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Bracket Bits: Colonial turnovers and a busy weekend

BRACKET BITS

One the night college football decides its champion based on polls and computers, we make some quick hoop updates and celebrate that the NCAA basketball championship is settled by a tournament.  On that note …

Colonial turnovers … losses by William & Mary and Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) created a turnover on the Colonial’s hope of a multi-bid March.  By dropping a game at Drexel, VCU finds itself at 1-3 in CAA play.  Despite wins over Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Richmond, the Rams now face an uphill battle to reclaim a spot in the CAA title chase.  The Tribe – which lost in OT at home to NC-Wilmington – can stay in the hunt for an at-large bid by avoiding further bad losses and putting together a strong CAA performance.  Elsewhere …

In the Missouri Valley … Northern Iowa continues its push toward the NCAAs – dominating a road game at Southern Illinois, one of the toughest venues in the MVC.  Wichita State improved it’s position by winning at Missouri State.  Shockers’ concern?  Their best non-conference win is at home vs. Texas Tech.  Illinois State will be hampered by another poor non-conference strength of schedule (currently No. 229).

In the Mountain West … Four teams currently rank in the Top 40 of the RPI: New Mexico (10), BYU (28), San Diego State (32), and UNLV (40).  That’s good news if those four separate themselves at the top of the standings.  With every other team ranked below 100, parity is not something MTW teams want to see.  Of the leading contenders, New Mexico has the strongest non-conference profile followed by UNLV, BYU, and San Diego State.

Remembering it’s early … We’ve seen some interesting results early in conference play – with Pitt’s win at Syracuse perhaps the most notable.  By following up with a second road win at Cincinnati, the Panthers certainly improved their NCAA outlook.  At the same time, the Big East, like every other conference season, is a marathon.  Let’s not start re-shuffling contenders too soon.  Further, conference schedules are not created equal; nor are they balanced.  Good example: Illinois opened with Northwestern and Iowa at home – and now head to Indiana before another home game with Penn State.  Just because the Illini could (and should) open Big 10 play 4-0 doesn’t mean they are or will be better than Purdue if the Boilers lose at Wisconsin on Saturday.

Busy weekend ahead … If you’re a hoops fan, there’s an endless buffet of big games this weekend.  Here are some of the most notable.  See more under Schedule

  • Purdue @ Wisconsin – The Boilers can earn favored status in the Big 10 by winning at the Kohl Center.
  • Kansas State @ Missouri – Should keep the scoreboard operator busy; will Mizzou be in the Big 12 mix?
  • Florida @ Vanderbilt – Either could be a contender or pretender.
  • Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State – Both could yet be bubble teams.
  • Kansas @ Tennessee – How will Vols handle off-the-court issues against the talented Jayhawks?
  • Temple @ Rhode Island – A month ago, no one had this one circled on their calendar.
  • Virginia Tech @ North Carolina – We’ll learn a lot about the Hokies and more abouth the Heels.
  • Washington @ Arizona – Are the Huskies the Pac-10 favorite or is it all a mish-mash?

Here’s to a great weekend and continue fun on our journey to Selection Sunday.  Next bracket update will be Monday, January 11.  Stay in touch via Twitter if you like … BracketguyDave

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