Saturday, November 30, 2013

11/29 recap

Battle 4 Atlantis
Villanova 63, Kansas 59 - Signature win alert!  
Iowa 89, UTEP 53 - Iowa could be really good this year.  Bad break not to get a shot at a lynchpin win against KU, but a Xavier/UTEP/Nova trifects would look solid
Tennessee 64, Xavier 49 - Bubble game. 
Wake Forest 77, USC 63

Old Spice:
Oklahoma St 69, Butler 67
Memphis 76, LSU 69 - This means a OSU/Memphis rematch.  Big stakes for Memphis in that one.  3rd place game of Butler/LSU is probably more important
St Joseph's 78, Siena 66
Washington St 69, Purdue 54

Global Sports:
Oregon 85, Pacific 62

Arizona 72, Duke 66 - Duke has lost to Kansas and Arizona.  Not a bad thing, but that does hurt them in the pecking order for a #1 seed.  Arizona gets a signature win, which is good because while the Pac-12 is good, they lack elite teams
Drexel 85, Alabama 83 - CAA looks like it's back

Wooden Legacy:
San Diego St 86, Creighton 80 - Possible signature win?  
Marquette 76, George Washington 60 - SDSU/Marquette is your title game.  Useful game for both.  G-Dub gets one more shot to show they're for real, against Creighton
Miami 48, CS Fullerton 46
Arizona St 80, Charleston 58

Ole Miss 77, Georgia Tech 67
Penn St 89, St John's 82 (OT) - horrible loss for St John's.  Ole Miss not getting a lot of help out of this tournament

Corpus Christi:
Virginia 76, SMU 73
Missouri St 73, Texas A&M 67 - this means Virginia/MSU.  MSU can't afford to let the opportunity pass.  Virginia can't afford a marginal loss.  High stakes

Missouri 83, Nevada 70
UCLA 95, Northwestern 79

Great Alaska Shootout:
TCU 72, Tulsa 62
Harvard 76, Green Bay 64 - Harvard/TCU is your title game.  Meh.  Meanwhile, Pepperdine/Indiana St for 55th place, and looks like I'm completely wrong about Denver.

Louisville 69, Southern Miss 38 - So much for thinking Southern Miss is a CUSA favorite
Florida 67, Florida St 66 - No real sin to lose the game for FSU, Florida definitely could've used it
Mercer 117, Valparaiso 108 (3OT)

Saturday preview:
Battle 4 Atlantis ends
Barclays ends
Great Alaska ends

San Diego at New Mexico - USD has a shiny record...
Evansville at Ohio - a "prove it" game for both teams for me
Colorado at Air Force - tricky spot on the road for CU, but good teams win these
New Mexico St at Colorado St
Eastern Kentucky at NC State - c'mon EKU don't make me look bad
BYU at Utah St

Friday, November 29, 2013

11/28 recap

Old Spice:
LSU 82, St Joseph's 65
The other 3 games went as you'd think (Oklahoma St > Purdue, Butler > Washington St, Memphis > Siena

Battle 4 Atlantis:
Villanova 94, USC 79
Kansas 87, Wake Forest 78
Iowa 77, Xavier 74 (OT)
UTEP 78, Tennessee 70

Wooden Legacy
Creighton 88, Arizona St 60 - Statement win
San Diego St and Marquette held serve, G. Washingotn > Miami

Las Vegas Invitational:  UCLA and Missouri held serve

Great Alaska:
Harvard 68, Denver 60

Friday preview:
Tournaments continue:
Old Spice semifinals:  Oklahoma St/Butler and LSU/Memphis
Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals:  Iowa/UTEP and Kansas/Villanova (consolations have relevant matchups too:  USC/Wake and Xavier/Tennessee)
Wooden Legacy semifinals:  George Washington/Marquette and San Diego St/Creighton
Las Vegas Invitational:  Nevada/Missouri, Northwestern/UCLA
Preseason NIT finals:  Arizona/Duke!  (and the Drexel/Alabama consy)
Great Alaska semifinals:  Tulsa/TCU and Green Bay/Harvard (Denver and Indiana St trapped in the losers bracket)
Barclays Center Classic gets underway.  Ga Tech/Ole Miss and Penn St/St John's semis
Corpus Christi Challenge gets under.  SMU/Virginia, Missouri St/Texas A&M

Non-tournament action:
Florida St at Florida - time to see if FSU is really legitimate business
Southern Miss at Louisville - the rest of CUSA has stepped up in the non-con...
Mercer at Valparaiso - neat mid-major matchup

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

11/27 recap

Arizona 66, Drexel 62
Duke 74, Alabama 64
We get Duke/Arizona after Alabama and Drexel put up reasonable tests.  

Wisconsin 70, West Virginia 63
St Louis 62, Old Dominion 52

Syracuse 74, Baylor 67 - If the Dayton win doesn't hold up, Baylor actually winds up with not a lot of help from Maui.  We'll see
Dayton 82, California 64 - Cal is the one that kinda leaves with an empty 1-2 as far as resume help goes.  Dayton gets a solid two wins
Gonzaga beats Arkansas for a nominal win

Gulf Coast final:
Louisiana Tech 76, St Bonaventure 72 - mission accomplished for La Tech in a weaker field

Great Alaska:
Tulsa 63, Indiana St 62 - Awful result for ISU, even awfuler for Harvard.  They needed ISU in the final to help build any kind of at-large hope

Thankgiving preview:
Prepare your bodies.  Battle 4 Atlantis starts.  Unlike other tourneys, being in the losers bracket isn't as big a problem because you can still find quality wins there.  USC/Nova, Wake/Kansas, Iowa/Xavier, UTEP/Tennessee.  The latter 2 are especially fun.
The Wooden Legacy is also underway.  Marquette and SDSU should get through.  Why do we have G. Washington/Miami in one game and Creighton/Arizona St in another?  Brutal draw - the loser of Creighton/Arizona St is going to be trapped in a very bad losers bracket.
Old Spice starts too.  Butler, Okla St, and Memphis are severe favorites to advance, with a high-stakes St Joe's/LSU game as the nightcap.
Las Vegas Invitational is underway, UCLA/Nevada and Mizzou/Northwestern, UCLA and Mizzou needing to hold serve.
Great Alaska quarters continue.  The big one here is Denver/Harvard.

11/26 recap

Syracuse 92, California 81
Baylor 67, Dayton 66 - golden chance for Dayton goes by the boards
Arkansas beats Minnesota and gets Gonzaga in the consolations

West Virginia 78, Old Dominion 60
Wisconsin 63, St Louis 57 - Wisky is building a good early resume

Wichita St 75, BYU 62 - both teams are going to be good.  this win will good really good in March
Texas pounds DePaul in the consy

Progressive Legends:
Pittsburgh 88, Stanford 67 

Boston College 75, Sacred Heart 67 (OT) - BC is really, really bad
NC State 82, FGCU 62 - and remember, this team lost to NCCU.  FGCU has fallen
Ohio 76, Mercer 67
Fairleigh Dickinson 73, Rutgers 72 - holy crap
Indiana 77, Evansville 46 - so much for the UE bandwagon
Princeton 71, George Mason 66
Valparaiso 85, Central Florida 70
MTSU 80, Murray St 62
Utah St 77, Weber St 71
Illinois 61, UNLV 59 - UNLV in legitimate trouble

Maui ends with Syracuse/Baylor as the capper, Cal/Dayton as the undercard
NIT semifinals, so Alabama/Duke and Drexel/Arizona
The Great Alaska Shootout begins
Wisconsin/WVU in Cancun
Didn't cover it above, but the Gulf Coast Showcase is into the semis.  La Tech held serve in the quarters

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

11/25 recap

California 85, Arkansas 77
Syracuse 75, Minnesota 67
Baylor 93, Chaminade 77
Dayton 84, Gonzaga 79 - Crushing loss for Gonzaga, who probably have a Chaminade/Minnesota path now.  Wrong side of the bracket.  Cal/Syracuse and Baylor/Dayton in the winners side

BYU 86, Texas 82
Wichita St 90, DePaul 72 - We get the BYU/WSU matchup as expected.  Relatively important resume game for both

Progressive Legends:
Pitt 76, Texas Tech 53
Stanford 86, Houston 76 - The expected matchup here too.  Stanford/Pitt is a useful game for both

Paradise Jam:
Northern Iowa 65, LaSalle 50
Maryland 56, Providence 52 - And Maryland leaves with the title and a couple useful wins

Arizona St 79, Marquette 77 - ASU doing work in the non-con this year.  Not a real sin to lose on the road for Marquette, but margin of error decreases
Kentucky 68, Cleveland St 61- Takeaway here is that CSU may challenge WSU for the Horizon
OK State, Ohio St, and Florida win (Ohio St had to work against Wyoming).

Busy day Tuesday.
Evansville at Indiana - early chance for the MVC
Illinois at UNLV - last stand for Vegas
Cancun starts, which means St Louis/Wisconsin
CBE with BYU/Wichita St
Maui semifinals
Progressive Legends with Pitt/Stanford

Sunday, November 24, 2013

11/24 recap

North Carolina 93, Louisville 84 - Well, that's one way to erase a bad loss.  As for Louisville, an early demerit in the race to the 1 line.  A bit of a problem because the AAC will not offer as many quality win chances
Georgetown 84, VCU 80 - Fanciest 5th place game ever.  Big rebound for G'town
Colorado 70, Harvard 62 - It's probably asking a lot to have Harvard in the at-large conversation, but they probably needed this for that.  Winning the Ivy should always be plan A
Duke 91, Vermont 90 - Notable for the score only.  Vermont is an AEast favorite, this could be useful for seeding purposes
Maryland 80, Northern Iowa 66 - Bubble battle, checkmark goes to the ACC here
Charlotte 63, Michigan 61 - Result of the night.  Michigan walks out of Puerto Rico with one marginal win (N'eastern), one win that we don't know how good it will be (FSU), and one marginal loss.  The stakes have been raised in Charlotte now.  Wins over K-State and Michigan.  Road game at FSU is down the road.
Providence 71, LaSalle 63- Checkmark to the Big East in this bubble battle
UMass 62, Clemson 56 - And now UMass is really cooking with gas

Do you want a recap of all the bad power conference teams playing each other in these tournaments?  Neither do I.

Tournaments underway in Maui, in the CBE Classic, Gulf Coast Showcase, and Legends Classic.  See holiday tournament post for details.

One major other game of note:  Maruqette at Arizona St.  Somehow this is listed as part of the Wooden Legacy tournament, but this isn't a bracketed game.  Huh.

Holiday tournaments, part 2: Gobble, Gobble Bitches

All these tournaments are Thanksgiving week.

Gulf Coast Showcase (25th-27th)
Louisiana Tech v. UNC Greensboro
San Diego v. UIC
Wagner v. Stetson
St Bonaventure v. Southern Illinois

Only analysis here is that La Tech should be the class of this tournament.  As CUSA favorites, anything less than 3 wins is damaging.

Maui (25th-27th)
Arkansas v. California
Minnesota v. Syracuse
Chaminade v. Baylor
Dayton v. Gonzaga

A weaker Maui field than usual, there's some soft spots in here.  You figure Syracuse is the favorite in the top half, and Baylor/Gonzaga would be a good semifinal.  I want to see if the marginal teams like Cal, Minnesota, and Dayton can do anything for their resume.

Legends Classic (25th-26th)
Pittsburgh v. Texas Tech
Stanford v. Houston

Odds are we get Pitt/Stanford, which would be a useful neutral court win for either team.  Pretty standard stakes here.  I doubt Houston and TTU are major players on the bubble in March.

CBE Hall of Fame Classic (25th-26th)
Texas v. BYU
Wichita St v. DePaul

This should end up being BYU/WSU, and if it isn't, it'll be a disappointment.  Both teams are stuck in conference that aren't going to offer many quality win chances in conference play, so it's more important than you think, especially for BYU (Wichita figures to be safe either way).

Cancun (26th-27th)
West Virginia v. Old Dominion
St Louis v. Wisconsin

Interesting - the clear 2 best teams are playing each other in the semis.  ODU still has a long way back and WVU has slipped.  Wisky has a lot of equity built up this season already, so this isn't mandatory, but this would be a very nice win and could start to get them thinking about the top 2 lines.  As for St Louis, free shot at getting a signature win.

Preseason NIT (27th-29th)
Drexel v. Arizona
Alabama v. Duke

Drexel "upset" regional host Rutgers, and everyone might be better off for it.  Drexel is the better team.  Alabama gets a free run at Duke, but I'll eat my hat if they get it.

The real story is the Duke/Arizona matchup, which will have major ramifications on the 1 line in March.

Great Alaska Shootout (27th-30th)
Tulsa v. Indiana St
TCU v. Alaska Anchorage
Pepperdine v. Green Bay
Denver v. Harvard

Field in Alaska continues to slip.  Indiana St is the favorite in the top half and really needs to hold serve for 2 games.  In the bottom half, opportunity for Harvard.  I doubt they get an at-large bid or come close, but they need to win this tournament to even think about it.  They've got a frisky first game in Denver.  This is a bracket where the loser's side will be death to at-large hopes.

Old Spice (28th-1st)
Purdue v. Oklahoma St
Butler v. Washington St
Memphis v. Siena
LSU vs. St Joseph's

Those first 3 games have a clear favorite.  Obviously, they need to hold serve.  LSU/St Joseph's is the bubble game of the entire season, possibly.  Win and you get 2 games against Memphis/OSU/Butler.  2 signature win chances.  Lose and you get 2 games of little value to at-large resumes.  Both teams are borderline bubble teams.  Everything's on the line.

Not much analysis needed for Memphis/OSU/Butler.  Signature win chances, but more will come later too.

Battle 4 Atlantis (28th-30th)
Villanova v. USC
Kansas v. Wake Forest
Xavier v. Iowa
Tennessee v. UTEP

Kansas is the class here and anything less than 3 wins is an issue.  Tennessee/Iowa is the semifinal matchup that could really be of note.  2 bubble teams who can get a good win AND a free run at Kansas.  If Xavier or UTEP any good?  I think so.  Villanova is a bubble team.  Lot of ramifications here.

Wooden Legacy (28th-1st)
Miami v. George Washington
Marquette v. Cal St-Fullerton
Charleston v. San Diego St
Creighton v. Arizona St

Whoa, the bottom half of the bracket.  Marquette should handle the upper half, and it's a problem if they don't.  But Creighton/ASU is a big game.  Win and get more quality games.  Lose and get stuck with a couple marginal games.  Not to mention the chance at a good resume win in the first place.  There's also a chance for SDSU to make noise

Corpus Christi (29th-30th)
SMU v. Virginia
Missouri St v. Texas A&M

This is a good litmus test tournament.  Virginia expects to be in the tournament.  SMU and MSU expect to rise in status this season to become contenders.  If they expect to be contenders, they have to prove it in this tournament.

Barclays (29th-30th)
Ole Miss v. Georgia Tech
St John's v. Penn St

Marginal power conference teams.  We're probably headed for an Ole Miss/St John's game that would be mildly useful for both.

Las Vegas (29th-30th)
UCLA v. Nevada
Missouri v. Northwestern

This should end up being UCLA/Missouri.  Both expect the NCAA tournament, so the win will be useful for the victor, mildly harmful for the loser.

Busy week upcoming, boys.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

11/23 recap

First, UNC and Louisville are through to play each other in the HoF Tipoff.

New Mexico St 77, UTEP 68 - May need to revise my 16-seed prediction for NMSU.  Stay tuned
Utah St 87, Mississippi St 68
Michigan St 87, Oklahoma 76 know what, I can't even pretend to care on the rest of these scores.  Not much happened.  No one wants to play Saturdays with football still going.

Tomorrow we have UNC/Louisville early.

Puerto Rico:
Georgetown v. VCU - in a 5th place game, no less.  Still, quality win chance for both right here, to erase their earlier sins
Charlotte v. Michigan - signature chance win for Charlotte

UMass v. Clemson - is Clemson for real?  I'm still not sold.  UMass is off to a great start (detailed a couple posts below)

Paradise Jam:
Northern Iowa v. Maryland - two fringy teams
Providence v. LaSalle - two more fringy teams.  Obviously, there's a lot at stake in this tournament - someone's walking out with 2 useful wins

Harvard at Colorado - Great early test to find out where Harvard stands

Friday, November 22, 2013

11/22 recap

Puerto Rico:
Georgetown 90, Kansas St 63
VCU 73, Long Beach St 67 - this means we're headed for a relatively useful 5th place game of G'town/VCU!
Michigan 82, Florida St 80 (OT) - well, FSU has my attention now.  there's room in the ACC hierarchy for them to be mid-table and get an at-large bid.  As for Michigan, Charlotte probably won't be much resume help compared to what they'll find in the B1G.  But it's everything for Charlotte right now.

UMass 81, New Mexico 65 - UMass is now 5-0.  Beat BC on a neutral.  Win over LSU too.  There's a useful pocket collection of wins going.  Plus they have BYU, @Ohio, N-Florida St still coming.  Big chance for them this season.  They get Clemson next, who blew the doors off of Davidson.  UAB over Nebraska and Temple over Georgia in games that are not of significance at the moment.

Paradise Jam:
Northern Iowa/Maryland and Providence/LaSalle are the semifinal games.  Top 4 teams hold serve.  Everyone will be playing for a pair of reasonably good resume wins the next 2 days.

Michigan St 96, Virginia 77 - yawn.  Oklahoma gets the shot at a signature win next in Brooklyn

UConn 59, Indiana 58 - Both teams will have many more chances at big wins, but UConn gets one first.

Kansas 88, Towson 58 - ok, then

Saturday preview:
We'll watch the holiday tourneys mentioned above.  Also of note:  Hall of Fame Tip-Off:  UNC/Richmond and Louisville/Fairfield

Thursday, November 21, 2013

11/21 recap: ...the hell, Puerto Rico?

Go home, Puerto Rico Tip-Off, you're drunk.
Charlotte 68, Kansas 61 - ok, a mild upset
Northeastern 63, Georgetown 56 - what?!  Well, for the positives, the CAA has rallied a bit this year
Florida St 85, VCU 67 - what?!
Michigan 85, Long Beach St 61 - So Michigan came into this thinking that if they could get by LBSU, then VCU and Georgetown/K-State would await.  2 quality win chances.  But now it's Florida St and the Charlotte/Northeastern winner.  What was going to be quality win opportunities has immediately become marginal.  Gold turned bronze.  Dollars to dimes.

UMass 96, Nebraska 90
New Mexico 97, UAB 94 (2OT) - this sets up a UMass/New Mexico game that will be mildly useful for both.  Clemson/Davidson is in the other half of this bracket
UCF 63, Miami 58 - exactly the road win you should get if you're legitimate business
Connecticut 72, Boston College 70
Indiana 102, Washington 84 - we get UConn/Indiana
Gonzaga 90, Washington St 74

Friday preview, in addition to the games mentioned above:
The Paradise Jam starts; we'll have more to say when we know what the semifinals are
Coaches v. Cancer also starts; Michigan St will have to hold serve for 2 games
In fact, pretty much everything is happening in the context of holiday tournaments.  Just see the last post for details.  Puerto Rico, Charleston, Paradise Jam, Coaches v Cancer.  Have fun.

Towson at Kansas - Ok, Kansas will win.  Frankly, I had to find a non-tourney game to list.  Interested to see just how good Towson is, especially with the CAA showing life

Holiday tournaments 11/21 to 11/24

The first in a series of posts, let's look at the holiday tournaments and what they mean!  This first preview set takes us through the weekend.  Later today, another post with Thanksgiving week stuff is coming.

Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Charlotte/Kansas St
Long Beach St/Michigan
Florida St/VCU

On the surface, the quarterfinal favorites seem obvious.  Those 4 are hoping for an easy win, and maybe just as importantly, that the team opposite them also holds serve.  If you're K-State, you'd rather take the signature win chance against G'town then wanting Northeastern.  Resume boosts are more important than the raw tournament win.

Michigan could use something to balance out their ISU loss.  VCU has a great chance to build up some equity.  And Georgetown could help the Big East get some street cred.  Whoever wins this tournament will likely have 2 useful resume wins.  And whoever gets upset in the first round is going to regret it.  The bottom half of the bracket will not provide much help.

Charleston Classic
UAB/New Mexico

Seems like a tournament New Mexico should handle.  They're the favorites.  A bit of bad luck, though.  Temple is down.  Davidson is Davidson, but also down.  Nebraska, Clemson, and Georgia are power conference teams without power conference skills.  It'll be tough to find pure quality wins in this tournament, although there's no albatrosses in here either.  UMass will have a chance at a signature win in the semis if it happens.

Anything less than 3 wins is going to look like a black mark to New Mexico.  For everyone else, this is opportunity beckoning.

2K Sports Classic
UConn/Boston College

Washington is frisky, but this should come down to UConn and Indiana.  It's your standard fare signature game.  One gets a nice win on their ledger, the other gets a loss that doesn't hurt too much.

Paradise Jam
Northern Iowa/Loyola Marymount
Morgan St/LaSalle

There's some shiny names in here, but this isn't a great field.  The likes of UNI, Maryland, and LaSalle won't be getting the resume help they were probably hoping for.  Avoiding the quarterfinal upset is absolutely critical in this tournament - you do NOT want to get trapped on the wrong site.

Maryland/UNI could be a semifinal game that matters a bit.  Maryland is going to be part of that soft underbelly of the ACC, and UNI in the MVC.  Adding 3 marginal wins is exponentially better than having a loss of any kind in here.

Poor LaSalle is likely going to have to win twice to get any kind of value out of this tournament.

Coaches vs. Cancer Classic
Oklahoma/Seton Hall
Michigan St/Virginia Tech

A bummer lineup for MSU.  At least they get signature win chances elsewhere.  Free shot for 3 teams to pick up unexpected momentum.

Hall of Fame Tipoff
Richmond/North Carolina

Assuming no funny business, UNC and Louisville get their first signature win chances here.  Could be a very important game come March as far as seeding goes.

11/20 recap

Iowa St 90, BYU 88 - Definitely the resume win of the night.  Iowa St's now got a win over Michigan and a signature road win in their back pocket 2 weeks into the season.   It's especially important as these represented probably the best 2 chances at signature non-con wins.  They have UNI and Iowa on the horizon, but those games are hardly mandatory.

As for BYU, they had equity built up from a Stanford win.  Just don't get swept by the upcoming Texas/Utah St swing.

Dayton 82, Georgia Tech 72 - Road wins are road wins
North Carolina Central 82, North Carolina St 72 (OT) - Once again, the soft underbelly of the ACC is hurting the league as a whole
Wichita St 77, Tulsa 54 - Road wins, etc etc

Thursday notables:
Puerto Rico:  Charlotte /Kansas St, Northeastern/Georgetown, Long Beach St/Michigan, Florida St/VCU.  Should be obvious who needs the win in each
Charleston:  Nebraska/UMass, UAB/New Mexico, Georgia/Davidson, Temple/Clemson
Connecticut at Boston College - must win for UConn
Central Florida at Miami - ascendent programs get this road win, UCF
MTSU at Florida - Florida likely holds serve here
Indiana n. Washington (neutral) - IU doesn't have many non-con games of note.  They'd be well advised to win this

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

11/19 recap

4 star freshman played and their teams won games they're supposed to.  Some closer than predicted, but still.  We here aren't interested in that, we're interested in this:

Butler 85, Vanderbilt 77 (OT) - BU wins a game they should've.  Tough to get an early read on what their expectations should be this season
Penn St 79, LaSalle 72 - Not a good loss for LaSalle early
Drexel 70, Rutgers 59 - Sure Rutgers is awful, but it is a AAC team, and it is a road win for Drexel.  They're on their way back to relevancy
Oklahoma St 101, Memphis 80 - Relevant, but yet not that much.  Both teams will have more games comparable to this on the ledger.  So no big deal for either yet, except for some pecking order issues
Arizona St 86, UNLV 80 - What in the world is wrong with UNLV?  Could be a useful road win for ASU

Not much Wednesday.  The clear game of the day is Iowa St at BYU.  ISU gets a big chance at a road win to back up the Michigan win.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

11/18 recap

A useless day of results.

I could talk about the top teams and the cupcakes they beat.  Or the home power conference teams that held serve at home.

Arkansas 89, SMU 78 - mild blow to the AAC
Southern Miss 70, North Dakota St 69 - road wins are road wins

....and I got nothin' else.

Tuesday will be better:
Vanderbilt at Butler - must win for Butler
LaSalle at Penn St - must win for LaSalle
Memphis at Oklahoma St
Arizona St at UNLV - must win for ASU with UNLV struggling

Sunday, November 17, 2013

11/17 recap

Ok, there's a few things we need to discuss.

Indiana St 83, Notre Dame 70 - ok so after losing at Belmont, Indiana St gets a better road win
Stanford 66, Denver 57 - road wins are road wins
Belmont 83, North Carolina 80 - ok so I'll call this a quality road win

OK, timeout.  Belmont is 3-1.  Road win at rival Lipscomb, home win over Indiana St, road win at UNC, road loss at Richmond.  I think that qualifies as a legit at-large resume so far.  They get a shot at VCU at home in a couple weeks.  Also a return home game against Indiana St, road game at Kentucky, road game against MTSU, and what figures to be a few quality win chances in the OVC.  Pay attention here

Iowa St 77, Michigan 70 - Quality win for ISU to help legitimize the Big 12 early.  As for Michigan, this loss isn't a sin, but their B1G bretheren are piling up good early wins and eeking ahead of them
Clemson 71, South Carolina 57 - poor SEC
Oregon St 90, Maryland 83 - .....what?  Awful loss for the ACC in general
Illinois St 68, Northwestern 64 - .........what?!

Monday preview:
a lot more cupcakes.  I'll be paying attention to teams with sneaky road tests:  SMU at Arkansas, Southern Miss at North Dakota St.  A few top teams in action who just need to hold serve.

11/16 recap

Virginia 70, Davidson 57 - Hey, road wins are road wins
Ohio St 52, Marquette 35 - Bad sign for the Big East early.  OSU gets an extra quality road win in the ledger early
DePaul 81, Wright St 72 - Early bad sign for the Horizon League
Mercer 77, Seton Hall 74 (2OT) - Mercer's actually good
MTSU 80, Akron 73 - Trouble for the MAC early
George Mason 76, Northern Iowa 70 - Trouble for the MVC early
Ole Miss 72, Coastal Carolina 70 - Road wins are road wins!
Creighton 83, St Joseph's 79 - Road win!  CU has to be the Big East favorite now
Minnesota 74, Richmond 59 - Road win!
Wisconsin 69, Green Bay 66 - Road win!
LSU 88, Northwestern St 74 - At this point, the SEC just holding serve is noteworthy
Utah St 71, UCSB 64 - Road win!

3 games I'm paying attention to Sunday:
Indiana St at Notre Dame
Stanford at Denver
Michigan at Iowa St

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Regionals and you: a primer

This year's 8 regional sites for the 2nd and 3rd round of the NCAA tournament are (hosts in parens):

Raleigh (NC State)
Orlando (Stetson)
Milwaukee (Marquette)
St Louis
San Antonio (UTSA)
Spokane (Wash. St)
San Diego (SDSU)

Which site is the closest site for your favorite team?  Let's take a look.  For the purposes of this exercise, I'm going to take the top 25 or so teams from my S-Curve.

St Louis:  Kentucky, Oklahoma St, Louisville, Kansas, Marquette, Wichita St, Creighton, Memphis
Holy logjam Batman!  Kentucky AND Kansas AND Ok State AND Louisville.  Only 2 can get this spot.  This is going to be a problem, and these 4 schools will battle all season for those 2 spots.  The good news for Oklahoma St is that there's a 2nd site (San Antonio) that would probably work just as well for them.  For the others, Milwaukee or Raleigh would be the 2nd preferred site, but the B1G and Duke/UNC may have a monopoly on those (see below).  Bottom line, it's entirely possible we see something funky like a 2 seed Louisville in Orlando.

As for Wichita and Creighton, they've got the perfect site sitting there in St Louis (it's where the MVC tournament is played), and literally no chance of getting there unless they're a 7 or 8 seed.  If either of them get a 3 or 4 seed, they're going to be shipped to Spokane.  Sorry.

Buffalo: Ohio St, Syracuse, UConn
Relatively open path for OSU and Syracuse here.  Ohio St is the one B1G team who prefer Buffalo to Milwaukee.  Syracuse will likely have to fend off the northeast Big East teams and UConn for that Buffalo spot.  However, with the other logjams throughout the regionals, the stakes are high - UConn could get shipped really, really west if they're a 4 seed.

Raleigh:  Duke, North Carolina, Georgetown, VCU, Virginia
For Georgetown, Raleigh is preferred, but Buffalo is close as well.

For Duke and UNC, it may seem like an open path to play near home.  NOTSOFAST.  Remember that St Louis logjam above?  If Louisville or Kentucky are the victims in that game of musical chairs, Either could go to Raleigh if Duke or UNC slip.  Duke or UNC in Orlando isn't the worst thing in the world for them, but it isn't Raleigh either.  Tread carefully.

Orlando:  Florida
Wide-open path for Florida to be in Orlando.  The 2nd team to be here will likely be one of the teams that are victims in the St Louis Musical Chairs game.

Milwaukee:  Michigan St, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana
Just call this the B1G site.  The top 2 B1G teams (minus Ohio State) will play here.  Pretty open and shut case.

San Antonio: New Mexico, Baylor
While I don't list Ok State or Kansas here, there's a good chance this becomes a Big 12 site.  Sending the Big 12 schools here may be a way to alleviate pressure in St Louis.  Baylor has a pretty clear path to play in-state if they can get a protected seed.

As for New Mexico, this or San Diego would work.  For the Mountain West, if any other ones do well enough to get a protected seed, it's likely this or San Diego would be their site.  It's fairly open for them.

Spokane:  Gonzaga, Oregon
Wide-open for these 2 teams to play close to home.  Even if they're 4 or 5 seeds.

San Diego:  Arizona, UCLA
They'll probably host 1 and maybe 2 Pac-12 teams.  It'll likely depend on just how good the Pac-12 is.  If they don't host 2 Pac-12 teams, they'll likely host someone from the east coast.

A quick look at regional final sites:
Indianapolis (IUPUI), Memphis (Memphis), New York City (St John's), Anaheim

The big news here is that the Big 12 winner would prefer Memphis, Kentucky would take either Memphis or Indy, and the B1G winner would prefer Indy.  That's 3 teams for 2 spots.  With the ACC winner likely to prefer NYC, someone could get shipped west to Anaheim.  #4 on the S-Curve this year is the swing spot - it's not just enough to be a 1 seed.  You need to be a top 3 overall seed.

Friday, November 15, 2013

11/15 recap

This will be short and sweet, as pretty much everyone who was supposed to win won.  Nothing happened that will dramatically impact any bracket.

Georgia Tech 80, Georgia 71 - worth mentioning only to pile on to the SEC.  not a good start for that conference
Northwestern St 111, Auburn 92 - now I'm just piling on

USC and Cal barely escaped upset bids from Northern Arizona and Oakland.

UNLV barely beat Nebraska-Omaha at home.  Guys, that first upset doesn't appear to be a fluke.  UNLV isn't good.  We'll move along from them.

Saturday preview:
Ohio St at Marquette - no explanation needed

mid-major matches of note:
Akron at MTSU
Northern Iowa at George Mason
Wright St at DePaul (ok, you got me.  DePaul is worse than a mid-major)
Creighton at St Joseph's

There's plenty of other good matchups, but not really any marquee ones.  We shot our wad early this year.  We'll have to keep our eyes open to find where the upsets will happen.

11/14 recap

Toledo 95, Boston College 92 - looks like we found our ACC doormat
Towson 75, Temple 69 - not an upset because Towson is decent and was at home, and Temple is down
Belmont 96, Indiana St 95 - it gets late early for mid-majors
Alabama 76, Texas Tech 64
Jackson St 84, Air Force 82 - you lost to a SWAC team.  at home.
UC-Irvine 86, Washington 72 - Big West piling up early road wins?!?!?
Arizona 69, San Diego St 60 - a good quality road win to put on the ledger
Stanford 71, Northwestern 58
St Mary's 78, North Dakota St 65

Friday to-pay-attention-to games:
Elon at Charlotte
Georgia Tech at Georgia
UTEP at New Mexico St's a light day.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

11/13 recap

Florida St 80, Central Florida 68
Hey, road wins are road wins

Bucknell 90, Penn St 80
For reference, this is not an upset

Scores-only analysis:
Georgetown 88, Wright St 70
Seton Hall 78, Kent St 76
Illinois 64, Valparaiso 52
Kansas St 71, Oral Roberts 63
Southern Miss 75, DePaul 68
Colorado 63, Wyoming 58

It will be a quiet Thursday:
Texas Southern at Miami - SWAC preseason favorite against a team who's already dropped one home honker
Indiana St at Belmont - Early referendum on the MVC in this game
Texas Tech at Alabama - Needless to say this is mandatory for Bama
Arizona at San Diego St - Early chance for a big road win.  Committee likes road wins.  SDSU gets a chance at a signature win.  Game of the night
Northwestern at Stanford - Bubble teams win these games easily, Stanford
North Dakota St at St Mary's - Another good test for St Mary's.  How about their start?  Akron, LT, and NDSU.  Doesn't sound like much, but it is.  3 surefire Top 100 schools, 3 wins that will look good on the resume in March.  A win here and they sweep the 3 games

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The conference hierarchy

Teams get bids, not conferences.

But still, people like to argue about them.  So here is my prediction on the order of the top conferences this year.  It's worth looking at, because with realignment, the power is in different places this year.  And that will impact how many quality win chances are available in conference play for each conference.

Tier 1:  Royalty
1) Big 10
2) ACC

These will be the top two conferences for years to come.  For the long-term, the ACC will assume the top spot and the B1G the supporting role.  But for this year, I expect the B1G to be on top of the conference RPI (abbreviated CRPI from now on).

The difference?  Both have top tier teams (Duke/UNC/Syracuse v Michigan/Michigan St/Ohio St).  Both have some issues at the bottom.  Both have a mid-tier (Virginia/Pitt/Notre Dame/Maryland versus Indiana/Wisconsin/Iowa/Illinois).  However, there are more bad teams in the ACC (8 to 5 based on my count).  This adds up to more uneven matchups in the ACC, and therefore less quality win chances.  More simply put, the B1G is the more healthy environment.  It's more likely for a mediocre team from the B1G to get to the dance through good conference results than the ACC.  So the B1G to the top this year.

Either conference will be mad with less than 6 bids each.  6 is the baseline, 7 is good, 8 is excellent.

Tier 2:  Power Conferences
3) Pac-12
4) SEC
5) Big East
6) Big 12

I'm going to go with the Pac-12 at #3.  They're slowly building up depth and should return to a comfortable 5-6 bids this year.  I trust their depth a lot more than the SEC's or the Big 12.  In fact, you can make an argument that Kansas and OK State are the only 2 tournament teams in that conference this year.  That's why I've put the Big 12 at #6.

As for the decision at #4, I went Big East.  They have 3 protected seed candidates versus the SEC's 2 (Marq/G'town/Crei against Kentucky/Florida), which is even when you account for 10 teams vs. 14.  However, the bottom of the SEC is worse than the bottom of the Big East.  It's close, though.  I expect these 4 conferences to be close to each other in CRPI.  These are your bread-and-butter power conferences.  3 to 4 at-large bids per conference is likely, maybe an extra one for the Pac-12.

Tier 3:  Purgatory, part 1
7) AAC

In the future, they're in trouble.  This year, with Louisville, they'll be just fine.  Really, they'll probably be in the same tier as tier 2 above, but I wanted to highlight their situation in particular.  For this year, they have a bonafide title contender (Louisville) and a couple teams (UConn, Memphis) expecting big things.  However, it gets empty quick after that.  Cincy will be fine, but if they falter, I'm not sure who else steps up.  I trust, for example, Kansas St, Butler, Alabama, and the like more than I do UCF, Houston, or SMU to make a leap forward.

I want to see the dynamics of conference play play out.  The teams below the top 3 probably aren't beating Louisville, and beating UConn or Memphis won't be likely either.  Will 4th-7th place teams beating each other up result in quality wins or bad losses being spread throughout the conference?  How will the committee view wins over Cincy, UCF, SMU, etc.?  The key is these teams building up resumes in the non-con so that wins over them mean something beyond "bad losses" in conference play.

Tier 4:  Purgatory, part 2
8) Mountain West
9) A-10

They're clearly not good enough to be in the top 7.  However, they're not quite weak enough yet to be classified in the same group as the WCC and MVC.  They each have three teams who expect to be in the tournament (VCU, St Louis, LaSalle, New Mexico, Boise, UNLV), more than anyone below them can claim.  Plus there are more teams who expect to at least be on the bubble.  Whether they can maintain that fact in the future is a question for next year.  The MWC in particular has a big year coming - after the big RPI showing last year, they need to translate it into March results soon.

If you want a prediction, I think 7 combined bids could come out of these 2 conferences.

Tier 5:  Don't call us mid-major
10) MVC
11) WCC

Again, two conferences who clearly don't deserve to be associated with anyone below them.  Notice that some media types make a cutoff here, designating the 9 conferences above as major and everyone else as not.  That's a mistake and an insult to these 2 conferences.  It should be considered an 11-conference breakaway, not a 9.  As for these two in particular, I trust the MVC's depth more than the WCC's.  MVC's 5-10 would blow away the WCC's 5-10, while I think 1-4 would play even.

Both would be mad with 1 bid and happy with 3.  2 is the nice middle.

Tier 6:  Purgatory, part 3
12) CUSA

Tough to figure out with all the changes in membership.  With 16 teams, I do expect a couple of them to be good and flirt with the bubble (La Tech, S. Miss, UTEP, etc.).  But with so much dead weight in the league, there simply aren't enough quality win chances to support any of them, unless one gets hot and beats the others.  I don't want to lump them with the conferences below because on the whole, they'll be better, but it doesn't look good for them.

Tier 7:  Call us mid-major
13) MAC
14) MAAC
15) OVC
16) Horizon

Now we're firmly into the land where at-large bids go to die.  But these conferences will expect their best team to contend for a playable 12 or 13 seed in March.  And to get a bit of pub.  They even may occasionally flirt with an at-large bid, and get there every once in awhile (Iona).  They'll likely have teams on the fringe of the bubble talk but not quite make it (Akron).  They each have just enough depth to separate from the rest of the pack.  They'll sport 3 or 4 RPI top 100 teams.

Tier 8:  Why aren't you better?
17) Sun Belt
18) Colonial

Sun Belt has FBS money.  CAA has history.  Neither are particuarly good this year.  Both will be disappointed to be non-factors nationally.  Sorry, guys

Tier 9:  Mid-lower majors
19) Ivy
20) Summit
21) Patriot
22) Big Sky
23) SoCon
24) Atlantic Sun
25) Big West
26) Northeast

The meaty underbelly of D-1.  They will hope for 13 and 14 seeds, and some will get there.  Expect the order of these guys to be fluid.

The Ivy has flirted with tier 8 and above in past years; I think they fall a bit back.  Patriot has potential to upgrade from this group, but probably not this year.

The A-Sun is usually in the section below, but they break free this year with 3 solid teams (FGCU, Mercer, USC-Upstate).

The Summit in the future could potentially slip down to tier 10, but with Denver and NDSU, stay up for now.

The SoCon will be at risk as well, but not until Davidson leaves.

Tier 10:  True lower-majors
27) America East
28) Big South
29) MEAC
30) Southland

Conferences with virtually no hope of a 13 seed, and probably a 14 seed as well.  Avoiding Dayton is a main goal down here.

The MEAC beating out 3 conferences is a bit of a surprise, but the top of the conference isn't that bad, and can do damage with a favorable matchup in March.  I'll give them the nod over a Southland team forced to dip into DII for reinforcements.

Tier 11:  Barely D-1
31) WAC
32) SWAC

This is bad basketball.  Usually the SWAC is here alone; this year the WAC joins them.

11/12 recap

Michigan St 78, Kentucky 74
Remember, for both teams, the midwest (Indianapolis) regional is the preferred regional in March.  This could be useful to MSU

Kansas 94, Duke 83
The Big 12 will offer less quality win chances this year, so good for Kansas to get one in the bank

Wisconsin 59, Florida 53
Quality chance for Florida goes by the boards

VCU 59, Virginia 56
Big road win to put on the resume.  Virginia will have plenty of chances for big wins later

Massachusetts 92, LSU 90
Chance for a quality road win goes by the boards.  SEC losing all of their toss-up games, ouch

Xavier 67, Tennessee 63
And now the SEC's day goes from dark to tragic.  This is a real, real bad day for them

UCSB 86, UNLV 65
A road upset blowout?  What?  My eyebrow is raised

Longwood 82, TCU 79

Scores-only analysis:
Ohio St 79, Ohio 69
Baylor 66, South Carolina 64
LaSalle 73, Quinnipiac 67
Virginia Tech 87, West Virginia 82
Pittsburgh 75, Fresno St 54
Cincinnati 68, NC State 57
Charleston 83, Charlotte 82
California 77, Denver 50

Wednesday games to pay attention to:
Florida St at UCF - ACC middle class needs to step up at some point
Wright St at Georgetown - WSU is the Horizon favorite, so this'll be a nice measuring stick
Kent St at Seton Hall - Another measuring stick, to see if KSU is any good
Oral Roberts at Kansas St - KSU has already dropped one home honker
Southern Miss at DePaul - good Big East measuring stick

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11/12 preview

The first significant day of the season in terms of games of consequence.  Let's not dilly dally.

St Mary's 85, Akron 63 - St Mary's with another quality home win.  Akron whiffs on a big chance.

LSU at Massachusetts - Big game for the SEC's perception.  Their middle class needs to get quality wins, and road wins to boot.  Here's an early chance (for both teams, really), to build up some equity.
West Virginia at Virginia Tech - Irrelevant.
South Carolina at Baylor - Baylor should handle.
NC State at Cincinnati - Must-get for Cincy.  Also a must-get for NC State, because the ACC middle class is not helping the conference so far.
VCU at Virginia - Here we go.  VCU with an early chance at a good road win.  Being in a weakened A-10, they can't let too many opportunities go by the board.  As for Virginia, read what I've said about the ACC so far this year.
Charlotte at Charleston - Sneaky decent mid-major game
Fresno St at Pittsburgh - Ever wonder how the MWC gamed the RPI last year?  These types of games are how.
Michigan St n. Kentucky - Meh.  But seriously, this is the type of game the selection committee will reference in determining who should be ahead of who on the 1 line in March.
Ohio at Ohio St - Doubt an upset happens, but I'll be paying attention.
Montana at Minnesota - Big Sky favorite vs. middling B1G team.  I'm putting an upset watch on it.
Florida at Wisconsin - I've written about the SEC being soft in the middle at bottom.  So a chance at a signature road win is crucial.  Not too many opportunities like this exist in the SEC.  As for Wisky, if you're a top 16 team this year, this is the type of game you take care of.
Tennessee at Xavier - This is the 3rd road game tonight for an SEC team in my field of 68.  Xavier is down a bit.  Tennessee has to win this type of game to be taken seriously.
Miami(OH) at Arizona St - I have a feeling about this game.
Kansas n. Duke - See MSU/Kentucky comment.
Denver at California - Could be useful for Cal if they won.

Monday, November 11, 2013

11/11 recap

Tuesday's preview gets its own post later.  Too big a day to skim over.

Kent St 81, Temple 77 - road win, by the way
Richmond 69, Belmont 61
Milwaukee 81, Davidson 77 - that's a weird home loss for Davidson
UAB 79, Rutgers 76
SMU 89, Rhode Island 58
Gonzaga 93, Colorado St 61
BYU 112, Stanford 103 - and a big road win to put on the resume.  BYU has a bit of equity to work with now

We'll check in on Akron/St Mary's tomorrow morning as we prepare our bodies for Tuesday night.

Conference realignment 101

If you're confused by all the changes, here's a complete list of all the moves and impact compared to last year.

Big East (new conference):  Georgetown, Villanova, Seton Hall, St John's, Providence, DePaul, Marquette, Creighton, Xavier, Butler
Obviously the biggest change is the fracture of the old Big East.  This is common knowledge by now.  What will remain to be seen is how the bottom half of the conference will perform, now that bottom dwellers like DePaul have less heavyweights to deal with.  The early expectation will probably be 4 bids, and I think they get there.

AAC (new conference):  UConn, Louisville, Memphis, Temple, Cincinnati, USF, UCF, Houston, SMU, Rutgers
The other half of the big change.  Again, the bottom half of the conference holds the key to the conference's future.  This is another wait and see situation, to see how many teams they'll get in the NCAA tournament.  The early expectation will probably be 4 bids, and it'll be true this year, before Louisville moves.

ACC:  adds Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse
The ACC is now a 15 team conference and a loaded one.  In past years, the ACC has really struggled with depth, and the lack of at-large bids for their average teams show it.  Teams like Virginia Tech, Maryland, etc, have struggled to gain traction because of mediocre SoS, mediocre conference results, etc.  So adding 3 quality programs is huge.  Not only will these teams make the NCAA tournament regularly, they will give the middle class of the league more signature win chances.  I expect 7-8 bids annually.

WCC:  adds Pacific
WCC goes from a 9 team conference to 10, picking up a competent Pacific team.  The WCC has struggled with depth in recent years - no one outside the Big 3 have been a consistent threat.  This move will help more than you think at first glance, as Pacific probably envisions itself as a program that will consistently contend for WCC titles.  Plus, they might bring 2 potential top 100 RPI wins to a conference that needs more quality win chances.

A-10:  loses Butler, Charlotte, Temple, adds George Mason
Oof.  It's going to be a struggle now.  For a conference that envisions itself as a power one, they're closer to the MVC and WCC than they are to the AAC and MWC.  They're not bad enough to force them into 1 bid status, but the days of 3 and 4 bids are o-v-e-r.  The key is building depth behind VCU - they need 4 or 5 top 100 teams to give enough quality win chances for everyone else.

MVC:  loses Creighton, adds Loyola
Pretty obviously a big blow to the strength of the conference.  Expectations is still multiple bids here, but the road is tougher with less quality win chances inside the conference.  The contending teams will have to make up for it in the non-con.

CUSA:  loses Houston, SMU, UCF, Memphis, adds Charlotte, FIU, FAU, Louisiana Tech, MTSU, North Texas, Old Dominion, UTSA
What upheaval.  CUSA loses its meal ticket.  The good news for them is they add a few programs with good potential (ODU, Charlotte, LT, MTSU).  Can they get a 2nd bid this year?  Probably not.  Can they get 2 bids most years in the future?  Possibly.  The problem is they have no signature team.  They might have 0 Top 50 teams but 6 Top 100 teams.  That's a recipe for 1 bid, usually.

Sun Belt:  loses FIU, FAU, MTSU, North Texas, adds Georgia St, Texas-Arlington, Texas St
They were already underachieving to begin with, now it's worse.  1 bid for now and the future.  Don't let FBS status fool you into thinking they're any better.

CAA:  loses George Mason, Old Dominion, Georgia St, adds Charleston
At least the new program is quality, because they lost their two best ones.  Last year, the CAA plummeted way down the conference RPI rankings.  They'll be back to a top 20 conference long-term, but the damage is done.  This is a one-bid conference, and the days of them being considered alongside the WCC and MVC are long gone.

MAAC:  loses Loyola(MD), adds Quinnipiac, Monmouth
Minus one decent program, plus two decent ones.  No real shift in their pecking order in the college basketball echelon.  They'll continue to be a top 15 conference, and poach an at-large bid every 5 years or so.

Horizon:  loses Loyola, adds Oakland
Probably a zero-sum transaction for them.  Which is bad news, because this conference without Butler is losing relevance.  Probably a top 15 conference, but they've lost the draft of the top mid-major conferences.

Summit:  loses Oakland, adds Denver
Probably a zero-sum transaction too, but Denver has potential long-term.  With the XDSUs and Denver long-term, at least the conference champion can look forward to decent seeds.  League is still to shallow to produce an at-large bid.

Patriot League:  adds Boston, Loyola(MD)
Neither new program are world-beaters, but they are competent programs for a conference that has had a few at-large relevant teams in recent years.  Still a 1-bid league, but this could help seeding.

Big West:  loses Pacific
Not good news to lose one of your better programs.  Now probably solidly inside the bottom 10 conferences.

Northeast:  loses Quinnipiac, Monmouth
Short term, not much difference for the conference.  Long term, could hurt.

America East:  loses Boston, adds UMass-Lowell
For a conference struggling to stay out of the bottom 5 conferences, this is a death blow.

Southland:  adds Abilene Christian, Incarnate Word, New Orleans, Houston Baptist
This conference backfilled a year late.  No programs of note here.  Southland likely solidifying itself as a bottom 5 conference.

SoCon:  loses Charleston
It's a long-term blow for the conference, who will backfill later.  They're also losing Davidson later.

WAC:  loses Louisiana Tech, Denver, San Jose St, Texas St, UTSA, Utah St, adds Grand Canyon, Cal St-Bakersfield, UMKC, Utah Valley, Texas-Pan American, Chicago St, Seattle
No analysis necessary.  New Mexico St needs to find any way out of this conference.

Great West/Independents
It only existed as a makeshift conference for a bunch of independent teams, and to give them a temporary home.  It never really was meant to be a permanent hope.  Still, we shall mourn, and wonder what will happen to the last independent, NJIT.

The long term effect of all this:  The A-10, CUSA weakened, and power was consolidated to the top 8 conferences a bit more.  The bottom conferences are losing their signature programs (Charleston/SoCon, CAA/George Mason, AEast/Boston, CUSA/Memphis, etc).  The gap between the haves and have nots are widening, with very few still left in the middle (basically just the A-10, MVC, and WCC).

Sunday, November 10, 2013

11/10 recap, 11/11 preview

A few things mattered on Sunday:

UMass 86, Boston College 73 - way to help the ACC early, BC
Coppin St 78, Oregon St 73 - these don't kill the resume of a team.  they kill the resume of a conference
Oral Roberts 74, Tulsa 68
Youngstown St 75, Eastern Kentucky 67 - already making my OVC call look bad
Charleston Southern 95, Delaware 93 - using this to point out that the CAA is off to another bad start

Game of the night 11/11:
Akron at St Mary's - REALLY BIG early bubble game.  Akron has been on the fringe of the bubble the last 2 years, and this is the kind of resume piece they've missed - a signature road win.  As for St Mary's, they've had their own bubble trouble and need as much non-con help as possible.  A game where both teams can't afford to let the opportunity go by the boards

Colorado St at Gonzaga - Zags should handle, but it's a free run for CSU to get an early resume piece
BYU at Stanford - Early resume chance for both teams

Kent St at Temple
Belmont at Richmond
Rutgers at UAB
Rhode Island at SMU
A collection of games from good mid-major teams and average power conference teams.  These are the swing games you want your conference mates to win to improve your own RPI.  We'll see if anything notable happens in these.

And ESPN's annual "we'll make teams play at 4AM because we're ESPN and you're not" event starts late tomorrow night.  BYU/Stanford is the opening salvo.  Akron/St Mary's is technically an 11/12 game, but whatever.

11/9 recap and 11/10 preview

Quiet day yesterday.  What mattered?

USC Upstate 64, Virginia Tech 63
The ACC may be the most top-heavy conference this year, but right now, the bottom half is already losing games they shouldn't.

Ohio 75, Northern Iowa 64
Early blow to UNI's at large hopes, although no shame in this road loss.

Manhattan 99, LaSalle 90 (2OT)
MAAC favorite over A-10 bubble team.  Useful road win for the Jaspers.  Remember, this conference got an at large team a couple years ago.

Texas Southern 95, Norfolk St 83
SWAC favorite > MEAC favorite.  Could be useful for avoiding the PIG down the road.

St Joseph's 74, Vermont 64
Road wins are road wins.

Today, not many games, and frankly, nothing worth even noting.  Go pay attention to the NFL today, and I'll let you know is something notable happens.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Preseason bracket thoughts

I figured it would be worth a quick look to compare my bracket to all the other preseason brackets.  Taking a look over at the Bracket Matrix (thanks for the link!), there's a couple dozen or so brackets to compare mine to.  So where do I differ from the consensus?

1) On the 1 line, two others have joined me with putting Oklahoma St there (we have a good consensus on Michigan St, Duke, and Kentucky up there).  Looks like Louisville is the 4th 1 seed to start.  Obviously, I think the AAC is going to hurt them a little bit more. 

2) I'm a bit more pessimistic on the SEC than most.  I have Florida as a 4 (consensus is 2) and Tennessee a 10 (consensus 7).  On the other hand, I have LSU as a 8 (consensus 11).  I still question the depth of the SEC greatly.  There's not many quality win opportunities in the conference, and Kentucky isn't going to be giving any up on top of it.

3) Marquette seems to be the top-ranked Big East team.  That's worth a 2 seed in my book, but a 4 in everyone else's.  Obviously the non-con is different, but Marquette will need as many quality wins in the Big East as Louisville needs in the AAC to win their conferences.  I'm the only one with Marquette as high as a 2, and I think they're low on all 3 Big East favorites (Georgetown and Creighton being the other 2).

4) Among at-large teams, I disagree with the consensus on four different teams (I have St John's, Kansas St, Alabama, and Stanford out, and Indiana St, Cal, Ole Miss, and UMass in).  No real issues with any of those.

5) Everyone has New Mexico St in the field, but I'm the only one with them on the 16 line.  Guys, the WAC is a bottom 3 conference this year.  Go look at past years and see what seeds those conference champions get, even if they dominate the conference.  It's not good.

6) Everyone's got Harvard winning the Ivy, but a majority have them around a 8-9-10 seed, instead of 13.  More of a judgment call, as I think they're not going to win the Ivy going away.  Comparing them to mid-majors who have gotten 8-9-10 seeds in the past, I don't think they can build a good enough resume.

11/8 recap and 11/9 preview

I'll skip recapping all the good teams beating the bad teams.  Here's the games of significance:

Oklahoma 82, Alabama 73
Providence 82, Boston College 78 (OT)
Connecticut 78, Maryland 77
Wisconsin 86, St John's 75
Oregon 82, Georgetown 75
Baylor 72, Colorado 60
We won't know what these mean until we know how good each team is, but the early takeaways:  1-2 start for the Big East, 2 losses for the ACC (and a 3rd bad one below),  a couple of wins for the Big 12, a couple of losses for the Pac-12.

Purdue 77, Northern Kentucky 76 - disaster averted
Texas 76, Mercer 73 - missed on my first upset pick.  and all of the others, too

Northern Colorado 60, Kansas St 58 - the first significant upset, K-State losing at home
St Francis (NY) 66, Miami 62 (OT) - and the second one

Upper-major and mid-major scores probably of interest to only me:
St Mary's 83, Louisiana Tech 70
Western Michigan 70, New Mexico St 64
BYU 81, Weber St 72
Utah St 78, USC 65

All and all, a pretty stable night.

What to watch for today?  Honestly, not much.  A few big boys have opening cupcakes.  My two preferred mid-major matchups of the day are Northern Iowa at Ohio and St Joseph's at Vermont.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Games of the day: 11/8/13

Welcome to what might or might not be a daily feature.  We'll see.  This will likely be a "time permitting" feature each day on the blog.  Let's look at the games which might have impact in March:

Connecticut v. Maryland
Oregon v. Georgetown
St John's v. Wisconsin
Colorado v. Baylor
All 4 are neutral site games.  These schools vary in level from expecting to contend for a protected seed to in a fight for the bubble, but the reward is the same for each:  a solid win to add to your road/neutral record in March.  Every notch in that ledger is valuable.

Boston College at Providence
Alabama v. Oklahoma (neutral site)
Not included above, as these teams are a bit farther off the bubble.  Still, these kinds of matchups are good early litmus tests to see where each conference is.  For example, with the SEC having tanked the last couple of years, they need these games in their favor.

Mercer at Texas
Buffalo at Texas A&M
FGCU at Nebraska
My mid-major green light special of the day.  Odds are your upset of the day happens in at least one (or all) of these games.  And frankly, I think the mid-majors are the better teams in these games.

Murray St at Valparaiso
I find this interesting, if only because I think the OVC overtakes the Horizon in conference RPI this year.

Weber St at BYU
BYU could use every bit of resume bump for their at-large chances, and yes, Weber will count for that

USC at Utah St
These are the games the MWC must win to be taken seriously as a conference.

Louisiana Tech at St Mary's
Probably the bubble game of the night.  CUSA favorite vs. perennial bubble team. Both can't afford many hiccups this season.  Winner gets a decent resume building block, loser has an early strike.

New Mexico St at Western Michigan
NMSU needs EVERY hint of a quality win it can get because of the WAC.  On the road against a mid-table MAC team is good enough to count.

And.....a bunch of good teams are playing a bunch of bad teams.  I won't list them all.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A full bracket is in the post below this one.  But for now, a preseason S-Curve:

The 1 line:  Kentucky, Duke, Michigan St, Oklahoma St
The 2 line:  Arizona, Louisville, Kansas, Marquette
The 3 line:  North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio St, Syracuse
The 4 line:  Georgetown, Wichita St, Florida, Creighton
The 5 line:  Gonzaga, Oregon, VCU, Wisconsin
The 6 line:  New Mexico, Memphis, Virginia, Connecticut
The 7 line:  UCLA, Indiana, UNLV, Baylor
The 8 line:  St Louis, Notre Dame, LSU, San Diego St
The 9 line:  Iowa, LaSalle, Pittsburgh, California
The 10 line:  Colorado, Indiana St, Villanova, Tennessee
The 11 line:  Maryland, Cincinnati, BYU, Southern Miss
The 12 line:  Iowa St*, Massachusetts*, Ole Miss*, Boise St*, Eastern Kentucky, Akron
The 13 line:  Harvard, Denver, Charleston, Mercer
The 14 line:  Wright St, Davidson, Boston, Iona
The 15 line:  Weber St, Vermont, Long Beach St, Wagner
The 16 line:  Western Kentucky, Oral Roberts, New Mexico St*, Norfolk St*, Charleston Southern*, Texas Southern*

Some random musings:
1) The ACC and the B1G are the best 2 conferences.  Their conference champions will be strong favorites to be on the 1 line, along with obviously Kentucky.  The last #1 spot will be a battle royale between the Big 12 winner, Pac-12 winner, and schools like Louisville and Marquette who will be battling uphill against their conference weaknesses.
2) Further on conference strength, I expect the B1G and ACC to invade the protected seed lines.  They each have 3 spots in the top 3 lines.
3) How will the committee treat AAC and Big East conference champions?  And for that matter, how about the triumvirate of VCU, Gonzaga, and Wichita St, clear conference favorites in weaker conferences?  They could get crowded out of the top 5 lines.

Last 4 out:   Missouri, Kansas St, Arizona St, North Dakota St
Next 4 out:  Illinois, Northern Iowa, St Mary's, Alabama
Under consideration:  Utah St, FGCU, Belmont, St John's, Florida St, Louisiana Tech, Colorado St, St Joseph's, Central Florida, Ohio

By the way, this list can double as an approximate NIT projection, with the NIT bubble not too far away from the bottom of this list.
Thoughts on the bracket below.  There's some peculiar things that popped up:

1) Yes, St Louis can play in St Louis.  MVC is hosting that regional.  It just happened to fit that way in my bracket, but there it is.
2) Only one procedural bump needed, which was moving one of the play-in games up to an 11 seed and Southern Miss down to a 12 to accomodate.
3) Wichita St and Creighton as 4 seeds, going to Spokane, and having to deal with Gonzaga and Oregon.  Yikes.
4) Indiana vs. Indiana St!  That was the last matchup that fell in my bracket, by the way.  Other fun regional matchups:  San Diego St vs. Raleigh.  New Mexico/ Buffalo.
5) I'm going to talk about regionals in a separate post, but just know there is going to be a mad rush towards St Louis.  Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma St, Louisville, and Marquette all count it as their preferred regional.  I made an executive decision to send Oklahoma St to San Antonio to alleviate the logjam.  This will be a narrative this season between those 5 teams racing for that regional.  Other quick thoughts....Syracuse and Ohio St have an open track to Buffalo, Florida has a wide-open path to Orlando, and Duke and UNC start out with an open path to Raleigh (but if Louisville has to take one of the two spots...)
6) New Mexico St as a PIG participant?  Yup.  The WAC is baaaaaaaaad

@St Louis
1) Kentucky vs. 16) New Mexico St/Texas Southern
8) St Louis vs. 9) Iowa
4) Wichita St vs. 13) Denver
5) Gonzaga vs. 12) Akron
3) Michigan vs. 14) Wright St
6) Virginia vs. 11) Cincinnati
2) Marquette vs. 15) Vermont
7) UNLV vs. 10) Tennessee

@San Antonio
1) Oklahoma St vs. 16) Oral Roberts
8) LSU vs. 9) Pittsburgh
@San Diego
4) Georgetown vs. 13) Charleston
5) Wisconsin vs. 12) Southern Miss
3) Syracuse vs. 14) Iona
6) New Mexico vs. 11) BYU
@San Diego
2) Arizona vs. 15) Long Beach St
7) Indiana vs. 10) Indiana St

1) Michigan St vs. 16) Western Kentucky
8) Notre Dame vs. 9) LaSalle
4) Creighton vs. 13) Harvard
5) Oregon vs. 12) Eastern Kentucky
3) North Carolina vs. 14) Davidson
6) Memphis vs. 11) Massachusetts/Ole Miss
@St Louis
2) Louisville vs. 15) Wagner
7) Baylor vs. 10) Colorado

1) Duke vs. 16) Norfolk St/Charleston Southern
8) San Diego St vs. 9) California
4) Florida vs. 13) Mercer
5) VCU vs. 12) Boise St/Iowa St
3) Ohio St vs. 14) Boston
6) Connecticut vs. 11) Maryland
@San Antonio
2) Kansas vs. 15) Weber St
7) UCLA vs. 10) Villanova


Welcome to the blog.  This will be my new, permanent home for my bracketology posts throughout the college basketball season.  I will have my preseason bracket up within 24 hours, and there will be daily posts tracking all the happenings in the sport.  I also plan many features throughout the season as well.

This is in the place of a website I had been planning to start this season for tracking RPI rankings across all sports, but the coding is taking longer than I thought.  This blog will have to suffice for now.