Thursday, March 9, 2017

Championship Week Thursday

There was plenty of bubble action in the middle of Championship Week. Some teams saw their hopes dashed, others have to sit and wait as they are truly on the fence. We'll dig into that after that bracket.

Last Four Byes: USC, Providence, Michigan State, Marquette
Last Four In: Xavier, Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Illinois
First Four Out: Iowa, Rhode Island, Illinois State, Syracuse
Next Four Out: California, Georgia, TCU, Indiana

Conference Breakdown:

ACC - 9
Big Ten - 8
Big East - 7
Big 12 - 6
SEC - 5
Pac-12 - 4
American - 2
Atlantic 10 - 2
West Coast - 2
One-bid leagues - 23

A trio of ACC bubble teams took the floor on Wednesday for the second round matchups. All three of them suffered defeats. The opening game saw Syracuse fall to Miami, then Clemson fell short against Duke and Wake Forest lost a shootout to Virginia Tech.

Of these teams, the Demon Deacons are in the best position and are probably still in the tournament despite the loss. They still sit with a top-40 RPI, plus the three top-50 wins.

Clemson's hopes are dashed. While they boast four top-50 RPI wins, they dug themselves too big of a hole going 6-12 in ACC play and couldn't show enough in Brooklyn to warrant discussion.

The team on the fence here is Syracuse. The Orange have six top-50 wins, which is fantastic. However, they have 14 total losses, including an ugly loss to Boston College. And they would easily be the lowest-rated RPI team to grab an at-large bid. Their RPI rank is currently 84th. No team ranked worse than 67th since the RPI formula change in 2005 has been selected by the committee to participate in the NCAA Tournament. But we've also seen the committee slowly phase the RPI out. St. Bonaventure was left out last season despite a top-30 RPI.

After a slow start and actually trailing by one at the half, Xavier rolled in the second half to avoid a disastrous loss to DePaul. The Musketeers should be in the field now but are still in line to play in Dayton. They can move up if they upset Butler. USC also helped themselves by holding serve against Washington. They get a shot at UCLA in the quarterfinals.

One team that doesn't have to worry is Bucknell, as the Bison pulled the double-dip, winning the Patriot League tournament along with the regular season title. The Bison look solidly on the 13-line.

No more bids will be handed out until the busiest Saturday of the season when 14 tickets will be punched. But that doesn't mean there's no action. Teams are still jockeying for position and more bubble teams are in action.

AAC First Round

No. 8 Temple vs. No. 9 East Carolina, 3:30
No. 7 Tulsa vs. No. 10 Tulane, 6:00
No. 6 Connecticut vs. No. 11 South Florida, 8:00

ACC Quarterfinals

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Miami, 12:00
No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 5 Duke, 2:00
No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech, 7:00
No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 6 Virginia, 9:00

Atlantic 10 Second Round

No. 8 La Salle vs. No. 9 Davidson, 12:00
No. 5 St. Bonaventure vs. No. 12 Massachusetts, 2:30
No. 7 George Mason vs. No. 10 Fordham, 6:00
No. 6 George Washington vs. No. 11 Saint Louis, 8:30

Big 12 Quarterfinals

No. 4 Iowa State vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State, 12:30
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 TCU, 2:30
No. 2 West Virginia vs. No. 10 Texas, 7:00
No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 6 Kansas State, 9:00

Big East Quarterfinals

No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 8 St, John's, 12:00
No. 4 Marquette vs. No. 5 Seton Hall, 2:30
No. 2 Butler vs. No. 7 Xavier, 7:00
No. 3 Providence vs. No. 6 Creighton, 9:30

Big Ten Second Round

No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 9 Illinois, 12:00
No. 5 Michigan State vs. No. 13 Penn State, 2:25
No. 7 Iowa vs, No. 10 Indiana, 6:30
No. 6 Northwestern vs. No. 14 Rutgers, 8:55

Big Sky Quarterfinals

No. 1 North Dakota vs. No. 8 Portland State, 3:05
No. 4 Idaho vs. No. 5 Montana, 5:35
No. 2 Eastern Washington vs. No. 7 Sacramento State, 8:35
No. 3 Weber State vs. No. 11 Southern Utah, 11:05

Big West Quarterfinals

No. 2 UC Davis vs. No. 7 Cal Poly, 3:00
No. 3 Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 6 Cal State Northridge, 5:30
No. 1 UC Irvine vs. No. 8 UC Riverside, 9:00
No. 4 Long Beach State vs. No. 5 Hawaii, 11:30

Conference USA Quarterfinals

No. 1 Middle Tennessee vs. No. 9 Texas-San Antonio, 12:30
No. 4 UTEP vs. No. 5 Rice, 3:00
No. 2 Louisiana Tech vs. No. 7 UAB, 6:30
No. 3 Old Dominion vs. No. 6 Marshall, 9:00

MAC Quarterfinals

No. 1 Akron vs. No. 8 Eastern Michigan, 12:00
No. 4 Ball State vs. No. 5 Western Michigan, 2:30
No. 2 Ohio vs. No. 7 Toledo, 6:30
No. 3 Buffalo vs. No. 6 Kent State, 9:00

MEAC Quarterfinals

No. 3 Morgan State vs. No. 11 Howard, 6:00
No. 4 Hampton vs. No. 5 Maryland-Eastern Shore, 8:00

Mountain West Quarterfinals

No. 1 Nevada vs. No. 8 Utah State, 3:00
No. 4 Fresno State vs. No. 5 New Mexico, 5:30
No. 2 Colorado State vs. No. 10 Air Force, 9:00
No. 3 Boise State vs. No. 6 San Diego State, 11:30

Pac-12 Quarterfinals

No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 8 Arizona State, 3:00
No. 4 Utah vs. No. 5 California, 5:30
No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 7 Colorado, 9:00
No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 6 USC, 11:30

SEC Second Round

No. 8 Georgia vs. No. 9 Tennessee, 1:00
No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 12 Mississippi State, 3:25
No. 7 Vanderbilt vs. No. 10 Texas A&M, 7:00
No. 6 Ole Miss vs. No. 14 Missouri, 9:25

Southland Quarterfinals

No. 4 Houston Baptist vs. No. 5 Sam Houston State, 6:00
No. 3 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 6 Lamar, 8:30

WAC Quarterfinals

No. 4 Utah Valley vs. No. 5 Seattle, 5:00
No. 2 New Mexico State vs. No. 7 Chicago State, 7:30
No. 3 UMKC vs. No. 6 Texas-Rio Grande Valley, 10:00

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