Saturday, March 14, 2009

Talking Boston College & Florida

#8 Duke 66, Boston College 65
Duke survives and keeps their hopes for a 1 seed alive, while Boston College now gets to play the waiting game. Rakim Sanders missed his shot at a game winner, and BC was unable to collect one more big scalp. Remember that they already have wins over North Carolina, Duke and Florida State. They finish a solid 4-5 against the RPI Top 50 and 7-8 against the RPI Top 100. The problem is that they've got some bad losses: Saint Louis, Harvard and NC State. But their bad losses aren't really much worse than many other teams on the Bubble, and despite the mediocre computer numbers (60th in the RPI, 49th in Sagarin), I think they're in the Tournament at the moment. A win here would have locked them in, but now they're just going to have to root for Missouri, Utah State, Tennessee and other teams that could potentially knock them out of the Tournament by losing. As for Duke, you wouldn't have thought so a few days ago, but Duke is suddenly a legitimate contender for a 1 seed if they can win the ACC tournament. I think they would end up behind UNC, Pitt and Memphis, but they could potentially get that 1 seed if Louisville loses to Syracuse.

Auburn 61, Florida 58

I don't want to get talk much about Auburn, because I'll discuss their bubble chances after their game against Tennessee ends, but I will talk about Florida here. They really would have been in excellent shape with a victory here, but their Tournament hopes are now looking pretty bad. I had them in the bracket this morning, but that was mostly because I was expecting bias out of a Selection Committee that would not want to see only two SEC teams in the Tournament. Of course, they could potentially take Auburn (I'll talk about that soon), and Mississippi State might take the automatic bid. And if teams like Baylor and USC start getting bids, Florida could be out anyway. Right now they're in quite a bit of trouble.

Mississippi State 67, #16 LSU 57

Speaking of the SEC, I guess we should have expected more upsets like this considering how much parity this was in the conference all year (I suppose "parity" is a little bit of a euphemism for "no good teams"). With the loss, LSU will get no higher than a 5 seed, despite being first in the SEC pecking order at the moment. They could fall to a 6 or a 7 seed. As for Mississippi State, the question is whether they can get in the Tournament even if they lose tomorrow. I would argue that the answer is probably that they can't. They're 9-8 against the RPI Top 100, but that's deceptive: other than this win right here, their only other RPI Top 50 win came against Western Kentucky. They've also got losses to Charlotte, San Diego, Alabama, Texas Tech and Washington State. Even with this win their RPI only goes up to 66th, and their Sagarin was 77th entering today. Even a close loss in the SEC title game won't be enough. They've got to win the automatic bid.

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