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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

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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.

Road to Selection Sunday for March 9

Future Knick?

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 9

News and Notes:

Robert Morris looks to become the first team to win three straight Northeast Conference titles tonight.

Northern Colorado is looking to go dancing for the first time tonight against Montana.

The Hoyas are looking to stabilize their seed with a win against the Huskies today.

Kemba Walker is interested in playing for the hometown Knicks when he’s done at UConn.

Oklahoma State’s Page doesn’t want to come up short in the Big 12 tourney.

Winners:

Automatic Qualifiers:

  • Sun Belt: Arkansas-Little Rock
  • Horizon: Butler
  • Summitt: Oakland

Bubble Hopefuls: The win by Butler could keep another spot alive for the mediocre bubble teams out there. Butler was a possibility for an at-large if they lost to UW-Milwaukee last night, but the win gave them the auto bid. That’s what this bubble need is more open spots for mediocre teams.

Princeton: With the win at the Palestra last night, the Tigers head to New Haven looking for Crimson blood on Saturday.

Losers:

Venoy Overton: The Washington guard was charged with providing alcohol to a minor and was suspended for the Pac 10 tournament by Coach Lorenzo Romar. Dumb act by the player and one has to look cynically at how Romar handled this situation.

Villanova: Is this collapse for real? They’ve now lost 9 of 13 and Steve Lappas is warming up in the bullpen. Just kidding.

Derek Kellogg: The Massachusetts coach just completed his third straight losing season (they have one non division 1 win) in his three seasons at his alma mater. It’s looking like the Steve Lappas era all over again as the Minutemen lost by 28 points at home last night in the first round of the Atlantic Ten tournament. The 28 point margin of defeat was the most by the school in an Atlantic Ten tournament game. Hey Derek; Lou Roe isn’t walking through that door, Marcus Camby isn’t walking through that door…

Wednesday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

 (24) Connecticut vs. (11) Georgetown: ESPN Noon EST

(64) Oklahoma State vs. (79) Nebraska: ESPN3 12:30 EST

Northeast Championship (102) Robert Morris vs. (81) Long Island: ESPN2 at 7 EST

Big Sky Championship (103) Montana vs. (109) Northern Colorado: ESPN2 at 9 EST

(63) Marquette vs. (15) West Virginia: ESPN 9:30 EST

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

Big East Basketball Overview March 6

Big East Basketball Overview March 6

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

Current NCAA Locks:

Pittsburgh Panthers RPI 6

  • 27-4, 15-3 in Big East  Away: 7-2  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 12-1 with solid wins over Rhode Island, Maryland, and Texas and a solid loss to Tennessee. RPI 21, schedule 91.
  • Big East: Wins: Conn, at PC, Marq, at Gtown, SH, Syr, at Dep, at Rut, Cin, at WVU, at Vill, USF, WVU, at USF, Vill   Losses: ND, at SJ, at Lou
  • The Panthers should be a 1 seed if they make it to the Big East finals. They might be good if they go 1-1 this week. They can drop no lower than a 2 seed.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish RPI 11

  • 25-5, 14-4 in Big East  Away: 5-5  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 11-1 with good wins over Georgia, Wisconsin, and Gonzaga with a good loss to Kentucky. RPI 27, schedule 149.
  • Big East: Wins: Gtown, Conn, SJ, Cin, Marq, at Pitt, at Dep, Rut, Lou, at USF, at PC, SH, Vill, at Conn   Losses: at Syr, at Marq, at SJ, at WVU
  • The Irish will be a 1 seed if they win the Big East tournament. Unless they lose their first game, they should be at least a 2 seed.

Syracuse Orangemen RPI 16

  • 25-6, 12-6 in Big East   Away: 7-3  Neutral: 2-0
  • OOC rundown: 13-0 with wins over Michigan and Michigan State. RPI 12, schedule 125.
  • Big East: Wins: PC, ND, at SH, at SJ, Cin, at Conn, at USF, WVU, Rut, at Vill, at Gtown, Dep Losses: at Pitt, Vill, SH, at Marq, Gtown, at Lou 
  • The Orange should be a lock for a 5 seed and will move up with wins. If they win the Big East tournament, they could move all the way to a 2 seed. Going 2-1 could get them to a 3 seed and going 1-1 should get them a 4 seed. It will be interesting to see how the selection committee deals with the Orange having no OOC road games. 

Louisville Cardinals RPI 20

  • 23-8, 12-6 in Big East  Away: 4-6  Neutral: 0-0
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with a decent win over Butler and a good win over UNLV with losses to Drexel and Kentucky. RPI 46, schedule 75.
  • Big East: Wins: SH, at USF, Marq, SJ, WVU, at Conn, Dep, Syr, Conn, at Rut, Pit, PC    Losses: Vill, at PC, at Gtown, at ND, at Cin, at WVU
  • The Cardinals need to win at least 1 game to get a 4 seed. Winning the Big East tournament shouldn’t move them higher than a 3 seed.

West Virginia Mountaineers RPI 15

  • 20-10, 11-7 in Big East  Away: 4-6  Neutral: 2-2
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 with solid wins over Purdue, Vanderbilt and Cleveland St and losses to Minnesota, Miami (FL), and Marshall. RPI 10, schedule 4.
  • Big East: Wins: at Dep, at Gtown, PC, USF, at Cin, SH, Dep, ND, at Rut, Conn, Lou   Losses: SJ, at Marq, at Lou, at Vill, Pit, at Syr, at Pit
  • The Mountaineers can get a 4 seed if they beat Marquette and Louisville. Winning the Big East tournament gets them to a 3 seed. One win ensures a 5 seed and no wins sends them to a 6 or 7 seed.

Georgetown Hoyas RPI 10

  • 21-9, 10-8 in Big East  Away: 8-5  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 11-1 with good wins at Old Dominion, at Missouri, and Utah State. Solid loss to Temple. RPI 1, schedule 3.
  • Big East: Wins: Dep, at Rut, at SH, SJ, at Vill, Lou, PC, at Syr, Marq, at USF   Losses: at ND, at SJ, WVU, Pitt, at Conn, Cin, Syr, at Cin
  • The Hoyas are struggling w/o Wright. They need to beat UConn to get a 5 seed and avoid falling to a 6 or 7 seed with a loss. Winning 2 games and they’re a lock 4 seed, if not a 3 seed. Getting to the Big East finals makes them a lock 3 seed. They can still get a 2 seed if they win the Big East tournament. It would take wins over UConn, Pitt, Cuse, and another team to do that. Easy 2 seed.

Connecticut Huskies RPI 23

  • 21-9, 9-9 in Big East  Away: 5-4  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 12-0 with good wins over Wichita State, Michigan State, Kentucky, at Texas, and Tennessee. RPI 4, schedule 41.
  • Big East: Wins: USF, Rut, at Dep, Vill, at Marq, at SH, PC, Gtown, at Cin   Losses: at Pitt, at ND, Lou, Syr, at SJ, at Lou, Mar, at WVU, ND
  • The Huskies need multiple wins to avoid a 6 seed. Beating Georgetown gets them a  5 seed, beating Pitt a 4 seed, and can climb to a 3 seed if they make the Big East finals.

St John’s Redman RPI 22

  • 20-10, 12-6 in Big East  Away: 5-7  Neutral: 3-0
  • OOC rundown: 8-4 with a win over Duke, but they lost to St Mary’s, St Bonaventure, Fordham, and UCLA. RPI 61, schedule 59.
  • Big East: Wins: at WVU, at PC, Gtown, ND, Rut, Conn, at Cin, at Mar, Pit, Dep, at Vill, USF   Losses: at ND, Syr, at Lou, Cin, at Gtown, at SH
  • The Johnnies need to win a game to get a 7 seed, beat Syracuse for a 6 seed. If they beat Pitt they might jump to a 4 seed. If they win the Big East tournament, they might get rewarded with a 3 seed. Tough, but not many teams are better after January 1.

Villanova Wildcats RPI 31

  • 21-10, 9-9 in Big East   Away: 7-5  Neutral: 1-1
  • OOC rundown: 12-1 with good wins over Temple and UCLA. RPI 17, schedule 109.
  • Big East: Wins: Rut, at USF, Cin, Lou, at Syr, Marq, WVU, at SH, at Dep   Losses: at Conn, at PC, Gtown, at Rut, Pitt, Syr, SJ, ND, Pitt
  • The Cats need to beat USF to avoid wearing their blue jerseys in their opening game. If they beat Cincy, they are probably a 7 seed. If they beat ND, they move to a 6 seed. They can climb all the way to a 4 seed if they miraculously win the Big East tourney.

Cincinnati Bearcats RPI 32

  • 24-7, 11-7 in Big East  Away: 8-4  Neutral: 0-0
  • OOC rundown: 13-0 with blowout wins over Dayton and Xavier and 7 gimmes. RPI 38, schedule 284.
  • Big East: Wins: Dep, SH, USF, at SJ, Rut, at Dep, Lou, at PC, at Gtown, at Marq, Gtown     Losses: at Vill, at Syr, at ND, WVU, at Pitt, SJ, Conn
  • The Bearcats will be a 7 seed if they beat Villanova. They can be a 6 if they beat ND. They can probably go all the way to a 4 seed if they win the Big East tourney.

 

Bubble Territory:

Marquette Warriors RPI 67

  • 18-13, 9-9 in Big East  Away: 4-7  Neutral: 0-2
  • OOC rundown: 9-4 with no notable wins and losses to Duke, Gonzaga, Wisconsin, and Vanderbilt. RPI 123, schedule 158.
  • Big East: Wins: WVU, at Rut, ND, Dep, Syr, at USF, SH, at Conn, PC   Losses: at Pitt, at Lou, at ND, Conn, at Vill, at Gtown, SJ
  • Beat PC and you’re in Marquette. After that, the Eagles can move into an 8-9 game with a win over West Virginia and move into a 7 seed if they beat Louisville.

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Rutgers Scarlet Knights RPI 124

  • 14-16, 5-13 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 with a good win over Miami (FL) and a decent loss to North Carolina and bad losses to Princeton and St. Joseph’s. RPI 90, schedule 217.
  • CBI? Jersey Shore Invitational?

Providence Friars RPI 146

  • 15-16, 4-14 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with a solid win over URI and a decent loss to BC. RPI 81, schedule 252.
  • CBI, anyone?

Seton Hall Pirates RPI 93

  • 13-17, 7-11 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with no good wins and plenty of solid losses. RPI 121, schedule 25.
  • Their losing record shouldn’t turn off the CBI committee.

South Florida Bulls RPI 160

  • 9-22, 3-15 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-7 with a win over VCU and plenty of losses. RPI 132, schedule 35.
  • Not this year.

DePaul Blue Demons RPI 229

  • 7-23, 1-17 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with no good wins and plenty of bad losses. RPI 249, schedule 225.
  • Wait til next year.

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

Road to Selection Sunday for 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.

Big East Basketball Overview February 27

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Big East Basketball Overview February 27

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

Current NCAA Locks:

Pittsburgh Panthers RPI 8

  • 25-4, 13-3 in Big East  Away: 6-2
  • OOC rundown: 12-1 with solid wins over Rhode Island, Maryland, and Texas and a solid loss to Tennessee. RPI 19, schedule 93.
  • Big East: Wins: Conn, at PC, Marq, at Gtown, SH, Syr, at Dep, at Rut, Cin, at WVU, at Vill, USF, WVU   Losses: ND, at SJ, at Lou
  • If the Panthers win at least 4 games or more, they should be a #1. Being the best team in the best conference should be worth something.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish RPI 11

  • 23-5, 12-4 in Big East  Away: 4-5
  • OOC rundown: 11-1 with good wins over Georgia, Wisconsin, and Gonzaga with a good loss to Kentucky. RPI 27, schedule 152.
  • Big East: Wins: Gtown, Conn, SJ, Cin, Marq, at Pitt, at Dep, Rut, Lou, at USF, at PC, SH   Losses: at Syr, at Marq, at SJ, at WVU
  • The Irish would have to run the table and win the Big East tournament to claim a #1 seed. More likely is they win another 4 or more and get a 2 seed. If they win at least 3 more they will still get a 3 seed.

Georgetown Hoyas RPI 7

  • 21-8, 10-7 in Big East  Away: 8-4
  • OOC rundown: 11-1 with good wins at Old Dominion, at Missouri, and Utah State. Solid loss to Temple. RPI 1, schedule 3.
  • Big East: Wins: Dep, at Rut, at SH, SJ, at Vill, Lou, PC, at Syr, Marq, at USF   Losses: at ND, at SJ, WVU, Pitt, at Conn, Cin, Syr
  • The Hoyas need to beat Cincinnati and make the Big East tournament finals to be a 2 seed. They need at least 2 more wins to ensure a Sweet 16 seed. Losing without Wright and not getting him back in time for their first NCAA game could affect their seeding.

Connecticut Huskies RPI 20

  • 21-7, 9-7 in Big East  Away: 5-4
  • OOC rundown: 12-0 with good wins over Wichita State, Michigan State, Kentucky, at Texas, and Tennessee. RPI 4, schedule 48.
  • Big East: Wins: USF, Rut, at Dep, Vill, at Marq, at SH, PC, Gtown, at Cin   Losses: at Pitt, at ND, Lou, Syr, at SJ, at Lou, Mar
  • The Huskies probably need to run the table to claim a #2 seed. More likely is that they can win at least 3 more and get at least a 3 seed.

Villanova Wildcats RPI 31

  • 21-8, 9-7 in Big East   Away: 7-3
  • OOC rundown: 12-1 with good wins over Temple and UCLA. RPI 18, schedule 110.
  • Big East: Wins: Rut, at USF, Cin, Lou, at Syr, Marq, WVU, at SH, at Dep   Losses: at Conn, at PC, Gtown, at Rut, Pitt, Syr, SJ
  • The Cats need to win at least 5 more to get a Sweet 16 seed. This tailspin could knock them out of a single digit seed. They probably need at least 2 more wins to get a single digit seed.

Syracuse Orangemen RPI 15

  • 24-6, 11-6 in Big East   Away: 6-3
  • OOC rundown: 13-0 with wins over Michigan and Michigan State. RPI 12, schedule 123.
  • Big East: Wins: PC, ND, at SH, at SJ, Cin, at Conn, at USF, WVU, Rut, at Vill, at Gtown  Losses: at Pitt, Vill, SH, at Marq, Gtown, at Lou
  • The Orange need at least 1 more win to get a 5 or 6 seed and can get a Sweet 16 seed if they win at least 3 more games. It will be interesting to see how the selection committee deals with the Orange having no OOC road games.

Louisville Cardinals RPI 18

  • 22-7, 11-5 in Big East  Away: 4-5
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with a decent win over Butler and a good win over UNLV with losses to Drexel and Kentucky. RPI 48, schedule 72.
  • Big East: Wins: SH, at USF, Marq, SJ, WVU, at Conn, Dep, Syr, Conn, at Rut, Pit    Losses: Vill, at PC, at Gtown, at ND, at Cin
  • The Cardinals OOC profile isn’t that great so they need at least 3 more wins to get a Sweet 16 seed. The Cards should get a 5-7 seed with at least 1 more win.

West Virginia Mountaineers RPI 21

  • 18-10, 9-7 in Big East  Away: 4-6
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 with solid wins over Purdue, Vanderbilt and Cleveland St and losses to Minnesota, Miami (FL), and Marshall. RPI 8, schedule 2.
  • Big East: Wins: at Dep, at Gtown, PC, USF, at Cin, SH, Dep, ND, at Rut   Losses: SJ, at Marq, at Lou, at Vill, Pit, at Syr, at Pit
  • It’s going to take a solid finish, but the Mountaineers can get a Sweet 16 seed with at least 4 more wins. More likely is a 5-7 seed with at least 2 more wins.

St John’s Redman RPI 13

  • 19-9, 11-5 in Big East  Away: 5-6
  • OOC rundown: 8-4 with a win over Duke, but they lost to St Mary’s, St Bonaventure, Fordham, and UCLA. RPI 55, schedule 52.
  • Big East: Wins: at WVU, at PC, Gtown, ND, Rut, Conn, at Cin, at Mar, Pit, Dep, at Vill   Losses: at ND, Syr, at Lou, Cin, at Gtown
  • The Johnnies have now won 6 straight and 8 of 9. They should clinch a single digit seed with their next win and could challenge for a Sweet 16 seed if they win at least 3 more games. They have a longshot chance of getting to a 3 seed if they win out, including the Big East tournament.

 

Bubble Territory:

Cincinnati Bearcats RPI 39

  • 22-7, 9-7 in Big East  Away: 7-4
  • OOC rundown: 13-0 with blowout wins over Dayton and Xavier and 7 gimmes. RPI 38, schedule 281.
  • Big East: Wins: Dep, SH, USF, at SJ, Rut, at Dep, Lou, at PC, at Gtown     Losses: at Vill, at Syr, at ND, WVU, at Pitt, SJ, Conn
  • The Bearcats still aren’t there yet. The Bearcats need at least 1 more win to be safe on Selection Sunday. If they win at least 2 more games, they can get a single digit seed.

Marquette Warriors RPI 52

  • 18-11, 9-7 in Big East  Away: 4-6
  • OOC rundown: 9-4 with no notable wins and losses to Duke, Gonzaga, Wisconsin, and Vanderbilt. RPI 124, schedule 175.
  • Big East: Wins: WVU, at Rut, ND, Dep, Syr, at USF, SH, at Conn, PC   Losses: at Pitt, at Lou, at ND, Conn, at Vill, at Gtown, SJ
  • Marquette needs at least 2 more wins to be safe on Selection Sunday. Anything  less puts them squarely on the bubble.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Rutgers Scarlet Knights RPI 120

  • 13-15, 4-12 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 9-3 with a good win over Miami (FL) and a decent loss to North Carolina and bad losses to Princeton and St. Joseph’s. RPI 98, schedule 232.
  • The Scarlet Knights now need to win the Big East tournament.

Providence Friars RPI 149

  • 14-15, 3-13 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with a solid win over URI and a decent loss to BC. RPI 80, schedule 237.
  • If they end up with an 8-10 Big East record or better and win more than one game in MSG, then we’ll talk. So I’m saying they have a chance.

Seton Hall Pirates RPI 100

  • 11-17, 5-11 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with no good wins and plenty of solid losses. RPI 121, schedule 29.
  • Their losing record shouldn’t turn off the CBI committee.

South Florida Bulls RPI 160

  • 9-20, 3-13 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-7 with a win over VCU and plenty of losses. RPI 132, schedule 31.
  • Not this year.

DePaul Blue Demons RPI 229

  • 7-21, 1-15 in Big East
  • OOC rundown: 6-6 with no good wins and plenty of bad losses. RPI 253, schedule 235.
  • Wait til next year.

 

That’s this week’s Big East 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.