Tag:Washington State
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 6, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Mar. 6 Bracket - Change at Both Ends

by Jerry Palm

Saturday was a day of change in the bracket at both ends.  At the top, Duke lost to North Carolina, giving the Tar Heels the ACC regular season title.  Quick show of hands - who had UNC winning the ACC regular season back in October.  Yeah, me neither.

That loss by the Blue Devils, combined with Notre Dame's win at Connecticut, has vaulted the Irish to the top line of the bracket.  For now.  In fact, just about ever sentence of this post could end with "for now."

Purdue missed the bus to Iowa, and whoever was wearing their uniforms instead lost to Iowa.  That is costly for the Boilers.  Not only did it cost them a shot at the Big Ten regular season title, but it knocks them out of realistic contention for a No. 1 seed and -- again, for now -- out of the Chicago sub-regional.

Ohio State will go through its coronation ceremony as Big Ten champs later today, but first there is the little matter of facing Wisconsin.   The Badgers are suddenly thrust into 1-seed contention, but would have to win out.  They could have three wins over the Buckeyes if they do so.

The other big game in the Big Ten saw Michigan complete the season sweep of Michigan State.   Despite their 16-13 record, there was still room for Sparty in the bracket in one of the First Four games.  They better do something in Indianapolis though if they hope to stay there.

That may still be true of the Wolverines also.  Just because they beat MSU twice doesn't mean they are safe. 

Also, in the ACC, Clemson knocked off Virginia Tech.   That created a space at the bottom of the bracket for the Tigers, but I believe the Hokies still have a better profile.

Which brings me to today's selection/seeding lesson -- head-to-head isn't decisive.  It is possible for Michigan St to get selected and Michigan left out for for the Spartans to be higher seeded, despite the season sweep by Michigan.  Teams get judged on their entire seasons.  Not just one or two games, as in the case of head-to-head, or even two-thirds, as in the case of conference performance.

Clemson is another example.  The Tigers beat both Boston College and Virginia Tech, but both at home.  They didn't have to travel to either place.  Clemson had a better day when it played each of those teams, but has not has as good a season overall, and that is how those teams are judged.

Louisville fans have also been upset to see the Cards seeded behind Syracuse despite a win over the Orange and being ahead in the conference standings before yesterday's loss at West Virginia.   Syracuse had a much better overall profile though.

Speaking of meaningless conference standings, Alabama picked up a much-needed win over Georgia to keep it's slim at-large hopes alive.  The Tide is going to need to do some serious damage in Atlanta to have any realistic shot at an at-large bid.

Washington lost at home again late last night, this time to USC.   The Huskies will face in-state rival Washington State in the conference tournament.  The Cougars swept UW this season.

Nobody's case for seeding or selection is done yet.  The conference tournaments will certainly have a impact.  Many teams in the middle of the major conference still have a lot of work yet to do.

One more bid will go out later today.  Missouri State looks to make its first tournament appearance since 1999 when it faces sixth-seeded Indiana State in the Missouri Valley final on CBS.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.


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: January 22, 2011 9:32 am
 

Bracket Impact Games

by Jerry Palm

Everyone already has this week's big games on their radar: Texas-Kansas, Tennessee-Connecticut and Villanova-Syracuse.  Here are some other, under-the-radar games today that have potential bracket implications.

Michigan State at Purdue.  It's hard to call a game being played at the site of Gameday "under-the-radar," but this one can't be ignored.  Purdue doesn't have a quality win all year.  The Spartans are in danger of losing any realistic hope of the conference title.  Both teams need this one.  Badly.

Arizona at Washington State.  These two were in my First Four last week, and the Wildcats are coming off a loss at Washington.  They are a team with a gaudy record, but very little accomplishment.

Boston College at Florida State.  Show of hands -- who circled this on their calendars back in November as a battle for first place in the ACC?  Me neither.  Neither is a sure at-large team yet, so a win today will really help.

Cincinnati at St. John's.  The Bearcats have yet to beat a sure tournament team, and winning today wouldn't change that, but it would still be their best win of the season.

Temple at Xavier.  Temple is the A-10 favorite, but the Owls will fall two games back in the league if they don't win today.  Xavier probably needs the win more than Temple does for its tournament resume.

BYU at Colorado State.  The Cougars better not get caught looking ahead to Wednesday's San Diego State game because the Rams are coming off a win at UNLV and pushing for a spot in the field.

St. Mary's at Vanderbilt.  The Gaels have quietly climbed to 17-2.  It's been a quiet climb because their only win of note came at home over St. John's.  They haven't won a road game like this in their recent run of success, so a win today isn't just a statement to the committee, it's a statement for the program.

Oklahoma State at Baylor.  If Baylor is ever going to make a run for the NCAA tournament, and start playing to the leve of its talent, today is the day to start.  The Bears are 0-5 vs the RPI top 100.   They have a lot of catching up to do.  The Cowboys' tournament status is far from solid also, so they cannot afford to let down.

Kansas State at Texas A&M.  The Wildcats were the preseason favorite in the Big 12, but now they are just trying to hang on and get into the NCAA tournament.  They don't have a RPI top 50 win yet.  Getting one on the road today would be big.

VCU at Old Dominion.  ODU is the best at-large candidate in the Colonial, but probably needs to win the league to have a shot.  VCU and Hofstra are a game ahead of the Monarchs at the moment.

Memphis at UAB.  If C-USA is going to be a two-bid league, that second bid is coming from either Memphis or UCF.  The Tigers need to win today or those hopes are in trouble.

Creighton at Missouri State and Indiana State at Wichita State.  MSU and ISU are co-leaders in the Valley after the Sycamores beat the Bears earlier this week.  The Shockers were the preseason favorite though.  For the Valley to put two teams in the field, there probably needs to be a clear champion.  MSU probably has the best chance of getting that doesn.

Posted on: December 28, 2010 7:51 am
Edited on: December 28, 2010 10:31 am
 

Butler's Big Move

by Jerry Palm

Butler entered the Diamond Head Classic last weekend desperately hoping to come away with not just a tournament victory, but some quality wins too.

Last year at this time, the Bulldogs were 8-4 and 21st in the RPI as they were about to embark on conference play.  They won their next 20 games to finish out the regular season, but only moved up seven spots in the RPI over that stretch.  That was good enough to earn them a 5-seed in the NCAA tournament.  I think we all remember what happened after that.

This year, going into the Diamond Head Classic, the Bulldogs ranked 52nd in the RPI.  They came out of it with wins over Utah, Florida State and Washington State, and an RPI ranking of 9.  That's a remarkable move, and one that can only happen this early in the season.

The later you get in the season, the less any new opponent will impact your RPI because each new opponent is a smaller portion of your overall schedule.  Butler is now 8-4 (against D-I foes), so those three games represent 25 percent of their schedule so far.  Adding three games in February has much less impact.

Now, Butler gets to start the meat of their Horizon League schedule from the top 10 in the RPI than outside the top 50, and that's a much better place to be.  They are still lacking in the quality win department.  Butler is 0-3 vs the RPI top 50, and has no wins over sure at-large quality teams, so it's not safe to assume an at-large bid is waiting if needed.  There are only two games left on the schedule against the current RPI top 50 -- a home and home vs Cleveland State.  The Bulldogs are rooting for FSU and WSU to look good for them in March.

So, while Butler isn't out of the woods yet, their weekend in paradise gave them a much-needed boost.



 
 
 
 
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