College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, March 11, 2010
#14 BYU advanced to the semi-finals of the Mountain West tourney with a 95-85 win over unranked TCU. They will play UNLV on Friday with hopes of reaching the final, ostensibly against #1 seed New Mexico, which has a date in the other semi-final with San Diego State. There's a good possibility that no matter which way the remaining games play out, all four semi-finalists could receive bids to the NCAA tourney. UNLV might be the last team out, so a win over BYU could be huge for them.
Leading the scoring barrage for the 29-4 Cougars was junior guard Jimmer Fredette, who poured in 45 points - his second-highest single game point total of the season - on 10-for-23 shooting and 23 of 24 free throws. Fredeete hit only 2 three-pointers, but also snatched 4 rebounds and dished out 6 assists without committing a single foul.
Fredette leads the Cougars in scoring and assists. BYU lost only three times in Mountain West play, twice to conference champion New Mexico. They split a pair of games with UNLV, each team winning on their home floor.
Notable: No bids were handed out on Thursday, but more are due each remaining day up to the Selection Sunday deadline. The Big East continues to prove itself the best conference top to bottom as three of the four teams which received double byes - Syracuse, Villanova and Pittsburgh, were defeated, respectively, by Georgetown, Marquette and Notre Dame. The 4th double-bye entrant, West Virginia, needed a desperation 3-point bank shot by Da'Sean Butler at the buzzer to break a 51-all tie and send home Cincinnati.
Georgetown faces Marquette, while West Virginia will square off with Notre Dame, winners of seven straight, in semi-fianl games Friday night.
Texas proved to be vulnerable once again, losing to Baylor, 86-67, in the second round of the Big 12 tourney. The Longhorns appear to be headed for a one-and-done NCAA appearance after starting the season with a 17-0 record and going 7-9 since then. Among the Texas troubles are inconsistent guard play, no inside presence (Dexter Pittman is just a big lump most of the time) and a general lack of enthusiasm. They're likely to be seeded somewhere between a #8 and a #12, ripe territory for elimination.
The PAC-10 may send only one team to the tourney, as Arizona State lost to Stanford, 70-61 in the opening round of the conference tourney. The Sun Devils finished second to Cal in the standings, but now appear to be in jeopardy of missing out on further post-season play. Cal thumped Oregon in their tourney opener and seem headed to the final on Saturday. The only remaining hope for the PAC-10 would be Washington - third during the regular season - after their 59-52 win over Oregon State. The 22-9 Huskies face Stanford, while Cal plays UCLA in semi-final games Friday. Washington could get an invite with a win over Stanford, but beating Cal in the final would ensure an automatic selection.
It's official: Two stalwarts of the NCAA tournament, North Carolina and Connecticut, will be missing from this year's field. Both lost opening games in their conference tourneys and appear headed for NIT bids. North Carolina was bounced out of the ACC tourney Thursday by Georgia Tech. UConn lost to St. John's on Tuesday.