Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Marquette Is In, Baylor Is Out

Marquette 67, West Virginia 61
This was a really good, hard fought battle. Good hustle from both teams. Interestingly enough, Marquette actually dominated the paint in this game. Jae Crowder and Davonte Gardner both played well for the second straight day, and Bob Huggins seemed too hesitant to bring in players like Deniz Kilicli to counter. In the end, West Virginia shot 46% on three-pointers and 34% on two-pointers. Marquette also just made more plays down the stretch. You can't discount the fact that Marquette had a whole lot more to play for here than West Virginia.

Marquette had a lot to play for because they still had not locked up their Tournament bid. But with this win here? I don't see any way they miss the NCAA Tournament now. They've now got five RPI Top 50 wins along with a Sagarin ELO_CHESS that should slide into the Top 30. In fact, an argument can made for Marquette should have a seed as high as a 7 or 8. I'd probably put them more in the 9-10 range, but they could have surpassed Villanova, so they won't be the lowest seeded Big East team in the NCAA Tournament. As for West Virginia, this ends any chance of a seed better than a 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They're more likely going to be a 6 or 7.

Oklahoma 84, Baylor 67
Baylor entered the Big 12 tournament needing a win here and then a win over Texas to have a realistic shot at making the NCAA Tournament. The chances of that blew up when it was announced that Perry Jones would be suspended. Jones has been the best player on Baylor all season long, and since he's expected to be a one-and-done player, he could be done now playing for Baylor ever again. Baylor finishes 7-9 in Big 12 play and 5-9 against the RPI Top 100 with an RPI that has fallen all the way to 90th and a Sagarin ELO_CHESS that will be outside the Top 80 as well. With all of the automatic bids that the NIT has to accept this year because of upsets in the smaller conference tournaments, Baylor might be on the NIT bubble. They're certainly done for the NCAA Tournament.

Oklahoma will play Texas tomorrow. They've been consistently fighting hard and playing tough. I doubt they'll actually beat Texas, but they won't roll over and die. I wouldn't be shocked if they make a game of it.

Colorado 77, Iowa State 75
This was a game that Colorado absolutely needed to have, and it was very tight the entire way. Iowa State got a tremendous performance by Jake Anderson, who had a career-high 33 points on 13-for-20 shooting. Colorado's star, Alec Burks, responded with 29 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists of his own. 25 of those points came in the second half, including 17 in the final 9 minutes. All season long he carried the Buffaloes in crunch time, and Iowa State just didn't have an answer.

Colorado is only 11-12 against the RPI Top 200, but they were 8-8 in the Big 12 and had quality wins against Texas, Missouri, Kansas State (twice) and Colorado State, along with weak losses to Iowa State, Oklahoma and San Francisco. Their RPI is 67th and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will be close to 55th when the new numbers come out tomorrow. I know that a lot of people have Colorado in the Field of 68 right now, but I still have them out. Certainly I think that they have a must-win coming up tomorrow against Kansas State. I don't see them making the NCAA Tournament without a win there.

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