Wednesday, February 24, 2010

B101's Weekday Tweets - Wednesday

Our quick thoughts on Wednesday's results:

If Minnesota ends up not making the tournament, there are going to be a lot of sleepless nights in Minneapolis spent lamenting what happened in The Barn on Wednesday night. Minnesota had a four point lead against Purdue with 1:46 to play, an injured Robbie Hummel was watching the game from the Boilermakers bench, and the Gophers looked liked they were about to get the marquee win they so desperately needed. But that's when Keaton Grant took over. The senior guard scored five points in the game's final 40 seconds, including the go-ahead basket with 7.7 seconds left, as the 3rd-ranked Boilers handed the Gophers a heartbreaking 59-58 loss. After Grant's basket, Minnesota had one final shot for the win, but Devoe Joseph missed a jumper, and Damian Johnson's tip-in of Joseph's miss came just after the final buzzer sounded.

The loss is obviously a brutal one for Minnesota - especially considering how close they came - and it puts a serious dent into their recently resurgent at-large chances. One of the main reasons we had the Gophers in the field this week is that we loved their chances to upset the Boilers, given how well they played at home against Wisconsin last week. With that chance blown, Minnesota is now going to have to win its last three regular season games to be in the mix for a bid. They play at Illinois on Saturday, and then at Michigan and at home against Iowa next week. If they can upset the Illini, the Gophers will be a tough call for us on Sunday night. We would like their chances to win out at that point, but they would be far from a sure thing.

(The silver lining for us on Wednesday night was that two of the other teams we could have put in instead of Minnesota this week also lost. Dayton dropped another A-10 road game at Temple, and San Diego State, who many bracketologists put in as an easy-way-out quick-fix this week, lost by 14 at BYU. Looking ahead, we still aren't crazy about Charlotte's chances and we still don't see how St. Mary's will end up getting a bid in the end, either. That means we may have to get a little creative Sunday night - if Minnesota loses at Illinois - in the way we fill that open backet spot.)

The win was huge for Purdue in terms of seeding and in terms of the Big Ten standings, but it may have come with a pretty hefty price tag. Hummel left the game with just over seven minutes to play in the first half after his right knee gave out on a drive to the basket. (There's no word yet on the extent of the injury.) The Boilers deserve a lot of credit for finding a way to win in Hummel's absence - they went scoreless for nearly 10 minutes during one stretch after he left - but if he's out for any length of time, their national championship hopes will take a serious hit. They weren't that deep as it was, and now their bench might have gotten a lot, lot thinner.

After four straight Big East wins, Pitt was probably due to lose a game in conference. Still, no one saw a performance like Wednesday night coming. The 16th-ranked Panthers trailed by as many as 24 points in the second half and lost 68-54 to a struggling Notre Dame team that had lost seven of 10 coming in and that was playing once again without Luke Harangody. The Irish won the game because of their long-distance shooting - they went 10-of-18 from behind the three-point line, while Pitt was just 4-of-18. With the win, Notre Dame improved to 7-8 in conference and crept up ever so slightly on the overcrowded Big East bubble. They still have to play at Georgetown on Saturday and at Marquette next week, with a huge home game against UConn sandwiched in the middle. The best the Irish can probably hope for is a 9-9 finish, which means they'd have to win two or more games in the Big East tourney to be in the at-large mix.

Pitt wasn't the only power conference team to get blown out on Wednesday night. Virginia Tech got knocked back to earth a little bit - by Boston College of all teams - in an ugly 80-60 loss to the Eagles in Chestnut Hill. The loss was the Hokies' second straight in conference and it makes their game at home against Maryland on Saturday that much more important. With their well-documented weak OOC schedule, Virginia Tech can't afford a three-game losing streak down the stretch. If they get by the Terps, they'll almost certainly get to 10-6 in conference, which will be enough to get them a bid. If they lose, they might be on the Last Four In list next week, and they'd run the risk of a road loss to Georgia Tech in their season finale potentially ruining their at-large hopes.

Marquette looks like it's finally found a recipe for winning close games: get the ball to Jimmy Butler. The junior swingman, who hit a game-winning shot for the Golden Eagles against UConn back on Jan. 30, was the late-game hero again on Wednesday night, hitting a 17-foot jumper at the buzzer to give Marquette a 63-61 victory over St. John's at Carnasecca Arena. Butler finished with 18 points for the Golden Eagles, who have played in 12 games this season that have been decided by five points or less. They're now 9-6 in the Big East with another road test coming this weekend at Seton Hall. After that game, Marquette returns home for two huge bubble games against Louisville and Notre Dame next week. A 2-1 record in those games would definitely get the Golden Eagles a bid; if they win just one of the three, they'll probably need two Big East tourney wins to feel safe come Selection Sunday.

Four of the seven Big XII bids faced off against each other on Wednesday night, and in true Big XII style, both home teams came out on top. LaceDarious Dunn scored 23 points and hit some big threes late as Baylor held Texas A&M 70-66 in Waco, and Dexter Pittman had 16 points and eight boards as Texas pulled away in the second half to beat Oklahoma State 69-59. For the Bears, Aggies, and Longhorns, these results matter only in terms of seeding. For Oklahoma State, it means they now have to win two of their last three games to avoid falling to the wrong side of the bubble heading into the Big XII tourney. The Cowboys welcome top-ranked Kansas to Stillwater on Saturday and then finish up with games at Texas A&M and at home against Nebraska next week. Two wins would get them to 9-7 and put them in pretty good shape. If they just get one, they'd have to win a pair of Big XII tourney games to get in.

It took Maryland a little while to wake up, but once Greivis Vasquez and Co. got going, the Terps had no problem pulling away from Clemson Wednesday in College Park. Vasquez had 15 points and 13 assists, and Sean Mosley added 20 points, as Maryland rallied from 15 down in the first half to beat the Tigers 88-79. It was the fourth straight ACC victory for Maryland, who is still undefeated at home in conference, and it kept them within a game of Duke in the race for the ACC regular season title. The Terps host the Blue Devils next Wednesday, in between road games at Virginia Tech and at Virginia. Clemson, meanwhile, has now lost four straight ACC road games and sits at 7-6 in conference with three tough games left to play. They play at Florida State on Sunday, home against Georgia Tech on Tuesday, and at Wake in their season finale next weekend. Two wins would clinch them an at-large, and one win would mean they'd probably have to win two ACC tourney games to feel safe.

Saint Louis finally lost an A-10 home game on Wednesday night, falling 73-71 to Xavier. The Bilikens led by six at the half, but the Musketeers went on an early 16-0 run in the second half to take control of the game. Jordan Crawford finished with 26 points for Xavier, which improved to 11-2 in the A-10 with the victory. They host Richmond on Sunday in what is their last real test of the regular season (they finish with games at Fordham and vs. St. Bonaventure). A 3-0 finish could net Xavier the A-10 title and perhaps a spot on the top of the 5 line heading into the A-10 tourney. Saint Louis, meanwhile, slips out of the at-large discussion for the moment as a result of the loss, but they have two more chances next week to get back in the mix (vs. Temple, at Dayton).

Of note: Villanova beat South Florida at home; Ohio State won at Penn State; Florida State won at North Carolina; Missouri beat Colorado at home; Mississippi State beat Alabama at home; UNLV beat TCU at home; UTEP won at Southern Miss; UAB won at UCF; Charlotte beat St. Joseph's at home; Cincinnati beat DePaul at home.

36 comments:

terps said...

Is Maryland now a lock?

Anonymous said...

B101,

I actually liked how you guys got creative last week by sliding UConn and Minnesota in, and Minnesota almost made you guys look like geniuses tonight.

But after tonight, does anybody want to be in the tournament that has been on the bubble this month? It seems like absolutely nobody can get over that hump.

With having this much trouble filling out the field of 65, can you imagine this field being expanded? I think this proves that expansion shouldn't be considered.

Looking forward to see who gets included next bracket. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Regarding in-season holiday tournaments, does the committee take into account teams who were in the tournament even though the champion of the tournament didn't play each team?

For example, Florida State won the Old Spice Classic but didn't play Xavier or Baylor. However, they did beat Marquette and Alabama, who beat Xavier and Baylor, respectively. Will the committee take the field into account?

Anonymous said...

going to give credit to bracketology 101 as the top site for bracketology on my radio show tomorrow at 12pm PDT

Eric J. said...

@Anonymous: For what it's worth, I think it matters what teams an opponent beats or loses to in that it establishes how good that opponent was and how important the win was. So FSU's victory over Marquette looks better in part because Marquette beat Xavier. But I don't think it matters that it was in the same tournament.

ScarShoulders said...

MD will win two more ACC games, but I would say they are already a lock. This team is so deep and talented I don't see them not making it to the second weekend of the tourney. Very high on the Terps...

Anonymous said...

If FSU wins out, which would mean wins over clemson, wake, and miami, and then gets the bye, beats maryland and loses a close one to duke, can they get a top 4-5 seed?

Anonymous said...

Scar, I can see why you are so high on maryland, but if they are a 7-8 seed, I don't think that it would be hard at all to envision a loss... Even if they pick up speed, do you see them being a prohibitive favorite against West virginia, G-town, Nova, ohio state, K-state or pittsburgh? I could easily see them beating ohio state, k state or pitt, but to go so far as to say that you couldn't envision a loss seems a bit like hyperbole, don't you think?

Bracketology 101 said...

The Terps are pretty much a lock right now. One more win (either in the regular season or in the ACC tourney), and they're dancing.

If Florida State goes on that run, they could get up to a 5 seed or so.

Keith said...

I had a couple of questions. Does Marshall have any at large hopes? I realize Oklahoma State has a poor OOC resume, but will it help them that they play in the tough Big 12 South, having to play Baylor, Texas A&M, and Texas twice?

Vikings 51 said...

Anonymous, Did B101 know that Hummel was going to get hurt? They is the only way they would look like geniuses because Purdue was in control early in that game. It is sad that Minnesota was unable to beat Purdue at home without one of their best players. Minnesota already had benefitted from the Evan Turner absence. A win over Purdue would not have been enough to put Minnesota in the bracket. They still have 2 tough road games. The Gophers still havent made up for bad losses to Michigan, Indiana, Northwestern, Portland, and Miami. Minnesota hasn't beaten anyone good on the road all year. B101 never should have put the Gophers in the field. It was a big mistake.

Anonymous said...

Will Georgia Tech-Clemson in effect be an elimination game?

Paymon said...

Vikings51 - 2 facts

1. Evan Turner played 38 min in Minnesota's 73-62 win over Ohio State. He wasn't completely healthy, but he played and produced.

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/boxscore?gid=201001090363

2. Minnesota beat Butler in Anaheim earlier this season.

You may now proceed.

Kevin said...

Is the WAC a two bid league if Utah State doesn't win the league title or championship game?

Anonymous said...

Minnesota would have needed more than a win over Purdue to earn a bid. They would have also had to win at Illinois to in some part make up for their numerous losses to bad teams. Minnesota was not deserving of being in this week's field.

Vikings 51 said...

pay, You just pointed out a home win for Minnesota. Who on the bubble doesn't have good home wins? Show me one strong road win for Minnesota. I can show you several bad losses for Minnesota. You can defend B101 till your face turns purple, but they were wrong to include Minnesota in the field. They will be proven wrong on Selection Sunday. Minnesota will not make it. But I admire how you are kissing up to Chris and Craig.

Bryce Kearney said...

Where would my Noles stand if they finish 9-7? You folks are doing great things at FOX! That was a huge upgrade to the FOX website.

mag900 said...

vikings, a lot of teams on the bubble don't have good home wins (which is partly why they are on the bubble in the first place). just off the top of my head are these:

NI -- best home win Siena (12)
Memphis -- best home win UAB (12)
ASU -- no home wins against projected teams
Miss St -- no home wins against projected teams

Anonymous said...

Actually, I believe Paymon pointed out a good neutral win for Minnesota (Butler). The comment about the home win over Ohio State was strictly about Evean Turner. I will note that I don't see Minnesota in the field - not with an RPI of 81 as of today.

Anonymous said...

All I was saying (1:57 AM anon) was that it was interesting to see somebody put two entirely different teams by projecting something else at the end of the season. Had Minnesota won (regardless of how), it would have shut up some people on here saying how stupid it was to include them. Now I think everyone, including B101, will agree Minnesota isn't worthy, even from a projection point of view.

At this point, it probably doesn't matter which two or three teams are in the bottom of the last four in list. I'm sure some conference tournament bid-stealers will come in and grab up a few at-larges from the enormous list of bubble teams.

Michael said...

Hey -

Well, it completely sucks that Robbie Hummel is out for the year for Purdue, but I was wondering what you guys thought this would do for its seeding. Gottlieb at ESPN already said this drops them a line, maybe two. Do they have to do more now than before to hang on to the #1? Like win out? What does 3-0 to close the season and a BTT semis loss do?

Anonymous said...

Doug Gottlieb said Charlotte would be in now cause they are 9-4 in true road games. Do you agree?

Vikings 51 said...

Mag, There is a common thread with all the teams you listed. None of them are going to make the NCAA tournament, just like Minnesota.

Paymon said...

Vikings 51 - I am actually defending myself. I do not disagree that they should not be in the field. They just happen to be among the 34 best at-large teams based on the data.

Butler was a neutral-court win = not played at the barn.

Who would be in your field instead of Minnesota?

Anonymous - Thanks for reading my comment. Minnesota's RPI is prohibitive. Does anyone know the highest ever RPI for an at-large team? We need Russell Baxter.

Anonymous said...

Worst RPIs (by memory, so someone might need to check).

'99 New Mexico - 74
'04 Air Force - 70
'07 Stanford - 66

mag900 said...

i believe new mexico in 1999 had an rpi of 74.

Bracketology 101 said...

Using the "new RPI" (2005-present) the worst RPIs for at-large teams have been No. 62 Arizona (2009), No. 62 Iowa St and No. 63 NC State (2005), and No. 63 Stanford (2007).

Under the "old RPI" formula (pre-2005), the worst RPIs for at-larges were No. 74 New Mexico (1999) and No. 70 Air Force (2004).

Anonymous said...

B101,
You guys love to criticize other bracketologists about their "mistakes". So why is it so hard to admit that you were wrong about Minnesota?

Bracketology 101 said...

See what happens when you criticize us, Vikings? We sick Paymon on you.

In all seriousness, though, we admit that Minnesota's inclusion was a stretch, but keep in mind that it was done as a projection. If the Gophers would have beaten Purdue last night, they would have been worthy of an at-large.

Utah State needs to win the WAC regular season title and get to the final of the WAC tourney to be in the mix for an at-large. The Aggies also need BYU to keep winning and need to root for as few bid-stealers as possible during Championship Week.

If the 'Noles finish 9-7, they'll need to win at least one game in the ACC tourney (and maybe two depending on what happens elsewhere). FSU's at-large chances, especially if they finish 9-7, are also going to be tied to how Georgia Tech (who they swept) and Virginia Tech (who they beat once) fare down the stretch. That's all they have in terms of quality wins in conference.

Anonymous said...

Does Memphis have to win the conference tournament now? Their defense was nonexistent against Houston.

Gary Williams said...

in defense of b101, the other "bracketologists" have absurd abnormalities, and b101 has one error (maybe) about Minnesota. Really? Lunardi consistently has conference teams meeting in the second round...or places slews of big east teams in last four in/out. Palm, the RPI Nazi, thinks that is the be all end all. And, Glockner....has admitted before that his bracket and b101's bracket should not be compared because they are "apples to oranges". I asked him why and he said one is if the season ended today and the other is a projection of what the other thinks. Finally, Lundardi repeatedly updates his brackets after readers point out how idiotic he is and tries to hope nobody notices.

Anonymous said...

Guys, I love your work, but I am going to call you out on VT. There is NO way they get into the dance if they lose 2 out of 3 without winning 2 games in the conference tourney at a minimum. Even 10-6, they should probably want to win 1 game in the ACC tourney to feel safe. You already mentioned their weak OOC schedule, as everyone has. However, have you looked at their ACC schedule? It is unbalanced toward the bottom. The teams they played twice in the ACC: UNC, BC, NC St., Virginia, and Miami. Those are the bottom 5 teams in conference. You are right to say a lot depends on their game against Maryland coming up.

Remember, Greenberg was wailing about how they got left out last year with a 10-6 ACC mark, and it was because of their OOC schedule. This year, it will be the same if they go 9-7 in the ACC. The committee will probably find someone from the A-10 or C-USA to take their place. More likely though, it will be a bid-stealer like Butler who loses in their conference tourney.

Bracketology 101 said...

Memphis isn't getting an at-large after last night. They'll have to win the C-USA tourney to get a bid.

Bracketology 101 said...

Everyone needs to start getting their facts straight..."Remember, Greenberg was wailing about how they got left out last year with a 10-6 ACC mark, and it was because of their OOC schedule."

It was 2 years ago and the Hokies finished 9-7 in conference that year. We don't think there has ever been a team finish with 10 regular season ACC wins not make the tourney.

The Hokies are still in pretty good shape. Their RPI is a respectable 48 and if they can win their final 2 home games they will have 10 wins in conference and be a virtual lock. Right now there are plenty of bubble teams who would fall by the wayside with bid stealers instead of the Hokies.

If VT only picks up one more win they will have to win their first game in the ACC tourney against a bottom dweller and at least be competitive in their quarterfinal game.

Rodrigo said...

Minnesota has a slight advantage because of their strong defense line in this current season to give maximum to College Basketball Odds.
.

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