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Penn State joins the Field of 68
In: Boston College, Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech
Worth a Mention: Clemson, Maryland, Miami
Notes: No change in the ACC this week. Virginia boosted its profile with a win Wednesday night at NC State. The Hokies are now 5–3 in the ACC. Maryland missed a great opportunity to pick up a much-needed quality win, losing at home to Duke. Clemson’s loss to Virginia was damaging.
America East (1)
In: Duquesne, Richmond, Temple, Xavier
Worth a Mention: Dayton, Duquesne, Rhode Island, Richmond
Notes: Richmond took a hit with a lopsided loss at home to Xavier over the weekend, but the Spiders bounced back to beat Saint Joe’s on Wednesday. Duquesne picked up its 11th straight win Wednesday (84–59 over George Washington). There isn’t much to like about their non-conference profile, but they only have one loss to teams outside the top 50. They are very close.
Big 12 (5)
In: Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M
Worth a Mention: Baylor, Colorado, Kansas State
Notes: Baylor’s shaky resume took a turn for the worse with a loss at Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon. The Bears have no wins vs. top-50 RPI foes and only one true road win, at Texas Tech. Kansas State beat Nebraska Wednesday night to improve to 3–5 in the Big 12, but the Wildcats have eight losses, and they don’t have any wins vs. top-60 RPI opponents. Oklahoma State played its way in (for now) with a big win over Missouri on Wednesday.
Big East (11)
In: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia
Worth a Mention: None
Notes: Marquette keeps improving its once-shaky resume. The Golden Eagles did lose at Villanova Wednesday, but they knocked off Syracuse on Saturday. Cincinnati’s loss at home over the weekend to West Virginia was a setback, but the Bearcats are still in decent shape.
Big Sky (1)
Big South (1)
In: Coastal Carolina
Big Ten (7)
In: Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Worth a Mention: Northwestern
Notes: Welcome to the bracket, Penn State. The Nittany Lions lost at Illinois on Tuesday, but they are 5–5 in the Big Ten and have wins over Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin, as well as close losses vs. Ohio State (by three) and Purdue (by one), both on the road. Michigan State is still in, thanks to top-30 wins over Washington, Minnesota and Wisconsin, but the Spartans are in trouble. They have lost four of five games, with the win coming by one point at home over Indiana.
Big West (1)
In: Long Beach State
In: Old Dominion, VCU
Worth a Mention: George Mason
Notes: VCU is 10-2 in the league and has solid wins over UCLA in New York and at Old Dominion in its back pocket. ODU has a stronger non-conference profile (wins over Clemson, Xavier, Richmond and Dayton) but already has three league losses — at Delaware, at Drexel, vs. VCU. George Mason is making a late push, with its 10-2 record in the CAA, but the Patriots have no top-50 wins.
Conference USA (1)
Worth a Mention: Memphis, UAB
Notes: UTEP sneaks in with the automatic bid thanks in large part to Memphis’ loss at home to Tulsa on Wednesday. UAB has six losses, but three have come vs. top-50 RPI teams. The Blazers, however, don’t have any wins vs. top-50 teams.
In: Cleveland State
Worth a Mention: Butler, Valparaiso
Notes: Butler was among the final teams out of the field. The Bulldogs have wins over Florida State, Washington State and Cleveland State but lost to Evansville and were swept by Milwaukee. Their last chance to impress the committee in the regular season comes this weekend with a trip to Cleveland State. Valpo has a gaudy conference record and wins over Cleveland State and Butler, but the Crusaders have two losses to teams ranked 175 or lower (Ohio and Toledo).
In: Wichita State
Worth a Mention: Missouri State
Notes: Wichita State will be a very interesting team for the committee if the Shockers don’t win the MVC Tournament. They do not have a win vs. a top-100 RPI team, but all four of their losses have come against teams rated No. 55 or higher, including a loss to No. 6 UConn and No. 5 San Diego State.
Mountain West (3)
In: BYU, San Diego State, UNLV
Worth a Mention: Colorado State
Notes: Colorado State missed a great opportunity on Wednesday, losing at home by two points to San Diego State. The Rams’ RPI is 48 and they have two top-50 wins (Southern Miss on a neutral court and at UNLV), but they have two bad losses (Hampton, Sam Houston State).
In: Long Island
In: Austin Peay
In: Arizona, Washington, UCLA, Washington State
Worth a Mention: None
Notes: Washington State got a big bump from its win over Washington last weekend, and the Cougars have a great opportunity to pick up a couple of road wins with trips to Oregon and Oregon State this weekend. UCLA beat USC on Wednesday night.
In: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Worth a Mention: South Carolina
Notes: Alabama is in as the automatic bid from the SEC, since the Tide, at 6–1, has the league’s best record. With an RPI still over 100 and only one win vs. a top-80 opponent, the Tide still has plenty of work to be included in the at-large discussion. They travel to Tennessee and Vanderbilt next week. Vanderbilt is sliding a bit, after consecutive losses to Arkansas (at home) and to Florida in overtime. But the Dores still have a strong RPI (24) and some solid wins in non-conference action (North Carolina, Marquette, Saint Mary’s). Georgia picked up a big win at Arkansas on Wednesday.
In: McNeese State
Sun Belt (1)
In: Florida Atlantic
In: Jackson State
In: Utah State
In: Saint Mary’s
Worth a Mention: Gonzaga
Notes: Gonzaga’s resume isn’t too attractive — eight losses, an RPI of 91 and only one win vs. a top-50 RPI team (Xavier).