Ranked teams roll in conference tornament action, Thursday’s at large bid winners and losers
Top 25 teams pretty much rolled through tournament action Thursday with #9 Marquette, #13 Georgetown, and #25 Iowa State the only losers. Louisville jumped out to a 50-40 halftime lead and cruised to an 84-71 over the Eagles. The Hoyas fell to Cincinnati in double-overtime 72-70 in arguably the day’s best game. Syracuse ended the game on a 27-15 run to beat UConn by five points. It was the Orangemen’s 11th straight victory. The #3 Kansas Jayhawks and #5 Missouri Tigers posted easy wins and look to be headed on a collision course for the Big 12 final. #18 San Diego State and #20 UNLV moved on in Mountain West Conference action. The #15 Indiana Hoosiers waxed Penn State to join Iowa and Purdue as Big Ten winners.
Of the teams sqarely on the bubble, there were several big winners and losers. First the winners. North Carolina State took care of business with a 78-57 win over Boston College but may need to win another game to guaranteed their spot in the dance. The Wolfpack is a three-point dog to Virginia today. Miami Florida spanked Georgia Tech 54-36 and can pretty much lock up an at large bid by winning their quarterfinal matchup with Florida State. Texas was down 29-25 to Iowa State at half time and Horn’s coach Rick Barnes asked his team a question. “NCAA or NIT ??? You have 20 minutes to decide.” The Horns responded with a 71-65 win and advance to face Missouri today.
The day’s big losers were the Washington Huskies who dropped an 86-84 decision to Oregon State. Oregon was a 63-62 loser to Colorado putting the Ducks on the outside looking in. Cal beat Stanford and Arizona beat UCLA as it looks more and more like the Pac Ten will be a one bid conference. Northwestern was the days biggest loser. The Wildcats had to have a win vs Minnesota to have any shot at an at large bid but fell in OT to the Gophers and will barring a miracle will remain the only major conference team to make the Big Dance. Rumors are flying in Champaign that Illini HC Bruce Weber will be fired at the end of the year. Those rumors will pick up more steam after the Illini’s 64-61 loss to Iowa.
The Magic end Bulls winning streak at eight
Wednesday, Orlando visited lowly Charlotte and were soundly beaten by the five win Bobcats. Thursday, the Magic rebounded by snapping the eight game winning streak of the Eastern Conference leading Bulls 99-94. Dwight Howard had 29 points and 18 rebounds, The Bulls cut a double-digit deficit to 91-89 before an 8-1 Magic run sealed the deal. Carlos Boozer had 26 points for the losers. Phoenix beat the Mavs 96-94 in the TNT late game. Marcin Gortat continued his hot play with 16 points and 12 boards for the Suns.
… and on frozen pond
The St Louis Blues took over the league’s best record with a 3-1 win over Anaheim. The Blues got off to slow start this year before switching coaches to Ken Hitchcock. St Louis is 36-11-7 since he took over. The Washington Caps climbed to winthin two points of the Florida Panthers with a 3-2 win over the Lightning. Alexander Ovechkin got the game winner in overtime. Phildelphia shut out Florida 5-0. The Devils iced the Islanders 5-1 behind a hat trick by Ilya Kovalchuk. Boston, Columbus, Ottawa, Nashville, Dallas, Montreal, and Vancouver were also winner in a busy night in the NHL.
Adam Scott gets off to a fast start at Doral
On a windy day at Doral where low scores were tough to come by, Adam Scott and Jason Dufner both got off to fast starts shooting six-under 66s. Thomas Bjorn and Charl Schwartzel were to shoots back after 68s. The average first-round score at the WGC-Cadiallac Championship was 73 and course took down such notables as Ian Pouler and Lee Westwood shot 76s … Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell 75s. The world’s new No.1 Rory McIlroy shot a 73 and Tiger Woods was six back at even par.
(CBB) Iowa/Michigan State Under 135.5 (Note that this is a 12:00 Noon EST tip)
(CBB) Florida State -2 over Miami Fla
(NBA) Nets -1.5 over Charlotte
(NBA) Philadelphia -6.5 over Utah
(NHL) Detroit -145 over Utah