The race for the ACC virtually ended Sunday as Miami won their 10th straight game to become the only major conference leader to open a 3-game lead, with a 45-43 defensive war won by Trey McKinney-Jones taking a charge in the final seconds. Also Sunday, Wisconsin destroyed Ohio State to become one of four teams within two games of the Big Ten title. Florida has the second most secure lead, with only Alabama within two games of them in the SEC. The following is a list of all teams within two games of a major conference title, followed by a summary of Sunday’s college action.
|Conference||Teams within 2 games||W||L||Win%|
|Big 12||Oklahoma St.||9||3||0.750|
|Big 12||Kansas St.||9||3||0.750|
|Big 12||Iowa St.||7||5||0.583|
|Big East||Notre Dame||8||5||0.615|
|Big Ten||Michigan St.||11||2||0.846|
|Mountain West||New Mexico||9||2||0.818|
|Mountain West||Colorado St.||8||2||0.800|
|Pac 12||Arizona St.||8||5||0.615|
Pac 12. Arizona won their seventh road game of the year behind the backcourt of Mark Lyons (18 points) and Nick Johnson (4 steals) for a 68-64 win at Utah. The win kept the Wildcats tied for second with UCLA at 9-4 in the Pac 12, just one game behind Oregon.
Big Ten. The best conference in the land is still wide open, despite the great 11-2 play by Indiana and Michigan State. Michigan kept within two games of the leaders when Trey Burke scored 29 points to hand hapless Penn State their 13th straight loss. No. 20 Wisconsin expected a tougher test from No. 13 Ohio State, but Ben Brust torched them for 6 of 11 shooting including three 3-pointers in a 71-49 rout. The Badgers had 16 assists to only six for Ohio State to pass the Buckeyes in the standings.
Big East. The second best conference according to www.kenpom.com is the Big East, which has a 3-way tie for first place between Georgetown, Marquette and Syracuse, and a total of seven teams within two games, though UConn is not eligible for postseason.
Mountain West. New Mexico has a narrow lead over Colorado State for first in a conference that will also send San Diego State and UNLV to the tournament for almost half their conference. Wyoming was 14-0 and Boise State 12-2 in non-conference play, and both have a losing record in a Mountain West Conference that has been as tough as the BCS conferences this year.
Big 12. Oklahoma State is the hote team as Kansas has cooled off, but both are still tied with K-State for first inteh Big 12 with three other teams just two games back.
SEC. With Kentucky and Missouri slipping, the only team within two games of Alabama, but the Tide would have to go into Gainesville to upset Florida later this year to make the tournament themselves and possibily stop the Gators from being a No. 1 seed.
ACC. The ACC is not as deep as in the past, but Duke could get a No. 1 seed despite not having much of a chance to catch Miami. Behind them are a borderline tournament team in Virginia, and a UNC team in a rebuilding year. It appeared Duke would get the help it needed from Clemson until the final minute.
Clemson led 42-38 with KJ McDaniels at the line for a one-and-one with just over a minute to play, but he missed the front end. Rion Brown took the ball to the other end and was fouled while driving to the hoop to score and make it 42-41 after a free thrown. McDaniels was fouled again and hit one of two.
Kenny Kadji then hit a three-pointer to give Miami a lead for good, but Clemson had two final chances.
Rod Hall drove to the hoop, but McKinney-Jones drew the charge, and then after the inbound was fouled and
hit a free throw to make it 45-43. Hall drove for one last chance, but his contested shot rimmed out, as
did a tip by McDaniels to leave Clemson just short and Miami as the only undefeated team in a major conference.