Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sizing up the 49ers' NCAA chances

The Charlotte 49ers’ 71-67 victory Wednesday at No. 11 Butler means it’s time to assess Charlotte’s NCAA tournament prospects – which have now become much more realistic.

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 Charlotte’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:

-- 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 St. Joseph’s.

-- 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 Butler (17), La Salle (33) and Massachusetts (49). Charlotte also beat top-100 teams Xavier (87) and Oral Roberts (100). The 49ers have three losses outside the top 50: Florida State (66), Richmond (84) and George Washington (121).

-- Which brings us to Charlotte’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 Saint Louis and Temple. But the RPI won’t get much help in those last four games.

-- Which then brings us to what will probably be the 49ers’ biggest  hurdle to the tournament. Charlotte 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 Miami and Florida State. The best “eyeballs” victory was at Davidson, although ORU’s RPI is higher.

-- 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 Butler victory:

 -- It ranked among the 49ers’ most impressive road conference wins: Charlotte won two Conference USA road games against ranked opponents (86-83 at No. 8 Cincinnati in 2004 and 76-66 at No. 25 Marquette in 2005).

Charlotte also won at No. 7 Syracuse in 2003-04, at No. 18 Clemson in 2007-08 and at No. 20 Louisville in 2009.

-- 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, Charlotte was 54.2 percent against the Bulldogs, who had been unbeaten at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Charlotte’s turnovers (12) were also lower than usual.



Anonymous said...

Too bad Charlotte is leaving this conference. They finally have a team that is competing in the A-10.

Anonymous said...

I would be so proud if we made the tournament. This team is doing better than predicted.

Jeff said...

And........with the A10 improving by adding VCU and Butler......we just back to the conference we were too good for a few years back ! What the hell are the people in charge thinking ?????
Go Niners !

Unknown said...

It all revolves around football now for this university, sad to say but true.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, you're way off base with the "conference we were too good for" comment. It basically wasn't our choice to leave C-USA in the first place. We were forced out because the conference wanted to be a football conference, and we didn't have football. C-USA was a great place for us to be, and I can assure you the sentiment wasn't that we were too good for it. The A-10, while not ideal, was a pretty good place for us to go considering what we had to choose from. Now with football starting up, having the opportunity to be FBS after just two years really is a great situation to be in. We'll just have to hope basketball doesn't take a huge step back in the process.

Anonymous said...

The mirage fairytale fantasy for UNCC 49ers if they get lucky and get in will crash a quick death like the Siberian meteorite since there's nothing even remotely resembling tradition other than losing much less making the playoffs for 50 years more than a few times. They have bombed at the NIT once or twice although.
Enjoy this extreme rare novelty moment as it will be over soon and back to loser reality.
Even a broke clock gets it right once a day and of course the Butler win was a fluke although Butler is a joke even at 11th in a weak conference and weak schedule.

Keep practicing hard and dreaming with eyez on the prize that maybe one day in the distant future UNCC might possibly be as good as a bad ACC team since anything is possible. Just keep your head up.

Anonymous said...

Hey 2:31, you feel better about yourself now, buddy? I'm not really sure why you have such a beef with us that you feel the need to post a ridiculous rant like that. But allow me to at least enlighten you on a few things.

First of all, since we started playing D-I basketball in 1970, we have won many more games than we've lost, so a tradition of losing doesn't really make sense.

Second, playoffs...? This isn't the NBA. I'll assume that perhaps you meant the NCAA Tournament. We have made the NCAA's exactly 11 times in the past 50 years. No, not earth-shattering, but more than your "few". And perhaps your memory is bad, but in our C-USA days we made the Tourney 7 our of 10 years. Pretty nice tradition I would say.

Thirdly, say what you will about Butler, but they beat the only team from your precious ACC that they played this season. That team would be none other than Chapel Hill. And mark my words, the "weak" A-10 conference will send more teams to the NCAA's than the ACC will. Beating ranked teams is hardly a fluke for us, by the way. If you look at our history we do it quite regularly.

So enjoy your sad life of putting others down to make yourself feel special. And try to keep an eye out for us. We're called the Charlotte 49ers, and if you don't watch out, our little ol' team may just surprise you by taking a few of your ACC teams down in the coming years. This is still a very young team that's making some big steps toward being something pretty special. Just don't say we didn't warn you.


Anonymous said...

@ 2:31 Even one more thing, a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day moron since an analog clock does not differentiate between AM and PM. If an led clock breaks the lights go out and it does not tell time at all. You must be one of the Chapel Hill coloring book athletes. Was your major African studies where a one page double spaced paper bought your degree?

Anonymous said...

Don't fault the moron for being an ACC fan. For years, the Observer has been telling its readers the Niners were not worthy of following, even when they were regulars in post season.