Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm takes a daily look at games he’ll be watching involving teams on the bubble to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. For more details on bubble teams, consult the Bubble Watch and then compare resumes of any two teams trying to make The Big Dance to see who has the edge.
Purdue wins at Indiana, fills a big hole in tournament profile
Purdue fans are happy tonight, and not just because they completed the season sweep of archrival Indiana by winning 67-63 in Bloomington. They’re happy because the Boilermakers filled a big hole in their tournament resume by beating a tournament quality team away from home for the first time this season.
As I detailed earlier this week, the Boilers have a lot to do to make up for an poor non-conference performance, and tonight goes a long way toward completing that mission. So, is Purdue now a lock? Um, no. A “lock” is a team that can lose the rest of their games and still make the tournament. That is clearly not Purdue’s position. However, if the Boilers win their home games down the stretch of the season, there will be reason for optimism entering the Big Ten tournament. That was not true 24 hours ago.
It was a battle for Dayton, but the Flyers held on for a 68-64 win over St. Joe’s. The Flyers weren’t sure they’d have the services of Kendall Pollard after suffering a head injury against St. Bonaventure the last time out, but he played, and it’s a good thing he did. He led the way with 22 points. Dayton avoided a bad loss, and that’s a key for them going forward.
Temple misses a chance at SMU
Temple missed a chance to pick up it’s first touranment quality win away from home tonight in a 67-58 loss at SMU. Temple got off to a great start, and led by eight at the half, but couldn’t hold off the league leading Mustangs in Dallas. The Owls will get anouther chance to get that big win away from home when they go to Tulsa next.
Iowa finally takes care of business, downs Rutgers
Iowa had a bad week last week, giving away two games it should have won and playing itself squarely on the bubble. The Hawkeyes took out some frustration on Rutgers in an 81-47 win in front of the home crowd tonight.
Beating Rutgers isn’t the kind of thing that gets Iowa back off the bubble, but it also keeps them from falling out of the bracket entirely.
Ole Miss did tonight what it does best — win on the road. The Rebels improved to 7-3 on the season in road games with a 71-65 win at in-state rival Mississippi State. That gives the Rebels a sweep of the season series, and helps them avoid a bad loss on the road.