By Mel Greenberg
This item is going to be in Tuesday's print notebook but although the AP poll is hours from release the obvious continuation of the Connecticut-Stanford 1-2 run has produced the following from the Guru's AP poll history database.
The Connecticut-Stanford 1-2 punch since the start of the Associated Press poll in the preseason media vote is now the longest tandem 1-2 run in the 34-year history of the rankings.
Temple seems the only school in the city with a solid shot at an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament if the Owls don’t win the Atlantic 10 tournament for an automatic bid next month.
Coach Tonya Cardoza’s squad has a current Ratings Perentage Index ranking of 50 with a strength of schedule ranking of 88 at the CollegeRPI.com site that simulates one of the tools used by the NCAA selection committee to pick teams and seed the 64-team field.
Some of Temple’s early wins in nonconference have devalued since such as the triumphs over Illinois, Auburn, and even Rutgers to an extent despite the Scarlet Knights’ RPI of 20 and No. 1 ranking in strength of schedule.
Rutgers may be an RPI notable at the moment. However the Scarlet Knights are currently 13-10 overall and 5-4 in the Big East. The record is mainly attributed to Epiphanny Prince’s decision last summer to bypassed her senior season and go to Europe to prepare for the WNBA.
Coach C. Vivian Stringer’s squad has a chance to get on a roll with West Virginia the only major Big East opponent left on the conference schedule.
Rutgers needs to show momentum because wins alone at 18, for those who have been projecting, may not be enough in a sea of potential candidates with the same resume. A win over West Virginia would be helpful. The loss at George Washington is an obvious blot and narrow wins over a few others brings criticism. Furthermore some earlier wins such as at Pittsburgh have devalued and the win over DePaul will be worth something but not as much as it appeared at the time. A win over Syracuse to make up for the loss to the Orange on the road would also be helpful.
For example, last week at the NCAA mock selections for media and coaches, Rutgers was not picked to the field, while Temple, with a win over the Scarlet Knights got chosen, according to one source who participated. The group worked with the current data, which of course will change between now and the real selection weekend.
Other RPI rankings for area schools as of yesterday are: 71-Drexel, 105-Delaware, 115-Villanova, 124-St. Joseph’s, 242-La Salle and 327-Penn, while elsewhere Penn State is at 52.
The Big 12 has eight teams in the Top 35, while the Big East has seven.
The Guru had intended to run down to Maryland for the Virginia game but since a snow postponement has inserted a game much shorter down from here on I-95, the Guru will be at Delaware for the George Mason game, which follows the men's game at 3:30 p.m. The window between the CAA and ACC games is too narrow to make both.
But when was the last time Virginia and Maryland met without either team being ranked?