Michael Tureski/Icon SMI
By Nina Mandell
One week away from Selection Sunday, everyone's battling for their tournament lives. Northern Iowa secured its spot today with an overtime win over Illinois State in the MVC final. Northwestern probably continued its tournament drought (barring a Big Ten tournament win) with a loss to Ohio State, Davidson lost its chance at an automatic bid (and probably any other) with a loss to the College of Charleston and North Carolina played like a No. 1 seed in a win over Duke in the legendary ACC showdown. Didn't have time to sit in front of the TV today? Here's some highlights:
• So when Michael Jordan came to the regular season finale of Duke-Carolina, did he get a larger round of applause than Tyler Hansbrough? Questionable. Hansbrough may be no MJ quite yet, but he certainly earned his cheers today – he scored 17 points in the Heels’ 79-71 win in Chapel Hill. But the real hero of the game was Ty Lawson, who was rumored to be sidelined with a stubbed toe and finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. More good news for North Carolina: the Tar Heels shot 53 percent from the floor and clinched the ACC regular season conference title.
• A.D. Vassallo played an incredible game to try to keep the Hokies’ tournament dreams alive, but Toney Douglas and Florida State had some other plans. Douglas scored 16 second-half points to bring the Seminoles past Virginia Tech and gave his squad the look of an ACC tournament darkhorse. "I feel like I can score whenever I want," Douglas said. We’ll see what the winner of Clemson/Georgia Tech has to say about that next week.
• Kalin Lucas scored 21 points as Big Ten regular-season champ Michigan State topped Purdue 62-51. The Spartans out-rebounded the Boilermakers 50-32 and held them to just over 28 percent shooting. But most importantly for the darkhorse Final Four candidates: will they shave Tom Izzo’s head now?
• Down by four at the half, James Johnson put up all but four of his 21 points in the second half and Al-Farouq Aminu scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Demon Deacons past ACC-rival Clemson. The win puts Wake at the second seed for the ACC conference tournament that begins March 12 in Atlanta.
• Will this be a tournament without Steph Curry? Looks like it. The College of Charleston topped the Wildcats in the Southern Conference Tournament semifinals as Curry went just 5 of 18 from the floor and 2 of 11 from the three (he finished with 20 points). Other than watching one of America’s most prolific scorers flounder, the game was pretty ugly as a whole: College of Charleston shot just 21.2 percent from the floor in the first half and 32.8 percent overall. On the other end, Davidson shot only 31.6 percent overall.