In the game of the night, No. 1 Villanova (24-4, 13-2) lost its first game while holding the poisoned chalice, by a 90-83 count at No. 5 Xavier (25-3, 13-3). The Musketeers were indeed improved with Edmond Sumner in the lineup, even though he was only four-of-12 from the field (but 11-of-13 from the foul line), as he scored 19 and dished out nine assists. Perhaps there will be a rubber match at Madison Square Garden on Selection Eve—a matchup that might just determine a top seed in the final, real bracket.
Marquette (18-10, 7-8) picked up a 66-61 road win at Creighton (17-11, 8-7) meaning that the chances of the Big East sending just four teams to the field of 68 increased a bit, thanks to the pair's odd split of road games.
Michigan (20-9, 10-6) struggled mightily in picking up a 72-63 home win over Northwestern (17-11, 5-10) but the Wolverines will be able to get through the regular season without suffering a loss to a team outside of the RPI Top 100. Each team' s top scorer, Alex Olah for the Wildcats and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman for the Wolverines recorded 19 on the night.
The Wolverines' final two regular season opponents met in Iowa City. And the Wisconsin Badgers (18-10, 10-5) picked up another huge win for their profile, their ninth in their last 10, 67-58 over No. 8 Iowa (20-7, 11-4). Greg Gard's team is looking more and more secure, even throwing down insane dunks.
Since when does Wisconsin have dudes that can do this? https://t.co/K0csfq99Sd— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) February 25, 2016
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes, who were coming off almost a full week off, didn't look fresh. The Indiana Hoosiers are now all alone at the top of the league at 12-3, but Maryland, which plays in Bloomington to close the regular season has an excellent shot of claiming the regular season title.
Colorado (20-9, 9-7) snapped its two-game skid and gained a bit of bid cushion, topping visiting No. 9 Arizona (22-6, 10-5) 75-72, as a furious Wildcat rally fell short when Allonzo Trier's three-point attempt failed to connect with two ticks left. Josh Scott led the way for the Buffaloes with 26, while Ryan Anderson contributed 19 to the Wildcats' cause. Wildcat coach Sean Miller didn't take kindly to the court storming that followed.
In the conference's bubble game of the night, host Oregon State (16-10, 7-8) won an 82-81 thriller over Washington (16-12, 8-8). Stephen Thompson Jr. (team-leading 18 points) hit a three in the final seconds to deliver the Beavers a vital victory, one that also likely means the Huskies will need the Pac-12's auto bid to quality.
Pitt (19-8, 8-7) missed a golden opportunity to better its profile, falling at home to No. 11 Louisville (22-6, 11-4) 67-60. The Cardinals outscored the Panthers by a nine-to-two margin after Pitt tied the game at 58 with 3:14 left. Pitt is now 1-6 in seven games against the RPI Top 50, with the lone win coming at Notre Dame.
The league leading and seventh-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (23-5, 12-3) rolled past North Carolina State (14-14, 4-11) in Raleigh 80-68. Cat Barber scored almost half of the Wolfpack's points on the night, 32, hitting 12 of his 26 attempts from the field, while Brice Johnson led the Tar Heels with 22.
Oklahoma State (12-16, 3-12) had halftime dreams of an upset win at No. 3 Oklahoma (22-5, 10-5), as they trailed by just three at the break. However, the Sooners put the pedal down in the second half, outscoring the Cowboys by a 44-25 margin, to record a 71-49 home win.
No. 21 Texas A&M (21-7, 10-5) had a really difficult time dispatching Mississippi State (12-15, 5-10) in College Station. The Aggies' winning points in their 68-66 victory came courtesy of a pair of Danuel House (16 points) free throws with just 2.1 seconds left. MSU's Craig Sword 's 24-point night was in vain.
South Carolina (23-5, 10-5) earned a season split with Tennessee (13-15, 6-9), thanks to an easy 84-58 win in Columbia. The Volunteers sure missed Kevin Punter (foot) more on the road than they did against LSU on Saturday.
The Atlantic 10 leader heading into Wednesday night, VCU (20-8, 12-3) was unable to repeat its home blowout win over George Mason (10-18, 4-11) in Fairfax. The Patriots handed the Rams another costly loss for their at-large profile 76-69, their second to a team ranked 150th or worse in the RPI.
As for the conference's other bubble teams, George Washington (21-7, 10-5) was able to avenge an earlier loss to Richmond (14-13, 6-9) and they didn't need an overtime or two to do it, winning 73-61 at the Robins Center. St. Bonaventure (19-7, 11-4) struggled though to split its season series with Duquesne (15-13, 5-10) 80-76.