Saturday’s full college basketball final roster ahead of Sunday’s scheduled arrival next week delivered classic March drama, emotion and feel as the perfect teaser for March Madness. There were bubbling teams that either helped or abused their issues, there were nail clippers across the country, and of course there was the last home game for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski looming on what was a raucous day in the sport.
Sifting through the chaos that prevailed, this day was a decisive one for several days in the ranks of the Conference of Powers.To secure a stake in the Big 12, to oust the Longhorns in a movie back and forth from Lawrence. Elsewhere, the only other major conference program that had the opportunity to do the same – Auburn – did exactly that. With a 82-71 win over South Carolina, the Tigers clinched a solo SEC championship – their fifth all-time in the program and the second under Bruce Pearl.
Elsewhere in the sport, there have been thrillers of varying degrees with LSU dropping Alabama in overtime, Syracuse turning perpetual meltdown and more. So stay tuned as we take a ride through Saturday and highlight the biggest winners and losers from it all.
Winner: Auburn snatches SEC crown solo
Auburn clinched an undefeated home season – the same feat another SEC team soon achieved – with a 82-71 victory over South Carolina who also earned a solo SEC title for the No. 5 Tigers. With the loss, Auburn could have split the league title with Kentucky and Tennessee . Instead, coach Bruce Pearl’s side tackled the business 21 points behind apparent freshman Jabari Smith. This is the third time in the past four seasons that the Tigers have won at least a share of the SEC title. Auburn has been fortunate to avoid playing in Kentucky this season – they beat the Wildcats at home – but that much scheduling of good fortune won’t change the color of the banner the program hangs from the rafters at the Auburn Arena.
Winner: Tennessee goes undefeated at home
The local stadiums advantage is back with a vengeance in college basketball this season after an epidemically shifted campaign in 2020-21 that limited attendance in most venues. Abandoned environments last year seemed like a particularly distant memory at the SEC, as the top four teams in the conference combined finished 35-1 in league games at home where they regularly played in front of rowdy fans. The home run was never more evident than in Tennessee, as the 13 Volunteers put the finishing touches on their home ground with a 16-0 season with a 14th-placed win at Arkansas 78-74 on Saturday to rule the No. 2 seed in the SEC. Competition.
The Loser: College Basketball Video Reviews
Special environments at local stadiums across the country regularly streamed on TV this season and gave viewers a reminder of the blessings and passion that makes college basketball great. On the downside, the monotony of constant video reviews in the last two minutes of the games also featured a lot. Nothing kills the feel of a thrilling ending quite like the crew in charge spending five minutes on screen dissecting grainy footage to identify hair follicles grazing basketball on its way out of bounds. The duration of watching sports TV is only two hours. From the anecdotal, I get the feeling that more of the regular season matches this season have exceeded the time allotment, and some are not even close. Take Tennessee-Arkansas, for example. Due to the multiple reviews, the game lasted about two and a half hours without going into overtime.
Winner: North Carolina crashes Coach K.
North Carolina entered Saturday’s showdown at No. 6 Duke as one of the “first four out” of Jerry Palm’s expected NCAA Championship field. After clearing the 94-81 Blue Devils, there is no doubt that the Tar Heels will be on the right side of the bubble entering the ACC. It was a huge win not only for this year’s UNC team but for the program as a whole. Normally, a show in which the Tar Heels’ history in the bubble goes into a rivalry showdown will be the dominant storyline. But North Carolina’s presence at Cameron Indoor Stadium was an afterthought for main showing Mike Krzyzewski, who coached his last home game with the Duke.
The fact that the UN Command achieved such a decisive victory in such a game of historical importance to its arch-rival means that this day will go down in history. When first-year UNC head coach Hubert Davis’ stint reverses one day, he will no doubt be remembered that his first victory in the Tobacco Road competition came in his last game at Krzyzewski Stadium.
Loser: Indiana loses big win
Indiana entered the weekend as one of the “first four out” of the anticipated Jerry Palm arc, and the Hoosiers didn’t do themselves any favors on Saturday. On the road against a Bordeaux top ten, the Hoosiers, who led up to four with less than seven minutes to play, let the Boilermakers back in and fell on the wrong end of a nearby team, falling 69-67. After losing earlier in Week 66-63 to Rutgers, it likely means IU has work to do in the Big Ten to enter. This may require multiple wins to punch a ticket with another close loss piling up.
Winner: Bubble teams after Murray State won the OV
Bubble teams everywhere breathed a sigh of relief as Murray State won the Ohio Valley Conference championship title with a thrilling 71-67 victory over Morehead State. If Morehead State had won, she would likely have made the OVC in two shows due to Murray State’s solid resume. But the contestants didn’t take it easy with the Eagles just for OVC. Besides, the contestants will be leaving for the Missouri Valley Conference next season.
Given MVC’s strong basketball pedigree and Murray State’s well-established brand—they will now have featured in three of the last four NCAA tournaments—it looks like this program is still going up. Many know it for being JA Morante College or for producing coaches steadily moving on to senior jobs. But if the racers continue down this path, you might know them as Team Sweet 16 before long. If not this season, then as members of MVC in the future.
Winner: LSU wins in a thriller
In a thriller starring SEC that included 15 draws, 12 lead changes and required an extra period of time to settle the score, LSU victorious at home to No. 25 in Alabama with a massive 80-77 victory. The Tigers held off Alabama top scorer Jaden Shackelford defensively, making a 3-of-14 shot, earning 24 points from Darius Days—15 of which came in the second half and overtime. After some inconsistent play during the SEC roster, the win gives LSU a high note in the regular season finale to carry into next week’s Conference session.
Loser: Syracuse collapses late against Miami
Syracuse led by as many as 18 points in the second half, including 10 with 2:29 to go and seven with one minute left, and still managed an epic home meltdown on Saturday afternoon. Orange’s late-game fuss led to a 75-72 home defeat to the Hurricanes despite leading nearly 37 minutes from 40 minutes into the game, marking their fourth consecutive defeat and sinking them into 15-16 overall as the regular season approaches. from its end.
Winner: Johnson of Florida gets an honorary start
He’s been sidelined since December 12, 2020, the night he collapsed in court in Florida v. Florida State, Gators’ forward, Kente Johnson, was back in the starting lineup on Saturday. As part of a great spectacle for a big day at the O’Dome, coach Mike White named Johnson as an honorary starter, so he was introduced as a rookie and gave opening advice from Colin Castleton before he walked off the field – but not before. Incredible scenery unfolded in Gainesville.
Johnson was diagnosed with a heart condition after a breakdown in 2020, which effectively ended his college career. He was at the time considered a first-round NBA draft prospect and got off to a hot start after the previous year’s All-SEC season.
Loser: Georgia finished 1-17 in the SEC match
Georgia’s not-so-good, and too-bad basketball season hit a new low on Saturday as the Bulldogs led by Tom Crane dropped the 76-69 regular season finale to Missouri, dropping to 1-17 overall in SEC regular season play. It’s Georgia’s fewest conference-playing wins since the 1955-56 (!) season when it went 1-13 in SEC play and finished the year 3-21 overall. There have been quite a few bright spots for the UGA this season, but the new drop could make Crean’s bench even hotter as they enter play after the season is over.
Winner: Loyola Chicago Defense wins the day
Loyola-Chicago Northern Iowa held a field goal in the final 15:12 of 66-43 victory in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference session over Northern Iowa. The Ramblers will likely need to win the championship tomorrow at 2PM ET on CBS in order to reach the NCAA Championship, playing as a team that knows their back is against the wall.
After closing out the regular season with a 4-3 score that included losses for Bradley, Drake, and Northern Iowa, they actually avenged UNI’s defeat and crushed Bradley 66-50 in the quarter-finals. It would be a positive irony for the program to reach the NCAA Championship under first-year coach Drew Valentine after Porter Moser left to coach an Oklahoma team that would need to win the Big 12 in order to reach the Big Dance.
Loser: Oregon’s overall nomination ignites
Oregon won 10 of 11 games between December 21 and February 10 as the Ducks got off to a rough start to look like a team capable of making it to the NCAA Championship. But their season ends as it began. After losing 94-74 in Washington State on Saturday, Oregon State will enter the Pac-12 Championship after losing five of its last six games. The ducks were clinging to the bottom of the Palm bubble after the loss in Washington on Thursday. But at only 18-13 (11-9 Pac-12), it seems likely at this point that the only way Oregon makes a big dance is to win the Pac-12 course. Oregon showed last season that it can be done, but it’s hard to imagine the Ducks repeating that performance while playing this poorly.
Winner: KS and Baylor Share the Big 12
Kansas needed extra time to beat Texas, and Baylor blew an early 25-point lead before beating Iowa State. But in the end, both the Jayhawks and the Bears took care of the business to close out the Big 12 season with 14-4 league records and conference audience participation. Thanks to a tiebreak (a record against a No. 3 seed Tech Texan), seeded Kansas will be the top seed in next week’s Big 12 tournament. After the Red Raiders fell in Oklahoma State on Saturday to finish two games behind Baylor and Kansas in the standings, the Bears and Jayhawks are clearly the two teams to beat in the postseason — even if their recent regular season wins come with some drama.
Loser: Lamar goes 0-16 in Wydad
Lamar received a rude introduction to WAC this season as he moved out of the Southland Conference for the 2021-22 season under head coach of the year Alvin Brooks. Saturday’s 78-66 loss to Cal Baptiste capped the League’s 0-16 roster for the Cardinals, with only two wins coming without conferences against teams outside of the Division I. Brooks came to Lamar after working as an assistant coach for Kelvin Samson at Houston and is a good-traveled respected coach. Lamar also had a hit at the Southland Conference. But there’s nowhere to go but up from here for the Cardinal as they pass a new league with their new coach.
Winner: Houston Baptiste vs. McNeese Viewers
It took 60 minutes instead of 40, but Houston Baptiste netted an extra four-time win 149-144 over McNeese. Darius Lee led the HBU with 52 points, beating his previous career high of 19. He was one of 13 players to reach double figures in the game, which included 69 fouls and 110 free throws. Five McNeese players got it wrong compared to just three from Houston Baptiste. This was revenge for Houston Baptiste, who lost the first encounter 78-75 on January 15. Almost double the points were scored in the rematch.
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