Sunday, December 9, 2018


For those unfamiliar with my December brackets:

There's a lot of projection in these.  These rankings are NOT based solely on results so far.  There's a lot of prediction and projection in these.  So don't get caught up too much in individual seeds for individual teams at the moment.  Not really interested in arguing, for example, if Nebraska should be on the 6 line or the 10 line.

What IS important is the following:
1) Conference breakdowns.  See how each conference is situated, because it's a clue as to how I feel each conference race will be setting up.  For example, in the SEC, I have 2 teams on the 2 line (UT, AU, plus Kentucky as a 4 and MSU as a 6.  Then 3 more teams in the rest of the field.  This means I think this conference will have a pretty normal distribution of teams throughout the bracket.  You can repeat this exercise for most of the major conferences.

So some of my early takeaways:
- the Big East seems to be missing some top-end teams.  Nova is still the best team, but I only have them on the 4 line.  I still have them sneaking in 6 teams into the field at the moment, but that feels like a maximum.  I'm not sure there's enough quality wins available in conference play to support that.
- I snuck in a 3rd team for the AAC at the back end of the field.  I'm not sure that sticks.  I also snuck in a 2nd team for the A-10.  I'm very sure that I'm going to regret that.  A-10 might really be a one-bid league.
- I tried really hard to make room for a second WCC team.  Couldn't justify it.  However, many teams are racking up sexy W-L records.  There's a real chance someone emerges behind Gonzaga as a legit at-large contender, largely on the strength of quality in-conference wins.  This will require said team to separate as a clear top 2 team in the league, though.
- Conferences in trouble:  MVC, MWC.  One-bid leagues, and I'm not sure I can find a path to a second bid right now.
- ACC has 8 teams in this field.  That is likely their floor, and I expect them to gobble up 1 or 2 excess bids from other conferences as time goes on.
- Pac-12's in trouble.

The 1 line:  Kansas, Michigan, Gonzaga, Duke
The 2 line:  Virginia, Tennessee, Auburn, Michigan St
The 3 line:  North Carolina, Texas Tech, Nevada, Wisconsin
The 4 line:  Villanova, Florida St, Kentucky, Arizona St
The 5 line:  Virginia Tech, Ohio St, Marquette, Kansas St
The 6 line:  Syracuse, Buffalo, Iowa St, Mississippi St
The 7 line:  Arizona, Purdue, Houston, Nebraska
The 8 line:  UCLA, North Carolina St, St John's, Furman
The 9 line:  Cincinnati, LSU, Indiana, Butler
The 10 line:  Louisville, Oklahoma, Creighton, Davidson
The 11 line:  Washington, Arkansas, Maryland, TCU
The 12 line:  Seton Hall, Florida, VCU, UCF, New Mexico St, Southern Illinois
The 13 line:  Charleston, North Texas, Belmont, Lipscomb
The 14 line:  Radford, Texas St, Penn, South Dakota St
The 15 line:  UC Irvine, Northern Kentucky, Vermont, Montana
The 16 line:  Marist, Abilene Christian, Lehigh, St Francis (NY), Howard, Texas Southern

Last 4 in:
Seton Hall

Last 4 out:
West Virginia
Notre Dame

Next 4 out:
San Francisco
San Diego
Utah St

Break it down!
B1G 8
Big 12 6
Big East 6
Pac-12 4
A-10 2

12/9 recap

Tennessee 76, Gonzaga 73 - Gonzaga had a freebie after beating Duke, still on the 1 line on my board.  Bigger news is this should help the SEC get a reasonable chance at placing its champ on the 1 line

@Virginia 57, VCU 49
Nevada 74, Grand Canyon 66
@Alabama 76, Arizona 73
@St Louis 65, Oregon St 61
@Texas 72, Purdue 68

12/8 recap

First in-season bracket of the year is coming soon.  Patience grasshoppers

Lots of shiny matchups on paper.  Tough to say how much each individual win here will matter in March.  So many home teams held, so as always, the true quality wins were road wins.

signature wins:
Seton Hall 84, Kentucky 83 - signature wins for Seton Hall; Big East seems to be slightly down so this mattered a lot, to get a win like this on the board

quality road/neutral
Buffalo 80, @St Bonaventure 62
Michigan St 63, @Florida 59
Florida St 79, UConn 71
BYU 74, Utah 59
Toledo 75, @Marshall 74 - Toledo is a very thin 9-1, but it's still 9-1
Western Kentucky 78, @Arkansas 77
Houston 63, @Oklahoma St 53
Ole Miss 81, @Illinois St 74
Mississippi St 82, Clemson 71

service holds:
@Kansas 63, New Mexico St 60
@Michigan 89, South Carolina 78
@Auburn 82, Dayton 72
@Marquette 74, Wisconsin 69 (OT)
@Tulsa 47, Kansas St 46
@Nebraska 94, Creighton 75
@Villanova 70, St Joseph's 58
@Maryland 55, Loyola(Chi) 41
@Northwestern 75, DePaul 68
@West Virginia 69, Pitt 59
@Oklahoma 80, Wichita St 48
@Memphis 94, UAB 76
@Cincinnati 62, Xavier 47
@Indiana 68, Louisville 67
@Syracuse 72, Georgetown 71
@Cal 89, San Diego St 83
@UCLA 65, Notre Dame 62

Saturday, December 8, 2018

12/7 recap

Nevada 72, Arizona St 66 - these are very important wins Nevada is putting up.  Reasonable chance of running the table now
UMass 79, @Providence 78
St Mary's 85, New Mexico 60
TCU 96, USC 61

12/6 recap

Light day.

@Iowa 98, Iowa St 84
@Purdue 62, Maryland 60

12/5 recap

Ohio St 77, @Illinois 67
@Minnesota 85, Nebraska 78 - it almost has to be a rule that you have to ignore most road losses as far as negative impact on a resume goes

@Gonzaga 81, Washington 79 - GU continues to pile up quality wins and pretty soon will be home free to go undefeated in the regular season
@Villanova 69, Temple 59
VCU 54, @Texas 53
@Tulsa 74, Oklahoma St 71
@Southern Illinois 61, St Louis 56
@BYU 95, Utah St 80
Ball St 75, @Loyola(Chi) 69 - we can safely call the MVC 1-bid for now
San Diego 73, @San Diego St 61 - the WCC, not as awful as we thought
Arkansas 98, @Colorado St 74
TCU 67, @SMU 59
San Francisco 79, @Cal 60 - as I was saying about the WCC

12/4 recap

Michigan 62, @Northwestern 60 - finally, someone wins a road game in this conference.  Looks like UM is the prohibitive favorite in the league
Indiana 64, @Penn St 62 - and it looks like PSU isn't as good as people thought

Providence 100, @Boston College 95 (OT)
Oklahoma 85, Notre Dame 80 - neutral site win; ACC taking a couple modest hits today
@Penn 89, Miami 75 - I suspect this loss won't look as bad as it seems, but Miami probably isn't an at-large team now
@Cincinnati 78, Northern Kentucky 65 - NKU should run the Horizon, so this win should have modest value for Cincy
@Belmont 76, Lipscomb 74 - I'm ready to call both teams OVC favorite and A-Fun favorite, respectively
Georgia St 83, @Alabama 80
@New Mexico St 100, New Mexico 65
@Memphis 88, South Dakota St 80
Florida 66, West Virginia 56