Cincinnati’s postseason suddenly in jeopardy
by Patrick Stevens, Special for USA TODAY Sports
Days until Selection Sunday: 12
The first word:
Most attention this time of year is paid to teams playing their way into the NCAA tournament. It’s worth remembering it is possible for a school to play its way out as well.
Cincinnati (20-10) isn’t likely to pull off a collapse, but with six losses in eight games the possibility is on the table. The Bearcats haven’t done anything particularly bad, but there’s only so many losses that any team can withstand even if they come against the likes of Louisville (which defeated Cincinnati 67-51 on Monday).
Only a few weeks ago, Cincinnati looked like it would land in the top half of the draw. But little by little, its standing has eroded.
So could the Bearcats actually miss the field of 68? That would probably take a loss at home to South Florida on Saturday, then a rapid flameout in the Big East tournament. Even then, it would probably require some significant chaos in conference tournaments and a fair number of bid thieves.
So, yeah, there’s a chance. It’s greater than it was a week ago and even greater than it was two weeks ago. It isn’t a likely scenario, but it does exist.
One win should put an end to that threat. The Bearcats just didn’t get it last night.
Hot seat: Southern Mississippi
OK, the Golden Eagles really aren’t on the spot to do much of anything tonight other than leave Marshall with a victory. And that shouldn’t be a titanic task, since Southern Miss won the first meeting 102-46.
Nonetheless, Donnie Tyndall’s team is going to create questions simply because of its RPI of 34. Because the NCAA tournament isn’t selected by diabolically self-aware robots bent on world domination (or just standard-issue robots with no malicious intentions, for that matter), the RPI is only one part of the equation for at-large selection.
The Golden Eagles have lost all five of their games against likely NCAA tournament teams (Memphis twice, Arizona, Louisiana Tech and Wichita State) and have just three victories over top 100 teams (two of those against barely top-100 East Carolina). But the absence of a top-50 … [For more on Bubble Watch: Cincinnati's postseason suddenly in jeopardy, click here.]