Around the Rim: Bruins, Gators hit hard
Ahead of our next Bracketology update later today, a few quick hitters and observations from the weekend …
Florida was by no means a lock for the NCAA’s but the loss at Georgia (RPI No. 193) will sting. Overall the Gators have lost three of four and sit a game behind the three SEC East leaders. Of equal concern, Florida is just 2-4 vs. Top 50 RPI teams and their non-conference SOS of 229 wont’ help. They do have a solid neutral court win over Washington. Tonight, the Gators will be added to the bubble teams in Bubble Banter.
UCLA is playing its way out of a protected seed. You’ll notice this in today’s bracket update. Much of the year, we’ve given more weight to UCLA’s expectation than overall performance. But the Bruins have virtually nothing out of conference to lean on and their solid league wins have been at home.
Meanwhile, Arizona has played its way back into NCAA consideration by taking advantage of a trip through Oregon and a home sweep of SoCal. If they can survive the next three on the road, the once-hurting Wildcats will be in good shape again for the NCAA Tournament.
Duke has lost three of four and fallen two games off the pace in the ACC. All this really means is a potential seeding hit if the slide continues. The overall resume is still very strong (7-3 vs. the Top 50). When the Blue Devils don’t make a lot of 3-pointers or force turnovers, they struggle against physical competition.
North Carolina’s back-to-back road wins at Duke and Miami make it even more likely the Tar Heels will remain a No. 1 seed next month.
Northwestern’s two lost opportunities at home (Illinois, Michigan) has bumped the Wildcats off the bubble for now.
Minnesota has lost three of our on its tough stretch (4 of 5 on the road). Following a trip to Michigan, the Gophers have three of four at home to close. At 7-6 in the Big 10, Minnesota has put some added pressure on itself to finish strong. The early win over Louisville is a plus.
Dayton had a good week, beating rival Xavier at home. But the injury bug has struck the Flyers again. Rob Lowery, the teams third-leading scorer, will miss the rest of the season. He was averaging 7.5 ppg.
Thoughts? Send me a rebound – Dave the Bracketguy.