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Bubble Banter: Texas, Syracuse lands critical resume wins to end regular season

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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

TEXAS (RPI: 49, KenPom: 44, NBC seed: First four out): The Longhorns picked up a critical win on Saturday that bumped their record to 18-13 overall and 8-10 in the Big 12. They have five Quadrant 1 wins and are 8-13 against the top two quadrants. Barring a run in the Big 12 tournament, Texas is all-but locked into being one of the handful of teams that end up in that conversation for the final couple of spots. They can make this easy by simply going out and winning another game or two, but if not it is going to be a stressful Selection Sunday in Austin.

SYRACUSE (RPI: 41, KenPom: 51, NBC seed: First four out): The Orange landed a must-win game in the Carrier Dome on Saturday as they knocked off No. 18 Clemson, 55-52. Syracuse is now 6-10 against the top two Quadrants with three Quadrant 1 wins and a pair of losses to teams in Quadrant 3. Where Syracuse was crushed was with the three-game losing streak prior to Saturday’s win. At this point, the Orange, like Texas, look destined to be one of the last teams in or out of the field. They are right on the cutline, but beating Clemson is their best win of the season. I’d still recommend getting two wins in the ACC tournament.

OKLAHOMA STATE (RPI: 87, KenPom: 57, NBC seed: Out): The Cowboys are suddenly looking an awful lot like a bubble team. They have two wins over Kansas (including on in Allen Fieldhouse), a win over Texas Tech at home, a win at West Virginia and a win over Florida State on a neutral. They’re 9-13 against the top two Quadrants, which is impressive when considering that they have two wins over Kansas! The only issue is that their RPI is 87. That’s really, really low, and it probably has a lot to do with the fact that their non-conference SOS is in the 270s. The Pokes get Oklahoma in the 8-9 game of the Big 12 tournament before another game against Kansas. If they win two games, I think they’ll be in.

UCLA (RPI: 50, KenPom: 53, NBC seed: Last four in): UCLA went into the Galen Center and picked up their third Quadrant 1 road win, knocking off USC and improving to 8-8 against the top two Quadrants. The only “bad” losses that the Bruins have are Colorado at home and at Oregon State. Throw in the fact that their three Quadrant 1 wins are all very good wins — at Arizona, Kentucky on a neutral, at USC — and I think that, as of today, UCLA is in with a little bit of room to spare.

MARQUETTE (RPI: 56, KenPom: 49, NBC seed: First four out): Marquette looked like they were out of it after losing four straight in late-January, but they’ve rallied, closing the season with two straight wins, winning four out of five and five out of seven. They closed the regular season with a win over Creighton at home, sweeping the Bluejays. The biggest issue with Marquette’s is that they haven’t beaten a top 25 team all season long, although they do have three road wins over top 40 teams. I would have them on the outside looking in right now.

PROVIDENCE (RPI: 40, KenPom: 72, NBC seed: 10): The Friars got past St. John’s on Saturday which means that they are going to head into the Big East tournament with a 19-12 record, a 10-8 mark in the Big East and a 9-9 mark against the top two Quadrants with wins over Xavier and Villanova. The big problem for this team is that they have three Quadrant 4 losses, although one of those three came against a Minnesota team that was a top 25 team when Providence played them. I think the Friars are in even with a loss in the Big East quarters.

UTAH (RPI: 48, KenPom: 62, NBC seed: Next four out): The Utes did what they needed to do on Saturday night by knocking off Colorado at home. The Utes have a resume that is awful similar to Louisville’s in that their three Quadrant 1 wins are against mediocre teams on the road. The difference? They lost to UNLV on a neutral court by 27 points. I think Utah needs a win over Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament to really have a chance.

KANSAS STATE (RPI: 58, KenPom: 45, NBC seed: Play-in game): Kansas State is now in a pretty good spot. They have three Quadrant 1 wins, they are 9-10 against the top two Quadrants and they own sweeps of both Baylor and Texas, the Big 12’s other two bubble teams. Their issue is that their non-conference SOS is just 325. That’s not good, and the Selection Committee has published teams for that before.

ST. BONAVENTURE (RPI: 22, KenPom: 67, NBC seed: 9): The Bonnies did what they needed to do again, going into Saint Louis and knocking off the Billikens. They closed out the regular season with 12 straight wins. At this point, I think they might be able to survive a loss in their first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament, but it’s not something that I would want to risk.

LOSERS

ALABAMA (RPI: 61, KenPom: 55, NBC seed: 12): The Crimson Tide looked like a surefire NCAA tournament team as recently as a week ago, but after falling at Texas A&M on Saturday, Avery Johnson’s club is suddenly in very real danger of getting relegated to the NIT. they’ve lost five in a row to close out the regular season and now sit at 17-14 on the season and 8-10 in the SEC. But here’s the thing: They are 10-12 against the top two Quadrants with five Quadrant 1 wins, including Auburn, Tennessee and Rhode Island. Their two Quadrant 3 losses came against UCF, who is 76th in the RPI and one spot away from Quadrant 2, as well as Minnesota, who was really good at the time in a game where Alabama ended with just three players on the court. They have work to do in the SEC tournament, but it’s hardly a done deal.

ARIZONA STATE (RPI: 57, KenPom: 35, NBC seed: 9): It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached this point with the Sun Devils, but we have: they are very much a team that is in danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament. They have just three Quadrant 1 wins to go along with a pair of Quadrant 3 losses. But here’s the catch: Those win came against Xavier on a neutral and at Kansas. No one has a pair of wins that are that good. A first round loss in the Pac-12 tournament would be bad, but I think still think the Sun Devils are on the right side of the bubble right now.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (RPI: 27, KenPom: 45, NBC seed: 10): The disaster happened on Saturday night. The Blue Raiders lost at home to Marshall, meaning that they now have two Quadrant 3 losses and just three Quadrant 1 wins. I’m not sure if MTSU can survive another loss in the CUSA tournament.

BAYLOR (RPI: 60, KenPom: 34, NBC seed: Play-in game): Baylor’s at-large candidacy comes down to this: What do you think of a team that has played a lot of good teams and beaten a couple of them? The Bears are 4-10 against Quadrant 1 opponents — that includes a win over Kansas — with none of their 13 losses coming to teams outside of the top two Quadrants. But they also have 13 losses. The Bears still need to win a few games in the Big 12 tournament.

WASHINGTON (RPI: 59, KenPom, 94, NBC seed: Last four in): The Huskies have some very intriguing wins to their name. They beat Kansas in Kansas City. They knocked off Arizona at home. They picked off USC in La. all told, they have six wins against the top two Quadrants just one of their 11 losses came outside that tier. That said, the Huskies also finished 10-8 in a mediocre Pac-12 and lost three home games to teams that they should be beating in the league. I think they are probably in as of today, but there is no question they have work left to do in the Pac-12 tournament.

BUTLER (RPI: 45, KenPom: 24, NBC seed: 10): Butler’s resume is not as good as you think it is. They have three Quadrant 1 wins — including Villanova at home — and a 7-11 record against the top two Quadrants with an ugly home loss to Georgetown. The Bulldogs are going to need a win over Creighton in the opening round of the Big East tournament if they don’t want to sweat it out on Selection Sunday.

LOUISVILLE (RPI: 45, KenPom: 34, NBC seed: First four out): Louisville missed out on another chance to land a Quadrant 1 win on Saturday night, falling at N.C. State. Louisville’s résumé is just bland. They have three Quadrant 1 wins and all of them are on the road, but they haven’t beaten a top 40 team at any point this season. They are 3-10 against Quadrant 1 and 4-12 against the top two Quadrants with no bad losses, but that’s it. They don’t really have any positives but there are no negatives. That’s why the loss against Virginia on Wednesday was so painful … oh well.

NOTRE DAME (RPI: 66, KenPom: 28, NBC seed: Out): The Fighting Irish were an interesting case because they spent the last two months playing without Bonzie Colson, and with a game at No. 1 Virginia on Saturday night, they had a chance to prove just how good they can be with him. They lost that game, and now they’ll head into the ACC tournament needing to do quite a bit of work.

PENN STATE (RPI: 68, KenPom: 30, NBC seed: Out): The Nittany Lions ran out of gas on Saturday night, falling to Purdue in the Big Ten tournament semifinals. They are now 21-13 with just three Quadrant 1 wins and a pair of Quadrant 3 losses and a Quadrant 4 loss. And here’s the catch: All of their Quadrant 1 wins came against Ohio State, who matches up horribly with Penn State. The Nittany Lions had to beat Purdue, especially when you consider that the rest of the high major bubble teams will have conference tournament games this week to add to their profile.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (RPI: 70, KenPom: 63, NBC seed: Next four out): The Bulldogs certainly didn’t do themselves any favors by losing to LSU on Saturday. They had been inching closer to bubble contention in recent weeks, but getting swept by Tennessee and LSU probably means that MSU needs to win two games in the SEC tournament to really have a chance.

USC (RPI: 31, KenPom: 41, NBC seed: 11): USC did themselves no favors by losing at home against UCLA. The Trojans are in an interesting spot. They are now 4-6 against Quadrant 1 and 5-3 against Quadrant 2 with that brutal Quadrant 4 to Princeton; it’s worth noting that the Trojans were missing some players in that loss. I think that USC is probably in the tournament as of today, but they probably don’t want to tempt fate and lose their Pac-12 tournament opener.

Penn State, Nebraska now have eight-day wait to find out NCAA tournament fate

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NEW YORK — With more than a week between the end of the Big Ten tournament and Selection Sunday, the league’s only two bubble teams will have a long time to sit and wait to see if the résumé that they have put together will be strong enough to get them a bid to the Big Dance.

And considering that there will be six power conference tournaments played during their week off, it’s hard to imagine that what Nebraska and Penn State are sitting on in the clubhouse will be enough to last. There are going to be a lot of bubble teams playing a lot of games in the next eight days, and rooting for them all to lose is going to be a grueling task.

It will, however, give those two coaches — Tim Miles and Pat Chambers — plenty of time to think about all that went wrong this season, and what they could have done differently.

“I might have switched a screen against Kansas,” Miles said. “That would have made me feel a hell of a lot better.”

Nebraska, after getting smoked by Michigan in the quarterfinals on Friday, is projected by most bracket experts as ending up on the wrong side of the bubble despite a 13-5 mark in Big Ten play. They have just a single Quadrant 1 win — Michigan at home — and will enter Selection Sunday with a 4-9 record against the top two Quadrants with a road loss to Illinois.

“To be 13-5 and we’re sitting here asking if they’re going to be in the NCAA tournament, almost sounds ridiculous to me,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said on Friday.

If it wasn’t for Ohio State, the Nittany Lions wouldn’t even be that close. Penn State has Chris Holtmann’s number. They swept the Buckeyes, beating them at home, in Columbus and in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. That, however, is the only team they beat in Quadrant 1. They’re 3-8 against those Quadrant 1 opponents with just five total wins against the top two Quadrants with a pair of Quadrant 3 losses and the black mark of a Quadrant 4 loss to Minnesota.

“I’m an optimist. I’m very positive. I believe we’re going to be in,” Chambers said, adding that his team has, as he put it, “NCAA tournament talent.”

“You can ask the Big Ten coaches that we played the last month. No one wants to see us in the NCAA tournament.”

Unfortunately, no Big Ten coaches are on the Selection Committee, which is unfortunate because that is what it may have taken for the committee to look at the Big Ten and think of it as anything more than a four-bid league.

Case in point: “I’ve read that this is a decidedly down year [for the Big Ten],” Miles said. “I don’t know who the hell decided that.”

I understand he’s campaigning for inclusion into the dance, so I’ll forgive Miles for this one, but if we’re being honest here, the Big Ten made that decision. And in the end, that may be what the killer is for both of these teams. Losing at home to Minnesota was not, at the time, a terrible loss for the Nittany Lions — not when Josh Reaves was not on the floor. Losing at Northwestern would not have appeared to be a bad loss at the start of the year, not when the Wildcats were projected as a top 20 team in the preseason. A home loss to a program like Wisconsin should not be a bad loss for a bubble team, but it is this season, same with a loss at Indiana.

And that is, quite simply, what it comes down to.

There weren’t enough good wins available in the league, not when the teams that were, and are annually, supposed to be good drove off a cliff.

It was particularly difficult for Nebraska, who only had one game against each of the top four teams in the conference. Three of those games came on the road, and they won the one they got at home.

“I believe we’re an NCAA tournament team,” Miles said. “I don’t think [today] undoes what we’ve already accomplished.”

“We’ve won games away from home. We’ve beaten teams that we should beat. To go through that type of season, won eight of our last nine, we showed we can win away from home. Thirteen league wins.”

If Nebraska didn’t have bad luck, they wouldn’t have any luck at all.

And what that likely means is that Nebraska will have to sweat out eight days of agony before going through the Selection Show without hearing their name called.

Michigan completes sweep of Michigan State to advance to Big Ten title game

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NEW YORK — The biggest shot of the game came with 2:48 left on Saturday afternoon.

30-feet away from the rim with the shot clock down to two, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman rattled home a three that kissed the rim three different times, dying against the glass before falling through the net.

The biggest defensive play of the game came just 15 seconds left, when Abdur-Rahkman drew an offensive foul on Miles Bridges. Michigan had the ball back, up 62-54 with just over two minutes as Madison Square Garden turned into Crisler Arena. By the time the final buzzer had sounded, Michigan had upset top-seeded Michigan State in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament, 75-64, completing a season sweep of the Spartans and advancing to the finals of the Big Ten tournament for the second time in as many seasons.

For John Beilein, who took the Wolverines to the 2013 national title game were they lost to Louisville nobody, he’s on the verge of another feather in the cap for what has been a sensational career as a tournament coach. He reached the Sweet 16 last season. He reached the Elite 8 the year after he lost Trey Burke. He took West Virginia to the Elite 8 and the Sweet 16 in back-to-back seasons, and also won the NIT with the Mountaineers. He won a game as a No. 14 seed with Richmond way back in 1998.

So seeing Beilein win three games in three days, sweeping their in-state rivals in the process, to end up playing for the right to call themselves back-to-back Big Ten tournament champions is not necessarily a surprise.

What may actually be a surprise is that the Wolverines may have just played their way into a position where getting seeded above Michigan State, one of the preseason favorites to cut down the nets, is a realistic possibility.

While that probably says more about the strength of the Big Ten and the randomness that comes with a league that doesn’t play a full round-robin schedule than anything else, it does present an interesting conversation to have: Just how good is Michigan State?

And is there something that the Spartans can fix over the course of the next 12 days to fix that?

The answer to the first question is easier to answer: Really good, and in the context of a season where the best teams in the country are all flawed in some major way, the Spartans could very well be college basketball’s best. To put it another way, they are not going to be a team that any No. 1 seed wants to draw in their region.

“The one thing that I would remind everybody, this team has won 12 games in a row and 29 games this season,” head coach Tom Izzo said after the game. “And through some trying times.”

“Now, do we have to get it back on track? Yeah, we do.”

Cassius Winston was not himself this weekend, particularly against Michigan, where he finished 3-for-10 from the floor and struggled to break down Michigan off the dribble. Winston entered NYC shooting 56.5 percent from three. He’ll leave having made just one of 11 from beyond the arc in the Garden.

Nick Ward wasn’t himself, either, as his issues defensively and with immobility against teams that can play small limited him to 25 minutes in the two games. Josh Langford hasn’t played well for two months, and Michigan State’s experiment with playing small — Jaren Jackson at the five, Miles Bridges at the four — seems to have died on the vine.

And all of that came while losing a game that resulted in a sweep against their in-state rival.

“We’re just going to try and move on,” Bridges said.

“It was a big game, but it’s not the end of our season,” added Winston. “There’s still another big goal that we’re very capable of achieving.”

There will be time to figure this out. If Michigan State gets put into a pod where they play Friday-Sunday, they will be looking at a 13-day layoff between the end of their Big Ten tournament run and the start of an NCAA tournament run. Izzo may not need to reinvent the wheel, but he’ll certainly have enough time to do so.

“I haven’t ever been through that,” Izzo said, meantioning that the team might head to Chicago to see Denzel Valentine play. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. And the best part is we’re on spring break next week. So we might just go to the beach in East Lansing, see if we can play a little beach basketball.”

“It will be the one time in my life the NCAA has no rules on us. We’re on break and we don’t have any games. That doesn’t happen very often. It’s never happened to me, so knowing me, I’m going to take advantage of that.”

Desperate Texas gets big 87-79 win over No. 20 West Virginia

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AUSTIN, Texas — Their season fading and their big man still on the bench with a sprained toe, the Texas Longhorns were in desperate need of a big win to bolster their NCAA Tournament hopes.

They got it Saturday with an 87-79 overtime win over No. 20 West Virginia, spurred by guards Matt Coleman and Kerwin Roach II and a barrage of 3-pointers.

“We knew we were really going to have to fight,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “We also knew there was a ton on the line. We made that point … By the way, it’s not over.”

Roach and Coleman each scored 22 points and Jericho Sims added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Longhorns.

Texas (18-13, 8-10 Big 12) has struggled to gain traction or play with consistency in Smart’s third season. Missing the NCAA Tournament — Texas still isn’t guaranteed an at-large bid — would be a major blow to a program that finished last in the Big 12 last season.

“It would hurt a lot, especially after not making it last year. We have to play every game like it’s our last,” Roach said.

Texas has fought through its share of struggles. Shooting guard Andrew Jones has been out since early January after being diagnosed with leukemia. In just the last 10 days, freshman forward Mo Bamba, one of the top shot blockers in the country, injured his toe, and shooting guard Eric Davis Jr., has been held out for three games since his name surfaced in a report alleging he may have taken money from an agent representative.

Even with those players out, the worst offensive team in the Big 12 found an offensive symmetry Saturday it has lacked nearly all season. The Longhorns shot 57 percent and made 11-3 pointers, including two by Coleman and Jacob Young in the overtime.

“We can compete with anybody regardless of who we have on the team,” Roach said.

West Virginia led 48-42 early in the second half before Texas ripped off a 15-2 run keyed by a pair of 3-pointers from Dylan Osetkowski, who made five in the game. The Mountaineers forced overtime on Jevon Carter’s driving reverse layup with 1.6 seconds left in regulation.

Coleman put Texas up 76-74 with a 3-pointer from the right corner and made a short jumper before Young’s 3 pointer stretched the lead to seven and the Longhorns held on the rest of the way.

Lamont West scored 15 points for West Virginia (22-9, 11-7), which had five players score in double figures.

Texas hasn’t missed the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons since 1988, when the Longhorns were mired in a nine-year drought and Smart was 10 years old. Smart said he had to be careful about putting too much pressure on his players.

“You can’t build up this mindset in your head that if a certain game doesn’t go your way, you’re gonna jump off the top of a building,” Smart said.

BIG PICTURE

West Virginia: The Mountaineers had already at least a tie for second place in the Big 12 and could have clinched the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament with a win. West Virginia’s press defense was effective in the first half, but did little to disrupt Texas in the second half and overtime. The Longhorns had five turnovers in the first five minutes, then just four the rest of the game. The Mountaineers’ inability to cover the 3-pointer kept Texas in the game early and proved especially costly in overtime.

“I have backed off of this team practicewise more than maybe any team I’ve ever coached. It’s probably a terrible mistake,” Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins said. “You hear so much about `They gotta have legs.’ We can’t shoot anyway when we do have legs. What difference does it make?”

Texas: The Longhorns are seeing a late-season emergence from Sims with Bamba out. Sims was 6 of 7, showing some power on dunks and rebounds and a deft touch with a soft sky hook. Sims’ first basket was a strong move around WVU forward Sagaba Konate for a two-handed flush in the opening minutes.

“I was trying to get revenge from the last time we played them,” Sims said. “With Mo being out, I’m trying to be more aggressive.”

BAMBA COMEBACK?

Smart said Bamba, who is projected among this summer’s top picks in the NBA draft, wants to return but couldn’t say if that would be in the Big 12 tournament or the NCAA tournament if the Longhorns make it.

“We’re undermanned,” Smart said. “We’re really optimistic he’s going to play … hopefully in Kansas City,” at the Big 12 tournament, Smart said.

STAT LINE

As impressive as Texas was shooting, the Longhorns muscled up against one of the toughest-rebounding teams in the Big 12 and won the boards 37-32. The Mountaineers dominated the Longhorns under the basket when these teams met back in January, a 35-point WVU victory

“West Virginia is a team that if you don’t stay connected, they can take your will from you,” Smart said. “We had that happen to us a month ago.”

UP NEXT

West Virginia will play in the Big 12 Tournament

Texas will play in the Big 12 Tournament

VIDEO: Braian Angola’s mom flies in from Colombia for Senior Day surprise

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It was senior day for Florida State on Saturday. Seminoles senior Braian Angola was celebrated, and he was surprised by his mom, who flew in from Colombia to see him play his final game.

As you might imagine, Braian was left in tears:

No. 3 Xavier beats DePaul 65-62, secures outright Big East title

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CHICAGO — Now that it’s tournament time, No. 3 Xavier appears poised to make a big splash.

Trevon Bluiett scored 22 points, and Xavier set a school record for regular-season wins while clinching the top seed in the Big East with a 65-62 victory over DePaul on Saturday.

The Musketeers (27-4, 15-3 Big East) hung on for their 12th win in 13 games after DePaul’s Eli Cain and Max Strus missed 3-pointers in the closing seconds. That ended Villanova’s four-year run of first-place finishes.

“I always want to be the little kid that flies up and jumps in the pool, doesn’t test the water like a 48-year-old would,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said. “Just jump right in. I’m a big believer in you get what you earn and you earn what you get and you go after things. You don’t play on your heels and play defensive and scared and have success. That’s how I want our team to play.”

The Musketeers come into the conference tournament with soaring expectations, a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs in sight and a big run looking like a strong possibility. Mack wants his team to embrace all of that.

Winning the Big East regular-season championship was an important step.

“We’ve been preparing for this since Day 1,” Bluiett said. “We knew this was a goal that was possible to reach. We stayed hungry throughout the process, and it turned out well for us.”

Bluiett became the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers, making four to give him 310 in his career.

Brandon Cyrus led DePaul (11-19, 4-14) with a career-high 20 points. Cain scored 14 as the Blue Demons lost for the fifth time in six games.

“For us to win against a team of that stature, you have to bring you `A’ game,” coach Dave Leitao said. “We played very well in spurts. We hung tough.”

HANGING ON

The Musketeers had already clinched a share of the Big East regular-season title with a win over Providence on Wednesday. They took sole possession with a performance that was sloppy at times but just good enough to get past the struggling Blue Demons.

Xavier won despite committing 20 turnovers and scoring just two points in the final 4:47. The Musketeers led by 11 in the second half but couldn’t put away the Blue Demons.

Things got particularly tight after a three-point play by Cain and two free throws by Tre’Darius McCallum cut it to 63-62 with 1:58 remaining. That brought DePaul fans to their feet, but there wasn’t much for them to celebrate in the end.

The Musketeers’ J.P. Macura went backdoor for a layup to make it a three-point game. Najii Marshall blocked Cyrus’ layup with 45 seconds left, and Xavier hung on after Cain and Strus missed those 3-pointers just before the final buzzer.

SETTING RECORD

Bluiett made all but one of his 3’s in the second half while surpassing Romain Sato as Xavier’s all-time leader.

He hit his school-record 308th 3-pointer about 7 1/2 minutes into the half, when he nailed one in front of the Xavier bench. He answered a DePaul basket with another from long range to make it 50-39. And he struck again from the outside, hitting a 3 after DePaul cut it to 52-47.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers were bothered at times by DePaul’s length but did just enough to come away with the win. They’ll need to do a better job hanging onto the ball and make more shots if they’re going to capture their first Big East tournament title and make a big NCAA run.

DePaul: The Blue Demons once again came up a little short, losing by single digits for the ninth time. They struggled from the outside, making 6 of 25 3-pointers.

UP NEXT

Xavier: The Musketeers play in the Big East quarterfinals on Thursday.

DePaul: The Blue Demons play Wednesday in the first round of the Big East tournament.