NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.13.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 13th, 2012

The NCAA Tournament is here and there’s more news, commentary and analysis than any of us can possibly keep up with. To make things a little easier, we’ll bring you a list of daily links gathered about teams in each of the four regions all the way through the Final Four.

South

  • One thing the Big 12 is missing in the NCAA Tournament is a #1 seed. Coming into the Big 12 Tournament, Kansas and Missouri had their chances, but the Jayhawks dropped their semifinal to Baylor and despite winning the regular season crown, the selection committee frowned on the Tigers’ non-conference schedule in dropping them to a #2 seed.
  • Kentucky head coach John Calipari was irked by the omission of Drexel from the field of 68. While the Dragons certainly had an argument for inclusion, we’ll also point out that Calipari’s comments also serve as a defense of his former assistant, Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint.
  • Indiana sophomore swingman Victor Oladipo has done a little bit of everything for the resurgent Hoosiers. He’s a key cog in the Hoosier offense, averaging 10.9 points per game and helps out on the glass with 5.5 rebouns per contest.
  • Notre Dame turned what was supposed to be a rebuilding year into an NCAA Tournament bid. The silver lining to losing Tim Abromaitis early in the season is that it gave the Irish plenty of time to adapt.
  • Wichita State has exceeded all expectations this season. Would you be surprised to see the Shockers advance further than either of their high-major in-state brethren, Kansas or Kansas State?
  • Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg and Connecticut assistant Kevin Ollie were once teammates with the Chicago Bulls. Now, their teams will meet in the Second Round.
  • Notre Dame’s strong defense could pose a problem for XavierThe Irish have made life miserable for a number of opponents this season (just ask Syracuse), and without a star player on offense, they’ll have to rely on their disciplined defense.

West

  • Louisville head coach Rick Pitino looks to avoid an exit at the hands of a mid-major team for the second straight season when his Cardinals take on Davidson. The Wildcats enjoy an uptempo pace, which could play right into Louisville’s hands, but it could be curtains if the Cards’ offense continues to sputter.
  • A close bond ties Long Beach State seniors Larry Anderson, T.J. Robinson and Casper Ware together, as do their struggles with ailing relatives. The 49ers are a popular Cinderella pick due to their experience and a non-conference schedule that saw them travel to some of the game’s most intense venues.
  • After sweating out Selection Sunday, Colorado State breathed a sigh of relief but now must get to work as it prepares to face Murray State in Louisville. Donte Poole, once a CSU signee, is one of the Racers’ top contributors this season. Read the rest of this entry »
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Bracket Prep: West Region Analysis

Posted by AMurawa on March 12th, 2012

Throughout Monday, we will roll out our region-by-region analysis on the following schedule: East (9 AM), South (11 AM), Midwest (2 PM), West (4 PM). Here, Andrew Murawa (@amurawa) breaks down the West Region from top to bottom. Also, be sure to follow our RTC West Region handle on Twitter for continuous updates the next two weeks (@RTCwestregion).

You can also check out our RTC Podblast with Andrew breaking down the West Region here.

West Region

Favorite: Michigan State, #1, 27-7. This is the fourth time in the Tom Izzo era that Michigan State has earned a #1 seed. The previous three times (1999, 2000, and 2001), they advanced at least to the Final Four, winning the national title in 2000. Led by likely All-American senior forward Draymond Green, this is, almost without question, the best Spartan team since those teams at the turn of the century. They do have to go forward without injured freshman Branden Dawson, out for the year with a torn ACL, but senior Brandon Wood stepped into his starting spot and he shot the ball well in the Big Ten Tournament this weekend. You can say that there are more talented teams in this region (Missouri and Marquette come to mind), but beating Izzo in March is always easier said than done.

Draymond Green And Michigan State Are The Team To Beat In The West Region (AP)

Should They Falter: Missouri, #2, 30-4. While the Spartans are the favorite, the Tigers are a solid 1-A. The Selection Committee had Mizzou as the #8 overall seed, but they have been excellent all season long behind the most efficient offense in the nation. The Tigers are undersized (only two players taller than 6’6” are in the rotation) and lack depth (they only play seven guys), but head coach Frank Haith gets every last drop out of the guys who do play. And with guards like Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Phil Pressey, and Michael Dixon, they have enough talent on the perimeter to cause plenty of trouble.

Grossly Overseeded: BYU, #14 (First Four), 26-8. I don’t have a whole lot of problems with any of the seeding this year; I think the Selection Committee by and large did a pretty good job. But I’m not sure why BYU is in the tournament. Their lone quality win of the season is over Gonzaga, a team who doesn’t have much in the way of quality wins itself. I would rather have seen a team like Drexel or Oral Roberts (teams admittedly without a ton of big wins either) get the Cougars’ spot. The Dragons and Golden Eagles both had better records against top 50 RPI teams, and both excelled in their conference regular season. I will even take Iona, their First Four opponent, over the Cougs despite a complete lack of quality wins on the Gaels’ resume. The committee gave Iona credit for scheduling a tough non-conference slate, and their strength of schedule out of conference even exceeds BYU’s.

Grossly Underseeded: Missouri, #2, 30-4. I’m having trouble working up a whole lot of outrage about anything in the bracket, but Missouri should not have dropped to the #8 overall seed. To me, they were right in the conversation with Kansas for the #5 overall seed (and I might have given Missouri the edge, although the committee docked them for a relatively tame non-conference schedule). The only difference for the Tigers in terms of their placement in the bracket is that had they earned the #5 overall seed, they would have been dropped in the St. Louis regional instead of being shipped West. But the good news is that they still are in the bracket with the lowest #1 seed. It all works out.

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NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.12.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 12th, 2012

The NCAA Tournament is here and there’s more news, commentary and analysis than any of us can possibly keep up with. To make things a little easier, we’ll bring you a list of daily links gathered about teams in each of the four regions all the way through the Final Four.

East Region

  • Is top-seeded Syracuse primed for a “flop?” Dan Wolken of The National believes so, although most other national analysts seem to still believe in the Orange’s prospects.
  • Leonard Hamilton’s Florida State Seminoles “just flicked its cigarette ashes on the carpet of Tobacco Road,” according to the Orlando Sentinel‘s Mike Bianchi, who tries to put FSU’s ACC championship in perspective.
  • Vanderbilt won its first SEC championship in 61 years on Sunday, beating Kentucky in a game that ended with head coach Kevin Stallings sitting on the sideline in tears. The Commodores are getting some talk as a Final Four dark horse, and it’s all because of the vision that Stallings had for his program.
  • Despite being the #7 seed, Gonzaga is viewing its trip to Pittsburgh to play regional favorite West Virginia, to be a “road game,” and with good reason — the Morgantown campus is roughly 90 minutes from the Steel City.
  • When players such as Kyle Casey and Keith Wright were recruited to Harvard, they bought into what head coach Tommy Amaker was selling about building a successful program in Cambridge. Now, with the Crimson heading to its first NCAA Tournament since 1946, all that belief and hard work has paid off.
  • Three months ago, Xavier and Cincinnati squared off in the darkest moment of the entire season. Today, both teams are flying high after receiving at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

Midwest Region

  • North Carolina expects to have center John Henson healthy for the opening round later this week. Henson missed the ACC Tournament final, a Tar Heel loss to Florida State, with a sprained left wrist.
  • A three-game losing streak by Creighton in early February caused its seed to fall, and the Bluejays could be vulnerable to an early exit when it faces defensive-minded Alabama.
  • The Temple Owls will play the waiting game, as its opponent won’t be decided until Wednesday when South Florida faces California in the first round.
  • South Florida has faced an uphill battle to make the tournament every season since joining the Big East in 2005, but the Bulls are back in the Big Dance for the first time in 20 years.
  • After taking care of business throughout the regular season, Michigan could rest easy knowing it wouldn’t be on the bubble this time around.
  • Two years after Mickey McConnell and Omar Samhan made Saint Mary’s the darlings of the 2010 Big Dance, the Gaels return to the Tournament where a Friday date with Purdue awaits.
  • Kansas head coach Bill Self is all business as his Jayhawks prepare to face Detroit. In an unusual twist, the 15-seed Titans have a 1-0 advantage over the storied Kansas program in active McDonald’s All-Americans (Ray McCallum, Jr.).
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Bracket Prep: Michigan State, Florida State, Vanderbilt, St. Bonaventure, Long Beach State, & New Mexico State

Posted by EJacoby on March 11th, 2012

Selection Sunday is here! We’ve been providing you with summaries of every automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and this post concludes all of the conference tourney winners. Big Ten, SEC, ACC, A-10, Big West, and WAC were the last ones to complete their championships. Here’s everything you need to know.

Michigan State

Draymond Green is the Force Behind the Spartans' Strong Attack (AP Photo/A. Goldis)

  • Big Ten Champion (27-7, 16-5)
  • RPI/Pomeroy/Sagarin = #4/#3/#3
  • Adjusted Scoring Margin = +17.3
  • Likely NCAA Seed: #1

Three Bruce Pearls of Wisdom.

  1. After winning the Big Ten Tournament, expect Michigan State to steal the last #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. There’s nothing that this team hasn’t done to deserve the top line. 27-7 against the #1 strength of schedule, co-champion of the best conference in the country, and Big Ten Champions. This is a classic Tom Izzo team that’s ferocious on the boards and executes efficiently on both offense and defense. The Spartans run through their Big Ten Player of the Year, but this is a deep team that relies on many contributors in different areas. A late season ACL injury to blossoming freshman forward Branden Dawson was horrible news and is potentially devastating. But Dawson was still not much of an offensive factor and the team won the Big Ten Tournament without him, showing an ability to adapt.
  2. Draymond Green is the Big Ten Player of the Year who does everything that you want in a senior star leader. 16.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game is what Green provides. The 45% field goal percentage doesn’t look great until you realize that Green does much of his work on the perimeter, including hitting the most three-pointers on the team. The rest of this team is loaded with strong athletes and defenders, from the interior duo of Derrick Nix and Adriean Payne to the perimeter players Keith Appling and Brandon Wood, and beyond to the reserves. Appling is crucial to this team as the playmaking point guard with explosive agility to make plays for his teammates and himself.
  3. Most things in March Madness are unpredictable, but one of the few guarantees is that Tom Izzo’s teams will play their best basketball in the NCAA Tournament. This Izzo team is loaded and ready to dance with as difficult a combination to beat as nearly anyone in the country. A +17.3 adjusted scoring margin is the fourth best in the nation, led my MSU’s elite defense. The Spartans allow just 37.7% defensive field goal shooting, the second best in the land. Their 89.9 defensive efficiency also ranks in the top 10. Throw in their own 47.7% field goal shooting, and this team’s shooting percentage disparity is fantastic, which is always a top formula for success. Their 55.2% rebound percentage is top 10 in the nation, as well. The numbers look great for Michigan State. But this team just lost its best athlete to the ACL injury and it doesn’t have the amount of elite scorers that a usual #1 seed does. Instead, this team is so efficient defensively that it will be difficult to knock off. Teams that gave Michigan State trouble were those that caught fire from the outside while holding their own defensively, like Indiana. Expect an awesome clash of styles between MSU and its opponent in a Sweet Sixteen matchup, if it can avoid an upset from the 8-9 seed, or 10-7 seed if it receives a #2 seed.

Florida State

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Bracketology S-Curve Update: 03.09.12

Posted by zhayes9 on March 9th, 2012

Zach Hayes is RTC’s official bracketologist.

Last Update: Friday, March 9, 11:59 PM ET.

Changes:

  • Kentucky clinches the #1 overall seed following Syracuse’s loss to Cincinnati. The Orange only drop one spot to #2 overall on the S-Curve and will still be headed to the Boston region. Kansas drops behind North Carolina on the S-Curve following their loss to Baylor and could drop behind Duke or Michigan State depending on the results of their respective conference tournaments.
  • Baylor had one glaring void on their resume: the lack of an RPI top-25 win. That’s no longer the case following their breakthrough win on Friday over Kansas. The Bears still may have trouble jumping up to a #2 seed even if they emerge victorious in the Big 12 Tournament championship because of two previous losses to Missouri and Ohio State’s run in the Big Ten Tournament.
  • Cincinnati jumps to a #6 seed following their win over Syracuse. The Bearcats have a host of quality wins: Syracuse, Marquette, at Georgetown, Louisville, at Connecticut, Notre Dame. They’re also anchored by a horrid RPI/SOS and non-conference SOS. Where they’ll be seeding is really difficult to pin down.
  • Xavier remains in the field after edging Dayton in the A-10 Tournament. That result also eliminates the Flyers from at-large consideration.
  • Marshall jumps into First Four Out territory but tomorrow is still a win-and-in, lose-and-out scenario.
  • Miami barely stays in the field despite their loss to Florida State and only three top-100 wins. The Canes are carried by their huge victory at Duke and a home triumph over FSU. Their RPI/SOS is also superior to Seton Hall, whose best wins all came at home against Georgetown, Connecticut and West Virginia, plus a neutral win over VCU. Also a determining factor: the Pirates lost to Villanova, Rutgers (home) and at DePaul in blowout fashion in Big East play. This could change if Durand Scott’s availability is still up in the air into Selection Sunday.
  • Last Four In: Miami (FL), Drexel, NC State, Mississippi State.
  • First Four Out: Seton Hall, Washington, Marshall, Northwestern.

3/9 S-Curve

1 Seeds: Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, Kansas

2 Seeds: Duke, Michigan State, Missouri, Ohio State

3 Seeds: Baylor, Marquette, Michigan, Wisconsin

4 Seeds: Georgetown, Indiana, Florida State, Louisville

5 Seeds: Wichita State, Murray State, UNLV, Temple

6 Seeds: Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Florida, Notre Dame

7 Seeds: Creighton, Saint Mary’s, San Diego State, Gonzaga

8 Seeds: Memphis,  New Mexico, Iowa State, Kansas State

9 Seeds: Purdue, Saint Louis, Connecticut, Alabama

10 Seeds: Harvard, West Virginia, Southern Miss, California

11 Seeds: Colorado State, Virginia, BYU, VCU

12 Seeds: Texas, Long Beach State, South Florida, Xavier, Mississippi State

13 Seeds: NC State, Drexel, Miami (FL), Nevada, Akron

14 Seeds: Davidson, South Dakota State, Belmont, Montana

15 Seeds: Loyola (MD), Detroit, Lehigh, LIU-Brooklyn

16 Seeds: UNC-Asheville, Norfolk State, Lamar, Stony Brook, Mississippi Valley State, Western Kentucky

Automatic bids: Stony Brook, Saint Louis, North Carolina, Belmont, Missouri, Cincinnati, Montana, UNC-Asheville, Michigan State, Long Beach State, VCU, Memphis, Detroit, Harvard, Loyola (MD), Akron, Norfolk State, Creighton, San Diego State, LIU Brooklyn, Murray State, California, Lehigh, Kentucky, Davidson, Lamar, Mississippi Valley State, Western Kentucky, South Dakota State, Saint Mary’s, Nevada.

Bids per conference: Big East (9), Big 12 (6), ACC (6), Big Ten (6), SEC (5), Mountain West (4), Atlantic 10 (3), West Coast (3), Conference USA (2), Missouri Valley (2), Colonial (2).

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The Other 26: Week 15

Posted by IRenko on March 9th, 2012

I. Renko is an RTC columnist. He will kick off each weekend during the season with his analysis of the 26 other non-power conferences. Follow him on twitter @IRenkoHoops.

We are at roughly the midway mark of TO26 conference championship games.  Fifteen invites to the Big Dance were handed out during a frenzy of activity from Saturday through Wednesday, while another nine will be delivered on Saturday.  Some of the teams who earned the honor are no surprise, but proving that the madness starts early in March, several conference tournaments upended expectations.  As a result, several strong TO26 teams are now contemplating trips to the NIT instead of the NCAAs.

After the updated top 15, we consider the fallout from these developments, exploring the idea of awarding auto bids based on regular season performance and making the at-large case for two regular season conference champions:  Iona and Oral Roberts.

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Big West Tournament Preview & Season Wrap-Up

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 8th, 2012

David Gao is the RTC correspondent for the Big West Conference. You can also find his musings online at Zotcubed, a UC Irvine blog, or on Twitter @dvdgao.

 

League Wrap-Up

By and large, the Big West wound up largely like the preseason prognosticators predicted. Long Beach State dominated with their senior-laden team, winning 15 straight in conference play before Cal State Fullerton tripped them up. CSF was probably the biggest surprise and also most improved over the season, as coach Bob Burton pulled together his team of transfers and formed an offensive powerhouse. UCSB once again had a slightly disappointing conference season, while UC Irvine did better than predicted, tying for sixth when they were picked last overall. UC Riverside peaked early, upsetting a few teams early in the season, threatening to break into the top half of the conference. However, they faded down the stretch, and finished tied for sixth, about where they were picked. UC Davis, picked to finish seventh, had an abysmal season that was only slightly salvaged by a late season surge where they managed to upset both Pacific and CSF.

Ultimately, the top four and bottom five divide was very evident for the 2011-12 season. It will be one of the top four: Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, UCSB or Cal Poly, who will have a realistic chance at going dancing.

League Accolades

Co-Players Of The Year – Larry Anderson & Casper Ware: So technically there’s only supposed to be one POY, but this one was too hard to choose. Ware is still the go-to player on the best team in the conference, a guy that seemingly steps up in crunch time game after game. At the same time, his 16.9 PPG and 3.2 APG are both slight dips from last year’s numbers, when he also won POY. Picking up the slack was fellow 49er senior Anderson, who won defensive player of the year for good reason. When he was injured against Cal State Fullerton in the season finale, Titans guard DJ Seeley went off, carrying CSF to victory. Without either Anderson or Ware, I don’t think the 49ers go 15-1. Really, the same case could be made for TJ Robinson. It’s been a three-headed beast all year.

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Bracketology S-Curve Update: 03.07.12

Posted by zhayes9 on March 7th, 2012

Zach Hayes is RTC’s official bracketologist.

Last Update: Wednesday, March 7, 5:49 PM ET.

Changes:

  • Connecticut jumps to the #9 seed line following their Big East Tournament win over West Virginia. The Huskies boast six RPI top-50 wins including a sweep of the Mountaineers, a true road win at Notre Dame and a neutral court victory over Harvard. UConn is safely in the field and they face Syracuse on Thursday in a game where they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  • West Virginia is now a horribly mediocre 19-14 overall and 9-10 in Big East play. During most other seasons that would punch their ticket to the NIT, but due to the soft bubble, Pac-12 struggles and lack of bid stealers thus far, Bob Huggins’ team is still projected to make the tournament by a decent margin. At the moment they sit as the final #10 seed on the S-Curve but will likely drop as teams below them have opportunities to gather quality wins during the week. Despite the shoddy record, WVU does boast a #45 RPI, #16 SOS and has beaten projected NCAA teams Georgetown, Kansas State, Miami, Cincinnati, USF and Akron, while UConn isn’t considered a “bad” loss.
  • Last Four In: Northwestern, Xavier, Texas, South Florida.
  • First Four Out: Seton Hall, Drexel, Tennessee, Oregon.
  • Next Four Out: Dayton, NC State, Oral Roberts, St. Joseph’s.            

3/7 S-Curve

1 Seeds: Kentucky, Syracuse, Kansas, North Carolina

2 Seeds: Duke, Michigan State, Missouri, Ohio State

3 Seeds: Marquette, Michigan, Baylor, Georgetown

4 Seeds: Indiana, Wisconsin, Florida State, Temple

5 Seeds: Wichita State, Murray State, UNLV, Louisville

6 Seeds: Vanderbilt, Florida, Notre Dame, Creighton

7 Seeds: Saint Mary’s, Iowa State, San Diego State, Gonzaga

8 Seeds: New Mexico, Kansas State, Purdue, Memphis

9 Seeds: Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Alabama, Connecticut

10 Seeds: Southern Miss, Virginia, Harvard, West Virginia

11 Seeds: Colorado State, Mississippi State, California, BYU

12 Seeds: VCU, Miami, Washington, South Florida, Long Beach State

13 Seeds: Texas, Xavier, Northwestern, Nevada, Davidson

14 Seeds: South Dakota State, Akron, Belmont, Montana

15 Seeds: Loyola (MD), Bucknell, Detroit, UT-Arlington

16 Seeds: UNC-Asheville, LIU-Brooklyn, Stony Brook, Mississippi Valley State, Savannah State, Western Kentucky

Automatic bids: Stony Brook, Temple, North Carolina, Belmont, Kansas, Syracuse, Montana, UNC-Asheville, Michigan State, Long Beach State, VCU, Memphis, Detroit, Harvard, Loyola (MD), Akron, Savannah State, Creighton, San Diego State, LIU Brooklyn, Murray State, Washington, Bucknell, Kentucky, Davidson, UT-Arlington, Mississippi Valley State, Western Kentucky, South Dakota State, Saint Mary’s, Nevada.

Bids per conference: Big East (9), Big Ten (7), Big 12 (6), SEC (5), ACC (5), Mountain West (4), Atlantic 10 (3), WCC (3), Conference USA (2), Missouri Valley (2), Pac-12 (2).

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Bracketology S-Curve Update: 03.05.12

Posted by zhayes9 on March 5th, 2012

Zach Hayes is RTC’s official bracketologist.

  • Last Four In: Northwestern, Xavier, Texas, South Florida.
  • First Four Out: Seton Hall, VCU, Tennessee, Oregon.
  • Next Four Out: Dayton, NC State, Arizona, St. Joseph’s.              

click on bracket to enlarge

S-Curve

  • 1 Seeds: Kentucky, Syracuse, Kansas, North Carolina
  • 2 Seeds: Duke, Michigan State, Missouri, Ohio State
  • 3 Seeds: Marquette, Michigan, Baylor, Georgetown
  • 4 Seeds: Indiana, Wisconsin, Florida State, Temple
  • 5 Seeds: Wichita State, Murray State, UNLV, Louisville
  • 6 Seeds: Vanderbilt, Florida, Notre Dame, Creighton
  • 7 Seeds: Iowa State, Gonzaga, San Diego State, New Mexico
  • 8 Seeds: Kansas State, Purdue, Memphis, Saint Mary’s
  • 9 Seeds: Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Alabama, Southern Miss
  • 10 Seeds: Virginia, Harvard, Connecticut, West Virginia
  • 11 Seeds: Colorado State, Mississippi State, California, BYU
  • 12 Seeds: Miami, Washington, South Florida, Texas, Long Beach State
  • 13 Seeds: Xavier, Northwestern, Drexel, Nevada, Oral Roberts
  • 14 Seeds: Davidson, Belmont, Akron, Montana
  • 15 Seeds: Denver, Valparaiso, Loyola (MD), Bucknell
  • 16 Seeds: UT-Arlington, UNC-Asheville, LIU-Brooklyn, Stony Brook, Mississippi Valley, Savannah State

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The Other 26: Week 14

Posted by IRenko on March 3rd, 2012

I. Renko is an RTC columnist. He will kick off each weekend during the season with his analysis of the 26 other non-power conferences. Follow him on twitter @IRenkoHoops.

The lovely little secret of Championship Week is that it unfolds over the course of not seven but 14 days.  While many mid-major conferences are closing out their regular season this weekend, others are capping conference tournament play that began as early as Monday.  The frenzy of action means that there’s lots of hardware to be won, both for regular season excellence and for postseason prowess.  Perhaps most important of all, there are tickets to the Dance on the line, and while none have been secured yet, within just five days, a whopping 14 teams will have earned a trip to the Tournament.  (And possibly 15, depending on how things shake out in the Ivy League.)

After the updated Top 15, we lay out the schedule for every TO26 conference championship game, congratulate the teams that have clinched their regular season conference title, and highlight five things to watch for over the next five days of conference tournament action.

Schedule of TO26 Conference Tournament Championship Games

Here’s your viewer’s guide to conference tournament championship games — where auto bids are won, courts are rushed, and Cinderellas are born.

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Bubble Watch: 02.27.12

Posted by zhayes9 on February 27th, 2012

Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist for Rush the Court.

Locks: Temple, Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Kansas, Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Louisville, Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Wichita State, Creighton, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego State, Murray State, Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga.

Note: all RPI/SOS numbers compiled Sunday.

Dee Bost and Mississippi State is falling perilously close to the bubble

Atlantic 10

Saint Louis (22-6, 10-4)- The worst thing a bubble team can do this time of year is sustain a “bad” loss. Bad doesn’t even begin to describe Saturday’s setback at sub-#250 RPI Rhode Island. The overall record, #36 RPI, high KenPom/Sagarin rating and wins over fellow bubble teams Xavier, St. Joe’s and Dayton are positives, but the URI loss is undoubtedly a black mark on the resume. The winner of their rematch with Xavier on Tuesday will feel much more secure about their chances.

Xavier (18-10, 9-5)- The Musketeers haven’t exactly impressed lately, barely dodging Dayton and Richmond at home in between a seven-point defeat at UMass. Their resume is boosted by a difficult non-conference schedule which includes wins at Vanderbilt and home vs. Purdue. Xavier sits firmly on the cut line with an RPI of 53, SOS of 50 and a 5-6 road record. If they fall short at SLU, they’ll need to beat Charlotte at home and at least one game in the A-10 Tournament.

Saint Joseph’s (19-11, 9-6)- The Hawks jumped back into the bubble hunt with their win over ranked and red-hot Temple on Saturday and their computer numbers (51 RPI, 44 SOS, 41 non-conference SOS) suggests they could be around awhile. The win over Creighton is also helpful, but St. Joe’s lost five times to sub-#80 RPI teams, including Richmond, Charlotte and American. They’ll need to avoid a potential pitfall at St. Bonaventure on Wednesday and forge deep into the A-10 Tournament. St. Joe’s beat Dayton and lost to Xavier.

Dayton (18-10, 8-6)- Dayton’s mid-season four game losing skid keeps them on the outside looking in for now and the Flyers also have the worst RPI (61) of the A-10 bubble teams. Dayton’s lost four games to sub-100 RPI competition including #232 Miami (OH) and #251 Rhode Island. The 3-6 road record also stings. Keeping them afloat are wins at Temple and at home against Alabama, Saint Louis and Xavier. Winning their final two at Richmond and vs. George Washington are musts.

ACC

Virginia (21-7, 8-6)- The Cavs have three chances to lock up a bid to end the season: North Carolina, Florida State and at Maryland. They fell painfully short in the first opportunity, losing to the Heels by three in Charlottesville. Only one RPI top-50 win over Michigan from back in November and a #223 non-conference SOS will hurt their seed, Virginia should get in at 9-7 in the ACC in this bubble climate. Virginia also won at Oregon and beat Miami at home. A win over FSU locks up a bid.

Miami (16-10, 7-6)- Despite Reggie Johnson’s suspension, the Canes soundly handled Florida State, a win tremendously important to their at-large chances. Prior to Sunday, their second-best win after Duke was #81 RPI Massachusetts. Miami has a stellar #48 RPI and #32 SOS, but they’re far from comfortably in with a 4-7 road record and a 4-10 record vs. the RPI top-100. Their Wednesday trip to Raleigh is huge. They can’t afford another road setback after losing at Maryland last week.

NC State (18-11, 7-7)- Mark Gottfried’s bunch had three chances for resume-building wins at Duke and home vs. UNC and Florida State. They lost all three and compounded the problem by falling at #144 RPI Clemson this past Saturday. NC State is 0-8 vs. the RPI top-50 and now stands at 7-7 in the ACC with a #67 RPI. A loss in either of their final two games vs. Miami and at Virginia Tech would all but eliminate them from bubble contention. They’ll need to claw their way to 9-7 and defeat one of the ACC’s big three in the conference tournament to have a chance.

Big 12

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The Other 26: Week 13

Posted by IRenko on February 25th, 2012

I. Renko is an RTC columnist. He will kick off each weekend during the season with his analysis of the 26 other non-power conferences. Follow him on twitter @IRenkoHoops.

Ah, the sweet smell of February Madness in the air.  Who says we need to wait until March to start cracking open the brackets?  Six TO26 conferences kick things off in February:  the Big South (2/27), Horizon (2/28), A-Sun (2/29), Ohio Valley (2/29), Patriot (2/29), and West Coast (2/29).  And several other conferences will kick things off just as soon as the calendar turns, including the MVC in what’s sure to be another great iteration of Arch Madness. No automatic bids will be awarded until March 3 (though Harvard is in position to clinch the Ivy bid as early as March 2), but with a number of top 15 TO26 teams with at-large aspirations kicking off tournament play next week (Wichita State, Murray State, Creighton, St. Mary’s, Gonzaga, BYU), there are heavy implications for the nationwide Bubble.  Speaking of the top 15 …

Looking Forward:  What to Watch

In addition to the conference tournaments that kick off over the next week, here are a few regularly-scheduled games to keep your eye on:

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