Sunday, December 9, 2018

12/10 PROJECTIONS

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
Florida
VCU
UCF

Last 4 out:
Oregon
West Virginia
Notre Dame
Iowa

Next 4 out:
San Francisco
San Diego
Utah St
Texas

Break it down!
ACC 8
B1G 8
SEC 7
Big 12 6
Big East 6
Pac-12 4
AAC 3
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

B1G:
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

B1G:
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

non-con:
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

Friday, December 7, 2018

12/3 recap

B1G:
@Michigan St 90, Iowa 68 - home teams keep winning in B1G conference play.  Kinda boring, and tough to have many takeaways about the league until someone breaks serve on the road
@Wisconsin 69, Rutgers 64

Niagara 71, @Pitt 70 - oof
Vermont 72, @George Mason 67

12/2 recap

B1G:
@Ohio St 79, Minnesota 59
@Nebraska 75, Illinois 60

Arizona 76, @UConn 72 - road wins are never trivial.  This looks better than most think
@Missouri 64, UCF 62
@UCLA 82, Loyola Marymount 58 - LMU finally loses, and it doesn't look good

12/1 recap

There are a million games on this day and a lot of nice wins I'm passing over.....

B1G:
@Michigan 76, Purdue 57
@Maryland 66, Penn St 59
@Indiana 68, Northwestern 66

non-con signature wins:
Gonzaga 103, @Creighton 92 - road wins are never trivial.  Remember, these games matter more, disproportionally, for Gonzaga than for most teams, as piling up quality wins OOC is more important for them.  GU cruising to the 1 line
Nevada 73, @USC 61 - see Gonzaga comment and basically apply it double for Nevada

@Kansas 90, Stanford 84 (OT) - is Stanford a glutton for punishment?  Kind of a pretty good .500 team at this stage
@Marquette 83, Kansas St 71 - this is why road wins are gold, because they're not easy to get
@Houston 65, Oregon 61
Texas Tech 78, Memphis 67
Villanova 85, @La Salle 78 - creative accounting makes this Big 5 game a true road win for Nova
St John's 76, Georgia Tech 73
Louisville 70, @Seton Hall 65 - road win
@Green Bay 100, Belmont 92 - Belmont finally loses
NC State 80, Vanderbilt 65
@Providence 59, Rhode Island 50
@St Louis 64, Butler 52
Temple 77, @St Joseph's 70
Cincinnati 65, @UNLV 61
Yale 77, Miami 73 - played in Miami, yet seems to count as a neutral site win because this was part of a 1-day invitational?  Huh?
@Wichita St 71, Baylor 63
@New Mexico St 69, Washington St 63
@Weber St 113, BYU 103 - ouch

Belfast:
Buffalo 85, San Francisco 81 - not a trivial win for a mid-major like Buffalo.  They're legit at-large players this year
Stephen F Austin 66, Milwaukee 51

MWC/MVC challenge:
San Diego St 75, Illinois St 65
New Mexico 85, Bradley 75 - MWC salvages a couple road wins; Nevada needs all the help it can get from the conference

Sunday, December 2, 2018

11/30 recap

B1G:
Michigan St 78, @Rutgers 67
Wisconsin 72, @Iowa 66 - quality road win on day 1 of conference play

Belfast:
Dartmouth 91, Albany 77
Marist 70, LIU 53

Radford 62, @Texas 59 - huh
Mississippi St 65, @Dayton 58
@Minnesota 83, Oklahoma St 76

11/29 recap

Belfast Classic - they're playing college basketball in Ireland, because reasons
Marist 76, Dartmouth 58
LIU 80, Albany 77
Buffalo 96, Milwaukee 77
San Francisco 76, Stephen F Austin 58

@UCF 70, Alabama 64 - should hold as a quality win in March, won't hurt Bama too badly
Belmont 99, @Samford 93 (OT) - I doubt Belmont's resume will be good enough for serious at-large consideration, but hey if you never lose...

11/28 recap

B1G/ACC dick measuring contest:
Virginia 76, @Maryland 71 - I wonder if the world is ready for UVa to get another 1 seed
@Michigan 84, North Carolina 67 - quality win alert
@Florida St 73, Purdue 72
Syracuse 72, @Ohio St 62 - given the rate at which home teams are winning these games, this is a significant result
Rutgers 57, @Miami 54 - Rutgers is....not bad?
@Northwestern 67, Georgia Tech 61

MVC/MWC dick measuring contest:
@Evansville 86, Wyoming 78
@Utah St 71, Northern Iowa 52
@Air Force 88, Missouri St 69
Indiana St 86, @San Jose St 57 - in a major upset, SJSU actually gets mentioned this season in the blog
Valparaiso 72, @UNLV 64 - and this challenge is why Nevada isn't going to get any help from its conference when it comes to seeding

elsewhere:
@Georgetown 90, Richmond 82
@Old Dominion 62, VCU 52
Vermont 69, @George Washington 53
@Ole Miss 93, San Diego 86 - not sure if SD is good or just deceiving overall record
@Illinois St 92, BYU 89 (OT) - this shouldn't hurt BYU's overall resume, but yet others will say it did
New Mexico St 62, @UTEP 58
UC Irvine 80, @St Mary's 75

11/27 recap

This time of year, tough to get to a computer daily for these things.  I'll play catchup through the holiday season, we'll be diligent in January on, as per usual.

B1G/ACC dick measuring contest:
@Duke 90, Indiana 69
@Louisville 82, Michigan St 78 (OT) - the difference between the 1 line and the 2 line is that 1 line teams win quality road games consistently
@Penn St 63, Virginia Tech 62 - don't overreact to "upsets" where the home team wins
@Iowa 69, Pitt 68
@Wisconsin 79, NC State 75
@Notre Dame 76, Illinois 74

MWC/MVC dick measuring contest (yup, these guys have a challenge too!):
Nevada 79, @Loyola(Chi) 65 - with the rest of the MWC struggling, I'm wondering where Nevada's seed will end up.  Started ranked high, and they're delivering results.  I'm very curious to see how the metrics, polls, and selection committee align on this
@Drake 83, Boise St 74
Southern Illinois 82, @Colorado St 67

elsewhere:
Temple 79, @Missouri 77

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

11/26 recap

B1G/ACC challenge:
Ah, the annual ritual, when two power conferences whip it out and sees whose is bigger.  Nothing quite like this waste of time.
Nebraska 68, @Clemson 66 - road wins are never trivial
@Boston College 68, Minnesota 56


Texas Southern 89, @Oregon 84 - that's 2 games this year TSU has picked off
Wofford 81, @South Carolina 61 - SoCon is starting to buck its head.  This conference race might actually have legitimate stakes this year
@Alabama 78, Murray St 72 - not a trivial win for Bama

11/25 recap

Advocare Invitational:
Villanova 66, Florida St 60 - and Nova is firing back with some quality wins after a couple suspect losses.  They'll be fine
Oklahoma St 90, LSU 77
Charleston 78, Memphis 75
UAB 68, Canisius 58 - why was Canisius invited to this thing, anyways?

Wooden Legacy:
Northwestern 79, Utah 57
Fresno St 79, Hawaii 64
Grand Canyon 82, LaSalle 70
Seton Hall 83, Miami 81

stuff of interest:
Hampton 86, @Richmond 66
Furman 65, @UNC Asheville 51 - why is Furman not ranked?
Bucknell 69, @Vermont 61
Lipscomb 87, @Morehead St 55 - LU might be good?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

11/24 recap

@Notre Dame 95, DePaul 70
@Davidson 78, Northeastern 69
@Indiana St 63, Western Kentucky 54
Stony Brook 68, @Rhode Island 58
@William & Mary 87, St Joseph's 85 - rough go of it for the A-10 contenders
Houston 76, @BYU 62 - this should hold up as a quality road win
@UCF 66, Northern Kentucky 53 - could be a better win that most think
Colorado 93, @Air Force 56 - road wins are never trivial
Harvard 74, @St Mary's 68 - oof


Emerald Coast Classic:
Baylor 72, George Mason 61
Cincinnati 71, Ole Miss 57 - Cincy gets the 2 wins here

11/23 recap

Houston Baptist 93, @Wake Forest 91 (OT) - oof
Kent St 77, @Vanderbilt 75 - oof
@Old Dominion 72, Northern Iowa 65

Preseason NIT:
Kansas 87, Tennessee 81 (OT) - a game that should hold up as a signature win in March, and possibly the difference between the 1 line and the 2 line for Tennessee.  Golden chance by the boards for them
Marquette 77, Louisville 74 (OT)

Battle 4 Atlantis:
Virginia 53, Wisconsin 46 - UVa gets the 3 wins in a rather meh tourney, I must admit
Oklahoma 65, Dayton 54
Butler 61, Florida 54
Stanford 67, Middle Tennessee 54

Las Vegas Invitational:
North Carolina 94, UCLA 78 - rough 0-2 for UCLA to absorb
Michigan St 78, Texas 68 - MSU gets the two signature wins here

Advocare Inviational:
Villanova 77, Oklahoma St 58 - Nova rebounding nicely; Nova/FSU for this title and a quality win chance for both
Florida St 79, LSU 76 (OT)
Memphis 71, Canisius 63
Charleston 74, UAB 51 - one good mid major gets a decent win chance at Memphis; another good mid major loses any chance at a productive tournament

Wooden Legacy:
Miami 78, Fresno St 76
Northwestern 91, LaSalle 74
Utah 75, Grand Canyon 66
Seton Hall 64, Hawaii 54 - still holding to form in this tourney

Las Vegas Holiday Invitational:
Nevada 100, UMass 87 - sadly this tournament had little nutritional value for Nevada; they need it if they're actually going to be a high seed
Southern Illinois 79, Tulsa 69

Emerald Coast Classic:
Cincinnati 71, George Mason 55
Ole Miss 78, Baylor 70 - tough to get excited about this tournament

Friday, November 23, 2018

11/22 recap

Battle 4 Atlantis:
Virginia 66, Dayton 59
Wisconsin 78, Oklahoma 58 - the two best teams in the field hold serve to the finals
Florida 72, Stanford 49
Butler 84, Middle Tennessee 53 - I'd say form has held in Atlantis for 2 days

Las Vegas Holiday Invitational:
Nevada 96, Tulsa 86
UMass 84, Southern Illinois 62 - it's a shame Nevada couldn't squeeze into a better tourney than this

Las Vegas Invitational:
Texas 92, North Carolina 89 - hey, a signature win
Michigan St 87, UCLA 67 - this is a big boy tourney, so no loss is a bad loss here

Advocare Invitational:
Florida St 81, UAB 63
LSU 67, Charleston 55
Villanova 83, Canisius 56
Oklahoma St 84, Memphis 64 - rough field for the mid-majors.  UAB and Charleston are good, but alas, quality win chances for both disappear in this tournament on day 1

Wooden Legacy:
Miami 85, LaSalle 49
Fresno St 78, Northwestern 59 - not a good look for Northwestern
Seton Hall 82, Grand Canyon 75
Hawaii 90, Utah 79 - and not a good look for Utah, either.  Kind of a meh tourney

Thursday, November 22, 2018

11/21 recap

Minnesota 68, Washington 66

Maui:
Gonzaga 89, Duke 87 - remember, when you're in the WCC, every signature win chance is precious.  Here's one that makes GU's case for the 1 line pretty easy
Auburn 73, Arizona 57 - no signature win for Auburn (I think), but two solid wins in Zona and X will help the resume anyway
Iowa St 87, San Diego St 57 - ISU does escape Maui with one win that should hold some value in March
Xavier 83, Illinois 74 - the role of Chaminade was played by Illinois this year

Preseason NIT (yes, I'm calling it by its old name.  Sue me):
Kansas 77, Marquette 68
Tennessee 92, Louisville 81 - and we get KU-UT.  Sexy

Battle 4 Atlantis:
Virginia 74, Middle Tennessee 52 - rough draw for the upstart mid-major
Oklahoma 65, Florida 60 - OU wins the fight to be on the good side of the Atlantis bracket, where all the resume goodies are
Wisconsin 62, Stanford 46
Dayton 69, Butler 64 - good win for Dayton

Barclays Center Classic:
Pitt 75, St Louis 73 - this is rough for StL.  Pitt is no bueno, destined for the ACC cellar

MGM Resorts Main Event:
Mississippi St 61, St Mary's 57
Arizona St 87, Utah St 82 - ASU gets the 2 wins here

Cayman Islands:
Creighton 87, Clemson 82 - a modest upset; both teams should be fine for now
Georgia St 91, Georgia 67 - a robust trip for Georgia St, with a couple wins that have a fighting chance at holding some value.  Alas, likely won't be good enough for an at-large by itself, but still
Illinois St 73, Boise St 70
Akron 61, St Bonaventure 49

Cancun:
SMU 77, Wright St 76 - I feel sorry for the Horizon.  Entire league has fallen
Bradley 59, Penn St 56 - BU trying to rescue a modest beginning to the non-con for the MVC.  They get the 2 wins here

Fort Myers:
Wyoming 68, Richmond 66
Boston College 78, Loyola(Chi) 66 - BC with 2 wins here.  Who knew they were capable of this

Gulf Coast Showcase:
UTSA 76, FGCU 65
South Dakota St 78, Colorado St 65
Louisiana-Lafayette 68, Tulane 61
Toledo 67, UC Irvine 60 - fun mid-major tourney here.  Toledo gets the 3 wins

11/20 recap

Lipscomb 73, @TCU 64 - oof
Minnesota 80, Santa Clara 66 - a neutral site win, for those scoring at home
@San Diego 70, Colorado 64 - oof
Washington 71, Texas A&M 67 - another neutral site game; this win has more nutritional value for UW

Maui:
Duke 78, Auburn 71 - an actual honest-to-god signature win!  Very useful for when the argument for the #1 overall seed starts up
Gonzaga 91, Arizona 74
San Diego St 79, Xavier 74 - very important for SDSU as quality win chances are scarcer in the MWC
Iowa St 84, Illinois 68 - Illinois is terrible

Cayman Islands:
Clemson 64, Georgia 49 - two service holds for Clemson to reach the title game here
Boise St 72, St Bonaventure 52
Illinois St 73, Akron 68
Creighton 93, Georgia St 68 - Clemson and Creighton were clearly the best two teams, IMO; they both hold serve to the finals

HoF Classic:
USC 99, Missouri St 80 - well, this tourney didn't work out for the MVC
Texas Tech 70, Nebraska 52 - I have a suspicion this win will hold up as a quality win in March

Gulf Coast Showcase:
South Dakota St 99, UTSA 79
Colorado St 82, FGCU 74
UC Irvine 67, Tulane 55
Toledo 77, Louisiana-Lafayette 64

Legends Classic:
Temple 76, Cal 59 - zero and two for Cal; another roughing up for the Pac-12
St John's 87, VCU 86 (OT) - SJU with two solid resume-building wins in this tourney

Cancun:
Bradley 75, SMU 62 - the bottom is falling out of the middle of the American
Penn St 77, Wright St 59

11/19 recap

Maui:
Duke 90, San Diego St 64
Gonzaga 84, Illinois 78
Auburn 88, Xavier 79 (OT)
Arizona 71, Iowa St 66 - probably the only toss-up game on paper.  All favorites hold in the quarterfinals in Maui

Paradise Jam:
Kansas St 82, Missouri 67 - K State walks out of this tourney with the useful win
Oregon St 74, Penn 58
Northern Iowa 54, Old Dominion 53 - this tourney derailed my ODU at-large campaign
Eastern Kentucky 100, Kennesaw St 81

MGM Resorts Main Event:
Arizona St 72, Mississippi St 67 - modest upset based on the rankings, and kinda sneaky important to the Pac-12's reputation as a whole
Utah St 80, St Mary's 63 - modest boon to the MWC; people will need to recalibrate their expectations on St Mary's this year

Cayman Islands:
Clemson 72, Akron 69
Georgia St 75, St Bonaventure 65 - perhaps I'm underestimating the value of some of these teams in the Fun Belt.  GaSt and GaSo might both be decent
Creighton 94, Boise St 82
Georgia 80, Illinois St 68

Fort Myers:
Loyola(Chi) 82, Richmond 66
Boston College 88, Wyoming 76 - two games to form in this tourney

Gulf Coast Showcase:
Tulane 84, South Dakota St 80
UC Irvine 65, UTSA 56
Louisiana-Lafayette 91, Colorado St 73
Toledo 90, FGCU 62

HoF Classic:
Nebraska 85, Missouri St 62
Texas Tech 78, USC 63

Legends Classic:
St John's 82, Cal 79
VCU 57, Temple 51 - useful win for the A-10

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

11/18 recap

@Arkansas 73, Indiana 72 - home team holds; probably a non-event for both teams' resume
@Oklahoma St 70, Charleston 58 - no real harm to Charleston's resume; a modest boost to OSU's
Minnesota 69, Texas A&M 64 - no idea how to value these two bubble teams yet

Charleston Classic:
Virginia Tech 89, Purdue 83 - we'll see how much it matters in March; both teams are solidly in the field anyways
Davidson 71, Northeastern 59
Alabama 90, Wichita St 86
Ball St 94, Appalachian St 86 (OT)

HoF Tipoff:
Michigan 66, Providence 47 - UM gets 2 okay but not great wins in this tourney; onwards for them
South Carolina 90, George Washington 55 - GWU is terribad

Myrtle Beach:
Wake Forest 69, Valparaiso 63
CS Fullerton 87, Monmouth 63
West Virginia 97, St Joseph's 90 - St Joe's gets saddled with the 1-2 4th place mark in this tourney.  It will hurt the resume
UCF 78, Western Kentucky 62 - both teams really needed a title here for resume purposes; UCF gets it

Paradise Jam:
Missouri 69, Oregon St 63
Kansas St 64, Penn 48 - results to form in the Paradise Jam.  No upsets

11/17 recap

Everyone's playing too many damn tournaments.

Furman 76, @Villanova 68 (OT) - um, Furman has two signature road wins on the board (LUC).  This is a developing situation for the bubble
New Mexico St 98, @New Mexico 94
Lipscomb 79, @SMU 73 - ok maybe SMU is terrible too
@Memphis 109, Yale 102 (2OT)
St Louis 66, @Seton Hall 64 - there's a sneaky under-the-radar result.  This should hold up as a quality road win

HoF Tipoff:
Michigan 84, George Washington 61
Providence 76, South Carolina 67 - stock results in this tourney

Paradise Jam:
Old Dominion 65, Kennesaw St 47
Northern Iowa 90, Eastern Kentucky 85

Monday, November 19, 2018

11/16 recap

@UCLA 95, St Francis(PA) 58 - listed as SFU is the NEC favorite; it's safe to say that conference is headed for the 16 line
@Rhode Island 76, Harvard 74
@Louisville 86, Vermont 78 - VU hanging in on the road
St John's 84, @Rutgers 65 - a mandatory road game to win, but that's always step 1 to building an at-large resume
Loyola Marymount 65, Georgetown 52 - I won't post the whole Jamaica tournament, but oof
@FGCU 84, South Dakota St 78
@Butler 83, Ole Miss 76


Paradise Jam:
Kansas St 95, Eastern Kentucky 68
Missouri 55, Kennesaw St 52
Penn 78, Northern Iowa 71
Oregon St 61, Old Dominion 56 - the one semi-upset in my eyes in this tournament in the quarterfinals

2K Empire Classic:
Oregon 80, Syracuse 65 - SU takes the dreaded 0-2 in this field; but all 4 teams should be reasonably competent so this isn't a killer
Iowa 91, UConn 72 - Iowa is good?  I guess so

Charleston Classic:
Virginia Tech 88, Northeastern 60
Purdue 79, Davidson 58 - we get Va Tech/Purdue for this title, as we should
Wichita St 82, Appalachian St 76
Alabama 79, Ball St 61

Myrtle Beach:
Valparaiso 64, Monmouth 54
Wake Forest 66, CS Fullerton 59
Western Kentucky 63, West Virginia 57 - this is a big one, WKU is a quality team and this should help CUSA as a whole
UCF 77, St Joseph's 57 - a critical loss for the A-10 as a conference, who is already on the brink as a whole.  WKU/UCF for this title, that win will be a useful profile piece.  WVU/St Joe's.....critical game for St Joe's resume.

11/15 recap

@Gonzaga 94, Texas A&M 71
Ohio St 69, @Creighton 60 - road wins are never trivial
Belmont 87, @Lipscomb 83 - this is a quality road win, folk
@DePaul 72, Penn St 70 (OT) - B1G bubble teams are supposed to win this game

2K Empire Classic:
Iowa 77, Oregon 69
UConn 83, Syracuse 76 - a nice tight 4-team tourney with 4 reasonable at-large candidates in varying state of goodness.  Good wins for the two lesser teams in this one

Charleston Classic:
Purdue 92, Appalachian St 70
Northeastern 68, Alabama 52
Davidson 57, Wichita St 53
Virginia Tech 73, Ball St 64 - a weird tournament here...Davidson is decent and Wichita seems to be bad now.  Northeastern has the other shocker, but they're an upper-table CAA team.  All and all, Purdue and Va Tech lose a little bit in the draw, unless we're off in our preseason valuation.  Which we very well might be.  One thing for certain:  we can discard Wichita St safely

Myrtle Beach:
St Joseph's 89, Wake Forest 69
UCF 68, CS-Fullerton 52
Western Kentucky 83, Valparaiso 71
West Virginia 71, Monmouth 53 - the top 4 teams in this tourney hold serve.  Quality win chances coming for all 4 winners

Thursday, November 15, 2018

11/14 recap

Signature win of the day:
Michigan 73, @Villanova 46 - this should be a win that holds up by March.  This is worth a seed line or two

Quality wins:
@Indiana 96, Marquette 73 - big win over probable tourney team...useful
@Nebraska 80, Seton Hall 57 - I still don't believe in Nebraska so any big win is good in my book
St Mary's 73, @New Mexico St 58 - a quality road win that'll give this team a fighting chance on the bubble this time

Catastrophic losses:
Radford 63, @Notre Dame 60 - it doesn't take much to fall to 13th or so in the ACC pecking order

11/13 recap

Finally getting a few semi-relevant games.  Alas, most went to script, but there's a couple quality wins mixed in here.

@Tennessee 66, Georgia Tech 53
@LSU 85, Memphis 76
Wisconsin 77, @Xavier 68 - tough to say how good X is, but a road win is a road win these days
@Miami 96, Stephen F Austin 58 - just in case you wanted to check in to see how good the Southland favorite is.  Pass on the conference as a whole
@Charleston 66, Rhode Island 55 - URI is down, but Charleston could have a chance to build a semi-legitimate profile out of the Colonial
@Temple 81, Georgia 77
Harvard 74, @UMass 71
Georgetown 88, @Illinois 80
@New Mexico 90, Iona 83

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

11/12 recap

@North Carolina 90, Stanford 72 - Stanford is out here playing a second true road game already.  Interesting gambit
Buffalo 62, @Southern Illinois 53 - now UB has a second quality road win, and now they're really cooking with gas.  Legitimate at-large contenders now.  Sked slows down a bit for them, before more roadies at Syracuse and Marquette.  Even if they lose both, service holds in the rest of the non-con and they're in really good shape
@Belmont 92, Middle Tennessee 73
Oklahoma 87, @UTSA 67 - road wins are never trivial
@Minnesota 78, Utah 69

Most of the other games were simply service holds by better teams at home over worse teams.  Bonaventure lost on the road to Niagara....A-10 is in trouble...Vermont played at Kansas and lost by 16, which is respectable and may be worth something in March (like getting off the 16 line).

Monday, November 12, 2018

11/11 recap

Florida St 80, @Tulane 69 - we continue to see a residual effect of the past couple years....the occasional true road game for the power conference team
@North Dakota St 82, UC Santa Barbara 63 - Summit favorite > Big West favorite
Southern Miss 74, @SMU 64 - not a good loss for SMU's at-large resume
Florida Atlantic 80, @UCF 79 - and this one is downright catastrophic to UCF's resume
Vanderbilt 82, @USC 78 - again, true road wins matter

Sunday, November 11, 2018

11/10 recap

Light day on true impact games, but some notable results in the mid-major ranks:

Charleston 77, @Western Carolina 74 - matters more than you think.  True road win for CAA favorite
@Charlotte 66, Oklahoma St 64
@Xavier 91, Evansville 85
Fairfield 60, @Bucknell 58 - kind of disappointing for the Patriot favorite
@UT-Arlington 74, Northern Iowa 65
@Belmont 100, Illinois St 89
@Murray St 73, Wright St 54 - OVC favorite > Horizon favorite
Idaho St 72, @Boise St 70
Loyola Marymount 61, @UNLV 50 - not an optimal day for the MWC

Saturday, November 10, 2018

11/9 recap

Signature wins:
Buffalo 99, @West Virginia 94 (OT) - Buffalo gets a win that they have sorely missed the past couple of years.  Their profile was always a signature win away from being at-large worthy.  They're there now

Noteworthy:
@Auburn 88, Washington 66 - this win should have a reasonable amount of value down the road
@Kentucky 71, Southern Illinois 59 - mid-table MVC teams hangs around with UK.  Margin of victory is a thing now, remember
Wichita St 83, @Providence 80 - losing these home games are bad for the resume; this is one way for WSU to crawl back to the bubble discussion
@Iowa St 76, Missouri 59 - we'll see if either teams matters in March
Longwood 63, @Richmond 58 - A-10 is having a really bad start to this year
@St Joseph's 79, Old Dominion 64 - finally, an A-10 team doing something noteworthy.  Critical quality win chance by the boards for ODU
Texas 73, Arkansas 71 (OT)

Dumb losses:
Stony Brook 83, @South Carolina 81
Northeastern 81, @Harvard 71 - that's a bit of a ding for a team that's favored in the Ivy
Furman 60, Loyola(Chi) 58 - wait, what?
UC Irvine 74, @Texas A&M 73
Yale 76, California 59

Road wins are never trivial:
North Carolina 116, @Elon 67
Stanford 72, @UNC Wilmington 59
Oklahoma 91, @UTRGV 76

Friday, November 9, 2018

11/8 recap

Siena 69, @George Washington 61 - yeah, we're scraping the bottom of the barrel if we're leading off with this game.  In fact, there doesn't appear to be any meaningful results here.  Let's skip today, shall we?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

11/7 recap

Light night.

Ohio St 64, @Cincinnati 56 - road wins are never trivial.  Long way to go before we know exactly what this means for the two teams, but for now, a quality road win is in the bank for OSU
Bucknell 88, @St Bonaventure 85 - not a good start to the year for the A-10
@TCU 66, Cal St-Bakersfield 61 - tighter score than it needed to be

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

11/6 recap

And thusly begins the daily recaps.  A short quick bite-size version of last night's results that matter.

Kansas 92, Michigan St 87
Duke 118, Kentucky 84 - truth is, all 4 of these teams will have so many big games that I'm not going to make a big deal about these results, for now.  Could be useful in jumping up or down a seed line in March, but all these teams are expected around the top couple of lines

@Nevada 86, BYU 70 - one mystery with the new metrics will be how home wins over quality opponents will be handled.  Will they be marginalized?
North Carolina 78, @Wofford 67 - this goes in the book as a true road win, which matters
@Florida St 81, Florida 60
@Washington 73, WKU 55
Louisiana Tech 71, @Wichita St 58 - time to recalibrate Wichita's expectations this year
Texas Southern 72, @Baylor 69 - oof

interesting mid-major scores of the night:
@Buffalo 82, St Francis(PA) 67 - MAC favorite > NEC favorite
@UCF 84, Rider 70 - AAC at large contender > MAAC favorite
@South Dakota St 79, Grand Canyon 74 - Summit favorite > WAC favorite
@New Mexico St 73, North Dakota St 56

quick hits:
Worries for the A-10?  George Washington and George Mason lose home games to Penn and Stony Brook...Arizona St needed 2OT to beat CS-Fullerton at home...UMBC gets curb stomped on the road at Marquette; back to reality there

Friday, November 2, 2018

Preseason bracket breakdown

Let's chat briefly about the preseason bracket I put up.

Everyone says it these days:  teams get bids, not conferences.  True.  However, schedule is increasing in importance, and your conference has a lot to do with your schedule.  Therefore, every year, I always instruct the reader to do the following with my preseason bracket:  don't pay attention to where specific teams are seeded.  I'm bound to be off on some of them.  I know I will.

What do I think you need to pay attention to?  How well a conference is represented, and seeded, in the bracket.  My opinion on the strength of a conference will be represented by the seedings.  These opinions matter because the conferences will shape a significant portion of everyone's at-large profile.  Therefore I wouldn't worry about where your specific team is seeded; look more at your overall conference position.

With that in mind, let's whip around conference by conference:

ACC:  I have 9 teams in.  Seeds of 1, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 12.  I feel like with 3 top tier teams who are vulnerable, I expect many teams in the middle of the conference to pick off signature wins.  A typical year for the conference awaits.

B1G:  7 teams in.  I expect a rebound year.  I have a typical distribution (a 2 seed, a couple 4 seeds, and the rest scattered throughout the bracket).  I expect the identify of teams 4-7 to be very fluid throughout the year.

SEC:  7 teams in.  Like the B1G, I have a pretty even distribution of teams throughout the bracket, and I also expect the middle of this conference to be in a very fluid state.

Big 10:  6 teams in.  Might be the strongest conference top to bottom.  It's just so tough to put 70% of your conference in the field, though.  I expect the teams that do make it to be solidly in, though.  Looking back to last year's bubble, I expect this year's bubble teams to be in a bit stronger position overall.

Big East:  5 teams in.  I'm not quite sure what to do with them.  I found trouble identifying a second team I feel really good about getting a very high seed.  Will there be enough signature win chances in the conference?  They could easily slide down to 4 teams if things break the wrong way.

Pac-12:  4 teams in.  I don't trust this conference.  At all.

A-10:  2 teams in.  Champ on the 8 line.  Pretty standard year.

MWC:  2 teams in.  Nevada up to the 5 line.  This should be the year the conference rallies a bit.  I still don't think the bottom half is strong enough; Nevada's computer profile will get tanked a bit.

WCC:  1 team in.  St Mary's falls into the abyss; Gonzaga is alone.  BYU could make it close.

MVC:  1 team in.  Strong computer numbers last year; I expect it to continue this year.  Think they can get a second team close to the field.

everyone else:  Western Kentucky is my official bandwagon pick for at-large bid candidacy this year.  You can also talk me into Charleston, if the CAA has a good year, and Buffalo.

Preseason S-CURVE

A more full detail breakdown is coming soon, but wanted to get the official preseason stuff up for posterity.

The 1 line:  Kansas, Duke, Virginia, Gonzaga
The 2 line:  Kentucky, Michigan St, Villanova, West Virginia
The 3 line:  North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Kansas St
The 4 line:  Syracuse, Auburn, Michigan, Purdue
The 5 line:  Cincinnati, Florida St, Nevada, Florida
The 6 line:  Virginia Tech, Indiana, Marquette, UCLA
The 7 line:  Texas, Butler, Clemson, LSU
The 8 line:  Loyola(Chi), Wisconsin, TCU, St Louis
The 9 line:  Washington, North Carolina St, Iowa St, St John's
The 10 line:  Central Florida, San Diego St, Western Kentucky, Arizona
The 11 line:  Mississippi St, Nebraska, St Joseph's, Temple
The 12 line:  Providence, Miami, Minnesota, Alabama, Charleston, Buffalo
The 13 line:  Harvard, Iona, South Dakota St, New Mexico St
The 14 line:  Georgia St, Murray St, UC-Santa Barbara, Wofford
The 15 line:  Vermont, Wright St, Bucknell, Lipscomb
The 16 line:  Montana, Radford, Stephen F Austin, St Francis (PA), North Carolina Central, Texas Southern

Next 4 in:
Mississippi St
Nebraska
St Joseph's
Temple

Last 4 in:
Providence
Miami
Minnesota
Alabama

Last 4 out:
Illinois St
New Mexico
Davidson
BYU

Next 4 out:
USC
Wichita St
Louisville
Maryland

Break it down!:
ACC 9
B1G 7
SEC 7
Big 12 6
Big East 5
Pac-12 4
AAC 3
A-10 2
MWC 2

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mid-majors and conference schedules

Let's chat about conference schedules.  Two conferences are going full bonkers in the 18-19 season with their schedules:

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/the-sun-belt-is-the-latest-to-alter-its-scheduling-in-order-to-enhance-its-ncaa-tournament-chances/

Sun Belt:  Has a 20 game conference schedule.  The first 16 games will be standard:  10 games within your division (home-and-home), 6 games outside your division.  Usual stuff.

The final 4 games are wildly different.  Teams are placed in groups of three based on conference record:  1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12.  You play home-and-home within your group.  This means the top 3 teams get 4 games against each other.

The end result?  It's quite possible one or two of the road games in these final four games are Group 1 (top 70 RPI) win chances.  And at the very least, they should be Group 2 win chances.  Plus the home games should be Group 2 win chances.

CUSA:  Has an 18 game conference schedule.  First 14 games are against the other 13 teams, plus one designated rival/travel partner.  Usual stuff.

The final 4 games are wildly different.  Teams are placed in three groups based on conference record:  1-5, 6-10, 11-14.  You play 4 games within your group (each team, either home or away).  This means the top 5 teams get 4 games against each other.

The end result?  You can copy and paste the paragraph above.  It's probable that one or both road games are Group 1 win chances, and at the very least are Group 2 win chances.  The added bonus is that a home game against a top top team (think MTSU) might squeak into Group 1 as well.



The methodology is clunky, but the goal is really, really simple.  The committee has sent a message in the past couple of years.  They care about quality wins a lot.  More than most other resume items.  The more quality wins, the better.  The more Group 1 wins, the better.  The overall record in such games isn't quite as important.  Going 4-11 in such Group 1 games seems to be getting rewarded more than going 3-3 in such games.  The raw number of wins is becoming more important than the ratio of wins to losses in such games.

This is the mid-major response to that.  These teams don't get 10-15 Group 1 win chances.  They get 3-6 on average.  Even if you go 3-1 in such games, it seems the committee would rather take the team that went, say, 5-8 in such games.  Therefore, the solution is obvious:  more Group 1 games!  These moves will give at-large contenders in each conference, on average, about 2 more Group 1 win chances.  It may be 1, or 3, in some years, of course.  But on average, I think 2 is the number.  And if a team adds 2 such wins because of this?  That 3-1 or 3-2 record becomes 5-1 or 5-2.  Even if they go 1-1 in such games, you're going from 3-2 to 4-3.  Every single win helps.

Also this will help SoS.  Avoid the RPI calorie bombs at the bottom of your league.  That's pretty big as the Sun Belt and CUSA both have some ugly RPIs at the bottom of their standings each year.

The bottom line:  Mid-majors have received the message from the selection committee.  Manufacture as many quality win chances as you can, period.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Selection committee takeaways

Let's just do a quick recap.  I usually like to wait a couple of weeks to let the dust settle, then analyze what happened.

1) The committee went full S-Curve on the top 2 lines.  They did not place teams by geography; they matched 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, and so forth.  This is a pretty big admission.  They said they had trouble creating balance in the bracket if they went based on geography.  So in the future, we now know the NCAA will protect balanced brackets, even over geography, if they have to.

2) Non-conference SoS just doesn't matter anymore.  It's all about overall SoS.  Kansas St skated by with an atrocious number; Florida St and Virginia Tech's seeds weren't punished at all.  The committee is now showing the trend of forgiving a bad non-con SoS - IF your overall SoS is good.

2b) By that same token, if your conference is weak, then you WILL be punished, period.  St Mary's had a non-con SoS around 180.  Not good, but not awful either.  Played the Wooden Legacy, played a few name teams.  But since they failed to get tournament-caliber teams, they eventually got punished for it.  A bad CUSA conference was the downfall of MTSU, even though their non-con SoS was in the top 10.

2c) This brings up a bigger-picture thing.  The committee has increased the use of analytics, of additional statistics and metrics.  This has benefited the Power 6 conferences.  Make no mistake, the use of these new metrics are anti-mid major.  Mid-majors simply do not have the resources to build the same type of resume as a Power 6 school. 

Many believe it's the responsibility of the committee to account for these imbalances, and to help out the mid-major during the selection process.  The committee has gone the other way.  They are now saying that they will evaluate each school based on these metrics, without consideration to context or the ability of each school to build a good resume.  The committee is basically saying it's not their responsibility if mid-majors can't build the same type of resume that a Power 6 school can.

On one hand, it's not the worst position in the world to take.  The committee is stripping all context, all outside influences.  They are simply stating that they will evaluate schools based solely on what is on their resume.  However, it ignores that not all schools have the same chance to build the same resume.  The NCAA is basically telling the mid-majors that their plight isn't their problem.  I think that's the wrong approach.

In many sports, we're seeing the use of advanced metrics.  Baseball has changed with sabermetrics.  Basketball has changed once people realized long 2s are no longer good shots.  Metrics and analytics are changing the ways sports are played in general.  However, the NCAA is trying to apply the same methodology that other sports use for how to play the game, and applying it to a selection process.  Selection of teams for a tournament, and style of play of teams are two different things, and the same process of applying metrics cannot be applied to both in the same way.  What I'm saying is that we're getting a little too analytical in the selection process.  We have a selection committee because we know the numbers by themselves are insufficient to judge teams.  The road we're going down; we might as well create a BCS formula.

3) Seeding by the committee has improved.  This year?  I kind of have no major qualms.  My biggest miss this year was Providence by 3 seed lines, but even I admitted going into Selection Sunday that I was overseeding Provi by default, and that I wasn't enthusiastic about it.  I have no major issues with what they did.

4) I went 67 of 68.  Missed Kansas St and USC.  Had USC last in.  In retrospect, I should've excluded USC for the same reason I excluded Louisville - lack of signature wins.  But I didn't want to put in K-State's non-con SoS either.  In the end, I'm okay with 67.

5) Seeding on the 11-12-13 lines is getting tougher.  This year, it appears they highlighted signature wins first.  Hence SDSU and Loyola on the 11 line, and Buffalo and Charleston slipping to the 13 line.  I'm also surprised Marshall was so low given their wins over MTSU.  Seeding these autobids are getting tougher and tougher by the year.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

NIT projections FINAL

The 1 line:  Notre Dame, Baylor, St Mary's, USC
The 2 line:  Louisville, Middle Tennessee, Marquette, Oklahoma St
The 3 line:  Boise St, Utah, Penn St, Nebraska,
The 4 line:  Oregon, Western Kentucky, Washington, LSU
The 5 line:  Mississippi St, Northeastern, Tulsa, Temple
The 6 line:  Vermont, Louisiana, Rider, UC Davis
The 7 line:  Harvard, Northern Kentucky, Wagner, UNC Asheville
The 8 line:  SE Louisiana, FGCU, Hampton, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Last 4 out:  Georgia, Maryland, Stanford, BYU
Next 4 out:  Toledo, Old Dominion, Colorado, Memphis
Next 4 out:  Boston College, South Carolina, Central Florida, New Mexico

1) Notre Dame vs. 8) Hampton
4) Western Kentucky vs. 5) Temple
3) Penn St vs. 6) Vermont
2) Middle Tennessee vs. 7) Wagner

1) Baylor vs. 8) SE Louisiana
4) Washington vs. 5) Mississippi St
3) Nebraska vs. 6) Louisiana
2) Louisville vs. 7) Northern Kentucky

1) St Mary's vs. 8) Arkansas-Pine Bluff
4) Oregon vs. 5) Tulsa
3) Utah vs. 6) UC Davis
2) Marquette vs. 7) Harvard

1) USC vs. 8) FGCU
4) LSU vs. 5) Northeastern
3) Boise St vs. 6) Rider
2) Oklahoma St vs. 7) UNC Asheville

S-CURVE FINAL

I don't know.  I just don't bleeping know.  Give me 67/68 right NOW.

The final kerjigger:  Louisville out.  Needed signature wins.  So does USC frankly.  To me it was 4 teams for 2 spots, Syracuse and USC in, K-State and UL out.  Others are too flawed.

USC scares me.  St Mary's scares me.  EVERYONE on that mini-list below scares me.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier
The 2 line:  North Carolina, Duke, Purdue, Cincinnati
The 3 line:  Tennessee, Michigan St, Auburn, West Virginia
The 4 line:  Michigan, Texas Tech, Arizona, Gonzaga
The 5 line:  Kentucky, Clemson, Houston, Wichita St
The 6 line:  Ohio St, Florida, Texas A&M, Miami
The 7 line:  Arkansas, TCU, Seton Hall, Providence
The 8 line:  Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, Missouri, Nevada
The 9 line:  Butler, Creighton, Alabama, Florida St
The 10 line:  North Carolina St, Texas, Oklahoma, UCLA
The 11 line:  St Bonaventure, Arizona St, Syracuse, USC, Davidson, San Diego St
The 12 line:  New Mexico St, Loyola(Chi), Buffalo, Marshall
The 13 line:  Charleston, South Dakota St, Murray St, UNC Greensboro
The 14 line:  Montana, Bucknell, Wright St, Iona
The 15 line:  Georgia St, Penn, Lipscomb, Stephen F Austin
The 16 line:  UMBC, Radford, Cal St-Fullerton, LIU-Brooklyn, North Carolina Central, Texas Southern

Last 4 in:
St Bonaventure
Arizona St
Syracuse
USC

Last 7 out:
Louisville
Kansas St
St Mary's
Middle Tennessee
Baylor
Oklahoma St
Marquette

BRACKET FINAL

SOUTH
@Charlotte
1) Virginia vs. 16) Cal St-Fullerton/Texas Southern
8) Nevada vs. 9) Creighton
@San Diego
4) Texas Tech vs. 13) Charleston
5) Kentucky vs. 12) Marshall
@Nashville
3) Tennessee vs. 14) Bucknell
6) Ohio St vs. 11) Syracuse/Arizona St
@Pittsburgh
2) Cincinnati vs. 15) Penn
7) Seton Hall vs. 10) North Carolina St

WEST
@Detroit
1) Xavier vs. 16) UMBC
8) Virginia Tech vs. 9) Alabama
@San Diego
4) Arizona vs. 13) UNC Greensboro
5) Wichita St vs. 12) New Mexico St
@Wichita
3) Michigan St vs. 14) Montana
6) Texas A&M vs. 11) USC/St Bonaventure
@Charlotte
2) North Carolina vs. 15) Lipscomb
7) TCU vs. 10) UCLA

MIDWEST
@Wichita
1) Kansas vs. 16) Radford
8) Missouri vs. 9) Butler
@Boise
4) Gonzaga vs. 13) South Dakota St
5) Houston vs. 12) Loyola
@Dallas
3) Auburn vs. 14) Wright St
6) Miami vs. 11) San Diego St
@Detroit
2) Purdue vs. 15) Stephen F Austin
7) Providence vs. 10) Oklahoma

EAST
@Pittsburgh
1) Villanova vs. 16) LIU-Brooklyn/North Carolina Central
8) Rhode Island vs. 9) Florida St
@Boise
4) Michigan vs. 13) Murray St
5) Clemson vs. 12) Buffalo
@Dallas
3) West Virginia vs. 14) Iona
6) Florida vs. 11) Davidson
@Nashville
2) Duke vs. 15) Georgia St
7) Arkansas vs. 10) Texas

3/11 recap

SEC final:
Kentucky 77, Tennessee 72 - makes the call for UT on the 3 line a bit easier

A-10 final:
Davidson 58, Rhode Island 57 - ruh roh

AAC final:
Cincinnati 56, Houston 55

Ivy final:
Penn 68, Harvard 65 - one final bid thief for NIT, which is facing a real crunch...more in a couple hours

Southland final:
Georgia St 74, UT Arlington 61

3/11 morning bracket

Bracketing has turned into a secondary concern for me....so much depends on the exact order of teams on the S-Curve, so I try not to get too deep into it.  It's a futile effort.

I'll revise this later today based on results, naturally.

SOUTH
@Charlotte
1) Virginia vs. 16) Cal St-Fullerton/Texas Southern
8) Creighton vs. 9) Alabama
@San Diego
4) Texas Tech vs. 13) Charleston
5) Kentucky vs. 12) Marshall
@Nashville
3) Tennessee vs. 14) Bucknell
6) Ohio St vs. 11) Louisville/Arizona St
@Pittsburgh
2) Cincinnati vs. 15) Harvard
7) Seton Hall vs. 10) North Carolina St

WEST
@Detroit
1) Xavier vs. 16) UMBC
8) Virginia Tech vs. 9) Nevada
@San Diego
4) Arizona vs. 13) UNC Greensboro
5) Wichita St vs. 12) New Mexico St
@Wichita
3) Michigan St vs. 14) Montana
6) Texas A&M vs. 11) USC/Syracuse
@Charlotte
2) North Carolina vs. 15) Lipscomb
7) TCU vs. 10) UCLA

MIDWEST
@Wichita
1) Kansas vs. 16) Radford
8) Butler vs. 9) Missouri
@Boise
4) Gonzaga vs. 13) South Dakota St
5) Houston vs. 12) Loyola
@Dallas
3) Auburn vs. 14) Wright St
6) Miami vs. 11) San Diego St
@Detroit
2) Purdue vs. 15) Stephen F Austin
7) Providence vs. 10) Oklahoma

EAST
@Pittsburgh
1) Villanova vs. 16) LIU-Brooklyn/North Carolina Central
8) Rhode Island vs. 9) Florida St
@Boise
4) Michigan vs. 13) Murray St
5) Clemson vs. 12) Buffalo
@Dallas
3) West Virginia vs. 14) Iona
6) Florida vs. 11) St Bonaventure
@Nashville
2) Duke vs. 15) Georgia St
7) Arkansas vs. 10) Texas

3/11 morning S-CURVE



The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier
The 2 line:  North Carolina, Duke, Purdue, Cincinnati
The 3 line:  Tennessee, Michigan St, Auburn, West Virginia
The 4 line:  Michigan, Texas Tech, Arizona, Gonzaga
The 5 line:  Clemson, Kentucky, Houston, Wichita St
The 6 line:  Ohio St, Florida, Texas A&M, Miami
The 7 line:  Arkansas, TCU, Seton Hall, Providence
The 8 line:  Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, Butler, Creighton
The 9 line:  Missouri, Nevada, Alabama, Florida St
The 10 line:  North Carolina St, Texas, Oklahoma, UCLA
The 11 line:  St Bonaventure, Louisville, USC, Arizona St, Syracuse, San Diego St
The 12 line:  New Mexico St, Loyola(Chi), Buffalo, Marshall
The 13 line:  Charleston, South Dakota St, Murray St, UNC Greensboro
The 14 line:  Montana, Bucknell, Wright St, Iona
The 15 line:  Georgia St, Harvard, Lipscomb, Stephen F Austin
The 16 line:  UMBC, Radford, Cal St-Fullerton, LIU-Brooklyn, North Carolina Central, Texas Southern

Into the lockbox:
Alabama
Florida St
North Carolina St
Texas
Oklahoma
UCLA

Bubble in:
St Bonaventure

Last 4 in:
Louisville
USC
Arizona St
Syracuse

Last 4 out:
Baylor
Kansas St
Middle Tennessee
St Mary's

Next 2 out:
Oklahoma St
Marquette

Bubble out:  Notre Dame, Penn St, Nebraska, Davidson, Oregon, Utah, Washington

Notes:
1:  Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier
I feel like these 4 teams are the correct 4, in that order.  I don't see much room to argue otherwise.
2:  North Carolina, Duke, Purdue, Cincinnati
UNC and Duke feel obvious at 5 and 6.  For the next spot, I'm flip flopping after one day.  Here's the deal.  In my notes for previous years, I've written a few different times this:  "STOP PAYING ATTENTION TO SUNDAY RESULTS".  I think Tennessee is going to get boned by this.  And their predictive metrics are well behind both Purdue and Cincy.  I think the committee SHOULD put UT on the 2 line; I'm starting to think they won't.  Purdue and Cincy fill the 2 line.
3:  Tennessee, Michigan St, Auburn, West Virginia
I think the 3 line is the perfect compromise for MSU.  Now the fun begins as the next wave of teams (Auburn, WVU/TTU, Michigan, Zona) hit the board.  I think Auburn wins this battle for a simple reason:  the non-con SoS of UM, WVU, and TTU are kind of garbage.  WVU then beats out the rest with a useful head-to-head over TTU and a signature win against UVa.
4:  Michigan, Texas Tech, Arizona, Gonzaga
I think you can argue to lower Zona some, but the committee is human and will be biased towards a conference champ.  Gonzaga's predictive metrics are very good, so we're sticking with them on the 4 line although teams with better wins lurk behind.  This is kind of a line of demarcation, as teams with noticeable resume flaws start appearing on the board.
5:  Clemson, Kentucky, Houston, Ohio St
It's finally time to admit defeat on my Houston take, and move them up to the 5 line.  I can't go further, but I can no longer justify going lower.  One team I am now struggling with is Florida.  9 G1 wins is really good, and those 9 wins are legit.  However, 5 G2-G3 losses, with some real clunkers, are in there.  In a situation where 9 G1 wins contradict with RPI 46 contradict with SoS inside the top 25 contradict with 5 bad losses....I think predictive metrics come into play in these scenarios.  Florida is average of 21...right on the 5/6 seed edge.  Let's go Wichita St here, admittedly without a lot of conviction.  11 G2 wins, which is an oblong number.
6:  Ohio St, Florida, Texas A&M, Miami
After OSU and Florida, my next wave of teams:  Miami, TCU, A&M, Arky.  TCU has the predictive metrics but lag in most other categories.  Miami is the one with the sterling road mark but also the one with a very marginal average RPI win.  However, I have 2 SEC teams on the 3 line and 1 on the 6 line already.  So if I go A&M and Arky, I'll have to move one down a seed line anyways.  A&M and Miami it is, with the caveat that this is a spot I want to revisit tomorrow.
7:  Arkansas, TCU, Seton Hall, Providence
I wanted to argue for putting Seton Hall in that category above, but they lack the signature win required to get that high up, IMO.  The last spot here is where things turn ugly.  I surely can't put Providence here with some of their losses, right?  URI beat Provi heads-up...tempting.  Butler and Creighton are both sitting there too....nah, URI.  I think.
8:  Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, Butler, Creighton
Slotting VaTech in here really makes me nervous.  That non-con SoS is 326.  Warning sirens are going off.  But they have 4 signature wins, and mostly avoided the bad losses.  I guess they gotta be in, but this could absolutely be a situation where they get ejected right out of the tournament from left field tomorrow.  Stay alert out there.  And now I just ran into ANOTHER situation where if I put my next 2 teams (Butler, Creighton) up on the 8-9 lines, I have to procedure one of them up to 7 or down to 10 because of conference conflicts (I already have Provi, Villanova, and Xavier in 3 of the 4 regionals).  So I'm going to switch URI and Providence back on the 7 line, and Butler and Creighton both go to the 8.
9:  Missouri, Nevada, Alabama, Florida St
Rough tumble for Nevada down the bracket, they seem to fit in here.  After that?  I hit a wall.  All of a sudden some of these teams are very flawed.  I'm moving Alabama all the way up to here.  Why?  SoS 3, average RPI win of 86.  There are legit flaws in the resume, just in the sheer number of losses and the road record (2 true road wins!).  But some of these other teams have major SoS issues and the committee will lean towards SoS when given the option.  I don't feel good about this seed, at all.
10:  North Carolina St, Texas, Oklahoma, UCLA
I'm going to use Oklahoma here.  I'm not thrilled by it, but the overall body of work is good enough to avoid getting too close to the cutline.  I'm also not excited to burn Texas in this spot, but again it's another resume I don't think anyone can afford to leave out of the bracket.  Both of these resumes are better than K-State's when you really analyze them; not sure how anyone can think otherwise.  Yes, I know K-State has H2H advantages on all these Big 12 bubble teams; the rest of the games count too, though.  UCLA gets the next nod for one simple reason:  they're the 2nd best Pac-12 team and the committee is human and will not want to wait longer to put a Pac-12 team on the board.
11:  St Bonaventure, Louisville, USC, Arizona St, Syracuse, San Diego St
Let's reset.  5 spots to go.  K-State, OSU, Baylor, Louisville, Marquette, Syracuse, USC, Arizona St, Bonaventure, MTSU, and St Mary's are the reasonable choices to pick from.  We're at the point where if any of these teams miss or make, I can see it happening (the teams above, UCLA and Texas and Oklahoma, I can't see missing completely).  When you get to this point, the committee punishes non-con SoS disproportionally.  Negative marks to OSU and KSU.  The committee is human; they'll see RPI.  I reluctantly put Bonaventure, UL, and USC in.  Fuck, I don't know.  I think they have to put ASU in.  So many of these other teams have SoS problems, they have 2 signature wins, timing of losses don't matter anymore.  And I'm covering my eyes at Baylor's road record and putting them in.  Wait, no.  That road record is hideous.  St Mary's and MT are so much better.  Wait, Marquette is .500 there.  Syracuse and MT have the terrific non-con SoSs.  Fuck.  I don't know.  Syracuse barely over Baylor.
12:  New Mexico St, Loyola(Chi), Buffalo, Marshall
SDSU wins the battle over NMSU to move up to the 11 line.  Buffalo benefits from the attrition elsewhere to stick on this line, and I'll take Marshall over everyone else below based on a pocketful of quality wins.
Bubble out:  Baylor, Kansas St, Middle Tenenssee, St Mary's, Oklahoma St, Marquette
Did I really just drop St Mary's that far?  Yikes.  It doesn't feel right.  I'm getting scary vibes from the committee about road games.  Since it's baked into the Groups now, we're hearing less and less about the raw number of road wins being important.  Trouble for them and Middle Tennessee.  I've had Marquette in for awhile; it's really tight at the end of this bubble.  K-State is apparently a hill I'm going to die on.  I don't feel good about any of this.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

3/10 recap

ACC final:
Virginia 71, North Carolina 63 - this should probably set the 1 line for good, with Xavier as the 4th 1.  There's a question of who goes west with X as the 2 seed, and I'm thinking the committee will send #5 overall (in my case, UNC) over there

Big East final:
Villanova 76, Providence 66 (OT) - Provi should settle around the 7 line, maybe 8

Big 12 final:
Kansas 81, West Virginia 70 - likely will not impact anyone's seed

Pac-12 final:
Arizona 75, USC 61 - I'm not sure USC is completely safe.  Then again, there's like 12 teams I feel like I can say that about, so I don't know.  This needs a good seed scrubbing

SEC semis:
Kentucky 86, Alabama 63 - are we sure Alabama is safe, guys?  I'm still not sure.  Then again, you know my feeling on this year's bubble.  It's wiiiiide
Tennessee 84, Arkansas 66 - I'm feeling pretty good about UT on the 2 line, to be honest

AAC semis:
Cincinnati 70, Memphis 60
Houston 77, Wichita St 74 - a pretty important get for Houston, which IS battling non-con SoS issues on their resume and can use these wins to mask that problem

A-10 semis:
Rhode Island 90, St Joseph's 87
Davidson 82, St Bonaventure 70 - are we sure Bonaventure is home free?  And Davidson needed this to get off the NIT bubble, if that's your thing

Mountain West final:
San Diego St 82, New Mexico 75

A-East final:
UMBC 65, Vermont 62 - sigh

Big Sky final:
Montana 82, Eastern Washington 65

Southland final:
Stephen F Austin 59, SE Louisiana 55

MAC final:
Buffalo 76, Toledo 66

WAC final:
New Mexico St 72, Grand Canyon 58

Sun Belt semis:
UT Arlington 71, Louisiana 68 - sigh
Georgia St 73, Georgia Southern 67

Ivy semis:
Harvard 74, Cornell 55
Penn 80, Yale 57

MEAC final:
North Carolina Central 71, Hampton 63 - no sigh for the 1 seed losing here because the conference standings were a mess all year in this conference

SWAC final:
Texas Southern 84, UAPB 69

Big West final:
Cal St-Fullerton 71, UC Irvine 55

3/10 S-CURVE

Pressure point 1:  The 2 line, #7 overall - made the move for Tennessee in that spot.  I do firmly believe committee bias will elevate a SEC champion to the 2 line, and UT takes Auburn's spot.  Subject to change. And I really wrestled with Purdue and Michigan St for that last spot.  What changed my mind?  I see Jerry Palm is an outlier, having Michigan St on the 2 line.  This single piece of evidence is all the motivation I need to talk myself out of that particular take.  MSU demotion it is.  Meanwhile, I really want to put Cincy on the 2 line, but I don't think I can sustain a healthy argument for them ahead of the aforementioned teams right now.

Pressure point 2:  The 3 line, #12 overall - made the move to WVU over Michigan.  Reasonable arguments can be made for either, and both have their non-con SoS problem.  Behind them, conference champs Arizona and Gonzaga don't have enough to pass either.

Pressure point 3:  The 5 line, #20 overall - toyed with a few different teams in that spot, but no one felt right.  In the end, wanted to move Kentucky there as they were my next team...and Florida swept them.  For now, I'm staying on Florida, but I don't feel good about it.

Pressure point 4:  The 7 line, #28 overall - strangely, I feel good about the teams on the 6 line and 7 line right now, up to #28 overall.  There's a bit of a roadblock here, where all the teams I could put there seem to...have flaws.  With that, I've decided to make a very aggressive move and launch Provi up 2 full seed lines.

Pressure point 5:  The 9 line, #34 overall - this is where I threw my hands up.  I don't know.  Throw 'em all into a bucket and pick them out.  There's going to be some severly flawed teams on the 9 line.  Best guess is the ACC and Big 12 gets the benefit of the doubt.  I clustered them all together from 34 through 38 in an act of defiance.

There are some very alarming SoS numbers in this group.  I'm looking at Va Tech and FSU here.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier
The 2 line:  North Carolina, Duke, Tennessee, Purdue
The 3 line:  Michigan St, Cincinnati, Auburn, West Virginia
The 4 line:  Michigan, Texas Tech, Arizona, Gonzaga
The 5 line:  Clemson, Ohio St, Wichita St, Florida
The 6 line:  Kentucky, Miami, TCU, Arkansas
The 7 line:  Houston, Texas A&M, Seton Hall, Providence
The 8 line:  Rhode Island, Creighton, Butler, Nevada
The 9 line:  Missouri, Virginia Tech, Florida St, Texas
The 10 line:  North Carolina St, Oklahoma, USC, St Mary's
The 11 line:  St Bonaventure, UCLA, Alabama, Baylor, Louisville, New Mexico St
The 12 line:  Loyola(Chi), Western Kentucky, Buffalo, Charleston
The 13 line:  South Dakota St, Murray St, UNC Greensboro, New Mexico
The 14 line:  Louisiana, Vermont, Montana, Bucknell
The 15 line:  Iona, Wright St, Lipscomb, Harvard
The 16 line:  Radford, UC Irvine, SE Louisiana, LIU-Brooklyn, Hampton, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Current bubble status:  18 for 12 spots

Bubble in:
Virginia Tech
Florida St
Texas
North Carolina St

Next 4 in:
Oklahoma
USC
St Mary's
St Bonaventure

Last 4 in:
UCLA
Alabama
Baylor
Louisville

Last 4 out:
Marquette
Kansas St
Middle Tennessee
Arizona St

Next 2 out:
Oklahoma St
Syracuse

off the board:  Notre Dame, Penn St, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Georgia, Boise St, Washington, Mississippi St

NIT lines:
2:  Notre Dame, Penn St
3:  Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Georgia
4:  Boise St, Washington, Mississippi St, Northeastern
5:  Maryland, Stanford, BYU, Davidson
6:  San Diego St, Tulsa
--probable cutline--
Last 4 out:  Temple, Old Dominion, Toledo, Boston College
autobid:  Rider, UC Davis, UNC Asheville, Northern Kentucky, Wagner, FGCU

Friday, March 9, 2018

3/9 recap

ACC semis:
Virginia 64, Clemson 58
North Carolina 74, Duke 69 - is America ready to make a 11-7 ACC team a #1 seed?  I'm not sure, and neither am I.  Still, the conversation will have to commence

Big East semis:
Villanova 87, Butler 68 - this probably locks Villanova into #2 overall, and into a precious precious spot in the East regional
Providence 75, Xavier 72 (OT) - we're going to need to have a real talk about UNC vs. Xavier on the 1 line

Big 12 semis:
Kansas 83, Kansas St 67 - probably endgame for K-State.  I can't see an obvious path to an at-large for them
West Virginia 66, Texas Tech 63 - a very useful result for seeding purposes

SEC semis:
Tennessee 62, Mississippi St 59
Arkansas 80, Florida 72 - um, can someone tell me what to do with the 5 line and Florida's old spot?  Probably Kentucky goes there now, but I'm not too excited about that
Alabama 81, Auburn 63 - well that's really making sure you play your way off the bubble.  Just can't leave them out at this point
Kentucky 62, Georgia 49 - and here we are, UK slowly creeping back up the seed list at the end

Pac-12 semis:
Arizona 78, UCLA 67 (OT)
USC 74, Oregon 54

AAC quarters:
Cincinnati 61, SMU 51
Memphis 67, Tulsa 64 - NIT bubble implications!
Wichita St 89, Temple 81
Houston 84, UCF 56

MWC semis:
San Diego St 90, Nevada 73 - ...wait, what?
New Mexico 83, Utah St 68

A-10 quarters:
Rhode Island 76, VCU 67
St Joseph's 68, George Mason 49
St Bonaventure 83, Richmond 77
Davidson 78, St Louis 60

CUSA semis:
Marshall 85, Southern Miss 75
Western Kentucky 57, Old Dominion 49

MAC semis:
Buffalo 78, Kent St 61
Toledo 64, Eastern Michigan 63

Sun Belt quarters:
Louisiana 80, Texas St 54
UT Arlington 84, Appalachian St 68
Georgia St 73, Troy 51
Georgia Southern 63, Louisiana-Monroe 55

SWAC semis:
UAPB 71, Southern 65
Texas Southern 88, Prairie View A&M 74

Southland semis:
SE Louisiana 89, Sam Houston St 79
Stephen F Austin 78, Nicholls St 66

MEAC semis:
Hampton 96, NC A&T 86
North Carolina Central 79, Morgan St 70

Big Sky semis:
Montana 91, Northern Colorado 89 (OT)
Eastern Washington 82, Southern Utah 70

WAC semis:
Grand Canyon 75, Utah Valley 60
New Mexico St 84, Seattle 79 - please win tomorrow NMSU

Big West semis:
Cal St-Fullerton 55, UC Davis 52
UC Irvine 61, UC Santa Barbara 58

3/9 S-CURVE

I need to really, really scrub this bubble.  I'm not feeling great about almost any combination of teams you can put in Dayton.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Kansas
The 2 line:  North Carolina, Duke, Auburn, Michigan St
The 3 line:  Tennessee, Purdue, Cincinnati, Michigan
The 4 line:  West Virginia, Texas Tech, Gonzaga, Arizona
The 5 line:  Clemson, Ohio St, Wichita St, Florida
The 6 line:  Miami, TCU, Kentucky, Texas A&M
The 7 line:  Seton Hall, Houston, Arkansas, Butler
The 8 line:  Creighton, Nevada, Missouri, Rhode Island
The 9 line:  Florida St, Texas, Virginia Tech, Providence
The 10 line:  St Mary's, North Carolina St, Oklahoma, St Bonaventure
The 11 line:  USC, UCLA, Marquette, Baylor, Louisville, Kansas St
The 12 line:  Loyola(Chi), New Mexico St, Buffalo, Charleston
The 13 line:  Old Dominion, South Dakota St, Murray St, UNC Greensboro
The 14 line:  Louisiana, Vermont, Bucknell, Montana
The 15 line:  Wright St, UC-Davis, Iona, Lipscomb
The 16 line:  Harvard, Radford, SE Louisiana, LIU Brooklyn, Hampton, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Next 4 in:
Oklahoma
St Bonaventure
USC
UCLA

Last 4 in:
Marquette
Baylor
Louisville
Kansas St

Last 4 out:
Alabama
Middle Tennessee
Oklahoma St
Arizona St

Next 5 out:
Syracuse
Oregon
Notre Dame
Penn St
Nebraska

3/8 recap

ACC quarters:
Virginia 75, Louisville 58
Duke 88, Notre Dame 70 - ok, can we put away Notre Dame for the year?  No one disputes they pass the eye test, but they just don't pass the resume test.  At all.  Can't do it
North Carolina 82, Miami 65 - UNC/Duke playing for #5 overall on the S-Curve, and for a chance at the 1 line
Clemson 90, Boston College 82

Big 12 quarters:
Kansas 82, Oklahoma St 68 - OSU is now a team I'm scared to make a call on.  True bubbler
Texas Tech 73, Texas 69 - Texas too for that matter.  By the way, seeding Tech with their poor non-con SoS is no easy task either
West Virginia 78, Baylor 65
Kansas St 66, TCU 64 (OT) - oh boy.  I felt very confident Kansas St had the 9th best profile in the Big 12 entering today, but this win complicates that projection...

SEC 2nd round:
Alabama 71, Texas A&M 70 - I'm still inclined to think Bama needs one more, but it's close now
Georgia 62, Missouri 60 - now, what do you do with Mizzou?
Mississippi St 80, LSU 77 - go away MSU
Arkansas 69, South Carolina 64

Big East quarters:
Villanova 94, Marquette 70
Xavier 88, St John's 60
Providence 72, Creighton 68 (OT) - I may have seeded Creighton a bit aggressively
Butler 75, Seton Hall 74

Pac-12 quarters:
Arizona 83, Colorado 67
UCLA 88, Stanford 77 - this should mean UCLA is home free
USC 61, Oregon St 48 - probably USC too
Oregon 68, Utah 66 - Oregon needs another one after this

AAC 1st round:
SMU 80, UConn 73
Memphis 79, South Florida 77
Temple 82, Tulane 77 - NIT bubble game!
UCF 66, East Carolina 52

MWC quarters:
Nevada 79, UNLV 74
San Diego St 64, Fresno St 52 - NIT bubble game!
Utah St 78, Boise St 75 - well that's one bubble team we can discard
New Mexico 85, Wyoming 75

A-10 2nd round:
VCU 77, Dayton 72
George Mason 80, UMass 75
Richmond 81, Duquesne 68
St Louis 70, George Washington 63

CUSA quarters:
Southern Miss 77, Middle Tennessee 68 (OT) - OH NO
Marshall 95, UT San Antonio 81
Old Dominion 62, Louisiana Tech 58
Western Kentucky 98, UAB 70

MAC quarters:
Buffalo 89, Central Michigan 74
Kent St 76, Ball St 73
Toledo 71, Miami(OH) 69
Eastern Michigan 67, Akron 58

WAC quarters:
Grand Canyon 77, UMKC 74
Utah Valley 81, Cal St Bakersfield 74
New Mexico St 97, Chicago St 70
Seattle 77, UTRGV 60

Big West quarters:
UC Davis 70, UC Riverside 66
Cal St Fullerton 76, Long Beach St 74
UC Irvine 68, Hawaii 67
UC Santa Barbara 75, Cal Poly 53

Big Sky quarters:
Montana 84, North Dakota 76
Northern Colorado 80, Weber St 55
Southern Utah 92, Idaho 78
Eastern Washington 78, Portland St 72

Southland 2nd round:
Sam Houston St 85, New Orleans 63
Stephen F Austin 86, Central Arkansas 64

MEAC quarters:
North Carolina Central 58, Savannah St 56
North Carolina A&T 70, Norfolk St 64

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Ivy League tournament preview

This is part 32 of a 32-part series.

Standings:
Harvard 12-2
Penn 12-2
Yale 9-5
Cornell 6-8
Princeton 5-9
Columbia 5-9
Brown 4-10
Dartmouth 3-11

Format:
Only top 4 play.  The Palestra hosts, so advantage to Penn for home courtism.

Matchups:
1) Harvard vs. 4) Cornell
2) Penn vs. 3) Yale

The stakes:
Down year for the Ivy, back to CRPI 24.  You can safely put the winner on the 15 line and forget about them, unless Yale or Cornell win.  Then you can send them to Dayton.

Yale is CIT eligible beyond the top 2.  Whoopee.

Big West conference tournament preview

This is part 31 of a 32-part series.

Standings:
UC Davis 12-4
UC Santa Barbara 11-5
UC Irvine 11-5
Cal St-Fullerton 10-6
Long Beach St 9-7
Hawaii 8-8
Cal Poly 4-12
UC Riverside 4-12
Cal St-Northridge 3-13

Format:
They kicked out the last place team.  Top 8 go to Anaheim.  March 8-10.

Matchups:
1) UC Davis vs. 8) UC Riverside
4) Cal St Fullerton vs. 5) Long Beach St
3) UC Irvine vs. 6) Hawaii
2) UC Santa Barbara vs. 7) Cal Poly

The stakes:
After a horrific year, the league finally acted like they didn't suck.  This will get them off the 16 line this year, in all likelihood.  On the other hand, I feel very strongly that there's no chance anyone gets higher than a 15 seed.  They're all more or less the same.

UCSB, UCI, CSUF, LBSU, lots 'o acronyms for lots 'o CIT eligible teams.

3/8 S-CURVE

Subject to change, all of it, but I need to get something up before today's games start.

Pretty wide bubble.  I'm starting it at Florida St right now.  Right now it's 27 teams playing for 15 spots in my book.  Not feeling great about some of those teams on the 9 line, but do feel like we have about seven or eight teams worthy of an 11 seed.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Kansas
The 2 line:  North Carolina, Duke, Auburn, Michigan St
The 3 line:  Tennessee, Purdue, Cincinnati, Michigan
The 4 line:  West Virginia, Texas Tech, Gonzaga, Arizona
The 5 line:  Clemson, Ohio St, Wichita St, Florida
The 6 line:  Miami, TCU, Kentucky, Texas A&M
The 7 line:  Seton Hall, Creighton, Houston, Arkansas
The 8 line:  Missouri, Butler, Nevada, Florida St
The 9 line:  Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia Tech, St Mary's
The 10 line:  Providence, North Carolina St, Oklahoma, St Bonaventure
The 11 line:  USC, UCLA, Middle Tennessee, Marquette, Baylor
The 12 line:  Louisville, Oklahoma St, Loyola(Chi), New Mexico St, Buffalo
The 13 line:  Charleston, South Dakota St, Murray St, UNC Greensboro
The 14 line:  Louisiana, Vermont, Bucknell, Montana
The 15 line:  Wright St, UC-Davis, Iona, Lipscomb
The 16 line:  Harvard, Radford, SE Louisiana, LIU Brooklyn, Hampton, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Next 4 in:
Oklahoma
St Bonaventure
USC
UCLA

Last 4 in:
Marquette
Baylor
Louisville
Oklahoma St

Last 4 out:
Kansas St
Arizona St
Syracuse
Alabama

Next 4 out:
Notre Dame
Utah
Penn St
Nebraska

3/7 recap

ACC 2nd round:
North Carolina 78, Syracuse 59 - and thus dies Syracuse
Louisville 82, Florida St 74 - the ACC bubble just got a lot more complicated
Boston College 91, NC State 87 - um, I'm not completely convinced NC State is safe.  Look at that non-con SoS boys
Notre Dame 71, Virginia Tech 65 - ditto Va Tech, although their resume might be good enough.  We're one win away from really talking about Notre Dame

Pac-12 1st round:
Colorado 97, Arizona St 85 - oh boy
Stanford 76, Cal 58
Oregon St 69, Washington 66 (OT) - well that's convenient, we can get rid of UW
Oregon 64, Washington St 62 (OT) - man, I was hoping we could get rid of Oregon too.  Pac-12 almost did the bubble work for us

SEC 1st round:
Georgia 78, Vanderbilt 62
South Carolina 85, Ole Miss 84

Big 12 1st round:
Oklahoma St 71, Oklahoma 60 - is everyone okay with a 9-bid conference?  Just checking
Texas 68, Iowa St 64

Big East 1st round:
St John's 88, Georgetown 77
Marquette 72, DePaul 69

Patriot final:
Bucknell 83, Colgate 54

A-10 1st round:
UMass 69, LaSalle 67
George Washington 78, Fordham 72

Mountain West 1st round:
UNLV 97, Air Force 90
Utah St 76, Colorado St 65
Wyoming 74, San Jose St 61

CUSA 1st round:
Southern Miss 69, Florida International 68
UTSA 71, UTEP 58
Louisiana Tech 68, North Texas 62
UAB 83, Florida Atlantic 72

Sun Belt 1st round:
Texas St 73, Coastal Carolina 66
Appalachian St 93, UALR 64
Troy 69, South Alabama 62
Louisiana-Monroe 76, Arkansas St 54

Southland 1st round:
New Orleans 83, Texas A&M-CC 76
Central Arkansas 67, Lamar 57

MEAC quarters:
Hampton 75, Florida A&M 71
Morgan St 78, Bethune-Cookman 77

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

WAC tournament preview

This is part 30 of a 32-part preview.

Standings:
New Mexico St 12-2
Utah Valley 10-4
Grand Canyon 9-5
Seattle 8-6
UT-RGV 6-8
Cal St-Bakersfield 5-9
UMKC 5-9
Chicago St 1-13

Format:
March 8-10.  And you'll never guess the location.  Vegas.

Matchups:
1) New Mexico St vs. 8) Chicago St
4) Seattle vs. 5) UT-RGV
3) Grand Canyon vs. 6) UMKC
2) Utah Valley vs. 7) Cal St-Bakersfield

The stakes:
Our final meaningful preview, with one last bubble team on the board.  Yes, New Mexico St.  1-3 vs. Group 1, 4-0 vs. Group 2, non-con SoS 75, 8-3 road record.  All more or less okay or good.  2 Group 3 losses, though.  Win over Miami looms large right now.  Unfortunately there's a couple dumb losses, plus a key head-to-head at St Mary's.  They're viable and ultimately I can't make the case for them, but they'll be on the consideration board at the end if it comes to it.

Utah Valley actually has a RPI in the NIT range but the rest of the profile doesn't hold.  They can join GCU and Seattle as CIT-eligible.

AAC tournament preview

This is part 29 of a 32-part series.

Standings:
Cincinnati 16-2
Wichita St 14-4
Houston 14-4
Tulsa 12-6
Memphis 10-8
UCF 9-9
Temple 8-10
UConn 7-11
SMU 6-12
Tulane 5-13
East Carolina 4-14
South Florida 3-15

Format:
March 8-11.  Orlando is the neutral site host this time.

Matchups:
1) Cincinnati vs. 8/9) SMU/UConn
4) Tulsa vs. 5/12) Memphis/South Florida
3) Houston vs. 6/11) UCF/East Carolina
2) Wichita St vs. 7/10) Temple/Tulane

The stakes:
Weirdly low stakes.  3 teams definitely off the bubble in one direction, and no one else even close.  There's no bubble drama!

I was in hard on Cincy in January, seeding them aggressively.  I backed off after a  couple losses, but now with a road win at Wichita in tow?  I'm back in.  Could definitely be a 2 seed with a title here.  Problem is, though....Sunday championship game.  The committee will likely not consider any win they post on Sunday, and that win will be the difference between the 2 line and the 3 line.  The committee has a history of underseeding Sunday tournament winners.  Be prepared.

Wichita is on the 5 line, and frankly looking at it....the teams behind them aren't good enough to leapfrog them, and I can't find any way to move Wichita up to the 4 line.  Wichita as a 5 might be my single most confident seed prediction in the entire field right now.

Houston's non-con SoS is 227.  This likely means they're a half-step behind the others on the S-Curve. 

Tulsa probably should be a NIT team.  Temple is RPI 50 by the way.  What do you do with them and the NIT?  Or UCF at RPI 77?  Odds are one make it, maybe even both, or maybe neither.  Both are true bubble teams.  Memphis is behind them, even though they have the better conference record.

SEC tournament preview

This is part 28 of a 32-part series.

Standings:
Auburn 13-5
Tennessee 13-5
Florida 11-7
Arkansas 10-8
Kentucky 10-8
Missouri 10-8
Mississippi St 9-9
Texas A&M 9-9
LSU 8-10
Alabama 8-10
Georgia 7-11
South Carolina 7-11
Vanderbilt 6-12
Ole Miss 5-13

Format:
March 7-11.  St Louis is your neutral site host.

Matchups:
1) Auburn vs. 8/9) Texas A&M/Alabama
4) Kentucky vs. 5/12/13) Missouri/Georgia/Vanderbilt
3) Florida vs. 6/11/14) Arkansas/South Carolina/Ole Miss
2) Tennessee vs. 7/10) Mississippi St/LSU

The stakes:
Auburn and Tennessee are two teams with the 2 line (and a probable spot in the Nashville regional) at stake.  The conference tourney takes increased importance for them - being able to plop a title on top of their resume likely gets either to the 2 line, IMO.  Lose and you risk the 4 line.  Pretty high stakes, IMO, given all the western sites will host the 4 seeds.

The SEC in general has been much better with their non-con SoS.  Their fruit will bear major results this year again.  Arkansas, Florida, and Kentucky are in various states on the S-curve, but are all obviously safe (we'll revisit Arky if they lose a dumb game).  I'm inclined to put Texas A&M there too, as they did enough to climb out of the abyss.

The next tier is Missouri.  I have them a step behind the tier of the 4 teams above, but I also think they're safe.  Just don't lose to Georgia/Vandy.

With 7 teams solidly in, the fun starts at Alabama.  Here's a team that's probably the first one in danger.  2 road wins all year is an issue.  Their other metrics are more or less okay though, and they have high end wins (all at home except Florida, naturally).  It's a tough situation to gauge because they did lose a lot of road games to questionable teams.  Even if they had just handled 1 extra one (MSU or Vandy or Ole Miss) that makes all the difference in the world.  If they lose to A&M?  I really don't know what I'm going to do with them.  It's tough to leave a team with wins over Auburn and Tennessee out, but, for example, Oklahoma St carries similar signature wins to the table.  I'm inclined to believe beating A&M would be enough, but maybe not.  In short, I don't have a good read on what the committee will do here.  SoS is strong so maybe leaning in.

Beyond that, Georgia and Mississippi St and even South Carolina are probably too far gone.  If they make a run to the finals, the signature wins that will accompany the run might make them a factor.  But let's not deal with that.  The NIT bubble is a mess with these teams and LSU, by the way.  Good luck figuring those out.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

3/7 S-CURVE

I'm continuing to move teams here and there and around.  Expect tweaks.

I really like UNC's resume depth the more I look at it.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Kansas
The 2 line:  North Carolina, Duke, Auburn, Michigan St
The 3 line:  Tennessee, Purdue, Cincinnati, Michigan
The 4 line:  West Virginia, Texas Tech, Gonzaga, Arizona
The 5 line:  Clemson, Ohio St, Wichita St, Florida
The 6 line:  Miami, TCU, Kentucky, Texas A&M
The 7 line:  Seton Hall, Creighton, Houston, Arkansas
The 8 line:  Virginia Tech, Missouri, Butler, Nevada
The 9 line:  Rhode Island, North Carolina St, St Mary's, Oklahoma
The 10 line:  Florida St, Texas, Providence, USC
The 11 line:  St Bonaventure, Arizona St, UCLA, Middle Tennessee, Kansas St
The 12 line:  Marquette, Baylor, Loyola(Chi), New Mexico St, Buffalo
The 13 line:  Charleston, South Dakota St, Murray St, UNC Greensboro
The 14 line:  Louisiana, Vermont, Bucknell, Montana
The 15 line:  Wright St, UC-Davis, Iona, Lipscomb
The 16 line:  Harvard, Radford, SE Louisiana, LIU Brooklyn, Hampton, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Next 4 in:
Providence
USC
St Bonaventure
Arizona St

Last 4 in:
UCLA
Kansas St
Marquette
Baylor

Last 4 out:
Syracuse
Louisville
Alabama
Oklahoma St

Next 4 out:
Utah
Penn St
Nebraska
Notre Dame

3/6 recap

Very light day for analysis purposes.

WCC final:
Gonzaga 74, BYU 54

Horizon final:
Wright St 74, Cleveland St 57

CAA final:
Charleston 83, Northeastern 76 - is Northeastern an NIT at-large team?

Summit final:
South Dakota St 97, South Dakota 87

NEC final:
LIU Brooklyn 71, Wagner 61

ACC 1st round:
Boston College 87, Georgia Tech 77
Notre Dame 67, Pitt 64
Syracuse 73, Wake Forest 64 - service holds from our first major bubble teams of the week

A-East semis:
Vermont 70, Stony Brook 51
UMBC 75, Hartford 60 - top 2 hold serve here

SWAC quarters:
UAPB 77, Mississippi Valley St 73
Southern 62, Jackson St 60
Texas Southern 90, Alabama St 76
Prairie View A&M 87, Alcorn St 71

Big Sky 1st round:
North Dakota 76, Montana St 74
Portland St 71, Sacramento St 67
Northern Colorado 82, Northern Arizona 59
Southern Utah 76, Idaho St 68

MEAC 1st round:
Florida A&M 88, Howard 78
NC Central 60, Coppin St 48
Morgan St 83, South Carolina St 80

Sun Belt conference tournament preview

This is part 27 of a 32-part preview.

Standings:
Louisiana 16-2
Georgia St 12-6
Georgia Southern 11-7
Texas-Arlington 10-8
Louisiana-Monroe 9-9
Troy 9-9
Appalachian St 9-9
Coastal Carolina 8-10
South Alabama 7-11
Texas St 7-11
Arkansas St 6-12
Arkansas-Little Rock 4-14

Format:
Neutral site in New Orleans from March 7-11.

Matchups:
1) Louisiana vs. 8/9) Coastal Carolina/Texas St
4) UT-Arlington vs. 5/12) Appalachian St/Little Rock
3) Georgia Southern vs. 6/11) Troy/Arkansas St
2) Georgia St vs. 7/10) Louisiana-Monroe/South Alabama

The stakes:
CRPI 21, and only one team sub-120 RPI.  Louisiana ran away with the conference but has absolutely zero substance behind their 60 RPI.  So their seed could fluctuate a bit.  Raw RPI numbers might suggest a 13.  Conference ranking suggests 14 maybe?  It's tough to know what the committee will do here.  This much is certain though:  anyone else is in direct path of the 16 line, and maybe even Dayton if it's a 5 seed or below.

The two Georgias and UTA are in line for CBI/CIT bids if they want them.

A-10 conference tournament preview

This is part 26 of a 32-part preview.

Standings:
Rhode Island 15-3
St Bonaventure 14-4
Davidson 13-5
St Joseph's 10-8
VCU 9-9
St Louis 9-9
George Mason 9-9
Richmond 9-9
Dayton 8-10
Duquesne 7-11
George Washington 7-11
LaSalle 7-11
UMass 5-13
Fordham 4-14

Format:
March 7-11.  Washington DC is the neutral site host.

Matchups:
1) Rhode Island vs. 8/9) VCU/Dayton
4) St Joseph's vs. 5/12/13) George Mason/LaSalle/UMass
3) Davidson vs. 6/11/14) St Louis/George Washington/Fordham
2) St Bonaventure vs. 7/10) Richmond/Duquesne

The stakes:
The A-10 had a spectacular tire fire of a season.  11th in CRPI is absolutely terrible for them, and they are littered with teams who absorbed a million losses in the non-con.  Only 3 teams better than 10 wins in conference just hammers home the point.  It was a catastrophe.

URI is home free; teams with a non-con SoS of 3 get in as long as the rest of the resume is reasonable.  And it is.  Seeding is another issue though.  The predictive metrics hate, hate hate them.  It'll affect seeding but not selection.

Bonaventure is the tricky one to figure out.  They have a road win at Syracuse in their pocket; it's a very important piece of resume at the moment.  Their win over Maryland evaporated into very little; they also played plenty of stout mid-majors (Northeastern, Vermont, Buffalo) to make the profile look much more stouter than it is.  However, on the other hand, the committee likes teams that load up on quality mid-majors in the non-con.  For that reason, I think Bonaventure might be safe as long as they beat the teams they should.  They split with Davidson in the regular season; I'd rather see them beat them again.

Davidson's a NIT bubble team; There's actually not a lot of meat on their resume bone but might get some NIT love based on the conference name alone.  Everyone else can go boycott the CBI and CIT as they are wont to do.

Southland conference tournament preview

This is part 25 of a 32-part series.

Standings:
SE Louisiana 15-3
Nicholls St 15-3
Stephen F Austin 14-4
Sam Houston St 12-6
Lamar 11-7
New Orleans 11-7
Central Arkansas 10-8
Abilene Christian 8-10
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 8-10
McNeese St 8-10
Incarnate Word 2-16
Houston Baptist 2-16
Northwestern St 1-17

Format:
March 7-11, Katy TX.  Southland likes to chop off the dead weight, so only the top 8 teams go.  But they go even further, staggering the brackets and giving double byes to the top 2 seeds and single byes to the 3 and 4.  Protect those good teams! 

Matchups:
1) SE Louisiana vs. 4/5/8) Sam Houston St/New Orleans/TAMU-CC
2) Nicholls St vs. 3/6/7) Stephen F Austin/Lamar/Central Arkansas

The stakes:
This is the worst conference this year outside of the two HBCUs.  So, um, how does a visit to Dayton sound?  Possible, perhaps even probable, SELA or Nicholls could avoid it with upsets elsewhere filling in the slots in Dayton, but yeah, there's not much to see here.

Stephen F Austin went 21-6 and has an RPI of 129.  That says everything you need to know about all the SoS numbers in this conference.  SHSU and Lamar are above .500 in addition to the top 3, if you're scouting potential CIT opponents.

CUSA tournament preview

This is part 24 of a 32-part series.

Standings:
Middle Tennessee 16-2
Old Dominion 15-3
Western Kentucky 14-4
Marshall 12-6
UTSA 11-7
UAB 10-8
North Texas 8-10
FIU 8-10
Southern Miss 7-11
Louisiana Tech 7-11
FAU 6-12
UTEP 6-12
Rice 4-14
Charlotte 2-16

Format:
March 7-10.  Frisco, TX is your neutral site host.  They left the bottom 2 teams at home, by the way.

Matchups:
1) Middle Tennessee vs. 8/9) FIU/Southern Miss
4) Marshall vs. 5/12) UTSA/UTEP
3) Western Kentucky vs. 6/11) UAB/FAU
2) Old Dominion vs. 7/10) North Texas/Louisiana Tech

The stakes:
Ok.  MTSU.  Let's deal with this.  2-3 vs. Group 1, 3-1 vs. Group 2.  Not bad for a CUSA team.  The actual wins:  @Murray St, @WKU, @ODU, WKU, @Vandy.  Not great.  Whiffed on 3 chances against legitimate business teams.  But winning everything except games vs. Marshall behind it does matter too.  Non-con SoS  of 7, played 2 SEC teams, played Murray and Belmont, went to Diamond Head, only 3 home games in the non-con.  The committee usually rewards that.  They were 12-1 in true road games.  The committee usually rewards that.  I'm feeling pretty good about these chances the more and more you see the nitty gritty.

WKU fell off from bubble pace; their win against Purdue will be useful for a NIT bid.  Old Dominion is an NIT bubble team; could go either way but their overall record is a mirage based on non-con SoS.

Marshall is probably out of time and space to get into the NIT; UAB and UTSA are your other probable CBI/CIT teams.

Pac-12 conference tournament preview

This is part 23 of a 32-part series.

Standings:
Arizona 14-4
USC 12-6
Utah 11-7
UCLA 11-7
Stanford 11-7
Oregon 10-8
Washington 10-8
Colorado 8-10
Arizona St 8-10
Oregon St 7-11
Washington St 4-14
Cal 2-16

Format:
March 7-10.  Yet another Vegas tourney.

Matchups:
1) Arizona vs. 8/9) Arizona St/Colorado
4) UCLA vs. 5/12) Stanford/Cal
3) Utah vs. 6/11) Oregon/Washington St
2) USC vs. 7/10) Washington/Oregon St

The stakes:
Arizona's seed could be tricky.  Conference champs do seem to get a mild boost from the committee from time to time, and the metrics are okay (non-con SoS 72, 4-3 vs. Group 1, etc etc).  Their win over A&M is kind of a resume saver at least from the perspective of getting a protected seed.  I've thought the 5 line is weak, and I've kept Arizona as a 4 as a result.  I feel like that's their range almost no matter what they do this week.

Arizona St is such a weird case.  Under .500 in this conference should almost automatically mean busto for their resume, but they have 2 wins over 1 seeds.  You just can't leave that out when most of the other metrics are at least okay.  They better beat Colorado though, just in case.  It'll at least count as a group 2 win (their 8th combined Group 1/2 win, which is in the lower end of acceptable for bubble teams).  I just can't leave those two signature wins out of the field at the moment.

USC is another weird resume.  They definitely have a quality win issue (4 group 1 wins all coming over bubble teams).  Yet most of their measurables are okay (winning road record, 4-6 vs. Group 1).  They're in a weird spot in the bracket where Washington/Utah/Oregon don't really help them at all.  I feel like with no red flags that they're in good shape, but get back to me if they lose a stupid game.

UCLA.  Similar to USC, but with two key differences.  Road record is poor, and they have a couple of legitimate business wins (@Zona, UK).  Frankly there's an argument for them over USC, and an argument for USC over them, and both are very reasonable arguments.  It might come down to committee preference.  UCLA is also in a good bracket spot where beating Stanford might be enough.  Beating Zona is a big ask, and they avoid all the dangerous bubble teams that could hurt the resume.

Utah, Washington, Oregon.  Your three longshot bubble teams.  Going into this week, I thought they were all a signature win away from legitimate conversation, and they all ended up on the wrong side of the bracket.  I don't think USC is going to be a useful enough win for any of them.  However, if USC doesn't make the finals....the team that does is going to get some bubble run.  It's at least worth considering them, whoever it is.

Stanford gets the draw the other teams so desperately needed.  If they beat UCLA AND Arizona, we might want to talk about them for a minute.  Don't think they'll get there, but it's worth putting them on the board to look at then.

All these teams are going to pile into the NIT if they don't get in.  Colorado is starting to look like a NIT bubble team on the wrong side of the bubble now.