"I Slept On It" is Blogging the Bracket's nearly daily roundup of the previous night's college basketball action, with a bracketology focus.
Cincinnati (24-3, 13-1) used a huge 40-18 first half to blow past UCF (10-14, 2-11), 77-49, setting up a huge game with Louisville on Saturday afternoon in the Queen City. SMU (21-6, 10-4), on the other hand didn't have the easiest time disposing of Houston (12-14, 4-9) though the Mustangs prevailed, 68-64, to avoid tumbling closer to the cut line.
There is something about George Mason (9-17, 2-10) and Saint Louis (24-2, 11-0) games, isn't there? Jordair Jett scored 25 for the Billikens and they needed every single point to defeat the Patriots 89-85 after overtime. That's the second time this season these two have played an extra five minutes.
On the bubble, St. Joseph's (18-7, 8-3) slipped past Rhode Island (11-16, 2-10), 57-54, thanks to 18 from Ronald Roberts, Jr. Dayton (18-8, 6-5) also picked up a vital win, moving over .500 in the A 10 in the process, by knocking off La Salle (12-13, 4-7), 65-53
Burying the lead a bit (such is a pitfall of organizing things by conference), Boston College (7-18, 3-9) pulled off the upset of the season, defeating previously perfect Syracuse (25-1, 12-1) at the Carrier Dome, 62-59 after OT. The Eagles shot 50 percent from beyond the arc on the night (11-for-22) and connected on nine-of-ten foul shots to earn the win against an Orange team that couldn't connect all night (32.3 percent from the field, a woeful 16.7 percent from three-land). Syracuse will still be on the top line of Friday's bracket, but they may not be No. 1 overall. Saturday's game at Duke is suddenly crucial in both the races for a spot on the top line and for the ACC's unofficial regular-season title.
Xavier (18-8, 8-5) took out DePaul (10-17, 2-13) to keep itself in bid position; however, Marquette (15-11, 7-6) was unable to gain any ground on the rest of the bubble pool. The Golden Eagles fell at home to Creighton (22-4, 12-2), 85-70. Doug McDermott scored 25 for the Bluejays, while Ethan Wragge hit six of his eight three-point attempts while contributing 22.
Northwestern (12-15, 5-9) led Ohio State (21-6, 8-6) early, but the Buckeyes took command, prevailing 76-60. The Buckeyes' LaQuinton Ross and Northwestern's Nikola Cerina were ejected during a scrum in the second half. Ross scored 16 for the Bucks before his departure.
Minnesota (17-10, 6-8) is now officially playing with fire, thanks to a 62-49 loss to an Illinois (15-12, 4-10) team that had won just once in its previous 11 games. The Golden Gophers haven't won consecutive games since defeating Purdue and Penn State on January 5th and 8th.
UNLV's (17-9, 8-5) questionable at-large chances took a heavy blow on Wednesday night, as the Runnin' Rebels were pasted by New Mexico (20-5, 11-2) at home, 68-56. Kendall Williams was scorching hot for the Lobos, who next host Mountain West leader San Diego State on Saturday night, as he scored 29 on an 11-for-17 shooting night.
Leader Arizona (24-2, 11-2) needed overtime to defeat Utah (17-9, 6-8), 67-63. Nick Johnson and Gabe York each scored 15 for the Wildcats, while freshman star Aaron Gordon continues to slump. He had only three points on the night. Second-place UCLA (21-5, 10-3) is hot on the 'Cats' heels still, as they blasted California (17-9, 8-5), 86-66 in Berkeley, thanks to 28 from Jordan Adams. Meanwhile, Colorado (20-7, 9-5) picked up its first win over an NCAA-caliber tea, since Spencer Dinwiddie's ACL tear. The Buffaloes handled Arizona State (19-7, 8-5), 61-52, thanks to 18 from Askia Booker. Oregon (17-8, 5-8), the lone Pac-12 team on the bubble, but not in, picked up a crucial 78-71 home win over Washington (14-13, 6-8).
League-leader Florida (24-2, 13-0) got everything it wanted and then some from Auburn (12-12, 4-9), needing a pair of Pat Young free throws (seriously!) to pull out a 71-66 win. Young scored 17 to lead the Gators, who also got nice contributions from Casey Prather (16 points on six-for-eight shooting) and Scottie Wilbekin (15 points, though on far more shots).
On the bubble, LSU (16-9, 7-6) defeated Mississippi State (13-13, 3-10) in Baton Rouge, as Craig Sword's 33-point night for the Bulldogs was in vain. Missouri (19-7, 7-6) got a scare at home before disposing of pesky Vanderbilt (14-11, 6-7), 67-64. Jordan Clarkson scored 21, with 11 of those coming from the foul line, to lead the Tigers. Finally, Arkansas (17-9, 6-7) made it a rare perfect night for SEC bid contenders, the Razorbacks defeated South Carolina (10-16, 3-10), 71-64.
Boston U. (20-8, 13-2) is now in the driver's seat in the Patriot League race after defeating American (15-11, 11-4), 71-62. Remember that the Patriot Tournament is played exclusively on the home courts of higher seeds.