This post will be updated as the games are completed.
You know what’s not going to be fun on Selection Sunday?
Trying to evaluate the profile that Temple (KenPom: 95, RPI: 69) eventually puts together.
The Owls are currently sitting tied for first place in the American at 9-3. They’ve swept UConn after coming from down 12 to beat the Huskies in Philly on Thursday. They’ve swept Cincinnati. They handed SMU their first loss of the season. They beat Tulsa. That’s four top 50 and six top 100 wins, which are good numbers in comparison to other bubble teams.
They also lost at Memphis (yuck) and East Carolina (double yuck), have a non-conference strength of schedule that sits right around 200, lost to every good team they played out of conference and have thus far managed just six top 150 wins this season. The other issue? They’ve basically run out of quality opponents in the league. They do play at Tulsa (RPI: 50) and Houston (RPI: 91), which are basically must-wins at this point, and since every other opponent they play in the American has a sub-100 RPI, those are essentially can’t-lose games.
What that leaves us is the Villanova game. That will be played next week, and that’s as close to a must-win as you can get in mid-February.
- Cal (KenPom: 44, RPI: 32): The Golden Bears absolutely dominated the best team in the Pac-12 in Oregon and landed a critical win for their profile. Cal now has four top 50 wins, four more top 100 wins and just two of their eight losses came against teams outside the top 100. This win means that, as long as Cal wins the games they’re supposed to win down the stretch, they should be in.
- Indiana (KenPom: 24, RPI: 51): The Hoosiers picked up a critical win over Iowa, one that likely moves them off of the bubble for now. Indiana has a non-conference schedule strength in the 230s, three losses outside the RPI top 90 and, now, just two top 50 wins. They needed this.
- Syracuse (KenPom: 39, RPI: 44): Syracuse landed their sixth top 50 win and eighth top 100 win of the season on Thursday. They also got word that the selection committee will factor in that Jim Boeheim missed time for the Orange. It may be time to take them off of this list, at least for the time being.
- Oregon State (KenPom: 81, RPI: 31): The Beavers are putting together a pretty impressive profile. They beat Stanford on Thursday, their seventh top 100 win. They are 6-5 against the top 50 and all eight of their losses have come against top 75 opponents. Four of their last six games are on the road, including a trip to Eugene to take on the Ducks. It’s not going to be easy.
- Colorado (KenPom: 56, RPI: 29): They tried their hardest not to, but the Buffaloes eventually did get a win over Washington State at home. In double-overtime. Colorado is in the tournament right now and is probably three wins away from locking up their bid.
- Gonzaga (KenPom: 33, RPI: 66): The Zags beat Portland, setting up the most important game of their season: a trip to SMU on Saturday. They have to win that if they want an at-large bid.
- Valparaiso (KenPom: 22, RPI: 48): The Crusaders still have an outside shot at an at-large bid, but they are at a point where they cannot afford another loss. Win out, lose in the Horizon final and they’ll have a chance. They won on Thursday.
- UConn (KenPom: 19, RPI: 46): On paper, UConn’s loss at Temple on Thursday isn’t all that bad. It’s a road loss to a top 100 opponent. Those happen in league play. Where it hurts is that the Owls have now not only swept UConn, but they did it by erasing a 12-point lead in the final five minutes. The Huskies fall to just 5-7 against the top 100 with just one top 50 win, albeit at Texas. With no bad losses and two shots left against SMU, UConn is still in decent shape.
- Florida State (KenPom: 37, RPI: 38): The Seminoles missed a shot at landing a nice road win at Syracuse on Thursday. It doesn’t hurt their profile, and with three top 25, another top 50 and a top 100 opponent left on their schedule, there are still chances to play their way onto the bubble. The problem? All those games are losable as well.
- VCU (KenPom: 32, RPI: 40): The Rams were on the wrong end of a brutal loss to UMass on Thursday night. It’s not the kind of loss that is going to eliminate VCU from the bubble conversation — not by any stretch — but one of the strengths of VCU’s résumé was that they didn’t have any bad losses to speak of. Now they have a loss to a sub-150 team. Their next four games are all potential landmines as well. Will Wade’s club would do well to avoid losing any of those four.
- Stanford (KenPom: 104, RPI: 71): The Cardinal lost at home to Oregon State on Thursday, digging the hole even deeper. Stanford will have some chances to get big wins down the stretch, but they have quite a bit of work to do.
- Saint Mary’s (KenPom: 26, RPI: 52): It may be time to write off Saint Mary’s for good. They lost to Pepperdine tonight, meaning that the Gaels now have no top 50 wins, four top 150 wins and two sub 125 losses.
- Arkansas-Little Rock (KenPom: 41, RPI: 63): The Trojans has two good wins — at Tulsa and at San Diego State — but with just two top 150 wins and two sub-150 losses, UALR probably couldn’t afford losing to Louisiana Monroe on Thursday.