Arizona 76 #6 Washington State 64 - The title of the ESPN article was "Arizona stuns Washington State," but does anyone really think this is that big of a stunner? The game was played in Tucson, Jerryd Bayless is back and healthy, and according to Chase Budinger, "I think we can beat anyone in the country right now." The two stars combines for 45 points, nailing 7-13 threes for a Cats team that sizzled from the field (55%). We want to like Washington State. We do. But we just don't see how thy have the offensive firepower necessary to get to the Final Four.
#7 UCLA 80 Oregon 75 - A good sign for the Bruins, they put up 80 points on the road in a hostile Mac Court environment, and outrebounded the Ducks 35-18. They trailed by as much as seven in the second half, but it was the incomparable Kevin Love who saved their bacon. In his first trip back to his home state, Love, booed unmercifully every time he touched the ball, went off for 26 points and 18 boards. Darren Collison scored 22 and played his usually lock down D on Tajuan Porter. Don't discount this win. It shows UCLA's loss to USC was an abbe ration.
#3 Duke 81 Virginia Tech 64 - This game was marred by the chippy play of Va Tech'd Deron Washington. He spent most of the game cheap-shotting different Blue Devils and then getting in their faces. Coach K's boys, other than that weasel Greg Paulus, wouldn't take the bait. They just led their play do the talking during a decisive 18-9 run. Kyle Singler led Duke with 16 and nine boards.
#10 Michigan State 78 Northwestern 62 - Yes, Northwestern is awful, but this was a game that the Spartans had to have loved because both of their stars got back on track. Raymar Morgan scored 23 on 9-11 shooting, while Drew Neitzel, who has struggled most of the year, hit six threes on this way to 22 points. Tom Izzo needs these two to play to their abilities, or their season will be shorter than they would like. "I think we learned our lesson," Neitzel said. "We realize that we can get beat on any given night."
#14 Butler 63 Loyola 50 - The Bulldogs shot just 7-23 from deep, but thanks to the low post play of Matt Howard and Pete Campbell, they escaped with a 13 point win over the Ramblers. Howard had 15 and 10, while Campbell came off the bench with 15 of his own. Interestingly, coach Brad Stevens had to spend the moments before the game making sure Seniors Julian Betko, Mike Green, and Campbell were cleared to play by the NCAA. The three drove to Bloomington the night before to see Indiana play former coach Todd Lickliter's Iowa Hawkeyes. All three received tickets to the game from the coaching staff, including friends and former Bulldogs Joel Cornette and Lavall Jordan.
#22 Xavier 69 Dayton 43 - This is the Xavier team we like to see. Nail 11-23 threes, and stifle your opponent to 30% shooting. Dayton All American Candidate Brian Roberts had a season low five points and couldn't get anything going. Meanwhile, Stanley Burrell, BJ Raymond, and Josh Duncan, all scored in double figures for the Musketeers, who led this game by as many as 33. "In fairness to Dayton, they've got two key guys out and Brian Roberts wasn't playing as much in the second half," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "That clearly doesn't allow them to be the same team they've been." Xavier is now on top of the A-10 at 4-1.
Other Scores of Note:
Wisconsin Green Bay 59 Cleveland State 50 - The Vikings first of four straight road games ends in their first conference loss.
USC 68 Oregon State 44 - The day Tim Floyd benched Davon Jefferson for his attitude for a full game, was the day we will all look back on and say "that is when the USC season turned around."
Washington 72 Arizona State 61 - ASU had no answers for big Jon Brockman in the post who torched the Sun Devils for 21 and 16. That's two straight losses in the Pac-10.