Thursday Morning Shootaround: Did St. Mary’s suffer the upset of the year?

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No. 11 Purdue 70, Wisconsin 62: See here and here.

No. 12 UConn 78, No. 9 Georgetown 70: See here.

Cincy 63, No. 16 Louisville 54: See here.

No. 18 Vandy 64, Georgia 56: See here.

San Diego 74, No. 23 St. Mary’s 66: You might not realize just how shocking this upset is. San Diego had five wins on the season before Wednesday night. Two non-DI’s, Utah in the 7th place game in the Diamond Head Classic, Cal St. Bakersfield, and Loyola Marymount. The Toreros were a whopping 317th in the RPI going into last night. St. Mary’s could have clinched at least a share of the WCC regular season title with a win.

But they lost, putting themselves into a incredibly tough spot. The Gaels Bracket Buster’s showdown with Utah State on Saturday has essentially become a must-win for both teams if they want to have a shot at making the tournament as an at-large bid. Then next week, the Gaels have to play both Gonzaga and Portland. A win against the Zags clinches the conference title, but a loss means the two teams are tied. Portland has already beaten St. Mary’s once this season.

The Gaels still control their own destiny, but its a destiny with much less — if any — margin for error.

Conference USA: Memphis 62, UAB 58; Southern Miss 64, UTEP 51

Memphis continues to survive in close games, last night blocking a game-tying three to prevent blowing a six point lead in the final 40 seconds of the game. Will Barton continued his development, scoring 17 points for this Tigers, who move into sole possession of first place in the league with the win and UTEP’s loss. The Miners are a half-game back while UAB and Southern Miss both trail by a game in the loss column (along with SMU and Tulsa).

RL Horton had 20 points and DJ Newbill added 15 points and 16 boards as Southern Miss forced 11-39 second half shooting from UTEP and overcame a double digit deficit in the second half.

Vermont 73, Maine 57: The kind of ‘stache, Evan Fjeld, scored 19 points and Brandon Bald added 17 as the Catamounts shot 59.6% from the floor and became the first team in 2011 to secure a postseason berth. They locked up, at worst, a trip to the NIT by clinching the America East regular season title.

Fairfield 61, Marist 54: If Vermont was the first team to clinch their outright conference title, the Stags were a very close second, as they got 14 points from Yorel Hawkins in clinching the MAAC’s regular season championship.

Horizon League: What a mess this conference is at the top. League leader Valparaiso lost to Milwaukee 79-76 last night which, combined with Cleveland State’s win over Wright State, gave the Vikings a half game lead in the league standings. Milwaukee is a game back in the loss column, tied with Butler for third place. Those first two spots are extremely important in the Horizon League; the top two seeds get byes into the semifinals of the conference tournament.

No. 2 Texas 73, Oklahoma State 55: Texas continues to completely shut down their opponents defensively. Last night, Oklahoma State managed to score just 0.80 PPP, a number that was bolstered by a couple of buckets when the game was already decided. How long can this defense hold up?

No. 4 Pitt 67, South Florida 55: The Bulls were in this game for far too long, as Pitt needed to use a 14-2 run with eight minutes left in the game to put the game away. The run was sparked when Travon Woodall sprinted back on defense to break up a layup that would have tied the game at 46.

No. 5 Duke 56, Virginia 41: Duke gave up just 15 points in the second half, locking down the Cavs defensively, something they had to do with Kyle Singler continuing to struggle. Singler had just two points, but Nolan Smith picked him up, once again playing hero and scoring 22 points with four assists.

No. 6 San Diego State 68, New Mexico 62: Kawhi Leonard and Malcolm Thomas both scored 22 points and the Aztecs hit eight of ten free throws down the stretch as SDSU held on to beat the Lobos. New Mexico may have just run out of chances to earn an at-large bid to the tournament.

No. 17 Texas A&M 71, Iowa State 66: Nathan Walkup scored 19 points to lead the Aggies in a game that was far too close for comfort.

Tennessee 73, South Carolina 67: Scotty Hopson scored 23 points and had three massive dunks. When he plays the way he did tonight, he’s a top ten pick come June.

Illinois 54, Michigan 52: It wasn’t pretty, but the Illini are still alive for an at-large berth.

Nebraska 59, Oklahoma 58: Oklahoma’s Cade Davis hit what appeared to be a step-back three with three seconds left in the game. The refs signaled a two, but no one saw the call. Nebraska dribbled to ball up and missed a prayer at the buzzer. Everyone thought the game was headed to overtime, but after checking the monitor, the refs confirmed that it was just a two pointer.

Miami OH 86, Kent State 80 OT: Nick Winbush scored 26 points and added 12 rebounds while Julian Mavunga had 17 and 17 as the Redhawks used a 9-0 run in the overtime to take control and move into a half game lead in the MAC standings. Rodriguez Sherman hit a three with eight seconds left in regulation to force the overtime.

Other Notable Scores

  • Duquesne 81, UMass 63
  • Xavier 74, St. Joe’s 54
  • Bucknell 74, Lafayette 69 OT
  • Morehead State 76, Eastern Kentucky 68 OT
  • Southeast Missouri State 64, Murray State 57
  • Colorado State 69, TCU 55

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.