College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 19, 2013
As hotly anticipated was the Big Ten showdown between top-ranked Indiana and #4 Michigan State, the result was hardly a shock, even though Indiana hadn't come away with a win from East Lansing in 17 years, but the Hoosiers - and especially Victor Oladipo - had more game down the stretch and cemented their #1 status with a 72-68 victory.
Oladipo finished with nine boards and 19 points, including the final six points on a stick-back, a dunk and a pair of clutch free throws. The win put the Hoosiers on a direct path to the regular season conference title and a possible #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. They are 12-2 with the win, dropping the Spartans to 11-3. The Hoosiers have just four games left, though the last two will be testers as they face Ohio State at home and go on the road to Michigan for the final contest.
A couple of upsets marked Tuesday night's action, as Missouri stunned #5 Florida, 63-60 and St. Louis routed #24 VCU, 76-62.
#2 Miami topped Virginia, 54-50, to remain unbeaten in the ACC (13-0), but the team to keep an eye on is Tennessee, which won its fourth straight with an 82-72 win over LSU.
Junior Jordan McRae poured in a career-high 34 points for the Vols, making 13 of 18 shots from the field, including a perfect 6-for-6 from three-point land. The 6'5" swingman also grabbed six boards and snatched a trio of steals. At 7-6 in the SEC, the Volunteers have a good shot at getting a bid to the big dance. With just five games remaining - including home tests against Florida and Missouri - the Vols aren't likely to win the conference, but may make enough of a late season showing to impress the selection committee.
Also making noise is Northern Iowa, winners of six straight in the Missouri Valley Conference after their 69-63 road win at Missouri State. The Panthers are two games behind conference leader Wichita State and a game back of Creighton, neither of who are on the Northern Iowa schedule down the stretch. A good showing in the conference tourney should get the Panthers an invite to the NCAAs.