It’s almost the weekend, and believe it or not but January is about to come to an end after spanning what felt like six months.
There’s roughly a month left of regular season basketball left depending on the conference, so let’s dive into some questions to take us into the first basketball filled weekend of February.
Who’s gonna win bowling green vs Buffalo tonight?— Alex Rowley (@arowley84_) January 31, 2020
Buffalo is coming off of a monster win on the road against Akron earlier in the week, and the two teams have actually been just about even in terms of efficiency margin in conference play according to KenPom (Buffalo is at +2.6, Bowling Green is at +2.3).
It’ll be an up-tempo, entertaining game. Both teams have great backcourts, and it’s about as close to a toss-up game as it gets in college basketball. When in doubt, go with the home team.
Buffalo in a high-scoring but close one.
If Winthrop runs the table in the Big South, how high do you think they will be seeded come March?— Michael Covil (@realmcovil) January 31, 2020
Bracket Matrix has Winthrop as a 15 seed right now. KenPom currently gives them a 22.5 percent chance of running the table in the Big South. For the sake of the question, let’s experiment with T-Rank’s TeamCast. This is what their record would look like after the Big South Tournament:
Using that simulation, Winthrop only jumped up three spots in the T-Ranketology seed list and stayed on the 14 seed line. That’s probably the best case scenario, but it could come down to which teams come out of the single bid leagues. If say, a .500 Ohio Valley team gets a bid, that might start nudging Winthrop up. A 15 seed fells appropriate at the end of the day.
How many bids does the A10 get?— Max (@mgoring10) January 31, 2020
At least two.
Dayton is obviously a lock, but it’s beginning to look like VCU and Rhode Island are the only other teams that have a realistic shot at a run at an at-large bid. Bracket Matrix currently has VCU as the last team in the field and Rhode Island as the first team out. Seems like a good time for the two teams to play!
You already knew this, but tonight's VCU-Rhode Island game is a HUGE game for NCAA Tournament implications.— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) January 31, 2020
[EXTREMELY COLLEGE BASKETBALL TWITTER GUY VOICE] Gotta get to 68 teams somehow! The A-10 can get three teams in, but it’s still too early in the game to say that with a great deal of confidence.
Who’s better in the OVC? Austin Peay or Murray— Chris Mathews (@cmathews82) January 31, 2020
The Governors have an absolute buzzsaw of an offense that has an offensive rating of 122.6 in OVC play according to KenPom and a top 50 offense in the country spanning the entire season. For comparison purposes, Gonzaga is at 121.6 in WCC play and Dayton is at 114.9 in A-10 play. Terry Taylor and Jordyn Adams are the league’s best 1-2 punch right now, and both of them are averaging at least 20 points per game in OVC play.
Murray State has been great in its own right. Tevin Brown has taken a huge leap as a sophomore and KJ Williams has become a super-sub for Matt McMahon.
Both teams sit at 9-0 in OVC play and only four spots separate the two in KenPom’s rankings (Murray State is 142, Austin Peay is 146). The two teams won’t play until just before Valentine’s Day, but they’ll play twice over the final few weeks of the season.
There’s a valid argument for both sides being the best squad in the conference. However, based on Austin Peays’ efficiency metrics in OVC play, the Governors deserve the slight nod.
Who wins C-USA— NTSN (@TheUNT6) January 31, 2020
Who the hell knows anymore?
We’re long past the point of trying to pin down who exactly is good in Conference USA. Some nights it looks like North Texas is the best team in the league, and sometimes it’s Louisiana Tech. Hell, even Western Kentucky still has as much talent as anyone in the league.
After opening up with a rocky start due to a tough schedule, North Texas has been scorching hot since December 1. The Mean Green has climbed almost 120 spots in KenPom since then and have been scorching teams offensively in league play.
The Mean Green are probably the best team with the best shot of winning the league.