By Harris Hicks
It’s almost here, basketball fans! The anticipated Selection Sunday is now just ten days away!
This week, it was made apparent that the SEC is no longer a joke at basketball. They have two teams sitting in the top ten in RPI including a red hot Gator team in the top five.
It was learned how underrated Minnesota and Butler are. Both teams find themselves sitting in the top-ten in RPI, but none have a top twenty AP ranking.
The world saw the consistent powerhouses such as Kansas, Villanova, UNC, and Louisville rule the top four RPI. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the nation’s elite as BYU took down unbeaten Gonzaga in Spokane!
This made for questions: is Gonzaga the team people thought they were, or are they a fluke with a pillow-soft schedule?
Champ week is coming up quickly and a glimpse of where teams are in the tourney selection will be revealed!
|16||UC Irvine/LIU Brooklyn|
|14||New Mexico State|
|15||East Tennessee State|
|16||North Dakota State|
|15||Florida Gulf Coast|
|16||Texas A&M CC/Texas Southern|
BREAKING DOWN THE BUBBLE
|LAST 4 BYES||LAST 4 IN||FIRST 4 OUT||NEXT 4 OUT|
|1. Michigan (19-10)||1. Seton Hall (19-10)||1. Houston (20-8)||1. Georgia (16-12)|
|2. Northwestern (20-9)||2. Vanderbilt (16-14)||2. Syracuse (17-13)||2. Boise St (17-9)|
|3. Providence (19-11)||3. Wake Forest (16-12)||3. Marquette (17-11)||3. Tennessee (15-14)|
|4. Rhode Island (19-9)||4. California (19-9)||4. Illinois (16-12)||4. TCU (16-12)|
The winner of this week is undoubtedly Providence. The Friars are flying high on a four game winning streak against three tournament teams. One of these teams was Marquette who find themselves squarely on the cutting board. Providence has six top fifty RPI wins and will be banking on them to punch their ticket to the big dance.
Vanderbilt, before a narrow defeat at Rupp this tuesday, was riding on two straight wins against two top thirty RPI; Tennessee and South Carolina.
It looked like Rhode Island’s season was done with a shocking loss to Fordham. However, they have climbed to the top forty-five in RPI and two top twenty-five RPI wins.
Syracuse has seven top fifty RPI wins, but with a sub-top seventy RPI, it’s not going to be enough. The Orange have struggled for consistency all season and the selection committee is apt to punish them for it. You can’t lose to Georgia Tech and Pittsburg and then expect to worm into the field by beating Duke at the buzzer. (That shot by John Gillon was cold)
Illinois comes into this week having won four out of its last five games. That hot streak, paired with a top fifty-five RPI, puts them right in the middle of the bubble mix.
Houston has a great record at 20-8, and a top fifty-five RPI, but a lack of quality wins is keeping them out.
Others In Consideration: Kansas St, Charleston, Pittsburgh, Mississippi, Clemson, Texas Tech
QUEST FOR THE ONE SEED
|ONE SEED||TWO SEED|
|Kansas (26-3)||Kentucky (24-5)|
|Villanova (27-3)||Oregon (25-4)|
|North Carolina (24-5)||Florida (23-6)|
|Louisville (23-6)||Butler (23-6)|
Due to Gonzaga’s loss, Louisville takes the last one seed.
Gonzaga and Baylor fell drastically out of the conversation. With an unconvincing strength-of-schedule and a seventy RPI, the Zags lost the only thing that was one seed convincing: their undefeated record.
Baylor is just 7-5 in their last twelve games. The Bears are shockingly just barely over .500 for the last month or so. They have the résumé, they just need more momentum. This is something that all of the other two seeds have.