Hoops du Jour
Robert Morris at SFU women
Tipoff: 7 p.m. at DeGol Arena
Records: Saint Francis (11-14 overall, 9-5 Northeast Conference); Robert Morris (18-6, 13-0).
Coaches: Keila Whittington is 11-14 in her first season at Saint Francis; Charlie Buscaglia is 87-36 in his fourth year at Robert Morris.
Live stats: www.sfuathletics.com
Live online: www.necfrontrow.com
Leading scorers: Saint Francis — G Karson Swogger, 5-8 Jr. (11.6); Robert Morris — C Nneka Ezeigbo, 6-2 Sr. (14.3).
Notes: Robert Morris leads the all-time series 46-42, including claiming the last three meetings … The Colonials hold a 2.5 game lead over Mount St. Mary’s for the top spot in the NEC, while SFU is in the fourth spot … The two programs have met in the last two Northeast Conference Tournament championship games. SFU won and RMU took last year’s title with a 65-54 victory … Bishop Guilfoyle graduate Lili Benzel has led the Red Flash in scoring the past two games with 12 and 13 points respectively. The redshirt sophomore has gone 7-of-13 from 3-point range as well … Robert Morris is off to the best NEC start in program history — surpassing last season’s mark of 12-0 … The Colonials have won 10 straight contests by double digits, and have only won by single digits during conference play (six point win with Merrimack and five point edge over Wagner).
Mirror prediction: Robert Morris 68, Saint Francis 43
Comment: The Red Flash don’t stand a chance in this one. The Colonials are winning by 25.6 points over their last 10 games, and SFU will be their latest victim.
Mirror prediction record: 16-9
— Nate Ritchey
San Diego State still unbeaten
BOISE, Idaho — Malachi Flynn scored 22 points, Yanni Wetzell added 14 and No. 4 San Diego State beat Boise State 72-55 Sunday to remain undefeated.
The Aztecs (26-0, 15-0 Mountain West Conference) won in Boise for the first time since Jan. 16, 2016. They had little trouble handing the Broncos their first conference loss at home this season.
Boise State entered the game on an 11-game home winning streak but struggled to find any rhythm on offense and finished the game shooting 41.2% from the field.
After wrapping up the Mountain West regular season title on Tuesday with a victory over New Mexico State, San Diego State didn’t show any signs of let down.
NO. 15 VILLANOVA 76, TEMPLE 56: Collin Gillespie scored a season-high 29 points to lead Villanova over Philadelphia rival Temple. Jermaine Samuels added 13 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 10 for Villanova (19-6), which won its seventh straight game over Temple while finishing 4-0 in the Big 5. Quinton Rose scored 22 points and Nate Pierre-Louis had 16 for Temple (13-12).
NO. 21 IOWA 58, MINNESOTA 55: Luka Garza scored 24 points, Ryan Kreiner added 10 points and Iowa came back to beat Minnesota. Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free-throw attempt with a chance to tie it with 3.8 seconds left and the Hawkeyes (18-8, 9-6 Big Ten) came away with a rare road win in conference play. Oturu scored 15 points and Marcus Carr added 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Minnesota. Gabe Kalscheur 12, but the Gophers (12-12, 6-8) lost for the fourth time in five games.
SEC stacked with bubble teams
NEW YORK — The SEC has three teams that should be locks for the NCAA Tournament.
The rest of the conference may have some work to do.
No. 11 Auburn (22-3) climbed as high as No. 5 in The AP Top 25 and was among the top 16 seeds in the NCAA’s preliminary rankings earlier this month. The Tigers have lost just three times in their follow-up to the 2019 Final Four run.
No. 12 Kentucky (20-5) was No. 1 early in the season, among the initial NCAA top 16 and has won eight of nine.
No. 25 LSU (18-7) has slipped up lately with three losses in four games, but still should be in the field of 68, barring a late-season collapse.
Then things get interesting.
Florida (16-9) bounced back from losing four of six by beating Texas A&M and Vanderbilt last week. The Gators have a tough road ahead, though, with Arkansas, Kentucky (twice) and LSU still left on the schedule.
A fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance under Mike White will likely depend on those games.
“Their team is so good,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said after a 78-61 loss to the Gators on Wednesday. “They put stress on you in every possible way.”
South Carolina (16-9) has a strange resume with wins over Kentucky and Virginia offset by home losses to Boston University and Stetson. Six wins in seven games and a winning SEC record (8-4) should help the Gamecocks’ chances.
Arkansas (16-9) has gone from appearing to be safely in the bracket in coach Eric Musselman’s first season to being on the bubble.
The reason: Isaiah Joe’s knee injury.
The sophomore guard was the SEC’s sixth-leading scorer before undergoing knee surgery on Feb. 4. The Razorbacks have played four games since then and lost every one.
Arkansas has a couple of resume-building opportunities coming up, with games against Florida and LSU before the SEC Tournament.
Mississippi State’s last-second win over Arkansas on Saturday was a huge boost to the Bulldogs’ NCAA Tournament chances. The win was Mississippi State’s second against a Quad 1 opponent and gives the Bulldogs (16-9) a chance at a 20-win regular season with no games left on the schedule against the SEC’s top 3 teams.
Alabama’s waning NCAA Tournament chances got a huge boost with a win over LSU this week. Still some work to do, but those are huge on the resume.
Who’s on the rise?
Virginia (17-7), 9-5 ACC). The reigning national champions survived what could have been a debilitating loss by beating North Carolina by two — yes, the Tar Heels have fallen that far — and have some resume-building potential, with No. 7 Duke and No. 5 Louisville coming up.
Creighton (20-6, 9-4 Big East). Seven wins in eight games, including over No. 10 Seton Hall, has Greg McDermott’s team in good shape.
Rutgers (18-8, 9-6 Big Ten). The Scarlet Knights’ run toward their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1991 got a nice bump with a win over Illinois on Saturday.
Saint Mary’s (21-6, 8-4 WCC). The Gaels won a can’t-lose game against Pacific on Saturday and have a couple of more before facing No. 2 Gonzaga in the regular-season finale.
Catch me I’m falling
Illinois (16-9, 8-6 Big Ten). The No. 22 Illini have lost four straight and saw star Ayo Dosunmu go down with a knee injury against Michigan State. The good news: Dosunmu suffered no structural damage and Illinois has a solid resume to this point.
Stanford (16-9, 5-7 Pac-12). Once the surprise of the Pac-12, the Cardinal are stuck on the bubble after seven losses in eight games.
Memphis (17-7, 6-5 AAC). Blowing a 10-point lead in an overtime loss to Cincinnati was a big blown opportunity. Two games against Houston and another against Wichita State will be huge.
Virginia Commonwealth (17-8, 7-5 Atlantic-10). Three losses in four games makes Tuesday’s showdown with Dayton massive.
The Associated Press