Saturday, February 25, 2017

ACC Back to Nine Entering Penultimate Weekend

John Gillon's buzzer-beater on Wednesday against Duke not only sank the Blue Devils that night, but also moved the Orange into the field, among the last four in. Despite an RPI of 76, the Orange are 6-6 against the RPI top-50, a record that could bode very well come Selection Sunday, unless the committee knocks them for the fact that all six wins came at home. They only have two wins away from the Carrier Dome, at Clemson and at NC State. But still, six top-50 wins, with this bubble, could be hard to ignore. That could change Sunday when they visit Louisville. Win there, and the Orange all of a sudden are in much better shape.

It's a similar reason, plus a recent slump, that has TCU now on the outside looking in. The Horned Frogs only have two top-50 wins, Illinois State and Iowa State. And only one of those teams is safely in the tournament. I'll leave you to figure that out.

TCU is just 2-9 against the top 50 and only one road top-100 win out of five (Kansas State). The Frogs sit as the first team out of the field. The last team in is California. While they're just 1-7 against the top-50, that win did come on the road against USC, plus they have a neutral-court win over a Princeton team that is just outside the top 50. Just goes to show how soft the bubble is and how important conference tournaments will be.

TCU does host West Virginia Saturday. A huge chance there. A win could move them back into the field, as it would be their third top-50 win and keep alive hopes of a 9-9 conference finish, though 8-10 wouldn't completely write them off. This before a huge bubble battle with Kansas State on Wednesday, then a visit to Oklahoma to face the Sooners. This means TCU needs at least one of West Virginia or Kansas State. Lost both, and it's likely the NIT for them.

Speaking of huge bubble games, Marquette visits Providence today. The Friars won at Marquette earlier in the season and are coming off a big win at Creighton. The Golden Eagles are among the last four byes, while the Friars are currently bound for Dayton. That could switch if Ed Cooley's team pulls off the season sweep.

Two major games loom at the top of the bracket today, as well. Florida visits Kentucky in what almost amounts to a de facto SEC championship game, and a chance for the Gators to solidify a No. 2 seed, as well as UCLA against Arizona. Just like Florida, Arizona is potentially playing for a No. 2 seed, as they eye the Pac-12 crown.

A few other games of note for Sunday include Butler at Xavier and Wisconsin at Michigan State.

With that, here's your bracket update.

Last Four Byes: Michigan, Michigan State, Marquette, Wichita State
Last Four In: Providence, Syracuse, Kansas State, California
First Four Out: TCU, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Clemson
Next Four Out: Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Rhode Island

Conference Breakdown

ACC - 9
Big East - 7
Big Ten - 7
Big 12 - 6
Pac-12 - 5
SEC - 4
American - 2
Atlantic 10 - 2
Missouri Valley - 2
West Coast - 2
One-bid leagues - 22

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

ACC Bubble Teams Stumble (Except Miami), Big East and SEC Take Advantage

This week has seen ups and downs for ACC bubble teams in the projected field. On Monday, Miami scored a tremendous win at Virginia in overtime, strengthening their chances to make the field of 68. They already had victories over North Carolina and Virginia Tech, but those came at home. This is by far their best win away from home, the previous being Pittsburgh. They also have wins over fellow ACC bubble teams Clemson and Georgia Tech and beat Stanford on a neutral court. Their RPI sits in the top 40 at the moment, and today, they are a No. 9 seed.

On the flip side, Tuesday saw Clemson and Georgia Tech, previously in the last four in category, fall at home to Virginia Tech and North Carolina State, respectively. That was Clemson's 11th ACC loss, meaning the best they can do is 7-11, which usually is a death sentence for an at-large bid. Their loss against Oklahoma is also going to become more magnified because of this, which means Clemson may end up relegated to the NIT, unless they put on a show in the ACC Tournament.

Georgia Tech is 7-8 in conference play and does have wins over North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame at home, plus a road victory at VCU. However they do also have a home loss to Ohio on their profile, No. 105 in RPI (RPI numbers come from CBS Sports). Oh, and their own RPI ranks 89th. Which is really bad for a bubble team. Marquette is in the field at the moment with an RPI of 71, but even that means they have little room for error.

As a result, moving into the field are Providence and Vanderbilt. Yes, the Commodores are just 14-13, but sit with a top-50 RPI, road wins against Florida and Arkansas, as well as home victories against South Carolina and Iowa State, all tournament teams at the moment. However, they are just 9-12 against the top-100 and lost at Missouri, the laughing stock of SEC basketball.

Providence has beaten three of the top teams in the Big East, though all at home, knocking off Butler, Xavier and Seton Hall. Rhode Island is also scored as a top-50 win, plus they won at Marquette. However, they have some ugly road losses against Boston College and the ultimate punch line in Division 1, DePaul.

It also helped that at the moment, Wichita State is atop the Missouri Valley, opening up a spot, since I don't think Illinois State will get an at-large bid.

The bubble is so soft and the bracket will be very fluid from now until March 12, so keep that in mind. This kind of exercise is a snapshot in time. With that said, here's today updated field.

Last Four Byes: Michigan, Michigan State, TCU, California
Last Four In: Kansas State, Marquette, Providence, Vanderbilt
First Four Out: Pittsburgh, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Tennessee
Next Four Out: Illinois State, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Rhode Island

Conference Breakdown:

ACC - 8
Big East - 7
Big Ten - 7
Big 12 - 7
Pac-12 - 5
SEC - 5
American - 2
Atlantic 10 - 2
West Coast - 2
One-bid leagues - 23

One last thing. I just wanted to give a shoutout to the Bracket Matrix for the fantastic work pulling together brackets and seed lists from all over the place.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Conference Tournament Schedules

The middle of February means one thing in college basketball. Conference tournament are just mere weeks away. Here are the dates and sites for each conference tournament, including the new tournament in the Ivy League.

ACC: March 7-11. Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

America East: March 1, 6, 11. Campus Sites.

American: March 9-12. XL Center, Hartford, CT

Atlantic 10: March 8-12. PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA.

Atlantic Sun: February 27, March 2, 5. Campus Sites.

Big 12: March 8-11. Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO.

Big East: March 8-11. Madison Square Garden, New York, NY.

Big Sky: March 7-11. Reno Events Center, Reno, NV.

Big South: February 28, March 2, 3, 5. First round campus sites, Quarters and semis hosted by No. 1 seed, championship hosted by higher seed.

Big Ten: March 8-12. Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

Big West: March 9-11, Honda Center, Anaheim, CA.

Colonial: March 3-6. North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, SC.

Conference USA: March 8-11. Legacy Arena, Birmingham, AL.

Horizon: March 3-7. Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI.

Ivy: March 11-12. The Palestra, Philadelphia, PA.

MAAC: March 2-6. Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

MEAC: March 6-11. Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, VA.

MAC: March 6, 9-11. First round campus sites, then Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH.

Missouri Valley: March 2-5. Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO.

Mountain West: March 8-11. Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV.

Northeast: March 1. 4. 7. Campus sites.

Ohio Valley: March 1-4. Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN.

Pac-12: March 8-11. T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, NV.

Patriot: March 2, 5, 8. Campus sites.

SEC: March 8-12. Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN.

Southern: March 3-6. U.S. Cellular Center. Asheville, NC.

Southland: March 8-11: Merrell Center, Katy, TX.

Summit: March 4-7. Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, SD.

Sun Belt: March 8-12. Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, LA.

SWAC: March 7, 10, 11. First round campus sites, then Toyota Center, Houston, TX.

WAC: March 9-11. Orleans Arena, Paradise, NV.

West Coast: March 3, 4, 6, 7. Orleans Arena, Paradise, NV.

Committee Makes Their Say, Michigan Makes Their Move

Six days ago, we witnessed history. For the first time, the Selection Committee unveiled an early look at the top 16 teams and what region they would currently be slotted in.

As a refresher, here was that list.

1. Villanova
2. Kansas
3. Baylor
4. Gonzaga
5. North Carolina
6. Florida State
7. Louisville
8. Oregon
9. Arizona
10. Virginia
11. Florida
12. Kentucky
13. Butler
14. West Virginia
15. UCLA
16. Duke

This list showed that top-50 wins and RPI are still an important factor. Head-to-head was also taken into account, since the full set of information was obviously not readily available.

From this list to our current projection, the biggest change is Duke is up to No. 8 overall. The Blue Devils seemed to have finally get things together and are rolling, winning six straight to move to 9-4 in ACC, in a three-way tie for second place with Florida State and Louisville, one game behind North Carolina.

All four teams sit on the two line. Of those teams, the toughest game this weekend belongs to the Tar Heels, who host Virginia Saturday, while the Blue Devils host Wake Forest, Louisville entertains Virginia Tech and the Seminoles visit Pittsburgh.

The ACC also sees a key bubble battle pitting Miami against Clemson. The Tigers especially need this one. Already sitting with nine ACC losses, a couple more could likely relegate Brad Brownell's crew to the NIT.

One bubble that helped their case this week was Michigan, scoring a huge win over Wisconsin Thursday night. Using the numbers from CBS, the Wolverines are now 17-9, RPI 54, NCSOS 92. They have home wins in conference over Wisconsin and fellow bubble team Michigan State. But the signature win to boost them even more is that 22-point victory over SMU in the 2K Classic. The Wolverines are currently projected as a No. 10 seed. They get another shot at a signature win when they head to Williams Arena on Sunday to take on Minnesota.

A light schedule on Friday is highlighted by VCU's trip to Richmond and Cal's trek to Stanford.

Saturday sees a bevy of games with a lot of bracket implications, including Wichita State hosting Northern Iowa, Seton Hall hosting Villanova and a battle of No. 1 seeds with Kansas at Baylor.

Other games of note:


Notre Dame at North Carolina State, 12:00, ESPN
Tulsa at Cincinnati, 12:00, ESPNU
Florida at Mississippi State, 2:00, ESPN
Kansas State at Texas, 2:00, Longhorn Network
Texas Tech at West Virginia, 2:00, ESPN2
St. Bonaventure at Dayton, 2:00, NBCSN
Colorado at Oregon, 3:00, FOX
Michigan State at Purdue, 4:00, ESPN
Pacific at Gonzaga, 4:00
Rhode Island at George Mason, 4:00, NBCSN
Ole Miss at Arkansas, 6:00, SECN
Kentucky at Georgia, 6:00, ESPN
Rutgers at Northwestern, 6:00, ESPNU
TCU at Iowa State, 6:00, ESPNews
SMU at Houston, 6:00, ESPN2
Xavier at Marquette, 8:00, CBSSN
South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 8:30, SECN
USC at UCLA, 10:00, Pac-12 Network
Saint Mary's at BYU, 10:00, ESPN2


Maryland at Wisconsin, 1:00, CBS
DePaul at Butler, 1:30, FS1
Georgetown at Creighton, 3:30, FS1
Syracuse at Georgia Tech, 6:30, ESPNU

With that, here's your updated bracket projection.

Last Four Byes: Michigan State, Michigan, Miami, TCU
Last Four In: Wichita State, Kansas State, Clemson, Georgia Tech
First Four Out: Marquette, Providence, Wake Forest, Tennessee
Next Four Out: Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, Rhode Island

Conference Breakdown

ACC - 10
Big 12 - 7
Big Ten - 7
Big East - 5
Pac-12 - 5
SEC - 4
American - 2
Atlantic 10 - 2
Missouri Valley - 2
West Coast - 2
One-bid leagues - 22

Saturday, February 11, 2017

ACC Continues to Dominate Bracket Projections

Nine, count 'em, nine ACC teams make up the projected field of 68 today, with four others sitting right on the bubble. It's been a fantastic year for the conference as they have the opportunity to match the record of 11 tournament teams set by the old Big East in 2011. And they could have as many as 13 if the chips fall the right way. Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Syracuse currently sit in the first four out with Pittsburgh right behind them. Miami is the second-to-last team in at the moment.

Here's your updated bracket look. What's interesting is that, today, the committee will unveil their current top 16 teams in the field. So this will give us a look at what the committee is thinking right now and where teams stand at the top, especially in the race for the top line, which is currently still held by Villanova, Gonzaga, Kansas and Baylor.

Last Four Byes: Arkansas, TCU, Michigan State, California
Last Four In: Marquette, Kansas State, Miami (FL), Wichita State
First Four Out: Georgia Tech, Rhode Island, Wake Forest, Syracuse
Next Four Out: Pittsburgh, Illinois, Auburn, Michigan

Conference Breakdown

ACC - 9
Big 12 - 7
Big Ten - 6
Big East - 6
SEC - 5
Pac-12 - 5
Atlantic 10 - 2
AAC - 2
Missouri Valley - 2
West Coast - 2
One-bid leagues - 22

Saturday, February 4, 2017

(Very late) First Bracket

I put this off way too long and I sincerely apologize for that, but here it is, finally, my first bracket of the season, despite it already being February. Better late than never, I guess. This at least gets the bracket out there. I'll have more detailed posts in the future.

Last Four Byes: Rhode Island, Marquette, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State
Last Four In: Tennessee, Michigan, Iowa State, Indiana
First Four Out: Pittsburgh, TCU, Kansas State, Illinois
Next Four Out: Georgia, Miami, California, NC State

Conference Breakdown

ACC - 10
Big Ten - 8
Big East - 6
Big 12 - 5
SEC - 5
Pac-12 - 4
Atlantic 10 - 3
American - 2
West Coast - 2
One-bid leagues - 23