Virginia Commonwealth is tied for first place with Dayton in the Atlantic 10, and there’s one reason for that: good old, unexpected luck.
The Rams are 9-2 but should be 7-4 if you consider how they just won their last two games against Saint Bonaventure and George Washington. Bona’s Matt Mobley hit a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left to give the Bonnies a 66-65 lead, but overexuberant fans stormed the court. Because there was time left in the game, Bona was assessed a one-shot technical. VCU made it and won in overtime, 83-77.
On Wednesday night, GW’s Yuta Watanabe hit a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left to give the Colonials a 53-52 lead. On the inbound, VCU looked to throw the ball the length of the court. As inbounder Justin Tillman ran along the baseline with GW’s Collin Goss chasing him, VCU’s JeQuan Lewis set a screen. Goss plowed into him and the official called the foul. Lewis hit both free throws and the Rams won.
VCU coach Will Wade should have headed straight to a casino; luck is chasing him around.
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The NCAA selection committee will reveal the top 16 seeded teams up to the minute in a made-for-TV, drum-up-interest show on CBS at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The seeds can change based on forthcoming results before Selection Sunday March 12, so it just makes for some good discussion.
It’s a nod to commonplace bracketology, but it’s only a small step. The real drama is with the final few at-large bids, and the committee won’t be talking about that tomorrow. Anyway, I prefer checking out Joe Lunardi’s bracket on espn.com. Lunardi is the original and still the best.
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Games I’d like to see this weekend:
Dayton at Rhode Island: URI has had its ups and downs, but this is a chance to move back into A10 title contention. The Rams will need a sold-out, engaged Ryan Center. If you haven’t been, it’s a great place to watch a game; it’s just not always filled.
Akron at Eastern Michigan: It will be interesting to see if the Syracuse-like zone of Eastern Michigan can slow down the Zips.
Kentucky at Alabama: The Tide had a fabulous albeit not-well-played four-overtime victory at South Carolina, and now they get the Playaz in Tuscaloosa. This would be a landmark victory for Bama coach Avery Johnson.
TCU at Baylor: The Frogs have come back to life and have put together a three-game winning streak. A victory at Baylor would go a long way toward an NCAA bid.
Villanova at Xavier: X lost point guard Edmond Summer for the season, and that’s probably going to derail any big upset thoughts here.
Georgia at Tennessee: If Georgia has any hope of making the tournament, it needs to win this.
Butler at Providence: The Friars, who had a heartbreaking OT loss at Seton Hall Wednesday night, need this one badly (maybe not as badly as Georgia, but badly).
Florida State at Notre Dame: The Irish are so much better at home, but I don’t think they can handle the size and physical play of the Seminoles.
Harvard at Yale: The Crimson should win this; they can’t afford too many slips if they’re going to catch Princeton.
South Carolina at Mississippi State: I just want to see South Carolina’s manic forward Sindari Thornwell and watch how he reacts after the Gamecocks’ rotten four-overtime loss to Alabama. Against Bama, he had 44 points and 21 rebounds while making 25 free throws. The 25 free throws and 33 attempts broke SEC records held by none other than Pistol Pete Maravich.
Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s: This is the last chance for Gonzaga to lose before the NCAA Tournament. The WCC tournament will be played in Las Vegas.
Cal at Arizona: Cal is hot, with a five-game winning streak; not sure it can pull off this upset.
Oregon at Southern Cal: The Ducks have to rebound from Thursday’s loss at UCLA to keep pace in the Pac-12. Tough assignment.
Michigan at Indiana: Two inconsistent teams; one will be a survivor by winning this game. It should be a desperate struggle. Michigan won by 30 in Ann Arbor earlier in the season. I don’t expect a repeat of that.
Cincinnati at SMU: What a matchup. Cincy has won 15 in a row and SMU has won 17 of 18. SMU’s loss? 66-64 to Cincy. Should be another close one.
Northwestern at Wisconsin: The Wildcats have a two-game losing streak, and this sure looks likes three dead ahead. They then need to regroup and win enough to get the school’s first NCAA bid.Joe Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan