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Bobby Hurley and Co. racked a big Q1 win in Tucson on Saturday. (Photo Courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics)
Bobby Hurley and Co. racked a big Q1 win in Tucson on Saturday. (Photo Courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics)

Men's College Basketball Winners and Losers: 2/20-2/26

Cambridge, Devils make late charge into March

By the time you’re reading this, it might already be the best month of the year…March. Conference tournaments are now officially underway and the fantastic event of March Madness is upon us (I am one who refers to March Madness as being the conference tournaments as well as the Big Dance). With this current week being the last official week of the regular season, this article will be the penultimate one of this series. Have no fear though, we have a new piece coming to you once the NCAA Tournament starts (hint: I will be helping you win bracket pools). There was plenty to digest from this past week, so let’s get right into it.


  • North Carolina: Finally I get to put my squad in the winners column, and man it feels good. The week started on Wednesday for the Heels, and if you had to watch that game against Notre Dame like I did, I’m sorry. If you didn’t, don’t look up the highlights because there weren’t many, but UNC got it done and that’s all that matters this time of year. The big test came on Saturday as they welcomed Virginia into the Smith Center. The Cavs came into the matchup as a top-30 team in the NET rankings which made the contest a quad 1 win opportunity for Hubert Davis and company. UNC was able to get that ever-so-coveted Q1 win, beating the Wahoos 71-63 and making their NCAA Tournament resume look a lot better. With games against Florida State on Monday and Duke (gross) on Saturday before the ACC Tournament in Greensboro next week there is still work to be done. With the wins this pat week though, the tournament is still well within reach for the preseason number one team.

  • Arizona St.: Yes I am a student at ASU, making this the second team in the winners column that I actively root for, sorry. Being another team on the bubble like the Tar Heels, the Sun Devils went south to Tucson on Saturday for a Q1 win opportunity of their own that they desperately needed. Towards the end of the game, it looked like they were going to put up a good effort against number seven ranked Arizona, but come up just a bit short. With 2.9 seconds to go, Oumar Ballo sank a free throw to give the Wildcats an 88-86 lead. Then the unthinkable happened. Desmond Cambridge Jr. etched his name into Sun Devil Men’s Basketball history forever, hitting a shot from beyond half-court to give ASU the win. Much like the Heels there is still work to do, but the opportunities are there. A trip to the LA schools this weekend for a chance at two more Q1 wins this weekend could be the difference between them dancing or not.

  • Marquette: The Golden Eagles cliched at least a share of the Big East title for the first time in a decade this past week and climbed all the way up to number 6 in the AP Poll, their highest ranking since 1977-78. Their week started with a trip to Omaha (I know, very much not in the east) to take on Creighton. What they did in that game was something no other team had done in the conference this season…win a game on the road against one of the top 4 teams in the league (Marquette, Xavier, Providence, Creighton). Of course, Villanova did the same thing that night by beating Xavier in the Cintas Center, but the point remains, it was damn impressive. A win against Butler on Tuesday will give them the outright conference title, and move them on to New York with the one seed in the Big East Tournament. If this team wins their last two games as well as the conference tournament, they could find themselves with a one seed in the Big Dance, which no one would’ve thought was possible in November.


  • Virginia: This team is old, plays defense and knows how to win. They have everything you’d want in a team looking to make a deep run in March…or so we thought. Veteran teams are supposed to win games they should, which is what they were tasked with when they took a trip to Boston College on Wednesday. Unfortunately for them, they shot just 32% from the field while the Eagles shot 52%. That’s not going to win you a lot of games and didn’t on Wednesday as they lost 63-48. Then on Saturday they went to UNC and lost like I previously mentioned. They’re still a solid team that can make a deep run in March, but they just might not be as good as we thought.

  • Purdue: The team that once looked like they were by far the number one team in the country has fallen quickly. Getting swept against your in-state rival is never something you want to do, and that’s exactly what happened to them on Saturday when they lost 79-71 to Indiana. That loss marked their 3rd loss in 4 games, and it’s pretty clear that they are not dominating like they were for a majority of the season. Zach Edey is still going to be Zach Edey, but the rest of the Boilers better figure it out or it could be another disappointing year in West Lafayette.

  • Miami: Another team that lost to an in-state rival on Saturday was the Hurricanes. After being up by 25 against Florida State, they were stunned at the buzzer as Matthew Cleveland drilled a deep three-pointer to give the Noles a 85-84 victory. Losing that game is just flat-out unacceptable when you are a team trying to win the ACC and assert yourself as a national contender. They can still win the conference and make a run in March, but this is a game that a lot of people will point to when they’re filling out their brackets and picking the Canes to lose. Saturday afternoon against Pitt is must-see TV as the Canes currently just sit a half game behind the Panthers in the ACC.

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