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Top of the Arc - February 25, 2009

Feb. 25, 1 a.m.: So Providence took a significant step toward an at-large bid by beating Pittsburgh. The Friars still have plenty of work to do and could prove an interesting test case for the selection committee. They have nine wins in the strongest conference in America and could ensure themselves a winning conference record with a victory at Rutgers. But Providence has only two top 50 victories and a less-than-impressive RPI.

Penn State is in a precarious situation after losing to Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have eight Big Ten victories, and two wins in their last three games would put them in decent shape. Their RPI and strength of schedule are not great. Meantime, Texas A&M got an important win to stay in the mix, and San Diego State squandered an opportunity to get a key victory over Brigham Young. The Mountain West looks like a three-bid league, but the Aztecs look like an NIT team at this point.

This is an important day for Maryland, which has the opportunity to beat knock off Duke just four days after beating North Carolina. Doing so would put the Terps in great position for an at-large bid. A loss, however, means that Maryland would need to win two of its last three games.

Each morning, I will post my last four teams in the field and my first teams out.

As you can tell, it is very difficult to separate these teams, and selection committee members often differ on which credentials they value most. (SOS means strength of schedule; all data courtesy of Jerry Palm’s Web site, www.collegerpi.com)

LAST FOUR IN

Penn State (19-9, 8-7)
Pros:
5-5 on road, 2 Top 25 wins
Cons: 62 RPI, 80 SOS

Oklahoma State (17-9, 6-6)
Pros:
11 SOS, 31 RPI
Cons: 2-8 vs. top 50

Maryland (17-9, 6-6)
Pros:
two top five victories
Cons: 1-5 on road

Temple (17-9, 9-3)
Pros:
RPI 36, 8 road wins
Cons: 1 top 50 win

FIRST TEAMS OUT
Providence (17-11, 9-7)
Pros:
9-7 in Big East
Cons: 71 RPI, 2-6 vs. top 50

Cincinnati (17-10, 7-7)
Pros:
Sweep of G-town, 20 SOS
Cons: 0-8 vs. top 25

Virginia Tech (16-10, 6-6)
Pros:
4 road wins
Cons: 66 RPI, lost three straight, 2-5 vs. top 50

Miami (16-10, 5-8)
Pros:
9 SOS
Cons: 5-8 in ACC, 2-7 vs. top 50

Texas A&M (20-8, 6-7)
Pros:
34 RPI
Cons: 0-3 vs. top 25, 6-7 in Big 12

Kansas State (19-8, 7-5)
Pros:
3-3 vs. top 50, 5-3 on road
Cons: 109 SOS, 75 RPI

Michigan (17-11, 7-8)
Pros:
18 SOS, 4 top 50 wins
Cons: 7-8 in Big Ten, 2 road wins

Southern California (16-10, 7-7)
Pros:
16 SOS
Cons: 2 road wins, 0 top 25 wins

Notre Dame (15-11, 6-8)
Pros:
pounded Louisville, 90-57
Cons: 72 RPI, 6-8 in Big East

Saint Mary’s (22-5, 8-4)
Pros:
6-3 road record
Cons: 143 SOS, 3-3 vs. top 100

San Diego State (18-8, 8-5)
Pros:
Beat Utah, UNLV
Cons: 4-8 vs. top 100

Georgetown (14-12, 5-10)
Pros:
1 SOS, won at U-Conn.
Cons: 5-10 in Big East

By Eric Prisbell  |  February 25, 2009; 1:00 AM ET
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