Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mississippi St. Plays Its way In; Duke Takes ACC

Mississippi St. 64, Tennessee 61

Phil Turner hit a 3-pointer to put Mississippi State ahead late and then made two free throws with 8 seconds left to lift the Bulldogs over the Tennessee Volunteers in the SEC Championship game. Turner finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the biggest game of his career.

The Bulldogs are 23-12 and went 9-7 in the SEC regular season, and were considered by many to be a bubble team that would not make it into the NCAA tourney without winning the championship. Mississippi St. beat the best the conference could offer, knocking off Georgia, South Carolina, LSU and the Vols over the four-day span and should have been considered already in, whatever the outcome of today's game.

That said, the Bulldogs get the automatic bid and will likely become a 7 or 8 seed.

Duke 79, Florida State 69

Gerald Henderson's three pointer seven minutes into the game gave Duke the lead and the Blue Devils ran away and hid from the upset-minded Seminoles to capture the ACC tournament title. Duke took a 35-21 lead into the break and were never challenged after that.

Henderson finished with 27 points, second on the Duke scoring ladder behind Jon Scheyer's 29. Toney Douglas scored 28 for the Seminoles.

Both Florida State and Duke were already assured of making the NCAA field, though now Duke seems almost certain to be a #2 seed. Florida State is projected as a 3 or 4.

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