Jeff Eisenberg

Breakfast buffet: Florida, Illinois seek much-needed wins

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.

• Few bubble teams suffered costlier losses this weekend than Florida and Illinois, who both appeared to be safe before falling to Georgia and Minnesota respectively. Now the Gators have a chance to redeem themselves and lock up a NCAA tourney bid by beating Vanderbilt on Tuesday night, while the Illini have a similar opportunity against an Ohio State team seeking at least a share of the Big Ten title.

• For a change, Georgetown didn't fail to show up against a lesser opponent on Monday night. This time the Hoyas went through the motions for the first half against a West Virginia team that's arguably more talented than them, and the results were predictable, especially with Austin Freeman watching from home as a result of a stomach virus. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, clinched a top-four finish in the Big East and the double-bye that comes with it.

• Conference tournament play hasn't even begun yet, and we already have our first coaching casualty of the offseason. The unlucky fellow is Wagner coach Mike Deane, dismissed after tying the school record for losses with a 5-26 record that included a defeat at the hands of previously winless Bryant College in late February.

• A well-connected Kentucky columnist says that the Wildcats will honor Patrick Patterson on senior day this Sunday afternoon. The Kentucky big man is only a junior, but he's set to graduate in three years at the end of the semester and is likely to enter the NBA draft.

• I don't fully understand the math Ken Pomeroy uses to compute each team's chances of winning its conference tournament, but I admit I'm certainly interested in the results. Any mathematical formula that tells you Western Kentucky is a dangerous No. 4 seed in the Sun Belt certainly has to have some merit.

• Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt's claim that the Atlanta Journal Constitution has shown bias against his program looks more and more ridiculous when you read the original column that first drew his ire back in 2005. Just like this Yellowjackets team probably should be better than .500 in a sub-par ACC, that Yellowjackets team shouldn't have lost 12 games, nor should it have been shredded by 22 points in the second round of the tournament.

• As ESPN.com's Andy Katz points out, it's amazing to think that folks were calling for Gary Williams' head a couple years ago after Maryland struggled to make the NCAA tournament. Let this be a lesson to UCLA fans who think its program could do better than Ben Howland. Programs may go through down cycles, but good coaches rarely just get stupid overnight.

• Former Tennessee star Tyler Smith has signed a two-month contract with a Turkish professional league, meaning he will still be eligible for the NBA draft if any GMs are in desperate need of underachievers with character issues. Smith was dismissed from the Volunteers on Jan. 8 after his arrest on gun charges.

• Portland had hoped to get leading scorer Nik Raivio back for the WCC tournament, but it doesn't look like the senior guard's Achilles strain is going to heal in time for him to play. It's just taking it's time," Reveno said of the injury. "He's working really hard. My heart goes out to him."

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