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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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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 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.

SEC Basketball Overview March 6

SEC Basketball Overview March 6

Team Overviews: Records are going into March 6th. RPI is courtesy of rpiforecast.com.

Current NCAA Locks:

Florida Gators RPI 10

  • 24-6, 13-3 in SEC  Away: 9-3  Neutral: 0-0
  • OOC rundown: 11-3 with wins over Florida State, Kansas State, and Xavier and losses to Ohio St, UCF, and Jacksonville. They also have 4 gimmes. RPI 15, schedule 8.
  • SEC Wins: Miss, at Tenn, at Aub, Ark, at UGa, Van, UK, at USC, Tenn, at LSU, UGa, Ala, at Van   Losses: USC, at MSU, at UK
  • The Gators need to win one more to get a 3 seed and can move to a 2 seed by winning the SEC tournament. They should be set for a 4 seed even if they lose to the Vols.

Kentucky Wildcats RPI 12

  • 22-8, 10-6 in SEC  Away: 4-7  Neutral: 2-1
  • OOC rundown: 12-2 with wins over Washington, Notre Dame, and Louisville and losses to Connecticut and North Carolina. They also have 4 gimmes. RPI 8, schedule 15.
  • SEC Wins: Aub, LSU, at USC, UGa, Tenn, MSU, USC, UF, Van, at Tenn     Losses: at UGa, at Ala, at Miss, at UF, at Van, at Ark
  • The Wildcats need to win make the SEC finals to ensure a 4 seed. They can move to a 3 seed if they win the SEC tournament.

Vanderbilt Commodores RPI 27

  • 21-9, 9-7 in SEC   Away: 5-5  Neutral: 2-1
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with wins over Nebraska, North Carolina, Marquette, and St Mary’s and losses to West Virginia and Missouri. They also have 6 gimmes. RPI 11, schedule 22.
  • SEC Wins: UGa, Miss, at MSU, USC, Ala, UK, at UGa, Aub, at LSU  Losses: at USC, at Tenn, Ark, at UF, Tenn, at UK, UF
  • The Commodores need to win 2 games to be a 6 seed, make the SEC finals to be a 5 seed and they could move to a 4 seed if they win the SEC tournament.

 

Bubble Territory:

Tennessee Volunteers RPI 35

  • 18-13, 8-8 in SEC  Away: 6-5  Neutral: 2-0
  • OOC rundown: 10-4 with wins over Missouri State, Villanova, and Pittsburgh and losses to Oakland, Charlotte, USC, College of Charleston, and UConn. They also have 3 gimmes. RPI 24, schedule 2.
  • SEC Wins: Van, at UGa, LSU, at Miss, at Aub, USC, at Van, at USC     Losses: at Ark, UF, Ala, at UK, at UF, UGa, MSU, UK
  • The Volunteers need to beat Arkansas to be secure. With Pearl’s problems with NCAA compliance, they don’t want to be on the bubble. If they win against Florida, they should be wearing their white jerseys. They could move all the way to a 5 seed if they win the SEC tournament.

Georgia Bulldogs RPI 39

  • 20-10, 9-7 in SEC  Away: 7-4  Neutral: 1-2
  • OOC rundown: 11-3 with notable wins over Colorado and UAB and losses to Notre Dame, Temple, and Xavier. They also have 6 gimmes. RPI 53, schedule 96.
  • SEC Wins: UK, at Miss, MSU, at Ark, Aub, at USC, at Tenn, USC, LSU  Losses: at Van, Tenn, UF, at UK, Van, at UF, at Ala
  • The Bulldogs need to take care of Auburn to be secure on Selection Sunday. Beating Alabama could get them wearing their white jerseys in their NCAA opener. Winning the SEC tournament could move them up to a 6 seed.

Alabama Crimson Tide RPI 80

  • 20-10, 12-4 in SEC  Away: 4-7  Neutral: 0-3
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with no good wins and a bad loss to St. Peter’s and 8 gimmes. RPI 231, schedule 281.
  • SEC Wins: at MSU, USC, UK, at Aub, LSU, MSU, at Tenn, Miss, at LSU, Ark, Aub  Losses: at Ark, at Van, at Miss
  • The Tide need to beat Georgia again to get an at-large. Then they play for seeding. Winning the SEC tournament could move them all the way to a 7 seed.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Ole Miss Rebels RPI 82

  • 19-12, 7-9 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with a win over Penn State and losses to Dayton, Miami (FL), and Colorado State. They also have 7 gimmes. RPI 51, schedule 105.
  • The Rebels need to win the tournament.

South Carolina Gamecocks RPI 127

  • 14-15, 5-11 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 9-4 with a win over Clemson and losses to Michigan State, Ohio State, BC, and a questionable loss to Furman. They also have 6 gimmes. RPI 133, schedule 257.
  • Next year, anyone?

Arkansas Razorbacks RPI 115

  • 18-12, 7-9 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with no notable wins and losses to UAB, Texas A&M, and Texas. They also have 9 gimmes. RPI 100, schedule 221.
  • Here’s guessing that John Pelphrey is going to be unemployed after next weekend or sooner.

Mississippi State Bulldogs RPI 114

  • 17-13, 9-7 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with no notable wins and plenty of losses. They also have 6 gimmes. RPI 180, schedule 167.
  • The Bulldogs came into the season with tourney hopes, but they have to win the SEC tournament now.

Louisiana State Tigers RPI 218

  • 11-20, 3-13 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 8-7 with no notable wins and plenty of losses. They also have 7 gimmes. RPI 239, schedule 263.
  • They don’t go dancing unless they win the SEC tournament.

Auburn Tigers RPI 254

  • 11-19, 4-12 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 7-7 with a win over Florida State and a bunch of bad losses. RPI 330, schedule 338.
  • If only they paid their hoops players Newton money…

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 1

Jackson could help the Boilers make that magical March run

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Mar 1

News and Notes:

Lewis Jackson has stepped up for the Boilers of late to provide additional scoring.

The Illini know that they have to stop Jackson’s ability to penetrate to neutralize the Boilers offense.

Its Senior Night in Gainesville for Chandler Parsons and company as the Tide come to town.

Eddie Sutton will be inducted in the College Basketball Hall of Fame later this year.

Seth Greenberg is trying to keep the Hokies focused on their ultimate goal.

Thad Matta is leaning on Bob Knight for advice for his top ranked Buckeyes.

Josh Harrellson has had a senior year to remember for the Wildcats in Lexington.

Kevin Stallings and the Commodores talk about playing Kentucky tonight.

Winners:

Kansas State: Just in case the Wildcats hadn’t punched their ticket to March Madness, they can now. There’s nobody in the Big 12 playing better than Frank Martin’s crew right now and they are getting contributions from everybody. Jacob Pullen is making a late charge at the Big 12 POY and Rodney McGruder really kept the Cats winning before Pullen got going late. Nobody is going to be interested to see the Cats in their bracket now. Look for them to be the 4 seed in BYU’s bracket.

Notre Dame: The Irish hit 11 3’s in the first half and 20 for the game. How do you beat that if you’re Nova? Tim Abromaitis hit 9 of 13 from 3. Ridiculous. Both Abro and Hansbrough scored 30 each on Senior Night. They couldn’t plan it any better than that.

Losers:

Villanova: Nova is struggling as they’ve now lost 8 of 13 since their 16-1 start. They couldn’t stop ND’s outside shooting and were never even close. Oh, and a trip to Pittsburgh is coming on Saturday. Good luck.

Texas: The Horns continue to struggle since Nebraska erased the mystique ten days ago. Now they have lost 3 of 4 and are in danger of falling to a 3 or 4 seed. They probably have to win the Big 12 tournament now to remain in a 2 seed and could fall to a 4 seed if they were to lose to Baylor and follow that with another loss in the tournament. This team was the favorite of many only a week and a half ago to roll through March. Now they look ordinary. Need them to straighten out before they get bracket love from me.

Tuesday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(39) Illinois at (6) Purdue: ESPN at 7 EST

(89) Alabama at (11) Florida: ESPNU at 7 EST

(75) Baylor at (61) Oklahoma State: ESPN2 at 7 EST

(46) Boston College at (54) Virginia Tech: ESPNU at 9 EST

(3) Ohio State at (57) Penn State: 9 EST

(24) Vanderbilt at (15) Kentucky: ESPN at 9 EST

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

SEC Basketball Overview February 27

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

SEC Basketball Overview February 27

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

Current NCAA Locks:

Florida Gators RPI 12

  • 22-6, 11-3 in SEC  Away: 8-3
  • OOC rundown: 11-3 with wins over Florida State, Kansas State, and Xavier and losses to Ohio St, UCF, and Jacksonville. They also have 4 gimmes. RPI 15, schedule 7.
  • SEC Wins: Miss, at Tenn, at Aub, Ark, at UGa, Van, UK, at USC, Tenn, at LSU, UGa   Losses: USC, at MSU, at UK
  • The Gators need at least 3 more wins to secure a Sweet 16 seed.

Kentucky Wildcats RPI 16

  • 20-8, 8-6 in SEC  Away: 3-7
  • OOC rundown: 12-2 with wins over Washington, Notre Dame, and Louisville and losses to Connecticut and North Carolina. They also have 4 gimmes. RPI 9, schedule 16.
  • SEC Wins: Aub, LSU, at USC, UGa, Tenn, MSU, USC, UF     Losses: at UGa, at Ala, at Miss, at UF, at Van, at Ark
  • The Wildcats need to develop some consistency. They need to win at least 4 more games to be considered for a Sweet 16 seed. Their lack of road wins is alarming. They need more.

Vanderbilt Commodores RPI 23

  • 21-7, 9-5 in SEC   Away: 5-4
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with wins over Nebraska, North Carolina, Marquette, and St Mary’s and losses to West Virginia and Missouri. They also have 6 gimmes. RPI 11, schedule 24.
  • SEC Wins: UGa, Miss, at MSU, USC, Ala, UK, at UGa, Aub, at LSU  Losses: at USC, at Tenn, Ark, at UF, Tenn
  • The Commodores need at least 4 more wins to be considered for a Sweet 16 seed. They need 3 or more wins to get a 5 or 6 seed.

 

Bubble Territory:

Tennessee Volunteers RPI 38

  • 17-12, 7-7 in SEC  Away: 5-5
  • OOC rundown: 10-4 with wins over Missouri State, Villanova, and Pittsburgh and losses to Oakland, Charlotte, USC, College of Charleston, and UConn. They also have 3 gimmes. RPI 29, schedule 4.
  • SEC Wins: Van, at UGa, LSU, at Miss, at Aub, USC, at Van     Losses: at Ark, UF, Ala, at UK, at UF, UGa, MSU
  • Can we get some consistency out of the Vols? They look like a team that doesn’t survive their first pod in March. They need to win at least 2, if not 3 more games to be secure. With Pearl’s problems with NCAA compliance, they don’t want to be on the bubble.

Georgia Bulldogs RPI 39

  • 19-9, 8-6 in SEC  Away: 7-3
  • OOC rundown: 11-3 with notable wins over Colorado and UAB and losses to Notre Dame, Temple, and Xavier. They also have 6 gimmes. RPI 55, schedule 102.
  • SEC Wins: UK, at Miss, MSU, at Ark, Aub, at USC, at Tenn, USC  Losses: at Van, Tenn, UF, at UK, Van, at UF
  • The Bulldogs need at least 2 more wins to be secure on Selection Sunday. Right now, Kentucky is the only tourney lock team that they’ve beaten.

Alabama Crimson Tide RPI 89

  • 19-9, 11-3 in SEC  Away: 4-6
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with no good wins and a bad loss to St. Peter’s and 8 gimmes. RPI 228, schedule 279.
  • SEC Wins: at MSU, USC, UK, at Aub, LSU, MSU, at Tenn, Miss, at LSU, Ark, Aub  Losses: at Ark, at Van, at Miss
  • The Tide need to win at least 2 more to get an at-large. Their RPI needs to be in the top 60 to make a convincing argument. Winning at Florida this week would be huge.

 

Needs To Get Hot:

Ole Miss Rebels RPI 72

  • 18-11, 6-8 in SEC  Away: 4-6
  • OOC rundown: 12-3 with a win over Penn State and losses to Dayton, Miami (FL), and Colorado State. They also have 7 gimmes. RPI 44, schedule 94.
  • SEC Wins: at LSU, UK, at Ark, LSU, Aub, Ala   Losses: at UF, MSU, UGa, at Van, Tenn, at Ala, at MSU, USC
  • The Rebels need to run the table and lose in the SEC tournament final to get an at-large. Too many bad losses and OOC losses to bubble teams.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

South Carolina Gamecocks RPI 116

  • 14-13, 5-9 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 9-4 with a win over Clemson and losses to Michigan State, Ohio State, BC, and a questionable loss to Furman. They also have 6 gimmes. RPI 137, schedule 265.
  • The Auburn loss at home is inexcusable and probably knocks them out of at-large consideration. They need to win at least 7 more games to have a chance.

Arkansas Razorbacks RPI 102

  • 18-10, 7-7 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with no notable wins and losses to UAB, Texas A&M, and Texas. They also have 9 gimmes. RPI 107, schedule 227.
  • Here’s guessing that John Pelphrey is going to be unemployed in 2 weeks.

Mississippi State Bulldogs RPI 131

  • 15-13, 7-7 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 8-6 with no notable wins and plenty of losses. They also have 6 gimmes. RPI 184, schedule 166.
  • The Bulldogs came into the season with tourney hopes, but they have to win the SEC tournament now. That’s how bad their OOC resume is.

Louisiana State Tigers RPI 207

  • 11-18, 2-10 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 8-7 with no notable wins and plenty of losses. They also have 7 gimmes. RPI 236, schedule 261.
  • They don’t go dancing unless they win the SEC tournament.

Auburn Tigers RPI 274

  • 9-19, 2-12 in SEC
  • OOC rundown: 7-7 with a win over Florida State and a bunch of bad losses. RPI 332, schedule 339.
  • If only they paid their hoops players Newton money…

That’s this week’s SEC 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 22

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

SEC Player of the Year?

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Feb 22

News and Notes:

Coach Cal had a dubious explanation for not subbing in Saturday’s blowout over South Carolina.

The Illini will need to be successful from long range to win tonight in Columbus.

Kevin Stallings and the Vandy players talk about tonight’s showdown with the Vols.

Bruce Pearl is trying to get the Vols to play better.

The Spartans are still not at 100% as they battle the Gophers tonight in Minneapolis.

The Gophers think that losing Nolen will cost them with the NCAA selection committee next month.

Yesterday’s Winners:

Syracuse: The Orange have been a little inconsistent and needed another good road win. Winning in Philly gives them that and gets them in double digit wins in the Big East. Jardine and Jackson were sensational as they combined for 38 points on 15-20 shooting. If they can continue their winning streak through the Big East tourney, they should be able to work their way into a Sweet 16 seed.

Losers:

Villanova: Home losses are bad no matter how you look at them. The Cats had a pair of close calls last week and now have lost home games to Georgetown, Pitt, and Syracuse. St John’s and the rest of their schedule won’t make things easy on the Wildcats chances for a good seed in March.

Oklahoma State: It’s time to bury the Pokes. Even without their point guard, the Jayhawks easily handled the Cowboys. Even with an abysmal bubble, winning out through to the Big 12 title game might not even be enough now.

UTEP: Because the game was played during the day doesn’t mean it wasn’t a bad loss. The Miners at-large chances took a major hit with the loss to UCF. The Miners might have to win out until the CUSA finals to have a chance at an at-large bid. Otherwise, they probably need to win the CUSA tournament now.

Valparaiso: I never gave them much at-large consideration but there are some that do. Or did. The only good thing that came out of that bad loss was that I found out about the Horizon League’s streaming video for free. Some leagues (That’s you Atlantic Ten) need to take notice. FREE publicity is GOOD publicity.

Tuesday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(22) Illinois at (24) Ohio State: ESPN at 7 EST

(61) Tennessee at (1) Vanderbilt: ESPN at 9 EST

(61) Michigan State at (1) Minnesota: 9 EST

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