As I was one of the few people on the planet keeping track of the New Mexico-Wyoming score (more on that in a second), I am proud to say that I did stay up to watch the entire six overtime period masterpiece that was Syracuse - UConn. The great thing is I was chatting with two of my friends on Facebook during the timeouts/commercial breaks. My friends Mike Pomarico, Mo Goldman and I were just dumbfounded. Also, I should have had breakfast right after it was done.
Yes, it's not mid majors, but I love college basketball as a whole, and that folks will go down as one of the all time classics. Little did the refs know that their correct call waving off Devendorf's apparent game winning shot at the buzzer (the ball had not left his fingertips when it hit zero on the shot clock) would result in one for the ages. And it is truly an amazing stat that Syracuse never led for any of the first five overtime periods. You knew however when they took the lead in the sixth that fate was with them.
So most people will remember yesterday and early this morning for all the big teams getting upset. #2 Pitt and #4 UConn in the Big East, #7 Oklahoma and #9 Kansas all got knocked off yesterday. Well, they are all in the tournament, so yeah it's news but not big in the whole grand scheme of things.
What we care about, if you are St Mary's and Creighton's fans, and I know you are, is that several major bubble teams got knocked off yesterday, clearing some space for the Gaels and Bluejays to get back on.
1) Arizona lost to Arizona State by 12 in the PAC 10 Quarterfinals. Sorry Arizona State, but the Moore Selection Committee Primer specifically notes that if you are a .500 conference team during the regular season and you lose in the quarterfinals, you are toast. Arizona was 8-8 in the regular season. Yes they had some non conference wins and a non conference SOS of 73, but actually now being 8-9 in conference after the loss to the Sun Devils doesn't cut the mustard. Also a loss to fellow bubble member UNLV puts you on the bad side. Lunardi has you out. I never had you in. Enjoy the NIT.
2) Providence lost to Louisville 73-55 in Big East Quarters. Providence did finish above .500 in the Big East and does have home wins over Pitt and Syracuse. Problem one - No non conference road wins of note. A win at home by one point over Rhode Island is it. Problem two - Non Conference SOS of 157. Ugh. Problem three - Road/Neutral record of 6-8. Not good. Problem four - 2-7 Record vs. RPI Top 50. Eeek. Nice try Friars - NIT for you.
3) New Mexico lost to Wyoming 75-67 in MWC Quarters. The Lobos losing to a team they swept during the regular season not good. Losing in your quarterfinals when you are a bubble team, a Moore Selection Primer No No. Yes, they were 12-4 in the Mountain West conference, a conference that may get three teams in (but not if I can help it).
However, take a closer look at the Lobos. What I consider their four "big" wins in conference; wins over Utah, BYU, San Diego State, and UNLV, all at home. OK, that's what you're supposed to do.
But then look at their non conference schedule. No non conference wins to speak of. A 9-7 non conference record. A big time HEAD TO HEAD loss to Creighton, fellow bubble member. That's Moore Selection Primer material. Look even closer and their RPI is 58, worse than St Mary's, Creighton, UNLV etc. Non Conference SOS is an ugly 174. Their road/neutral record is 6-9 now after the loss yesterday. Five things that scream...NIT! They are done.
4) UNLV lost to San Diego State 71-57 in MWC Quarters. The battle of the Mountain West bubble teams in the quarters should have done in UNLV. The Rebels lost all three games to the Aztecs in the Mountain West, so that's a huge Moore Selection Committee Primer tiebreaker. Also the 9-7 record in the Mountain West is not something to write home about. They do have that signature non conference win at Louisville and a home win over Arizona, plus a 4-4 record vs the RPI Top 50. But a road/neutral record of 6-7 is not good and neither is the non conference SOS of 154. As Ralph Kramden would say "OUT! GET OUT!"
5)Miami loses to Virginia Tech 65-47 in ACC first round. Notice a trend here. With the exception of the New Mexico-Wyoming game, all our bubble teams lost either in the quarters or first round by DOUBLE DIGITS. Say what you want about Creighton and St Mary's but they had the decency to get blown out in the semis and the finals respectively (in St Mary's case by the #12 team in the nation). A 7-9 record in conference (now 7-10 after the loss to the Hokies) is all you need to know that the Canes are NIT bound. Nothing more to add here. OK, let's pile on. A bubble team worst non Conference SOS of 219. TWO NINETEEN. Goodbye!
OK, if you are St Mary's, which has a non conference SOS of 82, better than any team mentioned except Arizona (and that's not by much) or Creighton, you want the following to happen the next three days.
1) Utah State to run the table in the WAC. Can't have any upsets in the WAC. Because if Utah State loses, that will complicate things, especially for St Mary's. Hope the Aggies run the table, then St Mary's can hang their hat on their bracketbuster win over them.
2) Need SEC help. Need Kentucky and Florida to lose in the quarters. Need LSU and Auburn to beat down these two teams. Kentucky is right now out. Florida is on the bubble. Also, Tennessee needs to end any hopes Alabama has. Miss State beating South Carolina might help too, but we don't want the Bulldogs to go any further than that.
3) Maryland needs to get crushed by Wake Forest. Yes the Terps have a 7-9 record, but we don't want them to complicate things by starting to win big games in the ACC tourney. Sorry Matt Melnick (a friend of mine who went to Maryland) but we want the Terps to get blown out.
4) Likewise, need another ACC crushing by North Carolina over VA Tech. Can't have a 7-9 conference Hokies team causing havoc. They did us a favor crushing Miami. But enough, Heels get them out.
5) Need Michigan, Penn State, Minnesota and Wisconsin all to lose in the quarters. Could happen. There is no way their should be eight Big Ten teams. Sorry the conference is not that good. Ideally, Michigan and Minnesota losing by a big score respectively to Illinois and Michigan State would be lovely.
6) Need chalk in the Big 12. Baylor looks like its causing havoc here. Need Texas to step up here and take out the Bears now.
7) Need chalk in the A10. Yes, folks you want a Xavier-Dayton final. Both teams are considered in now. Last thing you need is Christmas Time to come to Atlantic City as in Dionte Christmas. Today's Temple-Xavier game is huge. And Dayton beating Duquesne is almost as huge.
8) Finally, if you are St Mary's, you hope that San Diego State's run ends today against BYU. A loss here, and then you hope the committee remembers the HEAD TO HEAD win over San Diego State on a neutral site.
Sounds easy, right? Well, a lot of fingernails in Omaha and Moraga are going to get chewed off the next few days. Stay tuned. It truly is March Madness.