Tag:Colorado
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:32 am
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What if....?

The only sure thing in the BCS title chase entering the second-to-last weekend of the season is chaos.  Well, and that LSU will play for the title if it finishes 13-0.

But, what if....

...Alabama beats Auburn?  Barring other upsets, Alabama is likely to play for the title too, but it's not a sure thing.  Voters could get to December 4th and decide they don't want a rematch and/or do want to reward a conference champion.  Is that likely?  It wouldn't seem so, and the only team I could imagine voters going for otherwise would be current human poll No. 6 Oklahoma State.  It's going to be tough for the Cowboys to catch Alabama with Virginia Tech and Stanford ahead of them in the polls though.

...Arkansas beats LSU?  Well, assuming Alabama beats Auburn also, the SEC West falls into a three-way tiebreaker, which in this case, would be decided by BCS standings and head-to-head.  The lowest-rated team of the three in this coming Sunday's rankings would be eliminated, and then head-to-head between the other two would decide it.

So, traditional voting patterns would indicate LSU would drop to third (he who loses last, loses worst).  That would give Alabama the division crown.  You could also make a case for ordering them Arkansas, LSU, Alabama (they beat each other, of course, but Bama's win came at home, while the others won on the road).  That would give Arkansas the West title.  I can't imagine Arkansas winning and still being third, but if that happened, LSU is still the West champion.

In any event, whichever team won would play for the BCS title as a 12-1 SEC champion.  That team's opponent is more uncertain, but it could be one of its divison foes, or again, Oklahoma State.

...Georgia wins the SEC?  I don't think it's a difficult concept to accept that the top two teams in the country could be in the same conference.  But, if that is truly the case, don't you think one of them could manage to win the league?

If the Bulldogs pull it off, expect them to shoot way up the rankings.  They might end up even being the top rated SEC team in the human polls (assuming they beat Georgia Tech this week).  In 2001, two-loss, Big 12 champion Colorado finished ahead of one-loss Nebraska in the polls, but NU ended up in the BCS title game anyway because the polls were only 25% of the formula back then.
In any event, this is the best case scenario for an Oklahoma State or Virginia Tech (if the voters still love them) to get into the title game.  I doubt very seriously that we would have two non-champion SEC teams playing for the BCS title.  However, if that does happen, Georgia still would get to go the Sugar Bowl as the SEC titlist.  That situation is the one exception to the two-team-per-conference limit.

Posted on: March 11, 2011 1:08 pm
 

Break out the Bubbly

by Jerry Palm

It's another big day for teams on the bubble and many fates may be decided.  Still, it's important not to overreact to one game, and also to keep in mind that you can't analyze one team in a vacuum.  All of these teams are to some degree dependent on what other teams do.

Boston College plays Clemson in the ACC is what many are incorrectly calling a play-in game.  The winner helps themselves and the loser hurts themselves, but it will still be possible for either or both teams to make the field or miss.

Virginia Tech may not have to beat Florida State to get in, but a neutral court win over a sure tournament team would really help their cause.

Michigan State, Penn State, Colorado and New Mexico all have a chance to knock off highly-rated teams and give themselves the kind of win that might separate themselves from other teams in contention for spots in the field.

In the SEC, Georgia plays Alabama in another proclaimed "play-in game" that isn't.  Georgia can still make the tournament with a loss, but neither team is guaranteed anything with a win.


Posted on: March 10, 2011 11:23 am
 

Hoops As Far As the Eye Can See

by Jerry Palm

Today brings a festival of hoops with a lot of important games, most of which involve teams feeling very bubbly.

Oklahoma State's at-large hopes are hanging by a thread, but the Cowboys can make a big splash today by knocking off No. 1 seed Kansas in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.  Yesterday, they eliminated Nebraska from any at-large consideration in the opening round.

Colorado survived a scare against Iowa State to keep in the hunt for as well.  They take on Kansas State today, looking to beat the Wildcats for a third time.  They probably need to.

In the ACC, Boston College and Virginia Tech get underway hoping to avoid a potentially fatal bad loss. The Eagles play Wake Forest, while the Hokies will take on Georgia Tech.

Michigan State and Penn State are in the same boat.  Those teams are each three games over .500, and that record might be hard for the committee to swallow, regardless of their schedules.  A loss today to a Big Ten bottom-feeder would probably do them in.

Tennessee and Georgia also face league also-rans in the opening round of the SEC tournament.  Again, avoiding a bad loss at this point is crucial to their chances.

If Marquette hasn't already punched their ticket, they certainly can with a win over Louisville today in the 15th round of the Big East tournament.  Or something like that.  I lose count.

One of the more interesting conference tournaments gets going in earnest today in Las Vegas.  There is a lot at stake in the Mountain West.  Colorado State and New Mexico play in the 4-5 game.  Both teams have at-large hopes, but each might need to beat BYU to make that happen.  That won't be possible for the loser.

The Cougars will spend the weekend trying to prove to the committee that they are still worthy of a high seed after the loss of Brandon Davies.  They open with last-place TCU today.

San Diego State still has just two losses this season, both to BYU, and might have a shot at a No. 1 seed if they can run the table this weekend and get some help.

And finally, Washington gets a third shot at in-state rival Washington State.  The Cougars swept the season series, and welcome Klay Thompson back to the lineup after a one-game suspension.  Washington lost three of its last four Pac 10 games, including home games to WSU and USC.

Below, Lauren Shehadi and I talk some more bubble.


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: March 1, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 6:09 pm
 

Mar. 1 Bracket - Welcome to the Madness

by Jerry Palm

There has been another change at the top of the bracket this week as the top of the field continues to play its way backwards.  BYU takes over for San Diego State on the top line for now, but may have to win out to keep it.

Of course, other contenders continue to fall away.  Texas once looked like a strong candidate for a top seed, but has lost twice since Friday's bracket.  They blew a 22-point lead at Colorado on Saturday, then Kansas State came back on them at home Monday night (although from not nearly as large a hole).  Combine that with the loss at Nebraska the previous week and it looks like the Longhorns are trying to play the whole middle of the Big 12 into the field.  That's good news for Baylor, who plays them this weekend.

The result is that the Longhorns find themselves as a 3-seed today, while Notre Dame moves up to the second line.  Both the Irish and red-hot Purdue have chances to challenge for top seeds, but probably need to win out and get help.

Meanwhile, Kansas State has won five in a row, including it's three biggest wins of the year, and has played itself right off the bubble.

Virginia Tech also picked up its biggest win so far when it beat Duke on Saturday.  Despite the screaming of the TV commentators that the Hokies are now a lock, that's not true.  They can't go on a three-game losing streak from here and expect to get in.

Arizona had a rough week in LA, losing to both USC and UCLA, and dropping into a tie with the Bruins for first place in the Pac 10.  The Wildcats have done little of substance away from home.  Their only top 50 RPI wins came over UCLA and Washington, both in Tucson.  Poll voters still love them for their gaudy record, but they look like a middle of the bracket team.

I get a lot of question about team's selection or seeding that go something like this "My team is ahead of this other team in the conference standings, so why are they seeded lower?"

The answer is that conference standings (and conference record by itself) are not at all relevant to the selection and seeding process.  Conference standings don't matter in part because so many leagues play unbalanced schedules.  Seriously -- is there anything less meaningful than the Big East standings?  And the other thing about conference performance is that it is only about two-thirds of a team's entire profile, and teams are judged on their entire body of work, not just conference play.

So, I have Old Dominion ahead of George Mason in the bracket because the Monarchs' non-conference performance makes up for a two-game deficit in the Colonial standings.  They have a non-conference wins over Xavier, Richmond, Clemson and Cleveland State.   Mason's only non-conference win of any substance came over Harvard at home.  In fact, Mason's best away-from-home win of the season came at VCU.   ODU beat both Xavier and Clemson on neutral courts.  So, I see a slight overall edge to ODU.

The extreme case of this is Alabama, which is 11-3 in the SEC at the moment and has clinched the West division title, but still isn't close to an at-large bid.  Their non-conference performance was so bad that a gaudy league record hasn't been able to wipe it away.  Of course, it doesn't help that the rest of the West stinks and that accounts for most of the Tide's conference schedule.

I'll have more in the Bubble Watch later today.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.



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: 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.


 
 
 
 
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