Houston, UCLA holding on as the Regular Season Comes to a Close.
The college basketball regular season is ending, with conference tournaments providing the opportunity for teams to solidify their tournament resume. Many bubble teams will be looking for some upset wins to sneak into the dance, while the top dogs will attempt to hold off the attack and maintain their sweet seeding. That Big 12 conference tourney will provide us with some of the best basketball all year. It’s March baby, and you know it’s going to be insane. Let’s highlight some teams as we close out the season before and dance to the tune of madness.
Houston is currently the best team in the nation, firmly entrenched in the No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 earning 58 of the 61 1st place votes. They barely snuck past a tough Memphis team on the road Sunday night with a Jamal Shead game-winner to beat the buzzer with a final score of 67-65. UCLA follows behind, solidifying their viability for a 1 seed after a statement victory against the Arizona Wildcats in Pauley Pavillion. Kansas stayed put in 3rd despite losing at Texas on Saturday night. Rounding out the top 4 in the current AP Top 25 would be Alabama, who fell two spots after falling to the then No. 24 Aggies of Texas A&M on the road. As it stands, these 4 schools are probably going to represent this year’s No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Purdue finds themselves on the outside looking in, and unless one of these top 4 trips up in their conference tournaments, it will be hard to see the Boilermakers as the best team in their respective region.
Tennessee slipped down to No. 17 after their loss to Auburn. Once ranked as high as No. 2 on the AP Poll, they’ve lost time and time again on the road, causing their descent. They’re going to need to impress the committee with some upset wins in the SEC Tournament if they want to see themselves named a No. 3 seed on Selection Sunday. As mentioned before, the Aggies triumphed over the Crimson Tide allowing them to rise the ranks this week. Alabama climbed a whole 6 ranks up to No. 18. They’ve put themselves in a great position to make a late-season push into the upper echelons of bracket seeding.
As for the bubble teams, Boise State knocked off then No. 18 San Diego State in impressive fashion to help solidify their position for an at-large bid into the tournament. The Tar Heels let a crucial chance to improve their resumes slip through the cracks as they fell to Duke Saturday night. Utah State earned a much-needed win after defending their homecourt, defeating the Broncos of Boise State. Iowa State finally stopped the bleeding on their midseason collapse, gaining a victory against then No. 7 Baylor on the road.