Cuse stops their slide, but is depth an issue?
- James Southerland was clutch this afternoon. He led the Orange over Pittsburgh, but the production was well distributed among the starting five. This was important, because the selection committee had to wonder if Syracuse was running out of gas late in the season. Getting a win against a very good Pitt squad on a neutral court will stop their slide in terms of seeding. Remember, they were in the running for a 2 seed just a few weeks ago, and had fallen to a 6. Their win today flips their seeding with the Panthers, moving the Orange to a 5 while Pitt falls to a 6. One has to question the depth of the Syracuse, however. Nearly all minutes and production came from six players, and that's a huge red flag when you might have to play five games in eight days. Keep an eye on their level of play against Georgetown on Friday. If they start to get tired early, it's a sign they could be in trouble next weekend.
Cyclones are a lock
- Back in February when Kansas was slumping and Elijah Johnson was hurting the Jayhawks, I suggested he stop taking so many shots and help the team in other ways. Johnson should take notes from Iowa State's Korie Lucious. Lucious was ice cold from the field, but he had a remarkable nine assists while committing just two turnovers. Make no mistake about it, Melvin Ejim wouldn't have scored so much without him, especially as the Cyclones closed in on Oklahoma, who led most of the game until late. Thanks to their comeback today, Iowa State is now a lock for the tournament and will likely stay out of the First Four in Dayton. Oklahoma now moves to the bubble after a confounding loss to TCU last week and their collapse today. More to come on the Sooners later this weekend, but their situation has become very tenuous very quickly.
The Vols hold serve
- It's no wonder Tennessee is a bubble team. They're talented and full of energy, but they play extremely hard headed at times. With the exception of Trae Golden, they took and missed way too many threes this afternoon, but played wonderfully on defense and were able to come out with a critical win. Why is the win over the Bulldogs so big? Make no mistake about it, a bubble team is going to have an awful loss this weekend. Since the Vols are fighting for the last bid, winning a game they're supposed to win is almost like moving up. They can really improve their standing with a win against Alabama on Friday afternoon. Cuonzo Martin's group has yet to do anything away from Knoxville, and a top 100 win on a neutral court would make an impression on the selection committee.