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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.

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Road to Selection Sunday for March 13

Done?

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 13

Today is Selection Sunday: Finally Home

News and Notes:

It doesn’t look good for Pelphrey to remain as coach in Arkansas.

Paul Hewitt is done as coach at Georgia Tech after being the national runner-up in 2004 and 11 seasons.

Dayton is excited to be playing on CBS in a non NCAA tournament game since 1984.

Josh Harrellson is laying is on the line during his senior season for Kentucky.

The Gators bench was a big factor in their win yesterday against Vanderbilt.

It took a few months, but North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes is playing like the real deal.

Winners:

Automatic Qualifiers:

  • America East: Boston University
  • Conference USA: Memphis
  • MEAC: Hampton
  • Southland: Texas-San Antonio
  • Ivy: Princeton
  • Big 12: Kansas
  • MAC: Akron
  • PAC 10: Washington
  • Mountain West: San Diego State
  • Big West: UC-Santa Barbara
  • SWAC: Alabama State
  • Big East: Connecticut
  • WAC: Utah State

Memphis: The Tigers showed their #tigerblood yesterday by coming back from 62-50 with just over 6 minutes remaining. It appeared that experienced coaching would win out and UTEP would be dancing, while the Tigers would hold their breath for 29 hours. But Joe Jackson stepped up with help from Chris Crawford and led the Tigers back in the hostile Don Haskins Center. While Memphis might not be a major threat next week, making the NCAA tournament during a down season is the mark of a very good program.

Atlantic Ten: The A-10 might have their best case final scenario with Dayton facing Richmond. Dayton’s got the best RPI outside of the top 3 teams and if those 3 are on the right side of the bubble, then Dayton can steal a bid to give the A-10 four bids for the first time since 2003-04. Dayton’s RPI is now 70 so a loss by Richmond might not burst their bubble.

Florida: The Gators look like a 2 seed now and they should be a lock if they beat Kentucky today. If not, they probably drop to a 3 seed, but they’re more dangerous than in most seasons.

Duke and North Carolina: Many feel that the winner of this game will be a 1 seed. I think Duke can get it, but North Carolina might have to win to get a 2 seed. Those top 2 lines are tough and UNC doesn’t have a better profile than Florida, who might still be a 3 seed.

Penn State: It looks like the Lions brought Jerry Sandusky to Chicago. They’ve only given up 81 points in the past 2 games to reach the finals. Is making the finals enough? Grab a coin.

San Diego State: Great performance by the Aztecs as they avenged their only two losses of the season last night in Vegas. This team is deserving of at least a 2 seed, but I’d give them a 1 if Duke loses.

Losers:

Harvard: Tough last second loss to Princeton in the one game playoff at Yale. They are better than at least 5-10 teams that will make it in today. Will they be perceived as good enough by the committee?

UTEP: Tough loss as the Miners blew a 12 point lead with about 6 minutes left on their home court. This team should get better the longer Tim Floyd remains coach.

Alabama: If conference affiliation doesn’t matter and the overall profile is the key, then Alabama is done after losing to Kentucky yesterday.

Virginia Tech: Do you have a coin? Call heads or tails and that’s probably the chances that you hear Seth Greenburg crying to Dick Vitale tonight after being left out again. Remember Seth, if you had played Richmond, VCU, George Mason, ODU, and other Virginia schools, you’re strength of schedule wouldn’t be an issue.

Clemson: The Tigers don’t have any top 50 wins. Good luck on the bubble.

Texas: The national media still loves the Longhorns, but they shouldn’t be anything higher than a 4 seed.

Arizona: The Wildcats will be the highest seeded Pac 10 school, but they might be in an 8-9 game.

Michigan State: You didn’t expect Sparty to all of a sudden get consistent, did you? Expect them to be done by the end of next weekend.

Brigham Young: The Cougars still can’t shake that they’re not a top team without Brandon Davies. Last night’s convincing loss did nothing to dissuade viewers and most likely, the selection committee. I think they should get at least a 3, but the committee will probably make them a 4 seed at best.

Sunday’s Games: RPI in ()

Atlantic Ten Championship (70) Dayton at (44) Richmond: CBS at 1 EST

ACC Championship (4) Duke at (6) North Carolina: ESPN at 1 EST

SEC Championship (9) Kentucky vs. (7) Florida: ABC at 1 EST

Big Ten Championship (39) Penn State vs. (2) Ohio State: CBS at 3:30 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.

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.

Road to Selection Sunday for Mar 3

Still Winning

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Mar 3

News and Notes:

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

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

Here’s more on Joshua Smith from his hometown.

Cougar talk with Coach Bone going into the LA weekend.

Winners:

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

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

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

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

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

Losers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

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

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

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

Road to Selection Sunday for 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.

ACC Basketball Overview February 28

February 28, 2011 1 comment

ACC Basketball Overview February 28

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

Current NCAA Locks:

Duke Blue Devils RPI 5

  • 26-3, 12-2 in ACC   Away: 8-3
  • 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 8, schedule 45.
  • ACC Wins: Mia, Mary, UVA, at NC St, at WF, BC, at Mary, NC St, UNC, at Mia, at UVa, GT      Losses: at FSU, at VT
  • The Devils might have to run the table to claim a #1 seed. They have some nice wins, but lost their only OOC game against a top 25 RPI team (St John’s). They need to win at least 3 more games to be a 2 seed.

North Carolina Tar Heels RPI 10

  • 22-6, 12-2 in ACC   Away: 7-3
  • 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 26, schedule 20.
  • ACC Wins: at UVa, VT, Clem, at Mia, NC St, at BC, FSU, at Clem, WF, BC, at NC St, Mary     Losses: at GT, at Duke
  • The Heels need at least 2 more wins to get a Sweet 16 seed. They can climb to as high as a 2 seed if they run the table. Winning at least 3 more games would give them a shot at a 3 seed, although it will probably take 4 more wins.

 

Bubble Territory:

Florida State Seminoles RPI 47

  • 20-8, 10-4 in ACC   Away: 7-5
  • 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 117, schedule 210.
  • ACC Wins: Clem, Duke, NC St, at Mia, BC, WF, at GT, UVa, at WF, Mia   Losses: at VT, at Clem, at UNC, at Mary
  • The Noles need to win at least 2 more games to be safe on Selection Sunday. That’s going to be tough without Singleton. Getting the bye might actually hurt them for those 2 wins.

Virginia Tech Hokies RPI 55

  • 19-8, 9-5 in ACC   Away: 6-5
  • 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 77, schedule 156.
  • 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
  • The Hokies need to win at least 2 more games to be safe on Selection Sunday. Getting only one win puts them in their annual bubble spot.

Boston College Eagles RPI 46

  • 17-11, 7-7 in ACC   Away: 3-6
  • 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 55, schedule 41.
  • ACC Wins: at Mary, GT, NC St, UVa, VT, Mary, at UVa   Losses: at Mia, at FSU, at Duke, UNC, at Clem, at UNC, Mia
  • The Eagles need to win at least 3 more games to be safe on Selection Sunday. Their OOC profile gets worse by the day.

Clemson Tigers RPI 69

  • 19-9, 8-6 in ACC   Away: 3-6
  • OOC rundown: 11-3 with no good wins and losses to Old Dominion, Michigan, and South Carolina. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 97, schedule 214.
  • ACC Wins: Mia, GT, NC St, FSU, at GT, BC, at Mia, WF  Losses: at FSU, at UNC, at Mary, at UVa, UNC, at NC St
  • The Tigers need at least 3 more wins to be safe on Selection Sunday. One caveat, they can probably clinch a spot by winning their two remaining ACC games and avoiding Wake in the first round.

 

Needs To Get Hot:

Maryland Terrapins RPI 85

  • 18-11, 7-7 in ACC   Away: 4-5
  • 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 99, schedule 171.
  • ACC Wins: at WF, Clem, at UVa, at GT, WF, NC St, FSU   Losses: BC, at Duke, VT, Duke, at BC, at VT, at UNC
  • The only scenario where the Terps could get an at-large would be running the table and losing in the ACC finals while beating Duke along the way. Got that?

Miami Hurricanes RPI 68

  • 17-12, 5-9 in ACC   Away: 4-7
  • 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 47, schedule 141.
  • ACC Wins: BC, GT, UVa, WF, at BC     Losses: at Duke, at Clem, FSU, at NC St, UNC, at VT, Duke, Clem, at FSU
  • The horrible bubble keeps the ‘Canes alive. They need to win their final 2 ACC games and win at least two in Greensboro to be safe. Yuck.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

North Carolina State Wolfpack RPI 103

  • 15-13, 5-9 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 101, schedule 164.
  • The Sidney Lowe watch has begun.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets RPI 181

  • 11-17, 3-11 in ACC
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with a win over Richmond and a bunch of losses. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 163, schedule 177.
  • How many more down years does Hewitt get? 2004 is a long time ago in hoop years.

Virginia Cavaliers RPI 147

  • 14-14, 5-9 in ACC
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with a good win over Minnesota and a horrific loss to Seattle. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 212, schedule 289.
  • 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 252

  • 8-21, 1-13 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 271, schedule 258.
  • When did the Deacons turn into Fordham? The A-10 invite is forthcoming.

 

That’s this week’s ACC 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.