by Jerry Palm
Most of the comments about this week's bracket have to do with teams I did not include: Wichita State and Colorado.
Wichita State has a huge, gaping hole in its tournament resume. The Shockers have yet to beat a top 100 RPI team. Not one. Their best win at the moment is over 112th ranked Tulsa.
History shows you need at least 3 top 100 RPI wins to get in the field, and if you only have three, you need at least one top 50 win. It's January, so expecting at least three right now might be a little much, but I don't think one is too much to ask. Teams without at least one don't even get on my board. So, the Shockers and their 42nd-ranked RPI didn't even rate a spot "on the fence."
Northwestern -- same thing.
The MVC may not give them as many chances as it normally might either. Missouri State and Northern Iowa are the only other top 100 RPI teams in the Valley at the moment.
Colorado is a different story. Quality wins aren't a problem. They beat Mizzou and Oklahoma State at home, and won at Kansas State. One of the Buffaloes' problems (prior to tonight's loss to Nebraska, which was not a factor in this week's bracket) is that they are only 5-4 against the top 200 of the RPI, which is just mediocre, and includes losses to San Francisco and New Mexico. A bigger issue is the 300th-ranked non-conference strength of schedule. If you are going to take the first two months of the season off, you have to be WAY in the bracket otherwise because even with a more bloated field, the committee is going to leave teams like that out if they can. Colorado is going to have to do very well in the conference to make up for that.