Sunday, February 26, 2006

Road to Selection Sunday

With another weekend in the books, it's time for another edition of "Road to Selection Sunday". As stated last week, it is basically a recap of the past couple of days in college basketball, usually the Saturday and Sunday that were just completed. It will go over the teams on the bubble that helped or hurt themselves, teams in the NCAA Tournament whose seed is rising and falling, and much more.

This weekend, there was a lot of moving and shaking in the NCAA Tournament picture. Bubble teams pulled off big wins, both on the road and at home, to move closer to a bid. Meanwhile, several teams that were safely in the Tournament a few weeks ago are sliding rapidly and some are already back on the bubble. Moreover, many mid-major regular season champions were decided this weekend, while races in the major conferences heated up. Let's take a look at all the teams that were affected by this weekend's results.

Teams that locked up bids to the NCAA Tournament:
Nevada- Avoided a sweep with a win at Utah State; have won 9 straight and have an RPI of 21.

Teams that are close to "IN" status:
Missouri State- Moving up the ranks of the MVC; one win and they are in.
Arkansas- Huge road win at Tennessee; no bad losses down the stretch and they are in.
Alabama- Another big home win vs. Florida; if they avoid bad losses, they are a lock.
Arizona- Great RPI and SOS, plus they have won 4 of 5. Should get a bid out of the Pac-10.

Teams on the bubble that helped themselves:
Hofstra- Beat George Mason on Thursday and then took care of business vs. Drexel. Still an SOS of only 157.
UNC-Wilmington- Got the #1 seed in the Colonial; looking better and better for a bid.
Indiana- Huge win over Michigan State at home on Sunday puts them back in the mix for an at-large.
Colorado- If they could win on the road, they would be a lock. However, home win over Missouri kept them in the hunt.
Texas A&M- Have now won 5 in a row; big game at home vs. Texas coming up on Wednesday.
Kentucky- Only one win against SEC opponents above .500 in conference; tough stretch upcoming with UF, Tenn.
Bradley- Making a move to be the 5th team out of the MVC; have won 5 in a row.
Southern Illinois- Huge win at home vs. Northern Iowa could put them back in the field. Two wins would get them a bid.
UTEP- Lost to Memphis earlier in the week, but looked solid in a win over Houston. Still a lot of work to do.
UAB- If they win against Memphis on Thursday, they are in. Right now, their profile is less than stellar, even though they've won 16 of 18.
Air Force- Beat UNLV at home, now have won 5 in a row. Still in the hunt for a share of the conference title.
BYU- Sort of a sleeper bubble team. Have won 8 of 9, and have a solid RPI.

Teams on the bubble that hurt themselves:
Florida State- Loss at Virginia Tech puts them back at .500 in the ACC. Need to win vs. Duke at home.
Virginia- After 14-point win over BC, they lost by 26 to Clemson. Way to build off the big win, Cavaliers.
Maryland- Got blown out at UNC; are now 6-8 in the ACC. Need to win out in the regular season.
Seton Hall- Falling quickly. Loss at DePaul gives them three defeats in a row. Two big games coming up.
Nebraska- Loss to Texas A&M puts them behind the Aggies in the at-large race. Slim chance of getting a bid.
Houston- Nearly done after loss at UTEP. Unless they win at Memphis on Saturday, Cougars are done.
Utah State- Could've sent a message with a sweep of Nevada. Instead, they got blown out and have a lot of work to do.
California- Probably still going to get a bid due to their Pac-10 record. However, loss to Washington drops them out of first.

Teams trying to work themselves into the at-large conversation:
Saint Louis- Second place in the Atlantic-10 after win at Charlotte. Likely not going to get a bid, however.
Old Dominion- Have won 6 of 7, and have a decent RPI. Colonial isn't getting four bids, though.
Vanderbilt- One-point W at South Carolina keeps their slim hopes alive. Need to win out.

Teams that now have NO shot at an at-large bid:
Minnesota- Now 6-9 in the Big Ten after loss to Wisconsin. Too little, too late for the Gophers' resume.
Stanford- Win over Washington State doesn't do much after blowout loss to Washington. Pac-10 record still solid, though.
Notre Dame- At-large talk can stop with the Irish. Disappointing performance vs. Marquette drops them to 4-10 in the Big East.
Temple- As expected, didn't beat Duke. Unfortunately, they have no shot at an at-large bid now. Only 8-6 in A-10.
South Carolina- One-point loss to Vanderbilt at home was nail in the coffin. We were talking about them a week ago?
Charlotte- Pretty much out of the running after home loss to Saint Louis. A-10 looking like a one bid league.

Teams whose seed is rising:
North Carolina- Definitely the 2nd-best team in the ACC. Could get a Top-3 seed if they continue winning.
Boston College- Win at NC State gives them victories in 11 of last 13 games. Eagles pushing for a Top-5 seed.
Washington- Making a run at the Pac-10 title after win over Cal. Six straight wins for Huskies.
Georgetown- Dominant home win over Syracuse and solid profile give them a seed in the 6 range.
Oklahoma- Three straight one-point wins doesn't look pretty, but they now have an RPI of 12 and a nice profile.
Marquette- After being on the bubble two weeks ago, Golden Eagles making a run at a Top-6 seed with road win at ND.
Illinois- Still in the running for a Big Ten title. Convincing home win over Iowa boosts profile. Top-2 seed if they win Big Ten.
LSU- One of the hottest teams in the country, Tigers could win the SEC and get a Top-3 seed. Have won 12 of 14.

Teams whose seed is falling:
North Carolina State- Have lost 3 of 5, and are looking like only the 4th-best team in the ACC.
Iowa- Still can't win on the road. Teams like that don't get Top-3 seeds. Dropping in the Big Ten race.
Michigan State- Spartans are only 7-7 in the Big Ten and remain inconsistent. Seed is dropping--quickly.
Florida- Have now lost 4 of 6 after losing on the road to 'Bama. Only a 5 or 6 seed right now. Profile not overly impressive.
Northern Iowa- Would be on the bubble in most years. Have lost 4 of 5 and finished 6th in the MVC.
Tennessee- RPI and SOS numbers still outstanding, but home loss to Arkansas hurts their SEC title chances.

Number one seeds as of this week:
1. Duke- Nothing changes here. Could Redick be tiring out? Only shooting 26% from the field and 16% from three past two games.
2. Connecticut- After impressive win over Nova, Huskies get overall #2. They have 12 wins over Top 50 teams; no one else has more than 8.
3. Villanova- Loss to Huskies drops them a spot. Still a near-lock for a #1 seed provided they don't collapse down the stretch.
4. Memphis- Two less-than-impressive home wins over UTEP and Tulsa doesn't change the fact that they are far-and-away the last #1 seed as of now.

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