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Filling In the Brackets: 2011 NCAA Tournament

Bracket Gold!

I’m going to take my annual futile stab at bracket prognostication. There might be more letters in the last word of the first sentence than I will have correct picks. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve overloaded on college basketball this season, but my picks look a lot like those TV guys.

In the East Region, I’m picking Ohio State to roll through it. The Buckeyes might not win a game by less than double digits as they should beat George Mason, West Virginia, and North Carolina to get to Houston. The Buckeyes haven’t shown any true weaknesses, except playing against top 15 Big Ten schools on the road. While freshman forward Jared Sullinger gets most of the attention, their three man backcourt of David Lighty, Jon Diebler, and William Buford are stellar. When March rolls around, the teams with the best backcourts advance and the Buckeyes might have the best in the country.

As for the rest of the region, I like West Virginia to beat Kentucky, mostly because Huggins destroys Calipari head-to-head. In nine meetings, Huggins has won eight, including last year’s Elite Eight matchup in Syracuse. On the bottom of the East, I like UNC to beat Xavier in a tough Sweet 16 matchup. Holloway is really good for the X-Men, but freshmen Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall have been spectacular over the past six weeks. Xavier will beat Syracuse and UNC will beat Washington to get to the Sweet 16.

In the West, I like San Diego State. There might not be a more complete defensive team in the tournament than the Aztecs. They have a number of players who can switch and defend different positions and when they beat Connecticut in the Sweet 16, it will be because of forward Billy White. They will have White hound the smaller Kemba Walker all game and it won’t be a mismatch in favor of Walker. White was used by Coach Steve Fisher on Jimmer Fredette in their matchups and his agility and length gave The Jimmer problems when they were matched up. The Aztecs will also beat Temple and Texas to make the Final Four.

The rest of the West will have Texas beating Arizona and then Tennessee in the Sweet 16 before falling to the Aztecs. Tennessee might save Bruce Pearl’s job by beating Duke on Sunday. The Vols have big wins and crazy losses on the season and beating Duke would be consistent with their inconsistency. Texas and Tennessee, I believe, are destined to meet each other. There aren’t two teams in the tournament who have shown more promise and then bombed out like these two. As for the biggest first round (or is it second) upset? It will be Missouri over Cincinnati.

The Southwest Region will be won by Kansas. The Jayhawks are clearly one of the two best teams in the tournament, along with Ohio State. They will beat UNLV, Louisville, and Notre Dame to get to Houston. That road will not be easy. Unlike Ohio State, Kansas will have to play really well in each of their games to avoid an upset. The Big East has been incredible this season, as their record eleven tournament bids would indicate. Every game is a slugfest and Kansas could be worn down by the time they reach Houston. The biggest advantage they have is their depth and balance. They have ten players who average over 11 minutes per game and have eight players who average at least 5 points per game.

The rest of the Southwest will see the highly anticipated game between Notre Dame and Purdue with the Irish winning. That might be the most anticipated Sweet 16 game next week. Notre Dame will have to beat Texas A&M to get there and Purdue will knock off VCU. Yes, the Rams of VCU will use their opening round momentum to upset Georgetown, who hasn’t been the same without Chris Wright and will struggle to regain their pre-injury form even if he returns. VCU’s cross town rival, Richmond will beat Vanderbilt in the 12-5 upset and then lose to Louisville on the weekend.

The Southeast Region will be won by Pittsburgh. I know three #1 seeds. But if Jamie Dixon is to lead the Panthers to the Final Four, this is the season. The Panthers have a favorable draw as they will beat Old Dominion, Kansas State, and BYU to get to Houston. The Monarchs of ODU could be the Cinderella team with a deep tournament run, but the Panthers might be the worst matchup for them because of their similar styles. Physical play, defense, and intangible play by Brad Wanamaker will be the key to Pittsburgh’s overall success.

The rest of the Southeast will have Jimmer and BYU beating Florida and Gonzaga before falling to Pitt. Kansas State will benefit from Belmont’s upset of Wisconsin to get to the Sweet 16. Florida will beat Michigan State before falling to BYU.

The Final Four matchups are these: Ohio State versus San Diego State and Kansas versus Pittsburgh. Ohio State will beat San Diego State in a close game. This will be closer than any game they play in the entire tournament up to this point. While the Aztecs are really good defensively, the Buckeyes have too many weapons and they typically don’t have anybody on the court that can’t score. In addition, the overall size of the Buckeyes backcourt will take its toll on the small backcourt for San Diego State.

In the other semifinal, Pittsburgh will upset Kansas as the Jayhawks will not be able to beat a Big East team in three straight games. This game might not be that easy on the eyes, but it should be tight and come down to the end. The Panthers have the size and toughness to matchup with the Morris twins and unless Josh Selby finally shows up, the Panthers are good enough defensively to shut down the Jayhawks backcourt. The bottom line with this pick is that I said a month ago that I didn’t think a team could beat three Big East teams in a row and that’s what Kansas will have to do to win it.

That leaves a championship game between Ohio State and Pittsburgh. These are the regular season champions of the two best conferences during the season. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Buckeyes are just too good. They have too many weapons for even Pittsburgh’s staunch defense to shut down. Barring an incredibly rough shooting night for Diebler and Buford, the Buckeyes should win this game by 6-8 points.

There’s the bracket breakdown, please don’t send me a bill for your poor bracket results.

Road to Selection Sunday for March 10

The Friars went broke on this Keno game

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 10

News and Notes:

Here’s a great story about Rutgers’ assistant coach Jim Carr and his son’s battle for his life.

It looks like Keno Davis is out at Providence after three rocky seasons.

Kansas State could be tougher to beat in a close game due to their improved free throw shooting.

Pittsburgh could get caught looking ahead as their players talk about Notre Dame.

The Salt Lake Tribune wonders how much longer Dave Rose will be at BYU. This has been discussed on these pages previously.

San Diego State’s Malcolm Thomas has more on his mind than just the game when he takes the court for the Aztecs.

Winners:

Automatic Qualifiers:

  • Northeast: Long Island
  • Big Sky: Northern Colorado

Marquette: The win over West Virginia last night pretty much locked up their at-large bid. There shouldn’t be any question now for Buzz and the Eagles.

Mike Rice: The Rutgers coach lost, but nobody could have been classier in the face of an awfully officiated finish than Rice was after the game.  

Connecticut: The Huskies have stabilized their play and should be rewarded with a Sweet 16 protected seed on Sunday. A couple more wins and the Huskies could be as high as a 3 seed.

Losers:

Big East officials: That was the worst officiated end of game situation I think I’ve ever seen. Ball out of bounds incorrectly called off Rutgers, foul at midcourt on final possession not called, St. John’s player steps out of bounds with over a second left and fired the ball into the stands. That last situation should have resulted in a technical foul, two free throws and the ball for Rutgers. This situation was so bad that it caused me to agree with Digger Phelps for the first time in this millennium. Digger: “What, do they need 4 refs, now?”

Here’s the end of the game:

Georgetown: The Hoyas aren’t as bad as Villanova right now, but they won’t be able to stabilize their freefall before the seeding is announced on Sunday. It’s going to be tough for the selection committee to properly seed the Hoyas with Wright’s situation unknown and his teammates lack of quality play without him since he went out.

Baylor: Whatever miniscule chances that the Bears had of getting an at-large bid was lost before the game when star freshman center and potential #1 overall draft pick Perry Jones III, was declared ineligible for the game because his mother received improper benefits. If it was his father, he would have been able to play, right Cecil Newton? The Bears lost to Oklahoma as well. They’re probably not even a NIT team.

Nebraska: The Huskers can take their atrocious OOC schedule and see if they can impress the selection committee for the NIT after losing to Oklahoma State yesterday in their final Big 12 game.

Pat Knight’s endorsements: Junior was sporting a suit last night for the first time as head coach. Where was this wardrobe when he could have been earning extra $$ from the local suit shop? He’s going to wish he had that extra cash with the big checks ending.

Thursday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(24) Connecticut vs. (9) Pittsburgh: ESPN at Noon EST

(63) Oklahoma State vs. (1) Kansas: ESPN2 at 12:30 EST

(24) St. John’s vs. (18) Syracuse: ESPN at 2:30 EST

(54) Southern Miss vs. (38) Memphis: CBS College at 2:30 EST

(65) California vs. (71) USC: FSN at 3 EST

(67) Colorado vs. (16) Kansas State: ESPN3 at 3 EST

(72) New Mexico vs. (43) Colorado State: 5:30 EST

(52) Marshall vs. (62) Texas El Paso: CBS College at 6:30 EST

(31) Cincinnati vs. (8) Notre Dame: ESPN at 7 EST

(58) Marquette vs. (21) Louisville: ESPN at 9:30 EST

(32) Missouri vs. (30) Texas A&M: ESPN2 at 9:30 EST

(73) Washington State vs. (46) Washington: FSN at 11:30 EST

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

Road to Selection Sunday for March 9

Future Knick?

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 9

News and Notes:

Robert Morris looks to become the first team to win three straight Northeast Conference titles tonight.

Northern Colorado is looking to go dancing for the first time tonight against Montana.

The Hoyas are looking to stabilize their seed with a win against the Huskies today.

Kemba Walker is interested in playing for the hometown Knicks when he’s done at UConn.

Oklahoma State’s Page doesn’t want to come up short in the Big 12 tourney.

Winners:

Automatic Qualifiers:

  • Sun Belt: Arkansas-Little Rock
  • Horizon: Butler
  • Summitt: Oakland

Bubble Hopefuls: The win by Butler could keep another spot alive for the mediocre bubble teams out there. Butler was a possibility for an at-large if they lost to UW-Milwaukee last night, but the win gave them the auto bid. That’s what this bubble need is more open spots for mediocre teams.

Princeton: With the win at the Palestra last night, the Tigers head to New Haven looking for Crimson blood on Saturday.

Losers:

Venoy Overton: The Washington guard was charged with providing alcohol to a minor and was suspended for the Pac 10 tournament by Coach Lorenzo Romar. Dumb act by the player and one has to look cynically at how Romar handled this situation.

Villanova: Is this collapse for real? They’ve now lost 9 of 13 and Steve Lappas is warming up in the bullpen. Just kidding.

Derek Kellogg: The Massachusetts coach just completed his third straight losing season (they have one non division 1 win) in his three seasons at his alma mater. It’s looking like the Steve Lappas era all over again as the Minutemen lost by 28 points at home last night in the first round of the Atlantic Ten tournament. The 28 point margin of defeat was the most by the school in an Atlantic Ten tournament game. Hey Derek; Lou Roe isn’t walking through that door, Marcus Camby isn’t walking through that door…

Wednesday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

 (24) Connecticut vs. (11) Georgetown: ESPN Noon EST

(64) Oklahoma State vs. (79) Nebraska: ESPN3 12:30 EST

Northeast Championship (102) Robert Morris vs. (81) Long Island: ESPN2 at 7 EST

Big Sky Championship (103) Montana vs. (109) Northern Colorado: ESPN2 at 9 EST

(63) Marquette vs. (15) West Virginia: ESPN 9:30 EST

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

Big East Basketball Overview March 6

Big East Basketball Overview March 6

Team Overviews: Records are going into March 7th. RPI is courtesy of rpiforecast.com.

Current NCAA Locks:

Pittsburgh Panthers RPI 6

  • 27-4, 15-3 in Big East  Away: 7-2  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 12-1 with solid wins over Rhode Island, Maryland, and Texas and a solid loss to Tennessee. RPI 21, schedule 91.
  • Big East: Wins: Conn, at PC, Marq, at Gtown, SH, Syr, at Dep, at Rut, Cin, at WVU, at Vill, USF, WVU, at USF, Vill   Losses: ND, at SJ, at Lou
  • The Panthers should be a 1 seed if they make it to the Big East finals. They might be good if they go 1-1 this week. They can drop no lower than a 2 seed.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish RPI 11

  • 25-5, 14-4 in Big East  Away: 5-5  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 11-1 with good wins over Georgia, Wisconsin, and Gonzaga with a good loss to Kentucky. RPI 27, schedule 149.
  • Big East: Wins: Gtown, Conn, SJ, Cin, Marq, at Pitt, at Dep, Rut, Lou, at USF, at PC, SH, Vill, at Conn   Losses: at Syr, at Marq, at SJ, at WVU
  • The Irish will be a 1 seed if they win the Big East tournament. Unless they lose their first game, they should be at least a 2 seed.

Syracuse Orangemen RPI 16

  • 25-6, 12-6 in Big East   Away: 7-3  Neutral: 2-0
  • OOC rundown: 13-0 with wins over Michigan and Michigan State. RPI 12, schedule 125.
  • Big East: Wins: PC, ND, at SH, at SJ, Cin, at Conn, at USF, WVU, Rut, at Vill, at Gtown, Dep Losses: at Pitt, Vill, SH, at Marq, Gtown, at Lou 
  • The Orange should be a lock for a 5 seed and will move up with wins. If they win the Big East tournament, they could move all the way to a 2 seed. Going 2-1 could get them to a 3 seed and going 1-1 should get them a 4 seed. It will be interesting to see how the selection committee deals with the Orange having no OOC road games. 

Louisville Cardinals RPI 20

  • 23-8, 12-6 in Big East  Away: 4-6  Neutral: 0-0
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with a decent win over Butler and a good win over UNLV with losses to Drexel and Kentucky. RPI 46, schedule 75.
  • Big East: Wins: SH, at USF, Marq, SJ, WVU, at Conn, Dep, Syr, Conn, at Rut, Pit, PC    Losses: Vill, at PC, at Gtown, at ND, at Cin, at WVU
  • The Cardinals need to win at least 1 game to get a 4 seed. Winning the Big East tournament shouldn’t move them higher than a 3 seed.

West Virginia Mountaineers RPI 15

  • 20-10, 11-7 in Big East  Away: 4-6  Neutral: 2-2
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 with solid wins over Purdue, Vanderbilt and Cleveland St and losses to Minnesota, Miami (FL), and Marshall. RPI 10, schedule 4.
  • Big East: Wins: at Dep, at Gtown, PC, USF, at Cin, SH, Dep, ND, at Rut, Conn, Lou   Losses: SJ, at Marq, at Lou, at Vill, Pit, at Syr, at Pit
  • The Mountaineers can get a 4 seed if they beat Marquette and Louisville. Winning the Big East tournament gets them to a 3 seed. One win ensures a 5 seed and no wins sends them to a 6 or 7 seed.

Georgetown Hoyas RPI 10

  • 21-9, 10-8 in Big East  Away: 8-5  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 11-1 with good wins at Old Dominion, at Missouri, and Utah State. Solid loss to Temple. RPI 1, schedule 3.
  • Big East: Wins: Dep, at Rut, at SH, SJ, at Vill, Lou, PC, at Syr, Marq, at USF   Losses: at ND, at SJ, WVU, Pitt, at Conn, Cin, Syr, at Cin
  • The Hoyas are struggling w/o Wright. They need to beat UConn to get a 5 seed and avoid falling to a 6 or 7 seed with a loss. Winning 2 games and they’re a lock 4 seed, if not a 3 seed. Getting to the Big East finals makes them a lock 3 seed. They can still get a 2 seed if they win the Big East tournament. It would take wins over UConn, Pitt, Cuse, and another team to do that. Easy 2 seed.

Connecticut Huskies RPI 23

  • 21-9, 9-9 in Big East  Away: 5-4  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 12-0 with good wins over Wichita State, Michigan State, Kentucky, at Texas, and Tennessee. RPI 4, schedule 41.
  • Big East: Wins: USF, Rut, at Dep, Vill, at Marq, at SH, PC, Gtown, at Cin   Losses: at Pitt, at ND, Lou, Syr, at SJ, at Lou, Mar, at WVU, ND
  • The Huskies need multiple wins to avoid a 6 seed. Beating Georgetown gets them a  5 seed, beating Pitt a 4 seed, and can climb to a 3 seed if they make the Big East finals.

St John’s Redman RPI 22

  • 20-10, 12-6 in Big East  Away: 5-7  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 8-4 with a win over Duke, but they lost to St Mary’s, St Bonaventure, Fordham, and UCLA. RPI 61, schedule 59.
  • Big East: Wins: at WVU, at PC, Gtown, ND, Rut, Conn, at Cin, at Mar, Pit, Dep, at Vill, USF   Losses: at ND, Syr, at Lou, Cin, at Gtown, at SH
  • The Johnnies need to win a game to get a 7 seed, beat Syracuse for a 6 seed. If they beat Pitt they might jump to a 4 seed. If they win the Big East tournament, they might get rewarded with a 3 seed. Tough, but not many teams are better after January 1.

Villanova Wildcats RPI 31

  • 21-10, 9-9 in Big East   Away: 7-5  Neutral: 1-1
  • OOC rundown: 12-1 with good wins over Temple and UCLA. RPI 17, schedule 109.
  • Big East: Wins: Rut, at USF, Cin, Lou, at Syr, Marq, WVU, at SH, at Dep   Losses: at Conn, at PC, Gtown, at Rut, Pitt, Syr, SJ, ND, Pitt
  • The Cats need to beat USF to avoid wearing their blue jerseys in their opening game. If they beat Cincy, they are probably a 7 seed. If they beat ND, they move to a 6 seed. They can climb all the way to a 4 seed if they miraculously win the Big East tourney.

Cincinnati Bearcats RPI 32

  • 24-7, 11-7 in Big East  Away: 8-4  Neutral: 0-0
  • OOC rundown: 13-0 with blowout wins over Dayton and Xavier and 7 gimmes. RPI 38, schedule 284.
  • Big East: Wins: Dep, SH, USF, at SJ, Rut, at Dep, Lou, at PC, at Gtown, at Marq, Gtown     Losses: at Vill, at Syr, at ND, WVU, at Pitt, SJ, Conn
  • The Bearcats will be a 7 seed if they beat Villanova. They can be a 6 if they beat ND. They can probably go all the way to a 4 seed if they win the Big East tourney.

 

Bubble Territory:

Marquette Warriors RPI 67

  • 18-13, 9-9 in Big East  Away: 4-7  Neutral: 0-2
  • OOC rundown: 9-4 with no notable wins and losses to Duke, Gonzaga, Wisconsin, and Vanderbilt. RPI 123, schedule 158.
  • Big East: Wins: WVU, at Rut, ND, Dep, Syr, at USF, SH, at Conn, PC   Losses: at Pitt, at Lou, at ND, Conn, at Vill, at Gtown, SJ
  • Beat PC and you’re in Marquette. After that, the Eagles can move into an 8-9 game with a win over West Virginia and move into a 7 seed if they beat Louisville.

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Rutgers Scarlet Knights RPI 124

  • 14-16, 5-13 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 with a good win over Miami (FL) and a decent loss to North Carolina and bad losses to Princeton and St. Joseph’s. RPI 90, schedule 217.
  • CBI? Jersey Shore Invitational?

Providence Friars RPI 146

  • 15-16, 4-14 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with a solid win over URI and a decent loss to BC. RPI 81, schedule 252.
  • CBI, anyone?

Seton Hall Pirates RPI 93

  • 13-17, 7-11 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with no good wins and plenty of solid losses. RPI 121, schedule 25.
  • Their losing record shouldn’t turn off the CBI committee.

South Florida Bulls RPI 160

  • 9-22, 3-15 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-7 with a win over VCU and plenty of losses. RPI 132, schedule 35.
  • Not this year.

DePaul Blue Demons RPI 229

  • 7-23, 1-17 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with no good wins and plenty of bad losses. RPI 249, schedule 225.
  • Wait til next year.

 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 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 East Basketball Overview February 27

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Big East Basketball Overview February 27

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

Current NCAA Locks:

Pittsburgh Panthers RPI 8

  • 25-4, 13-3 in Big East  Away: 6-2
  • OOC rundown: 12-1 with solid wins over Rhode Island, Maryland, and Texas and a solid loss to Tennessee. RPI 19, schedule 93.
  • Big East: Wins: Conn, at PC, Marq, at Gtown, SH, Syr, at Dep, at Rut, Cin, at WVU, at Vill, USF, WVU   Losses: ND, at SJ, at Lou
  • If the Panthers win at least 4 games or more, they should be a #1. Being the best team in the best conference should be worth something.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish RPI 11

  • 23-5, 12-4 in Big East  Away: 4-5
  • OOC rundown: 11-1 with good wins over Georgia, Wisconsin, and Gonzaga with a good loss to Kentucky. RPI 27, schedule 152.
  • Big East: Wins: Gtown, Conn, SJ, Cin, Marq, at Pitt, at Dep, Rut, Lou, at USF, at PC, SH   Losses: at Syr, at Marq, at SJ, at WVU
  • The Irish would have to run the table and win the Big East tournament to claim a #1 seed. More likely is they win another 4 or more and get a 2 seed. If they win at least 3 more they will still get a 3 seed.

Georgetown Hoyas RPI 7

  • 21-8, 10-7 in Big East  Away: 8-4
  • OOC rundown: 11-1 with good wins at Old Dominion, at Missouri, and Utah State. Solid loss to Temple. RPI 1, schedule 3.
  • Big East: Wins: Dep, at Rut, at SH, SJ, at Vill, Lou, PC, at Syr, Marq, at USF   Losses: at ND, at SJ, WVU, Pitt, at Conn, Cin, Syr
  • The Hoyas need to beat Cincinnati and make the Big East tournament finals to be a 2 seed. They need at least 2 more wins to ensure a Sweet 16 seed. Losing without Wright and not getting him back in time for their first NCAA game could affect their seeding.

Connecticut Huskies RPI 20

  • 21-7, 9-7 in Big East  Away: 5-4
  • OOC rundown: 12-0 with good wins over Wichita State, Michigan State, Kentucky, at Texas, and Tennessee. RPI 4, schedule 48.
  • Big East: Wins: USF, Rut, at Dep, Vill, at Marq, at SH, PC, Gtown, at Cin   Losses: at Pitt, at ND, Lou, Syr, at SJ, at Lou, Mar
  • The Huskies probably need to run the table to claim a #2 seed. More likely is that they can win at least 3 more and get at least a 3 seed.

Villanova Wildcats RPI 31

  • 21-8, 9-7 in Big East   Away: 7-3
  • OOC rundown: 12-1 with good wins over Temple and UCLA. RPI 18, schedule 110.
  • Big East: Wins: Rut, at USF, Cin, Lou, at Syr, Marq, WVU, at SH, at Dep   Losses: at Conn, at PC, Gtown, at Rut, Pitt, Syr, SJ
  • The Cats need to win at least 5 more to get a Sweet 16 seed. This tailspin could knock them out of a single digit seed. They probably need at least 2 more wins to get a single digit seed.

Syracuse Orangemen RPI 15

  • 24-6, 11-6 in Big East   Away: 6-3
  • OOC rundown: 13-0 with wins over Michigan and Michigan State. RPI 12, schedule 123.
  • Big East: Wins: PC, ND, at SH, at SJ, Cin, at Conn, at USF, WVU, Rut, at Vill, at Gtown  Losses: at Pitt, Vill, SH, at Marq, Gtown, at Lou
  • The Orange need at least 1 more win to get a 5 or 6 seed and can get a Sweet 16 seed if they win at least 3 more games. It will be interesting to see how the selection committee deals with the Orange having no OOC road games.

Louisville Cardinals RPI 18

  • 22-7, 11-5 in Big East  Away: 4-5
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with a decent win over Butler and a good win over UNLV with losses to Drexel and Kentucky. RPI 48, schedule 72.
  • Big East: Wins: SH, at USF, Marq, SJ, WVU, at Conn, Dep, Syr, Conn, at Rut, Pit    Losses: Vill, at PC, at Gtown, at ND, at Cin
  • The Cardinals OOC profile isn’t that great so they need at least 3 more wins to get a Sweet 16 seed. The Cards should get a 5-7 seed with at least 1 more win.

West Virginia Mountaineers RPI 21

  • 18-10, 9-7 in Big East  Away: 4-6
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 with solid wins over Purdue, Vanderbilt and Cleveland St and losses to Minnesota, Miami (FL), and Marshall. RPI 8, schedule 2.
  • Big East: Wins: at Dep, at Gtown, PC, USF, at Cin, SH, Dep, ND, at Rut   Losses: SJ, at Marq, at Lou, at Vill, Pit, at Syr, at Pit
  • It’s going to take a solid finish, but the Mountaineers can get a Sweet 16 seed with at least 4 more wins. More likely is a 5-7 seed with at least 2 more wins.

St John’s Redman RPI 13

  • 19-9, 11-5 in Big East  Away: 5-6
  • OOC rundown: 8-4 with a win over Duke, but they lost to St Mary’s, St Bonaventure, Fordham, and UCLA. RPI 55, schedule 52.
  • Big East: Wins: at WVU, at PC, Gtown, ND, Rut, Conn, at Cin, at Mar, Pit, Dep, at Vill   Losses: at ND, Syr, at Lou, Cin, at Gtown
  • The Johnnies have now won 6 straight and 8 of 9. They should clinch a single digit seed with their next win and could challenge for a Sweet 16 seed if they win at least 3 more games. They have a longshot chance of getting to a 3 seed if they win out, including the Big East tournament.

 

Bubble Territory:

Cincinnati Bearcats RPI 39

  • 22-7, 9-7 in Big East  Away: 7-4
  • OOC rundown: 13-0 with blowout wins over Dayton and Xavier and 7 gimmes. RPI 38, schedule 281.
  • Big East: Wins: Dep, SH, USF, at SJ, Rut, at Dep, Lou, at PC, at Gtown     Losses: at Vill, at Syr, at ND, WVU, at Pitt, SJ, Conn
  • The Bearcats still aren’t there yet. The Bearcats need at least 1 more win to be safe on Selection Sunday. If they win at least 2 more games, they can get a single digit seed.

Marquette Warriors RPI 52

  • 18-11, 9-7 in Big East  Away: 4-6
  • OOC rundown: 9-4 with no notable wins and losses to Duke, Gonzaga, Wisconsin, and Vanderbilt. RPI 124, schedule 175.
  • Big East: Wins: WVU, at Rut, ND, Dep, Syr, at USF, SH, at Conn, PC   Losses: at Pitt, at Lou, at ND, Conn, at Vill, at Gtown, SJ
  • Marquette needs at least 2 more wins to be safe on Selection Sunday. Anything  less puts them squarely on the bubble.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Rutgers Scarlet Knights RPI 120

  • 13-15, 4-12 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 with a good win over Miami (FL) and a decent loss to North Carolina and bad losses to Princeton and St. Joseph’s. RPI 98, schedule 232.
  • The Scarlet Knights now need to win the Big East tournament.

Providence Friars RPI 149

  • 14-15, 3-13 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with a solid win over URI and a decent loss to BC. RPI 80, schedule 237.
  • If they end up with an 8-10 Big East record or better and win more than one game in MSG, then we’ll talk. So I’m saying they have a chance.

Seton Hall Pirates RPI 100

  • 11-17, 5-11 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with no good wins and plenty of solid losses. RPI 121, schedule 29.
  • Their losing record shouldn’t turn off the CBI committee.

South Florida Bulls RPI 160

  • 9-20, 3-13 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-7 with a win over VCU and plenty of losses. RPI 132, schedule 31.
  • Not this year.

DePaul Blue Demons RPI 229

  • 7-21, 1-15 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with no good wins and plenty of bad losses. RPI 253, schedule 235.
  • Wait til next year.

 

That’s this week’s Big East 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.

Road to Selection Sunday for Feb 23

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Tark the Shark

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Feb 23

News and Notes:

Kentucky’s chance to make their move is now.

Badgers’ Taylor agrees with his technical on Sunday, looks to create for teammates in Ann Arbor tonight.

The Jimmer is trying to buck the trend of nation’s leading scorers who were forced to go overseas.

The Jimmer’s bruised calf kept him out of practice on Monday.

Huggins and West Virginia are looking to start a neutral court series with Kansas State.

Tark and the Runnin’ Rebels are remembered 20 years later on HBO.

Chris Wright has stepped up his scoring for the Hoyas recently.

Yesterday’s Winners:

Tennessee: The Vols are going to be facing the NCAA today, but last night they took care of the rival ‘Dores. They did a tremendous job defensively on John Jenkins, holding him to 4-13/1-6 shooting and only 11 pts. Scotty Hopson could make a late charge for SEC POY if the Vols win out. As for the Vols, it’s going to be a lot easier to get to 9 SEC wins now.

Michigan State: Tough, ugly road win for the Spartans as they put some distance between themselves and the Gophers for an at-large. With a ridiculously soft bubble, Sparty should be good if they beat Iowa and split the other two games.

Losers:

Illinois: The Illini needs wins so even losing to the Buckeyes is bad. Can’t believe they were so good from “3” and were rarely close. The bubble is so bad that they should be in with a .500 Big Ten record. That means they can’t drop a game to Indiana or Iowa.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores got swept by their in-state rivals and now are fighting for second place and a first round bye in the SEC tournament. It’s starting to look like Florida might be the only SEC team to get a protected Sweet 16 seed.

Ole Miss: I had the Rebels are toast, but some didn’t. This is for them.

Dr. John Giannini: LaSalle’s coach could be on his way out as the Explorers got destroyed by Xavier last night. Dr. John and Karl Hobbs head the A-10 hot seat list going into March.

Minnesota: The Gophers can’t afford to lose winnable road games like they did last night. With three winnable games remaining, they probably have to win those and then another one in Chicago.

Wednesday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(17) Wisconsin at (58) Michigan: 6:30 EST

(33) Temple at (6) Duke: ESPN2 at 7 EST

(76) Miami at (44) Boston College: 7 EST

(47) Colorado State at (4) Brigham Young: 8 EST

(48) Florida State at (90) Maryland: 9 EST

(30) Kansas State at (67) Nebraska: ESPNU at 9 EST

(25) UNLV at (82) New Mexico: CBS College at 9 EST

(39) Cincinnati at (5) Georgetown: 9 EST

(29) Missouri at (79) Baylor: ESPN2 at 9 EST

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