Wednesday, February 4, 2009

NCAA Tournament Stock Report

Welcome back to another season of March Madness All Season’s weekly feature, “NCAA Tournament Stock Watch”. Essentially, it is a compilation of teams that are rising and falling with an eye on the NCAA Tournament. It will discuss teams whose potential seed is rising or falling, as well as clubs that are making moves either in or out of the at-large picture or could make noise in the coming weeks.Once we get closer to March, this will be replaced with “Road to Selection Sunday”, which will be released every Sunday night from mid-February until March 15.


Boston College: The Eagles lost four in a row after winning at North Carolina, but have bounced back to pick up four consecutive wins, including a last-second win against Virginia Tech over the weekend. Next two are on the road.

Villanova: The Wildcats needed a marquee win on their resume, and they got just that last week by beating Pittsburgh at home. They then followed that up with a blowout victory against Cincinnati, leaving their RPI in the top-15.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions would likely be in the NCAA field as of today, despite a weak RPI. They defeated Michigan State on the road on Sunday, which followed a close win over Iowa, pushing their Big Ten record to 6-3.

Can the impossible happen – Northwestern and Penn State in the NCAA Tournament in the same year? Doubtful, but the Wildcats have won four of five, including victories over Minnesota and Michigan State.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes have now won three in a row after last night’s overtime win over Purdue. They improved to 6-4 in the Big Ten, and their computer numbers are improving. Will David Lighty return at all this season?

Kansas: So much for a rebuilding season. The Jayhawks improved to 7-0 in the Big 12 on Monday with a road victory over Baylor. They don’t play Oklahoma until February 23, and they have three of the next five at home.

Kansas State: Another team that was supposed to be rebuilding. The Wildcats started slow, but have won four in a row, including wins over Missouri and at Texas. With a 4-4 record in the Big 12, Kansas State is in the NCAA hunt.

Texas A&M: The Aggies had lost four of five heading into last week, but they bounced back with wins over Texas Tech and Oklahoma State to move to 3-4 in the conference. They face Oklahoma on the road tonight in a statement game.

Washington: The Huskies might have the best profile in the Pac-10. They are tied atop the conference with UCLA, but already beat the Bruins. They have won 14 of their last 16, although four of the next six are on the road.

USC: Similar to last season, the Trojans waited until midseason to make a move towards the Big Dance. They have won five of six since a two-game losing streak, and 10 of 13 overall. However, the next three are on the road, starting tonight at UCLA.

Arizona: The Wildcats were left for dead after starting 2-5 in the Pac-10. However, they have won three in a row since then, including a victory over Pac-10 leader Washington. Five of the next seven are on the road, though.

LSU: With all the muddle in the SEC East, the Tigers are quietly building an NCAA-worthy profile over in the West. They have won five of six, including victories over South Carolina and Tennessee. Three of next five are away.

Northern Iowa: With last night’s comeback victory at Bradley, the Panthers have more or less clinched the Missouri Valley. They have a four-game lead with just six games left on their schedule. They are not at-large worthy, though.

San Diego State: Last night’s overtime victory at UNLV put the Aztecs atop the Mountain West and in the at-large hunt. They have won three in a row and nine of their last 11. Plus, only three of their final eight are on the road.


Miami (Fl.):
The Hurricanes came into the season with lofty postseason aspirations, but they might not even make the NCAA Tournament after dropping three in a row, and having to face Wake Forest, Duke and North Carolina in the next three.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies were one of the hottest teams around last week, winning five in a row and nine of 10. However, they blew a big lead at home against Clemson and then lost on a last-second tip-in at Boston College.

Georgetown: The well-documented fall of the Hoyas has been surprising, as they had lost five in a row before beating Rutgers at home last night. They have excellent computer numbers, but that will only take them so far come March.

Notre Dame: The even better-documented fall of the Irish is bound to get worse, as they have to head to Cincinnati and UCLA before facing Louisville at home. There is no way the losing streak can reach eight, right? Right?

Syracuse: The Orange’s lack of depth might be starting to catch up to them. They have lost three in a row and four of five, and their next three are against West Virginia, at Villanova and at Connecticut. Four of last six are at home.

Michigan State: The Spartans were striding towards a top-two seed, but they have lost to both Northwestern and Penn State in the last two weeks – at home. They are atop the Big Ten, but five teams are within a game and a half.

Michigan: The Wolverines have lost five of their last six since winning three in a row. They face a must-win against Penn State on Thursday before heading to Connecticut for a non-conference showdown on Saturday.

Wisconsin: The Badgers are completely out of the NCAA picture right now, as they have lost six in a row since starting the Big Ten season 3-0. Three of the next four are at home, but they face Illinois, Penn State and Ohio State in that span.

Baylor: The Bears had plenty of preseason expectations, as they returned nearly everyone from last year. However, they have lost four in a row after falling to Kansas at home on Monday. They are only 3-5 in the Big 12, and need wins.

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys had a sparkling computer profile, but they have lost four of five and are fading in the at-large hunt. They are only 2-4 in the Big 12, and don’t have many non-league marquee wins to fall back on.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils were looking like the best team in the Pac-10 heading into last week, but they then lost back-to-back games at home to the Washington schools. They now head on the road for two, but five of the last seven are at home.

California: The Golden Bears were rolling towards an at-large bid just a few weeks ago, but they have now lost four of their last five. However, they get five of the next seven at home, which will give them chances to turn it around.

Kentucky: What happened to the Wildcats? They had won five in a row in January, but now have lost three in a row, including two at home. They are 5-3 in the SEC, which puts them in fourth in the East. Two of next three are on the road.

Saint Mary’s: It will be interesting to see what the Committee does with the Gaels provided Patty Mills comes back fully healthy before the WCC Tournament. They lost to Gonzaga and Portland without him, and need to figure it out.

UNLV: The Runnin’ Rebels had a chance to take control of the Mountain West with a home game against San Diego State, but lost in overtime. They are now mixed in with the five teams chasing the Aztecs, despite having the most talent.

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