The Sunday Blog comes at you after a glorious week that saw Kentucky lose twice in three days.
1. This is going to be fun for the selection committee. It’s not just the bubble, which changes on an hourly basis, but the seeds at the top. One thing they will consider is how the top teams fared away from home and who they beat. With that in mind, close your eyes and pretend you’re on the committee and I am submitting this information to you. OK, open your eyes because you have to be able to read it. Here are the top 10 RPI teams with their records away from home and their best wins away from their arenas.
Team Record Best wins
1. Arizona 9-2 At Michigan, at UCLA, Duke*
2. Kansas 9-6 Duke*, at Iowa State, at Oklahoma
3. Florida 11-2 At Tennessee, at Kentucky, Memphis*
4. Wisconsin 10-2 At Virginia, at Michigan, at Iowa
5. Villanova 12-2 Kansas*, Iowa*, at St. Joseph’s
6. Syracuse 10-2 At Pittsburgh, Minnesota*, Baylor*
7. Duke 7-6 At Pittsburgh, UCLA*
8. Wichita St. 14-0 *BYU, at St. Louis
9. Creighton 8-5 at St Joe’s, Arizona State*, Villanova
10. Virginia 10-3 SMU*, at Pittsburgh
*-denotes neutral site game
As you can see, not a lot of separation. Duke’s six losses away from Cameron Indoor may slide the Blue Devils all the way down to a three seed. It only gets more complicated the further down the list you go.
2. Hey, let’s play the Blind Resume Game. Why not? Everybody else is. Here are your two teams. Which one should get in. Bonus points if you can identify one of the teams (although it shouldn’t be that difficult).
TEAM A TEAM B
Record 20-9 16-11
Record v. top 100 8-8 5-10
Schedule strength 77 36
RPI 54 58
Away from home 5-7 8-7
Best win At Ky. VCU*
Worst loss Tex A&M Miami
So which team is in? That’s Arkansas on the left and Florida State on the right. Hey, don’t shout your answer.
3. Which brings us to our weekly feature — SEC Bubble Watch. It’s great theater because it changes so much week to week. Last week, there was only one team that looked like it had a chance. This week there are three.
Tennessee 17-11 RPI 48
Last week: Beat Mississippi State, beat Vanderbilt.
This week: at Auburn, Missouri.
Prognosis: This is the way the bubble is going. You can get two ordinary wins and it can be considered a great week. The Vols are in right now but we could see this come down to a Missouri-Tennessee play-in game.
Missouri 20-9 RPI 50
Last week: Lost at Georgia, beat Mississippi State.
This week: Texas A&M, at Tennessee.
Prognosis: It really feels like the Tigers want to be in the NIT. That loss at Georgia was crippling. But winning the last two games would include a win in Knoxville and that would help a lot. Mizzou still has a chance.
Arkansas 20-9 RPI: 54
Last week: Beat Kentucky, beat Georgia.
This week: At Ole Miss, at Alabama.
Prognosis: The Razorbacks jumped into the mix with that win over Kentucky, but they cannot lose either of these last two games against teams that are just good enough to scare you. They still might have to make some noise in the tournament.
The only way any other SEC team is making the field is to win the tournament. LSU’s chances were demolished by Florida. Georgia never really had a shot because of its non-conference schedule. And Ole Miss is now 89th in RPI.
4. One thing I want to say about Kentucky and its problems. And this is just my theory, OK? The problem isn’t that John Calipari is recruiting a bunch of one-and-doners. The problem is that he is recruiting players to come to Kentucky and get ready for the NBA. That doesn’t lead to team chemistry or unselfish play and from what I’m seeing, there are a lot of me-guys on that team. It’s not that they don’t play hard. They just don’t play together.