Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Four Pack For Wednesday

A look at the four most notable (bubble) games on Wednesday's schedule:

North Carolina at Virginia Tech and Miami (FL) at Georgia Tech
Maryland missed out on a golden opportunity to lock up an at-large last night, and in the process, they made the already hard-to-figure ACC bubble that much more complicated. The Terps fell to 7-8 in conference by losing to Wake, and they now have to win at Virginia this weekend to keep their at-large hopes alive. In the meantime, Virginia Tech and Miami get to stake their claims to a bid. The Hokies get an opportunity tonight to do what Maryland did two weeks sgo - beat Carolina at home and gain a ton of national recognition as a result. They also get another shot at a quality win Saturday at Florida State. If they manage to split (which is probably the best they can hope for), they would have road wins over Wake Forest, Clemson, Miami (and maybe FSU) on their resume, to go along with home wins over BC (and maybe Carolina). That's pretty impressive. What's not impressive is the Hokies' OOC resume, which might come back to bite them if they finish with the same 8-8 record as Maryland. The Terps have a much better OOC resume, plus they beat VT at home in the only meeting between the two teams. And let's not forget about Miami, who has been sort of lying in the weeds a little bit lately while most of the bubble talk centers around Maryland. The Hurricanes have won two in a row and they have a good chance to make it four in a row with games left at Georgia Tech tonight and at home against N.C. State on Saturday. That would get Miami to 8-8 and put them right in the mix with the Hokies and Terps. The Hurricanes have one decent OOC win (Kentucky) and in conference, they swept BC, and beat Wake, FSU, and Maryland at home (and lost to VT at home). How will this whole mess play out? Probably not as easily as the Big East played out. VT would probably be the most likely to fade away given their tough schedule (a 7-9 finish will end their at-large chances), but if they split and all three teams finish 8-8, the final ACC at-large (or at-larges?) will come down to who beats who in the conference tourney. There is a very good chance that two of these teams face each other in the ACC tourney, and the loser of that match-up would likely be done.

Wisconsin at Minnesota
Both of these teams need just one more regular season win to feel safe. For Wisconsin, that should be pretty simple since Indiana comes to town Saturday for the Badgers' season finale. Minnesota, on the other hand, doesn't have it quite as easy. The Gophers have been in the field for months, but they've struggled mightily since the beginning of February (they've lost five of seven) and they've been especially atrocious on the road, where they've lose five straight. If they can't find a way to win one of their last two games - they host Michigan on Saturday - they'll be on the outside looking in come Selection Sunday. A Minnesota loss tonight would set up what amounts to an elimination game between the Gophers and Wolverines this weekend. If Michigan were to lose that game, they would fall to 8-10 and be done. If they were to win, they would get to 9-9 and be in the field ahead of Minnesota, since they would have swept the Gophers for the season. None of these scenarios are what Minnesota fans had in mind after such a solid start, but those fans can take comfort in the fact the Gophers (a.) already beat Wisconsin once this season and (b.) have lost just twice at home all season - to Michigan State and Purdue, the two best teams in the Big Ten.

Florida at Mississippi State and Kentucky at Georgia
The SEC is looking more and more like it is going to be a four-bid league with Florida or Kentucky being that fourth team. The Gators are clinging to that fourth bid right now, but they are going to win their last two games if they are going to hang on to it. If the Wildcats want to jump back into the field, they are going to have to win their last two games as well, which would include a win in Gainesville on Saturday. That game is shaping up to be an elimination game. The Gators would have to be favored to win that game at home, which is why we kept them in the bracket this week and took Kentucky out. Profile-wise, these teams are very similar. Florida has one "very good" OOC win (Washington) and Kentucky has two "pretty good" OOC wins (West Virginia and Kansas State). Neither has done a heck of a lot in conference either, although Kentucky can hang its hat on a season sweep of Tennessee. Florida can counter with a home win over South Carolina, a team that Kentucky lost to twice. All of this parity, in a down SEC, means that 10 wins is going to be needed for a team to feel safe entering the conference tourney. There is a chance that, in the end, both Kentucky and Florida work their way into the bracket, but come this Monday, only one will be dancing.

Texas A&M at Colorado
The Big XII bubble picture got cleared up a little bit Tuesday night with Oklahoma State's win over Kansas State. The losses by Georgetown and Cincinnati also opened the door the Big XII to perhaps be a six-bid league. The leading candidate to grab the fifth Big XII bid right now is Texas A&M. The Aggies have won four straight games to quietly creep back into the bracket this week as a 10 seed. Their OOC resume, which features wins over LSU and Arizona, is head and shoulders better than the OOC resume of any other Big XII bubble team, and in conference, the Aggies have a great chance to finish 9-7, which would make them a lock. They finish up their regular season with two games this week, beginning with what should be an easy road game at Colorado tonight. Their bigger test comes Saturday at home against Missouri. If A&M were to lose that game and finish 8-8, their fate would depend on how Oklahoma State fares this weekend, as well as how the Aggies and Cowboys do in the Big XII tourney. A&M's computers numbers are good (35 RPI, 38 SOS) but not great, and their "good win" total is good but not great. They have four Top 50 wins, but only one of those came away from home.

Also receiving votes: Marquette at Pittsburgh, Oklahoma at Missouri, Boston College at North Carolina State, Northwestern at Purdue, Vanderbilt at LSU, Memphis at Houston, BYU at Wyoming, Colorado State at San Diego State

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

OU at Mizzou is a HUGE game for the Big 12, and for the NCAA Tournament Committee. Can OU hold onto its number one seed that Seems to be slipping away? Is Missouri a Serious Contender in the Big 12 or a Pretender? Can The Tigers Bounce Back from the Throttling they received in Lawrence against KU? The Tigers are currently undefeated at home and have a Huge Home Court Advantage, but will that along with a Stifling defense be enough to over come Blake Griffin & the Sooners?

Anonymous said...

Just curious... what do you think happens if Minnesota wins today (at home v. Wisc.), Michigan wins on the road vs. Minnesota, and Wisc. inevitably crushes the Hoosiers?

Who's in, who's out?

I guess it all ultimately depends on the Big Ten tournament anyways...

David said...

Do you honestly see Michigan winning an important game on the road???

I'm sorry but 8-10 in the Big Ten simply does not cut it. I know the wins against UCLA and at home against Duke are quality wins, but if you can't even get to .500 in the Big Ten you shouldn't be in the tournament period.

Anonymous said...

at least Michigan had the guts to schedule people Out of Conference, they should be rewarded for that alone. Quality wins over UCLA DUKE ILLINOIS PURDUE PENN STATE MINNY.

Lee said...

"quality wins over...Penn State..."
hehehehe...good one....

Anonymous said...

It will be a joke if penn state gets in... no quality OOC wins, and losses in their 2 biggest OOC games, and that whole matter where one of their biggest games ended in mutual destruction, 38-33

Bracketology 101 said...

If Penn State can win out and get to 11-7 they will be a lock so their home game with Illinois tomorrow is huge.

Anonymous said...

I really hope Penn St. makes the tournament so I can bet against them in the first round

Snapple said...

I know this doesn't have anything to do with the Wednesday games, but I have to throw a team out there.

Auburn hasn't been on anyone's bubble watch and is pretty much considered an NIT lock. However, they've won 7 of 8, totally hot down the stretch, and they have a chance to finish the year against LSU. If they beat LSU, having won 8 of 9, having a 21-10 record, having a couple wins over tourny teams, is it still completely out of the question to give them an at-large? I would rather see a hot team like them play in the big tournament than a Kentucky or a Tennessee.

Bracketology 101 said...

Auburn deserves some credit for how they've played lately, but even if they beat LSU at home on Saturday, they aren't worthy of an at-large. The Tigers only have one OOC win against a team with a winning record (Alabama State) and overall, they have more losses outside of the Top 100 (2) than they have wins in the Top 50 (1).

Anonymous said...

Virginia Tech done now with their loss to UNC?

BC in trouble with their loss to NC State?

MattLion said...

Last night it was the Big East bubble that was bursting.

Tonight it looks like the ACC bubble is hurting. As I type this, VT lost what was practically a must-win game to UNC. Miami is struggling at lowly GT (although there is time left). And thought-to-be-safe BC lost at NC State.

Almost as wierd as Northwestern suddenly being back ON the bubble. Maybe the Big Ten will send 9, what the hell.

Anonymous said...

As much as people hate to admit the Big 10 is making out well right now with all these other teams losing. Not sure if Michigan can close the deal with a win at Minnesota though.

David said...

Come on people.....let's not get ahead of ourselves....if the Big Ten got 9 bids, then someone should from the committee should be fired immediately.

Look at this Wisconsin - Minnesota game....23-16 at the half, embarassing. Last night that Iowa - Ohio St. game was painful to watch. A few weeks ago PSU and Ill couldn't even combine for 80 points. Northwestern winning at Purdue is just proof of how soft the Big Ten really is this year.

Brian said...

Hey B101 can we get an update on the ACC bubble picture

Anonymous said...

Miami (FL) goes down my gosh.

Anonymous said...

Low scoring shows how good defensively the Big Ten is - it's the number two RPI conference. It doesn't have the top-of-the-conference marquee teams, but the middle to bottom of the Big Ten is stronger than the middle to bottom of any conference.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the Big Ten seems to be the only major conference that never gets very many McDonald's All Americans. Then again, the Big Ten also doesn't seem to have very many teams that employ the vaunted "matador" defense like they do in the ACC.

Brian said...

Does anyone want to the make the tournament this year?

Anonymous said...

David you are an idiot. The Big Ten plays defense it does not matter how boring a game is. Basketball styles are not meant to impress fans, they are meant to get victories. Just because they do not score 80 a night does not mean they do not deserve NCAA bids. Get real. The Big 10 deserves 7 maybe 8 bids. If the Big Ten is soft look at Miami just lost to GT a team PSU beat. Nc State beat BC does that mean the ACC is soft. No it just means the conferences are deep!! Big Ten is just as good as the Big East and ACC, accept it. Michigan should be in over Miami, VT, Florida, and Kentucky

Anonymous said...

Can you explain what makes penn state, with 0 good wins OOC a beter pick than maryland

Anonymous said...

Penn State won at MSU, and at Illinois. If they finish 11-7 in the Big Ten #2RPI conference they deserve it over Maryland. Penn State really does not have any bad losses. Maryland lost to Morgan St.

MattLion said...

If the Big Ten was as awful as everyone thinks they are, then why are they #2 in conference RPI? Conference RPI is based primarily on out-of-conference performance across the entire conference. The Big Ten happens to have 11 teams in it, and only 2 of those teams (Iowa and Indiana) are really "below NIT" level.

The other 9 are all going to the postseason, but in terms of how many go to the NCAA? It will probably be 6 or 7. My comment about 9 was tongue-in-cheek, but hey, team #9 has wins over MSU, Purdue, and FSU.

Hey, look at the SEC scores tonight... more bubbles on the brink.

Anonymous said...

Kentucky and Florida tanking it, Matt you are right about the Big Ten they get a bad rep for playing boring basketball but they are a good.

Anonymous said...

As Georgia and Mississippi State pull away from Kentucky and Florida, I have to ask. In 2004, the Big Ten and Pac-10 only got 3 bids. Is it possible the SEC could receive only 3 bids this year?

Anonymous said...

David you are an idiot. The Big Ten plays defense it does not matter how boring a game is. Basketball styles are not meant to impress fans, they are meant to get victories. Just because they do not score 80 a night does not mean they do not deserve NCAA bids. Get real. The Big 10 deserves 7 maybe 8 bids. If the Big Ten is soft look at Miami just lost to GT a team PSU beat. Nc State beat BC does that mean the ACC is soft. No it just means the conferences are deep!! Big Ten is just as good as the Big East and ACC, accept it. Michigan should be in over Miami, VT, Florida, and Kentucky

Anonymous is clearly right... I mean, its the same as in football, they play good enough defense to stifle those "offenses" and thats why its low scoring, but obviously the big 10 can play with anyone, and thats why so many teams from there end up winning the championship in recent years... I mean, that is success you cannot deny... MSU won in 2000, and right before that, in 1987, indiana won, i mean, come on, this is a conference that has 2 national titles in thelast 28 years! How can you criticize what they are doing when they have success like that? And who cares that they have only had 3 sweet sixteen teams in the last 3 years? They play the game the right way... Defensively, and defense wins championships... The big 10 obviously has shown that...

Anonymous said...

Three Championships. You forgot Michigan's in 1989.

Anonymous said...

Thats right, i forgot about that championship, clearly i didnt search the books long enough... Its right there in the recent purchases by on campus uglies section....

Brian said...

This is insane

Anonymous said...

Kentucky and Florida go down!!!

MattLion said...

I'm a Big Ten fan (PSU'00). I'm not gonna go out on a limb and say the Big Ten is as good as the ACC or Big East... it's not, especially at the top.

But, in terms of teams worthy of tournament inclusion, they have a lot of teams that should be in the discussion. How many of them will make the sweet 16? Who knows. But, sorry Big Ten haters, they'll probably be a Big Ten team in a pod near whoever you're rooting for.

Who knows, that might be a good thing for your team.

And to bring football into the discussion... ridiculously unfair. The Big Ten bowl tie-ins are all against power conferences on their home turf, usually against teams that finished higher in the standings. If bowl games were played in real conditions up north, the Bowl Season would not be the annual "haha the big ten got smoked" festival that it has been in recent years.

Bracketology 101 said...

We know the phrase "Does anyone want to make the tournament?" is over-used, but it's never been more appropriate than it is right now. Georgia Tech, Georgia, Mississippi State, St. John's, and South Florida playing spoiler? Seriously? Wow...

What does it all mean? Here's how we see things:

The ACC
Miami's done. Virginia Tech isn't, but the Hokies are going to need to win at FSU this weekend and then win a game in the ACC tourney to feel good going into Selection Sunday. Maryland obviously needs to win at Virginia this weekend to keep their hopes alive. If they do that, they might be an ACC tourney win away from a bid too. We like the Terps better than the Hokies right now in terms of Friday's bracket, but after that - if the last two nights are any indication - it's anyone's guess what happens.

The (3-bid?) SEC
It's hard to choke worse than Kentucky did tonight. The Wildcats are going to need to do more than win at Florida this weekend to get a bid now. They're going to need a couple of SEC tourney wins, too. The same could be said for Florida, who better beat Kentucky and then win a pair of SEC tourney games themselves.

Let's not let LSU get away unscathed either. Losing at home to Vandy? That's not what top-five seeds do the final week of the season.

Anonymous said...

b101 does this help Michigan, PSU, Minnesota any?

Brian said...

Hey B101...do you think ND, Gtown, or Cincy has a chance to make it if bubble teams keep losing like this with a big run in the BET?

Anonymous said...

RIP Florida and Kentucky.

The SEC is officially a 3-bid (MAX) league. Maybe 2, if South Carolina loses out.

Anonymous said...

Kentucky is done!, Florida maybe still a ray of hope.

Anonymous said...

I think Maryland needs 3 more wins to get an at large bid.

Bracketology 101 said...

Tonight's craziness helps a lot of teams, most notably:

Oklahoma State (the Big XII is looking more and more like a six-bid league)

Creighton (if the Bluejays lose in the MVC final)

UNLV (if the Rebels lose in, let's say, the semis of the MWC tourney)

Penn State, Michigan, and Minnesota (we've held firm in our stance that the Big Ten wouldn't get eight bids - and it probably still won't - but it's looking better and better by the minute)

Anonymous said...

Thanks b101 for being here to answer questions, you guys do a great job.

Brian said...

Yeah B101 you are the man...so back to the Big East a ray of hope for an 8th or no?

Bracketology 101 said...

Teams that got helped out tonight (cont.)

Dayton (if the Flyers lose to Xavier tomorrow and eventually lose to Rhode Island in the A-10 semis)

South Carolina (if the Gamecocks beat Tennessee tomorrow, they're almost a lock)

Anonymous said...

There's no way the Big East could end up with 3 #1 seeds is there?

Anonymous said...

Providence helped some tonight. They win against Nova and they look real good.

Bracketology 101 said...

Providence is the 8th Big East bid right now. Cincinnati is the front-runner for the ninth bid, but they still have a lot of work to do.

The Big East won't get three 1 seeds; they'll get two out of UConn, Pitt, and Louisville. Michigan State's looking pretty good for the fourth No. 1 right now. (Memphis isn't getting it.)

Anonymous said...

B101 DOES MINNESOTA'S WIN HURT MICHIGAN'S CHANCES? OR DO YOU STILL SEE IT AS A PLAY IN GAME

Anonymous said...

Good win for Tubby and the Gophers. This win pretty much confirms their bid.

Bracketology 101 said...

Huge win for Minnesota, as they complete the season sweep of Wisconsin. They're in.

We have no faith in Michigan winning a road game right now. When they prove us wrong, we'll break down their chances.

Anonymous said...

So no chance Michigan gets in at 8-10 Jay Bilas said they are a lock tonight on ESPN just curious.

Eric Z said...

I haven't seen any talk about the MWC - and especially New Mexico. The Lobos have got to be seen as a winner this week - with a win over Utah and all the bubble teams fading around them, no?

MattLion said...

Will we be calling the 8/9 games the Big Ten Invitational? They are looking like they'll have around 3 teams near that seed line. Wisconsin could've moved above it with a win tonight, but that didn't happen, so you can lump them in with Minnesota and Ohio State as a prime 8/9 candidate. PSU is probably a step below just because of OOC.

This is starting to look like one of those years where more teams play their way off the bubble than onto it. That happens a lot. No one who gets left out will have anyone but themselves to blame.

Bracketology 101 said...

New Mexico's been on a roll lately, but they aren't worthy of an at-large yet. They have almost as many losses outside the Top 100 (3) as they do Top 50 wins (4), and all of their Top 100 wins (they have six) have been at home. Their best OOC win was Mississippi, and that pales in comparison to the OOC resume of UNLV, the team they are chasing for the third MWC bid.

RaleighDevil said...

It's too early to be proclaiming some of these teams as having must wins.

Miami, VT, Michigan and several others can go on runs in the tournaments. They all have chances to knock off some very good opponents.

Anonymous said...

After knocking off SEC division leaders South Carolina and LSU in consecutive games don't be surprised if Vanderbilt makes a deep run in Tampa next week. If Ogivily and Beal show up they can hang with anyone.

Anonymous said...

To those knocking Penn State: if Penn State wins their last two games (ILL at home, at IOWA), and Michigan State beats Purdue on Sunday, the Nittany Lions will be sitting with a 2 seed in the #2 RPI conference.

Bracketology 101 said...

No chance for Michigan to get a bid at 8-10 unless they make a run to the Big Ten final. Right now the Wolverines are the 8th best team out of the Big Ten which will most likely mean the NIT. If Michigan can win their next 3 games they will get a bid. Winning their next two is the absolute minimum to even have a chance.

It obviously helps Michigan that fellow bubble teams have gone down this week, but even more important would be Penn State losing at least once this week.

Oklahoma's recent struggles have put their 1 seed in serious doubt. If the Sooners can win out they will still get the 1 seed but if they don't Michigan State has the best chance at it if they can win the Big Ten tourney. There are probably only 7 teams in the mix for a 1 seed at this point...UNC, Duke, Michigan State, UConn, Pitt, Louisville, and Oklahoma, while Kansas and Wake Forest have a very outside chance at one.

Anonymous said...

wow that seems just a little bit pessimistic towards michigan chances B101.... pretty sure a road win against minn. and a tourney win will be a LOCK. not saying anything about the chances to win at minnesota, but if they pull that out as well as a victory over iowa they should be in, road record aside. shameless plug for michigan not going to the tourney in some time, its time to throw them a bone, etc.

Guess they should be worried about all the STELLAR play from acc/big east/SEC teams playing for their tourney lives, huh? :/

Anonymous said...

I'm a Michigan fan, but if we had one halfway decent win away from Ann Arbor we'd be in for sure. Anyone can win at home. Other than our UCLA win (neutral at MSG in New York), our only wins away from A2? Oakland, Indiana, and Northwestern in overtime. That's (n)IT.

Lee said...

"but the middle to bottom of the Big Ten is stronger than the middle to bottom of any conference."
Nope. Not the ACC. Not even close. See ACC/BigTen Annual Beatdown from 2000-present.

Lee said...

"I think Maryland needs 3 more wins to get an at large bid."

This is insane.

Lee said...

http://kenpom.com/rate.php?s=AdjDE

This Big Ten plays awesome defense talk is garbage. The ACC has 5 teams in the top 30 (7 in the top 50) in defensive efficiency, the Big Ten has 4 (4 in the top 50). The Big Ten doesn't play better defense, they just platy SLOWER. Slower is boring. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

At what point will a loss to Northwestern not be considered a "bad loss"? They're 17-11, have beaten Michigan State and Purdue (on the road), as well as Florida State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio State, etc. They still have work to do of course, but a team losing to Northwestern is not "proof" of anything. There's no shame in losing to Northwestern any more.

DBATL said...

Wow. Interesting night. The teams that are really loving this are the 2d and 3d teams from the Mid-Majors -- St. Mary's, UNLV, New Mexico, Northern Iowa, URI, Dayton, Temple, Tulsa, Wis-Green Bay, Cleveland St. -- and the presumed #1s in lesser leagues in case they do not win their conference tourneys -- VA Commonwealth, Siena, Davidson, Utah St.

Pac10 also has to be smilin'.

Anonymous said...

you went a bit too far with cleveland st...

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