ATR: Championship Week hits high gear …
The regular season ended Sunday. Post-season has arrived. Championship Week hits high gear. Following are some quick takes and thoughts from Sunday and the week ahead. Our latest bracket projection will be out later today. Bubble Banter is updated through Sunday’s games. Follow results in Conference Tourneys – and look for more previews.
Finals are set in the West Coast, Southern, Northeast, MAAC, Colonial, America East, and Patriot tournaments. Championships start tonight. Ironically, the top seeds are still alive in every game. Also, the semifinals are set in the Sun Belt, Summit, and Big Sky. Again, all top seeds remain in place.
Of note, Patty Mills returned for St. Mary’s, playing 35 minutes and scoring 12 points. He was 3 of 12 from the field as the Gaels beat Portland who now play Gonzaga for the league title. Bubble teams will be rooting for the ‘Zags. If St. Mary’s wins, the WCC definitely earns two bids. No question or debate.
Davidson lost to College of Charleston in the Southern semifinals. That puts Stephen Curry and the Wildcats in the at-large pool. Right now, it appears Davidson might come up a bit short. The Wilcats’ RPI sits at 69 and they finished 1-4 vs. Top 100 teams, beating only West Virginia (without Alex Ruoff). That means 24 of the Wildcats’ wins came against teams ranked outside the Top 100.
Teams taking a hit on Sunday … Virginia Tech (lost at Florida State), and Northwestern (lost at Ohio State).
As for No. 1 seeds … North Carolina likely locked up a spot on the top line after beating Duke to win the ACC title. Pittsburgh has also put its stamp on the top line with a sweep of Connecticut and an overall outstanding season. Others in play include Connecticut, Oklahoma, Louisville, and Michigan State. Some interesting numbers about the contenders [records vs. Top 50 | Top 100]:
- Pittsburgh [ 9-2 | 16-2 ]
- North Carolina [ 5-1 | 13-3 ]
- Connecticut [ 8-3 | 16-3 ]
- Oklahoma [ 8-3 | 16-3 ]
- Louisville [ 8-2 | 14-5 ]
- Michigan State [ 12-2 | 15-5 ]
Numbers don’t take into account team names or where the games were played. Certainly, the RPI has its flaws and you can’t evaluate numbers in a vacuum. When, where, and who matter. As sometimes do scores, injuries, etc. But for those who discount Michigan State’s chance at a No. 1 seed if the Spartans win the Big 10 tournament should look at the number of Top 50 wins. Of course, those numbers can (and will) change this week. But if Oklahoma and Connecticut falter in the league tourneys, the door is open for the Cardinals and Spartans.
Have a thought? Send a Rebound. – Dave the Bracketguy.