Things for the Last Month of the NCAA Season
We're just one month and four days away from Selection Sunday, where we will find out the full March Madness bracket; and after last week's reveal of the top sixteen teams at the moment, you can bet that this next month of college basketball will be filled with drama and news-worthy stories.
To start, here are the top ten scheduled games (as we don't know what could happen in conference tournaments) before the end of the season. So, if you want to watch some good basketball this month, make sure to tune into these games.
Wednesday, February 12: Kansas at West Virginia
Saturday, February 15: Maryland (stadium pictured above) at Michigan St.
Wednesday, February 19: Butler at Seton Hall
Saturday, February 22: Kansas at Baylor
Monday, February 24: Louisville at Florida St.
Tuesday, February 25: Iowa at Michigan St.
Saturday, February 29: Auburn at Kentucky
Tuesday, March 3: Michigan St. at Penn St.
Wednesday, March 4: Villanova at Seton Hall
Saturday, March 7: Baylor at West Virginia
These games are going to be crucial in deciding who gets what seed in the conference tournament. Speaking of which, here's how every major conference stands right now as we enter the final month.
AAC: 1st. Houston (9-2), 2nd. Cincinnati (8-3), 3rd. Tulsa (7-3)
ACC: 1st. Louisville (12-1), 2nd. Duke (11-2), 3rd. Florida St. (10-3)
Big 12: 1st. Baylor (11-0), 2nd. Kansas (9-1), 3rd. Texas Tech (7-4)
Big East: 1st. Seton Hall (10-1), 2nd. Creighton, Villanova, Marquette (7-4)
Big Ten: 1st. Maryland (9-3), 2nd. Penn St. and Illinois (8-4)
Pac-12: 1st. Colorado (8-3), 2nd. Oregon (7-4), 3rd. Arizona and Arizona St. (6-4)
SEC: 1st. Auburn, Kentucky, LSU (8-2)
WCC: 1st. Gonzaga (11-0), 2nd. BYU (8-3), 3rd. Saint Mary's and Pacific (7-4)
As you can see, some conferences have a clear leader, like the Big East and the WCC, while some, like the Big Ten and the SEC, are much more crowded at the top. However, when you contrast this with the resumes and rankings for most teams, you will find that it is more equal between conferences.
Now, just like the committee did last week, I'm going to announce Let's Talk Sports' "Top 16" in college basketball right now.
West East South Midwest
1. Gonzaga (2) 1. San Diego St. (4) 1. Baylor (1) 1. Kansas (3)
2. Maryland (8) 2. Duke (5) 2. Louisville (6) 2. Dayton (7)
3. Auburn (12) 3. Seton Hall (11) 3. Florida St. (10) 3. West Virginia (9)
4. Oregon (15) 4. Villanova (14) 4. Penn St. (15) 4. Butler (13)
This chart includes three schools each from the ACC, Big 12, Big East, two schools from the Big Ten, and one school from the A10, MWC, Pac-12 & WCC. So, it's a pretty diverse bunch. And sure, there are plenty of schools contesting for those last two spots (Michigan St., Colorado, Kentucky, etc.), but I thought that Penn St.'s resume in big games and Oregon's potential put them above the rest.
For those who have been with my blog since the beginning, you know that at the start of the season I announced the teams that I thought I had the best odds. If you didn't read that, here it is, side-by-side with my updates views. Preview: I was not smart...
Start of Season
Best odds to win: Michigan St.
Good odds: Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville, UNC
Maybe?: Duke, Gonzaga, Maryland, Villanova, Memphis
Dark Horses: Texas Tech, Ohio St., Seton Hall, Virginia, Utah St.
Best Odds to win: Baylor
Good Odds: Gonzaga, Kansas, Duke, San Diego St., Louisville
Maybe? Maryland, Dayton, Florida St., West Virginia
Dark Horses: Seton Hall, Villanova, Butler, Oregon, Auburn
This list is a lot more complicated than at the start of the season, but this is because we've had a very complicated season. We've had seven different number ones in the AP Poll, and have had countless times where a team in the top five is upset by an unranked team. But, I think that it will make for a very interesting final month. So stay tuned to Let's Talk Sports for more interesting articles!