Football season is now officially behind us, and more of the sports world will be turning their eyes toward college hoops. And to those people I say, where the hell have you been?
Anyway, Selection Sunday is less than six weeks away, and now that we’ve hit February I’m going to start doing weekly projections.
The projections below take into account all games played through Monday, February 4th.
|SOUTH (DALLAS)||MIDWEST (INDIANAPOLIS)|
|Kansas City – March 22nd/24th||Dayton – March 22nd/24th|
|1) Kansas (19-2)||1) Indiana (20-2)|
|16) Florida Gulf Coast (16-8)||16) Northeastern (14-8)|
|8) VCU (18-5)||8) UCLA (16-6)|
|9) Colorado State (18-4)||9) Ole Miss (17-4)|
|San Jose – March 21st/23rd||Austin – March 22nd/24th|
|5) Cincinnati (18-4)||5) Kansas State (17-4)|
|12) Middle Tennessee (20-4)||12) Colorado (14-7)|
|4) Minnesota (17-5)||4) Butler (18-4)|
|13) Akron (17-4)||13) Bucknell (19-4)|
|Auburn Hills – March 21st/23rd||Salt Lake City – March 21st/23rd|
|6) Oklahoma State (15-5)||6) Pittsburgh (19-5)|
|11) Belmont (19-4)||11) Baylor (14-7)|
|3) Michigan State (18-4)||3) Gonzaga (21-2)|
|14) Davidson (15-7)||14) Princeton (10-7)|
|Philadelphia – March 22nd/24th||Austin – March 22nd/24th|
|7) Wisconsin (15-7)||7) San Diego State (16-5)|
|10) North Carolina (15-6)||10) Kentucky (15-6)|
|2) Syracuse (19-3)||2) Miami, FL (17-3)|
|15) Stony Brook (17-5)||15) Long Beach State (13-8)|
|EAST (WASHINGTON, DC)||WEST (LOS ANGELES)|
|Auburn Hills – March 21st/23rd||Lexington – March 21st/23rd|
|1) Michigan (20-2)||1) Florida (18-2)|
|16) Bryant (15-6)/Charleston Southern (12-7)||16) Southern (16-7)/NC Central (15-7)|
|8) Missouri (16-5)||8) Wichita State (19-4)|
|9) Iowa State (16-6)||9) Saint Louis (16-5)|
|Dayton – March 22nd/24th||Kansas City – March 22nd/24th|
|5) Creighton (20-3)||5) Oregon (18-4)|
|12) Arizona State (17-5)/Temple (14-7)||12) Boise State (15-6)/Saint Mary’s (19-4)|
|4) Marquette (15-5)||4) Ohio State (17-4)|
|13) Louisiana Tech (19-3)||13) South Dakota State (18-6)|
|Lexington – March 21st/23rd||San Jose – March 21st/23rd|
|6) UNLV (17-5)||6) Georgetown (16-4)|
|11) Illinois (15-8)||11) Memphis (18-3)|
|3) Louisville (18-4)||3) New Mexico (19-3)|
|14) Valparaiso (17-6)||14) Stephen F. Austin (18-2)|
|Salt Lake City – March 21st/23rd||Philadelphia – March 22nd/24th|
|7) North Carolina State (16-6)||7) Notre Dame (18-5)|
|10) La Salle (15-6)||10) Oklahoma (14-7)|
|2) Arizona (19-2)||2) Duke (19-2)|
|15) Montana (16-4)||15) Niagara (14-9)|
Last Four In
The Broncos picked up a nice win on Saturday by beating UNLV at home. And while they had lost three of their prior four games, it’s worth noting that those games were played without Jeff Elorriaga, the team’s third-leading scorer and a dead-eye three-point shooter. The loss at Utah doesn’t help their case, but with Elorriaga in the lineup, their only other losses have been at Michigan State and in OT against New Mexico.
This week Boise State has a tough road trip to San Diego State followed by a home date with Wyoming.
ASU split last weekend’s road trip to the Washington schools and now sits at number 65 in the RPI. The victory over UCLA looks great, but there aren’t many other quality wins on their profile.
Outside of a loss to DePaul, the Sun Devils have managed to avoid bad losses, and they need to sweep home games with Cal and Stanford this weekend to stay in the field.
The Gaels are doing what they have to do right now – winning. They have won eight straight and 11 of 12, and the road win at BYU is a huge delineating factor for them right now.
Saint Mary’s can definitely solidify their case with home games against Gonzaga and BYU left on the schedule, and they are one of few teams that can be helped by their Bracketbusters matchup when Creighton visits McKeon Pavilion.
If you’re looking for a Jekyll and Hyde team, it’s definitely the Owls. After beating Syracuse in December, Temple is just 5-5 with a bad home loss against Saint Bonaventure and a not quite as bad road loss at Saint Joe’s last weekend.
There aren’t many profile-enhancing chances left on the schedule with the exception of home games against La Salle and VCU. The Owls need to avoid any more bad losses and at least split those to feel good about their chances.
First Four Out
If you want to rail against RPI flaws, I present to you the Golden Eagles. They rank 38th despite having exactly zero victories against the Top 100. Their best RPI wins are against Tulsa and Denver.
So while it’s great that they have avoided bad losses and keep piling up wins, this week is pretty huge with a road trip to Central Florida followed by a home date with Memphis.
The Sycamores may give Temple a run for their money in the Jekyll and Hyde category. They have neutral court wins over Miami (FL) and Ole Miss to go with a road win at Wichita State, but they have also lost at Morehead State, Southern Illinois, Illinois State and Drake. And while I tend to value teams who have shown the ability to beat quality opponents, at some point you can’t overlook the quantity of sub-100 L’s.
ISU would be well-served to hold serve against Creighton and Southern Illinois this week.
The Terps are in trouble at this point. They are 70th in the RPI, have one Top 50 win, and are sub-.500 in a down ACC. They’re also 1-4 in true road games and have been swept by a Florida State team that probably isn’t getting in the tournament.
Maryland has five road games left starting with a trip to Va Tech this week, but except for the season finale at Virginia, the Terps really can’t afford to lose any of them.
There’s something to be said for simply winning games, which is exactly what Alabama has done recently. he Tide has won six of seven and are now 6-2 in the SEC. Obviously the league isn’t great, but Alabama does have five Top 100 wins on their profile.
If they are truly a tournament team, they should be able to win their next seven before heading to Florida and Ole Miss in early March.
Here is how the bids broke out by conference:
Big East (7): Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
Big Ten (7): Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Big 12 (6): Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, La Salle, Saint Louis, Temple, VCU
Mountain West (5): Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV
Pac-12 (5): Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA
ACC (4): Duke, Miami (FL), North Carolina, North Carolina State
SEC (4): Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss
Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State
West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s
America East: Stony Brook
Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast
Big Sky: Montana
Big South: Charleston Southern
Big West: Long Beach State
Conference USA: Memphis
MEAC: North Carolina Central
Ohio Valley: Belmont
Southland: Stephen F. Austin
Summit: South Dakota State
Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee
WAC: Louisiana Tech
Follow me on Twitter (@andybottoms) for more thoughts on college hoops.