NCAA tournament 2011: Calipari-Pearl clash in SEC showdown
What mattered Monday:
Pittsburgh 71, West Virginia 66: No Ashton Gibbs, no problem for the Panthers. They relied on rebounding to pound the Mountaineers. Pitt, which leads the nation in rebounding and offensive rebounding percentage, won the board battle, 40-28, and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds. (Gibbs is out up to two weeks with a knee injury.) The Panthers racked up 42 points in the paint.
Kansas 103, Missouri 86: The Tigers are a fun team to watch because of the tempo at which they play. But they have lost three of four and their road woes (1-5 in true road games) have been well chronicled. They have got some work to do. The Jayhawks, who lead the nation in field goal percentage, shot 61 percent as they continued on their path to a No. 1 NCAA tournament seed. They eye a rematch with Texas in the Big 12 tournament.
Detroit 81, Cleveland State 78: The Horizon League is not easy to predict this season, but it is looking more and more like a one-bid league. Cleveland State has lost two straight, including Monday night's defeat to the 171st-ranked team in the RPI. Don't be surprised to see Butler claim the automatic berth.
What to watch for Tuesday:
Tennessee at Kentucky: No shortage of story lines in this one. Bruce Pearl returns after an eight-game SEC suspension. Pearl and Kentucky Coach John Calipari are not exactly the best of friends. Kentucky is .500 in league play halfway through the SEC season for the first time since 1990, and the Wildcats have lost two straight. "When you lose in this sport, it is a crisis," Calipari told reporters. "If you play for me, you understand it is a crisis. Now my thing to them again, we are playing to get better."
George Mason at UNC Wilmington: Mason is playing like the best team in the CAA and everyone knows it. As of today, Mason is not only in the NCAA tournament but perhaps a single-digit seed. The Patriots have won nine straight games, their longest win streak since the 1998-99 season. Ryan Pearson has had two consecutive double-doubles.
Boston College at Clemson: A bubble busting game at Clemson? Not quite. But both these teams could use a win. They each have a 5-4 league record. Clemson needs the win a little more because it lacks a top 50 victory and has a relatively poor RPI (72).