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Texas, Oklahoma, and the ACC Will Not Trigger Four 16-Team Super Conferences

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Only the Irish can trigger monumental realignment

 

There are a lot of unimaginative people out there who have prophesied about the day when four 16-team super conferences will rule the college landscape. This writer is here to tell you to not believe the hype. There will not be a super conference consolidation Armageddon.

Sure, the ACC is going in the direction of forming a 16-team conference and the Pac-12 is on the verge of becoming the Pac-16. But where is the other “super” expansion going to come from? Each of these conferences actually has an academic mandate as well. The Big Ten, for instance, seeks state universities with high academic standards. That means they won’t be in the market for just any school. Sure, Notre Dame will always have that open invite, but the Big Ten won’t be inviting Louisville or Cincinnati to the party anytime soon.

In fact, the pool of potential Big Ten acquisitions has really shrunk with the Big East defections of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, as both were previously mentioned and, possibly, considered for the Big Ten. Also, if UConn and Rutgers follow those schools to the ACC, then the Big Ten is extremely limited in their ability to expand eastward. Without a potential New York City market school, the Big Ten would be forced to look west.

But what schools would fill the Big Ten’s profile in the West? Possibly Missouri and Kansas. But Kansas would probably require that Kansas State join them as a package deal. That certainly would be a no-go as the Kansas City market isn’t that big to begin with. Remember, the biggest motivation for the Big Ten to expand to 16 would be to add more lucrative television markets. Kansas and Kansas State only bring Kansas City and that is shared with Missouri. As a result, the Big Ten will likely remain at 12 schools, unless they add Missouri and are able to convince Notre Dame to join.

The SEC will be at 13 schools when Texas A&M officially joins the conference. The SEC has already indicated that adding a 14th school will be on the agenda once A&M joins. But the ACC just increased the departure fees for its member schools to $20M and, with a round 16, are probably safe from being raided.

Like the Big Ten, the SEC wants to focus on the large, flagship state universities and land grant schools. Unless Kentucky wants Louisville to join and the SEC makes an exception there, the Cardinals are probably left out of that potential expansion as well. West Virginia is the more likely Big East school to join the SEC, especially if they aren’t included in the ACC expansion. Missouri would be another potential candidate if the SEC wants to continue their western expansion. But for the SEC to get to 16, they would have to take a regional public school, like Louisville or South and Central Florida, or continue to expand west and bring on the Kansas schools with Missouri. See how crazy these scenarios are getting?

What is probably going to happen is that the SEC will find a 14th school to give them two 7 school divisions. The Big Ten will remain at 12 schools for the foreseeable future. The ACC will add two more Big East schools to complete their expansion at 16. The Pac-16 will be formed with Texas and Oklahoma bringing their in-state rivals, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. That leaves the remnants of the Big East and Big 12 to join in either a loose confederation where the two conference champions meet for a BCS bid or the remaining Big East football schools leave for the Big 12. The latter is the more probable outcome.

That would leave a new Big 12 with Baylor, TCU, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida. They would probably look to add three more schools to return to the 12-school alignment and qualify for a conference championship game. BYU, Houston, SMU, Memphis, and Central Florida would have to be the leading candidates for the three spots. Long shot possibilities would include Air Force, UTEP, New Mexico, Colorado State, UNLV, Wyoming, and Boise State in the West and new FBS school, Massachusetts, and Temple in the East. Those two eastern schools both play in NFL stadiums and would bring exposure in two major metropolitan markets.

If the Big East loses their football schools, that won’t be that bad. The Big East will remain a viable and highly competitive basketball conference nationally, like they were for the first ten years of the league. With Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence, Marquette, DePaul and Notre Dame, they would have five schools that competed in last season’s men’s basketball tournament. With eight schools, they could easily expand by one or two and play a full round-robin schedule that is more conducive to college basketball.

Two schools that would have to be on the newly configured Big East’s list would be Xavier and Dayton from the Atlantic 10. Both are private schools and can help bridge the geographical gap between the East Coast and the Chicago region schools. That would leave the Big East as a very formidable hoops league.

While all of the realignment speculation is exciting, there probably won’t be as much as anticipated due to the factors that were laid out.

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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.

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 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.

Mid Major Basketball Overview March 8

It's a Cinderella story

Mid Major Basketball Overview March 8

Team Overviews: Records are going into March 8th. RPI is courtesy of rpiforecast.com.

Current NCAA Locks:

Old Dominion Monarchs RPI 23 –CAA Champion

  • 27-6, 14-4 in CAA   Away: 8-4  Neutral:  5-0
  • OOC rundown: 10-2 – Wins: Clemson, Xavier, Richmond, Dayton, and Cleveland State. Losses: Georgetown and Missouri. They also have 4 gimme wins. RPI 13, schedule 16.
  • CAA Wins: at Tow, NE, GM, at Hof, JMU, UNCW, at GSU, Tow, Del, at W&M, at VCU, GSU, at JMU, W&M  Losses: at Del, at Drex, VCU, at GM
  • The Monarchs have won 9 in a row and 13 of 14 in winning the CAA. As for seeding, they should be either a 6 or 7 seed. Anything worse would be an injustice. Profile will be better than Pac 10 and A-10 champs.

Gonzaga Bulldogs RPI 55 –WCC Champion

  • 24-9, 11-3 in WCC  Away: 7-5   Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 11-6 – Wins: Marquette, Baylor, Xavier, and Oklahoma State. Losses: San Diego State, Kansas State, Illinois, Washington State, Notre Dame, and Memphis. They also have 3 gimme wins and one non division I win. RPI 79, schedule 37.
  • WCC Wins: Port, Pep, LMU, USD, at Port, LMU, at Pepp, SCU, USF, at SMC, at USD    Losses: at SCU, at USF, SMC
  • The Bulldogs have won 11 of 12 to claim the WCC automatic bid. They look like an 11 seed with the ability to move up or down one line from there. A single digit seed looks like a long shot.

George Mason Patriots RPI 27

  • 26-6, 16-2 in CAA   Away: 10-4   Neutral:  2-2
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 – Wins: Harvard, Duquesne, and Northern Iowa. Losses: NC State, Wofford, and Dayton. They also have 4 gimme wins. RPI 42, schedule 86.
  • CAA Wins: UNCW, Del, at NE, GSU, Drex, at JMU, at Del, Tow, at W&M, Hof, ODU, at UNCW, JMU, at VCU, NE, at GSU    Losses: at Hof, at ODU
  • The Patriots had their 16 game winning streak snapped by VCU in the CAA semis. There doesn’t appear to be a way that they don’t make the tourney, but you never know. Unless something goofy happens, Mason looks like an 8-9 game participant.

 

Bubble Territory:

UAB Blazers RPI 28

  • 22-7, 12-4 in CUSA  Away: 9-5   Neutral: 0-0
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 – Wins: Arkansas and VCU. Losses: Arizona State, Georgia, and Duke. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 52, schedule 164.
  • CUSA Wins: UTEP, at ECU, SMU, Mar, at UCF, at Tula, at Mar, Rice, UCF, at Hou, at USM, ECU   Losses: at Tuls, Mem, USM, at Mem
  • The Blazers have to avoid the potential first game upset in the CUSA tournament. After the first game, they are lined up to play Memphis and if the two meet, the winner should be a lock at-large heading to the CUSA finals. That win over VCU could come in pretty handy on Sunday. But the Georgia loss could hurt them.

Utah State Aggies RPI 18

  • 28-3, 15-1 in WAC  Away: 9-3   Neutral:
  • OOC rundown: 13-2 – Wins: St. Mary’s. Losses: at BYU, at Georgetown. They also have 9 gimme wins and 1 non division I win. RPI 20, schedule 111.
  • The Aggies got the solid win at St Mary’s and are now a legit at-large candidate. But they can’t lose until the WAC final to ensure that at-large.

Butler Bulldogs RPI 37

  • 22-9, 13-5 in HOR  Away: 6-6   Neutral:
  • OOC rundown: 8-4 – Wins: Stanford, Washington State, and Florida State. Losses: Louisville, Evansville, Duke, and Xavier. They also have 1 gimme win and a non division I win. RPI 34, schedule 13.
  • HOR Wins: at Loy, Valp, CSU, YSU, at Det, UWGB, at CSU, UIC, WSU, Det, at UWGB, at UIC, Loy  Losses: at UWM, at WSU, UWM, at Val, at YSU
  • The Bulldogs seven game winning streak to end the regular season has to help. Their RPI is high, but they probably have to make the Horizon finals to be an at-large. Last year could help them, although it shouldn’t.

Memphis Tigers RPI 38

  • 22-9, 10-6 in CUSA  Away: 4-6   Neutral:  0-1
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 – Wins: Miami (FL) and Gonzaga. Losses: Kansas, Georgetown, and Tennessee. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 63, schedule 119.
  • CUSA Wins: ECU, Mar, at USM, at UAB, UCF, at UCF, USM, UAB, Hou, Tula    Losses: at SMU, at Mar, Tuls, at Rice, at UTEP, at ECU
  • Memphis needs to make the CUSA finals by beating UAB to have a chance at an at-large bid. Their 5-6 finish is entirely unimpressive. They don’t have a win over an at-large team, since Gonzaga the auto-bid and might not have made it. A loss to UAB would be crippling as their sweep is the only thing making them equal right now.

Virginia Commonwealth Rams RPI 48

  • 23-11, 12-6 in CAA  Away: 8-6   Neutral:  2-1
  • OOC rundown: 9-4 – Wins: UCLA and Wichita State. Losses: Tennessee, South Florida, Richmond, and UAB. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 57, schedule 110.
  • CAA Wins: W&M, Drex, at UNCW, at W&M, NE, GSU, at ODU, at Tow, Hof, UNCW, at JMU, at Del   Losses: at GSU, at NE, ODU, GMU, at Drex, JMU
  • Tough loss to ODU in the CAA championship game. This is the ultimate bubble team. They have two very good CAA wins over Mason and ODU to go along with their OOC work. A comparison between the Rams and St. Mary’s would seem to indicate a slight edge for the Rams. It will come down to BCS conference mediocrity versus solid mid-majors like VCU. If they do get in, expect them to play in the opening round play-in game.

Saint Mary’s Gaels RPI 47

  • 24-8, 11-3 in WCC  Away: 7-4   Neutral:  3-2
  • OOC rundown: 12-4 – Wins: St. John’s. Losses: San Diego State, BYU, Vanderbilt, and Utah State. They also have 3 gimme wins and Weber State remaining. RPI 41, schedule 36.
  • WCC Wins: at LMU, at Pep, USF, SC, USD, at Gon, Pep, LMU, at SC, at USF, Port   Losses: at Port, at USD, Gon
  • The Gaels are now a coin flip for the Big Dance after losing 4 of 6 going into their final game on Friday against Weber State. A loss there and they’re done. If they do get an at-large, they will probably be playing in the opening round play-in game. We’re going to see how good that opening game win over St. John’s really is.

 

Still Alive:

Texas-El Paso Miners RPI 60

  • 23-8, 11-5 in CUSA  Away: 5-5   Neutral:  1-1
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 – Wins: Michigan. Losses: Pacific, Georgia Tech, and BYU. They also have 5 gimme wins and a non division I win. RPI 82, schedule 168.
  • CUSA Wins: Tuls, at Tula, Rice, at Hou, Tula, at Rice, SMU, Hou, Mem, Mar, at SMU   Losses: at UAB, at Tuls, at USM, UCF, at ECU
  • The Miners would probably need a miracle even if they lost to UAB or Memphis in the CUSA finals. But the bubble is a strange place this season and there might be something in their profile that the selection committee likes. The win over Michigan for instance.

Marshall Thundering Herd RPI 49

  • 21-10, 9-7 in CUSA  Away: 6-7   Neutral:  1-0
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 – Wins: West Virginia. Losses: Chattanooga, at Louisville, at James Madison. They also have 6 gimme wins and two non division I wins. RPI 64, schedule 155.
  • CUSA Wins: USM, Mem, at Hou, at ECU, Rice, at Tula, Tuls, SMU, UCF   Losses: at UCF, at Mem, ECU, at UAB, at USM, UAB, at UTEP
  • The Herd probably needs to make the CUSA finals to have a chance at an at-large. Their RPI is in range, but is the win over West Virginia going to be enough as they have some bad losses? The soft bubble awaits them if they make the finals.

 

Probably Not:

Missouri State Bears RPI 41

  • 25-8, 15-3 in MVC  Away: 7-6   Neutral: 3-1
  • OOC rundown: 8-4 – Wins: No notables. Losses: Tennessee, Tulsa, Oklahoma State, and Valparaiso. They also have 4 gimme wins. RPI 95, schedule 165.
  • MVC Wins: at UNI, Ill St, at Cre, Evan, at Wich St, S Ill, at Brad, Cre, at Dra, Ind St, Brad, Ill St, Dra  Losses: at Ind St, UNI, at Evan
  • It’s highly unlikely that the committee is going to be more impressed by the Bears than any of the CAA teams or St. Mary’s. There will have to be an avalanche of mid-majors selected to get any Valley at-large bids.

Cleveland State Vikings RPI 42

  • 26-8, 13-5 in HOR  Away: 9-5   Neutral: 1-1
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 – Wins: No notable wins. Losses: West Virginia and Old Dominion. They also have 3 gimme wins. RPI 14, schedule 38.
  • HOR Wins: at UWGB, at UWM, Loy, UIC, at YSU, Det, WSU, at UIC, at Loy, Val, YSU, at WSU, UWGB  Losses: at But, at Val, But, at Det, UWM
  • Solid RPI, but who have they beaten? Beating Butler just once might have done it for them. The one thing the Vikings have going for them is that the committee chairman said that he’s more impressed by wins than anything else. Those 26 wins look nice if that’s true.

Wichita State Shockers RPI 61

  • 24-8, 14-4 in MVC  Away: 9-2   Neutral: 2-2
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 – Wins: Virginia and Tulsa. Losses: Connecticut, San Diego State, and Virginia Commonwealth. They also have 4 gimme wins and non division I win over Chaminade. RPI 76, schedule 89.
  • MVC Wins: Evan, at Brad, Dra, at Ill St, at Cre, at Dra, Ind St, at S Ill, Brad, at Ind St, Ill St, at UNI, at Evan, Cre     Losses: Mizz St, UNI, S Ill, at Mizz St
  • Highly doubtful given their late season home loss to VCU and semifinals loss to Indiana State.

 

Keeping an eye on:

Harvard (Ivy) RPI 36 23-5/12-2: Harvard could lose to Princeton in a playoff game and earn the Ivy’s first at-large bid ever. Wins over BC and Colorado make them a legitimate at-large prospect if they lose to the Tigers. It’s a weak bubble 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 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.

ACC Basketball Overview March 7

ACC Basketball Overview March 7

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

Current NCAA Locks:

Duke Blue Devils RPI 5

  • 27-4, 13-3 in ACC   Away: 8-4  Neutral:  2-0
  • OOC rundown: 14-1 with wins against Marquette, Kansas State, Michigan State, Butler, UAB , and Temple and a loss to St John’s. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 7, schedule 44.
  • ACC Wins: Mia, Mary, UVA, at NC St, at WF, BC, at Mary, NC St, UNC, at Mia, at UVa, GT, Clem      Losses: at FSU, at VT, at UNC
  • The Devils need to win the ACC tournament and maybe get help to get a 1 seed. As long as they win one game, they should be at least a 2 seed.

North Carolina Tar Heels RPI 6

  • 24-6, 14-2 in ACC   Away: 8-3  Neutral:  1-2
  • OOC rundown: 10-4 with a good win over Kentucky and losses to Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Illinois, and Texas. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 29, schedule 20.
  • ACC Wins: at UVa, VT, Clem, at Mia, NC St, at BC, FSU, at Clem, WF, BC, at NC St, Mary, at FSU, Duke     Losses: at GT, at Duke
  • The Heels can get a 1 seed if they win the ACC tournament and get help. They should be a 2 seed if they win two games. If they win one and lose one, it will be a coin flip for 2 or 3 seed. They won’t be lower than a 3 seed.

 

Bubble Territory:

Florida State Seminoles RPI 45

  • 21-9, 11-5 in ACC   Away: 8-5  Neutral:  1-1
  • OOC rundown: 10-4 with a win over Baylor and losses to Florida, Ohio State, Butler and a horrible loss to Auburn. They also have 9 gimme wins. RPI 104, schedule 190.
  • ACC Wins: Clem, Duke, NC St, at Mia, BC, WF, at GT, UVa, at WF, Mia, at NC St   Losses: at VT, at Clem, at UNC, at Mary, UNC
  • The Seminoles need to beat Virginia Tech to be safe. Otherwise they leave their fate up to the committee. Beating Duke again would lock them in and get them into an 8-9 game.

Virginia Tech Hokies RPI 63

  • 19-10, 9-7 in ACC   Away: 6-6  Neutral:  2-1
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with notable wins against Oklahoma State and Penn State and losses to Kansas State, UNLV, and Purdue. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 73, schedule 151.
  • ACC Wins: FSU, WF, at Mary, Mia, at NC St, GT, Mary, at WF, Duke  Losses: UVa, at UNC, at GT, at BC, at UVA, BC, at Clem
  • Wow. Just can’t take a good win and capitalize. They have to beat FSU to have a chance. Beating Duke again after that would lock up their bid. When you see Seth crying next Sunday, remember that the ACC is the FIFTH ranked conference this season.

Boston College Eagles RPI 44

  • 19-11, 9-7 in ACC   Away: 4-6  Neutral:  2-1
  • OOC rundown: 10-4 with a good win over Texas A&M and a solid losses to Wisconsin and Harvard with strange ones to Yale and Rhode Island. They also have 3 gimme wins. RPI 66, schedule 57.
  • ACC Wins: at Mary, GT, NC St, UVa, VT, Mary, at UVa, at VT, WF   Losses: at Mia, at FSU, at Duke, UNC, at Clem, at UNC, Mia
  • The Eagles need to beat Clemson to wrap up their bid. A loss to Wake would send them to the NIT in a hurry. A win over UNC gets them a game in their white jerseys.

Clemson Tigers RPI 58

  • 20-10, 9-7 in ACC   Away: 3-7  Neutral:  2-1
  • OOC rundown: 11-3 with no good wins and losses to Old Dominion, Michigan, and South Carolina. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 90, schedule 199.
  • ACC Wins: Mia, GT, NC St, FSU, at GT, BC, at Mia, WF, VT  Losses: at FSU, at UNC, at Mary, at UVa, UNC, at NC St, at Duke
  • The Tigers need to beat BC to have a chance. Beating UNC would lock it up for them.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Maryland Terrapins RPI 99

  • 18-13, 7-9 in ACC
  • OOC rundown: 11-4 with a decent win over Penn State and losses to Pittsburgh, Illinois, Temple, and Villanova. They also have 9 gimme wins. RPI 102, schedule 178.
  • Sorry Gary. Play and beat better OOC opponents next season.

Miami Hurricanes RPI 74

  • 18-13, 6-10 in ACC
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with a good win over West Virginia and losses to Memphis, Rutgers and Central Florida. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 46, schedule 145.
  • That loss to Georgia Tech finished their at-large hopes.

North Carolina State Wolfpack RPI 120

  • 15-15, 5-11 in ACC
  • OOC rundown: 10-4 with a win over George Mason and losses to Georgetown, Wisconsin, Syracuse, and Arizona. They also have 8 gimme wins. RPI 105, schedule 181.
  • The Sidney Lowe watch has begun.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets RPI 161

  • 13-17, 5-11 in ACC
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with a win over Richmond and a bunch of losses. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 161, schedule 176.
  • How many more down years does Hewitt get? 2004 is a long time ago in hoop years.

Virginia Cavaliers RPI 134

  • 16-14, 7-9 in ACC
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with a win over Minnesota and a horrific loss to Seattle. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 218, schedule 302.
  • The Cavs are going to ruin one or two of their ACC mates’ seasons. Hello Va Tech. Anybody else want some?

Wake Forest Demon Deacons RPI 265

  • 8-23, 1-15 in ACC
  • OOC rundown: 7-8 with no good wins and plenty of losses, both good and bad. They also have 7 gimme wins. RPI 267, schedule 246.
  • When did the Deacons turn into Fordham? The A-10 invite is forthcoming.

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