Saturday, March 14, 2009

Talking USC, Maryland & San Diego State

USC 66, #23 Arizona State 63
With all of the chaos that has gone on this week, USC might be the most surprising conference tournament champion thus far (maybe the second most surprising, after Chattanooga). They looked to be playing their way out of the Tournament, and even with a loss here might very well have been an NIT team. But none of that matters now, as they collect the automatic bid and get to relax tomorrow. I doubt they'll do worse than an 11 seed, and right now I've got them as a 10 seed. As for Arizona State, I think James Harden was too complacent in this game. He did a great job creating and passing for the first 35 minutes of the game, but then he tried to turn it on and score all of the points on the final few possessions and he just wasn't ready for it. You can't just flip the switch like that, and it cost Arizona State the Pac-10 tournament title. Still, they helped their NCAA seed by just getting this far, and look to be a 5-6 seed in the Tournament.

#8 Duke 67, Maryland 61
Even in losing this game, Maryland achieved something. You never want to have your last performance of the season be a blowout loss, because you never want to give the Selection Committee a bad final impression. The Bubble is already down to the final four or five teams, and Maryland will be in that last grouping of teams. They might end up being the last team in or the first team out. All of the numbers are decent, but none are all that good: 7-9 in the ACC, 8-11 against the RPI Top 100, 13-13 against the RPI Top 200, 6-9 in road/neutral games, RPI of 55th, and they entered the day with a Sagarin of 45th. Maryland could still get in, and they really might be my final decision tomorrow afternoon. The result of the SEC title game will have a large effect on this as well. As for Duke, it's simple for them now. With the Louisville win over Syracuse, I don't see any way that Duke gets a 1 seed. And even with a loss tomorrow, I can't see them dropping to a 3. So in my opinion, tomorrow's game is meaningless: Duke will be a 2 seed no matter what.

Utah 52, San Diego State 50
A really valient effort in the final minute by San Diego State, but they fell just a little bit short. And the question is whether this will cause them to end up just short of the Tournament, and I would argue that it won't. They lack marquee wins, but they also lack bad losses, with zero losses outside the RPI Top 105. In total, they were 6-8 against the RPI Top 100, but a very solid 15-1 against the Division I RPI 100+. They also have a winning road record, and an 11-5 conference record. Remember, the Mountain West was basically as good as the SEC this season, so ask yourself whether you'd put an 11-5 SEC team that had zero losses outside the RPI Top 105 this season,, and that went 10-3 against an out of conference schedule that Pomeroy rates 97th, into the Tournament. I bet you would. They could end up with anything between a 10 and a 12 seed, but right now I have them at an 11. As for Utah, they have wonderful computer numbers, and the only question now is how the Selection Committee is going to judge that season opening loss against DII Southwest Baptist. The computer numbers are spectacular (especially because DII games don't count), as are things like a 5-5 record against the RPI Top 50. Right now I have them as a 6 seed, although they could move one seed line up or done.

No comments: