Thursday Recap/Analysis (tournaments & top-50; 5/27)

May 28, 2010
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Flies in the Ointment? …

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The upsets kept flowing on Thursday, based on the CB360 Composite National Rankings, as more than half of the games (14 of 26) involving CB360 top-50 teams ended up in upsets. Most notably, five of the CNR’s top-10 teams (#2-3-7-8-10) all were knocked off, while several other teams emerged as potential “flies in the ointment” – underdogs that could win a conference automatic bid to the NCAAs (and, in the process, burst the bubble of an NCAA at-large hopeful). 

CLICK HERE for CB360’s Conference Tournament Main Page

(Note – Scores for all games involving the CB360 top-50 are listed at the bottom of this page, with the customary links provided for the one non-tournament game … also be sure to access CB360’s conference tournament main page via the link posted above.)

There were 26 games on Thursday involving CB360 top-50 teams, including seven head-to-head match-ups (33 total top-50 teams in action). The only top-50 game outside a conference tournament setting was #1 Arizona State’s 4-2 series-opening win at #32 Stanford.

Here are teams from five leagues (seven teams total) that have the makings for NCAA-bid spoilers (the potential flies in the ointment):

Mercer (Atlantic Sun) – The #2-seeded Bears were nowhere close to being in the discussion for an NCAA at-large bid, with a #157 official NCAA RPI this week (trailing six other A-Sun teams), but Mercer sits in the catbird seat as the only 2-0 squad at the six-team A-Sun Tournament … should the Bears win this event, the focus then will shift to whether Florida Gulf Coast still would get into the NCAA’s as an at-large (effectively making the A-Sun a two-bid league and taking a spot from some unfortunate budble team) … many tournament projections had FGCU as a solid at-large possibility (the Eagles ran away with the A-Sun regular-season title and entered the week with a #45 NCAA RPI, plus a #36 standing in the CNR top-50) … Thursday’s key results saw #4 seed North Florida knock off FGCU in shockingly easy fashion (13-2), while Mercer beat #3 seed East Tennessee State (10-7) in the day’s only match-up of teams that won on Wed. … next up: FGCU faces ETSU today in a noon elimination game, followed by another elimination game at 4:00 (UNF vs. Jacksonville) and Mercer’s 8:00 game vs. the FGCU-ETSU winner.

Rutgers ad St. John’s (BIG EAST) – There teams have earned a day off on Friday, as each is 2-0 following their Thursday upsets (#6 seed RU beat #2 seed UConn, 9-6, one day after knocking off #3 seed Pittsburgh in a 9-5 opening-day game … #4 seed SJU knocked off top seed Louisville, 11-4) … if Rutgers or St. John’s win the BIG EAST Tournament, the league likely will have locked up three bids to the NCAAs … Pitt has been hoping to be that third entrant, but that was far from certain following the Panther’s first-day loss to #7 seed Cincinnati (9-6) …Louisville entered the tournament as the #5 team in the official NCAA RPI (#7 in the cb360 CNR) while UConn was the #24 RPI (CNR #18) and Pitt’s tenuous situation included a #47 RPI and #42 CNR … Friday’s games: Pitt and UConn will meet in a 4:00 elimination games, as will Louisville and #5 seed South Florida (7:00).

• Lamar and Texas Arlington – This is a similar situation to the one above, as these teams have started 2-0 in the Southland Conference Tournament … #5 seed UTA benefited from the day-1 upset that saw #8 seed Nicholls State beat regular-season champ Texas State, as the Mavericks then rallied to beat Nicholls (5-4) … on the other side of the bracket, the #7 seed Lamar stopped surging Northwestern (La.) State on Wed. and the earned its day off with a Thursday win over #6 seed McNeese State, 10-7 (McNeese earlier had edged #3 seed Southeastern Louisiana, 8-7) … should Lamar or UTA win the tournament, it’s likely that the Southland still could be a one-bid league for the NCAAs – as each of the top seeds have shaky at-large credentials (Texas State #48 NCAA RPI/#46 CNR … SLU #40 RPI, #50 CNR … NWLA #76 RPI and now eliminated from the Southland Tour.) … Friday’s games include a 10:00 a.m. CT elimination game (SLU-McNeese), followed by another elimination game between Texas St. and Nicholls … Lamar and UTA will be awaiting the winners in the night games (starting at 5:00).

Arkansas State (Sunbelt) –The #7 seed has joined top seed Florida Atlantic as the 2-0 teams, but a Trojans title at this tournament might simply solidify the end of the season for #2 seed Louisiana (Lafayette)  … UL-L entered the Sunbelt Championship with a #33 RPI (matching its spot in the CNR), but the regular-season co-champs already have been bounced back home and have to be considered a bubble team (especially if Arkansas State were to snatch the automatic bid) … the #3 and #4 seeds – Middle Tennessee and Florida International – entered the week as longshots for the NCAAs, with each facing elimination gaames on Friday (FIU plays #5 seed South Alabama in the brutal 9:00 AM game, followed by MTSU and #6 seed Troy) … #8 seed Western Kentucky was a top-25 team on the national scene at the midseason point, but the Hilltoppers wrapped up their second-half swoon by going 0-2 this week) … FAU will be awaiting the FIU-USA winner on Friday afternoon (4 ET), followed by Ark. St. s. the MTSU/Troy winner.

• Western Carolina (SoCon) – Speaking of teams that had strong starts to the season and then faded, WCU could jump back into the picture following its Thursday rally from a 6-0 deficit to upset CNR #28 College of Charleston (7-6) … #6 seed WCU joins regular-season champ The Citadel as 2-0 starters in the Southern Conference Tournament … #2 seed CofC (#29 RPI) may be secure for NCAA at-large consideration, meaning that a WCU tournament title could ensure three NCAA bids for the SoCon (WCU entered the event 57th in the official NCAA RPI) … #3 seed Elon (#51 RPI/#44 CNR) is another SoCon hopeful for the NCAAs, but the Phoenix likely need to win their Friday elimination game vs. #5 seed Samford (7 ET; winner has to beat Citadel twice on Sat.) … Friday’s 3:00 elimination game will pit C of C vs. #7 seed Appalachian State (winner has to beat WCU twice on Sat.).

In addition to games mentioned above, Thursday’s other top-50 upsets included:

Texas Tech 4,  #2 Texas 1 (Big 12)
#17 Florida State 11,  #3 Virginia 4 (Big 12)
#25 Virginia Tech 6,  #8 Georgia Tech 2
#14 Auburn 3,  #10 South Carolina 1 (Big 12)
Boston College 12,  #12 Miami 10 (Big 12)
#34 LSU 7, #16 Vanderbilt 5 (Big 12)
#29 Alabama 6,  #23 Mississippi 3 (Big 12)
Middle Tennessee State 3,  #33 Louisiana-Lafayette 0 (Big 12)
Florida International 7,  #47 Western Kentucky 3 (Sunbelt)
High Point 2,  #49 Liberty 1 (Big South)

TOP TEAMS – Texas (0-2) already is out of title contention at the Big 12 Tournament, while Virginia now has a tougher road to repeating as ACC Tournament champion (in order to reach the title game, the Cavs first need BC to beat FSU on Friday, then UVa has to defeat Miami on Sat.). Note that the Big 12  and ACC both use a round-robin format in their tournaments. The losses by Texas and UVa, coupled with Arizona State’s win over Stanford, can only strengthen ASU’s position as the potential #1 national seed.

SEC – One day after all four SEC Tournament games resulted in upsets, Thursday’s slate saw the underdogs (based on the CNR) win three more times – including Auburn’s win that eliminated South Carolina. Two teams that filled the final two SEC spots – #8 seed Alabama and #7 LSU – now find themselves on the inside tracks to the title game.

BUBBLE SEEKERS – Boston College (#46 RPI) and Texas Tech (#48) kept alive their hopes for making the NCAAs. All four teams in BC’s bracket at the ACC Tournament (#1 seed Virginia, #4 Miami, #5 Florida St. and #8 BC) have started 1-1, with one team ultimately advancing to Sunday’s title game. BC will face FSU on Friday at noon, while UVa and Miami will meet on Sat. (also at noon). In order to reach the Big 12 title game, #5 seed Texas Tech need to beat #8 seed Missouri on Saturday while getting help in two others games (Missouri beating #4 seed Texas A&M on Fri. and top seed Texas then beating A&M on Sat.).

MORE BUBBLE WATCH – Liberty’s loss could extinguish the Flames’ hopes for an NCAA at-large spot (#44 official NCAA RPI, but lost on Wed.). Several other NCAA bubble teams also are 1-1 at their conference tournaments, after winning on Thursday:

#38 New Mexico 7,  BYU 6
#42 Pittsburgh 13,  Cincinnati 4
#46 Texas State 8,  Stephen F. Austin 2
#50 Southeastern Louisiana 10,  Northwestern (La.) State 4

THURSDAY’S TOP-50 RESULTS (5/27/10; upsets in italics)
(based on the CB360 Composite National Rankings)

Reminder – follow THIS LINK for CB360’s Conference Tournament Main Page (with links to all of the conference tournament  central pages that include complete info., links, etc.)

#1 Arizona State 4,  at #32 Stanford 2 (Pac-10 reg.-season)  |  Final Stats
ASU RecapSTAN Recap

Texas Tech 4,  #2 Texas 1 (Big 12)

#17 Florida State 11,  #3 Virginia 4 (ACC)

#4 Coastal Carolina 11,  Radford 9 (Big South)

#5 Florida 5,  #13 Arkansas 4 (SEC)

St. John’s 6,  #7 Louisville 5

#25 Virginia Tech 6,  #8 Georgia Tech 2

#14 Auburn 3,  #10 South Carolina 1 (SEC)

#11 TCU 5,  UNLV 2

Boston College 12,  #12 Miami 10 (ACC)

#34 LSU 7, #16 Vanderbilt 5 (SEC)

Rutgers 6,  #18 Connecticut 5 (BIG EAST)

#22 Rice 24,  Houston 3 (C-USA)

#29 Alabama 6,  #23 Mississippi 3 (SEC)

#27 Texas A&M 7,  Missouri 2 (Big 12)

Western Carolina 7,  #28 College of Charleston 6

Middle Tennessee State 3,  #33 Louisiana-Lafayette 0 (Sunbelt)

#35 Florida Atlantic 10,  South Alabama 9 (Sunbelt)

North Florida 13,  #36 Florida Gulf Coast 2 (Atlantic Sun)

#38 New Mexico 7,  BYU 6 (Mt. West)

#39 The Citadel 6,  #44 Elon 3 (SoCon)

#42 Pittsburgh 13,  Cincinnati 4 (BIG EAST)

#46 Texas State 8,  Stephen F. Austin 2 (Southland)

Florida International 7,  #47 Western Kentucky 3 (Sunbelt)

High Point 2,  #49 Liberty 1 (Big South)

#50 Southeastern Louisiana 10,  Northwestern (La.) State 4 (Southland)

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