Tag:Michigan
Posted on: March 5, 2011 9:37 am
Edited on: March 5, 2011 10:12 am
 

Last Big Weekend

by Jerry Palm

This is the last weekend of the regular season in which just about everybody is in action.  At least four conferences will decide their automatic qualifiers, and a lot of bubble teams will be trying to help their cause.

The Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley all play their conference tournament championship games today, and the Missour Valley finishes up tomorrow.  The Ivy League could also be decided today when Princeton goes to Harvard.   If the Tigers win, they are the league champions, but if not, they must beat Penn next week to force a one-game playoff with the Crimson to be played next weekend.

This is also a very bubblicious weekend.  Is "bubblicious" a word?

In the ACC, Virginia Tech is at Clemson.   The Hokies are trying to bounce back from the loss at home to Boston College.   The Tigers have done most of their damage at home, so it's important for them to continue to defend the home floor.  ACC tournament seeding is at stake as well.  The winner earns the 4-seed and gets a bye.

Texas has another opportunity to help play a middle of the road Big 12 team into the field when it goes to Baylor today.  Among the trio trying to squeeze in (Baylor, Colorado, Nebraska), the Bears have the best road win (at Texas A&M) and the least embarassing non-conference schedule, although that isn't saying much.  Colorado and Nebraska play each other today in Boulder.

Marquette picked up arguably its worst loss of the season the other day at home against Cincinnati.   Now they travel to Seton Hall for a very important game for their tournament hopes.  If they lose again, they are 18-13 entering the Big East tournament and on a two-game skid.

There is a huge bubble game in the Big Ten as well.  Michigan State travels to Michigan trying to avenge its home loss to the Wolverines a month ago.  The winner isn't guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament, but the loser is in a world of hurt.

Colorado State can go a long way to securing a spot by winning at new league favorite San Diego State.   The Rams have a win at UNLV, but that probably isn't going to be enough by itself to claim an at-large berth.  A road win over a team like the Aztecs would look really nice on the tournament resume.

Washington State will be without star Klay Thompson when it hosts UCLA today in a vital game for its at-large chances.  Thompson has been suspended after a marijuana arrest this week.

Georgia can put the final nail in Alabama's coffin with a win in Tuscaloosa today.  The Tide have lost two in a row and would still only have very slim at-large hopes with a win.  The best thing about Georgia's tournament profile is that it has no losses outside the RPI top 50.  A win today keeps that intact.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.

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 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 1, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 4:46 pm
 

Feb. 1 Bracket - Where's Kansas?

by Jerry Palm

As I suggested the other day, there has been some shuffling throughout the bracket this week.  After all, 18 ranked teams lost at least once last week.

It starts at the top, where Duke and San Diego State have been replaced as No. 1 seeds by Pittsburgh and Texas .

Kansas , the No. 2 team in the polls this week, is still a No. 2 seed in the bracket mostly because the Jayhawks have a lot of wins, but few of any significant quality.  OK -- none of any significant quality.

They have played one team in this bracket seeded 7 or higher (the top 28 teams in the S-Curve) and lost it.  At home.  To one of the No. 1 seeds, Texas.  Until Kansas starts adding some high quality wins to their resume, it's hard to regard them as a top seed.  Although, that could happen eventually even without that.  If some of the teams ahead of them pick up any more losses, it may be hard to hold Kansas back, even without the high quality wins.

They Jayhawks are 11-0 vs teams ranked 26-100 in the RPI.  Arizona is the only top 25 win.  That's why they are a two-seed and not any lower.  Those are quite respectable numbers.  They just aren't No. 1 seed material yet.

It might be a little while before Kansas can grab some higher quality wins, provided Arizona doesn't keep improving its stock.  The Jayhawks don't play Missouri until next week and don't see Texas A&M until March.  Still, if they can avoid losing, I'm sure it won't be long before they are on the top line.

Syracuse and Michigan State continue to free fall.  The Orange losing streak has reached four straight, including a blowout loss at home to Seton Hall in the last week.  They fell a couple of lines in this week's bracket.

The Spartans have fallen even farther.  Last week, they were, wearing their white unis in a 7-10 game, but this week, they switch to green.  Coach Tom Izzo kicked G Korie Lucious off the team, and the team celebrated by losing at home to Michigan and nearly doing so to Indiana .  Michigan State has to reprove itself to the committee with its new lineup.  That was not a great start.

St. John's picked up a huge win over Duke on Sunday, but the Johnnies are far from out of the woods.  Right now, the Red Storm (also what we're calling the weather in Chicago today) is 12-8, but a look at the rest of the regular season schedule sees very few sure wins.  OK, no wins are sure, but they might only be favored three more times.  Fifteen wins won't get them in the field.  It's much more likely that they will need at least 18.

I hope you like the new format of the bracket page .  Feel free to leave comments on that page about the format (and the bracket too).  You will note that some teams are marked as being on the bubble.  In my own mind, the bubble is a lot larger than the teams I have marked, but I am going to just mark those in the most danger.  Some of those teams I marked are in the bracket as conference leaders at the moment.  I have marked them as bubble teams in the event they need at-large bids.  If a team is a double-digit seed and a conference leader, but I do not have them marked as on the bubble, then I don't think they are at-large candidates.  At least not yet.

More about the Big East, Big Ten and Conference USA below.






 
 
 
 
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