Clemson Tigers, Atlantic Coast Conference
Current Record: 14-11 overall, 4-9 in conference play.
RPI: 50 on both CBSSports.com and RealTimeRPI.com, and 34 on KenPom.com
Key Wins: December 21 at South Carolina, Wake Forest twice (December 31 on the road and February 14 at home.
Bad Losses: November 18 on neutral court vs. Xavier, January 3 vs. North Carolina, January 7 at Notre Dame, January 14 vs. Virginia, January 19 at Louisville, January 22 vs. Virginia Tech, February 5 at Florida State, and February 11 at Duke.
Analysis: Although the Tigers stopped a three game slide Tuesday night beating up on Wake Forest, Clemson has lost 7 of their last 10 and are looking more likely to be NIT/CBI/CIT/Vegas 16 bound. It seems every year, we often talk about them as contenders by Christmas, but are often left with empty feelings come Selection Sunday because they never complete the other half of the bill in winning on the road in the always rough and tumble world that is the ACC. With only two true road games left, they will have to win the ACC Tournament just to get in.
Percentage Chance of reaching the Big Dance: 0 percent. Enough said.
Louisiana State University, Southeastern Conference
Current Record: 9-16 overall, 1-12 in conference play.
RPI: 151 on both CBSSports.com and RealTimeRPI.com, 167 on KenPom.com.
Key Wins: None.
Bad Losses: January 25 at Florida, February 1 vs. South Carolina, and February 7 vs. Kentucky.
Analysis: The proud alma mater of both Turner Sports NBA analyst Shaquille O’Neal and Fox News rising star Sandra Smith has been really scuffling this year. With a Strength of Schedule very high at 21 during the non-conference portion, they won all of their games in the comforts of the Pistol Pete Maravich Assembly Center down in Baton Rouge.
Percentage Chance of Reaching the Big Dance: 0 percent, might have a better chance again when the new decade rolls around.
Pittsburgh Panthers, Atlantic Coast Conference
Current Record: 14-12 overall, 3-10 in conference play.
RPI: 60 on both CBSSports.com and RealTimeRPI.com, 63 on KenPom.com.
Key Wins: November 29 at Maryland and January 4 vs. Virginia.
Bad Losses: Twice to Louisville in a span of 13 days in January, December 31 vs. Notre Dame, January 31 at North Carolina, February 4 at Duke, and February 14 vs. Virginia Tech.
Analysis: Blowing a double digit lead Tuesday night might have been the final nail in Pitt possibly receiving one of the last at-large berths. The Panthers are a meager 2-8 against the RPI’s Top 50, and just like Clemson and LSU–they mostly fared well before Christmas but mostly stayed home in the Steel/Ketchup City. However, I am pretty certain that besides famous football alma maters ranging from Mike Ditka to Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, and Dave Wannstedt, hopefully one-time Playboy cover subject Jenna Morasca won’t be reaching for that peanut butter anytime soon.
Percentage Chance of Reaching the Big Dance: 10 percent, but they do host North Carolina on February 25 and close out the season in Virginia on Saturday, March 4. Otherwise, Pitt fans will have to hope that other teams in front of them start to falter in the always uber-competitive ACC race–which has once again proven to be the most difficult league to win in men’s college basketball.