College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, March 3, 2011
Looking extremely strong and confident heading into the post-season, the Wisconsin Badgers won their 4th straight and 8th of their last nine, winning at Indiana, 77-67, behind a career high 39 points from their star point guard, Jordan Taylor.
Hitting seven of eight three-pointers on shooting of 11-for-19, Taylor took on the scoring load, accounting for just more than half of the Badgers' total. He also went 10-for-10 from the charity stripe and scored in double figures for the 28th time in 29 outings.
Wisconsin is all set for the Big Ten tournament which commences next week and could be the #1 seed in the Midwest should they manage to win the tourney or defeat Ohio State, or both. At 13-4, they've secured at lest third place in the conference, behind 15-2 Ohio State and 14-3 Purdue.
Taylor, a junior, will get strong consideration for Big Ten player of the year, along with Ohio State freshman Jared Sullinger and Purdue's JaJuan Johnson.
NOTABLE: Jeremy Hazell scored 31 points and the Seton Hall Pirates - the worst three-point shooting team in the Big East - nailed 12 of 18 from beyond the arc in an 84-70 upset of St. John's, snapping the Red Storm's 6-game win streak. It's not a huge deal for St. John's, though a win might have wrapped up a double bye in the upcoming Big East tournament, which begins Tuesday on St. John's home court at Madison Square Garden.
The PAC-10 is still evolving into what looks like four NCAA tournament bids. Washington stopped UVLA in its tracks with a 70-63 home win, but the major development of the evening was Washington State's 85-77 victory over USC. The Cougars have won two straight to get to 9-8 in conference play, host UCLA on Saturday in their final regular season game before heading into the conference tourney. A couple of wins in the PAC-10 tournament could land the Cougars the 4th bid for the PAC-10, along with Arizona, Washington and UCLA.
Some key games to watch on Saturday are #8 Notre Dame at #16 UConn; #19 Villanova at #4 Pittsburgh; #21 Vanderbilt at #14 Florida; and the late night spectacle (9:00 pm ET) of #4 Duke at #13 North Carolina. Ivy League fans will be thrilled with Princeton at Harvard, a game that could determine the conference champion.