"I Slept On It" is Blogging the Bracket's nearly daily roundup of the previous night's college basketball action, with a bracketology focus.
Louisville (22-4, 11-2) is all set for its Saturday showdown at Cincinnati. The Cardinals routed USF (12-15, 3-11), thanks to 19 from Russ Smith. Victor Rudd scored 27 and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Bulls.
Clemson (16-9, 7-6) used a dominant second half, one in which they outscored N.C. State (16-10, 6-7) by 18, to pick up a potentially-tiebreaking 73-56 win over the Wolfpack in one of the night's key bubble games. For once, someone not named K.J. McDaniels led the Tigers. On this night, guard Rod Hall scored 20 for the victors. Instead, N.C. State's T.J. Warren, who also scored 20, gets the award for Best Performance with Little Support from His Teammates for this one.
Duke (21-5, 10-3) had little trouble in winning at Georgia Tech (13-13, 4-9), 68-51. The same could not be said for Virginia (22-5, 13-1), which got a serious scare at Virginia Tech (9-16, 2-11) before winning 57-53. The Hokies led from the 10:30 mark of the first half until Joe Harris hit a three for the Cavaliers with 2:39 left in the second.
George Washington (20-6, 8-4) grabbed itself some breathing room, while knocking Richmond (17-9, 7-4) down a bit, with a 73-65 win. Five Colonials hit double figures on the night, led by Maurice Creek's 16. The Spiders' ShawnDre' Jones scored 25 to lead all scorers' on the night. Richmond really needs to defeat La Salle at home on Saturday, while GW faces that difficult trip to Saint Louis.
Jonathan Holmes (14 points) returned for Texas (20-6, 9-4), but that fact didn't matter as Melvin Ejim (25), DeAndre Kane (22), and Georges Niang (20) led Iowa State (20-5, 8-5) to an important 85-76 victory. The Cyclones remain above the Longhorns in the race for a protected seed after this result.
Andrew Wiggins bailed out Kansas (20-6, 11-2), which looked doomed at pesky Texas Tech (13-13, 5-8). The Canadian sensation scored 19 for the Jayhawks, punctuated by a game-winning goal, I mean layup, with less than three seconds left on the clock. A defeat at the hands of the Red Raiders would have been the seventh for KU, which would have likely eliminated them from the top seed race, despite their excellent computer numbers.
Bubble team Providence (17-10, 7-7) blew a golden opportunity to pick up a marquee win, falling to Villanova (23-3, 11-2), 82-79 after a pair of overtimes. The Friars still have not beaten anyone not named DePaul in the month of February (2-4).
Utah State (15-11, 5-9) took San Diego State (23-2, 12-1) to overtime in Logan, but were never really in Tuesday night's rematch, falling by a 60-45 count at Viejas Arena. Matt Shrigley led the Aztecs with 15, off the bench.
Also, San Jose St. Spartans (7-19, 1-13) removed itself from the list of teams without a conference win by stunning Nevada Wolf Pack (12-15, 7-7) in Reno, 66-64. The Wolf Pack, who led the Mountain West in January, have lost five in a row.
Mississippi's (19-7, 9-4) chances took another hit, mostly because the Rebels let Kentucky (17-9, 8-5) open up a huge lead before waking up entirely too late to make up the gap. The Wildcats led by 20 at the second half under-12 timeout, but the Rebels cut the gap to seven on an Anthony Perez jumper with 2:13 left, thanks primarily to a long UK field goal drought. A 10-3 Kentucky run the rest of the way made the result academic. Julius Randle scored 25 and grabbed 13 boards, his 14th double-double of 2013-14 to lead the Wildcats, while Jarvis Summers led Ole Miss with 22.
The conference's other bubble team in action on Tuesday night, Tennessee (16-10, 7-6) picked up a dominant 67-48 home win over Georgia (14-11, 8-5). Jarnell Stokes led the Volunteers with 20. That victory combined with Virginia's survival in Blacksburg puts Tennessee in decent position for Friday's projection.