The biggest development on Wednesday night were the wins picked up by Cincinnati, Colorado State and USF, as all three strengthened their arguments for an NCAA tournament bid.
It may feel like it was only yesterday when college basketball fans were excited about the prospect of playing a game on an aircraft carrier, but the most important time of the season is here. Championship "Week" ("Fortnight" sounds more appropriate) begins on Monday, February 27th and won't end until Selection Sunday on March 11th.
In the game of the night Duke rode the hot shooting of Andre Dawkins and the playmaking of Austin Rivers to avenge an earlier loss to Florida State, winning 74-66 in Tallahassee.
There's the perception that the trip to Tallahassee has been a nightmare for #4 Duke (23-4, 10-2) in recent years, but while it is a tough trip the Blue Devils hadn't lost there since 2006 before their 66-61 loss last January. On the line tonight is a share of first place (with North Carolina), a position few expected #16 Florida State (19-7, 10-2) to be in as they were struggling in November and December.
With games at #13 San Diego State and against #11 UNLV this week, Steve Alford's New Mexico Lobos had a great opportunity to not only take control of the Mountain West but also make a statement nationally.
With hopes of not only remaining a factor in the ACC race but also notching their first win at #5 Duke since 1995, NC State was more than motivated for Thursday night's battle. And they played that way out of the gates, scoring the first eight points of the game and leading by as many as 19 points in the first half. But while the Wolfpack would continue to control play in the early portion of the second half, the foul trouble that developed for Mark Gottfried's team in the first half began to take its toll.