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Quick Takes: Baylor strengthens profile

February 20, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Baylor exited Ames Tuesday night with a victory over Iowa State – giving the Bears a regular-season sweep of the Cyclones.  Paired with a victory over Texas Tech, a solid road record (5-4), and a combination of 11 Quad 1/2 wins. the Bears profile looks that much stronger this morning – even with those two early-season Q4 losses.

In other words, Baylor is playing its way into the Field of 68, and it would take a notable course reversal for that to change with just under four weeks until Selection Sunday.

We can’t say the same for Alabama or Nebraska this morning. Read more…

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Quick Takes: LSU delivers SEC message

February 13, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Given its 23-point second-half comeback at Louisville, Duke will steal many of the headlines and highlights today.  That’s understandable.  But there was an equally compelling road heist that occurred a few hours earlier and a few miles away in Lexington, where the LSU Tigers rallied past Kentucky at Rupp Arena.  Safe to say, it was a stunning night in the Commonwealth.

With its victory, LSU now stands at 10-1 in the SEC, having won six straight league road games in the process.  In case you were wondering, that’s pretty good.  The Tigers also have the benefit (or detriment in terms of elite wins, I suppose) of only playing Kentucky and Tennessee once during the regular season.  LSU hosts the Volunteers a week from Saturday.  It’s officially a three-horse race for the SEC crown. Read more…

Bracket Bits: Duke has inside track to East Region

February 10, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Beating Virginia for a second time gives Duke the inside track to the No. 1 Seed in the East Region – and thus a trip through Washington, DC.  The Blue Devils would have to win their opening weekend games to get there, of course, but we’re projecting here.

Saturday, the Selection Committee gave us a preview of their initial Top 16 seeds. Tennessee was 1A with Duke as play began yesterday, and the Volunteers backed up their standing by dispatching Florida in Knoxville.  No surprise, the Vols are just plain good.

Which brings us to No. 3 and No. 4 on the Seed List.  Saturday, those slots belonged, in order, to Virginia and Gonzaga – same as our Seed List.  Had Virginia won, the Cavaliers would likely be looking at the No. 1 Seed in the East Region this morning – or at least one could make a very strong case in their favor.  Saturday’s result changed the trajectory and, potentially, the geography, for both teams. Read more…

Quick Takes: What’s next for Arizona State?

February 8, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015It was an ugly night in Tempe.  There’s no other way to put it.  Arizona State lost at home to Washington State, a team that until Thursday hadn’t won a true road game, had only won a single Pac-12 game, and had a NET Rating of 230 when it arrived on ASU’s campus.

By itself, it would simply be a bad loss.  Those things happen.  The trouble for ASU is this: it wasn’t their first such hiccup.  Added together, the Sun Devils have dropped three home games to non-NCAA contenders: WSU, Utah, and Princeton.  They also have road losses to Vanderbilt and Stanford.

What’s next for Arizona State?  It’s an interesting question.  As is this: Are the Sun Devils’ wins over Kansas, Mississippi State and Utah State (in particular, as Quad 1 wins) enough to offset those warts? Read more…

Quick Takes: Road woes continue for Kansas

February 6, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Don’t adjust your rearview mirror.  What you’re looking at is actually there.  It’s just hard to believe – because we’re so used to seeing the Kansas Jayhawks leading the Big 12 parade.  But this year’s team, with its injuries and new pieces, has found their journey a bit more bumpy, especially on the road.

With its loss Tuesday night in Manhattan, KU is now 1-6 in true road games.  That’s unfamiliar territory for a program with a decades-plus worth of Big 12 trophies in its display case.  In a twist of irony, the Jayhawks lone road win came at Baylor back on January 12.  This morning, Baylor is tied with Kansas State (loss column) atop the conference race.

KU’s remaining league road games are TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma. If they want to hold onto their current odds of an opening weekend in Tulsa (NCAA tournament pod), the Jayhawks may need to win at least two of those. Read more…

Quick Takes: Carolina back in the ACC race

February 3, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Rightfully so, most Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) talk has recently centered around Duke and Virginia.  Quietly, though, North Carolina has reeled off five straight league wins, avenging their only league loss yesterday by rolling Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center.  This morning, the Tar Heels are 7-1 in the ACC and could have the inside track to a conference title.

Here’s why … With the exception of a quick road trip to Duke on February 20, UNC plays its remaining gauntlet games at home: NC State, Virginia, Florida State, and a second match-up with the Blue Devils.  Winning at Clemson is no guarantee, of course, nor is winning a home game against, say, Syracuse.  But if you take a quick glimpse through the schedule book, you can find a path for the Tar Heels to win the regular-season ACC crown.  We probably weren’t thinking that a couple of weeks ago. Read more…

Quick Takes: Arizona St holds serve, weekend bubble action

February 1, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015It took overtime, but Arizona State held off rival Arizona in Tempe on Thursday night, ending a six-game losing streak against the Wildcats.  The victory served as a Quad/Group 2 win and keeps ASU above the fray otherwise known as the Pac-12.  We’ll see how much it affects their NET rating when updates arrive today (Friday).

Elsewhere, Purdue avoided a bad loss at Penn State and Houston rallied past Temple. Then there’s Gonzaga, who put a 30-point pounding on BYU – on the road!  That’s impressive regardless of it being a down year for the Cougars. Read more…