Tag:Connecticut
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:23 am
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Harvard clinches bid in the library

Only in the Ivy League can a team can a team clinch a bid while sitting in the library studying for exams, but that's exactly what happened for Harvard tonight as Princeton knocked off Penn, securing the league title for the Crimson.  To celebrate, fans stormed the library in order to study together with the team.  (That may or may not be true).

Other bid winners tonight include South Dakota State, making its first appearance ever, Detroit in an upset over Valparaiso, and Western Kentucky, which fired its coach back in January and was the seventh seed in the Sun Belt.  The Hilltoppers are the first under-.500 team in the field and will almost certainly play in Dayton -- perhaps for the right to play Kentucky.

In bubble news, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Dayton and Saint Joseph's all took care of business against league bottom-feeders and avoided the bad losses that might have ended their hopes for good.

Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:45 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 3:05 pm
 

Michigan State, UConn, Xavier drop

Michigan State fell from the top line of today's bracket after last night's loss to IndianaKansas has replaced Sparty at the No. 1 seed in the West.

That was good news for Missouri.  The Tigers are now the No. 2 seed in St. Louis.  Kentucky fans may not be happy about the possibility of having to play Mizzou in St. Louis, but the committee does not care.  They want teams close to home if they can.

Connecticut's last season swoon continued with a come-from-ahead loss at Providence.  If you listen to the studio guy on TV at halftime, you would be lead to believe that the Huskies 5-11 record since New Year's was important.  It's not.  The committee has de-emphasized how a team finishes the season as a criteria, and no longer tracks such information on their team data sheets.  Teams are judged on their entire seasons, and no particular weight is given to any one portion.

That is also good news for Xavier, which blew a lead and lost at Saint Louis last night.  The Muskies really havent' been the same team since the fight with Cincinnati.  They haven't fallen out of the bracket yet, but they keep sliding toward the bottom.

UCF took a beating at Memphis last night and dropped out of the bracket.  The Knights were replaced by Texas for now.  The Longhorns play tonight against Oklahoma.

In the Big Sky, Montana beat preseason favorite Weber State to win the regular season title.  That means the Grizzlies will host the conference tournament.

The bubble watch was also updated this morning, and look for another update later on tonight.

Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:18 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 11:53 am
 

Weekend winners and losers

Here is a look at the teams that helped and hurt themselves significantly this weekend. 

Winners:

Missouri -- The big win over Kansas will be a big help in the battle to be a No. 1 seed.  Of course, those two will play again.  Maybe twice more.

Ohio State and Indiana -- Both teams picked up their first significant road wins of the season.  The Buckeyes won at Wisconsin and IU beat Purdue at Mackey.

Notre Dame -- The Irish continued their resurgance with a 76-59 pounding of Marquette, which had won seven straight.  Notre Dame's winning streak is up to four, and all four are quality wins.

Memphis -- After struggling against better non-conference foes, the Tigers picked up a big comeback win over Xavier.  That is arguably their best non-conference win.  However, the Tigers also won at Miami, a win that looks a lot better today...

Miami -- The Hurricanes won at Duke for their fourth straight win, and easily their best of the season.  It puts Miami squarely in the tournament chase.

Northwestern -- Just when you thought they were dead after losing at home to Purdue last weekend, they went to Champaign and beat Illinois yesterday.

Losers:

Seton Hall -- The freefall continues.  A 23-point loss at Connecticut is the Pirates sixth straight defeat.

Dayton -- Speaking of freefalling, it's an annual ritual for the Flyers.  Their loss to Saint Louis over the weekend was their fourth in a row.

Purdue -- Losing at home to Indiana is never good for the Boilers, but their inabilitly to defend the home floor against tournament quality opposition may send them to the NIT.

Arkansas -- Lost at LSU and still looking for its first win outside Fayetteville.

Xavier -- The Muskies lost an opportunity at Memphis and have now lost three of five with a difficult stretch of the schedule coming up soon.

Oklahoma -- The Sooners have been on thin ice at best, but a home loss to Iowa State means the climb back to tournament contention may be too big a task.

Nevada -- The Wolf Pack still leads the WAC, but a home loss to Idaho may mean they have to beat Iona in the bracket buster to resuscitate any at-large chances they may have had.



Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:18 pm
 

Feb. 1 bracket

It's February, the home stretch of the season, and today's bracket features a lot of teams going in the wrong direction.

West Virginia lost three times since the last bracket was posted, and fell six spots this week.  The Mountaineers lost at St. John's and at home to suddenly resurgent Pittsburgh, sandwiched around that controversial loss at Syracuse.

Seton Hall is also fading fast.  The Hall got off to a great start this season, but now has lost five in a row.  To make matters worse, the opponents that mark their best wins - UConn, West Virginia and Dayton - are also struggling.

The Huskies have lost three i row and five of their last seven.  The addition of Ryan Boatright should help, once he works his way into form.

It's not all bad news for the Big East, along with Pitt, Notre Dame is coming on and has crawled onto the bracket in the PIGs.  The Irish have very little margin for error though.  Despite a nice collection of wins (Syracuse at home, and at Louisville, UConn and Seton Hall), they are only 7-8 vs the top 200 teams in the RPI, and that's a very negative indicator for tournament selection.

Northwestern is stll hanging on by a thread after a loss to Purdue at home this week (a much needed win for the Boilers, by the way).  The best thing working for the Cats is that Purdue is the lowest rated team to beat them this year, and they have a couple good wins, although one of them -- Seton Hall -- looks worse every day.

Honestly, the fact that Notre Dame and Northwestern, along with Colorado State and Oklahoma, which round out the First Four, are in a bracket is reason enough to go back to the 64-team field.

Florida made the biggest move up this week by filling in a couple of holes in their tournament profile.  Their sweep of the Mississippi schools, including a win at Ole Miss, gave them two more top 50 RPI wins (three total now) and their first win of any consequence away from home.

Dropping off the bracket this week were BYU, Texas, Marshall, UCF and NC State.  Coming on were Notre Dame, Colorado State, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Saint Louis.  All ten belong in the NIT.

Dayton almost fell off too after losing twice this week, including a real head-scratcher at home to RPI No. 263 Rhode Island.

Michigan State lost more than a game to Illinois last night.  The Spartans' heart and soul, Draymond Green, limped off the floor late with an apparent knee injury.  If that is serious and causes him to miss significant time, that will be a big blow to Michigan State's chances of a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

The highest rated team in the RPI not in my bracket is No. 47 Arkansas.  The Hogs are the ultimate Home Court Hero, with a 16-1 home record.  The Hogs are 16-0 in Fayetteville, and lost to Houston in Little Rock, which the NCAA considers a home game.  They are the only team in college basketball with at least a .500 record that has yet to win off its home floor.

The next bracket will be posted on Tuesday as we move to a twice-a-week schedule.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 6:37 pm
 

Where's Cincinnati?

It's a city in the Southwest corner of Ohio, but that's not really what we're talking here.  Bearcat fans are up in arms at the omission of their team from this week's bracket.  They aren't there for a very simple reason -- they don't have much of a case.

First, let's keep in mind that he bracket was posted Wednesday morning, before Cinci won at Connecticut, so that game isn't considered.  Also, remember that the bracket is as if the tournament started then.  I'm not trying to predict what will happen in March.

Bearcat fans point out their second place position in the conference standings.  That's nice, but irrelevant.  Conference standings don't matter at all in March.  They matter even less in mid-January, when only about a third of the conference schedule has been played.

They also mention having beated two or three top 25 teams on the road.  I count one: Georgetown.  It's the only win among their 14 that is over a tournament-quality team.

In fact, the win over Georgetown is pretty much Cincinnati's entire case.

The Bearcats RPI on Wednesday morning was 101.  One Hundred One.  Do you know how bad your schedule and/or losses have to be to have a triple-digit RPI with a 14-4 record?  Only Wyoming had a better record and a worse RPI.

Cincinnati's non-conference schedule ranks 317th.  That is, to be nice, putrid.  And it's going to take more than a win over Georgetown (and UConn, for that matter) to overcome that.  They also have not one, not two, but three home losses, two of which to teams that won't sniff the tournament.  Those are the Bearcats' only conference loss (St. John's) and a loss to a denomination (Presbyterian).  And of course, they also got "zipped up" by Xavier.

So, while that win over Georgetown is nice, the Bearcats have work to do before they erase the black marks on their tournament profile.

By the way - the win over UConn bumped up Cincinnati's RPI to 85.  That's a good start.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 9:40 pm
 

Jan. 11 Bracket

A lot can change in one month, and my latest bracket shows that. Pittsburgh was in the Top 25 a month ago, now the Panthers aren’t even in the field. Louisville and Xavier were 2-seeds in December, and now are opponents in an 8-9 game. Seton Hall went from the First Four to just missing a 4-seed, and Dayton was out a month ago, but now the Flyers lead the A-10.

This bracket shows a whopping nine Big Ten teams.  It's the top-rated league in the RPI by a huge margin.  It's been eight years since a league dominated the RPI like this.  Of course, teams get bids, not conferences, but that is still an indication that the Big Ten will likely be well represented in the field.  That said, nine teams would be ridiculous come March.  Minnesota in particular is in trouble.  It doesn't seem likely the Gophers will be able to withstand the grind without Trevor Mbakwe, who is lost for the season with a knee injury.  Looking long term, other teams that need to be concerned are Purdue, Northwestern, which is still looking for its first ever tournament appearance, and suddenly, Wisconsin, which has lost its Kohl Center mojo.

Ohio State started out among the top three teams in the country, but an inability to win on the road against better teams (best away from home win: Iowa) has the Buckeyes now as a 3-seed.  They blew another game last night at Illinois, after kicking away a late lead at Illinois.  It's hard to imagine they won't come around and eventually win the league, but they need to figure out their road woes to make that happen.

Why is Florida in the top 25?  Who is voting for them?  I realize this isn't Poll Attacks (that's Gary Parrish's gig, bless his heart), but this team hasn't done a thing to anyone of substance, and especially outside of Florida.  The Gators aren't in danger of missing the tournament yet or anything like that, but they're a lot closer to 35 than 25.

If they need someonie else to vote for, how about Seton Hall?  The Hall has lost only to Syracuse (the overall No. 1) and Northwestern, while collecting wins over UConn, West Virginia and Dayton.

It's pretty easy to figure out what to do with two of the three remaining unbeaten teams.  Syracuse and Baylor top the field, and will stay there as long as they keep winning.

But what about Murray State?  The Racers have a few decent wins, but nothing that says they should compete for a very high seed.  Now in Ohio Valley conference play, they are essentially done making their case, except for taking on a bad loss or two.  Hard to see them much higher than a 3-seed, even in March, unless one of the teams they've already beaten starts to move up the charts.

With two more months to play, you can expect a lot more wild changes. Buckle up!
Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:18 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 8:59 pm
 

LSU is No. 1. Bama, WVU in BCS also

LSU's 42-10 victory over Georgia for the SEC title puts the Tigers in the BCS title game as the No. 1 team.

Alabama also clinched a BCS berth because there is no realistic scenario that would put the Tide any worse than third.  Obviously, at No. 2, they will play LSU for the championship, but even at No. 3, the Tide would automatically qualify (See Rule 6).

The loss by Georgia also helps both Michigan and TCU, as each looks to move up two spots in the rankings and qualify for BCS games (likely against each other).

West Virginia is also expected tp make the BCS after Cincinnati beat Connecticut 35-26, creating a three-way tie for the Big East championship.  The tie is broken by BCS standings, and West Virginia is projected to be the highest rated team.


Posted on: December 1, 2011 2:31 pm
 

BCS: What's left to be decided?

Technically, every BCS bid is still up for grabs as we enter the final weekend.  All six AQ conference championships will be determined, and of course, the four at-large spots.  Three teams could automatically qualify this weekend, two of them without even stepping on the field.

Starting at the top:

SEC -- LSU vs Georgia.  If LSU wins, we will get an LSU (AQ)-Alabama (automatic at-large) rematch in the BCS title game.  If Georgia wins, it will go to the Sugar Bowl unless voters move them WAY up to No. 1 or 2.  LSU and Alabama could still be 1-2, which would make them automatic at-larges and give the SEC three teams.  However, if either drops out of the top two, it will not be in a BCS game at all.

ACC -- Virginia Tech vs Clemson.  The Tigers won the first meeting 23-3 in Blacksburg, but it's the Hokies who are on a roll right now, while Clemson is just rolling over.

Big 12 -- Oklahoma at Oklahoma State.  Bedlam.  The Cowboys haven't beaten the Sooners since 2002.  A convincing win by OSU may not be convincing enough to convince voters to move them up past Alabama.  Not to mention Virginia Tech and Stanford, which are between the Cowboys and the Tide in the polls.

Pac-12 -- Oregon vs UCLA.  UCLA gets to go to bowl even if it loses to fall to 6-7.  That's a shame for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which would likely get the Bruins, and for some deserving, eligible team that stays home.

Big Ten -- Wisconsin vs Michigan State.  Sparty won the first meeting on a Hail Mary pass.  Wisconsin lost twice on that play.  The Badgers are about 30 second from playing for a shot at LSU this weekend.

Big East -- Connecticut at Cincinnati.  If the Bearcats lose, 7-5 Louisville wins the league and the Big East sends an unranked team to the BCS for the second consecutive year.  Otherwise...

Big East -- West Virginia at South Florida.  This game is on Thursday, so Cincinnati will know if its win matters for them or not.  If West Virginia wins, the Mountaineers will go to the BCS.  If West Virginia loses, then the Bearcats are BCS-bound.

At-larges:

Alabama -- If in the top two, the Tide automatically qualifies.
Stanford -- The Cardinal are currently fourth.  If they hold that spot (or move up), they too, would automatically qualify for an at-large spot.
Houston -- The Cougars will be in also if they win the C-USA title.  A loss would open the door for...
TCU -- The Frogs need a Houston loss and to crawl up two spots to get to the top 16.

Other teams that could be in the at-large pool to be selected include (depending on other results) Kansas State, Michigan, Boise State and Baylor.

Arkansas and South Carolina figure to be in the top 14, but because of the two-team limit, won't be able to be chosen.

 
 
 
 
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