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Conference play heats up in college basketball

With February progressing, the days until conference tournaments and March Madness start to become numbered. At this point in the season, college basketball intensifies and teams start to play the best basketball that they have all season. This season has become one of the most upset-ridden seasons’ college basketball fans have witnessed as teams battle for the seed in the big tourney they desire. Over the past week, there have been a few notable conference games.

The Seton Hall Pirates traveled to play the Villanova Wildcats in a Big East divisional game. Currently, Villanova sits as the No. 10 seed with a 17-6 overall record and ranks as the No. 3 seed in the Big East with a 7-4 divisional record. Seton Hall sits at the No. 12 seed with an 18-5 record and the No. 1 seed in the Big East with a staggering 10-1 divisional record. Though they’ve got the superior seed and better record, the level of competition faced by Seton Hall versus Villanova is drastically different, leading to the Wildcats being considered the more powerful squad. With dominance in the paint and the team’s ability in making late-game free throws, Seton Hall managed the upset giving them a three-game lead over everyone in the Big East. This continues Villanova’s inconsistent season as they have gone so far as to beat the No. 1 seed then lose to unseeded teams in the same couple weeks. Seton Hall further proves they are contenders and are close to locking the No. 1 seed in the conference. 

Over in the SEC conference, the Auburn Tigers played the Lousiana State University Tigers in a sought out rivalry game. Auburn sits as the No. 11 seed overall with an impressive 21-2 record, they also sit as the No. 1 seed in the SEC conference with an 8-2 divisional record. Louisiana State University also finds themselves ranked as the No. 18 seed with an overall 17-6 record and an 8-2 divisional record, making them the No. 3 seed in the SEC. During play, Auburn came back from a second-half 14-point deficit and forced overtime where they would win 91-90. This moved Auburn, Lousiana State University and Kentucky into a three-way tie in SEC divisional wins as they all sit at 8-2, meaning that the SEC, along with many other divisions, is still open for the taking.

Up in Michigan, the Big Ten featured a divisional game between the Michigan State (MSU) Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines. Currently, MSU holds the No. 16 seed with a 16-8 record, but has fallen back to fifth in the division with an 8-5 divisional record. Michigan is not currently seeded after a losing streak leading to a 14-9 record, during which they fell back to twelfth in the Big Ten with a 5-7 divisional record. Michigan snapped a four-game losing streak to MSU with a 77-68 victory. This was a crucial win for Michigan as they ended the losing streak and got another big win for their resume. This continues MSU’s disappointing season as they have traveled from being the No. 1 seed to becoming a team that is fighting to stay seeded at all. 

Over the next week, more big games continue to roll in. No. 8 Florida State plays No. 7 Duke, No. 13 West Virginia tries to prove its worth against No. 1 seed Baylor, No. 21 Creighton tries to knock off divisional leaders Seton Hall plus many more crucial games. Upsets seemingly riddle the top 25 every week as teams try to secure their spot at the top of the division, which will make for an exciting playoff projection.

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