NCAA Conference Tournaments 2014: Predictions, Results for Thursday's Top Games

Bleacher Report College Basketball StaffFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2014

NCAA Conference Tournaments 2014: Predictions, Results for Thursday's Top Games

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    As Selection Sunday inches closer, a few teams are making the case for spots in the tournament, while a few played their way out on Thursday.

    The most intriguing storyline of the day did not involve a single bubble team as Seton Hall defeated Villanova at the Big East tournament on a buzzer-beater by Sterling Gibbs.

    As for those bubble teams, Stanford, Minnesota, Xavier and Providence all helped themselves out by staying alive in their respective conference tournaments. 

    St. John's, Arkansas, Arizona State and West Virginia all failed to win and they will all be forced to sweat it out over the weekend. 

    Continue reading for all of the results from the major conference tournaments on Thursday. 

AAC Tournament

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press


    (6) Houston 68, (3) Southern Methodist 64

    Houston continued its late-season surge, winning for the fifth time in six games while sending SMU to its third straight loss.

    The Cougars (17-15) trailed by nine at halftime but controlled the second half behind 16 points from L.J. Rose and a game-high 19 off the bench from Jherrod Stiggers to advance to Friday's semifinals.

    SMU (23-9) shot only 40 percent from the field. Cannen Cunningham was the only player to shoot well, scoring 14 on 5-of-8 from the field.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (2) Louisville 92, (7) Rutgers 31

    Had the defending NCAA champions not taken their foot off the gas after halftime, some major records could have been set in Thursday's quarterfinal.

    Louisville (27-5) led, 58-16, at halftime, and for the game had five players in double figures while holding Rutgers (12-21) to just 24-percent shooting.

    No Scarlet Knights player had more than eight points, and they were out-rebounded, 50-33.

    Louisville will face No. 6 Houston in Friday's semifinals.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (1) Cincinnati 61, (9) UCF 58

    Cincinnati staved off an upset bid from UCF as it barely advanced on to the semifinals of the AAC tournament in Memphis.

    Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin looked disgusted with his team after the game as they let the Knights hang around for way too long. 

    The dynamic duo of Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson combined for 35 points in the victory for the top seed. 

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 


    (4) Connecticut 72, (5) Memphis 53 

    The nightcap in Memphis belonged to Niels Giffey and UConn. 

    Giffey drained six three-pointers on his way to a game-high 24 points against the Tigers on their home court at FedEx Forum. 

    The win sets up a fantastic guard matchup between Shabazz Napier of the Huskies and Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick in the semifinal round. 

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 

ACC Tournament

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    (9) Florida State 67, (8) Maryland 65

    Boris Bojanovsky's dunk with 0.4 seconds left kept Florida State's NCAA tournament hopes alive and officially ended Maryland's ACC tenure in men's basketball.

    Bojanovsky, who had 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, took a feed from Okaro White and drove the baseline completely unguarded, giving the Seminoles (19-12) a shot at No. 1 Virginia in Friday's quarterfinals.

    FSU also got 17 points from Ian Miller, while Seth Allen and Dez Wells had 18 each for Maryland (17-15).

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (5) Pittsburgh 84, (12) Wake Forest 55

    Pittsburgh played nothing like the team that struggled mightily toward the end of the regular season, cruising to an easy victory in its first-ever ACC tournament game to advance to a Friday quarterfinal against No. 4 seed North Carolina.

    The Panthers (24-8) led by 14 at the half and kept their foot on the pedal throughout the game. Lamar Patterson led all scorers with 24 points, while Talib Zanna had 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

    Wake Forest (17-16) got 16 points from Coron Williams, but for the game shot just 34 percent.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (7) NC State 67, (10) Miami 58

    During the final three minutes of its second round game, NC State rocked Miami like a hurricane by going on a 14-5 run to end the game.

    T.J. Warren (24) and Ralston Turner (22) both scored over 20 points to lead the Wolfpack into a clash with No. 2 Syracuse on Friday.

    Rion Brown was the only Miami player in double digits as he scored 22 points as the Hurricanes' bid to repeat in Greensboro ended. 

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 


    (3) Clemson 69, (6) Georgia Tech 65

    Clemson needed an extra five minutes to pull out a victory over Georgia Tech as its quest for the Big Dance continued. 

    The Tigers were taken to overtime by Georgia Tech, but they did pull away when they needed it the most to advance and play Duke in the quarterfinals. 

    Trae Golden of Georgia Tech was the leading scorer in the game with 23 as the Yellow Jackets participated in their second straight overtime game in Greensboro.

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 


Atlantic 10 Tournament

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    (9) St. Bonaventure 82, (8) La Salle 72

    Youssou Ndoye scored 19 points, one of four Bonnies in double-figures, as the Bonnies advanced to face No. 1 Saint Louis in Friday's semifinals.

    St. Bonaventure (17-14) also got 15 points from Marquise Simmons and 14 from Charlon Kloof, while La Salle (15-16) was led by Jerrell Wright's 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting in the loss.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (5) Dayton 87, (13) Fordham 74

    Dayton jumped out early and cruised to a first-round win, keeping their NCAA tourney hopes alive and moving on to Thursday's quarterfinals against No. 4 seed St. Joseph's.

    The Flyers (23-9) led 50-31 at halftime and shot 58.8 percent for the game. Vee Sanford made all nine of his field goals, including three three-pointers, for a team-high 23 points off the bench.

    Fordham (10-21) was led by Branden Frazier's 30.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen 


    (7) Richmond 76, (10) Duquense 64

    Richmond (19-13) started its Brooklyn visit with a dominant performance against Duquesne (13-17). 

    Led by a game-high 27 points from Terry Allen, the Spiders advanced to Friday's quarterfinals to play No. 2 VCU. 

    Ovie Soko scored 23 in the losing effort for the Dukes, who won just five games in the A-10 this season.

    - Updated by Joe Tansey


    (6) Massachussets 65, (11) Rhode Island 61

    UMass held off rival Rhode Island by four points as it avoided being the first victim of an upset in Brooklyn. 

    Maxie Esho scored 15 points off of the bench for the Minutemen in the victory where star Chaz Williams made just three of his 12 attempted field goals. 

    UMass will take on No. 3 George Washington in the quarterfinals on Friday.

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 

Big 12 Tournament

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    (4) Iowa State 91, (5) Kansas State 85

    Iowa State avoided late foul trouble to break free from a back-and-forth game in the final minutes and move on to Friday's semifinals.

    The Cyclones (24-7) ended the game on a 13-5 run, getting 24 points from Melvin Ejim, 19 from Dustin Hogue and 18 from Georges Niang despite playing much of the second half with four fouls.

    Kansas State (20-12) lost despite shooting 54.5 percent from the field. The Wildcats were led by Marcus Foster's 21 points.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (1) Kansas 77, (8) Oklahoma State 70, OT

    The Jayhawks ended the game on a 9-0 run to outlast the team they lost to on March 1, moving into a Friday semifinal meeting with Iowa State.

    Kansas had a chance to win it in regulation, but Tarik Black's putback lay-in at the buzzer was waved off by officials. In overtime, it trailed, 70-68, before taking over.

    Andrew Wiggins scored 30 points, giving him 71 in his last two games, while Black added seven points and 12 rebounds.

    OK State (21-12) had four players in double figures, led by Le'Bryan Nash's 19 points. The Cowboys shot only 37.9 percent from the field, with Marcus Smart going 4-of-14 for 14 points.


    (7) Baylor 78, (2) Oklahoma 73

    Baylor used a 47-point first half to blow by Oklahoma and move on to the semifinals of a loaded Big 12 tournament. 

    Isaiah Austin scored 18 points and Cory Jefferson recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Bears. 

    The win solidified Baylor's NCAA tournament resume and the team is now playing for a higher seed in the Big Dance. 

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 


    (3) Texas 66, (6) West Virginia 49

    The Texas Longhorns' spot in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament was never threatened as they took care of business early against West Virginia. 

    The Mountaineers scored just 14 points in the first half as they watched their bubble burst in Kansas City. 

    Texas will now take on a red-hot Baylor team in the semifinals at the Sprint Center on Friday.

    -Updated by Joe Tansey.

Big East Tournament

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press


    (8) Seton Hall 64, (1) Villanova 63

    Sterling Gibbs' stepback jumper from just inside the three-point line as the clock expired pushed Seton Hall to the biggest upset so far in conference tournament play, knocking off third-ranked Villanova in the Big East quarterfinals.

    Villanova (28-4) had taken a 63-62 lead with eight seconds left on a floater in the lane by Darrun Hilliard, shortly after Seton Hall (17-16) went up 62-61 on a Jaren Sina three-pointer.

    Gibbs, who had 10 points and six assists off the bench for the Pirates, took the inbounds pass with 3.9 seconds remaining, created separation with a brief drive attempt and then pulled back for the game-winner.

    Villanova, which had been fighting for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, trailed 34-26 at the half but rallied back to take the lead for most of the second half before the late drama.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (4) Providence 79, (5) St. John's 74

    Providence overcame one of the worst games of Bryce Cotton's career and held off a furious late rally to move one step closer to its first NCAA tourney berth in 10 years.

    The Friars (21-11) led 63-46 with 6:24 remaining when St. John's (20-12) went on a 22-6 run to pull within a point with 1:15 left.

    Cotton, who shot 1-of-9 from the field and finished with just 12 points, clinched the victory by sinking all six free throws he attempted in the final 34 seconds. Providence, which got a career-best 24 points from Josh Fortune, will now face Seton Hall in Friday's semifinals.

    D'Angelo Harrison led St. John's with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

    — Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (2) Creighton 84, (10) DePaul 62

    Just like we all expected, Doug McDermott went off in his Big East tournament debut against DePaul. 

    McDermott, who became the first player since Wayman Tisdale from 1982-1985 to score over 800 points in three consecutive seasons, dropped a casual 35 points in the win for the Bluejays. 

    Jahenns Manigat and Austin Chatman both found themselves in double digits as well against a DePaul team that pulled off an upset over Georgetown the night before.

    -Updated by Joe Tansey.


    (3) Xavier 68, (6) Marquette 65

    Xavier ensured itself of a third meeting with Creighton this season as it dispensed of Marquette in the final game of the night at Madison Square Garden. 

    The Golden Eagles, who have had quite the disappointing season, had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Todd Mayo's three came up just short. 

    Xavier, who split the season series with Creighton, saw Justin Martin score 19 and Semaj Christon contribute 18. 

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 

Big Ten Tournament

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    (9) Illinois 64, (8) Indiana 54

    Tracy Abrams scored 25 points to pace the Fighting Illini to a first-round win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, setting up a Friday quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded Michigan.

    The Fighting Illini (19-13) trailed 38-33 midway through the second half before going on an 11-0 run to take control. Indiana (17-15) shot just 35 percent from the field, with Yogi Ferrell getting a team-high 14 points but on 3-of-13 shooting.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (5) Ohio State 63, (12) Purdue 61

    The Buckeyes won a much-harder-than-expected first-round clash with the league's last-place team, holding off the Boilermakers to advance to Friday's quarterfinal game with fourth-seeded Nebraska.

    Purdue (15-17) had a chance to win it, but Terone Johnson's three-pointer in the final seconds could not connect.

    OSU (24-8) overcame a woeful 35.9 field-goal shooting percentage, getting 19 points and 15 rebounds from LaQuinton Ross and 16 points and five assists from Aaron Craft.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (7) Minnesota 63, (10) Penn State 56

    Andre Hollins delivered the dagger to Penn State's season with 15 seconds left as he drilled a three-pointer from the left elbow. 

    Hollins made his insurance triple after Penn State opted not to foul in the waning moments of the game. 

    The Golden Gophers will now take on rival and No. 2 seed Wisconsin with their NCAA-tournament hopes on the line Friday.

    — Updated by Joe Tansey.


    (11) Northwestern 67, (6) Iowa 62

    Chris Collins added to his legend in his first season as Northwestern head coach as the Wildcats took down Iowa for the first upset to come out of Indianapolis. 

    Tre Demps led the way for Northwestern, which has never qualified for the NCAA tournament, with 20 points. 

    Roy Devyn Marble scored 25 for Iowa, which has lost six of its last seven games, but is still a lock to make the Big Dance.

    — Updated by Joe Tansey. 

Mountain West Tournament

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    (1) San Diego State 73, (8) Utah State 39

    The top seed played like one, obliterating Utah State from the opening tip to move into Friday's semifinal round.

    SDSU (28-3) jumped out to a 36-15 halftime lead and finished the game shooting 52.5 percent and assisting on 19 of 31 field goals. Xavier Thames had 15 points for the Aztecs, while Josh Davis had eight points and 13 rebounds.

    Utah State (18-14) had 14 points from Jarred Shaw, who was 6-of-11 from the field while the rest of the Aggies made just six of 30 shots.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (4) UNLV 71, (5) Wyoming 67

    The Runnin' Rebels got huge performances off the bench from Roscoe Smith and Bryce Dejean-Jones to advance into a semifinal meeting with top-seeded San Diego State.

    Smith had 18 points and 13 rebounds while Dejean-Jones had 22 points. Both players missed the last game for UNLV (20-12), a loss to Nevada that knocked the Rebels down in the standings.

    Wyoming (18-14) was led by Josh Adams' 24 points.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (2) New Mexico 93, (7) Fresno State 77

    While New Mexico wasn't as dominant as top seed San Diego State was earlier in the day, the Lobos did put in an impressive performance against Fresno State. 

    The Lobos jumped out to a 14-point lead at the half and they never let the Bulldogs get any type of a comeback going. 

    Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow both contributed 21 points in the victory.

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 


    (6) Boise State 75, (3) Nevada 62

    Boise State pulled off a mild upset over Nevada thanks to nine three-pointers from five different players. 

    The Broncos and their sharpshooters will head into the semifinals where No. 2 New Mexico awaits. 

    Nevada was sent home early from Las Vegas after winning 10 games in Mountain West regular-season play.

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 

Pac-12 Tournament

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    (1) Arizona 71, (8) Utah 39

    Top-seeded Arizona overwhelmed Utah with its patented defensive pressure, using turnovers and transition to cruise into Friday's semifinals.

    The Wildcats (29-3) led 34-13 at the half, holding the Utes (21-11) to the lowest first-half and total score in Pac-12 tournament history. Utah shot just 25.5 percent from the field, while Arizona made 52.9 percent of its field goals.

    Nick Johnson had 14 points, T.J. McConnell had 13 and Aaron Gordon added 11 in the victory. Utah's top scorer was Dallin Bachynski, who managed just nine points.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (5) Colorado 59, (4) California 56

    Colorado held off a late rally to improve its NCAA tournament chances, as well as advance to Friday's semifinals against top-seeded Arizona.

    California (19-13) had a chance to tie it at the buzzer, but Patrick Cobbs' three-pointer fell harmlessly wide of the basket.

    The Buffaloes (23-10) got 17 points from Askia Booker, while Xavier Talton added 13 and Josh Scott had 11.

    Dobbs finished with a game-high 21 for the Golden Bears, which trailed 31-22 at halftime before mounting their comeback.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (2) UCLA 82, (7) Oregon 63

    UCLA came out of the locker room with a purpose and thrashed Oregon to move on to the Pac-12 semifinals. 

    The Bruins outscored the Ducks by 17 in the second half after leading by just two at halftime. 

    Oregon did get 29 points from Joseph Young, but no other Duck scored more than eight. 

    — Updated by Joe Tansey. 


    (6) Stanford 79, (3) Arizona State 58

    It was all Stanford in the final game of the night in Las Vegas as the Cardinal won its second game in two nights. 

    Chasson Randle was the star for Stanford as he contributed 21 points on the way to a semifinal berth. 

    Stanford will now look to stay in its rhythm on Friday as it faces UCLA, a team who it split the season series with. 


    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 

SEC Tournament

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    (8) Missouri 91, (9) Texas A&M 83, 2 OT

    Missouri avoided a bubble-bursting loss by taking control in the second overtime, advancing to Friday's quarterfinals against top-seeded Florida.

    The Tigers (22-10) led by eight at halftime, only to see the Aggies (17-15) speed up the tempo and knot up the game late in the second half. Mizzou's Jabari Brown forced OT with a pair of free throws in the final minute, then A&M sent the game to a second extra period on an Alex Caruso layup with eight seconds remaining in the first OT.

    Mizzou took the lead for good 90 seconds into the second OT, outscoring the Aggies 12-4 down the stretch. Brown had 26 points and Earnest Ross added 24 for the Tigers, while A&M was led by Caruso's 28.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (13) South Carolina 71, (5) Arkansas 69

    South Carolina continued its surprising run through the SEC tournament, while dealing Arkansas a potentially damaging loss in a second-round contest at the Georgia Dome.

    Less than 24 hours after rolling past No. 12 seed Auburn, the Gamecocks (14-19) won despite shooting only 38.3 percent from the field. A 40-25 rebounding advantage was key to the win, South Carolina's third straight after winning just three of its previous 10 contests.

    Arkansas (21-11) had two chances to win it, but the Razorbacks missed a layup inside with six seconds remaining and then saw a three-pointer from near midcourt clang off the rim.

    South Carolina will face No. 4 Tennessee in Friday's quarterfinals.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (7) LSU 68, (10) Alabama 56

    LSU went to the locker room ahead by 11 against Alabama and never looked back as it advances to face No. 2 Kentucky on Friday. 

    The Tigers, who split the season series with quarterfinal opponent Kentucky, saw four players score in double digits.

    Alabama missed 12 free throws in the loss, a total which made up the deficit that it fell by. 

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 


    (6) Ole Miss 78, (14) Mississippi State 66 

    The Marshall Henderson Show welcomed itself to the SEC tournament during the second half of Ole Miss' win over its main rival, Mississippi State.

    Henderson made seven three-pointers to lead the Rebels into a quarterfinal matchup with No. 3 Georgia. 

    Henderson's 21 was equaled by teammate Jarvis Summers, who also pulled down four rebounds and had six assists. 

    -Updated by Joe Tansey.