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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

College basketball winners and losers: Kansas defends Allen Fieldhouse while mid-majors battle it out

Photo by Photo by Ishika Samant
Fans during Texas A&M’s game against Florida on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

Winner: Purdue in the Big Ten

Looking at what’s left of the Big Ten, Purdue should have the easiest route to win its conference compared to other conference leaders in the SEC and Big 12.

The Boilermakers currently sit at 21-2 and land in the No. 2 spot in the AP poll. Purdue’s only two losses are to Nebraska and Northwestern, both currently unranked and fall somewhere in the middle of the Big Ten standings. Constantly defending their rank, the Boilermakers have faced a whopping five Top-10 teams and have yet to fall short of a victory.

Purdue stands alone at the top of the Big Ten next to three-loss No. 10 Illinois and three-loss No. 11 Wisconsin, with both squads having already lost to the Boilermakers this season.

However, their efforts will be in vain if they can’t make some noise in the Big Dance, as this team proved last year when they fell to 16-seed in the first round of competition.

Purdue has a long history of disappointment in March with no championships to show for it. The last Final Four appearance the Boilermakers made was over 43 years ago. Coach Matt Painter has seen all of the team’s recent success in the 17 years of his tenure, but has yet to lead Purdue to a championship.

Can Purdue overcome its fabled history this March?

Loser: Houston’s defensive woes against Kansas

The “feared” No. 4 Cougars’ defense did not come close to halting the dynamic Kansas offense, losing by 13 points. The Jayhawks out-rebounded and out-shot Houston and showed the country that they can go-toe-to-toe with anyone in the NCAA.

The Big 12 alone is stacked with multiple March Madness contenders, but Kansas is proving to everyone that it will be there in the thick of things.

Before heading into the famed Allen Fieldhouse, Houston ranked first in scoring defense, holding its opponents to an average of only 54.0 points, while also leading the NCAA in field-goal percentage defense at 36.94%.

The Jayhawks put up 78 points and shot 68.9% to make it the worst loss for Houston this year.

In January, the Cougars lost two back-to-back games to unranked opponents in Iowa State and TCU, both on the road. Now with the loss to Kansas, Houston trails the Jayhawks by a game in the Big 12 standings.

One thing is certain, the Cougs need to find a way to win on the road, or they can kiss a championship goodbye.

Winner: Indiana State’s at-large chances

While it may have been overshadowed by the plethora of ranked matchups last weekend, Indiana State and Drake had their own showdown for first-place in the Missouri Valley.

Drake, after winning the first matchup between the two conference rivals, came into Terre Haute, Indiana, looking to better its postseason prospects with a win over the league-leading Sycamores.

Indiana State emerged victorious, 75-67, and with a record of 20-3 — and all three of its losses being Quad 1 losses — an at-large bid is still not a far-fetched idea for the Sycamores.

But with the margin of error being so slim for mid-major programs, a second loss to the Bulldogs this season would have not only put the regular season conference title in jeopardy, but also put a stronger focus on acquiring the conference’s auto-bid — never a guarantee in the Missouri Valley, a conference tournament that’s earned the nickname “Arch Madness” for a reason.

Loser: Princeton fans hoping for a two-bid Ivy League

After Princeton’s run to the Sweet 16 last season and the Tigers starting the year on a 9-0 run, there was hope among some of Wall Street’s finest that the Ivy League could, finally, be a two-bid league when Selection Sunday rolls around in March.

Ranked 12th in KenPom’s rating of conferences, the hope from the Princeton faithful was that the depth of the conference could help support the argument for two-bids, should Princeton lose in the conference tournament. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the rest of the conference was too strong for their own good.

After losing to Yale on Friday, Princeton sits at 4-2 in conference play and ranks third in the Ivy League standings behind Yale and Cornell — each of whom has yet to play each other — with two more matchups against the Bulldogs and Big Red looming.

Having not played a single Quad 1 game and the rest of their schedule consisting of Quad 3 and 4 games, the Tigers may have to run the table — at minimum — to ensure they’re safe heading into the Ivy League tournament.

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About the Contributors
Braxton Dore
Braxton Dore, Sports Writer
Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter
Ian Curtis is a journalism freshman from College Station, Texas. Ian has written about football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, hockey, gymnastics, volleyball and more for The Battalion. Ian's work has also appeared in The Bryan-College Station Eagle and over the airwaves on WTAW and 
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