Wednesday, February 10, 2010

B101's Weekday Tweets - Wednesday

Our quick thoughts on Wednesday's results:

Let the "six A-10 bids" debate continue. Wednesday's results did nothing but fuel that argument, as Dayton blew out Charlotte at home (thanks to Chris Wright's 30 points) and Richmond won at Rhode Island. We are still holding firm on our belief that the A-10 will get a max of five bids on Selection Sunday, which means we will have to look ahead and figure out what five teams we like week-to-week. While the Flyers can make a very good case to be in if the season ended today, it's important to keep in mind that they still have four road games left, including a ginormous one at Richmond on March 4th. The Spiders, meanwhile, are now tied for first in the A-10, and there's a good chance with their upcoming schedule that they'll be 11-2 in conference when they play at Xavier on Feb. 28. That game, and their regular season finale at Charlotte, could end up deciding the A-10 title.

Clemson needed a win in the worst way, and they picked up a big one against Florida State at home on Wednesday night. The Tigers, who had lost four of five to fall all the way to a 10 seed in our latest bracket, beat the 'Noles 77-67 at Littlejohn to even their conference record at 5-5. With Miami and Virginia coming in over the next week and a half, Clemson should be in good shape to hang on to their at-large bid. The same can't be said for Florida State, which is now back on it all-too-familiar home on the bubble. The 'Noles need to beat BC at home to stay on Saturday to stay in the bracket next week, and if they stay in, they might be the worst-seeded ACC team. After Saturday's game, FSU heads to Virginia for an absolute must-win game against the Cavaliers. Their final four games are very tricky (at UNC, Clemson, Wake, at Miami) which means that, once again, FSU will be one of the most discussed teams on this site in February and March.

Florida State isn't the only team from the Sunshine State that now resides on the bubble: Florida is right there alongside them after a 77-71 loss at South Carolina on Wednesday night. The Gators shot 10-of-23 from the line and missed 10 FT's in the second half to blow a seven-point second half lead against the Gamecocks. They're now 17-7 overall, 6-4 in the SEC, and have even a slimmer magrin for error as they head into a very difficult last seven games. The Gators face Xavier at home on Saturday, and then (after a home date with Auburn) play five tough SEC games to end the year (at Mississippi, Tennessee, at Georgia, Vanderbilt, at Kentucky). A win over the Muskeeters will keep them safely in the field, but a loss could land them on the Next Four In list next week.

We think that both UConn and UNC will make return trips to the Final Four...just not the one being held in Indianapolis. Both teams have the talent to reach the Final Four that will be held at Madison Square Garden in the unfamiliar NIT. The Huskies squandered a great opportunity to get back on the bubble Wednesday night as they lost to Syracuse by five at the Carrier Dome. They can lay some blame on the refs for the loss, as John Cahill awarded Jim Boeheim a questionable timeout (on an ill-timed Scoop Jardine drive to the hoop) that saved a Syracuse possession in a tie game with under a minute to go. With the loss, UConn drops to 4-7 in conference play and it's virtually impossible to see them going even .500 with what they have left. The Tar Heels hung tough against Duke, but still ended up losing by double digits in the end. Like UConn, the Tar Heels would of had plenty of work to do even if they won against the Blue Devils. Their bigger concern at this point is whether or not they will be able to stay out of last place in the ACC.

UNLV got all the headlines over the past couple of days for its home win over BYU, but New Mexico showed once again on Wednesday night that they are the class of the Mountain West. The Lobos led by as many as 18 points in the second half and beat the Rebels 76-66 in Vegas, avenging a home loss to UNLV back on Jan. 9. The Rebels trailed by double digits for most of the game, then cut it to two with 3:39 to play before the Lobos pulled away again. The win moved New Mexico into sole possession of first place in the MWC, a half game ahead of BYU and a game better than UNLV. If they can survive a road game at Utah on Saturday, they'll be back on the four line next week. UNLV will drop one line if they win at SDSU on Saturday, and 2-3 lines if they lose.

It's because of nights like this that Northwestern has never made the tournament. The Wildcats, who were coming off back-to-back wins that got them within a game of .500 in conference, lost by 13 at Iowa (by 13 at Iowa!). Northwestern managed just 22 points in the first half against a Hawkeye team that allows the third-most points per game in the Big Ten. At 5-7, Northwestern's going to need to win out if they want an at-large. Not even the biggest Wildcat fans would bet on that happening.

Of note: Georgia Tech lost 64-62 at Miami buzzer-beater by James Dews; Virginia Tech won at N.C. State; Ohio State won at Indiana; Baylor survived a scare at Nebraska; Missouri beat Iowa State at home; Northern Iowa won at Drake (to clinch at least a share of the MVC title); UTEP won at SMU; Northeastern beat Georgia State at home; Old Dominion won at James Madison.


Anonymous said...

Which of the 6 potential tournament teams in the A-10 do you think is most likely to not get in?

Daniel said...

Is there any possibility of Utah State earning an at-large bid?

Anonymous said...

Virginia Tech this year is reminiscent of Penn State last year. Penn State finished 10-8 in a 7-bid Big Ten (including going 4-2 against the top 3 of MSU, Purdue, and Illinois). Penn State ended up in the NIT primarily because of their horrendous OOC SOS.

Suppose VT beats Virginia, Wake Forest, Boston College, and N.C. State to finish 11-7 in the ACC. I think precedent tells us that's not enough to make the dance, especially considering the committee loves to punish cupcake OOC schedules. What do you think?

Matt said...

VT can't go 11-7 as they only play 16 games in conference

If they win 4 more games, than they would get to 10-6, and that might just be enough to get them in, especially if they have a 1st round bye in the ACC

If they go 3-4 down the stretch, then that will put them at 9-7 and will have to win at least 1 game in the ACC tourney, if not 2, to get them in

Do you agree b101?

Seth Greenberg said...

going 10-6 in conference in the ACC is almost lock status....i havent looked at their schedule but they would have to be in at that point

Michael said...

I have not read a lot of this site so forgive me if you've answered this before, but why does it matter what conference a team belongs to? The committee evaluates teams individually, so if the data says six A-10 teams should be in, then six will get in, no?

49ers Fan said...

Can New Mexico move up to a 3 seed if they win out or just lose 1 more game at BYU? What if New Mexico wins out and other teams pick up a few losses, could the Lobos get a 2 seed?

Anonymous said...

would be very surprised if Oklahoma State makes the big tourney. They have a tough remaining schedule and have losses to bubble teams Rhode Island and Tulsa. That win at Kansas State is impressive but the losses might cancel them out.

Bracketology 101 said...

The committee insists that conference affiliation doesn't matter, but we find that very hard to believe. Plus, history has shown that the committee will only go so far in giving at-large bids to mid-major conferences. Conference record is a big factor in a team's overall profile, and 9-7 against teams in the A-10 is not the same as 9-7 in the ACC or the Big XII. That has to be a factor in the committee's decisions.

New Mexico will probably max out as a 3 seed in the end, even if they win out.

If VT goes 10-6, they're in. If they go 9-7, they'll probably need to win two games in the ACC tourney to get a bid.

Bracketology 101 said...

Utah State has an outside shot at an at-large, but it's going to be tough. They will have to win out and get to the WAC final to have any chance. What hurts them is that a win over Wichita in their BracketBuster game won't be that big anymore because of the Shockers' recent struggles, plus they lost at home to fellow at-large hopeful St. Mary's.

Anonymous said...

"We are still holding firm on our belief that the A-10 will get a max of five bids on Selection Sunday."

What are you talking about? It wasn't long ago that you said "the A-10 will not get more than 4 bids." Are you finally starting to believe in the A-10? Richmond never should have been out of your bracket in the first place. They played a very tough OOC schedule and picked up 4 nice wins. That was a huge mistake on your part.

smokey said...

I'm not sure what to make of the ACC bubble teams. Do you think Florida State or Georgia Tech is in more danger of missing the field? I would also like to thank you for posting your bracket on fox sports. That is great news for hoops fans! You folks are the best in the business in my opinion.

Bracketology 101 said...

A perfect storm of events has helped the A-10 get five bids, but it won't get the league to six. The failure of the Pac-10 to be a two-bid league and the increasing softness of the SEC bubble have made us change our thinking on the A-10. There is still a chance the A-10 only gets four bids, but it's looking more like five will be the final number.

W Rainey said...

Arkansas has been playing very good basketball with the point guard back. Will getting Fortson back help Arkansas at large hopes, or did all the losses early ruin the at large hopes? Is this game in Mississippi tonite a bubble buster?

Anonymous said...

Does St. Marys have to win up in Spokane to remain in the field? Would a win over UNLV put SDSU closer to at large status?

The Pac 10 teams have been inconsistent all year long. But something tells me if California beats Washington tonite they will go on a hot streak. Could Cal earn an at large with 12 or 13 conference wins?

GatorsFanInGa said...

Is Florida really a bubble team? They have a pretty nice resume with a winning record in the SEC and good OOC wins over Florida St. and Michigan St. The Gators also went out and played a rough schedule early against Richmond and Syracuse. They play a very good Xavier team this week. I applaud the Gators for playing a tough OOC schedule. They didn't just load up on cupcakes like Notre Dame did.

Bracketology 101 said...

Arkansas has won five in a row, but they still have a long way to go before they are at-large worthy. The Razorbacks already have 11 losses, and some of those are pretty awful (Morgan State, ETSU, South Alabama, at Oklahoma by 20). Their only SEC win of note is a win at Mississippi. If they lose at Alabama (not at Mississippi) tonight, they can turn their attention to the NIT.

St. Mary's isn't necessarily out with a loss tonight. Their fate will depend on how the rest of the bubble fares between now and Sunday.

SDSU would be in the Last Eight Out mix with a win over UNLV this weekend, but they won't be in the next week's field. The Aztecs have no OOC resume to speak of and they only have one other notable win in conference (New Mexico at home).

If Cal goes 13-5, they'll likely get a bid. A 12-6 finish might get them one too, but they would have to well in the Pac-10 tourney to feel safe.

Part of our labeling Florida a "bubble team" was us looking ahead at their remaining schedule. With the exception of a home game against Auburn, the rest of their games are all loseable. That's why last night's loss at South Carolina was such a tough one. The Gators can't afford to lose winnable road games like that with the schedule they have left.