

Michigan: The Wolverines play their third game of the week when they visit Minnesota on Sunday.

Maryland: The Terps host Penn State on Monday night.

 

Boum, Jones lead No. 13 Xavier over No. 19 UConn, 82-79

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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STORRS, Conn. – Souley Boum scored 21 points, Colby Jones added 20 and No. 13 Xavier went on the road and held off No. 19 Connecticut 82-79 Wednesday night.

The win was the 13th in 14 games for the Musketeers (17-4, 9-1 Big East) and it gave them a season sweep over the struggling Huskies (16-6, 5-6).

Jack Nunge had 12 points and Jerome Hunter added 11 for Xavier, which led by 17 in the first half and 39-24 at halftime.

Jordan Hawkins scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for UConn, leading a comeback that fell just short.

Tristen Newton added 23 points for the Huskies, who won their first 14 games this season but have dropped six of eight since.

The Musketeers never trailed but had to withstand UConn runs that cut the lead to a single point four times in the second half.

A three-point play from Hawkins made it 78-77 with 2:40 left. But a second-chance layup from Nunge put the lead at 80-77 just over a minute later.

Newton was fouled with two seconds left by Desmond Claude, but his apparent attempt to miss his second free throw went into the basket.

Boum then hit two free throws at the other end, and Newton’s final attempt from just beyond halfcourt was well short.

Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead as UConn missed its first nine shots.

A 3-pointer from Zach Freemantle gave the Musketeers their first double-digit lead at 20-9, and another from Jones pushed it to 35-18.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers lead the Big East, and the win over UConn was their ninth conference victory this season, eclipsing their total from last season.

UConn: The Huskies came in with a 17-game winning streak at Gampel Pavilion dating to February 2021. They fell to 1-4 against the four teams in front of them in the Big East standings. The lone win came at Gampel against Creighton.

UP NEXT

Xavier: The Musketeers continue their road trip with a visit to Creighton on Saturday.

UConn: Doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, when the Huskies visit DePaul.