What were the major headlines of upset Thursday?
West Virginia has a shot at a one? With Syracuse, Villanova, and Pitt all falling in short succession, West Virginia is now projected to win the Big East conference, a feat which would give them 19 top 100 wins. Only Kentucky is projected to have as many as 19. However, I believe that Duke’s 11 top 50 wins (as compared to West Virginia’s 7) will give them the nod. If Duke were to falter, then we may see two Big East one seeds. (As an aside – I started writing this halfway through the West Virginia game. I started rewriting this as Cincinnati came back. Glad I saved it.)
Conference USA goes from potential 3-bid league to 1-bid. A day which began with such promise had only one bit of good news for the 9th-best conference: UTEP is as good as advertised. UAB and Memphis, however, each fell short. Both had to work to do entering the conference tournament; those losses pop the bubbles for each. Moreover, this loss drops Memphis from the ranks of the top 50, weakening the resume of everyone in the tourney.
Bryce’s watch-list: Florida and SDSU escape; Arizona St falls. Florida, who Bryce has been keying on for a while, nearly played their way out of the tournament, before coming back and defeating Auburn. On the “not on the bubble” list from yesterday – Arizona St. fell to Stanford, destroying their hopes of the autobid and leaving Washington as the last hope of the Pac-10 conference for a second bid. San Diego St, however, outlasted the Rams of Colorado St, 76-74. In my eyes, this is a plus – all the other bracketologists will keep them in the bracket, and be shocked when they are out (like they did last year).
ACC joins in the fun. Miami beats Wake Forest, North Carolina State beats Clemson, Virginia beats Boston College. Only the 7-11 matchup (Georgia Tech/North Carolina) did not partake, but at least the Tarheels put up a fight to end their disappointing season. Incidentally, despite these upsets, not much should change by way of seeding.
What’s on tap for tomorrow?
Patriot League Championship: Lehigh vs. Lafayette. With Jackson St. losing in the SWAC tournament, the SWAC tournament champion is now a lock for the play-in game. The only question: will its opponent be Winthrop, the upset champion out of the Big South, or Lafayette, whose 11 100+ losses and 1 GAME PLAYED against the RPI top 100 (a 97-64 rout by Georgetown) will similarly condemn it to Dayton.
Dayton vs. Xavier – Speaking of Dayton… as of now, Dayton is in my last four out. Obviously, I project them to lose this game. Moreover, the teams above them can’t lose enough to put them in – they have to play themselves in. The dichotomy for the Flyers is simple: Win and you’re in, lose and you’re out.
Michigan St. vs. Minnesota – The Gophers also have the ability to play their way into the tournament tomorrow. Right now, they have 5 RPI top 100 wins, and 12 total losses. While a win here would have Minnesota right on the edge, it would also enable them to get a game against Hummel-less Purdue tomorrow with a chance to win their win in.
Wisconsin vs. Illinois – Illinois is quite similar to Minnesota, with 5 top 100 wins and 13 total losses. However, unlike Minnesota, their 5 wins come as 4 top 50 wins. With a win here, they’d have 5 – one short of the 6 top 50 wins that got Arizona in last year. With a loss, however, their arguments will fall on deaf ears.
Florida vs. Mississippi St – You may have noticed that Florida is IN as of now, despite what CJ thinks. However, his predictions relegating Florida to the NIT may (Read: Probably will) come true if Florida is unable to win here.
UTEP vs. Tulsa – At this point, it seems all but certain that UTEP will be the lone C-USA team in the tournament. However, they could still lose, as they have to face Tulsa here on their home court. Last time they played here, the Miners took it 78-70. Tulsa, however, is playing for their tournament lives. Bubble teams everywhere will be watching this game.
Tennessee vs. Mississippi – Mississippi is probably in at 6-9 against the RPI top 100. But, without a win here, they will be palpitating on Sunday. No I’m not trying to be pretentious; it just that I’m as tired as you are of hearing about teams “sweating it out”. Thought I’d use a different word.
Georgia vs. Vanderbilt – I think this Georgia team has a finals run in them. So does CJ. Obviously, this means that you should immediately go bet on the Commodores.
Rhode Island vs. St. Louis – Returning to the A-10: I think Rhode Island is in regardless of what happens here. However, if Georgia and Tulsa were to win their respective conference tournaments, and URI does not win here, then their spot will be gone. Meanwhile, some still think SLU could sneak in with a finals run. I disagree, but not vehemently. Besides, the Billikens have the Majerus-power necessary to pull off a conference tourney run.
West Virginia vs. Notre Dame – As mentioned above, a win here will keep the Mountaineers in the hunt for a 1 seed. It should also be said that an Irish win here (their 7th straight) would put them in good shape to earn a 6 seed. Seriously – a 6-3 record over the RPI top 50 (and 13 RPI top 100 wins) compares pretty favorably with Richmond. Is this the fastest rise from Bottom Half of the NIT to Top Half of the NCAA?