Here…We….Go! The Countdown to Selection Sunday
Well, college basketball fans, we are just days away from the biggest day in college basketball. We have teams that are predicted in being the last four in and first four out (but some of those teams may have helped their case this weekend). We have powerhouses that have been in a slump lately at the worst possible time.
Let’s start with Ohio State. In their last five games they have lost three and Jared Sullinger, who was supposed to be one of the most dominant Big Ten players in the league has scored only 17 points in the past two games, including eight in his last game. Most recently, the Buckeyes lost to the Wisconsin Badgers on a three pointer from a 6’10” center from the Badgers. Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes with 23 points on Sunday as the Badgers are now tied for second in the Big Ten Conference with Michigan now. Both of these teams will easily make the tournament, but Ohio State’s slump heading into championship week should cause worry among the Buckeyes.
The Florida State Seminoles also lost this weekend to a team that is hoping to fight its way into the Tournament, the Miami Hurricanes. The ‘Noles trailed by only four at halftime but the Hurricanes outscored them by 12 in the second half to upset the #16 team and snap their six game losing streak. The Hurricanes were even playing without their starting center, Reggie Johnson, who was not allowed to play due to a possible NCAA violation. Florida State got within nine in the second half but the Hurricanes knocked down consecutive three pointers to keep Miami on top. The victory severely helps the Hurricanes run to the Tournament; they are 8-6 in conference play (and a hard conference at that in the ACC) and 17-10 overall. The Hurricanes have struggled with ranked opponents this year; their win over the Seminoles was their first over a ranked team this season (they lost to them earlier in the month).
Photo courtesy of t: sports.rightpundits.com / Selection Sunday is just days away and teams are playing aggressively to make a case for their tournament bid.
Another thrilling game this weekend that shows the frantic play of teams trying to make it into the Tournament was a matchup of Big East foes Cincinnati and South Florida. South Florida is a team that has been frequently discussed as not making the tournament all together or being one of the first four teams out. Playing in front of their home crowd the USF Bulls were able to knock off Cincinnati and move ahead of them in conference standings. Cincinnati still has the better record, and South Florida desperately needed the win. I think the Bearcats should be fine making the tournament but the Bulls may struggle; they have not won against a top 25 team yet this season (they still have a chance tomorrow when they face Louisville) but their losses to the top 25 teams have been blowouts (with the exception of Syracuse and Connecticut). Should they be able to knock of Louisville, who is ranked #18, then they may help their case a little.
Over the next week, the regular season will come to a close. Then, the fun begins: Championship Week! We are less than two weeks away from Selection Sunday and there are several bubble teams that need impressive showings to show they deserve a spot in the 64 most elite teams in the nation. Before the regular season is over we will see a couple more strong games; Michigan State vs Indiana; Duke vs Wake Forest; Florida State vs Virginia; Louisville vs Syracuse and Georgetown vs Marquette.
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