Breakfast buffet: A lot at stake between Syracuse and Georgetown

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. (And yes, today's is more like a lunch buffet ... sorry for the delay, folks).

• There's always plenty of intrigue when Syracuse and Georgetown meet, but Thursday night's tilt between the traditional Big East rivals packs some extra punch because the loser will be mired in a two-game losing streak. The Orange need better focus than they displayed in a loss to Louisville, while the Hoyas are looking for more consistent production from point guard Chris Wright.

• Credit Notre Dame for fighting hard without injured star Luke Harangody, but the double overtime 91-89 loss to Louisville is really damaging to their fading NCAA hopes. And the worst part was the way it ended for the Irish. How does their final possession in double overtime end with Tim Abromaitis frantically dribbling out the clock unable to find space to get a shot up?

• Awarded another chance to salvage its season and emerge from this month-long nosedive on Wednesday night, Texas instead served up another clunker at Missouri to fall for the sixth time in nine games. Meanwhile in Missouri, even the Governor Jay Nixon only had one thing on his mind after the victory: "This gets us in the tournament doesn't it?" Nixon asked. Yes, Jay, it does. At 19-7 with four top-50 wins, the Tigers are now a shoo-in.

• In hopes of debunking the notion that Duke fades late in every season because Coach K plays his starters too many minutes, Alex Fanaroff of Duke's student paper delved deep into the mysterious world of mathematics to measure the Devils' season-long efficiency. The result? Well, it looks like the rest of us non-mathematically inclined folk were correct. Duke is worse in late February and March. Good to know.

• Welcome back to the bubble UNLV, which lost its third in a row on Wednesday night at Utah to fall to 7-5 in the Mountain West despite another huge 32-point night from Tre'Von Willis. The Rebels' remaining schedule is favorable, but they cannot afford to slip up again before the conference tournament.

•'s Dana O'Neil went behind the scenes with referee Tim Higgins, providing an in-depth look at the man who took a verbal beating from Syracuse fans for his intentional foul call late in last week's loss to Louisville. Higgins describes his philosophy this way: "None of us want to make a mistake -- none of us. We desperately care about this game and anyone who says otherwise could not be more wrong."

• I'm still not sure Utah State has done enough to merit an NCAA tournament berth unless it wins the WAC tournament, but the Aggies kept themselves in the conversation with a win over Louisiana Tech. Utah State (21-6) won its 11th straight and improved to 11-2 in the conference, good enough to maintain a stranglehold on first place.

• With Kansas State trailing by nine against hot-shooting Nebraska and in jeopardy of suffering an ugly loss, defensive stopper Tracy Sutton saw the need to step up his offensive game. He scored 21 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and hit several key 3-pointers, rallying the Wildcats to a 91-87 win over the Huskers.

• I wrote that Northwestern's dreams of making its first-ever NCAA tournament were dead last week after the Wildcats lost to lowly Iowa. Whatever's deader than dead, that's what those hopes are after Northwestern followed that clunker up by somehow becoming the only Big Ten team this season to lose to last-place Penn State.

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