Tag:Kansas State
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 15, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 9:09 pm
 

Feb. 15 Bracket - Movement at the Top

by Jerry Palm

Ohio State's loss at Wisconsin on Saturday and Kansas losing at Kansas State last night has caused a bit of a shakeup at the top of the bracket.   There is very little separating the teams on the top line, and not much separating them from the second line.  Here is a look at how they stand at the moment.

Pittsburgh -- The Panthers have more top 25 RPI wins than anyone (6), and four of those came away from home.  Two were last week, at West Virginia and Villanova, without their leading scorer, Ashton Gibbs.  Oddly, both of their losses have come in Pittsburgh.

Ohio St -- The Buckeyes have just one loss, the one at Wisconsin.  Everyone loses there.  The have six top 50 wins, including blowouts of Purdue and Florida.

Texas -- Leads the Big 12 and had to win at Kansas to do that.  The loss to USC is a real headscratcher, but you could argue nobody has played better the last month and a half.

San Diego State -- The Aztecs also have just one loss, which came at BYU.   They swept UNLV as part of their five top 50 wins and are 13-1 away from home.  Some even higher quality wins would be nice.

Kansas -- Like SDSU, the Jayhawks are in need of higher quality wins.  They have a neutral court win over Arizona, which is overrated (one top 50 win, home UCLA -- yawn), and beat Missouri at home among their six top 50 wins.  Kansas St is the highest rated team they have played on the road, and they got crushed.  The second-highest rated team the Jayhawks played on the road is Michigan, and they needed OT to beat the Wolverines.

BYU -- The Cougars' seven top 50 wins also includes a neutral court win over Arizona and the win over the Aztecs.  They lost to UCLA in Anaheim and at the Pit in New Mexico, where everybody loses.  Except San Diego State.

Duke -- The win over North Carolina last week was their first over a sure tournament team this season.  Their win at Miami on Sunday is their best road win of the year, after losses at St. John's and Florida State.

So, you can see, it's a pretty tight race to the finish among these seven teams.

St. John's continues to play their way up the bracket.  They beat Connecticut at home and won at Cincinnati and moved up a couple spots.  The Bearcats though are sliding, having lost three of four and with still several tough games ahead.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.

Also, the Bubble Page has been updated.

Posted on: February 14, 2011 9:51 pm
 

Injuries/Roster Issues

by Jerry Palm

Florida State beat Virginia on Saturday, but it probably didn't feel like much of a win.  The Seminoles lost their leading scorer and rebounder, Chris Singleton, to a broken foot and he will probably miss the rest of the season.

The selection committee often has to deal with issues similar to this.  The key factor with injuries, suspensions and other roster issues is whether or not the player in question will be available for the NCAA tournament.  The committee usually gives a little more weight to how that team does with the roster that's going to go to the tournament than how they did otherwise.  But only a little.

It also seems to be considered more for seeding than selections.

Sometimes, the committee doesn't have a lot to go on.  One of the most famous cases involved a player that was lost in his team's final game before the tournament.  In 2000. Cincinnati's Kenyon Martin broke his leg in the Conference USA tournament and his team lost the game in which he was injured.  Before that, the Bearcats were the No. 1 team in the country and Martin was the player-of-the-year.  The committee had virtually no time to decide what to do and nothing to go on.  Cinci hadn't played a game without Martin -- they hadn't even had a practice without him.  The decision by the committee was to make Cincinnati a 2-seed, which they felt was a compromise between what they had accomplished and what they thought of the team without Martin.  Cincinnati didn't make it out of the first weekend.

Last year, Purdue lost Robbie Hummel late in February and even though the Boilers went 4-2 after that, they clearly weren't the same team.  At the end of the season, they were still the Big Ten regular season champion and had a profile worthy of a 1-seed or 2-seed, but the committee dropped them down to a 4-seed.

The flip side of that also goes back to 2000, when Mateen Cleaves missed a few games for Michigan State, including a loss to Wright State.  The Spartans ended the season with an RPI of 13 and a profile befitting a 2-seed or maybe even a 3-seed.  The committee recognized how good they were when Cleaves played though and gave the eventual national champions a 1-seed.

Florida State isn't starting from nearly as strong of a position.  They are at best a bubble team and will need to reprove themselves to the committee as a team that is capable of playing tournament quality basketball, even without Singleton.  If a team's profile doesn't stack up well enough to get selected, it won't get picked, injury or no.  The Seminoles are a late-season slide from playing in the NIT.

Minnesota has been without Al Nolen for a few weeks now, so the Gophers are in the same hole.  They lost four straight before pounding Iowa on Sunday.

Michigan State kicked Korie Lucious off the team after the loss at Purdue, but the Spartans were dysfunctional before that.  Things haven't really improved much since, but they did beat Penn State impressively on Thursday.

Mississippi State has been without both Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney at times, but haven't done well enough with them to merit any serious consideration.

Kansas State has had a revolving door at times.  They have players who were suspended and came back, and other who have left for good.  The committee will have fun with them, perhaps.

This is just a few of the cases the committee will look at.  They will know about all roster issues.  Keep in mind though that the committee will not assume that a game lost without a key player would have been won if that player been available.  They just put a little more weight on the games that player played in their seeding decisions.

Posted on: January 22, 2011 9:32 am
 

Bracket Impact Games

by Jerry Palm

Everyone already has this week's big games on their radar: Texas-Kansas, Tennessee-Connecticut and Villanova-Syracuse.  Here are some other, under-the-radar games today that have potential bracket implications.

Michigan State at Purdue.  It's hard to call a game being played at the site of Gameday "under-the-radar," but this one can't be ignored.  Purdue doesn't have a quality win all year.  The Spartans are in danger of losing any realistic hope of the conference title.  Both teams need this one.  Badly.

Arizona at Washington State.  These two were in my First Four last week, and the Wildcats are coming off a loss at Washington.  They are a team with a gaudy record, but very little accomplishment.

Boston College at Florida State.  Show of hands -- who circled this on their calendars back in November as a battle for first place in the ACC?  Me neither.  Neither is a sure at-large team yet, so a win today will really help.

Cincinnati at St. John's.  The Bearcats have yet to beat a sure tournament team, and winning today wouldn't change that, but it would still be their best win of the season.

Temple at Xavier.  Temple is the A-10 favorite, but the Owls will fall two games back in the league if they don't win today.  Xavier probably needs the win more than Temple does for its tournament resume.

BYU at Colorado State.  The Cougars better not get caught looking ahead to Wednesday's San Diego State game because the Rams are coming off a win at UNLV and pushing for a spot in the field.

St. Mary's at Vanderbilt.  The Gaels have quietly climbed to 17-2.  It's been a quiet climb because their only win of note came at home over St. John's.  They haven't won a road game like this in their recent run of success, so a win today isn't just a statement to the committee, it's a statement for the program.

Oklahoma State at Baylor.  If Baylor is ever going to make a run for the NCAA tournament, and start playing to the leve of its talent, today is the day to start.  The Bears are 0-5 vs the RPI top 100.   They have a lot of catching up to do.  The Cowboys' tournament status is far from solid also, so they cannot afford to let down.

Kansas State at Texas A&M.  The Wildcats were the preseason favorite in the Big 12, but now they are just trying to hang on and get into the NCAA tournament.  They don't have a RPI top 50 win yet.  Getting one on the road today would be big.

VCU at Old Dominion.  ODU is the best at-large candidate in the Colonial, but probably needs to win the league to have a shot.  VCU and Hofstra are a game ahead of the Monarchs at the moment.

Memphis at UAB.  If C-USA is going to be a two-bid league, that second bid is coming from either Memphis or UCF.  The Tigers need to win today or those hopes are in trouble.

Creighton at Missouri State and Indiana State at Wichita State.  MSU and ISU are co-leaders in the Valley after the Sycamores beat the Bears earlier this week.  The Shockers were the preseason favorite though.  For the Valley to put two teams in the field, there probably needs to be a clear champion.  MSU probably has the best chance of getting that doesn.

Posted on: January 18, 2011 10:07 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 10:27 pm
 

What about Wichita St., Colorado?

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.


Posted on: December 24, 2010 9:07 am
 

Injuries and Suspensions

by Jerry Palm

One of the most common questions I get is what does the committee consider regarding injuries and suspensions.  The committee knows about all in-season roster issues each team has, and does give them some consideration.  They'll know about Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen's suspension and Gonzaga G Stephen Gray's injury, for example, and that gets taken into account.

What the committee does not do is assume that games lost due to roster issues would have been won if the roster was complete.  They will not wipe the Wildcats' loss to UNLV on Tuesday off the books.  To the committee, it's still a loss, however, as long as Pullen is available for the NCAA tournament, they will weigh the games he played in a little more heavily than those he missed.

Things like roster issues have a bigger impact on seeding than selection, and the roster going into the tournament is what matters.  There have been a couple of well-known cases over time that provide good examples.  Cincinnati was the top-rated team in the country in both the RPI and the polls going into the tournament in 2000.  Kenyon Martin broke his leg in the conference tournament though, and the Bearcats lost the game in which he got hurt.  Since Martin wasn't going to be available for the NCAA tournament, the committee knocked Cinci down to a two-seed.  That was a case where the committee had very little information about the team with it's tournament roster, since Cincinnati only played about half a game without Martin.  In a sense, they had to guess what Cincinnati might be like.

That same year, Michigan State struggled during an early part of the season when Mateen Cleaves was injured.  That stretch included a loss to Wright State.  He came back strong though, and at the end of the season, it was pretty clear that the Spartans were one of the top teams in the country, and they were rewarded with a No. 1 seed, despite being 13th in the RPI.  That is the lowest RPI for a top seeded team since I started tracking the numbers in 1994.

However, if an injury or suspension to a key player arguably causes a team to finish 16-15 that might have been 20-11 otherwise, you can safely say that team won't be playing in the NCAA tournament, whether it is back to full strength or not.  Injuries won't help a team get selected if the resume doesn't stand up.
 
 
 
 
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