RPI and schedule data from Basketball State (subscription), accessed on January 17, 2011. This information only reflects games played against Division I opponents through Monday, January 17, 2011.
1. Pittsburgh Panthers (Big East auto)
Last Week: 2
Record: 18-1 overall; 6-0 conference; 4-1 vs. RPI Top 50; 5-0 vs. RPI 51-100; 5-0 vs. RPI 150+; 4-0 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 123 Loss: 24
Last Week: won at Georgetown 72-57, def. Seton Hall 74-53, def. Syracuse 74-66
This Week: at DePaul (Sat.), Notre Dame (Mon.)
The Panthers rise up to the top line after sweeping the week, capping it off with an interesting win over formerly unbeaten Syracuse.
16A. Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (MEAC auto)
Record: 6-8 overall; 5-0 conference; 0-2 vs. RPI Top 50; 0-0 vs. RPI 51-100; 6-2 vs. RPI 150+; 5-8 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 148 Loss: 119
Last Week: won at Delaware State 61-60, won at Maryland-Eastern Shore 71-64
This Week: Hampton (Sat.), Howard (Mon.)
The Wildcats replace Morgan State in this week's projection because they own one more conference win than the Bears.
16B. Long Island Blackbirds (Northeast auto)
Record: 13-4 overall; 4-1 conference; 0-0 vs. RPI Top 50; 0-3 vs. RPI 51-100; 12-0 vs. RPI 150+; 7-2 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 260 Loss: 95
Last Week: def. Mount St. Mary's 91-69, def. Wagner 84-54
This Week: at Robert Morris (Thu.), at St. Francis (PA) (Sat.)
The Blackbirds knocked off last week's leader, Wagner, on Saturday to become the only one-loss team in the NEC. They' can consider themselves lucky if still have that single loss after Thursday's game at two-time defending champ Robert Morris.
8. Boston College Eagles (ACC at-large)
Last Week: 10
Record: 13-5 overall; 3-1 conference; 1-3 vs. RPI Top 50; 5-1 vs. RPI 51-100; 4-0 vs. RPI 150+; 5-3 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 133 Loss: 63
Last Week: def. NC State 75-66, lost at Miami 72-71
This Week: Virginia (Wed.), at Florida State (Sat.)
The Eagles rise a seed line despite their loss to Miami on Monday because they've gotten a few resume boosts over the past week. Reggie Jackson rolled his ankle at very end of Miami game, but shouldn't miss any time.
9. St. Mary's Gaels (West Coast auto)
Record: 14-2 overall; 4-0 conference; 1-2 vs. RPI Top 50; 1-0 vs. RPI 51-100; 10-0 vs. RPI 150+; 6-2 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 171 Loss: 3
Last Week: def. San Francisco 71-57, def. Santa Clara 84-59
This Week: San Diego (Wed.), at Vanderbilt (Sat.)
The Gaels cannot get caught looking ahead against a bad San Diego team on Wednesday, even with a crucial game in Nashville. A win over the Commodores at Memorial Gym would simply do wonders for St. Mary's at-large hopes and seed position.
5. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten at-large)
Record: 13-4 overall; 3-2 conference; 3-4 vs. RPI Top 50; 2-0 vs. RPI 51-100; 6-0 vs. RPI 150+; 3-3 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 168 Loss: 22
Last Week: lost at Michigan State 64-61 (OT), def. Illinois 76-66
This Week: Indiana (Thu.), at Northwestern (Sun.)
The Badgers earned a nice split with the Illini this week, taking some of the hurt off Tuesday's OT loss to the Spartans. Saturday's trip to Northwestern is a potential trap, especially with the Wildcats due to pull out a win at some point.
12. Utah St. Aggies (WAC auto)
Record: 16-2 overall; 5-0 conference; 0-2 vs. RPI Top 50; 1-0 vs. RPI 51-100; 14-0 vs. RPI 150+; 6-2 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 209 Loss: 6
Last Week: won at Boise State 68-59, won at Fresno State 52-39
This Week: Louisiana Tech (Thu.), New Mexico State (Sat.)
The Aggies don't need an at-large bid at the moment, as they're the lone unbeaten in the WAC. Utah State handed Boise State their first league loss Thursday, then shut down Fresno State two days later. Once again, the Blue Aggies will need to watch out for the Red Aggies this week, as New Mexico State is tied for second with surprising Idaho.
4. Missouri Tigers (Big 12 at-large)
Record: 15-3 overall; 2-2 conference; 4-2 vs. RPI Top 50; 0-1 vs. RPI 51-100; 9-0 vs. RPI 150+; 4-3 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 166 Loss: 32
Last Week: def. Nebraska 77-69, lost at Texas A&M 91-89 (OT), def. Kansas State 75-59
This Week: Iowa State (Sat.)
The Tigers followed up an exciting loss at Texas A&M with a fairly dominant (except for a span at the very beginning of the second half) win over a reeling K-State team. This team is definitely worth a watch anytime they pop up on TV, though perhaps not on Saturday against Iowa State.
13. James Madison Dukes (CAA auto)
Record: 15-3 overall; 5-1 conference; 0-1 vs. RPI Top 50; 4-1 vs. RPI 51-100; 8-1 vs. RPI 150+; 6-3 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 186 Loss: 102
Last Week: def. Georgia State 79-67, def. UNC Wilmington 63-54
This Week: at Old Dominion (Wed.), George Mason (Sat.), at Hofstra (Mon.)
The Dukes are tied with Hofstra and VCU atop the league, but get the auto bid based on a slightly better overall record. With a trip to Norfolk on the schedule for Wednesday, JMU's time here may be short-lived.
6. Florida Gators (SEC at-large)
Record: 13-4 overall; 2-1 conference; 3-2 vs. RPI Top 50; 4-1 vs. RPI 51-100; 2-0 vs. RPI 150+; 5-1 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 108 Loss: 58
Last Week: won at Tennessee 81-75 (OT), lost to South Carolina 72-69
This Week: at Auburn (Thu.), Arkansas (Sat.)
Just when it looked like the Gators had it all figured out, knocking off Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time since 2005, they lose at home to South Carolina, exhibiting many of the issues the post-national championship teams have been known for. UF should handle a terrible Auburn team Thursday, but Arkansas will be a tough out in Gainesville on Saturday.
11A. Marquette Golden Eagles (Big East at-large)
Record: 12-6 overall; 3-2 conference; 2-6 vs. RPI Top 50; 1-0 vs. RPI 51-100; 7-0 vs. RPI 150+; 2-5 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 189 Loss: 25
Last Week: lost at Louisville 71-70
This Week: DePaul (Tue.), at Notre Dame (Sat.)
The Golden Eagles blew an 18-point lead against the Cardinals, which drops them into the "First Four" this week. Only time will tell if the loss has any long term effects. Marquette should have no trouble with DePaul on Tuesday, but they'll have a hard time sweeping Notre Dame.
11B. Penn St. Nittany Lions (Big Ten at-large)
Record: 10-7 overall; 3-3 conference; 2-2 vs. RPI Top 50; 0-4 vs. RPI 51-100; 6-1 vs. RPI 150+; 1-4 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 142 Loss: 79
Last Week: def. Illinois 57-55, lost at Ohio State 69-66
This Week: at Purdue (Wed.)
The Nittany Lions sneak into the "First Four" on the strength of two big wins (Illinois and Michigan State) and a close road loss (Ohio State) in the past week-plus. They get in over Miami since wins over the Illini and Spartans are just a tad bit better than Miami's (West Virginia and BC). A .500 league record also helps (Miami is 1-2 in the ACC). An early loss to Maine could come back to haunt Penn State, however.
3. Texas A&M Aggies (Big 12 at-large)
Last Week: 5
Record: 15-1 overall; 3-0 conference; 4-1 vs. RPI Top 50; 0-0 vs. RPI 51-100; 6-0 vs. RPI 150+; 4-1 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 142 Loss: 35
Last Week: def. Oklahoma State 71-48, def. Missouri 91-89 (OT)
This Week: at Texas (Wed.), Kansas State (Sat.)
The Aggies and Missouri played one of the more entertaining games of the year Saturday, and A&M may need to put on another high-octane show to handle Texas on Wednesday if they want to stay perfect in the conference. Saturday's game with K-State, however, could be a slugfest. No matter, this version of the Aggies can play both styles equally well.
14. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (Big South auto)
Record: 12-2 overall; 7-0 conference; 0-1 vs. RPI Top 50; 0-1 vs. RPI 51-100; 11-0 vs. RPI 150+; 4-2 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 164 Loss: 42
Last Week: def. Winthrop 74-69, def. Presbyterian 60-42
This Week: at UNC Asheville (Thu.), at Gardner-Webb (Sat.)
Coastal owns a game lead (in the loss column) on Liberty, who the Chanticleers defeated in Lynchburg two weekends ago. This past week, the Chants took care of a Winthrop team that kept them out of the Tournament last year and D1 transitional Presbyterian.
7. Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big Ten at-large)
Last Week: 9
Record: 14-4 overall; 3-3 conference; 3-3 vs. RPI Top 50; 0-0 vs. RPI 51-100; 10-0 vs. RPI 150+; 4-3 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 157 Loss: 47
Last Week: def. Purdue 70-67, def. Iowa 69-59
This Week: at Michigan (Sat.)
The Gophers grabbed a needed win against a top Big Ten team by topping the Boilermakers on Thursday, then put away Iowa in a difficult contest on Sunday. This team is starting to look like it did early in the season, but a few Big Ten tests in the offing will show if Minnesota's recent play is a good trend or mirage.
10. Tennessee Volunteers (SEC at-large)
Last Week: 11
Record: 11-6 overall; 1-2 conference; 4-1 vs. RPI Top 50; 4-3 vs. RPI 51-100; 3-1 vs. RPI 150+; 3-2 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 101 Loss: 88
Last Week: lost to Florida 81-76 (OT), def. Vanderbilt 67-64
This Week: at Georgia (Tue.), at Connecticut (Sat.)
Just when you think it's safe to write the Volunteers off (like on Tuesday), they come right back to life, but a pair of rough road tests could very well alter Tennessee's fortunes the rest of the way.
2. Villanova Wildcats (Big East at-large)
Record: 16-2 overall; 4-1 conference; 2-2 vs. RPI Top 50; 4-0 vs. RPI 51-100; 7-0 vs. RPI 150+; 5-2 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 141 Loss: 16
Last Week: def. Louisville 88-74, def, Maryland 74-66, lost at Connecticut 61-59
This Week: at Syracuse (Sat.)
Dominic Cheek injured his knee against the Terps, and coach Jay Wright says it's serious. Indeed, he missed Monday afternoon's loss at UConn, the Wildcats' first Big East setback. They face another tough road test on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.
15. Long Beach St. 49ers (Big West auto)
Record: 9-8 overall; 6-0 conference; 0-5 vs. RPI Top 50; 1-1 vs. RPI 51-100; 6-1 vs. RPI 150+; 5-6 Road/Neutral
Average RPI win: 162 Loss: 74
Last Week: def. UC Davis 60-56, def. Pacific 70-69
This Week: at Cal State Fullerton (Wed.), at UC Irvine (Sat.)
The 49ers have won six straight, but four at home, to open up a two-game lead on the Big West field. They'll need it, as they play their next five of their next six on the road.