Wednesday, March 03, 2010

B101's Weekday Tweets - Wednesday

Our quick thoughts on Wednesday's results:

Greivis Vasquez’s final home game ended just how he had hoped – with thousands of yellow-clad Maryland fans mobbing him at center court. The senior guard scored 20 points, including a tough, game-clinching floater with 37 seconds left, as the Terps upset Duke 79-72 at the Comcast Center. With what seemed like 10,000 students rooting them on, Vazquez & Co. got out to an early double-digit lead on the Blue Devils, only to that lead evaporate just after halftime. Duke led by three with 5:25 to play, but Maryland pulled away after that thanks to some clutch shots from Vasquez and six straight free throws down the stretch. The win moved the Terps into a tie with the Blue Devils atop the ACC standings at 12-3, and seed-wise, it will move them to the top of the 5 line in our bracket on Friday. The Terps would be even higher than that if they had more of an OOC resume, but they can still crack the 4 line if they make the ACC final. Duke will remain on the end of the 1 line on Friday, even with the loss, because they are more deserving than the teams below them. Kansas State proved it wasn’t worthy of a 1 seed right now with their blowout loss at Kansas, and Purdue is stuck on the 2 line because of Robbie Hummel’s injury.

Normally, we’d give the Maryland court rush a grade, but it wasn’t really a rush. There were so many students there, and they were so close to the court at the final buzzer, that it was more of a “walk onto the court” than it was a rush. There wasn’t a whole lot of running involved at all. We’ll give the students this, though – they were ridiculously load throughout the game, the court got completely covered in about a split second, and the rush looked pretty sweet (especially with all the yellow) on TV when it was all done. Cameron Crazies who?

Kansas may have fallen out of the #1 spot in the polls, but they are still pretty safe as the #1 overall seed in the bracket. The Jayhawks never trailed against Kansas State on Wednesday night, and they pulled away in the second half to win 82-65 and clinch the Big XII regular season title. Xavier Henry led the Jayhawks with 19 points, while Sherron Collins added 17 as Kansas shot 51% as a team. The loss for Kansas State puts to rest any talk of them getting a 1 seed, but the Wildcats are still very safe on the 2 line. They have a top 10 RPI, seven Top 50 wins, and will likely finish 12-4 in conference play. Their focus can now turn to the Big XII tourney, as they try to figure out a way to beat the Jayhawks should they face off again in the final.

At this rate, the selection committee might hold it against Notre Dame if Luke Harangody comes back. The Irish won their third straight game without their injured All-American on Wednesday night, beating UConn 58-50 in a battle of the two teams fighting for the Big East’s eighth and final bid. Tory Jackson scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half to lead Notre Dame, who improved to 9-8 in the Big East with the victory. We had the Irish in – over UConn – as the eighth Big East bid this week, and with the way they are playing right now, it’s hard to see them not making the tournament. They can lock up a bid with a win at Marquette on Saturday, but even with a loss, one Big East tourney win might be enough to get them in given what they’ve done the last 10 days. UConn, meanwhile, will need a minor miracle to get in at this point. The Huskies were absolutely awful offensively on Tuesday night, missing 11 straight shots in one first-half stretch, and scoring two points in one nine-minute span that straddled halftime. They shot just 35 percent from the field for the game, and Stanley Robinson finished just 2-of-4 from the floor and scored six points. The Huskies’ only hope for a bid at this point is to win at South Florida this weekend and then to win three games in the Big East tournament. Their first round game won’t help their resume at all, and their second round game won’t be against a real marquee team either. They need one more marquee win to get a bid, and a trip to the semifinals is the only way they’re going to get that.

It was not a good night for two teams barely hanging on to spots in our bracket. Mississippi State was unable to pull off a second straight SEC road win and fell 89-80 at Auburn, and UAB, who came in on a four-game win streak, lost at home to Memphis. Both losses are potential resume-killers, but UAB’s loss is definitely worse. The Blazers now have two losses to Memphis on their resume, they are in third place in C-USA, and they have to play at UTEP on Saturday in a game we don’t see them winning. That would give them an 0-4 record against the top two C-USA teams, with only an OOC win over Butler to fall back on. All of those negatives added together will land the Blazers on the outside looking in at our Friday field, and they’ll need to beat UTEP to be back in on Monday. Mississippi State might still be in the bracket, but that’s only because we think they will win at home against Tennessee this weekend. The Bulldogs have been poor on the road, but they’ve only lost one conference home game – to Kentucky in OT back on Feb. 16. If they lose to the Vols, they’ll be out, and they'll need a trip to the SEC final to make up for the fact that they still - amazingly - have just one Top 50 win on the year (Old Dominion).

The A-10 bubble battle of the night wasn't much of a battle at all. Rhode Island ran away from Charlotte in the second half, as they outscored them by 20 in an 80-58 win. The win makes the Rams the clear-cut favorite for the fourth bid out of the A-10 for the time being. Now they must win on the road (something they haven't done in the last three tries) against UMass this weekend to get to 10-6 in conference. The Rams will likely end up with the 5 seed in the conference tourney, and two wins (against a bottom feeder and against Saint Louis) will probably get them a bid, while a trip to the A-10 final would make them a lock. Charlotte, on the other hand, has now lost five of six and will need a win against Richmond this weekend to even get back into the discussion.

Hey, Wake Forest - welcome to the bubble. Just a few weeks ago, Wake was sitting pretty on the 3 line and was in the thick of the ACC title race, but that certainly seems like a long time ago. The Demon Deacons have now lost four in a row after their 51-47 loss at Florida State, and they are in danger of finishing 8-8 in conference if they cannot beat Clemson at home this weekend. At that point, they would be squarely on the bubble heading into the ACC tourney, regardless of all their big OOC wins. On the flip side, Florida State fans can sleep a little bit easier tonight. We won't go as far as to call FSU a lock yet, but if they can win at Miami this weekend, they will be. Then the discussion can turn back to what kind of seed the 'Noles can climb to with a deep ACC tourney run.

Of note: Texas A&M beat Oklahoma State at home; Temple won at Saint Louis; Virginia Tech beat N.C. State at home; Kentucky won at Georgia; Purdue beat Indiana at home; Wisconsin beat Iowa at home; Tennessee beat Arkansas at home; New Mexico beat TCU at home; BYU won at Utah; San Diego State beat Colorado State at home; Xavier won at Fordham.

Patriot League Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Lehigh beat No. 8 Army; No. 7 Holy Cross upset No. 2 Bucknell; No. 3 Lafayette beat No. 6 Colgate; No. 4 American beat No. 5 Navy.

Atlantic Sun Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 8 Kennesaw State upset No. 1 Lipscomb; No. 2 Jacksonville beat No. 7 North Florida.


AG said...

And to think, Gary Williams job was in jeopardy last year. Then his team bounced back to make the tournament, win their first round game, and now have a shot at an ACC title this year. He truly is a special coach.

SamENole said...

I normally agree with 99% of everything you guys have to say but I just don't get how Mississippi St. can be even remotely close to being in the field right now, even with a win over Tennessee. It seems to me like they'd need to beat Tennessee and to get to the SEC Championship to have any chance at getting an at-large, and even that might not be enough. They now have FIVE sub-100 RPI losses and only have ONE top 50 win (2 if you assume the Tennessee win). After that they have 2 wins over Ole Miss (NIT) and then their next best is against Wright State?

Who cares if they lead the SEC West? Only 2 of the 6 teams are even in the Top 100. If you compare their resume to Auburn's last year it doesn't even come close, and Auburn missed out last year.

I realize the bubble is weak but there are clearly better options out there, Virginia Tech, Dayton, San Diego St., just to name a few. Even a team like Arizona St. who nobody even has on the bubble has a similar if not better resume than Mississippi St.

Even assuming a win against Tennessee, outside of beating Kentucky in the SEC Tourney how can you possibly justify leaving them in your field?

Bracketology 101 said...

Mississippi State is still in our field because we simply don't like any of our other options going forward. We think Virginia Tech will lose at Georgia Tech this weekend, we aren't too crazy about Dayton's chances at Richmond tonight, and SDSU (while they have two good wins) will probably need to make the MWC final to get a bid (which won't be easy.) Arizona State only has one Top 50 win as well (over SDSU), and their 10 Pac-10 wins aren't as good at Mississippi State's 10 (potential) SEC wins.

The Bulldogs will get a first round bye in the SEC tourney for winning the West, which means they only have to win one game (over let's say Florida) to make the semis. That might not be enough is there are a lot of bid-stealers, but it's easier to see that happening than it is to see the other aformentioned teams doing what they have to do to get it.

Anonymous said...

Ok, hypothetical-ing here... Say FSU and Clemson get to 10-6, and Va tech gets to 5, with Maryland, say, edging duke for the crown. if FSU gets by Va tech-Maryland and loses a close one to duke, are they a 6-7 seed?

Bracketology 101 said...

Yes, they'd be right in that range.

DavidATL said...

SamENole -- I know that it is always said that the bids are awarded by team, and not by Conference. Right. None of us really buy that. One can say they are MOSTLY awarded on a team-by-team basis. Fine. Always? No way. Do you really think that the Selection Committee is going to leave out any team from a BCS conference (which conference has won 2 NCAA titles this century), when that team (1) won a regular season division title, (2) has 20+ total wins, (3) has at least some road wins against non-horrible teams, (4) has a winning record both in- conference and out, (5) has a big-name player like Jarvis Varnado, and (6) makes the final 4 of the SEC tourney, beating another tourney team along the way? I don't care how bad they are, if they hit all of these markers, they are in.

Even assuming a loss to Tennessee this weekend, I believe Miss St. has locked the #1 SEC West position in the SEC tourney, and if they get 1 win over the #4 East team (almost certain to be FLA), they are going to get in. Sorry. Borrowing a phrase from G. Orwell's Animal Farm, all teams/conferences may be judged equally, but some are more equal than others.

Anonymous said...

I see no reason that Maryland should not be seeded the same or better than Mich St. Do you agree and if not why is Mich St ahead of Maryland on the s-curve?

mag900 said...

david, the fluff in your preamble is irrelevant (eg, the fact that an SEC team has won 2 NCs in the past century (i think you meant decade)). regarding your 6 points:

(1) a regular season division title doesn't mean much when all of the good teams are in the other division (they would come in 4th and maybe 5th if they were in the East). the same thing would apply if the BE suddenly decided to split into 2 divisions with the top 8 teams in 1 division and the bottom 8 in the other. south florida all of a sudden wouldn't be a lock because its 8-9 record puts them in 1st place of its division.
(2) 20+ wins in and of itself is meaningless. it's not how many easy wins you have -- it's how many good wins you have and they don't have many. with so many more games played today, plenty of teams get left out with 20+ wins.
(3)"some road wins against non-horrible teams" isn't exactly a defining quality. which team on the bubble doesn't have that?
(4) a winning record both in- conference and out also exactly a game changer either. which team on the bubble doesn't have a winning record outside of its conference? with unbalanced schedules, a slightly better than .500 record in conference doesn't mean much when most of the wins were against the bottom feeders. the same applies to va tech.
(5) a big name player is completely irrelevant. moreover, varnado isn't exactly a household name. we aren't talking s curry from last year.
(6) you finally hit a positive here. yes, beating another NCAAT in your conference tournament is a big plus and will no doubt be the deciding factor for at least 1 bubble team.

with all that being said, i do think that miss st will get in because its profile actually is better than the most of the mediocrity it is competing with to get the remaining 12 seeds.

DavidATL said...

Mag900 -- No argument. I totally agree with everything that you say -- or at least I should say that everything you say is correct when taken in a vacuum. Perhaps I am more cynical than you are, but you know it is going to happen. What I am saying is that there is not a vacuum. When you put all of those should-be irrelevant factors together, add in the fact that there is certainly a demonstrated bias for BCS conference teams, and then add in $$$$$, you get the SEC second round match-up w/ FLA (provided that FLA gets there, which they certainly should) as a play-in game for MissSt. Maybe not, however for FLA. I can see Florida getting in even if they lose to KY this weekend, win their first SEC tourney game and then lose to Miss.St. in the SEC quarter-finals.

I am not necessarily arguing the merits. Frankly I think that any of UConn, Seton Hall or even Cincinnati are more deserving than Miss.St. I am just arguing what has proven over the years to be reality.

For the same relatively illogical and completely cynical reasons I will be shocked if the Committee does not find a way to get 2 PAC-10 teams -- deserving or not -- as well as 7 ACC -- again, deserving or not. The SEC is going to get a minimum of 4 bids and will likely get 5. If Miss.ST. beats either TENN this weekend or FLA in the SEC tourney, they probably are dancing. Win both, and it is a certainty.

Again, all teams are judged equally, but some are more equal than others.

Jeff said...

Joey Brackets updated his bracket today...and 17-13 UConn is still in and still not on the last 4 in. I am in awe.

Bracketology 101 said...

He also moved Kansas State up to a 1 seed today - after a 17-point loss.

We're running out of things to say at this point...

mag900 said...

at least today he removed clemson from both the lock status and bubble status. is his job at all in jeopardy? does he have a day job?

Murph said...

Miss. St versus Cincinnati and Seton Hall:

Miss. State- 1-4 against probable tournament teams, signature wins are probably the 2 wins over bubble team Ole Miss; Best nonhome wins are ODU (neutral), Ole Miss, S. Carolina. Some pretty terrible losses and a noncon SOS over 200 makes their 20 wins look pretty weak.

Cincy- 2-8 against probable tourney teams, with signature wins against Maryland and Vandy at Maui in November. Besides those games, their signature wins are the sweep against bubble UConn. They have bubble wins at home against USF and ND, but losses @ UAB, USF, ND and Seton Hall. They do not have a loss against a sub-100 team.

Seton Hall- 3-8 against probable tourney teams with signature wins at home against Pitt and Louisville and at Cornell. Against the bubble teams, they have home wins against Cincy and ND, home loss against VT, and road losses against UConn and USF. They have not lost to a team not either on the bubble or safe in the tourney.

If Seton Hall wins their last two games (@ Rutgers and @ Providence), they would be .500 going into conference play. I'd project them to win those 2 and their 1st round Big East matchup. It might be hard to keep them out, considering this bubble. I don't even know about Cincinnati. They don't have any bad losses and they have more (and better) legit wins than Mississippi State. What plausible Big East scenario would give them the most teams in? Could they get 10 if ND, UConn, and Seton Hall played well in the tourney?

Anonymous said...

To Jeff:

UConn is still in as a 12 according to Joe, but now has them in under last 4 in (most likely updated it when you pointed it out).

Anonymous said...

The Mountain West Conference should get 4 in and the Pac 10 1.

Kyle said...

Regarding the Miss St. 20+ wins and BCS division title argument:

Last year, South Carolina was 21-9 and co-champions of the SEC East. They had a couple of "non-horrible" road wins, a winning record both in conference and out, and a star player in Devan Downey. They didn't get in.

The only argument there that they didn't achieve? They lost in the second round (their first game) of the SEC tournament.

So I agree with mag, the way Miss St. gets in is by getting to the SEC semis, especially with the weak bubble this year.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Palm's A-10 schools (if the season ended March 4):

4 Temple
6 Xavier
8 Richmond
9 Rhode Island
10 Dayton

Charlotte: First four out

He sure is stubborn

Anonymous said...

There's no way Palm can list Dayton and Charlotte now.

Bracketology 101 said...

We still like Miss State chances better than most other bubble teams. It's hard to argue the points people make about their resume but we really have no other viable options at this point.

Palm will eventually come around on the A-10. He tends to do this with a conferences or certain teams every year and just changes in the end when he "reevaluates things".

Anonymous said...

Thanks Murph, for considering Cincy's win against my Terps a "signature" win. But what often gets overlooked is that Maryland is a different team now than it was at the beginning of the season. Among other things, Dino Gregory wasn't playing and Jordan Williams, who's now one of the best freshman in the country (the one who posterized Jon Scheyer Wednesday night), was still getting used to college b-ball -- I don't think he dunked until January.

It looks like B101 actually watches games, unlike Palm and Lunardi, among others. I recall a few years ago that Gary Williams, when asked what he thought about being left out of Lunardi's bracket (in a year in which the Terps were selected), responded with a question of his own, something to the effect of "who is Joe Lunardi and who did he play for or coach?" He might have also said something about not paying much attention to the basketball-related opinions of a guy who wore black socks in gym class, but my recollection is a little fuzzy on that part.

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