Tag:Baylor
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:21 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:21 am
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Bubbly Tuesday and other notes

It was a pretty bubbly Tuesday, so the bubble watch has been updated.

Seton Hall is off the list for now after the win over Georgetown last night.  With potential bad losses Rutgers and DePaul left on the schedule, there's always the chance the Pirates could return.

Last week, I thought New Mexico had the best week of the season.  That changed yesterday when Kansas State knocked off Missouri on the road, after winning at Baylor over the weekend.  That's how you play yourself off the bubble.

Florida beat Auburn last night, but may have lost Will Yeguete for the season.  He's not a big scorer for the Gators, but he is one of their better defensive players.  It will be interesting to see how much they miss him.

Valparaiso clinched the Horizon League regular season title last night and will host the conference tournament.  It's the Crusaders first conference title in eight years, and their first in the Horizon.

Binghamton finally got its first win of the season last night, and the Bearcats didn't beat just anyone, they took down league-leader Vermont.


Posted on: February 14, 2012 1:16 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 1:20 pm
 

Feb.14 bracket

Ohio State didn't last very long as a No. 1 seed.  The loss to Michigan State has knocked them back to the two line in today's bracket, replaced by Duke.  The biggest difference is that Duke has shown it can win away from home (Columbus excluded).  Its top four wins are all away from Cameron.

That said, I'm not optimistic for Duke long term unless they get their defense fixed.

Kansas is also pushing for the top line, but at the moment, the loss to Davidson separates them.

North Carolina and Michigan State could still get there as well.  It's a very competitive top of the bracket still for this late in the season.

Baylor is not likely to find itself as a one-seed again this season.  I have the Bears down to a three this week after they got smoked at Missouri over the weekend.

The SEC is a muddle.  Florida has now been swept by Tennessee and has only one of its eight top 100 RPI wins away from home.  The Gators are 2-5 in road games and have four of their next five on the road.

The first of those games is at Alabama.  Alabama's roster issues could give the committee fits.  With four starters suspended, the Tide lost at LSU over the weekend.  Two of those starters will return for the Florida game tonight, but leading scorer JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell are still out.

The committee does consider missing players when doing selections and (moreso) seeding.  A team has to have the credentials to get picked regardless of your roster situation during the season.  They won't take a 17-15 team that was missing its leading scorer for 10 games, even if they lost all 10.  The committee cannot assume a result would have been different if the roster was at full strength.  A team might get seeded a little higher in that situation if it is at full strength going into the tournament.

The opposite is also true.  A team losing a key player for the season might get seeded lower if it doesn't play as well without him, but still merits selection.  There are numerous examples of this in the past.   The most recent would be when Purdue was docked a little after Robbie Hummel's (first) knee injury in 2010.

The bottom of the Big Ten is still muddled as well.  Purdue picked up a key win over Northwestern over the weekend, completing the regular season sweep of the Cats.  Illinois continues to fade, now having lost six of seven after dropping a game at Michigan.  The Illini host Purdue tomorrow in what has to be considered a must win.  Illinois goes to Nebraska and Ohio St after that.

It would make sense that at some point, one of those Big Ten teams will fall off the bracket.  Maybe two.  Right now, nobody is really stepping up to take their spots.

The Pac 12 looks for all the world like a one-bid league this year.  That may or may not happen, but it's hard to build an at-large case when nobody can pick up a top 50 RPI win without beating league-leader Cal.  The league has five RPI top 100 teams, and none of them has a non-conference win over a team in the top 50 of the RPI, or over an at-large quality team in the bracket. 

Today's fun fact: All nine Big Ten teams in the bracket rate higher in the RPI than every Pac 12 team except Cal.


Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:47 am
 

Baylor bombs and other bracket notes

I think we can safely say, without fear of contradiction, that Baylor is the third banana in the Big 12.  The Bears got blown out at Missouri, dropping them to 0-4 against the Tigers and Kansas.  Only one of those four losses was competitive.

For Baylor, a profile that looked worthy of a top seed a week ago now looks closer to a 3-seed than a one.

The Bears figure to get at least one more shot at the top two in the conference tournament.

I had been reluctant to put Ohio State on the top line of the bracket because they have been the No. 1 seed version of a home court hero.  The Buckeyes had been nothing short of invincible in Columbus, but struggled to beat decent teams on the road.  Finally, last weekend, they got the road monkey off their backs with a win at Wisconsin, but suddenly this week, they looked mortal at home.  Purdue put a real scare in them Wednesday night, and then Michigan State took their lunch money on Saturday.  Ohio State's stay on the top line may be short.

The Spartans pulled into a tie for first in the Big Ten with the win.  The league may end up with a four-loss champion and without a No. 1 seed, but is still likely to put the most teams in the bracket in March.  Well, among conferences with fewer than 16 teams.

It looks like Florida may have let Kentucky beat them twice.  The Gators seemed a bit hungover from their trip to Lexington in a home loss to Tennessee.  They have now been swept by the Vols and play four of their next five on the road.

The first of those is against what's left of Alabama.  Three more of the Tide have been suspended indefintiely, including leading scorer JaMychal Green.  Bama is without four of its starters and its tournament hopes are in serious doubt.

It was a rough weekend for some of the better non-majors too.

Creighton got blown up at home by Wichita State and has now lost three in a row.

Iona lost a battle for first place at Loyola in the Metro Atlantic on Friday, but the Greyhounds gave it back by losing at home to Fairfield on Sunday.

In the Horizon, Cleveland State lost at home to Valparaiso on Thursday, putting the Crusaders a half-game up in the league standings.  On Saturday, Valpo lost to Youngstown State for the first time in 16 games, but Butler won at CSU, so the Crusaders are still up for now.
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:48 am
Edited on: February 10, 2012 11:50 am
 

Feb. 10 bracket

Today's bracket is up, and for the first time in a couple weeks, there is a change at the top.  Baylor is gone after another blowout loss to KansasOhio State has moved up to take the Bears' place.

Duke's win over North Carolina has the Blue Devils making a push for the top line as well, but home losses to Florida State and Miami are still too much to overcome.

Murray State suffered its first loss of the season last night at home to Tennessee State.  That dropped them down to a five-seed in today's bracket.  Every Racers' loss, with the possible exception of one to St. Mary's, will have an increasing, negative effect on their seed.  It might only take three or four bad losses, including one in the Ohio Valley tournament, of course, to knock them out of the field altogether.

I think the best comparison to a past team right now is the 1998 Princeton team that went 25-1.  The fifth-seeded Tigers' only loss that year was to No. 1 North Carolina, so obviously, that is a much better loss than Murray's.  However Princeton beat only one top 50 RPI team that season, and nobody that made the tournament.

There is also a comparisons being made to the 2006 George Washington team that finished 26-2 and was an 8-seed, but their seed suffered because of an injury to star Pops Mensah-Bonsu.

The teams that were either a three or four seed in Tuesday's bracket went 1-5 since then.  Michigan State was the only winner, while Georgetown, Florida, Murray State, Creighton and St. Mary's all lost.

Florida State took a dive after losing at Boston College, dropping down to a 9-seed.  The Seminoles had been playing much better lately, but a third bad loss really hurts their tournament profile.
Cal replaces Washington again at the leader of the Pac 12, which still shows only one bid at the moment.  The Huskies got drilled at Oregon last night.

And finally, a reminder of how I make those conference leader decisions for the bracket.  The conference leader is designated as the team with the fewest conference losses.  Ties are broken by RPI.  As a Northwest Indiana guy, I'm as excited as anyone that Valparaiso beat Cleveland State last night to take a half-game lead on the Vikings in the Horizon League.  However, CSU still has a better RPI, so the Vikes are still listed as the leader and in the bracket.  I do it this way because it's the most likely way to get each league's best team into the projection.  Once conference tournament seeding is decided, I go with the top seed remaining.


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: January 25, 2012 10:54 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 3:26 pm
 

Jan. 25 Bracket

Today's bracket is posted.  Kentucky is the new overall top seed, followed by Missouri, which is the only newcomer to the top line, replacing Duke.

Syracuse and Baylor remain No. 1 seeds despite losses last week.  Kansas is pushing hard, and beat Baylor recently, but the Jayhawks have done most of their damage at home, and still have that extra loss - to Davidson.

Ohio State has also rejoined the fight, but is another team that has struggled away from home.  All three of the Buckeyes' losses have come on the road, to their three best opponents away from home.  They are mighty in Columbus, and the tournament is played there, but Ohio St will be shipped out.

The Big Ten still sports nine teams, but Purdue is hanging on for dear life.  The Boilers have struggled recently, losing at home to Wisconsin and just on Tueday, to Michigan.  They are the only Big Ten team still looking for a win over a ranked opponent.  If the field were more accomplished, Purdue would definitely be on the outside looking in.

Illinois also took a beating this week in the bracket.  The Illini fell from second to seventh after losing at Penn State and at home to Wisconsin.  They are a true six-seed that was moved to seven to help with bracketing considerations, but that is still a sizeable drop.  Also hurting them is that the loss to Purdue looks worse than it did last week.

Cincinnati, despite a 1-2 week, is getting closer to the bracket despite a non-conference schedule rankng 329th out of 344.  That's going to be an albatross around the Bearcats' neck all season long.  The committee, even in an expanded field, still takes a very dim view of that and will eliminate teams for no other reason.

Cinci is also a strange team in that it is better on the road than at home.  The Bearcats are 6-2 in games away from home, but only 9-4 on their home floor, including losses to St. John's and Presbyterian.  That 92 RPI ranking is due to their weak non-conference schedule and their difficulty defending the home floor.

Cincinnati has nothing on Loyola Marymount though.  The Lions are 7-2 on the road, but only 3-6 at home.

And from the Teams Get Bids, Not Conferences departement: Conference USA has four teams in the bracket, but all are 10-seeds or lower.

New to the bracket this week: Ole Miss, Iowa State, Texas and UCF.
Leaving us, for now: Stanford, Northern Iowa, Denver and Colorado State, which is the highest rated RPI team left out.



Posted on: January 18, 2012 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 11:56 am
 

Jan. 18 Bracket

Readers are great.  Many have pointed out that Davidson won at the Sprint Center, not at the Phog.  Also, that Michigan St lost to UNC by 35 in 2008 to UNC before losing to the Heels again in the title game that season (by a more respectible 17 points).

One of last week's four number one seeds went down this week, but remains on the top line in my latest bracket.  Baylor picked up its first loss of the season at Kansas, but still has a strong enough profile to merit a one-seed.  It's not like there's a lot of shame in losing at Phog Allen.  If you had to win there to be a No. 1, we wouldn't have any.  Well, except Davidson.

Indiana, Michigan State and North Carolina all had difficult weeks.  Both the Hoosiers and Spartans lost twice.  Minnesota took down IU in Bloomington, something Kentucky and Ohio State failed to do, which bolstered the Gophers precarious spot in the bracket.  The Buckeyes got their revenge on Indiana on Sunday.  Sparty lost to Northwestern and Michigan.

That shuffling leaves Illinois on top of the league standings for now.  The Big Ten continues to dominate the RPI and the bracket, with a whopping nine teams in the field this week.  Even placing eight teams in the final bracket in March would be remarkable.  However, as the teams at the top beat each other up, you have to wonder if any team will create enough separation to stay in contention for a top seed at the end.

Last week, I got a lot of grief for having Duke ahead of North Carolina on the bracket, although that was before the 33-point pounding the Heels took at Florida State.  I have not been able to find a team even make the championship game, let alone win it, that suffered that big a loss in the regular season.

That win by the Seminoles not only put them into this week's bracket, but also strengthened the cases for the tournament quality teams that beat them earlier.

New Mexico is out of the bracket this week, despite not losing.  Sometimes, what you do impacts your position.  Sometimes, what your previous opponents do impacts the quality of your profile, even if you had a good week otherwise.  And sometimes, other teams near you in the pecking order just had better weeks that you did.

BYU fell into the First Four, which if it actually happens in March, will put the committee in a bit of a predicament.  Typically, they like to put the PIG winners into Friday-Sunday sites, but BYU cannot play on Sunday.  In this bracket, that means a quick turnaround and a long-distance flight from Dayton to Portland if the Cougars win.  Of course, the same applies to BYU's opponent, Stanford, even though the Cardinal have no qualms with playing on Sunday.


Posted on: January 11, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 9:40 pm
 

Jan. 11 Bracket

A lot can change in one month, and my latest bracket shows that. Pittsburgh was in the Top 25 a month ago, now the Panthers aren’t even in the field. Louisville and Xavier were 2-seeds in December, and now are opponents in an 8-9 game. Seton Hall went from the First Four to just missing a 4-seed, and Dayton was out a month ago, but now the Flyers lead the A-10.

This bracket shows a whopping nine Big Ten teams.  It's the top-rated league in the RPI by a huge margin.  It's been eight years since a league dominated the RPI like this.  Of course, teams get bids, not conferences, but that is still an indication that the Big Ten will likely be well represented in the field.  That said, nine teams would be ridiculous come March.  Minnesota in particular is in trouble.  It doesn't seem likely the Gophers will be able to withstand the grind without Trevor Mbakwe, who is lost for the season with a knee injury.  Looking long term, other teams that need to be concerned are Purdue, Northwestern, which is still looking for its first ever tournament appearance, and suddenly, Wisconsin, which has lost its Kohl Center mojo.

Ohio State started out among the top three teams in the country, but an inability to win on the road against better teams (best away from home win: Iowa) has the Buckeyes now as a 3-seed.  They blew another game last night at Illinois, after kicking away a late lead at Illinois.  It's hard to imagine they won't come around and eventually win the league, but they need to figure out their road woes to make that happen.

Why is Florida in the top 25?  Who is voting for them?  I realize this isn't Poll Attacks (that's Gary Parrish's gig, bless his heart), but this team hasn't done a thing to anyone of substance, and especially outside of Florida.  The Gators aren't in danger of missing the tournament yet or anything like that, but they're a lot closer to 35 than 25.

If they need someonie else to vote for, how about Seton Hall?  The Hall has lost only to Syracuse (the overall No. 1) and Northwestern, while collecting wins over UConn, West Virginia and Dayton.

It's pretty easy to figure out what to do with two of the three remaining unbeaten teams.  Syracuse and Baylor top the field, and will stay there as long as they keep winning.

But what about Murray State?  The Racers have a few decent wins, but nothing that says they should compete for a very high seed.  Now in Ohio Valley conference play, they are essentially done making their case, except for taking on a bad loss or two.  Hard to see them much higher than a 3-seed, even in March, unless one of the teams they've already beaten starts to move up the charts.

With two more months to play, you can expect a lot more wild changes. Buckle up!
 
 
 
 
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