Saturday, March 07, 2009

Kentucky And NC State Are Effectively Eliminated

Florida 60, Kentucky 53
Kentucky actually played fairly well in this game, but it was always going to be very tough to knock off Florida on Senior Night. And unfortunately that loss to Georgia had made this into a must win game that Kentucky did not win. Kentucky has now lost four straight games to finish the season 8-8 in a bad SEC, with an 11-12 record against the RPI Top 200 and an RPI of 80th. I hesitate to say that they can't make the Tournament as an at-large because they could have a case if they make it all the way to the SEC finals. But anything short of that and they're heading to the NIT. As for Florida, they weren't in quite as dire of a situation as Kentucky heading into this one, but they sure are thankful that they could pull out the victory. They now finish 9-7 in the SEC, and as the third place SEC East team will be on pace to face Auburn in the SEC quarterfinals. A win there probably locks them into the Tournament.

Miami (Fl) 72, NC State 68
This was a true elimination game between two teams that entered the game 6-9 in the ACC. It's possible for one of these teams to make the Tournament at 7-9, but I can't fathom any team anywhere in the nation earning an at-large after finishing four games below .500 in conference. But while NC State is definitely out of the Tournament now, Miami does still have a bit of work left to do. They are a mediocre 17-11 overall, and 6-9 against the RPI Top 100. They have wins over Wake Forest and Florida State, and their only bad loss came to NC State. The problem is that I believe they're locked into the 8/9 game in the ACC tournament, which means they'll be due to face either UNC or Duke in the second round. A win there probably puts them in the Tournament, but a loss probably sends them to the NIT. They can still earn their way into the NCAA Tournament, but they're going to need one more big win.

UMass 72, Rhode Island 71
Speaking of bubble teams losing tough games today, this was a really tough loss for a Rhode Island team that would have been in excellent position for an at-large with a win, after all of the bubble carnage that went on today. With the loss they finish 11-5, in what will probably be a tie for second place in the A-10. The numbers (6-7 against the RPI Top 100, an RPI of 63rd, 9-5 in true road games) are all solid, but not quite good enough. They're probably going to have to make the A-10 tournament finals to make the NCAA Tournament. They're going to need to hope that the bubble carnage continues nationwide, because right now they have a few teams to leapfrog to get into the Dance.

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