The moral of last week: don't lose to Penn State, you guys. Providing the Nittany Lions their only win of the conference season was sufficient to knock Michigan out of one-seed contention for now. Despite the Michigan State win, Michigan has fallen into a mass of teams duking it out for spots on the 2 and 3 lines on the Bracket Matrix, a hair behind Louisville and Florida for the final twos. This isn't a lag effect; brackets updated today are evenly split, with guy-whose-job-this-is Jerry Palm declaring Michigan a 3.
Crashing the Dance also has Michigan in the 3 range, though they're significantly closer to the last #1 seed than dropping to a 4. Kansas and Gonzaga are the main beneficiaries, with Miami hanging on the cusp of a one after a narrow defeat at Cameron. I still think Gonzaga's schedule should disqualify them from a one seed but since Michigan's not in line to replace them, whatever man.
Could Michigan get back in the conversation by winning their last two? It's not out of the question. Indiana is by far the #1 team in all these ranking systems and a win over them would at least vault them up to a solid 2. But they'd have to jump a half-dozen teams at this point, one of whom is the extremely-unlikely-to-lose Gonzaga. Getting back on the top line is not entirely out of the question, but it requires a closing streak that is, to put it kindly, unlikely.
Projected ones: Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Miami
i changed the pictures. run, BJ, run!
Last win for IUPUI: December 27th. Binghamton: January 19th. Central Michigan: won! Against Northern Illinois, but still. IUPUI is done with the regular season and has a Saturday matchup with SDSU that will probably end them. Kenpom gives Binghamton a 1% chance of advancing past Stony Brook in the America East tourney, also on Saturday.
Cleveland State lost their final game and enters conference tourney play at 5-11; their season probably ends tonight. Bradley remains a 500-ish MVC team. Eastern Michigan beat Western in a 50-49 OT Wisconsin special. Both teams have a couple of games before their conference tourney kicks off.
Big sorts of teams
USF: W 64-44. Villanova: W 73-64 (OT)
Crushing rebounding and defense against one of the worst teams in the Big East to start their week, then a home escape against 'Nova in which the stats are close to identical save a burst of OT scoring from the Panthers. With just DePaul left, Pitt is likely to enter the Big East tournament as the #4 seed.
The Panthers are going to be a trendy upset pick in the second round what with their sterling Kenpom numbers, but I've watched them enough to be wary of them against any team that can match their size and rebounding. If Pitt isn't crushing the glass it's hard to see them taking out a 2 or 3 seed.
SEEDWATCH: A strong six on Bracket Matrix; a seven on Crashing The Dance.
Kansas State (24-5)
@ Baylor: W 64-61
Scraped by the Bears thanks to excellent two-point D (38%) and a slight TO advantage in a game with lots of offensive rebounds and a swingy win graph:
That's some high leverage right there. May all tourney games not involving Michigan look like that.
K-State has a gimmie against Texas Tech tomorrow and then a season-ender against high-flying Okie State that could spring them to the three line if they perform reasonably in the Big 12 tourney. That one's on the road.
SEEDWATCH: Narrowly a 3 on Bracket Matrix; four on CTD. Jerry Palm says 4.
North Carolina State (21-8)
Boston College: W 82-64. @ Georgia Tech: W 70-57
Given NC State's defensive struggles this year two solid wins over not-great teams is actually a positive step. This is a team that lost to Maryland and Wake Forest, and BC and GT are hovering around 100 in the Kenpom rankings.
BC actually scored just over a PPP in their matchup but could not compete with an NC State team hitting 62% inside the arc and rebounding half their misses. GT shot horribly and turned it over 15 times; NC State got easy distance despite going 1/11 from three thanks to excellent twos and a lot of FTs.
MCHOBBIT UPDATE: 16 minutes against BC, four points on three shots, 5 to 1 A:TO. 11 minutes, 8 points on five shot equivalents, 2 A, 0 TO.
SEEDWATCH: 7 on Crashing The Dance, 8 on Bracket Matrix. Drawing these guys in the second round as a 1 or 2 seed would be awful.
@ LSU: L 65-60. Kentucky: W 73-60.
Arkansas keeps giving themselves hope at home—wins over UK and Florida—and then blowing it on the road—losses to LSU and Vandy. Their vague flutter towards a spot on the bubble comes down to winning at Mizzou and at home against A&M, plus a run in the SEC tourney.
Likely? No. But not impossible. Crashing the Dance has moved them up from the fringe bubble to Next Four Out territory, with Kentucky and Tennessee the last at large bids in and two more SEC teams (Ole Miss and Alabama) just in front of them. Lunardi also has them in Next Four Out. They've got a 10-20% shot at a bid.
SEEDWATCH: CTD next four out; no one has them in on the Matrix.
West Virginia (13-16)
Baylor: L 65-62. @ Kansas: L 91-65
At least we won this coaching switch.
SEEDWATCH: exploding seeds that kill spiders like in Zelda or something
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.
Illinois at Iowa, 7:06 PM, BTN
Ohio State at Indiana, 9PM, ESPN
Arkansas at Missouri, 7PM, ESPN
MICHIGAN at Purdue, 7PM, BTN
Minnesota at Nebraska, 9PM, BTN
Wake Forest at NC State, 9PM, ESPN3
Penn State at Northwestern, 7PM, ESPNU
Wisconsin at Michigan State, 9PM, ESPN (rooting interest: meteor)
Minnesota at Purdue, 12PM, BTN
Kansas State at Oklahoma State, 1:30, no tv(?!?)
Texas A&M at Arkansas , 2PM, ESPNU
Nebraska at Iowa, 2:21 PM, BTN
NC State at Florida State, 9PM, ESPN2
Wisconsin at Penn State, 12PM, BTN
Illinois at Ohio State, 12:30, ESPN
Indiana at MICHIGAN, 4PM, CBS
Northwestern at Michigan State, 6PM, BTN