My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bubble update: Dayton or bust for Georgia?

Pretty much nothing broke Georgia’s way on Friday, which could go down as the day its NCAA tournament hopes went kaput – or it was relegated to the play-in round in Dayton. That remains to be decided.

(Just to be safe, I made a hotel reservation for Dayton, where the NCAA is holding its four play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday. There will be two games between the last four at-large teams, and two between the worst four league champions. And incidentally, the NCAA is calling these four games, which pare down the field from 68 to 64, as the “first round,” and the round of 64 the second round, and so on. That seems silly, so until that terminology takes hold, or the AP so orders, I’m calling it the play-in round.)

Anyway, it sure looks like Georgia would be headed to Dayton if it makes the NCAAs. It wasn’t just Georgia’s come-from-ahead loss to Alabama, which incidentally dropped the Bulldogs’ RPI to 45. The bubble squeezed further on Friday, with teams like Michigan State, Michigan, Clemson and Virginia Tech winning. And the Atlantic 10 could end up with a non-contender winning, which would steal a bid from somewhere.

By my estimation, there are 36 current teams that are locks to at least get an at-large bid. There are 13 teams that have already won their league titles, and eight other league champions to be decided, where the loser will most likely not be an at-large candidate.

That leaves 11 spots open.

But there are two leagues where bid-stealing could happen: The Atlantic 10, where either Dayton or St. Joseph’s will play for the league title on Sunday, and the WAC, where Utah State is an at-large candidate if it doesn’t win the league title on Saturday. Some might also say Conference USA if UTEP beats Memphis, but either team’s case for an at-large is kind of dicey. And some would also argue Harvard if it doesn’t win the Ivy League today.

Here are the remaining at-large contenders, with an x- noting the teams that are eliminated from their league tournaments. I put these teams in my own estimated pecking order:

Michigan State (18-13, RPI: 38)
Michigan (19-12, RPI: 48)
x-Colorado (20-13, RPI: 65)

THE BUBBLE (8 spots left)
x-St. Mary’s (23-8, RPI: 44)
Richmond (25-7, RPI: 56)
Clemson (21-10, RPI: 53)
Virginia Tech (21-10, RPI: 61)
Alabama (21-10, RPI: 77)
Memphis (24-9, RPI: 31)
UTEP (24-8, RPI: 49)
x-Georgia (21-11, RPI: 45)
x-Boston College (20-12, RPI: 58)
x-Missouri State (25-8, RPI: 41)
x-VCU (23-11, RPI: 51)
x-UAB (22-8, RPI: 30)
Penn State (18-13, RPI: 42)
x-Oklahoma State (19-13, RPI: 60)
x-New Mexico (20-12, RPI: 66)
Harvard (21-5, RPI: 32)
x-Cleveland State (24-8, RPI: 40)
x-Colorado State (18-12, RPI: 50)
x-Southern California (19-14, RPI: 67)

So by that, I have Georgia as the last team in, assuming no bid-stealing. But it can swing a lot today. Some quick thoughts:

- A lot of people were placing the two ACC teams (Clemson and Virginia Tech) in with their quarterfinal wins. I’m not so sure. If one or both gets blown out in today’s semifinals (they play North Carolina and Duke, respectively), Georgia still has a chance to get in ahead of them.

- If Alabama loses to Kentucky – again, Georgia would prefer a blowout – then Mark Fox’s favorite phrase, “body of work”, could still help Georgia overcome the two losses to the Tide.

- Keep a close eye on Richmond’s A-10 semifinal against Temple. If Richmond loses, they’re neck-and-neck with Georgia, in my opinion.

- The preferred Conference USA result is a blowout win by Memphis.

- Penn State needs to lose to Michigan State in today’s semis.

- Utah State (28-3, RPI: 18) needs to win the WAC today to be sure. It plays Boise State at 10 p.m.

- Harvard plays Princeton at 4 p.m. I don’t think Harvard is a serious at-large candidate, but I’m not on the committee, so you never know.


Dooms Day Dawg said...

Dawgs will not make the Big Dance. Their "body of work" is simply lacking. The beat a Kentucky squad that was down at the time and a off and on Vols squad. Other than those 2 W's, who else have they beaten that they should NOT have? Hello NIT.

Anonymous said...

I think they're in as an 11 seed.

And to answer your question, they probably shouldnt have beaten UAB and Colorado, and they beat CU without Trey.

The key to them getting in will be if the committee recognizes that NO BAD LOSSES is important.

I still can't figure out why so many people have Tennessee solidly in, they have really bad losses which take a lot of the shine off their good wins.