Thursday night saw only 4 games involving Top 25 teams, but, despite the light schedule, 3 of the 5 teams in action managed to lose. #5 UCLA and #22 USC were the two teams which escaped the upset bug, and, in the case of USC, helped secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
#5 UCLA 67 Arizona St. 61 - The Bruins kept the Sun Devils winless in conference play, though the game was closer than expected. Arizona State has dropped all 14 of their PAC-10 contests this season. Arron Afflalo scored 24 and Darren Collison returned to the lineup to throw down 18.
California 63 #15 Oregon 61 - The continuing slide of Oregon's basketball program hit another bump on the way down, losing on the road once more. The loss was the 5th in Oregon's last 7 games and dropped the Ducks into a 5th place tie in the conference standings with Arizona. Both teams are 8-6.
#22 USC 80 #19 Arizona 75 Both Nick Young and Lodrick Stewart dropped in 26 points and Arizona's woes continued while the Trojans now appear destined to dance in March. USC improved to 9-4 in PAC-10 play, while the Wildcats fell to 8-6 and 17-8 overall. With just 4 more games in the regular season, Arizona has their work cut out for them. They host UCLA on Saturday, and then close out with 3 straight road games at Arizona St., Cal and Stanford.
The Wildcats will likely be faced with the unwelcome task of having to win or at least reach the finals of the PAC-10 tournament to receive serious consideration by the NCAA selection committee.
Meanwhile, the win did wonders for USC. At 9-4 and 19-7 overall, the Trojans have five regular season games left, but only two against quality opposition. They play Stanford on Thursday and close out the season at #10 Washington St. The Trojans may indeed have punched their own ticket last night.
Purdue 81 #24 Indiana 68 - If the Hoosiers intend to keep playing through March, they'll have to do better than this. While Indiana remained in 3rd place in the Big 10 standings, Iowa, Purdue and Illinois are close. Wins down the stretch and a solid performance in the conference tournament will determine which teams - besides Ohio State and Wisconsin - make it to the Big Dance. Any of the four teams chasing the two leaders could win out and make a positive impression.
David Teague poured in 32 points for the Boilermakers and teammate Carl Landry scored 22 and hauled down 11 boards, his 3rd double-double of the season.