Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Houston
Posted on: February 21, 2012 4:36 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 5:10 pm
 

Feb. 21 bracket: Big Ten loses some ground

Today's bracket is posted.  The top two lines remain the same.  A lot of shuffling happened below that.

The biggest news, I guess, is that I finally have a bracket with less than nine Big Ten teams in it.  Minnesota's most recent loss has the Gophers on the outside looking in.  Illinois is just a train wreck.  Nobody has looked less like an NCAA tournament team than the Illini in the last few weeks.

They were replaced by Iowa State and Washington.  Both teams are lacking in quality wins.  They each have only three RPI top 100 wins.  It's been nine years since the last time the committee took such a team, but of course, the season isn't over yet.  They have never taken a team with just three top 100 wins and none in the top 50, but that's Washington at the moment.  The field is bigger now.  They have to take somebody.

The team making the biggest move up the bracket lately has been New Mexico. The Lobos had a great week last week, beating San Diego State on the road and UNLV at home.  They now lead the Mountain West by two games.

Notre Dame continues its climb up the bracket as well.  The Irish extened their winning streak to eight games with an overtime win at Villanova.

It was a rough weekend in Conference USA as both Southern Miss and Memphis suffered their worst losses of the season.  The Golden Eagles fell at Houston, while the Tigers blew a big lead at home to UTEP.

Mississippi State is also falling apart at the wrong time.  The Bulldogs lost three in a row, including games to non-tournament teams Georgia and Auburn.  Those are their worst losses of the season.

The bracket buster took place last weekend, and as usual, no brackets were actually busted.  Murray State picked up an impressive win over St. Mary's, which will give the Racers a bit of a cushion should it need an at-large bid.  Long Beach State could have done the same, but couldn't hold on at Creighton.


Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:18 pm
 

Feb. 1 bracket

It's February, the home stretch of the season, and today's bracket features a lot of teams going in the wrong direction.

West Virginia lost three times since the last bracket was posted, and fell six spots this week.  The Mountaineers lost at St. John's and at home to suddenly resurgent Pittsburgh, sandwiched around that controversial loss at Syracuse.

Seton Hall is also fading fast.  The Hall got off to a great start this season, but now has lost five in a row.  To make matters worse, the opponents that mark their best wins - UConn, West Virginia and Dayton - are also struggling.

The Huskies have lost three i row and five of their last seven.  The addition of Ryan Boatright should help, once he works his way into form.

It's not all bad news for the Big East, along with Pitt, Notre Dame is coming on and has crawled onto the bracket in the PIGs.  The Irish have very little margin for error though.  Despite a nice collection of wins (Syracuse at home, and at Louisville, UConn and Seton Hall), they are only 7-8 vs the top 200 teams in the RPI, and that's a very negative indicator for tournament selection.

Northwestern is stll hanging on by a thread after a loss to Purdue at home this week (a much needed win for the Boilers, by the way).  The best thing working for the Cats is that Purdue is the lowest rated team to beat them this year, and they have a couple good wins, although one of them -- Seton Hall -- looks worse every day.

Honestly, the fact that Notre Dame and Northwestern, along with Colorado State and Oklahoma, which round out the First Four, are in a bracket is reason enough to go back to the 64-team field.

Florida made the biggest move up this week by filling in a couple of holes in their tournament profile.  Their sweep of the Mississippi schools, including a win at Ole Miss, gave them two more top 50 RPI wins (three total now) and their first win of any consequence away from home.

Dropping off the bracket this week were BYU, Texas, Marshall, UCF and NC State.  Coming on were Notre Dame, Colorado State, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Saint Louis.  All ten belong in the NIT.

Dayton almost fell off too after losing twice this week, including a real head-scratcher at home to RPI No. 263 Rhode Island.

Michigan State lost more than a game to Illinois last night.  The Spartans' heart and soul, Draymond Green, limped off the floor late with an apparent knee injury.  If that is serious and causes him to miss significant time, that will be a big blow to Michigan State's chances of a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

The highest rated team in the RPI not in my bracket is No. 47 Arkansas.  The Hogs are the ultimate Home Court Hero, with a 16-1 home record.  The Hogs are 16-0 in Fayetteville, and lost to Houston in Little Rock, which the NCAA considers a home game.  They are the only team in college basketball with at least a .500 record that has yet to win off its home floor.

The next bracket will be posted on Tuesday as we move to a twice-a-week schedule.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:22 am
Edited on: December 21, 2011 12:23 am
 

Mountain West/Big East behind the numbers

The Mountain West has applied for an exemption that would allow it to become an AQ conference for the next two seasons.  They base that in part on their performance over the last four years, and in part because of an exemption granted to the Big East in the past.  So let's look at the numbers.

The league is measure in three categories: highest rated team, average computer ranking of all teams, and a score based on teams in the top 25.  It is measured over a four year period, based on this year's membership.  Therefore, Utah and BYU do not count, but TCU and Boise State do, even though Boise was in the WAC the last three years.

The reason the MWC didn't qualify for AQ status outright and has to apply for an exemption is that the league is good at the top, but has no depth.  The league does well in the two categories that measure top of the league performance.  It is fifth in the highest rated team category, and has a score of 60.2% in the top 25 category (only 33% was required to apply for exemption).

In the category that measures all teams, the league is a distant seventh, with an average computer ranking of 61.3.  The Big East is sixth at 50.2.

The problem is, the top two MWC teams in the rankings the last four years have been TCU and Boise State.  Without them, the numbers aren't nearly as good, and both teams are leaving.  TCU is already gone.  The Broncos have just one more year.  San Diego State is also leaving at the same time as Boise State.  Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii will join.

Without TCU and Boise State, the MWC would be the ninth rated league in the highest rated team category, an even more distant seventh in the average computer category (67.1) and would score only 6.9% in the top 25 category.  Among the new lineup, only Nevada (15th) and Hawaii (24th) finished in the top 25 of any season in the last four years, both in 2010.

Those are numbers the presidents can't ignore, and the reason why the league won't get its exemption.

The Mountain West document states that the Big East was granted an exemption after the 2007 season to retain its AQ status.  While I don't doubt that, I have been told repeated by Bill Hancock that there is no provision for removing AQ status from a league, which is why the Big East's status isn't in doubt for the next two years, so I am confused as to why such an exemption would have been necessary in 2008.  In any event, the only category the Big East fell short in was the top 25 percentage, where it scored 49.11%, just below the 50% requirement.  The MWC, even with it's current membership, cannot say is just barely missed in the category in which it failed to meet the standard.

The new Bigger East, which along with the Mountain West schools, has added Houston, SMU and UCF from Conference USA, is doing ok for the first two years of the cycle that the new members will count for, which is the 2010-13 seasons.  The league is fifth so far in the high ranking category and a very comfortable sixth in the average computer rankings.  They only score 29% in the top 25 category, but only three leagues, the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 are doing better than 50% so far.

Of course, if this turns out to be true, all this will be moot.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:06 am
Edited on: December 5, 2011 8:30 am
 

Close, but no Cowboys

It was close, relatively speaking.  Oklahoma State came up .0086 short of catching Alabama. That is the closest No. 2 and No. 3 have been since the BCS formula was changed for the 2004 season. In 2006, Florida beat out Michigan by .0101, which was coincidentally the last time we debated the merits of a rematch.

OSU ended up 74 points short of what it needed in the Harris poll to finish ahead of the Tide. That's still a decent sized number. So, it's not like we were in a position where one or two voters could have impacted the outcome.

I can almost always explain why a team got picked for a bowl (it's my job, after all), but I am stunned by the selection of Virginia Tech for the Sugar Bowl.  There were, of course, higher rated teams available, but we all know that rankings don't really mean much.  It's about selling tickets and creating an attractive matchup.

The Hokies haven't traveled especially well to the Orange Bowl in recent years. They aren't necessarily a great TV draw. They lost their conference championship game, which is usually perceived as a big negative by the BCS bowls. I can't think of anything they have over Kansas State.

Boise State might have traveled well too, although they are considerably farther away. Even Baylor, which was eligible to get picked, would have at least given us Denard vs RG3.

Virginia Tech's selection seemed to be a last minute change too. The Sugar appeared to be committed to Kansas State initially.

TCU didn't make it. The Horned Frogs finished 18th, same as they were last week. I felt that three of the teams ahead of them that lost this week had to fall behind them, and that they couldn't get jumped by Clemson or Baylor in the polls. They got the first part. Houston, Georgia and Oklahoma did drop behind the Frogs, but Clemson jumped them. If TCU and Clemson switched point totals in the polls, TCU would have finished 16th and qualified for the BCS.

Houston dropped like a rock after losing to Southern Miss.  The Cougars fell from sixth to 19th.

Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 12:43 pm
 

What will it take?

UPDATE: The coaches poll point totals at the top have been revealed.  Oklahoma State pulled to within 32 points of Alabama.  As you can probably deduce if you read the bit below, that's not good news for the Cowboys.

OSU will now need to pass Alabama in the Harris poll and lead by at least five points to finish No. 2 overall in the BCS.  That seems unlikley, with the way poll voters tend to group-think, but you never know with those wacky Harris folks. 

Also, even though it doesn't count, the AP poll has Alabama No. 2 as well, although by a closer margin than the coaches have.

TCU did get a little help in that the Frogs are ahead of Houston, Georgia and Oklahoma, but Clemson jumped them, so that hurts.  We haven't seen those point totals yet.  I will update the BCS ratings projections chart when we see the full poll.

-----

The media (in general, not everyone) seems to be throwing its weight behind the notion of moving Oklahoma State up to No. 2 and giving the Cowboys a shot at LSU instead of having a rematch Alabama.  This comes after they have spent the last two weeks making it very clear that the only worthy opponent for LSU was, in fact, the Tide.

I don't have a vote, but I can tell you what the people who do will have to do to make that happen.

Oklahoma State trailed Alabama by 342 points in the Harris poll and 166 in the coaches' poll.  With the current computer projections, the Cowboys would have to be the mathematical equivalent of 28 points behind in Harris and 15 back in the coaches' poll.  A little of that ground gets made up with the natural fall of Virginia Tech in the polls, but that's still an enormous gap to make up.  Voters would simply have to decide they don't want a rematch and move OSU up, not only past Alabama on some ballots, but Stanford also, which started the week ahead of the Cowboys in both polls.  We'll have a much better idea when the coaches' poll is released in a few hours.

For some perspective, the only other time something like this happened was in 2006, when the voters moved up Florida past Michigan to avoid a rematch after the Gators won the SEC title on the final day of the season.  That year, Florida entered that last week trailing the Wolverines by only 86 points in the Harris poll and just 40 in the coaches' poll.

TCU has to get to 16 to earn an automatic spot in the BCS.  Again, I don't like the way the numbers are shaking out for TCU.  It doesn't look like the Frogs will make up much ground at all in the computers.  Going into this week, TCU was No. 17 in each poll, right behind Michigan, but the gap in the point totals was huge -- more than double the number of voters in each poll.  That's like being two spots in the rankings behind instead of one.  It also means that the teams that lost ahead of them in the polls --  Georgia, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Houston -- may slot into that gap between them and the Wolverines. 

TCU will probably need at least three of those teams to fall behind them in both polls to have a decent chance to get to 16th overall.  The Frogs also have to watch their backs and hope Baylor and Clemson don't leap(horned)frog them.  Michigan State (close loss) and Houston (high ranking to begin with and better record) have the best chance of staying ahead of TCU.


Posted on: December 1, 2011 2:31 pm
 

BCS: What's left to be decided?

Technically, every BCS bid is still up for grabs as we enter the final weekend.  All six AQ conference championships will be determined, and of course, the four at-large spots.  Three teams could automatically qualify this weekend, two of them without even stepping on the field.

Starting at the top:

SEC -- LSU vs Georgia.  If LSU wins, we will get an LSU (AQ)-Alabama (automatic at-large) rematch in the BCS title game.  If Georgia wins, it will go to the Sugar Bowl unless voters move them WAY up to No. 1 or 2.  LSU and Alabama could still be 1-2, which would make them automatic at-larges and give the SEC three teams.  However, if either drops out of the top two, it will not be in a BCS game at all.

ACC -- Virginia Tech vs Clemson.  The Tigers won the first meeting 23-3 in Blacksburg, but it's the Hokies who are on a roll right now, while Clemson is just rolling over.

Big 12 -- Oklahoma at Oklahoma State.  Bedlam.  The Cowboys haven't beaten the Sooners since 2002.  A convincing win by OSU may not be convincing enough to convince voters to move them up past Alabama.  Not to mention Virginia Tech and Stanford, which are between the Cowboys and the Tide in the polls.

Pac-12 -- Oregon vs UCLA.  UCLA gets to go to bowl even if it loses to fall to 6-7.  That's a shame for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which would likely get the Bruins, and for some deserving, eligible team that stays home.

Big Ten -- Wisconsin vs Michigan State.  Sparty won the first meeting on a Hail Mary pass.  Wisconsin lost twice on that play.  The Badgers are about 30 second from playing for a shot at LSU this weekend.

Big East -- Connecticut at Cincinnati.  If the Bearcats lose, 7-5 Louisville wins the league and the Big East sends an unranked team to the BCS for the second consecutive year.  Otherwise...

Big East -- West Virginia at South Florida.  This game is on Thursday, so Cincinnati will know if its win matters for them or not.  If West Virginia wins, the Mountaineers will go to the BCS.  If West Virginia loses, then the Bearcats are BCS-bound.

At-larges:

Alabama -- If in the top two, the Tide automatically qualifies.
Stanford -- The Cardinal are currently fourth.  If they hold that spot (or move up), they too, would automatically qualify for an at-large spot.
Houston -- The Cougars will be in also if they win the C-USA title.  A loss would open the door for...
TCU -- The Frogs need a Houston loss and to crawl up two spots to get to the top 16.

Other teams that could be in the at-large pool to be selected include (depending on other results) Kansas State, Michigan, Boise State and Baylor.

Arkansas and South Carolina figure to be in the top 14, but because of the two-team limit, won't be able to be chosen.

Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:50 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 10:03 am
 

BCS eligibility rules

There is some confusion out there about how teams become eligible for the BCS, so to clear it up, here are the rules.

1. The champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC (the AQ conferences) will play in BCS games, regardless of rankings.  There is no exception.  That accounts for six of the ten bowl spots.

2. The top two teams in the BCS standings play for the BCS title.  There are no restrictions.  The teams do not have to be conference champions.  They do not have to be from different conferences.  The top two, whoever they are, play.

3. No more than two teams from any conference can appear in the BCS games.  Exception: if No. 1 and No. 2 in the BCS standings are from the same AQ conference and neither is the conference champion, the conference champion also plays in the BCS (rule #1), thus giving that conference three teams.  Many think this exception would come into play if Georgia beats LSU this week.  Under normal circumstances though, the four at-large teams must come from different conferences.

4. The highest rated non-AQ conference champion automatically qualifies for an at-large spot if it is in the top 12 of the BCS standings, or in the top 16 and ranked ahead of one of the AQ conference champions.  That's why Houston did not have to pass Boise State in the rankings to automatically qualify.  Boise will not be a conference champion.  If Houston loses, it could open the door for TCU, which is 18th this week and would have to get up to the top 16 to qualify.

5. Notre Dame automatically qualifies if it is in the top eight.  lol.

6. If a team from an AQ conference that did not win its league is ranked third or fourth, it automatically qualifies for an at-large spot.  This rule cannot be used to supersede the two-team limit per conference, and only one team (the higher rated) can qualify under this rule.  Stanford qualified under this rule last year, and is positioned to possibly do so again.

7. If there are any spots left after all that, any team with nine wins and a top 14 ranking can be selected at the discretion of the bowls.

There was some erraneous reporting tonight that indicated that the BCS could go down to the top 18 to grab a team from an AQ conference if its league only had its champion in the top 14.  That is NOT true.  Michigan fans - this means you.  Michigan has to be in the top 14 to be eligible, period.

There is a provision to go outside the top 14 for at-large teams, but it only comes into play if it is not possible to fill the at-large spots with teams in the top 14.  That will not be a problem this year.  It almost happened in 2007, which is the year that rule was introduced.

Hope this clears things up!

Posted on: November 20, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: November 20, 2011 4:41 pm
 

S-E-C! S-E-C!

The carnage of this weekend will create an unprecedented circumstance in this week's ratings.  The top three teams will all be from one league.  The SEC West trio of LSU, Alabama and Arkansas will rest atop this week's rankings.

After that?  This week's projection much less predicitable.  The coaches still like Oklahoma St to some degree, and only dropped the Cowboys to sixth.  If the Harris folks vote along similar lines (and the projection is changed to reflect that), OSU should still be fourth overall, and viable as a national title contender.

The coaches were also generous with Oregon (ninth - top rated among two-loss teams) and Oklahoma (11th, behind the Ducks and Michigan State).

In the bowl projections, voters may consider Oklahoma State a viable option if the Cowboys beat Oklahoma and win the Big 12.  However, at the moment, they trail both Virginia Tech and Stanford in the polls.  I don't think it's likely OSU would catch Alabama if they have to jump both of those teams without them losing.  Therefore, a rematch between LSU and Alabama is the current projection.

I do have the Cowboys now winning that game and getting to the Fiesta Bowl.

The Sugar would be without an SEC team, so I have them plucking Michigan as an at-large to play Houston.  Stanford would automatically qualify as an at-large team for the second year in a row and end up in the Fiesta.

This afternoon, the University of Miami announced a self-imposed bowl ban in response to the NCAA investigation of the Nevin Shapiro scandal.  The bowl projections will be changed to reflect that decision.

Also, many are asking about Penn State falling out of the Big Ten bowls entirely.  Unfortunately, right now, the Nittany Lions are toxic to the bowls.  Maybe they will soften on PSU over the next couple of weeks.  Maybe one of the lower tier Big Ten bowls will take a flyer on them with the thought that they might never get another shot at Penn State.

Big Ten bowl rules stipulate that the Rose must take the champion and that the championship game loser cannot fall below the Gator in the selection order.  My projection does not have Penn State winning the division, so there would be no restriction preventing the Nits from falling all the way out, even with nine wins.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com