Bracket Ladder for February 7, 2011

Thanks to my decision to switch the process over to Opera (Chrome would work best if it didn’t blank the screen for a few seconds every time I switch tabs), we’ve extended the ladder by not one, not two, but THREE seed lines! We’re also seeing the first hints of what I call seed range, explained below. Teams with good seeds have their seed ranges listed, and one lucky team can start talking about their colors changing as their seed floor closes in. Teams I didn’t calculate seed ranges for are listed with a question mark for their seed floor. Everyone south of the top four seed lines is listed as “Probably in”, taking a cue from ESPN’s “bubble watch”, not because I’ve calculated seed floors that far down, which I haven’t. (To be frank, I could conceivably extend the “Probably in” line further up, not down – see how wide a net I cast below.) One team is listed as “Barely in” to flag serious problems with their resume.

This edition of the Bracket Ladder is complete through the games of February 6, 2011. This means it does not include any of Monday’s games, including the Pitt-West Virginia game.

How to read the chart: Teams are listed in order of my assessment of their strength based on the criteria established by the selection committee. The large gray number to the left is the team’s seed in the NCAA Tournament if the teams were seeded strictly according to the list order. Teams may receive a higher or lower seed because of bracketing principles. The code at the right side of each team name represents the team’s conference and a running count of the number of teams that conference has in all tournaments. The row beneath the team name packs in a whole bunch of information. In order: The team’s record is on the far left in bold. RPI: Rating Percentage Index rank. SOS: Strength of Schedule rank. R/N: Record in road and neutral-site games. OOC: Record in games outside the conference. RPI T50: Record against teams in the RPI Top 50. Wv≥: Number of wins against teams with the same or better color (more on this later). Lv≤: Number of losses against teams with the same or worse color. The colored bar at the far right side of the team name is the most important element, containing most of the information you need to know. It is color-coded to reflect where each team is in the pecking order and what they have to play for, as follows:

Ovr. #1-4 Gold: Cannot fall below the #1 seed. Listed with the overall seeds (#1-4) the team could get.

Silver: Cannot fall below the #2 seed.

Bronze: Cannot fall below the #3 seed.

Purple: Cannot fall below the #4 seed.

Blue: Could earn a top-4 seed, or might not. Top-4 seeds receive protection in the bracket process to make sure they aren’t sent too far away from home, since they’ll be the top seed in their pod.

Green: A lock to make the tournament, but cannot receive a top-4 seed. Numbers inside the boxes for silver through green indicate the seed range a team could receive. The first number is the seed ceiling, the best seed that could result from a reasonable best-case scenario for the rest of the season and the committee’s assessment of the team, the middle number is the current seed based on the current position in the bracket ladder, and the last number is the seed floor, the worst seed that could result from a reasonable worst-case scenario for the rest of the season and the committee’s assessment of the team. The seed ceiling could increase or seed floor decrease in extraordinary circumstances.

Yellow: “Probably in”. This color marks the start of the bubble.

Orange: On the tip of the bubble, could go either way. Listed as “Barely in” or “Barely out” based on what side of the cutline they fall in the order.

Red: “Probably out”, teams with a longshot chance to make the NCAA Tournament but are more likely going to the NIT (or worse). Teams in this range that are the highest-rated from their conference are listed as “Needs Auto”, to indicate they need the auto bid to get in but are currently listed in the field.

1 – 2 – 2
2 – 3 – 3
3 – 4 – 4
4 – 4 – 5
5 – 6 – 7
Probably In
Barely In
Probably Out
1 Ohio State B10 #1 1 – 1 – 4
24-0 RPI: 3 SOS: 36 R/N: 8-0 OOC: 13-0 RPI T50: 5-0 Wv≥: 0 Lv≤: 0
Florida and Purdue both look better this week, which is just enough to put Ohio State on the overall #1 seed line. But let’s be clear: If Ohio State doesn’t go undefeated, they cannot get the overall #1 seed, and might not even get into the Midwest Regional. People keep praising the Big Ten for being equal at the top with the Big East, but the problem is those teams don’t have the RPI necessary to make it into the top four seed lines like the Big East schools. The road rematch with Purdue later on will be critically important just to stay on the 1 seed line. The good news for the Jared Sullingers is that they have a pretty good chance to go unbeaten; Wisconsin is on the same seed line as the Boilermakers, and the road test against them this week (Saturday 2pm ET, ESPN) stands up there with the Purdue road rematch as one of the few chances the Buckeyes have for losing the rest of the way.
1 Pittsburgh BST #1 1 – 1 – 6
21-2 RPI: 6 SOS: 20 R/N: 7-1 OOC: 12-1 RPI T50: 5-2 Wv≥: 2 Lv≤: 2
Pitt slips from overall #1 mostly because Ohio State’s opposition looked better this week. Unless they have a collapse of the caliber Syracuse is now having, they should be pretty safe for a #1 seed, especially if they win the Big East. There’s always a good game in the Big East, and Pitt can consolidate their position this week with road trips to rivals West Virginia (Monday 7pm ET, ESPN, already played) and Villanova (Saturday 9pm ET, ESPN).
1 Connecticut BST #2 1 – 1 – 6
18-4 RPI: 10 SOS: 13 R/N: 7-2 OOC: 12-0 RPI T50: 6-4 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 4
I’ve been hearing Doug Gottleib on ESPN recently, claiming the following teams are the only ones with a realistic shot at a one: Ohio State, Kansas, Pitt, Duke, and Texas. I will be criticizing him all the way down to Duke, but for now allow me to point out that UConn’s wins match up well with Pitt’s, and even with a loss to Syracuse none of their losses are horrible (though some wins against conference teams better than Villanova would be nice). They won’t have another shot at Pitt until the Big East Tournament, but if they don’t lose the rest of the way and beat all the best teams they could face in MSG, in the Big East, how can you argue there isn’t a case to be made for them? Avoiding a trap game against St. John’s (Thursday 7pm ET, ESPN) would be a start.
1 Kansas B12 #1 1 – 1 – 7
20-1 RPI: 1 SOS: 9 R/N: 8-0 OOC: 15-0 RPI T50: 5-1 Wv≥: 0 Lv≤: 1
Despite the Syracuse loss, I just didn’t see much reason to jump Kansas ahead of the Kemba Walkers – the Jayhawks just don’t have the wins. The Jayhawks still need more good wins if they want to stay up here, but the Big 12 should provide sufficient opposition. The Texas loss still haunts them, but the Morris Twins get another shot to improve their resume against Missouri (Monday 9pm ET, ESPN, already played), and then comes no other shots at quality wins (or any quality road wins) until Texas A&M and the road rematch with Missouri in March.
2 BYU MWC #1 1 – 2 – ?
21-2 RPI: 1 SOS: 9 R/N: 10-2 OOC: 13-1 RPI T50: 7-1 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 2
BYU completed the sweep against UNLV, which could have been a big land mine. BYU has two very concerning losses on their resume, but they also have multiple RPI Top 25 wins, which is fairly impressive for a mid-major. That said, the Jimmer Fredettes probably need to win out to remain remotely this high, including reasserting their primacy over the Aztecs in San Diego late in the year. They could still appear and even finish on the top seed line if they can do that. Will the NCAA give them a top seed in that case? Of course not! They’ll disrespect the Mountain West too much.
2 San Diego State MWC #2 1 – 2 – ?
21-1 RPI: 4 SOS: 33 R/N: 12-1 OOC: 13-0 RPI T50: 4-1 Wv≥: 0 Lv≤: 1
Colorado State represents San Diego State’s best road win by a significant margin. BYU isn’t a terrible loss, but the Aztecs won’t get another chance against a team in the RPI Top 40 until the rematch in San Diego. That could mean a difference of a couple of spots in the seeding. They’re probably getting a top four seed either way… assuming they don’t take any non-BYU losses. A road trip to UNLV (Saturday 8pm ET, CBS CS) could be a trap game.
2 Notre Dame BST #3 1 – 2 – 6
19-4 RPI: 9 SOS: 23 R/N: 5-4 OOC: 11-1 RPI T50: 7-3 Wv≥: 3 Lv≤: 4
Notre Dame has three RPI Top 10 wins, against the other three of the best four Big East teams, and only Marquette as a truly questionable loss; you can’t tell me they can’t possibly win a 1. If they win out, especially if they win at UConn in the regular season finale, it’ll be very difficult to argue against them. There are probably only two more chances for them to lose their unbeaten home record; Louisville (Wednesday 7pm ET, ESPNU) is one of them.
2 Georgetown BST #4 1 – 2 – ?
18-5 RPI: 5 SOS: 2 R/N: 9-3 OOC: 11-1 RPI T50: 7-5 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 5
Georgetown is mostly here, ahead of teams like Texas and Duke, because of their wins in the 20s, strength of schedule, and road/neutral record. Their iffy start to Big East play still haunts them, they don’t have a win better than Villanova, and they still have a questionable loss to Temple, but they also have only two home losses and one of them is to Pitt. They could go on a tear and dominate the rest of the way (though no matter what it will probably take a deep run in the Big East tournament to get a 1 seed), or utterly collapse with good teams on their schedule. We’ll learn a lot about them, and whether the Villanova win was a fluke, Wednesday against Syracuse (7pm ET, ESPN), but they also have to survive a trap game against Marquette (1pm ET, ESPN). The real test, though, may be travelling to UConn (Wednesday 2/16 7pm ET, Big East Network); a win there would consolidate their position, a loss likely permanently knocks them out of the top tier of Big East teams.
3 Texas B12 #2 1 – 3 – ?
20-3 RPI: 7 SOS: 18 R/N: 7-2 OOC: 12-3 RPI T50: 7-2 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 3
I still have trouble moving Texas up the board. Kansas and North Carolina are good road wins, but the Longhorns don’t have any other wins against the RPI Top 30; Texas A&M took too much of a tumble losing to Baylor. USC is their only bad loss, but they still don’t have a deep enough resume to overcome it and not much hope to improve it, as A&M remains the third best team in the conference, Missouri the next-best RPI team. The best they can hope for is to keep plugging away and hope the committee gives them credit for their record, and maybe prove the first Kansas game wasn’t a fluke in the Big 12 final.
3 Florida SEC #1 Probably in
18-5 RPI: 14 SOS: 5 R/N: 7-2 OOC: 11-3 RPI T50: 6-1 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 4
How do you overcome four horrible, horrible losses to get a top three seed, one of them just last week? Have a fantastic strength of schedule, win most of your road games, and win most of your games against good opposition, then beat Kentucky and Vanderbilt for the top 20 wins your resume was lacking and take command of the SEC. I’ll be the first to admit this is probably too high, especially with the wins coming on the road, and Florida has a lower ceiling AND floor than other teams surrounding them, which is why I have them as “Probably in” on the third seed line. Just a loss to South Carolina (Wednesday 8pm ET, SEC Network) could irredeemably tar them as inconsistent, and Tennessee (Saturday 6pm ET, ESPN) may be crucial to show they’re not a mirage, even though it’s another home game. They won’t be able to truly answer the critics until they go to Lexington for their last game in February.
3 Duke ACC #1 1 – 3 – ?
21-2 RPI: 8 SOS: 58 R/N: 8-2 OOC: 13-1 RPI T50: 4-1 Wv≥: 0 Lv≤: 2
Earth to Mr. Gottleib: Duke doesn’t have a win against the RPI Top 30, only one in the top 40, no true road wins in the RPI top 75, none of the teams they’ve played have been outplaying their RPI, they have a loss to a bubblicious Florida State team, and they’re mired in the weak ACC, and you talk about them as a 1 seed? As it happens, North Carolina is now in the top 20 so Duke can win a pelt when they come to town (Wednesday 9pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network), and that will certainly help, but it won’t give them a good road win; their only chance for that may be the rematch in the regular season finale. It’s looking like Duke has too questionable a schedule, and a conference, to justify their preseason #1 ranking. Duke’s best hope for a #1 seed is probably to completely win out, beating North Carolina three times along the way, and hope for teams currently on the top two lines to lose.
3 Syracuse BST #5 1 – 3 – ?
20-4 RPI: 18 SOS: 32 R/N: 5-2 OOC: 13-0 RPI T50: 4-2 Wv≥: 2 Lv≤: 3
Syracuse had to get off the schnide, and they got together for a big win at UConn, one of their best wins of the season. Now we need to figure out what kind of team they are. Once you get past Notre Dame and UConn, the quality of their wins take several large skips, and they have to live with losses to Marquette and especially Seton Hall for the rest of the year. Beating Georgetown (Wednesday 7pm ET, ESPN) would be a big help, as would picking up wins at Louisville (Saturday noon ET, ESPN) and at home to West Virginia (Monday 2/14 7pm ET, ESPN), but Syracuse will have to make most of their case for a good seed in the Big East Tournament, as that’ll be their only shot at avenging the Pitt loss.
4 Villanova BST #6 1 – 4 – ?
19-4 RPI: 12 SOS: 26 R/N: 5-3 OOC: 12-1 RPI T50: 6-3 Wv≥: 3 Lv≤: 4
West Virginia is up there with Syracuse as Villanova’s best wins, and it helps legitimize the Syracuse win. But Syracuse will continue to look like a fluke until Nova can beat another team in the top 100 of the RPI on the road. Nova gets a chance to improve their resume dramatically if they can upset Pitt at home (Saturday 9pm ET, ESPN), but they won’t get any chances to get a road win against a good team until Notre Dame and Pitt back-to-back at the end of the season. Not to discount the value, or trap game potential, of road games against Rutgers (Wednesday 8pm ET, Big East Network) or Seton Hall (Tuesday 2/15 8pm ET, Big East Network), of course, but Villanova’s best chance to prove their bona fides might be at MSG.
4 Louisville BST #7 1 – 4 – ?
18-5 RPI: 26 SOS: 39 R/N: 3-3 OOC: 11-2 RPI T50: 5-3 Wv≥: 2 Lv≤: 5
The Georgetown loss, not reflected in last week’s ladder, turns out to be enough for the Villanova loss to be the tiebreaker with the Wildcats. But Louisville can continue to prove their bona fides with more wins in the Big East, and they have a heck of a duo this week, with a trip to South Bend (Wednesday 7pm ET, ESPNU) and a visit from Syracuse (Saturday Noon ET, ESPN). Winning those two might be enough for a return trip to the 3 seed line. Louisville has a similar problem to Villanova, as the Connecticut win looks slightly fluky, but it does raise the possibility that the Cardinals could pull another road upset against the Golden Domers.
4 West Virginia BST #8 1 – 4 – ?
15-7 RPI: 17 SOS: 4 R/N: 6-6 OOC: 9-3 RPI T50: 5-4 Wv≥: 3 Lv≤: 7
The Mountaineers couldn’t get the job done against Villanova. Not too horrible, and it was on the road, but still a missed opportunity that Bob Huggins’ squad will be licking their wounds over. Losing to Pitt (Monday 7pm ET, ESPN, already played) should hurt them even less, though a loss is a loss, and if West Virginia keeps racking up too many of them they could find themselves playing the first day of the Big East tournament. It doesn’t really get any easier. DePaul (Saturday 4pm ET, Big East Network) is basically a practice game for the three big games in ten days that follow, which could make or break West Virginia’s season.
4 Kentucky SEC #2 1 – 4 – ?
16-6 RPI: 12 SOS: 10 R/N: 6-6 OOC: 12-2 RPI T50: 4-4 Wv≥: 2 Lv≤: 5
Florida benefitted more from beating Kentucky than Kentucky suffered, and other teams suffered their own losses, but Ole Miss is a very concerning loss. The SEC turns out to have quite a bit of strength, but Kentucky will need to take advantage of that strength, starting this week against the Tennessee schools (Tennessee Tuesday 9pm ET, ESPN, @Vanderbilt Saturday 1pm ET, CBS).
5 Purdue B10 #2 Probably in
18-5 RPI: 11 SOS: 21 R/N: 6-5 OOC: 11-2 RPI T50: 1-4 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 4
Minnesota gave Purdue something they desperately needed: a win against a team in the RPI Top 50, just in time for Michigan State to fall out of it. Purdue has good RPI but a disturbing loss to Richmond, and despite four chances hasn’t shown they can beat a team better than Valpo or Michigan on the road. They’ll get a fifth chance against Illinois (Sunday 1pm ET, CBS).
5 Texas A&M B12 #3 Probably in
16-5 RPI: 35 SOS: 43 R/N: 4-3 OOC: 12-1 RPI T50: 5-3 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 3
Three weeks ago, Texas A&M had a respectable loss to Boston College. That was it. Combine that with a decent win over Missouri and the Aggies had to feel good about their standing. Losses to Texas are understandable, but Nebraska and Baylor? The Aggies don’t have an RPI Top 25 win and don’t get another shot at Texas until the conference tournament. At this point, any loss to a team that isn’t Kansas, Texas, or Missouri is poison to the Aggies’ relative standing on Selection Sunday. A&M is squarely on the bubble until they are clear of all the land mines on their schedule.
5 Tennessee SEC #3 Probably in
15-8 RPI: 22 SOS: 3 R/N: 4-3 OOC: 10-5 RPI T50: 6-2 Wv≥: 3 Lv≤: 7
Tennessee’s problem can be summed up in one word: consistency. Tennessee has given the likes of Pitt and Villanova some of their very few losses… and they have a whopping five losses against teams outside the RPI Top 70, against teams like College of Charleston and Oakland. Incidentially, only two of those bad losses have the Bruce Pearl suspension excuse, and only the two worst ones (Arkansas and Charlotte) were road games; the Vols managed to beat Vanderbilt at home and Georgia in Athens without their coach. Their fate will turn on how they do against the good teams in their own conference. Pearl comes back just in time for the Vols to stare down the meatgrinder of the SEC schedule, taking on Kentucky (Tuesday 9pm ET, ESPN) and Florida (Saturday 6pm ET, ESPN) in succession.
5 Wisconsin B10 #3 Probably in
17-5 RPI: 20 SOS: 44 R/N: 4-5 OOC: 10-2 RPI T50: 4-3 Wv≥: 2 Lv≤: 4
Concerning losses and a lack of top-notch ones hold the Badgers back at the moment. Avenging the Michigan State loss was a must with the Spartans’ recent struggles, but at the moment the Badgers only barely are holding on to the 5-seed line, which will have consequences come Selection Sunday. A win over Ohio State at home (Saturday 2pm ET, ESPN) would greatly improve their standing, but is rather unlikely and would look like a major fluke.
6 Vanderbilt SEC #4 Probably in
16-6 RPI: 19 SOS: 19 R/N: 4-5 OOC: 12-2 RPI T50: 3-4 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 5
Vanderbilt and Wisconsin have rather similar resumes. Vandy is largely propelled by an old win over North Carolina; otherwise, they would have no wins in the RPI Top 30 and two in the Top 50, which is bad news with two losses outside the Top 100. Still, they have a good overall outlook, and have some important tests this week. Surging Alabama (Thursday 9pm ET, ESPN2) is not to be ignored, and Kentucky (Saturday 1pm ET, CBS) would make the UNC win not look like a fluke from a time when the Tar Heels were significantly worse.
6 Minnesota B10 #4 Probably in
16-7 RPI: 27 SOS: 24 R/N: 5-5 OOC: 11-1 RPI T50: 3-4 Wv≥: 3 Lv≤: 5
Wins over Purdue, North Carolina, and West Virginia are good, but Minnesota’s best true road win is against Michigan, and the dropoff comes fast. The Gophers are cursing themselves for losing to Michigan State, and Virginia and Indiana are very concerning. Minnesota probably would have been a 5 last week before losing to Ohio State (certainly forgivable) and Indiana (a no-no). Minnesota’s now on a three-game losing streak and entered the day tied with Michigan State and Penn State for fifth in the conference standings; sixth and below has to play the first round of the conference tournament. Beating Illinois (Thursday 9pm ET, ESPN) would mean beating a better team and catching up to them in the standings, not to mention adding a win over a team better than Michigan, and then nothing eventful happens until a chance to improve their road resume a week later against Penn State.
6 North Carolina ACC #2 Probably in
17-5 RPI: 16 SOS: 17 R/N: 6-4 OOC: 10-4 RPI T50: 2-4 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 4
The ACC may not be quite so bad as we thought, as the Tar Heels, a year removed from NIT runner-up-dom, make the best non-Duke team in the conference respectable. Boston College and Florida State were needed pelts to add depth to their resume and make the Kentucky win look less like a fluke. But now Duke (Wednesday 9pm ET, ESPN/ACC Network) is salivating for a chance to give themselves a much-needed Top 30 win against their archrival. Both teams desperately need this game, and when you stir that in with college basketball’s biggest rivalry, it makes for must-see TV.
6 Missouri B12 #4 Probably in
17-5 RPI: 30 SOS: 71 R/N: 4-5 OOC: 13-1 RPI T50: 4-4 Wv≥: 2 Lv≤: 3
Missouri avenged the Colorado loss but it won’t remove the sting from their resume, and they just took another questionable loss to Oklahoma State, nearly falling out of the 6 seed line. Missouri has a decent collection of wins, but the depth leaves much to be desired. Will losing to Kansas (Monday 9pm ET, ESPN, already played) be enough to drop them a seed? It certainly wastes a chance for a marquee win.
7 St. John’s BST #9 Probably in
13-9 RPI: 21 SOS: 1 R/N: 5-6 OOC: 8-4 RPI T50: 4-7 Wv≥: 4 Lv≤: 5
St. John’s has the same problem as Tennessee: fantastic wins, atrocious losses. The Johnnies have more quality wins and better losses outside the really bad ones to St. Bonaventure and Fordham, but they also have NO depth to their wins. After their four good wins, their next best wins are over the likes of Northwestern, Providence, Rutgers. Steve Lavin’s squad needs wins, and luckily they’re in the Big East, where such wins are easy to come by. In fact, their first game in nearly a week will be a chance at the sort of overachieving win the Johnnies specialize in: UConn (Thursday 7pm ET, ESPN). However, Cincinnati (Sunday Noon ET, Big East Network) and Marquette (Tuesday 2/15 9pm ET, ESPNU) may actually be more important, as the Johnnies need to prove they can do more than overachieve, and can beat teams other than West Virginia on the road.
7 UNLV MWC #3 Probably in
17-6 RPI: 28 SOS: 37 R/N: 8-3 OOC: 12-2 RPI T50: 2-5 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 2
One thing UNLV has going for them: they play well on the road. The Rebels don’t have many good wins, but combine their good road record with UC Santa Barbara being their only truly bad loss and they’re in pretty good shape. Being in the Mountain West, though, a single slip-up could kill them. All their remaining games would cause at least a seed’s worth of damage with a win, but their long-term prospects probably hinge on the game against San Diego State (Saturday 8pm ET, CBS CS). An upset there will make a huge difference on Selection Sunday.
7 Cincinnati BST #10 Probably in
18-5 RPI: 37 SOS: 97 R/N: 5-4 OOC: 13-0 RPI T50: 2-5 Wv≥: 1 Lv≤: 0
Cincinnati is tough to read, as all their losses have come against the Big East’s top tier and they have a win over St. John’s under their belt, but Xavier is their only other win against the RPI Top 60. Clearly, the Bearcats will suffer because of their schedule. Winning the rematch against Steve Lavin’s club (Sunday Noon ET, Big East Network) will make sure that if the Big East does somehow find itself with only nine bids, it will certainly be Cincinnati. That’ll be followed by a visit from Louisville (Wednesday 2/16 7pm ET, ESPN2) that will be a big opportunity to show that the Bearcats aren’t just beneficiaries of a weak nonconference. But Cincinnati can’t afford many bad losses either, so the game against DePaul (Tuesday 7pm ET, ESPN2) before all that is pretty important as well.
7 Old Dominion CAA #1 Barely in
18-6 RPI: 29 SOS: 56 R/N: 7-4 OOC: 9-2 RPI T50: 2-3 Wv≥: 0 Lv≤: 5
Old Dominion puts itself a cut above the other contenders for this spot with wins over RPI Top 25 teams George Mason and Xavier, a great record on the road (even if against questionable opposition), and only one truly disreputable loss, but their resume still lacks depth or truly quality wins. Mason just avenged the loss Old Dominion stuck on them when they were the home team, a game Dominion would have done well to win if only to improve their own conference standing. Drawing Cleveland State in BracketBusters (Sunday 2/20 1pm ET, ESPN2) probably helps the Vikings, who don’t have and desperately need a single RPI Top 50, more than one RPI Top 80, or a road RPI Top 100 win, more than the Monarchs, though the Vikings will provide a much-needed RPI Top 40 win and won’t hurt them too much with a loss. Until then, Old Dominion’s biggest challenge will come against Virginia Commonwealth (Saturday 2pm ET, ESPN2), their other national TV game of the month.

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