The early evening window on this conference tournament Thursday featured several teams that are behind the Florida Gators, George Washington Colonials and Michigan Wolverines in the queue for an at-large. But only the Alabama Crimson Tide, an 81-73 winner over the Ole Miss Rebels in the SEC Tournament second round, and the Ohio State Buckeyes, who edged the Penn State Nittany Lions 79-75 in the Big Ten Tournament, advanced to a Friday shot at higher-quality opponent. In tomorrow's quarterfinal sessions, the Tide will face a Kentucky Wildcats squad that blasted them twice already, while the Buckeyes will again attempt to solve the Michigan State Spartans, who've stymied OSU two times in recent weeks.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who moved on to the bubble by winning seven of its last nine, saw their hopes ruthlessly ended by the Virginia Cavaliers in the third ACC Tournament quarterfinal 72-52. In the nightcap in the Nation's Capital, the Virginia Tech Hokies saw their chances snuffed out by the Miami Hurricanes
There was some good news for bubble teams, as the lower-seeded interlopers in action in the conference tournaments that played their quarterfinals today met ignominious ends. Xavier routed Marquette and Seton Hall slipped past Creighton in the Big East Tournament. In the Big 12 Tournament, the TCU squad that put Texas Tech back on the bubble on Wednesday night was no match for West Virginia this evening.
However, danger lurks in the Big Ten and SEC, which both play their quarterfinals tomorrow. Two double-digit seeds, the Illinois Fighting Illini and Nebraska Cornhuskers, advanced in Indianapolis today. Two more, the Tennessee Volunteers and Alabama, did the same in Nashville. Add in the presence of potentially dangerous LSU and Georgia squads in the SEC and a history of upsets in the Atlantic 10 and you could see a Friday filled with even more twists and turns.
I'll have a full bracket update in the morning, but in the meantime, here's one last look at the picture near the cut line for Thursday.