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Tag:UCF
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:45 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 3:05 pm
 

Michigan State, UConn, Xavier drop

Michigan State fell from the top line of today's bracket after last night's loss to IndianaKansas has replaced Sparty at the No. 1 seed in the West.

That was good news for Missouri.  The Tigers are now the No. 2 seed in St. Louis.  Kentucky fans may not be happy about the possibility of having to play Mizzou in St. Louis, but the committee does not care.  They want teams close to home if they can.

Connecticut's last season swoon continued with a come-from-ahead loss at Providence.  If you listen to the studio guy on TV at halftime, you would be lead to believe that the Huskies 5-11 record since New Year's was important.  It's not.  The committee has de-emphasized how a team finishes the season as a criteria, and no longer tracks such information on their team data sheets.  Teams are judged on their entire seasons, and no particular weight is given to any one portion.

That is also good news for Xavier, which blew a lead and lost at Saint Louis last night.  The Muskies really havent' been the same team since the fight with Cincinnati.  They haven't fallen out of the bracket yet, but they keep sliding toward the bottom.

UCF took a beating at Memphis last night and dropped out of the bracket.  The Knights were replaced by Texas for now.  The Longhorns play tonight against Oklahoma.

In the Big Sky, Montana beat preseason favorite Weber State to win the regular season title.  That means the Grizzlies will host the conference tournament.

The bubble watch was also updated this morning, and look for another update later on tonight.

Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:28 pm
 

Bracket steady at the top

Today's bracket and bubble watch are posted.  The top three seeds are still the same, although some shuffling among regions has occurred.

One of the biggest myths of bracketing is that the committee "snakes" the field, but that isn't true.  No effort is made to match the overall No. 1 with the worst of the two seeds, or the 16 seeds or the 8s or any seed.  Geography plays a big role in where teams get placed.  There is some effort at balance among the top four seeds in each region, and in the bracket overall, but that's it.

Geography plays a much bigger role in bracketing than most people realize.  That's because the feedback the NCAA gets from schools and coaches is that they would rather be in a tougher region close to home than travel far for an easier draw.

So, no Kansas is not the lowest No. 2 seed just because it is paired with overall No. 1 Kentucky.

Texas and Arizona are out of the bracket, replaced by UCF and Miami.  Miami actually picked up a big win over the weekend against Florida State.  The other teams didn't lose, but got shuffled after re-evaulation.

Iowa State was the biggest mover up the bracket after filling a big hole in its resume with a win at Kansas State.  It was only the Cyclones fourth top 100 win, but their first away from home.

Wisconsin moved up a couple spots as well after winning at Ohio StateNotre Dame had its nine-game winning streak broken at St. John's, then lost again to Georgetown last night.

Conference tournaments are underway, which has those teams near the bottom of the bracket sweating out potential bid-stealers.  If Murray State were to go down in the OVC tournament, somebody's bubble would burst as Murray is clearly at-large quality.

The same would happen if a team other than Creighton or Wichita State wins the Missouri Valley.

It's a little dicier after that.  Harvard might be an at-large if it somehow loses the Ivy League.  The Ivy does not have a tournament, so the Crimson would have to lose in the regular season.  They are currently tied with Penn in the loss column.  If the two teams finish tied, the Ivy would have a one-game, neutral court playoff.

Teams like Long Beach, Oral Roberts, Drexel and Iona have slim at-large hopes should they lose their conference tournaments as well.

I will update the bracket and bubble watch pages daily from now on, as events dictate.

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 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: 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: October 15, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Mountain West, C-USA Merger not BCS-Worthy

The Mountan West and Conference USA announced a long-planned, football-only merger yesterday that has as one of its goals acquiring an automatic BCS berth for its champion.

I cannot imagine any chance of that happening.

The Mountain West, on its own, has been hoping to meet the three-part qualification standard for becoming an AQ conference for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.  It looks like that will fall short, although the league should have an opportunity to appeal to the BCS presidential oversight committee.  I can't see any non-political reason for that appeal to be granted.

The qualification standard has three parts and is based on a four-year cycle that ends with the current season.  The parts are the highest ranked team in the league, the average BCS computer rankings of all the teams in the league, and the number of top 25 teams in the league.

If a non-AQ conference finishes the four-year cycle in the top six conferences in the first two categories, it becomes AQ. If it finishes in the top five in one of the two, seventh in the other, and meets a minimum standard in the third category, the league can appeal to the POC.  That's where the MWC stands entering this season.

The Mountain West is in the top five in the highest ranked team category and a distant seventh (yes, well behind the Big East) in the second category.  It is not mathematically possible for the MWC to finish sixth, and it hasn't been a particularly good year for the league anyway.

Conference USA is in a battle for 8th place in this list with the WAC, and both are well behind the MWC in all three categories, and that's the problem for this association's attempt to get an AQ spot in the BCS.  Adding C-USA dilutes the Mountain West.  

That is not even taking into consideration that both leagues are under attack from the Big East, which is looking to grow its membership.

In a semi-related note, the Big East's AQ status is not in doubt for at least two more years, and maybe longer, if it can get its membership numbers up and stabilized.  There is no formal process for removing AQ status from a conference like there is for adding it.  That doesn't mean the BCS poobahs can't create a process or strip a league of its AQ status without one, but it will be at least the 2014 season before that would happen.

In an effort to prevent that, the Big East will invite Air Force, Boise St (MWC), UCF (C-USA) and Navy to join its ranks next week, Brett McMurphy posted yesterday.  Other reports say that SMU and Houston (C-USA) will recieve invites as well.  That doesn't mean those invites will be accepted.

There may be other, perfectly good reasons for these two leagues to work together like this (TV, scheduling, etc), but getting a BCS berth for its champion looks like a pipe dream.



Posted on: January 25, 2011 11:39 am
Edited on: January 25, 2011 3:03 pm
 

Jan. 25 Bracket - Tight Battles at the Top

by Jerry Palm

Today's bracket has been posted.  The battle for No. 1 seeds is tighter this year than we have seen in a long time.

Usually, even by this time of the season, we'll have a pretty good idea who at least one or two of the No. 1 seeds are going to be in the final bracket on Selection Sunday.  Someone will be so dominant that nothing short of an injury would derail them.  This year, that's not really the case.  Here is a look at the contenders.

Duke -- The Blue Devils are back on the top line in this week's bracket and have the best chance of staying there.  The reason for that is because the rest of their league is at least a step-and-a-half behind them, so it will be a reasonably significant upset every time they get beat.  If that happens.

Ohio State -- The undefeated, top-rated Buckeyes have been playing with fire lately, with five of their last six wins coming by single-digit margins.  They still have plenty of landmines ahead, including home-and-homes with Purdue (starting tonight) and Wisconsin .

San Diego State
-- Undefeated and maybe under-respected, the Aztecs can start building some of that respect tomorrow at BYU .  Win or lose, they are likely to be favored every time they take the floor from here on out.

Kansas -- Texas knocked the Jayhawks off their perch in the Big 12 on Saturday.  They are 11-0 against NIT-quality teams (a few of which may end up in the NCAAs anyway) and 0-1 vs NCAA-quality teams.  They'll get some chances to make statements still against Missouri and Texas A&M .

Connecticut , Pittsburgh , Syracuse , Villanova -- The top of the Big East is loaded again.  Any of these could be No. 1 seeds, and it wouldn't be a big surprise if two of them are.  Which ones is harder to predict, but the Orange are behind the curve just slighly having already lost to Pitt and Nova.  Nobody has more top 25 RPI wins right now than UConn, which has five.  Pitt, Notre Dame and Texas have four each.  Maybe the Irish could play their way into this group too eventually.

BYU - It's hard to think of the No. 1 team in the RPI as a longshot for a No. 1 seed, but they probably are.  Like San Diego State, the Cougars don't have a high-quality non-conference win, and don't have too many chances to get them in the league, except against the Aztecs.  That means that for both of those teams, a gaudy record will be required to compete for a spot on the top line.

Purdue is up a couple of spots this week to a 3-seed after beating Michigan State and filling a hole in their tournament profile.  The Boilers can really make some noise if they knock off Ohio State tonight.

Cincinnati has crept up to a five-seed after winning at St. John's Xavier 's ascent to the top of the Atlantic 10 has helped too.  The Red Storm has dropped into the dreaded 8-9 game after an 0-2 week that also included at loss at Louisville .

Gonzaga would probably be happy to be in an 8-9 game, like they were in last week's bracket.  Now, the Zags are in a First Four game against Miami after losses at Santa Clara and San Francisco last week.

Nobody has fallen harder than UCF though, which just two weeks ago was undefeated and 14th in the RPI.  Now, they are on a four-game losing streak and down to 64th.  The Knights lost at home to East Carolina and Rice this week and fell from a 7-seed to out of the bracket entirely.





Posted on: January 22, 2011 9:32 am
 

Bracket Impact Games

by Jerry Palm

Everyone already has this week's big games on their radar: Texas-Kansas, Tennessee-Connecticut and Villanova-Syracuse.  Here are some other, under-the-radar games today that have potential bracket implications.

Michigan State at Purdue.  It's hard to call a game being played at the site of Gameday "under-the-radar," but this one can't be ignored.  Purdue doesn't have a quality win all year.  The Spartans are in danger of losing any realistic hope of the conference title.  Both teams need this one.  Badly.

Arizona at Washington State.  These two were in my First Four last week, and the Wildcats are coming off a loss at Washington.  They are a team with a gaudy record, but very little accomplishment.

Boston College at Florida State.  Show of hands -- who circled this on their calendars back in November as a battle for first place in the ACC?  Me neither.  Neither is a sure at-large team yet, so a win today will really help.

Cincinnati at St. John's.  The Bearcats have yet to beat a sure tournament team, and winning today wouldn't change that, but it would still be their best win of the season.

Temple at Xavier.  Temple is the A-10 favorite, but the Owls will fall two games back in the league if they don't win today.  Xavier probably needs the win more than Temple does for its tournament resume.

BYU at Colorado State.  The Cougars better not get caught looking ahead to Wednesday's San Diego State game because the Rams are coming off a win at UNLV and pushing for a spot in the field.

St. Mary's at Vanderbilt.  The Gaels have quietly climbed to 17-2.  It's been a quiet climb because their only win of note came at home over St. John's.  They haven't won a road game like this in their recent run of success, so a win today isn't just a statement to the committee, it's a statement for the program.

Oklahoma State at Baylor.  If Baylor is ever going to make a run for the NCAA tournament, and start playing to the leve of its talent, today is the day to start.  The Bears are 0-5 vs the RPI top 100.   They have a lot of catching up to do.  The Cowboys' tournament status is far from solid also, so they cannot afford to let down.

Kansas State at Texas A&M.  The Wildcats were the preseason favorite in the Big 12, but now they are just trying to hang on and get into the NCAA tournament.  They don't have a RPI top 50 win yet.  Getting one on the road today would be big.

VCU at Old Dominion.  ODU is the best at-large candidate in the Colonial, but probably needs to win the league to have a shot.  VCU and Hofstra are a game ahead of the Monarchs at the moment.

Memphis at UAB.  If C-USA is going to be a two-bid league, that second bid is coming from either Memphis or UCF.  The Tigers need to win today or those hopes are in trouble.

Creighton at Missouri State and Indiana State at Wichita State.  MSU and ISU are co-leaders in the Valley after the Sycamores beat the Bears earlier this week.  The Shockers were the preseason favorite though.  For the Valley to put two teams in the field, there probably needs to be a clear champion.  MSU probably has the best chance of getting that doesn.

 
 
 
 
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