10 Thoughts From Saturday:
1) I'm tired of harping on this but I feel as if nobody is listening to me. Tennessee has been given the benefit of the doubt all season long. After their second loss to Kentucky on Saturday I think it's about time any recognition we were giving the Volunteers should be ended. At this point Tennessee is only the FOURTH best team in the SEC East and is struggling to win games against the easiest conference foes (Auburn, Mississippi). Joe Lunardi is one of big backers of Tennessee, keeping them as at least a 7 seed all season no matter how many losses they received. It will be interesting to see where Lunardi has the Vols after another loss.
2) I began my "pre-Saturday thoughts blog" with a statement about bubble teams needing to show they really want to go to the NCAA Tournament. Maryland answered that call by knocking off North Carolina by coming from 16 down in the second half. The Tar Heels, as I've stated countless times, are the nation's best team in my opinion. Therefore beating North Carolina opens by eyes. Keep in mind that this is the same Maryland team that has lost to Clemson by 29, Duke by 41, Georgetown by 27, and Gonzaga by 22. That shows how crazy this world of college basketball is.
3) Blake Griffin left Saturday night's game with rival Texas just thirteen minutes into the game, leaving the Longhorns with the perfect oppurtunity to snatch a big win. Beating Oklahoma without Griffin makes the win look less important on paper but it saved Texas' season. Griffin showed his important to the Sooners in this one, who lost their second game this year.
4) Bracketbuster Saturday taught us quite a few things. First of all Stephen Curry has struggled in big games this season (check my previous blog), probably due to the defensive attention focused on him and the lack of a secondary scorer. Saint Marys knocked off Utah State, another team that will likely need to win its conference tournament to get a NCAA Tournament bid. The Gaels may not be done with at large berth contention just yet, especially if Patty Mills comes back healthy. Creighton keeps winning its way towards a potential at large berth as well.
5) Virginia Tech has officially done everything possible to play itself out of a NCAA Tournament bid. On Saturday the Hokies lost their third straight ACC game, this one to ACC. Miami (FL) finally got a big win by knocking off Boston College. I think the Hurricanes can safely say they are back in serious discussion for an at large bid.
6) Everyone has been writing off UNLV & New Mexico but both won big games on Saturday. The Rebels knocked off BYU while the Lobos dominated San Diego State.
7) LSU keeps winning and dominating the SEC West. I've already harped on Tennessee's resume (see #1) but I think it's about time to recognize the Tigers a little bit more. Their SOS is absolutely terrible but wins are wins and at this point LSU is looking like the SEC's best team. Before the season I had them in my preseason bracketology and was laughed at on a LSU message board by a couple of fans that said it was ridiculous to think that their basketball team would even be decent this year. Guess who got the last laugh?
8) Congratulations to Oregon, which won its first Pac 10 game on Saturday by beating Stanford. Two other things stick out in the Pac 10 after Saturday. UCLA continues to struggle after losing to Washington State and Oregon State has now won seven conference games after going winless in Pac 10 play last season.
9) My new bracketology will be out either tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow night. I apologize for not getting it out after today's games but there's a lot of changes to be made.
10) A few other winners that deserve getting a shout out: Washington, Florida, Siena, and Gonzaga.