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March 9, 2009
Monday Tip: Most important game of weekend?
It was a busy weekend in college basketball – no surprise considering it was the end of the regular season in the major conferences and tournament time in some of the smaller conferences.
Basketball was all over the dial all weekend, and those with the inclination – and a satellite – could have watched upward of 60 games on Saturday and Sunday.
So, which was the most important game of the weekend? We put that question to our basketball writers.
Pitt's victory over UConn did a few things. It solidified the Panthers' hold on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. It ended any talk of UConn big man Hasheem Thabeet being Big East player of the year. And it enabled Louisville to win the Big East regular-season title – and get in the discussion for a No. 1 seed. For a team that has spent some time at No. 1 this season, Pitt seems too easily dismissed from talk about potential national titlists. Once again, the Panthers showed that they are a talented, well-coached team that easily could end up being the overall No. 1 seed. DeJuan Blair and Sam Young form a dangerous 1-2 punch up front, and point guard Levance Fields – just a third-team All-Big East selection – always seems to make the right play at the right time. And another game worth mentioning: Davidson losing to College of Charleston in the Southern Conference tourney semifinals, which means no repeat virtuoso performance by Wildcats guard Stephen Curry in this season's NCAA tournament.
When it came to bubble teams enhancing their NCAA tournament résumé, Texas A&M had one of the best weekends of any school. The Aggies' 96-86 victory over Missouri was the sixth consecutive win for coach Mark Turgeon's squad, which opened Big 12 play with a 3-7 record before its late surge. Barring a first-round upset against Texas Tech in this week's Big 12 tournament, the Aggies seem like a lock to make the 65-team field. Along with the Tigers, Texas A&M touts victories against a handful of other schools that have spent time in the top 25, including LSU, Arizona and Texas. The Aggies no doubt will be excited to get back into the NCAA tournament after feeling they were hosed in last season's second-round loss to UCLA, when a controversial no-call in the final seconds allowed the Bruins to escape with a 51-49 victory.
Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.