Sunday, February 14, 2010

Road to Selection Sunday

Welcome back to another year of our popular feature, "Road to Selection Sunday". Basically, it is 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 week, 10 teams ranked in the top-25 lost at least one game this week, including three top-seven teams over the weekend. 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, there were several contests between bubble teams that could have a big impact on Selection Sunday. Let's take a look at all the teams that were affected by this week’s results.

Teams close to locking up bids to the NCAA Tournament:

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons have won four games in a row after their victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday. They’re the second best team in the ACC.

Texas A&M: The Aggies are rolling right now, most recently defeating Texas Tech on the road. They have a big shot at home against Kansas Monday.

Baylor: The Bears had two great escapes this week, winning by two points over both Nebraska and Missouri. Ekpe Udoh had a huge week for them.

Pittsburgh: The Panthers might already be in, especially after their triple-overtime win over West Virginia on Friday. It was their third win in a row.

Teams on the bubble that helped themselves:

Clemson: The Tigers rebounded from their mid-season slump by winning two in a row at home, and they are now back above .500 in the ACC.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies reached the 20-win threshold with a win over Virginia at home on Saturday, their seventh win in their last eight games.

Florida State: The Seminoles have been up-and-down since late January, but they helped their cause with a win over Boston College on Sunday.

Cincinnati: If the Bearcats had lost at Connecticut on Saturday, they might have fallen out of the at-large race. Now, though, they are back at .500 in the Big East.

Louisville: The Cardinals really hurt their chances with a blowout loss at St. John’s during the week, but they more than made up for it with a win at Syracuse.

Marquette: In one of the biggest bubble games of the weekend, the Golden Eagles knocked off South Florida, their fifth victory in a row.

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys had lost three in a row heading into a rivalry game against Oklahoma, but they rebounded and won by 21.

Northwestern: The Wildcats stayed alive in their run at an at-large bid, holding off Minnesota to bounce back after an awful loss at Iowa.

Xavier: In arguably the biggest bubble win on Saturday, the Musketeers went into Florida and defeated the Gators handily in the second half.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs still have work to do to get a bid, but they picked up back-to-back home wins over Mississippi and Auburn.

Richmond: The Spiders are inching closer to locking up a bid after winning their second straight road game, their sixth victory in a row.

William & Mary: Left for dead a couple of weeks ago, the Tribe could be back in the hunt after winning their third in a row, over Northeastern.

Memphis: The Tigers moved to 8-2 in Conference-USA by beating Tulsa on the road on Saturday, their eighth win in 11 games.

Wichita State: The Shockers made it nearly impossible to get an at-large bid with a loss to Evansville during the week, but they beat Missouri State on Sunday.

San Diego State: The Aztecs showed the ability to beat quality teams, defeating UNLV in impressive fashion on Saturday.

Teams on the bubble that hurt themselves:

UAB: The Blazers went from 18-2 and looking like a lock to 19-5 and reeling, getting beaten at home by Marshall to fall to 7-3 in Conference-USA.

South Florida: The Bulls had a chance to send a message against Marquette in a bubble battle on Saturday, but they dropped their second in a row.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders got back into the hunt with two wins in a row but couldn’t get to .500 in the Big 12, losing to Texas A&M.

Florida: The Gators could have made a big step in the right direction on Saturday, but they fell to Xavier at home by 12.

Dayton: The Flyers snapped a three-game winning streak by losing at Saint Louis in two overtimes on Saturday, blowing a late lead.

Rhode Island: The Rams looked horrendous against Temple on Saturday, losing to the Owls by 22. It was their second defeat in a row.

Saint Mary’s: The Gaels had a chance to make their mark this week, but they dropped consecutive road games to Gonzaga and Portland.

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

Saint Louis: With their win over Dayton on Saturday, the Billikens have won four in a row and are only 1.5 games out of the A-10 lead.

Marshall: The Thundering Herd’s five-game losing streak a few weeks ago probably sealed their fate, but a road win over UAB gives them hope.

Teams falling from the at-large conversation:

Connecticut: Jim Calhoun’s return didn’t help the Huskies, as they put forth a pitiful offensive performance at home against Cincinnati.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks haven’t properly built off their win over Kentucky, losing at Georgia on Saturday to drop to 14-10.

Notre Dame: After their home loss to St. John’s, the Fighting Irish have now lost two in a row, and Luke Harangody might miss the next game too.

Washington: The Huskies might have beat Stanford on Saturday, but their loss to California sealed their at-large fate in the Pac-10.

Minnesota: The Golden Gophers are basically out of the picture after their loss to Northwestern – their sixth defeat in their last eight games.

Tulsa: With their home loss to Memphis on Saturday, the Golden Hurricane probably have to beat Duke on the road to get a bid. 

Teams whose seed is rising:

Purdue: The Boilermakers followed up their impressive road win at Michigan State with a dominant home victory over Iowa, their seventh in a row.

Ohio State: Taking into account Evan Turner’s injury, the Buckeyes have a legit shot at a No. 2 seed. They are 17-3 with him in the lineup.

Vanderbilt: Despite being two players down against LSU on Saturday, the Commodores continued their winning ways, winning their 13th in 15 games.

New Mexico: The Lobos are starting to become nationally recognized, after their road wins at UNLV and Utah this week. They’ve won nine in a row.

Gonzaga: The loss to San Francisco must have been a wakeup call, as the Zags have won their last three WCC games by an average of 21 points.

UTEP: The Miners aren’t a lock for the NCAA Tournament yet, but they are stomping over C-USA competition, winning nine in a row.

Teams whose seed is falling:

West Virginia: Are the Mountaineers even an elite team anymore? They’ve lost two in a row, including a blown lead against Pittsburgh on Friday.

Georgetown: The Hoyas suffered a terrible loss on Sunday, at Rutgers, to drop to 8-5 in the Big East. Georgetown has lost several questionable games this year.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are just about on the bubble, after losing three of their last four games and dropped to 5-6 in the ACC.

UNLV: The Runnin’ Rebels could have stayed a player in the Mountain West race, but they lost consecutive games, to New Mexico and San Diego State.

Siena: Sure, the Saints bounced back to beat Canisius on Sunday, but their loss to Niagara on Friday could hurt their chances at an at-large bid.

Northern Iowa: Like Siena, the Panthers will still win the regular-season title in their conference, but the loss at Bradley hurts their at-large resume.

Cornell: Called the biggest upset of the year by some people, the Big Red lost to Penn on Friday, before bouncing back to beat Princeton on Saturday. 

Number one seeds as of this week:

1. Kansas: The Jayhawks are clearly the best team in the country right now, and they are the frontrunner for the overall No. 1 seed.

2. Kentucky: The Wildcats don’t have the profile as some of the other elite teams, but it’s tough to argue against 24-1 right now.

3. Villanova: ‘Nova moves ahead of Syracuse after the Orange’s loss on Sunday, and now has the inside track at the Big East title.

4. Syracuse: Sure, the Orange suffered a bad home loss to Louisville on Sunday, but they still have the most top-100 wins in the country with 14.

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