We don't want no devils in the house, we want contenders. We on a tournament team. We on a tournament. This a Buffet dream. This a Buffet dream. This is everything...
Look back at the weekend's action through last night's games -- and away we go...
- Wide-open MAC? For most of 2016, projected brackets automatically penciled in Akron as the MAC autobid qualifier without much thought. Losing 3 of 4, including last night's ugly 77-64 defeat at the previously 3-11 in MAC play Miami of Ohio puts that in deep question. Time to keep an eye on Ohio, who've won 6-8, have a star in Antonio Campbell, and, as always, play with the spirit of the Shaq of Mac, Gary Trent.
- Speaking of which - ready for 85% of Buffet readership to feel old? 15th rated recruit in the class of 2017: Gary Trent Jr.
- Interesting little weekend in the Ivy:
- Princeton beat previously conference undefeated Yale 75-63, move within a 1/2 game of first.
- Now, we ALL know what we're rooting for: Columbia to win at Princeton this weekend, and beat Yale at home to close out the season, everyone wins out otherwise - 3 TEAM IVY LEAGUE "TOURNAMENT" the year before they are rumored to established an actual conference tournament.
- Really damaging weekend for the at-large hopes for Monmouth. A 83-67 loss at home to Iona. As of now, Monmouth sits on the Buffet's 11-line, which lines it up with the last 4 teams in. However, to need an at-large selection, that would mean a loss in the conference tournament, and even if that loss is to 2nd place Iona, that would be a 100+ loss - don't feel their resume could afford that.
- and we all want THIS with our Buffet.
- Fade has assumed the crown of the Buffet's Life of Pablo song of choice
- Teams migrating towards the Waiting Line: Dayton (loss to St Bonaventure, barely surviving Saint Louis), Saint Joseph's (loss at Davidson), Syracuse (consecutive double-digits losses), Texas (losers of 3/4, barely survived Kansas State), Butler (losers of 2/3), Florida
- Teams helping those in item 6 by migrating the Waiting Line further away: LSU, Georgia, Florida State, Gonzaga, Oregon State, Monmouth, Alabama.
- Anyone have a bigger weekend than the Cal Golden Bears? We understand that beating Washington State & Washington isn't adding to the top of your resume. But, this time of year when the nickname "Home Court Hero" is the highest compliment paid to you, your tournament chances are shaky. No one has confidence you can win on the road, which is a sneaky hot button variable in the committee room. 1-6 in true road games prior to Feb 18, Cal won twice in Washington State, now have a much less gross 3-6 road record, showed they aren't totally allergic to winning on the road and really strengthened their tournament hopes as much as any did in the last week.
- Speaking of which, a close second was Tulsa. Nowhere on the Buffet's radar - security wasn't even letting them in the waiting line. Suddenly, they're a game out of the American Conference lead, have won 5 of 6, and 6 of 8 - and showed up as a last team in the Buffet in our most recent projection.
- Tulsa notes: 6-4 in true road games. 7 top 100 wins, only 1 loss beyond the top 100. 5 of 6, as mentioned - together with a strong SOS and good looks from the computer rankings, they stack favorably against other Waiting Liners. But, they also play in a weaker conference, so landmines abound heading to Selection Sunday.
- Vanderbilt is an interesting case: poor road record, a pair of over 100 losses, but computers dig them (28: BPI; 23: Pomeroy) - strong SOS and winners of 4/5. Last night's blowout road win over Florida sweeps a fellow Waiting Liner, and sits them 4th in the SEC. If they can beat Kentucky or A&M plus take care of business at Tennessee, barring a bad SEC tournament loss + strong resume work from other candidates, Commodores will likely be playing NCAA tournament basketball.
- On the flip side, can we just stop with LSU. Ben Simmons is good, think that's been mentioned somewhere. But everyone clamoring for him to play in the tournament needs to hush. You all want that more than LSU does. Also, if Simmons wanted to play in the tournament - he should either 1) shoot the ball more, like a dominant player on a with weaker complimentary pieces would (see: Curry, Stephen 2008) or 2) have enrolled at Kentucky.
- Life in the Big 12: Iowa State beats Texas. Texas Tech blows out Baylor. Texas beats West Virginia, Baylor beats Iowa State. Texas Tech beats Oklahoma. Baylor beats Texas. Oklahoma beats West Virginia. West Virginia beats Iowa State. Kansas beats Baylor.
- Life in the ACC: Duke beats Virginia. Notre Dame beats Louisville. Louisville blows out Syracuse. Duke upsets North Carolina. Louisville beats Duke. North Carolina blows out Miami. Miami upsets Virginia.
- Life in the Big 10: Wisconsin beats Maryland. Michigan State blows out Indiana. Ohio State beats Michigan. Iowa loses to Penn State? Maryland loses to Minnesota? Michigan State blows Wisconsin. Indiana beats Purdue. Maryland beats Michigan. Michigan State blows out Ohio State. Oh wait, shoot, just realized we wrote the "Izzo in February/March narrative" AND laid out why Michigan is dropping like Chipotle's stock price.
- Life in the SWAC: We kid.
- Never like to close the book this time of year, but probably can close the at-large book on: Alabama, Gonzaga (resume isn't bad, but 1 more loss is likely not selection sustainable), LSU, Monmouth, Ohio State.
- Why do we know the existence of a site called "Blind Gossip" and worse, that Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez are about to go out on tour with each other's excuses - some questions can't be answered.
- Finally, we get mail. Loyal Buffet reader, Leif Andrew Beaver, asked about what his hometown Grand Canyon Antelopes and Phoenix hero and restaurateur, Dan Majerle tournament chances would be if they weren't ineligible:
- First - #lopeswaiver is a real thing, and the nation should be rallying behind it like they were Trump supporters in Nevada. Only this one actually has substance behind it.
- Second - there is no doubt in the Buffet's mind that Grand Canyon would walk through the WAC tournament. However, despite a pair of nice wins - at San Diego State and on the road at Houston. GCU's strength of schedule (296), 4 losses to teams outside the top 100, middling computer numbers (highest is RPI where they are 103), and really ugly loss to equally ineligible Louisville (111-63), make them not quite a Waiting Line candidate, much less tournament.
- #LOPESWAIVER: WE BELIEVE.
Tomorrow will always be a better day at the Buffet. Although today is pretty great...