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No. 1 Michigan (20-3, RPI: 4) vs. No. 16 Northeastern (Colonial auto bid)
Please see the final slide for a more in-depth analysis of the No. 1 seeds.
No. 8 Virginia Commonwealth (19-5, RPI: 39) vs. No. 9 Oklahoma (15-7, RPI: 19)
VCU picked up its best win of the Atlantic 10 season at Charlotte on Sunday. The Rams still have four considerable challenges left on their schedule, and that doesn’t include this Thursday’s home game against UMass. 24-7 (12-4) would be good enough to get in, but if they lose three more, things could get interesting.
The Sooners have already played all four of their games against the Kansas schools, and with the exception of Saturday’s game at Oklahoma State, they should be favored in all of their remaining games. It’s far more likely they move up in seeding than fall back into the double-digit range.
No. 5 Colorado State (17-4, RPI: 15) vs. No. 12 Louisiana Tech (WAC auto bid)
These Rams finally received some recognition in the AP Top 25, coming in at No. 24 this week. As there are hardly any nights off in the Mountain West this season, they’ll be challenged several more times before season’s end, but they’ve shown an ability to handle challenges thus far.
No. 4 Louisville (19-5, RPI: 7) vs. No. 13 Arizona State / Indiana State (Last Five In)
While it doesn’t much impact their computer profile, the 5OT loss to Notre Dame was quite discouraging for the Cardinals. They led by eight with 50 seconds remaining, but let it slip away. They had an opportunity to win at the end of each of the first four overtimes, but failed, oftentimes in horrific fashion.
They’re missing something. I don’t know what it is, but they’ll have four relatively easy games in a row to try to figure it out. They certainly aren’t in danger of missing the field, but their title odds have gone from respectable to non-existent over the past month.
No. 6 UNLV (18-6, RPI: 20) vs. No. 11 Saint Louis (18-5, RPI: 56)
It was a weird week for the Rebels, losing at Fresno State (RPI: 159) before knocking off New Mexico (RPI: 3) at home. They’re 11-0 at home since losing to Oregon in November, but 1-5 on the road since a win at UTEP in mid-December. Remaining road games shouldn’t be too challenging, but neither was the Fresno game.
Saint Louis is looking better and better each week. Everyone knows about Butler, VCU and Temple, but this might be the Atlantic 10's team that does the most damage in March.
No. 3 Arizona (20-3, RPI: 7) vs. No. 14 Valparaiso (Horizon auto bid)
Turn the miracle wins over Florida, SDSU and Colorado into losses and at least consider the circumstances when they beat Miami, and you really begin to question whether Arizona is this good. Remaining games at Colorado and UCLA should speak volumes to their tournament potential.
No. 7 Notre Dame (19-5, RPI: 41) vs. No. 10 North Carolina State (17-7, RPI: 17)
Beating Louisville was a huge resume booster. I’ve said for weeks that the Irish should get in if they can get to 10-8 in Big East play. They’re currently at 7-4 with games this week against DePaul and Providence. Avoid a land mine and they’ll be dancing.
NC State’s stock is plummeting, but its schedule gets much less difficult in a hurry. The Wolfpack still play at UNC and have a pair of games against Florida State, but the other four games should be easy wins. Despite their recent string of bad luck, they’re five wins away from ensuring their bid.
No. 2 Gonzaga (22-2, RPI: 12) vs. No. 15 Long Beach State (Big West auto bid)
Gonzaga has won 14 of its last 15 with a battle against Saint Mary’s coming up on Valentine’s Day. My guess is the Zags will max out as a No. 2 seed, dropping one line for each loss they suffer from this point forward.