Andre Roberson is averaging 11 points and 11 rebounds per game for Colorado. [David Zalubowski/AP]
Does someone at one of the schools on the bubble this season have a supercharged voodoo doll? Friends in high (and low) places? Were the Mayans right, but just a little late?
Whatever the explanation (and all of those seem feasible at this point), the college basketball stretch run seems to get crazier by the minute. Thursday night has been no exception.
Sure, Virginia became the latest team to get Snaer'd in the web of Florida State's Last Shot Assassin, falling 53-51 in Tallahassee after a late three-point play from the Seminoles' star. And yes, Kentucky got ambushed at Georgia and suffered a crippling loss for its at-large hopes. And UMass couldn't handle Butler at home and missed a chance to enhance its sneaky run at the cutline. I'm sure something else will happen soon to make this paragraph seem passe. If everyone loses, we just keep the same pecking order for the NCAAs, right?
Anyway, none of that even qualifies for one of the two biggest stories of Thursday evening. Right when I got settled in in Boulder to catch Oregon-Colorado, news popped that standout Colorado forward Andre Roberson is out indefinitely with what's being reported as mono.
This is a massive blow for the Buffaloes this close to postseason play. There is no guarantee at this point that Colorado will have its best rebounder and standout defender available for the NCAA Tournament, let alone next week's Pac-12 tournament. And if Roberson doesn't play next weekend in Vegas, then the NCAA selection committee has another headache on its hands. They will not assume Roberson will be ready for NCAA play and will have to judge the Buffaloes accordingly. That's enough to make a lot of people in Boulder very nervous about the Buffs' NCAA standing. At best, it will impact their seed. At worst, it could cost them a bid.
And somehow, that's not the biggest (or most unexpected) story of the last few hours. That (dis)honor goes to Akron star point guard Alex Abreu, who was suspended indefinitely today after being arrested on third-degree felony drug trafficking charges. Abreu reportedly received a sizable shipment of marijuana from undercover officers, who had been alerted to the package by drug-sniffing dogs, and was arrested upon receiving shipment.
Abreu is the Zips' point guard and a huge component of an Akron team that's leading the MAC and has been mentioned as a possible at-large contender should they fail to win the MAC's auto bid. Now Ohio's hopes of advancing to the NCAAs are looking considerably better than a few hours ago.
For the last few weeks, we have been perplexed nightly by results rolling in from across the land, roiling an already murky at-large picture. Now we get viral illnesses and point guards who are distributing more than assists. March, baby. There's nothing like it. What's next?