Posted on: January 25, 2012 10:54 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 3:26 pm
Today's bracket is posted. Kentucky is the new overall top seed, followed by Missouri, which is the only newcomer to the top line, replacing Duke.
Syracuse and Baylor remain No. 1 seeds despite losses last week. Kansas is pushing hard, and beat Baylor recently, but the Jayhawks have done most of their damage at home, and still have that extra loss - to Davidson.
Ohio State has also rejoined the fight, but is another team that has struggled away from home. All three of the Buckeyes' losses have come on the road, to their three best opponents away from home. They are mighty in Columbus, and the tournament is played there, but Ohio St will be shipped out.
The Big Ten still sports nine teams, but Purdue is hanging on for dear life. The Boilers have struggled recently, losing at home to Wisconsin and just on Tueday, to Michigan. They are the only Big Ten team still looking for a win over a ranked opponent. If the field were more accomplished, Purdue would definitely be on the outside looking in.
Illinois also took a beating this week in the bracket. The Illini fell from second to seventh after losing at Penn State and at home to Wisconsin. They are a true six-seed that was moved to seven to help with bracketing considerations, but that is still a sizeable drop. Also hurting them is that the loss to Purdue looks worse than it did last week.
Cincinnati, despite a 1-2 week, is getting closer to the bracket despite a non-conference schedule rankng 329th out of 344. That's going to be an albatross around the Bearcats' neck all season long. The committee, even in an expanded field, still takes a very dim view of that and will eliminate teams for no other reason.
Cinci is also a strange team in that it is better on the road than at home. The Bearcats are 6-2 in games away from home, but only 9-4 on their home floor, including losses to St. John's and Presbyterian. That 92 RPI ranking is due to their weak non-conference schedule and their difficulty defending the home floor.
Cincinnati has nothing on Loyola Marymount though. The Lions are 7-2 on the road, but only 3-6 at home.
And from the Teams Get Bids, Not Conferences departement: Conference USA has four teams in the bracket, but all are 10-seeds or lower.
New to the bracket this week: Ole Miss, Iowa State, Texas and UCF.
Leaving us, for now: Stanford, Northern Iowa, Denver and Colorado State, which is the highest rated RPI team left out.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 6:37 pm
It's a city in the Southwest corner of Ohio, but that's not really what we're talking here. Bearcat fans are up in arms at the omission of their team from this week's bracket. They aren't there for a very simple reason -- they don't have much of a case.
First, let's keep in mind that he bracket was posted Wednesday morning, before Cinci won at Connecticut, so that game isn't considered. Also, remember that the bracket is as if the tournament started then. I'm not trying to predict what will happen in March.
Bearcat fans point out their second place position in the conference standings. That's nice, but irrelevant. Conference standings don't matter at all in March. They matter even less in mid-January, when only about a third of the conference schedule has been played.
They also mention having beated two or three top 25 teams on the road. I count one: Georgetown. It's the only win among their 14 that is over a tournament-quality team.
In fact, the win over Georgetown is pretty much Cincinnati's entire case.
The Bearcats RPI on Wednesday morning was 101. One Hundred One. Do you know how bad your schedule and/or losses have to be to have a triple-digit RPI with a 14-4 record? Only Wyoming had a better record and a worse RPI.
Cincinnati's non-conference schedule ranks 317th. That is, to be nice, putrid. And it's going to take more than a win over Georgetown (and UConn, for that matter) to overcome that. They also have not one, not two, but three home losses, two of which to teams that won't sniff the tournament. Those are the Bearcats' only conference loss (St. John's) and a loss to a denomination (Presbyterian). And of course, they also got "zipped up" by Xavier.
So, while that win over Georgetown is nice, the Bearcats have work to do before they erase the black marks on their tournament profile.
By the way - the win over UConn bumped up Cincinnati's RPI to 85. That's a good start.
Posted on: January 18, 2012 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 11:56 am
Readers are great. Many have pointed out that Davidson won at the Sprint Center, not at the Phog. Also, that Michigan St lost to UNC by 35 in 2008 to UNC before losing to the Heels again in the title game that season (by a more respectible 17 points).
One of last week's four number one seeds went down this week, but remains on the top line in my latest bracket. Baylor picked up its first loss of the season at Kansas, but still has a strong enough profile to merit a one-seed. It's not like there's a lot of shame in losing at Phog Allen. If you had to win there to be a No. 1, we wouldn't have any. Well, except Davidson.
Indiana, Michigan State and North Carolina all had difficult weeks. Both the Hoosiers and Spartans lost twice. Minnesota took down IU in Bloomington, something Kentucky and Ohio State failed to do, which bolstered the Gophers precarious spot in the bracket. The Buckeyes got their revenge on Indiana on Sunday. Sparty lost to Northwestern and Michigan.
That shuffling leaves Illinois on top of the league standings for now. The Big Ten continues to dominate the RPI and the bracket, with a whopping nine teams in the field this week. Even placing eight teams in the final bracket in March would be remarkable. However, as the teams at the top beat each other up, you have to wonder if any team will create enough separation to stay in contention for a top seed at the end.
Last week, I got a lot of grief for having Duke ahead of North Carolina on the bracket, although that was before the 33-point pounding the Heels took at Florida State. I have not been able to find a team even make the championship game, let alone win it, that suffered that big a loss in the regular season.
That win by the Seminoles not only put them into this week's bracket, but also strengthened the cases for the tournament quality teams that beat them earlier.
New Mexico is out of the bracket this week, despite not losing. Sometimes, what you do impacts your position. Sometimes, what your previous opponents do impacts the quality of your profile, even if you had a good week otherwise. And sometimes, other teams near you in the pecking order just had better weeks that you did.
BYU fell into the First Four, which if it actually happens in March, will put the committee in a bit of a predicament. Typically, they like to put the PIG winners into Friday-Sunday sites, but BYU cannot play on Sunday. In this bracket, that means a quick turnaround and a long-distance flight from Dayton to Portland if the Cougars win. Of course, the same applies to BYU's opponent, Stanford, even though the Cardinal have no qualms with playing on Sunday.
Posted on: January 11, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 9:40 pm
A lot can change in one month, and my latest bracket shows that. Pittsburgh was in the Top 25 a month ago, now the Panthers aren’t even in the field. Louisville and Xavier were 2-seeds in December, and now are opponents in an 8-9 game. Seton Hall went from the First Four to just missing a 4-seed, and Dayton was out a month ago, but now the Flyers lead the A-10.
This bracket shows a whopping nine Big Ten teams. It's the top-rated league in the RPI by a huge margin. It's been eight years since a league dominated the RPI like this. Of course, teams get bids, not conferences, but that is still an indication that the Big Ten will likely be well represented in the field. That said, nine teams would be ridiculous come March. Minnesota in particular is in trouble. It doesn't seem likely the Gophers will be able to withstand the grind without Trevor Mbakwe, who is lost for the season with a knee injury. Looking long term, other teams that need to be concerned are Purdue, Northwestern, which is still looking for its first ever tournament appearance, and suddenly, Wisconsin, which has lost its Kohl Center mojo.
Ohio State started out among the top three teams in the country, but an inability to win on the road against better teams (best away from home win: Iowa) has the Buckeyes now as a 3-seed. They blew another game last night at Illinois, after kicking away a late lead at Illinois. It's hard to imagine they won't come around and eventually win the league, but they need to figure out their road woes to make that happen.
Why is Florida in the top 25? Who is voting for them? I realize this isn't Poll Attacks (that's Gary Parrish's gig, bless his heart), but this team hasn't done a thing to anyone of substance, and especially outside of Florida. The Gators aren't in danger of missing the tournament yet or anything like that, but they're a lot closer to 35 than 25.
If they need someonie else to vote for, how about Seton Hall? The Hall has lost only to Syracuse (the overall No. 1) and Northwestern, while collecting wins over UConn, West Virginia and Dayton.
It's pretty easy to figure out what to do with two of the three remaining unbeaten teams. Syracuse and Baylor top the field, and will stay there as long as they keep winning.
But what about Murray State? The Racers have a few decent wins, but nothing that says they should compete for a very high seed. Now in Ohio Valley conference play, they are essentially done making their case, except for taking on a bad loss or two. Hard to see them much higher than a 3-seed, even in March, unless one of the teams they've already beaten starts to move up the charts.
With two more months to play, you can expect a lot more wild changes. Buckle up!
Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 6:37 pm
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: October 13, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 8:04 pm
Is it too early to speculate who will make the NCAA tournament? Who will be the top seeds? What will the great matchups be? Heck, yes, it is, but who cares? It’s still fun.
This bracket is done the same way I do the ones that you’ll see as we get into the season, except for two things: there is no RPI data to base anything on, and I didn’t make an effort to avoid things like regular season rematches. However, some things you can always count on. Death, Taxes, Seth Greenberg getting his heart broken.
I took a few fliers on conference tournament upset winners. Included among those are Indiana St, which did it last year, and Butler, which figures to take a step back toward the pack this year.
Another thing I didn't do, and the committee doesn't do, is put juicy matchups together. I do have Michigan St-Detroit and a possible Purdue-Notre Dame game, but I didn't even realize I did that until I put the teams in the bracket.
I think we'll all be surprised if three of those top four seeds aren't there come March. North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio St look almost unassailable, barring injury, suspension or the return of Larry Drew, Jr. The fourth one could be up for grabs. I like the Big East champ, which I peg as Syracuse, but certainly UConn will figure heavy in that chase.
You don't like the bracket, fire away. If you do like it, let us know that too.
Posted on: March 13, 2011 1:13 pm
by Jerry Palm
The final four games take place today (as opposed to the Final Four games, which take place in three weeks), and there is something at stake in all of them.
Dayton plays Richmond for the A-10 title and a spot in the field. The Flyers would steal someone's bid, but that some might be Richmond.
Duke and North Carolina are playing to try to improve their seeding. Duke is hoping to grab that fourth No. 1 seed. The Tar Heels are looking for just their third top 50 RPI win and first away from home. That could move them up to a three, but with so few true quality wins and the competition at the top of the bracket, better than that seems out of reach.
An explanation is required for the sites for the 4-seeds in this morning's bracket. The way the First Four games work is that two are played on Tuesday and two on Wednesday. That means that at least two of those have to be bracketed to play on Friday. The way it ended up working out, a Friday site was needed on the 4-line, but it also had to be able to hold an ACC First Four team. If UNC was in Charlotte, they could meet another ACC team too soon, so Kentucky got that site instead and UNC was put in Tampa. It's convoluted, but the First Four will occasionally cause strange things to happen.
Florida and Kentucky are also playing for seed. The Gators could be as high as a two with a win, while Kentucky might have a shot at a 3.
And Ohio State is trying to become the overall No. 1 seed. That could go to Kansas if Penn State pulls its third upset in a row and takes down the Buckeyes.
See complete Bracketology coverage here.
Posted on: March 12, 2011 12:16 pm
by Jerry Palm
For the most part, this is the last chance for some teams to make their case to the committee. There are a few games tomorrow that could be impactful, but most of the action is today.
Conference USA gets it started with Memphis and UTEP. The Miners have to win to get in. Memphis may be an at-large with a loss, so this could be a two-bid league if UTEP wins.
In the A-10, Dayton and St. Joes play a semifinal game for the right to try to steal a bid from someone tomorrow. That bid may get stolen from Richmond if the Spiders don't beat Temple in the other semifinal.
Virginia Tech gets another shot at Duke today. Nolan Smith may give it a go on his injured toe for the Blue Devils. The Hokies can definitely get off the bubble with a win. They might be in anyway.
Clemson begins the day without a top 50 RPI win, but can change that in the other ACC semifinal against North Carolina.
Penn State is in my bracket this morning, but the Nits may not be able to survive a loss to Michigan State today.
The Ivy League Tournament championship is today. It's like the BCS - a one-game tournament between Harvard and Princeton, being played at Yale. Neither team has at-large hopes though.
Finally, the Mountain West tournament final between BYU and San Diego State will be important to the seeding of both teams. The Aztecs aren't out of the question as a one-seed. BYU probably is due to their play since the injury to Brandon Davies, but they may be able to keep from being dropped too far with a win today.