Tag:Utah State
Posted on: February 25, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: February 25, 2011 11:28 am
 

Feb. 25 Bracket - Marquette Makes a Move

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 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 18, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 5:17 pm
 

Feb. 18 - Bubble Watch

by Jerry Palm

There will be a lot of focus on the bracket busters this weekend, but there aren't too many bubble teams involved in that event.  One game that got a lot more interesting though is Utah State at St. Mary's.   The Gaels gagged one away at 300+ RPI San Diego this week and put what looked like a pretty secure tournament berth, not to mention a conference title, in jeopardy.

The Aggies haven't beaten anyone all year.  They have 23 wins and not a single one of them has come against a top 100 RPI foe.  So far, they have proven then can lose to a bad team (Idaho ), but haven't proven they can beat a good one.

Another game that could have some bubble implications is Cleveland State at Old Dominion on Sunday.  The Vikings are co-leaders in the Horizon league, but are missing a top 50 RPI win.  A road win against the Monarchs might give them a boost if they slip up in the conference tournament.

VCU at Wichita State looked like a potentially bubbly game when it was announced, but two big losses at home for the Rams this week were a buzzkill.

Missouri State at Valparaiso could help the winner perhaps, but probably only if the winner also wins its league regular season title.

Among the bigger schools, Boston College has a chance to make a splash this Saturday at the Dean Dome when they take on North Carolina.

Oklahoma State
is a home court hero, and they can't really do anything to fix that when they host Texas A&M this weekend, but you take quality wins where you can get them.

In the Big Ten, all eyes are focused on Purdue and Ohio State, but Illinois at Michigan State on Saturday has big bubble implications.  The Spartans are just 13-11, and no matter how good your schedule is, that record isn't going to cut it (some of you may remember Georgia in 2001 - this doesn't compare. Nothing even remotely compares).  The Illini have been fading some too, and they have the Buckeyes next, so this one is even more important.

The whole top of the Pac 10 seems to be on the bubble, and I wouldn't necessarily rule out haven't-beaten-anyone Arizona either.  The Wildcats host Washington in a big game in both the conference race and the tournament chase.

Finally, Georiga begins the final, brutal stretch of its schedule with a game at Tennessee.   The Bulldogs also have game at Florida and Alabama remaining, and may have to win at least one of those to feel any level of comfort entering the SEC tournament.  It's also a big game for Tennessee, which is 16-10 overall and cannot afford to slip too much with games at Vanderbilt and home against Kentucky left.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.

Bubble Watch


Posted on: February 5, 2011 9:04 am
Edited on: February 5, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Busted Brackets

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 30, 2011 6:06 pm
 

Slaughterhouse Saturday - Bracket Edition

by Jerry Palm

There was a lot of carnage in the top 25 on Saturday -- and Sunday too.  Nine teams ranked in the AP poll lost to lower ranked or unranked teams this weekend, and there are still two games left to play as I write this.

The list of victims includes two teams that were top seeds in my most recent bracket, Duke and Connecticut .  A third, Ohio State , barely escaped at Northwestern yesterday.  The fourth, San Diego State , lost at BYU on Wednesday.

Syracuse , Vanderbilt , Villanova , Florida , Texas A&M , BYU, and Wisconsin all took the pipe on Saturday.

So what does this mean?  Well, when everybody loses, nobody really wins.  How much change can there be in the top 16 when 11 of them take at least one loss during the week?  Some teams will surely drop out, but this weekend may not cause the massive shakeup you might expect.  Utah State isn't suddenly a No. 1 seed just because everybody ahead of them lost this week.  They almost lost too, by the way.

What a weekend like this does is cause poll voters in particular to almost start from scratch and reevaluate everyone.  That's standard operating procedure for me when I do brackets.  I never look at my previous one.  But most people, voters especially, tend to slot teams in their mind (and on their ballots) and move them week-to-week.  Weeks like this make that task nearly impossible.

So, in the bracket anyway, there will surely be some shuffling, but it may not be as dramatic as you might expect.

Posted on: January 28, 2011 12:13 pm
 

Stats to Watch and the First Four

by Jerry Palm

In my 17 years of tracking the RPI and the selection process, there are a few things that I follow closely when trying to figure out which teams could get at-large bids, or at least should get consideration.

One of those is RPI top 100 wins.  No team has received an at-large bid with fewer than three.  It has taken at least four, if a team doesn't have a top 50 RPI win.  When I do mid-season brackets, I'm not necessarily looking for three, but a team isn't likely getting on my board without at least two.

So, that eliminates from consideration -- at least for the moment -- Wichita State , which doesn't have any.  Utah State wouldn't be on my board either if they weren't a conference leader.  I shake my head when I see them in the polls.  I also have UTEP off because it only has one top 100 win.

Another thing I look for is at least a .500 record vs teams in the top 200 of the RPI.  Now, I've been through three NCAA mock selection meetings, and that stat has never come up, but only two teams in the last 17 years received at-large bids without meeting that standard.  This is one that we may see slide some with three more NIT-quality teams in the field going forward.

Teams that are below .500 against the top 200 of the RPI as of this morning include Michigan State , UCLA , Cal , Marquette and Gonzaga .  The Spartans are unique in that they have not played a game against teams ranked 101-200, so they are 7-8 vs the top 100 RPI teams, and also against the top 200.

Finally, you may have noticed that Dayton is right on the fence when it comes to the bracket.  It's possible that the Flyers could be one of the last four teams in.  If that happens, the committee has said that they are eligible to play in the First Four, even though those games are played on Dayton's home floor.  I'm almost never skeptical when it comes to the committee, but I'll believe that one when I see it.

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