I. Middle Tennessee Hustles Past WKU, 80-74
The writing was on the wall at the 15 minute mark of the second half when Middle Tennessee G Fats Cuyler put up a three that caromed off the rim into a Hilltopper's hands, only to be poked away and fired back out to Fats for a second wide-open attempt that tickled the twine to the delight of 7,097 MTSU fans. That play was a microcosm of entire evening. The Blue Pegasi were quicker to rebounds, loose balls, and were far more active than the Tops on both ends of the floor for most of the game. It was nip-and-tuck throughout with Middle holding a 2-4 point lead most of the way. But from the 8-min mark to the 5.41 mark of the second half, WKU used a 10-0 run to seize control and rock MT back on their heels, 59-53. MT responded in kind and tied the game at 66 before two Ty Rogers free throws put WKU back up by two. That would be the Tops last lead. Another Cuyler three put MTSU up one, and then WKU was called for an intentional foul that gave MT two free throws followed by a dunk on the ensuing play that put Middle up five. The Tops managed to tie the game at 73 with just over a minute to play on a gutsy Benson Callier triple, but MT made 7 of 8 free tosses to take the game down the stretch. Such is life on the road against a hungry team.
Read articles from WKU here and from MTSU here.
II. Check out today's updated bracket.
The Quick and Dirty: Colorado and Southern Illinois OUT. Air Force and Florida State IN.
III. Last Night's GOI
--Villanova 74, at Cincinnati 72. Nova survives again on the road and keeps UC on the fence.
--at Georgia 48, South Carolina 47. Probably drove the nail in the Gamecocks' coffin.
--at Hofstra 77, George Mason 66. The Pride is most definitely in the at-large mix...and don't doubt it.
----UNC-Wilmington 61, at VCU 54. UNCW keeps rolling. The CAA has three real contenders.
--at Washington 75, Stanford 57. Cardinal are probably done as an at-large without a SERIOUS conference tourney run.
--Cal 43, at Washington State 41. Bears get an ugly road win that keeps them safely in the bracket.
IV. Weekend Forecast
--Virginia at Clemson. Cavs are fighting for their lives.
--Missouri at Colorado. Must win for Buffs.
--Seton Hall at DePaul. A road win would be huge for the SHU.
--Syracuse at Georgetown. I think Cuse is nearly IN, but there are doubters. This would cinch it.
--Drexel at Hofstra. Pride cannot afford any slips.
--Iowa at Illinois. Illini can tie Hawkeyes with a win.
--Kentucky at LSU. UK could lock it up with a win here.
--Creighton at Missouri State. Bears could breathe pretty easy if they win here. Jays have probably done enough barring an MVC tourney upset.
--Boston College at NC State. Eagles are not going to miss, but they sure could use a nice win.
--Marquette at Notre Dame. It could get really interesting if ND can win their last three.
--Michigan at Ohio State. Buckeyes could lead outright with a win here and an Iowa loss.
--Northern Iowa at Southern Illinois. SIU is desperate and UNI really needs a win to prevent a major dip in seeding.
--Duke at Temple. Dangerous game for the Dukies.
--Arkansas at Tennessee. This would clinch the Hogs.
--Kansas at Texas. For Big 12 supremacy.
--Nebraska at Texas A&M. Must win for Aggies.
--Nevada at Utah State. Aggies could tie for WAC lead and help at-large case.
--Houston at UTEP. Cougars have won eight straight and could sneak into the convo with a win.
--Louisville at West Virginia. Cards need a monster finish to have any hope.
--Florida at Alabama. Suddenly cold Gators need a "W"to stop the bleeding. Alabama could lock up their bid.
--Villanova at UConn. No commentary needed.
--Michigan State at Indiana. Hoosiers can crawl back into Bubbleland with a win.
--Maryland at North Carolina. Terps are in desperation mode.
--Cal at Washington. Both looking to improve seeding.
--Minnesota at Wisconsin. Badgers look to recover from Northwestern loss.
Sun Belt Slate (all on Sat)
--UL-Lafayette at Ark-Little Rock
--Arkansas State at New Orleans
--North Texas at South Alabama
--Denver at Troy
--FIU at Western Kentucky