- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger3 hrs ago
With less than two weeks remaining until Selection Sunday, the NCAA tournament bubble is beginning to take shape. Bubble Breakdown is the Dagger's daily look at the results that impact who's in and who's out.
LSU's latest loss to a lesser-talented team damaged more than its chances of securing an at-large bid.
By falling 78-63 at home against rebuilding Tennessee on Wednesday night, the Tigers also may have torpedoed the hopes of an SEC rival.
The only RPI top 75 victories Texas A&M (20-9, 11-6) has this season came via a pair of victories over LSU during SEC play. That sweep could have been meaningful for the Aggies except the underachieving Tigers have fallen back to the bubble with bad league losses against Missouri, Auburn, Mississippi State and now Tennessee.
Many mock brackets still project Texas A&M to make the field as a No. 10 or 11 seed, but that seems very generous considering the Aggies' lack of quality wins. The best team they've beaten besides LSU is likely a Florida team with a 15-15 record, though it admittedly does count for something that they also haven't lost to any sub-100 RPI opponents.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger4 hrs ago
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was blamed by many Duke basketball fans last year for jinxing the Blue Devils, who lost to 14th-seeded Mercer in the NCAA tournament.
Romo had visited Duke weeks before the tournament and some believed his habit of early exits from the NFL playoffs rubbed off on the Blue Devils.
But there was Romo Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium amongst the Cameron Crazies cheering on the Blue Devils as they annhilated Wake Forest 94-51. The third-ranked Blue Devils won their 27th game with Romo looking on and look to be on their way to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Romo and his teammates DeMarco Murray and Jason Witten along with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, visited Duke this week to spend some time talking with coach Mike Krzyzewski. Garrett explained why they make such trips in the offseason during an interview with the Dallas Morning News last month at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger8 hrs ago
At the end of a star-crossed season in which it has lost 10 conference games by nine or fewer points, Penn State received another ill-timed dose of misfortune Wednesday night.
The Nittany Lions were the victim of one of the most baffling foul calls of the season early in their 77-67 loss to Ohio State.
As senior forward Ross Travis was preparing to finish a fast break with an uncontested dunk, teammate D.J. Newbill was trailing the play. Somehow Newbill was whistled for an offensive foul negating the dunk even though, if anything, Ohio State forward Amir Williams shoved him out of the way.
That the call went against Newbill on senior night was especially cruel. The Penn State guard is already one of the nation's most unappreciated stars because he averages 20.4 points per game on a below-the-radar team that's 3-13 in the Big Ten and has no other double-digit scorers.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger11 hrs ago
Picture Hank Gathers on the basketball court, and one of the first things you'll inevitably remember is how strong he was.
The chiseled 6-foot-7 former Loyola Marymount star was a scoring and rebounding machine around the rim. He was the self-proclaimed strongest man in America, a scorer so automatic he earned the nickname "Hank the Bank," a future NBA star whose coach referred to him as a "walking thunderbolt."
Those qualities were part of the reason Gathers' death 25 years ago today was so sad and so shocking. On March 4, 1990, a 23-year-old man who was outwardly invincible slammed home a long lob pass during a game against Portland, then stumbled, collapsed and tragically never got up.
The death of Gathers still evokes strong feelings from the six-year-old son who barely got to know his dad and from the teammates who famously honored him with a stunning Elite Eight run that began just days after his death. They spoke to Yahoo Sports last year for the above video about Gathers' legacy and the 1990 NCAA tournament run.
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- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger12 hrs ago
Thanks to an impressive list of quality wins that includes SMU, Butler, Maryland and Ohio State, Indiana has probably accomplished enough already this season to make the NCAA tournament without winning another game.
The Hoosiers appear unwisely hell-bent on testing that theory.
A non-competitive 77-63 home loss against Iowa on Tuesday night was Indiana's seventh loss in 11 games since cracking the national rankings on the morning of Jan. 23. All four of the Hoosiers' victories came over non-NCAA tournament contenders and the most recent three losses were home games against Purdue and the Hawkeyes and a road game at Northwestern.
Indiana (19-11, 9-8) still appears in virtually every mock bracket in spite of that stretch, but the Hoosiers would certainly be playing with fire if they lost their regular season finale against Michigan State on Saturday and again early in the Big Ten tournament. Although four victories against surefire NCAA tournament teams compares well with other bubble teams, Indiana's non-league strength of schedule was awful and it hasn't exactly left the strongest impression on the committee recently.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger16 hrs ago
When Saint Joseph's went from the fringes of the NCAA tournament picture to winning the Atlantic 10 tournament last March, it was bad news for bubble teams hoping to hear their names called on Selection Sunday.
The Hawks claimed an automatic NCAA tournament bid, forcing teams with stronger profiles from their league into the at-large pool and reducing the number of spots available to bubble teams by one.
This March, there will surely be an interloper or two that uses an unexpected league tournament run to make its way into the NCAA tournament field this season. Here's a look at some potential bid thieves that fans of potential bubble teams should watch out for during the next two weeks of conference tournament action.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
They stormed back from six down late in the second half at LSU. They survived overtime against Ole Miss and Texas A&M. They thwarted Florida's spirited upset bid.
In a year in which Kentucky has needed to engineer some artful escapes against SEC opponents to preserve its undefeated record, the Wildcats saved one of their best for last.
Kentucky moved within one win of an unbeaten regular season with a 72-64 road victory over a Georgia team that had the Wildcats teetering several times in the second half. The Bulldogs shredded Kentucky's typically formidable defense most of the night by spreading the floor and attacking the rim, enabling them to open leads of nine with nine minutes to play and six with five minutes to play.
Just like it has in previous tests, Kentucky gathered itself and responded, this time seizing back control with a game-ending 16-2 surge. Freshman center Karl-Anthony Towns scored a game-high 19 points for the Wildcats including the go-ahead basket with 2:53 to go when he recovered his own miss, absorbed contact and laid the ball in.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger1 day ago
Jamari Traylor saved senior night and helped Kansas win another Big 12 regular season championship outright on Tuesday with a huge second half that thwarted an historic upset bid from West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks took advantage of awful free throw shooting by the Moutaineers down the stretch to force overtime and win 76-69, getting revenge for a loss at West Virginia last month. West Virginia missed three of five free throws in the final 45 seconds of regulation and went 16-for-28 at the foul line in the game.
The Mountaineers raced to an 18-point lead in the first half made even more impressive because they were playing without leading scorer Juwan Staten and senior Gary Browne. Staten provided the winning layup, albeit controversial, against the Jayhawks in Morgantown.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
There's no need to wait until after the NCAA tournament to identify who the most coveted coach on the market will be this spring.
Dayton's Archie Miller has already secured that title by doing an even more remarkable job this season than he did last year when he led the Flyers to the Elite Eight.
When Miller had to dismiss his only two big men in December, it left Dayton with only six scholarship players and nobody taller than 6-foot-6. The Flyers responded by vowing not to make any excuses, reinventing themselves on the fly and exceeding all expectations.
Dayton's 75-59 rout of co-Atlantic 10 leader Rhode Island on Tuesday night moved the Flyers within one win of securing at least a share of their first conference title since joining the Atlantic 10 in the 1995-96 season. If Dayton (23-6, 13-4) wins at La Salle on Saturday, Davidson (21-6, 12-4) will have to win its final two games against VCU and at Duquesne just to forge a tie.Thu, Mar 57:00 PM ESTSt. Louis at PhiladelphiaPreview Game
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger1 day ago
Rutgers senior guard Myles Mack is 5-foot-10. It's important to know that while watching the accompanying video here because Mack is the guy Maryland star Dez Wells hurdled Tuesday night during the 10-ranked Terrapins' 60-50 victory.
The sight of Wells flying at him and then over him midway through the first half led Mack to get rid of the ball when it might have been to his advantage to drive to the basket. It's tough to blame the guy flinching just a bit.
It was just one of several jaw-dropping displays of athleticism from Wells during a performance in which he led his team to a victory with 20 points and 10 rebounds.It was Maryland's 25th victory of the season. You have to think NBA scouts and general managers will have a lot of interest in Wells this summer.