Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Three Pack For Tuesday

A look at the three most notable games on Tuesday's schedule:

Purdue at Ohio State
Three weeks ago, Purdue was our last team in from the Big Ten. The Boilermakers were an 8 seed and were a whopping 6 seed lines below Michigan State, who looked like by far the best team in the conference. Oh, how times have changed. The Spartans have since lost two home games to middle-of-the-pack teams, and Purdue has caught fire. They've won six straight games, which has included a sweep of Wisconsin, a road game at Minnesota, and a home game against Michigan on Saturday. Those wins, combined with an overall resume that has two nice OOC wins (BC and Davidson) and no real bad losses on it, suddenly has the Boilermakers right next to Michigan State on the three line in our latest Field of 65. Their next challenge is to see if they can navigate a tough two-game road trip this week: this one against the Buckeyes and Sunday's game at Illinois. Tonight they face an Ohio State team that won two games last week to move up to the 6 line, but whose five conference wins have all come against Michigan, Indiana, or Iowa. The Buckeyes have two home games this week against teams ahead of them in the standings, and depending on how they do, they could be as high as a 4 or as low as a 9 or 10 next week.

South Carolina at Florida
These teams played a classic two weeks ago, with South Carolina winning on a driving lay-up at the buzzer and snapping Florida's 10-game winning streak. That victory seems to have worked wonders for the Gamecocks' confidence - they haven't lost since, and thanks to a last-second road win at Kentucky on Saturday, they cracked our Field of 65 this week as the fifth team out of the SEC. South Carolina is sitting pretty at 5-2 in conference, and given their very soft remaining schedule, it's very easy to get them to 10-11 wins. The toughest game left on their schedule is this one - a return trip to Gainesville to face the revenge-seeking and unbeaten-at-home Gators. Florida got pounded at Tennessee over the weekend to fall to an 8 seed, but remained the highest-seeded SEC team, one seed line better than Kentucky, who they face on the road next Tuesday. A win here would get Florida back up to the 7 line; a two-win week for South Carolina (they host Georgia on Saturday) would leap-frog them over the Gators and could earn them as high as a 9 seed next week.

San Diego State at UNLV
Super Bowl gamblers left out in Vegas have a chance to take in what should be a good game for first place in the MWC. The Aztecs have no OOC resume to speak of, so their only hopes for an at-large bid would be if they were to win the regular season title outright. This is the type of game the Aztecs need to win if they are going to have any chance of winning that title. Lorenzo Wade has averaged close to 20 a game in his last 4 for the Aztecs and he will need at least that many to give the Aztecs a chance in this one. If they can manage to pull it out then they would have to be viewed as the conference favorite since they would have wins over 4 of the 5 teams with winning conference records. The Rebels have turned things around since their questionable road losses to TCU and Colorado State. They have won 4 in a row, which has included a win at BYU and against Utah. This has reestablished them as the team to beat in the conference and moved them back up to a 7 seed in this week's bracket. A loss to the Aztecs would probably send them tumbling back towards a double digit seed.

Also receiving votes: Maryland at North Carolina, Rutgers at Georgetown, Marquette at DePaul, Mississippi State at Kentucky, Iowa State at Kansas State


Dan Holmes said...

The win at Texas this weekend was nice, but doesn't it still seem a little early to be considering Kansas State as a bubble team? The Wildcats are still 3-4 in a mediocre Big 12, and their only halfway decent nonconference win was against Southern Miss (they were 0-3 against BCS conference teams in the nonconference). I could understand bubble consideration after wins at College Station and Lawrence, but doesn't it seem premature now?

Andrew T. said...

If Rutgers beats Georgetown tonight, will you finally take them off your projected bracket?

Bracketology 101 said...

Quick hits:

It seems like everyone in the Big XII is on the bubble right now, and that list includes Kansas State. We definitely don't love the Wildcats' chances down the stretch, and they have a long way to go to prove they aren't a one-week wonder, but it's tough to ignore what they did last week. Right now, their conference resume is better than fellow Big XII bubblers Texas A&M, Baylor, and Oklahoma State, and none of those teams (like Kansas State) did a heck of a lot out of conference either. In the end, we think the Big XII will end up with 5-6 bids, and while they are still on the outside looking in, Kansas State is at least in the running now for one of those last two bids.

If Georgetown loses to Rutgers at home, they're out. Not gonna happen, though.

Kyle K. said...

Now that S. Carolina lost a close one @ Florida, do you think they will stay in as long as they take care of business against Georgia?

Bracketology 101 said...

We expected South Carolina to lose to Florida. If they can beat Georgia they should still be safe unless a few of the teams who are just out have big weeks.

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