Make Your Case: Michigan Wolverines

Posted by jstevrtc on March 13th, 2011

Around this time of year we like to yield the soapbox to representatives of bubble teams and give them the opportunity to explain to the hooping nation why their team should be granted admission into the NCAA Tournament. We encourage them to be as irrational and nonpartisan as they want. As always, feel free to tell us how you think they did in the comments section. If you’d like to make the case for your school, send us an e-mail at JStevRTC@gmail.com and we’ll hear your preliminary arguments.

Joe Stapleton of The Michigan Daily now makes the case for the Michigan Wolverines.

So, this is an interesting place we Wolverines find ourselves. In January, Michigan lost to Minnesota at home — badly — after dropping two ugly road losses in a row against Indiana and Northwestern. It appeared the team was dead in the water. It seemed this season would go how the majority of Wolverine nation thought it would from the beginning, given the team’s youth and inexperience: not very well. The idea that they would win their next game — Michigan State in East Lansing — was laughable.

Then they did it. They downed the Spartans and absolutely took off. After beating Michigan State at the Breslin Center, the Wolverines won eight of their last 11 games (their only losses being at Ohio State, at Illinois and Wisconsin at home) to enter the Big Ten Tournament as one of the hottest teams in the field.

Do Beilein's Boys Deserve a Spot?

And as it stands now, the Big Ten Tournament appears to offer them a golden chance to make the NCAA Tournament field of 68. After poring over projections from Crashing the Dance, Bracketology 101, Joe Lunardi and all the rest, it appears there is a consensus: if Michigan would have lost its first-round game to Illinois, it still would have been 50-50 (bordering on unlikely) that the Wolverines made the Tournament. If they beat the Illini, they’re in. They beat the Illini.

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Make Your Case: Missouri State Bears

Posted by jstevrtc on March 12th, 2011

It’s back. Around this time of year we like to yield the soapbox to representatives of bubble teams and give them the opportunity to explain to the hooping nation why their team should be granted admission into the NCAA Tournament. We encourage them to be as irrational and nonpartisan as they want. As always, feel free to tell us how you think they did in the comments section. If you’d like to make the case for your school, send us an e-mail at JStevRTC@gmail.com and we’ll hear your preliminary arguments.

Billy Jansen, a Missouri State alumnus, now makes the case for the Bears.

You all remember the headlines in 2006, but for Missouri State fans, that same nightmare plays out every season when ESPN and the national sports talk scene start talking about “the bubble.” Out of the 10 teams with the highest RPIs ever to be left out of the NCAA Tournament, Missouri State has three of them. The most painful was the No. 21 RPI left out in 2006.

But the 2011 Missouri State Bears have something that the 2006 team didn’t: a Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship. Going 15-3 in the MVC regular season, they also won a Missouri State-record seven league road games, a tough task when you have the target on your back from being #1 in the league. MSU has won an incredible 10 road games this season. They lost by four at Tennessee, but they had a short bench because of illness, which explains their falter just two nights later at Tulsa.

We'd Like To See the Bears Get In Just To Continue the Celebration of Cuonzo Martin's Butt-Kicking of Lymphoma

This team also has excellent senior leadership, but to go along with that they have the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, junior Kyle Weems. They also have the MVC Coach of the Year in Cuonzo Martin. The former Purdue assistant has one of the most inspiring stories in all of college basketball, from growing up in rough East St. Louis, Illinois, to winning his fight against lymphoma. “You’ve got to dream past what you’ve got right now,” he said in his Coach of the Year press conference.

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Make Your Case: USC Trojans

Posted by jstevrtc on March 11th, 2011

It’s back. Around this time of year we like to yield the soapbox to representatives of bubble teams and give them the opportunity to explain to the hooping nation why their team should be granted admission into the NCAA Tournament. We encourage them to be as irrational and nonpartisan as they want. As always, feel free to tell us how you think they did  in the comments section. If you’d like to make the case for your school, send us an e-mail at JStevRTC@gmail.com and we’ll hear your preliminary arguments.

Taking up the argument for USC is Joey Kaufman (twitter feed) of the USC blog Conquest Chronicles. Joey, the floor is yours.

I find the question of whether USC is deserving of an NCAA tournament at-large bid to be self-evident. Of course, our Trojans do!

After all, they don’t always get a chance to play past the regular season. Last year, self-imposed sanctions prevented ‘SC from participating in the Pac-10 tournament and possibly earning an at-large bid. Not that a team composed of players such as Mike Gerrity and Dwight Lewis (no offense) would have earned one anyway, but still. They never even had a chance (holding back tears). And heck, our football team has been barred from postseason participation for two years.

The Increased Effort On the Defensive End Is the Causative Factor of USC's Late-Season Improvement

So, obviously, we’re deserving of a bid to the Big Dance, because well, we don’t always get a chance to play into March. Sometimes the basketball program isn’t eligible, and other times, it just isn’t good enough (see: Henry Bibby-coached teams).

But this current USC hoops team is playing surprisingly well late in the season. A year ago, the Trojans, plagued by similar depth issues, dropped the final five games of the season, finishing just 16-14 overall after once appearing in contention for the conference title. Presently, Kevin O’Neill’s group has won six out of its last seven games, including yesterday’s 14-point victory over California in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament.

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Make Your Case: William & Mary Tribe

Posted by jstevrtc on March 13th, 2010

As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers, campus newspaper scribes, and beat writers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 14th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble.” We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these folks could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA Tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the bubble and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Jack Lambert, associate sports editor of the W&M newspaper The Flat Hat, now makes the case for the William & Mary Tribe:

We’re not going to make it. We know we’re not going to make the Tournament.

We’re William & Mary. We don’t do major sports.

Studying on a Friday, that we do. Drunken late night runs to Wawa where we chat with colonial reenactors, that we do. Waking up at 8:30 on a Sunday morning to study in the room adjacent to the library so that we get a good space in the library when it finally does open up at 1 PM; that, sadly, we do as well.

But major college sports?  The NCAA Tournament? I don’t think we’ve won anything significant around here since Thomas Jefferson was in office.

Oh, you haven’t heard that Thomas Jefferson went here? That’s funny because it’s been in every single media story about the Tribe this season.

Why not mention Glenn Close, class of ’74? Or Robert Gates, class of ’65 and the current Secretary of Defense? Hell, even though its become clichéd lately as well, you could even mention John Stewart, class of ’84 (by the way, it’s a not so subtle secret here on campus that Stewart hated his time in Williamsburg).

Point is, we do famous people all right, but we suck at sports.

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Make Your Case: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

Posted by jstevrtc on March 9th, 2010

As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers, campus newspaper scribes, and beat writers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 14th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble.” We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these folks could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA Tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the bubble and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Sage Sammons of the UNLV Rebel Yell now makes the case for the Runnin’ Rebels:

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels should not be a bubble team.  They have earned an at-large bid with what they’ve accomplished this season.

The only reason they are on they bubble is typically elite teams, such as Arizona and Louisville, have had a down year.  In November, the polls were voting for the Rebels in the rankings for beating the Cardinals and Wildcats, within a week of each other.

Another reason they need to be locked in is the number of wins over top 25 teams, such as New Mexico in Albuquerque and BYU in Las Vegas.  Both of those teams are are locks for the NCAA, and because of the lack of quality at-large teams, they will get good seeds.  Wins over a possible two and four seed, one of those being away from home, should be good enough to guarantee the Rebels a spot.

Do Willis and the Rebels have a handle on a spot this Sunday?

But I do see the flip side.

Two losses to Utah, a team with a RPI of 150, really brings into question the Rebels’ chances as a tournament team.  If you look at the other losses on their resume, all but one team should be a tournament team, and that’s USC, who will miss for their self-regulatory reasons.  Losses to possible #1-seed Kansas State, BYU in Provo and New Mexico in Las Vegas shouldn’t count as blemishes on UNLV’s resume.  A loss to San Diego State in San Diego is questionable, but the Aztecs have been one of the hottest teams at the end of this season, and they deserve a spot as well.  In whole, of the Rebels’ seven losses, four are against tournament teams and three are against what should be top-four-seeded teams.

To get off the bubble, a team just needs to win.  As the season has wound down UNLV have done just that.  It may have been against the weaker end of the Mountain West Conference, but they have won big.  Come MWC tournament time, they just need to do the same thing.  I believe they will, as a three seed, win the MWC tournament and this talk of them being a bubble team will be popped.

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Make Your Case: Florida State Seminoles

Posted by jstevrtc on March 8th, 2010

As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers, campus newspaper scribes, and beat writers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 14th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble.” We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these folks could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA Tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the bubble and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

TrueCubbie of the Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation now makes the case for the Florida State Seminoles:

Having narrowly avoided disaster against the Miami Hurricanes on Sunday, Florida State will finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference. That fact alone should equate to an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. However, with the attention that is being paid to the Big East this year and the rise of many mid-major teams, further inspection into the Seminoles’ tournament resume is required.

The Seminoles sit at 22-8 with a 10-6 conference record. They rank 17th overall in the Pomeroy Rankings, with the number one defensive efficiency in the country. At Tomahawk Nation, we are strong believers in the Pomeroy system.  The Seminoles’ RPI ranking is 38 and they have the 49th most difficult strength of schedule. They have been ranked in both the AP Poll and Coaches’ Poll.

Barring an outbreak of insanity, the Seminoles should be in. (AP/PM Ebenhack)

The Seminoles finished their out-of-conference schedule with only two hiccups: road losses to Ohio State and Florida. The significant wins in the out-of-conference schedule include winning the Old Spice Classic with wins over Alabama and Marquette. Those wins weren’t pretty, but the Seminoles got the job done. The Old Spice Classic included the likes of Michigan, Xavier and Baylor in addition to Florida State and the opponents listed above. Chris Singleton, Florida State’s small forward, was the tournament MVP. The losses to Florida and Ohio State were two of Florida State’s worst shooting nights on the season. Given the success of Ohio State and Florida’s relative success, the losses don’t appear so bad for the Seminoles. Unfortunately, those games were nationally televised and didn’t give the casual fan the best impression of the Seminoles.

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Make Your Case: Virginia Tech Hokies

Posted by jstevrtc on March 8th, 2010

As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers, campus newspaper scribes, and beat writers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 14th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble.” We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these folks could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA Tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the bubble and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Niemo, a senior writer for TechHoops.com, the authority for Virginia Tech basketball, now makes the case for the Virginia Tech Hokies:

These guys say Delaney and the VT boys are in.

At this point the Hokies shouldn’t have to do any selling to the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.  They would have to be certifiably insane to overlook Virginia Tech this year.  Yes, the Hokies had a legendarily soft out of conference schedule.  But they went 13-1 in those games, including a winner over a Seton Hall team that is on the bubble.  VT also won three true road games.  Yes, the Hokies had a soft ACC schedule, playing the bottom five teams twice each.  But VT went 3-3 against the other top seven ACC teams, all of which have serious shots at the NCAA Tournament.  Virginia Tech got a nice win at Georgia Tech, a top 50 RPI team.  The Hokies were 3-4 against teams in the RPI top 50 and 4-2 against teams 51 through 100 in the RPI.  Tech finished the regular season with 23 wins and had just one loss to a team outside the RPI Top 100.  Even with a loss in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals, the Hokies are in the Big Dance.  Period.

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Make Your Case: Marquette Warriors

Posted by jstevrtc on March 6th, 2010

As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers, campus newspaper scribes, and beat writers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 14th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble.” We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these folks could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA Tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the bubble and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Rob Lowe and Tim Blair from the Marquette basketball blog CrackedSidewalks.com now make the case for the Marquette Warriors, and also why they’ll go deep into March:

After Marquette’s convincing victory over Louisville earlier this week we think the Warriors are a lock for the NCAA tournament.  Marquette is currently 5th in the Big East, 20-9 overall and 11-6 in conference with one game remaining.  Honestly, we feel that Marquette is discussing “what” seed instead of “if” seed.   We’re hoping for a 7, but realize an 8 or 9 might be more likely given the current body of work.

Marquette’s critics will point to the team’s modest RPI (low 40’s), SOS (50’s-60’s), and sub-500 record against RPI 50 opponents.  In addition, more cynical critics will say that we lost at home to NC State, and we lost to DePaul.  Fine… the Warriors have some flaws, but this is the “make your case” argument, so doesn’t almost every team have some warts?

However, you don’t want to play Marquette in the tourney.  MU plays a style that involves winning the turnover battle and making a bunch of threes – and Buzz Williams deploys the personnel to pull that off.  While MU is the 341st tallest team in Division 1 (or the 7th shortest team in the country, depending on your point of view) Buzz’ bunch is one of the nation’s top three-point shooting teams and protects the ball better than just about any other group.  These strengths ensure that the Warriors are never out of any game.  Realize that Marquette’s nine losses have come by a total of thirty-two points and they have yet to lose a game by more than single digits.

Also, Marquette is playing its best basketball right now.  Winners in nine of their last 10, the Warriors are peaking at the right time.  While Marquette struggled to close out games early in the season, all the team has done lately is win the games they needed to win.  Their last set of games includes an NCAA record three consecutive road overtime victories and a win against an equally desperate team in Louisville.

Finally, and this is the most important for a Jesuit University, Jesus wants Marquette in the Sweet Sixteen.  Just pray we’re not in your bracket.

[Ed. note:  We know Marquette changed from Warriors to Golden Eagles.  But we like Warriors better, and so do these guys.  And we hear most of the students and alumni do, too.  So that's why Warriors is used here.]

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Make Your Case: Creighton Bluejays

Posted by nvr1983 on March 11th, 2009

makecaseAs part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 15th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble”. We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these bloggers could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the “bubble” and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Creighton- Submitted by Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball.

Creighton Profile
Record: 26-7
RPI: 40
SOS: 108
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 2-2
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 7-3
Best Wins: New Mexico (Home), Dayton (Home), Northern Iowa (Road), and Illinois State (Home)
Worst Loss: Drake
(Home)

After last Saturday’s blowout loss in the Semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference to Illinois State, Creighton is one of those teams that is sitting squarely on the bubble. I am going to state my case as to why Creighton deserves to go to the NCAA Tournament over other bubble teams.

Creighton was favored to win the Missouri Valley Conference this season, and even though they had a slow conference start at 5-4, they started playing better as a team and reeled off 10 straight wins (including a Bracketbuster win against George Mason) to tie Northern Iowa for a share of the MVC regular season title. The Bluejays extended their winning streak to 11 with a first round win in the MVC Tourney against Wichita State in dramatic fashion, but then turned around and got blasted by Illinois State.

Last impressions are hard to erase from people’s minds and the Illinois State loss will be a hard one for people to forget. However, statistical history is on Creighton’s side. There has never been a team with 26 wins in the RPI top 100 that missed the NCAA Tournament. Also, the MVC regular season champion has made the NCAA tournament the last 15 years.

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Make Your Case: Kansas State Wildcats

Posted by nvr1983 on March 5th, 2009

makecaseAs part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 15th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble”. We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these bloggers could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the “bubble” and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Kansas Statesubmitted by TB at Bring On The Cats.

Kansas State Profile
Record: 19-10
RPI: 72
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 3-5
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 5-7
Best Wins: Missouri (home), Texas (road), Texas A&M (road), and Cleveland State (road)
Worst Loss: Oregon

After Tuesday night’s loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater, K-State’s chances at receiving an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament are smaller than ever. Still, because the proprietors of RTC asked me to make K-State’s case, and because I’m an insufferable homer (OK, not really), I’m going to do my best. Also, ESPN’s Andy Katz still has us in consideration, so it’s still worth looking at what K-State needs to do.

As you can probably tell from the profile above, K-State’s non-conference schedule is bereft of, well, anything. The best teams we played in the non-con schedule were Kentucky, Iowa, and Cleveland State, and we only managed to defeat CSU among those teams as we dropped two-point decisions to both UK and Iowa. You might be wondering why I don’t have Iowa listed in the “Worst Losses” category, considering they’re at 105 in the RPI and 14-15 (4-12 Big 10). At the time, Iowa was at full strength, whereas later in the season several key players would lose time to injuries or suspensions. The Hawkeyes were never going to challenge for the Big 10 title, but they were a decent team at 11-4 before Cyrus Tate’s injury, and had decent wins over Northern Iowa and Iowa State.

Anyway, that one loss doesn’t change things for K-State. Given that we inexplicably lost to woeful Oregon and didn’t have a big win in the non-conference, we needed to separate ourselves in conference play. With wins over Missouri, Texas (on the road), and Texas A&M (on the road), we gave ourselves a chance. But with last night’s loss to Oklahoma State, the best we can hope for is a tie for fourth place in the Big 12 at 9-7, a tie we will win by virtue of our head-to-head win over Texas. The problem is, with Texas, Texas A&M and, to a lesser extent, Oklahoma State having more impressive non-con resumes, we needed to have a clearly superior conference resume to even the playing field. While our conference run still stacks up favorably with all our intra-conference bubble competition, we failed to clearly distinguish ourselves.

One thing that plays in K-State’s favor that wouldn’t have been true in the recent past is the strength of the Big 12 North this season. Coming into this week, the unofficial divisions were 14-14 against each other, but after Kansas’s inexplicable loss to Texas Tech and Colorado’s continued woefulness, the South now owns a 16-15 advantage. But with KU owning wins over Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M; Missouri owning wins over every South opponent it has played, and K-State picking up road wins over Texas and Texas A&M, it’s clear the North is not the South’s little brother this season. If you compare the records of the teams from each division, you will notice that the South did not fare markedly worse against itself as compared to its record against the North, indicating the South didn’t beat each other up and pick off easy wins against the North. The divisions actually appear to be pretty evenly matched.

  • Oklahoma: 4-2 North, 8-1 South (Oklahoma State remaining)
  • Texas: 2-3 North (@ KU remaining), 7-3 South
  • Oklahoma State: 4-2 North, 5-4 South (@ OU remaining)
  • Texas A&M: 3-2 North (Missouri remaining), 5-5 South
  • Kansas: 9-1 North, 4-1 South (Texas remaining)
  • Missouri: 7-3 North, 5-0 South (@ Texas A&M remaining)
  • Kansas State: 5-4 North (Colorado remaining), 3-3 South
  • Nebraska: 5-5 North, 2-3 South (@ Baylor remaining)

(Note: I omitted the bottom two teams from each side because, really, does anyone care what Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Colorado did? Yeah, me neither.)

So, our last shot at an at-large bid is to impress in the conference tournament. If K-State does manage the four seed, it will likely play Texas in the 4/5 game on Thursday in Oklahoma City. A win there would be a big resume boost and would affirm the earlier win in Austin, not to mention giving the Wildcats a third shot at KU on Friday. The Jayhawks will be the top seed in the Big 12 and are one of the hottest teams in the country right now, Wednesday night’s debacle in Lubbock notwithstanding. If K-State could somehow come away with the win there, they would have two impressive wins on the last weekend and would be playing in the conference tourney finals on Saturday. Of course at that point, you might as well just win the title game and eliminate all doubt, but it would at least give us a chance. Beyond the two impressive wins, our “Last 12” record would be 9-3 at that point, another selling point to the committee.

Undoubtedly, K-State is still in the “Work Left to Do” category, and at this point it’s probably more like “A Whole Lotta Work Left to Do.” However, using the scenario outlined above, I believe it’s possible for K-State to remain in consideration for one of the last at-large berths. A win over Colorado would push K-State to 20-10 overall, and two games in the conference tournament, likely against Texas and KU, could push the record to 22-10 with impressive wins on the last weekend of the season. Given that other bubble teams aren’t exactly making huge statements right now, either, a late run could impress the committee. While we’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt K-State if Texas A&M and Oklahoma State would lose this weekend – their opponents are Missouri and Oklahoma, respectively – and go quietly into the night at the conference tournament in Oklahoma City.

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Make Your Case: Maryland Terrapins

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2009

makecase

As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 15th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble”. We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these bloggers could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the “bubble” and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Marylandsubmitted by “bbroman” at Testudo Times.

Maryland lost last night to Wake Forest in a game that very well could have clinched their NCAA tourney bid. But they’re not done yet, not at all. Our mantra as Maryland fans all year has been 8-8 in conference, plus one in the ACC tourney, and they’re in the NCAAs. Right now, Maryland stands at 7-8 with one game left. Luckily, it’s against Virginia, the worst team in the ACC.

Maryland should get to “8-8 + 1″. They’re better than Virginia and better than NC State, who they’d likely play in the first round of the ACC tourney. They’ve already played against both and won both games. If they close out the way they’re supposed to, I can’t envision them getting left out.

There’s plenty of blemishes on their resume, of course: a loss to lowly Morgan State, a mid-50s RPI, a 41-point drubbing to Duke, a bad road record. But for every negative, there’s a positive that’s just as big. Two huge wins over top 10 teams Michigan St. and UNC, one of which was out-of-conference; a mid-20s strength of schedule; a solid record down the stretch; and of course, the biggest one: a .500 record in the toughest conference in basketball (that’s right Big East, I went there).

In the conference they play in, with the big wins they have, and a good strength of schedule, I can’t see the committee turning them away, provided they get to “8-8 + 1″. If they end up 7-9 in the ACC, there’s almost no chance. If they get to 8-8 and don’t get the win in the tournament, I wouldn’t hold my breath. But with two more wins, it should be a happy Sunday for all the Maryland fans out there.

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Make Your Case: Providence Friars

Posted by nvr1983 on March 5th, 2009

makecase1

As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 15th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble”. We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these bloggers could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the “bubble” and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Providencesubmitted by Dave at FriarBlog.com.

Right now, the Providence Friars deserve an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament. The big reason? 10 conference wins (possibly 11 if they can knock off Villanova on the road Thursday night) in arguably the “Greatest Conference in the History of the Universe” (or something like that). While it’s true the Friars have a few warts in their computer numbers, it can be argued that they have no bad losses. Providence has done a great job beating all the teams it should have, and have also picked up a few signature wins along the way.

Technically One Bad Loss
The one loss that is going to be consistently brought up come Selection Sunday is the Friars’ first game of the season against Northeastern. However, there is a perfectly cromulent reason for this loss. First off, this was the debut of the new Providence coach Keno Davis, who was bringing an entirely new system to a veteran team who mostly played 3 years under former coach Tim Welsh. Things obviously took some time to gel, and I have no doubt in my mind that PC would defeat Northeastern soundly if they came back to THE DUNK today. Another huge turnaround from how this team performed against Northeastern and early on in the season is a healthy Sharaud Curry.

Rust be Gone
Point guard Sharaud Curry missed all of last season due to a broken foot. In most of the non-conference schedule this year, Curry was clearly not himself. His quickness wasn’t quite there, and he had several poor shooting nights (averaged only 8 PPG shooting shot 30% including 1/8 FG and 2 points versus Northeastern). However in Big East conference play, Curry has arguably been Providence’s MVP. In 17 conference games, Curry is averaging 13.9 PPG, ranks #1 in FT% (87%), #2 in three-point FG% (44%), and #3 in assist/turnover ratio (2.5). A healthy Sharaud Curry clearly makes a difference on this team, which is why the early season non-conference losses should not be so heavily weighted.

The 10 Wins
For most of the Big East season, everyone was quick to point out how Providence had not beaten anyone of note in the conference. However, nobody seems to want to give them credit for what they have done on the road. The Friars are a solid 4-4 away from home in Big East games (with a chance to get to 5 Ws against Nova), beating Cincinnati, Seton Hall, USF, and Rutgers. While those teams aren’t the powerhouses of the conference, winning on the road in the Big East always tough — just ask Georgetown and Cincinnati after last night. Combine that with an amazing win versus #1 Pittsburgh and another big home win against #15 Syracuse, PC has performed very well in the BBBE (Big Bad Big East). They are guaranteed to finish in the top half of the standings, which should count for something.

The Biggest Blemish: RPI

  • As of Wednesday morning, Providence has an unsightly 69 RPI ranking. The team is hurt by a few things:
  • The aforementioned home loss to Northeastern. As BaseLineStats.com recently posted, “Don’t you dare lose at home: The story of the ‘new’ RPI”
  • Playing fellow Rhode Island teams Bryant (#304 in RPI) and Brown (#314) are just murder on PC’s RPI. Throw in another team over 300 (Dartmouth at #310), and the RPI is going to take a big hit.
  • I don’t trust RPI as far as I can throw it, but hopefully the committee doesn’t put too much stock into it.

The Friars could also be penalized by their 3-7 record versus teams in the RPI #26-100 (which could surely change in the last two weeks as teams move in and out). Four of those losses came early on during the non-conference schedule. However, a 7-5 record over the last 12 Big East games proves just how different this Friar team is than they were back in November/December.

I think it’s clear that this team belongs.

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