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Breakfast buffet: Seriously, Cal? A loss at Oregon State?

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.

• If you're wondering how Cal could possibly have gone 50 years without a Pac-10 title, losses like this one provide a big hint. The Bears, fresh off a home sweep of the Washington schools, damaged their at-large hopes in a blowout loss to a schizophrenic Oregon State team that you may remember lost to Seattle U by 50 earlier this season. Pac-10 player of the year favorite Jerome Randle had just six points on 2-for-9 shooting for Cal, which now leads the conference race by just a half game over USC and Arizona State.

• Figures that one of the more noteworthy USC basketball wins of the past few years comes the same day its athletic director and former football coach were meeting with the NCAA infractions committee. The Trojans handed Washington only its second home loss of the season, pulling within a half game of Cal for first place in the Pac-10. Am I the only one that thinks USC would win the Pac-10 tournament if it was eligible for it?

• Sports Illustrated has an outstanding piece on Seattle-born NBA players giving back to their community by mentoring the city's current high school players and making sure they have opportunities to play in college and even at the pro level. This makes me even angrier that the NBA ditched a thriving basketball town like Seattle for Oklahoma City.

• Maybe Marquette players can finally cut their hair after their five-game win streak careened to a halt in a 58-51 home loss to Pittsburgh. The Eagles can still make the NCAA tournament with a strong finish to Big East play, while the Panthers (20-6, 9-4) could play their way into third place in the Big East and a top-five NCAA seed after seemingly slipping toward the bubble a couple weeks ago.

• Is Vanderbilt better than we give it credit for? Is Mississippi even a bubble team anymore? Those were the two questions I took from the Commodores' 82-78 win in Oxford that firmly established them as the SEC's second-best team and sent the struggling Rebels to their fourth loss in five games. All is not lost for Ole Miss, but under .500 in the SEC is not going to cut it.

• In the big picture, the return of second-leading scorer Jon Leuer should make Wisconsin a greater postseason threat, but his 2 of 12 shooting in his first game back from a broken collarbone surely contributed to the Badgers' losing at Minnesota. Now two back in the loss column of Purdue and Michigan State, Wisconsin's Big Ten title hopes are likely gone. And, no, Minnesota, before you even ask, this win does not make you a bubble team.

• Not that Syracuse fans are looking forward to hosting Villanova for the Big East title or anything, but the sold-out Feb. 27 matchup has already spawned at least three different T-shirts that are currently being hawke. The latest reads "Beat 'Nova" on the front and "Just me and 34,616 of my friends" on the back.

• They won't be holding any celebrations in Tom Crean's honor if Indiana is still 9-16 at this time three years from now, but the Hoosiers coach is preaching patience and pointing to small victories in the rebuilding process. Indiana's team GPA is up, its young players are gaining experience and it's typically far more competitive than it was a year ago. Said Crean: ""You've got to be careful what you say. You don't want to talk about moral victories. They're not moral victories. They're small victories."

• What to do you do when you've won 11 straight, you're undefeated in conference play and you're the consensus national title favorite? Well, if you're Kansas, you make a lineup change. Out is the slumping Brady Morningstar, who has made just 6 of 22 shots his past five games, and in is talented combo guard Tyshawn Taylor, who coach Bill Self said "has to become one of the premier players on our team."

• On a personal note, UCLA senior forward James Keefe will have season-ending shoulder surgery, putting an end to the career of one of the friendlier kids I ever covered. The injury-plagued former McDonald's all-American's career didn't live up to anyone's expectations at UCLA, but Keefe handled it with grace and class.

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