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Top of the Arc - March 15, 2009

March 15, 4 p.m.: I have emerged from the dark room, crumpled sheets of paper in hand, and have made my decision. In the middle of the night a few nights ago, I scribbled two words on a piece of paper and showed it to a person. That person told me to go to take a hike, but the two words were as follows: Patty Mills.

He is now back, and will get healthier as the days go by. As I weighed Saint Mary's vs. Penn State I looked at it like this: Yes, Penn State did everything it could during conference play to prove it was NCAA worthy. But I also think Saint Mary's did everything it could during conference play to prove it was NCAA worthy. If it had Mills the whole time, maybe it beats Gonzaga once, maybe not, but it's record would be even stronger.

Now who did everything it could during non-conference play? Well, that one is easy. Saint Mary's, a team no high major wants to play, beat San Diego State on a neutral court and beat Utah State in the bracket buster. What did Penn State do? It played the nation's 307th-ranked non-conference schedule -- just an awful non-conference sked. I heard Mike Slive say earlier today that there are no "exhibition" seasons. Maybe that was a message to the folks in Happy Valley.

Saint Mary's stays in! Penn State out! And that's it.

1) North Carolina
2) Oklahoma
3) Villanova
4) Gonzaga (WCC)
5) Xavier
6) Clemson
7) Ohio State
8) LSU
9) Texas
10) Michigan
11) Siena (Metro Atlantic)
12) Saint Mary’s
13) Cleveland State (Horizon)
14) American (Patriot)
15) Cornell (Ivy)
16) CS-Northridge (Big West)

1) Louisville (Big East)
2) Michigan State
3) Wake Forest
4) Missouri (Big 12)
5) Arizona State
6) Marquette
7) Utah (Mountain West)
8) Brigham Young
9) Boston College
10) Temple (Atlantic 10)
11) Southern California (Pac-10)
12) Mississippi State (SEC)
13) Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)
14) Portland State (Big Sky)
15) Radford (Big South)
16) Chattanooga (SOUTHERN)/Alabama State (SWAC)

1) Pittsburgh
2) Duke (ACC)
3) Syracuse
4) Washington
5) Illinois
6) UCLA
7) Butler
8) Oklahoma State
9) Dayton
10) Minnesota
11) Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)
12) Virginia Commonwealth (CAA)
13) North Dakota State (Summit)
14) Binghamton (America East)
15) East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun)
16) Morgan State (MEAC)

1) Connecticut
2) Memphis (Conference USA)
3) Kansas
4) Florida State
5) Purdue
6) West Virginia
7) Tennessee
8) Texas A&M
9) California
10) Wisconsin
11) Maryland
12) Utah State (WAC)
13) Akron (MAC)
14) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
15) Robert Morris (Northeast)
16) Morehead State (Ohio Valley)

By Eric Prisbell  |  March 15, 2009; 4:01 PM ET
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