Saturday, February 21, 2009

Notre Dame Wins, Davidson Loses Again

Notre Dame 103, Providence 84
Notre Dame continues to make a plausible push for an at-large bid. They've still got a long way to go, but they're now a respectable 6-8 in the Big East, and 5-10 against the RPI Top 100. The RPI rating is going to move to up to around 60-65th, and Sagarin has them inside the Top 50. That big losing streak put a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of the Selection Committee, but they'll have a great Tournament shot if they can get back to 9-9. That obviously means beating Rutgers and St. John's, but they've also got to split the UConn and Villanova games. If they can do that then a solid Big East tournament performance would probably actually get them into the Tournament. Many pundits may have counted out Notre Dame as dead, but they're still in this thing. Things are actually more bleak for Providence, as they slip to 8-7 in the Big East and have always had a weak set of wins, and a weak strength of schedule. They will have to get to 10-8 in the Big East to be an at-large team, and that won't be easy with their remaining schedule.

#22 Butler 75, Davidson 63
A nice coming out game on national television for star Butler freshman Gordon Hayward (27 points, 9 rebounds). But I've seen Butler look much better than they did today, and they only won by so much because Stephen Curry was terrible. Having confidence is good, but somebody needs to tell Curry to stop taking fadeaway 27 footers when he's ice cold. Butler's defense was partially to blame for Curry's 2-for-13 shooting from behind the arc, but part of it was his own stubbornness. In this game Curry was much more valuable cutting to the hoop and either going up for the layup or kicking out to their other three-point shooters. If he'd been driving instead of shooting all game, Davidson might have won the game. With this loss, Davidson really needs to win the automatic bid out of the SoCon. Those casual fans who think that the Selection Committee will discount these last two games because of Curry's injury are mistaken, and do not understand how the Selection Committee operates. Davidson is 20-6, but they're 2-4 against the RPI Top 100 and their computer numbers aren't even that close to an at-large bid. To even have a chance at an at-large bid they've got to win the rest of their regular season games and then play very well in the SoCon tournament. As for Butler, this win steadies the ship after an uncharacteristic two game losing streak. They haven't completely locked up their own at-large bid yet, but they definitely would be in if the season ended now. If they can win their final two regular season games that should wrap up a Tournament bid, regardless of their Horizon tournament performance.

Miami (Fl) 69, Boston College 58
The middle of the pack in the ACC has been a mess for a few weeks now. I thought it might start to open up, but the only team to really separate itself is Florida State. Miami might have fallen off the bubble altogether if they'd lost here, but Jack McClinton wouldn't hear any of that. His 22 points led all scorers as Miami grabbed a double-digit lead early in the game and never let go. Miami is now 5-8 in the ACC with a pretty easy remaining schedule (at Virginia, at Georgia Tech, NC State). That said, they've probably got to win all of those games. It's possible for a 7-9 Miami team to make the Tournament if they have a really good ACC tournament run, but it's unlikely. They really need to win out. As for Boston College, they would probably be out of the Tournament if the season ended now. This loss drops them to 7-6 in the ACC and 8-7 against the RPI Top 100. Their RPI and Sagarin rating have both fallen out of the Top 50. They do end with a relatively easy schedule (Florida State, at NC State, Georgia Tech), but they've got to win at least two of them. If they can win all three then they'll probably in the Tournament regardless of their ACC tournament performance.


Anonymous said...

Ah, expectations...

Notre Dame:
"5-10 against the RPI Top 100"
"they're still in this thing"

Boston College:
"8-7 against the RPI Top 100"
"they would probably be out of the Tournament if the season ended now"

I see your points, but the difference in spin is hard to overlook.

On the devil's advocate side, remember how weak the bubble is right now. A team that's 8-7 against the RPI Top 100 and has two signature wins would be out of the tourney? I'm not buying that.

Jeff said...

Keep in mind that I'm giving positive/negative spin based on where these teams were yesterday. As I said, BC would be out of the Tournament if the season ended now, but they'd still be FAR closer than Notre Dame.

The point I was making was that Notre Dame would have been effectively out of the Tournament for good if they'd lost today, and they're "still in it" because of the win.

Nobody questions that BC is on the bubble right now. But with the loss today they are clearly out of the Tournament right now. But as I said, if they play well the rest of the way they'll make the Tournament.

I certainly did not mean to make it appear as if I was arguing that Notre Dame's resume is nearly as good as that of BC. It's not even close.

Anonymous said...

I understood that you saw the difference in their standing.

But I disagree that BC would be out. Georgetown is more worthy? St. Mary's? Minnesota? I wouldn't take any of those teams over BC, and that's the bubble you have to compare them with. If you look at signature wins and the record against the top 100, I don't think they match up.

Jeff said...

Well, I'm still keeping BC in the BP65, but only because I expect them to win a majority of their games the rest of the way. The thing that makes me view them as out of the Tournament at the moment is because of the really weak computer numbers.

If they win the majority of their games the rest of the way, though, I expect their computer numbers to end up good enough for them to be a Tournament.