Chaos rules with Selection Sunday rapidly approaching (cont.)
Locks: San Diego State, BYU
Both lock teams escaped road upsets and remain tied for the league lead at 8-1. SDSU hosts the Cougars on Feb. 26 in the rematch of BYU's win in Provo. Chances are the league will get a third team in, but UNLV would be wise to keep winning if the Rebels want that team to be them. We'll take another look at New Mexico next week should the Lobos win two more.
SHOULD BE IN
IN THE MIX
UNLV (17-6, 5-4; RPI: 28, SOS: 37)
No-go on the BYU upset and the Rebels continue to wallow in fourth place. Can't overlook a trip to TCU ahead of the visit from San Diego State, which is UNLV's final regular-season chance for a marquee win. That doesn't mean the trip to Fort Collins on Feb. 19 isn't important. It could be crucial.
GW: Wisconsin, Virginia Tech (N), at K-State (without Pullen/Kelly)?
BL: UC Santa Barbara
Colorado State (15-7, 6-3; RPI: 48, SOS: 54)
The Rams just missed getting the pelt they needed against SDSU and they may regret that miss, as they still must play at both BYU and the Aztecs, having lost to each at home already. They sneak into the bracket this week as one of the final at-larges, but really they could be replaced by several other teams.
GW: at UNLV
BL: Sam Houston State, vs. Hampton
It seems we're gathered here today to mourn the loss of two regular non-BCS contenders. Gonzaga appears to have done too much damage to its profile at this point to have legitimate at-large hopes after a home loss to Memphis. Butler very well may be there, too. I'm also going to knock Northern Iowa out after Lucas O'Rear's injury. The Panthers' profile isn't very good and they struggled without O'Rear this past week, including a terrible loss at Drake.
SHOULD BE IN
IN THE MIX
Saint Mary's (18-4, 8-1; RPI: 35, SOS: 129)
The Gaels' regular-season title hopes may hinge on taking care of business on this three-game trip to Santa Clara, USF and San Diego. Their at-large safety net, though, will hinge on the final three of the season, all at home vs. Utah State (BracketBusters), Gonzaga and Portland.
GW: St. John's
Wichita State (19-4, 11-2; RPI: 39, SOS: 108)
The Shockers have picked up two games on MO State in the past two weeks and again lead the conference, despite having lost at home to the Bears. They also get a bit of a break with O'Rear's injury weakening UNI ahead of a trip there. BracketBusters vs. VCU could end up being a de facto play-in game.
George Mason (19-5, 11-2; RPI: 23, SOS: 70)
The Patriots have won nine in a row after pounding Hofstra and ODU this week to grab a share of the league lead. They need to stay focused this week and win at UNC-W before hosting James Madison. Depending on what you consider, GMU may have gotten a break when Northern Iowa lost O'Rear for the season ahead of the teams' BracketBusters showdown in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
GW: Old Dominion
BL: Wofford (N)
Old Dominion (18-6, 9-4; RPI: 29, SOS: 56)
Could the CAA get three teams in? It's starting to look possible after ODU, with the best nonleague work, continues to linger in third place after getting popped at league co-leader George Mason. This week sees trips to William & Mary and then the other co-leader VCU. Big game, that.
GW: Clemson (N), Xavier (N), Richmond, Dayton?
BL: at Delaware
VCU (19-6, 11-2; RPI: 53, SOS: 153)
After a surprise loss at Northeastern, the Rams won at JMU and stay tied for first. If they can handle the Blue Hens on the road, they're set for a two-game homestand vs. ODU and GMU that could decide the league champ. Remember, VCU also is at Wichita State for BracketBusters, so they have chances.
GW: UCLA (N)?, at Old Dominion
BL: at Georgia State, at South Florida
Utah State (22-2, 11-0; RPI: 25, SOS: 161)
The Aggies now have a 4.5 game lead on the field. Why, exactly, is the WAC making them beat these also-rans again in order to guarantee an NCAA bid? If they lose the BracketBusters Elimination Challenge at Saint Mary's, people are going to look very warily at them as an at-large, should they need one. USU has played two top-100 games this season and are 0-2. Of course, the games were at G'town and BYU.
Missouri State (18-6, 10-3; RPI: 48, SOS: 113)
Fair or not, teams in the Valley can't afford to lose at so-so teams like Evansville. Now the Bears are a game behind Wichita State again and they got a bad BracketBusters draw in a trip to Valpo (no credit for a win, serious chance of a loss). The other four games before the rematch with the Shockers are all 200+, so MO State needs to win all of those.
GW: at Wichita State
BL: at Tulsa?, at Evansville
Memphis (17-6, 5-3; RPI: 46, SOS: 60)
Winning at Gonzaga helped offset the loss at home to Tulsa, but Memphis is in no shape at this point to be treading water. They do have some more decent-quality games coming up, but the margin for error remains pretty thin as far as at-large hopes.
GW: Miami (Fla.)?, at Gonzaga?
Butler (15-9, 7-5; RPI: 43, SOS: 29)
Could the season sweep of league-leading Cleveland State keep at-large dreams alive? It doesn't seem very likely at this point, but I'll reserve final judgment for now, given the strongish computer numbers.
GW: Florida State (N), Washington State (N), Cleveland State twice?
BL: Evansville (without Nored), UW Milwaukee (twice)
Cleveland State (19-4, 10-3; RPI: 34, SOS: 124)
Butler is a bad matchup for this CSU team and it showed again in a home loss that really weakens the Vikings' at-large hopes. Despite good numbers and a league-leading 10-3 mark, they have no good wins.
Gonzaga (14-9, 5-3; RPI: 73, SOS: 41)
Losing at home to Memphis may be about it for the Zags' at-large hopes, despite some credible wins. They need to run the table and hope someone else nips Saint Mary's to have a chance for a piece of the league title.
GW: Baylor (N)?, Marquette (N), Xavier, OK State?
BL: at Santa Clara, at San Francisco
Harvard (14-4, 5-1; RPI: 51, SOS: 174)
After a tough, four-point loss at league leader Princeton, the Crimson essentially kept their hopes fully intact by surviving at Penn by a point in double OT. It still probably would take a playoff loss to Princeton after running the table the rest of the way, but an Ivy at-large team is not impossible at this point.
GW: at BC, Colorado?