The Washington Times - March 7, 2009, 11:30PM

First off, a toast to Boston College and Texas A&M.

When so many other teams were busy losing, these two squads pretty much nailed down NCAA tournament berths.

SEE RELATED:


Special credit goes to the Aggies, who rather easily handled a superb Missouri team from beginning to end to solidify their spot.

Too bad not everyone could play so well in spots.

Here’s a rundown of who helped themselves (beyon A&M and BC), stayed neutral or seriously damaged their NCAA hopes:

HELP

* Michigan: Dumped Minnesota on the road in a bubble battle. The Gophers are probably still fairly safe, but the Wolverines look a whole lot more appealing.

* Miami: Handled N.C. State like it was supposed to. Still need a win (and maybe two) in the ACC tournament. Will play either Maryland or Virginia Tech in a de facto elimination game.

* Auburn: In the discussion, even if the Tigers don’t have a particularly strong argument. Still, wouldn’t bet against them in the SEC tournament; someone has to win that awful event.

* Butler: One step closer to an AQ.

* Arizona: Pac-10 tournament opener will be vital

* Dayton: An A-10 quarterfinal win will lock things up for the Flyers.

NEUTRAL

* Kansas State: Didn’t lose to Colorado and did earn a Big 12 tournament bye; the Wildcats need at least one more win, maybe two or three.

* Florida: Held serve at home against Kentucky. Best thing the Gators accomplished was chasing another bubble team away.

* South Carolina: Beating Georgia won’t help, but losing would surely have been a killer.

* Oklahoma State: Lost at Oklahoma. Join the crowd.

* New Mexico: Lobos’ mission is a deep Mountain West tournament run

* Georgetown: Still a longshot after stirring 48-point outing against DePaul

* Southern Cal: Finished home sweep of Oregon schools. Yawn.

HURT

* Cincinnati: The Bearcats destroyed themselves with last-week losses to South Florida and Seton Hall. Hope is pretty much gone here.

* Kentucky: Billy the Kid needs to win the SEC tournament. It’s not like there will be quality victories lurking about.

* Rhode Island: Not that the Rams had much of a shot anyway, but losing at home to UMass destroys their at-large chances.

* Penn State: The losses of others helps, but the Nittany Lions could have locked things up today at Iowa. Instead, they didn’t and have work to do in the Big Ten tournament.

* Maryland: Falling at Virginia a colossal screw-up at the worst possible time.

* Creighton: Got run out of the building by Illinois State; at-large chances look dicey at best

Patrick Stevens