NCAA MARCH MADNESS
This is an article from the March 5, 2012 issue
BAD LOSSES: Oregon State (neutral)
QUALITY WINS: vs. Temple, vs. Iowa State, vs. Kansas State
REMAINING GAMES: vs. Oklahoma, at Kansas
Upsetting the Jayhawks or making a deep Big 12 tourney run would give a big boost to this talented team that has made 12 consecutive trips to the NCAAs.
BAD LOSSES: at Utah State, vs. Loyola Marymount
QUALITY WINS: vs. Gonzaga
REMAINING GAMES: WCC tournament
Few of their wins really stand out, but a good showing in the WCC tournament could put the Cougars, who are 11--4 in road or neutral-site games, on track for their sixth straight NCAA tournament bid.
BAD LOSSES: vs. Kent State, at St. John's
QUALITY WINS: at Kansas State, vs. Georgetown, vs. Cincinnati
REMAINING GAMES: vs. DePaul, at South Florida
Forward Kevin Jones is among the nation's best players, but five close losses could relegate the Mountaineers to the NIT for the first time in Bob Huggins's five-year tenure in Morgantown.
BAD LOSSES: at Hawaii
QUALITY WINS: at Vanderbilt, vs. Purdue, vs. Cincinnati
REMAINING GAMES: at Saint Louis, vs. Charlotte
Losing five of six games after their now infamous on-court brawl with Cincinnati on Dec. 10 could keep the Musketeers on the outside for just the fourth time in the last 15 years.
BAD LOSSES: Penn State (neutral), at Auburn
QUALITY WINS: vs. Seton Hall, vs. Cincinnati
REMAINING GAMES: at Louisville, vs. West Virginia
Winning at least 11 games in the Big East is impressive. The Bulls, who last made the Big Dance in 1992, could play their way in with a good showing in the league tourney.
BAD LOSSES: at Loyola Marymount, at Rhode Island
QUALITY WINS: at Xavier
REMAINING GAMES: vs. Xavier, vs. Duquesne
The ploddingly efficient, defense-first Billikens seemed a lock for their first bid of the five-year Rick Majerus era, but now a strong A-10 tournament showing is a must.
Middle Tennessee State(25--5)
BAD LOSSES: at UAB, vs. Western Kentucky
QUALITY WINS: Mississippi (neutral court), vs. Belmont
REMAINING GAMES: Sun Belt tournament
A middle-rung mid-major without any marquee victories, the Sun Belt regular-season champs might also have to win the conference tournament to earn their first NCAA tournament bid since 1989.
BAD LOSSES: at Minnesota
QUALITY WINS: vs. Seton Hall, vs. Michigan State
REMAINING GAMES: vs. Ohio State, at Iowa
Playing in the nation's toughest conference has hurt the Wildcats, but a few wins in the Big Ten tournament could seal their first invitation to the NCAAs.