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Tip-Off Marathon: Winners and losers

From a Bracketology perspective, here are my winners and losers from the third annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon:

WINNER: Ohio State -- Maybe the biggest winner of all. The Buckeyes showed the nation that talk of a possible run to the Final Four is anything but hypothetical. That was some performance in Gainesville.

LOSER: Virginia Tech -- The Hokies ramped up the dreaded nonconference schedule ranking, but couldn't finish at Kansas State. Thankfully, other opportunities await.

WINNER: San Diego State -- The runner-up to Ohio State in the "biggest winner" category. The Aztecs took a chance going to Gonzaga and it paid off in a big way.

LOSER: St. John's -- It'll be a while before we can truly assess Steve Lavin's Red Storm. In the meantime, we know the Johnnies went cross-country to lose at Saint Mary's, are now home for a single game against dangerous Columbia, then jump back on a plane to the Great Alaska Shootout. What about it, Lav?

WINNER: Miami (Fla.) -- The Hurricanes didn't quite get the "W" in the tip-off game at Memphis, but Frank Haith's team clearly showed it can play at an NCAA-tournament level. Miami should be no worse than a bubble team in what should be a mad scramble for bids in the ACC.

LOSER: Colorado -- The Buffaloes had a chance to escape their perpetual Big 12 obscurity at Georgia. Instead, the Bulldogs registered a double-digit victory in their own quest for the NCAA tournament.

WINNER: Louisville -- The Cardinals waxed Butler in a "finger-lickin' good" opening of their brand new KFC Yum! Center. You could almost see this one coming. Almost.

BONUS LOSER: Southern Utah -- Not really part of the Marathon, but Southern Utah gets a mention for all the wrong reasons. The Thunderbirds became the first Division I team this season to lose a game to a non-DI opponent (at home, no less). Cal Baptist did the deed, 79-69.

BONUS WINNER: College of Charleston -- Another non-Marathon entry, the Cougars scared Maryland last week before laying a 16-point drubbing on Big South favorite Coastal Carolina on Tuesday. Bobby Cremins and SoCon Player of the Year Andrew Goudelock are proving to be quite a combo.