**Note - it was Easter yesterday, I hope the Easter Bunny brought you enough candy to stuff your face for a year, since he didn't bring you any bracketology posts and in retrospect was never going to. Lacrosse bracketology will serve for this week's Monday post, but a basketball season retrospective is also just around the corner, so keep an eye out for that.
Johns Hopkins continues to make me look like an idiot; right after I said the field was close to all set, they lose to Ohio State and in doing so launched OSU so far into the field they hardly know what a bubble looks like anymore. Hopkins is the gift that keeps on giving. Common sense says that beating a 4-6 team that's only beaten mediocre teams at best (Villanova, Navy, Rutgers, and UMBC) shouldn't be a tournament resume-builder. RPI says otherwise. I don't think RPI is as bad as many people say, but it's a very blunt instrument. The fact is that Hopkins probably would actually be favored over most if not all the teams below it in the RPI, which means RPI isn't quite as stupid as it looks - but the other fact is that resume-wise, theirs is in absolute tatters and therefore they really shouldn't be the boost that they are.
But RPI and its offshoots like "top-20 wins" are the tools the committee uses, so there you go. Ohio State now looks to be in decent shape. With Yale being the only Ivy contender that didn't fall flat on its face this week, the new bubble battle is between Princeton and Marquette - and Marquette has such a tough schedule coming up that their RPI can't help but go up, so counting them out of the field at this point would be crazy.
Here's what happened in last week's big games:
-- Syracuse 17, Albany 12: Albany would be in the field without the autobid - this week - thanks to the RPI boost from just playing Syracuse. The rest of Albany's schedule is mostly crappy, though, so it's a short-lived jump. The one possible exception: if they can pull off a win against Yale.
-- North Carolina 10, Virginia 6: UVA's three losses are now 1, 2, and 3 in the bracket. I promise that's not just me being a homer. With a top-ten RPI, UVA is a little bit like a good Johns Hopkins.
-- Loyola 17, Navy 7: Proving that the Patriot League is still bats. It opens up a new and interesting race: If Towson remains the CAA representative, there's a battle brewing between them and the PL champ to stay out of the play-in games. Navy currently has the autobid because rules (they're 5-2 while the next best team is 4-2) but Loyola and Army both have better resumes.
-- Notre Dame 15, Duke 10: The Domers are solidifying their #1 seed.
-- Ohio State 15, Johns Hopkins 12: We see the results of this game above. OSU is suddenly a contender. Hopkins, on the other hand, must either win out the regular season or earn the autobid - those are their only two paths to the tourney.
And next week's games of import:
-- Marquette at Notre Dame: Can Marquette get back into the field simply by losing this game? Very possible.
-- Loyola at Maryland: The Greyhounds aren't out of this yet. Bubble life will be interesting if they win this. Most of the Ivy League is rooting against them.
-- Brown at Yale: Brown's star is fading fast; they can reverse that trend quickly with a win here.
-- Army at Navy: Huge game for PL leadership.... which will probably be superseded by whatever happens in the conference tourney anyway.
-- Towson at Fairfield: CAA leadership is on the line here, and this game - like those in the PL - has implications for the play-in game as well.
-- Syracuse at North Carolina: Seeding battle.
-- Virginia at Duke: The winner is positioned extremely well for a middle seed, at least a #6. The loser has to sweat out the Ivy League to hope someone doesn't steal a hosting spot.