Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kansas Blows The 1 Seed; Kentucky Still Hanging Around

Baylor 71, #11 Kansas 64
With everything else that has gone on around the nation, Kansas would have been basically assured of a 1 seed if they had won the Big 12 tournament. But they can forget about that now. I think the way that Kansas finished this season is going to have a lot of people questioning whether they can make a Final Four run. They are very young, and their Big 12 title is a little tainted by the fact that they avoided Blake Griffin, and they only beat Missouri and Texas at home (where they went 18-0 during the season). They went 7-7 in road/neutral games, with one of those being over the Griffin-less Oklahoma team. Their other best road/neutral win was over Washington back in November, but that was played in Kansas City, so it's not like it was really a true neutral game. That said, they're likely going to get a 3 seed, and any Kansas fan would have taken that in a moment if it was offered back in November. Bill Self did probably the best coaching job of his career, and just getting this far makes the season a success.

Kentucky 71, Mississippi 58
After four straight losses to fall to 8-8 in the SEC, nobody had any doubt that Kentucky needed this win to have a shot at the NCAA Tournament. This win won't get them into the Dance, but they stay alive for another day. They're up to 20-12, but only 11-12 against the RPI Top 200. They have wins over West Virginia, Tennessee (twice) and Florida, but they also have losses to VMI and Georgia. The RPI is an atrocious 74th, although Sagarin has them up around 60th. They now have an essential game against LSU tomorrow afternoon. A loss and they're out of the Tournament. A win and they'll be a serious bubble team on Selection Sunday, but they still might get left out. It will depend how the rest of the bubble plays out. If they win tomorrow then I'll discuss tomorrow evening where I think they stand based on the rest of the games played between now and now.

Virginia Tech 65, Miami (Fl) 47

Miami had survived an elimination game on Saturday against NC State, and they had another elimination game here. But this time, they were the ones being eliminated. A big 14-0 run blew this game open, and sentenced Miami to an almost certain NIT bid. Miami finishes 18-12 with a 6-10 record against the RPI Top 100. They have a win over Wake Forest, but also losses to NC State and Georgia Tech. With a 6-8 record in road/neutral games and only a 4-8 record in their final 12 games, that's just not going to be enough. As for Virginia Tech, I don't think there were any doubts that they wouldn't have made the Tournament if they'd lost here, but there is a question whether they now need to beat North Carolina. Here are the stats: 18-13 overall, 6-10 against the RPI Top 100 and 13-13 against the RPI Top 200. They beat Wake Forest and Clemson, but also lost to Seton Hall, Virginia and Georgia. Like Miami they are 4-8 over their last 12 games. I just don't see any chance of them getting into the Tournament with a loss tomorrow. In fact, I can see a scenario where they beat North Carolina and still don't make the Tournament. But that's something to worry about if they win tomorrow. Virginia Tech has a history of big upsets under Seth Greenberg, and they're going to need at least one more this season.

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