Morning Madness: Friday, Feb. 17
Here's what you need to know in college hoops for Friday, Feb. 17.
The Big Ten has taken a bit of a beating from outside its borders lately. The men's basketball selection committee, just last weekend, didn't see fit to include a single Big Ten team in its mid-February dry-run seeding of the top 16 teams for the mid-March NCAA tournament.
Nobody inside the Big Ten cares if anyone thinks the glass is half-full or half-empty, though. They're too busy beating up on each other to worry about what outsiders think.
In case you missed it
• Case in point Thursday night: No. 11 Wisconsin lost its second straight Big Ten punchout, this time to unranked but surging Michigan 64-58. The loss drops the Badgers into a three-way Big Ten first-place tie with Maryland and Purdue.
• The Big Ten's not alone in races to the finish. Both No. 5 Arizona and No. 7 Oregon won big Thursday. The Wildcats lead the Ducks by a game in the Pac-12. That race might not be that close; Oregon won the only meeting of the two this year, by 27.
• Then, of course, you have the runaways (see Zips, Catamounts, below). No. 1 Gonzaga wiped out San Francisco on Thursday night. The Bulldogs are 27-0 and lead the West Coast Conference by two games, and they've already beaten the second-place team, Saint Mary's, twice.
What to watch today
• Don't look for any Top 25 games tonight. By our calculations, there are (beep, boop, boop, beep, bop) ... ZERO games involving AP Top 25 teams. Unranked Valparaiso and Oakland are squaring off in a key Horizon Conference matchup. Valpo has a two-game lead, but Oakland has won four in a row, and the game's at Oakland (7 ET, ESPN2).
• Looking ahead to Saturday's biggest games: No. 3 Kansas is at No. 4 Baylor (1 ET, CBS) -- boy, does Baylor need that one -- and No. 14 Virginia (also very needy) is at No. 10 North Carolina (8:15 ET, ESPN).
• On Sunday, No. 23 Maryland's game at No. 11 Wisconsin (1 ET, CBS) gets top billing, but this one's intriguing, too: Georgetown, 14-12 and fighting to stay relevant to the selection committee, travels to No. 20 Creighton, 21-5 (3:30 ET, FS1). No team has made the tournament with more than 14 losses, and Georgetown still has No. 2 Villanova on its schedule, not to mention a tough Big East tournament to maneuver. Tough row for the Hoyas to hoe.
Social moment of the day
Michigan's W's over MSU / Indiana / & Wisconsin is how u get off the Bubble baby/Now is the time to win for teams fighting to go dancing .— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) February 17, 2017
Zips, Catamounts, Blue Raiders, oh my
Valparaiso is one of a handful of teams -- a big handful, OK? -- that are dominating conference play. The Crusaders can snag an almost insurmountable lead in the Horizon if they win Friday night against Oakland.
NCAA.com's Mike Lopresti IDs others, like Akron (MAC), Vermont (America East) and Middle Tenneseee (Conference USA) in this look at conference bullies.
Bracket tip of the day: Which seeds are ripe for upsets?
To win your Bracket Challenge group, yes, you have to pick some upsets. We know. We've crunched the numbers.
|BRACKET CHALLENGE GAME|
The Madness is underway.
CHECK YOUR BRACKET
NCAA.com's Mike Benzie has the word in this edition of the Bracket Beat.
Mark your calendar
Selection Sunday: March 12
First Four in Dayton: March 14, 15
First Thursday of the NCAA Tournament: March 16
Final Four in Phoenix: April 1-3