Bubble Banter: Arizona State and Oklahoma out, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State in?

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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Saturday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.

WINNERS

OKLAHOMA STATE (RPI: 84, KenPom: 41, NBC seed: First four out): The Cowboys got what they needed: A win over Oklahoma that will give them a shot at getting a three-game sweep over Kansas on the season. And should I mention that Udoka Azubuike, who starts at center for Kansas, is out with a sprained MCL? As of today, Oklahoma State has five Quadrant 1 wins and a 10-13 record against the top two Quadrants with no bad losses. The biggest issue on their résumé is that their RPI isn’t pretty. They’ll be in the conversation even with a loss on Thursday, and a win probably gets them in.

NOTRE DAME (RPI: 71, KenPom: 33, NBC seed: Next four out): I don’t know where it came from, but Notre Dame was down by 20 points in the second half against Virginia Tech and came back to win in the second round of the ACC tournament, putting them into a position to seriously challenge for an NCAA tournament bid. At this point, I still think that the Irish are on the outside looking in. But they get Duke tomorrow in the the ACC quarterfinals, and if they win that game — Clemson is a top 15 team in the RPI — then I think they’ll probably get a bid. At the very least, I think that they would have done enough to prove they are a top 30 team in the country with their entire roster healthy, and to me, that’s enough to get in.

TEXAS (RPI: 46, KenPom: 39, NBC seed: 10): Texas got past Iowa State, which is probably what they needed to do to really feel comfortable about their at-large chances. The Longhorns are 8-13 against the top two Quadrants and they don’t have a bad loss to their name. The problem is that their best wins are TCU and Texas Tech at home, Butler on a neutral and Alabama and Oklahoma on the road. I think they’re probably in regardless of what happens on Thursday, but their life will be much less stressful if they can find a way to dispatch Texas Tech.

LOUISVILLE (RPI: 37, KenPom: 34, NBC seed: Next four out): Louisville didn’t earn an NCAA tournament bid on Wednesday afternoon when they beat Florida State, but they did put themselves into a position where they can win and get themselves in on Thursday. They play Virginia in the quarterfinals. If they beat Virginia, they will be in the NCAA tournament. Should I tell Louisville fans that they’d be in right now if they didn’t blow a four-point lead with 0.9 seconds left?

MARQUETTE (RPI: 55, KenPom: 49, NBC seed: Last four in): Marquette did what they needed to do on Wednesday night: They beat DePaul. Now they’ll advance to take on Villanova in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The way that I see it, they have to win that game to get in.

LOSERS

ARIZONA STATE (RPI: 65, KenPom: 38, NBC seed: 10): Arizona State lost in their Pac-12 12 tournament opener, meaning that the Sun Devils have gone from being college basketball’s last remaining unbeaten team to having to sweat out the final week before Selection Sunday. ASU is now 20-11 on the season and 8-11 against Pac-12 opponents after Wednesday’s loss. The Fighting Bobby Hurleys have just three Quadrant 1 wins and an 8-9 record against the top two Quadrants with two Quadrant 3 losses, but they have happen to have the best pair of wins of any team in the country, beating Kansas in Phog Allen Fieldhouse and knocking off Xavier on a neutral court. And it is those two wins that will likely ensure that ASU will be in the tournament when the bracket is released in 96 hours, but the idea that it is anything close to a guarantee — which is what you would expect from a team ranked No. 3 in the country on Dec. 30th — is wrong.

OKLAHOMA (RPI: 46, KenPom: 57, NBC seed: 9): The slide continued into the postseason for the Sooners, as they lost to their in-state rivals in the first round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday night. All told, Oklahoma has now lost eight of their last ten and 11 of their last 15 games. They are 18-13 on the season and finished with an 8-11 record against Big 12 foes. And here’s the crazy part: they are probably still in the tournament. They beat Kansas at home. They beat Texas Tech at home. They swept TCU, won at Wichita State and beat USC on a “neutral” court in Los Angeles. Throw in the fact that they don’t have any losses outside the top two Quadrants and I find it very hard to believe this team will be on the outside looking in on Selection Sunday.

SYRACUSE (RPI: 38, KenPom: 51, NBC seed: Last four in): The Orange are in a really bad spot right now. Their résumé currently looks like this: Three Quadrant 1 wins (Clemson, at Miami, at Louisville) and a 6-11 record against the top two Quadrants with a pair of Quadrant 3 losses (at Georgia Tech, at Wake Forest). In a vacuum, that would probably put them right on the cut-line. The problem? All of the teams around them — Baylor, USC, Oklahoma State, Louisville, Notre Dame, Marquette, Alabama, UCLA — still have games to play, and they aren’t all going to lose.

WASHINGTON (RPI: 67, KenPom: 97, NBC seed: First four out): Washington needed to beat Oregon State in their Pac-12 tournament opener. They did not beat Oregon State in their Pac-12 tournament opener. With four Quadrant 1 wins — including Arizona and at Kansas — and a 6-9 record against the top two Quadrants, the Huskies aren’t that far away from some of the other bubble teams. Their issue? This loss to Oregon State is their third Quadrant 3 loss. It’s going to be a long, long four days until Selection Sunday, but it’s hard to see the Huskies getting in at this point.

N.C. STATE (RPI: 64, KenPom: 44, NBC seed: 8): I’ve seen some discussion about N.C. State’s chances as a bubble team, and I don’t quite understand why. The Wolfpack have five Quadrant 1 wins and an 8-9 record against the top two Quadrants, but more importantly they’ve beaten Duke, won at North Carolina, took down Clemson and beat Arizona on a neutral. They should be fine.

FLORIDA STATE (RPI: 52, KenPom: 36, NBC seed: 9): The Seminoles lost their ACC tournament opener to Louisville, but they, like N.C. State, should still be safe. They have six Quadrant 1 wins — including North Carolina and Clemson — and a 7-10 record against the top two quadrants with just a single Quadrant 3 loss. If there is a concern, it’s that their non-conference SOS is a train-wreck, but that shouldn’t keep them out.

Miles Kelly leads Ga. Tech to 79-77 win over rival Georgia

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 02 Northeastern at Georgia Tech
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ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s Miles Kelly hit another winning shot against a state rival.

Terry Roberts endured a nightmarish final minute for Georgia.

Kelly hit a long 3-pointer and then a drove for the game-winning floater with 23 seconds remaining as the Yellow Jackets rallied to beat Georgia 79-77 on Tuesday night.

Kelly hit the winning shot in similar fashion against Georgia State on Nov. 12. He did it again to beat the Bulldogs, finishing with a team-high 17 points after failing to score in the first half.

“I’m going to continue to keep shooting, no matter how many times I miss,” Kelly said.

Roberts missed a 3-pointer, turned the ball over twice with bad passes, and was called for an offensive foul as he was trying to drive for the basket that would’ve sent the game to overtime.

“A tough finish for us,” Georgia first-year coach Mike White said. “We were in position to steal one on the road.”

A pair of second-chance buckets seemingly put Georgia (7-3) in control with a 77-73 lead.

The Bulldogs wouldn’t score again as Kelly led the comeback for the Yellow Jackets (6-3) – with a big assist from Roberts.

He had a chance to essentially seal it for the Bulldogs, but his jumper beyond the arc clanked off the rim.

Georgia Tech grabbed the rebound and raced down the court, where Kelly swished a 3 from well behind the stripe that brought Georgia Tech within a point with about a minute left.

Trying to work the ball inside, Roberts made an ill-advised entry pass that was deflected and stolen by Deivon Smith, setting up Kelly’s drive for the basket that put the Yellow Jackets back ahead,

Roberts tried a drive of his own, only to have it blocked by Jalon Moore. Georgia retained possession, but Roberts’ inbounds pass was stolen by Moore, who was fouled and made one of two free throws.

Roberts took the ball again and hurriedly dribbled toward the basket, only to be called for an offensive foul when he sent Smith flying.

“Just sacrificing my body for the team,” Smith said.

Georgia stole an inbounds pass around midcourt, giving Karlo Oquendo one last shot to launch a 3 that still would’ve won it for the Bulldogs. It bounced off the rim.

The game was tight throughout. Neither team led by more than eight, and a sequence in the second half showed just how tightly these rivals were matched.

With both squads playing at a frenetic pace and showing little regard for defense, the lead changed hands on eight straight possessions as the teams traded baskets.

Stunningly, they combined to score on 19 straight possessions before Georgia’s Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe missed a pair of free throws with 5:17 remaining.

FIRING UP THE CROWD

Perhaps the biggest cheer of the night came when Georgia Tech football coach Brent Key addressed the crowd at halftime.

Key, who served as interim coach for the last eight games of the season, was introduced Monday as the full-time choice for job.

He fired up the fans by getting them to chant “To hell with Georgia” over and over again. When a smattering of Bulldogs fans responded with barks, Key smiled and egged on the Yellow Jackets crowd to drown them out.

He also declared Georgia Tech to be the “greatest school in the entire state, the entire country,” following up his vow the previous day to not back down from the defending national champion and top-ranked Bulldogs.

BIG PICTURE

Georgia: This will be a tough one to swallow for Roberts, who led his team with 16 points and seven assists. The Bulldogs lost despite shooting 53.4% from the field.

Georgia Tech: Four players scored in double figures, and two others players finished with eight points. But it was Kelly, as usual, who had the ball in his hands at the end of a tight game.

UP NEXT

Georgia: After a nearly two-week break, the Bulldogs return to Atlanta on Dec. 18 to face Notre Dame at State Farm Arena in the Holiday Hoopsgiving event.

Georgia Tech: Head to North Carolina on Saturday for the Atlantic Coast Conference opener against the struggling Tar Heels.

No. 17 Illinois rallies late, beats No. 2 Texas 85-78 in OT

Illinois v Maryland
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NEW YORK – Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 12 of his 16 points in overtime, including the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:34 remaining, and No. 17 Illinois rallied to hand second-ranked Texas its first loss of the season, 85-78 on Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic.

Jayden Epps added 11 points, including the final five points of regulation – a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left and two tying free throws with 8 seconds remaining. Epps then blocked Marcus Carr’s jumper in the lane just before the buzzer to force overtime in an entertaining showdown at Madison Square Garden.

Matthew Mayer, who faced Texas several times at Baylor, tied a career high with 21 points as he made his first seven shots and finished 8 of 10.

Shannon, who missed eight of nine shots in regulation, took over in the extra period to help Illinois (7-2) beat a ranked foe for the second time this season. He opened overtime with a jumper after Marcus Carr was called for traveling and then hit an open 3 from the right wing over Brock Cunningham for a 73-70 lead.

Shannon then converted a reverse layup and finished off a three-point play to make it 77-70 with 2:16 left. Carr hit two free throws to get Texas within one with 1:28 remaining. Jayden Epps hit a layup, RJ Melendez sank two free throws to put Illinois ahead by five, and Shannon made two free throws with 27.7 seconds left.

Timmy Allen scored a season-high 21 points for Texas (6-1), which failed to open 7-0 for the first time since 2014-15. Tyrese Hunter added 10 points but Carr was held to nine points on 3-of-14 shooting as Texas had 12 shots blocked and shot 42%.

Texas took its only double-digit lead when Dillon Mitchell hit a layup with 8:28 left. Illinois cut the lead to 58-56 on a 3 by Melendez nearly four minutes later. After Cunningham hit an open 3 with 4:15 remaining, Si’Jabari Rice made a 3 for a 64-58 lead.

Allen found Cunningham for an open jumper that counted when officials called goaltending on Illinois’ Coleman Hawkins. That gave Texas a 65-61 lead with with 1:51 remaining.

Carr’s rainbow jumper in the lane made it 68-63 with a minute left and Illinois had a 3-pointer by Melendez waved off because it called timeout with 45.3 seconds left. After the timeout, Epps made an open corner 3 with 33 seconds remaining.

Hunter missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to set up Epps’ tying free throws.

BIG PICTURE

Illinois: The Illini continued to struggle with turnovers, committing 17. But only two of them came in the final 10-plus minutes of regulation or overtime. Illinois’ 15th turnover was an offensive foul by Mayer, which sent him to the bench with four fouls with 10:42 remaining.

Texas: The Longhorns had little offense beyond Allen and Hunter. While the duo was a combined 13 of 29, the rest of the team missed 24 of 40 shots.

UP NEXT

Illinois hosts Penn State in its second Big Ten game on Saturday. The Illini lost their conference opener to No. 13 Maryland.

Texas hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the Jimmy Blacklock Classic on Saturday.

Clark, Gardner lift No. 3 Virginia past James Madison, 55-50

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Kihei Clark scored 18 points, Jayden Gardner had 14 points and eight rebounds, and No. 3 Virginia beat feisty in-state rival James Madison 55-50 on Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers (8-0), who lost starting guard Reece Beekman to a right leg injury early in the first half, prevented the Dukes (7-3) from winning a second straight December game in Charlottesville. James Madison beat Virginia 52-49 last Dec. 7.

Clark had seven assists while playing nearly 39 minutes with Beekman sidelined.

“Kihei gave everything he had and I had to, you know, ride him,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “Sure, he missed some free throws. And I know he made some mistakes, but you could just see him, you know, how tough-minded he was.”

Dukes coach Mark Byington said he told Clark – who’s playing his fifth season for Virginia – after last year’s game that he loved watching him play.

“He’s seen everything and nothing you’re going to do is going to surprise him,” Byington said. “There’s nothing Kihei Clark hasn’t seen out there, and he’s poised. I mean, you can’t rattle him. … So I told him this time I was like, `Look, I better never see you in college basketball again.’ But he’s one of my favorite players to watch just because he’s tough, talented, and he’s a winner.”

Takal Molson scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half for James Madison, including a 3-pointer that tied the game at 42-all with 7:47 to play. Gardner responded for Virginia by scoring five straight points in a 9-1 run.

The Cavaliers kept the Dukes in the game by missing eight of 13 free throws over the last six minutes.

Molson made an acrobatic layup while being fouled with 1:51 left, but he missed the free throw. He scored again with 1:01 left, pulling the Dukes within 52-50, but freshman Ryan Dunn answered with a strong move on the baseline for Virginia with 35 seconds to play.

James Madison threw the ball away on its ensuing possession.

BIG PICTURE

James Madison: The Dukes came into the game leading the nation in scoring (93.3 points per game) and having scored as many as 95 points five times. They were shooting 52.7% for the year, but made just four of their first 19 shots and finished 15 of 55 (26.9%). Vado Morse scored 11 points, the only other JMU player in double figures.

“Yeah, we knew how good they were and they showed it in spots tonight,” Gardner said. “But I think you saw a lot of resiliency tonight on the defensive end getting crucial stops.”

Virginia: The Cavaliers played the final 36 minutes without Beekman and gave extensive minutes to freshman Isaac McKneely. Virginia will hope Beekman, its third-leading scorer and a primary ballhandler and defender, recovers in time for its showdown with No. 1 Houston on Dec. 17.

UP NEXT

The Dukes return home to play Gallaudet on Saturday night.

Virginia has a 10-day break before hosting the top-ranked Cougars.

No. 25 Villanova women beat American University 83-42

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VILLANOVA, Pa. – Maddy Siegrist had 24 points and seven rebounds, Lucy Olsen added 14 points and No. 25 Villanova beat American University 83-42 on Tuesday night.

Siegrist scored 15 points in the opening 13 minutes as Villanova led 34-15. The Wildcats extended it to 46-23 by halftime before starting the second half on a 9-0 run for a 32-point lead.

Villanova added an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter for its largest lead of the game at 79-36. The Wildcats held American to 15-of-50 shooting (30%) and scored 21 points off 19 turnovers.

Christina Dalce scored 13 points for Villanova (8-2), which plays Saint Joseph’s on Saturday before taking a week off for final exams. Siegrist, who was coming off a 29-point performance on Sunday, made 10 of 17 shots as Villanova shot 56%.

Emily Johns scored 12 points for American (0-8), which hosts Marist (3-5) on Saturday.

No. 6 UConn star Azzi Fudd out 3-6 weeks with knee injury

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STORRS, Conn. — Sixth-ranked UConn’s top scorer, Azzi Fudd, is expected to be out three to six weeks because of a right knee injury she suffered during her team’s weekend loss to No. 5 Notre Dame, a university athletic spokesperson said.

The sophomore guard was injured in the first half of the game when a teammate collided into her. She returned midway through the second period to play four hobbled minutes, but sat the rest of the way.

“I think she’ll be all right,” coach Geno Auriemma said afterward.

Fudd entered the game averaging 24.0 points but finished scoreless on two shots over 13 minutes in the team’s first loss of the season.

The athletic spokesperson didn’t specify the type of knee injury Fudd sustained.

She underwent evaluation and an MRI confirmed the injury, the spokesperson said.

The Huskies host Princeton next.