Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Afternoon Update

#1 North Carolina 82, Florida State 70
The Tar Heels move closer to wrapping up a #1 seed, but this game was more about Florida State. This Florida State team feels a lot like their last few seasons - good players, great athletes, but always coming up a little bit short. And this team is almost definitely coming up short of the NCAA Tournament now. They finish 19-14 and 7-9 in the ACC, and both of the computer numbers are in the high-50s. Throw in an 8-12 record against the RPI Top 100, a 6-10 road/neutral record and only a 6-6 finish in their final twelve games. I won't rule it out that they could steal a Tournament bid, but I'd be very surprised. In my mind, they're out.

Virginia Tech 63, Miami (Fl) 49
A nice win by Virginia Tech to keep their Tournament hopes alive. Tech is up to 19-12, along with a solid 9-7 ACC record. The computer numbers are still in the 50s, but they now collect their first RPI Top 50 win. Overall they are 6-9 against the RPI Top 100, and have finished well with eight wins in their past twelve games. They're not in the Tournament yet, but they've got a shot if they can win one more ACC Tournament game. As for Miami, they're obviously thankful for all of the bubble chaos. They finish 22-10, with an 8-8 ACC record, an RPI of 30th and a Sagarin in the high-30s. They finish 9-8 against the RPI Top 100 (including wins against Duke and at Mississippi State), and 9-7 in road/neutral games. Ignoring the computer numbers, the rest of those numbers are decent-but-not-great. But those gaudy computer numbers are proof of the parity this season, which really benefits Miami's resume. To me, they're still likely to get into the Tournament. But they're not a lock, and they'll have to stress for another 48 hours or so.

#19 Michigan State 67, Ohio State 60

A strong performance for Ohio State, but not quite enough. You have to wonder if they were done in by that brief 45-second stretch or so where their two big guys picked up four fouls and a technical, in a very poor performance by the referees. The Buckeyes finish 19-13, including 10-8 in the Big Ten. They obviously ended the regular season with those two Top 25 wins, over Purdue and Sparty, but still end up only 6-10 against the RPI Top 100. Throw in a 5-10 road/neutral record and things aren't looking so hot. But Ohio State does benefit from the same parity that is helping teams like Miami and Texas A&M. Their RPI will end up in the high-40s, and the Sagarin will be in the low-40s, which puts them firmly in the bubble picture. They also finished 5-7 in their final twelve games, which isn't all too bad when you consider the schedule. The losses at Iowa and Michigan and the real blemishes, but Iowa was tough at home all year, and it's never too bad to lose at your arch-rivals. Ohio State will be an interesting case that we'll have to revisit as Selection Sunday gets closer.

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