Sometimes in conference tournaments, especially for one-bid conferences, the winner is the team that's playing the best basketball at that time as opposed to the team that showed itself to be the best throughout the season. But how often does the winning team not only play their best basketball at the right time but also successfully navigates an in-season coaching change? That's exactly what happened for Western Kentucky, who will make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2009 as a result of their 74-70 win over North Texas.
While there's plenty of conference tournament action on Tuesday's schedule, and three bids to be distributed, there's also a huge game in the Ivy League as Penn (19-11, 11-2) visits rival Princeton (18-11, 9-4). What's on the line for the Quakers? A share of the Ivy League title with Harvard, which would force a one-game playoff between the two teams at a site to be determined.
With the announcement that starting center Fab Melo would miss Saturday's game due to an unresolved academic issue, the chances that top-ranked Syracuse would remain undefeated took a hit. But few would have thought that the Orange would have few (if any) answers in the paint as a result of his absence, and that's exactly what happened at Purcell Pavilion. Jack Cooley scored 17 points and grabbed ten rebounds and Notre Dame led by as many as 18 points on their way to the 67-58 win, the eighth in school history over a top-ranked opponent.
To understand the funk that Pittsburgh and Villanova are currently mired in, it may take this fact about the two teams they lost to on Thursday night. This is the first time as members of the Big East (since 2005-06 for both) that DePaul and USF have won conference games on the same night. Yes, allowing that to sink in underlines the gravity of the situation for both the Panthers and Wildcats, as both teams are in need of some answers at this point in time.
Jon Teitel: Why did you decide to go to North Texas?
Overall Rank: #110
Conference Rank: #2 Sun Belt Conference
North Texas Mean Green
Sun Belt Conference (24-8, 13-5)
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