Thursday turned into a day of missed opportunities for a number of bubble teams across the country, and the Pac-12 may be in danger of being a one-bid league as a result of two results that bookended the day in Los Angeles. Top-seed Washington dropped a tough 86-84 decision to nine-seed Oregon State and poor foul shooting for both teams played a role in the finish.
Big 12 - Quarterfinals
#4 Baylor vs. #5 Kansas State, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
#1 Kansas vs. #9 Texas A&M, 3:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
#2 Missouri vs. #7 Oklahoma State, 7:00 p.m. (Big 12 Network)
#3 Iowa State vs. #6 Texas, 9:30 p.m. (Big 12 Network)
Wednesday shaped up as a big day at Madison Square Garden, as four of the eight teams in action were looking to boost their respective NCAA tournament resumes. Two of the four teams, Connecticut and West Virginia, kicked things off in a tight contest that neither team led by more than eleven points (WVU). And while there were plenty of head-scratching decisions made down the stretch by both teams, Jim Calhoun's Huskies were the ones best able to navigate those issues, winning 71-67 in overtime to advance to Thursday's quarterfinals.
Day two of the Big East Championship features four teams looking to improve their chances of reaching the NCAA tournament, with the biggest game of the day being the first. Nine-seed Connecticut, who opener their tournament with an 81-67 win over DePaul on Tuesday, takes on eight-seed West Virginia with the winner likely locking up a tournament berth. These two teams met once during the regular season, a 64-57 UConn victory at the XL Center on January 9th, and with so much change over the nearly two months since that game there may not be a whole lot to take from it.
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.