Monday, March 10, 2008

5 Teams That Need To Step Up During Conference Tournament Week

We are less than six days away from Selection Sunday where 65 teams will get a ticket to the biggest tournament in sports. However those teams on the bubble have one last chance to make their case for one of those 65 spots. Here are five teams that need a good showing in their conference tournament in order to have a good chance of getting their ticket punched on Sunday.

Syracuse (19-12 (9-9 Big East))-A good end to the season for the Orangemen as they won two straight games heading to Madison Square Garden. Before that Syracuse lost 6 of 7, four of the six were by single digits. The Orangeman have no good non conference wins to account for and losses to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and South Florida doesn't help their resume. They do have conference wins over Georgetown and Marquette. A win or two in the Big East tournament should mean the Orangemen are in right? Consider this, last year Syracuse ended the year 22-10 including 10-6 in the Big East and they didn't get an invitation to the dance. If this years team wants to get their ticket punched they should at least get to the semifinal game of the Big East tournament to feel good about their chances.

Maryland (18-13 (8-8 ACC))-Back to back losses that really could of helped the resume puts the Terps in a position where they really have to make the ACC Championship game in order to feel safe in getting in. They have some bad non conference losses to Missouri, American, and Ohio along with getting swept by rival Duke. They do however have a huge win at North Carolina on the resume but that might be the only bright spot on the resume. Good news for the Terps is the first opportunity to see one of the two powerhouses in the semifinals.

Baylor (20-9 (9-7 Big 12))-The Bears have officially wrapped up the #5 seed in the Big 12 tournament and unless Colorado plays the game of their lives, Baylor will play Oklahoma in the Quarterfinals. If they can get past the Sooners the Bears should feel good about their chances of getting into the tournament. The problem is Baylor has lost both meetings with Oklahoma this season by a combine total of seven points. Will third time be a charm for the Bears? Non conference games include wins over Notre Dame and Winthrop and close losses to Washington State and Arkansas. No bad losses on Baylors resume.

Kentucky (18-11 (12-4 SEC))-The Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in the nation right now losing just twice in their last 13 contests. They should be in with just one win the SEC tournament, and they need to make sure they don't get blown out if they happen to lose in the SEC tournament. They do have glaring losses earlier this season to Gardner Webb and San Diego but their strength is 13th best in the nation because of games against North Carolina, Indiana, and Louisville (all losses).

Dayton (20-9 (8-8 A-10))- The Flyers soared through the non conference season, picking up great wins against Big East foes Louisville and Pittsburgh. But a struggle during the conference season has put Dayton in a tough spot. They have the 8th seed in the A-10 tournament, which if they can get past Saint Louis, has them facing big time rival Xavier for a third time. They realistically need to win that second round game against Xavier to feel decent about an at large birth. This team has the talent to win the A-10 it is just a matter of will they come to play.

Selection Sunday is six days away. I hope everyone enjoys a great week of championship basketball, because I know I will.


Neil Joshi said...

Syracuse and Villanova face off in the 1st round of the Big East on Wed. No game is bigger than that one; the winner is likely in, while the loser is really going to be sweating it out come Selection Sunday.

I started up a Yahoo Pool for the Tournament and am inviting you to join it if you like. Just click the link and you'll be on your way.

Sportsattitude said...

Absolutely agree that at 12 noon tomorrow Syracuse-Villanova might as well be called an NCAA play-in game. I can see a scenario where neither get in if one, maybe two more upsets occur in "lesser" leagues. Syracuse's resume is a tad better than 'Nova. I think Dayton would need to run the table and win the A-10 to get a berth. Same goes for Maryland in the ACC. The buzz seems to be Baylor and Kentucky are both a bit more "in" than you'd think even though Baylor has crashed back to earth in recent weeks. I will give Kentucky their due as playing well of late...but gosh, that loss to Gardner-Webb just won't go away, will it?

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