Tag:Texas A&M
Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 6:37 pm
 

December Bracket

There is a new bracket up and, as you might expect, there have been some changes from the preseason bracket I did back in October.

North Carolina, the overall No. 1 back then, is now a 2-seed.  I have a feeling the Heels will be back on the top line in short order, and may eventually become the overall No. 1 again.

The Big Ten has nine of its 12 teams in this bracket.  Realistically, that's a couple more than the league can expect in March.  That's a function of not having begun conference play yet.  The league is the top-rated by a pretty wide margin at this point.

I put this together using a combination of RPI, poll rankings and just my own subjectiveness.  RPI data can be pretty comical still at this time of year.  Texas A&M, which is in the top 25, has an RPI of 163.  If the Aggies are still in the 160s in March, they won't be worrying about playing in the postseason.

St. Mary's is the top team in the RPI currently.  They are in this bracket, but they have only played four games that count, so the Gaels are still hard to judge.

So, there are some teams in here that we probably won't see again (TCU, Seton Hall, Minnesota, which lost its best player to injury).  I would caution Virginia Tech fans against false hope though.  You are likely to have your noses pressed against the glass door again.

Indiana and North Carolina are in the same pod.  One of them is undefeated.

Hey, Alabama fans!  I think we'll be on the same page this year.  Barring injury, your team should spend the season comfortably in the top half of the field.



Posted on: February 25, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Weekend Bubble Watch - Feb. 26 and 27

by Jerry Palm

There are great opportunities ahead for some teams on the bubble to make a strong statement that they belong in the NCAA.

Virginia Tech will try to play their way off the Seth Greenberg Memorial Bubble when they host Duke on Saturday.  The Hokies could really use a quality win, but unfortunately, the ACC doesn't provide a lot of chances for those.  You have to take advantage of the ones that present themselves.

Baylor's hopes are fading fast, but they can resurrect them with a win over Texas A&M, which would complete the season sweep of the Aggies.  The Bears are coming off a home loss to Texas Tech, so perhaps that is asking too much.

Kansas State
hopes to continue its run of good play when it hosts Missouri.   The Wildcats have breathed some life into their tournament hopes by winning five of six, including that blowout of Kansas.   A win over the Tigers would be its second over a top 50 RPI opponent.

Michigan visits Minnesota in a crucial game for both teams.  Michigan needs to beat quality teams, or at least other contenders, to pump up its tournament profile.  The Gophers just need to stop the bleeding.  They have lost six of eight since the injury to star Al Nolen.

UCLA not only has a chance to pick up a quality win when it hosts Arizona on Saturday, but the Bruins can also pull within a game of first place in the Pac 10.  UCLA's tournament resume is missing quality wins away from home.  That can't be fixed on Saturday, but every good win helps.

Alabama travels to Ole Miss, the only other top 100 RPI team in the SEC West.  The Tide cannot afford to be caught looking ahead to Tuesday night's battle at Florida.   The Rebels tournament at-large hopes appear to be dashed, but they can still play spoiler here.

Also on Saturday, St. Mary's hosts Portland.   The last time they met was also right after the Gaels played Gonzaga, and St. Mary's had a let down after a big win and got beat.   Now, they have to keep from hanging their heads after a tough loss and letting Gonzaga beat them twice.  If St. Mary's is going to hold out hope for an at-large bid, they cannot afford to lose to Portland.

Dayton has a chance to add a little zip to an otherwise bland tournament profile when they host rival Xavier in the A-10.  So far, the Flyers biggest win is over George Mason at home, and if that's all they have on selection weekend, that probably won't be enough.

And finally, Michigan State can all but punch its ticket when it hosts Purdue on Sunday.  They can also make a statement that they are back to being the Spartans we are used to seeing.


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

Feb. 1 Bracket - Where's Kansas?

by Jerry Palm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






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 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.

Posted on: January 8, 2011 1:33 pm
 

Duke and the 11 Dwarves

by Jerry Palm

That's what the ACC looks like this year.  The gap between the Blue Devils and the other teams is as pronounced as I've ever seen in any major conference, and this is one of the worst year's ever for the ACC.

How bad is it?  Even the Mountain West ranks ahead of the ACC.  In the previous 18 years, the ACC has not been a top three league only once (2000 -- 7th).

The ACC is the sixth-rated league right now, two spots behind the Mountain West.  Even though the Mountain West is having a great year, that has got to have the blue bloods in ACC country hot under the collar.  And while teams get bids, not conferences, that fact, combined with the pile of mediocrity behind Duke, leads me to believe the ACC may not be very well represented in the even-bigger NCAA tournament this March.  Even five bids total may be optimistic.

North Carolina would appear to be in the best shape for a bid.  The Tar Heels have a win over Kentucky and no bad losses so far.

Miami is also in the top 30 of the RPI, but has a 16-point loss at Rutgers and has yet to be at sure tournament team.

Boston College is the only other league team currently in the top 50 of the RPI, but has two home losses to Ivy League teams. The Texas A&M win is nice though.

Beyond that, only outstanding league play has a chance to salvage a bid for anyone else.  Not merely good.  Outstanding.

 
 
 
 
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