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: March 3, 2012 2:20 am
There have been no changes to the bracket the last couple of days, but it is sure to change tomorrow as many teams end their regular seasons, and three conferences crown their tournament champions.
The Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley conferences will decided their automatic qualifiers Saturday. All bubble teams will be watching the OVC game closely as Tennessee State tries to steal an at-large bid away when it faces Murray State. The Racers are in the NCAAs, win or lose.
Harvard can also clinch the Ivy League title with a win at Cornell and a loss by Penn to Yale.
Everyone will be talking about North Carolina and Duke, which could have top seed implications, but the games involving teams trying to fight their way into the bracket are more interesting.
West Virginia is at South Florida in a battle of bubble teams. The winner isn't necessarily a lock and the loser isn't necessarily eliminated, but the winner could have a leg up on the loser if they are competiting for a spot in the bracket.
Texas has a chance to make a big splash, and fill a big hole in its tournament profile, when it travels to Kansas. The Longhorns do not have a win away from home of any significance, but I think it's safe to say, winning at Phog would be significant.
Northwestern will try to keep its number of bad losses at zero as it goes on the road to play Iowa. The Hawkeyes have been playing much better the last few weeks, but they are not a tournament team, so it's a must win for the Wildcats.
Washington can wrap up an outright Pac-12 championship with a win at UCLA.
Finally, BYU has a chance to pick up its best win of the season when it faces Gonzaga in the semifinals of the WCC tournament. The Cougars beat the Zags at home earlier this year.
Posted on: February 14, 2012 1:16 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 1:20 pm
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 10, 2012 11:48 am
Edited on: February 10, 2012 11:50 am
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 Kansas. Ohio 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: January 18, 2012 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 11:56 am
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: December 7, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 6:37 pm
There is a new bracket up and, as you might expect, there have been some changes from the preseason bracket I did back in October.
North Carolina, the overall No. 1 back then, is now a 2-seed. I have a feeling the Heels will be back on the top line in short order, and may eventually become the overall No. 1 again.
The Big Ten has nine of its 12 teams in this bracket. Realistically, that's a couple more than the league can expect in March. That's a function of not having begun conference play yet. The league is the top-rated by a pretty wide margin at this point.
I put this together using a combination of RPI, poll rankings and just my own subjectiveness. RPI data can be pretty comical still at this time of year. Texas A&M, which is in the top 25, has an RPI of 163. If the Aggies are still in the 160s in March, they won't be worrying about playing in the postseason.
St. Mary's is the top team in the RPI currently. They are in this bracket, but they have only played four games that count, so the Gaels are still hard to judge.
So, there are some teams in here that we probably won't see again (TCU, Seton Hall, Minnesota, which lost its best player to injury). I would caution Virginia Tech fans against false hope though. You are likely to have your noses pressed against the glass door again.
Indiana and North Carolina are in the same pod. One of them is undefeated.
Hey, Alabama fans! I think we'll be on the same page this year. Barring injury, your team should spend the season comfortably in the top half of the field.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 6:28 pm
This week's BCS games to watch:
North Carolina at Clemson -- The Tigers have three of their final four on the road, so it is important for them to take care of business at home.
Oklahoma St at Missouri -- This is arguably the toughest game left for the Cowboys before their season-ending showdown with Oklahoma. Baylor and Kansas St are on the schedule too, but those games are at home.
Wisconsin at Michigan St -- The Spartans are probably best equipped to defend the Badgers, but they will have to do it without suspended DE William Gholston.
Washington at Stanford -- I'm not a bettor, but I can't believe Stanford is a three-touchdown favorite. Washington (5-1) has played well behind QB Keith Price. The Huskies almost took down Nebraska in Lincoln.
Auburn at LSU -- No Honey Badger. No Spencer Ware. So, LSU will be shorthanded. This could be a dangerous spot for the Bayou Bengals.
USC at Notre Dame -- No BCS impact for the Trojans. They are not eligible for the post-season. However, they can all but end their rivals' chances of getting to the BCS with an upset in South Bend.
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.