Last night’s biggest winner was probably Cincinnati, which is pretty close to having enough to feel comfortable about its NCAA tournament prospects after upending Georgetown at Verizon Center.
The biggest loser? That’s probably Baylor, which was hammered by 18 at Missouri and isn’t showing an inclination to make a run at the postseason.
As for Thursday, there’s a handful of teams with something to gain as Selection Sunday inches closer.
* Marquette at Connecticut, 7. The Golden Eagles are 2-8 outside of Milwaukee, and those victories came against Rutgers and South Florida. Not exactly jewels. Marquette is also 9-11 against the top 200, so while Buzz Williams‘ team has done nothing offensive, it is vulnerable to getting squeezed out of the field if a rash of conference tournament upsets strikes. Beating Connecticut would go a long way to answering any questions.
* Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Cleveland State, 7. The Vikings need a sweep of the Horizon League’s Wisconsin schools to clinch the regular season title. That, in turn, would mean Butler would have to potentially go on the road for the tournament final. So while Cleveland State isn’t a great at-large candidate, this possesses some intriguing repercussions.
* Old Dominion at James Madison, 7. The Monarchs don’t need to start handing out reasons for exclusion, though there’s no shame in falling in Harrisonburg. Still, the Monarchs would probably like the No. 2 seed in the CAA tournament and avoid facing James Madison or Drexel in the conference quarterfinals.
* Northeastern at George Mason, 7. The Patriots are probably safe, but just to be certain, they’d be wise to sweep Northeastern and Georgia State this week. The Huskies are playing better, but Mason should fare well in its home finale.
* Penn State at Northwestern, 9. Neither of these teams should be in the discussion, though Penn State’s collection of decent victories make them modestly intriguing if they can get hot. But at 14-12, how likely is that?
* Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s, 11. The Gaels can clinch the West Coast Conference regular season title with a victory. Both teams are definite bubble candidates if they don’t win the WCC tournament, so this is the last chance for the Gaels and the Zags to collect a potentially useful victory – though Gonzaga probably needs one a bit more at the moment.