College basketball today: Clemson looks to firm up its ACC standing at Florida State
Before looking ahead to Wednesday night, let’s look back at the impact of a dozen results from Tuesday night:
1. Virginia can handle adversity (home loss), and the pressure of being No. 1, even on the road after dispatching Miami by nine. Also, no one needs to worry about the Cavaliers scoring when it has someone like De’Andre Hunter to bust out for 22.
2. Michigan State still has a high ceiling, evident by Jaren Jackson Jr., lighting up Minnesota for 27 on the road in a 30-point blowout. The Gophers are toast, something I never saw coming back in November after watching the Gophers in the Northeast twice. I know Reggie Lynch is gone but this team is a shell of itself from earlier in the season.
3. Udoka Azubuike’s 19 points in the win at Iowa State is a huge lift for Kansas going forward. The Jayhawks desperately need him to produce inside in March.
4. Rhode Island keeps rolling and if the Rams win out I don’t see how they won’t be in the top 16.
5. Grant Williams may be one of the best players that gets the least amount of pub. He’s leading Tennessee to a possible SEC title.
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7. Suddenly, the bottom of the Big East is rising up at the right time. St. John’s has been scorchingly hot by knocking off Nova and Marquette in the league (after beating Duke), DePaul won at Providence and Georgetown stunned Butler on the road behind Marcus Derrickson’s 27.
8. Nebraska keeps winning (70-66 over Maryland). That’s all that matters now for the Huskers to earn a bid. Just win. They may not be playing the top of the league but as long as the bottom doesn’t beat them in the Big Ten they will be fine.
9. Ole Miss will be hard-pressed to find someone like Andy Kennedy, who gave the Rebels a personality and someone who was passionate about a program that has had a hard time finding itself in the SEC. The Rebels couldn’t stop Arkansas Tuesday night, which got a much-needed road win on its quest for a bid.
10. Jaylen Adams could end up being the player of the year in the A-10, but his backcourt mate is a stud, too. Matt Mobley went off for 30 in a road win over La Salle. The Bonnies are still very much in the hunt for a bid.
11. Texas Tech proved yet again that the Red Raiders are now the favorites to win the Big 12 after dispatching Oklahoma and Trae Young by 10 in Lubbock.
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12. Alabama is finally a consistent offensive team. That was clear against LSU. And that means the rest of the SEC better watch out for a team that could win the tournament in St. Louis and reach the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.
And now, what to watch on Wednesday:
Villanova at Providence, 7 p..m., ET, FS1: The Friars have a chance to redeem the dreadful home loss to DePaul and make a defining NCAA at-large statement with a win over Nova. This is the start of one of the toughest weeks for the Wildcats. They head to Xavier Saturday.
Clemson at Florida State, 7 p.m., ET, ACC Network: The Tigers are the surprise team in the ACC with a chance for a top two finish. That’s just simply remarkable. The Seminoles have been inconsistent, but have proven they can play with anyone. This would be a HUGE statement road win for the Tigers.
ICYMI: The Division I men's basketball committee revealed its top 16 teams as of mid-February on @CBSSports and had @Coach_Brownell on as a guest! The Tigers came in as a No. 3 seed and the No. 9 overall team.#ClemsonGrit pic.twitter.com/GUcBzcfnqI— Clemson Men's Basketball (@ClemsonMBB) February 11, 2018
Virginia Tech at Duke, 7 p.m., ET, ESPN2: A week ago there was no way this looked like a significant game. But the Hokies won at Virginia and are suddenly in the midst of making a strong bid for a safe seed. Duke handled the surge from Georgia Tech late. This would be a good time for the defense to lock in on the suddenly surging Hokies.
Iowa at Michigan, 6:30 p.m., ET, Big Ten Network: The Wolverines were on fire offensively against Wisconsin Sunday. Is that the team we will see from this point forward? Possibly. Well, against the Hawkeyes, there’s a good chance the Wolverines will get good shots. Expect Michigan to show the loss at Northwestern was not the norm, but instead what we saw against Wisconsin and likely versus Iowa will be the real deal.
What’s at stake...
For Xavier against Seton Hall (9 p.m., ET, FS1): The Musketeers can position themselves for a first-place showdown against Villanova in the Big East Saturday with a win against the struggling Pirates.
For Kentucky at Auburn (9 p.m., ET, ESPN2): Shockingly, the pressure is on the Wildcats, not the Tigers, to win and end a losing skid. The Wildcats have lost three in a row and run the risk of seeing their SEC and NCAA tournament seed sink.
For Syracuse against NC State (9 p.m., ET, ACC Network): The Orange are still very much in the mix for a bid, but must knock off ACC teams that are likely to be in the field before the ACC tournament. Syracuse has only one more game (at BC) in the final six against a team that isn’t likely to be in the field. So, they’ve got to get the ones they can at home (North Carolina and Clemson also come to the Carrier Dome with the road games at Miami and Duke).
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For Boise State against Nevada (11 p.m., ET, ESPNU): The Broncos have to avenge the road loss at Utah State with a home win over the Wolf Pack. They already lost in Reno by six. They MUST beat Nevada at least once to have a chance at an at-large berth.