Wednesday was a big night for bubble teams as a few had opportunities to either bolster or solidify their NCAA tournament resumes. Three were able to take advantage with wins over ranked opponents: Cincinnati, Colorado State and USF. Tim Miles' Rams were at the end of a three-game stretch in which they took on the top three teams in the Mountain West, and CSU's 66-59 comeback win over #17 UNLV may have punched their ticket to the Big Dance. Dorian Green scored 16 points and dished out three assists to lead the way for the Rams, who outscored UNLV 40-18 in the second half.
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.
Wednesday night's game between New Mexico and San Diego State was a big one for the visitors, as Steve Alford's team didn't own a single win over a Top 25 team. But also on the line was sole possession of first place in the Mountain West after UNLV fell at TCU on Tuesday night.
With first place on the line in Columbus the expectation was that #11 Michigan State and #3 Ohio State would play a tight, physical affair. And that's exactly what it was, with the visitors from East Lansing seeming to be the more comfortable of the two teams in the first half. Michigan State shot 46.9% from the field but the reason for their 35-25 lead at the half was their defense, as they limited Ohio State to 33.3% and forced eight turnovers.