Ten Questions to Consider: Seeding and Bubble Talk Intensifies

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on February 16th, 2018

This weekend’s slate of games will only further intensify the ongoing talk of seeding, the bubble and conference championships. Here are 10 questions heading into this weekend’s action.

Are the Bonnies Bubbling? (USA Today Images)

  1. Is a win over Rhode Island what St. Bonaventure needs to get on the right side of the bubble? Sitting just outside of the current RPI top 40, St. Bonaventure has a chance for a Quadrant 1 win against Rhode Island tonight. With the Rams’ best player E.C. Matthews status unclear from a recent injury, the Bonnies could be facing Rhode Island at just the perfect time.
  2. How much is Villanova missing Phil Booth?  The Wildcats’ recent losses to St. John’s and Providence have raised questions about Villanova’s potency without the services Phil Booth. With the junior guard sidelined, Jalen Brunson’s increased playing time time has perhaps contributed to his current three-point shooting slump — 3-of-19 over his last three games.
  3. Simply put, how good is Louisville? The post-Rick Pitino era has gotten off to a good start as Louisville sits at 18-8 overall and among the top five in the ACC standings. The Cardinals have benefited from a friendly schedule thus far, however, earning seven wins against teams outside of the KenPom top 200 and just three wins against those in the top 50.
  4. How will Texas Tech deal with its unfamiliar position as the Big 12 leader? Since losing three of four games during a shaky mid-January stretch, Texas Tech has now reeled off seven straight wins. The Red Raiders travel to Waco this weekend to play a hot Baylor team which has won four straight and owns the best opponent effective field-goal percentage in Big 12 play.
  5. What was Bill Self thinking with his recent comments? In talking with the media this week, Kansas head coach Bill Self said, “it’s going to be a struggle” to win the Big 12 this year. For a program that has won 13 consecutive conference titles and sits just a game out of first place, Self’s comments suggest that he remains unsure of his team’s overall toughness. That toughness will surely be tested by the physicality of West Virginia this weekend.
  6. Which team needs a win more: Oklahoma or Texas? Oklahoma has lost four straight games and seven of its last nine, while Texas has fallen in three in a row and four of its last five. While the selection committee listed Oklahoma as a #4 Seed in last Sunday’s Bracket Preview, a loss here and with a game coming up against Kansas could send their seed position spiraling the wrong way very quickly.
  7. Can Creighton avoid repeating a late-season conference slide? After starting Big East play 8-5 last season, Creighton went on to lose three of its final five conference games. The Bluejays have again started 8-5 as they head into a game against Marquette this weekend. A win on Saturday would make next week’s match-ups with Butler and Villanova a lot more comfortable for Creighton.
  8. Can Wichita State’s make the final weeks of the AAC interesting? Prior to Thursday’s AAC slate of games, Wichita State sat three games behind conference-leading Cincinnati. But a Bearcats’ loss to Houston combined with a Shockers’ win over Temple has narrowed the gap to two. Interestingly enough, Wichita State will have two cracks at Cincinnati, beginning with this weekend’s battle in the Queen City. The game could come down to the Shockers’ ability to rebound on the defensive end against a squad that ranks among the top five nationally in offensive rebounding rate.
  9. How far can James Palmer Jr. carry Nebraska? Dirk Chatelain of the World-Herald recently wrote an informative piece on why the RPI can be faulty when comparing Nebraska to other bubble teams. On the floor, one advantage the Cornhuskers have against most opponents is the play of the conference’s fourth-leading scorer, James Palmer. Head coach Tim Miles will look for Palmer to continue to carry the team as Nebraska hits the road for the final time this season.
  10. Can Clemson come up big at home against Duke? After blowing an 18-point lead on Wednesday in a game in which Clemson also lost starting guard Shelton Mitchell to a head injury, the Tigers return home to battle Duke. While Marvin Bagley has missed two straight games, his absence has awakened senior guard Grayson Allen, who has scored at least 20 points in each of the games Bagley has missed. The winner of this game remains in good position for a double-bye in the ACC Tournament.
Matthew Eisenberg (143 Posts)

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