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Jeff Eisenberg

Breakfast buffet: Five bubble winners and losers from Saturday

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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.

Winners

1. Carleton Scott's game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation propelled Notre Dame to 63-60 overtime victory at Marquette, the fourth win in a row for an Irish team that looked dead when Luke Harangody went down last month. Asked whether his team had done enough to make the NCAA tournament, Irish coach Mike Brey boldly declared, "It's over baby; it's a lock." Uh, no doubt that was a big win Mike, but you might want to avoid a first-round upset in the Big East tournament just to be sure.

2. How do you go from bubble team to at-large lock in two hours? Well, a victory over top-ranked Syracuse is a good formula. Louisville notched its 11th Big East win and wrapped up its spot in the NCAA tournament, riding the out-of-nowhere emergence of reserve guard Kyle Kuric to defeat the Orange for the second time this season. The Cardinals could play their way into the 7 to 9 seed range with a couple wins in the Big East tournament.

3. With its non-conference strength of schedule among the weakest in the nation, Virginia Tech could not afford to slip toward .500 in the ACC and still earn an NCAA tournament bid. The Hokies avoided that fate with a crucial victory at Georgia Tech, improving their ACC record to 10-6 despite the absence of second-leading scorer Dorenzo Hudson with with a bone bruise in his right foot.

4. At a time when most bubble teams are doing everything they can to play their way out of the field, Memphis is doing everything it can to get in. The Tigers routed preseason conference favorite Tulsa on Saturday after defeating fellow Conference USA bubble team UAB earlier in the week, two victories that will help put them solidly in the at-large conversation if they can get to the finals of their conference tournament.

5. So much has gone wrong for the Pac-10 this season that it was almost shocking this week to see everything go right. Not only is Cal now solidly in the field after claiming the outright conference title, Washington and Arizona State also suddenly vaulted themselves into the at-large conversation with sweeps of the Oregon schools and LA schools respectively.

Losers

1. Whatever slim chance UConn had to earn an at-large bid is now even slimmer after a listless 75-68 loss at South Florida dropped the Huskies all the way to 12th place in the Big East. Coach Jim Calhoun benched senior starters Jerome Dyson, Gavin Edwards and Stanley Robinson for the final 16 minutes of the game, a lineup he says he intends to stick with for UConn's Big East tournament opener against St. John's.

2. There's no shame in losing to Tennessee except in the way Mississippi State did it. On senior night and in a nearly must-win situation, the Bulldogs surrendered the first 17 points of the game to the Vols and never got back in it. "I don't have the answer to it," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "Our teams haven't done that. You would think tonight, senior night, what we were playing for, it wouldn't be the night that it happened. But it happened."

3. Rhode Island's trademark February fade has extended into March this season. The Rams had helped themselves a bit with a victory over Charlotte earlier in the week, but they undid that with a brutal 69-67 loss at UMass on Saturday, nearly ensuring they'll need to win the Atlantic 10 tournament to earn a bid.

4. Georgia Tech may still sneak into the NCAA tournament this season despite Saturday's loss to Virginia Tech, but it's certainly not because the Yellowjackets are deserving. At 7-9 in a weakened ACC and 1-8 in road conference games, they're still in the conversation because of a strong non-conference schedule and home wins over Duke and Clemson. Interesting that coach Paul Hewitt's twitter account as gone silent these days, eh?

5. UAB led first-place UTEP by 11 with less than 12 minutes to play on Saturday night, but the Blazers unraveled and fell 52-50, likely ensuring they'll need to win the Conference USA tournament to get an NCAA bid. "That was the worst loss we had this year, by far," said point guard Aaron Johnson. "It just crushed us. I can't explain how I feel right now."

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