Thursday, March 11, 2010

Villanova Continues To Slide

Marquette 80, #10 Villanova 76
It seems like it's been several weeks since a Marquette player has missed an open three-pointer. Villanova was able to pound the ball inside and their guards were able to get open shots, and they were scoring very efficiently (1.11 points per possession by my calculation), but Marquette was unconscious behind the arc (61%). Despite the lofty Villanova ranking, this was by no means much of a surprise. Villanova has now lost five of seven, while Marquette has won 11 of 13. Sagarin only projected Marquette as a 1.6 point underdog, and Pomeroy gave them a 45% chance of winning. With this win, Marquette is at worst a 7 seed. They are now 10-9 against the RPI Top 100 with wins over Xavier, Georgetown and Louisville to go with this one, and only one bad loss (DePaul). Their RPI is up to 46th and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will be right around 25th. If they lose their next game then they'll be a 6-8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They can potentially push themselves up to 5 with another win or two. As for Villanova, you have to wonder how heavily the Selection Committee is going to take into account their final few weeks, which have been downright awful. If we focus on the big picture, thought, their numbers are actually really good: 8-6 against the RPI Top 50, and 13-7 against the RPI Top 100 with zero bad losses. Their RPI is still 10th, and their ELO_CHESS should be just inside the Top Ten as well. They won't get any better than a 3 seed in the Tournament, but they won't be worse than a 5, even with this bad finish. I see them as a 3 or 4 seed right now.

Miami (Fl) 83, Wake Forest 62

Miami has struggled to beat good teams this season, but it helps when you shoot like they did in this game: 47% behind the arc, 52% from the field, 83% at the line. Miami played solid defense here, but Wake just did not show up (other than Ishmael Smith). Neither L.D. Williams or Chas McFarland managed to collect more points than fouls, and the always inconsistent Al Farouq-Aminu had another weak game. The loss marks five in Wake Forest's last six, and while there's no question they're in the Field of 65 at the moment, it's not out of the question for Wake to end up in the NIT. They're 8-8 against the RPI Top 100 with some nice wins (Maryland, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Xavier, Richmond, Gonzaga) and no particularly bad losses (although two losses to Miami do not look good, and neither do the losses to North Carolina and NC State). Their RPI is 38th, and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will likely be in the 40th-42nd range. Depending on how the rest of the weekend goes around the nation, Wake Forest could end up comfortable on Selection Sunday or nervous. They're obviously hoping that the bubble continues to stay weak. Miami will play Virginia Tech tomorrow afternoon. They cannot earn an at-large bid.

#9 Kansas State 83, Oklahoma State 64
Oklahoma State had won in Manhattan earlier this season, and you could see how motivated Kansas State was to avenge that loss. They opened up a huge 25 point lead by halftime, and got the lead up to 33 in the second half before they took their foot off the pedal. James Anderson got his 20+ points, but Kansas State made him work for it (8-for-21 from the field). It seems like Anderson always scores 20+, but they win when he's efficient and when they lose it tends to be a game where he misses 10-15 from the field. For Oklahoma State this game didn't matter too much, as they'd already locked up their at-large bid with a win over Oklahoma yesterday. But this will obviously have an effect on their seed, which is going to be somewhere in the 8-10 range. As for Kansas State, that loss for Syracuse really opens up the door for the Wildcats to make a run at a 1 seed. I don't see their resume under any circumstances getting ahead of Kansas or Kentucky, but if they can win the Big 12 title game over Kansas then they'll at least be in the discussion as far as potentially being seeded ahead of Syracuse. They need to root for West Virginia, Duke, Purdue and Ohio State to all lose in their conference tournaments. A Duke team that wins the ACC tournament will definitely be seeded ahead of Kansas State. The other teams have very similar resumes to Kansas State for the time being.

No comments: