Sunday, February 25, 2007

Florida Falters, Bruins, Irish Complete Perfect Home Seasons

Plenty of Top 25 action from Saturday, including the Florida Gators being bumped off by a hungry bunch of Tigers from LSU.

LSU 66 #3 Florida 56 - The Gators played possibly their worst game of the season, hitting only 2-17 3-pointers (12%) and 12-22 from the foul line. The Gators have some cause for concern having lost their last two road games (lost at Vandy 83-70) with a big game at Tennessee on Tuesday and home vs. Kentucky on March 4 to close out the regular season. They've already clinched the SEC East title, but don't seem to be playing their best right now.

The 56 points against the Tigers was their lowest output of the season. Joakim Noah, their most visible star, was not even a factor worth considering with 4 points and just 3 rebounds. Florida's problems seem to be more mental than anything else. The pressure of heading towards the NCAA as the defending champions may be wearing on this team at just the wrong time.

Top 25 Home Winners

#4 UCLA 75 Stanford 61 - Arron Afflalo scored 20 points as the Bruins cruised by Stanford en route to completing an undefeated season at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA also clinched at least a share of the PAC-10 title at 14-2. They close out with games at Washington and Washington State.

#6 Kansas 89 Iowa St. 52 - The Jayhawks got everybody into the act with 6 players in double figures. Darrell Arthur recorded his second straight double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Kansas remains tied atop the Big 12 with Texas A&M at 12-2.

#8 Texas A&M 97 Baylor 87 Acie Law scored 31 points and the 4 other starters also finished in double figures, accounting for all but two of the Aggies' output. The win kept A&M in a tie with Kansas for top honors in the Big 12.

#12 Georgetown 61 #10 Pittsburgh 53 - The Hoyas won their 11th straight game and took over first place in the Big East by upending the Panthers. Jonathan Wallace led all scorers with 17 points. Jeff Green added 14 and Roy Hibbert 12 for Georgetown. In a turnover-filled game (Pitt-13, Hoyas-14), Georgetown's defense prevailed, holding a hobbled Aaron Gray to just 10 points and the Panthers to 33% shooting. The 22-5 Hoyas (12-2 Big East) can clinch at least a tie for the conference title with a win at Syracuse on Monday or at home vs. UConn on Sat., March 3.

#13 Southern Illinois 76 Evansville 69 - The Salukis' Randal Falker scored a season-high 30 points as Southern Ill. clinched the Missouri Valley conf. title with their 11th straight win.

#15 Butler 56 Detroit 36 - The Bulldogs laid claim to a share of the Horizon League championship with a dominating defensive win, holding Detroit to just 27% shooting.

#23 Oregon 93 Washington 85 - The Ducks continued to make their case for inclusion in the field of 65 for March Madness with their second straight win as Aaron Brooks pumped in 30 points on 10-14 shooting, including 4-7 3's. After having lost three straight the Ducks needed a couple more wins and at 22-7 look like a certain at-large pick with just one more game, at home vs. Oregon St., on the regular season schedule. They hold wins over Arizona, Georgetown, UCLA and Washington St. (twice) and are in 4th place in the PAC-10 at 10-7.

#24 Virginia 75 Georgia Tech 69 - JR Reynolds scored 25 and Sean Singletary had 24, as the Cavaliers punched their ticket to the Big Dance and likely ended Georgia Tech's hope of getting an invitation. The win kept Virginia in a tie for 2nd in the ACC with Va. Tech at 10-4, while dropping the Yellow Jackets to 6-8 in the conference. The remaining games for the Cavaliers are at home vs. the Hokies and at Wake Forest, Thursday and Saturday.

Top 25 Road Winners

#9 Washington St. 58 Oregon St. 54 - The Cougars got back on the winning track, squeaking by the Beavers and remaining in 2nd place in the PAC-10 at 12-4.

#11 Nevada 95 Boise St. 81 - Nick Fazekas scored 28 points and all five starters scored in double figures as the Wolf Pack clinched the WAC championship. At 13-1 with two games remaining, 2nd place New Mexico State cannot catch them. The two top teams end the regular season at Nevada on March 3.

#19 Texas 68 Oklahoma 58 - Kevin Durant scored 32 points and plucked down 11 rebounds in an easy road win for the Longhorns. At 11-3, the Longhorns are just a game behind Kansas and A&M in the Big 12 standings and host A&M on Wednesday before closing out the regular season at Kansas on Saturday. The Longhorns have won 5 straight.

Top 25 Losers

Notre Dame 85 Marquette 73 - The Irish completed an undefeated home season as Luke Harangody scored a career high 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Notre Dame dealt the Golden Eagles their 4th loss in their last 5 games. Marquette, which looked to be a certain Tournament invite just a few weeks ago is now on shaky ground, but likely will still get in. They are 9-6 in the Big East and 22-8 overall, and they host Pittsburgh on Saturday to end the regular season. A loss there and an early exit in the Big East tournament could spell disaster.

TCU 71 #14 Air Force 66 - The Falcons were grounded for the second straight time, both on the road, and have fallen to 3rd place in the Mountain West behind BYU and UNLV. They host BYU on Tuesday to end their regular season.

San Diego St. 86 #21 BYU 74 - The Aztecs clawed their way to a win over the league-leading Cougars and into 4th place in the Mountain West. BYU remained in first place at 11-3.

Auburn 86 #25 Alabama 77 - This game was the end of the line for the Crimson Tide. Arch-rival Auburn shot 54% and slammed the NCAA Tournament door on Alabama in the process. The Tide, ranked as high as 10th nationally during the season, dropped their second straight and 4th in their last five games. They are now at 6-8 in the SEC West and play Miss. St. and Mississippi to close their regular season campaign. Both of those teams are 7-7 and hungry for a ticket to the tourney. While Alabama is 19-9, their performance down the stretch has been a complete flop. Count them completely O-U-T.

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