Highlighted Games for Saturday, Feb 28th (**Survival Board Update**)

SURVIVAL BOARD UPDATE

5 possible eliminations today:

Sun Belt — Troy is out if they lose at home to Georgia State
Big West — CS-Fullerton is out if they lose at Long Beach AND CS-Northridge wins at home over UC-Riverside
Big Sky — Idaho State, Montana State and North Dakota are all eliminated if Weber State wins at home over Idaho State.  Montana State (at Idaho) and North Dakota (home to Southern Utah) will also be eliminated if they lose, regardless of what Weber does.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SURVIVAL BOARD

 

NEWS AND NOTES

-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day – CLICK HERE

 

TODAY’S HIGLIGHTED GAMES

-SARAH LAWRENCE (nondiv1) AT NJIT.  The team of the people is playing their last home game of the season.  I feel they’ve done enough to warrant a bid to the CIT.  Hopefully the selection committee feels that way as well.  Help support the campaign!!  Tweet @collegeinsider and tell them you want the Team of the People in the CIT!!  #NJITtoCIT

-NC STATE AT BOSTON COLLEGE (ACC).  NC State is right on the bubble so every game has a pivotal feel to it.  They’re coming off a huge win over rival UNC, so they should have a lot of momentum going into this one.

-LOUISVILLE AT FLORIDA STATE (ACC).  It’ll be interesting to see what Louisville can do on the road against a team that’s formidable at home now that they’re not at full strength.  The committee will be watching this one closely.

-GEORGETOWN AT SAINT JOHN’S (Big East).  I think both teams are in the field with Georgetown being in better shape, but the Johnnies have been playing well lately.

-MICHIGAN AT MARYLAND (Big Ten).  Maryland has been playing really well lately, especially at home, and should end up as a protected seed so long as they continue to win the games they’re supposed to win.

-MISSOURI AT GEORGIA (SEC).  Georgia has some really good wins, but has been inconsistent.  It’s important that they avoid bad losses if they want to feel completely safe.

-RHODE ISLAND AT LA SALLE (Atlantic Ten).  Rhody has an outside shot at best, but in order for them to cash it in they pretty much need to win out.

-TCU AT OKLAHOMA (Big Twelve).  Oklahoma appears to be a protected seed that could end up as high as the #3 line.

-NORTHERN IOWA AT WICHITA STATE (Missouri Valley).  It has been a long time since the MVC had two teams this high in the rankings that faced off against each other.  We all feel that Northern Iowa is a protected seed and that they belong as high as the #3 line.  If they can win at Wichita State, who is very tough to beat at home, they will probably solidify their case for a #3 seed, and continue to climb the rankings into the top ten.

-CINCINNATI AT TULANE (American).  Cincinnati has not played well lately, but they did get a win in their last game against Houston.  They simply cannot afford to lose to sub NIT teams if they want to prove to the committee that they’re an NCAA team, even if they are on the road.

-NORTH CAROLINA AT MIAMI FL (ACC).  Both teams are coming into this really needing a win.  North Carolina hasn’t had a good win in awhile, and Miami has been wildly inconsistent and is currently right on the bubble.

-BUTLER AT DEPAUL (Big East).  Butler hasn’t played nearly as well since the injury.  They’re in no danger of missing the tournament, but their profile could take a huge hit if they’re unable to hold serve.

-VILLANOVA AT XAVIER (Big East).  Nova is in the hunt for a #1 seed, and this is the kind of game they’ll have to win in order to get up there.  Xavier is inside the bubble and tough to beat at home.  They’re probably safe, but if they can pull off the upset at home they’ll be breathing a lot easier.

-DAYTON AT VCU (Atlantic Ten).  Despite coming off a tough loss to rival Richmond, VCU has been playing better.  Dayton has a lot of okay wins, but no really strong wins.  If they’re able to pull this off it will give their profile a really big boost and have them breathing a little more easily.

-OLE MISS AT LSU (SEC).  I think both teams are inside the bubble, and despite coming off a loss Ole Miss has been playing really well, sot it’s just a matchup between two tournament caliber teams looking for another quality win.

-OKLAHOMA STATE AT TEXAS TECH (Big Twelve).  Okie State could still end up as a protected seed.  They’ve got a lot of good wins on their profile.  This is one of the more winnable road games they have remaining, so they need to take advantage of it.

-WEST VIRGINIA AT BAYLOR (Big Twelve).  Both of these teams have been playing really well lately and should be in great shape as far as seeding goes.  West Virginia could probably use this more than Baylor, but both have been playing really well.

-IOWA STATE AT KANSAS STATE (Big Twelve).  Iowa State is hovering around the #3 line, and as good as their profile is, they could use another true road win.

-VIRGINIA TECH AT VIRGINIA (ACC).  Virginia Tech is having a rough year, but they have gone down to the wire with two top five teams this year.  Unfortunately both were at home, so although the first meeting between these two was close I wouldn’t be surprised if this one was not.  UVA, despite injuries, continues to win and should end up on the #1 line if they hold serve.

-WOFFORD AT FURMAN (Southern).  Wofford has a shot at the bubble, but only if they win out.

-ALABAMA AT VANDERBILT (SEC).  Bama has had several close losses, and as a result probably can’t end up inside the bubble unless they go on a huge winning streak.  Winning at Vandy is a decent win, but is far from enough in and of itself.

-ARKANSAS AT KENTUCKY (SEC).  Kentucky is on pace to get the overall #1 seed, and could still end up with it even if they drop a game.  We think Arkansas is on the brink of being a protected seed.  If they pull this off, they will no longer be on the brink.  They’ll pretty much have it.  It’s Arkansas fast pace offense going up against Kentucky’s unbelievably tough defense, so it should be fun.

-TEXAS AT KANSAS (Big Twelve).  Texas is a decent team that is constantly overmatched and just can’t seem to get any wins.  Going to Kansas probably isn’t going to help them any.  If they were to get a win, they’d go from right on the bubble to feeling a whole lot safer, but it’s much easier said than done.

-OLD DOMINION AT NORTH TEXAS (Conference USA).  Old Dominion has lost several conference games to non-tournament caliber teams and I don’t think they can get inside the bubble, but they still have some good things on their profile and may get a look.

-IOWA AT PENN STATE (Big Ten).  Iowa has been up and down, but has won their last three and is in relatively good shape.  This is a winnable conference road game for them, which would get them to 10-6 in the league.

-SYRACUSE AT DUKE (ACC).  Syracuse is coming off the big win against Notre Dame, but it’s all for not since they have the postseason ban.  Duke is on pace to get a #1 seed and should stay that way so long as they take care of business at home.

-HARVARD AT COLUMBIA (Ivy League).  It’s now a two horse race between Harvard and Yale.  Harvard is coming off a tough loss and simply cannot afford another.

-PENN AT YALE (Ivy League).  Same with Harvard, Yale cannot afford to lose.

-NORTHWESTERN AT ILLINOIS (Big Ten).  Illinois is right on the bubble so every game has a pivotal feel.  A win won’t help them too much, but a loss to a non tournament team at home would really hurt.  The fact that it’s a rivalry game would be a lot of salt in the wound as well.

-TULSA AT MEMPHIS (American).  Tulsa is on the bubble and needs to beat NIT caliber teams on the road in order to end up inside of it.

-UTEP AT SOUTHERN MISS (Conference USA).  UTEP has an outside shot at best, but they still have a shot.  If they fall on the road to a very weak Southern Miss team that shot is gone, though.

-BOISE STATE AT SAN DIEGO STATE (Mountain West).  Boise is squarely on the bubble and this is the kind of road win that could put them on the right side of it.  San Diego State has had a good year and is likely a first ballot team.

-AUBURN AT TEXAS A&M (SEC).  TAMU is one of the many bubble teams.  Unfortunately for them a win won’t help much, and a loss might kill them.

-ARIZONA AT UTAH (Pac Twelve).  This is a showcase game between two highly ranked teams, and a chance for both of them to pick up a huge win.  For Arizona, it would probably be their most impressive of the season, and will solidify them on at least the #2 line if they hold serve after this.

-BYU AT GONZAGA (West Coast).  People are saying BYU can get back on the bubble if they win this game.  I agree, but I don’t think they have what it takes to get it done at Gonzaga.  We shall see, though.

 

Under the Radar Games of the Day: Saturday, February 28, 2015: Lehigh at Colgate and Bucknell at American

Lehigh at Colgate, 12:00 PM Eastern, CBS Sports Network

Bucknell at American, 12:00 PM Eastern, free streaming at patriotleague.org

Twelve Under the Radar conferences play their final regular season games today.*  The regular season title and top seed in the conference tournament for several of them is still up for grabs, as is seeding, byes and double byes, and more. On top of that, there is a whole host of important games among conferences that do not complete their regular seasons until next week.  This makes choosing an Under the Radar Game of the Day extremely difficult, but in the end the battle for the top seed in the Patriot League, which plays its conference tournament at campus sites, is perhaps the most interesting and intriguing of today’s matchups.  Of course, to fully look at this battle, we had to select a pair of games today.

Bucknell enters play today with a record of 12-5 in conference and 17-13 overall.  The Bison hold a one game lead in the standings over Colgate, who sits at 11-4 conference and 14-16 overall.  However, the Red Raiders swept the season series, meaning that if the two end up tied, Colgate will capture the top seed and home court advantage throughout the conference tournament.  Amazingly, Colgate has a chance to be the #1 seed in the Patriot League tournament despite having a losing record overall!!!  Colgate hosts Lehigh (10-7, 16-12) at Noon Eastern today while Bucknell will be traveling to American (8-9, 15-14).  With the parity throughout the Patriot League, both of these games could go either way today, and both Colgate and Bucknell will be busy not only trying to win their own contest, but also keeping one eye on the scoreboard.  Somewhat luckily for both teams, neither of their opponents has nearly as much at stake today.  Lehigh is already locked into the #3 seed no matter what happens.  American is tied for fifth place, but cannot move up any higher than the 5 seed, meaning they will start the conference tournament on the road no matter what.  Despite having less at stake, both Lehigh and American clearly want the victories, and both games should be exciting contests.

 

*While the Summit League is one of these twelve conferences, Omaha (ineligible for the conference tournament) does have a non-conference game left this week at North Dakota.

 

 

Bracket Projections: February 27th

-For the Bracket Rundown Video Podcast where we select the teams and put them into the Seed List - CLICK HERE

 

NOTES ON THE BRACKET

-Once again, the final #1 spot came down to a debate between Villanova and Gonzaga.  Everyone acknowledged that Villanova had the better profile, but David felt Gonzaga had the better team.  Chad, who acted as arbitrator, gave the spot to Villanova.  Nova has looked outstanding 98 percent of the time, and when they play up to their ceiling it looks like they can beat just about anyone, so both teams are really good.  It appears as though we have five #1 seed caliber teams, but as you know there is only room for four.

-Hoops HD continues to love them some Northern Iowa.  They’re currently ranked in the top ten, but their profile is missing some of the high caliber wins that we’re used to seeing from protected seeds.  Having said that, if they win at the Round House on Saturday, I think the real committee will start looking at them for a #3 seed as well.  This is a very good team that is capable of going deep.

-Notre Dame continues to be a team that sparks argument.  On one hand they’ve got some big wins in a tough league and look like they could be a #3 seed.  On the other hand, their out of conference schedule is atrocious, and we’ve seen the selection committee punish teams who have done that in the past, even if they’ve proven themselves to be good once they hit conference play.  My feeling is that teams do themselves no favors by scheduling OOC cupcakes because they deny themselves a chance of making any sort of a case for themselves, which puts more pressure on them in conference play.  However, if they do make a case for themselves in conference play, then that should suffice.  Most disagree with me, including Warren and Chad, and from the looks of the recent past the real selection committee disagrees as well.  So, Notre Dame ended up on the #4 line.

-Arkansas was funny.  We all liked them, but we all came in not thinking anyone else would like them, so we were all surprised that we all liked them.  They check in as the final protected seed, and you have to figure that losing to Kentucky won’t really hurt them in the least.

-Louisville checks in on our #6 line.  We all seemed to agree that they don’t look as good without Chris Jones as they looked with him, and even when they had him they still had some work to do to feel safe as a protected seed.

-SMU and VCU don’t have strong profiles, but we all agreed that we liked their teams more than their paper, so they both check in on the #6 line.  It will be interesting to see how the real committee handles this because they don’t have a lot of high caliber wins, but they have an awful lot of decent wins, and they’re high in the human polls, which indicates NABC Advisors, which is one coach from each conference, will like them as well.

-On the #8, #9 and #10 lines we had a hard time agreeing on anyone.  fortunately with they #8 and #9 lines it’s practically the same seed since they’re playing each other, so it doesn’t look that much different than it had if we had all completely agreed.

-Temple is a team that we feel has done just enough, but hasn’t blown us a way.  They certainly cannot afford to go into the tank and still feel safe.

-Dayton was a team we were pretty far apart on as well.  Warren liked them because of the number of wins they have, and how they’ve avoided bad losses for the most part, but David wasn’t as big on them because they hadn’t really done anything against tournament caliber teams.  The compromise was to put them on the #11 line.

– The only team that moved seed lines was in the First Four where Tulsa dropped down to play Miami while Illinois moved up to play Davidson.  This was because Tulsa could not matchup with SMU in the Round of 64, and Illinois and Miami would have been a regular season rematch, thus two birds were killed with one stone by this switch.

– Once again, while not intentional, we ended up with an amazing piece of bracketing in Louisville in the Midwest Region, with Indiana and Cincinnati scheduled to play in the 8/9 game and the winner to get Kentucky.  The story lines that would happen in these games are too many to even mention.

-THE BUBBLE:  There are more reasons to leave the teams in the First Four out than there are to take them, but we agreed that there were even more reasons to leave out the teams that were not selected.  Next in line were Oregon, Pittsburgh, Boise State, Texas A&M, Stanford, UCLA, Rhode Island, and Minnesota

 

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For our latest Under the Radar Podcast where we discuss the teams from the one bid leagues more thoroughly – CLICK HERE

For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day for Friday, February 27th (and it’s HUGELY important) – CLICK HERE

 

 

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Friday, February 27, 2015: Valparaiso at Cleveland State

For our latest Bracket Rundown podcast, CLICK HERE.

Valparaiso at Cleveland State, 10:00 PM Eastern, ESPNU

Four days from now, the first conference tournament games will tip-off beginning the longest and most exciting week of the college basketball season, the 13 days known as Championship Week.  Over the next three days, 13 conferences will be concluding their regular seasons and releasing the brackets for their conference tournaments.  In the Horizon League, a conference that in our opinion does things right by giving home court advantage and a double bye to its regular season champion, a ton of questions regarding their bracket will be answered tonight and tomorrow.  This is because three teams still have a shot at the top seed, and a fourth can at least tie for the regular season title and get the double bye that comes with the #2 seed.  Due to the conference schedule falling exactly right, these four teams will be playing each other over these next two days.  Tomorrow afternoon, Oakland is at Green Bay (2:00 PM, espn3) in a game that will give the winner a shot at getting the #2 seed, and for Oakland at least could even lift them to the #1 spot, amazingly enough for a team that has not been in serious title contention in the Horizon until this past week.  Tonight, with a late night tip time in Cleveland, Valpo and Cleveland State will battle to each put their claims in for the #1 seed as well.

The easiest path to the top seed belongs to the Valparaiso Crusaders, who lost a chance to clinch it outright earlier this week when they got upset at Detroit.  Valpo is a full game up on the other three teams in the league standings, sitting at 12-3 in conference and 25-5 overall.  This means that winning tonight’s game will lock the Crusaders into the top spot and give them home court advantage throughout the Horizon League tournament.  To do so, Valpo will need to get Trevonn Walker back on track.  After scoring 20 points against Green Bay and 12 against Milwaukee two weeks ago, the past week has seen him score a total of 5 points in two games, including being held scoreless in a win over Wright State.  Another performance like these past two will not be enough if the Crusaders want to knock off Cleveland State in what should be a raucous, crazy atmosphere at the Wolstein Center tonight.

Cleveland State (11-4 in conference, 17-12 overall) has a excellent chance to be the #1 seed if they win tonight, but it is not guaranteed.  If CSU wins tonight and Green Bay wins tomorrow afternoon, the Vikings will be in the top spot and hosting the conference tournament.  However, if Oakland pulls off the upset in Green Bay tomorrow, the tiebreaker between the two teams would go the their RPI rankings, which are right now only 16 points apart (with Cleveland State leading).  Given that Oakland’s win will be a road win, which receives more credit in the RPI than a home victory, and they would have both defeated top 100 programs, that gap will be narrowed down to almost nothing.  Odds are that Cleveland State will end up ahead of Oakland, but do not be shocked if it turns out that the Golden Grizzlies capture the top spot.  Regardless of the RPI rankings, CSU’s first order of business will be to win tonight, and to do so they will need a much better effort from Trey Lewis than he gave in the first meeting between these teams, when Valpo held him to 5 points and 1 rebound.  For a player that lit up Green Bay for 25 points and 12 boards back in January, a lot more will be needed if the Vikings want to win the conference regular season title.  If he and his teammates come through, this could be one of the most exciting and fun games we have seen all season among the Under the Radar teams, and CSU fans may be able to start making plans for a home semifinal game next Saturday night as well.

 

Bracket Rundown: February 26th

Chad and David are once again joined by Warren Nolan as the three of them banter back and forth while building the seed list.  They go through each of the teams line by line while debating, discussing and bantering about where they think each team should be.  Check out the video below…

 

To check out the final bracket – CLICK HERE

And for all you radio lovers, below is an mp3 version of the show….

Highlighted Games for Thursday, Feb 26th

NEWS AND NOTES

-For our most recent, and what will be our final Under the Radar Video Podcast of the season – CLICK HERE

-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day – CLICK HERE

-We will be recording our Bracket Rundown Video Podcast tonight, where we go through and banter about all the teams as we hammer out a seed list.  It will be posted either later tonight or early tomorrow morning so be sure to check it out.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-HOUSTON AT TEMPLE (American).  Temple appears to be in relatively good shape, but that will change quickly if they pull a UConn and lose to Houston.

-WOFFORD AT MERCER (Southern).  I don’t think Wofford will have enough to end up inside the bubble if they fall in the conference tournament, but they should at least be in the discussion.  It will require nothing short of winning out, and they’ll likely come up short even then.

-COASTAL CAROLINA AT PRESBYTERIAN (Big South).  Coastal is just one game out of first place and still has a chance to clinch home court advantage in the……..oh, nevermind.  For more on that check out our Under the Radar Podcast.

-MINNESOTA AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten).  I don’t see Minney as being near the bubble right now, but a strong finish will get them there.  Granted, they’ve shown very little to make us believe they have the ability to finish strong.  Michigan State has had a rough year, but is really playing well lately.

-NEBRASKA AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten).  It’s a good thing Nebraska is on the road this week because they’re presumably able to use the visiting locker room.  Head Coach Tim Miles locked them out of their locker room at home.  Ohio State has been tough to beat at home and has a solid profile that shouldn’t change so long as they hold serve.

-UTEP AT LOUISIANA TECH (Conference USA).  I am perplexed as to how this is not the UTR Game of the Day.  Chad doesn’t get many things right, but he normally gets the UTR Game of the Day right, but today he didn’t even get that right!!  UTEP has won seven in a row and is finally starting to look like the team we’d thought they’d be.  The question is whether or not they can get their resume to a point to where the committee will consider it because most of those wins have been against weak teams.  LA Tech is unbeaten at home, and this would be the kind of quality win that would jump out at the committee despite LA Tech’s low RPI.

-SMU AT MEMPHIS (American).  This SMU team is rolling and should be a first ballot NCAA Tournament team.  This is a chance for them to polish up the profile even more by getting another notable road win.

-ARIZONA AT COLORADO (Pac Twelve).  Arizona appears to be a solid #2 seed, so this is the kind of road game they’ve been winning and that you’d expect them to continue to win.

-RUTGERS AT PURDUE (Big Ten).  Purdue is really hot right now, and has been playing especially well at home.  Rutgers is dealing with some issues, particularly the issue of not being good, so Purdue cannot afford to slip up against them.

-BYU AT PORTLAND (West Coast).  UTR Game of the Day.  See above.

-ARIZONA STATE AT UTAH (Pac Twelve).  Utah has been outstanding at home this year and should easily end up as a protected seed.  We love watching Arizona State play, but not so much as the road team.  They won’t be bringing the Curtain of Distraction with them.

-SAN DIEGO AT GONZAGA (West Coast).  This, like many Gonzaga conference home games, is a conference game that will likely feel like a buy game.

-OREGON STATE AT STANFORD (Pac Twelve).  Stanford is outside the bubble and basically needs to finish strong if they want to end up in the safe zone.