Wednesday, December 31, 2014

S-Curve 12/1

If one looked carefully enough, I'm sure there's many discrepancies between this and the preseason curve.  Don't read too much into them.  This bracket is still very much a combination of prediction and current resume.  This is largely here to help reflect some early changes/updates I wanted to get out based on what I've seen.  Many teams jumped several seed lines without justification outside of my eyeballs.

The 1 line:  Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke, Arizona
The 2 line:  Kansas, Wichita St, Villanova, Texas
The 3 line:  Louisville, Virginia, Gonzaga, North Carolina
The 4 line:  San Diego St, Ohio St, Syracuse, Iowa St
The 5 line:  Michigan St, West Virginia, Miami, Providence
The 6 line:  UConn, VCU, Arkansas, Colorado
The 7 line:  UCLA, Florida, Baylor, Michigan
The 8 line:  VCU, Illinois, Georgetown, Utah
The 9 line:  Cincinnati, Stanford, Northern Iowa, Colorado St
The 10 line:  Xavier, Iowa, UMass, Butler
The 11 line:  Nebraska, Oklahoma, SMU, Harvard
The 12 line:  California, St Mary's, Rhode Island, Seton Hall, UTEP, Green Bay
The 13 line:  Iona, Buffalo, Georgia St, Belmont
The 14 line:  Northeastern, Stephen F Austin, UC Irvine, Holy Cross
The 15 line:  New Mexico St, Eastern Washington, Stony Brook, Wofford
The 16 line:  Nebraska-Omaha, FGCU, High Point, North Carolina Central, St Francis(PA), Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Bubble in:
Northern Iowa
Colorado St

Next 4 in:

Last 4 in:
St Mary's
Rhode Island
Seton Hall

Last 4 out:
Ole Miss

Next 4 out:
Boise St

On the board:
North Carolina St, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma St, Kansas St, Purdue, St John's, Washington, Dayton, Old Dominion, and it goes on and on from here

Saturday, December 20, 2014

12/20 preview

There's impact everywhere and right at the beginning of the day.  Find a TV and park in front of it!

High-impact games:
VCU at Cincinnati - two teams desperate for quality wins.  Both have failed to some degree this non-con season to make at-large waves
SMU at Michigan - both teams are on the brink of falling completely out of the at-large race.  Mandatory for both
Syracuse at Villanova - SU can immediately fix a lot of their resume issues here, but it's a big ask
Ohio St at North Carolina - this is more for seeding positioning, but both are in some danger of falling out of the 2-3-4 area into the 6-7-8 area
UMass at Providence - Provi needs to stop a recent slide; this is probably UMass' last at-large stand
Indiana vs. Butler (neutral) - such a big bubble game for both
UCLA at Kentucky - it's a house money shot for UCLA in this game, but don't underestimate what it means for UK.  Quality win chances will dry up in conference play
Iowa vs. Northern Iowa (neutral) - Iowa at some point is going to need to amass some quality wins.  This would be a good start
Oklahoma vs. Washington (neutral) - good litmus test for Washington incoming
Utah vs. UNLV (neutral)

On the fringes:
Louisville at Western Kentucky - danger road spot for Louisville
Charlotte at Georgetown - not a trivial game for G'town
Vanderbilt at Georgia Tech
Missouri at Illinois
Purdue vs. Notre Dame (neutral)
Texas A&M vs. Kansas St (neutral)
North Carolina St vs. West Virginia (neutral)
Stanford at BYU

There's a million other games today, so get ready for a long recap tomorrow

12/19 recap

Impact result of the day:
Eastern Kentucky 72, @Miami 44 - wait, what?

Arizona 60, @UTEP 55 - that's a good road win
@St John's 53, St Mary's 47 - both teams more or less stand pat after this game, a modest boost to St John's perhaps.  St Mary's conference games against BYU will probably be their inflection point of the season
Colorado St 85, @Denver 84 - any road win is a good win and CSU is doing good work this year
@California 78, Eastern Washington 67
@South Carolina 68, Clemson 45 - I guess USC might be an upper-division SEC team, so it's got that going for them

Cupcake winners:  Buffalo, Old Dominion, Alabama, Tennessee, FGCU, Minnesota, Marquette, Creighton

Friday, December 19, 2014

Neutral site tournaments, part 3: no one plays at Christmas anymore

Obviously the vast majority of tournaments are Thanksgiving week.  A few used to be around this time of year, but this year, I can find only 2, one of which is trivial.  Sigh.  Still, a preview is a preview:

Las Vegas Classic (Dec 22-23)
Texas Tech vs. Loyola(Chi)
Houston vs. Boise St

This should be a 2-day cakewalk for Boise and anything else is harmful to the at-large resume.

Diamond Head Classic (Dec 22, 23, 25)
Ohio vs. George Washington
DePaul vs. Colorado
Loyola Marymount vs. Wichita St
Nebraska at Hawaii

Oh.  Significance up and down this entire field.  Nebraska is the pivot point here.  It's technically a road game for them to start, and getting trapped on the wrong side of the bracket means no chances at signature wins in this tournament.  And remember, they've got the Incarnate Word black mark, and just the one quality win over Cincy.  If they can't get 3rd place in this tourney, they'll have a bit of work to do in the B1G.  Which is do-able, but tough.

Colorado has a mess of their own to clean up.  No bad losses yet...but no good wins either.  One hold of serve against DePaul and they'll get two cracks at one here, and they do have Pac-12 play as a backstop.  By the way, DePaul, if you're serious about not being terrible, this is the spot to do something about it.

GWU is kind of in the same situation as Colorado - they need to escape a decent Ohio team and get 2 cracks at a quality win.

3 albatrosses lurk in this bracket, so the 3 bubble teams need to work hard to avoid that side of the bracket.

Meanwhile, Wichita could use a couple wins over tourney teams, and should get a pair of them here.

12/19 preview

St Mary's at St John's - big low-risk opportunity for the Gaels here, and also a big chance to move further away from the bubble for St John's
Clemson at South Carolina - Wofford is the best team in the state.  Pass
Colorado St at Denver - a non-trivial road spot for a CSU team in prime at-large territory
Eastern Washington at California - not a trivial game for Cal
Arizona at UTEP - every road game is non-trivial; and UTEP is plenty competent.  A big chance for the Miners to step into the at-large discussion

12/18 recap

Duke 66, Connecticut 56 - UConn's starting to run out of chances
@Ole Miss 71, Coastal Carolina 68
LSU 79, @UAB 70
@Evansville 81, Ohio 69 (OT)
@Oregon St 90, DePaul 59

Cupcake winners:  Virginia, Seton Hall (on the road), Richmond, Yale (on the road), Louisiana Tech, Charlotte

Thursday, December 18, 2014

12/18 preview

Bubble impact game of the day:
UConn vs. Duke (neutral) - all of a sudden, one of UConn's best last chances at a signature win arrives.  The AAC is struggling this year.  There's no signature wins available in that conference.  UConn could get into dangerous territory with more losses

Other notables:
Coastal Carolina at Ole Miss - CCU is very competent; this is a good test to see if Ole Miss is at least bubble material
LSU at UAB and Seton Hall at South Florida - bubble teams win these road games, LSU and SHU

In cupcake theater:  Virginia, Louisiana Tech.  Let's see if Evansville (vs. Ohio) can handle prosperity.  And DePaul plays at Oregon St, where we can pretend both teams are relevant for some reason.