Monday, March 10, 2008

Busy Weekend

So what all happened this weekend that matters? Well, other than the Gophers getting beat by Illinois, and ending the season the same way they've played all year - disappointingly. I was unable to see very much of the game, seeing as I was at an infant CPR class (which was basically 2 hours of some lady telling us all the ways our baby could die), but from what the box score tells me I'm pretty glad I missed it. The Gophers only turned it over 9 times, which is excellent, but they were also outrebounded by the Illini 45-19. You read that correctly. I have a feeling I would had a stroke if I had watched the game. Hopefully they can dominate in the NIT or CBI now.

Anyway, it was a big weekend in college hoops, here's what happened.

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS:
At least so far, most of the conference tournies are shaping up to make this an excellent NCAA tournament, with top seeds winning. Of the autobids given out, all four teams were either 1 seeds or a 2 seed via tie-breaker at the top. Austin Peay won the Ohio Valley, Drake came through in the Missouri Valley, Winthrop took the Big South, and Belmont grabbed the Atlantic Sun. This is great stuff, helping to assure that the top talent will be in the field of 65. Most other conference tournaments are looking pretty good too. The America East, Horizon, and MAAC title gams are all between the #1 and #2 seeds, the Patriot title game is between #1 and #3, as is the West Coast Conference. Obviously they aren't all set up like that, the Colonial is #5 vs. #3 (thanks VCU - more on that later), but in general most of the top seeds are still around.

WHO HELPED THEMSELF?
Arkansas looks pretty good after finishing the regular season with a win against Auburn. The Razorbacks aren't a lock by any means, but are looking pretty solid after finishing 9-7 in the SEC.

New Mexico kept their slim hopes alive with a win Saturday at Colorado State. The win doesn't really help all that much, but a loss would have killed them.

Davidson rolled through the SoCon tournament into the title game where they will face seventh seeded Elon, still unsure if they'd get an at-large if they fall, but I think they most likely will. Would still be a good idea for them to win.

Dayton beat St. Joe's in a huge bubble game in the A-10, and finished the year at 8-8 in conference, recovering from a midseason crash to put themselves at the top of the bubble list.

UMass won at George Washington to finish out A-10 play with 6 straight wins and a 10-6 record. They look ok, but face either Rhode Island or Charlotte in their first A-10 conference game and need to win to get in.

Temple is yet another A-10 team with a shot, winning at LaSalle to get to 11-5 and a second place finish. They have wins against Xavier, St Joe's, and Umass, but there's nothing else on the resume. At all.

Oklahoma pretty much put themselves in after winning against Missouri. Even a first round exit in the Big 12 tournament shouldn't keep them out.

Oregon picked up a huge win by defeating Arizona. The Ducks beat both Arizona schools this past week, both fellow bubblers, and have put themselves in a position to have a chance. Still, they need a win over Washington State in the Pac 10 tournament to get upgraded from Probably Not to Maybe.

Arizona State is in a similar position to the Ducks, but lost to them earlier in the week. The beat the worthless Beavers of OSU on Saturday to finish 8-8 in league play. They have a win against Xavier in the non-conference, and swept fellow bubble team Arizona this season. Still, a win against USC in the first round of the Pac 10 tournament is a must.

Kansas State won at Iowa State to get to 10-6 in the Big 12 and a third place finish. It's hard to see them not getting in at this point, but a win against Texas A&M in the first round would clinch it.

Villanova and Syracuse are pretty much longshots at this point, but both got the win they needed - Nova at Providence, the Orange against Marquette. Obviously the Marquette win is more impressive than Providence, and Syracuse ranks above Villanova on the bubble. Both teams likely need two wins in the Big East tournament to get invited.

Baylor is likely in after a win against Texas Tech in Lubbock. The Bears lost earlier in the week at home against A&M to make them a question mark, but at 9-7 in the Big 12 with some nice non-conference work should be enough to put them in.

UNLV closed out it's Mountain West season with a win against Utah to get to 12-4 and finish in second place. This win very likely gets UNLV an at-large bid, but if the Rebels stumble early in the MWC tournament, held on their home floor, they might not get in.

Ohio State did what it needed to do for the second game in a row, following up a win against Purdue with a win against Michigan State this weekend. Is it enough? Probably not yet, thanks to a 2-9 record against the RPI top 50. Win again against MSU in the Big Ten tournament, and that would likely be enough to get them in.

Kentucky grabbed a huge win against Florida, as the Wildcats finish 12-4, good enough for second in the SEC East. An absolutely horrid non-conference season is the only reason they are on the bubble, as they have played brilliantly as of late. They might be in already, but a huge game in the SEC tournament against Ole Miss could decide both teams' fates.

Speaking of Ole Miss, they won at Georgia on Saturday to close out with three straight wins and get to 7-9 in the SEC West. A 5-4 record against the top 50 is great, but without a win against Kentucky, the Rebels might end up one of the most disappointing teams of the year.

South Alabama and Western Kentucky rolled in their games in the Sun Belt, both advancing to the semifinals. I'm guessing this is as far as USA needed to come to get a bid, and they should be in regardless. Obviously, one more win wouldn't hurt. For WKU, they definitely need a win today over Little Rock to even have a chance. They may need to win the championship to get in, but at the very least, they need to get there.

Kent State won at Akron on Sunday, wrapping up a MAC regular season title. A 25-6 overall record and an RPI of 32 should be enough to get Kent State a bid, even with a stumble in the conference tournament.

WHO HURT THEMSELF?
The aforementioned loss by St. Joe's to Dayton might be a killer. The Hawks have two easy games to open the A-10 tournament, but pretty much need a trip to the finals to have a chance.

Miami didn't do itself any favors losing to Florida State in OT. They should still be in, but need to win their opening game in the ACC tournament to breathe easy.

Illinois State both helped and hurt themselves by getting to the MVC championship, but then getting blown out by 30. Getting to the championship was what they needed to have a shot at an at-large, but losing by thirty might stick in the committee's mind and keep them on the outside.

Arizona really hurt themselves by losing at Oregon, meaning they were 3-7 in their last ten to finish the season. The Wildcats are a good team, and dealt with injuries to guards Jerryd Bayless and Nic Wise, but they might be on the outside right now. Even with the second most difficult strength of schedule and an RPI of 30, can a team get in with an overall record of 17-13, and 8-10 in the conference? Arizona is probably the most fascinating bubble team right now. They open the conference tournament against Oregon State - a game that can only hurt them - and then get Stanford in what might very well be a must win for the Cats.

Texas A&M got thumped by Kansas in College Station, and if it weren't for a win at Baylor earlier in the week would be NIT bound. They're still alive after the loss to the Jayhawks, but now are on thin ice. They get Kansas State to open the B12 tourny, and need to win to get in.

Houston was pretty much in "no-chance" for an at large territory already, but losing to UTEP in the season finale seals it. The Cougars will now need the autobid to make the NCAAs. Texas Tech and Oklahoma State were pretty much in the same place, and with both losing this weekend they are in "need to win to get in" territory as well.

Virginia Commonwealth got bounced in the semis of the Colonial tournament by William & Mary, proving that weird old drunk guys in hotel bars know what they're talking about. Can the Rams get an at-large? Very debatable. Pretty much the definition of a bubble team. Good out of conference results, regular season league championship, but an SOS of 143 and an RPI of 45, and didn't make the conference tournament championship. My gut says they should make it, but the committee does weird things sometimes.

Florida will become one of the rare teams that wins a title, and then misses the tournament the following year - barring winning the autobid, of course. Sunday's loss at Kentucky was a killer. A SOS of 93 and RPI of 63 isn't getting anybody in.

A pair of bubble ACC teams hurt themselves yesterday - Virginia Tech letting Clemson steal a game and Maryland getting steamrolled by Virginia. The Hokies still have some hope, despite a pretty empty profile. They've finished strong, winning four of their last five to get to 9-7 in the conference, and can get in with two ACC tournament wins, maybe even with just one. Maryland's hopes are pretty much over, unless they can run the table in the conference tournament.

UAB didn't do themselves any favors getting blown out by Memphis by 40 on Saturday. Still, the Blazers finished second in C-USA, have an RPI of 46 and a win over Kentucky that keeps looking better and better. If they can get to the finals of the C-USA tournament, they're probably in. Otherwise, most likely not.

Finally, late late late last night St. Mary's got bounced out of the West Coast tournament in the semifinals by San Diego in double OT after leading by double digits most of the game. It's hard to believe the Gaels are on the bubble, but that's where ESPN has them. I can't believe they wouldn't get a bid with an RPI of 33, a 24-5 record, and some good non-conference wins, but even so, selection sunday is going to be nerve-wracking.

TODAY:
Colonial (W&M vs. George Mason), West Coast (Gonzaga vs. St. Mary's), MAAC (Rider vs. Siena), and SoCon (Davidson vs. Elon) championships.

And yes, I know this is mainly a Gopher blog, but this stuff is way more exciting and interesting than dissecting why Dan Coleman disappears for long stretches or why Lawrence McKenzie won't pass to Blake Hoffarber.

2 comments:

Beguiled said...

What's the win/loss record now? Have seen that in a few weeks.

WWWWWW said...

I'm not even sure anymore, we kind of drifted away from the gambling posting as I got more into the bubble and conference tournaments thing.

I can tell you to put your money on Davidson, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Siena, Will & Mary, and San Diego tonight.