Sunday, March 2, 2008

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, a lot of teams made their case for an NCAA bid, while others found ways to keep themselves sweating until Selection Sunday. Conference tournaments in the mid-major conferences start up this week, which will help sort some things out. Furthermore, one team has already received a bid to the NCAA Tournament, as Cornell clinched the Ivy League title and the automatic invitation to the Big Dance. 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:

UNLV: The Runnin’ Rebels are getting closer to clinching second-place in the Mountain West; that and their top-30 RPI will get them in.

Teams on the bubble that helped themselves:
Miami (Fl.): The Hurricanes bounced back from their loss at Clemson earlier in the week with a win over Virginia, moving them back to .500 in the ACC.
Oklahoma: The Sooners dominated Texas A&M at home on Saturday, getting them back to .500 in the Big 12 and giving them the edge on the Aggies.
Baylor: The Bears continue to bounce back from their struggles two weeks ago, as they won their third in a row, scoring 100 against Missouri.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils picked up a must-win over USC on Saturday, getting to .500 in the Pac-10 and solidifying themselves at No. 6 in the conference.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks had to beat Vanderbilt on Saturday, and they pulled the late win. They are now 8-6 in the SEC and have a top-40 RPI.
Massachusetts: The Minutemen are rising quickly in the at-large field, as they have won four in a row to move into a tie for second in the A-10.
Rhode Island: The Rams are basically finished in the at-large race, but their road victory at La Salle gives them a semblance of hope down the stretch.
Dayton: The Flyers kept themselves remotely in the hunt with a win at Fordham; now they need to get Chris Wright back and continue to win.
Illinois State: The Redbirds made a huge move this weekend, winning at Southern Illinois to clinch the second spot in the Missouri Valley.
UAB: With Houston losing on Saturday and the Blazers winning two straight, UAB is now clearly the second-best team in Conference-USA.
Oregon*: The Ducks need to essentially win out if they want an at-large bid, a road victory over Oregon State kept them in the hunt.

Teams on the bubble that hurt themselves:
A win tonight by the Terrapins would have gone a long way towards likely getting them a bid; instead, they have now lost three of four.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are basically done after losing two in a row, including in overtime on Saturday at Georgia Tech. 6-8 in ACC.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers had a chance to potentially clinch a bid at UConn on Saturday, but they got off to a slow start and never recovered.
Syracuse: Awful play late in the game against Pittsburgh cost the Orange a marquee win, and might have ruined most of their at-large hopes.
Villanova: The Wildcats lost whatever momentum they had after last week with back-to-back losses, including today’s defeat at Louisville.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes needed to pick-up a win heading into the final stretch, but their loss at Minnesota might have killed their at-large hopes.
Texas A&M: The Aggies looked terrible in their loss at Oklahoma on Saturday, and now A&M is now 7-7 and has lost four of its last five.
Kansas State: The Wildcats went from contending for a top-five seed to a bubble squad in about two weeks; their blowout loss to KU didn’t help.
Kentucky: The Wildcats had a chance to solidify their at-large hopes, but they lost to Tennessee – and lost Patrick Patterson to injury.
Florida: Like Ohio State, the Gators had an impressive profile on the surface but with no substance – their loss at home to Miss St. hurt.
Saint Joseph’s: The Hawks are completely finished in the race for an at-large bid for the most part, after another home loss, this one to Temple.
Southern Illinois: The Salukis needed to finish second in the Missouri Valley to have an at-large shot, but they lost at home to Illinois State on Saturday.
Houston: The only reason the Cougars were in the mix was because of their gaudy record; the loss at East Carolina on Saturday ruins that.

Teams trying to work themselves into the at-large conversation:
Florida State: Although the Seminoles had plenty of struggles earlier in the ACC season, they are now 6-8 and get to play at North Carolina this week.
Texas Tech: It seems like the Red Raiders are in this section every week; their home win over Texas boosts their RPI and moves them to 7-7.

Teams falling from the at-large conversation:

California: The Golden Bears are completely done after their home loss to Washington on Saturday; their RPI is now down at No. 94.
Ohio: The Bobcats had a chance to make a move into the at-large picture if they won out; their loss at Miami (Ohio) drops them to 8-6 in the MAC.

Teams whose seed is rising:
Georgetown: The Hoyas have a chance to win the Big East regular-season title if they win at home against Louisville; their win at Marquette was huge.
Clemson: The Tigers have certainly solidified themselves as the clear-cut No. 3 in the ACC after their outstanding comeback win over Maryland on the road.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are now just one game back of Tennessee in the race for the outright SEC title after their road win at Florida.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs essentially clinched the West Coast title after their victory over Saint Mary’s on Saturday night; they’ve won six in a row.

Teams whose seed is falling:

Texas: Although the Longhorns’ loss to Texas Tech didn’t cost them their edge in the Big 12 race, it may have dropped them to a No. 2 seed.
Arizona: Two straight home losses to USC and UCLA drops the Wildcats to 7-9 in the Pac-10 with two more road games left on their schedule.
Kent State: The Golden Flashes nearly negated their win last week at Saint Mary’s with a road loss at 13-14 Bowling Green on Saturday.
Saint Mary’s: The Gaels not only lost to Gonzaga Saturday night, they lost the WCC lead and will now head into the conference tourney at No. 2.

Number one seeds as of this week:
1. Memphis: The Tigers struggled for much of the game before beating Southern Miss late; with UT losing to Vandy, Memphis gets the overall No. 1 back.
2. Tennessee: The Volunteers escaped with a win over Kentucky at home, but their loss at Vanderbilt earlier in the week drops them one spot in the rankings.
3. North Carolina: Despite Tyrese Rice scoring 46 points for Boston College, UNC made a tremendous comeback and got the win. Ty Lawson is back.
4. UCLA: Back-to-back road victories over the Arizona schools plus a loss by Texas gets the Bruins back on the top line. Eight top-50 wins.

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