So another week has gone by and we're getting closer and closer to Tournament time. First, lets look at what last week's teams did:
Cleveland State: They won two big road games within the Horizon League...knocking off #152 Illinois-Chicago and #229 Loyola Chicago. Knocking off Loyola isn't much to speak of, but a win at UIC is a good step for this team considering they lost their last three road games at #75 Wisc-Green Bay, #151 Wisc-Milwaukee, and #217 Youngstown St. Apparently south of Racine, WI they win on the road, but north of Racine they don't. Despite those wins they have dropped from 58th in the Pomeroy to 61. All this said, 86th in RPI means that a Horizon tourney win might be the only way in for them.
VCU: So what does a loss to my alma mater do for your Pomeroy rating? It drops you from #59 to #72. UNCW is #300. That makes me sad to write, but we are. That said, unlike Cleveland State, I'm not dropping VCU from my watch, mainly because of Eric Maynor. He's that good. Also, Anthony Grant is a superb coach. Continue to keep an eye on the Rams; at #73 in the RPI, there is no reason they can't win out and end up in the 40-50 range.
North Dakota State: They came in last week at #67 in the Pomeroy, and now rank at #58, meaning they are the movers and shakers of this week. They won two road games at #287 Western Illinois and #166 IUPUI. That said, they are only #95 in RPI, so they might need to come off this list. You will see them in the tourney though, but only as an auto-bid.
This week's 3 teams after the jump.
Oh Siena, how we love you. Siena was everyone's darlings this preseason, and are coming around again. They come in at #77 in the Pomeroy ratings and, check this, #27 in the RPI. They have not lost a home game, and have lost neutral court games to #41 Tennessee, #155 Wichita State, and #46 OK State in the Old Spice Classic. They also lost on the road to #4 Pitt, #13 Kansas, and #173 Rider (minus current King Jason Thompson). That loss to Rider just occurred in their last game and is a tough one, but they have a good profile with four top 100 wins (#100 Cornell, #92 Buffalo, at #90 St. Joe's, and #80 Niagara). That said, when your best win is at St. Joe's, its tough to call yourself tournament-legit...but with their success last year, and a pretty good profile this year, I'd put them in.
2) George Mason
I apologize about doubling up on the CAA again this week, but Mason has put the profile together. They come in at #70 in the Pomeroy ratings and #57 in the RPI, and unlike conference rival VCU, they have NOT lost to UNCW this year. But here is a problem, they have only knocked off one top 100 team, and that was the first game of the year, at #86 Vermont. When your best win is against an America East team...you're in trouble. That, and they have glaring losses at #275 Hampton and #163 Liberty early in the year, coupled with losses at #81 Dayton, at #88 Northeastern, at #120 Old Dominion, and at #137 James Madison. Again, no home losses is very good, and the CAA is a competitive league, moreso than people think, but this profile is just not good enough. Also, look at their roster: Cam Long is alright, and Darryl Monroe is solid down low, but these are their two best players, and Long is a sophomore and Monroe didn't play last year. Based on all this, I keep them out.
Here we are again, discussing whether or not Creighton is a tournament team. As of right now they look pretty good. They come in at #66 in the Pomeroy ratings and #60 in the RPI. All of this in the MVC, which we all know is a hotbed for decent to good tournament teams (Southern Illinois, Wichita State, etc.). Unlike the other teams we've talked about, The Jays HAVE lost at home this year, losing to #95 UNI and #134 Drake. They have also lost at #159 Ark-Little Rock, at #59 Nebraska, at #87 Illinois State, and at #155 Wichita State. That said, they have five top 100 wins, the most of any teams discussed thus far, and they have a top 50 win, beating #38 New Mexico. The also won at #90 St. Joe's, beat #81 Dayton, beat #82 Oral Roberts, and just won at #95 UNI. Also, "Sarah" P'Allen Stinnett is one of the better mid-major guys in the nation. Right now they are close, but they're Creighton, and I think they are in, probably on the auto-bid though.