Charlotte 49ers’ 71-67
victory Wednesday at No. 11 Butler means it’s time to assess ’s NCAA tournament prospects – which
have now become much more realistic. Charlotte
The 49ers (18-6, 6-4 Atlantic 10) will be back on most prognosticators’ tournament bubbles this weekend as Charlotte heads back out on the road for a game Saturday at Saint Louis (18-5, 7-2), which is tied for first place in the league with Virginia Commonwealth.
A few things point in
’s favor for an at-large tournament
berth – and a few things that won’t help when the selection committee takes a
look at the 49ers’ resume: Charlotte
-- The 49ers appear headed for a 20-win regular season. Six regular-season games remain. After Saturday’s game with the Billikens and a home game Feb. 25 against
Temple, the 49ers
finish with games against teams all with league records of .500 or below: Dayton, St. Bonaventure, Duquesne and ’s. St. Joseph
-- Tied into that will be the 49ers’ league record, which needs to above .500 for them to be taken seriously on Selection Sunday.
Charlotte has three victories
against top-50 RPI teams (according to CBSsportsline.com): Butler
(17), La Salle (33) and
also beat top-100 teams Xavier (87) and Oral Roberts (100). The 49ers have
three losses outside the top 50: Charlotte Florida
State (66), (84) and George Washington (121). Richmond
-- Which brings us to
’s RPI, which is at 55 now and has
hovered in that vicinity for the past several weeks. The committee, it’s been
reported, likes an RPI of 50 or higher. The 49ers can move in that direction against
Charlotte Saint Louis and . But the RPI won’t get much help in
those last four games. Temple
-- Which then brings us to what will probably be the 49ers’ biggest hurdle to the tournament.
played a weak
nonconference schedule (ranked 229th). As much as any factor, the committee
doesn’t like weak nonconference schedules. The 49ers went 12-2 in the
nonconference, losing to Charlotte Miami and . The best “eyeballs” victory was at
Davidson, although ORU’s RPI is higher. Florida State
-- So here’s a realistic, if challenging, scenario for the 49ers: Finish the regular season at least 22-8, 10-6 in the league. Win at least one game in the Atlantic 10 tournament. Factor in all of the above and see what happens.
-- Or, of course, win the Atlantic 10 tournament.
Other notes from the
-- It ranked among the 49ers’ most impressive road conference wins:
-- Coach Alan Major shook up the starting lineup again, bringing Chris Braswell off the bench, from where he has been most effective this season. Braswell played scored 25 minutes and scored 11 points and had six rebounds. Freshman Darion Clark, back in the starting lineup for Braswell, responded with 10 points and nine rebounds.
-- The 49ers also shot well again. Four days after shooting 51.1 percent against VCU,
was 54.2 percent against the Bulldogs, who had been unbeaten at Hinkle
Fieldhouse. Charlotte ’s
turnovers (12) were also lower than usual. Charlotte