Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tumbling Down: Carolina, Texas A&M, Kentucky Fall

This has been the season for upsets and last night was no different with three Top 25 teams going down. Results and recaps:

Virginia Tech 81 North Carolina 80 - Zabian Dowdell clicked for 33 points to help the Hokies take down #4 North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dowdell created matchup problems all night long for the Tar Hells, who sent the senior guard to the line 19 times. Dowdell knocked down 17, free throws to go with his 7-15 shooting from the floor with a pair of treys. Forward Deron Washington picked a good time to go for his 3rd double-double of the season, snatching 14 rebounds to go with his 12 points.

The win moved Virginia Tech into a tie for 2nd place in the ACC with the Tar Heels at 8-3. Both trail 9-2 Boston College. Tech virtually guaranteed themselves a trip to the NCAA tournament by winning on the road against a top 5 team. While Carolina has lost only four times this season, the Hokies have now beaten them twice, the first time on January 13 at Blacksburg, by a 94-78 tally when the Tar Heels were ranked #1.

Texas Tech 77 Texas A&M 75 - Bobby Knight's Red Raiders refuse to be forgotten, delivering another stellar road performance against the #6 Aggies last night. Jarrius Jackson, who had the game-winner, poured in 31 points while his backcourt mate, Martin Zeno added 19 and dished out 6 assists.

Both teams shot over 50% in the Texas shoot-out which once again created some tension atop the Big 12 standings. While Tech is only 5-6 in conference play, the Aggies still lead at 9-2, though only by a 1/2 game over 8-2 Kansas and one game over 8-3 Texas.

Tennessee 89 Kentucky 85 - Everyone knows that if Chris Lofton is on the floor, the Vols are a threat and the junior guard delighted the home crowd with 23 points and Tennessee's 3rd straight win after he missed four straight games due to injury.

#20 Kentucky shot 56% to Tennessee's 49% and controlled the boards, 39-27, but the Volunteers defense forced 19 turnovers and stole one away. The Vols improved to 6-5 in the conference, just a game behind 7-4 Kentucky with Vanderbilt sandwiched in between at 6-4. Everyone in the SEC East is chasing top-ranked Florida, which has virtually clinched the division at 10-0 with just 6 games remaining.

Butler 79 Florida Gulf Coast 65 - #13 Butler got back on the winning track after their loss at Wright State on Sunday, recording their 22nd straight home win in a non-conference romp.

Southern Illinois 51 Missouri St. 47 - Randal Falker recorded his 7th double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds for the #16 Salukis. With back-to-back wins over their top two Missouri Valley opponents, Southern Illinois is poised to win the conference. After a non-conference tilt at #13 Butler on Saturday, the Salukis conclude the regular season at Indiana St. and at home vs. Evansville.

With Southern Ill. looking like the automatic bid, the Missouri Valley could send four teams to the tourney. Creighton and Missouri St. look like naturals, while Wichita St., Bradley and Northern Iowa may have a shot, especially if one emerges from the conference tournament in good form.

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