-It’s a VERY busy day today, but we’ve got it all covered!
SURVIVAL BOARD UPDATE
– We currently have 336 teams left on our Survival Board. The following teams face possible elimination from it today:
Brown: out with a loss at Harvard and a Penn win at Columbia
Cornell: out with a home loss to Princeton and a Penn win at Columbia
Dartmouth: out with a home loss to Yale and a Penn win at Columbia
Columbia: out with a home loss to Penn, a Yale win at Dartmouth, and a Brown loss at Harvard
McNeese State: out with a loss at TAMU-CC or a Central Arkansas home win over SFA
Northwestern State: out with a home loss to New Orleans or a Central Arkansas home win over SFA
North Texas: out with a home loss to Southern Miss
Florida International: out with a home loss to UTEP or a Southern Miss win at North Texas
Miss Valley State: out with a home loss to Jackson State, an Alabama State home win over Texas Southern, and an Ark-Pine Bluff home win over Grambling
NEWS AND NOTES
-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day, which has first place implications and home court advantage in the conference tournament – CLICK HERE
-For Jon Teitel’s article celebrating the 50th anniversary of John Oldham – CLICK HERE
-Dayton and Davidson seesawed back and forth last night before Dayton pulled away in overtime and picked up another notable road win and added it to an already solid profile.
-FLORIDA STATE AT CLEMSON (ACC). I just don’t know how many more games Clemson is capable of almost winning. They are perhaps the best 14-13 team in history. As good as Florida State’s profile is, they’ve only won two true road games, and increasing that number by fifty percent would make their profile look a lot better.
-NORTH CAROLINA AT PITTSBURGH (ACC). Our staff is now projecting UNC up on the #1 line, and I expect them to finish strong and stay there. Pitt is capable of playing well at home, but given that the Tarheels are competing for a first place finish I don’t foresee them overlooking the Panthers.
-VIRGINIA AT NC STATE (ACC). The Hoos have lost six of eight and need to pull themselves out of that tailspin. Conference road wins are generally a good way to do that. They still have a reasonably good shot at ending up as a protected seed if they’re able to get things turned around.
-SMU AT UCONN (American). UConn is suddenly playing decent basketball. They are coming off a loss at Houston, but they’d won seven of eight prior to that and have won their last six at home. SMU should land on the top half of the bracket, and this is the kind of game that a first ballot team should be able to win, but they better not overlook the Huskies because although SMU is the better team, they’re not so much better that they can win by just going through the motions.
-WICHITA STATE AT MISSOURI STATE (Missouri Valley). I think the Shockers are a virtual lock if they win this game and avoid a loss in the quarterfinals. On paper their resume isn’t the best, but that’s more due to circumstance than it is to them not being good. Hopefully the committee knows that.
-TENNESSEE AT SOUTH CAROLINA (SEC). This is a big game for South Carolina not because it would be a quality win on their resume, but because they’ve been nosediving lately and simply picking up any kind of a win should help pull them out of it.
-UMBC AT NEW HAMPSHIRE (America East. The Team of the People!!! They’re fighting for a chance to host a conference quarterfinal game!!! UMBC has been one of the most improved teams in all of college basketball and the two are deadlocked in the standings.
-FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY (SEC). Florida won the first game by a lot. They’re now down a key player and they’re on the road. The Hoops HD staff put Florida much higher on the seed list than I personally would have. I admit that if the Gators get this one then my opinion of them will change. It would clearly be their most impressive win of the year. Either way they’re safely in the field and will be wearing white.
-WEST VIRGINIA AT TCU (Big Twelve). TCU has been a home court hero this year and West Virginia hasn’t always been the best road team. TCU is right on the cut line for making the NCAA Tournament and a win like this could really go a long way. This is West Virginia’s most winnable remaining road game (they play at Baylor on Monday), and a win should help cement them into a protected seed.
-TEXAS TECH AT OKLAHOMA STATE (Big Twelve). A win for Oklahoma State gets them to 9 conference wins, but more importantly they are one of the hottest teams in the nation. Texas Tech is on the outside looking in and has not been good on the road. If they want to make the field then they need a win like this, and they probably need more than that.
-ILLINOIS STATE AT NORTHERN IOWA (Missouri Valley). Illinois State has had to sweat out a lot of games against teams that aren’t that good. UNI is miles away from being a tournament team, but they have played well at home this year and this will not be an easy one for the Redbirds to pick up. Since Illinois State is right on the bubble, they need this one and they probably need to avoid losing to anyone other than Wichita State in order to not be sweating out the selection show.
-VCU AT RHODE ISLAND (Atlantic Ten). The best thing you can say about VCU is that there aren’t a whole lot of bad things on their resume. The problem is there isn’t much in they way of a lot of good things either. They have a good chance of making it, and a win today really increases those chances. Some say Rhody can still sneak onto the bubble, and I suppose it’s possible, but they can probably only lose one more game and that game better be the conference championship game.
-STONY BROOK AT VERMONT (America East). Vermont has already clinched first place and home court advantage, and they probably can’t get in without the automatic bid. But a win gives them a perfect regular season in the America East, so we’ll highlight this for that reason.
-SETON HALL AT DEPAUL (Big East). Seton Hall appears to be on the right side of the bubble, and needs to hold serve in games like this on order to stay there.
-NORTHEASTERN AT UNC WILMINGTON (Colonial). If UNCW can win this game and avoid any horrible losses in the CAA Tournament I think they have a reasonably good chance at getting in as an at-large bid if they’re unable to win the conference tourney.
-PENN STATE AT MINNESOTA (Big Ten). Minney has had a fantastic season and appears to be heading toward the top half of the bracket. If they finish strong they could end up with a very solid seed.
-CREIGHTON AT VILLANOVA (Big East). Since losing Mo Watson, Creighton has gone 4-5, which isn’t terrible given the teams they’ve been playing, but is also far from good. They aren’t likely to win this one, but if they do they’re shooting way up the list. But, if they don’t, then they’re still in good shape so long as they win one of their remaining two games after that. Nova is coming off of a loss, but they’re still on pace to get a #1 seed if they can hold serve the rest of the way.
-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT VANDERBILT (SEC). Not everyone agrees, but Vandy is right on our bubble, and this would be their seventh win in their last nine games if they pull this off. After this they face Florida and Kentucky. If they can win this and win one of those, and then avoid losing to non-tournament teams in the SEC Tourney, I think that’s enough to land them inside the bubble.
-PURDUE AT MICHIGAN (Big Ten). I really like this Purdue team and think they could end up as a protected seed. They’re better than Michigan, but Michigan has been really tough at home this year, and they’re looking to lock themselves into the tournament as well, so it’s a big game for both teams.
-VIRGINIA TECH AT BOSTON COLLEGE (ACC). Road wins are never easy in this conference, unless you’re playing at Boston College. Virginia Tech should get this one.
-DUKE AT MIAMI FL (ACC). This should be a good one because Miami has been playing really well lately, and Duke (despite coming off a loss) has really stepped it up to the point to where they still have a good shot at a #2 seed. It’s a showcase game for Miami which, believe it or not, would pull them even with Duke in the conference standings, as well as be a huge quality win on their resume.
-OREGON AT STANFORD (Pac Twelve). Oregon is in a three way race for first place, and has a good chance at ending up as a #2 seed. They haven’t been quite as good on the road, but they’ve been good enough and are coming off an exciting come from behind win at Cal. They should be able to pick this one up as well.
-BAYLOR AT IOWA STATE (Big Twelve). Baylor has had the better overall season, and is clearly better on paper, but both teams are going in different directions. The two are actually deadlocked in the conference standings, and while Iowa State got off to a slower start, they’ve now won five of their last six, including wins at Kansas, at Kansas State, and at Texas Tech. The place will be rocking for this one, and don’t be surprised if they knock off Baylor. As for Baylor, it would be a big road win and would keep them within reach of the #1 line, so this game has a rather pivotal feel to it.
-MARQUETTE AT PROVIDENCE (Big East). Providence just slipped inside of our bubble, and based on how they’ve been playing they’ll have chances to move themselves further inside of it if they keep winning. Marquette is inside the bubble and should make the field barring a collapse. Both teams should be optimistic right now, but both still have work to do, so this is an important game.
-SOUTH ALABAMA AT UT ARLINGTON (Sun Belt). If UT Arlington can win out and avoid a loss prior to the semis of the conference tournament, I think the committee should take them. Whether or not they will is up to the committee. In recent years they’ve tended not to value teams like this even if they finished in first place and won some big OOC games, but I would certainly argue that they would belong and hope the real committee would as well.
-KANSAS AT TEXAS (Big Twelve). Half of these teams have a very good shot at ending up as a #1 seed!! The other half will likely not play in a postseason tournament of any kind!!
-IOWA AT MARYLAND (Big Ten). Maryland is in a bit of a tailspin, but should be able to knock off an Iowa team that has struggled this year and keep themselves near the top of the standings and in a good position to earn a #6-ish seed. Maybe better if they’re really able to kick it into gear.
-KANSAS STATE AT OKLAHOMA (Big Twelve). K State is inside our bubble, but they aren’t safely enough in to where they can just start losing games to non-tournament teams. They’ve lost seven out of nine and this road win would really help them out.
-NEVADA AT UNLV (Mountain West). Nevada’s chances of earning an at-large are very slim, but if they win out to the championship game they may get a look.
-ALABAMA AT TEXAS A&M (SEC). Alabama is just about completely dead, especially after losing to Georgia the other night. It’s still possible for them to play their way inside the bubble if they finish strong and knock off some notable teams in the SEC Tournament, but anything short of that and they’re off to the NIT.
-NORTHWESTERN AT INDIANA (Big Ten). Outside of their win at Wisconsin, Northwestern has really been limping lately. They’ve lost four of their last six, including two to an Illinois team that Chad thinks is good, but that no one else does. Indiana isn’t just limping. They’re barely even crawling. The chances of them getting things turned around are almost zero.
-UCLA AT ARIZONA (Pac Twelve). First place in the Pac Twelve is on the line, the better ranking in the seed list is on the line, which means getting to play in the West Regional, and bragging rights are on the line. Other than that, it’s not that big of a game.
-ARKANSAS AT AUBURN (SEC). Arkansas is pretty far inside the bubble and will safely make it if they hold serve, which probably means winning this game even though they’re the road team.
-SANTA CLARA AT SAINT MARY’S (West Coast). Saint Mary’s has basically blown through this conference whenever they’ve played someone that isn’t Gonzaga, and I do not foresee that changing tonight.
-BYU AT GONZAGA (West Coast). Gonzaga can pick up their 30th win of the season and enter the conference tournament unbeaten, ranked #1, and in position to perhaps earn the top overall #1 seed. It’s a curtain call for what has been a historic season in the sense that they are perhaps the nation’s best team, perhaps Gonzaga’s best ever team, and that they’ve managed to go undefeated. They would only be the fifth team to do it since 1976, but having said that they would be the third team to do it in the last four years.
UNDER THE RADAR CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT RESET
-Below is a brief reset for each of the UTR conferences. For info on where the major conference teams stand you can watch our latest Bracket Rundown Podcast And for more information on all the conference tournament, including seedings and schedules as they become finalized, you can check out our Conference Tournament Page.
-AMERICA EAST – Vermont has clinched first place and will have home court advantage throughout the conference tournament.
-ATLANTIC SUN – FGCU is the first place finisher. The conference tournament is already set
-BIG SKY – North Dakota has a one game lead over Eastern Washington and Weber State with each having three games remaining, but with the seeding being standard and the tournament being in Reno, the only things on the line are an automatic bid to the NIT, and the right to wear white jerseys
-BIG SOUTH – Winthrop, Liberty, and UNC Asheville are all tied for first with one game remaining. The first place team will host the conference tournament. More on the tiebreakers – HERE
-BIG WEST – UC Davis and UC Irvine are tied for first and CS Fullerton is just a game behind with three games remaining. The seeding is standard but it is reseeded in the semifinals
-COLONIAL ATHLETIC – UNCW has a one game lead over College of Charleston with one game remaining, but has already clinched the tiebreaker and the top seed. The problem is that the conference tournament is in Charleston, so there’s no real advantage.
-CONFERENCE USA – Middle Tennessee has clinched first place, and the tournament will be in Birmingham
-HORIZON LEAGUE – Valparaiso has a one game lead on Oakland with one game remaining. The conference tournament will be in Detroit.
-IVY LEAGUE – Princeton has a two game lead with three games reaming, but the real excitement is the battle for fourth place between Penn and Columbia. Penn is hosting the tournament, which could force Princeton to play a road game against their rival in the semifinals, which is admittedly unfair, but also admittedly awesome!
-METRO ATLANTIC – Monmouth has clinched first place. Siena is hosting the conference tournament and if the Saints win their final game they will face Monmouth as early as the semifinals in a virtual home game.
-MEAC – NC Central has a two game lead with three games to play. The conference tournament will be played in Norfolk.
-MAC – Akron has a two game lead with two games to play. The Tournament is in Cleveland.
-MOUNTAIN WEST – Nevada and Colorado State are tied and Boise State is just a game behind them with three games remaining. The tournament is in Las Vegas
-MISSOURI VALLEY – Wichita State and Illinois State are tied atop the standings with just one game to do and have a seven game lead on the third place team. If the two are tied at the end of the year, then Illinois State will win the tiebreaker due to having a better RPI.
-NORTHEAST – Mount Saint Mary’s has a one game lead with one game remaining. If they win today, or if LIU Brooklyn loses, they’ll have home court advantage throughout the tournament.
-OHIO VALLEY – Belmont has clinched first place and a bye into the semifinals. The tournament is in Nashville
-PATRIOT LEAGUE – Bucknell has clinched first place and will have home court advantage throughout the conference tournament
-SOCON – East Tennessee State has a one game lead over Furman and UNC Greensboro with two games remaining. The tournament is in Asheville, NC and the seeding is standard
-SOUTHLAND – New Orleans has a two game lead with three games remaining. The tournament is in Katy, TX and the first place team byes into the semis.
-SUMMIT LEAGUE – North Dakota State are tied for first place with three games remaining. The tournament is in Sioux Falls, SD
-SUN BELT – UT Arlington has a one game lead over Arkansas State with four games remaining. The tournament is in New Orleans and the seeding is standard
-SWAC – Texas Southern has a one game lead with four games remaining. The tournament is in Houston and the seeding is standard
-WAC – Cal State Bakersfield has a two game lead with two games remaining. The tournament is in Las Vegas and the seeding is standard, but the first place team does bye into the semis.