Monday, December 07, 2009

A Couple More Good Wins For The A-10

Rhode Island 86, Providence 82
Rhode Island hasn't been getting any attention this season, but they are slowly putting together a solid resume. They are now 5-1, and that one loss is against a quality opponent (at VCU). Both Sagarin and Pomeroy rate them in the 45th-50th range, so it does seem like they'll be hanging around the bubble all season long. They do have a problem as far as a lack of big time opponents on their schedule, and it's hard to get an at-large bid if you don't have a Top 25 win. They're going to have to collect 20+ wins, and they'll have to finish in the top two or three in the Atlantic Ten standings. Remaining games against Boston College and Oklahoma State are key chances for potential RPI Top 50 wins. As for Providence, it's clear that this is a rebuilding season. They're now 6-3 overall, and their three losses are against the only three good opponents they've played. It's clear that they're building for the future.

Temple 45, Penn State 42
Temple is another Atlantic Ten team that is quietly putting together a very solid resume. They have losses to Georgetown and St. John's (the latter which is not looking at all like a bad loss), and wins over Virginia Tech, Siena and Penn State. They've done a better job than Rhode Island of giving themselves chances for Top 25 victories. They play Villanova next week, and definitely have a chance to win that game. Villanova just turns games into three-point shooting contests, so if they go cold then they can lose to just about any decent team. They also play Kansas and head to Seton Hall. The computers think that Rhode Island has been playing a little bit better than Temple, but this early in the season there are fairly large error bars on those computer numbers. As for Penn State, it's disconcerting how much their frontcourt play has fallen apart this season. The only post player who showed any life in this game was freshman Bill Edwards off the bench. Obviously they'll get plenty of opportunities in the Big Ten to get good wins, but right now they don't look to be any better than the ninth best team in the conference.

Wake Forest 77, #16 Gonzaga 75
Gonzaga really looked like a different team after Elias Harris was thrown out of the game for a flagrant foul in the first half. Mark Few did a good job of adjusting, and the Zags eventually made a nice comeback over the final ten minutes, but it was too little too late. But the fact is that the Zags always schedule a killer November and December schedule to make up for the weakness of the WCC, and they're going to end up losing some of these games. They're still 6-2 with wins over Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Colorado and Washington State. There's no reason to worry too much about a loss to a good team like Wake Forest. And while I'm still not a fan of Dino Gaudio's coaching, he does have a really talented team. C.J. Harris is playing well as a freshman, giving this team a really scary starting lineup. With players like L.D. Williams and Al-Farouq Aminu, they just have so many weapons. This is their first good win of the season, and the rest of their out-of-conference slate is pretty dull, so they'll have to prove their ability in ACC play. But I don't see why at the moment there is any team in the conference (other than North Carolina or Duke) that is clearly playing better than Wake Forest.

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