–No. 19 Michigan State 103, No. 12 Indiana 74. Yes, Michigan State just scored 42 points in a 15-point loss to Wisconsin on Thursday. I know—I don’t get it either. The best part about the win for the Spartans? Raymar Morgan was MSU’s leading scorer, but only had 20. Indiana suffers its first post-Sampson loss, but was this reason for hesitation? The Spartans were flying up and down the floor from the opening tip, so Indiana could never catch their breath and get back into it.
–No. 1 Tennessee 63, Kentucky 60. This game tired me out by merely watching. Kentucky almost had it, but Tennessee’s full-court pressure was the factor in the win. I think the win would have almost definitely put Kentucky in, but the loss is still a loss (even if it's close), so assume that 16-11 Kentucky is still out of the Tournament picture. The win also keeps Tennessee on the road to a one.
–No. 4 UCLA 68, Arizona 66. Brutal loss for Arizona, who can’t seem to really put together two straight wins (remember that when you think about putting them into the Sweet 16). You think the Wildcats are still in? The RPI numbers and the strength of schedule certainly help their case, but YOU HAVE TO WIN SOME GAMES down the stretch, Arizona. Adding to the drama was the fact that Lute Olson showed up for the first time since his hiatus. I’m sure Kevin O’Neill loved that (rumors are they are much at odds right now; it’s an alpha dog thing). Love went for 24 and 15, but what else is new? The up-and-down, back-and-forth game also brought us Billy Packer and Jim Nantz for the first time this season, so get ready for that in your living room for the next month.
–No. 13 Louisville 68, Villanova 54. If you watched the game you probably even couldn’t tell me how Louisville did it, but they handled Villanova so methodically that it really made you believe the inevitable “Cardinals-to-the-Final-Four” hype that will be the trendy talk in two weeks.
–No. 17 Notre Dame 98, DePaul 91. The Irish are capable of winning as long as they’re scoring more than 70. No surprise here, as Mike Brey’s team hops back on the bus home from Chicago with a 12-4 league record. Yeah, I didn’t have that one back in November.
Clemson 73, Maryland 70. Game of the night due to the fact that Clemson was down by 20 with less than 10 minutes to go and came back to pull off a great win. Terrence Oglesby had the onions to launch and nail a 23-footer to give Clemson the final margin with less than three seconds to go. If you’ve been following the site for a while, you’ll know that I’ve never believed that Maryland is really a Tournament team, so this could really prove my point. Losing at home on senior night to a potential seven seed when you’re up by 20 with under 10 minutes to go? I must be fair though: Clemson was more responsible for the win than Maryland was for the loss.
Temple 57, St. Joseph’s 56. The Atlantic-10 eats itself alive! The Hawks blow their chances here. Maybe a title game loss to Xavier saves them? But I don’t think so.