Under the Radar/Championship Notebook: Feb 28th

On this edition of UTR, Chad and David start off with the disappointing news that Southern, through no fault of the current players or coaches, will be unable to compete in the SWAC Championship or any other postseason tournament including the NCAA Tournament. It is the consensus of this show that it is a raw deal because the people who are largely responsible for not submitting the information to the NCAA aren’t the ones being punished. The players and coaches are.

As we do every week, we run through every conference and project who the favorites are to win the upcoming conference tournaments, and where we feel they’ll be placed in the NCAA Tournament. Several teams have clinched first place finishes already, whereas other conferences like the MAC, Big South, CUSA and Big West are log jammed and entirely up for grabs.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK NOTEBOOK

-As hard as this is to believe, the conference tournaments begin this upcoming Monday with the opening round of the Patriot League Tournament.  Although we are not to the conference tournaments, we are to the stage in the season where we are seeing elimination games as teams from the one bid leagues are fighting for spots in those conference tournaments.  In addition to Southern being eliminated due to an NCAA ban, Lamar, Long Island and Kennesaw State were also mathematically eliminated from making their conference tournaments last night.  The win-and-advance/lose-and-go-home stage of the season is here!!  That means we are debuting this year’s edition of the Hoops HD Tournament Survival Board!!  Here it is!!!

LEGEND:

CHAMPION (BOLD AND ALL CAPS)

Locks (Bold)

Under Consideration (Italics)

Lose and You’re Screwed (normal text)

 

325 TEAMS REMAIN!!!!

ACC – 15 (Virginia, Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Clemson, NC State, Maryland, Florida State, Miami FL, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech,  Boston College, Virginia Tech)

AMERICA EAST – 8 (Vermont, Stony Brook, Albany, Hartford, UMBC, Binghamton, New Hampshire, Maine)

AMERICAN ATHLETIC – 10 (Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, UConn, SMU, Houston, Rutgers, South Florida, UCF, Temple)

ATLANTIC TEN – 13 (Saint Louis, VCU, George Washington, UMass, Dayton, Saint Joseph’s, Richmond, Saint Bonaventure, La Salle, Rhode Island, Duquesne, Fordham, George Mason)

ATLANTIC SUN – 8 (Mercer, Florida Gulf Coast, East Tennessee State, USC Upstate, Lipscomb, North Florida, Jacksonville, Stetson)

BIG TWELVE – 10 (Kansas, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, TCU)

BIG EAST – 10 (Creighton, Villanova, Georgetown, Xavier, Saint John’s, Providence, Marquette,  Seton Hall, Butler, DePaul)

BIG SKY – 10 (Weber State, Northern Colorado, Montana, Sacramento State, North Dakota, Eastern Washington, Montana State, Northern Arizona, Portland State, Idaho State)

BIG SOUTH – 12 (VMI, High Point, Coastal Carolina, Gardner Webb, Radford, UNC Asheville, Campbell, Winthrop, Liberty, Charleston Southern, Presbyterian, Longwood)

BIG TEN – 12  (Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Penn State)

BIG WEST – 9 (UCSB, UC Irvine, Long Beach State, CS Northridge, Cal Poly, CS Fullerton, UC Davis, UC Riverside)

COLONIAL – 9 (Delaware, Towson, William & Mary, Drexel, Charleston, James Madison, Northeastern, Hofstra, UNC Wilmington)

CONFERENCE USA – 15 (Lousiana Tech, Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee, UTEP, Tulsa, Tulane, Old Dominion, UAB, Charlotte, North Texas, Florida Atlantic, East Carolina, UTSA, Marshall, Rice)

HORIZON LEAGUE – 9 (Green Bay, Cleveland State, Valparaiso, Wright State, Milwaukee, Youngstown State, Detroit, Oakland, UIC)

INDEPENDENT – 0

IVY LEAGUE – 4 (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown)

METRO ATLATNIC – 11 (Iona, Quinnipiac, Manhattan, Canisius, Rider, Siena, Marist, Saint Peter’s, Monmouth, Fairfield, Niagara)

MEAC – 13 (NCCU, Hampton, Norfolk State, Morgan State, Savannah State, Florida A&M, Coppin State, South Carolina State, Delaware State, Howard, North Carolina A&T, Bethune Cookman, UMES)

MID-AMERICAN – 12 (Toledo, Western Michigan, Buffalo, Ohio, Akron, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami OH, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Ball State)

MISSOURI VALLEY – 10 (Wichita State, Indiana State, Missouri State, Illinois State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Bradley, Drake, Evansville, Loyola IL)

MOUNTAIN WEST – 11 (San Diego State, New Mexico, Boise State, UNLV, Wyoming, Nevada, Fresno State, Colorado State, Utah State, Air Force, San Jose State)

NORTHEAST – 8 (Robert Morris, Wagner, Bryant, Mount Saint Mary’s, SFNY, SFPA, Fairleigh Dickinson, Central Connecticut)

OHIO VALLEY – 9 (Belmont, Murray State, Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, SIUE, Southeast Missouri State, Eastern Illinois, Austin Peay)

PAC TWELVE – 12 (Arizona, UCLA, Stanford, California, Colorado, Arizona State, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Oregon State, Washington State, USC)

PATRIOT LEAGUE – 10 (Boston U, American, Holy Cross, Bucknell, Army, Lehigh, Lafayette, Loyola MD, Colgate, Navy)

SEC – 14 (Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, South Carolina)

SOUTHERN – 11 (Davidson, Elon, Wofford, Western Carolina, Chattanooga, Georgia Southern, UNC Greensboro, Samford, Appalachian State, Furman, The Citadel)

SOUTHLAND – 9 (SFA, Sam Houston State, TAMUCC, Nicholls State, Oral Roberts, Northwestern State, McNeese State, Southeast Louisiana, Central Arkansas)

SUN BELT – 10 (Georgia State, Western Kentucky, Arkansas State, Louisiana Lafayette, TX Arlington, UALR, UL Monroe, Troy, Texas State, South Alabama)

SWAC – 6 (Alabama State, Texas Southern, Alabama A&M, Alcorn State, Prairie View A&M, Jackson State)

SUMMIT LEAGUE – 7 (North Dakota State, IPFW, South Dakota State, Denver, South Dakota, Western Illinois, IUPUI

WEST COAST – 10 (Gonzaga, BYU, San Francisco, Saint Mary’s, Pepperdine, Portland, San Diego, Pacific, Santa Clara, LMU)

WAC – 8 (New Mexico State, Utah Valley, Chicago State, CS Bakersfield, Idaho, UMKC, Seattle, TX Pan American)

 

Small Conference Game of the Day – February 28

YALE at PRINCETON, 7:00 PM Eastern, No TV

The final day of February.  March Madness will be upon us very shortly.  As we head into the the weekend that will bring us the end of the regular seasons in 13 conferences, the first conference tournament bracket pairings announced, and preparations beginning for the start of two weeks of great games as we playoff to get 31 conference tournament champions, the SCGD will be heading to the one conference that does not have a tournament tonight, the Ivy League.

Heading into tonight’s action, Harvard holds a one game lead over Yale.  If Harvard wins both their games this weekend (at home tonight to Cornell and tomorrow night to Columbia) while Yale loses tonight at Princeton and tomorrow night at Penn, the Crimson will lock up their third straight automatic bid from the Ivy.  If Harvard does not clinch this weekend, a huge showdown looms next Friday night when they travel to New Haven, CT for a rematch of the game won by the Bulldogs at Harvard earlier this season.

Tonight’s featured game is Yale’s road test at Princeton.  In order for Yale to have a shot at its first NCAA bid since 1962, the Bulldogs really must sweep their two games this weekend and make next weekend’s contest meaningful.  Yale is presently 8-2 in the Ivy (one game behind Harvard’s 9-1), but is coming off a road loss last weekend at Columbia.  The trip to Jadwin Gymnasium tonight is by no means a lock for a victory.

Princeton enters tonight’s contest at 15-8 overall, but 6 of those 8 losses have come in Ivy League play (3-6 in conference) meaning the Tigers have already been mathematically eliminated from the conference race.  Before Ivy league play began, we had seriously considered Princeton a contender for the league title, especially with a very exciting road win at Penn State on their resume.  A loss in their very first Ivy game at Penn began the collapse for the Tigers, who also got swept by Harvard, lost to Dartmouth and Columbia, and fell in their first game against Yale.  Princeton still has a shot at a postseason invite to the CBI or CIT, but needs to notch a few more victories before that happens.  Starting things off with an upset of Yale tonight would be a step in the right direction.

Bracket Rundown: Feb 27th

On this week’s installment of the Bracket Rundown, Chad, David and Kyle not only run through all the teams that they feel would be in the field if the tournament started today, they actually build a bracket and place all the teams in it.

Just like the real committee, there were disagreements over where some of the teams should have been seeded, particularly Louisville, Xavier, San Diego State, Saint Louis, SMU and UMass. Also like the real committee, there was debate over which bubble teams belonged in and which didn’t. And, like the real committee, they made decisions as a committee, but not all the individuals agreed.

Also, check out Chad Sherwood’s SCGD here:  http://hoopshd.com/2014/02/27/1454/

 

Small Conference Game of the Day – February 27

NEW MEXICO STATE at UTAH VALLEY, 9:00 PM Eastern, UVU-TV

Tonight is one of those nights.  One of those nights that the SCGD could go almost anywhere.  Huge battles for first place loom in some of our favorite conferences.  There is a showdown between Vermont and Stony Brook in the America East, with the winner having the inside track on the #1 seed in the conference tournament and a chance to host the conference tournament championship game.  In the Big West, UC-Irvine and UC-Santa Barbara will be renewing their rivalry with first place on the line.  However, when there is meaningful basketball being played in Orem, Utah this late in the season, the SCGD just cannot pass it up.  Tonight’s game is the battle for first place in the WAC between New Mexico State and Utah Valley University.

New Mexico State enters tonight’s game with a record of 10-3 in conference and 21-8 overall.  They have a top 100 RPI, BPI and KenPom rating and their resume includes a road win over their in-state rivals, New Mexico.  However, conferences losses at Idaho, UMKC, and Chicago State have left them in a fight for the regular season title in a conference they were supposed to dominate this season.  Tonight’s trip to Utah Valley will be their toughest WAC game of the season, and a loss here could cost them a shot at the regular season crown.

Utah Valley enters the game tied for first place at 10-3 in conference and 16-10 overall.  Their RPI is at 166, BPI 194 and KenPom 212.  Their best win of the season so far was a home win back in December over Weber State.  However, they have been rolling through their conference just like they did back in the old Great West Conference days, with only a blowout loss at New Mexico State and a questionable home loss to Seattle to mar them.  Tonight, however, the Wolverines can move into the driver’s seat for their first ever WAC regular season championship if they can avenge that earlier loss and find a way to defeat the Aggies.  UVU has never been in the NCAA tournament — in fact, this is their first year i a conference with an automatic bid.  And if that bid is going to happen, it may all start with a win tonight.

Highlighted Games for Wednesday, Feb 26th

Check out Chad Sherwood’s SCGD Here:  http://hoopshd.com/2014/02/26/small-conference-game-of-the-day-february-26-2/

 

-MIAMI FL AT VIRGINIA (ACC). Virginia is in the driver’s seat to finish first in the conference if they can hold serve.

-MICHIGAN AT PURDUE (Big Ten). Michigan is a protected seed and they can add another conference road win to their profile tonight.

-UCONN AT SOUTH FLORIDA (American). UConn is in good shape and shouldn’t have too much trouble tonight.

-RICHMOND AT GEORGE MASON (Colonial….I mean, Atlantic Ten). Richmond is outside the bubble and needs a strong finish to even be considered. A loss to a team as weak as George Mason may kill them.

-RHODE ISLAND AT UMASS (Atlantic Ten). UMass is safe so long as they avoid bad losses.

-BUTLER AT VILLANOVA (Big East). Nova still has an outside shot at a #1 seed if they can win out.

-WEST VIRGINIA AT IOWA STATE (Big Twelve). West Virginia is playing much better, but they’re still a good ways outside the bubble and will need a very strong finish. Iowa State could still end up as a protected seed.

-NORTH CAROLINA AT NC STATE (ACC). Huge rivalry game in the ACC. It’s not as big as UNC v Duke in terms of tradition and importance on paper, but I do think NC State actually hates the Tarheels more than Duke does. UNC is in great shape and it will basically take NC State winning out to even be considered, but expect a raucous atmosphere tonight.

-PITTSBURGH AT BOSTON COLLEGE (Big East…..I mean, ACC). Even though BC beat Syracuse, they’re still a bad team, and this loss would still look bad on Pitt’s resume, which doesn’t look all that good to begin with.

-TOLEDO AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS (MAC). At 23-4 and with the bubble being as weak as it is, Toledo will likely get serious consideration if they win out the regular season, but lose in the conference tournament.

-CALIFORNIA AT ARIZONA (Pac Twelve). Arizona is in contention for a #1 seed, and Cal is safely in, but a little closer to the bubble than they’d like to be.

-BAYLOR AT TEXAS (Big Twelve). Baylor is right on the bubble, and a win today puts them safely (for now) inside of it. It would be one of their biggest wins of the year. Texas is safely in, and is just looking to add another notable win to their profile. This has turned into a rather fun rivalry over the years, especially since Baylor emerged as a nationally relevant program, so it should be fun tonight.

-NEBRASKA AT ILLINOIS (Big Ten). I believe Nebraska is right on the bubble, and if they can win out they’ll be very safely inside of it. Illinois isn’t a tournament team, but it would still be a nice road win for a Husker team that has improved incrementally as the year has progressed.

-STANFORD AT ARIZONA STATE (Pac Twelve). Both teams are inside the bubble, but both are very close to it. This is a hugely important and pivotal game for both teams.

Small Conference Game of the Day – February 26

VMI at HIGH POINT, 7:00 PM Eastern, bigsouthsports.com

The Big South continues to be one of the most exicting, wide open conferences this season.  That does not mean they are a good conference — in fact there is only one team in the league with a top 200 RPI, and no teams in the top 200 BPI or KenPom.  The conference tournament champion appears to be destined for a trip to Dayton and a First Four “play-in game”.  Just who that champion will be, however, is still anyone’s guess.

Entering tonight’s action, two teams stand at 10-4 in conference play, three more teams are 9-5 and two teams are 8-6, putting more than half the conference still alive for the two division titles with only two games left to play.  As for the North Division, tonight’s SCGD matches up the two co-leaders (and the two teams that are 10-4 in Big South play), the VMI Keydets against the High Point Panthers.  VMI enters the game at 17-10 overall and plays one of the most exciting styles of play in the country.  Their adjusted tempo of 75.2 is second in the nation behind only Northwestern State.  They have hit triple digits 8 times so far this season (and are 8-0 in those games).  The Keydets are led offensively by QJ Peterson, Rodney Glasgow and D.J. Covington, all three of whom average more than 18 points per game.

High Point enters tonight’s game at only 14-13 overall, but their 182 RPI is tops in the Big South.  They have won 8 of their last 9 games, making them the hottest team in the conference and helping them surge into a tie for first place.  They did lose at VMI back on January 22, 82-80, and will be looking to avenge that loss at home tonight.  The Panthers got their first ever postseason bid last season, playing in the CIT.  They are looking to improve on that this year, with a possible automatic bid to the NCAA tournament within their grasp.