Some Early Thoughts

It’s time for some more early season thoughts:

-Undefeated BAYLOR finds themselves in good tournament shape already after winning the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Both of their wins in Kansas City (over Wisconsin and Creighton) should end up as at least Tier Two wins, though both (especially Creighton) could end up as Tier One wins. More importantly, opportunities loom on the horizon. If they can win at Xavier and beat Wichita State, these Bears will start to look like a one seed contender.

-VIRGINIA TECH is in some trouble. The Hokies own a neutral court win over Washington, but that shouldn’t do much, if anything, to boost the resume. With a neutral court loss to Saint Louis already in the books, a second OOC loss could prove fatal. That’s because an already weak non-conference schedule appears even weaker with Iowa struggling. Winning at Ole Miss isn’t a must, but it will be an uphill climb without it.

-The best power conference title race will probably be in the SEC. Kentucky and Florida both look like they could make the Elite Eight or beyond, but it’s TEXAS A&M that has the league’s best resume. They’ve already secured neutral site victories over West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Penn State.

-NORTHWESTERN famously made the tournament for the first time last year, but the odds may be against a return this season. In addition to a home loss to Creighton, they were absolutely pummeled by Texas Tech. Their victories have also not only been unhelpful to the resume, but they’ve also been unconvincing. This is a team that was slightly overseeded last year, and was never going to live up to this year’s hype.

-WICHITA STATE hasn’t exactly been cruising in Maui, but their chances at a top two seed will dramatically improve if they can pair a win over Marquette with a championship over Notre Dame, who figures to compete for a top three seed, as well.

-KANSAS finds themselves sorely lacking depth while freshman Billy Preston is held out pending an investigation into a car he was driving. Nevertheless, the Jayhawks are absolutely crushing all of their opponents outside of Kentucky. That said, while they have a Tier 1 win locked up, their non-conference schedule isn’t providing many chances for Tier 1 wins (as Washington, Arizona State, Stanford, and Nebraska don’t appear as formidable as their power conference status would indicate). At worst, they’ll need to go 1-1 against Syracuse and Texas A&M. But with the Big XII lacking another top 15 team, 2-0 would make things a whole lot easier.

-Coming into the year, it looked like UTAH had a shot at two Tier 1 wins by having Missouri and Ole Miss on the schedule. But Ole Miss isn’t guaranteed to even finish as a Tier Two win, let alone a Tier One. And Missouri is going to be playing without Michael Porter Jr. for the season. While it sounds like the undefeated Utes are in great shape, their resume is weaker than it would appear.

-WYOMING is flying under the radar. Still unbeaten, their wins over South Dakota State and Louisiana at the Cayman Islands Classic could both prove to be Tier 1/2 quality wins. In addition, they have a HUGE opportunity to bolster their profile by facing Cincinnati in the finals.

-While Wyoming is playing well, the MOUNTAIN WEST had a rough Tuesday. Fresno State lost to Evansville, Pacific beat Air Force, and Tennessee Tech defeated New Mexico. Nevada did manage to top Davidson, but this is only looking like a one or two bid league.

-The resume isn’t overwhelming, but it is solid for TEMPLE. The Owls are unbeaten and the neutral court win over Clemson could end up having more mileage than it would first appear.

-Check out the BIG XII. They only have four total losses and two of those were by Iowa State, winners of three straight and a holiday tournament. Texas Tech annihilated Northwestern, Kansas beat Kentucky in Chicago, and Baylor beat Wisconsin and Creighton. So while their schedules might not be the best, there is some serious heft in there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *