Most of the time this season, I’ve felt that no Massachusetts school will reach the NCAA Tournament.
There have been moments when I’ve thought Harvard could win the Ivy League, but that thought comes and goes.
Now I have a second thought (if that’s OK with Kevin Paul Dupont). Northeastern could make the tournament.
In the end, I think Massachusetts will be shut out, but Northeastern has given me some positive vibes with a seven-game winning streak that has upped its record to 11-5 overall and 4-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association for only the second time ever.
There are three reasons for the recent success. 1. T.J. Williams has emerged as an all-league player, averaging 21.1 points and 6 assists per game; 2. Alex Murphy, the Duke/Florida transfer, is a solid presence against CAA competition; 3. the Huskies play great defense most of the time; they’ve won 20 straight games when holding opponents to fewer than 60 points.
Any bid will still come down to three days in March in Charleston, S.C., but there will be some late-season excitement when the Huskies play the CAA favorite, UNC Wilmington, twice in the final nine days of the season.
Last week in college basketball:
ELEVATOR GOING UP:
Dayton: The Flyers are the top team in the Atlantic 10. After beating Rhode Island Friday night (without leading scorer Charles Cooke), they have won five in a row and 10 of the last 11. The best college basketball fans in the USA should be excited.
Florida State: The Seminoles might be the most underrated team in the country; they won at Virginia and then handled Virginia Tech in Tallahassee Saturday. They’re 3-0 in the ACC for the first time and 15-1 overall with an 11-game winning streak. It’s the best start since 1988-89.
Nevada: The Wolf Pack had a landmark week. First, they beat San Diego State, a team they had been 0-7 against since joining the Mountain West in 2012. Then Saturday night, they rallied from 25 points down to beat New Mexico, 105-104, in overtime. “It’s the greatest win I’ve ever been a part of,’’ said Nevada coach Eric Musselman. The 25-point comeback tied for the eighth-largest second-half deficit overcome to win a game in NCAA history.
Notre Dame: The Irish haven’t truly proven they can play on the road, but they’ve won five in row and just beat Louisville and Clemson in South Bend.
Richmond: Spidey had a nice win at George Washington Sunday and Richmond is 3-0 in league play for the first time since 1997-98.
SMU: Larry Brown is gone and his hand-picked successor, Tim Jankowich, is doing just fine. The Ponies have won 10 straight and are 14-3 overall.
ESCALATOR GOING DOWN
Georgetown: The Hoyas are a cut below the best in the Big East and that means a lot of losses. They’re 0-4 in the league for the first time since 1998-99.
UMass: The season is probably over for the Minutemen as they fell to 0-3 in the Atlantic 10 when they were blasted by VCU, 81-64, on Saturday. The next two games — Dayton and Rhode Island — seem like certain losses. After that, fans have to hope the young players benefit from the rest of the season.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes lost at Minnesota Sunday and are now 0-3 in the Big Ten for the first time under Thad Matta.
Oklahoma: It’s hard to accept how far the Sooners have fallen; they’re now 6-8 with a six-game losing streak.
Texas A&M: The Aggies are really young, most key players are sophomores and freshmen, and the season has taken a bad turn. They were vaporized at Kentucky, 100-58, and then lost at South Carolina. They’ve lost three of their last four.
Virginia Tech: The Gobblers failed to benefit from upsetting Duke as they went on the road and got crushed by North Carolina State (104-78) and Florida State (93-78).
THIS WEEK’S FINAL FOUR: Duke, Kansas, UCLA, Villanova
THIS WEEK’S NATIONAL CHAMPION: UCLAJoe Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan