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Making the Case against the Teams Whose Bubbles Burst

March 14, 2011 1 comment

Maybe Colorado won't play 7 sub 295 RPI teams next year

This isn’t meant as a defense of the selection committee or any of the questionable teams that were selected to the NCAA tournament. In reality, only 50-something teams really deserved to be selected to the 68-team Big Dance. This is about those controversial teams that were left out and the reasons why these schools do not have any reason to complain.

Virginia Tech: Yes, America’s bubble team had its hopes shattered again. For starters, the Hokies were only 9-7 in the 5th ranked conference. They were swept by Virginia (RPI 139) and NIT-bound Boston College, added a bad loss at Georgia Tech, and suffered a crippling season ending loss at Clemson. In addition, they beat FSU based on an overturned game winning basket in the ACC quarterfinals that was debatable. The only top 50 RPI team in the ACC that they beat was Duke.

The Hokies OOC schedule was ranked 180 out of 340. They played 6 teams with RPIs of over 230. They went 2-3 against top 100 teams OOC. How difficult would it be for Seth Greenburg to replace UNC-Greensboro (RPI 297), USC Upstate (313), Mount St. Mary’s (231), and Longwood (320) on his schedule? If he played and beat Virginia NCAA tournament schools like Old Dominion, VCU, George Mason, and Richmond, they would have been a lock for selection.

VCU went 3-6 against the top 50 and Tech was only 2-5. How does a CAA team play more top 50 games than an ACC team? Only cowardly scheduling sent the Hokies back to the NIT.

Colorado: The media would have you think that the Buffaloes survived a gauntlet of difficult games throughout the season. They are wrong. The Buffaloes OOC schedule was ranked 331 out of 340. They only went 10-4 against that group of teams. Their best win was against a bad Indiana (RPI 190). They played 7 teams with a RPI of 295 or more. In games against teams with a RPI of less than 295, they went 13-13. They won half and lost half.

Lowering the RPI threshold, the Buffaloes went 10-13 against the top 150 teams. Is that really at-large material there? Sure, they beat a few good teams, including Texas and Kansas State three times. But it’s not about head-to-head results and a splashy win or two for the selection committee. It’s about the overall profile.

Schools like Colorado have more choices than their mid-major counterparts when selecting OOC opponents. Instead of scheduling better teams, they scheduled gimme games to pad their win total. If they played 7 OOC teams between 100-150 in the RPI instead of 295 and over, they would be headed to the Big Dance. It’s that plain and simple.

Alabama: Don’t let the fact that the Crimson Tide is in the SEC fool you. The SEC West as a standalone conference would have easily been ranked behind every mid-major conference that received an at-large bid. The SEC West is home to Auburn (RPI 255), LSU (224), Arkansas (124), and Mississippi State (119). With 8 games against those schools, it’s no wonder that this team went 12-4 in SEC play. In addition, all of their key SEC wins were against vulnerable teams. Kentucky was awful away from Rupp, going 4-7 in true road games. Tennessee didn’t have Bruce Pearl for their loss to Alabama and were a poor home team all season.

The Tide schedule was ranked 294. They went 8-6 against those teams. The highest RPI of an OOC team that they beat was Lipscomb at 131. Overall, Alabama went 10-11 against the top 200 teams in the RPI. Is that really the mark of a quality at-large team? Have the standards dropped that much? They only had one win OOC against top 200 teams. I rest my case, your honor.

Saint Mary’s: The Gaels were a mid-major “snub” that many in the national media love. The problem is that many talking heads don’t follow the games as closely as you would expect an “expert” would. The issues for the Gaels began back on February 16 in San Diego. That night the Gaels lost to USD on national television by eight. The trouble is that USD won only 4 games against Division 1 schools all season, including the St. Mary’s win, and they have a RPI of 318. This was easily the worst loss of any prospective at-large candidate that made it in front of the selection committee.

In addition to losing in San Diego, the Gaels followed that with home losses to Utah State and Gonzaga. For a mid-major school like St. Mary’s to receive an at-large bid, they have to schedule and win against good teams OOC and take care of business in their own league.

The Gaels only quality OOC win was against St. John’s in Steve Lavin’s coaching debut. They lost to BYU, San Diego State, Vanderbilt, and Utah State. But with only one top 50 win all season, it was tough for the Gaels to overcome their horrible loss to San Diego. They also played 5 OOC teams with RPIs over 240. At the end of the day, the Gaels didn’t beat enough good teams and lost to a really bad one.

Harvard: The case against Harvard became easy when the brackets were announced. Their two best wins were against Boston College and Colorado. They now have a chance at a rematch with both in the NIT.

The message from the selection committee should be clear. Teams need to schedule better to improve their at-large chances and seeding for the NCAA tournament. There are teams that made the tournament with similar records, but their schedules were the difference. Why does 22-10 Kansas State have a 5 seed and 23-10 Missouri have an 11 seed? They are both in the Big 12 with Colorado. It’s the schedule.

The bottom line is that tougher scheduling and avoiding poor losses goes a long way to eliminating a team’s question marks that could burst their bubble on Selection Sunday. Maybe next year Virginia Tech will actually schedule some CAA teams and Alabama will play UAB to decide their fates on the court. Or maybe they’ll play Russian roulette with their tournament chances again.

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Road to Selection Sunday for March 12

The Jimmer got 52 last night

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 12

News and Notes:

Top 3 Games to Watch:

1. Jimmer and BYU against San Diego State at 7:00 ET on Versus

2. UConn and Louisville at 9:00 ET on ESPN

3. Texas and Kansas at 6:00 ET on ESPN

Winners:

Automatic Qualifiers:

  • Patriot: Bucknell

Dayton: The Flyers pulled an upset over their rivals, Xavier, yesterday and will play 12 seed St. Joe’s this afternoon. The Flyers have disappointed for two consecutive years now and have a chance at redemption if they can win two more games in AC.

Alabama: Is back-to-back wins over Georgia good enough for the Tide? The SEC West champs are only 1-2 against top 25 RPI teams. In comparison, mid-major VCU is 2-3 against the same group. The issue with Alabama is that they are in the very weak SEC West and took advantage of 200+ RPI games against LSU and Auburn. They are only 9-10 against the top 200.

Michigan: You have to like how the Wolverines have done almost everything that they could to win their way into an at-large bid. They started 1-6 in the Big Ten and looked dead but rallied to finish at 9-9 and are now a win away from the Big Ten championship game. It’s amazing to think, but they will be wearing their white jerseys in their first NCAA game if they win the Big Ten tourney.

Clemson: The Tigers might have clinched an at-large bid by eliminating BC yesterday. This game wasn’t even close and they should be good as long as UNC doesn’t destroy them this afternoon.

UTEP: The Miners will play on their home court this morning for the CUSA championship and it should be rocking. It will be interesting if their profile is good enough if they were to lose.

Michigan State: The real Spartans finally showed up as they blasted Purdue last night. That should eliminate any of the bubble talk for Tom Izzo’s club and if Sparty can continue to play like that, they will be a tough out.

Connecticut: The Huskies appear to be a solid 3 seed and are probably just playing to maneuver on that line for Sunday. It’s tough to see how they move up to a 2 seed, but they shouldn’t fall to a 4 either.

Texas: The Longhorns might have reemerged as a possible 2 seed by making the Big 12 championship game. If they win, they should be a solid 2 seed, if they lose, then they could drop back to a 3 seed.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are close, if not in the tournament after their lucky win last night. Their RPI is still not too good and their profile isn’t impressive, save the Duke win. A win over Duke today and they WILL be good.

Penn State: I guess somebody had to win this game, certainly not the viewers. The Lions should be close if they can beat Michigan State tomorrow to play again on Sunday.

BYU and San Diego State: The Jimmer went for 52 last night and DJ Gay drained a floater in the lane with 4 seconds left and these MWC heavyweights will meet for a third time. Fair minded people would think that a #1 seed would be the reward for the winner. But the national media has anointed BYU as damaged goods without Brandon Davies and SDSU lost to the Cougars twice. In a year with only two apparently dominant teams, Ohio State and Kansas, the winner of this game deserves to be a #1 seed.

Losers:

Xavier: The Musketeers were beaten by Dayton outside of UD Arena for the first time since 1981 yesterday in AC. The Musketeers could have been as high as a 5 seed if they won the A10 tournament, now they are looking at a possible 7 or even an 8-9 game situation. That doesn’t represent the easiest route to the Sweet 16.

Georgia: The Dawgs lost to the very weak bubble dwelling Alabama yesterday and now are squarely on the bubble themselves. They’re hoping that mediocrity prevails.

Boston College: Mercifully, their at-large hopes are over. Too many blowout losses in the last month and an RPI that has fallen into the 50’s should be enough to send the Eagles to the NIT.

Illinois: The Illini continued their Jekyll & Hyde season with another up and down performance in the first and only Big Ten tourney game. They led Michigan by double digits with less than 10 minutes left in the game and blew the lead. They will most likely clear the hideous bubble, but expectations for Bruce Weber will be for more success next season in Champaign.

Colorado: Last night’s loss to Kansas leaves them on the bubble for Selection Sunday. It will be interesting to see if they miss out despite taking three from lock Kansas State.

Notre Dame: The Irish were in play for a #1 seed, but their loss to Louisville probably bumps them off. They are still a team that nobody is going to want to see in the coming weeks.

Wisconsin: The Badgers turned back the clock, in a bad way, by putting up a score that was standard in the peach basket era of hoops. This wasn’t the showing the Bo Ryan wanted to secure a 4 seed on Sunday.

Florida State: The ‘Noles are probably in, but their controversial loss last night to Virginia Tech put their RPI over 50 and their OOC profile wasn’t very good. They should be in, but you never know with the mediocrity in the ACC after the top 2.

Saturday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

Conference USA Championship (30) Memphis at (47) UTEP: CBS at 11:30 EST

America East Championship (240) Stony Brook at (132) Boston University: ESPN2 at 12:00 EST

(9) Kentucky vs. (77) Alabama: ABC at 1 EST

(53) Clemson vs. (6) North Carolina: ESPN at 1 EST

(50) Michigan vs. (2) Ohio State: CBS at 1:40 EST

MEAC Championship (207) Morgan State vs. (81) Hampton: ESPN2 at 2:00 EST

(55) Richmond vs. (28) Temple: CBS College at 3:30 EST

(25) Vanderbilt vs. (8) Florida: ABC at 3:30 EST

(60) Virginia Tech vs. (4) Duke: ESPN at 3:30 EST

Southland Championship (201) Texas-San Antonio at (147) McNeese State: ESPN2 at 4:00 EST

Ivy League Playoff (33) Harvard vs. (48) Princeton: ESPN3 at 4:00 EST

(39) Michigan State vs. (42) Penn State: CBS at 4:05 EST

Big 12 Championship (10) Texas vs. (1) Kansas: ESPN at 6:00 EST

MAC Championship (117) Akron vs. (70) Kent State: ESPN2 at 6:00 EST

Pac 10 Championship (38) Washington vs. (17) Arizona: CBS at 6:00 EST

Mountain West Championship (3) San Diego State vs. (5) Brigham Young: Versus at 7:00 EST

Big West Championship (171) UC-Santa Barbara vs. (86) Long Beach State: ESPN2 at 8:00 EST

SWAC Championship (313) Grambling State vs. (271) Alabama State: ESPNU at 8:30 EST

Big East Championship (14) Connecticut vs. (15) Louisville: ESPN at 9:00 EST

WAC Championship (114) Boise State vs. (18) Utah State: ESPN2 at 10:00 EST

Click here for conference breakdowns on This Week in College Basketball.

Road to Selection Sunday for March 11

Another Garden party for Pitino?

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 11

News and Notes:

Lafayette is comfortable as the underdog going into today’s Patriot League Championship against Bucknell.

Depth and defense are driving Louisville’s success according to Rick Bozich.

Here’s a link to the Kansas City Star’s Big 12 tournament page.

Brandon Davies travelled with BYU to the MWC tournament and will sit on the bench during the games.

Kenny Frease tweaked his back and didn’t practice yesterday for Xavier. Coach Mack said that he should play.

The Gators are loose and confident going into their quarterfinal matchup with Tennessee tonight.

Winners:

Colorado: The Buffs got beat K-State for the 3rd time this season and could have sealed their ticket to March Madness. A win over Kansas today would seal their bid. What might work against them is that if they lose, they will be 7-9 in their final 16 games. Pretty mediocre, but that’s what a lot of the bubble looks like.

Connecticut: Solid comeback win by the Huskies complete with an ankle breaking move that led to Kemba Walker’s buzzer beater to win the game. The Huskies could have shut it down early as they trailed by 12 for awhile until they pulled even just before halftime. It should be interesting to see what they have left as they play their fourth game in four days tonight against the Orange. They better hope they don’t go to 6 OT’s in this one, like two years ago.

New Mexico: Better late than never for Steve Alford’s Lobos as they get another shot at BYU and the Jimmer tonight. They might be able to finagle an at-large bid if they win this game and keep it close against San Diego State. It’s possible that they might have to beat UNLV if they play them.

Washington: The Huskies came back from multiple deficits to finally get a win over their in-state rivals last night. This win could get them over the hump on the soft bubble.

Notre Dame: The Irish are looking like a national championship contender and could pass by Pittsburgh or another team for a #1 seed if they win the Big East tournament. They look like Ohio State without Sullinger right now.

Losers:

Pittsburgh: Gary McGhee got his ankles broken as Kemba Walker worked him over and drained the game winning shot as time expired. As long as the selection committee doesn’t overrate the conference tournaments, the Panthers could still be a #1 seed when the brackets are announced. But that 3-3 finish won’t help.

DJ Kennedy and St. John’s: Kennedy tore his ACL in the loss to Syracuse yesterday afternoon and is gone for the season. That means the senior will not be able to participate in the NCAA tournament for the first and only time. It’s a tough break for a quality player who put his ego aside to play a winning role this season.

UAB: Losing in the quarterfinals wasn’t the recipe for a tourney invite for the Blazers. They probably one the wrong side of the bubble since their only good win is over VCU.

UCLA: Nice loss to Oregon. That loss probably moves to Bruins to a double digit seed when the brackets come out. The performance of the team last year and early this year caused a lot of grumbling by the fan base. Losing to the Ducks, who haven’t been really good, can’t help Ben Howland.

Coaches who might be out now: The following coaches might have just coached their last game at their current school last night. Their departure won’t be on their terms: Arkansas’ John Pelphrey, NC State’s Sidney Lowe, Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt,

Colorado State: Last night’s loss to New Mexico probably finishes their at-large hopes. Their only win over a probably NCAA team is just UNLV and that isn’t enough. They lost 5 of 6 to close the season and failed to register a high profile win.

Marshall and Southern Miss: These two CUSA schools were longshots to get an at-large and probably needed to be playing on Saturday to have a chance. Losing yesterday ended that.

Cal: The Bears can’t possibly get in after losing by double digits to USC yesterday, can they? Hope not.

Missouri: The Tigers continue to struggle away from Columbia during 2011. This one wasn’t even close and you have to wonder how close to the bubble they really are. They were 8-8 in the Big 12 and went 1-7 on the road. The wins over Illinois, Vanderbilt, and Old Dominion will probably pull them through.

Marquette and Cincinnati: Hide the women and children. Last night’s games at the Garden were hideous they lost by 25 and 38 respectively. Marquette should be good, but the RPI is still in the 60’s.

Washington State: The Cougars blew a big lead and most likely their scant at-large chances last night against Washington. Now they hope for a NIT bid.

Friday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(84) Dayton vs. (21) Xavier: Noon EST

(39) Georgia vs. (85) Alabama: ESPN3 at 1 EST

(38) Illinois vs. (56) Michigan: ESPN at 2:30 EST

(45) Boston College vs. (59) Clemson: ESPN2 at 2:30 EST

Patriot League Championship (226) Lafayette at (81) Bucknell: ESPN2 at 4:45 EST

(49) Michigan State vs. (8) Purdue: 6:30 EST

(16) Connecticut vs. (15) Syracuse: ESPN at 7 EST

(64) Colorado vs. (1) Kansas: ESPN3 at 7 EST

(30) Tennessee vs. (9) Florida: ESPN3 at 7:30 EST

(51) Penn State vs. (12) Wisconsin: 8:55 EST

(66) New Mexico vs. (5) Brigham Young: CBS College at 9 EST

(67) USC vs. (18) Arizona: 9 EST

(65) Virginia Tech vs. (44) Florida State: ESPN2 at 2:30 EST

(19) Louisville vs. (6) Notre Dame: ESPN at 9:30 EST

(28) Texas A&M vs. (14) Texas: ESPN3 at 9:30 EST

Click here for conference breakdowns on This Week in College Basketball.

Big 12 Basketball Overview March 6

Big 12 Basketball Overview March 6

Team Overviews: Records are going into March 6th. RPI is courtesy of rpiforecast.com.

Current NCAA Locks:

Kansas Jayhawks RPI 1

  • 29-2, 14-2 in Big 12  Away: 9-1  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 15-0 with good wins over Arizona, UCLA, USC, and Michigan. They also have 4 gimme wins. RPI 2, schedule 31.
  • Big 12: Wins: at ISU, Neb, at Bay, at CU, KSU, at TT, at Neb, Mizz, ISU, CU, OSU, at OU, A&M, at Mizz     Losses: Tex, at KSU
  • They Jayhawks are probably a lock for a 1 seed and might be the overall #1 seed if they win the Big 12 tournament.

Texas Longhorns RPI 13

  • 25-6, 13-3 in Big 12   Away: 8-3   Neutral: 1-1
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with good wins over Illinois, North Carolina, and Michigan St and losses to Pitt, USC, and UConn. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 36, schedule 69.
  • Big 12: Wins: at TT, OU, A&M, at KU, at Ok St, Mizz, at A&M, TT, at OU, Bay, OSU, ISU, at Bay  Losses: at Neb, at CU, KSU
  • The Horns probably need to win the Big 12 tournament to get a 2 seed. They probably need to win twice to ensure a 3 seed. Losing their first game drops them to a 4 seed.

Kansas State Wildcats RPI 17

  • 22-9, 10-6 in Big 12  Away: 5-6  Neutral: 0-0
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with wins over Virginia Tech, Gonzaga, and Wash St with losses to Duke, Florida, and UNLV. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 25, schedule 34.
  • Big 12: Wins: TT, Bay, Neb, at ISU, KU, OUat, at Neb, Mizz, at Tex, ISU  Losses: at OSU, CU, at Mizz, at A&M, at KU, at CU
  • The Wildcats can get a 4 seed if they win the Big 12 tournament. Getting to the finals would get them a 5 seed and going 1-1 would probably keep them as a 6 seed.

Texas A&M Aggies RPI 30

  • 23-7, 10-6 in Big 12  Away: 5-4  Neutral: 3-1
  • OOC rundown: 13-1 solid wins over Temple and Washington and a decent loss to BC. They also have 7 gimme wins. RPI 43, schedule 214.
  • Big 12: Wins: at OU, OSU, Mizz, KSU, at CU, at TT, ISU, at OSU, OU, TT   Losses: at Tex, at Neb, Tex, Bay, at Bay, at KU
  • The Aggies could make it to a 5 seed if they win the Big 12 tournament. Getting to the finals would get them a 6 seed. Going 1-1 will get them a 7 seed and losing their opener could drop them to an 8 to 10 seed.

Missouri Tigers RPI 34

  • 22-9, 8-8 in Big 12  Away: 2-7  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 14-1 with good wins over Vanderbilt, Illinois, and Old Dominion with a solid loss to Georgetown. They also have 6 gimme wins and a non division I win. RPI 51, schedule 237.
  • Big 12: Wins: Neb, KSU, ISU, CU, OU, TT, at ISU, Bay   Losses: at CU, at A&M, at Tex, at OSU, at KU, at KSU, at Neb, KU
  • It will be interesting to see what happens if the Tigers lose to Texas Tech. They’re probably in, but you never know. They need to win 2 games to ensure a single digit seed. Winning 3 games to get to the Big 12 finals would get them as high as a 7 seed, but most likely in an 8-9 game. Winning the Big 12 tournament could send them as high as a 6 seed.

 

Bubble Territory:

Colorado Buffaloes RPI 76

  • 19-12, 8-8 in Big 12  Away: 3-9  Neutral: 1-1
  • OOC rundown: 11-4 with no notable wins. They also have 8 gimme wins and a non-division I win. RPI 151, schedule 321.
  • Big 12: Wins: Mizz, at KSU, OSU, ISU, KSU, at TT, Tex  Losses: at Neb, at OU, KU, at Bay, at Mizz, A&M, at KU
  • The Buffs need to win their last 2 games and then at least 2 more in the Big 12 tournament to get an at-large. Their OOC profile is too bad for anything less.

 

Needs To Get Hot:

Oklahoma State Cowboys RPI 64

  • 18-12, 6-10 in Big 12  Away: 2-9  Neutral: 2-1
  • OOC rundown: 12-2 with Missouri State being the only solid win and losses to Gonzaga and Virginia Tech. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 49, schedule 190.
  • Big 12: Wins: KSU, ISU, Mizz, OU, TT, Bay      Losses: at A&M, at CU, at Bay, Tex, at TT, at Neb, at Tex, A&M, at KU, at OU
  • The Cowboys probably have to play in the Big 12 finals to have an at-large chance. That would include a win over Kansas. That might be good enough.

Nebraska Cornhuskers RPI 78

  • 19-11, 7-9 in Big 12  Away: 1-7  Neutral: 1-2
  • OOC rundown: 12-2 with a win over USC and losses to Vanderbilt and Davidson. They also have 8 gimme wins. RPI 119, schedule 291.
  • Big 12: Wins: ISU, CU, A&M, OSU, at OU, Tex, Mizz      Losses: at Mizz, at KU, at TT, at KSU, KU, at Bay, at CU
  • The Huskers match up against OSU and probably need similar results. Having wins over Texas and Kansas might impress the committee enough.

Baylor Bears RPI 83

  • 18-12, 7-9 in Big 12  Away: 2-6  Neutral: 1-2
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with no notable wins and decent losses to Gonzaga, Washington State, and Florida State. They also have 8 gimme wins. RPI 110, schedule 196.
  • Big 12: Wins: at TT, OU, OSU, CU, at A&M, Neb, A&M     Losses: at ISU, KU, at KSU, at OU, at Tex, at Mizz, at OSU, Tex
  • The Bears have to make the Big 12 finals to have a chance. Even wins over Texas and A&M along the way might not be enough.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Iowa State Cyclones RPI 127

  • 16-15, 3-13 in Big 12
  • OOC rundown: 13-2 with decent wins over Creighton and Virginia and losses to Northern Iowa and Cal. They also have 9 gimme wins. RPI 112, schedule 311.
  • The Mayor not even get an invite to the CBI.

Oklahoma Sooners RPI 133

  • 13-17, 5-11 in Big 12
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with no good wins and a horrible loss to Chaminade. They also have 7 gimme wins. RPI 157, schedule 198.
  • Capel might start next season on the hot seat.

Texas Tech Red Raiders RPI 159

  • 13-18, 5-11 in Big 12
  • OOC rundown: 8-7 with no good wins and some bad losses. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 240, schedule 257.
  • Did Knight do enough to save his job? Billy Gillespie is the rumored replacement.

Make sure you check in every morning for a review of the previous day’s games on the Road to Selection Sunday.

Road to Selection Sunday for Mar 3

Still Winning

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Mar 3

News and Notes:

Joshua Smith is viewed as a turncoat in the Northwest, but could be the key to ending a 6-game losing streak in Seattle.

The Trojans are getting after it to try to keep their season alive.

Here’s more on Joshua Smith from his hometown.

Cougar talk with Coach Bone going into the LA weekend.

Winners:

North Carolina: The Heels now host Duke on Saturday night with the outright ACC championship on the line. Who would have predicted that two months ago? Harrison Barnes with the ridiculous 3 with a few seconds left to win the game. Barnes has quietly put together at least a 2nd team all-ACC season. It’s amazing how under the radar the Heels have been this ACC season.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers are one of the quiet Big East teams this season. Hard to believe that Huggy is quiet, huh? Great defense down the stretch as the Huskies offense went into vapor lock. Beating UConn last night keeps their hopes alive for a 4 seed on Selection Sunday. They can get it if they make a run to the finals.

Miami: The Canes got a big home win last night over Maryland and might have ended the Terps at-large hopes while sustaining theirs. They need to beat Georgia Tech on Saturday and then win at least one game in Greensboro.  Two wins in Greensboro would probably wrap it up for them.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats aren’t a great home team, but their win at Marquette last night was their fifth Big East road win this season and virtually guaranteed their at-large bid for March Madness. It wasn’t easy as Jimmy Butler went off for 30. The key for the Cats was their consistent scoring from their starters. Four players scored between 11 and 15 points, led by Cashmere Wright. The Cats are now playing for a seed, barring a loss to Georgetown and then a horrific loss in the Big East tournament opening game.

UAB: The Blazers won on a last second three by Preston Purifoy to keep their at-large hopes alive. In fact, they might be safer than most think. With a top 30 RPI, it’s going to be tough to justify the Blazers omission into March Madness.

Losers:

BYU Honor Code: Everybody else is praising this “code”. I’m here to throw a wet blanket over it. Are you kidding me? This is a situation where a player got caught doing what I’m sure a lot of BYU students escape campus to do. Expect this situation to be reversed and Brandon Davies to be reinstated after the MWC tournament.

Brigham Young: The Cougars lost last night, not because Davies wasn’t there, but because New Mexico continues to provide a matchup problem for the Cougars. The Lobos outscored the Cougars by 46-24 in the second half of the first matchup and then beat them by 18 last night. Every team these days has a bad matchup, BYU is a bad matchup for SDSU and the Lobos are bad for the Cougars.

Florida State: The Noles let a golden opportunity to secure their at-large bid slip away when Harrison Barnes ripped out their throats with that last second three to win the game. As long as they go on the road and beat the Wolfpack on Sunday, they should be dancing. They showed they belonged without Singleton during the past few weeks.

Connecticut: Along with Villanova, the Huskies appear to be feeling the effects of the treacherous Big East schedule. They have one more with the Irish on Saturday before the Big East tournament. They need to take a few days to rediscover what made them a top 10 team before conference play began. Specifically, Kemba Walker needs to break down the game tape of when he’s most effective and also needs to do a better job of identifying opposing defenses. He doesn’t adjust.

Marquette: Every conference seems to have one. A team that can’t seal their at-large bid and the Golden Eagles are the Big East’s candidate. Despite Jimmy Butler’s 30 points, they couldn’t stop the Bearcats offensively as Cincy shot 50% from the field.

Memphis: East Carolina? Winning the CUSA tournament in El Paso is going to be tougher than in Memphis.

Colorado: Here’s another team that can’t accept being on the bubble with a chance to secure a spot. It’s going to take multiple wins in KC for the Buffs to dance.

Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles needed to keep winning, but lost a heartbreaker on the last second three. The bad bubble might help, but they need to win probably 3 more games to get in.

Thursday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(35) UCLA at (41) Washington: ESPN2 at 9 EST

(78) USC at (70) Washington St: 10 EST

Click here for conference breakdowns on This Week in College Basketball.

Road to Selection Sunday for Feb 28

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

The Irish are still alive in the Big East title race

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Feb 28

News and Notes:

Notre Dame needs Villanova to split their games this week, but make sure Nova loses in South Bend.

The Temple students held a mock funeral for the Saint Joe’s Hawk during their recent game last week.

Kansas State is finally playing up to their potential and “The Beard” could win Big 12 POY.

It’s Senior Night in Austin and the Longhorns are looking to regain their dominating form.

Weekend Winners:

Syracuse: Good win for the Orange avenging their loss to the Hoyas in the Dome. Outside of their lack of OOC road games, the profile for the Orange is pretty good.

Missouri State: The Bears got their first ever MVC regular season title on Saturday. They’re probably going to have to beat the Shockers again to get the automatic bid.

Brigham Young: The Cougars won a very entertaining game on Saturday and looked pretty dominant in doing so. The Jimmer showed that he can make his teammates better with some good passing as he dished 9 assists. With the other upsets this weekend, the Cougars look safely in as a 1 seed if today was Selection Sunday. They might even be able to lose to SDSU or UNLV in the MWC tournament final and get a 1 seed, depending on how many other contenders lose again.

St. John’s: There aren’t many teams playing better than the Johnnies right now. They’ve won 6 straight and 8 of 9 as they are beginning to look like national championship contenders. Dwight Hardy scored 34 and looks to be ripping the BE POY award away from Walker and Hansbrough. Lavin has to be top 3 in the BE COY race with Mike Brey and Rick Pitino.

Colorado: The Buffs charged back into the bubble picture with their big comeback win against the Longhorns. Down 22, the Buffs came back on the strength of 58 second half points. Alec Burks was sensational, going for 33 points and getting 10 boards. The Buffs need to continue winning as their profile is fairly weak outside of the Texas win and Kansas State sweep.

Michigan: The Wolverines won the “elimination” game with the Gophers and are now have a solid chance of capturing an at-large bid. Once 1-6 in the Big Ten, the Maize and Blue are now 8-9 with Sparty coming to town on Saturday. A win and they are in.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies got the big win that they desperately needed on Saturday night behind a big game from Jeff Allen who had 18 and 15. Good thing too, because Malcolm Delaney was AWOL for most of the night. In typical Tech fashion, they will probably split their next two games and drop their opener in the ACC tournament to make their selection difficult. But right now, they’re probably in.

Connecticut: Big road win for the Huskies after dropping the game against Marquette on Thursday. The Huskies are now in a five-way tie for seventh place in the Big East. No kidding. The two teams that break out get one bye in the Big East tournament. The Huskies got 39 points out of freshmen Lamb, Smith, and Napier. Not too bad. This team is probably a year from being great. If Walker returns, they are preseason #1 for next season.

Louisville: Except for the male cheerleader, of course. The Cards got a huge win over the Panthers yesterday and are looking good for a Sweet 16 seed in two weeks. That was just a gutty win over a tough team. It’s not too often that you are victorious when shooting 34%.

Losers:

Bubble teams with bad losses group: Here they are: Miami, Memphis, Alabama, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Colorado State, and Dayton. All of these teams could have taken steps to get into the tournament or at least keep their hopes alive. Only the atrocious bubble situation keeps some of them alive.

Georgetown: The loss of Chris Wright hurts, but the Hoyas have to defend the home turf. By losing at home to the ‘Cuse, the Hoyas split the season series and are now only one win in front of the 9-7 cluster in the Big East standings. They probably need to win in Cincinnati to get a round 1 bye and to keep their Sweet 16 seed hopes alive.

Missouri: The Tigers can’t win on the road. They lost to K-State on Saturday even though Jacob Pullen was saddled with foul problems. They only have 2 road wins all season and with a loss to the Huskers, they will have to beat Kansas to have a winning record in the Big 12.

San Diego State: The Aztecs lost a chance to win the Mountain West and get into the driver’s seat for a #1 seed. Great environment for the game, but Jimmer and the Cougars were too much from the beginning.

Villanova: The Wildcats are in a tailspin and need to break out of their funk if they want to get a decent seed on Selection Sunday. The Cats are 5-7 after starting 16-1 and face the top two teams in the conference on the road to finish the regular season. It’s not out of the question that they lose both and head into the BE tournament at 5-9 after their great start. They could be headed towards a double digit seed if they lose their next 3 games.

Arizona: These Wildcats dropped a golden opportunity to close out the Pac 10 by losing to USC and UCLA last week. Now they need help to claim the outright title. Derrick Williams scored 26 against both Washington schools and had NBA draft people talking about him as the #1 pick. In LA, he totaled 23 points in the two games and had to slide on those draft boards. The Cats have also slid down to a 6 or 7 seed at best.

Duke: Say goodbye to that #1 seed. If they lose another one, there will be no way they can recover to get a 1 seed. The Dukies should still be considered a March favorite, however, because Nolan Smith might be the best player in the country and has a very good supporting cast.

Michigan State: The Spartans need wins and beating Purdue would have all but sealed their invitation to the NCAA tournament. Purdue is really good, but losing at home by 20 isn’t the best way to impress. Now they face two teams that have already beaten them and they need to get to at least 18 wins to be a reasonable selection for an at-large.

Monday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(31) Villanova at (11) Notre Dame: ESPN at 7 EST

(24) Kansas State at (9) Texas: ESPN at 9 EST

Click here for conference breakdowns on This Week in College Basketball.

Big 12 Basketball Overview February 27

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Big 12 Basketball Overview February 27

Team Overviews: Records are going into February 28th. RPI is courtesy of rpiforecast.com.

Current NCAA Locks:

Kansas Jayhawks RPI 2

  • 27-2, 12-2 in Big 12  Away: 8-1
  • OOC rundown: 15-0 with good wins over Arizona, UCLA, USC, and Michigan. They also have 4 gimme wins. RPI 2, schedule 32.
  • Big 12: Wins: at ISU, Neb, at Bay, at CU, KSU, at TT, at Neb, Mizz, ISU, CU, OSU, at OU     Losses: Tex, at KSU
  • They Jayhawks need 4 more total wins to secure one of the four #1 seeds in the Big Dance.

Texas Longhorns RPI 9

  • 24-5, 12-2 in Big 12   Away: 7-3
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with good wins over Illinois, North Carolina, and Michigan St and losses to Pitt, USC, and UConn. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 34, schedule 62.
  • Big 12: Wins: at TT, OU, A&M, at KU, at Ok St, Mizz, at A&M, TT, at OU, Bay, OSU, ISU  Losses: at Neb, at CU
  • The Horns are still in the running for a #1 seed but need to run the table. They probably get a #2 seed with 3 or more wins.

Texas A&M Aggies RPI 29

  • 22-6, 9-5 in Big 12  Away: 5-3
  • OOC rundown: 13-1 solid wins over Temple and Washington and a decent loss to BC. They also have 7 gimme wins. RPI 37, schedule 195.
  • Big 12: Wins: at OU, OSU, Mizz, KSU, at CU, at TT, ISU, at OSU, OU   Losses: at Tex, at Neb, Tex, Bay, at Bay
  • The Aggies have a decent OOC profile and but still need at least 4 more wins to get a 6 or 7 seed.

Missouri Tigers RPI 28

  • 22-7, 8-6 in Big 12  Away: 2-6
  • OOC rundown: 14-1 with good wins over Vanderbilt, Illinois, and Old Dominion with a solid loss to Georgetown. They also have 6 gimme wins and a non division I win. RPI 50, schedule 228.
  • Big 12: Wins: Neb, KSU, ISU, CU, OU, TT, at ISU, Bay   Losses: at CU, at A&M, at Tex, at OSU, at KU, at KSU
  • Paging Tiger road wins. They only have 2 all season. They still need 2 or more wins to be safe on Selection Sunday. If they can get hot and win at least 4 more, the Tigers can move into a 5 or 6 seed.

Kansas State Wildcats RPI 24

  • 20-9, 8-6 in Big 12  Away: 4-6
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with wins over Virginia Tech, Gonzaga, and Wash St with losses to Duke, Florida, and UNLV. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 23, schedule 30.
  • Big 12: Wins: TT, Bay, Neb, at ISU, KU, OUat, at Neb, Mizz  Losses: at OSU, CU, at Mizz, at A&M, at KU, at CU
  • The hot Wildcats are now playing for a seed. They still need 2 more win to be safe, but they can climb to a 4 or 5 seed with at least 4 more wins.

 

Bubble Territory:

Baylor Bears RPI 74

  • 18-10, 7-7 in Big 12  Away: 2-5
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with no notable wins and decent losses to Gonzaga, Washington State, and Florida State. They also have 8 gimme wins. RPI 114, schedule 204.
  • Big 12: Wins: at TT, OU, OSU, CU, at A&M, Neb, A&M     Losses: at ISU, KU, at KSU, at OU, at Tex, at Mizz
  • The Bears have to beat Texas on Saturday to have a chance. The Bears have to win at least 3 more games to be secure on Selection Sunday.

Oklahoma State Cowboys RPI 62

  • 17-11, 5-9 in Big 12  Away: 2-8
  • OOC rundown: 12-2 with Missouri State being the only solid win and losses to Gonzaga and Virginia Tech. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 51, schedule 194.
  • Big 12: Wins: KSU, ISU, Mizz, OU, TT      Losses: at A&M, at CU, at Bay, Tex, at TT, at Neb, at Tex, A&M, at KU
  • The Cowboys are close to done, unless the committee decides to choose mediocre power conference teams over solid mid-majors. They need to win at least 3 more games to be secure on Selection Sunday.

 

Needs To Get Hot:

Colorado Buffaloes RPI 76

  • 18-11, 7-7 in Big 12  Away: 3-8
  • OOC rundown: 11-4 with no notable wins. They also have 8 gimme wins and a non-division I win. RPI 148, schedule 322.
  • Big 12: Wins: Mizz, at KSU, OSU, ISU, KSU, at TT, Tex  Losses: at Neb, at OU, KU, at Bay, at Mizz, A&M, at KU
  • The Buffs need to win their last 2 games and then at least 2 more in the Big 12 tournament to get an at-large. Their OOC profile is too bad for anything less.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Nebraska Cornhuskers RPI 82

  • 18-10, 6-8 in Big 12  Away: 1-6
  • OOC rundown: 12-2 with a win over USC and losses to Vanderbilt and Davidson. They also have 8 gimme wins. RPI 118, schedule 295.
  • Big 12: Wins: ISU, CU, A&M, OSU, at OU, Tex      Losses: at Mizz, at KU, at TT, at KSU, KU, at Bay
  • The Huskers now need to win the Big 12 tournament. They played no OOC road games and thus have no OOC road wins.

Iowa State Cyclones RPI 137

  • 15-14, 2-12 in Big 12
  • OOC rundown: 13-2 with decent wins over Creighton and Virginia and losses to Northern Iowa and Cal. They also have 9 gimme wins. RPI 115, schedule 319.
  • The Mayor not even get an invite to the CBI.

Oklahoma Sooners RPI 132

  • 12-16, 4-10 in Big 12
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with no good wins and a horrible loss to Chaminade. They also have 7 gimme wins. RPI 167, schedule 210.
  • A winning record makes them NIT eligible and the RPI is moving up into range for a bid.

Texas Tech Red Raiders RPI 159

  • 12-17, 4-10 in Big 12
  • OOC rundown: 8-7 with no good wins and some bad losses. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 238, schedule 254.
  • Pat Knight might save his job with 6 or 7 Big 12 wins.

That’s this week’s Big 12 overview. This will be updated next week.

Make sure you check in every morning for a review of the previous day’s games on the Road to Selection Sunday.