Small Conference Game of the Day – January 31

The final score from last night’s SCGD between Auburn and Georgia was 57-49.  As noone cares who won, I won’t even bother saying.

For tonight’s game, we turn our focus back to the true small conferences and head over to the MAAC (7:00PM Eastern, espn3).  First place is on the line as Iona (14-7, 8-2) heads to Niagara (13-8, 9-1).  This is the second meeting of the season between the two teams.  Iona won the first, all the way back on November 28, to hand the Purple Eagles their only conference loss of the season.  Despite Niagara’s great conference record, they did not play well in the non-conference season, including bad losses to Buffalo, Brown and Central Michigan.

Iona has also suffered some ugly losses on the season so far.  The Gaels have losses to Quinnipiac, Illinois-Chicago and St. Peter’s already.  However, they also picked up a handful of decent wins, including games against Denver, St. Bonaventure, Wake Forest and Georgia (ok, those last couple are not exactly great teams, but hey, Georgia did play in the SCGD last night).

Needless to say, the MAAC is not in a position this season to put an at-large team into the NCAA tournament.  However, between Niagara, Iona, and some solid teams in Loyola, Canisius and Fairfield, this should be a fun conference to watch the rest of the way and could be one of the more exicting conference tournaments come March.

Highlighted Games for Wednesday, Jan 30th

-VILLANOVA AT NOTRE DAME (Big East). Nova appears to have played their way onto the bubble and can continue to play their way inside it if they keep winning.

-NORTHWESTERN AT MICHIGAN (Big Ten). People say that with all the parity there is no dominant team. I think Michigan is as dominant of a team as there is. Now that I’ve said that, watch them lose tonight.

-SETON HALL AT GEORGETOWN (Big East). Georgetown is coming off of two straight big wins and should be able to handle a non-tournament team at home.

-RICHMOND AT TEMPLE (Atlantic Ten). Temple has some big wins, but they are very schizophrenic and are all over the map. To say that this is a pivotal game might be overstating it, but a loss at home to a non-tournament team is the last thing the Owls need right now.

-VCU AT RHODE ISLAND (Atlantic Ten). VCU needs to rebound from back to back losses. They need more road wins, and really can’t afford a loss to a team as bad as Rhody.

-RUTGERS AT CINCINNATI (Big East). Rutgers has the opportunities to play their way inside the bubble, but they need to put together a string of wins. Cincinnati is having a good year and should be able to win this one at home.

-OKLAHOMA AT BAYLOR (Big Twelve). I have both these teams on the bubble, and I think most of the rest of the Hoops HD nation does as well. It’s a big game for both teams.

-UMASS AT LA SALLE (Atlantic Ten). I have La Salle inside the bubble, and UMass outside of it. In fact, I have Umass a good ways outside of it, but this would be a big road win for them and get them closer to being in the discussion if they pull it off.

-MEMPHIS AT EAST CAROLINA (Conference USA). Memphis has a good record and a small margin for error because they don’t have any really big wins. Any road win will help.

-BUCKNELL AT AMERICAN (Patriot League). As good as I think Bucknell is, their profile just isn’t good enough. Winning out may get them a look, but even that may not be enough.

-SOUTH CAROLINA AT FLORIDA (SEC). Florida is a #1 or #2 seed caliber team and shouldn’t have any trouble at home tonight.

-MISSOURI AT LSU (SEC). Missouri needs road wins. Badly. A road win against a sub par team is much better than no road wins at all.

-DUKE AT WAKE FOREST (ACC). Duke is still looking for their first true road win, and won’t be taken seriously by the committee as a #1 or #2 seed until they get a few.

-TEXAS AT KANSAS STATE (Big Twelve). K State is in good shape and can still end up as a protected seed.

-IOWA STATE AT OKLAHOMA STATE (Big Twelve). I have Iowa State on the bubble and Oklahoma State just inside of it, so this is a rather pivotal game for both teams.

-MISSOURI STATE AT CREIGHTON (Missouri Valley). Creighton is coming off an upset loss, but they shouldn’t have too much trouble rebounding at home.

-INDIANA AT PURDUE (Big Ten). This appears to be a mismatch. It is a mismatch, but it is also a rivalry game.

-MIAMI, FL AT VIRGINIA TECH (ACC). Miami appears to be playing as well as anybody right now. They are one of the surprise stories in college basketball this year.

-DAYTON AT XAVIER (Atlantic Ten). Both teams are far away from the bubble, but Dayton’s schedule was front loaded and they didn’t lose by much against the top teams in the league. If they can win their next four games (all of which are winnable) they’ll be in the picture.

-DEPAUL AT SAINT JOHN’S (Big East). Saint John’s is inching closer and closer to the bubble. They need to keep winning.

-BOISE STATE AT COLORADO STATE (Mountain West). Boise has dropped some games to non-tournament teams lately, and this is a very pivotal game for them. Colorado State has struggled, but they appear to be improving as the season goes along. Both teams have room for improvement, so this is a big game.

-NEW MEXICO AT WYOMING (Mountain West). Wyoming has struggled in conference play, and although they were unbeaten out of conference, they didn’t play a tough schedule so the pressure is really on them.

-USC AT UCLA (Pac Twelve). UCLA has looked good lately, and shouldn’t have any trouble tonight against their crosstown rivals.

-SAINT MARY’S AT SAN FRANCISCO (West Coast). SMC is on the bubble with very few opportunities remaining at quality wins. Their margin for error is zero.

-OREGON AT STANFORD (Pac Twelve). I really like this Oregon team, and if they can blow through the Pac Twelve like they’ve been doing I think they deserve a very high seed.


Small Conference Game of the Day – January 30

As previewed by the SCGD yesterday, Indiana State-Wichita State proved to be a good game, with the Sycamores picking up the huge road victory and positioning themselves back into the picture for at-large consideration come Selection Sunday.

Tonight, the SCGD turns to another small conference…or at least a conference that has played like one all season.  While this league features a team that has a great shot at winning it all this season, and the team that cut down the nets last year, after the top 3 or 4 teams in this 14 team league, there quite frankly is noone worthy of serious discussion.  And a conference with 10 teams that, in late January, have already guaranteed their best seasons will end in the NIT is, in my opinion, worthy of being honored as a Small Conference.

Of course, the league we are discussing is the SEC and the featured game of the night is none other than the true snoozer expected between Auburn and Georgia (7:00PM Eastern, espn3).  Both teams enter the game at 8-11 overall and 2-4 in conference.  Auburn is 169 in the KenPom and 213 in RPI.  They have lost to Rhode Island, Winthrop and DePaul, and their best win is over Florida State.  Georgia enters with a 144 KenPom, a 149 RPI, losses to Youngstown State, Mississippi State and South Florida, and their best win is their last game when they won at Texas A&M.

In terms of postseason implications, this game probably does not have any.  Theoretically, if one of these teams can get over .500 on the year, they may be a candidate for an NIT or CBI bid, but that is about the only thing that can be said about either one.  Of course, it would be one thing if these were the only two bad teams in the SEC, but when you add in disastrous seasons so far by Mississippi State, LSU, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, South Carolina, and more, there really is no doubt that this league is deserving of at least this one appearance in the SCGD.

Small Conference Game of the Day – January 29

Once again, Grambling suffered a double digit loss and moved one step closer to being the worst college basketball team of all time.  Their next game is at conference leader Southern on Saturday, after which they should fall to 0-19.

For tonight’s SCGD, we turn to a conference that may not quite qualify as a small conference, but as it is one of the more intriguing games on the calendar this evening, we will focus on it anyhow.  the game is out of the Missouri Valley Conference, where Indiana State is going on the road to take on Wichita State (8:00PM Eastern, espn3).  Wichita is currently in sole possession of first place in the league at 8-1, has a Top 25 ranking, an RPI of 18, and has non-conference wins over VCU, Iowa and Southern Miss.  Indiana State is 6-3 in the MVC and 13-7 overall, but has a solid RPI of 50, a KenPom Rating of 84, and has a pair of neutral court wins over Ole Miss and Miami at the Diamond Head Classic.  Their losses have not been awful either, including the likes of New Mexico, San Diego State, UCLA and Creighton (though losing to Southern Illinois and Morehead State did hurt).

Indiana State is looking for their first win at Wichita since 2004.  The Sycamores are led by Jake Odum, who is 45 points away from 1000 on his career, and Manny Arop.  Wichita, on the other hand, is led by Carl Hall, who had a double-double in their win over Creighton, and keep an eye on Cleanthony Early who had 39 points against Southern Illinois.

Bracketology Podcast: 1/27/2013

Lots covered here, including last weeks games of interest and how the impacted the Bracketology picture. We also talked about the Mountain West and how many teams they could get in. The panelists also debated what the top four lines of the S Curve would look like if the season ended today.

Eric Prisbell from USA Today was this week’s guest. All that, and more…

Small Conference Game of the Day – January 28

Northeastern took a commanding lead in the CAA last night, handling George Mason somewhat easily.  The slate of games tonight is rather weak, so the SCGD is going to be returning to the bottom of the SWAC and the bottom of Division I hoops as we revisit our friends at Grambling State.

While Grambling lost in its last appearance in the SCGD, and suffered yet another defeat this weekend, they once again have a chance to pick up that elusive first victory tonight when they host Mississippi Valley State at 8:30PM Eastern.  While Grambling is dead last in RPI and KenPom ratings, MVSU is not that far away.  The Delta Devils rank 341/347 in RPI and 340/347 in Pomeroy.  While they do have 2 wins, they were victories over another pair of 325+ RPI teams from the SWAC, Prairie View and Alabama A&M.  By the numbers, MVSU is currently the second worst team in the SWAC after Grambling, meaning this is their best shot at a victory tonight — though given how weak the entire conference is after front-runner Southern, there will be a few more chances if they don’t win this one.

As a side note, also of interest to the SCGD today is the announcement of the matchups for the 2013 BrackBusters.  Some key home teams in this year’s pool are Long Beach State, Valparaiso, Akron, Indiana State, Wichita State, Belmont, Davidson, and St. Mary’s.  The top road teams are Montana, Detroit, Iona, Ohio U, Creighton, Stephen F Austin and South Dakota State.  It would be great to wee at least half a dozen matchups among these teams, such as Creighton at Belmont, Stephen F Austin at Akron (or at St. Mary’s), and South Dakota State at Wichita State.  (UPDATE: Announcements will be next Monday, Feb. 4 now.)