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WWE-obsessed Rick Pitino proposes wager with son over Iona-Minnesota scheduling

Rick Pitino is back in the college basketball coaching circuit after he left Louisville following the 2016-17 season amid an FBI corruption investigation that implicated his program.

While his Iona job is lower profile than his stint with the Cardinals, he still has a flair for grabbing headlines. On Saturday he challenged his son, Richard Pitino, to a wager over future scheduling based on WrestleMania 36: If Brock Lesnar defeats Drew McIntyre Sunday under the bet, then Richard Pitino’s Minnesota squad would need to visit Iona for a game. If Lesnar loses, then Iona would travel to Minnesota.

Richard Pitino, though, wants the sides to be reversed and get behind Lesnar (a Minnesota product who won a heavyweight wrestling title for the Gophers in 2000). Rick Pitino has not yet confirmed whether he’s good with that change.

Rick Pitino has been all-in on WWE this weekend, tweeting eight times about wrestling since Saturday morning.

When the coronavirus pandemic ends and his focus eventually turns back to basketball, Pitino will lead an Iona team that is accustomed to participating in March Madness: The Gaels have made six of the past nine NCAA Tournaments. Pitino made it in 10 of his final 11 years at Louisville.

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UCLA’s last national title and the program trajectory moving forward

UCLA beat Arkansas 89-78 on April 3, 1995, for the program’s 11th men’s basketball national championship. The Bruins have not won a national championship since.

That memorable night, when Ed O’Bannon scored 30 points in the upset against the defending champion Razorbacks, is the last in the Bruins’ illustrious history.

The Pac-12 isn’t much better — the conference hasn’t won the NCAA Tournament since Arizona’s 1997 title. The conference had one Final Four appearance in the 2010s. UCLA had a 19-12 record under first-year coach Mick Cronin before the Pac-12 tournament was canceled because of COVID-19.

When asked whether he’s surprised at UCLA’s 25-year title drought, Pac-12 analyst and former UCLA forward Don MacLean offered a mixed response.

“Yes and no,” MacLean told Sporting News before the Pac-12 tournament was canceled. “It’s hard to sustain success for that long. Going back to Coach (John) Wooden, that was way longer than 25 years ago. I think with (Jim) Harrick winning it in ’95 — you thought there would be some more after that.”

MacLean played for Harrick from 1988-92 and helped revive the program after a similar drought after Wooden — who led UCLA to 10 national championships — retired after 1974-75. The Bruins burned through five coaches with two Final Four appearances before Harrick arrived. Cronin is UCLA’s fourth coach since Harrick was fired in 1996.

Why has the national championship drought continued for a quarter-century?

“In terms of the landscape of college basketball, UCLA has gone through some transitions. They’ve had coaching changes and it’s been kind of stop-and-start ever since,” MacLean said. “When you have that unlike Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina and Michigan State, their coaches have been there for a while. You expect them to have that success.”

The Bruins had three consecutive Final Four appearances under Ben Howland from 2006-08. MacLean said Howland’s run is easy to gloss over, but it also led to a self-examination of the program.

“It took some time to get off of, ‘We’re UCLA, we’re a blue blood because of former success,'” MacLean said. “Well, you kind of have to keep up with the times along the way.”

The talent isn’t the issue. UCLA has 38 NBA Draft picks — including 18 first-round picks since 1995. That includes top-five talents such as Baron Davis (1999), Russell Westbrook (2008), Kevin Love (2008) and Lonzo Ball (2017).

The resources to compete with the other blue bloods are the next part: UCLA now has a state-of-the-art practice facility. The third part is Cronin, who won Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors in his first season. There still is a long way to go to catch back up to the blue bloods.

“He is embracing the challenge,” MacLean said. “Not that recent coaches haven’t, but he’s saying things that are a little bit different that makes you think that he wants to get it back. He doesn’t want to have success for him and for now. He feels a responsibility to get UCLA back to where it should be.”

Will that end the drought? Some perspective is needed. The Yankees have not won the World Series since 2009. Notre Dame football hasn’t won a national championship since 1988. The Bruins are stuck in between, and they’re a two-part answer to the conference’s struggles on the national stage. Oregon made the Pac-12’s last Final Four appearance in 2017.

MacLean said UCLA’s self-check appears to be working. Within a few years, Cronin might just have this team in the mix for the Final Four — and that elusive national championship that hasn’t happened since that night in 1995.

“Let’s see what happens now,” MacLean said. “They are operating like a big-time program. Let’s see what happens from here. I wouldn’t be surprised if that success comes because they finally figured it out.”

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Missing March Madness 2020: Sweet 16 voting results of NCAA Tournament bracket

The actual NCAA Tournament has been canceled, but Sporting News is still offering the chance to pick upsets and virtually watch your favorite teams advance, round-by-round to the Final Four.

The opening weekend results — thanks to your votes — produced a handful of double-digit seeds winning their opening-round games, but all of those Cinderella dreams died in the second round: We didn’t have a single team higher than a 5-seed advance to the Sweet 16. I’m a little bit disappointed in you people for your lack of belief in the magic of March.

MISSING MARCH MADNESS: Playing out full schedule, scores for 2020 NCAA Tournament

Anyway, now that we’re on to the Sweet 16 with mostly chalk results, we’re seeing plenty of heavyweight matchups. Here are the results from the first four Sweet 16 games, which were played out via Twitter polls on Thursday:

MIDWEST REGION

No. 1 Kansas over No. 4 Louisville

Your vote: Kansas wins 73.7 percent to 26.3 percent

Thoughts: With apologies to N.C. Central and Houston, this game would have been the first real test for Kansas. Louisville was in the conversation for a possible 1-seed — if other dominoes tumbled — before tumbling a bit to end the season. But with Jordan Nwora, who averaged 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and shot 40.2 percent beyond the 3-point arc, leading the way for the Cardinals, Kansas would have had its hands full. But the Jayhawks’ inside-outside combo of SN second-team All-Americans Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike — who scored 46 points in his last two regular-season games on 19-of-23 shooting from the field —would have been too much.

No. 3 Michigan State over No. 2 Creighton

Your vote: Michigan State wins, 69.8 to 30.2

Thoughts: It’s a seed upset — Creighton’s resume was clearly better than Michigan State’s — but I think it’s safe to say Vegas likely would have favored the Spartans. This was a rough season for Sparty, but there’s a reason they were the preseason No. 1 team. They played like it down the stretch.

MISSING MARCH MADNESS RECAPS:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

EAST REGION

No. 1 Dayton over No. 4 Seton Hall

Your vote: Dayton wins, 73.7 to 26.3

Thoughts: This would have been an exceptionally entertaining showdown between two of the best players in the country, Dayton’s Obi Toppin — 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks per game on 63.3 percent shooting — and Seton Hall’s Myles Powell — 21.0 points, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals per game. If you don’t mind, I’m going to imagine this contest being a showcase game for each player, with Toppin’s teammates eventually outplaying Powell’s to help Dayton pull out the win.

No. 2 Florida State over No. 3 Duke

Your vote: FSU wins, 65.5 to 35.5

Thoughts: Though I agree with the pick, I’m a bit surprised at this margin; figured it would be much closer, with maybe Duke on top. The two teams played on Feb. 10, with the Blue Devils winning by five. Of course, that one was at Cameron Indoor, so that’s still a good showing from the Seminoles. Clearly, you think this one goes to FSU on a neutral site.

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Missing March Madness: Kentucky-Ohio State was much too sweet for early NCAA Tournament meeting

No matter how one is covering March Madness, it’s impossible not to miss a lot.

Ordinarily, the few games I do miss occur while I’m on the scene at a concurrent game. For those days when there are no games contested at the site I’m visiting, I always make sure to scout out the most convenient sports bar with access to every game shown.

On this occasion, though, it was the night between games at the NCAA South Region in New Orleans, the eve of Butler playing against Florida for the right to compete at the 2011 Final Four. Ordinarily on that Friday evening, I would have been watching the four games at the East and Midwest regions — but I had other obligations.

MISSING MARCH MADNESS: Playing out the full schedule, scores for 2020 NCAA Tournament

No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Kentucky, East Region, 2011

Why I missed it: Sporting News was working with a video partner, CineSport, and we were shooting round-by-round previews outside the arenas. It was necessary to tape during the Friday evening game window, and there was some sort of delay that ended up eating way more time than anticipated. I got back to my hotel with only a bit remaining in the game. I didn’t see much of anything that night except the outside of the New Orleans Arena.

What I missed: One of the most underrated tournament games, with Kentucky edging the nation’s best team and the No. 1 overall NCAA seed
Date: March 25, 2011
Site: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
Rules at the time: 35-second shot clock; 3-point line set at 20 feet, 9 inches; no “no-charge zone”
Coaches: John Calipari (Kentucky); Thad Matta (Ohio State)
Announcers: Jim Nantz, voice of the tournament since 1991, and Clark Kellogg, a Final Four broadcaster from 2009-14

What people remember most about 2011 was Butler shooting 18.8 percent in the NCAA championship game and Connecticut winning while shooting 34.5 percent. That Final Four is considered, to put it gently, a mutt.

If Kentucky-Ohio State had been the final — or at least played on the final weekend — then people still would be talking about it as one of the great games ever. It wasn’t a work of offensive beauty, either. Ohio State shot 32.8 percent from the field — the Buckeyes had entered as the No. 1 team in offensive efficiency, at 125 points per 100 possessions — and the Wildcats had only two players reach double figures.

It was as fiercely competitive as a tournament game possibly could be, though.



(Getty Images)

Ohio State’s David Lighty, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones battle for loose basketball
https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/bb/57/lighty-jones-032620-getty-ftr_16vrh4dp3gtjr15scv9etg05ob.jpg”>

This game probably should have been played later in the tournament. It’s still puzzling how the NCAA selection committee placed Kentucky — 25-8 and champions of the SEC Tournament — as the No. 4 seed in the East Region and North Carolina — 26-7 and champion of the ACC regular season — in the same bracket as Ohio State. The Buckeyes won both Big Ten titles and entered the NCAAs at 32-2.

The RPI was the metric of choice at the time. OSU was ranked No. 2, with Kentucky at No. 6 and Carolina No. 7. For those who had caught on to KenPom, his ratings had Kentucky at No. 7. How did the Buckeyes wind up with such a stacked bracket? What’s really weird is their athletic director, Gene Smith, was the chairman of the selection committee.

The result was a UK-OSU matchup in the Sweet 16, and it was magnificent. The lead was exchanged 14 times in the second half. Not the game — the second half.

MISSING MARCH MADNESS: How Georgetown avoided upset from 16-seed Princeton

Kentucky center Josh Harrellson was determined to battle Ohio State freshman star Jared Sullinger with as little help as possible, but the Wildcats did bring a double-team to bother Sullinger whenever point guard Aaron Craft, who was a major disruptor on defense but not an elite shooter, delivered the post feed.

It’s a measure of how great Sullinger was, in that season and on that night, that Harrellson could be said to have performed exceptionally while Sullinger managed 21 points and 16 rebounds. Harrellson allowed him to shoot only 7-of-14, and the UK big man shot 7-of-9 for 17 points. The 10 rebounds Harrellson gathered tended to be massive, perhaps because most every one was both contested and consequential.

Kentucky’s defense was especially stellar during a second-half stretch in which OSU missed nine consecutive shots — that included two blown fast breaks in a row. A 36-32 Buckeyes advantage turned into a 44-42 deficit inside the final dozen minutes. The teams traded the lead for the remainder of the game.

It is virtually impossible to single out a play as one that turned the game in UK’s favor, except the obvious one at the end.

A 3-pointer from power forward Terrence Jones when defender David Lighty fell put UK up 50-49, but Lighty answered with a turnaround jumper to make it 51-50. Craft tried to draw a charge on Harrellson, but was late and gave up an and-one. Craft made two free throws to tie it 53-all. A beautiful drive-and-kick from DeAndre Liggins got Brandon Knight an open right-wing 3-pointer for a 56-53 lead, but the Buckeyes scored two quick buckets, including a Lighty drive down the left side set up by four screens set at the top of the key, to make it 57-56.

It went that way all the way until the final half-minute, when UK had the ball in a 60-all tie and trusted Knight — even with Craft guarding him — to conjure a game-winner. He drove to the right corner of the foul line, pulled up and — with Craft in his face — nailed a jumper with five seconds left to put UK on top.

Ohio State had two timeouts but called neither, and Craft raced the ball upcourt while ignoring Lighty, sharpshooter Jon Diebler and Sullinger to his right. He slipped a bounce pass to wing William Buford, who was 2 of 15 from the field. His attempt at a game-winning 3, with two Wildcats defenders surrounding him, caught the front rim. Make that 2 of 16.

MISSING MARCH MADNESS: Steph Curry displayed greatness in comeback vs. Georgetown

Calipari was asked afterward where the game, with all its lead changes, ranked among the best in which he had been involved.

“At this moment, the best of all time,” Calipari said. “At this moment.”

Nine years later, it still is pretty great.

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Consensus All-Americans: Garza, Toppin and more show us how unexpected became the norm

If you want to get an idea what we all lost with the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament, you can watch the replays of prior tournaments on CBS Sports or the CBS Sports Network.

Or you can invest just a few moments of your time and take a look at this list:

These are the five members of this year’s consensus All-America men’s basketball team. That became complete when the National Association of Basketball Coaches joined Sporting News, the Associated Press and United States Basketball Writers Association — the four organizations used to determine into the NCAA’s official consensus team — in releasing its list of honored players.

We had told you all season this was an extraordinary year in college basketball, given the number of teams to ascend to the top of the polls (a record-seven) and the number of upsets that routinely were taking place.

The list of first-team All-Americans might be even more dramatic evidence of how uncommon this past season was.

Here’s why: Garza is Iowa’s first consensus first-teamer since Charles Darling in 1952. Powell is Seton Hall’s first since Walter Dukes in 1953. Pritchard is Oregon’s first since John Dick in 1940. Toppin is Dayton’s first … ever. Only Howard had a recent predecessor from his school: Dwyane Wade, in 2003.

Garza has been named Player of the Year by a number of media organizations, including Sporting News, ESPN and Stadium. Toppin was chosen Player of the Year by the AP. Neither school ever produced a national player of the year, either.

Almost nothing about this season was expected, so of course the list of All-Americans is uncommon, as well.

SN POSTSEASON AWARDS:
Player of the Year | Coach of the Year

Kansas, the No. 1 team in the final AP poll as well as the computer ratings at KenPom.com, placed two players on the consensus second team: center Udoka Azubuike and point guard Devon Dotson. Azuibuike narrowly missed being a consensus first teamer; he was named to the first team by the USBWA and NABC.

It’s possible having two such players would have allowed Kansas to mow through the 2020 edition of March Madness and claimed six easy victories for the school’s fourth NCAA championship.

The Jayhawks would not have been easy for anyone to beat — but the way this season had developed, the unexpected seemed almost inevitable.

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Missing March Madness 2020: Day 3 voting results of tourney bracket

The actual NCAA Tournament has been canceled, but Sporting News is still offering the chance to pick upsets and virtually watch your favorite teams advance, round-by-round to the Final Four.

With the first round games in the books Thursday and Friday — a handful of double-digit seeds advanced — the first day of the second round took place on Saturday. I’m not saying it was dusty in here, but there was plenty of chalk.

Breaking down the voting from Round 2, Day 3:

MISSING MARCH MADNESS: Playing out full schedule, scores for 2020 NCAA Tournament

MIDWEST REGION

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 Houston

Your vote: Kansas wins, 81.5 percent to 18.5 percent

Thoughts: There are teams in this field that could give Kansas fits, but Houston is not one of those teams. The Jayhawks are an elite defensive team inside the arc — opponents made just 42.4 percent of their 2-point attempts (third in the nation) — and Houston shot just 46.6 percent inside the arc, 291st in the nation. So the Cougars aren’t going to score inside, and Kansas’ length and athleticism would make it tough to score outside, too.

No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 12 Cincinnati

Your vote: Louisville wins, 65.0 to 35.0

Thoughts: The Cardinals would be just too much, especially with Jordan Nwora back in the groove after a rough stretch (averaging 19 points and 11.5 rebounds the final two regular season games).

No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 6 West Virginia

Your vote: Michigan State wins, 54.8 to 45.2

Thoughts: If any team could handle the pressure a Bob Huggins team brings in March, you would figure Michigan State — with senior Cassius Winston leading the way — would be the team to make that happen. Especially with how well the Spartans played down the stretch.

No. 2 Creighton vs. No. 10 Utah State

Your vote: Creighton wins, 70.5 to 29.5

Thoughts: Utah State was the only non-power school to advance as a double-digit seed, by your vote. But the ride ends here against a Creighton team that took the under-the-radar path to a No. 2 seed. The Bluejays are legit, though.

MISSING MARCH MADNESS RECAPS:
Day 1 | Day 2

EAST REGION

No. 1 Dayton vs. No. 9 Rutgers

Your vote: Dayton wins, 81.0 to 19.0

Thoughts: That might have been the score, 81-19. OK, not really, but Dayton would have almost certainly cruised in this matchup. Shout out to Rutgers for a season in which the Scarlet Knights almost certainly were going to make the tournament, though.

No. 4 Seton Hall vs. No. 5 Ohio State

Your vote: Seton Hall wins, 52.5 to 47.5

Thoughts: Myles Powell had another 30-plus points and another run of clutch baskets down the stretch to help the Hall narrowly knock off tOSU.

No. 3 Duke vs. No. 6 Iowa

Your vote: Duke wins, 57.6 to 42.4

Thoughts: Personally, I think Duke would have had all kinds of trouble with SN Player of the Year Luka Garza inside, but as long as the bigs stayed out of foul trouble and the perimeter guys knocked down perimeter shots — certainly possible, but far from certain this year — Duke could have made this happen. You agree.

No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 10 Marquette

Your vote: Florida State wins, 77.6 to 22.4

Thoughts: Markus Howard is a star, but Florida State’s defense was legit. Even if Howard got his points, the Seminoles would have shut down everyone else.

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Virginia’s Jay Huff enters Ralph Sampson territory by standing tall vs. Duke

Jay Huff was one rebound away from a triple-double on Saturday vs. Duke. The 7-1 junior forward had nine boards to go with 15 points — and 10 blocked shots.

Ralph Sampson is the only other player in Virginia program history to record double-digit rejections in a game. As it turned out, Sampson was sitting courtside in Charlottesville for Huff’s performance, which lifted the Cavs (21-7, 13-5 ACC) to a big 52-50 ACC victory over the No. 7 Blue Devils (23-6, 13-5).

Huff’s 10th block was the most important. It denied a potential go-ahead bucket by Vernon Carey in the closing seconds.

Huff was fouled on the rebound and made one of two free throws to give the 2019 NCAA Tournament champions a two-point lead. He then watched a Blue Devils’ heave clang off the rim at the buzzer.

“(Huff) was fired up,” UVA coach Tony Bennett told reporters postgame . “His length is for real. It was a complete game for Jay.”

NCAA TOURNAMENT: Bracket predictions 2.0

It was also redemption for the Durham, N.C., product, who was on the business end of a nasty dunk by the Blue Devils’ Zion Williamson last season. That play made the rounds on Twitter as Huff was dominating in the paint. ( WARNING: Salty, NSFW language ahead.)

On Saturday, Huff was throwing it down on Williamson’s successors 

Huff finished two blocks behind Sampson’s school record, but he’ll gladly take the payback and the win.

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March Madness 2020: Seeding Duke could be a devil of a problem for NCAA selection committee

If you happen to care not for the Duke Blue Devils, then this is your moment. They lost twice in a period of seven days, which is as many as their predecessors conceded in the entire 1992 or 1999 seasons.

And there was no Hubert Davis or Kenyon Martin involved in these latest defeats.

Falling Tuesday in double overtime to a Wake Forest squad that began the day eight games under .500 in the ACC is the latest piece of evidence that these Blue Devils are struggling to perform at a level consistent with preseason expectations, postseason projections and in-season metrics.

They are the No. 5 team in the KenPom ratings, No. 2 in ESPN’s BPI and No. 6 in the NCAA’s NET rankings, and yet there is this series of vexing performances in both victory and defeat: a seven-point loss on the road at Clemson; a 1-of-15 3-point shooting effort in an 8-point win at Boston College; the desperate scramble to avoid defeat that required two near-miracles and an overtime period at North Carolina; and now a blowout loss to N.C. State and a late collapse against the Deacons.

Unless there are significant changes in what little remains of the regular season, seeding them in the NCAA Tournament is going to be an adventure.

When the NCAA Tournament selection committee presented its bracket preview in early February, the Blue Devils were the No. 5 overall team behind projected top seeds Baylor, Kansas, Gonzaga and San Diego State. They have not played to that level since, compiling a 4-2 record that, while featuring an impressive home victory over ACC contender Florida State and blowouts of Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, is also scarred by those two defeats and substandard performance at Carolina.

The Devils own just a 4-3 record against Quad-1 opponents. Among the top 20 teams in the NET rankings, only Arizona and BYU have fewer such victories and only Dayton, San Diego State and Louisville have the same number.

Duke’s home pre-conference loss against Stephen F. Austin is a Quad-3 defeat. Among the top 20 teams in the NET, only Arizona, Colorado and San Diego State has one of those.

What Duke has in its favor is star power — not of the sort Zion Williamson delivered a year ago, but rather among its victims. The Devils defeated NET No. 1 Kansas on a neutral floor. They beat No. 9 FSU at home. They manhandled No. 12 Michigan State in a road game. Not all Quad-1 wins are created equal, and Duke’s are more equal than most.

What’s the committee to do?

MORE: WVU’s lofty seeding in bracket preview suggests selections still need tweak

There is a lot that says Duke belongs high on the bracket: at least as a No. 3 seed and possibly a No. 2. There also is a lot that says the Blue Devils maybe deserve a less prominent position, perhaps on the 4-line. Kentucky has been hanging out in that neighborhood for a while now on bracket projections — including on Sporting News’ — and the Wildcats’ primary anchor in that territory is the number of dubious defeats — Evansville, Utah — they accumulated.

If the Devils get the former treatment in light of these obvious struggles, the Duke-disparaging public will not be amused. This is especially true given that seed preference for the Devils likely would include the opportunity to begin the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro — roughly an hour from campus. There’s no top-seed contender who would want that placement more, although some might prefer it to being shipped to Spokane or Omaha.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was not pleased with his team surrendering a nine-point lead in the final 1:21 against Wake.

“We just gave the ball up. There’s no excuse for the two turnovers we had,” Krzyzewski said. “You’ve got to be strong with the ball, and they took advantage.”

Krzyzewski allowed that he was “disappointed in our group. I don’t think we came we should, and the way we practiced. We show our youth so much. … This is our 28th game, and you’d hope that we’d be older by now, but we are not.”

He rejected a suggestion that Duke has struggled to perform with consistency, insisting a team with a 23-5 record has played “really good basketball.”

Duke will need to play more of it, and more often, or else selection week will be a devil of a time for the committee.

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March Madness bracket predictions 2.0: Projecting the Field of 68 for 2020 NCAA Tournament

Welcome to Week 2 of Sporting News’ NCAA Tournament projections, known around these parts as the “Field of 68.”

Our goal is to give you a numbers snapshot for every team, and maybe a note or two on each squad. This isn’t a projection of what the seed lines will look like on Selection Sunday (predicting the future is a fool’s errand), but an educated guess at how the bracket would look if the season ended yesterday.

MORE: March Madness projections (1.0)

You’ll see the information that will be used by the selection committee — a mix of statistics and other relevant facts for every single at-large team. As you know, even though numbers matter, they aren’t the only thing: The committee looks at an entire body of work, a process that includes many factors.

As always, automatic bids (in parentheses) go to the team with the fewest conference losses. In case of a tie, the bid is given to the team with the best NET rating.

Projected No. 1 seeds

Kansas (Big 12), Baylor, Gonzaga (WCC), Dayton (A-10)

Kansas (23-3): NET/Pom/KPI: 1/1/1. vs. Q1: 11-3. vs. Q2: 7-0. vs. Q3/4: 5-0
Baylor (24-2): NET/Pom/KPI: 2/2/2. vs. Q1: 10-1. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 9-0
Gonzaga (27-2): NET/Pom/KPI: 3/3/15. vs. Q1: 5-2. vs. Q2: 3-0. vs. Q3/4: 19-0
Dayton (25-2): NET/Pom/KPI: 4/6/3. vs. Q1: 4-2. vs. Q2: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 15-0

Thoughts: Three of the four teams on the No. 1 seed line lost last week, ending a long stretch of L-free basketball for that group. Baylor lost at home to Kansas, and there’s zero shame in that. The Bears stay on the No. 1 seed line, though KU takes the overall top seed. Gonzaga’s slip-up at BYU was basically a footnote to San Diego State’s massive hiccup at home against a .500ish UNLV squad. The Aztecs drop off the top line. Dayton has one more loss, but better wins, better metrics and its only two losses were in OT to Kansas and Colorado (spoiler, a 5-seed this week); that’s much better than SDSU.

Projected No. 2 seeds

San Diego State (MWC), Duke (ACC), Maryland (Big Ten), Florida State

San Diego State (25-1): NET/Pom/KPI: 5/5/14. vs. Q1: 4-0. vs. Q2: 5-0. vs. Q3/4: 16-1
Duke (23-4): NET/Pom/KPI: 6/4/4. vs. Q1: 4-3. vs. Q2: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 13-1
Maryland (22-5): NET/Pom/KPI: 10/10/7. vs. Q1: 6-5. vs. Q2: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 10-0
Florida State (23-4): NET/Pom/KPI: 12/21/9. vs. Q1: 4-3. vs. Q2: 8-1. vs. Q3/4: 11-0

Thoughts: Either Duke or Maryland could have been in Dayton’s shoes, on the 1-seed line, but the Blue Devils were thumped at N.C. State earlier in the week and Maryland lost on the road at Ohio State on Sunday. Both still easily stay 2-seeds. Florida State went to N.C. State — where Duke lost by 22 — and beat the Wolfpack by six.

Projected No. 3 seeds

Louisville, Villanova, Creighton, Seton Hall (Big East)

Louisville (23-5): NET/Pom/KPI: 7/9/12. vs. Q1: 4-4. vs. Q2: 6-1. vs. Q3/4: 13-0
Creighton (21-6): NET/Pom/KPI: 9/13/8. vs. Q1: 9-6. vs. Q2: 5-0. vs. Q3/4: 7-0
Villanova (21-6): NET/Pom/KPI: 11/18/5. vs. Q1: 8-6. vs. Q2: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 7-0
Seton Hall (20-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 17/19/10. vs. Q1: 10-5. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 5-0

Thoughts: Lots of Big East schools on this line. The league is solid, which means lots of opportunities for Q1 wins. These three teams have been the best at collecting them.

Projected No. 4 seeds

Kentucky (SEC), Auburn, Penn State, Oregon

Kentucky (22-5): NET/Pom/KPI: 21/26/17. vs. Q1: 6-3. vs. Q2: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 12-1
Auburn (23-4): NET/Pom/KPI: 28/38/6. vs. Q1: 5-2. vs. Q2: 7-2. vs. Q3/4: 11-0
Penn State (20-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 25/20/19. vs. Q1: 7-4. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
Oregon (21-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 20/23/11. vs. Q1: 7-5. vs. Q2: 4-2. vs. Q3/4: 10-0

Thoughts: Just as folks were starting to warm up to Auburn and Penn State as legitimate candidates for the No. 2 seed line, losses came calling. Auburn lost at both Missouri and Georgia — yes, the Tigers were without Isaac Okoro, but Mizzou and UGA are a combined 27-27 this year — and Penn State slipped up at home against Illinois and at Indiana. Meanwhile, Kentucky is 12-2 in the SEC and racking up quality wins.

MORE: Why SDSU’s bid for No. 1 seed is in jeopardy

Projected No. 5 seeds

Michigan State, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio State

Michigan State (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 13/8/35. vs. Q1: 5-8. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
Colorado (21-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 18/24/13. vs. Q1: 6-3. vs. Q2: 5-3. vs. Q3/4: 10-1
Michigan (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 22/11/27. vs. Q1: 7-8. vs. Q2: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 7-0
Ohio State (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 19/12/34. vs. Q1: 5-8. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 8-0

Thoughts: Michigan has won five in a row — four against likely/possible at-large teams and three on the road — and that’s a good way to shoot up seed lists (though this might be a notch too high). Ohio State picked up its best win of the season on Sunday, knocking off a streaking Maryland team that had won nine in a row and was threatening to run away with the Big Ten regular-season title.

Projected No. 6 seeds

Iowa, West Virginia, Butler, Arizona

Iowa (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 27/22/24. vs. Q1: 7-6. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 7-1
West Virginia (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 15/7/16. vs. Q1: 5-6. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 9-0
Butler (19-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 23/30/22. vs. Q1: 8-7. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
Arizona (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 8/15/20. vs. Q1: 3-6. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 11-1

Thoughts: It has been a rough stretch for West Virginia, which lost four of its past five games. More concerning to the committee — which loves wins away from home — is that the Mountaineers are now just 1-6 on the road in conference play, with two of those losses at K-State and TCU, non-tournament teams. Same for Butler, which has lost five of its past seven games and has lost five of its past six road contests.

Projected No. 7 seeds

BYU, Texas Tech, Houston (AAC), LSU

BYU (22-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 14/15/26. vs. Q1: 3-4. vs. Q2: 4-3. vs. Q3/4: 15-0
Texas Tech (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 16/14/52. vs. Q1: 3-8. vs. Q2: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 11-0
Houston (21-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 24/17/25. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q2: 6-3. vs. Q3/4: 13-0
LSU (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 30/35/18. vs. Q1: 4-6. vs. Q2: 7-1. vs. Q3/4: 8-1

Thoughts: Big, huge win for BYU this week, knocking off Gonzaga at home by double-digits. If the Cougars’ three OT games had gone the other way — they’ve lost all three, two to non-at-large teams — BYU could be looking at a top-five seed. Houston hasn’t had great luck with its close games, either. The Cougars have four losses in AAC play by a combined total of six points. Oh, and these Cougars lost to those Cougars back in November by, you guessed it, one point.

Projected No. 8 seeds

Marquette, Illinois, Virginia, Wisconsin

Marquette (17-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 26/29/23. vs. Q1: 5-8. vs. Q2: 6-1. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
Illinois (16-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 35/28/44. vs. Q1: 5-7. vs. Q2: 3-1. vs. Q3/4: 8-1
Virginia (19-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 51/48/28. vs. Q1: 3-3. vs. Q2: 6-3. vs. Q3/4: 10-1
Wisconsin (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 29/27/31. vs. Q1: 7-8. vs. Q2: 3-1. vs. Q3/4: 7-1

Thoughts: The 8-seed line is where we have our first double-digit loss team; Wisconsin has 10 of them, but eight are Q1 losses and those are mostly balanced out by seven Q1 victories. And this is the point where teams that have fewer than nine losses also are thin on Q1 wins.

MORE: West Virginia’s lofty seed suggests selections still need tweak

Projected No. 9 seeds

Arizona State (Pac-12), Wichita State, Indiana, Saint Mary’s

Arizona State (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 41/55/21. vs. Q1: 5-6. vs. Q2: 4-2. vs. Q3/4: 10-0
Wichita State (20-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 43/39/36. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q2: 6-3. vs. Q3/4: 12-0
Indiana (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 52/37/42. vs. Q1: 6-7. vs. Q2: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 10-0
Saint Mary’s (22-6): NET/Pom/KPI: 32/36/38. vs. Q1: 3-3. vs. Q2: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 15-2

Thoughts: After a road loss at Washington State, this was looking like a possibly lost season for Arizona State (12-8 overall and 3-4 in Pac-12 play). But the Sun Devils have won seven in a row, including wins against Oregon, Stanford and USC, three at-large teams in this week’s Field of 68. Indiana had a good week, winning at Minnesota and upending Penn State at home.

Projected No. 10 seeds

Rutgers, Rhode Island, Xavier, Florida

Rutgers (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 34/32/47. vs. Q1: 3-8. vs. Q2: 4-1. vs. Q3/4: 10-1
Rhode Island (19-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 37/44/30. vs. Q1: 1-4. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 13-1
Xavier (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 44/45/32. vs. Q1: 3-9. vs. Q2: 6-1. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
Florida (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 33/33/33. vs. Q1: 4-7. vs. Q2: 4-3. vs. Q3/4: 9-0

Thoughts: I’m not saying this group is underwhelming, but if this is your 10-seed line, don’t expect many 10-over-7 “upsets” this March.

Projected No. 11 seeds

Northern Iowa (MVC), N.C. State, Stanford, *Oklahoma, *Providence

Northern Iowa (21-5): NET/Pom/KPI: 46/43/51. vs. Q1: 1-1. vs. Q2: 4-2. vs. Q3/4: 16-2
N.C. State (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 53/50/40. vs. Q1: 5-4. vs. Q2: 4-3. vs. Q3/4: 8-3
Stanford (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 31/34/54. vs. Q1: 2-5. vs. Q2: 4-3. vs. Q3/4: 12-1
*Oklahoma (16-11): NET/Pom/KPI: 55/42/46. vs. Q1: 3-9. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 8-0
*Providence (16-12): NET/Pom/KPI: 48/49/39. vs. Q1: 7-8. vs. Q2: 3-0. vs. Q3/4: 6-4

Thoughts: N.C. State’s faltering at-large hopes were given a giant boost with a dominating 22-point win over Duke early in the week, but the Wolfpack are still far from secure. Providence has an odd resume: You see the four Q3/4 losses? Those are ugly, no doubt. But the seven Q1 wins — including at Marquette, at Butler and at Georgetown — are more than any other bubble-type team can claim.

No. 12 seeds

*Arkansas, *USC, ETSU (Southern), Yale (Ivy), Liberty (Atlantic Sun)

*Arkansas (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 45/47/41. vs. Q1: 2-6. vs. Q2: 2-4. vs. Q3/4: 13-0
*USC (19-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 47/61/37. vs. Q1: 2-7. vs. Q2: 6-1. vs. Q3/4: 11-1
ETSU (25-4): NET/Pom/KPI: 39/60/52. vs. Q1: 2-2 vs. Q2: 4-0 vs. Q3/4: 16-2
Yale (20-6): NET/Pom/KPI: 60/51/90. vs. Q1: 0-3 vs. Q2: 3-1 vs. Q3/4: 15-2
Liberty (26-3): NET/Pom/KPI: 50/58/99. vs. Q1: 1-1 vs. Q2: 0-1 vs. Q3/4: 23-1

Thoughts: Arkansas’ resume is about as blah as you can get. The Razorbacks only have one win against a likely at-large team — at Indiana — and they’re 0-4 against SEC teams in this week’s Field of 68, plus they were swept by “Next Four Out” team Mississippi State. Same for USC; the Pac-12 has five other teams in this week’s field, and the Trojans are 1-5 against those squads, with the lone win at home in OT against Stanford.

Projected Nos. 13-16 seeds

No. 13 seeds: North Texas (C-USA), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Akron (MAC), Vermont (America East)
No. 14 seeds: Belmont (Ohio Valley), Wright State (Horizon), UC-Irvine (Big West), Colgate (Patriot)
No. 15 seeds: New Mexico State (WAC), South Dakota State (Summit), Hofstra (Colonial), Radford (Big South)
No. 16 seeds: Montana (Big Sky), Little Rock (Sun Belt), *Saint Francis (Northeast), *Siena (MAAC), *Prairie View A&M (SWAC), *Norfolk State (MEAC)

*First Four teams

Newbies: Belmont, N.C. State, Providence, Radford, Saint Francis (Pa.)
Dropped out: Georgetown, Merrimack, Murray State, Purdue, Winthrop

Bubble teams

First four out:

Cincinnati (18-9): NET/Pom/KPI: 54/41/29. vs. Q1: 2-5. vs. Q2: 6-0. vs. Q3/4: 10-4
Memphis (19-8): NET/Pom/KPI: 61/67/49. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q2: 5-1. vs. Q3/4: 12-3
Mississippi State (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 57/53/50. vs. Q1: 2-6. vs. Q2: 3-2. vs. Q3/4: 12-2
Richmond (20-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 49/52/43. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q2: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 16-1

In the conversation (alphabetically):

Alabama (15-12): NET/Pom/KPI: 40/46/48. vs. Q1: 2-6. vs. Q2: 4-4. vs. Q3/4: 9-2
Georgetown (15-12): NET/Pom/KPI: 59/54/45. vs. Q1: 4-10. vs. Q2: 5-2. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
Minnesota (13-13): NET/Pom/KPI: 42/31/58. vs. Q1: 5-9. vs. Q2: 2-4. vs. Q3/4: 6-0
Purdue (14-14): NET/Pom/KPI: 36/25/66. vs. Q1: 4-11. vs. Q2: 3-2. vs. Q3/4: 7-1
South Carolina (16-11): NET/Pom/KPI: 63/69/56. vs. Q1: 4-7. vs. Q2: 3-2. vs. Q3/4: 9-2
UCLA (16-11): NET/Pom/KPI: 76/86/55. vs. Q1: 5-5. vs. Q2: 2-4. vs. Q3/4: 9-2
UNCG (21-6): NET/Pom/KPI: 62/73/65. vs. Q1: 1-2. vs. Q2: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 18-2
Utah State (20-7): NET/Pom/KPI: 38/40/64. vs. Q1: 2-4. vs. Q2: 2-2. vs. Q3/4: 16-1
VCU (17-10): NET/Pom/KPI: 58/64/60. vs. Q1: 1-7. vs. Q2: 1-2. vs. Q3/4: 15-1

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