Scoreboard Watching: February 10, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

UCLA 82, Oregon 79: Lonzo ball looked every bit the player who has garnered NPOY consideration, notching a double-double and leading the Bruins to a win that seemed unlikely when they trailed by 19 in the first half.  The Ducks' loss puts Arizona back into sole position of first place, where KenPom projects they'll win by a clear 2 games.
 
Duke 86, North Carolina 78: Massive win for the Blue Devils, who seem to be back to playing the basketball many expected they'd deliver when the season started.  Why? Grayson Allen is finally playing like a first-team ACC guard, notching 25 PTS in the win.  UNC drops into a tie with Florida State atop the ACC (UNC won the only h2h meeting) with Virginia just a half-game behind.
 
Purdue 69, Indiana 64: The Boilermakers stay within striking distance of Wisconsin behind Vincent Edwards' 26 PTS, 8 REB performance.  Indiana drops to 5-7 in conference.  Their home game against Michigan on Saturday just got a whole lot bigger as they cling to bubble hopes.
 
Wisconsin 70, Nebraska 69 (OT): The previously mentioned striking distance almost got a whole lot closer after Wisconsin needed overtime to avoid their second loss in conference play.
 
Furman 60, Chattanooga 56: The Paladins sit atop the SoCon while Chattanooga, who entered conference play as the odds-on favorite, falls two games back with six to play.
 
Lipscomb 66, Florida Gulf Coast 60: The Bison pull even with FGCU atop the A-Sun standings after each team won on the other's floor.  Four games remain for each team before the 8-team conference tournament.

Tipping Off This Weekend

Friday
Dayton at Rhode Island: Huge game for the Rams, who have been disappointing this year.  A win likely puts them in the field heading into the home stretch.
 
Akron at Eastern Michigan: Eastern has lost 5 of their last six games, but still remains slight favorites at home over the MAC-favorite Zips.
 
Saturday
Gonzaga at Saint Mary's: The #1 Zags last real hurdle to an undefeated regular season is on in primetime in Moraga.  The first meeting wasn't close, with Gonzaga cruising to a 23-point home win.  This one projects to be much closer, with Saint Mary's only favored by two.
 
Florida State at Notre Dame: In their first meeting, ND shot 15-for-21 3-PT and still lost in Tallahassee in a game dominated by freshman Jonathan Issac.  FSU has looked great as of late, posting 1.48 PPP in their last two games.  The road has not been kind to FSU, however, as they average a mere 0.99 PPP in true road games.
 
Villanova at Xavier: Xavier is rolling, winning five of their last six after starting 3-3 in conference.  Villanova is still eyeing the #1 overall seed in the tournament.
 
Kansas at Texas Tech: Texas Tech is behind the eight ball heading into a brutal stretch where they need to steal some signature wins.

Georgia at Tennessee: The Vols need to win games like this to stay on the good side of the bubble.
 
Kansas State at West Virginia: The Wildcats took round one of this match-up in Manhattan a couple weeks ago.  Morgantown has been boom or bust for the Mountaineers, who have defeated Kansas and Baylor at home, while falling to likes of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
 
Clemson at Duke: Clemson's last stand?  A loss would guarantee that the Tigers won't finish above .500 in conference play.
 
Miami at Louisville: The Cards return home - where they've only lost once this season - to take on a Miami team that's been picking up some quality wins lately.
 
Sunday
Cincinnati at SMU: The Bearcats take a 15-game winning streak into Dallas in a game in which KenPom only gives them a 34% chance to win.  This is by far their biggest test in AAC play.
 
Michigan vs Indiana: Likely a play in/out game for Monday's edition of Bracketology 2017.
 
Virginia at Virginia Tech: Tony Bennett has only lost twice in Blacksburg in seven seasons.
 
Northwestern at Wisconsin: Northwestern has lost their last two, with Wisconsin and Maryland both on deck.  A four game losing streak would make the final stretch interesting in their quest for a first-ever NCAA Tournament bid.
 
Nevada at San Diego State: The Aztechs have been a huge disappointment this season, but they till pose the toughest remaining tests for Nevada in conference play.

Scoreboard Watching: February 9, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

Baylor 72, Oklahoma State 69: Another quality win by Baylor, as Oklahoma State's sudden rise is dampened a bit.
 
Miami 74, Virginia Tech 68: Big win for the Hurricanes in game that between two teams likely headed for a 8-11 seed.
 
Seton Hall 72, Providence 70 (OT): The Pirates trailed for much of this game before edging out the Friars in OT to keep their bubble hopes afloat.
 
Minnesota 101, Iowa 89 (2 OT): Big in between two teams who entered in the bubble conversation - one way or the other.  Minnesota should return to .500 in conference play with a win over Rutgers on Saturday.  

Tipping Off This Weekend

North Carolina at Duke: UNC kicks off a gauntlet of a stretch run, with only two games remaining against teams that are not ranked in the KenPom Top 25, including two with Duke and Virginia each.  If they're going to win the ACC regular season crown, they're going to earn it.
 
Oregon at UCLA: The Ducks are coming off one of the more impressive wins of the season in their 27-point thrashing of Arizona in Eugene.  A win at Pauley would all but eliminate the Bruins from Pac-12 title contention and set them up for a possible run at a 1-seed.
 
Purdue at Indiana:  Once upon a time the Hoosiers looked like 1-seed material after wins over Kansas and UNC.  Now, they're 5-6 in Big Ten play and looking at games like this in a way to solidify their status as an at-large team.
 
Chattanooga at Furman: Furman recently took over as SoCon favorites, but will be tested immediately at home by a strong Chattanooga team.

Bracketology 2017: February 9

Seed List

1: Gonzaga, Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina
2: Baylor, Wisconsin, Arizona, Oregon
3: Louisville, Florida St., UCLA, Virginia
4: West Virginia, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Florida
5: Purdue, Butler, Duke, Xavier
6: Creighton, SMU, Notre Dame, Saint Mary's
7: Maryland, South Carolina, USC, Dayton
8: VCU, Northwestern, Kansas St., Miami Fl
9: Iowa St., TCU, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma St.
10: Minnesota, Indiana, California, Wichita St.
11: Syracuse, Michigan St., Marquette, Seton Hall, Arkansas, Illinois St.
12: UNC Wilmington, Middle Tennessee, Akron, Belmont
13: Vermont, New Mexico St., Monmouth, Valparaiso
14: Nevada, Florida Gulf Coast, Arkansas St., Winthrop
15: Princeton, Bucknell, Furman, Texas Southern
16: North Dakota St., Sam Houston St., North Carolina Central, Weber St., UC Davis, Mount St. Mary's

Out This Bracket: Wake Forest, East Tennessee State, UNC Asheville, New Orleans
In This Bracket: Illinois State, Winthrop, Furman, Sam Houston State

The Bubble: Not a lot of in-and-out movement, but a fair amount of seed shifting around the bubble.  I took Indiana, Cal, Syracuse, Michigan St., Marquette, Seton Hall, Arkansas and Illinois St. over Tennessee, Michigan, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Rhode Island.

Gonzaga still remains the clear-cut #1 overall seed heading into Saturday's showdown at Saint Mary's, where ESPN College GameDay will be.  

I still kept North Carolina on the one seed line as I suspect the committee will reward the ACC Champs.  That's over Baylor, but the margin there is razor thin.

Arkansas is a sinking ship, barely making the cut after losing to Vanderbilt and Mizzou recently.

Those in charge of running the Orlando pod should be very happy, as it looks very likely that both Florida and Florida State will play opening weekend there.  Florida Gulf Coast would have a good chance at joining as well.

Northwestern's loss to Illinois slides the Cats back to a 8 seed, but they're still fairly comfortably in right now, eyeing their first bid in school history.

Nine ACC schools made the field this bracket, followed by the Big Ten and Big 12 with seven each, then the Big East with six.

The Selection Committee will preview their Top 16 teams on Saturday at 12:30 ET on CBS.  I'll release an updated Top 16 at 10 ET followed by the next bracket on Monday, February 13.


Scoreboard Watching: February 8, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

Syracuse 82, Clemson 81: The Orange walk off on a buzzer-beating three-pointer to extend their winning streak to 5.  If they get to 11 ACC wins - which would just be a 3-3 finish - it would be impossible to keep them out, yet again.
 
Alabama 90, South Carolina 86 (4 OT): The Gamecocks fall for only the second time this year in conference play, in a bit marathon thriller at home.
 
Vanderbilt 72, Arkansas 59: The wheels are coming off in Fayetteville.  After getting dismantled by Oklahoma State, the Razorbacks have now dropped 3 of 4 including Mizzou's lone SEC win and now a lopsided home loss to Mizzou.  At 6-5 in conference, they're sliding hard and fast.
 
Butler 68, Marquette 65: Just Marquette's third home loss of the season as the Bulldogs hold them off for a quality road win.
 
Florida 72, Georgia 60: The Gators look like the only SEC team who is trending upwards as of now.  Michael White's system is clicking and it doesn't just look like they're a tournament team, but quite possibly SEC title contenders as well.
 
Penn State 70, Maryland 64: The Nittany Lions - who have played spoiler throughout conference play - effectively douse the Terps regular season title hopes.
 
Michigan 86, Michigan State 57: The Wolverines use a monster first half shooting performance to run away with this showdown, just three days after a lackluster showing at home against Ohio State.  The Wolverines are still just 5-6 in Big Ten play - with a slew of tough games still left on the schedule.
 
Notre Dame 88, Wake Forest 81: The Irish hold serve at home and break their four game skid before hosting FSU on Saturday.  Meanwhile, Wake falls to 5-7 in conference and needs to finish strong to make the cut.
 
Illinois 68, Northwestern 61: Tough home loss for the Wildcats dampers their upward climb a bit.  At 7-4 in conference play though, they're still in good position to make the tournament.
 
TCU 62, Texas Tech 61: Big game for two Big 12 bubble teams, as the Red Raiders take an L they could little afford.  TCU gets back over .500 in conference play, but only has one game left against a team not currently projected in the field of 68.

Tipping Off This Weekend

Baylor at Oklahoma State: The Cowboys' five game wining streak puts them right back into the bubble conversation after their weekend win in Morgantown.  If they can extend Baylor's losing streak to 3, they'll have to be in everyone's field as wins will surely come with only one game remaining against team in the KenPom Top 25.
 
Virginia Tech at Miami (FL): Both teams currently sit at .500 in conference, a mark that they both will need to hit if they want to earn an at-large bid without a big weekend at the ACC Tournament.  
 
Providence at Seton Hall: Pretty much a must-win for the Pirates.  It's a game they certainly should win, while a loss would drop them to 4-7 in conference with Creighton, Villanova, Xavier and Butler all remaining.
 
Iowa at Minnesota: The Hawkeyes have slowly played themselves back into the bubble conversation with ho-hum wins over Ohio State, Rutgers and Nebraska, all non-tournament teams as of now.  They'd do well to split this week in Minneapolis and then East Lansing to set them up for a stretch run to get to 10/11 Big Ten wins.  Meanwhile, Minnesota finally broke a five game skit on Saturday at Illinois and need to go on a run of their own to play themselves back into the tournament.

Scoreboard Watching: January 7, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

Virginia 71, Louisville 55: This unfortunately became a bit of a predictable result after Rick Patino suspended Deng Adel and Mangok Mathiang for breaking curfew.  Virginia keeps within striking distance of North Carolina, with two games against the Tar Heels still remaining.

Kansas 74, Kansas State 71: The Wildcats were able to tie the game with 2:54 remaining, but couldn't get over the hump as Kansas sweeps the season series and stays alone in first in the Big 12.

Tipping Off This Weekend

Butler at Marquette: Butler is on a two-game skid, but hasn't played in a week and should pick up wins with their following three games against teams outside the KenPom Top 50.  Marquette sits at 6-5 in conference and needs to get to 10 conference wins to make the dance, with only three games left against teams outside the KenPom Top 50 themselves.
 
Florida at Georgia: Can the Gators keep their hot streak going against a desperate Georgia team in Athens?
 
Wake Forest at Notre Dame: The Deacons just made the cut in my most recent bracket.  At 5-6 in conference, they probably need at least a 4-3 finish in the strong ACC, doable with home games with Pitt and NC State along with trips to winnable Va Tech and Clemson.  Meanwhile, the Irish are 1-5 after starting 5-0 in conference.
 
Syracuse at Clemson: In typical form, the Orange are February's con traversal bubble team.  A win tonight against Clemson opens the door to 11 conference wins (@ Pitt, @ GT & vs GT remain), a mark that would seem impossible to keep them out if achieved.  Meanwhile, Clemson just got dismantled in Tallahassee, giving up 100+ PTS for the first time since 2002 as FSU hung 109 on them in a 48 point win.
 
Michigan State at Michigan: When these two rivals first met nine days ago, it was Michigan that was just barely in the field and MSU hoping to play their way in.  The Spartans are now in - moderately comfortably - while Michigan is out at 4-6 in conference and with a mother of an uphill climb needed to make the dance.  All but two of Michigan's remaining games will come against tournament teams, of which they'd need to finish at least 5-2 if they were to fall against State tonight.  Long story short: this rivalry game could be Michigan's last stand.

Bracketology 2017: February 6

Seed List

1: Gonzaga, Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina
2: Louisville, Baylor, Wisconsin, Arizona
3: Oregon, Florida St., UCLA, West Virginia
4: Virginia, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Florida
5: Purdue, Butler, Duke, SMU
6: Xavier, Maryland, South Carolina, Creighton
7: Saint Mary's, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Iowa St.
8: Kansas St., USC, Dayton, VCU
9: Virginia Tech, Miami FL, Michigan St., Oklahoma St.
10: Arkansas, Indiana, Minnesota, California
11: Marquette, Wichita St., TCU, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Seton Hall
12: Akron, Middle Tennessee, Valparaiso, Nevada
13: UNC Wilmington, East Tennessee St., Belmont, New Mexico St.
14: Monmouth, Arkansas St., Florida Gulf Coast, Princeton
15: Vermont, UNC Asheville, Bucknell, Weber St.
16: North Dakota St., New Orleans, UC Davis, North Carolina Central
 
A lot of shake-up at the top, but one thing remains clear - the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the #1 overall seed now and should be in everyone's bracket.
 
Florida and Kentucky both move to the 4-seed line (Kentucky down, Florida up) after Saturday's lopsided content.  I was tempted to put the Gators higher, but their overall resume simply doesn't warrant them leaping over any teams above them currently on the S-curve.
 
North Carolina make it's first appearance on the 1-seed line in quite some time.  They still remain the favorites in the nation's strongest conference.  There's going to have to be a lot of attrition to keep an ACC team from getting a top seed.
 
After looking like bubble teams before the weekend, Kansas State and Iowa State move to the 8 and 7 seed lines, respectively.  K-State has a monster opportunity against a Kansas team that was blindsided on Saturday against the Cyclones.

The ACC gets back to 10 teams for the first time in a couple brackets after Wake Forrest and Syracuse made the cut - though both just barely.  The Deacons and Orange were joined by Seton Hall and Minnesota who both returned to the bracket after some time on the bad side of the bubble.  The Pirates were my last team in, which was largely aided my Wichita State's win over Illinois State, which switched the Shockers from an at-large bid to an auto-bid, freeing up a spot.

In total on the bubble, I took Indiana, Minnesota, Cal, Marquette, TCU, Syacuse, Wake and Seton Hall over teams like Tennessee, Rhode Island, Georgia Tech, Iowa or Michigan.

Next bracket comes out Thursday, February, 9.

 

 


Scoreboard Watching: February 6, 2017

In The Books

Saturday
Florida 77, Kentucky 66: Two teams heading in opposite directions it would seem.  The Gators are playing great basketball right now and look primed to make a run for the SEC crown, especially if Kentucky continues to slide.  The Wildcats haven’t won in regulation since January 21.
 
Oregon 85, Arizona 58: This Ducks completely dominate at home over KenPom’s projected Pac-12 Champs. The loss will keep Arizona from jumping to the 1-seed line, which would have been an easy move after the results below.
 
Iowa State 92, Kansas 89 (OT): Coming off their two best wins of the season, Kansas falls at Phog Allen to an Iowa State team that badly, badly needed the win after sliding back toward the bubble.
 
Kansas State 56, Baylor 54: The Wildcats were in very dangerous territory, losing three straight heading into games at Baylor, vs Kansas and at WVU.  To say this is a big win for K-State is a massive understatement.
 
Purdue 73, Maryland 72: Caleb Swanigan’s double-double helped the Boilermakers edge the Terps in the battle for who will remain the top contender to Wisconsin for the conference crown.
 
Xavier 82, Creighton 80: Two teams who saw star players lost for the season in recent weeks met in a thriller.  Both teams are hoping that despite the injury, they can make a push for a top-4 seed.
 
Oklahoma State 82, West Virginia 75: All the sudden the Cowboys have risen from the ashes and look like a tournament team.
 
Syracuse 66, Virginia 62: As are the Orange, who have picked up four quality wins in a row now.  Their resume is still littered with losses to UConn, BC, St. John’s and Georgetown, but if it’s going to be hard to keep anyone out who gets to 10 ACC wins – which would only require a 3-4 finish.
 
Wichita State 85, Illinois State 45: The Shockers avenge their lone conference loss emphatically, moving back into a tie atop the MVC – and importantly, in better position for an At-Large bid should they not claim an automatic-bid.
 
Ohio State 70, Michigan 66: Michigan falls to 4-6 in Big Ten play.  Tournament hopes are very dim in Ann Arbor, as they’ll need a 6-2 finish to get to 10 conference wins, and only have two games left against teams not projected in the tournament – both on the road.
 
Stanford 81, Utah 75: Terrible weekend for the Utes, who go 0-2 against the NoCal schools and fall below .500 in conference.
 
Wake Forest 81, Georgia Tech 69: The Jackets lose back-to-back games to go back to the bad side of teh bubble and negate the momentum earned with wins over FSU and ND.
 
Missouri 83, Arkansas 78: An absolute anchor of a loss for the Razorbacks, snapping a 13 game losing streak for the Tigers and becoming their first team ranked in the KenPom Top 225 to fall to Mizzou.
 
Sunday
North Carolina 83, Notre Dame 76: In a game that moved day and location, the Tar Heels keep grip of first in the ACC.  KenPom projects a 4-way tie for the conference crown, with UNC, FSU, Louisville and UVA all projected to finish 13-5.
 
Florida State 109, Clemson 61: Well, that’ll send a message.  Florida State absolutely dismantled Clemson, behind Dwanye Bacon’s 29 points.  13 players scored for FSU who host NC State on Wednesday.
 
Wisconsin 65, Indiana 60: The Badgers keep their spot on top of the Big Ten standings, while IU falls to 5-6 in conference play.  The Hoosiers are projected by KenPom to finish 8-10 in conference, which would surely mean NIT banishment for the Hoosiers without a deep conference tournament win.

Tipping Off Tonight

Kansas at Kansas State: The Wildcats are coming off their best win of the season and Manhattan will be rocking for this rivalry game.

Louisville at Virginia: Well, this story changed a bit this morning as Deng Adel and Mangok Mathaing were both suspended after breaking curfew.  The good news is the Cavs’ pace doesn’t necessitate a deep bench, which may help to mitigate the damage.

 


Scoreboard Watching: February 3, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

California 77, Utah 75 (2 OT): Big win for the Golden Bears, who I've been higher on than most.  This should help get them on the good side of the bubble in the eyes of more.
 
Gonzaga 85, BYU 75: Easy win on the road in one of Gonzaga's more difficult remaining games.

Tipping Off This Weekend

Friday
Rhode Island at Davidson: The Rams absolutely have to get wins like ti if they want to make the dance.
 
Saturday
Kentucky at Florida: The Gators have been playing their best basketball of the year as of late.  Kentucky has not.  Couple that with the toughest environment Kentucky will see all year and this has all the making the signature win Florida needs to crack a Top 4 seed - a big deal with nearby Orlando hosting an opening weekend site.
 
Arizona at Oregon: After a sluggish start last night, the Wildcats buried Oregon St. to set up a great weekend showdown among these two Pac-12 heavyweights.
 
Purdue at Maryland: The two teams with the best shot of beating Wisconsin for the conference title tip off.
 
Xavier at Creighton: Both teams are leaning to live without star players lost to ACL injuries.  The Jays want to prove that their midweek win over Butler was a valid sign they're ready for life after Mo Watson.
 
Virginia at Syracuse: The Orange have gotten themselves back into the bubble conversation after a three game winning streak.  Few teams are playing better right now though than a methodical UVA team that will look to pick Boeheim's zone apart.
 
Notre Dame at North Carolina: A couple weeks ago, this had the making of a first-place showdown.  The Irish have hit the skids however, dropping four of their last give to fall to 6-4 in conference.
 
Oklahoma State at West Virginia: The Cowboys have slowly played themselves back into the field.  A win in Morgantown - where Big 12 powers Baylor and Kansas have flopped - would be the statement they so badly need.
 
Minnesota at Illinois: The Gophers simply cannot afford to see their losing streak get extended to six against an Illinois team that has struggled themselves as of late.
 
Iowa State at Kansas: The Cyclones need the monumental upset to avoid their fifth loss in seven games.
 
Kansas State at Baylor: Almost the same story for the Wildcats, who have already lost five of seven heading into murderers' row: @ Baylor, vs Kansas & @ West Virginia are their next three games.
 
Ohio State at Michigan: Both teams need the win to keep bubble hopes alive.
 
Akron at Ohio: The MAC leading 'Zips take to the road in their toughest game remaining.  KenPom has them at only 40% to win, which would be their first loss since December 10 at Gonzaga.
 
Sunday
Clemson at Florida State: The Noles bounced back with a demonstrative win at Miami for their first road win of the season on Wednesday.  They return to Tallahassee, where they've won sixteen straight, to take on a Clemson team coming off a win over Georgia Tech that has given them new life.
 
Indiana at Wisconsin: The Hoosiers needed triple overtime to get past Penn State at home on Wednesday.  It's hard to see them hang with the conference leaders in Madison, which would drop Tom Crean's squad to 5-6 in conference.

Bracketology 2017: February 2

Seed List

1: Gonzaga, Kansas, Villanova, Baylor
2: Arizona, North Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky
3: West Virginia, Virginia, UCLA, Wisconsin
4: Cincinnati, Florida St., Oregon, Purdue
5: Creighton, Maryland, Duke, Florida
6: Butler, South Carolina, SMU, Notre Dame
7: Northwestern, Xavier, Saint Mary's, USC
8: Dayton, VCU, Virginia Tech, Arkansas
9: Iowa St., Indiana, Kansas St., Miami Fl
10: Middle Tennessee, Michigan St., Akron, Marquette
11: Oklahoma St., TCU, Tennessee, California, Clemson
12: Wichita St., Georgia Tech, Illinois St., Valparaiso, UNC Wilmington
13: Nevada, East Tennessee St., Arkansas St., New Mexico St.
14: Monmouth, Princeton, Florida Gulf Coast, Vermont
15: Belmont, UNC Asheville, Bucknell, Weber St.
16: North Dakota St., Sam Houston St., North Carolina Central, UC Irvine, Texas Southern, Mount Saint Mary's
 
Analysis to come

 


Scoreboard Watching: February 2, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

Kansas 73, Baylor 68: Baylor looked every part the worthy B12 contender, but it's going to take a herculean effort to unseat the Jayhawks.  I'm moving Kansas to LOCK status in the Bubblebox, meaning I think they would make the tournament even if they lost out.
 
Florida State 75, Miami 57: The Seminoles notch their first road win of the season after back-to-back losses at Georgia Tech and Syracuse.  
 
Purdue 80, Northwestern 59: Well, the gap between the Wildcats and the Big Ten's elite might be still be large.  They have one game between now and their trip to Madison on February 12 to improve.
 
TCU 86, Kansas State 80 (OT): Jamie Dixon's team needed it badly, as the win snaps a four game losing skid that greatly damaged their tournament chances.  K-State is on their own skid, losing their third in a row heading into a gauntlet of Baylor, Kansas and West Virginia.
 
 

Tipping Off Tonight

Utah at California: Bubble team showdowns are always big.  When all else fails, head-to-head could determine your tournment fate.
 
Gonzaga at BYU: One of the 'Zags more difficult games remaining on their schedule - they're a mere 91% favorite by KenPom.
 
Michigan St at Nebraska: Sunday's win over rival Michigan could be the catalyst the Spartans need to close strong and lock down a tournament bid.  Better teams have lost in Lincoln, however.  Good test to find out if that corner has been turned.