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NCAA Tournament Daily Breakdown March 20

Here comes Butler again

Here’s a look back at Saturday’s excitement in the NCAA tournament.

Best Finish

The San Diego State and Temple game went to two OT’s, but the Pittsburgh and Butler game easily takes the honors. Butler coach Brad Stevens drew up another brilliant end of game play to give the Bulldogs the lead. But the two subsequent fouls on each team and the drama surrounding those calls overshadowed Stevens’ coaching. Should those calls have been made? The first one was Butler’s Shelvin Mack definitely impeding Gilbert Brown as he was going to attempt a half-court shot. The following foul in a tie game with no chance of a 90 foot made shot, was questionable. But at the end of the day, you can’t make contact and Jamie Dixon shouldn’t have had anybody on that foul line. A John Chaney coached team goes to overtime, because he never had his players on the foul line when his players were shooting for that reason.

Best Performance – Team

Brigham Young: Everybody was picking Gonzaga to beat BYU last night, but The Jimmer and his teammates had other plans. Gonzaga guard Marquise Carter had a career high 24 points against St. John’s on Thursday, but didn’t even score a point against the Cougars. As for the Cougars offense, they shot 14-28 from three point range and shot 52.5% overall. It didn’t matter that the Bulldogs won the battle of the boards by 11, 34-23. All of that resulted in a 22 point win for BYU.

Best Performance – Player

(Tie) Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker: Was there any doubt? These two should share the national player of the year award and last night’s performance is why. The Jimmer went for 34 points and also dished 6 assists as Gonzaga had no answer defensively for the Cougars sharp shooting. Kemba scored 33 and had 6 rebounds and 5 assists as Connecticut beat fellow Big East member Cincinnati last night. It’s too bad that the only way these two could face off would be in Houston on the Monday night. Or that could just be what this season deserves. Honorable mention to Kentucky‘s Brandon Knight who scored 30 against West Virginia.

Best Performance – Player on Losing Team

The Beard, Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen went out with a tremendous performance against Wisconsin. He had 38 points on 13-22 shooting, but went 6 of 8 from three point range. The only blemish on his performance was that missed free throw in the final ten seconds that could have helped tie the game. Pullen is a special college player who probably won’t have a long NBA career due to his size. He’ll be hard to replace not only for K-State, but for college hoops in general.

What’s Happening to the Big East

Notre Dame is now the conference’s last hope to send more than two teams to the Sweet 16 next week. If the Irish lose to Florida State tomorrow night, then the only Big East teams to advance past this weekend would be the winners of the two Big East matchups. This was unthinkable when the tournament started but injuries (Georgetown), collapses (Villanova), peaking too soon (St. John’s), and March Madness (Louisville) thwarted the chances of this formerly (last week) mighty conference.

Coach Who Made the Most $$$

Chris Mooney of Richmond heads to the Sweet 16 as a 12 seed after the Spiders beat Morehead State yesterday. Rumors are already rampant that the Princeton grad will be a top target of the two ACC schools that have openings, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State. Based on his experience and the expectations at each school, Tech looks to be the better fit due to not being on Tobacco Road with Mike and Roy. Mooney could get overwhelmed, like others, in Raleigh.  

Coaches Who Will Have a Little Pressure on them Next Season

Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon worked together at Northern Arizona and then again at Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, because of where he coaches, UCLA’s Howland will have pressure to make at least the Sweet 16 every year. Dixon will have to answer questions about annually coming up short in March until he reaches a Final Four. While not under the same scrutiny as his mentor, Dixon will have the stigma of an underachiever until he guides his team to that final weekend.

Worst Host City

Hello, Tucson, you have the NCAA tournament in town this week. The fans in the desert didn’t show up and there were over 3,000 empty seats for yesterday’s session. Evidently exhibition baseball is more compelling in Arizona this time of the year. None of the other host cities had attendance problems.

Look ahead to Sunday:

Remember About the Gus Johnson Special:

Gus surely will be involved in another buzzer beater this weekend and there are two games to choose from. First will be George Mason and Ohio State at 5:15 EST on Sunday and that will be followed by Marquette and Syracuse. One of those games is GUARANTEED to have a great ending. I’m offering a free subscription to my blog to anybody who doesn’t get their money’s worth out of those two games on Sunday.

Schedule:

(7 East)Washington vs. (2 East) North Carolina on CBS at 12:15 EDT

(8 West)Michigan vs. (1 West) Duke on CBS at 2:45 EDT

(8 East)George Mason vs. (1 East) Ohio State on CBS at 5:15 EDT

(5 West)Arizona vs. (4 West) Texas on TNT at 6:10 EDT

(11 Southwest)Virginia Commonwealth vs. (3 Southwest) Purdue on TBS at 7:10 EDT

(11 East)Marquette vs. (3 East) Syracuse on truTV at 7:45 EDT

(9 Southwest)Illinois vs. (1 Southwest) Kansas on TNT at 8:40 EDT

(10 Southwest)Florida State vs. (7 Southwest) Notre Dame on TBS at 9:40 EDT

NCAA Tournament First, um, Second Round Breakdown

At least somebody is excited

The first, um, second round was so underwhelming that I don’t really want to recap it. But, I’ll try to highlight a few items.

Best Finish

There’s a couple to choose from, mostly from the first games of Thursday. Butler over Old Dominion, Temple over Penn State, and Morehead State over Louisville headline the group. Kentucky doesn’t get any credit for their overall mediocre performance. As for Friday, George Mason over Villanova and Arizona over Memphis were the only good finishes. The Georgia loss to Washington was almost as bad to watch as the Michigan State near comeback over UCLA. Just Pac 10 teams showing what they have (or not). But the best goes to Butler as the red light was on when the unheralded Matt Howard got the put back at the buzzer.

Best Performance – Team

Gonzaga: St. John’s looked like a potential Final Four team three weeks ago and Gonzaga didn’t even appear headed to the tournament. Three weeks later and the talking heads are picking the Bulldogs to beat BYU after their dominating performance against the Johnnies. Marquise Carter continues to improve since being inserted into the starting lineup over a month ago as he scored a career high 24 points. The relatively young Bulldogs continue to improve and could be a sleeper pick to make it to Houston.

Best Performance – Player

Kenneth Faried of Morehead State didn’t shoot the lights out, but he willed his team to the upset victory over Louisville on Thursday. The modern era rebound king of college basketball pulled down 17 boards and made the game winning defensive play by blocking the shot of Mike Marra as time expired. When the final score is 62-61, defense plays a big role and nobody came up bigger in the first round both defensively and on the boards than Faried.

In the shadow of the Big East

The CAA and Atlantic 10 have two of their three teams remaining going into the weekend. With Richmond playing 13th seeded Morehead State, the A-10 might keep their Sweet 16 streak alive even with Xavier out. The last time an A-10 missed out on the Sweet 16 was 2007. The Spiders should keep that streak alive. If the CAA advances, it would be impressive against either Purdue or Ohio State. Beating the Buckeyes this season would be an even greater feat than beating #1 seed UConn in 2006 for George Mason.

Coach Who Made the Most $$$

Tie: Both Shaka Smart of VCU and Buzz Williams of Marquette are reportedly hot candidates and improved their negotiating position with impressive wins in the first, um, second round matchups on Friday. Both would make tremendous choices as Smart, embodying his last name, actually turned down Harvard, Yale, and Brown to go to a Division III school to play basketball. Williams has been rock solid in his three seasons since taking over for Tom Crean at Marquette with NCAA tournament appearances in all three seasons. There might not have been a better coaching job than Williams’ ability to get his team to completely shut down Atlantic 10 POY Tu Holloway. Holloway didn’t score until there was about 10 minutes remaining in the game and the result wasn’t in doubt.

Player Who Declared for the 2011 NBA Draft at Halftime of His Game

Tobias Harris of Tennessee went to halftime of their game against Michigan with 19 points and the Volunteers were down by only four points. Twenty minutes later and Harris still had 19 points and the Vols had lost by 30.

Look ahead to Saturday and Sunday:

Best Matchup:

Um, there might not be one. Ok, how about Kentucky and West Virginia? It’s a rematch of last year Elite Eight matchup in Syracuse and Huggins owns Calipari. Owns as in Huggins is 8-1 against Cal. If Cal can’t win this one, well, he might never beat Huggy again.

Upset Special:

Strictly by seeding, Marquette beating Syracuse would be a repeat of their regular season matchup. That’s how ridiculous it was to have Marquette as an 11 seed, especially when Michigan got an 8 seed. Another game would be Gonzaga over BYU, but everybody seems to be picking that. I’m going to give you Kansas State over Wisconsin in another Big Ten game that might involve peach baskets. Jacob Pullen seems to be willing this team over the past month and Curtis Kelly has finally started to play like the player K-State thought they were getting when he transferred from UConn two years ago. Kelly is getting about 15 points and 8 rebounds per game over the last 5 games.  

Gus Johnson Special:

Gus surely will be involved in another buzzer beater this weekend and there are two games to choose from. First will be George Mason and Ohio State at 5:15 EST on Sunday and that will be followed by Marquette and Syracuse. One of those games is GUARANTEED to have a great ending. I’m offering a free subscription to my blog to anybody who doesn’t get their money’s worth out of those two games on Sunday.

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.

Atlantic Ten Basketball Overview March 6

Atlantic Ten Basketball Overview March 6

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

Current NCAA Locks:

Xavier Musketeers RPI 21

  • 24-6, 15-1 in A10  Away: 8-4  Neutral: 2-1
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with wins over Butler and Georgia. They have losses to ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, and Cincinnati. They also had 3 gimmes. RPI 38, schedule 14.
  • A10 Wins: at URI, UMass, Day, at SB, Tem, GW, at Rich, SLU, at Duq, at SJU, For, Las, at Day, Char, SLU   Losses: at Char
  • The Musketeers have a chance to get a 4 seed if they win the A-10 tournament. Losing in the finals to Temple or Richmond would most likely put them into a 6 seed. Losing in the semis would give them a 7 seed, or maybe put them into an 8-9 game.

Temple Owls RPI 29

  • 24-6, 14-2 in A10   Away: 9-4  Neutral: 1-2
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with good wins over Georgia, Maryland, and Georgetown along with losses to Cal, Texas A&M, Villanova, and Duke. They also had 3 gimmes. RPI 39, schedule 58.
  • A10 Wins: at Ford, SLU, SB, Char, at SJU, Las, URI, Ford, at Day, Rich, SJU, at GW, at UMass, Las   Losses: at Duq, at Xav
  • The Owls could climb to a 4 seed if they win the A-10 tournament. Losing to Xavier in the finals should get them a 5 or 6 seed and losing in the semis to Richmond will drop them to a 7 seed. Losing their first game and they will be in an 8-9 game.

 

Bubble Territory:

Richmond Spiders RPI 54

  • 24-7, 13-3 in A10  Away: 10-3  Neutral: 2-1
  • OOC rundown: 11-4 with a big win over Purdue, but losses to Iona, Old Dominion, Georgia Tech, and Bucknell. They also had 5 gimmes. RPI 86, schedule 189.
  • A10 Wins: Cha, at Las, GW, at UMass, at Day, SJU, at For, at GW, SLU, SB, at Cha, at SJU, Duq  Losses: URI, Xav, at Tem
  • The Spiders need to beat the URI-St Louis winner to be safe on Selection Sunday. Beating Temple would get them into a 9 or 10 seed and winning the A-10 tournament could be good enough to get them a 7 seed.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Dayton Flyers RPI 82

  • 19-12, 7-9 in A10  Away: 5-6
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with solid wins over Mississippi, George Mason, and New Mexico and losses to Cincinnati, East Tennessee State, and Old Dominion. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 32, schedule 54.
  • The Flyers can’t get an at-large and need to win the A-10 tournament.

Duquesne Dukes RPI 97

  • 18-11, 10-6 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with no good wins and some solid losses and one bad one. RPI 125, schedule 146.
  • The Dukes hold out hope for some postseason tournament.

Rhode Island Rams RPI 97

  • 18-12, 9-7 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with wins over BC and Drexel and some good losses, but two bad ones. RPI 77, schedule 117.
  • The Rams got swept by UMass. Enough said.

Massachusetts Minutemen RPI 145

  • 15-14, 7-9 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with no good wins and a couple of bad losses along with a non division I win. RPI 135, schedule 113.
  • Fordham found a team that they are better than.

Saint Bonaventure Bonnies RPI 112

  • 16-13, 8-8 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with a win over St. John’s, but two bad losses to Canisius and Niagara. RPI 113, schedule 135.
  • The Bonnies are trying to make a run to the CBI.

LaSalle Explorers RPI 179

  • 14-17, 6-10 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-7 with no good wins and some solid losses and one bad one. RPI 204, schedule 164.
  • No NCAA’s this season.

George Washington Colonials RPI 135

  • 17-13, 10-6 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 7-7 with no good wins and lots of bad losses. RPI 223, schedule 245.
  • Is Karl Hobbs done in DC? A new AD might think so.

Saint Louis Billikens RPI 170

  • 12-18, 6-10 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 6-8 with no good wins and too many losses. RPI 195, schedule 65.
  • No NCAA’s in the last 10 seasons, soon to be 11.

Saint Joseph’s Hawks RPI 196

  • 9-21, 4-12 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 5-9 with no good wins and too many losses. RPI 164, schedule 81.
  • The Hawks have lost at least 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since Jim Boyle’s final two seasons, 1988-89 and 1989-90. There was a new coach for the next season.

Charlotte 49ers RPI 222

  • 10-20, 2-14 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with a good win over Tennessee but a bunch of losses. RPI 161, schedule 234.
  • Season over.

Fordham Rams RPI 248

  • 7-21, 1-15 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with a good win over St. John’s but a bunch of losses. RPI 183, schedule 130.
  • Win over UMass stopped their 41 game A-10 losing streak. They will be one of a few teams to end their season with a win.

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

Atlantic Ten Basketball Overview March 1

Atlantic Ten Basketball Overview March 1

Team Overviews: Records are going into March 1st. RPI is courtesy of rpiforecast.com.

Current NCAA Locks:

Xavier Musketeers RPI 23

  • 22-6, 13-1 in A10  Away: 7-4
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with wins over Butler and Georgia. They have losses to ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, and Cincinnati. They also had 3 gimmes. RPI 45, schedule 19.
  • A10 Wins: at URI, UMass, Day, at SB, Tem, GW, at Rich, SLU, at Duq, at SJU, For, Las, at Day   Losses: Char
  • The Musketeers have a chance to make a run at a Sweet 16 seed if they win out. Winning at least 3 more would get them a 5 or 6 seed.

Temple Owls RPI 30

  • 22-6, 12-2 in A10   Away: 8-4
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with good wins over Georgia, Maryland, and Georgetown along with losses to Cal, Texas A&M, Villanova, and Duke. They also had 3 gimmes. RPI 33, schedule 47.
  • A10 Wins: at Ford, SLU, SB, Char, at SJU, Las, URI, Ford, at Day, Rich, SJU, at GW   Losses: at Duq, at Xav
  • The Owls need to win at least another game to be safe on Selection Sunday. They have an outside shot at getting to a 5-6 seed if they win at least 4 more. If they win out and win the A-10 tournament, the committee could reward the Owls with a 4 seed, but only if they beat Xavier along the way.

 

Bubble Territory:

Richmond Spiders RPI 62

  • 22-7, 11-3 in A10  Away: 9-3
  • OOC rundown: 11-4 with a big win over Purdue, but losses to Iona, Old Dominion, Georgia Tech, and Bucknell. They also had 5 gimmes. RPI 88, schedule 196.
  • A10 Wins: Cha, at Las, GW, at UMass, at Day, SJU, at For, at GW, SLU, SB, at Cha  Losses: URI, Xav, at Tem
  • The Spiders need at least 3 more wins to be safe on Selection Sunday.

 

Needs To Get Hot:

Dayton Flyers RPI 66

  • 19-10, 7-7 in A10  Away: 5-6
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with solid wins over Mississippi, George Mason, and New Mexico and losses to Cincinnati, East Tennessee State, and Old Dominion. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 32, schedule 57.
  • A10 Wins: at SLU, SJU, Ford, SB, at Las, at Cha, Duq Losses: at UMass, at Xav, Rich, at Duq, at URI, Tem, Xav
  • The Flyers probably can’t lose another game before losing in the A-10 tournament final to have a chance at an at-large.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Duquesne Dukes RPI 99

  • 17-10, 9-5 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with no good wins and some solid losses and one bad one. RPI 126, schedule 146.
  • The Dukes have lost 5 of 6 to end their at-large hopes.

Rhode Island Rams RPI 83

  • 18-10, 9-5 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with wins over BC and Drexel and some good losses, but two bad ones. RPI 78, schedule 109.
  • The Rams got swept by UMass. Enough said.

Massachusetts Minutemen RPI 131

  • 15-12, 7-7 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with no good wins and a couple of bad losses along with a non division I win. RPI 137, schedule 116.
  • It’s been 13 years since Minutemen fans have filled out a bracket with their team in it.

Saint Bonaventure Bonnies RPI 114

  • 15-12, 7-7 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with a win over St. John’s, but two bad losses to Canisius and Niagara. RPI 105, schedule 125.
  • The Bonnies are trying to make a run to the NIT.

LaSalle Explorers RPI 178

  • 13-16, 5-9 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-7 with no good wins and some solid losses and one bad one. RPI 205, schedule 159.
  • No NCAA’s this season.

George Washington Colonials RPI 153

  • 15-13, 8-6 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 7-7 with no good wins and lots of bad losses. RPI 224, schedule 248.
  • No NCAA’s this season because of their OOC resume.

Charlotte 49ers RPI 218

  • 10-18, 2-12 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with a good win over Tennessee but a bunch of losses. RPI 155, schedule 222.
  • No NCAA’s this season.

Saint Louis Billikens RPI 185

  • 11-17, 5-9 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 6-8 with no good wins and too many losses. RPI 179, schedule 44.
  • No NCAA’s in the last 10 seasons, soon to be 11.

Saint Joseph’s Hawks RPI 197

  • 8-20, 3-11 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 5-9 with no good wins and too many losses. RPI 163, schedule 82.
  • The Hawks are about to lose at least 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since Jim Boyle’s final two seasons, 1988-89 and 1989-90. There was a new coach for the next season.

Fordham Rams RPI 247

  • 6-20, 0-14 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with a good win over St. John’s but a bunch of losses. RPI 191, schedule 141.
  • No NCAA’s or A-10 tourney this season.

That’s this week’s Atlantic Ten overview. This will be updated next week.

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

Road to Selection Sunday for Feb 28

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

The Irish are still alive in the Big East title race

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Feb 28

News and Notes:

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

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

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

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

Weekend Winners:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Losers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

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

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

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

Atlantic Ten Basketball Overview February 22

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Atlantic Ten Basketball Overview February 22

Team Overviews: Records are going into February 22nd. RPI is courtesy of rpiforecast.com.

Current NCAA Locks:

Xavier Musketeers RPI 23

  • 20-6, 11-1 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with wins over Butler and Georgia. They have losses to ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, and Cincinnati. They also had 3 gimmes. RPI 47, schedule 25.
  • A10 Wins: at URI, UMass, Day, at SB, Tem, GW, at Rich, SLU, at Duq, at SJU, For  Losses: Char
  • The Musketeers have a chance to make a run at a Sweet 16 seed if they win out. Winning at least 5 more would get them a 5 or 6 seed.

Temple Owls RPI 32

  • 21-5, 11-2 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with good wins over Georgia, Maryland, and Georgetown along with losses to Cal, Texas A&M, and Villanova. They also had 3 gimmes and a remaining game with Duke. RPI 38, schedule 80.
  • A10 Wins: at Ford, SLU, SB, Char, at SJU, Las, URI, Ford, at Day, Rich, SJU   Losses: at Duq, at Xav
  • The Owls need to win at least another 2 games to be safe on Selection Sunday. They have an outside shot at getting to a 5-6 seed if they win at least 5 more. If they win out and win the A-10 tournament, the committee could reward the Owls with a 4 seed.

 

Bubble Territory:

Richmond Spiders RPI 63

  • 21-7, 10-3 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 11-4 with a big win over Purdue, but losses to Iona, Old Dominion, Georgia Tech, and Bucknell. They also had 5 gimmes. RPI 87, schedule 195.
  • A10 Wins: Cha, at Las, GW, at UMass, at Day, SJU, at For, at GW, SLU, SB  Losses: URI, Xav, at Tem
  • The Spiders need at least 4 more wins to be safe on Selection Sunday.

 

Needs To Get Hot:

Duquesne Dukes RPI 76

  • 17-8, 9-3 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with no good wins and some solid losses and one bad one. RPI 129, schedule 157.
  • A10 Wins: at SJU, SLU, Tem, at Las, Char, at Ford, Day, GW, at Mass  Losses: at SB, Xav, at Day
  • The Dukes might be able to get an at-large if their next loss is in the A-10 finals.

Dayton Flyers RPI 55

  • 19-9, 7-6 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with solid wins over Mississippi, George Mason, and New Mexico and losses to Cincinnati, East Tennessee State, and Old Dominion. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 30, schedule 52.
  • A10 Wins: at SLU, SJU, Ford, SB, at Las, at Cha, Duq Losses: at UMass, at Xav, Rich, at Duq, at URI, Tem
  • The Flyers probably can’t lose another regular season game and need at least 1 more win after that in the A-10 tourney.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Rhode Island Rams RPI 90

  • 16-10, 7-5 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 9-5 with wins over BC and Drexel and some good losses, but two bad ones. RPI 72, schedule 99.
  • The Rams got swept by UMass. Enough said.

Massachusetts Minutemen RPI 122

  • 14-11, 6-6 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with no good wins and a couple of bad losses along with a non division I win. RPI 138, schedule 118.
  • Derek Kellogg will be squarely on the hot seat when next season begins.

Saint Bonaventure Bonnies RPI 103

  • 14-11, 6-6 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-5 with a win over St. John’s, but two bad losses to Canisius and Niagara. RPI 111, schedule 131.
  • The Bonnies are trying to make a run to the NIT.

LaSalle Explorers RPI 181

  • 12-15, 4-8 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-7 with no good wins and some solid losses and one bad one. RPI 194, schedule 142.
  • No NCAA’s this season.

George Washington Colonials RPI 152

  • 14-12, 7-5 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 7-7 with no good wins and lots of bad losses. RPI 228, schedule 251.
  • No NCAA’s this season because of their OOC resume.

Charlotte 49ers RPI 210

  • 10-16, 2-10 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with a good win over Tennessee but a bunch of losses. RPI 171, schedule 239.
  • No NCAA’s this season.

Saint Louis Billikens RPI 187

  • 9-17, 4-9 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 5-8 with no good wins and too many losses. RPI 153, schedule 15.
  • No NCAA’s in the last 10 seasons, soon to be 11.

Saint Joseph’s Hawks RPI 205

  • 7-19, 2-10 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 5-9 with no good wins and too many losses. RPI 169, schedule 82.
  • The Hawks are about to lose at least 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since Jim Boyle’s final two seasons, 1988-89 and 1989-90. There was a new coach for the next season.

Fordham Rams RPI 245

  • 6-18, 0-12 in A10
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with a good win over St. John’s but a bunch of losses. RPI 198, schedule 145.
  • No NCAA’s or A-10 tourney this season.

That’s this week’s Atlantic Ten 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.