Monday, March 02, 2009

A One Pack For Monday

There's only one must-watch game tonight, but it's a big one:

Villanova at Notre Dame
In case anyone was wondering, the answer is "no" - neither of us graduated from Notre Dame, nor are we on the university's payroll or in any way related to Mike Brey. We still have the Irish in our bracket for no reason other than the fact that we think they have a great chance of winning their next four games and beating out the rest of the Big East bubble teams for an at-large. We think that a lot of people - especially those who subscribe to the "season ending today" method of bracketology - are being a little short-sided when evaluating the Irish's chances. We know that their 7-9 conference record does not look very good right now compared to Providence's 10-7 mark, but if you project ahead a bit, ND's case for a bid becomes more and more plausible. First and foremost, the Irish have to win this game and then win at home against St. John's in their season finale. That would get them to 9-9 in conference and give them four Top 50 wins. If Providence does what we think they will and loses at Villanova on Thursday, they'll finish just a game better than ND. The Friars would have just two Top 50 wins, and would be just two weeks removed from getting destroyed by ND at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. ND would have beaten a 2 seed (Louisville) and a 3 seed (Villanova) in conference, while Providence would have beaten a 1 (Pitt) and a 7 (Syracuse). ND would also have the best OOC win between the two (Texas vs. Rhode Island). If ND were to win their first Big East tourney game (against an easy team) and then their second game (against a fellow yet-to-be-determined bubble boy or maybe a team already in) they would add another Top 50 win to their resume and earn a bid. There may be a scenario down the road in which both ND and Providence get in, especially if both make nice runs at the Garden. Cincinnati and Georgetown are lurking in the at-large picture as well. But right now, if we are going under the premise that the Big East ends up with eight bids, we like the Irish to be that eighth team.

Also receiving votes: Baylor at Texas, Davidson at Elon

3 comments:

DBATL said...

Don't count out Georgetown quite yet. Big East is going to be very interesting, and I think they will be a 9-bid league. There is a lot of "group-think" around Georgetown right now, but realistically when one looks at the record, they have a very strong shot at getting in.

(1) SOS = 1 or 3 depending on source.

(2) 12 losses, 9 of which are to teams in latest B101 bracket [1x1seed, 2x2seeds, 2x4seeds, 1x7seed, 2x8seeds and 1x11seed], and the other 3 are "next 4 out" Cinci (2 times, one in OT), and 1 game on the road at Seton Hall. So an away loss at Seton Hall is the only "bad loss" Georgetown has.

(3) Wins over 3 teams with Top tier teams (1x1seed - UConn, 2x3seeds -- Memphis and Villanova). 2 of those 3 wins were on the road -- @ UConn, @Nova. Also, wins over Providence, Syracuse and a 27 point pounding of Maryland on a neutral court.

(4) RPI = 40 (as per
CollegeRPI website). Better than South Carolina, or Florida, or Arizona, or Ohio State, or Penn State, or Notre Dame, or UNLV, or St. Mary's, or Maryland or Boston College, all of whom are in the current B101 bracket from multi-bid leagues.

(5) Still have lots of opportunity. Georgetown has yet to play the 2 of the worst teams in the Big East. They finish the season with DePaul and St.Johns. Yes, losses to either of those would probably doom GU, but they most likely will win both, putting them at 8-10 in-league for the season going into the Big East tournament. And GU's double-ups due to the weird Big East schedule for the season were Marquette, Syracuse and Cincinnati. Almost every other team in the Big East got to double up on at least one (sometimes 2) of South Florida, DePaul, Rutgers or St. John's. Follow that with the fact that GU will likely be playing one of those bottom 4 in the first round of the Big East tournament (which they should beat), then they are truly in a play-in game against one of the 5-8 seeds (likely Syracuse, Providence, West Virginia or Cinci). Win that game on a neutral floor -- certainly do-able, and they are even in the Big East.

Don't write them out yet. Georgetown can beat any Big East team on any particular day, and they can certainly beat any team not named UConn, Pitt, Louisville or Marquette on a "more often than not" basis. All they need is 2 wins in the Big East tournament and they are likely in -- 3 wins is a guaranteed invite since that would put them in the final 4 for the Big East tournament, having beaten one of the top 4 seeds.

(6) Assuming 2 wins only in the Big East tournament, they still end the season strong winning 4 of their last 5, 6 of their last 9, with the only losses coming to two top teams (2seed Louisville and 4seed Marquette) and whomever they lose to in the Big East tournament.

Finally, yes, GU had a bad stretch with consecutive losses to West Virginia, Seton Hall, Cinci and Marquette (last 3 on the road), but they are also a team with only 1 senior and only 1 junior. Every team fights through at least one bad stretch during the season. But don't be surprised when their name is read out on Selection Sunday.

DBATL said...

Oh, also meant to mention wins by Georgetown over 7 teams presently in the bracket -- 1x1seed [UConn -- road], 2x3seeds [Memphis, Villanova -- road], 1x7seed [Syracuse], 1x10seed [Maryland -- neutral court], 1x14seed [American], 1x16seed [Jacksonville].

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