Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hummel Leads Purdue Past Ohio State

#16 Purdue 75, Ohio State 50
Robbie Hummel seems to be getting healthier, and that's bad news for Purdue's future opponents. Even though it's probably too late for Purdue to grab a share of the Big Ten regular season title, they still have a great shot at a bid in the 3-6 range. Ohio State, on the other hand, is firmly on the bubble right now. They are 8-8 in the Big Ten and 8-9 against the RPI Top 100. They have wins over Butler, Notre Dame and Miami to go with wins over Minnesota and Purdue. Their only marginally bad loss is a road loss to Northwestern, which is about as good of a "worst loss" as any bubble team will have. But they don't have a real marquee win, and the computer numbers reflect the overall mediocrity of the Buckeyes resume. Their RPI is 42nd, Sagarin has them 34th and Pomeroy has them 46th. I think they'd be narrowly in the Tournament at the moment because of the overall depth and solid nature of their resume. But they end with two weak opponents: Iowa on the road and Northwestern at home. If they don't sweep both of those games then Ohio State will have to win at least one Big Ten tournament game to make the NCAA Tournament.

Dayton 70, Temple 65
This was an important game as far as the Atlantic Ten pecking order goes. Coming off of three losses in their previous five games, Dayton grabs back firm control of second place in the A-10 with the win here (even if they're tied in the official standings with Rhode Island, a team whose overall resume isn't nearly as good as Dayton's is right now). Dayton has a number of weak losses (UMass, Charlotte and Saint Louis), but their 8-2 record against the RPI Top 100 more than balances that out and would put Dayton easily into the Tournament if the season ended now. That said, they next head to Xavier and then have a solid Duquesne team at home. Dayton needs to split those two games or they will have work left to do in the A-10 tournament to clinch a Tournament bid. As for Temple, they might have peaked during that five game winning streak, having followed that up with what is now two straight losses. Their computer numbers remain solid, but they're only 9-5 in the A-10 and 12-11 against the RPI Top 200. I said a few weeks ago that Temple needs 20 wins to earn an at-large bid, and I stand by that. As they're currently sitting at 17 wins that means that they need to win their final two regular season games (vs St. Joe's, at George Washington) and then win at least one A-10 tournament game.

BYU 63, Utah 50
It's always wise to bet on the team that needs the game more, and there's no question that BYU needed this one more. When you throw in that fact with BYUs near-invicibility at the Marriott Center, this result shouldn't have been surprising at all. BYU is now 10-4 in the Mountain West and is 9-6 against the RPI Top 100 with zero bad losses. With this win there is no question that they'd be in the Tournament if the season ended now, and they can wrap things up if they can close with wins at Wyoming, and at home versus Air Force. Utah is the other Mountain West team that would unquestionably be in the Tournament if the season ended now, and even with the loss their RPI is still 9th in the nation. Sagarin has them at a more realistic 25th in the nation, but Utah can wrap up their own Tournament bid with a win in either of their final two regular season games. With this result here, it appears that the question is now whether another team will join BYU and Utah to make the Mountain West a three bid league.

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