Sunday, March 11, 2007

Road to Selection Sunday

Happy Selection Sunday, folks. The most important date of the college basketball season is upon us. With about five hours left until the NCAA Tournament is revealed, the Field of 65 is almost filled. After Xavier and Nevada lost their conference tournaments and took an at-large bid away from the pool, bubble teams across the nation became a little more nervous. The last two or three days of the major conference tournaments have made the teams going to the Big Dance up in the air, especially the last six spots or so. Here's my breakdown of the tournament as of 12:40 PM:

ACC (6): North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Duke, Boston College
Big East (6): Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Notre Dame, Marquette, Villanova
Big Ten (2): Ohio State, Wisconsin
Big 12 (3): Kansas, Texas A&M, Texas
Pac-10 (5): UCLA, Washington State, Oregon, USC, Arizona
SEC (4): Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky
Missouri Valley (2): Southern Illinois, Creighton
Mountain West (2): UNLV, BYU
Horizon (2): Butler, Wright State
Colonial (1): VCU
Atlantic-10 (1): George Washington
WAC (2): Nevada, New Mexico State

Automatic bids from one-bid leagues: 19

That adds up to 55 teams, leaving 10 spots still open.

The teams likely to receive bids are:
Georgia Tech:
8-8 ACC record, plus 8 wins against the RPI Top 50, should get them in. 1-8 road record makes it iffy, though.
Indiana: The Hoosiers finished third in the Big Ten, so they are likely in. Unimpressive finish and poor road record drops their seeding.
Michigan State: The Spartans played the most difficult Big Ten Conference schedule by far, so their 8-8 record gets them a bid.
Xavier: The Musketeers had a surprising loss in the A-10 Tournament, but terrific finish and 11-5 Top 100 record will get them in.

Therefore, the teams in the mix for those final six bids are:
Florida State: Will the Seminoles get left out again? 5-12 record against the Top 50 doesn’t help, neither does a ninth-place ACC finish.
Syracuse: The Orange look pretty good for a bid. Went 10-6 in the Big East, and also finish strong and was decent on the road.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers are behind the Orange in the pecking order. Lack of good wins and poor SOS might leave them out.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders did themselves no favors by getting blown out by KSU. Three wins over Texas A&M and Kansas might get them in.
Kansas State: The Wildcats seemingly have the requisite numbers to get in, but they have an extreme lack of big wins, and a poor SOS.
Illinois: The Fighting Illini got a huge win over Indiana, and that might get them in. They have a very strong RPI, road record, and last ten record.
Purdue: The Boilermakers are likely behind Illinois when looking at it. They have a poor road record, but a nice group of wins.
Old Dominion: The Monarchs are an interesting case. They finished very strong and were second in the CAA. Three sub-100 losses, though.
Drexel: The fourth-place Dragons are another intriguing team. They have 3 great wins, but were only 1-5 against the top three in the CAA.
Missouri State: The Bears might get left out again. They have only one win over an NCAA Tournament team, but were 12-6 in the MVC.
Air Force: The Falcons had a terrible finish to the season, losing four in a row. Also are only 1-4 against the Top 50. Interesting case.
Stanford: The Cardinal have a terrific group of wins, but they didn’t finish strong, and have an RPI of 65. Might get left out.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks have made a terrific run late in the season. Could get off the bubble with a win today over Florida.

Who gets in? Check out my complete projected bracket at 5:00 PM to find out.

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