Fifth-seeded Syracuse (24-8) extended its Big East tenure with the win and the Orange will play fourth-seeded and 17th-ranked Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals today. Both Syracuse and Pittsburgh are leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference after this season.
Aaron Cosby had 22 points for the 12th-seeded Pirates (15-18), who beat South Florida 46-42 in overtime in the opening round on Tuesday.
BUCKNELL 64, LAFAYETTE 56
In Lewisburg, Pa., Mike Muscala scored six of his 20 points during a decisive second-half stretch to help Bucknell capture its second NCAA Tournament berth in three seasons, beating Lafayette in the Patriot League title game.
Joe Willman had 14 points and eight boards to form a potent frontcourt duo with Muscala, the conference player of the year for the top-seeded Bison (28-5). Muscala also had 11 rebounds.
GEORGIA: With the Southeastern Conference Tournament foremost in his mind, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope says his thoughts are not on turning pro.
At least not right now.
Caldwell-Pope, named by league coaches this week as the SEC Player of the Year, could play his final college game today if the Bulldogs (15-16) lose to Louisiana State (18-11) in the second round of tournament.
“I’m not really trying to worry about that right now,” the soft-spoken Caldwell-Pope said. “We’ve got the SEC Tournament to worry about, and I’ve just got that on my mind right now.”
Even if the Bulldogs fall short this week, Caldwell-Pope plans to consider that they could contend for an NCAA bid next season if he returns for his junior year.
“I kind of do because we do have a great team,” he said. “We did improve faster than I thought we would. Every day we get better.”
Whether Caldwell-Pope returns will likely depend on how high he could get drafted. He was listed as the 31st-best prospect this week by ESPN, 32nd by NBAdraft.net and No. 41st by draftexpress.com.
Even at No. 31, Caldwell-Pope still would fall into the second round, a placement that hardly helped the last two Bulldogs to leave school early. Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie were both drafted in the second round of 2011 by the Los Angeles Clippers, and neither has enjoyed a prosperous career.
“This is Kentavious’ life and career we’re talking about, so I take that very seriously, and I’ll make sure that Kentavious has accurate information from the right sources,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We have had conversations about this for the last year. We’ll discuss things at the right time. It’s not something that has to be done any time soon, and he’s aware of that and is just trying to play basketball.”