In what was a virtual play-out game, VCU (KenPom: 41, RPI: 61, CBT Bracketology Seed: First Four Out) went into Foggy Bottom and knocked off George Washington (KP: 71, RPI: 46, CBT: First Four Out), 69-65. The Colonials had a chance to take the lead late, as Pato Garino had a great look at a three with 15 seconds left, but he missed and VCU hit the free throws they needed to hold onto the win.
And what a big win it was.
This was just the third top 50 win of the season for the Rams, and the second of which that came on the road. It evened up their record against the top 100 at 6-6 and it game them more top 50 wins than they have sub-150 losses.
I don’t think that this loss gets VCU onto the right side of the cut line — it certainly doesn’t lock up a bid — but it does move them one step closer to getting an at-large and one step closer to an Atlantic 10 regular season title.
What this does do is put GW in a position where they may have to win the A-10’s automatic bid if they want to dance. Their win over Virginia is elite, but they have just two top 50 wins, are just 5-5 against the top 100 (which includes a win over No. 99 Penn State) and have three sub-100 losses on their profile, including a loss at DePaul and a loss at Saint Louis.
If they’re going to the tournament, they cannot lose to George Mason and they have to get that win at Davidson in the season finale. And that probably won’t be enough. The only way GW feels safe on Selection Sunday is if they win out and beat Dayton before losing in the A-10 tournament.
- Vanderbilt (KP: 27, RPI: 55, CBT: Play-In Game): The Commodores landed a massive, massive win over Kentucky. We wrote all about it right here.
- Butler (KP: 40, RPI: 62, CBT: First Four Out): The Bulldogs tried their damnedest to give this win away — they blew a 79-66 lead in the final two minutes — but hung on to win a key road game in overtime. Georgetown isn’t a marquee win by any stretch of the imagination this season, but when you’re living life on the bubble like the Bulldogs are, every win — and every loss you avoid — is critical at this stage of the season. Butler gets Seton Hall at home on Tuesday. With just a pair of top 50 wins on the season, that game may be a must-win.
- Syracuse (KP: 42, RPI: 54, CBT: 8): The Orange landed a win over N.C. State in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, a win that could very well be enough to get them into the NCAA tournament. Their seeding is going to be a tough call due to how the committee judges the time that Jim Boeheim was suspended, but I think it’ll be safe to call Syracuse a lock if they win at North Carolina or at Florida State next week.
- Wichita State (KP: 9, RPI: 54, CBT: 9): The Shockers beat Illinois State, which means that they still can probably get into the NCAA tournament as an at-large. Our bracketologist has them in as a No. 9 seed. I think that is probably too high at this point.
- Temple (KP: 83, RPI: 60, CBT: 12): The Owls avoided what would have been a disastrous loss, beating UCF by two points in Philly on Saturday. The Owls are currently in most bracket projections, but that’s a result of them being in first place in the American. Temple is on the wrong side of the bubble if they’re an at-large.
- Cincinnati (KP: 28, RPI: 58, CBT: Play-In Game): The Bearcats did what they had to do at East Carolina, and if they do the same at Houston and against SMU at home in the season finale, Mick Cronin’s club will likely be tourney bound. If they don’t, they’re going to have some work to do in the AAC tournament to feel comfortable.
- Alabama (KP: 78, RPI: 45, CBT: Play-In Game): The Crimson Tide snapped a two-game losing streak on Saturday, picking off Auburn and keeping themselves on the right side of the bubble as of today. Here’s the problem: Alabama had Georgia and Arkansas left on their schedule. They’re not getting another chance at a quality win until the SEC tournament.
- Gonzaga (KP: 34, RPI: 70, CBT: Next Four Out): If the Zags are going to have a shot at an at-large bid, they absolutely had to win tonight at BYU. They did. I still think they need to automatic bid.
- Saint Mary’s (KP: 37, RPI: 59, CBT: 11): The Gaels kept the at-large dream alive with a win over San Francisco on Saturday night. Without a top 50 win on their profile, I can’t seen this team getting in without the automatic bid.
- Providence (KP: 59, RPI: 40, CBT: 10): The Friars beat DePaul at home on Saturday, which is a win they desperately needed. And that is something I did not think I would be saying two months ago.
- St. Bonaventure (KP: 73, RPI: 33, CBT: First Four Out): The Bonnies were winners because they didn’t lost to UMass. They get Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday. That is almost a must-win.
- South Carolina (KP: 51, RPI: 32, CBT: 7): The Gamecocks took another bad loss on Saturday, falling at Mississippi State. They now have three sub-100 losses, two of which are outside the top 150. USC’s 22-6 record does a lot to hide the fact that their profile is not really as strong as you might think. They get Georgia at home and play at Arkansas. Given their struggles on the road this season, I’d recommend they beat Georgia to avoid any issues.
- Florida (KP: 43, RPI: 42, CBT: 10): The Gators are reeling. They’ve now lost three in a row, after falling at LSU, and five of the last seven. The Gators are in a difficult spot. They don’t have many great wins, and their profile was built on great computer numbers. As these losses pile up, those computers numbers get uglier and uglier.
- Texas Tech (KP: 38, RPI: 23, CBT: 7): Losing at Kansas isn’t going to hurt the Red Raiders’ profile, especially considering how safely they are in the field, but a win would have locked up a bid for Tubby Smith. They still have a bit of work left to do.