Indiana and Xavier helped themselves on Thursday

SONG SELECTION:  Green Day, “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams”

There were sixty (60) games on Thursday, some semifinal contests and the last quadrant of quarterfinal contests.

Several teams on the bubble entered Thursday’s action, and the list keeps growing faster than what spring fashions are considered hip and trendy for the ladies that might be reading:

  • Illinois tied Michigan at 19 midway through the first half, but it was all Michigan the rest of the way in Chicago–cruising to an easy 73-55 win.  Next up for the Wolverines, a lunchtime date with Wisconsin.
  • Also in the Big Ten, another shocker as Penn State won easily over Iowa.  Next up for the Nittany Lions will be Purdue, another team squarely on the bubble but was helped greatly last Saturday in their thrilling Senior Day victory over Illinois.
  • Indiana led most of their game and won going away against Northwestern.  However, the Wildcats are no longer easy Big Ten pushovers–as that honor squarely falls on Rutgers.  Simply, the Wildcats seem to be making strides towards becoming relevant.  Chris Collins is starting to turn the corner just a bit, so if this is a similar plan like Joe Maddon is promising Cubs fans in baseball, 2016 or 2017 could be the year they finally break through.  Stick around and find out down the road.
  • Iowa State led once, and it was the winning basket to overtake Texas in the Big 12.
  • Miami simply couldn’t keep up with Notre Dame in the ACC as the Irish set up a Friday date with Duke winning 70-63.
  • Also in Greensboro, North Carolina State finally ran out of miracles–losing big time to Duke 79-53.
  • UNLV coughed up a halftime lead in the Mountain West Tournament and lost to San Diego State, 57-54.
  • Alabama lost to Florida, as the Gators reached .500 for the season.
  • In New York, Providence stunned St. John’s on their home floor 74-57.  Meanwhile, Xavier outlasted Butler 67-61 in overtime.  For Xavier, they notched their 20th win.
  • In the Big Sky Tournament, Montana got a much needed win over former Cinderella kings of Weber State 76-73 which also took an extra five minutes to settle things.
  • Finally, in the SEC Tournament in Nashville–Bruce Pearl notched his first post-season win with Auburn as the Tigers upended Texas A&M by a 66-59 count.

The thrilling game of the day was the first game in the AAC Tournament in Hartford.  Both teams were under .500 on the year, but they didn’t play like it on Thursday afternoon.  Central Florida and East Carolina staged a battle royale, but it was a more dramatic outcome than their prior two encounters in the post-season.  UCF had a chance to win at the buzzer, but a shot from 17 feet fell heavy off the top of the rim and East Carolina survived by the slimmest of margins, 81-80.

Bottom line we learned tonight…

BYU has some company heading into Selection Sunday.  Take your place in line, folks in the Time To Worry On Making Tournament Reservations Room (don’t worry, folks–it’s a name I made up for comedic purposes).

At least, the teams that were expected to win did–and won convincingly (except for Kansas, who barely survived an upset bid by TCU 64-59 in Kansas City).

We will see what Friday’s action will be like.  See you then.


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