The big news last night comes from the Big Ten, where the Rutgers Scarlet Knights got a huge win at Assembly Hall to climb back on the bubble. Ron Harper Jr. was terrific with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists to get RU within shouting distance of back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time since their lone Final Four appearance in 1976.
Rutgers is now 5-5 in Quad 1 games this season, but their 3-2 mark in Quad 3 is bad, and a brutal Quad 4 loss to Lafayette at home is a true Mark of Shame. They’ll certainly be one of the teams rooting for the mid-major brackets to all go chalk, as a bid stealer or two could put them on the wrong side of Selection Sunday despite last night’s big victory.
Last night’s bubble watch
- Rutgers at Indiana: A big 66-63 win for the Scarlet Knights keeps them within shouting distance of the NCAA Tournament, and gives a huge Quad 1 win on the road. That gets RU in the First Four in most brackets.
- Wyoming at UNLV: The Pokes have now lost three out of four with this 64-57 setback, and they’re somewhere between Dayton and the NIT as of now.
- Miami at Boston College: A needed 81-70 win for Miami on the road, but this was more about surviving than advancing.
- NC State at Wake Forest: The same thing for Wake here, who gets a 101-76 that didn’t really help over the lowly Wolfpack, but would have been devastating with a loss.
Games to watch today
- Fresno State at San Diego State, 11:00 p.m. CBSSN: Another “can’t win it, can lose it” situation for the Aztecs, who put themselves pretty solidly in the field with their win over Wyoming earlier this week.
- Cincinnati at SMU, 7:00 p.m. ESPNU: The Ponies need to hold serve in a bad American Conference, and winning the conference tournament is probably their best path to safety, but Houston will stand in the way here. Getting the No. 2 seed in the league with a win here also keeps the Mustangs on track for a semifinal with Memphis that could be a resume-builder.
Bubble teams from BracketWag.com
Current conference breakdown according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi
Big Ten 9
Big East 7
Big 12 6
Mountain West 4