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Blog Entry

Schmolik 64 Update (3/12/13)

Posted on: March 12, 2013 9:10 am
 
Hello, college basketball fans!

Updated to reflect Monday night's results. Records are as of March 11, 2013.
* Clinched automatic bid

Regionals are listed in order of the top seed (first listed is overall No. 1 seed)

MIDWEST REGIONAL (Indianapolis, IN Fri/Sun March 29-31)

Dayton, OH (Fri/Sun March 22-24)

(1) Indiana (26-5) vs. (16) Play In Game B winner 
(8) UCLA (19-13) vs. (9) Villanova (18-12)

Kansas City, MO (Fri/Sun March 22-24)

(5) St. Louis (24-6) vs. (12) Play In Game D winner
(4) Marquette (23-7) vs. (13) Akron (23-6)

Austin, TX (Fri/Sun March 22-24)

(6) Colorado State (22-7) vs. (11) Wichita State (26-8)
(3) Florida (24-6) vs. (14) South Dakota State (21-9)

Lexington, KY (Thur/Sat March 21-23)

(7) Illinois (20-11) vs. (10) St. Mary's (26-6)
(2) Miami (24-6) vs. (15) Harvard (18-9)*

EAST REGIONAL (Washington, DC Thur/Sat March 21-23)

Philadelphia, PA (Fri/Sun March 22-24)

(1) Duke (27-4) vs. (16) Norfolk State (21-10)
(8) Memphis (27-4) vs. (9) Missouri (22-9)

San Jose, CA (Thur/Sat March 21-23)

(5) Pittsburgh (24-7) vs. (12) Louisiana Tech (25-5)  
(4) Kansas State (24-6) vs. (13) Bucknell (26-5)

Dayton, OH (Fri/Sun March 22-24)

(6) VCU (24-7) vs. (11) Boise State (19-9)
(3) Ohio State (23-7) vs. (14) Florida Gulf Coast (22-10)*   

Lexington, KY (Thur/Sat March 21-23)

(7) UNLV (22-8) vs. (10) Oklahoma (20-10)
(2) Louisville (26-5) vs. (15) Vermont (21-10)   

WEST REGIONAL (Los Angeles, CA Thur/Sat March 28-30)

Salt Lake City, UT (Thur/Sat March 21-23)

(1) Gonzaga (30-2)* vs. (16) Play In Game A winner
(8) Minnesota (20-11) vs. (9) San Diego State (19-9)

San Jose, CA (Thur/Sat March 21-23)

(5) Syracuse (23-8) vs. (12) Play In Game C winner
(4) Arizona (24-6) vs. (13) Davidson (25-7) * 

Auburn Hills, MI (Thur/Sat March 21-23)

(6) Butler (23-7) vs. (11) Cincinnati (21-10)
(3) Michigan (24-6) vs. (14) Valparaiso (24-7)

Kansas City, MO (Fri/Sun March 21-23)

(7) Creighton (27-7)* vs. (10) Belmont (24-6)*
(2) Kansas (26-5) vs. (15) Long Beach State (16-12)

SOUTH REGIONAL (North Texas, TX Fri/Sun March 29-31)

Philadelphia, PA (Fri/Sun March 22-24)

(1) Georgetown (24-5) vs. (16) Western Kentucky (19-15)*
(8) NC State (22-9) vs. (9) California (20-10)

Austin, TX (Fri/Sun March 22-24)

(5) Wisconsin (21-10) vs. (12) LaSalle (21-8)
(4) Oklahoma State (23-7) vs. (13) Stephen F. Austin (22-3)

Salt Lake City, UT (Thur/Sat March 21-23)

(6) North Carolina (21-9) vs. (11) Colorado (20-10)
(3) New Mexico (26-5) vs. (14) Montana (21-6)

Auburn Hills, MI (Thur/Sat March 21-23)

(7) Notre Dame (23-8) vs. (10) Temple (23-8)
(2) Michigan State (23-7) vs. (15) Iona (20-13) *

Final Four: Midwest (1) vs. South (4), East (2) vs. West (3)

FIRST FOUR (All games in Dayton, OH)

Automatic Bid Games:

Game A: Tue. March 19: James Madison (20-14)* vs. Liberty (12-20)*

Game B: Wed. March 20: Long Island (19-13) vs. Southern (18-9)

Last Four Teams In: 

Game C: Tue. March 19: Southern Mississippi (21-8) vs. Tennessee (19-11)

Game D: Wed. March 20: Middle Tennessee (28-5) vs. Iowa State (21-10) 

Last teams out: Kentucky (50), Oregon (54), Mississippi (56), Massachusetts (58), Baylor (62), Alabama (63). RPI Data courtesy of CBS Sports.com.

Bids By Conference:

Big East: 8
Big Ten: 7
Big 12: 5
A-10: 5
MWC: 5
ACC: 4
SEC: 3
Pac-12: 4
MVC: 2
WCC: 2
C-USA: 2
Sun Belt: 2
One Bid: 20

Analysis:

I chose Indiana as the No. 1 overall seed. They won the Big Ten (who many see as the best conference this season) regular season championship outright on the last day of the regular season. They swept both Michigan State and Michigan this season. Indiana has a very impressive eight victories over teams ranked in the RPI Top 25. 

I was very impressed with Duke's convincing win at Chapel Hill, defeating a North Carolina team that had previously won six consecutive games. Duke is undefeated this season with Ryan Kelly playing, a fact the Selection Committee has to consider when choosing No. 1 seeds. Duke has the overall No. 1 RPI and has defeated six teams in theRPI Top 25 (not counting No. 26 Virginia Commonwealth and No. 28 North Carolina State).

Gonzaga is the third overall No. 1 seed. They have only lost two games this season, one on a buzzer beater at Butler, and their WCC Championship should put them in good shape to land a No. 1 seed regardless of what happens later this week.

For the final No. 1 seed, I went with Georgetown. The Hoyas, Louisville and Marquette are all tied for the Big East regular season title. Georgetown has victories over the other two (they won the only game played against Louisville at home). Georgetown and Louisville have a great chance to get a No. 1 seed if either can win the Big East Conference tournament in Madison Square Garden. This will be the last Big East tournament before the breakup of the football playing and non football playing schools. I find that disappointing, but I have written several articles expressing disapproval of some of the Big East's moves.

My No. 2 seeds include Miami, Michigan State, Louisville and Kansas. Michigan State's early season victory over Kansas in the Champions Classic put the Spartans ahead of the Jayhawks for the right to play in Arlington (the NCAA lists the location as [North Texas]). It also makes some sense to put the only No. 2 seed west of the Mississippi in the West Regional. Since Louisville was my highest ranked No. 2 seed, they get to play in Washington (placing them in Indianapolis with Indiana would, in my opinion, make that too strong a regional).

New Mexico still has the No. 2 overall RPI yet is ranked much lower in polls. I think the Mountain West Conference is underrated. They have three teams ranked in the RPITop 25 and five total in the RPI Top 50. I found from another website (I forgot which one) that New Mexico is a little closer to Dallas than Los Angeles so I placed them in Dallas for their regional (I also wanted to put all four of the top four Big Ten teams in separate regionals).

Sunday night, Middle Tennessee State (MTSU) was upset in the Sun Belt semifinals. This added the Blue Raiders to the at large pool. Middle Tennessee State's RPI (even after their loss) was No. 29. That would be a very high RPI to exclude from the NCAA Tournament. 

In addition, MTSU's non conference RPI is ranked No, 18 and their non conference strength of schedule is No. 12. The Selection Committee has stressed in the past that you can control your non conference schedule and their general policy is to reward those who play tough none conference schedules .

However, Middle Tennessee State has no wins over a team in the RPI Top 50 and only one vs. the RPI Top 100 (Mississippi, No. 56). 

I personally think the RPI number should not be overlooked or thrown out. Remember that the RPI is used to determine quality wins so I think it's unfair to credit teams for beating teams that have high RPI's but not credit teams for having a high RPI. Southern Mississippi (RPI No. 35) also falls in this category although they can play themselves into (or out of) the NCAA Tournament this week.

The SEC has, in my opinion, the most bubble teams. I consider Kentucky (RPI No. 50), Tennessee (RPI No. 55), Mississippi (RPI No. 56) and Alabama (RPI No. 62) on the bubble. This is a case where the teams ranked below 50 can claim a victory over Kentucky as a quality win but Kentucky cannot. Kentucky should be rewarded for being in the Top 50. I think all four of these teams need to win at least one game (Tennessee needs to win at least two) to feel good about their NCAA Tournament chances.

I do not like the fact that the Missouri Valley Conference and West Coast Conference play their championship games too early. I would like to see their games closer to Selection Sunday. I feel Wichita State and St. Mary's (if they lose to Gonzaga) have strong enough profiles to make the NCAA Tournament.

But I have seen many MVC teams fall out of contention during Championship Week. St. Mary's also has been on the wrong side of the bubble a couple of times recently as well. I wonder if they become out of sight, out of mind while team who play closer to Selection Sunday have a chance to make a statement closer to when the Selection Committee decides who is in or out. Last year, I feel Drexel also was hurt by the layoff last season. I think the MVC should take Conference USA's CBS spot on Saturday (Memphis, UCF, Houston, and SMU will all leave after this season).

Baylor and Virginia have great wins (Baylor over Kansas and Virginia over Duke) but I felt their overall bodies of work didn't make them deserving. Both teams were hurt by high RPI's (Baylor at No. 62 and Virginia at No. 67). Virginia has also beaten North Carolina (RPI No. 19) and has two other wins vs. the RPI Top 50). They also have a humiliating loss to Old Dominion (RPI No. 316) and six other losses to teams outside the RPI Top 100. Their non conference schedule was ranked No. 303. Baylor finished just 9-9 overall in the Big 12 with four of those nine wins over teams ranked below 200. Their record of 17-13 is not impressive in my opinion.

Oregon did not make the field. They have good wins over Arizona and at both UCLA and UNLV). They were also hurt by a low RPI (No. 54), a horrible non conference schedule (No. 254) and head to head sweeps by both Colorado and California.'

Finally missing the field is the defending national champions, Kentucky. I don't think there was anything bad about their resume. Their RPI (No. 50) paled in comparison to Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss. While they split the regular season with Tennessee, Tennessee's victory without Nerlens Noel was more recent and more convincing. 

One final comment. I dislike the misnomer that teams should be judged more on their play on the road vs. their record at home. They say no teams play true home games in the NCAA Tournament. But if no teams play home games, no teams play road games either. Maybe they should judge neutral site games more but there are too few to make a difference. I don't think winning on the road should allow you to lose at home. I also don't feel a few good wins make up for bad losses. I like to look at the whole "body of work".

Compare my bracket to CBS Sports.com's bracket and others at the Bracket Project (http://www.bracketmatrix.com/)
Category: NCAAB
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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com