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Top Five Potential Landing Spots for Brad Stevens

Dr. Stevens: Professor of Hoops

If Brad Stevens is to leave a perennial Final Four school, Butler, to move up to a bigger job, it has to be one of the traditional, iconic basketball powers. He’s proven that he can win consistently at Butler and moving to another school that hasn’t seen a Final Four in decades or ever, just for a few more dollars, doesn’t seem like the kind of well calculated decision that Stevens would make.

In the four years since replacing Todd Lickliter as the Butler head coach, Stevens has won 116 games going into Saturday’s national semifinal matchup with Virginia Commonwealth. He’s already surpassed the accomplishments of fellow national mid-major darling Gonzaga and other non-BCS schools like Xavier. Memphis is the only other non-BCS school to have comparable success to Butler over the past four seasons, but their compass of success has headed downward since John Calipari left for Kentucky two years ago.

When looking for a situation to compare with Steven’s job at Butler, the coach to look at would be Mark Few at Gonzaga. Few could probably get most, if not all of the jobs that open up every year. But Gonzaga has been able to keep him through big sponsorship money and made-for-TV out of conference matchups that bring in good money and give the program the type of national exposure needed to compete for top recruits. Butler, located in metropolitan Indianapolis, should be able to greatly exceed the revenues generated by Gonzaga, which is in sparsely populated Spokane, Washington. Butler could most likely compensate Stevens more than Few given their market size.

Assuming that money wouldn’t be the ultimate draw for Brad Stevens, which jobs might be able to entice the hottest coaching prospect to come around in years?

Indiana

This one is pretty obvious and could be realized as soon as next year if Tom Crean is still unable to register his first winning season after four years in Bloomington. Stevens is an Indiana native and grew up dreaming of playing for Bob Knight in Assembly Hall. If Crean were to leave (unlikely) or be let go, Stevens would be the first and, maybe, only call the administration would need to make.

Purdue

If not Indiana, how about Purdue? The interesting part of this hypothetical situation is that Purdue coach Matt Painter is currently flirting with Missouri and has an interview scheduled for Tuesday with the Big 12 school. While it’s extremely unlikely that Painter would leave his alma mater to go to another job, especially one that would be at best a lateral move, Purdue could call his bluff and let him go to Missouri instead of giving him a raise. Then the door for Stevens to go to Purdue would open. For Purdue to just let Painter walk now, they would have to have assurances through sources that Stevens would be amenable to taking their coaching position.

Duke

How can Stevens go from lovable underdog to hated frontrunner? He can replace Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. Coach K isn’t going to coach forever (we all hope). Who would be a better selection to fill the shoes of the soon-to-be all time leader in wins than Brad Stevens? Coach K has turned Duke into the biggest brand name in college basketball. Coach K has built the program into one that chooses recruits, not the other way around. Avoiding the recruiting cesspool could be a major draw to Stevens. In addition, Duke will be looking for a coach who understands how things work at a smaller, private school and Stevens brings that experience.

UCLA

The seat in Westwood might be lukewarm for Ben Howland right now, but another season like 2009-10 and the Bruins could be looking for a new coach. The last time UCLA hired an Indiana native with spectacles; he ran off 9 NCAA championships in 10 years and added another one to make it 10 out of 12. Based on his professorial look, persona, and on-court success, Stevens is beginning to resemble a modern day John Wooden.

NBA

What makes Stevens so unusual at the college level is his coolness under fire. He always seems to be in control of his emotions and rarely shows any on the sidelines. One of the reasons why college coaches have difficulty adjusting to the NBA is their inability to take a step back from the micromanaging world of college basketball. Most college coaches who didn’t last in the NBA, like Rick Pitino and John Calipari, have difficulty with pulling back and letting their players go and play. Stevens’ sideline demeanor is what NBA teams want on the sidelines, as opposed to the typical emotional college coach.

For the good of the college game, it would be nice if he stayed. Hopefully, with Stevens, all good things don’t have to come to an end.

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.

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.

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.

Road to Selection Sunday for March 7

ODU's Frank Hassell

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 7

News and Notes:

Here’s a story on ODU’s Frank Hassell, the best low post player playing tonight.

Shaka Smart is looking to lead the Rams to their first NCAA tournament since taking over for Anthony Grant two years ago.

The WCC will refrain from playing their tournament games on Sundays starting next season when BYU joins the conference.

Cousins will be battling each other in tonight’s MAAC championship game between Iona and St. Peter’s.

Weekend Winners:

Automatic Qualifiers:

  • Atlantic Sun: Belmont
  • Big South: UNC-Asheville
  • Ohio Valley: Morehead State
  • Missouri Valley: Indiana State

Ohio State: The Buckeyes will be a #1 seed even if they don’t win a Big Ten tournament game and just need to match Kansas this week to be the #1 overall seed.

Kansas: The Jayhawks are the same as Ohio State. The Buckeyes have a slight edge for the #1 overall seed.

UNC: Big win over Duke gives the Heels the ACC regular season title. Kendall Marshall is becoming one of my favorite players. Simply exciting, like a lefty Rajon Rondo. The Heels now have an outside shot at a #1 seed.

Pittsburgh: The Panthers won the outright Big East championship and are now a win or two away from sealing a #1 seed.

Michigan: The Wolverines swept the Spartans for the first time since beating them in their only matchup in 2003. Once 1-6 in the Big Ten the Maize and Blue fought back to 9-9. A win over Illinois on Friday would seal their bid.

Notre Dame: The Irish hung tough in Storrs after Ben Hansbrough fouled out with more than 8 minutes left. Not sure how they did it, but Notre Dame has the “Luck of the Irish” this season.

Florida: The Gators completed the quietest good conference championship by taking out Vandy in Nashville. Chandler Parsons is the pick here for SEC POY after leading the Gators to a 13-3 record.

Cincinnati: Yes, they beat up on poor Georgetown, but Mick Cronin’s crew did what most bubble teams don’t; seal their bid with wins. The Bearcats are playing for a seed this week in MSG. Who saw 11-7 in the Big East coming?

Clemson: The Tigers beat Virginia Tech to keep their at-large hopes alive and get the 4 seed in the ACC tournament. They still need another win or two.

Harvard: The Crimson clinched at least a tie for the Ivy League title by beating Princeton and will face them again next weekend if Princeton beats Penn on Tuesday night.

Marshall: The Herd is the one bubble team that nobody’s paying any attention to. They have a very good win over West Virginia and their RPI is top 50. If they lose in the CUSA championship game, they’re probably going to be in as an at-large.

Kentucky: The Cats finally got another road win and against a decent team, too. Cal has a lot more work to do in Atlanta if he wants a good seed next Sunday. SEC Most Improved: Josh Harrellson – is there another choice?

Virginia Commonwealth: The Rams stumbled down the stretch but avenged an earlier loss to George Mason and look to win the CAA tonight in their hometown. A loss and they’re still a bubble team. It will be interesting if they lose by a hoop if they can still get in.

Penn State: Still alive, at least until Friday.

Old Dominion: The Monarchs might not have been a lock when they arrived in Richmond on Friday, but they will leave a lock, win or lose, after tonight’s game. The right draw could lead them to the Sweet 16.

WCC finalists: Gonzaga and St. Mary’s have to feel a lot better about their at-large chances by getting a chance to play each other tonight. The loser gets another “good” loss and should be in the discussion next Sunday.

Losers:

Bubble teams with bad losses group: Here they are: Miami, Baylor, Virginia Tech, Wichita State, Oklahoma State, Washington State, Cleveland State, Marquette, and Southern Miss. 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. Wichita State and Cleveland State don’t have any more opportunities to improve their situation and will hope to go to the NIT.

Lost in their tournament, but get NIT auto-bid group: Coastal Carolina, Missouri State, and Fairfield are all heading to the NIT as regular season champions who are likely to miss out on an at-large bid.

Missouri: The Tigers stumbled home in the Big 12 with an 8-8 record. This team is better than that, but their failure to win road games was their downfall. They don’t get any more road games, but they have to win away from home for them to achieve any kind of success.

Villanova: The Cats are in possession of the second biggest collapse in college basketball behind Minnesota. The Cats are still NCAA worthy, but will need to win a game in MSG in order to be wearing their whites in their first tourney game.

Connecticut: The brutal Big East schedule claimed both Villanova and UConn. It just looked like these teams just ran out of gas at times going against great competition every night. The Huskies need to win a couple of games in MSG to solidify a Sweet 16 seed and then take a day or two to recharge to get ready for the Madness.

Michigan State: The Spartans are arguably the most disappointing team in the country this season. They were preseason #2 and are now fighting on the bubble. They might have to beat a very good Purdue team to get in.

Purdue: The Boilers chances for a #1 seed ended in Iowa City on Saturday. One down performance in a month isn’t anything to be alarmed at. They still look like a good bet to go deep in the tournament. But they’ll be farther from home.

Colorado State: The Rams RPI is still tournament worthy, but they lack the quality wins needed. They might have to beat New Mexico AND BYU to get in.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores struggled to end the season and are now looking at a middle seed next Sunday. None of the big boys would like to see these guys on the first weekend, but unless Vandy wins a few in Atlanta, they are heading to a 7-10, 8-9 type game.

Washington: I’m not sure the Huskies would be bubble worthy in most years, but this year is like no other. They can’t be one and done in Staples later this week.

Tennessee: Bruce Pearl almost looked like “dead man walking” in the handshake line after the game yesterday. One wonders if Pearl’s job will hinge on his ability to have success in the NCAA’s. I don’t see them firing a Sweet 16 coach. First round loser? Who knows?

Monday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

CAA Championship: (48) Virginia Commonwealth vs. (24) Old Dominion: ESPN at 7 EST

MAAC Championship: (103) St. Peter’s vs. (65) Iona: ESPN2 at 7 EST

WCC Championship: (43) St. Mary’s vs. (62) Gonzaga: ESPN at 9 EST

Southern Conference Championship: (117) Wofford vs. (67) Charleston: ESPN2 at 9 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 2

March 2, 2011 1 comment

Winning!

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Mar 2

News and Notes:

Calhoun is looking for more consistency out of Oriakhi down the stretch.

The Bearcats have done well on the road during the Big East season as they play at Marquette tonight.

Marquette’s Seniors will be celebrated tonight for their successful careers, which include NCAA trips every season.

The Tar Heels lose Bullock for the season with a knee injury.

Tyshawn Taylor is back for the Jayhawks after sitting out while suspended for two games.

Mark Turgeon takes his Aggies home to Allen Fieldhouse trying to upset the Jayhawks tonight.

Brigham Young boots Davies for the season for violating school’s honor code.

Cougars’ Abouo has stepped up since entering the starting lineup a few weeks ago.

Winners:

Ohio State: The Buckeyes can all but wrap up a #1 seed by beating the Badgers this weekend after taking care of business at Penn State. The Lions could have been a tough opponent with their slim NCAA hopes on the line, but Jon Diebler’s three point barrage was remarkable. One night after Notre Dame lit up Villanova in South Bend with 20 3’s, the Big Ten’s all-time leading three point shooter went 10 for 12 from long range. Those 10 made threes tied the Big Ten record for one game. Oh, and the Buckeyes clinched at least a tie for the regular season title. That’s Thad Matta’s fourth title in seven seasons at Ohio State. Michigan State alum and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert should have tried to hire Matta, not Izzo, in the summer. That would have been his greatest donation to his alma mater.

Florida: The Gators clinched at least a share of the SEC title by blowing out Alabama in the second half last night. Chandler Parsons is making a serious case for SEC POY after going for 19 and 11 last night. He’ll get to see his closest competition up close on Saturday in Nashville when he faces John Jenkins.

Nebraska and Oklahoma State: These two Big 12 schools wouldn’t have a prayer in any other season but are still alive due to the softness of the bubble. Both teams got big wins over other bubble teams last night and will still be alive for an at-large when they go to Kansas City next week.

Boston College: Good timing on that win, BC. The Eagles have the RPI but lack the “on paper” profile, especially with their two Ivy losses. But sweeping VT and their wins over Cal and Texas A&M might prove good enough on Selection Sunday. Not impressed by that? Me neither.

Losers:

Alabama: The Tide has turned again on Bama’s season. The Tide has to get to the SEC tournament finals and maybe even win to get in.

Missouri: The road paper Tigers are going to make it tough on Selection Sunday if they keep losing. They get KU this weekend to secure a winning record in the Big 12. If they lose, a first round exit in the Big 12 tournament could end their NCAA hopes.

Baylor: The Bears can’t get their act together either. Losing at a beleaguered Oklahoma State team is not the result the selection committee was looking for last night. LaceDarius Dunn would like a mulligan for last night’s performance (2-16 FG, 1-9 3PT) and probably for the season in general. There aren’t five teams in the country more disappointing than the Bears this season.

Virginia Tech: Well, Dickie V decided to reverse course after the Hokies lost last night and described them as “heading off the cliff”. Good description. They now need to beat fellow ACC bubble resident Clemson on Saturday or win three straight in Greensboro. With how the bubble has been, expect some of these teams to get the auto-bid and for other teams that aren’t in to crash the party as well. The bubble will most likely tighten as we get closer to Selection Sunday and teams that lose games to fellow bubble teams will suffer.

Wednesday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(11) North Carolina at (47) Florida State: ESPN at 7 EST

(85) Maryland at (69) Miami: ESPNU at 7 EST

(21) Connecticut at (22) West Virginia: ESPN2 at 7 EST

(31) UAB at (39) Southern Miss: 7 EST

(38) Cincinnati at (54) Marquette: 8 EST

(28) Texas A&M at (2) Kansas: ESPN2 at 9 EST

(68) Clemson at (5) Duke: ESPN at 9 EST

(52) Marshall at (70) UTEP: 9 EST

(94) New Mexico at (1) Brigham Young: 10 EST

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