Welcome one, welcome all–sure hope everyone east of Denver is braving those biting winds and chilly temperatures.
Before I dive in and tell my brief thoughts on what to look for in the final bracketing process since a mock one recently took place at the NCAA National Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana…
it is time once again for another cool edition of Under The Microscope:
Oklahoma State Sooners, Big 12 Conference
17-8 overall, 7-6 in conference play (tied for sixth place).
Big wins: February 7 vs. top ranked in RPI Kansas, February 4 at Texas, February 9 at Baylor.
Bad losses: January 13 at Kansas, December 21 vs. Maryland, January 6 at Iowa State, January 31 vs. Oklahoma.
RPI Breakdown: Very healthy at 25, 48 in non-conference games.
Biggest worry is their strength of schedule at a meager 155 and only being 2-2 against teams in the RPI’s Top 50.
Their schedule doesn’t get any easier with a revenge match at home against Iowa State tonight (9 p.m. on ESPN2, opposite of North Carolina at Duke on ESPN and mobile apps), plus two matches with West Virginia should hopefully bolster their tournament resume just a bit.
Percentage chance of reaching the Big Dance: 60%.
Davidson Wildcats, Atlantic 10 Conference
17-6 overall, 8-4 in conference play (5th place).
Key wins: January 20 vs. Dayton, February 14 at LaSalle.
Bad losses: November 22 on neutral court vs. North Carolina, December 30 at Virginia, January 7 at VCU.
RPI Breakdown: 63 overall, 75 in non-conference games.
The longtime Cinderella darlings of the Southern Conference during the Stephen Curry have been giving new wings in the powerful A-10. They would really have to win the conference’s outright automatic bid to receive any possible consideration by the Selection Committee.
Reason being, there are a few teams with similar profiles–see Dayton, Xavier, Cincinnati, Purdue, Iowa, and below with my profile on Colorado State and they could be missing out. Two matchups with George Washington and a March 5 home date with VCU might help in that regard.
Percentage chance of reaching the Big Dance: 45%.
Colorado State Rams, Mountain West Conference
21-5 overall, 8-5 in conference play (4th place).
Key wins: January 24 vs. San Diego State.
Bad losses: January 27 at Boise State and February 14 at San Diego State.
RPI Breakdown: 28 overall, a very stellar 9 in non-conference play.
Usually with a profile like the Rams, you could safely say that there are so many good teams with at least 20 wins. Problem is, CSU has only a 4-4 record against the RPI’s Top 100, 2-2 in the Top 50.
But they do have the conference’s best scoring offense averaging 72.8 points per game. They will need to improve on their defense in their remaining games with bottom feeder teams like at Fresno State (11 p.m. Eastern time tonight) and at Nevada and Utah State before their conference tournament.
Percentage chance of reaching the Big Dance: 25%.