Sunday, February 17, 2008

Top 25 Results and Notes from Saturday, Feb. 16

(1) Memphis 79 UAB 78
Closest game so far this season for the unbeaten Tigers, who needed a three-point play from Chris Douglas-Roberts and a made shot by the Blazers ruled too late. Memphis was only 12-22 (.545) from the foul line, which won't help their cause in March. Here's a #1 with targets on their chests. 25-0 ain't bad, though.

Colorado 45 (3) Kansas 69
Bill Self emptied the bench as this one was done early. KU remains in commanding position in Big 12.

(4) Tennessee 74 Georgia 71
This one figured to be close and it was. Chris Lofton had 18 of his 22 in the second half, and the Vols roll ever closer to clinching the SEC East. Tennessee visits Memphis on the 23rd (Saturday) in a major out-of-conference showdown.

VA Tech 53 (5) UNC 92
Nobody's paying much attention to the Heels, but Tyler Hansbrough (23 points and 9 boards in 29 minutes) is making a bid for player of the year.

(7) Stanford 67 Arizona 66
Stanford got out of Arizona with a loss and a narrow win. As the competition heats up their close-out games with Washington St., then At UCLA and USC should prove how good the Cardinals really are.

(8) Georgetown 70 Syracuse 77
Paul Harris, 22 points and 8 boards; Jonny Flynn, 17 points. The main strength and vulnerability for the Hoyas is center Roy Hibbert (11 points, 3 rebs.) and 'Cuse coach Boeheim knew that. Georgetown's center saw plenty of bench time with foul trouble. Syracuse still on the bubble, but this was huge for them.

Cleveland St. 46 (9) Butler 51
Butler has a date with Missouri Valley top dog, Drake, on Feb. 23 and only 3 conference games left. Wright State on the 28th should be the clincher for the Horizon league. Mike Green and A. J. Graves make these Bulldogs tough to beat (23-2)

(10) Michigan St. 61 (13) Indiana 80
Down 18-8 early, the Hoosiers went on a 33-15 run to the half and never looked back. Despite the distractions involving coach Sampson, the team is solid and Eric Gordon (game-high 28 points) is ridiculous. Look for him to enter the draft shortly after the Hoosiers are knocked out of the tourney. Spartans have lost 3 of their last 4. In March, 2 dance limit for them.

(11) Texas 82 Baylor 77
Damion James had 19 points and 10 rebounds in the Longhorns' 5th straight win and 22nd straight over Baylor. The fact that it was close gives the Bears some cred, but they have to start winning a few here and there.

(14) Drake 65 N Iowa 55
The Missouri Valley title clincher for Drake wasn't all fun and games, as the Bulldogs shot just 39% from the floor, but hit 18 of 19 freebies to the Panthers' 3 of 5.

Minnesota 56 (15) Wisconsin 65
Balanced scoring and tenacious defense make the Badgers one of the real sleepers in the nation. Just one game behind Purdue (11-1) in the Big 10 standings at 10-1, they could run the table (only Michigan State left as ranked opponents) and the conference tourney and end up a #2 or #3 seed.

Oklahoma St. 59 (16) Texas A&M 54
No real knocks on the Aggies, but 18 second half points at home isn't going to cut it in this or any other conference. The loss snapped a five-game win streak, but the schedule suggests that A&M still has work to do.

(17) Connecticut 74 S Florida 73, OT
A tough road win for the Huskies, puts them in great position for the post-season. Their ninth straight win and no ranked teams in their final six Big East games means they're a lock for an at-large bid.

Missouri 63 (18) Kansas St. 100
Michael Beasley tied his season high with 40 points (and 17 rebounds) and this one turned into a rout early on as the Wildcats opened up a 21-point lead at the half. Beasley makes K-State one of the more dangerous teams in the nation. Nobody's been able to slow him down yet and it's doubtful anybody will as he's averaging 25.7 and 12.6. #1 draft pick? Count on it.

(19) Purdue 71 Northwestern 56
Make it 11 straight for the Boilermakers, who might be a little under-appreciated by the pollsters. Tuesday's visit to Bloomington ought to be killer.

(21) Wash St. 62 Oregon 53
The Ducks hung in until the final three minutes, and both teams may be just good enough to get tourney bids, but how far they'll go is an open question. Lots to still be sorted out in the PAC-10.

(23) Louisville 80 Providence 72
Cardinals now tied with Georgetown at 10-3 in the Big East standings, but have a tough schedule remaining: Syracuse, at Pitt, Notre Dame, Villanova, at Georgetown. Louisville sure to move up in the polls while the Hoyas fall.

Florida 58 (24) Vanderbilt 61
Commodores seem to have their groove on once more, with their 5th straight win. The Gators are still fighting for an at-large bid, but have to contend with with three solids in the SEC West: Arkansas, Mississippi and Mississippi State. All four teams have 7 losses and winning conference records.

(25) St. Mary's 80 Loyola-Marymount 49
If you can hold a team to 26% shooting, your chances for a win improve dramatically. That's what the Gaels did on Saturday, and that tough defense will work in March as well. Big games with San Diego and Gonzaga, Feb. 25 and March 1, respectively, should tell us more.

Note: Home teams listed 2nd in line scores, rankings in parentheses.

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