O26 Resume Review: Atlantic 10, Conference USA, BYU & Green Bay…

Posted by Adam Stillman on March 13th, 2014

We’re just a few days from Selection Sunday. Let’s take stock of how the O26 conference teams and their resumes stack up in the final days before that fateful day.

Atlantic 10

  • Locks: Saint Louis, VCU, Massachusetts, George Washington
  • Work to do: Dayton, Saint Joseph’s

The Atlantic 10 seems looks to be a safe bet for five bids to the NCAA Tournament, with six being a very real possibility. And this is coming a year after the league lost Butler, Temple, Xavier and Charlotte to realignment. It’s been a banner season for the A-10. But is there a Final Four threat in the bunch? I don’t think so. The league has a lot of good teams, just no great ones. I think the Sweet 16 is the ceiling for any of the A-10’s NCAA Tournament teams.

Dayton is living on the bubble. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Dayton is living on the bubble. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Dayton (22-9, #39 RPI). The Flyers seem to be one of the few bubble teams — in any league in the country, really — that actually want a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Dayton is scorching hot right now, having won nine of its last 10 games. Three of those wins are against surefire locks in SLU, UMass and George Washington. If the Flyers get past their first-round game against Fordham, they’ll get a date with Saint Joseph’s in the A-10 quarterfinals Friday in what could be a play-in game to the NCAA Tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the flyers third in his “Last Four In” category.

Projected seed for now: #12

Saint Joseph’s (21-9, #42 RPI). The Hawks appeared to be in a pretty good position to earn an at-large berth as of a week ago. Then they lost at George Washington and at home to La Salle. Now Saint Joseph’s likely needs a win in the A-10 quarterfinals against Dayton, if not more, to feel safe about their spot. Saint Joseph’s does have a season sweep of Dayton, so they’ve got that in their back pocket. It looks like it will come down to Dayton and Saint Joseph’s as the A-10’s fifth NCAA Tournament. But can the loser of that quarterfinal sneak in as a sixth team?

Projected seed for now: #12

Conference USA

  • Work to do: Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech

I’m not sure either of these teams has a legitimate at-large case. However slim the odds, it’s not completely out of the picture tough. Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech are set to meet in the C-USA Tournament semifinals if they can survive their quarterfinal matchups. Would the winner of that game be able to get an at-large bid if they lose in the tourney final? I think there’d at least be a discussion.

Southern Miss (26-5, #35 RPI). Man, does that RPI look sharp. So does the record. But Southern Miss better hope the NCAA selection committee doesn’t look any further than that. There’s just nothing there to support those gaudy numbers. The Golden Eagles’ best win is either North Dakota State, Georgia State or Louisiana Tech. And there’s a couple bad losses to Western Kentucky and UAB, not to mention a 31-point pasting by Louisville. I just don’t see an at-large profile here.

Projected seed for now: Out

Louisiana Tech (25-6, #70 RPI). I actually see more of an at-large case here, regardless of the poor RPI. I really don’t get that metric. Get rid of it, selection committee. What Louisiana Tech boasts is something most other bubble teams can’t — a great road win. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma 102-98 in overtime back on December 30. That’s the kind of win any team could hang its hat on. And all three of Tech’s C-USA losses came when star guard Raheem Appleby was sidelined with an ankle injury. He’s back now. So the Bulldogs have just three losses with a healthy team. One was an early season defeat to Oklahoma State, one was the season opener at Saint Mary’s and the other was a bad home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. I think Tech deserves an at-large bid if they fall in the C-USA tourney final.

Projected seed for now: #13

Others

  • Work left to do: Stephen F. Austin
  • Hope and pray: BYU, Green Bay
Could Stephen F. Austin earn an at-large bid? (Photo courtesy of zimbio.com)

Could Stephen F. Austin earn an at-large bid? (Photo courtesy of zimbio.com)

Stephen F. Austin (29-2, #67 RPI). The Lumberjacks are the heavy favorite to win this week’s Southland Conference Tournament. It’d be a huge surprise to see them fail to do so. Heck, they went undefeated in league play. But as we’ve seen all too often in during this week-and-a-half of conference tournaments, the top-seeded team from one-bid leagues has been upset. So what happens if Stephen F. Austin is upset in the tourney final? Do they Lumberjacks have a shot? That scenario would leave them with a 30-3 record. Would a 30-win team really be left out of the Big Dance? It’s better not to tempt it, because I think they’d be left out. Yeah, it’s nice to say you won 30 games, but there’s nothing to support an at-large case there. The best win is against a Towson team that lost in the CAA semis, and there’s a horrible loss to East Tennesee State. Another loss in the conference tourney final would be considered a bad loss too. It’s auto bid or bust for the Lumberjacks.

Projected seed for now: #13 (as an auto bid only)

BYU (23-11, #33 RPI). Even more damaging than the Cougars’ loss to Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament final Tuesday night might have been Kyle Collinsworth’s ACL tear. Talk about a double whammy. BYU’s at-large case was precarious in the first place, and the injury could be enough for the NCAA selection committee to wave goodbye to the Cougars. BYU really needed that automatic bid, but it really wasn’t ever in the game. Gonzaga dominated from start to finish. It’s going to be a long few days of waiting for BYU. As unfortunate and unfair as it is, Tuesday night’s events are enough to push BYU into the NIT.

Projected seed for now: Out

Do Keifer Sykes and Green Bay have an at-large shot?. (USAT)

Do Keifer Sykes and Green Bay have an at-large shot?. (USAT)

Green Bay (24-6, #63 RPI). This is just a real shame. Green Bay had the potential to be the next Cinderella that America fell in love with. But then the Phoenix lost to Milwaukee in the Horizon League semifinals, which pretty much sealed their fate as an NIT team. It’s really too bad. Diminutive point guard Keifer Sykes is a scoring machine with major hops, and 7-footer Alec Brown can drain 3s with the best of them. Green Bay’s argument is a 75-72 home win against ACC champion Virginia. But that was way back on December 7, before Virginia got their stuff together. The Phoenix also hung tough with Wisconsin before losing by three at home in mid-November. But they have bad losses to Eastern Michigan, Valparaiso and now two to Milwaukee. That might be one or two bad losses too many for an at-large bid.

Projected seed for now: Out

Adam Stillman (48 Posts)


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