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Jeff Eisenberg

Breakfast buffet: A disastrous night for bubble teams

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Pull up a chair and sit down at the breakfast buffet, a daily assortment of all the freshest newsworthy college hoops stories on the net. To make a submission, contact me via email or twitter.

• History is repeating itself in the worst possible way for Saint Mary's, now squarely on the bubble again despite a 20-4 record and an RPI of 41 after Gonzaga completed a season sweep with an 80-61 thrashing Thursday night in Spokane. A 26-win Gaels team got left out of the NCAA tournament last season after losing to Gonzaga three times because the committee didn't feel it had done enough to warrant a bid.

• The demise of a Minnesota team that many thought might contend in the Big Ten this season is one of the more undercovered stories nationally right now. Previously struggling Michigan was the latest to beat the Gophers last night, stamping out all hope of Minnesota earning an at-large bid to the tourney and clarifying the Big Ten's NCAA tournament picture. Five in, but five only.

• No league has a more muddled bubble picture than the Big East, with no less than six teams in position to play their way into or out of the field during the next few weeks. A Louisville team clearly distracted by the Pitino-to-the-NBA rumors took a step in the wrong direction at lowly St. John's on Thursday night, as did Notre Dame, which fell at Seton Hall and also lost star Luke Harangody to a knee injury.

• Here's a good breakdown of why the Big Ten is interested in adding Texas (Money, duh. Same reason I wrote the Pac-10 will inquire) and why Texas will almost certainly turn it down (Texas-Minnesota or Texas-Oklahoma ... Hmmmm). Until you read anything that says Texas is interested in leaving the Big 12, these stories are the equivalent of me saying I'd like to date Halle Berry. Well, sure, me and every guy in America, but it's whether she's interested that matters.

• North Carolina's season may be mangled beyond repair, but its future still looks promising as ever. Three newly announced McDonalds All-Americans will be Tar Heels next season, more than any other school. Memphis and Ohio State are the only other programs to land multiple kids selected, with two apiece.

•Will South Florida's Dominique Jones bolt for the NBA this offseason? The junior says not if he's leaving college "a loser." "I feel like I owe this school that," Jones said on ESPN2 on Wednesday. "As of now, we haven't won enough. Some people think that the NCAA Tournament is enough, maybe it might be. That might be the thing that we need to boost this program up, or maybe we might need the Sweet 16."

• You'll probably remember Jordan Crawford best as the kid who dunked on LeBron James at a Nike camp this summer, but the Xavier star's back story is far more interesting than just that. Crawford was one of the Indiana players who left after the Kelvin Sampson fiasco at Indiana. He sat out last year after transferring to Xavier, dealt with the departure of another coach and is now leading the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 19.7 points per game.

• A web site found that Horace Broadnax is the nation's most valuable coach because he took Savannah State to 15 wins last season on the second smallest budget of 340 Division I schools. Taking nothing away from Broadnax's remarkable turnaround from 0-28 just a few years earlier, don't you have to consider that all of Savannah State's wins came against comparably small-budget programs?

• ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski calls NCAA tournament expansion the worst idea ever, but Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports says folks against going to 96 teams are making a kneejerk reaction and haven't offered many concrete reasons to back up their vantage point. Fine, Gregg, here are some reasons. I wouldn't want to see mediocre teams like Minnesota, Seton Hall and Miami in the NCAA tournament this season, nor would I want the regular season rendered completely meaningless because any remotely competent BCS-conference team would make the field.

• Folks at Michigan State are getting a wee bit irritated at the lack of production from Durrell Summers and Raymar Morgan the past three games, so much so that they've put out an APB for their whereabouts. Coach Tom Izzo benched Summers the entire second half against Purdue on Tuesday, a move that judging by practice this week could help the struggling guard regain his focus and up his effort level.

• Illinois' Jeff Jordan is learning to cope with the pressure of being the son of a famous basketball player, some guy named Michael or something. Jordan, who spurned scholarship offers from mid-majors to walk on at Illinois, has contributed off the bench this season as a junior after playing sparingly his first two seasons in Champaign.

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