In this morning's projection, Michigan State was an 11 seed in danger of falling down to the First Four in Dayton with a loss to Purdue in their Big Ten quarterfinal this evening. Then, a funny thing happened at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Spartans channeled State teams of the recent past in pummeling the Boilermakers, a win that should put Tom Izzo's team in the field with room to spare. On the other hand, Matt Painter's squad leaves the conference tournament earlier than expected for the second year running, after a defeat that may just cost them a top two seed and spot in Chicago for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
In the SEC, Tennessee fell to Florida for the third time this season, 85-74. The Volunteers continue to look like a great candidate for an 8 vs. 9 game next week, while the Gators have a serious case for a No. 2 seed if they win out in Atlanta, particularly with Purdue's recent struggles.
The other bubble team in action in the early Friday night window, Colorado, put up a brave fight, but fell short against Kansas. The Jayhawks prevailed, 90-83, to continue their push toward a No. 1 seed. Meanwhile, the Buffaloes have likely done enough, thanks to their six wins over the RPI Top 50.
Another top seed contender, Duke, was victorious this evening. The Blue Devils handled Maryland, a team destined for the NIT, 87-71. It wasn't all good news for Duke, however, as ACC Player of the Year Nolan Smith left the game with a foot injury. His health is something that bears watching in the days to come.