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Tag:Arizona
Posted on: March 10, 2012 8:49 am
Edited on: March 10, 2012 9:58 am
 

Tough day to be a top seed

It was a tough day to be a top seed in your conference tournament.  Kansas, Temple, and Syracuse are among the top seeds that lost.  Nevada lost as well in the WAC, and probably won't make the tournament.  The Jayhawks fell off the top line of the bracket, replaced by Ohio State.  For now.

It is possible that we have a stolen bid in the Pac 12, as Cal lost.  The Bears were the one semi-decent at-large candidate.  I still have them in as of this morning.

Xavier won a big game against Dayton, which helped the Muskies solidify its spot in the field, and knocked the Flyers out of contention.

Ole Miss also won an elimination game against Tennessee.  The Rebels aren't necessarily safe though, but the Vols are definitely done.

At the bottom, Seton Hall and Miami are off the bracket, replaced by Arizona, the Pac-12 leader du jour, and NC State.  Miami lost to Florida State, while the Wolfpack advanced in the ACC tournament by beating Virginia.

Colorado State and Northwestern are still in the First Four.  The Rams lost to San Diego State last night.

Bids could be stolen today in Conference USA, and tomorrow in the A-10.  Marshall can secure a spot by winning at Memphis.  The A-10 final is sure to have either St. Bonaventure or Massachusetts, neither of which is at-large quality.

And I wouldn't entirely rule out Long Beach as an at-large team if it loses in the Big West final.  The 49ers played the toughest non-conference schedule of anyone, and beat Xavier and Pitt.  They were pretty competitive in losses to UNC, Kansas, San Diego State and Creighton.

Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:05 am
 

Upsetting day

Sunday was a day of upsets that altered the bracket, but not to the point that any bids were stolen.

That almost happened though.  Creighton needed overtime to dispatch Illinois State in the Missouri Valley final.  ISU would have stolen a bid from someone with a win.

Top seeded Iona and Middle Tennessee State lost in their conference tournaments, but their at-large prospects are not very good.  Both teams too bad losses relatively early in their tournaments, and it's hard to see either one getting in now.

In fact, the second seed in the Sun Belt lost also, so Denver shows up as the league rep in today's bracket.

Further up the bracket, Ohio State won at Michigan State to create a three-way tie for the Big Ten title with Michigan.  It's the first Big Ten regular season title for the Wolverines since 1986.  The Fab Five and the 1989 National Champs didn't win the league.

The game wasn't the only loss for the Spartans.  Star freshman Brandon Dawson was lost for the year with a torn ACL.  It remains to be seen how much of an impact that will have on MSU.

Both the Buckeyes and Spartans are two-seeds in the bracket today, but still in the hunt for a one.

The Pac-12 disaster keeps chugging along.  Cal, Washington and Arizona all took bad losses on the road this weekend.  Washington is back in the bracket as the conference leader today after relinquishing that on Saturday.  Cal remains an at-large for now, but in a first four game.  Texas fell out of the bracket to make room for the Huskies.

Four more bids will be clinched tonight, including the Colonial, which has the top two seeds, Drexel and VCU, facing off.  Many are championing the idea that both teams should be in win or lose, but those people are living in the past.  The committee doesn't care that VCU was in the Final Four last year or that George Mason was in 2006.  The league is way down this year.  Drexel did next to nothing out of conference.  VCU has a win at home over the lesser version of South Florida.  That's pretty much it.  If these teams played in the Pac-12, the same media people be fuming over them even being considered.  Actually, that's pretty much happening anyway -- the people who think both these teams should be in are repulsed by the idea that a Pac-12 team could be an at-large.  The reality is that neither league has a good at-large candidate.  That doesn't mean a team or two won't get in -- there is a 68-team bracket to fill -- but nobody in either league will be able to complain about being left out.

Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:28 pm
 

Bracket steady at the top

Today's bracket and bubble watch are posted.  The top three seeds are still the same, although some shuffling among regions has occurred.

One of the biggest myths of bracketing is that the committee "snakes" the field, but that isn't true.  No effort is made to match the overall No. 1 with the worst of the two seeds, or the 16 seeds or the 8s or any seed.  Geography plays a big role in where teams get placed.  There is some effort at balance among the top four seeds in each region, and in the bracket overall, but that's it.

Geography plays a much bigger role in bracketing than most people realize.  That's because the feedback the NCAA gets from schools and coaches is that they would rather be in a tougher region close to home than travel far for an easier draw.

So, no Kansas is not the lowest No. 2 seed just because it is paired with overall No. 1 Kentucky.

Texas and Arizona are out of the bracket, replaced by UCF and Miami.  Miami actually picked up a big win over the weekend against Florida State.  The other teams didn't lose, but got shuffled after re-evaulation.

Iowa State was the biggest mover up the bracket after filling a big hole in its resume with a win at Kansas State.  It was only the Cyclones fourth top 100 win, but their first away from home.

Wisconsin moved up a couple spots as well after winning at Ohio StateNotre Dame had its nine-game winning streak broken at St. John's, then lost again to Georgetown last night.

Conference tournaments are underway, which has those teams near the bottom of the bracket sweating out potential bid-stealers.  If Murray State were to go down in the OVC tournament, somebody's bubble would burst as Murray is clearly at-large quality.

The same would happen if a team other than Creighton or Wichita State wins the Missouri Valley.

It's a little dicier after that.  Harvard might be an at-large if it somehow loses the Ivy League.  The Ivy does not have a tournament, so the Crimson would have to lose in the regular season.  They are currently tied with Penn in the loss column.  If the two teams finish tied, the Ivy would have a one-game, neutral court playoff.

Teams like Long Beach, Oral Roberts, Drexel and Iona have slim at-large hopes should they lose their conference tournaments as well.

I will update the bracket and bubble watch pages daily from now on, as events dictate.

Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:16 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 10:53 am
 

Feb. 17 bracket

Today's bracket is posted.  There are virtually no changes at the top, thanks to Duke's comeback over North Carolina State last night.
There is some shuffling at the bottom though.  The First Four provides a post-season version of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.  Miami and Northwestern are bracketed for one game, and the Wolfpack faces Minnesota in the other.

There are still nine Big Ten teams in the bracket, but obviously, two are in serious trouble.

A second Pac 12 team (Arizona) is in for now and Washington is among the first four out.

Iowa State is out, not because they lost, but because the Cyclones haven't beaten anyone of any significance away from home.  That is an important thing for the committee.  It's also the problem for fellow conference mate Texas.

I will write in more detail about the bottom and off-the-bracket teams in Bubble Watch in a little bit.

However, here's a few helpful hints for those of you commenting on your teams.

Conference record is just a number.  Teams are evaluated on their entire seasons, not just the conference portion, which is only about 2/3 of a team's full schedule (and less than that with three weeks to go).  If all you have is conference record and/or position in the conference standings, you have nothing.

Head to head results are not decisive.  Teams are judged on their entire seasons, not one or two games.  Alabama fans know that well, after beating Georgia twice in the final week of the season last year, only to see the Bulldogs be selected ahead of them.

How teams finish the season has been deemphasized by the committee.  It has no bearing on how you do in the tournament.  VCU lost four of its last five last year.

Speaking of the Colonial league, people are asking if there is an at-large team in the trio atop the league (Drexel, VCU, George Mason).  They ask because the league usually has at-large quaity teams at the top of the league and has performed well in the tournament.  However, this is a down year.  Those three are rated betewen 80-100 in the RPI, or a good 50-60 spots below where the league's best team usually rates.    Those three teams have combined for three non-conference wins against top 100 teams.   There just isn't enough there to compete for at-large bids, so the Colonial will be a one-bid league.

I will be headed to the Murray State-St. Mary's game on Saturday, followed by the Michigan State-Purdue game on Sunday.  The SMC-Murray game is part of the bracket buster, which rarely, if ever, busts a bracket, but Murray can really help itself with a win over the Gaels in the event the Racers get upset in the OVC tournament and need an at-large big.

Another team that can boost its potential at-large hopes with a win is Long Beach, which travels to Creighton.  It would be their best win of the year.



Posted on: February 7, 2012 12:38 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Feb. 7 bracket

Today's bracket is up with very little change at the top.  The top two lines are the same, and only 3-seed Georgetown moved more than one-line up to join the top 16.  The Hoyas were a five-seed last week.  Florida also moved up one spot to a four-seed.  The Gators have a big opportunity to make a splash tonight at overall No. 1 Kentucky.

Ohio State continues to push for a spot on the top line.  The Buckeyes have some good wins, over a little better quality teams than Baylor, but has losses to Illinois and Indiana and just picked up their first win of any significance outside of Columbus last weekend when they beat Wisconsin.  Almost all of Baylor's best wins have come away from home, and the Bears worst loss came at Kansas.  That's Ohio State's best loss.  So, Baylor still holds on for now.

Marquette dropped a couple spots after getting blown out at Notre Dame.  The Irish continue their climb in the bracket.  They moved up to an 11-seed after being slotted in a First Four game last week.

I can't get Seton Hall out of the bracket yet, despite the Pirates' best effort to fall out.  Their six-game losing streak is troublesome, but they do not have a loss to a triple-digit RPI team yet (Villanova is close though).  The Hall needs to right the ship against Rutgers tomorrow.

Northwestern is also still in the bracket after a bounce-back week that included a win over Nebraska and also at Illinois.  That pick got a lot of criticism last week because at the time, the Cats were 2-6 in the league.  Keep in mind though that conference record and conference standings are not relevant to the selection process.  Teams are judged on their entire seasons, not just the conference part, and it doesn't get any special weight.  Conference record is just a number.  And with the unbalanced schedules most leagues play (ridiculously so in the Big East), standings aren't very useful.

I've been talking most of the last month or so about how if a team in the Big Ten is going to drop out of tournament contention, it would likely come from the group of Northwestern, Purdue or Minnesota, but keep an eye on the Fading Illini.  Illinois has lost four of its last five, including two at home, but get a load of their next five games: at Indiana, at Michigan, home vs Purdue, at Nebraska, which has beaten IU at home already, and at Ohio State.  ouchie.  The Illini have picked a bad time to slump.

Oklahoma's stay in the bracket was short lived after home losses to Iowa State and MissouriOle Miss is also gone.  Those two were replaced in the at-large pool by Miami, which won at Duke, and BYU, who crawls back in after beating Gonzaga.

Washington has taken over Cal's spot as the Pac 12 leader, and Drexel is in from the Colonial, in place of George Mason.

We're used to seeing the CAA produce at-large quality champions, and occasionally, multiple bids, but this is a down year for the league.  Only VCU and Drexel are in the RPI top 100, and just barely (86 and 85 respectively).  It's arguably the league's worse season since 1999-2000.  I have the Dragons as a 15-seed today.

The Pac 12 has only one time in the RPI top 50 -- for now.  Cal fell to 48th after losing at home to Arizona this week.  The league has struggled the last two years, but still ranked 7th.  This year, it's down to 10th, and is a miserable 1-31 vs the RPI top 50 (Stanford over Colorado State on Nov. 15).  It's hard to build a case for an at-large bid for anyone based on that performance.  The top three teams in the league are all on the road for two games this weekend, so we could have another mess come next week.


Posted on: March 1, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 6:09 pm
 

Mar. 1 Bracket - Welcome to the Madness

by Jerry Palm

There has been another change at the top of the bracket this week as the top of the field continues to play its way backwards.  BYU takes over for San Diego State on the top line for now, but may have to win out to keep it.

Of course, other contenders continue to fall away.  Texas once looked like a strong candidate for a top seed, but has lost twice since Friday's bracket.  They blew a 22-point lead at Colorado on Saturday, then Kansas State came back on them at home Monday night (although from not nearly as large a hole).  Combine that with the loss at Nebraska the previous week and it looks like the Longhorns are trying to play the whole middle of the Big 12 into the field.  That's good news for Baylor, who plays them this weekend.

The result is that the Longhorns find themselves as a 3-seed today, while Notre Dame moves up to the second line.  Both the Irish and red-hot Purdue have chances to challenge for top seeds, but probably need to win out and get help.

Meanwhile, Kansas State has won five in a row, including it's three biggest wins of the year, and has played itself right off the bubble.

Virginia Tech also picked up its biggest win so far when it beat Duke on Saturday.  Despite the screaming of the TV commentators that the Hokies are now a lock, that's not true.  They can't go on a three-game losing streak from here and expect to get in.

Arizona had a rough week in LA, losing to both USC and UCLA, and dropping into a tie with the Bruins for first place in the Pac 10.  The Wildcats have done little of substance away from home.  Their only top 50 RPI wins came over UCLA and Washington, both in Tucson.  Poll voters still love them for their gaudy record, but they look like a middle of the bracket team.

I get a lot of question about team's selection or seeding that go something like this "My team is ahead of this other team in the conference standings, so why are they seeded lower?"

The answer is that conference standings (and conference record by itself) are not at all relevant to the selection and seeding process.  Conference standings don't matter in part because so many leagues play unbalanced schedules.  Seriously -- is there anything less meaningful than the Big East standings?  And the other thing about conference performance is that it is only about two-thirds of a team's entire profile, and teams are judged on their entire body of work, not just conference play.

So, I have Old Dominion ahead of George Mason in the bracket because the Monarchs' non-conference performance makes up for a two-game deficit in the Colonial standings.  They have a non-conference wins over Xavier, Richmond, Clemson and Cleveland State.   Mason's only non-conference win of any substance came over Harvard at home.  In fact, Mason's best away-from-home win of the season came at VCU.   ODU beat both Xavier and Clemson on neutral courts.  So, I see a slight overall edge to ODU.

The extreme case of this is Alabama, which is 11-3 in the SEC at the moment and has clinched the West division title, but still isn't close to an at-large bid.  Their non-conference performance was so bad that a gaudy league record hasn't been able to wipe it away.  Of course, it doesn't help that the rest of the West stinks and that accounts for most of the Tide's conference schedule.

I'll have more in the Bubble Watch later today.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.



Posted on: February 25, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Weekend Bubble Watch - Feb. 26 and 27

by Jerry Palm

There are great opportunities ahead for some teams on the bubble to make a strong statement that they belong in the NCAA.

Virginia Tech will try to play their way off the Seth Greenberg Memorial Bubble when they host Duke on Saturday.  The Hokies could really use a quality win, but unfortunately, the ACC doesn't provide a lot of chances for those.  You have to take advantage of the ones that present themselves.

Baylor's hopes are fading fast, but they can resurrect them with a win over Texas A&M, which would complete the season sweep of the Aggies.  The Bears are coming off a home loss to Texas Tech, so perhaps that is asking too much.

Kansas State
hopes to continue its run of good play when it hosts Missouri.   The Wildcats have breathed some life into their tournament hopes by winning five of six, including that blowout of Kansas.   A win over the Tigers would be its second over a top 50 RPI opponent.

Michigan visits Minnesota in a crucial game for both teams.  Michigan needs to beat quality teams, or at least other contenders, to pump up its tournament profile.  The Gophers just need to stop the bleeding.  They have lost six of eight since the injury to star Al Nolen.

UCLA not only has a chance to pick up a quality win when it hosts Arizona on Saturday, but the Bruins can also pull within a game of first place in the Pac 10.  UCLA's tournament resume is missing quality wins away from home.  That can't be fixed on Saturday, but every good win helps.

Alabama travels to Ole Miss, the only other top 100 RPI team in the SEC West.  The Tide cannot afford to be caught looking ahead to Tuesday night's battle at Florida.   The Rebels tournament at-large hopes appear to be dashed, but they can still play spoiler here.

Also on Saturday, St. Mary's hosts Portland.   The last time they met was also right after the Gaels played Gonzaga, and St. Mary's had a let down after a big win and got beat.   Now, they have to keep from hanging their heads after a tough loss and letting Gonzaga beat them twice.  If St. Mary's is going to hold out hope for an at-large bid, they cannot afford to lose to Portland.

Dayton has a chance to add a little zip to an otherwise bland tournament profile when they host rival Xavier in the A-10.  So far, the Flyers biggest win is over George Mason at home, and if that's all they have on selection weekend, that probably won't be enough.

And finally, Michigan State can all but punch its ticket when it hosts Purdue on Sunday.  They can also make a statement that they are back to being the Spartans we are used to seeing.


Posted on: February 18, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 5:17 pm
 

Feb. 18 - Bubble Watch

by Jerry Palm

There will be a lot of focus on the bracket busters this weekend, but there aren't too many bubble teams involved in that event.  One game that got a lot more interesting though is Utah State at St. Mary's.   The Gaels gagged one away at 300+ RPI San Diego this week and put what looked like a pretty secure tournament berth, not to mention a conference title, in jeopardy.

The Aggies haven't beaten anyone all year.  They have 23 wins and not a single one of them has come against a top 100 RPI foe.  So far, they have proven then can lose to a bad team (Idaho ), but haven't proven they can beat a good one.

Another game that could have some bubble implications is Cleveland State at Old Dominion on Sunday.  The Vikings are co-leaders in the Horizon league, but are missing a top 50 RPI win.  A road win against the Monarchs might give them a boost if they slip up in the conference tournament.

VCU at Wichita State looked like a potentially bubbly game when it was announced, but two big losses at home for the Rams this week were a buzzkill.

Missouri State at Valparaiso could help the winner perhaps, but probably only if the winner also wins its league regular season title.

Among the bigger schools, Boston College has a chance to make a splash this Saturday at the Dean Dome when they take on North Carolina.

Oklahoma State
is a home court hero, and they can't really do anything to fix that when they host Texas A&M this weekend, but you take quality wins where you can get them.

In the Big Ten, all eyes are focused on Purdue and Ohio State, but Illinois at Michigan State on Saturday has big bubble implications.  The Spartans are just 13-11, and no matter how good your schedule is, that record isn't going to cut it (some of you may remember Georgia in 2001 - this doesn't compare. Nothing even remotely compares).  The Illini have been fading some too, and they have the Buckeyes next, so this one is even more important.

The whole top of the Pac 10 seems to be on the bubble, and I wouldn't necessarily rule out haven't-beaten-anyone Arizona either.  The Wildcats host Washington in a big game in both the conference race and the tournament chase.

Finally, Georiga begins the final, brutal stretch of its schedule with a game at Tennessee.   The Bulldogs also have game at Florida and Alabama remaining, and may have to win at least one of those to feel any level of comfort entering the SEC tournament.  It's also a big game for Tennessee, which is 16-10 overall and cannot afford to slip too much with games at Vanderbilt and home against Kentucky left.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.

Bubble Watch


 
 
 
 
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