Tag:Pittsburgh
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: 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: 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!
Posted on: November 19, 2011 9:10 am
Edited on: November 19, 2011 11:36 am
 

It's not even Saturday yet...

...and already the BCS is turned on its head again.  Iowa State stunned No. 2 Oklahoma State 37-31 in double OT and knocked the Cowboys from the ranks of the unbeaten.  It was the biggest late-season loss by a top two team since Pitt decked West Virginia in 2007.  That year, No. 1 and No. 2 both lost on each of the last two weeks of the season.  That Pitt team's defense was lead by coordinator Paul Rhoads, now the Cyclones coach.

Now, if LSU wins out, it will surely face a one-loss team, and today, it's a little more likely that team will be one it already defeated.

Alabama and Oregon are the next two teams in line in the BCS standings, and assuming both win today, you'll probably see Alabama at No. 2 this week, but it's not a given they'll stay there.  Voters like conference champions, and as things stand now, Alabama isn't going to win the SEC, but nobody else has won a conference championship yet either.

On the last day of 2006, Florida jumped Michigan after it won the SEC title.  On the last day of 2011, Alabama could get jumped by Oregon because it wins the Pac-12 title.  Or maybe even the Bedlam winner.  Or, maybe Georgia, even with its two losses. 

Oh, you don't think that Georgia can make that move?  In 2007, LSU jumped from seventh to second on the final day of the season after winning the SEC championship over Tennessee.  They moved past the former No. 1 and No. 2 teams, both of which lost, the No. 6 team, Virginia Tech, which won the ACC that day, and No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Kansas, neither of which played in their conference title games.  One difference though is that LSU ended with the best record of any SEC team that year.

The point is that unless something changes, Alabama is not playing football the last weekend of the season, and that can hurt them.

And everything I just wrote could get blown up before the ink dries because Saturday hasn't even happened yet.  Gotta love the BCS.


Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:49 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 6:51 am
 

The Battle for the Top Seeds

by Jerry Palm

Pittsburgh's loss to Connecticut in the Big East tournament on Thursday has opened up the battle for the last two spots on the top line of the bracket a little bit (we'll assume Ohio State and Kansas are safe).

Keep in mind though that Pitt lost to UConn, not South Florida.  The Huskies are a top 4 seed.  The profiles of Pitt and Notre Dame, a winner over Cincinnati on Thursday.  At the moment, I have the Irish ahead, but they may have to win on Saturday to stay there.

Meanwhile, waiting in the wings is Duke, which doesn't have near the quality of wins of the Big East schools.  Their best wins are North Carolina and Temple, both at home, and Kansas State in Kansas City.  It's hard to think of Duke catching either without an ACC tournament win, including beating the Tar Heels in the final.

San Diego State is still sitting there also, with just the two losses to full-strength BYU.  If they win the Mountain West tournament, they might get consideration as well.  Again though, the lack of quality wins could be a problem.  The Aztecs best would be, UNLV three times, twice on the road, including today, plus maybe depleted BYU.

Syracuse, Purdue, and Wisconsin could possibly make a run as well.  The Orange could get a crack at Notre Dame themselves.  If Purdue or Wisconsin won the Big Ten tournament, beating Ohio State on Sunday, they might have a case, but would probably need a fair amount of help.


See complete Bracketology coverage here.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:10 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 3:15 pm
 

Feb. 22 Bracket - Carnage Everywhere

by Jerry Palm

Wow, it was a tough week all over the place in the bracket.   The four top-rated teams in the AP poll lost, although the Kansas loss was on Monday night, so it was already accounted for in the previous bracket here.  By my count, 22 at-large teams seeded 8 or below, or were just on the outside lookng in, also lost.

Poll voters being what they are voted Duke up to No. 1 from 5th.  Despite that, the Blue Devils still don't have a No. 1 seed profile.  Pitt and Ohio State still have the most complete tournament resumes are are the overall top two teams.  After that, it gets a little dicier.

San Diego State had kind of a bad week.  Oh, sure, they won twice, but the team that had been arguably their best win, St. Mary's, went in the tank.  The Gaels lost at 300+ RPI San Diego and followed that by getting drilled at home by Utah State.   The Aztecs still have a sweep of UNLV, which is better than most people give them credit for.

I moved Kansas up to the top line in place of Texas after the Longhorns lost at Nebraska.   Texas has more good wins than any of the other top seed competitiors, but also twice as many losses, and now two of them are to likely non-tournament teams.

Purdue moved up to a second seed after a week in which the Boilers beat two top ten-ranked teams at home.

San Diego St and Purdue point out the dangers, for lack of a better word, of looking at one team's selection or seed prospects in a vacuum.

The Aztecs had a good week, but came out of it with a slightly worse profile because of something a previous opponent had done.  Some teams that were ahead of Purdue last week find themselves behind this week, not necessarily because of something they did, but because of something Purdue did.

People ask me all the time things like, "if my team does this, that and the other, are we in?"  Unless one of those things is win the conference tournament, it's not definite.  You might go out and do what you think is something pretty good, but something else happens out of your control and it turns out not to be good enough.

And then, sometimes things like this happen -- St. John's was a six seed in last week's bracket, beat Pitt over the weekend, and is now a seven.  That's not because of anything the Red Storm did, or anything that other teams around them necessarily did.  It is because I swapped them with UNLV to try to keep all those Big East teams as separate as possible in the bracket.  The committee does that kind of thing too.  In fact, sometimes the committee swaps seeds just to keep a team closer to home.

The Bubble Watch is updated also, so I'll have more about some of those teams there.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.







Posted on: February 15, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 9:09 pm
 

Feb. 15 Bracket - Movement at the Top

by Jerry Palm

Ohio State's loss at Wisconsin on Saturday and Kansas losing at Kansas State last night has caused a bit of a shakeup at the top of the bracket.   There is very little separating the teams on the top line, and not much separating them from the second line.  Here is a look at how they stand at the moment.

Pittsburgh -- The Panthers have more top 25 RPI wins than anyone (6), and four of those came away from home.  Two were last week, at West Virginia and Villanova, without their leading scorer, Ashton Gibbs.  Oddly, both of their losses have come in Pittsburgh.

Ohio St -- The Buckeyes have just one loss, the one at Wisconsin.  Everyone loses there.  The have six top 50 wins, including blowouts of Purdue and Florida.

Texas -- Leads the Big 12 and had to win at Kansas to do that.  The loss to USC is a real headscratcher, but you could argue nobody has played better the last month and a half.

San Diego State -- The Aztecs also have just one loss, which came at BYU.   They swept UNLV as part of their five top 50 wins and are 13-1 away from home.  Some even higher quality wins would be nice.

Kansas -- Like SDSU, the Jayhawks are in need of higher quality wins.  They have a neutral court win over Arizona, which is overrated (one top 50 win, home UCLA -- yawn), and beat Missouri at home among their six top 50 wins.  Kansas St is the highest rated team they have played on the road, and they got crushed.  The second-highest rated team the Jayhawks played on the road is Michigan, and they needed OT to beat the Wolverines.

BYU -- The Cougars' seven top 50 wins also includes a neutral court win over Arizona and the win over the Aztecs.  They lost to UCLA in Anaheim and at the Pit in New Mexico, where everybody loses.  Except San Diego State.

Duke -- The win over North Carolina last week was their first over a sure tournament team this season.  Their win at Miami on Sunday is their best road win of the year, after losses at St. John's and Florida State.

So, you can see, it's a pretty tight race to the finish among these seven teams.

St. John's continues to play their way up the bracket.  They beat Connecticut at home and won at Cincinnati and moved up a couple spots.  The Bearcats though are sliding, having lost three of four and with still several tough games ahead.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.

Also, the Bubble Page has been updated.

Posted on: February 1, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 4:46 pm
 

Feb. 1 Bracket - Where's Kansas?

by Jerry Palm

As I suggested the other day, there has been some shuffling throughout the bracket this week.  After all, 18 ranked teams lost at least once last week.

It starts at the top, where Duke and San Diego State have been replaced as No. 1 seeds by Pittsburgh and Texas .

Kansas , the No. 2 team in the polls this week, is still a No. 2 seed in the bracket mostly because the Jayhawks have a lot of wins, but few of any significant quality.  OK -- none of any significant quality.

They have played one team in this bracket seeded 7 or higher (the top 28 teams in the S-Curve) and lost it.  At home.  To one of the No. 1 seeds, Texas.  Until Kansas starts adding some high quality wins to their resume, it's hard to regard them as a top seed.  Although, that could happen eventually even without that.  If some of the teams ahead of them pick up any more losses, it may be hard to hold Kansas back, even without the high quality wins.

They Jayhawks are 11-0 vs teams ranked 26-100 in the RPI.  Arizona is the only top 25 win.  That's why they are a two-seed and not any lower.  Those are quite respectable numbers.  They just aren't No. 1 seed material yet.

It might be a little while before Kansas can grab some higher quality wins, provided Arizona doesn't keep improving its stock.  The Jayhawks don't play Missouri until next week and don't see Texas A&M until March.  Still, if they can avoid losing, I'm sure it won't be long before they are on the top line.

Syracuse and Michigan State continue to free fall.  The Orange losing streak has reached four straight, including a blowout loss at home to Seton Hall in the last week.  They fell a couple of lines in this week's bracket.

The Spartans have fallen even farther.  Last week, they were, wearing their white unis in a 7-10 game, but this week, they switch to green.  Coach Tom Izzo kicked G Korie Lucious off the team, and the team celebrated by losing at home to Michigan and nearly doing so to Indiana .  Michigan State has to reprove itself to the committee with its new lineup.  That was not a great start.

St. John's picked up a huge win over Duke on Sunday, but the Johnnies are far from out of the woods.  Right now, the Red Storm (also what we're calling the weather in Chicago today) is 12-8, but a look at the rest of the regular season schedule sees very few sure wins.  OK, no wins are sure, but they might only be favored three more times.  Fifteen wins won't get them in the field.  It's much more likely that they will need at least 18.

I hope you like the new format of the bracket page .  Feel free to leave comments on that page about the format (and the bracket too).  You will note that some teams are marked as being on the bubble.  In my own mind, the bubble is a lot larger than the teams I have marked, but I am going to just mark those in the most danger.  Some of those teams I marked are in the bracket as conference leaders at the moment.  I have marked them as bubble teams in the event they need at-large bids.  If a team is a double-digit seed and a conference leader, but I do not have them marked as on the bubble, then I don't think they are at-large candidates.  At least not yet.

More about the Big East, Big Ten and Conference USA below.






 
 
 
 
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