NEWARK, N.J. — Jordan Theodore started talking about his last chance to play in an NCAA Tournament in the preseason. The senior guard wants desperately to be part of the field of 68.
Tuesday night, he was nearly perfect in helping Seton Hall — one of USF's biggest rivals in its bid for an NCAA berth — get the signature win it needed for its resume.
Theodore had a career-high 29 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 5 of 5 3-pointers, in a 73-55 victory over No. 9 Georgetown on Tuesday night.
"We just needed this one so bad. I was jacked up for this game," Theodore said. "I didn't want to blow another opportunity like we did my sophomore year when we were on the bubble. I have a little experience in being on the bubble. I want to dance so bad."
The Pirates (19-9, 8-8 Big East), whose best win this season had been over Connecticut on Jan. 3, have two games remaining — Rutgers and DePaul — to solidify what would be their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2006. Their RPI is in the high 30s, and it never hurts to be from the Big East, which put a record 11 teams in the field last season.
Still, nothing is official until Selection Sunday.
"What could be better than having a game like this with your fate in your hands," said Herb Pope, Seton Hall's other senior. "We stayed solid. We shot terrific."
Then he talked about Theodore.
"That's my little brother and we're going out together," Pope said. "We moved one inch closer to our goal. He came out on fire and we rode the wave."
Seton Hall put on quite a shooting performance against one of the conference's best defensive teams. It shot 61 percent (25-of-41), the best against the Hoyas this season and the third time any team shot 50 percent or better. Georgetown (20-6, 10-5) went in allowing 38.4 percent shooting this season.
NO. 1 KENTUCKY 73, MISS. ST. 64: The visiting Wildcats (27-1, 13-0 SEC) rallied after trailing 41-28 at halftime, their biggest deficit of the season.
KANSAS ST. 78, NO. 3 MISSOURI 68: Rodney McGruder scored 24 to lead the visiting Wildcats, who saw a 16-point deficit cut to three but held on to upset the Tigers (25-3, 12-3) for the second time.
NO. 7 UNC 86, N.C. STATE 74: Kendall Marshall had a career-high 22 points and 13 assists for the visiting Tar Heels (24-4, 11-2 ACC), who beat the Wolfpack for the 12th straight time. Former North Carolina State stars Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani, who were thrown out of Saturday's loss to FSU by an official, were part of the 1989 N.C. State team that was honored in a pregame ceremony.
NO. 8 OHIO ST. 83, ILLINOIS 67: Deshaun Thomas scored 19 for the host Buckeyes (23-5, 11-4), who shot 65 percent from the field to move a half-game back of Big Ten leader Michigan State.
NO. 11 MICHIGAN 67, N'WESTERN 55, OT: Trey Burke, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass hit 3-pointers to start overtime, and the visiting Wolverines (21-7, 11-4 Big Ten) won their fourth straight game while damaging the Wildcats' bid for the first NCAA Tournament berth in program history.
NO. 25 VIRGINIA 61, VA. TECH 59: The visiting Cavaliers (21-6, 8-5 ACC), held a team scoreless for more than eight minutes in the second half for the second straight game.
MARYLAND 75, MIAMI 70: James Padgett scored 16, including a pivotal three-point play in the final minute, and the host Terrapins held the Hurricanes (16-10, 7-6 ACC) without a basket for nine minutes to damage Miami's NCAA Tournament hopes.
ALABAMA: Coach Anthony Grant said recently reinstated forward JaMychal Green won't play Thursday night against Arkansas. Grant said he will evaluate Green's status for Saturday's Mississippi State game after that.
NO. 1 BAYLOR 80, TEXAS 59: Brittney Griner had 18 points and 10 rebounds to help the host Bears (28-0, 15-0) claim the outright Big 12 title.
NO. 4 UCONN 86, PITT 37: The visiting Huskies (25-3, 12-2 Big East) rebounded from Saturday's loss to St. John's that ended their record 99-game home winning streak.
OKLA. 64, NO. 14 TEXAS A&M 55: The host Sooners tied the Aggies (19-7, 10-5) for second place in the Big 12.
NO. 20 ST. JOHN'S 63, W. VA. 54: Nadirah McKenith matched her career high with 26 points for the host Red Storm (19-8, 11-3 Big East), which has won 12 of 14.
SYRACUSE 81, NO. 21 DEPAUL 65: The visiting Orange snapped a three-game winning streak by the Blue Demons (20-8, 9-6 Big East).
NO. 24 RUTGERS 62, SETON HALL 39: April Sykes scored 17 to help the host Scarlet Knights (19-8, 8-6 Big East) to their 12th straight win over the Pirates.
AUBURN: Coach Nell Fortner, who led the U.S. National team to an Olympic gold medal in 2000, is resigning after the season. She is 143-105 in eight seasons. The Tigers have struggled since winning the 2008-09 SEC title.