Cincinnati (18-11, 8-8, RPI: 53)
The Bearcats are in big trouble after an embarrassing 87-63 loss at Syracuse on Sunday. That essentially negated the victory over West Virginia earlier in the week.
This one is simple: Cincinnati absolutely must win its last two regular-season games (at South Florida and home against Seton Hall). Even then, the Bearcats might need a win or two at Madison Square Garden.
Penn State (20-9, 9-7, RPI: 64)
It’s been a nice season for the Nittany Lions, but win No. 20 came at home Saturday when Penn State barely got past lowly Indiana 61-58. Penn State does have those road victories at Michigan State and Illinois. The Nittany Lions were outstanding in Big Ten play, but a nonconference schedule that ranks almost last nationally will work against them.
Penn State finishes at home against Illinois Thursday and at Iowa on Saturday. It wouldn’t hurt to win both.
Minnesota (20-8, 8-8, RPI: 36)
The Gophers have lost five of their last seven and the selection committee doesn’t not look favorably upon teams that close out the season that way. Minnesota managed only 41 points at Illinois.
Virginia Tech (17-11, 7-7, RPI: 59)
Back-to-back wins over Clemson and Duke probably would have gotten the Hokies off the bubble, but Tech couldn’t finish off Duke on Saturday. Now the Hokies have lost three of their last four.
There’s a lot to like about the Hokies. Tech recorded wins at Clemson, at Wake Forest and at Miami. The season ends with a couple of tough ones, home against North Carolina on Wednesday and at Florida State on Sunday. A split would leave them at 8-8 in league play. That should be enough, as long as those mid-major upsets are kept to a minimum.
Miami (17-10, 6-8, RPI: 44)
The Hurricanes carried themselves like a tournament team most of the season. Home victories over Wake Forest and Florida State, and a sweep of Boston College, will score Miami some major points. Miami’s best nonconference win was against Kentucky on Dec. 6 and that doesn’t carry much weight any more. One interesting stat: six of Miami’s 10 losses came against top-25 RPI opponents. Not sure if that will help or hurt.
Miami needs to finish 8-8 in the ACC. To do that, Miami must win at Georgia Tech on Wednesday and at home against North Carolina State on Saturday. If the Canes can’t do that, they really don’t deserve a bid.
Duke coach said that after winning his second gold medal in men's basketball would be his Team USA finale. That may not be the case anymore.
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