On This Bracket Buster Saturday, Things Pretty Much Stay Intact

First, a note about Kentucky's great escape at Vanderbilt: WOO!

It wasn't a great game. But late in the second half, it was at least a fantastic drama masquerading as a basketball game. Vandy hung tough throughout against the Wildcats, out-rebounding the rugged front line of DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson, and staying close despite going a pitiful 2-of-21 from three. Kentucky gave the 'Dores chance after chance late, with missed free throws and a timeout that John Calipari called "the dumbest timeout I've called in my entire career."

But a clutch John Wall block of a Jermaine Beal trey and a runner that would not fall for A.J. Ogilvy on a Hill-to-Laettner-esque play at the horn saved the 'Cats, who survived a tough road game without playing nearly their best basketball. If they can replicate that resilient performance, they may master March.

In the rest of the college hoops world, it was more or less business as usual.

The less usual? Probably Maryland's marvelous final few seconds. Kentucky and Vanderbilt played today's best game; Maryland-Georgia Tech had the day's best finish.

⇥⇥⇥⇥⇥⇥

Grievis Vasquez hits a buzzer-beater off glass to beat Georgia Tech. But it's waved off because of a timeout. What does Cliff Tucker do? He hits another buzzer-beater to give the Terrapins the win. Maryland fans should hope that their Terps saved some magic for March.

The rest of today's slate just contributed to trends already in motion, and in rather prosaic fashion.

Kansas rolled by 20. Purdue pulled away from Illinois late. Texas was shaky in a win over a team with inferior talent. Butler thumped sliding Siena.

And then there were New Mexico and BYU taking care of business to stay near the top of seeding lines, and Oklahoma State and Florida winning on the road to stay on the good side of the NCAA field's fringe.

There were no huge shocks today -- just three ranked teams lost, and one lost to Kentucky -- and nothing that burst a ton of bubbles for the losers. Siena needs to win its conference tournament to get into the NCAA Tournament now, but the Saints are very capable of that. Mississippi looks very much like an NIT team, and North Carolina looks like an NIT team at best, but neither team was really in good shape before today.

And unless Washington lays a dinosaur egg at home against UCLA, there's not much to suggest that the Pac-10 will get more than one team into the Big Dance.

Things stayed stagnant on this Saturday. Hopefully, that's just a prelude to pandemonium in March.

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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