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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 12

The Jimmer got 52 last night

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for March 12

News and Notes:

Top 3 Games to Watch:

1. Jimmer and BYU against San Diego State at 7:00 ET on Versus

2. UConn and Louisville at 9:00 ET on ESPN

3. Texas and Kansas at 6:00 ET on ESPN

Winners:

Automatic Qualifiers:

  • Patriot: Bucknell

Dayton: The Flyers pulled an upset over their rivals, Xavier, yesterday and will play 12 seed St. Joe’s this afternoon. The Flyers have disappointed for two consecutive years now and have a chance at redemption if they can win two more games in AC.

Alabama: Is back-to-back wins over Georgia good enough for the Tide? The SEC West champs are only 1-2 against top 25 RPI teams. In comparison, mid-major VCU is 2-3 against the same group. The issue with Alabama is that they are in the very weak SEC West and took advantage of 200+ RPI games against LSU and Auburn. They are only 9-10 against the top 200.

Michigan: You have to like how the Wolverines have done almost everything that they could to win their way into an at-large bid. They started 1-6 in the Big Ten and looked dead but rallied to finish at 9-9 and are now a win away from the Big Ten championship game. It’s amazing to think, but they will be wearing their white jerseys in their first NCAA game if they win the Big Ten tourney.

Clemson: The Tigers might have clinched an at-large bid by eliminating BC yesterday. This game wasn’t even close and they should be good as long as UNC doesn’t destroy them this afternoon.

UTEP: The Miners will play on their home court this morning for the CUSA championship and it should be rocking. It will be interesting if their profile is good enough if they were to lose.

Michigan State: The real Spartans finally showed up as they blasted Purdue last night. That should eliminate any of the bubble talk for Tom Izzo’s club and if Sparty can continue to play like that, they will be a tough out.

Connecticut: The Huskies appear to be a solid 3 seed and are probably just playing to maneuver on that line for Sunday. It’s tough to see how they move up to a 2 seed, but they shouldn’t fall to a 4 either.

Texas: The Longhorns might have reemerged as a possible 2 seed by making the Big 12 championship game. If they win, they should be a solid 2 seed, if they lose, then they could drop back to a 3 seed.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are close, if not in the tournament after their lucky win last night. Their RPI is still not too good and their profile isn’t impressive, save the Duke win. A win over Duke today and they WILL be good.

Penn State: I guess somebody had to win this game, certainly not the viewers. The Lions should be close if they can beat Michigan State tomorrow to play again on Sunday.

BYU and San Diego State: The Jimmer went for 52 last night and DJ Gay drained a floater in the lane with 4 seconds left and these MWC heavyweights will meet for a third time. Fair minded people would think that a #1 seed would be the reward for the winner. But the national media has anointed BYU as damaged goods without Brandon Davies and SDSU lost to the Cougars twice. In a year with only two apparently dominant teams, Ohio State and Kansas, the winner of this game deserves to be a #1 seed.

Losers:

Xavier: The Musketeers were beaten by Dayton outside of UD Arena for the first time since 1981 yesterday in AC. The Musketeers could have been as high as a 5 seed if they won the A10 tournament, now they are looking at a possible 7 or even an 8-9 game situation. That doesn’t represent the easiest route to the Sweet 16.

Georgia: The Dawgs lost to the very weak bubble dwelling Alabama yesterday and now are squarely on the bubble themselves. They’re hoping that mediocrity prevails.

Boston College: Mercifully, their at-large hopes are over. Too many blowout losses in the last month and an RPI that has fallen into the 50’s should be enough to send the Eagles to the NIT.

Illinois: The Illini continued their Jekyll & Hyde season with another up and down performance in the first and only Big Ten tourney game. They led Michigan by double digits with less than 10 minutes left in the game and blew the lead. They will most likely clear the hideous bubble, but expectations for Bruce Weber will be for more success next season in Champaign.

Colorado: Last night’s loss to Kansas leaves them on the bubble for Selection Sunday. It will be interesting to see if they miss out despite taking three from lock Kansas State.

Notre Dame: The Irish were in play for a #1 seed, but their loss to Louisville probably bumps them off. They are still a team that nobody is going to want to see in the coming weeks.

Wisconsin: The Badgers turned back the clock, in a bad way, by putting up a score that was standard in the peach basket era of hoops. This wasn’t the showing the Bo Ryan wanted to secure a 4 seed on Sunday.

Florida State: The ‘Noles are probably in, but their controversial loss last night to Virginia Tech put their RPI over 50 and their OOC profile wasn’t very good. They should be in, but you never know with the mediocrity in the ACC after the top 2.

Saturday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

Conference USA Championship (30) Memphis at (47) UTEP: CBS at 11:30 EST

America East Championship (240) Stony Brook at (132) Boston University: ESPN2 at 12:00 EST

(9) Kentucky vs. (77) Alabama: ABC at 1 EST

(53) Clemson vs. (6) North Carolina: ESPN at 1 EST

(50) Michigan vs. (2) Ohio State: CBS at 1:40 EST

MEAC Championship (207) Morgan State vs. (81) Hampton: ESPN2 at 2:00 EST

(55) Richmond vs. (28) Temple: CBS College at 3:30 EST

(25) Vanderbilt vs. (8) Florida: ABC at 3:30 EST

(60) Virginia Tech vs. (4) Duke: ESPN at 3:30 EST

Southland Championship (201) Texas-San Antonio at (147) McNeese State: ESPN2 at 4:00 EST

Ivy League Playoff (33) Harvard vs. (48) Princeton: ESPN3 at 4:00 EST

(39) Michigan State vs. (42) Penn State: CBS at 4:05 EST

Big 12 Championship (10) Texas vs. (1) Kansas: ESPN at 6:00 EST

MAC Championship (117) Akron vs. (70) Kent State: ESPN2 at 6:00 EST

Pac 10 Championship (38) Washington vs. (17) Arizona: CBS at 6:00 EST

Mountain West Championship (3) San Diego State vs. (5) Brigham Young: Versus at 7:00 EST

Big West Championship (171) UC-Santa Barbara vs. (86) Long Beach State: ESPN2 at 8:00 EST

SWAC Championship (313) Grambling State vs. (271) Alabama State: ESPNU at 8:30 EST

Big East Championship (14) Connecticut vs. (15) Louisville: ESPN at 9:00 EST

WAC Championship (114) Boise State vs. (18) Utah State: ESPN2 at 10:00 EST

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

Big Ten Basketball Overview March 6

Big Ten Basketball Overview March 6

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

Current NCAA Locks:

Ohio State Buckeyes RPI 3

  • 29-2, 16-2 in Big Ten    Away: 9-2  Neutral: 0-0
  • OOC rundown: 13-0 with wins over Florida and Florida State. They have 7 gimme wins. RPI 6, schedule 68.
  • Big Ten Wins: at Ind, at Iowa, Minn, at Mich, Penn St, Iowa, at Ill, Purdue, NW, Mich, at Minn, Mich St, Ill, Ind, at Penn St, Wis  Losses: at Wis, at Pur
  • The Buckeyes are a lock #1 seed and can get the top overall seed if they match Kansas this week.

Purdue Boilermakers RPI 7

  • 25-6, 14-4 in Big Ten   Away: 7-5  Neutral: 2-1
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with solid wins over Virginia Tech and Alabama with losses to Richmond and West Virginia. They had 4 gimme wins. RPI 17, schedule 70.
  • Big Ten Wins: at Mich, NW, at Penn St, Iowa, Penn St, Mich St, Minn, Ind, at Ill, Wis, Ohio St, at Ind, at Mich St, Ill    Losses: at Minn, at Ohio St, at Iowa
  • The Boilers need to get to the Big Ten finals to secure a 2 seed. Winning one game ensures at least a 3 seed. If they lose their only game, it becomes a coin flip between a 3 and 4 seed.

Wisconsin Badgers RPI 13

  • 23-7, 13-5 in Big Ten   Away: 5-6  Neutral: 2-1
  • OOC rundown: 10-2 with wins over BC and Marquette and losses to UNLV and Notre Dame. They also had 5 gimme wins. RPI 33, schedule 111.
  • Big Ten Wins: Minn, Mich, Ill, Ind, at NW, Pur, Mich St, at Iowa, Ohio St, Penn St, at Mich, NW, at Ind   Losses: at Ill, at Mich St, at Penn St, at Pur, at Ohio St
  • The Badgers need to make the Big Ten finals to get a 3 seed and have a long shot chance at a 2 seed if they win the Big Ten tournament by beating Ohio State. They appear to be no worse than a 4 seed, unless they lose to Indiana.

 

Bubble Territory:

Illinois Fighting Illini RPI 40

  • 19-12, 9-9 in Big Ten   Away: 4-7  Neutral: 1-3
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with solid wins over Maryland, North Carolina, and Gonzaga with losses to Texas and Missouri. They also have a horrible loss to Illinois-Chicago and 4 gimme wins. RPI 43, schedule 59.
  • Big Ten Wins: at Iowa, Wis, NW, Mich St, Penn St, at Minn, Mich, Iowa, Ind    Losses: at Penn St, at Wis, Ohio St, at Ind, at NW, Pur, at Mich St, at Ohio St, at Pur
  • The Illini need to beat Michigan to be a lock for Selection Sunday. They’re probably in anyway, but you never know. If they win two games, they should be at least a 7 seed. They should be able to get a 6 seed if they win the Big Ten tournament.

Michigan State Spartans RPI 50

  • 17-13, 9-9 in Big Ten   Away: 2-9  Neutral: 2-1
  • OOC rundown: 8-4 with their only good win over Washington, but solid losses to Syracuse, Connecticut, Duke, and Texas. They also have 4 gimme wins and a non-division I win. RPI 67, schedule 21.
  • Big Ten Wins: Minn, at NW, Wis, NW, Ind, Penn St, Ill, at Minn, Iowa   Losses: at Penn St, at Ill, at Pur, Mich, at Iowa, at Wis, at Ohio St, Pur, at Mich
  • The Spartans need to beat Iowa to be safe on Selection Sunday. Beating Purdue would lock it up.

Michigan Wolverines RPI 56

  • 19-12, 9-9 in Big Ten   Away: 5-5  Neutral: 0-2
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with no good wins, but solid losses to Syracuse and Kansas. They also have 5 gimme wins and a non-division I win. RPI 61, schedule 51.
  • Big Ten Wins: Penn St, at Mich St, Iowa, at Penn St, NW, Ind, at Iowa, at Minn, Mich St    Losses: Pur, at Wis, Ohio St, at Ind, at NW, Minn, at Ohio St, at Ill, Wis
  • The Wolverines need to beat Illinois to be safe on Selection Sunday. The bubble is bad, but they don’t want to try it. If they really want to be a lock, beat Ohio State.

 

Needs To Get Hot:

Penn State Nittany Lions RPI 54

  • 16-13, 9-9 in Big Ten   Away: 3-8  Neutral: 0-0
  • OOC rundown: 7-4 with a win over Duquesne and losses to Ole Miss, Maryland and Virginia Tech. They also have 3 gimme wins a horrible loss to Maine. RPI 117, schedule 64.
  • Big Ten Wins: at Ind, Mich St, Ill, Iowa, Wis, NW, Minn, at NW, at Minn    Losses: at Mich, Pur, at Ohio St, at Pur, at Ill, Mich, at Mich St, at Wis, Ohio St
  • It’s going to take at least a win over Wisconsin to get the Lions in. Getting to the Big Ten finals would wrap it up.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Minnesota Golden Gophers RPI 74

  • 17-13, 6-12 in Big Ten
  • OOC rundown: 11-1 with solid wins over West Virginia and North Carolina. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 21, schedule 91.
  • Wow. What a collapse. The Gophers have lost 9 of 10 to end the regular season. Easily the team that collapsed the most during this season.

Northwestern Wildcats RPI 93

  • 17-12, 7-11 in Big Ten
  • OOC rundown: 10-1 with no impressive wins and their loss was to St. John’s. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 54, schedule 274.
  • The Wildcats are heading for another empty Selection Sunday.

Indiana Hoosiers RPI 184

  • 12-19, 3-15 in Big Ten
  • OOC rundown: 9-4 with no good wins. RPI 142, schedule 244.
  • Will the heat get turned up on Crean over the next week?

Iowa Hawkeyes RPI 167

  • 11-19, 4-14 in Big Ten
  • OOC rundown: 7-5 with no good wins. RPI 209, schedule 252.
  • Fran will have this team Dancing within two years.

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

Big Ten Basketball Overview February 27

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Big Ten Basketball Overview February 27

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

Current NCAA Locks:

Ohio State Buckeyes RPI 3

  • 27-2, 14-2 in Big Ten    Away: 8-2
  • OOC rundown: 13-0 with wins over Florida and Florida State. They have 7 gimme wins. RPI 6, schedule 76.
  • Big Ten Wins: at Ind, at Iowa, Minn, at Mich, Penn St, Iowa, at Ill, Purdue, NW, Mich, at Minn, Mich St, Ill, Ind  Losses: at Wis, at Pur
  • The Buckeyes now can lose one more game and still expect a 1 seed. The Big Ten is still up for grabs going into the final week.

Purdue Boilermakers RPI 6

  • 24-5, 13-3 in Big Ten   Away: 7-4
  • OOC rundown: 11-2 with solid wins over Virginia Tech and Alabama with losses to Richmond and West Virginia. They had 4 gimme wins. RPI 17, schedule 75.
  • Big Ten Wins: at Mich, NW, at Penn St, Iowa, Penn St, Mich St, Minn, Ind, at Ill, Wis, Ohio St, at Ind, at Mich St    Losses: at Minn, at Ohio St
  • The Boilers keep rolling. They can get a 2 seed if they win at least 4 more games. There might be an outside chance at a 1 seed if they win out, including the Big Ten tournament.

Wisconsin Badgers RPI 13

  • 22-6, 12-4 in Big Ten   Away: 4-5
  • OOC rundown: 10-2 with wins over BC and Marquette and losses to UNLV and Notre Dame. They also had 5 gimme wins. RPI 39, schedule 131.
  • Big Ten Wins: Minn, Mich, Ill, Ind, at NW, Pur, Mich St, at Iowa, Ohio St, Penn St, at Mich, NW   Losses: at Ill, at Mich St, at Penn St, at Pur
  • The Badgers need at least 3 more wins to secure a Sweet 16 seed. They can move to a 3 seed if they win at least 4 games and could make it to a 2 seed if they win out, including the Big Ten tournament.

 

Bubble Territory:

Illinois Fighting Illini RPI 40

  • 18-11, 8-8 in Big Ten   Away: 4-6
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with solid wins over Maryland, North Carolina, and Gonzaga with losses to Texas and Missouri. They also have a horrible loss to Illinois-Chicago and 4 gimme wins. RPI 40, schedule 55.
  • Big Ten Wins: at Iowa, Wis, NW, Mich St, Penn St, at Minn, Mich, Iowa    Losses: at Penn St, at Wis, Ohio St, at Ind, at NW, Pur, at Mich St, at Ohio St
  • The Illini need to win at least 2 more games to be secure on Selection Sunday. With their schedule, they will probably be forced to win games in Chicago next week.

Michigan State Spartans RPI 42

  • 16-12, 8-8 in Big Ten   Away: 2-8
  • OOC rundown: 8-4 with their only good win over Washington, but solid losses to Syracuse, Connecticut, Duke, and Texas. They also have 4 gimme wins and a non-division I win. RPI 66, schedule 18.
  • Big Ten Wins: Minn, at NW, Wis, NW, Ind, Penn St, Ill, at Minn   Losses: at Penn St, at Ill, at Pur, Mich, at Iowa, at Wis, at Ohio St, Pur
  • The Spartans just got only their second road win of the season against the Gophers. They are going to need at least 3 more wins to be safe on Selection Sunday.

 

Needs To Get Hot:

Michigan Wolverines RPI 57

  • 18-12, 8-9 in Big Ten   Away: 5-5
  • OOC rundown: 10-3 with no good wins, but solid losses to Syracuse and Kansas. They also have 5 gimme wins and a non-division I win. RPI 65, schedule 57.
  • Big Ten Wins: Penn St, at Mich St, Iowa, at Penn St, NW, Ind, at Iowa, at Minn    Losses: Pur, at Wis, Ohio St, at Ind, at NW, Minn, at Ohio St, at Ill, Wis
  • The Wolverines are still in the hunt. They need at least 3 more wins to be safe on Selection Sunday.

Penn State Nittany Lions RPI 58

  • 15-12, 8-8 in Big Ten   Away: 2-8
  • OOC rundown: 7-4 with a win over Duquesne and losses to Ole Miss, Maryland and Virginia Tech. They also have 3 gimme wins a horrible loss to Maine. RPI 105, schedule 53.
  • Big Ten Wins: at Ind, Mich St, Ill, Iowa, Wis, NW, Minn, at NW    Losses: at Mich, Pur, at Ohio St, at Pur, at Ill, Mich, at Mich St, at Wis
  • The Lions might have to beat Ohio State to have a chance. They probably need their next loss to be in their second or third game in Chicago.

Minnesota Golden Gophers RPI 60

  • 17-11, 6-10 in Big Ten   Away: 3-6
  • OOC rundown: 11-1 with solid wins over West Virginia and North Carolina. They also have 5 gimme wins. RPI 23, schedule 103.
  • Big Ten Wins: Ind, Pur, Iowa, at Mich, NW, at Iowa     Losses: at Wis, at Mich St, at Ohio St, at Pur, at Ind, Ohio St, Ill, at Penn St
  • Wow. What a collapse. The Gophers have lost 7 of 8 and probably need to win their next 4 games to have a chance.

 

Better Win the Conference Tournament:

Northwestern Wildcats RPI 98

  • 16-12, 6-11 in Big Ten
  • OOC rundown: 10-1 with no impressive wins and their loss was decent, to St. John’s. They also have 6 gimme wins. RPI 58, schedule 282.
  • The Wildcats are heading for another empty Selection Sunday.

Indiana Hoosiers RPI 178

  • 12-17, 3-13 in Big Ten
  • OOC rundown: 9-4 with no good wins. RPI 147, schedule 259.
  • Will the heat get turned up on Crean in the next few weeks?

Iowa Hawkeyes RPI 183

  • 10-18, 3-13 in Big Ten
  • OOC rundown: 7-5 with no good wins. RPI 205, schedule 244.
  • Fran will have this team Dancing within two more seasons.

 

That’s this week’s Big 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 23

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Tark the Shark

Welcome to the Road to Selection Sunday for Feb 23

News and Notes:

Kentucky’s chance to make their move is now.

Badgers’ Taylor agrees with his technical on Sunday, looks to create for teammates in Ann Arbor tonight.

The Jimmer is trying to buck the trend of nation’s leading scorers who were forced to go overseas.

The Jimmer’s bruised calf kept him out of practice on Monday.

Huggins and West Virginia are looking to start a neutral court series with Kansas State.

Tark and the Runnin’ Rebels are remembered 20 years later on HBO.

Chris Wright has stepped up his scoring for the Hoyas recently.

Yesterday’s Winners:

Tennessee: The Vols are going to be facing the NCAA today, but last night they took care of the rival ‘Dores. They did a tremendous job defensively on John Jenkins, holding him to 4-13/1-6 shooting and only 11 pts. Scotty Hopson could make a late charge for SEC POY if the Vols win out. As for the Vols, it’s going to be a lot easier to get to 9 SEC wins now.

Michigan State: Tough, ugly road win for the Spartans as they put some distance between themselves and the Gophers for an at-large. With a ridiculously soft bubble, Sparty should be good if they beat Iowa and split the other two games.

Losers:

Illinois: The Illini needs wins so even losing to the Buckeyes is bad. Can’t believe they were so good from “3” and were rarely close. The bubble is so bad that they should be in with a .500 Big Ten record. That means they can’t drop a game to Indiana or Iowa.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores got swept by their in-state rivals and now are fighting for second place and a first round bye in the SEC tournament. It’s starting to look like Florida might be the only SEC team to get a protected Sweet 16 seed.

Ole Miss: I had the Rebels are toast, but some didn’t. This is for them.

Dr. John Giannini: LaSalle’s coach could be on his way out as the Explorers got destroyed by Xavier last night. Dr. John and Karl Hobbs head the A-10 hot seat list going into March.

Minnesota: The Gophers can’t afford to lose winnable road games like they did last night. With three winnable games remaining, they probably have to win those and then another one in Chicago.

Wednesday’s Notable Games: RPI in ()

(17) Wisconsin at (58) Michigan: 6:30 EST

(33) Temple at (6) Duke: ESPN2 at 7 EST

(76) Miami at (44) Boston College: 7 EST

(47) Colorado State at (4) Brigham Young: 8 EST

(48) Florida State at (90) Maryland: 9 EST

(30) Kansas State at (67) Nebraska: ESPNU at 9 EST

(25) UNLV at (82) New Mexico: CBS College at 9 EST

(39) Cincinnati at (5) Georgetown: 9 EST

(29) Missouri at (79) Baylor: ESPN2 at 9 EST

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