The Morning After Recap: Wednesday, February 22

Feb 21, 2012; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Seth Greenberg talks to his players against the Virginia Cavaliers at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE

... the safe, smart AM read for college basketball fans

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Another season, and another endless string of 'what if' scenarios for Bill Carmody's Northwestern Wildcats.

With Michigan in town for John Shurna night in Evanston on Tuesday, it appeared that Northwestern would need to pull out a win to keep its slim hopes for an NCAA Tournament bid alive. Things started off quite well on the court too, as the Wildcats weathered an initial storm and carried a seven-point lead into the locker room at half. But just like all of the short-term feel good stories and exuberant moments that have surrounded this program over the last couple of years, it was not to be. The college basketball gods intervened and snatched it all away. Again. For the millionth time.

Northwestern's lead evaporated as the game pressed on in the second half, but Carmody's team still managed to earn an additional five-minute overtime period after Michigan missed a chance to convert in the waning seconds. Once there, however, the Wolverines wasted little time mashing down on the accelerator, scoring 18 points to NW's measly six, en route to a strangely-lopsided 12-point victory.

Without actually saying it, every last soul close to this Northwestern program knows full well what this loss represents in the grand scheme of things. Aside from a remarkable Penn State-like run in the Big Ten Tournament next month, the Wildcats, now 6-9 in the league and 16-11 overall, look to be headed to the NIT at the very best. For a fan base that has continued to fool itself into buying into the "this is the year!" talk, this realization is yet another bitter pill to swallow.

The Local Guys

* Kim English on picking up the pieces: "We didn't defend the way we usually defend, the way we need to defend. That will be fixed. That won't happen again." (Columbian Missourian)

* The North Carolina-NC State rivalry still has a few sparks left in it, thank you very much (News & Observer)

* V-Tech guard Erick Green on a botched final play: "That’s the worst part. I can’t live with the way it ended, not getting a shot off." (Collegiate Times)

The Blogosphere

* Florida gave the ball up 18 times and still had no little rolling over Auburn in the second half (Alligator Army)

* Jordan Theodore torched the eighth-ranked Hoyas with a career-high 29 points (South Orange Juice)

* Rick Stansbury's squad had Kentucky on the ropes, and then, well, reality set in (A Sea Of Blue)

Who Won It Best

Seton Hall - Don't look now but the Pirates are 8-8 in the Big East with only Rutgers and DePaul left to play. A 10-8 mark in the conference could definitely set the wheels in motion for an SHU at-large bid next month depending on how this team fares in the Big East Tournament. But without last night's surprise win over Georgetown, none of that would have been possible. Make no mistake, Seton Hall stepped up to the plate in the biggest, most pivotal game left on its schedule, and you can't say enough about what it means to see this program manhandle the No. 8 squad in America.

Who Lost it Worst

New Mexico - It's rare to beat somebody by 33 points earlier in the season at home, and then go on the road and lose by eight roughly a month later. The Lobos, of course, achieved this feat last night by falling to Mountain West upstart Colorado State 71-63. All of that New Mexico momentum we kept hearing about, you know, from those back-to-back wins over San Diego State and UNLV? Well, it just got swept off the table.

MVP

Colt Ryan-Evansville - Even in a 93-92 overtime loss to Creighton, Ryan was the obvious star of the night for his 43-point effort on 17-of-24 shooting. The 6'5" junior also rounded out his evening with six rebounds, five steals, and four assists. Ryan, who made the headlines when he scored 39 points on eight three-pointers a month ago versus Bradley, has been one of the most deadly scorers in all of college hoops this year, and looks like a lock for First Team All-MVC honors.

By The Numbers

33:42 - Amount of time it took for Georgia Tech to hit the 30-point mark against Clemson.

This Really Happened

Gottlieb_medium
Doug Gottlieb is goin' viral...And is that kid wearing moccasins?!?!? (Gifulmination)

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