Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 1, 2016

With tournament month finally upon us, I'd like to take a look at a few important games down the stretch run to the major conference tournaments.  With two leagues starting postseason play today, we will have 11 or 12 tournament tickets punched in a week's time, depending on possible Princeton-Yale tie-breaker game.

Here are a few teams who stand the most to gain and most to lose in the remaining regular season games.

Most to gain:
  • Baylor - remaining games @ #6 Oklahoma & vs. #13 West Virginia.  With just eight losses on the season, Baylor has very little to lose in these games.  Worst case scenario they may slide to a low-5 or high-6 seed with two non-competitive losses.  If they can win either game, however, they should effectively lock up a 4-seed, and winning both would push them into a 3-seed and in the discussion for a 2-line, depending on how they fare in the Big12 tourney.
  • Indiana - remaining games @ #21 Iowa & vs. #10 Maryland.  Despite Indiana's solid record, they're being held back by a low #92 SOS, and a few poor losses (Wake Forest, UNLV, Penn State).  Their remaining games give significant lift to the SOS, by at least ten spots, and do not offer an opportunity for an additional bad loss.  A win in either game would boost Indiana to a #6, and winning both may push them up to a 5-seed.  The Hoosiers record and remaining schedule gives them a high-ceiling, despite their existing resume blemishes.
  • Colorado - remaining game @ #8 Utah.  The Buffalos are a lock for the tourney with a solid resume, with a worst case 9-seed given a loss to Utah and first-round Pac12 knockout.  A win in their regular season finale would give them a significant boost to their strength of victory, and may bump them to a 5-seed.

Most to lose:
  • Wisconsin - remaining games @ #239 Minnesota & @ #18 Purdue.  Despite an otherwise top-5 seed resume, the Badgers' resume includes an alarming 5 losses outside the top-100 on their resume.  A loss in Minneapolis on Wednesday would be a sixth. I'm not saying it would be a death blow to their tournament hopes, but it would put them back onto the bubble from whence they recently rose above.  A 5-7 seed in the conference tournament would mean yet another game against a sub-100 RPI opponent and therefore another opportunity for a resume blemish.
  • To be continued...

1's: Kansas, Villanova, Oklahoma, Oregon
2's: Virginia, Xavier, Michigan State, Utah
3's: Miami (FL), West Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland
4's: California, Iowa State, Duke, Baylor
5's: Texas A&M, Texas, Purdue, Iowa
6's: Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, Texas Tech

7's: Oregon State, Notre Dame, Indiana, Seton Hall
8's: Saint Joseph's, Dayton, USC, Connecticut
9's: South Carolina, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, Michigan
10's: Cincinnati, Tulsa, Vanderbilt, Florida

11's: Butler, Stanford, Alabama, Syracuse, Wichita State, San Diego State
12's: Saint Mary's College, Arkansas-Little Rock, Princeton, Monmouth
13's: Valparaiso, Hofstra, Chattanooga, UC Irvine
14's: Stony Brook, UAB, South Dakota State, Stephen F. Austin
15's: Akron, Belmont, New Mexico State, Winthrop
16's: Weber State, North Florida, Bucknell, Hampton, Wagner, Texas Southern

FFO: Temple, Saint Bonaventure, Providence, George Washington

NFO: Virginia Commonwealth, Washington, Florida State, Georgia Tech

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