Difficult to figure out jumbled mess in middle of ACC (cont.)
Sunday was an aesthetics nightmare as the top of the league continues to shuffle around.
SHOULD BE IN
Temple (11-3, 2-0; RPI: 17, SOS: 30)
An easy win over Fordham at the Izod Center and a close one against Saint Louis gets the Owls off to a good league start. There are a lot of games in the A-10 this year that you just need to win, regardless of the beauty. 3-0 should come at home vs. St. Bonaventure before an intriguing trip to undervalued Duquesne.
GW: Maryland (N), Georgetown
BL: Cal (N)?
IN THE MIX
Richmond (13-4, 2-0; RPI: 71, SOS: 178)
Two confident wins jumpstarted the Spiders' league campaign and dropped their RPI 16 spots. Welcome to playing the bottom part of the league. Still, they and the Owls are a level above in the league at this point, and they should be able to handle URI at home in their only game of the week. You'd think.
GW: Purdue, VCU
BL: at Iona, Georgia Tech (N)?, Bucknell
Dayton (11-4, 1-1; RPI: 47, SOS: 98)
The Flyers dropped one of the uglier games of the weekend at UMass, a disappointing back end of a league-opening road trip. With a lack of real quality in their resume, they can't afford losses like this. Three of the next four are at home, but the road game is at Xavier.
GW: A collection of OK ones in Ole Miss, George Mason and New Mexico
BL: East Tennessee State, margin at Cincinnati (by 34), at UMass?
Xavier (8-4, 0-0; RPI: 57, SOS: 41)
After getting smashed by city rival Cincinnati, the X-Men came strong at Rhode Island and blew out the Rams. There's still a lot of work to do, but with four of the next five at Cintas with the lone road game at St. Bonaventure, they have a chance to roll off some wins.
GW: Butler, at Rhode Island?
BL: Miami (Ohio)
Rhode Island (9-6, 0-1; RPI: 57, SOS: 67)
The Rams had almost a week to prep for Xavier at home and got clobbered. Not good. Now they travel to Richmond on Wednesday needing to make up for the home loss to a competitor.
GW: Boston College
BL: Illinois-Chicago, at Quinnipiac
Locks: San Diego State, BYU
After a slow start, BYU hit a gear at UNLV that the Rebels couldn't match and earned a very impressive road win. Now the Aztecs get their first shot at the Rebels, this one in San Diego. The two meet for the first time on Jan. 26 in Provo.
SHOULD BE IN
UNLV (13-3, 1-1; RPI: 25, SOS: 40)
The blowout of TCU was fine, but doesn't make up for having BYU come in and ransack the Thomas & Mack. If the Rebels can't get it done at San Diego State Wednesday night, they will be at a distinct deficit already in what looks like a three-team chase.
GW: Wisconsin, Virginia Tech (N)
BL: UC Santa Barbara
IN THE MIX
New Mexico (11-4, 0-1; RPI: 69, SOS: 181)
Forget the double-OT loss at Dayton. The Lobos definitely will regret the one-point defeat at Wyoming. They don't have the resume to eat losses against the bottom of the MWC.
BL: at Wyoming
This is about as weak a pool of non-BCS "others" as I can remember at this stage of the year. Practically every team on this list needs to really dominate its league to have a reasonable chance. Cleveland State and Drexel dropped off the list after varying levels of suffering in league play.
Old Dominion (12-3, 3-1; RPI: 29, SOS: 52)
A 2-0 week with a home win over George Mason keeps the Monarchs in OK position. This is a big week, with trips to physical Drexel and surprise league leader Hofstra.
GW: Clemson (N), Xavier (N), Richmond, Dayton
BL: at Delaware
Butler (10-5, 3-1; RPI: 20, SOS: 11)
A blowout loss at UW-Milwaukee pretty much offsets the home romp over at-large competitor Cleveland State. In fact, the net results lessen the league's chances to get two teams in.
GW: Florida State (N), Washington State (N)
BL: Evansville (without Nored)
Gonzaga (10-5, 1-0; RPI: 34, SOS: 10)
A good home win over feisty Portland keeps the Zags heading in the right direction. Two more home games are on tap, so expect another perfect week. Saint Mary's comes in on Jan. 27.
GW: Baylor (N), Marquette (N), Xavier, OK State
Central Florida (13-1, 1-1; RPI: 16, SOS: 81)
The Knights finally got clipped, losing by five at Houston. This week's trip to Southern Miss is now crucial. Two losses (or more) before meeting Memphis could start to be trouble
GW: Miami (Fla.), Florida
Memphis (12-3, 1-0; RPI: 78, SOS: 150)
Good news: The Tigers edged their C-USA opener. Bad news: This team is still really struggling, as witnessed by their blowout loss at mercurial Tennessee. This is a bad profile at this point, so wiggle room in the league is not very plentiful.
Saint Mary's (12-2, 2-0; RPI: 41, SOS: 148)
The Gaels swept the L.A.-area trip and now get three home games against teams that aren't Portland or Gonzaga. Their at-large hopes likely rest on the three-game trip that begins Jan. 22 at Vanderbilt, with the Zags and Pilots after that.
GW: None, really
Missouri State (13-3, 5-0; RPI: 49, SOS: 154)
The Bears got a big road win Sunday night at Wichita State in the showdown of Valley unbeatens and supplant the Shockers as the league's most viable at-large candidate. That doesn't mean all that much at this stage with no other quality wins, but if they surge through the Valley?
GW: at Wichita State
BL: at Tulsa
Wichita State (12-3, 4-1; RPI: 33, SOS: 95)
The Shockers were shocked on their home court by Missouri State and now really have very little room for error if they miss the auto bid. Neutral-site wins over Virginia and LSU aren't nearly enough.
GW: Virginia (N)?
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