Saturday, March 14, 2009

UNC & Michigan State Go Down... And What About Auburn?

#22 Florida State 73, #1 North Carolina 70
Another day, another group of potential 1 seeds going down. I have never, ever seen a year like this. The only BCS conference that has not had its top seed go down has been the Big East, and Louisville was something of a fraud of a top seed. Pitt and UConn were the two best teams in that conference, and Louisville benefited from the unbalanced schedule. Still, North Carolina already had their 1 seed locked up, and this loss doesn't really affect them. In fact, I think they'll still be the #1 team overall. As for Florida State, they might have played themselves into a 3 seed with this win. They certainly will be no lower than a 4 seed.

Ohio State 82, #6 Michigan State 70
Ohio State had already locked up its own Tournament bid yesterday, and with this win they assure themselves of no worse than an 8 seed (meaning that they should be favored in their opening round game). If they can find a way to beat Purdue tomorrow then the Buckeyes can potentially get up around a 5-6 seed. It will depend how much the Selection Committee wants to weigh the conference tournaments, and also how much they truly take into account the Big Ten title game that famously always goes up until about when the brackets are due in to CBS and ESPN. As for Michigan State, they had a great shot at a 1 seed if they could have won the Big Ten tournament, but now they can forget about that. No matter what happens, they are probably locked into a 2 seed at this point. Not that there's a huge difference between a 1 and a 2 seed anyway.

Tennessee 94, Auburn 85
Tennessee has suddenly become the hero of Bubble teams everywhere. They will have the chance to save a Bubble team by beating Mississippi State tomorrow, and they potentially saved a Bubble team with this win here. Auburn could potentially still sneak into the Tournament, but at this point I'd bet against it. The one argument that they have going for them is that they've won a ton of games in a row (9-2 over their last 11 games), but most of those wins have been over mediocre teams. I just don't see how their overall numbers are good enough: 2-4 against the RPI Top 50, 6-10 against the RPI Top 100, wins over Tennessee and LSU, losses to Mercer and Vanderbilt, an RPI of 64th and a Sagarin rating that was 66th before this loss. They'll be in the Selection Committee's discussion, but I'd be very surprised to see Auburn make the bracket. As for Tennessee, they're probably a 6 or 7 seed right now. If they win the SEC tournament tomorrow they could potentially move up to a 5, but I'd be shocked if they went any higher than that.

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