What a Saturday in college hoops – and it’s February!
Four of the top eight teams on Saturday morning’s Seed List lost, two at home and two in blowout fashion on the road. Another two lost in slots 9-12, and another two in slots 13-16. Simple math equates to eight of the top 16 teams on the Seed List losing Saturday. The flip side, of course, is that eight other teams (the winners) posted signature or marquee victories on their resumes. My initial takeaways are that Florida and three Big 12 “States” benefitted most from a wild Saturday.
Florida’s win over Kentucky added an important piece to the Gators’ otherwise solid profile: a victory over a sure-fire NCAA team. Prior to Saturday, Florida had nice wins against Arkansas, Seton Hall, and Miami-FL, among others. But are you confident all of those teams will reach the final Field of 68? See bullet-point below about the Razorbacks loss at Missouri. On a related note … with South Carolina’s win over Georgia, the SEC title chase is up for grabs. Read more…
Florida State keeps piling up quality wins. After beating Duke in Tallahassee on Tuesday, the Seminoles are 4-0 in the ACC and have seven wins against the Top 50 of the RPI – the most of any team in the nation. The only remaining question is this: Can FSU take it on the road? We ask because, to date, the Seminoles only true road game has been their win at UVA. Next up, a trip to Chapel Hill. There’s also a three-game road swing at the end of January. Navigate those and FSU will be in the No. 1 seed discussion as the calendar flips to February.
No real surprise that Baylor lost at West Virginia. The margin might be a little surprising, but the Mountaineers are a tough matchup, particularly in Morgantown. We’ll see how the Bears respond. Read more…
Given what we’ve seen this season, we shouldn’t be overly surprised to find a six and ten seed in the Elite 8. We also shouldn’t be surprised to find six power-heavy teams. At various points during the 2016 campaign, Kansas, North Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Villanova all grabbed spots along the No. 1 seed line. Oregon was among the Top 8 for the better part of February and ended at No. 5 on our list. They were the final No. 1 seed on the NCAA Board, which fits the theme.
If you believe in destiny (or maybe redemption), then you embrace Notre Dame and Syracuse. The Irish needed a miraculous tip-in to beat Stephen F. Austin and a pair of late steals/turnovers to upend Wisconsin. Syracuse was undoubtedly helped by an incredible performance from Middle Tennessee that ousted Michigan State in the opening round. The Orange deserve all the credit for reaching the Regional Final; they beat the teams they faced. We can say that and still acknowledge that reaching the Elite 8 required beating a seven seed, 15 seed, and 11 seed. Good fortune is important in March.
So … heading into the Regional Finals, how would you rank the remaining eight teams? Based on what I’ve seen the past two weeks, here’s my list: Read more…
It’s fair to say that neither Syracuse nor Pittsburgh is safely in the Field of 68, which makes Wednesday’s early tip at the ACC tournament worth following. Although the Panthers won both regular season meetings against the Orange, the loser will be nervously awaiting their fate on Selection Sunday.
It’s especially timely given what we’ve seen thus far in Championship Week. As potential bubble slots disappear, the value of every win increases.
Additional bubble action on Wednesday (March 9) ..
- Washington (vs. Stanford) – The Huskies need a lengthy stay to get back in the conversation; they may need to win the Pac-12 tourney.
- Georgia Tech (vs. Clemson) – First game of the ACC tourney for the Yellow Jackets who are back in the mix after winning 5 of 6 down the stretch.
- USC (vs. UCLA) – Beating their rival may not be required, but it would certainly help ease the Trojans’ nerves. USC has lost 6 of 8 games, and a poor record away from home could become an issue.
- Oregon State (vs. Arizona State) – While overall power numbers help the Beavers, they have not beaten a tournament team away from home. Losing to ASU a second time might not be the best message to leave the Committee.
Although likely above the bubble, it would still be nice to see Texas Tech beat TCU (Big 12) and Colorado beat Washington State (Pac 12). A lot could still change between now and Saturday night.
Syracuse and Xavier are among the biggest Seed List movers as December arrives. Ahead of an exciting Big Ten-ACC Challenge, the Orange sit at No. 10 (a three-seed) and Xavier at No. 13 (top four seed).
It’s certainly been a wild couple of weeks in college hoops. We’ve already written about the Monmouth Hawks, one of several mid-majors to put notable non-conference wins on their resumes. The challenge will be maintaining momentum in the weeks and months ahead. Fast starts do not always equate to strong finishes.
It’s early, so the Seed List will continue to ebb and flow. We’ve seen unexpected slow starts from teams like Indiana, California, and LSU. Not to mention Wichita State, which has been devastated by injuries and a heap of early losses.
With such a small sample size, it’s too soon to draw lasting conclusions. But November has certainly left several power-conference teams with work to do in December. We’ll see how it plays out. As a quick reminder, SMU is not listed on the Seed List because the Mustangs are not eligible for post-season play. Enjoy another week of hoops!
It’s a bit odd to look at the Seed List (on Jan. 31) and find Syracuse, Connecticut, and Florida below the projected NCAA tournament at-large cutline – well below when it comes to the Huskies and Gators. It’s even more odd given that Florida, in particular, was projected to be a top four seed back in November.
The reasons – for all three teams – are pretty obvious. Combined, Florida (0-7), Connecticut (2-7), and Syracuse (1-3) are 3-17 against current Top 50 teams (RPI). The Gators and Huskies have had their chances and largely whiffed. Syracuse beat Iowa in November, but couldn’t sustain anything, dropping decisions to California, Michigan, and St. John’s (non of which were in the Jan. 30 bracket).
So the question becomes – can Syracuse, UConn, or Florida make a run in February? It won’t be easy. Here’s a quick look at each team’s chances … Read more…
Florida has not lost a college basketball game in almost three months. Only undefeated Wichita State owns a longer streak. So it’s no surprise that both the Gators and Shockers remain No. 1 seeds in today’s bracket. Given back-to-back losses by Syracuse, it’s also not surprising to find Florida as the top overall seed with Arizona, Wichita State, and Syracuse next in line.
If Kansas wins its remaining regular season games or wins the Big 12 Tournament next month (or both), the Selection Committee will have some difficult decisions to make about the four No. 1 seeds – assuming all finish strong. The Jayhawks have played an incredible 21 games against the RPI Top 100. That’s impressive, even if you’re not a fan of the formula. Kansas has won 15 of those games – with more Top 100 games on tap. At some point, we may also have to factor in Wisconsin or Michigan. Few teams had a better non-conference season than the Badgers. In other words, the race for No. 1 seeding is far from over.
Today’s seeding curve hit a proverbial snag at about No. 27 – which is right in the middle of the seven-seed line. From that point, until the final few teams IN, we find a glob of teams with more interesting profiles – positives, negatives, and a bunch of stuff in-between. Which basically means those spots, along with the those along the cutline, are very much in a state of flux. Unless we have a few conference tournament upsets, we could be in for a very interesting Selection Sunday.
Enjoy your week of hoops!