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No. 1 Kansas (24-4, RPI: 4) vs. No. 16 Charleston Southern (Big South auto bid) / Norfolk State (MEAC auto bid)
Please see the final slide for a more in-depth analysis of the No. 1 seeds.
No. 8 VCU (22-6, RPI: 34) vs. No. 9 North Carolina State (19-8, RPI: 25)
Early in the second half against Xavier, VCU trailed 43-26. Six minutes and 22 seconds later, the game was tied at 48. No, the loss to Saint Louis is not a sign that VCU is struggling.
The Wolfpack, meanwhile, are 5-6 since the home win over Duke, and only two of those victories are against the RPI Top 125. They’re one more loss away from seriously slipping onto the bubble.
No. 5 Wisconsin (19-8, RPI: 24) vs. No. 12 Temple (19-8, RPI: 41)
Losing at home to Ohio State or on the road to Northwestern wouldn’t have been too detrimental, but winning those two games by a combined 50 points was quite astounding. Wisconsin could be the runner-up for the Big Ten regular-season title.
The Owls have won three consecutive crucial games against the RPI Top 100. As long as they can win the next three games on their schedule, the season finale against VCU should be inconsequential to whether they make the tournament.
No. 4 Memphis (24-3, RPI: 18) vs. No. 13 Cincinnati / Virginia (Last Five In)
There are teams who have been hot, and then there’s Memphis. The Tigers have won 18 consecutive games. On January 31, their assist-to-turnover ratio for the season was 1.01. In the month of February, their assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.56.
No. 6 UNLV (20-7, RPI: 15) vs. No. 11 Iowa State (19-9, RPI: 53)
UNLV has won three straight challenging games and now finishes the season with three straight easy ones. Provided the Rebels can get to 11-5 in MWC play, it’s hard to imagine them doing any worse than a No. 6 seed.
Despite suffering their second painful overtime loss to Kansas on Monday, the Cyclones' road win over Baylor last Wednesday was of more importance than the home loss to a No. 1 seed. They might lose at Oklahoma on Saturday, but as long as they win the last two games (vs. Oklahoma State, at WVU), the Cyclones should be in.
No. 3 Georgetown (21-4, RPI: 13) vs. No. 14 Stephen F. Austin (Southland auto bid)
Out of seemingly nowhere, Georgetown is in sole possession of first place in the Big East with four winnable games remaining. ESPN ran an article yesterday making the case for the Hoyas as a No. 1 seed. Not yet, but it’s possible to see them getting there.
No. 7 Wichita State (24-5, RPI: 30) vs. No. 10 Kentucky (19-8, RPI: 46)
After winning five straight, the only way Wichita State could miss the tournament at this point would be by losing the next three, which would include a loss in its first game in the Missouri Valley tournament.
When perennial powerhouses slip onto the bubble, it instantly becomes the most polarizing and publicized debate in college basketball. After Saturday’s win over Missouri, the debate over Kentucky’s bid is just about finished, barring some sort of awful loss to Mississippi State or Georgia down the stretch.
No. 2 Michigan (22-4, RPI: 6) vs. No. 15 Stony Brook (America East auto bid)
Sunday’s rematch with Michigan State should determine whether the Wolverines can reclaim their No. 1 seed. There are 11 teams with a legitimate argument for a spot on the top line, but if it can win three of its final four games, one of those spots should belong to Michigan.