this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
RPI Effect Only Teams
If you care, Michigan played the following teams: UMass-Lowell (10-18), Houston Baptist (6-23), South Carolina State (9-19), Coppin State (10-19), Long Beach State (13-15), and Charlotte (15-13). But while I don’t want to say these games didn’t MATTER, they didn’t, you know, matter. Except the Charlotte game, because blerg. Michigan’s fate will be determines by larger narratives. Not many people are going to hammer too hard on RPI when you’re talking the difference between a 2 seed and a 3 seed. So, let us move along.
Big Sorts of Teams
Iowa State (22-7, 10-7 Big 12)
This week: Lost @ Kansas State (80-73); Lost @ Baylor (74-61)
Michigan probably moved ahead of Iowa State for good by virtue of Iowa State’s rough week. Bracketmatrix has them as the last 3 seed, it’s unlikely a home win over bubble team Oklahoma State (side note: how did THAT happen?) would get them past Michigan.
Florida State (18-11, 9-8 ACC)
This week: Beat Georgia Tech (81-71); Won @ Boston College (74-70)
Florida State met two necessary conditions for an NCAA bid this week. Losing to either of those teams would’ve probably been the end of things for the Seminoles. The good news is that Syracuse also seems very beatable, so it’s possible for Florida State to close strong. The problem is that now a win over Syracuse wouldn’t bring the cache it would have two or three weeks ago, so they might still need to do some work in the conference tourney.
From a Michigan standpoint, though, FSU doesn’t really matter all that much anymore. No one cares about your 6th best win, and pretty much Michigan's entire seeding case rests in its conference schedule. So if you’d really like to see some more #Nebrasketball, you might be hoping they drop their last couple of games to clear some room at the bubble.
#4 Dook (23-7, 12-5 ACC)
This week: Lost @ Wake Forest (YTWF) (82-72)
This was a gift on a number of fronts. Duke’s loss potentially leaves some wiggle room for Michigan to move up to a 2-seed. Also, Duke’s loss was a loss for Duke, which is a win for Not Duke. We are Not Duke. So, let’s compare the two teams right now:
|Record||KenPom||Losses (KP ranks)||Best wins (KP)||Is Duke?|
|MICHIGAN||22-7||10||1, 8, 11, 12, 28, 69, 182||11, 12, 13, 17, 17||No|
|DUKE||23-7||8||1, 6, 14, 23, 51, 92, 113||2, 10, 14, 15, 25||Yes|
I dunno, that’s close.
#3 Arizona (28-2, 15-2 PAC 12)
This week: Beat Stanford (79-66), Beat Arizona State (74-69)
It's hard to blame Arizona for a less-than-dominant performance against ASU. They'd clinched pretty much everything there was to clinch (PAC 12 title, #1 seed in the PAC 12 tourney, likely #1 seed, helped RichRod kill the 10 second rule), and sometimes it's hard to get up for games that don't much matter.
One potential cause for concern is depth. Arizona is really only rolling about 6 guys deep, which is working fine for them now, but if they run up against a team that draws a lot of fouls, it could be an issue. But no, Michigan isn't one of those teams.
Stanford (18-11, 9-8 PAC 12)
This week: Lost to Arizona (79-66); Lost to Colorado (59-56)
According to Bill Walton (who called the Stanford/Colorado game), Stanford's loss is a lot like the Punic War if it was fought by Muppets; you're not sure where they got the weapons, but you can't expect them to be back in time for lunch.
I'm not sure exactly what he meant by that, but Stanford's bid is in real trouble. Bracketmatrix had them as a 10-seed before the loss to the Buffs, so they still have some work to do. And not that it matters, but it would be nice for Michigan to have at least ONE win over a tournament team from its non-conference schedule.
[AFTER THE JUMP: Michigan, and all the teams that finished behind Michigan because Michigan finished ahead of everyone who isn't Michigan]
LIKE MAKE YOUR FREE THROWSSSSS
Michigan may have gone 1-1 last week, but it was a good 1-1 compared to results for various other teams like Miami (losers at home to KP#84 Georgia Tech), New Mexico (went down to Air Force), Kansas (annihilated by Baylor), and Florida (at Kentucky is the most understandable loss of this bunch, but it is still a loss). As a result, they have moved up a bit. Crashing The Dance still has them a three; the Bracket Matrix has them as the last #2, in an indistinguishable heap with Michigan State and Miami for two of the three final twos.
Michigan probably cannot salvage a one seed after the Indiana collapse. Even if Michigan ran off four wins in four days to win the BTT they would have a hard time passing the current anointed four of Duke, Indiana, Gonzaga, and Louisville. Duke and Indiana are pretty much out of the question; Gonzaga is extremely unlikely to lose; Louisville's run off seven straight wins after the wacky 5OT game against Notre Dame and was two games better in the BE than Michigan was in the Big Ten. Maybe if the league hadn't consigned the Big Ten championship game to a novelty that can flip seeds within the conference but do little else because it's so late, but… uh… they did.
The conference tournaments will decide whether Michigan's a 2 or 3, it looks like. The best result possible is a strong 2 that avoids Duke. I guess it is possible Michigan would fall to a 4 if they were to gack it up against Penn State again; barring that a 1-1 performance in Chicago will at least lock up a 3.
How much does this matter? Projected 6s according to the Bracket Matrix: UNLV, Butler, UCLA, VCU. Projected 7s: Colorado State, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Memphis. Not much.
Projected ones: Duke, Indiana, Gonzaga, Louisville
i changed the pictures. run, BJ, run!
Last win for IUPUI: December 27th. Their season is over at 6-26 after being the third-worst defensive team in the country. Binghamton: January 19th. Season over at 3-27. Fourth-worst offensive team in the land.
Central won a couple games late but finished 4-12 in the MAC and went out in the first round of their conference tourney; done at 11-20. Bradley fulfilled its destiny to be .500 at something by losing their last three games to finish 16-16. Cleveland State is also done after getting blown out by Loyola Chicago and Illinois Chicago—be nice, Chicago—at 14-18.
Still alive: Eastern Michigan, which had a rematch against Northern Illinois in the MAC tourney opener that they won 45-44. They play Miami (not that Miami) tomorrow. Western won their division and plays the winner of that game for the right to play OHIO in the semi.
Big sorts of teams
@ DePaul: W 81-66.
DePaul never had a chance, because they are DePaul. They finish the regular season Kenpom's #6 team and will be a team highlighted in every tempo-free-aware bracket preview because they'll have one of the biggest gaps between Kenpom projected ability and seed in the field. I'm with the skeptical committee: Pitt built their KP profile against nobody in the nonconference—other than Michigan their only KP100 opponents were #99 Lehigh and #75 Detroit—and anyone who can keep them from destroying the offensive boards will put their offense in considerable difficulty.
Pitt enters the last Big East tournament the four-seed. They've acquired the last double bye and will take on either Syracuse or someone real bad at basketball on Thursday during Michigan's game against Penn State.
SEEDWATCH: Up one to a five on BM; they're well ahead of the top 6, UNLV. CTD has them a seven still. They're actually below Minnesota(!) over there.
Kansas State (25-6)
TCU: W 79-68. @ Okie State: L 76-70
Elsewhere in painful ways to blow a share of a conference title, K-State took on Okie State with a shot at going 15-3 in the Big 12 and tying Kansas. They led by four with five minutes left, whereupon OSU went on an 8-0 run before free throw time. Sad pandas. Let's be sad pandas together, eating bamboo and watching the Lifetime Movie Network.
K-State saw the Cowboys put up 63% from two, which was enough despite having a major possession advantage.
SEEDWATCH: Drops to a 4 on BM; a five on CTD.
North Carolina State (22-9)
Wake Forest: W 81-66. @ Florida State: L 71-67
You might have this image in your head of Florida State as a typical Leonard Hamilton outfit that grinds all up on you like a guy wearing Axe at the club and makes life extremely difficult for everyone. This would not be correct. They are 10th in the ACC in defense, yielding almost 38% of defensive rebounds to the opponent amongst other deficiencies. They are barely above .500 and lost to Mercer, South Alabama, and Auburn earlier this year.
NC State losing to them is not understandable except insofar as NC State is not actually all that good at basketball. All the stats are basically even; NC State was undone again by M-versus-Indiana level defensive rebounding (lost 55% of DREBs to FSU) and allowing 56% on twos.
MCHOBBIT UPDATE: 11 minutes but not active against FSU, though he did have a block(!). 12 minutes against Wake.
SEEDWATCH: Still an 8 on BM; CTD now agrees. As mentioned, this team is probably the least fun potential matchup amongst all the 8-9 seeds for a one. If they, like, are trying they're good. I would hate Mark Gotfried if I was an NC State fan though.
@ Missouri: L 93-63. Texas A&M: W 73-62.
Arkansas's massive home-road disparity ended their faint bubble hopes before their game against Missouri even got started. 9-9 in this SEC with one decent nonconference win against Oklahokma (that at home) isn't going to get it done.
But seriously though, I would like you to find a team with a crazier home/road split in conference play than the Razorbacks:
- HOME: 9-0, double digit wins over Florida and Kentucky. Beat Missouri.
- AWAY: 1-8, lone win against horrible Auburn. Annihilated by mediocre to terrible teams like A&M (69-51), South Carolina (75-54), and Vandy (67-49).
At home, Arkansas can play with anyone—beat anyone. On the road, they lose to SEC Penn State by 21. The Razorbacks get Vandy again to start the SEC tourney. Kenpom labels the location "semi-away." Semi-hide the semi-children, Arkansas is going to get semi-blown out.
SEEDWATCH: Thanks for playing. Enjoy your NIT home games.
West Virginia (13-18)
@ Oklahoma: L 83-70. Iowa State: L 83-74
Still not good at basketball.
Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …
1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding
3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin
Yesterday; no games.
Pitt versus Probably Syracuse, 2PM, ESPN
MICHIGAN versus Penn State, 2:30 PM, BTN
K-State versus Texas/TCU, 6PM, not televised
NC State versus Virginia Tech, 2:30PM, ESPNU
Maybe Pitt versus Probably Georgetown, 7PM, ESPN
Hopefully MICHIGAN versus Wisconsin, 1:30 PM, ESPN
Probably K-State vs Okie State/Baylor, 8:30PM, ESPNU
Probably NC State vs Virginia, 2:30PM, ESPN2
Probably Not Pitt versus Probably Louisville Or Marquette, 8:30PM, ESPN
Hopefully MICHIGAN versus Probably Indiana, 12:40 PM, CBS
Maybe K-State versus Probably Kansas, 5PM, ESPN
Possibly NC State versus Probably Miami, 1PM, ESPN
Hopefully MICHIGAN versus Probably OSU or MSU, 2:30PM, CBS
Probably Not NC State versus Probably Duke, 1PM, ESPN