"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Sunday, January 01, 2012

December Non-Conference Report

Time to take another look at our non-conference opponents, this time for the month of December. A couple teams took big jumps in their projections, with Norfolk State now projecting as a top-100 RPI team and LSU getting close to cracking the top-50, largely at Marquette's expense. Unfortunately, poor months for Mount St. Mary's, Winthrop, and Jacksonville have all three now projecting as sub-280 teams.

Mount St. Mary's: The Mountaineers broke a 9-game losing streak with a win over American, and almost made it two in a row before falling 65-64 to Albany. Currently Marquette's biggest RPI drag, MSM will have chances to right the ship in January as they play 5 sub-200 kenpom opponents.

Norfolk State: Two wins over the Spartans are starting to look like a blessing. They don't have a bad loss and are favored to win 7 of 9 in January. Right now they look like a solid bet to win the MEAC.

Winthrop: The Eagles could have had a banner month, but they lost four games in which they were outscored by a total of 7 points in regulation. Conference play should be a blessing -- they are favored to win 6 of 9 games they play in January.

Mississippi: The Rebs started December well, tallying wins at high-majors DePaul and Penn State. Unfortunately, they slumped to 3 straight defeats away from home against top-100 kenpom opponents to close the year. They have one last tune-up against SMU before conference play starts.

Jacksonville: The Dolphins had a month to forget, losing all 6 (5 on the road). Their projected RPI is dipping dangerously close to 300. Hopefully January starts off better -- they play 4 of 6 at home before a four-game road-trip to close the month.

Wisconsin: The Badgers cruised to a 6-0 start before losing at home to Iowa, a game that Pomeroy gave them a 96.4% chance of winning. They are still kenpom's top team, but if they're struggling with the Hawkeyes, this win might lose some of its luster by Selection Sunday.

Washington: The Huskies sputtered through December, losing 4 of 5 to start the month. They seem to have righted the ship, and started 2-0 in Pac-12 play. They play 4 games at home in January, and are favored in 3 of 4 they play on the road. If they play to their potential, Washington could still be a very good win.

Green Bay: Brian Wardle's club has had its ups and downs, but while late-year losses to Butler and Valpo are discouraging, a combined margin of 7 points on the road indicates good things going forward. January will be very telling as they get into the meat of the Horizon schedule.

Northern Colorado: The Bears played a tough schedule, but managed to get a win over Northern Arizona in their conference opener. They are favored in 7 of 8 games in January, so there's still time for this team to turn it around and possibly challenge for an automatic bid to the NCAAs come March.

LSU: The Tigers had a great month...for Marquette fans, TOO great of a month, since their biggest win was over the Warriors. They have one last non-con tuneup at home against Virginia to prove that the win over MU wasn't a fluke. They'll be underdogs in 6 of 8 games in January, so now is the time for LSU to prove whether or not they are for real.

Milwaukee: With under 2 minutes to play at the Hinkle Fieldhouse, UW-M seemed to be on their way to a 4-0 Horizon start. Instead, Butler came back and the Panthers dropped their first conference game. It was an up and down month for the Panthers, but now that conference play has started they can prove they are a legitimate conference contender. UW-M will be favorites in 8 of 9 games in January and are projecting as a top-100 RPI team again.

Vanderbilt: Vandy got their signature win on the road at Marquette, and now will be favored in 8 of 9 games in January. Their early-season slump seems to be forgotten, and Vandy certainly has the talent to still contend in the SEC, if they truly have their act together.

December W-LOverall RecordCurrent RPIProjected RPIkenpom RatingBest WinWorst Loss
Mt St Mary's1-72-11307316305237 American252 Sav St
Norfolk St5-28-43774195186 Long Island81 Illinois St
Winthrop2-52-10266284236220 Presbyterian242 Gardner Webb
Mississippi4-39-44223105150 Penn St71 Dayton
Norfolk St5-28-43774195186 Long Island81 Illinois St
Jacksonville0-62-10310298240(None)236 Winthrop
Wisconsin6-212-35019121 UNLV96 Iowa
Washington4-48-585895667 Oregon St108 Nevada
Green Bay3-44-8127176169121 Idaho159 Valpo
N Colorado1-33-7160170176300 N Arizona101 Colorado St
LSU6-010-369538818 Marquette(None)
Milwaukee5-49-5829986152 DePaul118 Butler
Vanderbilt4-29-430364018 Marquette110 Indiana St
Marquette5-211-2207181 Wisconsin88 LSU

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