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VU one of five SEC teams in the Field of 68.
In: Boston College, Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech
Worth a Mention: Clemson
Notes: North Carolina and Duke are the only teams that are secure. Clemson dropped out despite picking up a top-50 RPI win (Boston College, 43) and losing by two points to UNC. The Tigers’ RPI is not good (72), and they only have two wins vs. top-60 teams and none vs. top-40 teams. Virginia Tech is taking care of business in a soft part of its schedule, with recent wins over NC State, Georgia Tech and Maryland. The trend should continue, with trips to Virginia and Wake Forest looming.
America East (1)
In: Richmond, Temple, Xavier
Worth a Mention: Duquesne
Notes: Richmond’s RPI is not very good (70), but the Spiders have a neutral court win over Purdue in their back pocket. Duquesne has a gaudy conference record (9–2), but the Dukes’ RPI is not good (75), and they only have one top-50 RPI win.
Big 12 (7)
In: Baylor, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M
Worth a Mention: Oklahoma State
Notes: Kansas State took a huge step in the right direction with the big win over Kansas. The Wildcats are still under .500 in league play (though that should change soon with a home date with OU coming up), but they have a solid RPI (30) and the No. 4 strength of schedule. Baylor played well before losing at Texas, 69–60, last weekend. The Bears, 6–5 in the Big 12, will be in good shape if they can win three of their final five regular-season games. Colorado was the last team in the field. The Buffs’ RPI is 91, but they have five top-50 wins. Oklahoma State dropped to 4–7 in the league with a loss at Texas on Wednesday night. With three of their final five at home, the Pokes will have a chance to play their way back in. Colorado is an interesting team: The Buffs have five top-50 wins (a ton for a bubble team) but their RPI is 89, and they have 10 losses.
Big East (11)
In: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia
Worth a Mention: None
Notes: Cincinnati’s win at home over Louisville on Wednesday night was huge. The Bearcats’ RPI is 45, and they have three top-25 wins. Marquette’s loss at home to St. John’s on Tuesday was damaging, but the Eagles managed to hold onto their spot in the field. The Eagles have three top-25 wins (all at home) and no losses outside the top-70.
Big Sky (1)
Big South (1)
In: Coastal Carolina
Big Ten (6)
In: Illinois, Michigan State, 4Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Worth a Mention: Michigan, Penn State
Notes: Michigan State is showing signs of life, with an 18-point win over Penn State and a solid showing vs. Ohio State. The Spartans’ RPI is 44, and they have three top-40 wins. Michigan missed a great opportunity, losing at Illinois on Wednesday night. The Wolverines’ RPI was up to 56 and they had had own three straight in the league before the setback in Champaign. Now, with an RPI at 59 and an overall mark of 15–11, Michigan will have to get on a serious roll to get back into the at-large discussion.
Big West (1)
In: Long Beach State
In: George Mason, Old Dominion
Worth a Mention: VCU
Notes: Red-hot George Mason made a huge statement Tuesday night, beating a solid VCU team by 20 points on the road. The Patriots’ RPI is up to 22. Old Dominion hosts Cleveland State in a BracketBusters game on Sunday. The Monarchs’ profile is solid, but this is a game they probably need to win.
Conference USA (1)
Worth a Mention: UAB, UTEP
Notes: Memphis’ win over UAB combined with UTEP’s loss at Southern Miss vaulted the Tigers into the top spot in the league standings and gives them the automatic bid. With an RPI of 31 and four top-40 wins, Memphis is in good shape for an at-large invite if it doesn’t win the C-USA Tournament. UAB has a very good RPI (34) but no top-50 wins.
Worth a Mention: Butler, Cleveland State
Notes: Butler has won five in a row, and the Bulldogs’ RPI is up to 45, but this team has nine losses, including five to teams ranked 100 or worse.
In: Kent State
In: Missouri State,
Notes: Missouri State and Wichita State are tied atop the MVC standings with a 13–3 record, but MSU gets the automatic bid due to its win at Wichita State in January. WSU is a solid team that simply doesn’t have an NCAA Tournament resume.
Mountain West (4)
In: BYU, Colorado State, San Diego State, UNLV
Worth a Mention: New Mexico
Notes: Colorado State, which improved to 8–3 in the MWC with a win at TCU on Wednesday night, sneaks in this week. The Rams’ RPI is 38, and they have two top-50 wins, vs. Southern Miss and at UNLV. New Mexico missed an opportunity for a huge win, losing at San Diego State on Wednesday.
In: Long Island
In: Murray State
In: Arizona, Washington, UCLA
Worth a Mention: Washington State
Notes: No change in the Pac-10 this week. Washington State’s only hope is to beat both Arizona (Thursday night) and Washington on the road.
In: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Worth a Mention: Alabama
Notes: Georgia missed a big opportunity on Wednesday night, losing to Vanderbilt (RPI 14) in Athens. Alabama’s RPI is still brutal (86), but the Tide have two top-25 wins and are clearly a much different team than we saw back in November and December.
In: College of Charleston
In: Texas State
Sun Belt (1)
In: Florida Atlantic
In: Texas Southern
In: Utah State
In: Saint Mary’s
Worth a Mention: Gonzaga
Notes: Gonzaga’s resume isn’t too attractive — nine losses, an RPI of 71 and only two wins vs. top-50 RPI teams (Xavier and Oklahoma State). The Zags only play one more team ranked in the top 125 (at Saint Mary’s on Feb. 24). Saint Mary’s loss Wednesday at San Diego won’t help the Gaels’ at-larges chances if they don’t win the WCC Tournament.