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At-large hopes: Impact of non-conference SOS

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For many at-large hopefuls, non-conference strength of schedule (SOS) will be a key NCAA selection point in March.  Case in point: Virginia Tech of 2010.  It matters because teams have a certain amount of control over who and where they play.  Choose to take a month (or more) off and the Selection Committee may choose to send a message.  Through games played Friday, December 10, several teams – Louisville and Mississippi State are two – have yet to leave their own building.  And in Mississippi State’s case, the Bulldogs lost to Florida Atlantic – making an SEC recovery that much more important.

So which teams may feel the impact of an early weak non-conference SOS?  Below are some potential at-large hopefuls who have a non-conference SOS ranked 200 or worse – through December 10.  SOS data comes from CollegeRPI.com

  • Alabama (No. 332)
  • Northwestern (324)
  • Mississippi State (305)
  • Colorado (291)
  • Cincinnati (283)
  • Marquette (262)
  • New Mexico (258)
  • Indiana (243)
  • Texas A-M (233)
  • Oklahoma State (217)
  • Arizona (212)
  • Florida State (210)

Some of these rankings may improve (or worsen) depending on the rest of a team’s pre-conference schedule.  For teams in BCS leagues, enough high RPI games remain to overcome a weak non-conference NCAA resume.  Other than perhaps Arizona, however, none of the teams above figure to contend for a conference title – meaning an at-large bid will be needed.  Will November and early December prove costly?  Only time will tell.

Rebounds (comments) welcome.  E-mail at bracketville.hoops@gmail.com or follow on Twitter at BracketguyDave.

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