Sunday, February 28, 2010

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.

Wow, what a weekend. The most jam-packed two days of the season did not disappoint, as the top three teams in the country lost, with another five top-25 clubs also falling. 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. 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:

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys’ huge win over Kansas on Saturday likely solidifies their spot in the Big Dance, but they can’t fall flat this week.

Clemson: The Tigers completed a sweep of Florida State, knocking off the Seminoles on the road. They have won four of their last five games.

UNLV: The Runnin’ Rebels are still slightly above the bubble, continuing to avoid bad losses by blowing out Air Force on the road on Saturday.

Teams on the bubble that helped themselves:

Louisville: The Cardinals took a huge step forward on Sunday by beating Connecticut on the road on an Edgar Sosa lay-up in the final seconds.

Georgia Tech: The inconsistent Yellow Jackets continued their trend by beating Boston College. They haven’t won or lost more than two in a row since December.

Marquette: This is a team that loves to live on the edge. The Golden Eagles won their third straight overtime road game by beating Seton Hall.

UAB: Despite not beating anyone of note, the Blazers still continue to stay in the field due to avoiding bad losses. They have won four in a row.

Saint Mary’s: With no marquee games left on their schedule, the Gaels just needed to continue winning. They did, and now have to get to the WCC title game.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs continue to push for an at-large bid, beating South Carolina on the road, their fifth win in the last six games.

Mississippi: The Rebels stayed alive with back-to-back victories over Auburn and Alabama to get back to .500 in the SEC. Still a lot of work to do.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish had the best week of any bubble team, beating Pittsburgh at home and then handling Georgetown on the road on Saturday.

Minnesota: Many wrote the Golden Gophers off after their home loss to Purdue, but they got back in the mix with a two-point road win at Illinois.

Dayton: The Flyers can’t afford a slip-up the rest of the season, and they stayed slive on Saturday, dominating hapless Massachusetts by 28.

Teams on the bubble that hurt themselves:

Florida: The Gators were rising up the bubble with three straight wins and a victory over Tennessee, but they proceeded to lose by two at Georgia.

Virginia Tech: It’s unbelievable how quickly the Hokies have fallen. After winning five in a row to get to 8-3 in the ACC, they’ve lost three in a row.

Illinois: After beating Michigan State and Wisconsin, the Illini looked solid. However, they have since lost three of four to drop to 10-6.

Rhode Island: At 19-3 and 7-2, the Rams were considered a top-eight seed. Now, they have lost four of five, including Saturday’s loss at St. Bonaventure.

Connecticut: The Huskies could have moved up with a home win vs. Louisville on Sunday; however, they blew a 13-point lead and lost late.

Charlotte: The 49ers are really going to struggle to get a bid after losing at George Washington on Saturday, their fourth loss in five games.

Teams trying to work themselves into the at-large conversation:

Washington: The Huskies are still sitting on the periphery, hoping for an outside chance. They’ve done their best, winning seven of the last nine games.

Memphis: The Tigers fell off the bubble with their 17-point loss at Houston on Wednesday, but they won on Saturday against Southern Miss.

South Florida: The Bulls still hold out hope for an at-large bid, and they kept themselves alive with a high-scoring win over Providence on Saturday.

Wichita State: Might not even be worth discussing, but the Shockers did finish second in the Missouri Valley after their 21-point win over Southern Illinois.

Teams falling from the at-large conversation:

Cincinnati: What has happened to the Bearcats? They have lost nine of their last 14 Big East games, including five of seven in February.

Seton Hall: The Pirates were making a late run towards the bubble, but those hopes were dashed with their overtime loss at home to Marquette Sunday.

Arizona State: Due to their mediocre overall profile, the Sun Devils needed to beat California on the road on Saturday; they instead lost by 16.

Teams whose seed is rising:

Xavier: The Musketeers stayed atop the A-10 standings in impressive fashion on Sunday, knocking off Richmond in two overtimes to improve to 12-2.

Texas A&M: The Aggies are solidly in the NCAA Tournament at this point, especially after blowing out Texas at home on Saturday.

Baylor: The Bears are going to be a dangerous team in the Big Dance. They have won five of their last six, and haven’t lost by double-digits.

New Mexico: The Lobos clinched the Mountain West title by going into Provo and knocking off BYU by two points. Definite top-three seed.

Maryland: It’s impossible for the committee to leave out the Terrapins at this point. A double-overtime at Virginia Tech locked up a bid.

Teams whose seed is falling:

Georgetown: The Hoyas are too up-and-down to trust right now. After their 14-point home loss to Notre Dame on Saturday, they’ve lost three of four.

Wake Forest: If the Demon Deacons don’t straighten things out this week, they could be sweating on Selection Sunday. They’ve lost three in a row.

Florida State: The Seminoles are dangerously close to being a bubble team right now, losing at home to Clemson to fall to 8-6 in the ACC.

Purdue: The Boilermakers were headed for a No. 1 seed, but then Robbie Hummel tore his ACL against Minnesota and was lost for the season.

Number one seeds as of this week:

1. Syracuse: The Orange take over the top spot in the bracket after their thumping of Villanova. They have five top-25 wins and are 16-2 vs. top-100.

2. Kansas: After their loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, the Jayhawks drop back one spot. They still have six wins vs. the top-25, the most in the nation.

3. Kentucky: The Wildcats fell at Tennessee on Saturday, and as a result, fall one position. They simply don’t have the wins of Syracuse and Kansas.

4. Kansas State: The final No. 1 seed came down to the Wildcats and Duke. The deciding factor was KSU’s four top-25 wins, compared to Duke’s one.

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