Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Two Pack For Tuesday

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

Michigan State at Purdue
Purdue, Illinois, Ohio State, and Minnesota have been jockeying for position in the Big Ten behind Michigan State all season long. Tonight the Boilermakers get a chance to make a case that they're the conference's second best team as they welcome the Spartans to Mackey Arena. Purdue is coming off a 2-0 week that included win at home against Penn State and a road win at Iowa. Those wins moved them up to the 5 line in this week's bracket, which is one line behind the Illini and three lines behind frontrunner Michigan State. The Spartans won an ugly game at Michigan on Tuesday to move up to the top of the 2 line in our latest field, which is the highest they've been since the preseason. Their win over the Wolverines marked the third straight game that Michigan State has held an opponent under 50 points, and more impressively, it also kept their perfect road record intact. The Spartans are 7-0 this season away from East Lansing and 6-0 in conference road games. If they push that road win streak in conference to seven, they will move one step closer to winning their first Big Ten title since 2001. If Purdue comes out on top, they would move to within a game of the Spartans in conference and probably up to the 4 line - alongside but still behind the Illini - next week.

Maryland at Clemson
If Maryland doesn't make the tournament - which is still a very likely scenario at this point - it certainly won't because of a lack of chances. The Terps are set to embark on a five-game stretch that starts with this game and includes home games against North Carolina, Duke, and Wake Forest. A 3-2 record in those five games would put the Terps at 8-7 in the ACC heading into their very winnable season finale at Virginia. Even if they finish 8-8 in conference, Maryland would still be very alive in the at-large discussion entering the ACC tourney because of their OOC wins over Michigan State and Michigan. We know these scenarios might seem far-fetched - especially for a team that has just one road win on its resume and hasn't been above .500 in conference since they won their ACC opener - but anything is still possible at this point. Clemson, meanwhile, limps into this game after committing 21 turnovers and inexplicably losing at Virginia on Sunday. That loss, their fourth in their last eight games, dropped the slumping Tigers to 6-4 in conference and knocked them down to a 3 seed in our latest bracket. The Tigers got leap-frogged by Wake Forest and sit just behind Duke on our latest S-curve. They'll need to win this game to avoid dropping down to the 4 line next week. They haven't been that low since they were a 9 seed in our first Field Of 65 back in November.

Also receiving votes: Seton Hall at Marquette, Kentucky at Vanderbilt, New Mexico at BYU

22 comments:

David said...

Quick question:

If MD wins 1 of 2 this week, either tonight at Clemson, or at home against UNC on Saturday, will they be in your bracket next week?

Kevin said...

If Purdue beats Michigan State, how does it prove they're the second best team in the Big Ten? It would tie them with Illinois, who swept Purdue this season. Also, Illinois hasn't had Michigan State at home yet, and almost beat them in East Lansing.

Bracketology 101 said...

A win by Purdue tonight doesn't make them the Big Ten's second-best team, it just helps them immensely in the battle for that second spot. If Purdue wins and joins Illinois on the 4 line next week, the Illini will still be ahead of them on that line because of their head-to-head sweep.

Lee said...

Ditto to David's question. Actually, an adendum. In your eyes is on the road @ Clemson a better win than at home v Duke, UNC, Wake? Assuming the Terps can beat NCS and UVA which of those 4 would be the best win for them to hang their hats on?

As a MD alumn I feel kind of good about the game tonight. Clemson is doing their fold down the stretch thing and playing on one days rest after a mid afternoon game on the road Sunday. If Milbourne has the J going and owns Booker the way he did Jeff Allen the other night it could be upset city.

Bracketology 101 said...

Maryland's future in the bracket is very much tied to Virginia Tech at this point. We think the ACC is only going to get 7 bids (not 8), and the Terps and Hokies are battling it out for that final spot. If Maryland were to go 2-0 this week, they would be in over VT next week no matter what they Hokies do. If they go 1-1, and VT wins its two games, it will be a real tough call on Sunday night as to who gets in.

As far as which win would be the "best" for Maryland, it's kind of a two-part answer. Beating UNC would be the biggest win because the Heels are the best team in the ACC (and maybe the best team in the country). Maryland is also in dire need of a big road win, though, which makes tonight's game against Clemson so important. A win tonight plus a win over UNC, Duke, or Wake would make Maryland a tough team to leave out.

Anonymous said...

So does Georgetown's 30 point victory over Maryland on a neutral court count as a quality win now?

Bracketology 101 said...

That win is definitly looking better and better for the Hoyas. What isn't looking good is their 4-8 record in the Big East and the seven losses they have in the their last eight games. They are behind Providence, Cincinnati and Notre Dame on the Big East bubble right now, and they have a long way to go before they are relevant again.

Anonymous said...

8-10 and 1 win in the BET and we are getting in no questions asked

Bryan said...

If Kansas wins out in the regular season (starting with a win in Norman next Monday), could they possibly be in play for a 2 seed?

Bracketology 101 said...

If the Jayhawks beat the Sooners in Norman and win out in the regular season, they would definitely be in play for a 2 seed, and they'd almost certainly get it. A team with a 15-1 record in the 4th ranked conference in the country deserves a 2 seed (if not better.)

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this Maryland nonsense will now stop

Bracketology 101 said...

Maryland who?

Anonymous said...

Purdue is the best team in the Big ten. They just haven't been the healthiest.

Not sure if they will win the Big Ten title, but they definitely have the best chance of any Big Ten team of making a run in the tourney.

Brian said...

Is Kentucky in trouble?

Bracketology 101 said...

After tonight, Kentucky is definitely in some trouble. The Wildcats' resume wasn't too special to begin with (they have a 61 RPI), and they now have three losses in the last three weeks to non-tournament teams. Overall, Kentucky has lost four of six, and they still have games left against Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, and LSU. If they lose to the Vols at home on Saturday, there's a good chance they'll be on the wrong side of the bubble in our next bracket.

Lee said...

The Terps fell apart in the second half (really it all started with the crappy sequence right at the end of the first half) but I still think they had some encouraging signs tonight. For 20 minutes they played Clemson at Clemson even without really playing all that well. They had a better showing than Duke and everyone other than FSU did at Clemson which is encouraging. I still think 8-8 and an ACC tourney win gets them in, they just need to clip UNC or Duke and then win the two road games vs UVA and NCS. That would give them an RPI around 40 over .500 for their last ten with head to head wins over their ACC bid counterparts in Miami and VT.

Anonymous said...

maryland. is. done. for.

Lee said...

Yeah probably but I would say they still have about a 25% chance to make it to 8-8 which should be good enough for a bid. And what else is a MD alumn in DC to do this time of year? Watch hockey? Scout centers for the Wizards to draft? Cheer for Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox who just got traded to the Hornets? Laugh at GW and their obnoxious fans who were all "we are the best program in the DC area!!!!" 3 years ago? Spring football maybe?

Lee said...

VT losing last night helped the Terps. Actually they helped themselves by taking Jeff Allen out for the game by abusing him on the court, the fans abusing him off, and him not being able to handle it. VT won't make it to 9-7 so if the Terps get to 8-8 they're 7th in line in the ACC.

Brian said...

From the latest bubble watch.... "The Terrapins' 93-64 loss at Clemson on Tuesday night probably all but ended their chances of earning an NCAA at-large bid. During the last month, Maryland lost to Clemson by 29 points, Duke by 41 and North Carolina by 17."

Lee said...

All but ended is kind of absurd. If they beat to be #1 UNC at home on Saturday nobody is going to care about a game Clemson ran away with in the second half. If they get to 9-7 they are a lock. 8-8 with wins over 2 of Wake, Duke, UNC, sounds like bubble in to me too...

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