The annual race to not make the tournament, that is. Plenty of high-impact games last night – making me do a lot to fix my seed list:
Pittsburgh 58, At Marquette 51: Well… okay. So I’ve been listing Marquette as a 6-7 seed for the past few weeks, mainly on the belief that they would win all but one of their remaining games, including this one against Pitt. This loss send them backsliding. Instead of being the top of the 15 team clump mentioned in the bracket debate, the Golden Eagles are now closer to the bottom. Moreover, if they can’t beat Louisville in a couple of weeks, they may very well fall all the way out of the tournament.
Syracuse 75, At Georgetown 71: So, if you watch ESPN, you already know that Syracuse is undefeated in road and neutral site games this year, picking up such scalps Florida, Cal, UNC, West Virginia and Notre Dame. This just adds to the overly set of data that Syracuse does quite well on the road. Moreover, Syracuse only has one two tough games left – a home game against Nova, and a road game at Louisville. I think that with this win, Syracuse has assured themselves of a top 3 seed – even if they were end on a 5 game losing streak. Additionally, this loss helps resolve the logjam around the two line – Georgetown will most likely not be a two.
Vanderbilt 82, At Mississippi 78: Vanderbilt adds another win, which will help in their quest to get a 4 seed. However, the real story here is that Ole Miss is now in serious trouble. Without the Vanderbilt win, it looks like they will have only one win against the RPI top 50, and only 4 against the RPI top 100. Compare that to South Florida (2 and 8), Charlotte (4 and 4), Virginia Tech (2 and 7) or Seton Hall (2 and 7), and you see that they are in huge trouble.
At Oregon St 80, Cal 64; Southern Cal 67, At Washington 64: To those of you who think the Pac-10 is getting two bids: The Pac-10 isn’t getting two bids. The Pac-10 isn’t getting two bids. Whenever you think “Well, Cal or Washington will just tear everyone up to end the season” – remember tonight, when EVERY SINGLE UNDERDOG won. In other news, Southern Cal probably would have provided the Pac-10 with a second bid were they not ineligible for the postseason.
At Minnesota 68, Wisconsin 52: This loss probably won’t change seeding for Wisconsin. However, it does still hurt their effort to get placed in the Milwaukee pod. Assuming Kentucky is a 1 seed, they will go to Milwaukee, so Wisconsin needed to finish ahead of Purdue. I don’t see that happening. As for Minnesota – this win is key in getting back to the discussion. Now, if they can beat Purdue, or make it to the Big 10 tournament finals, they may be able to snag a bid. Until then, however, they are firmly out of the discussion.
At Loyola Marymount 74, Gonzaga 68: You may be thinking “So what? Gonzaga is still going to be a high seed, and Loyola Marymount is still way out. And you would be correct. However, Gonzaga is trying to get into a first-round site in Spokane (which they can do, because Washington State is hosting). I think they need to be a least a five seed for that to happen. When you have a resume that is built off of a November neutral site win, a gaudy win count, and a great RPI, well, you need to not lose. This loss may make the difference between a 5 seed playing in Spokane, and a 6 seed playing in New Orleans.