Posted on: September 16, 2011 6:50 pm

Schmolik 14 College Conference Realignment

Hello college football/basketball fans!

This is a proposal for realigning conferences based partially on the projected moves of Texas A&M to the SEC and the Oklahoma schools to the Pac-"12".

Pac-12: Add Oklahoma and Oklahoma State
SEC: Add Texas A&M and West Virginia
Big 12: Add Pittsburgh and Notre Dame
ACC: Add Syracuse and Connecticut

All of the remaining Big 12 and Big East schools merge into a new "Big Mess" conference.

South: Baylor, Central Florida, Houston, South Florida, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech
North: Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville, Missouri, Rutgers

For a more detailed look:
Posted on: March 15, 2011 4:29 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2011 5:34 pm

2011 Schmolik Bracket Analysis

Hello, college basketball fans!

Now there are two annual traditions every March in terms of the NCAA Tournament.

First I post my bracket before the tournament as to who I think and/or deserve to make the NCAA Tournament.

My second annual tradition is breaking down the actual bracket and picking who will win. I like to call it "Schmolik Bracket Analysis"! 


An annual tradition if mine during Schmolik Bracket Analysis is to begin with the regional my alma mater and beloved Illinois Fighting Illini are in (assuming they are in). This year, that is the Southwest Regional.

The season for Illinois began with high expectations and a big win over North Carolina but Illinois slumped. After not being in the tournament last year, it's great just to be in the tournament. Illinois will try to win its first game since 2006.

They will face a familiar face in UNLV coach Lon Kruger. Younger Illini fans don't remember but Kruger was Illinois's coach before he left for the NBA, failed (just like John Calipari and Rick Pitino) and landed at UNLV. If Illinois wins, they will play another former Illini coach in Bill Self (assuming Kansas doesn't become the first No. 1 seed ever to lose to a No. 16).

Recently, Illinois hasn't beaten anyone really good (Iowa and Indiana don't count). I would rather play UNLV than some Big East team (we had an 11 out of 68 chance in drawing one so we got lucky!) but I just don't have much faith in them.

Besides, even if Illinois wins, how much of a chance do we have against Kansas anyway? Then again, if I had to play one of the No. 1 seeds in the "third" round, I would want Kansas. Kansas as a No. 1 seed has lost in the "second" round several times, including last season.

Speaking of Kansas, before Self was Illinois's coach he was Tulsa's coach (I really am old!) So it is a homecoming of sorts for Self in the "second and third" round games. Now Self has not fared too well in the state of Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament. The last two times Kansas played in Oklahoma were 2005 (1st round loss to No. 14 seed Bucknell) and last year (2nd round loss to No. 9 Northern Iowa). But those two games were in Oklahoma City, not Tulsa.

Vanderbilt is trying to buck a recent trend. They lost their last two NCAA Tournament games as No. 4 seeds to No. 13's. This year, Vanderbilt plays Atlantic 10 champion Richmond, who I think is underseeded as a No. 12. If you are looking for a 5-12 upset to pick, I think this is a good one. 

In the bottom half of the Southwest, we have my favorite nickname in recent memory, the St. Peter's Peacocks! When's the last time there were Peacocks in the NCAA's? They are catching Purdue at a good time with Purdue having lost their last two games but I hope Purdue shows up and defends the Big Ten Conference honor. The last thing I want is Purdue losing their first game (actually the worst would be Ohio State losing their first game!)

This year introduces "play in" games for at large teams. We know the chances of a No. 16 play in game winner beating a No. 1 seed is slim and none. But a No. 11 seed beating a No. 6 is not out of the realm of possibility.

Will the play in game tire out the winner? Does No. 6 seed Georgetown have an advantage or a disadvantage over the other No. 6 seeds? This is another reason I hate the 68 team format. The play in game among No. 16 seeds doesn't really affect the tournament that much but this could disturb the competitive balance in the NCAA's one way or the other.

This season, I don't think either USC or VCU belongs in the Tournament so I hope Georgetown destroys whoever they play and redeem themselves for last year's debacle vs. Ohio. Georgetown's Chris Wright has been cleared to play. The Hoyas certainly didn't play well in his absence. If Georgetown plays like they did earlier this season, Purdue (and the rest of the bottom half of the bracket) are in trouble.

In the NCAA Tournament this year, a lot of eyes will be on the Big East. Were their 11 bids deserved (I think they were regardless of the outcome)? But will all that competition during the regular season and at Madison Square Garden help the schools in the tournament?

Meanwhile, you have Kansas playing in the Big 12 Conference. I think they are overrated. They've only beaten one team that is top four seed in the tournament, a win over a slumping Texas in Kansas City (might as well been in Lawrence). I am picking Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals (they beat Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, and Syracuse this year) to "upset" the Jayhawks.

I'm going all Big East in the regional final. I like a rematch of the semifinal between Notre Dame and Louisville and for Ben Hansbrough to be cutting the nets down. Notre Dame will advance to its first Final Four since 1978.

Regional Final: Notre Dame over Louisville


I think this is the weakest regional of them all. We have by far the weakest No. 2 seed, a Brandon Davies less BYU as a No. 3 seed, and a No. 4 seed Wisconsin that couldn't break 40 against Penn State.

This regional is full of sleepers. We have perennial bracket busters in Gonzaga and Butler along with Utah State and Old Dominion. I don't know if you can call Michigan State a sleeper but we all know Tom Izzo knows how to coach in the NCAA Tournament.

I don't like seeing mid majors meet in the first game. To me it's like when Boise State and TCU met in the Fiesta Bowl. You want to see David vs. Goliath, not David vs. David. I will say that whoever wins between Butler and Old Dominion is going to give Pitt quite a battle in the "third" round.

This is the 13th year in a row Gonzaga made the NCAA Tournament. They are playing St. John's, a team that last made the tournament in 2002. This looks like an upset to me if you can call it an upset. I also like Utah State to win in another 5-12 upset over a Kansas State team that lost three times to Colorado.

The big mystery of the Southeast is BYU. They haven't played too many games without Brandon Davies but they did lose badly to New Mexico at home and lost to a San Diego State team they swept in the regular season.

BYU was dealt a very hard potential second game in Gonzaga. Gonzaga is back in the role of underdog. The No. 11 seed is Gonzaga's lowest since 2001. It's going to be a hard game for BYU to win. If the Cougars and Bulldogs don't meet this year, expect to see them twice next year in the WCC.

I think Gonzaga has a great chance to make the Sweet 16 and a potential Sweet 16 game vs. Florida. The two met in the Sweet 16 in 1999 when a late basket by Gonzaga prompted Gus Johnson to call "The Slipper Still Fits!". 

Of course, Florida will have its own problem with a possible second game with Michigan State. Many times the Spartans exceed expectations (last year's Final Four run was as a No. 5 seed). Florida is playing in Tampa. However, Florida played Michigan State in Tampa in 2003 and the Spartans pulled off an upset of the No. 2 (and overseeded) Gators. Of course, since then Florida and Billy Donovan has won two national championships.

If you asked me the two best coaches in college basketball who have never made the Final Four, I would say Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon and Gonzaga's Mark Few. I hope one of them finally makes it there this year.

In a conference with national champion winning coaches Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, and Rick Pitino, Dixon is often overlooked. Yet, in his eight seasons at Pittsburgh Dixon's team has won ten or more Big East games each season. Pitt won two Big East regular season championships and one Big East Tournament in that span. Making the Final Four will hopefully give Dixon the respect he deserves.

Pittsburgh's road to the Final Four looks very winnable although Old Dominion or Butler will give them fits. The Panthers should be favored in every game. If they play like they have all season, they will be heading to Houston.

Final Pick: Pittsburgh over Florida.


I have graduated from three schools, Illinois, Penn State, and Temple. Since I graduated from Temple, this is the first year all three schools made the NCAA Tournament in the same year.

Of course Penn State and Temple play their first game against each other. Well, I know one of my schools is going to win. Penn State's last tournament appearance was 2001. They stunned North Carolina to make the Sweet 16 and lost in the Sweet 16 to Temple.

Fran Dunphy has led Temple to the last three NCAA Tournaments but they lost in the first round each year (including last year's upset at the hands of Cornell). For Penn State, making the NCAA's is a victory already so I want to see Temple and Dunphy finally win one.

The winner of the Pennsylvania clash (from Tucson, Arizona of all places) is expected to play San Diego State in the next round. It's a winnable game for either school and had they played closer to Pennsylvania I probably would pick the upset. It's hard for teams from the East Coast to go out west and win against West Coast teams.

There are a couple of dangerous sleepers teams in this regional.

One of them is the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland. Oakland has played seven NCAA Tournament teams this year (including a win over Tennessee in Knoxville) and will not be intimidated by the Longhorns. Should Texas win, they could meet Arizona in a great "third" round matchup. Arizona and Memphis will pit two coaches making their first NCAA appearance for perennial NCAA elite programs.

Don’t forget about Bucknell. The Bison stunned Kansas in the 2005 NCAA Tournament (and won a game in 2006 as well).  They face a talented but likely exhausted Connecticut Huskies team (they won five games in five days to win the Big East Tournament).

Should UConn advance as expected, their next opponent could very well be Big East rival Cincinnati. It seems weird to see two teams from the same conference meeting this early in the tournament but it's hard to spread out 11 conference opponents. I personally think conference foes shouldn't meet until the Sweet 16 and not be allowed to meet in the opening weekend.

At the top half is a Duke. Duke will open in Charlotte, NC. If they advance as expected, they will make a rare trip to the West Coast. Assuming Duke beats Hampton (no No. 16 seed has ever beaten a No. 1), Michigan or Tennessee would be a road block in the Blue Devils' way. Michigan is on a roll now and Tennessee is slumping but I would not count Bruce Pearl out this time of year. If it is Duke vs. Michigan, that will be a rematch of the 1992 NCAA Championship (the Fab Five vs. Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, and Grant Hill).

In the Sweet 16, normally UConn vs. San Diego State is an easy call. But I'm wondering if the Huskies are tired or have peaked and of course a west coast trip to face a nearby school (the game would be in Anaheim) is never good (although UConn has made the Final Four out of the West Regional three times).

I would like to see a Duke/Connecticut regional final. I do not like Duke that much and UConn is Duke's biggest nemesis in the NCAA Tournament. But I have a feeling San Diego State will advance and will lose to Duke in the final. I told you about Duke vs. Michigan in 1992. That team was coached by current San Diego State's head coach Steve Fisher.

Final Pick: Duke over San Diego State.


If before the bracket was announced I said I was picking Ohio State, North Carolina, Syracuse, and Kentucky to make the Final Four, you would think they were good picks.

Well, I can't pick those four. They are all in the East Regional, making it my pick for the toughest regional this year. Only one (possibly none) of them will be in the Final Four. I like all four of these programs so I should be happy with whoever advances unless we have some lower seed make it.

Back in the NCAA's is 2006 Final Four surprise team George Mason. They play a completely struggling Villanova team that lost its last five games including an embarrassing loss to Big East doormat South Florida in the Garden.

Last year, Kentucky and West Virginia met in the East Regional final for the right to advance to the Final Four. This year, they would potentially meet in the opening weekend for a chance to make the Sweet 16. We find in this pod the other play in game for at large teams between Clemson and UAB. The winner will have to fly to Tampa to play its second game.

We could have another third round game between Big East foes if Syracuse wins and Marquette beats Xavier. Don’t count out the Musketeers though as they have made the Sweet 16 the last three years running. Xavier will have their hands full with likely opponent Syracuse to make it four years in a row.

Also playing in Charlotte with Duke will be North Carolina. I’m sure both teams’ fans will come out to cheer against their rivals as well as cheer for their own team this weekend.

If the top four seeds hold, there will be some great games next weekend in Newark between North Carolina and Syracuse and between Ohio State and Kentucky.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see the higher seeded team win every game (best chance of an “upset” would be Xavier over Syracuse).

Final Pick: Ohio State over North Carolina.


So my Final Four picks are Ohio State, Duke, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh. I almost never pick all four No. 1 seeds so Kansas is my pick to get upset. The regional Ohio State has is loaded so it wouldn't surprise me if they lost either.

I think I heard Charles Barkley say on CBS that early round games in the NCAA's are won by players and later round games are won by coaches. Two of these coaches (Mike Brey and Jamie Dixon) will make their first appearance in the Final Four if my picks are all correct. Thad Matta coached Ohio State to the Final Four in 2007.

But if coaching decides it, there is only one choice to win the championship. In the first semifinal, I like Pittsburgh to gain revenge over Notre Dame. You can't always count on freshmen in the tournament, so I'll take Duke. Unfortunately for those who don't like Duke, I think it will be a repeat.

Championship Pick: Duke over Pittsburgh


Posted on: March 14, 2011 12:14 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 3:14 pm

Historical Performance of NCAA SelectionCommittee

Hello, college basketball fans!

Everyone can argue that a specific team got snubbed or a specific team got a gift. As posted previously, I consider teams that did not deserve to get in or teams that did and didn't based on the Bracket Matrix. So, now I am going to compare the Selection Committees in the six year history of the Bracket Matrix.

If you assume that the consensus of the Bracket Matrix is "correct", then the 2011 Selection Committee missed three teams (Virginia Tech, Colorado, and St. Mary's). That tied the very first year of the Matrix, 2006. Then again, missing 3 of 37 at large teams is slightly better than missing 3 of 34 at large teams. In 2007, the Selection Committee missed 2 at large teams.

The last three years, they missed just one at large team. Those three committees were terrific in terms of the Matrix. Not only did the last three Committees fail to choose just one Bracket Matrix consensus team, the one team that was not chosen was the team chosen by the fewest number of brackets. In fact, during the last two seasons the last team chosen by the Bracket Matrix was chosen by a minority (less than 50% of all brackets posted).

Teams that made the Bracket Matrix but not the NCAA's:
2011 - Virginia Tech (98% - 87/89)
2007 - Syracuse (97% - 29/30)
2006 - Missouri State (91% - 21/23)
2011 - Colorado (91% - 81/89)
2006 - Cincinnati (87% - 20/23)
2008 - Illinois State (62% - 33/53)
2006 - Hofstra (57% - 13/23)
2011 - St. Mary's (55% - 49/89)
2007 - Drexel (53% - 16/30) 
2009 - San Diego State (46% - 28/61)
2010 - Mississippi State (39% - 32/83)

Clearly there was some dispute as to whether San Diego State in 2009 or Mississippi State in 2010 deserved to make the field but this year the NCAA missed two teams that almost everyone thought should have made the field. Over 90% of brackets thought Virginia Tech and Colorado deserved to get in. In 2006, they missed Missouri State and Cincinnati, both chosen in 87% or higher of the brackets. Syracuse was also a huge snub.

As for the most questionable teams to make the field, UAB and VCU were chosen this season by fewer than 20% of the brackets.

Teams that made the NCAA's but not the Bracket Matrix:
2006 - Utah State (4% - 1/23)
2006 - Air Force (4% - 1/23)
2011 - UAB (12% - 11/89)
2009 - Arizona (13% - 8/61)
2007 - Arkansas (17% - 5/30)
2011 - VCU (17% - 15/89)
2010 - Florida (23% - 19/83)
2011 - USC (33% - 29/83)
2008 - Oregon (38% - 20/53)
2007 - Stanford (43% - 13/30)
2006 - George Mason (48% - 11/23)

Without a doubt, the 2006 Selection Committee takes the prize of the worst Selection Committee ever. What in the world were they thinking in inviting Utah State and Air Force? UAB is by percentage the third worst NCAA choice ever, slightly above Arizona in 2009.

Based only on NCAA team selection and not seeding:

Committee Rank:

2008 - Chose the last team missed by the Bracket Matrix instead of the last team the Bracket Matrix chose. Out of 53 brackets, 33 chose Illinois State from the MVC and 20 chose Oregon. The NCAA chose Oregon over Illinois State. According to the Bracket Matrix, the wrong choice but by far the least controversial mistake (38% chose Oregon).

2010 - Could argue as the best job but Florida was chosen by less than 1/4 of the brackets. That year, however, there was a huge argument as to who the last team should have been in. 64 of 65 teams were chosen by more than 75% of Bracket Matrix brackets. The next highest choice was Mississippi State, but they were chosen by just 39% of the brackets). Here's how close it was in 2010: Mississippi State was chosen by 32 brackets out of 83). Virginia Tech was chosen by 30. Illinois was chosen by 27. The Committee loses points because if Mississippi State was not chosen, Virginia Tech or Illinois should have. Ironically, Mississippi State played in the SEC Tournament final and went to overtime with Kentucky. Had MSU won, there would have been almost no disagreement as to who the 65 teams would have been. Then again, Florida was a 10 seed so someone would have likely been screwed.

2009 - Again, there was no clear consensus as to the last team that deserved to be in but Arizona getting in was one of the worst choices ever.

2007 - This committee loses major points for the exclusion of Syracuse. Arkansas was the most controversial team getting in.

2011 - Two major exclusions (both over 90%) and two major inclusions (both under 20%).

2006 - By far the two worst teams ever to make the NCAA field (both were chosen by ONE of 23 brackets). They also missed two teams that were chosen by 87% or more brackets.

Ironically, the last team chosen by the Bracket Matrix in all six years was not chosen by the Selection Committee. In four of the six years, the team that just missed the cut made the actual NCAA field. 

Actually, the biggest personal gripe I have had other than Utah State and Air Force was that George Mason was chosen over Hofstra in 2006. Obviously, we all know about George Mason in 2006 but forgotten is the fact that Hofstra beat George Mason twice that season including in the CAA semifinals. To add insult to injury, a George Mason player punched a Hofstra player in the groin during the CAA game. I had no problems with George Mason getting in, I had them in. But over Hofstra? No way. And did you know that George Mason's athletic director was on the Selection Committee in 2006? Sounded very corrupt to me. Also, was it a coincidence that George Mason played their regional games in Washington, DC, pretty close to their campus? You can talk to me about all the rules about AD's having to leave the room and can't vote, but I think that was the most blatant favoritism I have ever seen from the Selection Committee. You have to wonder if Hofstra had made the field instead of George Mason. Maybe (no, probably) they don't make the Final Four but shouldn't they have had the chance? And since then, George Mason has made the field twice and Hofstra still hadn't made the Tournament since. Then again, Hofstra wasn't the biggest snub that year and George Mason wasn't the least deserving team in that field by far.

I also remembered Tennessee getting a 2 seed that year over several stronger candidates. The SEC commissioner was on the Committee. Ironically, he put Tennessee (a team that lost its 2nd round game) as a 2 but Florida (who only went on to the national championship) a 3. Oh, guess who won the SEC Tournament tha year? Florida. Tennessee lost its first game. LSU, the team with the best record in conference and also made the Final Four, got a 4 seed.

I rank 2006 the worst committee in the last six years and possibly the worst ever. This year's was not good but nowhere near as bad as 2011. At least this year's Committee placed BYU in an appropriate regional. That wasn't the case in 2003 when BYU was placed in a regional where they would have been placed in a regional playing on Sunday. Adding insult to injury: the Committee chair was a BYU graduate! I also remembered Texas got a #1 seed instead of Kansas. The committee chair talked about Texas beating Kansas during the season. Well it turned out Kansas beat Texas. We are trusting this guy who can't get his facts right to decide who gets in or who gets seeded where? In poetic justice, Kansas did make the Final Four that year beating Arizona in a regional final (the committee chair was the Arizona AD that year). Did he screw his own school out of a Final Four? Texas, meanwhile, got a gift draw and made the Final Four easily (especially since they got to play in San Antonio that year).

A bad committee can ruin a tournament. A team with a gift seed or location can use the situation to their advantage. By contrast, a team screwed in is seed can have their season ruined. And we're not even talking about the teams who don't get in. This is an important job. As a bracketologist, I take this "job" seriously. I'm not saying I'm perfect, I'm not. But I think when a huge majority of people say this team should be in then they should be in (or vice versa). 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: March 14, 2011 11:05 am

Other Bracketologists Judge the NCAA's (2011)

Hello, college basketball fans! A fellow bracketologist annually puts up a list of many of the projected NCAA brackets made before the NCAA field is officially determined. You can see this list at the Bracket Matrix.

Brackets are scored then as to how close they match the actual NCAA brackets. This however assumes that the NCAA Selection Committee is "right". Of course there really is no "right", different people have different opinions. I believe Missouri State and Harvard got screwed but hardly anyone else agrees with me. So, if we are going to critique the Selection Committee, it is best in my opinion to compare with the consensus on the Bracket Matrix. All together, there were 89 brackets listed in the matrix. If the field of 68 was chosen based upon Bracket Matrix brackets, three teams that made the NCAA field would not have been in.

Virginia Tech was chosen on an amazing 87 of 89 brackets. Colorado was chosen on 81 of 89. According to the Matrix, these two teams by far have the biggest gripe. These snubs have to be among the biggest to not make the field in the history of Bracket Matrix. The other biggest snubs since 2006 were Missouri State in 2006 (21 of 23), Cincinnati in 2006 (20 of 23), and Syracuse in 2007 (29 of 30).  

The other team that missed the field was St. Mary's. Of all the teams that made the Matrix final bracket, St. Mary's was the one chosen on the least number of brackets (49 of 89). Based upon numbers, bracketologists were very divided as to whether or not St. Mary's should have made the field. However, St. Mary's was the third team that was chosen by a majority of brackets in the Bracket Matrix that did not get into the actual field.

By contrast, during the last two seasons no team that was chosen by a majority of brackets missed the field. In 2008, Illinois State was chosen by 33 of 53 brackets but was not chosen. Other "snubs" in addition to those stated above were Hofstra in 2006 (13 of 23) and Drexel in 2007 (16 of 30). 

As for the teams that did get in the NCAA field, USC was chosen by just 29 brackets (the most, however, of any team that did not make the Matrix final bracket). VCU and UAB, according to the Matrix, were the least deserving teams in the field (15 for VCU and 11 for UAB). Other historically questionable picks in Bracket Matrix history were 2006: Utah State (1 of 23) and Air Force (1 of 23), 2007: Arkansas (5 of 30), and 2009: Arizona (8 of 61).  

The good news is that at least all three of the teams that "didn't deserve" to make the field have to play a "First Four" or play in game. It is pretty safe to say that had there been a 64 team field USC, VCU, and UAB would have not been chosen. Some people say expanding the field could eliminate arguments as to who got in. I think it made things even worse this year. I can't speak for the rest of the Matrix, but the four teams that were chosen for the least number of brackets were St. Mary's, Georgia, Clemson, and Colorado so the assumption would have been those four would have not been chosen for a 64 team field and Colorado would have been the last team chosen for a 65 team field (of course had it been a 65 team field and not a 68, Colorado probably doesn't get chosen for 81 of 89 brackets). Take out these four teams and the four "First Four" teams, Bracket Matrix would have missed on Georgia and would have had Virginia Tech in. So essentially the additional four (or three as compared to last year) have been a negative and only fueled more of an argument as to who belonged in the field as compared to the last three seasons. 

One of my personal critique on the selection of teams was how can you put Georgia into the field after they lost twice to Alabama (in the last game of the regular season and in the tournament)? My colleagues and the NCAA did not agree. Alabama was chosen on only 28 brackets but Georgia was chosen on 66. If all 89 of us were in a room somewhere, the most argued teams would have been St. Mary's, Georgia, and Clemson (69 brackets) as well as USC and Alabama. Actually, there was a pretty huge gap between St. Mary's (last team in) and USC (first team out). I usually find a much closer gap than that. Of course, the Selection Committee "got it wrong" by putting in USC ahead of St. Mary's (not to mention UAB and VCU). 

In terms of seeds, the Selection Committee picked all of the Matrix's top 4 seeds. There was a pretty solid consensus. Duke was chosen in 78 of 89 brackets and Pitt was chosen in 77. Believe it or not, there was one bracket who did not have Ohio State as a #1 seed! If you go by those scores, Kansas would have been the #1 overall seed but since Pitt would have been the #4 overall seed, the Final Four matchups would have been the same. I think the consensus was clearly Ohio State and Kansas were the top two and should have been in different halves.  

The team which got the most number of votes for #1 seeds among non #1 seeds was Notre Dame. They were the 5th choice (#1 on 20 brackets). San Diego State was chosen as a #1 on two brackets, North Carolina on one, and Syracuse??? on one (the same bracket did not have Ohio State as a #1). 

As for the #2 seeds, Florida had by far the fewest # of votes for a #2 seed (only 16 chose Florida as a 2). Ironically, the team that beat them in the final, Kentucky (and my personal choice for the last #2 got only 6 votes). The last #2 according to the Matrix would have been Connecticut by a narrow margin over Texas. UConn got 44 votes as a #2 and Texas got 43! Other #2's would have been Notre Dame, San Diego State, and North Carolina.

When I put together my bracket, I thought the 3's and 4's were very close and hard to distinguish between. The Matrix thought the same way. The only clear cut #4 was Wisconsin (only one bracket chose Wisconsin as a #3). Florida was a 3 but 18 people had them a #4 (to balance the 16 that had them a #2). Here are the differences between the 3 and 4 seeds, in order:  

#3 seeds: BYU (51 #3's to 34 #4's), Kentucky (45 to 36)
#4 seeds: Syracuse (33 #3's to 51 #4's), Purdue (34 to 52), and Louisville (30 to 55) - All three of them received significant support for 3 seeds. 

This season had pretty much a consensus as to the Sweet 16 seeds. The gap between Wisconsin and the highest 5 seed was huge and the Selection Committee "correctly" picked all 16 Sweet 16 seeds this year. 

Teams seeded 2 or more places above their Matrix seed: Michigan (10 vs 8), Butler (11 vs 8), Illinois (11 vs 9), Georgia (12 vs 10) 

Teams seeded 2 or more places below their Matrix seed:  Old Dominion (7 vs 9), Missouri (8 vs 11), Marquette (9 vs 11), and Utah State (8 vs 12!) 

By far, Utah State was the most screwed. 8 was the most chosen seed by Matrix voters (40 of 89). No one had Utah State a 12 seed. Four brackets had Utah State as an 11 seed and 7 had them a 10 seed. In addition to the 40 votes for #8, 25 other had USU a #9 so 65 had them in the 8-9 game. Obviously #12 seeds face much tougher 1st round opponents but it usually is a lot easier to make the Sweet 16 as a #12 than and 8 or 9. If the Aggies lose their first game, they can curse the Committee. But if they are still dancing next week, they should probably thank the Committee. 

Overall, seeding was pretty reasonable by the Committee. Then again, if I had a choice between poor seeding and excellent team selection and poor team selection and excellent seeding, I would much rather them mess the seeding up. This is again according to the Matrix being right. But I personally would rather trust 89 bracketologists than 10 AD's/commissioners to choose the NCAA field.  

Thanks to all the bracketologists out there. Looking forward to the NCAA Tournament and to next year. It's nice to see I'm not the only bracketologist out there. In 2006, there were just 23 brackets. This year, there are 89.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: snubs
Posted on: March 13, 2011 9:26 pm

Comments on the Real Bracket (Seeds/Brackets)

Hello, college basketball fans!

Now I will critique the seeding and bracketing of the real dance as opposed to mine.

I had all four No. 1 seeds but had Pittsburgh and Duke reversed. I thought it was close between the two and I could have seen it either way.

As for No. 2 seeds, I disagree with Florida. I had Kentucky but I can see it both ways. Kentucky won the SEC Tournament but Florida won the SEC regular season. Then again, Kentucky won two of the three meetings. I had Kentucky a No. 2 and Florida a No. 4 (the reverse of what the NCAA had). Had Florida won, I would have swapped the two teams. It may look weird that one game could be a two seed difference but I was looking at my four No. 4 seeds and I think all four of them have an argument to be a No. 3 seed and I think there wasn't a huge gap between the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds. I had Kentucky and Florida on my bracket this morning as SEC 1 and SEC 2. I thought the SEC champion would be a No. 2 seed but when it came down to it, I thought the four teams on the 3rd line were all more deserving than the SEC runner up.

As for Florida, it is not the first time I think Florida got a gift from the Selection Committee. Last year, Florida was the one team I didn't have in the field and they turned out to be a 10 seed. I actually think Louisville is a better team than Syracuse. Louisville beat Syracuse in the regular season and also beat Pittsburgh as well.

Once again, I think the mid majors get shafted. I had CAA champion Old Dominion as a 6 seed, they had them as a 9 seed. I had Gonzaga as a 9, they had them an 11. The one team I really think has a beef is Utah State. Their RPI was 15. I had them as a 7, the NCAA gave them a 12 seed. Other than the teams I didn't think belonged in the field, however, there was no team I thought was grossly overseeded.

As for the brackets, one problem I have is that Big East teams are scheduled to meet in the third round (for all Big East teams, their second game). In the East Regional, Syracuse (#3) and Marquette (#11) would meet if each win their first game (although Marquette is an underdog to Xavier (#6). In the West Regional, Connecticut (#3) and Cincinnati (#6) also would meet (and both wouild be favored by seed). With 11 teams in the field, it was impossible to make sure no Big East teams met before the regional final but I would think without that your goal should be they wouldn't meet until the Sweet 16. I think that rule should be in place and the NCAA should add it next season. I can think of just swapping Marquette and Georgia in the East (I think Marquette is more worthy of a #10 anyway) and swap Temple and Cincinnati (I think Cincinnati is a better team but then again you are allowed to swap teams one line for bracket reasons).

The matchup by far I have the most interest in the "second" round is Penn State vs. Temple. I have a master's degree from both schools. I am thrilled to see Penn State in the NCAA's for the first time since 2001 (the great Sweet 16 run). Guess who beat Penn State in the Sweet 16 that year? Temple. Of course where is a Temple/Penn State game played? Tucson, Arizona, the farthest location away from Pennsylvania. Go figure. I also went to Illinois for undergrad so I have three alma maters in the field for the first time since I started Temple.

Actually the name other than my three schools that I was most excited to hear? St. Peter's. Not the name itself, but the team name. You see, they are the St. Peter's ... Peacocks! The last time the Peacocks made the field was 1995. I just liked wanting to hear Greg Gumbel say the name "Peacocks". Unless St. Peter's gets good in the next few years, when will be the next time we hear them say "Peacocks"?

Coming in the next few days, Schmolik Bracket Analysis! Stay tuned!

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Big East, Florida
Posted on: March 13, 2011 8:52 pm

Comments on the Real Bracket (Selection of Teams)

Hello, college basketball fans!

Time for me to compare the NCAA bracket to my last bracket:

The Selection Committee differed on four NCAA teams. I had Harvard, Colorado, Alabama, and Missouri State instead of Georgia, USC, VCU, and Clemson. I have records since 1997 and this is the first time the NCAA differed on four teams (the last two seasons we only differed on one). Now you can say I "did worse", but that assumes the NCAA is "right" and I beg to differ. Actually, I like to compare my bracket to the Bracket Matrix (
) as to what is right. There are only ten members on the Committtee, the Bracket Matrix has 87 brackets.

Another thing I thought about the differences between my bracket and the NCAA's. Of the four teams I put in that the NCAA left out, three were in the First Four. Harvard was the only team that was not in the First Four that the NCAA chose and Harvard was the last team in before the First Four teams. Of the four teams the NCAA put in that I missed, three were in their First Four (the only team was Georgia). Had this been a 64 team field, we would have differed on just one team (and the team I would have missed would have been the last team I put in). My #65 would have been Colorado. I'm not sure who their #65 was. Clearly those next four created the huge gap between our brackets. If you have to choose more teams (or more at large teams), you are likely to get more differences. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. 

I am very big on "head to head" and I have a problem that Alabama beat Georgia twice (this month, including a victory in the SEC Tournament) but Georgia got in over Alabama (and got in as a 10 seed). Alabama finished three full games (although in a weaker division) than Georgia. I can see Alabama not getting in but then you shouldn't put Georgia in either.

I am not a fan of USC getting in. Their RPI, conference RPI, and non conference RPI were all over 60. The Trojans had five Top 50 wins but so did Colorado. Alabama had four Top 50 wins. I consider a bad loss any home loss to a team with an RPI over 100 and any loss to a team with an RPI over 200. USC had FOUR bad losses, they lost to Oregon at home and lost to TCU, Oregon State, and Bradley, all teams with RPI's worse than 200. No team that I considered a bubble team had more than two. Those three horrible losses should have cancelled out USC's good wins.

This was a down year for the ACC. The Big East had 10 teams in the Top 50 RPI. The Big 10 had six and Michigan at 51. The ACC had only Duke and North Carolina in the Top 50. Clemson had no top 50 wins this season. I can understand an Alabama or a Colorado with a high RPI getting in over a Missouri State that has no top 50 wins. But if Clemson and Missouri State  both have no top 50 wins, how is Clemson a better team than Missouri State (or Harvard, who did beat Princeton)? The ACC is no doubt a stronger conference than the MVC but Missouri State won the MVC outright and Clemson was just 9-7 in the regular season.

The last team I did not have was VCU. They finished third in the Colonial Athletic Association and lost six games in the league. They beat Old Dominion during the regular season and George Mason in the CAA semifinals and that probably got them in. I don't think wins over ODU and GMU are what should put you in the NCAA's. VCU also lost five of their last ten games.

I mentioned Missouri State and Harvard and I realized they were longshots.

I really feel bad for Harvard as they lost on the buzzer yesterday vs. Princeton. I was actually worried with Illinois on the bubble that Princeton's win could have cost someone else a bid. It turned out that was not the case. I'm sure most people were cheering for Old Dominion last week in the CAA final afraid that VCU would steal a bid. It turns out the final was irrelevant and VCU actually did steal a bid. 

As for Missouri State, a lot of people feel for Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg but to be fair it's hard to justify an NCAA bid with an RPI over 60. If you want to feel bad for someone, consider that Missouri State is the first regular season MVC champion to miss the NCAA Tournament since 1993. Five years ago, these same Missouri State Bears were the highest RPI ever to be left out of the NCAA's (21). If you are going to feel for Virginia Tech, you got to feel for Missouri State who continue to fall short of the NCAA's. Virginia Tech last made the NCAA's in 2007. Missouri State? 1999.

One team that quite a few people on another four letter network that I don't think I'm allowed to mention that I do agree with is UAB. Their RPI was 31 and they were the regular season champion of Conference USA. According to the RPI, Conference USA had eight teams in the top 100 RPI so why not reward their champion? I think Memphis's last second win probably put UAB in. Memphis probably had a better profile if you had to compare the two (Memphis swept UAB). Then again, if the Committee put in Georgia head of Alabama, they probably could have put UAB over Memphis too (although there was less of a difference in RPI). Both the NCAA and I did have UAB in the First Four so we both were skeptical about the Blazers.

I'm not happy about the four teams the NCAA put in that I didn't but then again I'm not too thrilled with the First Four teams I had in either. I think the tournament would have been better with 64 teams. I actually think there would be less disagreement had there been only 64 teams instead of 68.

In Part 2, I will discuss seeding and bracketing disagreements.


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 13, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 6:18 pm

Final 2011 Schmolik 64!

Hello, college basketball fans!

It is time to start the road to Houston and this year's Final Four! Before seeing the actual NCAA bracket, here is the 18th annual Schmolik 64 (yes, I've been doing it since they actually had only 64 teams). I am like the Big Ten in my name, I am keeping the "64".

I am not going to reveal the First Four matchups, you will have to wait until the very end to see who the last four teams in the field are. I figure it will add to the drama. I introduce the regions in the pre-Big Ten Tournament order of No. 1 seeds. You'll have to flip through to see who they are!

* Automatic qualifier

EAST REGIONAL (Newark, NJ Fri./Sun. March 25-27)

Cleveland, OH (Fri./Sun. March 18-20)

No. 1 Ohio State* (32-2) vs. No. 16 First Four???

No. 8 UNLV (24-8) vs. No. 9 Villanova (21-11)

Denver, CO (Thur./Sat. March 17-19)

No. 5 Arizona (27-7) vs. No. 12 Harvard (21-6)

No. 4 Syracuse (26-7) vs. No. 13 First Four???

Washington, DC (Thur./Sat. March 17-19)

No. 6 Vanderbilt (23-10) vs. No. 11 Richmond* (27-7)

No. 3 Connecticut* (26-9) vs. No. 14 St. Peter's* (20-13)

Charlotte, NC (Fri./Sun. March 18-20)

No. 7 Texas A&M (23-8) vs. No. 10 Michigan (19-13)

No. 2 North Carolina (26-7)  vs. No. 15 Boston University* (21-13)

SOUTHWEST REGIONAL (San Antonio, TX Fri./Sun. March 25-27)

Tulsa, OK (Fri./Sun. March 18-20)

No. 1 Kansas* (32-2) vs. No. 16 UNC-Asheville* (16-13)

No. 8 Washington* (23-10) vs. No. 9 Gonzaga* (22-9)

Tucson, AZ (Thur./Sat. March 17-19)

No. 5 West Virginia (20-11) vs. No. 12 Princeton* (24-6)

No. 4 Wisconsin (23-8) vs. No. 13 Indiana State* (19-13)

Washington, DC (Thur/Sat March 17-19)

No. 6 Old Dominion* (27-6) vs. No. 11 Illinois (19-13)

No. 3 Louisville (25-9) vs. No. 14 Bucknell* (25-8)

Tampa, FL (Thur./Sat. March 17-19)

No. 7 Temple (25-7) vs. No. 10 Marquette (20-14)

No. 2 Kentucky* (25-8) vs. No. 15 Wofford* (21-12)

(New Orleans, LA Thur./Sat. March 24-26)

Charlotte, NC (Fri./Sun. March 18-20)

No. 1 Duke* (30-4) vs. No. 16 Hampton* (23-8)

No. 8 George Mason (26-6) vs. No. 9 Missouri (22-10)

Tampa, FL (Thur/Sat March 17-19)

No. 5 St. John’s (21-11) vs. No. 12 Memphis* (25-9)

No. 4 Florida (26-7) vs. No. 13 Oakland* (24-9)

Denver, CO (Thur./Sat. March 17-19)

No. 6 Kansas State (21-10) vs. No. 11 Michigan State (18-14)

No. 3 BYU (29-4) vs. No. 14 Morehead State* (22-9)

Chicago, IL (Fri./Sun. March 18-20)

No. 7 Xavier (24-7) vs. No. 10 Tennessee (19-14)

No. 2 Notre Dame (26-6) vs. No. 15 Akron* (22-12)

(Anaheim, CA Thur./Sat. March 24-26)

Cleveland, OH (Fri./Sun. March 18-20)

No. 1 Pittsburgh (27-5) vs. No. 16 First Four???

No. 8 Butler* (22-9) vs. No. 9 UCLA (22-10)

Chicago, IL (Fri./Sun. March 18-20)

No. 5 Georgetown (21-10) vs. No. 12 First Four???

No. 4 Purdue (25-7) vs. No. 13 Belmont* (30-4)

Tulsa, OK (Fri./Sun. March 18-20)

No. 6 Cincinnati (25-8) vs. No. 11 Florida State (21-10)

No. 3 Texas (27-7) vs. No. 14 LIU-Brooklyn* (27-5)

Tucson, AZ (Thur./Sat. March 17-19)

No. 7 Utah State* (29-3) vs. No. 10 Penn State (19-14)

No. 2 San Diego State* (30-2) vs. No. 15 Northern Colorado* (19-10)

First Four Games

All games in Dayton, OH

Automatic Bids

Tue. March 15 6:30pm

East Regional No. 16 : Tex-San Antonio* (16-13) vs. Ark Little Rock* (17-16)

Winner plays Ohio State in Cleveland, OH Fri. March 18

Wed. March 16 6:30pm

West Regional No. 16 - Alabama State* (15-17) vs. UC Santa Barbara* (16-13) 

Winner plays Pittsburgh in Cleveland, OH Fri. March 18

Last Four Teams In

Tue. March 15 9pm

East Regional No. 13: Alabama (21-11) vs. Missouri State (25-8) 

Winner plays Syracuse in Denver, CO Thur. March 17

Wed. March 16 9pm

West Regional No. 12: Colorado (20-13) vs. UAB (22-8)

Winner plays Georgetown in Chicago, IL Fri. March 18

Bubble Burst

Cleveland State, St. Mary's, Georgia, Virginia Commonwealth, Clemson, Boston College, Virginia Tech (sorry Seth!), USC

Final Four Matchups

Ohio State is the No. 1 overall seed. Kansas is the No. 2 overall seed. Duke is the No. 3 overall seed. Pittsburgh is the No. 4 overall seed.

East vs. West

Southwest vs. Southeast

No. 1 seeds:

Ohio State (East)

Kansas (Southwest)

Duke (Southeast)

Pittsburgh (West)

Bids By Conference

Big East: 11

Big Ten: 7

Big 12: 6

SEC: 5

ACC: 3

Pac-10: 3

A-10: 3

MWC: 3

Colonial: 2

Conference USA: 2

Ivy: 2

Missouri Valley: 2

One bid conferences: 19


Thanks for reading!

Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 7:30 pm

Race for #1 Seeds

Hello, college basketball fans!

Before I begin, I'm starting to wonder about this format where almost every conference tournament has the No. 1 seed playing first on quarterfinal day.

Pittsburgh, Conference USA regular season champion UAB, and Atlantic 10 regular season champion all lost, Ohio State, North Carolina, Kansas, Mountain West regular season champion BYU, and Missouri Valley regular season champion Missouri State survived huge scares. Is it a disadvantage for top seeds to be the first to play in the day? Sure seems like it this season.

This is my personal opinion as to who is in the race for the No. 1 seeds and what has to happen:

Teams that don't need to win their tournament to get a No. 1 seed:

Ohio State - The Buckeyes didn't play like a No. 1 seed today for sure, but their body of work looks like they have done enough now to warrant a place on the top line even with a loss tomorrow. For sure, the Buckeyes will either win the crown or lose to a team that is going to the NCAA's (if Michigan or Illinois beat them, for sure they will make the field and Michigan State or Penn State can only meet Ohio State in the final).

Since there is no Midwest Regional this year, Ohio State is shooting for the East Regional in Newark and should get priority at this point over potential challengers from the ACC (Duke or North Carolina) or the Big East (Notre Dame).

Kansas - I think Kansas could be the most overrated team in college basketball. Consider that the only top level team in the Big 12 Conference is Texas and Kansas couldn't even beat Texas in Lawrence this year. What is Kansas's best conference win, a Kansas State team that lost to Colorado three times or a Texas A&M team that couldn't even beat Baylor?

If Kansas blows it tonight against Colorado, I think they could lose their No. 1 seed and I would probably move Pittsburgh ahead of them. Kansas would probably lose about seven games in the Big East this year.

If Kansas doesn't win the Big 12 Championship (in Kansas City by the way), I would put Notre Dame, the ACC Champion, and even BYU over them (all of them would have to win though). Consider this, the best team that Kansas could lose to is Texas. Texas lost at home to Connecticut, the team that beat Pittsburgh in the Big East.

Teams that control their own destiny for No. 1 seeds:

Notre Dame - They finished second in the Big East (a conference that is projected to send 11 teams into the NCAA Tournament and is unarguably the best and most competitive conference in college basketball), are the highest seed remaining, and have a win at regular season champ Pittsburgh. I think they are a slam dunk No. 1 if they win out (they will have to beat Louisville and either Connecticut or Syracuse to do so).

Duke or North Carolina - I think either team is in line fro a No. 1 seed if they win the ACC Tournament. It will be hard for either to beat out Ohio State for the top seed in the East and if Notre Dame wins the Big East, I think the winner (if it's one of the two) will likely have to go out West.

Teams that can get a No. 1 seed with help:

BYU - I think their home loss to New Mexico hurt their chances for a No. 1 seed. Assuming BYU wins tonight (if they don't win, BYU isn't getting a No. 1 seed anyway), they will have lost a home game to a team that won't even make the NCAA Tournament. No other No. 1 seed candidate has done so. I would even rank Pittsburgh over BYU even if BYU wins the MWC Tournament. I think they would need Notre Dame to lose and an upset winner (not Duke or North Carolina) in the ACC to have a chance. If the Cougars played like they did vs. TCU, they won't have to worry about contending for a No. 1 seed.

Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh clearly deserves a No. 1 seed and if the Selection Committee decides to reward regular season champions over tournament champions (Notre Dame and/or Duke), they may still be able to get a top seed. They most likely can kiss the East Regional No. 1 goodbye though and they have to go out west to be a No. 1 seed.


Purdue, Syracuse, Texas, San Diego State. These teams need a lot of help. Purdue shot themselves in the foot with a loss at Iowa to end the regular season and I don't think any of the others did enough before their tournament to warrant a No. 1 seed even if they win their conference tournament.


East: Ohio State (Most likely overall No. 1 seed)

Southwest: Kansas

Southeast: Duke - Historically Duke has done better in the ACC Tournament (four championships in six years) and today's performance has me thinking Roy Williams is indifferent towards winning the tournament even though it likely will get them a No. 1 seed. Remember that the last two North Carolina teams that won the national championship lost in the ACC semifinals.

West: Pittsburgh - Notre Dame is a great team but the Big East is too competitive and favorites have a tough time at Madison Square Garden (the favorite this year already lost). Also keep in mind the Fighting Irish have never even played in the Big East final let alone won it.

I think Ohio State will be hard to move from the East. No one else wants to go to the Southwest so assuming Kansas is a No. 1 you have to like their chances to be there. I think Notre Dame has priority over either Duke or North Carolina for the race for the Southeast Regional (to avoid going out West).

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