This is the time of the year where the NCAA at-large teams start to take shape. So it seemed now was as good a time as any to take a look at teams that have recently enhanced their chances and to also look at which teams are in trouble of not making the tournament.
Teams on the rise
Virginia Tech Hokies
Computer Resume: 18-7, RPI: 32, KP: 50, SOS: 62
Recent Games: W 80-78 vs. Virginia; W 66-63 at Pittsburgh
The Hokies looked like their bid to the tournament would never be in question after a 12-1 start that included a win over Duke.
Despite losing Chris Clarke to a torn ACL in the game against the Virginia, close wins followed over Virginia and Pittsburgh in the last week. They find themselves once again one game over .500 against ACC foes with winnable games remaining.
They play at Louisville on Saturday—which will most probably be a loss—but they finish the season with three home games against Clemson, Miami and Wake Forest and a road game against Boston College. They should go 4-1 in those games which should then put them in the tournament with a seed somewhere between a 7-10 seed.
Computer Resume: 16-11, RPI: 68, KP: 60, SOS: 35
Recent Games: W 71-65 vs. Butler; W 75-63 vs. Xavier
Their last two wins over Butler and a banged up Xavier team have given this Friars team two quality wins to add to their resume and have them back in contention for an at-large berth. The Friars probably need to win their next four games also to have a shot at the tournament. They have Creighton, Marquette, Depaul, and St.Johns left on their schedule.
They have seven wins against top 50 teams, the only problem they have, and it is a big problem is they have a lot of ugly losses.
Computer Resume: 19-5, RPI: 28, KP: 32, SOS: 75
Recent Games: W 75-74 at Rhode Island; W 85-63 at Saint Louis
Dayton pulled off a miracle win over Rhode Island which has placed them firmly on the bubble. The Flyers have only lost one game in the past five weeks and are playing excellent basketball at this moment.
Injuries have devastated the Flyers this season with five important players for the Flyers missing portions of the season. When healthy I believe the Flyers can play with any team in the country. If they get in, they have the makings of a Cinderella run.
Computer Resume: 19-7, RPI: 35, KP: 31, SOS: 73
Recent Games: W 66-59 at Wisconsin; L 74-64 vs. Maryland
Don’t look now, but the Northwestern Wildcats look like a NCAA Tournament team! The Wildcats looked like their chances were dissipating until a road win in Wisconsin. The Wildcats finish with a home game against Rutgers and then two-game road swing against Illinois and Indiana, they end the season against Purdue and Michigan. Three wins in those final games will make them a lock; two wins puts them on a tiny ledge on the bubble.
Teams in Trouble
Computer Resume: 16-11, RPI: 78, KP: 46, SOS: 45
Recent Games: L 80-75 at Pittsburgh; L 76-72 vs. Louisville
The Orangemen started the season out slow, but caught fire and looked in good shape to take Coach Jim Boeheim back to the dance. Then this past week close losses at Pittsburgh and home to Louisville made their task much more challenging.
The Orangemen need to go 3-1 over their last four games to be safely in, two of those games are against Duke and Louisville.
Kansas State Wildcats
Computer Resume: 16-10, RPI: 51, KP: 28, SOS: 40
Recent Games: L 85-66 at West Virginia; L 87-79 vs. Iowa State
The Wildcats had a chance to improve their standing in the last week, but they were handled by West Virginia and Iowa State respectively. The Wildcats defense has put them in this position, and they probably need to finish the season 4-1 to make the field.
Computer Resume: 15-12, RPI: 91, KP: 49, SOS: 48
Recent Games: L 69-64 vs. Purdue; L 75-63 vs. Michigan; L 75-74 at Minnesota
Early in the season, the Hoosiers looked like a National Title contender, right now they would be a long shot to win the NIT. Sure injuries have decimated this team, but it is still disappointing when a team looks as good as the Hoosiers looked early in the season only to have it finish like this.
Indiana’s only shot to make the tournament right now is a four-game winning streak to end the season against Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue and Ohio State. With the lack of any semblance of a point guard that tasks seem impossible.