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10 Teams That Have Work To Do Before The Tournament

Mark Zerof - USA TODAY Sports

Conference tournaments can make all the difference on Selection Sunday.

Conference tournaments are less than a week away, and Selection Sunday isn’t far behind.

That being said, a lot can still happen before the field of 68 is officially set. For teams that have probably already secured a berth, there’s still time to claim a higher seed or slip down a few spots.

Here’s a look at 10 teams and how they can help or hurt their situations before the tournament.

Writer’s note: Temple is a really confusing team. Like, really confusing. I’ve included them under “bad losses,” despite their wins over Auburn, Clemson and Wichita State.

Oklahoma

(RPI: 32; KenPom: 43; BPI: 43; Sagarin: 43)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Kansas State, at Baylor, vs. Iowa State, Big 12 tournament

Good Wins: vs. USC, at Wichita State, at TCU, vs. Texas Tech, vs. TCU, vs. Kansas

Bad Losses: vs. Texas, at Oklahoma State, at Iowa State

Best Case Scenario: Oklahoma wins out to get to .500 in the conference and carries momentum into the Big 12 tournament. The Sooners make the final, and win or lose, they move up to a seven-seed.

Worst Case Scenario: Their record of 3-9 in their last 12 games worsens, dropping two out of their three remaining games. At that point, they’d be a hard sell to even make the tournament.

Prediction: Currently a 10-seed according to Joe Lunardi, Oklahoma has some work to do in the stacked Big 12. The Sooners will beat K-State and Iowa State but lose to a confident Baylor squad. They’ll make it past the first round of the Big 12 tournament, which will be enough to grab a nine-seed.

Ohio State

(RPI: 20; KenPom: 14; BPI: 15; Sagarin: 19)

Remaining Schedule: at Indiana, Big Ten tournament

Good Wins: vs. Michigan, vs. Michigan State, at Purdue

Bad Losses: vs. Penn State, at Penn State

Best Case Scenario: The Buckeyes easily beat Indiana and make it to the top-heavy Big Ten semifinal against Purdue (as it stands now). With another win over Purdue, regardless of the Big Ten final, a three-seed would only seem right.

Worst Case Scenario: The Buckeyes inexplicably lose to Indiana and underperform in the Big Ten tournament against, say, Penn State again. They drop to a seven-seed.

Prediction: They will end their season with a smooth win at Indiana, and then ultimately fall to Purdue in the Big Ten semifinal. Still, the Buckeyes will earn a four-seed in March.

Wichita State

(RPI: 15; KenPom: 16; BPI: 12; Sagarin: 12)

Remaining Schedule: at SMU, at UCF, vs. Cincinnati

Good Wins: vs. Houston, vs. Marquette, at Baylor, at Cincinnati

Bad Losses: vs. Notre Dame (neutral site), vs. SMU, and maybe at Temple 

Best Case Scenario: The Shockers win out and finish off the regular season with a huge win over Cincinnati. They’ll come up against Houston or Cincinnati again in the American Conference tournament, and they have a chance at another good win to solidify a high two-seed, depending on how other conferences pan out.

Worst Case Scenario: They drop a game to SMU or UCF and get dominated by Cincinnati. After a poor showing in the conference tournament, they fall as far as a six-seed.

Prediction: The way they’ve been playing lately, the Shockers are poised to win their next two games. However, they probably won’t take two in a row from Cincinnati. They’ll make the conference championship, and hold on to their three-seed.

Clemson

(RPI: 9; KenPom: 17; BPI: 17; Sagarin: 31)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Georgia Tech, vs. Florida State, at Syracuse, ACC tournament

Good Wins: at Ohio State, vs. Miami, vs. North Carolina, vs. Florida, vs. NC State, vs. Louisville

Bad Losses: maybe vs. Temple (neutral court)

Best Case Scenario: The Tigers sweep their remaining three games, and make it to at least the semi-final of the tough ACC tournament.

Worst Case Scenario: They could fall from a projected three-seed to a five-seed if they lose to Georgia Tech and slack off in the ACC tournament. Losing to Syracuse or Florida State wouldn’t hurt the Tigers too much, but a loss to the Yellow Jackets would be hard to explain to the committee. 

Prediction: I can’t see Clemson winning the ACC, but I’m confident they’ll at least play in the semi-finals. That’ll be enough to at least keep their projected three-seed moving forward.

Arizona State

(RPI: 28; KenPom: 33; BPI: 42; Sagarin: 40)

Remaining Schedule: at Oregon, at Oregon State, vs. Cal, vs. Stanford, Pac 12 tournament

Good Wins: vs. Xavier (neutral site), at Kansas, vs. USC, vs. Kansas State (neutral)

Bad Losses: at Stanford, vs. Oregon, at Colorado

Best Case Scenario: The Sun Devils win out and take home the Pac 12, capitalizing on Allonzo Trier’s ineligibility at Arizona.

Worst Case Scenario: They lose against Oregon State. Honestly, I can’t think of anything worse. An early exit from the Pac 12 tournament would also push the Sun Devils to as low as an 11-seed, and they would possibly have to play in a play-in game.

Prediction: With Arizona missing Trier, the Sun Devils will make the Pac 12 title game, but lose a close one to Arizona. That would be a “good” loss, so a strong finish and a run in the Pac 12 tournament will position the Sun Devils as a solid eight-seed.

Butler

(RPI: 34; KenPom: 21; BPI: 23; Sagarin: 20)

Remaining Schedule: at St. John’s, at Seton Hall, Big East tournament

Good Wins: vs. Ohio State (neutral site), vs. Villanova, vs. Providence, vs. Creighton, at Marquette, vs. Marquette

Bad Losses: vs. Georgetown

Best Case Scenario: After winning out, the Bulldogs harness some of their 2010 and 2011 magic, and win games they shouldn’t. They defeat Villanova or Xavier in the Big East tournament and earn as high as a five-seed.  

Worst Case Scenario: They fall victim to St. John’s, just as Duke and Villanova did earlier this season. They lose their first game in the Big East tournament and fall to a 10-seed.

Prediction: Butler won’t win the Big East, but they’ll still earn a six-seed after making it to the semifinals.

Missouri

(RPI: 38; KenPom: 40; BPI: 46; Sagarin: 45)

Remaining Schedule: at Kentucky, at Vanderbilt, vs. Arkansas, SEC tournament

Good Wins: vs. Tennessee, at Alabama, vs. Kentucky, vs. Texas A&M

Bad Losses: at Mississippi State, at LSU, vs. Ole Miss

Best Case Scenario: A healthy Michael Porter, Jr., returns to action and leads Missouri over Kentucky and Arkansas, then to the SEC semifinals.

Worst Case Scenario: Porter doesn’t return, and Missouri loses two of its three final games. In the SEC tournament, Missouri loses to a low seed.

Prediction: The Tigers, regardless of Porter, pick up wins against Vanderbilt and either Kentucky or Arkansas. In the conference tournament, they exit early on to Alabama or Florida, but still earn a nine-seed.

Kentucky

(RPI: 16; KenPom: 25; BPI: 30; Sagarin: 15)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Missouri, vs. Ole Miss, at Florida, SEC tournament

Good Wins: vs. Virginia Tech, vs. Texas A&M, at West Virginia, vs. Alabama, at Arkansas

Bad Losses: at South Carolina, at Florida

Best Case Scenario: The Wildcats quiet all critics and win out. They make a run to the SEC final, most likely against Tennessee, and their reputation somehow lands them a four-seed.

Worst Case Scenario: They lose to Ole Miss, and fall early in the SEC tournament to a sub-.500 conference team.

Prediction: Kevin Knox finds his stride, Kentucky wins two of their last three, and the Wildcats make the SEC quarterfinals. That will be good enough for a six-seed, just below their current projection as a five-seed.

Gonzaga

(RPI: 49; KenPom: 8; BPI: 10; Sagarin: 10)

Remaining Schedule: at San Diego, at BYU, WCC tournament

Good Wins: vs. Ohio State (neutral), vs. Creighton, at Washington, at St. Mary’s, vs. Texas

Bad Losses: at San Diego State

Best Case Scenario: They (obviously) win out, dominate St. Mary’s in the WCC tourney, and earn a three-seed in March.

Worst Case Scenario: They lose to San Diego, or they lose to anyone other than St. Mary’s in the WCC tournament. Their final seed is a seven.

Prediction: Refer back to “Best Case Scenario.”

Nevada

(RPI: 14; KenPom: 18; BPI: 25; Sagarin: 39)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Colorado State, at UNLV, at San Diego State, Mountain West tournament

Good Wins: vs. Rhode Island, vs. Boise State, at Boise State

Bad Losses: at Wyoming, vs. UNLV, vs. San Francisco

Best Case Scenario: They win out and dominate the Mountain West tournament, and secure a six-seed.

Worst Case Scenario: The Wolfpack don’t win the Mountain West, and their relatively weak strength of schedule (83rd-toughest as per KenPom) hurts them, pushing them into a nine-spot in the NCAA tournament.

Prediction: Nevada will win the Mountain West behind their insanely powerful offense, but their strength of schedule and weak conference will only be good enough for a seven-seed.

Edited by Jeremy Losak.

SQuiz
At what school was the first NCAA basketball championship game held?
Created 2/23/18
  1. San Francisco
  2. Northwestern
  3. Kentucky
  4. St. John's

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