Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wednesday Evening Update

A quick update on yesterday's games as we all get settled in for a big Wednesday evening of action:

NC State 73, Virginia Tech 63

NC State moves one win closer to an at-large bid, while Virginia Tech stumbles yet again. The Wolfpack move the RPI inside the Top 40, and that 9-5 record against the RPI Top 100 looks very good. The 4-4 record against the ACC is solid, although they need to find a way to get up over .500 before the year ends. A big downside for the Wolfpack, however, are the other computer numbers. Sagarin gives them a PREDICTOR of 93rd and Pomeroy puts them 85th overall. Those numbers will jump up if the Wolfpack can get up to 10-6 in the ACC. If they're 9-7 it's not clear where those computer numbers will end up. Those losses to New Orleans and East Carolina will continue to weigh heavily. Va Tech actually gets better computer numbers than NC State, with a position of 54th in Pomeroy and 65th in Sagarin. The real problem is the 0-4 record against the RPI Top 50. They can't get a bid unless they get a big win. They could really use a win over Miami this weekend, because their other remaining RPI Top 50 games are not nearly as winnable (at UNC, at Clemson).

Providence 79, Depaul 65
Randall Hanke had his best performance of the season as the Friars were hitting shots from all over the court at a high rate. In all they hit 56% from the field, 54% from behind the arc and 84% from the line. If it wasn't for 20 turnovers, the margin of victory would have been even larger. At 4-6 in the Big East, the Friars are still on the outside looking in. But this was a must-win as far as staying in the bubble discussion. They've been through a tough schedule that is only getting tougher, and have avoided any real bad losses. Unfortunately, the fact is that they're going to need to pull off a big upset or two if they're going to get to the 9-9 Big East record that would be required for them to even be in the discussion on Selection Sunday. I think they actually have to get to 10-8 for an at-large, which is just very unlikely when you look at all of the tough games they have left to play. As for Depaul, their at-large hopes are pretty much over. This makes their 13th loss, so even with a strong finish they'll still be lucky to crack .500 overall. You can't get an at-large bid with that kind of a record.

Southern Miss 93, UAB 85, 2OT
A heart-breaking loss for a UAB team that was sneaking up on an at-large bid. The problem is that there just aren't a lot of good losses in Conference USA, and UAB doesn't have any solid out-of-conference wins to brag about. They are still 5-2 in the conference, but the RPI is now out of the Top 80. And the 14-4 record against teams with an RPI worse than 100 is really poor. At this point, they really need a win over Memphis and a nearly perfect record the rest of the way in order to get an at-large bid.

Creighton 74, Northern Iowa 50
P'Allen Stinnett is quickly turning into a new star in the Missouri Valley, and led the Bluejays with 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting. The team as a whole hit 9-for-16 from three-point land, to more or less put the nail in the coffin of Northern Iowa's Tournament hopes. Creighton, meanwhile, continues to duel with Illinois State for the second Tournament bid out of the Valley. The Bluejays are only third in the conference standings at 7-5, but the overall numbers are pretty solid. Sagarin gives them a slight lead over Illinois State (47th to 51st), as does Pomeroy (52nd to 59th). Illinois State has the tiniest of leads in the RPI, but all in all it's probably going to come down to the head-to-head battles. Illinois State pulled the big upset at the Qwest Center back in December, and so Creighton probably needs to win at Redbird Arena in a few weeks. It will be hard for them to overcome a season sweep, unless they really impress in their other games.

No comments: