Category:NCAAB
Posted on: March 3, 2012 2:20 am
 

Jam packed Saturday

There have been no changes to the bracket the last couple of days, but it is sure to change tomorrow as many teams end their regular seasons, and three conferences crown their tournament champions.

The Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley conferences will decided their automatic qualifiers Saturday.  All bubble teams will be watching the OVC game closely as Tennessee State tries to steal an at-large bid away when it faces Murray State.  The Racers are in the NCAAs, win or lose.

Harvard can also clinch the Ivy League title with a win at Cornell and a loss by Penn to Yale.

Everyone will be talking about North Carolina and Duke, which could have top seed implications, but the games involving teams trying to fight their way into the bracket are more interesting.

West Virginia is at South Florida in a battle of bubble teams.  The winner isn't necessarily a lock and the loser isn't necessarily eliminated, but the winner could have a leg up on the loser if they are competiting for a spot in the bracket.

Texas has a chance to make a big splash, and fill a big hole in its tournament profile, when it travels to Kansas.  The Longhorns do not have a win away from home of any significance, but I think it's safe to say, winning at Phog would be significant.

Northwestern will try to keep its number of bad losses at zero as it goes on the road to play Iowa.  The Hawkeyes have been playing much better the last few weeks, but they are not a tournament team, so it's a must win for the Wildcats.

Washington can wrap up an outright Pac-12 championship with a win at UCLA.

Finally, BYU has a chance to pick up its best win of the season when it faces Gonzaga in the semifinals of the WCC tournament.  The Cougars beat the Zags at home earlier this year.

Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:43 am
 

South Florida in, Miami out

Today's bracket reflects a switch in the Southern Florida representation in the field.  South Florida is in after beating Louisville, while Miami falls out after losing for the second time this season to NC State.

Northwestern almost got the big win tonight, but its comeback effort against Ohio State fell just short.  As a result, the Cats find themselves in the First Four in the current projection.

Colorado State and Cincinnati crept up a little after big wins.  The Rams knocked off UNLV at home.  The Rams always win at home.  It's away from home that they have problems.

The Bearcats steamrolled Marquette for its sixth top 50 RPI win and seventh against the top 100.  All those wins have come in conference play, where they are 11-6.

Dayton may have put the final nail in its coffin with a loss at Richmond.  Conference mate St. Joe's also hurt themselves with an overtime loss at St. Bonaventure.

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

Michigan State, UConn, Xavier drop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:28 pm
 

Bracket steady at the top

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: February 27, 2012 6:15 pm
 

Podcast on brackets. And me too.

The truth is out.  I hate your team.  It doesn't matter who you are, I hate your team.  Sometimes, I even hate my team.

I spent 30 minutes that seemed more like three discussing the meat-and-potatoes of bracketology, the RPI, and a bit about how I got into all this.

By the way, and we don't get into this, but I hate the word "bracketologist."  HATE.  IT.  I don't necessarily have a better idea (bracketeer?), and it doesn't matter if I do because it's now the "industry standard," but I've always thought it sounded grossly medical.

Anyway, listen to the podcast.  There are apparently various other ways to get this as well, which are listed in Matt's blog entry.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Bracketology
 
Posted on: February 26, 2012 9:48 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 12:17 pm
 

Bracket notes; Purdue, ISU get big wins

Purdue and Iowa State picked up huge, resume building wins on Saturday in what was a very busy day.

The Boilermakers got their biggest win of the season at Michigan.  The win for Purdue is just its second over a team that is sure to make the tournament.  It was Michigan's first loss at home all season.

Iowa State picked up its first away-from-home win of any significance when it completed the season sweep of Kansas State.  The Cyclones now have four top 100 RPI wins (despite a gaudy 11-5 conference record), and should be safe if they can get one more.  Teams with just four top 100 wins have received 13 at-large bids in the last 18 years, but that's out of 250 teams.

It was a tough day to be a conference leader.  Temple, Harvard, New Mexico, Long Island, and Middle Tennessee all lost.  Duke, Syracuse, Kansas, Belmont, Drexel, Murray State, Oral Roberts, Nevada and St. Mary's all were pushed to the brink.

Alabama put another nail into Mississippi State's coffin with a win in Tuscaloosa.  The Bulldogs have lost five straight and travel to South Carolina next.  They are only 2-6 on the road.

Northwestern kept its hopes alive with a one-point win at Penn State.  The Wildcats don't have many good wins (just six top 100), but none of their 11 losses have come to non-contenders.  They have a chance to make a statement next when Ohio State visits.

Saint Louis took its worst loss of the season at Rhode Island on Saturday.  For a team with few good wins, that's not a good sign.  Also in the A-10,  Saint Joseph's played their way back onto the bubble with a win over Temple.

Notre Dame lost at St. John's, which is the fourth bad loss of the season for the Irish.  It's also the first loss of any kind since January 16th.

Kansas clinched at least a tie for the Big 12 title with an overtime win over Missouri.  The Jayhawks are continuing their push for a No. 1 seed.

St. Mary's won the West Coast title outright, ending an 11-year streak during which Gonzaga either won or shared the regular season title.

Mostly irrelevant fact of the day: The Ivy League has half its teams in the top 100 of the RPI.  Conference USA, the Colonial, Missouri Valley, Pac-12 and West Coast conferences can't say that.

The bubble watch will be updated this morning.


Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:47 am
 

A new top seed and a feeble bubble

The new bracket and bubble watch are posted.  There is a new no.1 seed.  Michigan State takes over a spot on the top line, bumping Missouri, which lost for the second time this season to Kansas State.

Expect to see some jumbling of the top eight teams in the bracket as the three conference pairs in that group play each other.  Each pair has a regular season game left, as well as a possible conference tournament game.

Cincinnati finally joins the bracket despite its putrid non-conference schedule.  Their non-conference schedule ranking of 320 would be the second-worst ever to get an at-large bid.  The record is 323, which is held by the 2006 George Washington team, which finished its season 26-2.  The worst ranking for a team that was close to the bottom of the at-large pool was Air Force in 2004, which ranked 315th.

It's only the quality of its wins that has the Bearcats in at all, but before Cinci fans get too comfortable, teams with 5 top 50 RPI wins get left out routinely, so the Bearcats are not comfortably in the field at all.

As it stands right now, Cincinnati would also tie the record for the lowest RPI ever for an at-large team.  New Mexico was also 74th back in 1999.

The committee very rarely rewards teams that only have three top 100 RPI wins.  In the 18 years that I've been tracking the data, it's only happened five times, and not at all since 2003.  Iowa State has a spot in this field though, despite just three top 100 wins, and all at home.  VCU is in the same boat and also pushing for a spot. 
Colorado State is barely in the bracket, despite a top 30 RPI.  I doubt the Rams will set the record for the highest rated team left out (21, Missouri State in 2006), but they have a chance to be in the team picture.  The next highest ranked team left out was 30th.

Teams without at least one top 50 RPI win don't get picked very often.  Clemson was chosen last year despite and 0-5 record against that group, but the Tigers were the first team picked since 2006 without a top 50 win.  This bracket has two such teams (Saint Louis and Washington).

Looks like the NIT is going to be missing more than a few teams this year.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:21 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:21 am
 

Bubbly Tuesday and other notes

It was a pretty bubbly Tuesday, so the bubble watch has been updated.

Seton Hall is off the list for now after the win over Georgetown last night.  With potential bad losses Rutgers and DePaul left on the schedule, there's always the chance the Pirates could return.

Last week, I thought New Mexico had the best week of the season.  That changed yesterday when Kansas State knocked off Missouri on the road, after winning at Baylor over the weekend.  That's how you play yourself off the bubble.

Florida beat Auburn last night, but may have lost Will Yeguete for the season.  He's not a big scorer for the Gators, but he is one of their better defensive players.  It will be interesting to see how much they miss him.

Valparaiso clinched the Horizon League regular season title last night and will host the conference tournament.  It's the Crusaders first conference title in eight years, and their first in the Horizon.

Binghamton finally got its first win of the season last night, and the Bearcats didn't beat just anyone, they took down league-leader Vermont.


 
 
 
 
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