Screaming Trees, the Tide rolls out and a special dishonorable mention for Kansas ...
* Indiana State. The Sycamores thrashed Creighton, adding to one of the most inconsistent profiles out there. The Trees have beaten the Bluejays, Wichita State, Miami and Mississippi while losing to Drake, Illinois State, Morehead State and Southern Illinois. Who knows just how good Indiana State really is, but this was a fine night in Terre Haute.
* Memphis. The Tigers won at Southern Methodist like they were supposed to and moved into first in Conference USA when Southern Mississippi. That's a day that warrants a better assessment than merely treading water.
* Michigan State. Held serve at home against Minnesota, winning for the eighth time in nine games and avenging a New Year's Eve loss in Minneapolis.
* Oklahoma State. The Cowboys' surge continues, holding off Baylor in overtime. That's four in a row for Marcus Smart and friends, with a manageable two-game road swing (Texas and Texas Tech) up next.
* Temple. Edged Charlotte 89-88 in a defense-optional game in Philadelphia between fellow Atlantic 10 bubblers. Related: The first two days of the A-10 tournament are going to be a blast next month.
* Alabama. For shame, Crimson Tide! For shame scoring 37 points in a loss at lowly Auburn. Don't expect to see yourself in a projected 68-team field for at least a couple more weeks, perhaps longer thanks to a soft schedule that offers little forgiveness to an unexplainable stumble. You know, like Wednesday's.
* Boise State. Oh so close for the Broncos, who yielded a game-winning 3-pointer to San Diego State's Chase Tapley in the final seconds of a 63-62 loss. Boise makes the turn in Mountain West play at 15-7 overall and 3-5 in the league. That's one they'll regret well into March.
* Cincinnati. It won't hurt the Bearcats if it's a random anomaly, but it's generally not best to lose to Providence --- though the feisty Friars have split their last eight games and are making a push to avoid Tuesday at the Big East tournament.
* Iowa. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and it certainly doesn't count with the NCAA selection committee. The Hawkeyes went down in double overtime at Wisconsin, a tough outcome for a team that's proving to be a tough out on most nights.
* Rutgers. FIVE! Five consecutive losses for the Scarlet Knights, who continue their drift away from at-large contention! MWA! HA! HA! #countvoncountonbasketball
* Saint Joseph's. One step forward, one step back. The Hawks frittered away the good will of beating Temple by losing to a Dayton bunch that had dropped five of seven (with the wins in that stretch coming against Duquesne and Fordham).
* Southern Mississippi. The Eagles aren't exactly the greatest at-large possibility. More to the point: They're in the at-large pool at the moment after losing at Central Florida. That's not a dreadful loss, per se, but Southern Miss just can't afford to give away many games now if it hopes to survive a conference tournament loss next month. The Eagles' margin dwindled a bit tonight.
* UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels lost at Fresno State, which is another indication even the bottom-tier Mountain West teams are intent on playing a role in the conference's cannibalization of itself.
WHAT ... THE ... HECK?
* Kansas. One game isn't going to sink the Jayhawks, and they're in no danger of missing the NCAA tournament. But if Kansas is going to lay a massive egg at Texas Christian (or No. 236 in the RPI Texas Christian, if you want to be particular about it), then its floor is a lot lower than anyone guessed.
A lot of people like to express astonishment over results that aren't remotely outside the realm of possibility. This, though, was a truly baffling outcome --- as in a once a year occurrence, if not even less common than that. Good luck finding a more head-scratching score the rest of the season.
--- Patrick Stevens