One of the dangers of conference tournaments at the mid-major level is that the top seed, regardless of the margin by which they won the regular season title, are just 40 minutes away from seeing their dream of going to the NCAA tournament vanish. While there's still a chance as the Field of 68 won't be announced for another six days Iona and Middle Tennessee no longer have control of their own fate, and that has to be a concern for both fan bases along with the players and coaches.
It wasn't pretty but USF found a way to get the job done, beating Cincinnati 46-45 to move to 11-5 in the Big East and 18-11 overall. Freshman point guard Anthony Collins made a pair of free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining to give the Bulls the win, and while it isn't a resume-building win the Bulls did the simplest thing a bubble team can do this time of the year: they won. Collins, who is going to be an outstanding point guard in the Big East as he gains experience, led USF with 14 points and five assists and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick added eight and ten rebounds.
Monday's showdown between #3 Baylor and #7 Kansas gave the visiting Bears a great chance to make the statement that they were ready to dethrone a program that's won at least a share of the last seven Big 12 titles. Well while there's still plenty of basketball to be played before the regular season champion is determined, it's safe to say that Bill Self's team has no plans to simply hand over the top spot.
While many teams across the country look to begin the process of building towards an NCAA Tournament berth with trips outside of the country in the summer, not everyone has the same set of circumstances to deal with once the season begins.
Overall Rank: #111