Sunday, February 18, 2007

Road to Selection Sunday

Welcome back to the "Road to Selection Sunday". As stated last week, it is basically a recap of the past couple of days in college basketball, usually the weekend that was 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, a couple of highly-ranked teams were upset by teams in need of a win. In other cases, some teams on the right side of the bubble lost games they should have won and are no longer as comfortably in the Big Dance as before. In addition, Bracket Busters weekend brought into question several team’s at-large candidacy, and also pushed others into the limelight. Let's take a look at all the teams that were affected by this weekend's results.

Teams close to locking up bids to the NCAA Tournament:
Cavaliers atop the ACC with a 9-3 record; easy schedule the rest of the way could give them regular-season title.
BYU: Home win over New Mexico was their seventh in a row. They lead the MWC with a 10-3 record—RPI is slowly rising as well.
Texas: Despite a fairly mediocre non-conference resume, the Longhorns are 9-3 in the Big 12. However, they face a tough final stretch.
UNLV: Picked up an important road split this week to move to 9-4 in the conference. RPI is still in the Top 12.
Louisville: Back-to-back road wins over Pittsburgh and Marquette, combined with a 9-4 Big East record, put the Cardinals in for now.
Vanderbilt: Huge win at over Florida on Saturday gives the Commodores another marquee win for their resume. Second-best in the SEC.
Stanford: Very impressive performance over Oregon, combined with overall profile, leaves the Cardinal in good shape. Need to split final four.

Teams on the bubble that helped themselves:
Maryland: Three straight wins, including road victory over Clemson, put Terrapins in good shape. Three of last four are at home.
Notre Dame: Fighting Irish move to 8-5 in the Big East after road win at Cincinnati. RPI in the 50s still keeps them from “lock” status.
Syracuse: Win over Connecticut was the Orange’s third straight, putting them at 8-5 in the Big East. Tough remaining stretch to finish.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers, despite a weak overall profile, are in good position with 8-5 Big East record. Need two more wins.
DePaul: Blue Demons enter the discussion with three straight wins to move to 7-6 in the Big East. Two of last three are at home.
Michigan: Wolverines picked up a huge win at home over Indiana on Saturday to stay in the hunt. Need to pick up another big win.
Michigan State: The Spartans have an extremely tough final four games, so blowout win over Iowa was imperative. 6-6 in Big Ten.
Kansas State: Wildcats’ easy win over Iowa State takes some of the sting out of disappointing loss at Nebraska. 8-4 in Big 12.
Bradley: Win at VCU puts the Braves in solid position heading down the stretch. Final two are at home and RPI is rising.
Alabama: Crimson Tide picked up a big win over Kentucky on Saturday puts them at 6-6 in the SEC with an RPI in the 20s.
Georgia: Despite the loss of Mike Mercer, the Bulldogs are still okay. They have won three straight, but have tough final stretch.
Arkansas: Razorbacks dominated Ole Miss in the second half to get to 5-7 in the SEC. Need to get to .500 in conference to have a chance.
Appalachian State: Road win at Wichita State gives them a shot. Need to win out and get to Southern final to have a legit shot.
Drexel: Big road win at Creighton puts the Dragons back in the mix. Need to win out and get a couple wins in the CAA Tournament.
Old Dominion: Monarchs keep rising towards an at-large bid with their road win at Toledo. Have won nine in a row heading into final two.

Teams on the bubble that hurt themselves:
Disappointing home loss to Maryland drops them to 5-7 in the ACC. Have lost seven of their last nine and are falling fast.
Florida State: Seminoles have nearly played themselves out of contention after loss at Virginia. Four defeats in a row leave them at 5-8.
Georgia Tech: Yellow Jackets didn’t hurt themselves too much with loss at Duke, but they need another road win to boost their resume.
Villanova: Wildcats’ have outstanding power numbers, but their record is lacking. Late loss to Georgetown at home puts them at 6-6.
Missouri State: The Bears looked solid for a bid heading into the weekend, but home loss to Winthrop drops them a few notches.
Creighton: Like the Bears, Creighton looked good heading into the week. That was before a home loss to Drexel left them at 6-5 in non-league.
Tennessee: Like Villanova, the Volunteers have excellent power numbers, but their blowout road loss to South Carolina leaves them at 6-6.
Mississippi: Rebels were SEC West leaders heading into the weekend, but awful second half at Arkansas drops them into a three-way tie.
San Diego State: Aztecs were one of the hottest teams in the country—but road loss at Wyoming leaves them at only 7-5 in the MWC.
Gonzaga: Bulldogs really hurt their at-large shot with OT loss to Memphis. RPI in the 70s and 10-7 non-league record don’t help their resume.

Teams trying to work themselves into the at-large conversation:
Mississippi State: Bulldogs don’t have much of an overall profile, but their win at LSU puts them in a three-way tie for first in the SEC West.
Washington: Huskies missed a chance to pick up a big road win at Pittsburgh, but they get USC and UCLA at home to finish up.

Teams that are falling from the at-large conversation:
Wichita State: Shockers are pretty much done after their home loss to Appalachian State. RPI in the 80s is not impressive.
Iowa: Hawkeyes still are in fourth in the Big Ten, but their blowout loss at Michigan State shows they aren’t an NCAA team.
Northern Iowa: Wow, how UNI has fallen. Loss at Nevada on Saturday was their eighth in their last nine games; no shot at a bid.
Oklahoma: The Sooners had a big chance to help their homes with Texas A&M on Saturday. Loss to the Aggies probably kills their hopes.

Teams whose seed is rising:
So much for the Blue Devils being on the bubble. Win over Georgia Tech gets them back over .500 in the ACC with a Top 10 RPI.
Georgetown: Hoyas are on one of the hottest teams around. Road win at Villanova puts them in position for a Top-3 seed in March.
Washington State: Could the Cougars get a 2 seed? Three Pac-10 losses are by a combined nine points—and two were in OT.
Southern Illinois: Salukis solidified a Top-3 seed with road win at Butler. #5 RPI and 12-4 Top 100 record really help their case.

Teams whose seed is falling:
Oklahoma State:
Cowboys need to right their ship fast, or they will find themselves on the bubble. Struggles aren’t only on the road anymore.
Oregon: Loss at Stanford was their sixth in eight games. RPI is falling fast and the Ducks are now only 8-7 in the Pac-10 standings.
Indiana: The Hoosiers are falling dangerously close to the bubble. Loss at Michigan drops them to 7-5 in the Big Ten.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles fell from a potential 2 seed to a 5 or 6 seed with loss to Louisville. Tied for fourth in the Big East at 8-5.
Butler: The Bulldogs are still going to get a Top-5 seed, but they missed a chance to get a potential 3 with home loss to Southern Illinois.
Arizona: If the Wildcats don’t split their final four, they will be in a precarious position for the Dance. 3 of 4 on the road to finish.

Boston College: Back-to-back home losses to Duke and North Carolina, combined with tough finishing stretch, could make BC 5th in ACC pecking order.

Number one seeds as of this week:
1. UCLA: The Bruins clearly have the best profile in the country. They have 15 Top 100 wins, and one of their losses was without Darren Collison.
2. Wisconsin: The Badgers move to the second spot by default after losses by UNC and Florida. Showdown at Ohio State could decide top seed.
3. Florida: The Gators still might be the best team in the country, despite loss at Vanderbilt. They don’t have to worry about a #1 seed.
4. North Carolina: The Tar Heels followed up a disappointing home loss to Virginia Tech with big road win at Boston College. #2 in the RPI.

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