O26 Resume Review: Dayton, Gonzaga, Saint Louis, & More…

Posted by Adam Stillman on March 7th, 2014

We’re a little more than a week away from Selection Sunday. By this point we have a pretty good idea what O26 teams are locks, probably in, or on the bubble. Yet we’ve seen teams play their way into higher seeds and others stumble their way down the stretch. Let’s take a look at the teams that helped and hurt themselves this week:

Dayton is surging toward an NCAA Tournament berth. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Dayton is surging toward an NCAA Tournament berth. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Helped

  • Dayton (21-9, #49 RPI): I’m not sure any bubble team had a better weak than the Flyers. Dayton took care of business at home with an 86-79 victory against Massachusetts on Saturday before picking up a monumental road win at Saint Louis on Wednesday. Dayton is peaking at the right time, having won eight of its last nine games. The Flyers added two huge resume wins to their profile last week and could see themselves in the field of 68 after looking dead in the water just a few short weeks ago. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi places the Flyers in the First Four in his Thursday edition of bracketology — can you imagine the atmosphere at Dayton — the site of the First Four play-in games — if the Flyers are sent there? Tough luck for the opponent. Projected seed for now: #12
  • New Mexico (24-5, #14 RPI): Let’s make one thing clear. New Mexico was going to be in the NCAA Tournament no matter what. But the Lobos are surging toward a top-five seed. They’ve won six straight games and 12 of their last 13. Now New Mexico has a chance to win the Mountain West regular season title if it can top San Diego State on the road Saturday. The Lobos’ computer numbers look great, including a #31 ranking in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. New Mexico has boasted a prolific offense all year long (currently #35 in KenPom’s efficiency ratings and first in the MW in league games). But the real key to the resurgence has been the team’s massive improvement on the defensive end. The Lobos rank 48th in the nation and second in the Mountain West (in league play) on that end of the floor after hovering around a triple-digit rank earlier in the season. Projected seed for now: #6
  • Gonzaga (25-6, #25 RPI): Remember all that talk about Gonzaga possibly missing the NCAA Tournament? Well, you can forget about all of that now. The Bulldogs closed the season with two dominant road wins against Pacific and Saint Mary’s, and while neither of those teams will sniff the Big Dance, Gonzaga’s pair of wins quells any conversation about the NIT. There aren’t many quality wins on the docket — Arkansas, BYU, West Virginia? — but with a solid record and computer numbers (#20 in KenPom), there’s no way the Zags are missing the Dance. Projected seed for now: #8
  • Stephen F. Austin (28-2, #69 RPI): The at-large case rests on Stephen F. Austin’s impressive winning streak, which is at 25 games and counting. The top-seeded Lumberjacks will get a bye to the semifinals of the Southland Tournament that starts next week. Should Stephen F. Austin fall in the tourney finals, the Lumberjacks would be sitting at 30-3 on the year. Would the NCAA Selection Committee really leave out a 30-win team? It would at least be an interesting debate. The problem for the Lumberjacks is that their profile is horrible, with their best win coming against Towson back in December. A 10-point loss to Texas is fine, but an eight-point loss at East Tennessee State is extremely damaging. While it’d be fun to see how the committee handles a situation like this, let’s hope it doesn’t come down to that. This team can win an NCAA Tournament game — it just has to get there. Projected seed for now:#13 as an automatic qualifier

Hurt

SLU is trending the wrong way at the end of the season. (Photo courtesy of foxpsports.com)

SLU is trending the wrong way at the end of the season. (Photo courtesy of foxsports.com)

  • Saint Louis (25-5, #17 RPI): The Billikens are in no danger of missing the NCAA Tournament, of course, but they’re badly hurting their seed. SLU is falling apart down the stretch, having lost three games in a row including two at home to Duquesne and Dayton. Saint Louis still earned the top seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament thanks to Saint Joseph’s loss to George Washington on Wednesday, but it might not matter if the Billikens can’t get things together offensively. Jim Crews’ team was looking at a possible top-four or -five seed in the NCAA Tournament. Now the Bills could slide down to the #6-#8 range. Yikes. Projected seed for now: #6
Adam Stillman (48 Posts)


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