In what I hope will become a new trend of regular columns, I now present the second weekly edition of which teams had the Best Week Ever. In honor of the upcoming Super Bowl, here are some of the teams moving up and down the field.
First and goal
Florida (out last week; #9 seed this week)
Despite their 13-2 non-conference start, the two-time defending champs had plenty to prove entering SEC play. Aside from the gaudy record and coaches poll ranking (more on name recognition than anything), their profile wasn't that of an at-large selection.
That record was built on a weak schedule (currently #105 non-conf RPI) and they had no notable wins. For a team that bears no resemblance to the juggernaut of 2005-2007 (they rank 340th in experience), the light schedule was probably the right approach. The Gators are off to a 5-1 conference start, with wins over Vanderbilt and a Kentucky team that subsequently knocked off Tennessee. If they stay near the top of the SEC, their non-conference schedule (or lack thereof) will certainly not keep them out of the
end zone field.
Connecticut (#9 seed last week; #7 seed this week)
Speaking of teams with name recognition and no good early non-conference wins, the Huskies also need conference play to prove themselves to the committee. Despite a 4-3 Big East start (as of Sunday), they are on the right track. All three losses were to RPI Top 50 teams (two on the road), and they added a RPI Top 25 win to their profile. Then Sunday, they went into Assembly Hall and took care of that pesky non-conference profile by taking down Indiana.
Fourth and long
Villanova (#7 seed last week; out this week)
Last Monday, Villanova was in good shape. CTD had them as the 12th (out of 34, of course) at-large selection and on the #7 seed line. They were ranked 29th in overall RPI and 46th in the Sagarin ratings. Then the Wildcats lost 80-68 at Rutgers (#163 Pomeroy rank through Sunday) and 90-80 at home to Notre Dame. That dropped the 'cats to 60th in RPI and 66th in Sagarin, and out of the CTD bracket. The Big East has seven teams in the CTD field as of Monday and three others (including Villanova) knocking on the door. That leaves plenty of opportunity for the Wildcats to rebuild their profile and make a certain Super Bowl alum proud.
Dayton (#5 seed last week; #9 seed this week)
The #5 seed may have been too high last week, but they've lost their last three including a bad (70.6 offensive efficiency) 24 point loss at a good Xavier team and a bad 17 point loss at a mediocre (#155/137/168 Pomeroy/RPI/Sagarin) Richmond. With their remaining conference schedule sure to drop their RPI schedule strength, and several A-10 teams in the fight for at-large spots, the Flyers don't have the luxury of too many more bad losses.