Thursday, March 08, 2012

Cincinnati Upsets Georgetown In 2OT

Cincinnati 72, #14 Georgetown 70, 2OT
This was probably the highlight of the afternoon of college basketball today. Henry Sims and Yancy Gates both had terrific games. Sims had the assist on the Otto Porter basket to send this game to overtime, a Sims driving layup sent the game double overtime, and then a Sims jumper tied up the game with under 30 seconds left in the second overtime. Cashmere Wright hit a driving floater with 7.6 seconds to go, and Sims did get a pretty good look at a 22-23 footer to win the game but couldn't hit it. Sims finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Yancy Gates, meanwhile, had 15 points along in the final six minutes of regulation and the two overtimes. For the game he had 23 points on 10-for-19 shooting.

Cincinnati was probably going to be in the NCAA Tournament whether they won this game or not, but this win should keep them from having to sweat out Selection Sunday. They went 12-6 in Big East play and are now 8-6 against the RPI Top 100 with wins over Marquette, Georgetown (twice), Louisville, Notre Dame and UConn, along with bad losses to Rutgers, St. John's and Presbyterian. Their RPI is 57th, but that's messed up by their joke of a non-conference schedule (rated 338th toughest by Pomeroy). Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will move up close to 30th after this win. It's hard to see how Cincinnati could even fall back onto the bubble at this point.

Georgetown has been playing to their opponents too much this season. They went 8-4 against the RPI Top 50, but only 1-4 against teams with an RPI between 51 and 100. Their RPI is 15th, but their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will fall close to 20th. Their big wins mean that there's no way that they'll fall lower than a 5 seed, and they'll probably get a 4, but this loss probably blows their chance at a 3 seed.

#2 Syracuse 58, UConn 55
You can't say that UConn didn't have their chances in this game. As expected, they dominated the boards and played strong defense. They were particularly strong in the paint, where Andre Drummond looked about as dominant as he has all season long. Syracuse was forced into scoring either off of fast breaks or off of jump shots. But UConn hit only 6-for-23 behind the arc, and hit only half of their free throws. In the end, that did them in.

The good news for UConn is that I think they've still done enough to earn an at-large bid. They went 20-13 overall and 8-10 in the Big East, and 9-11 against the RPI Top 100, with wins over Florida State, Harvard, Notre Dame, West Virginia (twice), Seton Hall and South Florida, along with bad losses to Rutgers and Providence. Their RPI is 33rd, and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will be close to 40th. It's still possible that we could have some weird results the rest of the way (such as teams like Oregon State or Virginia Tech winning their conference tournaments), but barring that I think UConn is in.

This win assures Syracuse of a 1 seed. They looked safe coming in here, but there's a history of teams that are safely among the top two teams in the country and considered automatic 1 seeds that fall in their opening conference tournament game ending up as 2 seeds. With this win, Syracuse avoids that. So they really have nothing to play for the rest of this week other than the Big East tournament title, but that should be sufficient motivation. Their next game will be tomorrow against Cincinnati.

#11 Baylor 82, Kansas State 74
Kansas State matches up well with Baylor's poor defensive rebounding and ball handling, but the one player that they don't have an answer for is Perry Jones. Scott Drew had Baylor run their offense through Jones, and he delivered with 31 points (on 11-for-14 shooting) and 5 offensive rebounds. Kansas State did get 9 steals and 10 offensive boards, but Jones was able to answer every time the Wildcats went on a run.

This game was all about NCAA Tournament seed. Baylor went 12-6 in Big 12 play, and this win pushes them to a very good 12-6 against the RPI Top 100. They went 0-4 against Kansas and Missouri, so there is concern about their ability to beat truly elite teams, but Baylor's Sagarin ELO_CHESS is inside the Top Ten right now. I'm pretty sure they'd be a 3 seed if the season ended now, and they might move up to a 2 seed if they beat Kansas tomorrow.

Kansas State went 10-8 in Big 12 play and 5-7 against the RPI Top 50. They have wins over Missouri (twice), Texas and Alabama, along with a pair of bad losses to Oklahoma. Their RPI is 45th, but that's a function of a soft non-conference schedule. Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS should still be inside the Top 30. As long as I've been following these stats, there's never been a team with an ELO_CHESS inside the Top 30 left out of the Tournament, so Kansas State is still safe. But their NCAA Tournament seed is probably going to be something like an 8 or 9 seed, so it's hard to see them making a run. Kansas State isn't the type of team I'd fear if I was a 1 seed. I'd be much more worried about an opponent like St. Louis or Vanderbilt.

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