Posted on: March 4, 2012 10:04 am
Edited on: March 4, 2012 10:07 am
Today's bracket is up and shows North Carolina on the top line, replacing Duke after the Heels whipped the Blue Devils at Cameron.
That's not final by any means. Michigan State and Ohio State could jump in. They play Sunday, plus possibly again next Sunday. Duke could take it back with an ACC tournament win. Missouri could get in there with a win over Kansas in the Big 12 tournament. There's still a long way to go.
Washington's loss to UCLA knocked the Huskies out of sole possession of first place in the Pac-12, and out of the bracket. They were replaced by Miami.
My twitter feed blows up after every game -- sometimes during games -- with "we should in now" after someone wins or "they should be out" after some bubble team loses. Fans tend to overreact to one game, but the committee does not. It's just one of the 30ish games on your schedule.
So, yeah, Seton Hall got embarrassed today at DePaul, and yeah, that may eventually help cost them a spot in the field, but not quite yet.
South Florida lost, but they aren't out...yet. Northwestern won, but they aren't a lock and probably never will be.
Cincinnati isn't a lock either. The Bearcats have some historically bad negatives on their resume, but they may eventually become a lock. They are this year's Alabama, which last year went 12-4 in the SEC, but was so poor out of conference that they were left out anyway. The Bearcats' non-conference performance isn't quite as bad as Bama's, and the Big East is much better than the SEC West was last year, so they are in better shape than Alabama was last year.
But this team is an example that you can't just look at you conference record/performance. A team's entire season counts. Cincinnati had to post 12 conference wins to have a chance to overcome the non-conference part of its season. Same thing for USF, which only went 6-6 and took three bad losses in non-conference play.
Even more extreme is Tennessee. Cuonzo Martin's sqaud went 7-7 in non-conference play with four bad losses, but came back to finish 10-6 in the SEC and will be the second seed in the conference tournament if Kentucky beats Florida today. The addition of Jarnell Stokes has helped, to be sure, but the committee can't ignore what happened before he joined the team. Either their credentials will be good enough to get in or not. Right now, they're not, and they might have to win the conference tournament before they are.
BYU became the first bubble team to lose in its conference tournament. Gonzaga handled the Cougars easily last night in the WCC semifinals. All they can do now is sit back and hope what they have done is enough.
Wichita State is the first team top seed to lose in its conference tournament. The Shockers lost to Illinois State in the MVC semifinals. If the Redbirds beat Creighton today, some potential at-large team will be headed to the NIT.
We also had a near-bid stealer with Murray State. The Racers needed a last-second layup to beat Tennessee State and win the Ohio Valley Conference title. Sighs of relief we heard everywhere.
Finally, we have to say goodbye to Butler, the two-time national runner-up. I was at the ARC at Valparaiso last night when the top-seeded Crusaders ended the Bulldogs season 65-46, and the career of senior Ronald Nored, who was a key contributor on those two Final Four teams.
Tags: Alabama, Bracketology, Butler, BYU, Cincinnati, Creighton, DePaul, Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Illinois State, Kansas, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan State, Missouri, Murray State, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, Seton Hall, South Florida, Tennessee, Tennessee State, UCLA, Valparaiso, Washington, Wichita State
Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:47 am
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: October 13, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 8:04 pm
Is it too early to speculate who will make the NCAA tournament? Who will be the top seeds? What will the great matchups be? Heck, yes, it is, but who cares? It’s still fun.
This bracket is done the same way I do the ones that you’ll see as we get into the season, except for two things: there is no RPI data to base anything on, and I didn’t make an effort to avoid things like regular season rematches. However, some things you can always count on. Death, Taxes, Seth Greenberg getting his heart broken.
I took a few fliers on conference tournament upset winners. Included among those are Indiana St, which did it last year, and Butler, which figures to take a step back toward the pack this year.
Another thing I didn't do, and the committee doesn't do, is put juicy matchups together. I do have Michigan St-Detroit and a possible Purdue-Notre Dame game, but I didn't even realize I did that until I put the teams in the bracket.
I think we'll all be surprised if three of those top four seeds aren't there come March. North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio St look almost unassailable, barring injury, suspension or the return of Larry Drew, Jr. The fourth one could be up for grabs. I like the Big East champ, which I peg as Syracuse, but certainly UConn will figure heavy in that chase.
You don't like the bracket, fire away. If you do like it, let us know that too.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: February 25, 2011 11:28 am
by Jerry Palm
Thursday night, Marquette filled a big hole in its tournament resume when it won at Connecticut. That was Marquette's first quality road win of the season, and the first of top 100 RPI road wins they picked up on the evening.
The other came from UW Milwaukee, which won at Cleveland State and the impact was felt in other places as well. The biggest thing it did was make a jumble of the Horizon League standings, which is important because the top seed hosts the tourament. UWM knocked the Vikings back into a three-way tie with themselves and Butler, and assumed control of its down destiny for the top seed. It would have been a four-way tie, but Valparaiso was upset at home by Loyola.
Butler also got a boost, and not just in the conference race. UWM moved into the top 100 of the RPI (94th), taking two of the Bulldogs' 100+ RPI losses off the board. That is good because Butler had five of them before that game, and historically speaking, it's virtually impossible to get an at-large bid with that many bad losses. UWM may end up back below that line again at some point, but for now, their rise to the top of the league has erased a little bit of the problems with the Butler profile.
St. Mary's slide continued last night with a loss at home to Gonzaga. That forged a tie between the two for first place in the WCC. The Gaels win my RPI tiebreaker at the moment. During their three-game losing streak, they have fallen 25 spots in the RPI and out of the top 50. The team that affects the most is Utah State, which is lacking wins of any substantive quality, and having St. Mary's go into a slump devalues the Aggies' best win.
Michigan State continues to climb, aided by a win at Minnesota this week. The Gophers though are in the tank ever since the loss of Al Nolen. I still have them hanging on by a thread, but they may not make it. Minny has a couple of winnable games left, but you have to wonder what qualifies as "winnable" for them.
A banked three-point shot at the buzzer by Wisconsin's Josh Gasser gassed Michigan's spot in the bracket for now. Dayton moved in, and is in a First Four game, which is played on their home court. Yes, that's allowed.
I'll have more in the Bubble Watch later today.
See complete Bracketology coverage here.
Posted on: February 5, 2011 9:04 am
Edited on: February 5, 2011 1:27 pm
by Jerry Palm
Earlier this week, the bracket buster matchups were announced. The bracket buster is a decent concept in many ways. Several smaller schools can get some late season TV exposure they would have never received before. It also helps with scheduling because part of the deal is that each year's games are the front end of a home-and-home for the participants.
However, despite the name, no bracket is actually harmed, let alone busted, in the playing of these games.
The only team that may -- may -- have made the NCAA tournament in part because of a win in the bracket buster was George Mason in 2006. Mason won at Wichita State and looked to be one of the last few teams in the field that year. Of course, that team was the ultimate bracket buster. The Patriots went all the way to the Final Four.
The reason we can't say for certain that Mason made the tournament because of the bracket buster win is that if the Patrios hadn't played that game, they would have played someone else of unknown quality and with an unknown result.
Nevertheless, if there is a list of teams that benefitted from the bracket buster, Mason is the only team on it.
This year's games don't appear to even have the cache of some other years. Butler and Gonzaga are sitting it out (Gonzaga hasn't participated in a long time), although, given how those teams are doing, it probably wouldn't matter if they did.
The most intriguing game of the set is Utah State at St. Mary's . The Aggies have crept into the bottom of the top 25 without a single win over a top 100 RPI team and in only two attempts. They lost a competitive game at in-state rival BYU and were easily dispatched at Georgetown . They have 21 wins, but 17 of them have come against teams ranked outside the top 150. Those other four all came on their home floor, where they rarely lose. Why this team is getting votes in a poll is beyond me, but this game is a much-needed opportunity for them to show they are worthy of the voters' respect.
Other than that, you have Cleveland State at Old Dominion , Mason at Northern Iowa and Missouri State at Valpo . Fun games, but other than maybe ODU, there isn't really a decent at-large candidate in the bunch, and those games won't change that.
See complete Bracketology coverage here .
Posted on: January 11, 2011 4:39 pm
by Jerry Palm
This week's bracket is posted. The No. 1 seeds are the same as last week, and will probably remain the same until someone finally knocks one of them off.
Butler is no longer part of the First Four. They are in the field as the Horizon league leader. Cleveland State is part of that instead after a week that saw them fall to both the Bulldogs and Valparaiso.
The A-10 is just a one-bid league, although I suspect that by the time we get to March, that will change. The Big East checks in with 11 teams (welcome Marquette), but I doubt very seriously that all 11 can qualify.
Cincinnati and UCF suffered their first losses of the season this week, and dropped some in the bracket. The Bearcats are still not a top 50 RPI team. Dayton dropping off the bracket hurt Cinci as well.
Memphis went from ranked last week (although they shouldn't have been) to off the bracket this week.
Purdue remains a tough team to seed. The Boilers rank 8th in the polls, but still have yet to play a top 50 RPI team. That will change when they play at Minnesota and West Virginia this week. Minnesota is where Robbie Hummel tore his ACL last year, so Purdue is probably hoping just to get out of there in one piece.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 7:51 am
Edited on: December 28, 2010 10:31 am
by Jerry Palm
Butler entered the Diamond Head Classic last weekend desperately hoping to come away with not just a tournament victory, but some quality wins too.
Last year at this time, the Bulldogs were 8-4 and 21st in the RPI as they were about to embark on conference play. They won their next 20 games to finish out the regular season, but only moved up seven spots in the RPI over that stretch. That was good enough to earn them a 5-seed in the NCAA tournament. I think we all remember what happened after that.
This year, going into the Diamond Head Classic, the Bulldogs ranked 52nd in the RPI. They came out of it with wins over Utah, Florida State and Washington State, and an RPI ranking of 9. That's a remarkable move, and one that can only happen this early in the season.
The later you get in the season, the less any new opponent will impact your RPI because each new opponent is a smaller portion of your overall schedule. Butler is now 8-4 (against D-I foes), so those three games represent 25 percent of their schedule so far. Adding three games in February has much less impact.
Now, Butler gets to start the meat of their Horizon League schedule from the top 10 in the RPI than outside the top 50, and that's a much better place to be. They are still lacking in the quality win department. Butler is 0-3 vs the RPI top 50, and has no wins over sure at-large quality teams, so it's not safe to assume an at-large bid is waiting if needed. There are only two games left on the schedule against the current RPI top 50 -- a home and home vs Cleveland State. The Bulldogs are rooting for FSU and WSU to look good for them in March.
So, while Butler isn't out of the woods yet, their weekend in paradise gave them a much-needed boost.
Posted on: December 12, 2010 3:52 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2010 4:37 pm
That is the slogan of the BCS, but it's probably more true in basketball, at least for teams that want to be in the postseason or are playing for seed.
Saturday, we had Tennessee and Pittsburgh. Both of those teams are in the top 10 and barring injury, don't figure to have to worry about missing the tournament. However, they could be in a battle for a top seed. It's not too hard to imagine the committee sitting there in March debating these two as the fourth #1 seed. Tennessee's 83-76 win over the Panthers could be the deciding factor.
For teams like Gonzaga and Butler, these early games are where they make their case for selection and seeding. They just don't get enough quality games in conference play to put all their eggs in that basket. Unfortunately for these two, not much is going well.
Gonzaga lost at Notre Dame yesterday to fall to 4-5. Four of those five losses are to likely tournament teams, and the fifth - Washington State - isn't terrible, but the Zags so far are proving beyond a doubt that they cannot beat tournament quality opposition. They do have more chances though, with Baylor, Xavier, Oklahoma St and Memphis still on the schedule, and all of those but Baylor at home.
Butler is in even more trouble. Like Gonzaga, the Bulldogs are without a quality win, and have already lost to Louisville, Duke and Xavier, as well as home loss to Evansville. Unlike the Zags, Butler doesn't have many chances left. They are in a tournament with Florida State and Baylor, but that's it.
The committee is watching as closely now as they will in February, so teams need to be juast careful not to give their tournament chances away now as they do then.