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Jeff Eisenberg

Breakfast buffet: Are Memphis' at-large hopes dead?

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.

• Memphis appeared to be making a late postseason push with its win over UAB earlier this week, but the Tigers couldn't follow that up with a much-needed win over Gonzaga on Saturday. Now at 16-6 and without a marquee non-conference victory, it will be a struggle for Memphis to return to the NCAA tournament without securing an automatic bid.

• New Mexico needed overtime but turned aside San Diego State's upset bid, which likely solidifies the Mountain West's postseason picture. Coupled with UNLV's one-sided thrashing of BYU and the league looks like a shoo-in for three NCAA bids but a longshot for four. The league title race, however, is up for grabs with the top three all tied for first place.

• The absence of star Kalin Lucas was too much for Michigan State to overcome as the Spartans dropped a second straight Big Ten game to Illinois, tightening the conference race considerably. Michigan State, which led by three games a week ago, now only holds a one-game edge over the Illini and Wisconsin, with Purdue and Ohio State 1 1/2 back.

• More than 10,000 hardy fans braved two feet of snow in the D.C region on Saturday to watch Georgetown atone for its loss to South Florida by clobbering third-ranked Villanova. The Wildcats looked unprepared to play in the first half and Georgetown pounced, building a 23-point lead just before halftime and never letting it dwindle to single digits in the second half.

• It's conceivable that the Atlantic 10 would have a chance at six NCAA bids if the season ended today after Richmond dismantled Temple and Dayton took apart Xavier. It was an especially huge win for the Flyers, who may be the most talented team in the league yet were on the verge of slipping to 4-4 in conference play with a loss.

• Connecticut snapped a three-game losing streak and took a small step toward rejoining the bubble mix by avoiding a disastrous, season-crushing loss against last-place DePaul. It was a "pure dentist game," according to associate head coach George Blaney, whose Huskies trailed by eight in the first half and by one with five minutes to go.

• The boxscore from West Virginia's 79-60 victory over St. John's wouldn't raise an eyebrow, but those watching the game know that this was as bizarre a turnaround as you'll find. The Mountaineers finished on a 57-22 run after trailing by 16 three minutes into the second half of a classic trap game sandwiched between Pittsburgh and Villanova on the schedule.

• Virginia's stunning second-half turnaround hit a pothole on Saturday when the Cavs fell in overtime to Wake Forest. The non-conference season didn't produce many marquee wins for Virginia (14-7, 5-3), so the Cavs may need to do more than their ACC brethren in conference play to return to the dance.

• As would-be Pac-10 title contenders collapsed all around them, Cal regained first place by itself with its most lopsided win at UCLA since the days of Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray. How do the Bruins explain a 14-point first-half lead somehow turning into a seven-point deficit by halftime? Simple. "We're not as good as these guys," senior Mike Roll said.

• The murky middle of the SEC is tough to decipher, but Florida is starting to emerge from that pack and join the likes of Kentucky and Tennessee at the top. The Gators achieved further separation with a gritty win over Mississippi State, their sixth victory in their past seven tries.

• A matchup with second-place Iona was supposed to provide a challenge to streaking Siena, but the Saints coasted to their nation-best 14th consecutive victory. Siena can wrap up the MAAC regular season title and top seed in the conference tournament on Monday with a win over Fairfield.

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