Posted on: March 14, 2008 12:36 pm

Yesterday was a good for Arkansas and Kentucky

John Pelphrey and Billy Gillispie must've sat around Thursday loving how the day unfolded because the teams coached by those men -- Arkansas and Kentucky -- are on the top end of the bubble (if there is such a thing) and practically everybody below them lost Thursday while the Hogs and Wildcats enjoyed first-round byes in the SEC tournament.

So if both schools lose Friday, yeah, they'll drop.

But could they really drop below all the other teams that dropped Thursday?

I doubt it. And the other great thing is that pretty much every bubble team is finished building its body of work outside of Temple, Saint Joseph's, Virginia Tech and perhaps Florida State. In other words, Arkansas and Kentucky are going to have a hard time dropping below the teams that lost yesterday that were already below them and there isn't a slew of schools on the outside of the bubble charging into the weekend.

Consequently, it seems Arkansas and Kentucky are probably safe regardless of the outcomes of their Friday games.

Still, my advice is to win them if you can.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 13, 2008 3:55 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2008 4:04 pm

What to do with Villanova?

Villanova will be a tough call.

That's the best I can tell you right now.

I'll assess the situation at the end of the night, try to make sense of it then. But for now, here are the relevant numbers after Thursday's 82-63 loss to Georgetown ...

-- Villanova --

RPI: 51
Strength of schedule: 41
Record against Top 25: 2-6
Record against Top 50: 3-6
Record against Top 100: 7-9
Losses outside the Top 100: 3
Impressive victories: Connecticut, Pittsburgh, West Virginia
Embarrassing losses: at Cincinnati, at DePaul, at Rutgers
Record in last 12 games: 7-5

How does that stack up?

Honestly, it's difficult to say.

But is Villanova's body of work any worse than New Mexico's body of work?

I only ask because the Lobos are in everybody's field.

Here are their credentials ...
-- New Mexico --

Record: 24-7
RPI: 54
Strength of schedule: 151
Record against Top 25: 0-2
Record against Top 50: 1-4
Record against Top 100: 4-5
Losses outside the Top 100: 2
Impressive victories: UNLV
Embarrassing losses: at New Mexico State, at TCU
Record in last 12 games: 9-3

Like I said, Villanova will be a tough call.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Villanova
Posted on: March 12, 2008 3:26 pm

This year, Syracuse knows what's coming

At least Syracuse won't be surprised again on Selection Sunday.

That's the good news for the Orange, that Wednesday's 82-63 loss to Villanova in the first round of the Big East Championship won't leave them anxious the rest of the week while wondering whether they're in or out of the NCAA tournament. Because unless they're delusional, they must know they're out based on the premise that a  bubble team can't get run off the court by a fellow bubble team in its league tournament and expect to be viewed favorably.

So the Orange will be omitted from the bracket for the second straight season.

Last year it was kind of shocking.

But this year it won't be at all.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Syracuse
Posted on: March 12, 2008 3:21 am

Syracuse-Villanova is an elimination game

Here's what I know about Syracuse-Villanova: The loser has no shot at the NCAA tournament.

Does that mean the winner is in?

Not definitely.

That'll probably hinge on which team wins -- because I believe Syracuse (currently in my field) is in slightly better shape than Villanova (currently out of my field) heading into tip-off of Wednesday's first round game of the Big East Tournament -- and how that team then performs against Georgetown in Thursday's quarterfinals. Will a subsequent win over Georgetown be necessary to make the NCAA tournament? Not necessarily. But it wouldn't hurt. And a bad loss could be devastating. And seriously, what's better than this?

Two power programs from a power league are tipping-off at noon ET in what is essentially an elimination game for the NCAA tournament, and when it's over either Jim Boeheim or Jay Wright will make plans for the NIT. That's not a bad way to get the major conference tournaments started. So if you can take a long lunch break you might be wise to do it.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 11, 2008 2:48 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2008 3:23 am

Stanley Burrell thinks the A-10 is pathetic

Athletes always act like they don't care about awards.

And it's ridiculous.

I mean, actors care about awards, as do musicians and writers and all sorts of people from all areas of life. And we all admit it pretty openly. But for some reason athletes have been brainwashed taught to insist awards don't matter, which is why Xavier's Stanley Burrell might be my new favorite player.

Because he cares about awards.

And he doesn't mind telling you how much he cares.

For proof, I turn to Dustin Dow's story in the Cincinnati Enquirer that detailed Burrell's meltdown upon learning no Xavier players were named first team all-conference in the Atlantic 10. Here's the lead quote: "This league is pathetic," Burrell said. "We went 14-2, top 10 in the nation. Forget first team, Josh (Duncan) is probably the player of the year. You've got the best team and nobody on the first-team all-conference team? It's ridiculous. You talk about not having motivation? We got plenty now. I'm really looking forward to Atlantic City now."

Trust me, it gets better.

Here's the link.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 11, 2008 1:12 am

Make that three from the WCC

The West Coast Conference will be a three-bid league.

Crazy as it sounds, it's true.

That's the byproduct of San Diego's 69-62 win over Gonzaga in Monday night's WCC tournament title game, a victory that gave the Toreros the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament while pushing the Zags into at-large bid territory. And make no mistake, the Zags will get one of the 34 at-large bids. It's not even debatable. And because Saint Mary's' credentials are also at-large worthy -- a 24-6 record consisting of seven Top 100 victories and just one loss to an opponent that won' t make the NCAA tournament should be plenty good enough -- the nation's 14th-rated league will have three representatives in the NCAA tournament barring some major lack of reasoning.

To which I say, good for the nation's 14th-rated league.

College athletics at this level are designed to minimize the so-called little guys as much as possible via a lack off television contracts and invitations to marquee neutral site events, etc. That's why it's hard being a San Diego. Or a South Alabama. Or a Western Kentucky. Or a Saint Mary's. So if this happens to be a year when an unusual amount of non-BCS schools make the NCAA tournament based on a fluky turn of events on a wild Monday night, count me among those who has no problem with it, among those who kind of enjoyed watching the San Diego students storm the court and celebrate an achievement many high-major programs would rather them never achieve.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: San Diego
Posted on: March 10, 2008 7:28 pm

The Poll Attacks (but not really)

I don't feel like Poll Attacking today.

So I'm not going to Poll Attack today.

But if I did what I would tell you is that it's insane that Davidson is ranked, and haven't we been through this before? The Wildcats are 23rd in the AP poll and 25th in the Coaches poll -- a development that suggests the voting coaches might be slightly smarter than the voting writers, and I'm sure Bob Knight will be thrilled to hear about this revelation. I mean, seriously, do these people even take the time to put into context what Davidson has really done? It doesn't appear so, because if they did they'd realize that Davidson hasn't really done anything except beat a bunch of bad teams in its remarkably bad league.

The Southern Conference is ranked 21st out of 31 conferences at

The average RPI of the 10 members not named Davidson is 210.

Nobody not named Davidson is better than 129.

So why should anybody consider Davidson a Top 25 team based on nothing more than the fact that it has run through this bunch of junk without incident? And make no mistake, there is nothing else to base the ranking upon because not only have the Wildcats not beaten a Top 100 opponent this season, they haven't beaten a Top 100 opponent since Nov. 26, 2005 when they edged Saint Joseph's in overtime. Since then it's been 13 straight losses to Top 100 opponents, and five of those Top 100 losses have come this season. So it's not like Davidson hasn't had opportunities to notch big wins. It's just that it can't notch big wins because it's not a legitimate Top 25 team, and you'll see how correct I am when the Wildcats' seed in the NCAA tournament doesn't line up with their Top 25 ranking.

But none of that matters, really.

Because I don't feel like Poll Attacking today.

What I'd rather do is get you up to date on what's going to be happening here this week.

The first thing you need to know is that I'm going to update the Projecting the Field and Projecting the Seeds every morning through Selection Sunday. It's that time of the year. I'll keep you informed as best I can. On Tuesday, I'll present the Conference Awards, where I'll name the Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year from the top 16 leagues. Then on Wednesday, I'll present the National Awards, where I'll name the National Player of the Year, National Freshman of the Year and National Coach of the Year -- along with the All-America and Freshman All-America teams. And while I'm doing all this I'll also be filing our annual Gettin' In reports that are basically a form of the Monday Look Back you see every Monday throughout the season, only real difference being that they will be filed every night starting Wednesday night (and none of them will have the word "Monday" in the title).

Anyway, that's that.

It should be a busy week.

So let me get back to work now.

And don't forget what I told you about Davidson.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 9, 2008 2:14 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2008 5:02 pm

Doubting Kentucky can make a man look stupid

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Congratulations, Kentucky Wildcats.

You will be included in the next Projecting the Field when I update late Sunday/early Monday, and let me go ahead and apologize for being among the last to come around and reward you for your turnaround. I doubted you for a while because I couldn't get past how terrible you were in November, December and early January. Then you got better. But I still doubted you because your best player (Patrick Patterson) went down with a season-ending injury. That was reasonable of me, I think. But even if you disagree it doesn't matter anymore, because the way you've responded minus Patterson has been convincing enough to ensure we are now in total agreement, that playing Tennessee tight before winning at South Carolina and beating Florida to improve to 18-11 overall and -- this is the important part -- 12-4 in the SEC is sufficient for inclusion to the NCAA tournament.

Honestly, I'm not sure how you got this thing turned around.

But make no mistake, you got this thing turned around.

So congratulations, Kentucky Wildcats.

Ashley Judd should be proud.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Kentucky
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