Tag:Dayton
Posted on: March 12, 2011 12:16 pm
 

Saturday Showdowns

by Jerry Palm

For the most part, this is the last chance for some teams to make their case to the committee.  There are a few games tomorrow that could be impactful, but most of the action is today.

Conference USA gets it started with Memphis and UTEP.  The Miners have to win to get in.  Memphis may be an at-large with a loss, so this could be a two-bid league if UTEP wins.

In the A-10, Dayton and St. Joes play a semifinal game for the right to try to steal a bid from someone tomorrow.  That bid may get stolen from Richmond if the Spiders don't beat Temple in the other semifinal.

Virginia Tech gets another shot at Duke today.  Nolan Smith may give it a go on his injured toe for the Blue Devils.  The Hokies can definitely get off the bubble with a win.  They might be in anyway.

Clemson begins the day without a top 50 RPI win, but can change that in the other ACC semifinal against North Carolina.

Penn State is in my bracket this morning, but the Nits may not be able to survive a loss to Michigan State today.

The Ivy League Tournament championship is today.  It's like the BCS - a one-game tournament between Harvard and Princeton, being played at Yale.  Neither team has at-large hopes though.

Finally, the Mountain West tournament final between BYU and San Diego State will be important to the seeding of both teams.  The Aztecs aren't out of the question as a one-seed.  BYU probably is due to their play since the injury to Brandon Davies, but they may be able to keep from being dropped too far with a win today.


Posted on: March 3, 2011 11:37 am
 

BYU Takes a Beating

by Jerry Palm

In BYU's first game without Brandon Davies, who has been dismissed from the team, New Mexico crushed them at home, and did permanent damage to the Cougars' hopes of being a No. 1 seed.  I have them as a 4-seed today, and that's not permanent.  How they finish the year, and what other teams do, will have a bearing on where the Cougars end up.

Memphis lost at East Carolina last night and continued a late-season swoon that has them out of the bracket for now.  Michigan moved into their spot.

Colorado, Dayton and Mississippi also took bad losses, finishing whatever slim at-large hopes they had.

Florida State could have clinched a spot in the field with a win at home over North Carolina, but came up just short.

And finally, Marquette lost at home to Cincinnati.   That was the Golden Eagles 12th loss, and arguably their worst.  It's not a bad loss by any means, just bad compared to their others.


Posted on: February 25, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Weekend Bubble Watch - Feb. 26 and 27

by Jerry Palm

There are great opportunities ahead for some teams on the bubble to make a strong statement that they belong in the NCAA.

Virginia Tech will try to play their way off the Seth Greenberg Memorial Bubble when they host Duke on Saturday.  The Hokies could really use a quality win, but unfortunately, the ACC doesn't provide a lot of chances for those.  You have to take advantage of the ones that present themselves.

Baylor's hopes are fading fast, but they can resurrect them with a win over Texas A&M, which would complete the season sweep of the Aggies.  The Bears are coming off a home loss to Texas Tech, so perhaps that is asking too much.

Kansas State
hopes to continue its run of good play when it hosts Missouri.   The Wildcats have breathed some life into their tournament hopes by winning five of six, including that blowout of Kansas.   A win over the Tigers would be its second over a top 50 RPI opponent.

Michigan visits Minnesota in a crucial game for both teams.  Michigan needs to beat quality teams, or at least other contenders, to pump up its tournament profile.  The Gophers just need to stop the bleeding.  They have lost six of eight since the injury to star Al Nolen.

UCLA not only has a chance to pick up a quality win when it hosts Arizona on Saturday, but the Bruins can also pull within a game of first place in the Pac 10.  UCLA's tournament resume is missing quality wins away from home.  That can't be fixed on Saturday, but every good win helps.

Alabama travels to Ole Miss, the only other top 100 RPI team in the SEC West.  The Tide cannot afford to be caught looking ahead to Tuesday night's battle at Florida.   The Rebels tournament at-large hopes appear to be dashed, but they can still play spoiler here.

Also on Saturday, St. Mary's hosts Portland.   The last time they met was also right after the Gaels played Gonzaga, and St. Mary's had a let down after a big win and got beat.   Now, they have to keep from hanging their heads after a tough loss and letting Gonzaga beat them twice.  If St. Mary's is going to hold out hope for an at-large bid, they cannot afford to lose to Portland.

Dayton has a chance to add a little zip to an otherwise bland tournament profile when they host rival Xavier in the A-10.  So far, the Flyers biggest win is over George Mason at home, and if that's all they have on selection weekend, that probably won't be enough.

And finally, Michigan State can all but punch its ticket when it hosts Purdue on Sunday.  They can also make a statement that they are back to being the Spartans we are used to seeing.


Posted on: February 25, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: February 25, 2011 11:28 am
 

Feb. 25 Bracket - Marquette Makes a Move

by Jerry Palm

Thursday night, Marquette filled a big hole in its tournament resume when it won at Connecticut.   That was Marquette's first quality road win of the season, and the first of top 100 RPI road wins they picked up on the evening.

The other came from UW Milwaukee, which won at Cleveland State and the impact was felt in other places as well.  The biggest thing it did was make a jumble of the Horizon League standings, which is important because the top seed hosts the tourament.  UWM knocked the Vikings back into a three-way tie with themselves and Butler, and assumed control of its down destiny for the top seed.  It would have been a four-way tie, but Valparaiso was upset at home by Loyola.

Butler also got a boost, and not just in the conference race.  UWM moved into the top 100 of the RPI (94th), taking two of the Bulldogs' 100+ RPI losses off the board.  That is good because Butler had five of them before that game, and historically speaking, it's virtually impossible to get an at-large bid with that many bad losses.  UWM may end up back below that line again at some point, but for now, their rise to the top of the league has erased a little bit of the problems with the Butler profile.

St. Mary's
slide continued last night with a loss at home to Gonzaga.   That forged a tie between the two for first place in the WCC.  The Gaels win my RPI tiebreaker at the moment.  During their three-game losing streak, they have fallen 25 spots in the RPI and out of the top 50.  The team that affects the most is Utah State, which is lacking wins of any substantive quality, and having St. Mary's go into a slump devalues the Aggies' best win.

Michigan State continues to climb, aided by a win at Minnesota this week.  The Gophers though are in the tank ever since the loss of Al Nolen.  I still have them hanging on by a thread, but they may not make it.  Minny has a couple of winnable games left, but you have to wonder what qualifies as "winnable" for them.

A banked three-point shot at the buzzer by Wisconsin's Josh Gasser gassed Michigan's spot in the bracket for now.  Dayton moved in, and is in a First Four game, which is played on their home court.  Yes, that's allowed.

I'll have more in the Bubble Watch later today.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.



Posted on: February 1, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2011 3:33 pm
 

The Value of Conference Standings

by Jerry Palm

I've been hearing from Duquesne fans especially, and some from Wichita State too, wondering why their teams don't get more respect in the bracket.  After all, they are co-leaders of their leagues, and in the Dukes' case, undefeated.

Conference standings used to be a mostly-reliable gauge of where teams stood amongst each other.  It used to be rare for one team in a conference to get an at-large bid over another team that finished ahead of it in its league.  Now, with bigger conferences and more unbalanced schedules, conference standings aren't as reliable as they used to be.  In fact, there may be nothing less meaningful than the Big East conference standings.  And I'm talking about at the end of the season.  Conference standings are even less useful now.

I use them to determine the conference "automatic qualifier" for my bracket projections.  After that, I hardly ever look at them.

The committee pays no attention to where a team finishes in the conference race either.  They will look at conference records and which teams they played to get to that record, just as they do with non-conference records and schedules.  In fact, non-conference schedules are more important because sometimes, teams get left out primarily for playing a weak one.

For the committee though, it's all about who you played, where you played them, and whether you won, but not so much where you finished in your conference.

So, as for Wichita State, they don't have a single win of any significant quality.  The Shockers are 0-4 vs the RPI top 100.  Until that gets a lot better, they aren't even on my board.

Duquesne is undefeated in the A-10, another league that is too big to have any reasonable balance to its conference schedule.  They have home wins over Temple and Dayton , but didn't do anything good outside the league.  They are on my board, but I think we're a couple weeks away from really finding out about the Dukes.  They play at home vs Xavier , at UMass and at Dayton in a six day stretch.  After that, ask me again about them.

See complete Bracketology coverage here .


Posted on: January 28, 2011 12:13 pm
 

Stats to Watch and the First Four

by Jerry Palm

In my 17 years of tracking the RPI and the selection process, there are a few things that I follow closely when trying to figure out which teams could get at-large bids, or at least should get consideration.

One of those is RPI top 100 wins.  No team has received an at-large bid with fewer than three.  It has taken at least four, if a team doesn't have a top 50 RPI win.  When I do mid-season brackets, I'm not necessarily looking for three, but a team isn't likely getting on my board without at least two.

So, that eliminates from consideration -- at least for the moment -- Wichita State , which doesn't have any.  Utah State wouldn't be on my board either if they weren't a conference leader.  I shake my head when I see them in the polls.  I also have UTEP off because it only has one top 100 win.

Another thing I look for is at least a .500 record vs teams in the top 200 of the RPI.  Now, I've been through three NCAA mock selection meetings, and that stat has never come up, but only two teams in the last 17 years received at-large bids without meeting that standard.  This is one that we may see slide some with three more NIT-quality teams in the field going forward.

Teams that are below .500 against the top 200 of the RPI as of this morning include Michigan State , UCLA , Cal , Marquette and Gonzaga .  The Spartans are unique in that they have not played a game against teams ranked 101-200, so they are 7-8 vs the top 100 RPI teams, and also against the top 200.

Finally, you may have noticed that Dayton is right on the fence when it comes to the bracket.  It's possible that the Flyers could be one of the last four teams in.  If that happens, the committee has said that they are eligible to play in the First Four, even though those games are played on Dayton's home floor.  I'm almost never skeptical when it comes to the committee, but I'll believe that one when I see it.

Posted on: January 11, 2011 4:39 pm
 

New Bracket

by Jerry Palm

This week's bracket is posted. The No. 1 seeds are the same as last week, and will probably remain the same until someone finally knocks one of them off.

Butler is no longer part of the First Four.  They are in the field as the Horizon league leader.  Cleveland State is part of that instead after a week that saw them fall to both the Bulldogs and Valparaiso.

The A-10 is just a one-bid league, although I suspect that by the time we get to March, that will change.  The Big East checks in with 11 teams (welcome Marquette), but I doubt very seriously that all 11 can qualify.

Cincinnati and UCF suffered their first losses of the season this week, and dropped some in the bracket.  The Bearcats are still not a top 50 RPI team.  Dayton dropping off the bracket hurt Cinci as well.

Memphis went from ranked last week (although they shouldn't have been) to off the bracket this week.

Purdue remains a tough team to seed.  The Boilers rank 8th in the polls, but still have yet to play a top 50 RPI team.  That will change when they play at Minnesota and West Virginia this week.  Minnesota is where Robbie Hummel tore his ACL last year, so Purdue is probably hoping just to get out of there in one piece.

Posted on: January 1, 2011 10:53 am
Edited on: January 1, 2011 9:54 pm
 

Undefeated, but are they worthy?

by Jerry Palm

There are still seven undefeated teams in division I-A as we enter 2011, but two of them are considered longshots by most to even make the NCAA tournament.

UCF is intriguing.  They are actually in the top 20 of the RPI and even ahead of Ohio State, but as they enter Conference USA play, that number has likely peaked.  The Knights played an average non-conference schedule that has one sure quality win -- over Florida.  They also beat Miami and South Florida.

Many people dismiss them because they figure that Memphis is still the overwhelming team to beat in the league, but I think they have set themselves up for a possbile at-large bid if they can perform well in the league.

Cincinnati, which is 14-0 and has two Big East wins already, is way down at 69th in the RPI this morning.  That's a stunning number.  I've been tracking RPI since 1993-94 and could not find a 14-0 team that far down.  The last undefeated team on New Year's Day that far down in the rankings was Texas A&M in 2006 (95th at 10-0).

You have to play a pretty wretched schedule to be 69th at 14-0.  The Bearcats played the 10th worst non-conference schedule, and they played most of those games at home.  So far, they have played only one RPI top 100 team (No. 62 Dayton) and just six that rank better than 250th.

When you play a schedule like that, you are basically saying that you intend to make your case for the tournament in conference.  That means not just muddling through, but doing very well.  Cincinnati probably needs at least 12 wins, and even that may not do it for them.  They cannot afford to be anywhere near the bottom of the at-large pool with a non-conference schedule that bad.


 
 
 
 
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