Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

LSU pulled off a big upset last night to move up in the bubble conversation (3rd out) and knock Kentucky down a few seed lines.

Michigan State pulled off a second Big Ten overtime victory last night, over Iowa.  The win moved Sparty into a 1-seed and dropped Herky to a 9-seed.

Creighton stayed hot with a close win over St. John's, thanks to a 39-point performance from Naismith favorite Doug McDermott.

Baylor lost again (their 5th of 6 games) to move completely off the bubble.  They'll need a huge turnaround to make the field, and five top-25 games left could help.

There are a few big games to watch tonight:

  • Top ranked Arizona heads to Stanford in a tough Pac12 road game against a bubble team looking to earn a quality, resume building win.
  • Second ranked Syracuse travels to Winston-Salem to take on a Wake Forest team that's also in the bubble battle, looking for their first quality win of the season.
  • Kansas hosts Iowa State in a battle of top-25's.  Kansas certainly doesn't need another quality win for their resume, but with three unbeaten teams ahead of them, they'll likely need to win out for a chance at a #1 seed - even with their unreal SOS numbers.
This brings up an interesting scenario that I want to briefly discuss.  What if Arizona, Syracuse, and Wichita State each remain undefeated on selection Sunday...they'd obviously all get #1 seeds, but who gets the fourth?  If Kansas wins out, they'd have by far the #1 RPI, but what about Michigan State, Villanova, Florida, San Diego State, even UMass? Each of these teams has just one or two losses, compared with Kansas' four.

Unfortunately for 2014 Kansas, 2013 Duke had a very similar resume, and was given a #2 seed (#6 overall).  That marked the first time in over ten years that the #1 RPI team didn't get a #1 seed in the tournament.  Last year's Blue Devils had the #1 RPI and SOS, and just two teams with fewer losses - Zaga and Memphis.  This year's Jayhawks are #1 in RPI and SOS, but currently have 23 teams with fewer losses, and that number could easily still be in the double digits by the end of the season, even if Kansas wins out.  What I'm saying is that Kansas needs to be perfect, and get a lot of help in order to lock up a #1.  I predict that this will be a very hotly debated topic in the 2-3 weeks approaching selection Sunday.

1 seeds: Arizona, Syracuse, Wichita State, Michigan State
2 seeds: VillanovaKansas, Florida, Massachusetts
3 seeds: Wisconsin, San Diego State, Creighton, Cincinnati
4 seeds: Iowa State, Duke, Saint Louis, Pittsburgh
5 seeds: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Michigan, Gonzaga 
6 seeds: Ohio State, Louisville, UCLA, George Washington
7 seeds: New Mexico, Southern Mississippi, Texas, Virginia
8 seeds: Kentucky, VCU, Connecticut, Memphis
9 seeds: Iowa, Xavier, Missouri, Green Bay
10 seeds: Colorado, Toledo, Minnesota, Providence
11 seeds: Oregon, Indiana State, Saint Mary's, Kansas State
12 seeds: SMU, Arizona State, Florida State, Ole Miss, Richmond, California
13 seeds: North Dakota State, Belmont, Delaware, New Mexico State
14 seeds: Harvard, Stephen F Austin, Mercer, Manhattan
15 seeds: Hawaii, Georgia State, Boston University, Northern Colorado
16 seeds: North Carolina Central, Stony Brook, Bryant, Chattanooga, Radford, Southern

First Four Out: Stanford, Wake Forest, LSU, Boise State
Next Four Out: North Carolina, Saint Joseph's, Indiana, North Carolina State

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