January 31, 2007

Who needs wins... Wednesday, January 31st

I have decided to tackle the rest of the bracketing issue in the coming weeks. Things are too volatile right now to worry, just keep focusing on your Top 34 lists, determining those teams that regardless of getting the automatic bid for winning the conference tournament, would still have a resume strong enough to make the tournament.

That being said, tonight’s action on the hardwood is key for a bunch of teams. Let’s break it down, teams are listed with their RPI number in parentheses:

(233) Hartford at (31) Boston College, 94-60 BC
(170) Miami, FL at (2) North Carolina, 105-63 Heels
(147) North Carolina State at (23) Virginia Tech, 70-59 State

It should be a light night for the ACC – the powers are all at home and should cruise.
Oops, Virginia Tech blew it. North Carolina and Boston College romped.

Big Ten Conference
(115) Iowa at (45) Michigan, 69-62 Iowa
(8) Ohio State at (47) Purdue, 78-60 Ohio State
(3) Wisconsin at (19) Indiana, 71-66 Indiana

I excluded the Minnesota-Northwestern tilt. Michigan needs to hold serve at home, Purdue is playing their last chance to make an impression this large should they defeat Ohio State. The Wisconsin-Indiana game is all about seeding position as both teams are locks for the Tournament. A loss would put Wisconsin and Ohio State at one loss apiece with the return showdown in Columbus coming on Feb. 25th.

Michigan is done after blowing an 11-point halftime lead at home against Iowa. Purdue missed their chance while Indiana is now playing for a top five seed after taking out the Badgers.

(140) Iowa State at (26) Texas A&M, 73-49 Aggies
(69) Missouri at (57) Kansas State, 80-73 K-State
(56) Texas at (21) Texas Tech, 76-64 Texas

A&M needs to hold serve. Kansas State and Missouri is basically an elimination game for the loser with the winner promised nothing. Texas still needs a signature win. The Longhorns have played great against teams, with Kevin Durant putting up monster numbers, but each time they have lost.

A&M cruised, Kansas State won at home, and Texas is improving their stock after winning in Lubbock, thanks to Kevin Durant going for 37 and 23. Insane.

Missouri Valley
(35) Creighton at (41) Bradley, 82-71 Creighton
(90) Indiana State at (10) Southern Illinois, 61-48 SIU
(40) Missouri State at (107) Drake, 87-82 OT Missouri State

Creighton and Bradley is the showcase with the Jays standing at 8-3 in conference while the Braves are 6-5. Bradley needs this win at home. Southern Illinois needs status quo, while Missouri State can’t stumble on the road at Drake.

Creighton picks up a nice road win at Bradley, essentially putting the Braves on the outside looking in, Missouri State needed overtime but got the win. Southern Illinois held form at home.

(32) Alabama at (71) LSU, 73-70 Bama
(39) Georgia at (18) Tennessee, 82-71 Tennessee
(54) Vanderbilt at (17) Florida, 74-64 Gators

LSU is getting into “must have” territory, but Alabama needs to get above .500 in conference as well. (The Tide are the ONLY ranked team to not be above .500 in their conference.) Georgia needs to prove they can win away from home by defeating a reeling, Chris Lofton-less Tennessee team. Vanderbilt has done enough lately (Beating Kentucky and LSU on the road.) but this would make the ‘Dores a lock for the NCAA’s with a win – in short, Vandy has nothing to lose.

Bama gets the big win in Baton Rouge, putting LSU on life support. Tennessee without Lofton wins over Georgia, while Florida roars back from a double-digit halftime deficit to down Vandy.

(38) BYU at (159) Utah, 76-66 BYU
The Beehive Showdown is a trap game for BYU. Utah will bring everything in this game while it would be a bad loss for BYU considering Utah’s 159 RPI. BYU gets it done, not falling into the trap.

(50) Gonzaga at (28) Stanford, 90-86 Gonzaga in double OT
A month ago this would have been a trap game for Gonzaga, however Stanford is the better team standing at 6-3 in Pac-10 play and a 28 RPI. Gonzaga now needs this win to avoid a double-digit seed – a win over North Carolina in November can only get you so far. Great game missed by yours truly. The recap reads well and Gonzaga gets their win - they have Memphis in a couple of weeks.

(20) Butler at (166) Youngstown State, 71-58 Butler
(12) Memphis at (121) Central Florida, 87-65 Memphis
Butler fancies a top five seed in the NCAAs. It is my opinion that they can’t lose a conference game to reach their goal. Ditto for Memphis, but they are shooting for a 2-3 seed. Both keep rolling right along.

(62) George Washington at (74) Dayton, 83-69 Dayton
(44) Xavier at (215) Duquesne, 93-91 Dukes
GW has emerged as the conference elite to date, but not good enough for an at-large bid. They could start their way to a Top 34 ranking with a win here. X-men need not to lose in Pittsburgh at Duquesne. I am so through with the Atlantic-10. Basically put, the conference will only send its conference champ to the dance.

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Heavenly time period: College football season until the championship game of March Madness.