Sunday,March 13, 2011,11:20 a.m.Updated 4:10 p.m.By Benjamin Standig
CSNwashington.comThe best sporting day of the year, at least for all college hoop heads, Selection Sunday is here. Some of the programs in the DMV (Georgetown, George Mason) await their seed and find out whether they need to pack for warm or cold as they begin theirMarch Madness play.For a certain maroon and burnt orange crew, it's a day that has been cruel three straight years, but maybe the fourth time is the charm.We look at their scenarios, plus project the entire field of 68, the last four in and out and which remaining games will have those on the bubble glued to their televisions.Also, after the bracket is revealed, check back here for my thoughts on how the locals fared and share your take in the comments section. In addition tonight there will be a detailed look at the Hoyas draw with more to come, includingwhat to make of the Patriots path; a preview of the teams slated to play ThursdaySaturday at the Verizon Center; plus which teamswill reach the Final Four and ultimately who will be cutting down the nets in Houston...The Locals:
Georgetown: 21-10, 10-8 (Big East), RPI (13), Strength of Schedule (1)Selection Sunday concern - Seed: With the upbeat news that the Hoyas fast-paced and clearly missed point guard Chris Wright has been cleared to play for the NCAA Tournament, the immediate puzzler is what will the selection committee do with that 411. The slotting of the Hilltop crew is somewhat complex; Their combination of wins, both high-end (Syracuse, Louisville, St. John's) and quantity (eight against the RPI Top-50, potentially 11 against teams in the field of 68) screams for a possible four or five seed. Yet some of that polished resume is wiped away due to their current four-game losing streak and the uncertainty over the status of injured point guard Chris Wright.If they built up enough winning capital and the selection committee buys into the notion that Wright doing non-contact drills last week equates to him playing, a No. 6 seed is in reach. On the flip side, if the falling knife scenario is what they are fixated on, then the Hoyas could drop into the dreaded 89 game with a No. 1 seed looming if Georgetown advances. Looking at the overall field, the odds are greater the former scenario is the end result.
- The massive size of the expected Big East contingent comes into play as the committee needs to avoid early round matchups between the11 connectedprograms. Also, Georgetown cannot play in the Washington D.C. regional. One more hoop for the committee toconsider.
- along with the five Big East teams they defeated, the Hoyas have wins over 11 squads headed to the NCAA Tournament. The non-conference conquests were over Old Dominion, Missouri, Utah State, Memphis, Wofford and UNC Asheville.
George Mason: 26-6, 16-2 (Colonial), RPI (27), SOS (90), Streak (L1)
Selection Sunday concern - Seed: The Patriots are in, even after their winning streak, at the team the nation's longest, came to an end in the CAA Tournament. Still, their case has been interesting due to a high RPI but lack of major wins. Outside of Old Dominion, George Mason's best RPI scalp came against a Harvard team that has a chance, but is doubtful to receive an at-large bid after losing in Saturday's Ivy League thrilling playoff game.
Considering ODU's conference resume is similar (they won the tournament, George Mason the regular season title), but the Monarchs have a stronger outside resume (wins over Xavier, Clemson, Richmond), do not be shocked to see the Patriots seeded below their conference rival. However, both seem like logical squads to place as a No. 8 seed; list as seed favorite in the first round game, but still not (in perception) as powerful (resume-wise) as their power conference brethren. By the way, since we know the committee loves their little games, would any of us be stunned to see a Georgetown-George Mason matchup?
Virginia Tech: 21-11, 9-7 (ACC), RPI (61), SOS (74)
Selection Sundayconcern - In or Out (what else!): Even with Friday's replay saving, buzzer-beater avoiding win against Florida State, the Hokies are not penned into the field, but they are closer. Losing to Duke on Saturday did not hurt their chances, but a win would have guaranteed a spot and had the Blacksburg faithful sitting further back in their seats Sunday night.
Now they will be right back on the edge, perhaps literally and figuratively, especially if one of the remaining big stealing scenarios plays out (see below). If the Hokies hear their names called, but the jubilation drowns out the other details presented, note that a quick trip to Dayton is in the cards. It would be surprising to see Virginia Tech any higher than a 12th seed which means a spot on of Tuesday's four play-in games is the potential hand Seth Greenberg and players will be dealt.
Hampton: The No. 2 seed in the MEAC Tournament, Hampton punched their first NCAA Tournament ticket in five years, denying Morgan State a third straight trip. The 24-8 Pirates won 60-55 behind 20 points from guard Brandon Tunnell. Their reward, probably a No. 15 seed, but they would be one of the stronger one's on that line. The Pirates have wins over Colorado State, George Washington and NCAA-bound Boston University this season.Big Picture- What business remains before the bracket is revealed. my take on what that field will look likeand which teams should be sweating the most...Bid Thieves: For Virginia Tech and other teams on that nasty bubble, all eyes will be on Atlantic City for the Atlantic 10 final with the occasional monitoring of the Big 10 championship. Dayton's 2-12 record looks NCAA-bid worthy, but the Flyers _ losers to GW in their regular season finale last weekend _ losing record in league play will have them N.I.T. bound unless they end their four-game run with a win over Richmond. The Spiders should have sealed their invitation Saturday with a win over Temple in the semifinals.Update - Richmonddid their part, knocking off Dayton and preserving another at-large bid
Penn State entered the weekend probably behind Virginia Tech and other bubble teams, but wins this week over Wisconsin and Michigan State have likely moved them ahead of the borderline pack. Winning the conference's automatic bid by knocking off Ohio State ends that debate and officially eliminates one bid.Last four in: USC, Clemson, Virginia Tech, UAB- The Trojans have 14 losses, some of against lesser teams for sure, but they also have tons of big wins (Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Washington)... The two ACC schools get in on quantity over quality, wins that is. Not much at the top (other than the Hokies win over Duke), but they both sport a fatter second tier than their competitors... As for the Conference-USA regular season winning Blazers, their best win was over fellow bubble. They dohave 10 against the RPI top-100 and only one loss (Arizona State) outside that group as well.If the C-USA still has any juice left (and it all may have been squeezed out once John Calipari took his act to Kentucky), then they sneak in.Last four out: VCU, Georgia St. Mary's, Alabama- The Rams are oh-so close, withwins over UCLA, ODU and Mason, but only five total against the top-100 and none as impressive as taking down the Dukies...Georgia has big wins (Kentucky, UAB) and played a strong schedule, but ultimately have just five against the top-100. If the committee wants another big boy school, the Bulldogs are the call...St. Mary's has seemingly been in the field of 68for months, but the Gaels stumbled down the stretch against other NCAA-bound teams and have only three impactful wins overall... The Crimson Tide's run to the SEC semifinals might impress some, but they also have more wins against team with an RPI of 201 or higher than against teams below that mark. Others: Harvard, Missouri State, Boston College
Who's In: My projections for the Field of 68.Teams in BOLD received automatic bid.ACC (5):Duke, UNC,Florida State,Clemson,Virginia Tech- When you really peel back the numbers, none of the final three teams ACC teams potentially selected can truly complain if they do not received a bid. The Seminoles resume is thin beyond a win over Duke, only six wins against the RPI top-100. Same for the Hokies, though Penn State's rivival has given Virginia Tech a second top-50 RPI win. Clemson is 0-6 against that same top-50, but they have more wins against the top-100 then the other two.If Duke defeats UNC on Sunday for their umpteenth ACC Tournament title, the Blue Devils will likely edge out Notre Dame and join Ohio State, Kansas and Pittsburgh as the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels can move up to a No. 2 seed with a win, but they do not have enough victories over the top-50 (two) to compete with the other power programs.Big East(11):Connecticut, Pittsburgh,Notre Dame,Louisville,Syracuse,St. John'sWest Virginia,Cincinnati,Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette-Marquette should have taken themselves off the bubble with two wins this week, one over the Mountaineers. Villanova on the hand out themselves closer to it with a disastrous close to the season. They will be the first team ever to lose five straight games entering the NCAA's to receive a bid.Colonial (2): Old Dominion, George Mason- Virginia Commonwealth sports a better RPI (49) than the three ACC schools and their strength of schedule (87) is on par with the Seminoles (82), the one team of the four thought to be the surest thing. Big 10(7):Ohio State,Purdue, Wisconsin,Michigan,Michigan St.,Illinois,Penn State- The Buckeyes are locked in as a No. 1 seed and the win today should secure them the top seed overall.SEC(4):Florida,Kentucky,Tennessee,Vanderbilt- If Billy Donovan's Gators defeat John Calipari's Wildcats on Sunday, they will wind up as a No. 2 seed.
Big 12 (6): Kansas, Texas, Kansas St., Texas A&M, Missouri, Colorado
Pac-10 (4): Washington, Arizona, UCLA, USC
Atlantic10 (3): Richmond, Temple, Xavier
Mountain West (3): San Diego State, Brigham Young, UNLV
Conference USA (2): Memphis, UABSingle Bid conferences: America East (Boston); Atlantic Sun (Belmont); Big South (UNC Asheville); Big Sky(No. Colorado); Big West (UC-Santa Barbara); Horizon (Butler); Ivy (Princeton); MAAC (St. Peter's); Mid-American(Akron); MEAC (Hampton); Missouri Valley (Indiana State); Northeastern (Long Island); Ohio Valley(Morehead State); Patriot (Bucknell); Southland(Texas-SA); Southern (Wofford); Summit (Oakland); Sun Belt (Arkansas-Little Rock); SWAC (Alabama St.); WAC (Utah St.), WCC (Gonzaga)
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