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14 March 2008

'Nova likely dancing as bubble teams collapse

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/14/2008 02:00:00 AM
Aside from Villanova's loss today to Georgetown, it was nearly a perfect day for the Wildcats' at-large hopes. While Villanova beat a good Syracuse team and then lost to the top-ten Georgetown Hoyas, most of its competition on the bubble lost in games they could not afford to lose against inferior competition.

I now peg Villanova's chances to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament at 85 percent. That may change up or down based on results tomorrow. Read on for a team-by-team breakdown that explains why Villanova will most likely be invited to the Big Dance on Sunday.

According to Wednesday morning's ESPN Bubble Watch, here was the situation going into today:

Tier A (in relatively good shape today): Arizona, Kentucky, UMass, Texas A&M, Arkansas
Tier B (right on the cut line): Dayton, Illinois State, Ole Miss, UAB, Ohio State, Villanova, Oregon, Arizona State, New Mexico, Saint Joseph's, VCU
Tier C (long shots): Virginia Tech, Temple, Florida, Houston, Maryland

According to ESPN's Glockner, there are eight at-large spots for those 22 teams.

Here are the results for the teams listed as ahead of Villanova:

  • Kentucky: Did not play. A win tomorrow versus Georgia almost certainly puts them into the Dance. A loss to Georgia puts them about equal to Villanova, in my opinion.

  • Arizona: Arizona falls to #11 Stanford. Arizona now slips into equal footing with Villanova, but Arizona is likely still ahead of its in-state rival ASU, which lost to USC. Arizona might still get into the Dance even with the loss, because the bubble fell apart nationwide today. In any case, Arizona is no longer ahead of Villanova.

  • UMass: Lost to a terrible Charlotte team in a must-win A10 conference tournament game. The loss places them squarely behind the Wildcats at this point.

  • Texas A&M: Plays Kansas State tomorrow in its first meaningful Big 12 game. Avoided total disaster by beating Iowa State today. Depending on to whom you listen, the Aggies are either slightly ahead of Villanova or equal to the Wildcats.

  • Arkansas: Plays Vanderbilt tomorrow. With a win the Razorbacks are likely in, but with a loss to the Commodores, they move to about the same level as Villanova.
Here are the results for the teams listed as roughly equal to Villanova:
  • Dayton: Lost to Xavier in a game many said they had to have. Dayton's resume is pretty similar to Villanova's, except Dayton is playing in the horrible A10 and Villanova is in the Big East, which will place seven or eight teams in the Dance. The loss puts Dayton behind the 'Cats.
  • Illinois State: Did not play today. Last game was a 30-point shellacking by Drake. Illinois State will most likely not make the tournament as teams pass it.
  • Ole Miss: Lost a disastrous game to a horrendous Georgia team, a game Mississippi absolutely had to win. Ole Miss's game against Georgia was in the first round of the SEC tournament. Ole Miss lost in the first round to a terrible Georgia team, while 'Nova won in its first round against a good Syracuse team, and lost to a top-ten Hoya squad. Villanova moves ahead of Ole Miss.
  • UAB: Lost today to Tulsa. Goodbye, UAB.
  • OSU: Did not play today. Faces a crucial game against MSU tomorrow, a game roughly the equivalent of Nova's game against Georgetown.
  • Oregon: Lost to Washington State in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament. With the 0-1 conference tournament performance, and the loss in a game it simply had to get, the Ducks move to the back of the line.
  • Arizona State: Lost today to unranked USC in the first round of the Pac-10. It was a must-win for ASU. The Sun Devils and their 0-1 conference tournament record have to move behind both Wildcats, Villanova and Arizona.
  • New Mexico: Lost a must-win game to Utah in the horrendous Mountain West. New Mexico now falls way behind the 'Cats and will likely find itself in the NIT.
  • St. Joseph's: Beat Richmond today to face Xavier tomorrow. With a loss to X, the Hawks fall behind the Wildcats. With a win over Xavier, the Hawks move ahead of Villanova. Even if they pull off the upset, there might still be room in the Dance for both the Big 5 teams, what with the bubble carnage today.
  • VCU: Season ended Monday with a loss to William and Mary. VCU has been sweating it out all week. While the bubble carnage favors the Rams, Villanova's win over Syracuse vaulted the Wildcats ahead, in my opinion.
Here are the results for the teams listed as behind Villanova, who needed to do something major to pass the 'Cats:
  • VT: Plays Miami tomorrow in the ACC tournament.
  • Temple: Plays Charlotte tomorrow after beating La Salle today. Conventional wisdom says the only way in for Temple is the auto-bid, but a loss tomorrow to Charlotte would make sure they don't jump ahead of 'Nova with a close loss to X in the final.
  • Florida: Lost today to Alabama. Welcome to the NIT, Billy Donovan.
  • Houston: Lost today to an atrocious UTEP team. Houston is done. Wildcat fans should root for Memphis to demolish the remaining riff raff in Conference USA and make it a one-bid league.
  • Maryland: Lost today to BC. Maryland is now done and NIT-bound.
  • FSU: Beat Wake, but the Seminoles need more than that. If they can get past UNC tomorrow, then they move on par or even past Villanova. But that is a tall order, and FSU will just as likely be crushed by the Tarheels.
Adding all this up means things are very favorable for Villanova:
  • Bubble spots: 8
  • Teams now ahead of Villanova: 3 -- Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Kentucky. And All three teams need to win tomorrow to stay above the 'Cats.
  • Teams now roughly equal to Villanova: 5 -- Arizona, Illinois State, St. Joseph's, VCU, and Ohio State. Only St. Joe's and OSU are still playing, and both need to win tomorrow to get above the 'Cats. With a loss, each team moves below Villanova.
  • Teams behind Villanova: 13 -- FSU, Temple, and Virginia Tech are the only teams left in this group that could possibly move ahead of Villanova, and the odds are stacked against them.
  • Teams that need to win their conference tournaments to keep 8 bubble spots: 3 -- Kent St., BYU (or UNLV), and Memphis. Villanova and all bubblers are rooting for these three teams to win the automatic bids. This also assumes that all six power conferences will be won by tourney-bound squads, which is a safe bet looking at the remaining teams.
The math says it all. Of the 22 teams that were on the bubble this morning, only 3 are ahead of Villanova, and 5 are in roughly the same tier. All three teams ahead of the 'Cats need to win tomorrow to stay there, and 2 of the 5 teams in the same group as Villanova need wins tomorrow. Only 3 teams are alive below the 'Cats, and each of those teams needs a miracle to get to the Dance.

Things are looking extremely favorable for Villanova, and I now estimate Villanova's chances to receive an at-large bid on Sunday to be at about 85 percent right now, and pending crucial game results tomorrow.

Add in the two crucial calls in the NC State and Georgetown games, which the committee explicitly has said it will consider, and the fact that Reynolds was injured for some of the loss to Georgetown today but will be fine for the tournament, and Villanova's chances are actually more like 90 percent, pending results tomorrow.

Here are the teams Villanova is rooting for tomorrow: UNC, Miami, MSU, Xavier, Charlotte, Vanderbilt, Kansas St., Memphis, Kent St., BYU. By far the most important of these are Xavier and MSU.

Check back tomorrow night for bubble updates. Despite the loss to Georgetown, today was a fantastic day for the Wildcats' NCAA chances.

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At 2:44 AM, March 14, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Lunardi just posted his last 4 in and out on sportscenter... he really does seem to dislike Villanova, as we are listed on neither. Using ESPN's Glockner's tiers, Nova seems like it must be in. Glockner is usually much more reliable than Lunardi, anyway. Glocker said that Nova needed to beat GT, but that was before every single team that Nova needed to lose, lost. The numbers simply add up for Villanova; there are more than enough spots for the 'Cats to be in.

At 8:54 AM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post... Thanks guys... Go 'Cats.

At 9:06 AM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous PeteSmokesCrack said...

NIT--get it in your head.

At 9:33 AM, March 14, 2008, Blogger Shel said...

Facts are facts: 65 teams make the tournament. Even though Nova didn't help themselves by beating Georgetown, nobody else helped themselves either. If there are truly 8 bubble spots, Nova has as good a chance as any to make the field.

At 11:49 AM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Joe Lunardi sucks said...

Lunardi went to St. Joe's (a second rate institution is all respects). He has always hated Nova.

Not sure if Nova is in or not. This team might be better served trying to win the NIT to build confidence.

BTW - Corey Fisher sucks soo bad. Maybe he will be good in the future, but he is TERRIBLE. His nickname from now until he proves he does not deserve it is "Turnover Machine".

At 12:08 PM, March 14, 2008, OpenID MatadorM83 said...

St.Joe has a HUGE nod over Nova: A Head-To-Head win.

At 12:45 PM, March 14, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

The point of my post is that there are more than enough spots for Villanova to be in, and a very limited number of teams that could pass it. With 8 spots, you can still take St. Joe's and Nova is still WAY in.

At 12:47 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous CurtisSumpter'sKnee said...

Lunardi really does not like Villanova. I do not know if its cuase of his alma mater or what, but he always seems to discount the 'Cats resume come March. I do not hold out much hope that Nova make the field this year. While I understand it is a possibility, I think its safe to say that the future of this team is now my focus. I think with the emergence of Dwayne Anderson as a legit role player, Cunninghams flat out consitent play (12-15pts 8-12rbs pergame), Stokes potential (despite the egg he laid against Gtown), anddd scottie reynolds being another year better all point to this team being very good next year. Fisher is dead to me, I remember my loins tingling just as they did when I frist saw Kyle Lowry play when I first saw Fisher. Now he just is dead to me. I wish Drummond could stay healthy, but that may never happen. If we could just recruit a legit Center....

At 1:10 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think you have it right.

Even if we do go to the dance this year we most certainly will have an early exit. I would much rather contemplate next year, and how to get, at least, to the Final Four.

By the way I don't see how Tyreke Evans gives us something we don't already have. WE NEED A BIG MAN...

At 1:27 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the deal with Tyreke Evans is it basically Nova vs. Memphis...I mean if he wants to play mediocre teams then yea go to Memphis.

At 1:28 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous cman said...

The Last guy was right. We need a big man.

Just one Will Sheridan type guy gives our guards the freedom they need.

A tall guy decently skilled with smarts in the middle.

*** When we played UNC, we only played 6 guys TOTAL! Frasor and Sheridan were our two bigs, other than that everybody was guards. What a great system.

Players to Keep:

(+) Pena
(+) Stokes
(+) Cunningham
(+) Fisher
(+) Reynolds
(+) Grant

Players to put on a Boat and push out to sea

(-) Clark
(-) Anderson
(-) Redding
(-) Drummond

At 1:39 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thnak you so much for this post. I was sitting here (depressed)watching today's games with no real interest, except for Georgetown to lose. Now I have hope and a focus on the teams you listed. Does anyone how Scottie is doing?

Cman...are you sure you want Mr. Anderson on that boat?

At 1:59 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you aren't being objective about the resumes of many of these teams, and Villanova is still very much of a long shot. Say 15%.

That being said, yesterday's results, aside from the Georgetown game, move Villanova's chances from none to slim.

They better hope for (1) all eight spots remain available, and (2) consideration for the LSU and regular season Georgetown game.

At 2:00 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And as for Lunardi, it's pretty clear he leans heavily on RPI. And if you go by RPI, VU is out. They do have some other markers in their favor, but also some other weaknesses.

At 2:04 PM, March 14, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Anon -- I used an unbiased third party as my starting point, namely Glockner's tiers. All I did was evaluate how each team in each tier did. Virtually everyone Villanova needed to lose lost yesterday. I put the chances at 85 percent because there are so many open spots and so few teams to fill them.

At 2:30 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Gregg. said...

Pete, unfortunately some of the teams you are mentioning are in better shape than you are giving them credit for.

Also, I would switch Anderson and Grant on that list. Although Jay Wright can recruit great talent, he makes some of the dumbest decisions I have ever seen by not going after big men. If he recruits another guard in ther next three years I will go crazy.

He also made the incredibly stupid decision of playing Drummond for extended minutes throughout the rest of the season. Let him rest so he will be healthy for next year instead of ruining his career.
I have heard rumors that Drummonds foot is seriously messed up and that Reynolds may not play in at least one game, wheather we play in the NCAAS or NIT.

At 2:33 PM, March 14, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Reynolds is OK, he just had a cut.

At 2:42 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Lip said...

Some of these posts, my goodness. Also, for the record I believe rivals.com has us, in the class of next year, not this year, having one guard in the top 100 locked up, and strongly going after another guard. I think there is a big man we are going after, but still, come on Jay!!

I appreciate this post Pete, I think our resumes stack up with many of the teams on the bubble, and even have a little extra on the teams in our tier. It's looking good, and I think Memphis will definitely come through, along with the MWC "power-houses." I hope Xavier pulls it out though.

Go Cats....and

Corey Fisher will turn things around.

At 2:54 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who will be a bigger bust, Corey Fisher or Aaron Bain?

At 3:19 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you corey fisher haters are RIDICULOUSLY ignorant! stop watching college basketball and go root for lebron james..i'm gonna go vomit now

At 3:29 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vomit every time I watch Fisher handle the rock.

I love the nickname Turnover Machine.

At 3:47 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corey Fisher was proclaimed as a top 10 freshman early in the year by some experts. Key word, FRESHMAN!! He has UPSIDE!!

At 3:49 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous JA said...

If you're looking for a turnover machine, I get a lot more nervous whenever Shane Clark tries to dribble the ball than I do whenever Fisher has it.

Also, Pete, great post I really like the analysis. I have to say I don't agree with the 85% probability. I think a few of the teams listed are in a bit better shape than described, which someone else said a few posts earlier. I do however still expect us to be dancing. I'd put it at maybe 55% chance. We could definitely be in, and yet we could justifiably be left out. Losing by 20 to St. Joe's and having their [ugly] girls run into our student section to unravel a banner? Ouch! That didn't help our resume that's for sure. I hope our students can retaliate in kind somehow next year.

At 4:05 PM, March 14, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I don't think the relative attractiveness of the girls who are undercover as fake fans in the opposing team's student section is one of the criteria listed by the selection committee, but then again I am no expert.

At 5:35 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow.

Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but where is this hate for Fisher coming from?

And to whoever wanted to get Dwayne Anderson off this team... wow.

I wonder if some of you even watch the games or know the game of basketball....


At 10:20 PM, March 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on guys --- and girls; behind Scottie and Cunningham, Anderson gets my vote for MVP.

Get off Fish's back... He is a Freshman point guard; surprise surprise he made a few mistakes. That will happen less and less as time goes on... He and Grant have huge up sides; both have the potential to be quality point guards in the BIG EAST.


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