Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12/31 preview

It's an all-day Big East marathon:
St Johns at Seton Hall - pretty important pecking order game right off the bat
Butler at Villanova - the signature game; we'll find out if Butler can stay good
Marquette at DePaul - take a nap
Creighton at Providence - Provi must hold serve; CU is fading
Georgetown at Xavier - another pecking order game

MWC conference play starts, with some BIG games:
Boise St at Colorado St - CSU's schedule has been light; right off the bat they've got a bubble team in their gym
UNLV at Wyoming - both teams have weird resumes.  I expect both to be players on the bubble this year, so this is a big pecking order game right away

Temple at UConn - Temple has surged into the bubble conversation, and UConn (and the entire AAC) is desperate for something good
Penn St at Wisconsin - reality check time for PSU
Wofford at Duke - good litmus test game for Wofford
Minnesota at Purdue
Georgia at Kansas St
Indiana at Nebraska

12/30 recap

Big 10 play:
Northwestern 51, @Rutgers 47
Iowa 71, @Ohio St 65 - now, how about this?  Right off the bat, a signature road win for Iowa to erase some sins in non-con play.  On the other hand, OSU still doesn't have a quality win...
@Michigan 73, Illinois 65 (OT) - all this does is pull Illinois closer to the bubble while Michigan is still too far away from it to matter
Maryland 68, @Michigan St 66 (2OT) - signature road win!  I'm not sure when we should start questioning MSU as an actual tourney team, but we're encroaching on that point

Results that matter:
Cincinnati 76, @North Carolina St 60 - a rather important road win for Cincy, and the AAC, for that matter.  Really worried about the midsection of the ACC, too
@Florida St 65, Florida 63 - catastrophic loss for UF who is really in bubble trouble now
@Dayton 78, Ole Miss 74

@West Virginia 82, Virginia Tech 51
@Louisville 63, Long Beach St 48
@Virginia 83, Davidson 72 - Davidson hung around in this game.  Seems as if they'll be players for 2nd in the A-10
@UMass 87, Iona 82 - the MAAC is in trouble this year
@Georgia Tech 67, Charlotte 66
@Pittsburgh 71, FGCU 54
Oklahoma St 74, @Missouri 72 (OT)
@New Mexico St 54, Texas Southern 52 - 4th straight game TSU has either won or lost by a single possession, all against stiff competition.  The overall record (3-10) is awful but they could absolutely avoid the 16 line in March

Cupcake winners:  UNC, Akron, Buffalo, Clemson, Miami, George Washington, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Georgia St, Kansas (over Kent St), Harvard (on the road at Grand Canyon), Texas A&M, Oregon St, USC

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

12/30 preview

Big 10 play begins today:
Northwestern at Rutgers - lol
Iowa at Ohio St - both teams could use a quality win
Illinois at Michigan - Michigan is desperate
Maryland at Michigan St - we'll know a lot more about who we expect to be B1G #2 after this game

Cincinnati at NC State - two teams who will probably spend the rest of the season around the bubble
Davidson at Virginia - after a light schedule, we'll learn a lot about Davidson here
Iona at UMass - one of the dirty little secrets this year is that the MAAC is waaaay down from previous years.   Important game for Iona, the presumptive favorite in this conference this year
Florida at Florida St - boy, what an awful matchup, huh.  Florida can't mess around here
Charlotte at Georgia Tech
FGCU at Pittsburgh - careful, Pitt
Kent St at Kansas
Ole Miss at Dayton - well I don't think Ole Miss is for reals, so this would shut me up
Oklahoma St vs. Missouri (neutral)

12/29 recap

WCC play:
@St Mary's 69, San Francisco 56
@BYU 97, Portland 88
Gonzaga 60, @San Diego 48

@Duke 86, Toledo 69
Valparaiso 79, @James Madison 52

Cupcake winners:  Texas, LSU, VCU, Texas TEch, SMU, TCU, Old Dominion, Stephen F Austin (on the road), Stanford, Oregon (in overtime over Irvine)

Monday, December 29, 2014

12/29 preview

You know, usually I can find at least one game to highlight at least a little bit.  But tonight?  Eh.

WCC play continues.  I guess Portland at BYU matters and Gonzaga plays a tricky spot at San  UC Irvine at Oregon looked a lot better a month ago.  Valpo at James Madison is a decent matchup.  LSU and TCU have to hold serve at home...Toledo at Duke looked really good in the preseason....but nah.  I got nothin' for you today.  Take the day off from college basketball.

12/28 recap

Impact results:
@Arizona St 56, Harvard 46 - and so goes their last good chance at procuring a single digit seed in March
Texas Southern 58, @Kansas St 56 - wait, what?
@Xavier 71, FGCU 57
Wake Forest 65, @Richmond 63
@Butler 67, Belmont 56
@Alabama 56, UCLA 50 - is UCLA in the danger zone?
@Wisconsin 68, Buffalo 56
Stony Brook 62, @Washington 57 - well, that's one way to lose your first game
Cal St-Bakersfield 55, @California 52 - catastrophic loss for Cal

Cupcake winners:  St John's, UConn, Syracuse (over Long Beach St, but still), Marquette, Evansville, Northern Iowa (okay, South Dakota St is not a cupcake), Arkansas, Temple,

Sunday, December 28, 2014

12/28 preview

Harvard at Arizona St - kind of a mandatory game to win on the road for Harvard.  Seeding in March is on the line
FGCU at Xavier - careful, X
Belmont at Butler - careful, Butler
Buffalo at Wisconsin - good litmus test to see how good Buffalo really is
UCLA at Alabama - UCLA simply has to get this one

12/27 recap

Signature wins of the day:
Georgetown 91, Indiana 87 (OT) - it's always good to add a neutral site win against a competent opponent
Kentucky 58, @Louisville 50
Gonzaga 87, @BYU 80 - it's December and BYU has already lost its one best chance at an impact win in the conference for the season.  sign

Around the fringes:
@Green Bay 78, Georgia St 61
@Georgia 86, Mercer 77 (OT) - yikes
Colorado St 58, @New Mexico St 57 (OT) - another yikes

Cupcake winners:  Minnesota, North Carolina, St Mary's, Maryland, Ohio St, Illinois, UNLV, San Diego St

Saturday, December 27, 2014

12/27 preview

Bubble impact game of the day:
Georgetown vs. Indiana (neutral) - big game for Indiana especially to work its way through the bubble traffic

Mid-major game of the day:
Georgia St at Green Bay - yeah, these two did a home-and-home series this year.  Pretty smart, actually

Hey, conference play is underway:
Gonzaga at BYU - now THAT is curious.  The schedulemakers in the WCC put one of these two games in December.  And for BYU, their signature win chance comes immediately.  Oy, that's weird

Actual game of the day:
Kentucky at Louisville

Also, Colorado St with a road game at New Mexico St.  In cupcake theater:  UNLV, Illinois, SDSU, Maryland, UNC, Minnesota, Ohio St.  Georgia hosts Mercer.  St Mary's hosts Santa Clara.

Friday, December 26, 2014

State of the mid-major conferences

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

We'll use this post to cover relevant teams in the rest of the country.

Green Bay (7-3) scheduled up a bit as the Horizon favorites, but lost a couple of swing games (@Georgia St and N-UC Irvine), and has decent wins (N-Evansville, N-FGCU, @Miami) that just might not be enough.  It's tough to imagine them hanging in the bubble race.  Valparaiso (9-2) has a SoS-assisted good record.  What's shocking is the league only has one other team over. 500 right now in Wright St.

Big West
Going into the season, it was UC Irvine (5-5), Long Beach St (4-8), and UC Santa Barbara (3-6) that figured to be the contenders.  All have been decent-to-worse this year so far.  There could be seeding issues in March.  The two teams racing out front at the moment are UC Davis (8-1) against a very marginal schedule and Hawaii (8-4), who did at least beat Colorado and Nebraska.

Buffalo (9-2) figured to be the team of record.  Good schedule, but no signature wins.  Their computer numbers lead the conference right now.  Two of the Michigans, Central Michigan (7-1) and Eastern Michigan (7-2) are posting good records and wins at B1G schools (CMU > Northwestern; EMU > Michigan St), but are probably too far away from the bubble right now.  Going into the year, I thought Toledo (7-4), Western Michigan (6-4), and Akron (6-4) would be the teams that mattered.  If nothing else, the MAC race is going to be crowded and they should spread good computer numbers across the league.

The CAA is a bit tricky to figure out.  I figured Northeastern (7-4) for the conference head, and there's wins over @Florida St and WMU on here.  I don't think anyone else in here gets close enough to matter even for the NIT.

Harvard (6-2) scheduled well enough; that N-Holy Cross loss really stings for seeding purposes.  Wins over N'eastern and UMass could be handy.  They'll get pushed by Yale (8-4) in the conference, who did beat UConn on the road.  Columbia (6-4) has done enough with results and schedule to earn the right to be called a third banana in this conference.

Old Dominion (10-1) is the revelation of the league so far.  Very good non-con SoS, good wins (N-LSU, VCU, Ga St).  That neutral loss to Illinois St is devastating right now.  They're in the at-large picture right now.

Louisiana Tech (8-4) was supposed to be the favorite.  But the schedule has turned out to be sub-300.  The loss at Louisiana-Lafayette hurts bad.  While the other 3 losses are also road losses and good ones, this does mean they're whiffing on all their quality win chances.  They've struck out.  UTEP scheduled up and did beat N-Xavier.  They could be in play, as only the @New Mexico St loss looks bad right now.

Usually the conference is good enough to be on the fringes of relevancy; this year just Iona (7-4) is close enough, and that may be stretching it.

Stephen F Austin (6-3), after years of poor scheduling, finally manned up.  They're ranked somewhere around 100, which is fine for them.  Their 3 losses are fine (UNI, @Xavier, @Baylor) and it means the win at Memphis carries a bit of weight.  Not sure about an at-large bid, but their seeding will be reward enough.

Big Sky
Do you believe Eastern Washington has played a top 15 non-con SoS?  Me neither.  The win at Indiana was a nice boon, and 3 of the losses came in a row in a brutal road trip (Washington, SHSU, Cal).  No at-large bid coming here, but a nice seed could.

Right now Wofford (7-3) has sterling computer numbers.  That and a win at NC State will help their seed in March.

Sun Belt
Georgia St (6-3) was supposed to be one of the big players in mid-major basketball this year.  Their losses are all perfectly fine (@Iowa St, @Colorado St, @ODU), and they did beat Green Bay at home.

Every other conference, it's tough to find any teams that would be in contention for a 13 seed or better in March.

State of the WCC/MVC

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

Now I'll start combining conferences and going quicker.  Less to recap.

Gonzaga (10-1) is in fine shape - good loss, good SoS, good wins (N-Georgia, SMU, @UCLA, et al).  BYU (8-3) is your quintessential bubble team - they have a very good SoS again, have decent wins (Stanford) and has one marginal loss (N-Purdue).  Pretty standard fare for the conference, really.

St Mary's (6-3) is off the pace, just a bit.  Losing at home to Northern Arizona is a killer.  Also, that win at Creighton and vs. Irvine is diminishing.  Work to do here.

Once again, the rest of the conference ranges from decent to bad.  San Diego (6-5), Pepperdine (6-3), and Portland (7-3) are off to decent starts, but I can't find anything in their resumes to be excited about.  Their numbers are a bit off the pace for NIT contention.  Pacific (5-4), Santa Clara (4-6), and Loyola Marymount (3-8) are likely bringing up the rear.  Again, standard fare in this conference.

Wichita St (9-2) might have an issue.  The schedule is top-25, the signature win is Seton Hall, and the losses are fine...but it's tough to get a real high seed with that.  They may be stuck on the 4 or 5 line, which is okay, probably.  Northern Iowa (10-1) might run them down.  A good schedule of their own, a good loss at VCU, and signature wins of @SFA and N-Iowa will leave them in good shape for now.  MVC looks good for 2.

Behind them is a mess.  Evansville (8-2) seems like a contender, but a poor SoS and a marginal loss to Murray with no signature wins leaves them off the pace.  Illinois St (7-4) doesn't have SoS issues; they have a @Murray loss and Utah St loss issue.  The N-Old Dominion win is keeping them hanging around for now.  Loyola (8-2) is off to a great start, but does truly have schedule issues (neutral site wins over TTU and Boise keep them hanging around).  It's tough to imagine any of these 3 hanging in the bubble race for the balance of the season.

The Valley's big problem is the bottom half of the conference:  Missouri St (4-6), Southern Illinois (6-6), Indiana St (3-7), Bradley (3-8), and Drake (2-9) are all tracking towards sub-200 RPIs.  Problems will ensue.

State of the A-10

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

VCU (9-3) is the likely class of the league, still.  Right now, they've played the 2nd toughest schedule in the country, and got UNI, @Cincy, and N-Oregon during it.  They missed N-Nova and Virginia (forgivable) and @Illinois St (oops).  They'll be fine.

The first challenger will likely be George Washington (9-3).  Their SoS might be an issue down the stretch, and a loss @Penn St hurts, but beating Wichita St on a neutral cures a lot of ills.  N-Colorado might be the only other win of value so far, though.  Dayton (9-2) might be the other contender.  The losses are good, but the lack of impact wins leaves them a lot of work to do.

The league surprise might be Davidson (8-1).  Sure, their signature win right now is just Charlotte, but still, they're winning the games they're supposed to.  We'll need to learn more about them before wondering if they're really a bubble team or not.

Rhode Island (6-3) has a relatively poor schedule, their win over Nebraska has melted away, and the loss to N-Georgia Tech stings.  They're still in play, but probably a tier behind the top 3.  URI probably belongs in a tier with LaSalle (7-5), Richmond (7-4), and UMass (6-6).  None of them just have enough meat on the resume (read:  quality wins) to challenge for an at-large bid.  They're all probably battling on the NIT bubble this year,

Back in the pack, St Bonaventure (7-3), St Joseph's (6-4), and St Louis (7-4) have general SoS issues holding them back.  George Mason (4-6) actually has played a more brutal schedule, so keep an eye out for them.  And expect Duquesne (3-5) and Fordham (2-6) in the cellar.  It would take something special for any of these teams to contend.

State of the Mountain West

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

It's been a year of transition in the MWC - New Mexico is falling back, and new teams are emerging.  More than most conferences, this one deserves its own catch-up thread to get you up to speed.

San Diego St (9-3) is still the class here.  They've scheduled up and picked off some wins of value (Utah, N-BYU, N-Pitt).  The losses are maybe one too many (@Cincy is what I'm looking at), but losing to Arizona and Washington is fine.  They'll likely be rewarded for scheduling tough.

2nd best in this conference seems like it'll be Colorado St (11-0) vs. Boise St ().  CSU has ran the table so far on a top-100 non-con SoS.  @Colorado, UTEP, Georgia St is on the resume so far, so nothing high-end...but wins are wins.  Boise has a more middling schedule, a middling loss (N-Loyola), and a middling signature win (@St Mary's).  Still, it's tough to quite get a read on CSU, so I think this is a 2-team race for 2nd.

Behind them is Wyoming (9-2); their SoS is an issue though.  Although they did beat Colorado at home and both losses are to probable tourney teams on the road, the rest of the resume is light, so there's work to do.  It feels like two of Wyoming, BSU, and CSU will eventually make the tournament, doesn't it?

UNLV (7-3) is kind of on the fringe.  Sterling SoS numbers, a signature win over Arizona, one stinging loss @Arizona St and a win over N-Temple in the back pocket.  The computer numbers aren't helping right now but I expect them to be within vicinity of the bubble, at least.

Back in the pack, New Mexico (8-4) not only has a bad schedule, they're losing questionable games (the "best" loss is N-Texas A&M).  The schedule is surprisingly barren.  Air Force (5-4) and Utah St (6-5) similarly have schedules that might bring down the MWC, and Nevada (2-8), Fresno St (3-8), and San Jose St (0-10) are doing that with actual wins and losses instead.

State of the American

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

There's an impending disaster in the AAC.  Let's go and see why.

SMU (8-3) fixed their SoS issues from last year.  A top 15 non-con SoS as of right now.  Bigtime.  I just wish they would've won @Gonzaga or @Indiana or at least beat Arkansas.  UCSB and Wyoming are fine wins but not signature ones.  They need signature wins, and they're out of chances (thanks for nothing, Michigan!)

UConn (5-4) has played a very good schedule but couldn't do a lot against it.  Losing to Yale is the kicker.  Dayton is the signature win, which is okay, but man, losing on a neutral to both WVU and Texas hurts right now.

Cincinnati (8-3) is another team with a bigtime non-con SoS.  But the losses to N-Ole Miss and @Nebraska don't look good right now.  The signature win over SDSU will mask some of it but not all.

Memphis (7-4) actually doesn't have a bad loss marked against them, but no quality win.  Quintessential bubble team.  Of these top 4, I have to imagine 3, and maybe all 4, will be fine eventually.  But right now, the situation looks bleak.

The one pleasant surprise in the conference is Temple (8-4).  The losses aren't great (@St Joe's and N-UNLV are mixed in), but the signature win over Kansas is a real good look, and there's a pocket collection of wins (N-Temple, LaTech, American) behind it.  We'll pay attention, they may yet be relevant.

The bottom 6 aren't looking so hot.  I had higher hopes for Tulsa (7-4), and while there's just one bad loss (@ORU), there's no wins of substance to lean on.  Tulane (8-2) has racked up wins, but none of them have any real value.  South Florida (5-6), Houston (6-4), East Carolina (4-6), and Central Florida (6-4) are putting up marginal records against marginal-to-bad schedules and will likely just drag down the conference.

State of the Big East

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

Don't look now, but the teams in here are racking up good W-Ls.  The conference will likely be spreading around some computer profile goodness to each other.

Villanova (12-0) has separated from the rest.  The non-con SoS (hovering around 150) might be an issue when going for a top seed, but they've got enough quality wins (N-VCU, N-Illinois, Syracuse) to deal with that later.

Butler (9-3) has emerged to give the league depth.  The SoS might be an issue (Atlantis can only help so much), but having N-UNC and N-G'town on the resume is a good start.  They need resume depth, but they have a chance at getting it in this conference.  The other emerger is St John's (9-1), who have a top 50 SoS to pair with no bad losses and some good wins (@Syracuse, St Mary's, Minny).

Among the expected contenders, Georgetown (7-3) should be okay.  Very good non-con SoS numbers, and the losses are N-Butler and top 10 teams.  They do need a better win than N-Florida, though.  Xavier (8-3) should also be fine.  Solid SoS can help mask the issue their signature win is...Alabama?  And they lost neutral site games to LBSU and UTEP.  And @Auburn!  Actually this is worse than I thought.  The good news is the problems are very fixable in conference play.

Seton Hall (9-2) is a bubble team.  A SoS that's just okay, one quality win (GWU), and no bad losses.  Your pretty typical profile.  Providence (10-3) is another likely bubble team with a pretty decent SoS, but their losses are quite marginal (Brown, @BC in a bad 2-game stretch).

In total, among the 6 teams behind 'Nova, I have to imagine 3 or 4 make it, but I think conference play will play a bigger role in identifying those teams than typical.

At the bottom, the air is out of the balloon at Creighton (9-4).  Bad SoS numbers, bad losses (@North Texas, @Tulsa, @Ole Miss) erase the Oklahoma win, and the win @Nebraska has disintegrated into nothing.  Marquette (7-4) wasn't expected to do much, and doesn't have a win to back up any chance at contention.  DePaul (6-7) is still DePaul.

State of the SEC

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

The SEC might not be as terrible as originally thought.  Now, they're still pretty terrible and will struggle to get a 4th bid, but at least they've rallied a bit.  Actually, the schedules across the board aren't too bad, which is helping.  They're also compiling good records.

Florida (7-4) was supposed to be the #2 team in this conference, but a marginal (for them) schedule around 100th has hurt.  None of the 4 losses are horrible (home to Miami might be; the other 3 are to elite teams), but Yale might be the signature win, and not much help is coming in conference play.

Arkansas (9-2) has emerged.  Marginal SoS, and a marginal loss at Clemson, but by beating @SMU and Dayton, they've given themselves a chance.  LSU (9-2) has a similar profile, right on down to the loss to N-Clemson.  However, their signature win of @WVU is better.  These two entered the season as the likely 3/4, and seem likely to stay that way.

Two teams have kinda emerged.  Georgia (6-3) has a really good non-con SoS around 25, and the losses aren't bad (@Ga Tech might be, N-Minny might be).  Wins over Colorado and Seton Hall at home have given them a chance to gain bubble ground.  South Carolina (6-3) has a decent SoS, and while the bad losses (N-Charlotte and N-Akron) are a bit worse, they at least have a win over Oklahoma St to lean on.  Can either make it?  Possible but not probable.

That probably cuts off the reasonable NCAA hopes for the conference.  Florida, and probably 2 of the next 4.  They'll get to 4 teams overall.

Let's quick-hit the rest of the conference.  Texas A&M (7-3) has reasonable computer numbers but no quality wins.  Ole Miss (8-3) actually has some decent wins in the pocket (@Oregon, N-Creighton, N-Cincy), and not an awful SoS, but very marginal losses (WKU, Charleston Southern) are killing them right now.  Vanderbilt (7-3) has SoS issues, a bad loss, and just marginal wins to lean on.  Alabama (7-3) actually has no bad losses but no real quality wins either.  Tennessee (6-4) is maybe a weird case.  Beat Butler, Kansas St, lost to N-Marquette, and some other good teams...not sure what to do with them.

The bottom 3 are in their own tier.  Auburn (6-5), Missouri (4-6), and Mississippi St (5-5) are too far off the pace.

Oh, and we should mention Kentucky (12-0), I guess.  Top 5 SoS, signature wins everywhere.  You don't need me to analyze them.

State of the Pac 12

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

This is your standard configuration power conference.  One title contender, a couple teams in the second tier, a nice group of bubble teams, and a couple lightweights.  It's remarkable how ordinary the conference makeup is.

Arizona (12-1) is your title contender.  Losing at UNLV might be a red alarm, and a non-con SoS around 125 is another possible red alarm.  Beating N-SDSU and Gonzaga should build equity, though, and winning the Pac-12 will likely get them to the 1 line.  At least they played 2 road games in the non-con, and that counts as progress, apparently.

Utah (9-2) has emerged as the #2 team.  When your worst loss is @SDSU, you're doing just fine, and they've got hammers of Wichita St and N-BYU to wield.  Top 30 non-con SoS to boot.  This is a fine resume.

Washington (11-0) has merely an average SoS, but at least they're winning those games.  SDSU, N-Oklahoma, N-UTEP...there's some value in those, at least.  They'll need to spruce up the resume to really move up in seeding, but they're in good position.

Now, we get to the fun part.  I could 4 teams that I would consider serious bubble contenders.  Let's bullet point them, 2 on the good side.

California (10-2) has a decent SoS, two losses to top 10 teams (Wisky, N-Texas), but N-Syracuse is the signature win.

Stanford (7-3) has a decent SoS, one bad loss (@DePaul), but a win at Texas offsets that nicely.

UCLA (8-4) has a solid SoS and all their losses are to clear tournament teams.  Can't ding them one bit for the losses.  Also can't find a signature win yet, however.

Colorado (7-5) has issues.  Good but not great non-con SoS, a plurality of losses (@Hawaii and @Wyoming are the dubious ones), no good wins.  5 R/N games might help their argument, but they're in big trouble.

Bottom line, I think we've identified 5 solid teams, a 6th team (UCLA) that should be fine, and a 7th lurking in the background.  Let's deal with the bottom 5 quickly.  I doubt any of them make a run, but there's a chance.

Oregon (8-3) has a marginal SoS, a decent win of N-Illinois, and a couple marginal losses (N-Michigan, Ole Miss).  Arizona St (7-5) has SoS issues and marginal losses.  Oregon St (7-3) has bigtime SoS issues and marginal losses.  USC (7-4) has (guess!)  SoS issues and marginal losses.  Washington St (5-6) is just legitimately not good.  I suppose I could separate oregon from the rest of these teams, but I'll be shocked if any of them makes a run.

State of the Big 10

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

So we may only actually have one title contender in this conference.  Everyone else is funneling towards the middle of the pack.  The bubble impact is this:  it's going to be tough to find signature wins in this conference.  This means you need to clearly differentiate yourself in conference play, or you risk being in a bad position on the bubble.  It's a weird dynamic.

Wisconsin (11-1) is the one team clear of this mess.  Winning at Atlantis (G'town and Oklahoma) and @Cal, losing to Duke, top 25 non-con SoS.  They'll be fine, although I do wish they had a big high-end win to help in the battle for a 1 seed.

It might be easier to deal with who isn't real in this conference first.  Penn St (12-1) has the record but has a shoddy SoS to go with it.  GWU is a good win, so we'll stick a pin in them and come back if necessary.  Purdue (8-5) is around 200 non-con SoS, and offset a pair of good wins (N-BYU and NC State) with marginal losses (North Florida and Gardner Webb, oof).  Again, stick a pin in them and revisit if they get more good wins.  Rutgers (7-5) actually has good SoS numbers, but @Clemson is the signature win.  Nah.  Northwestern (8-4) has around a 200 non-con SoS, and no good wins at all.  At least all their losses (CMU is the worst) are reasonable.

Two teams I didn't expect to find in the rear are Michigan (6-5) and Nebraska (7-4).  Michigan had a catastrophic loss to NJIT (the loss to EMU isn't good either but it's not as bad as first seemed).  The other losses are actually expected (all to good teams), so there's room to rally and build on their Syracuse win.  Nebraska might be beyond reproach, though.  Marginal SoS numbers, marginal losses (@Hawaii, Incarnate Word), and just a win over Cincy bolstering the resume.

I see 7 teams in the middle, in kind of a bubble mush.  Maryland (11-1) has a non-con SoS around 150 which might ding it, but just one fine loss to Virginia and a win over N-Iowa St helps.  Their resume does need depth though, but that's something that can be accessed in conference play.

Ohio St (10-2) is the other team that should be fine.  Marginal SoS and two completely reasonable losses (N-UNC and @Louisville) are on that resume, but Marquette at home might be the best win so far.  Again, get some depth in the resume, and you'll be fine.

We need to deal with the other 5 teams in bullet point form.

Michigan St (9-4) has a SoS around 100, much lower than usual, and that hideous loss to Texas Southern, and a marginal one @Notre Dame.  The signature win is...Loyola?

Minnesota (9-2), below average SoS, no bad losses, but the signature win is...N-Georgia?

Indiana (10-2), okay SoS, no road games played.  Seriously?  That loss to Eastern Washington, did beat N-Butler and SMU, so there's some resume fodder that can be used here.

Illinois (9-3), below average SoS, mostly reasonable losses (N-Oregon might be dicey), and a good signature win N-Baylor to help.

Iowa (9-4), good SoS, reasonable losses (seriously, N-Syracuse is by far the worst), and that win at North Carolina will help.

Illinois and Iowa might stay ahead of the pack with the best wins of that group so far.  But for the most part, I see marginal SoS numbers and a lack of wins of real value.  Some empty calories in all these resumes.  It's going to be tough for them to all get in, so the conference may be limited to 5 or 6 teams total.

State of the ACC

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

In the ACC, we have the haves (4 teams), the have-nots (about 5 teams), and a big 'ol mess in the middle.  Let's deal with the top first, because I see 4 teams with legitimate 1 seed hopes.

Duke (10-0) won at Wisky, and has a slew of neutral site wins (UConn, Temple, Stanford, Michigan St) that look good right now.  The neutral site wins are a good touch for a team that usually doesn't hit the road in conference play.  They're a pretty clear #2 resume in the country right now.

Virginia (11-0) has a really neat-looking road sweep at Maryland and VCU, and some depth (GWU, Harvard) as well.  Top 50 non-con SoS.

North Carolina (8-3) and Louisville (11-0) are the drafters.  UNC has a top 10 non-con SoS which will save them from a couple marginal losses (N-Butler and Iowa).  N-Ohio St is a good win but N-UCLA and N-Florida are deteriorating.  Louisville's schedule is ok, and Ohio St works as a signature win, but there's not a lot of depth behind it (N-Minnesota and N-Indiana), so they'll have to rely on high-end wins to boost the resume this year.

The middle of this conference is a mess.  We do know 5 teams that probably don't have a chance to survive this season.  Clemson (7-4) absorbed 3 dubious losses (like Winthrop at home) that offset a pair of nice wins (N-LSU and Arkansas).  Wake Forest (6-6) has one bad loss and nothing that you could even pretend is a signature win.  Boston College (6-4) actually beat Providence and just has one unreasonable loss (USC), but I'm dismissing them.  Florida St (7-5) actually doesn't have a bad loss but doesn't have any kind of a win either.  Virginia Tech (7-4) has bad losses and no good wins too.

Let's deal with the middle now.  Syracuse (7-4) is the team that wasn't supposed to be in here.  A decent SoS, a win of N-Iowa, and no road wins.  The key is absorbing what now looks like a catastrophic loss at Michigan, and losing swing games to N-Cal and St John's.  Again, not a lot of depth in the ACC this year, so they'll need to rely on the big games to move up.

Notre Dame (12-1) is up to its old tricks.  One of the 10 easiest non-con schedules in the country.  Losing to N-Providence is fine, but their signature win over Michigan St is dissolving, and they haven't played a true road game yet.  The road games are especially key for them.  Pittsburgh (8-3) has a better SoS, but they're in the same general boat.  Reasonable losses (if you think N-Hawaii is reasonable), no good wins, and just one road game that they lost at Indiana.

Miami (9-3) started hot, but the win at Florida looks worse now.  Beating Illinois and losing N-Providence and Green Bay is fine, but the Eastern Kentucky loss at home probably pushes it over the edge to the bubble, while being saved for now by the solid SoS numbers.

North Carolina St (10-3) actually has a top-50 non-con SoS right now, and the resume is a bit light.  A couple of losses (Wofford, @Purdue) are okay but not great, and the wins (Boise probably the best) are okay but not great too.  Georgia Tech (8-3) has similar SoS numbers, but the losses (N-Marquette, USC Upstate) are more marginal and the wins (Georgia, N-Rhode Island) are similar.  Both are fringe-y.

The real question is how many of these middling teams behind the top 4 make it.  I see 5 teams with reasonable enough resumes to make a run, odds say 2 of them will make the run.  But that's only 6 teams for the conference.  I would say a 7th should make it, but I'm not sure how.

State of the Big 12

This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26.  Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.

In the Big 12, everyone is racing out to pretty records.  Even the two teams that are supposed to be lightweights, TCU and Texas Tech, have raced out.  TCU (12-0) is projected to end up with the 3rd easiest non-conference schedule in the country, and @Ole Miss and N-Mississippi St are their signature wins.  Dismiss them.  Texas Tech (9-3) is undefeated at home against all cupcake opposition.  Dismiss them.  Kansas St (7-4) has likely joined them in the basement - their losses are all road/neutral ones, at least, but N-Purdue seems to be the signature win.

Kansas (9-2) is up to their old tricks, with the projected toughest schedule in the country.  As of this second, they're not projected to play a team with an RPI above 150.  The entire season.  My God.  The blowout loss to Kentucky can be dismissed, the one at Temple might not.  A good string of wins (Florida, @G'town, N-Michigan St, N-Utah) plus whatever they do in Big 12 play should be enough for a 1 seed if they play to their potential.  Texas (10-2) seems to be their closest competition.  A projected non-con SoS around 40, wins @UConn, N-Iowa and Cal, and just the blemish at home to Stanford on that resume.

The real fascinating race in this conference will be 3 through 7.  Let's look contender by contender.

Baylor (10-1), top 25 non-con SoS, loss of N-Illinois, signature win is..@South Carolina?  Maybe N-Memphis.  Good power numbers, and chances for better signature wins are coming.

West Virginia (11-1), decent SoS numbers, loss of LSU, a decent pocket collection (N-UConn, N-NC State, Wofford).  Could be in the danger zone.

Oklahoma (8-3), good SoS numbers.  They did work in Atlantis, beating Butler and UCLA, offsetting the loss to Wisky.  Loss at Creighton looks dicier by the day, though.  Loss of N-Washington looks better, also.

Iowa St (9-1), non-con SoS that is sub-175 will be a big issue.  The loss of N-Maryland looks better by the day, and winning at Iowa and against Arkansas is useful.  The cupcakes are dragging their numbers down, they'll be fine.

Oklahoma St (8-2), middling SoS numbers.  @Memphis might be the signature win, which is a problem, considering their two toughest games on the schedule (@South Carolina and Maryland) ended up losses.

The bottom line:  the rest is still unwritten with all these teams.  Conference play will form a large part of these resumes, and all 5 have formed enough of a base resume to build on.

12/25 recap

Diamond Head:
George Washington 60, Wichita St 54 - and there's the signature win for G-Dub
Hawaii 69, Colorado 66 - Colorado goes from being in big trouble to being on the brink
Nebraska 71, Ohio 58
Loyola Marymount 72, DePaul 69

Thursday, December 25, 2014

12/25 preview

Just the games in Diamond Head today.

George Washington vs. Wichita St - a massive chance for GWU to gain a lot of bubble equity
Colorado at Hawaii - all of a sudden, a must-win true road game for Colorado
Nebraska vs. Ohio - needless to say, mandatory for Nebraska
DePaul vs. Loyola Marymount

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12/24 S-Curve

The 1 line:  Kentucky, Duke, Virginia, Wisconsin
The 2 line:  Villanova, Arizona, Gonzaga, Louisville
The 3 line:  Kansas, Utah, Wichita St, Texas
The 4 line:  North Carolina, Washington, VCU, Iowa St
The 5 line:  West Virginia, Maryland, Seton Hall, Colorado St
The 6 line:  San Diego St, Northern Iowa, St John's, Oklahoma
The 7 line:  Ohio St, Arkansas, Baylor, Butler
The 8 line:  Old Dominion, Dayton, Illinois, Georgia
The 9 line:  Michigan St, Oklahoma St, George Washington, UNLV
The 10 line:  Georgetown, LSU, UCLA, Providence
The 11 line:  BYU, Temple, Stanford, TCU
The 12 line:  Xavier, Notre Dame, Iowa, Syracuse, Green Bay, Stephen F Austin
The 13 line:  Harvard, Buffalo, Iona, Wofford
The 14 line:  Eastern Washington, Georgia St, High Point, Lafayette
The 15 line:  UC-Davis, Northeastern, Murray St, FGCU
The 16 line:  St Francis(PA), New Mexico St, North Carolina Central, South Dakota St, Hartford, Texas Southern

Bubble in:
Michigan St
Oklahoma St
George Washington

Next 4 in:

Last 4 in:
Notre Dame

Last 4 out:
North Carolina St

Next 4 out:
Boise St
Georgia Tech

On the consideration board:
California, South Carolina, Indiana, Penn St, Davidson, Cincinnati, St Mary's, Evansville, Loyola(Chi), UTEP, Yale

Break it down!
Big 12 8
Big East 7
Big 10 6
Pac 12 5
A-10 3
American 1

12/24 bracket

Automatic bids:  Currently awarded to teams with the highest RPI in a conference among teams .500 or better.  There's a couple conferences (hi, SWAC!) where no one meets that criteria, of course.  This is how we end up with Temple as the AAC autobid and Lafayette in, among others.

BYU/San Diego St would be a regular season rematch in the first know the drill about BYU's Sunday rule by now.  There's just no getting around it, this rematch is unavoidable.

Procedural bumps:
TCU from 11 to 12
Stephen F Austin from 12 to 11

1) Kentucky vs. 16) North Carolina Central/Hartford
8) Illinois vs. 9) Oklahoma St

4) Iowa St vs. 13) Harvard
5) Seton Hall vs. 12) Notre Dame/Iowa

3) Utah vs. 14) Eastern Washington
6) San Diego St vs. 11) BYU

2) Louisville vs. 15) Murray St
7) Butler vs. 10) LSU

1) Wisconsin vs. 16) New Mexico St
8) Dayton vs. 9) UNLV

4) North Carolina vs. 13) Wofford
5) Maryland vs. 12) TCU

3) Wichita St vs. 14) High Point
6) Oklahoma vs. 11) Temple

2) Arizona vs. 15) UC-Davis
7) Baylor vs. 10) Providence

1) Virginia vs. 16) St Francis(PA)
8) Old Dominion vs. 9) Michigan St

4) Washington vs. 13) Iona
5) Colorado St vs. 12) Xavier/Syracuse

3) Kansas vs. 14) Lafayette
6) Northern Iowa vs. 11) Stanford

2) Gonzaga vs. 15) FGCU
7) Arkansas vs. 10) Georgetown

1) Duke vs. 16) South Dakota St/Texas Southern
8) Georgia vs. 9) George Washington

4) VCU vs. 13) Buffalo
5) West Virginia vs. 12) Green Bay

3) Texas vs. 14) Georgia St
6) St John's vs. 11) Stephen F Austin

2) Villanova vs. 15) Northeastern
7) Ohio St vs. 10) UCLA

12/23 recap

Diamond Head semis:
George Washington 53, Colorado 50 - um, Colorado's got work to do in the Pac-12 now
Wichita St 80, Hawaii 79 (OT)
Nebraska won in the consy bracket

Las Vegas Classic:
1st:  Loyola 48, Boise St 45 - catastrophic loss for Boise
3rd:  Houston 82, Texas Tech 69

Impact wins:
@BYU 77, UMass 71 (OT) - important hold of service at home for BYU
Stanford 74, @Texas 71 - a potential signature road win!
@North Carolina St 73, Louisiana Tech 65 - crushing loss for LaTech, but a good win for NC State, could be useful on the bubble
@Dayton 75, Georgia Tech 61
@UNLV 71, Arizona 67 - Arizona will be fine, but UNLV vaults into the middle of the MWC bubble race

@Iona 86, FGCU 67
@Grand Canyon 68, New Mexico 65 - and that's definitely it for UNM's fading hopes - especially with CSU, Wyoming, Boise,'s a crowded middle of the MWC
Wyoming 61, @Montana St 51

Cupcake winners:  Louisville, Villanova, Cincinnati, Memphis, Utah

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

12/23 preview

We begin to wind down:

Diamond Head semis:  Wichita gets a true road game against Hawaii, and it's George Washington/Colorado in the other

UMass at BYU - probably a must win for BYU
FGCU at Iona - a very good sneaky good game
Stanford at Texas - likely an easy hold of serve for UT
Louisiana Tech at NC State - a decent chance at a signature road win for LaTech
Georgia Tech at Dayton - kind of a big game for both teams, who are on the fringes of the bubble
Arizona at UNLV - signature win chance for UNLV, big chance to assert a #1 seed for Zona
Boise St vs. Loyola (neutral) - not a trivial game for Boise

12/22 recap

Diamond Head quarterfinals:
George Washington 77, Ohio 49
Colorado 82, DePaul 68
Wichita St 80, Loyola Marymount 53
Hawaii 66, Nebraska 58 - really awful because Nebraska is now trapped on the bad side of the bracket with 2 cupcake games coming

Good wins:
Wisconsin 68, @California 56 - nice road win
Providence 76, Miami 62 - good stabilizing win
@St Mary's 72, Northeastern 68 (OT) - should be a win over a probable tourney team

Bad, bad losses:
UC Irvine 72, Green Bay 70 - likely means GB is out of wiggle room
Gardner-Webb 89, @Purdue 84 - and that's definitely a catastrophic blow to Purdue
@Temple 77, Kansas 52 - the margin really hurts too.  Tough to get a 1 seed with this mark

Cupcake winners:  Florida St, Northwestern, Penn St, Ohio St, Michigan St, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Clemson, Butler, VCU, Tennessee, Old Dominion, Indiana, St John's, West Virginia (well, Wofford isn't a cupcake, but WVU smashed them), UConn, Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, Colorado St, Iowa, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Ole Miss, Oregon, Arkansas, LSU, UTEP, Boise St (over Houston on a neutral), Washington, San Diego St

Monday, December 22, 2014

12/22 preview

Busy busy day as everyone gets in their last-minute resume shopping.  Diamond Head starts today with the quarters, also.

Kansas at Temple - this should be a trivial game for KU, but it's a true road game
Wofford at West Virginia
Wisconsin at California - big signature win chance for Cal incoming
Miami vs. Providence (neutral) - both are in different states of bubble disarray coming in

and a lot of other games which will only be significant if someone gets upset.

12/21 recap

Impact result of the day:
@Virginia 76, Harvard 27 - this pretty resoundingly ends Harvard's at-large hopes right there.  Everyone aboard the UVa bandwagon

Notable win:
Maryland 73, @Oklahoma St 64 - Maryland is relevant this year after all

Catastrophic loss division:
@Quinnipiac 60, Oregon St 52
@North Texas 62, Creighton 58 - I think we're starting to see the real Creighton now
@Georgia 65, Seton Hall 47 - SHU has plenty of time to rebound, but a golden chance to add a road win to the resume

Cupcake winners:  Green Bay, Alabama, USC (at BC), UTEP

Sunday, December 21, 2014

12/21 preview

Harvard at Virginia - good litmus test for Harvard, although in total this game won't have much bracket in mpact
Maryland at Oklahoma St - two bubble teams, someone's getting a nice piece for the resume today
Seton Hall at Georgia
Creighton's got a must-win road game at North Texas....USC at Boston College.  I don't care and neither should you...

12/20 recap

Catastrophic loss of the day:
Texas Southern 71, @Michigan St 64 (OT) - that's the type of loss that's worth 2 seeding lines in March

Important must-wins that were won:
VCU 68, @Cincinnati 47 - a desperately needed signature road win for VCU, and a critical blow to the AAC and Cincy.  This is a tipping point for the entire conference
SMU 62, @Michigan 51 - a critical road win for SMU, even if it's over a middling opponent.  Michigan is pretty much done
@Providence 85, UMass 65 - probably the end of UMass' chances and a good hold of service for Provi
Illinois 62, Missouri 59 - UI staying in the bubble picture
Indiana 82, Butler 73 - Butler might be sliding back to the bubble where they belong.  But a critical win for IU
Northern Iowa 56, Iowa 44 - critical neutral site win

Jockeying for seeding:
North Carolina 82, Ohio St 74
@Villanova 82, Syracuse 77 (OT) - no real sin for SU to lose this; their issues were earlier in the year
Kentucky 83, UCLA 44
Washington 69, Oklahoma 67
Utah 59, @UNLV 46

Quick hitters:
Louisville 76, @Wstern Kentucky 67
@Georgetown 81, Charlotte 78
@Georgia Tech 65, Vanderbilt 60
Albany 64, @Yale 60 - yeah, that was fun while it lasted, Yale
USC Upstate 53, Mississippi St 51 - Upstate's gotten GaTech and MSU now
Florida 63, Wake Forest 50
High Point 80, @James Madison 71
Notre Dame 94, Purdue 63
@Auburn 89, Xavier 88 (2OT) - not a good loss for X
@Kansas St 71, Texas A&M 64
@Texas 78, Long Beach St 68
Lehigh 84, @Arizona St 81 (3OT)
New Mexico 69, @New Mexico St 67
West Virginia 83, NC State 69
@BYU 79, Stanford 77

Cupcake winners:  Boise St, Florida St, Penn St, Kansas, Memphis, Oregon, Stephen F Austin, Pittsburgh (but in overtime over Oakland, yipes), Wyoming, Davidson (on the road), Rhode Island, Iowa St, Dayton, TCU (is 11-0, what?), Arkansas, Gonzaga, San Diego St

Saturday, December 20, 2014

12/20 preview

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

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

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

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

12/19 recap

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

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

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

Friday, December 19, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12/19 preview

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

12/18 recap

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

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

Thursday, December 18, 2014

12/18 preview

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

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

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

12/17 recap

Impact result of the day:
@Cincinnati 71, San Diego St 62 - critical home hold for Cincy.  The AAC does not offer much support this year, so this is a big win to tuck away in the at-large resume.  If you're wondering, SDSU should be okay with their loaded non-con schedule, although having N-Pitt as the signature win may cause seeding problems

@North Carolina St 83, Tennessee 72
Arkansas St 69, @Mississippi St 55 - there goes the SEC again
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 61, @Houston 56 (OT) - just in case you were getting fooled by Houston's W-L
@Memphis 83, USC Upstate 73
Central Michigan 80, @Northwestern 67 - don't get fooled by CMU at 7-1.  Try not to
@Old Dominion 58, Georgia St 54 (OT) - great hold of serve at home by ODU, and they're kinda in bubble play for now
@Michigan St 66, Eastern Michigan 46
@UNLV 75, Portland 73 (OT)

Cupcake winners:  Ohio St, Pittsburgh, Florida St, Wofford, High Point, Illinois, Texas Tech, Illinois St, SMU, Stephen F Austin, Green Bay, Baylor, Stanford, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12/17 preview

Tennessee at North Carolina St - most likely a meaningless game
USC Upstate at Memphis - upset alert
Georgia St at Old Dominion - great litmus test for both.  let's find out how serious ODU is about a possible at-large bid
San Diego St at Cincinnati - big, big chance for Cincy, who needs it given the AAC is falling apart
Eastern Michigan at Michigan St - EMU isn't good, don't look at that 8-1 record

There's a fair number of cupcake action tonight as well

12/16 recap

Nearly catastrophic loss of the day:
@Wichita St 53, Alabama 52

Actual catastrophic loss of the day:
Northern Arizona 73, @St Mary's 71 - St Mary's did win at Creighton, lost to Boise...they were in decent-to-good shape.  And then this happened

American 68, @LaSalle 66 (OT)
@VCU 78, Belmont 51 - these games are more important than VCU wants them to be, but they're getting them
@Sam Houston St 76, Eastern Washington 52 - this kind of puts the brakes on the EWU bandwagon for now
@Charlotte 90, Charleston 85 (OT)
@Marquette 78, Arizona St 71
@Oklahoma St 68, Middle Tennessee 44

Cupcake winners:  Oklahoma, North Carolina, Buffalo, Texas, Arizona

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12/16 preview

Game of the day:
Belmont at VCU - at this point, every game like this matters a lot for VCU

mildly intriguing:
North Carolina technically plays a road game at UNC-Greensboro
American at LaSalle - mildly intruguing
Arizona St at Marquette - neither team really matters this year
Middle Tennessee at Oklahoma St
in cupcake theater:  Texas, Arizona, Wichita St (against Alabama), St Mary's

12/15 recap

I literally don't even want to list scores.  There's not a single score I would list on a typical night.

Cupcake winners:  Duke, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Gonzaga, Oregon St

Monday, December 15, 2014

12/15 preview

Incredibly light day.  I think North Carolina Central at Memphis might be the game of the day - NCCU is good enough to ruin Memphis' season.  Duke gets a competent Elon team at home, Gonzaga's got a SWAC school, and Ga Tech needs to hold serve against App State.  That's about it.

12/14 recap

Impact results of the day:
@Penn St 64, George Washington 51 - potentially fatal loss for GWU's at large hopes
@Tennessee 67, Butler 55 - the good news for Butler is they had built up some equity heading into this game.  UT is not relevant yet
@Syracuse 71, Louisiana Tech 69 - so close
Wofford 55, @NC State 54 - could be worth a seeding line for Wofford in March
@Washington 81, Eastern Washington 77 - good hold of serve at home

On the fringes:
Florida International 69, @FGCU 63
Illinois St 78, @DePaul 72
@Clemson 72, Auburn 61

Cupcake winners:  Seton Hall, Villanova, Wyoming, Old Dominion, St John's, UConn, Florida, Stephen F Austin, West Virginia, Louisville, Iowa St, Kansas St, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Boise St, Michigan St

Sunday, December 14, 2014

12/14 preview


George Washington at Penn St - serious bubble teams win this game, GW
Butler at Tennessee - same comment here, Butler
Louisiana Tech at Syracuse - LaTech is good.  This is not a trivial game for SU
Wofford at North Carolina St - same comment applies here too
Eastern Washington at Washington - I sure didn't have this game on my radar at the beginning of the year, but U-Dub isn't losing and EWU is the new Big Sky favorite

12/13 recap

Signature wins:
@Kentucky 84, North Carolina 70
Kansas 63, Utah 60
Gonzaga 87, @UCLA 74

Bubble impact games:
@Arkansas 69, Dayton 55
St Mary's 71, Creighton 67 (OT) - big, big win, and a big big loss
Western Kentucky 81, @Ole Miss 74 - ok so we can pump the brakes on the Ole Miss bandwagon, right?
@Arizona 80, Michigan 63 - Michigan is in so much trouble
Oklahoma St 73, @Memphis 55 - Memphis is in so much trouble
@VCU 93, Northern Iowa 87 (2OT) - the hold of serve VCU so desperately needed
Oregon 77, Illinois 70 - not good for Illinois
@Nebraska 56, Cincinnati 55 (2OT) - the entire AAC is in trouble

@Maryland 67, USC Upstate 57
Wichita St 77, @Detroit 68
@Pittsburgh 58, St Bonaventure 54
Oklahoma 87, Tulsa 68
Xavier 74, @Missouri 58
@Texas 59, Texas St 27
@Notre Dame 83, Florida St 63

@Arizona St 81, Pepperdine 74
Murray St 81, Evansville 79
@Oregon St 59, Mississippi St 49
Middle Tennessee 62, @Akron 61
@Vanderbilt 81, Purdue 71
Army 85, @USC 77 (OT)

Cupcake winners:  Georgetown, Providence, Ohio St, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, UMass, Green Bay, Indiana, Texas A&M, Colorado, Stanford, LSU, TCU, UNLV, California, BYU

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12/13 preview

Games of the day (non-bracketology category):
North Carolina at Kentucky - in reality, it's a house money shot for UNC to save its resume
Utah at Kansas - after Utah's latest run (Wichita, @BYU), this game has zero impact on them if they get blown out
Gonzaga at UCLA - UCLA could use some big wins, and Gonzaga could use some meat on their resume before entering the low-calorie WCC conference season

The big bubble impact games:
Dayton at Arkansas - UD with a quality road win chance, Arkansas needs to give the SEC any kind of respectability possible
St Mary's at Creighton - St Mary's can't afford to lose too many games, and CU continues to be a pleasant surprise
Northern Iowa at VCU - UNI has reached house money status for this game, a loss here won't undo their work so far.  VCU is getting desperate, though
Cincinnati at Nebraska - the AAC is awful so far, so a road win like this is all of a sudden more important to get for Cincy.  And Nebraska needs to stop their bleeding

Big teams in tricky spots:
Maryland hosts USC Upstate
Wichita St has to go on the road at Detroit
Providence hosts Stony Brook
St Bonaventure @ Pittsburgh
Oklahoma has to go to Tulsa, who's now off the bubble
Xavier plays at Mizzou
Arizona plays a desperate Michigan team at home
Oklahoma St plays at a desperate Memphis team on the road
Illinois hosts Oregon in a hold-serve type of game
Notre Dame hosts Florida St
Texas St @ Texas
BYU travels to Weber St

On the fringes:
Murray St at Evansville
Mississippi St at Oregon St
Denver at Stanford
Purdue at Vanderbilt

12/12 recap

Signature win of the day:
Iowa St 90, @Iowa 75 - quality road win, Iowa in a spot of bother for their resume at the moment

Cupcake winners:  Florida, NC State over Charleston Southern, Holy Cross over the mighty NJIT

Friday, December 12, 2014

12/12 preview

4 games in the entire country!  But there's actually relevant stuff!

Charleston Southern at North Carolina St - CSU is decent.  This is a legit mild upset alert
Iowa St at Iowa - both teams have ok but not great so far.  Both are likely tournament teams and have a million signature win chances still to come, so this isn't make or break for either
Texas Southern at Florida - don't blow this
NJIT at Holy Cross

12/11 recap

@Boston College 85, Maine 74
@George Washington 81, DePaul 68
Wright St 79, @Belmont 71
@Missouri 79, Elon 73
Eastern Washington 81, @San Francisco 76

I can't even muster up the care to analyze this.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

12/11 preview

Uberlight day.

DePaul at George Washington - DePaul's actually run out to 6-1 with a win over Stanford.  Frankly, I don't think they're any good but their first real chance to shut me up comes here.  GWU needs to hold
Elon at Missouri - Big South contenders at SEC tire fire situation.  Red alarm situation here
Eastern Washington at San Francisco - EWU is 5-1 with a split of @SMU and @Indiana.  Winning at a mid-level WCC school would take them from nice story to semi-relevant.  This is the type of "next step" game that good low-majors always face on the road to relevance

12/10 recap

Impact result of the night:
Kansas 75, @Georgetown 70 - solid road win, no real harm to Georgetown, except for the threat of these losses starting to accumulate

Ridiculous loss of the day:
Southeastern Oklahoma St 69, @Tulsa 66 - the AAC is terrible this year.  Terrible.  This is a catastrophic loss for Tulsa, who were already on the brink of falling off the at-large board

Catastrophic loss of the day:
Incarnate Word 74, @Nebraska 73 - NCAA teams don't lose this game, Nebraska.  By the way, if you want a laugh, look at UIW's non-con schedule.  Hosting 4 non-D1s and traveling like a SWAC team everywhere else (they're transitional D-1, if you're wondering).  UIW might actually be a top 150 or 200 team...but this just makes this loss the equivalent of losing at home to the worst team in the B1G.  Which can be recovered from.

Results of significance:
@Providence 68, Rhode Island 60 - Provi desperately needed to stop the bleeding; URI couldn't afford to let too many quality chances slip away.  Provi wins
Utah 65, @BYU 61 - signature road win, and the Utah bandwagon is filling.  BYU in trouble
Colorado St 62, @Colorado 60 - a signature road win, and CSU looks like a clear 2nd option to SDSU in the Mountain West.  Is UC a bubble team?  They're creeping into territory
@California 45, Wyoming 42 - good win for Cal; no real sin for Wyoming, but not a lot of big chances like this remain

@Ohio St 97, High Point 43
@Maryland 67, North Carolina Central 56
@Louisiana-Lafayette 94, Louisiana Tech 86 - while this isn't a terrible road loss, kinda puts a serious dent into CUSA's at large hopes
Wisconsin 93, @Milwaukee 54
Northern Iowa 65, @Denver 55
Davidson 110, @Montana 88 - Davidson is piling up wins, but against mostly inferior competition
@Texas Tech 73, Fresno St 56
@Penn St 64, Duquesne 62
@San Diego St 60, Long Beach St 59 - too close for comfort, but still
@Gonzaga 81, Washington St 66

Cupcake winners:  Kentucky, Purdue, St John's, Minnesota, UCLA

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12/10 preview

Impact game of the day:
Kansas at Georgetown - KU's been on their best behavior since the Kentucky game, this would be a nice road get.  G'town could use a signature win.  Big chance for both

Bubble impact game of the day:
Rhode Island at Providence - URI's lurking on the bubble, the Nebraska win losing value and the GT loss stinging.  Provi has dropped BC and Brown in the last 2 and all of a sudden are in trouble.  Someone's getting a key win tonight

Other really important game of the day:
Colorado St at Colorado - CSU's schedule isn't necessarily awful, but there's no high-end game on it...except this one.  Needless to say, it's huge.  Colorado's schedule is a a bit light itself, and might not be able to afford to drop this one

In mid-major upset hunting theater:  Holy Cross visits Ohio St, North Carolina Central visits Maryland, Long Beach St visits San Diego St

Other notables:
Wisconsin at Milwaukee - road game for UW, should be handled though
Utah at BYU - ok, I welcomed Utah to the big boy table, let's see how they handle a tricky road spot.  Not mandatory to win this game
Northern Iowa at Denver - every road win matters
Washington St at Gonzaga
Wyoming at California - last major non-con game for Wyoming, with the MWC down, this is a huge opportunity.  And Cal could use their own bubble supplement

12/9 recap

Catastrophic loss of the day:
Eastern Michigan 45, @Michigan 42 - well, now Michigan is in a direct line impact with the bubble

Games with low impact:
Villanova 73, Illinois 59 (neutral) - small boon for 'Nova, no harm to Illinois
Louisville 94, Indiana 74 (neutral) - same analysis goes here too
@Wichita St 77, Seton Hall 68 - it was always a house money game for the Hall
@Baylor 77, Texas A&M 63

South Dakota St 62, @St Louis 55
Evansville 65, @Belmont 62 - UE starting to creep towards the back door of the bubble
Creighton 91, South Dakota 88 (2OT) - yikes

Cupcake winners:  Notre Dame, Iowa St, Xavier, Dayton, TCU, Arizona, Iowa, Boise St, Iowa

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12/9 preview

Impact games of the night:

Illinois vs. Villanova (NYC) - just another chance to hold serve for 'Nova, but a signature win chance for UI
Seton Hall at Wichita St - SHU, if you're for real, show it
Indiana vs. Louisville (NYC) - Indiana gets a signature win chance of their own, L'ville can't afford to drop too many of these types of games

Other stuff:
Eastern Michigan at Michigan
Texas A&M at Baylor
Evansville at Belmont - two teams probably too far away from the bubble, but you never know

12/8 recap

Not much juice to squeeze out here.

Catastrophic loss of the night:
Brown 77, @Providence 67 - Provi went from a real nice start to a bit of trouble

@SMU 80, UC Santa Barbara 73 (OT) - wowowowowow if SMU had blown this one...
@Purdue 63, IPFW 43
@Harvard 70, Boston 56
@Florida 85, Yale 47 - well that shut up the Yale at-large bandwagon quick

Cupcake winners: Butler, Miami, Minnesota

Monday, December 8, 2014

12/8 preview

It's finals week, so everyone's throttling down.

Games of the day:
Yale at Florida - Yale's defeating national champions and Florida has a losing record.  This has warning signs everywhere
UC Santa Barbara at SMU - Not a trivial game for SMU; UCSB is good enough to win and ruin what's left of SMU's at large hopes

Harvard hosts Boston in a must-win situation...Purdue hosts Summit favorites IPFW.  There's another upset alarm situation....Butler and Miami nad Providence dine on cupckaes.

12/7 recap

Signature win of the day:
@Washington 49, San Diego St 36 - I wasn't quite sure how seriously I should take U-Dub,  But they did tear through a (weak) neutral site tournament, and now have a signature win.  They're in play.  SDSU, this is probably the difference between a top 2 or 3 seed, and a 4 or 5 seed

Impact games:
@Georgia 64, Colorado 57 - Georgia already did plenty of damage to their resume; this is just step 1 in the rehabilitation process.  Not a great game for Colorado to drop
FGCU 84, @UMass 75 - Ok, NOW UMass has dropped too many games of note, despite them scheduling up.  This could get FGCU off the 16 line in March
Ole Miss 79, @Oregon 73 - Still think Ole Miss isn't any good, but they do have Oregon, Creighton, and Cincy on their dossier now
@Clemson 68, Arkansas 65 (OT) - Clemson still isn't good.  The real news is Arkansas finally dropping a game they shouldn't have
Creighton 65, @Nebraska 55 - Not a good dropped game for NU, they might be more in the bubble range than I thought.  Big, big road win for Creighton to stay in the bubble picture

@James Madison 51, Richmond 46
George Washington 78, Charlotte 70
Radford 68, @Virginia Tech 66 - yikes, ACC
California 63, @Nevada 56 - road win

Cupcake winners:  Georgetown, Colorado St, Tulsa, Wyoming, Stephen F Austin, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, UCLA

Sunday, December 7, 2014

12/7 preview

Light day.

Colorado at Georgia - signature win chance for Georgia.  Not mandatory for CU, but recommended that they take care of business, every road win is a good win
FGCU at UMass
Charlotte vs. George Washington (neutral, I think, in DC)
California at Nevada
Ole Miss at Oregon
Arkansas at Clemson - don't blow this, Arkansas
Creighton at Nebraska - ooh, this is a good one.  Nebraska needs to continue piling up quality wins, Creighton already feels like they're going to slip
San Diego St at Washington - critical game for SDSU to help determine just how high their seed goes

Saturday, December 6, 2014

12/6 recap

A new section heading to lead off this day:  Inexusable losses of the day!

NJIT 72, @Michigan 70 - my words
@South Carolina 75, Oklahoma St 49 - getting blown out by a bad SEC team is a disaster for a bubble team
USC Upstate 59, @Georgia Tech 54 - and this is a horrible look for the ACC who's desperately trying to get the bottom half of this league to stand up
North Florida 73, @Purdue 70 - guess Purdue isn't relevant after all

Signature wins of the day:
Virginia 74, @VCU 57 - even though VCU is struggling, this win will have shelf life
Green Bay 68, @Miami 55 - Miami's built up enough equity to survive this loss for now; the real story is GB keeping at-large hopes floating for the time being
@Arizona 66, Gonzaga 63 - crushing loss of a signature win chance for Gonzaga
St John's 69, Syracuse 57 - well, now we know 2 things:  St John's is a player this year, and Syracuse might be a bubble team
Boise St 82, @St Mary's 71 - signature win for BSU, crushing to the at-large hopes of St Mary's

@Seton Hall 81, Rutgers 54
Wisconsin 49, @Marquette 38
@Villanova 74, St Joseph's 46
@Illinois 70, American 55
@Texas A&M 72, Arizona St 71
@Tulane 59, Mississippi St 54 - the SEC is not good
@Tennessee 65, Kansas St 64 - and KSU is in real trouble now
@Northeastern 81, Western Michigan 69
@Butler 65, Northwestern 56
@Wichita St 81, St Louis 52
@BYU 90, Hawaii 70
Harvard 64, Vermont 52 (2OT) - ohmanohman that was too close guys
@North Carolina St 78, Wake Forest 65
@Northern Iowa 71, George Mason 65 (OT) - another near disaster
@Xavier 97, Alabama 84
Rhode Island 75, @Southern Miss 43
New Mexico 63, @Valparaiso 46
@New Mexico St 71, UTEP 64

Cupcake winners:  Iowa, Maryland, Dayton, Michigan St, Ohio St, Notre Dame

12/6 preview

Impact game of the day:
Virginia at VCU - VCU is bleeding, just a little bit.  This would be a big ask of them.  As for Virginia, every road win like this would be a signature win and very helpful in try to separate from the other big boys in the ACC\

Other big-boy games:
Gonzaga at Arizona - Gonzaga won't have many opportunities like this available to them in February
St John's at Syracuse - if the Johnnies are serious about an at-large bid, this is highly recommended.  If Syracuse is serious about staying away from the bubble, this is mandatory
Boise St at St Mary's - typical upper-major game with typical at-large implications

Other notable notables:
Oklahoma St at South Carolina - let's find out if OSU is at least decent
Rutgers at Seton Hall - should be a layup for SHU
Wisconsin at Marquette - with MU struggling, the air is out of this matchup
St Joseph's at Villanova - should be trivial for 'Nova
Green Bay at Miami - could be a sneaky game, but GB did just get blown out at Georgia St
American at Illinois - not trivial for UI
Arizona St at Texas A&M - hey look, it's two irrelevant P5 teams
Kansas St at Tennessee - I'd characterize both teams as disappointing so far
Western Michigan at Northeastern - neat little matchup
Northwestern at Butler - mandatory for Butler
St Louis at Wichita St
Hawaii vs. BYU (neutral)
Harvard at Vermont - every road win matters, especially now that Yale seems relevant
Wake Forest at North Carolina St - ACC play is underway!
Alabama at Xavier
New Mexico at Valparaiso

12/5 recap

Impact result of the night:
@SMU 66, Wyoming 53 - a win over Wyoming might not look so bad after all.  And besides, SMU needs any kind of quality win at this point.  Not a bad loss for Wyo, but it was their first roadie of the year.  Probably need to bink their next at Cal

Other impact results:
@Boston College 69, Providence 60 - not a game a bubble team can usually afford to lose.  Provi will be fine as long as the bleeding stops here
Yale 45, @UConn 44 - um, with the AAC being a tire fire, now is not the time to drop these games, UConn.  A cursory look at Yale's profile yields no signature win other than this one, so I'm not quite hopping on a 2-bid Ivy bandwagon...but they do play Florida next

@Kentucky 63, Texas 51 - UK stays on the 1 line, Texas on the 2, carry on
@Kansas 71, Florida 65 - KU has rebounded nicely, and Florida just can't do anything right
Coastal Carolina 58, @Auburn 54 - there's the SEC we know and love
@Oklahoma 82, Missouri 63
@Stephen F Austin 74, Long Beach St 45

Cupcake winners:  Louisville, Minnesota, Pittsburgh (ok, Duquesne defintely isn't a cupcake, but just didn't feel like listing out the score).

Also, MAAC conference play started last night.  Yippee.

Friday, December 5, 2014

12/5 preview

Impact game of the night:
Texas at Kentucky - I suppose maybe this is a big game.  House money chance for Texas, but this might ultimately be a game where nothing changes as a result

The actual impact game of the night:
Wyoming at SMU - We've chronicled SMU's struggles this year so far.  This would count as a quality win.  Meanwhile, Wyoming is undefeated and they go from "cute bubble team" to "legitimate NCAA team" with a road win here

Signature win chance of the night:
Florida at Kansas - To say Florida is desperate for a win like this is an understatement

Yale at UConn - not a cupcake for UConn
Providence at Boston College - road games aren't trivial
Long Beach St at Stephen F Austin
Missouri at Oklahoma - OU should handly easily

12/4 recap

Impact win of the night:
LSU 74, @West Virginia 73 - road win at a quality school is exactly what LSU needs to erase early sins

Impact hold of the night:
@Iowa St 95, Arkansas 77 - this doesn't really hurt Arkansas, nor does it help ISU greatly.  Carry on

Baylor 66, @Vanderbilt 63 - every road win matters
@Georgia St 72, Green Bay 48
TCU 66, @Ole Miss 54 - still don't believe in TCU
@San Diego St 57, San Diego 48

University of the Sciences 54, @Drexel 52 - what?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

12/4 preview

Game of the day:
LSU at West Virginia - WVU's off to a hot start, LSU is decidedly not.  LSU has this one last chance to rescue their non-con

Games of note:
Baylor at Vanderbilt - must-get for Baylor on the road
Green Bay at Georgia St - an incredibly sexy mid-major matchup
Arkansas at Iowa St - the good news for Arkansas is that this is kind of a house money situation - I don't think they need to win this game.  ISU could use it, but they'll have many more similar win chances in conference play
TCU at Ole Miss - I don't believe in either team

12/3 recap

Signature win of the day:
Duke 80, @Wisconsin 70 - given both of these teams are headed for the 1 line, this was a very important game for Duke.  This is a nice trump card to have in your pocket in March.  Duke moves to #1 overall on my S-Curve

Other signature win of the day:
@Utah 69, Wichita St 68 - welcome to the big boy table, Utah

Yet another signature win of the day:
@Notre Dame 79, Michigan St 78 - Michigan St, I'm starting to worry about.  But ND gets a signature win to stamp on the resume.  They didn't have much weight in their non-con SoS, so this was very important

My God, how many signature wins were there yesterday?
Iowa 60, @North Carolina 55 - UNC's gotta be in panic mode now.  And all of a sudden, Iowa's whiff in their Texas/Syracuse stretch is forgotten, with a signature road win

Significant results:
@Harvard 60, Northeastern 46 - after an early bobble, Harvard appears to be on all cylinders
Butler 77, @Indiana St 54 - road win
@Tulsa 77, Creighton 64 - I think reality will be setting in for Creighton soon
@Colorado St 65, UTEP 62
Virginia 76, @Maryland 65 - that's a good road win
Georgia Tech 66, @Northwestern 58

@St Joseph's 58, Temple 56
Dayton 66, @Miami(OH) 62 - road win
@Davidson 92, Charlotte 86
@Penn St 61, Virginia Tech 58 - this game deserves relegation to this section
Old Dominion 75, @George Mason 69 - road win
@Arizona St 77, UNLV 55 - I thought UNLV was much better than this
Villanova 84, @LaSalle 70 - road win
@New Mexico 62, New Mexico St 47
Idaho 77, @Washington St 71 - oy
@California 78, Montana 76 (2OT) - almost a disaster

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

12/3 preview

ACC/B1G Challenge:
Michigan St at Notre Dame - MSU has to hold
Virginia Tech at Penn St - lol
Iowa at North Carolina - kind of a bummer for UNC after missing quality win chances in Atlantis
Georgia Tech at Northwestern
Virginia at Maryland - time for Maryland to prove it's for real
Duke at Wisconsin - I suppose maybe this is a good game

Impact games:
Northeastern at Harvard - this is a pretty sexy game between two probable tourney teams
Wichita St at Utah - Utah is a nice little team.  Want to sit at the big boy table?  Get a big boy win
UTEP at Colorado St - if both are to be in the bubble talk in March, they've got to get this game

Games to monitor:
Dayton at Miami(OH) - must-win road game?
Butler at Indiana St - NCAA tourney teams win this game, Butler
Creighton at Tulsa - another one of those games where the road team can make bubble progress
UNLV at Arizona St - ditto
Villanova at LaSalle
New Mexico St at New Mexico

12/2 recap

Impact result of the night:
Stephen F Austin 64, @Memphis 52 - and finally, SFA's aggressive effort to schedule up pays off.  However, Memphis can start worrying now

B1G/ACC challenge:
@Indiana 81, Pittsburgh 69
Minnesota 84, @Wake Forest 69
@Michigan 68, Syracuse 65
@Miami 70, Illinois 61
@Purdue 66, North Carolina St 61
@Louisville 64, Ohio St 55 - so, in all 6 games, the favored team won.  Ho-hum.  Pitt's in trouble, Syracuse might be if they keep losing big games.  NC State were longshots anyway, Miami might be for real, Illinois is a bubble team

Other results:
@Cincinnati 78, Stony Brook 52
Georgia 86, @Chattanooga 55
@LSU 82, UMass 60 - important game for LSU
Louisiana Tech 99, @Northwestern St 88
VCU 66, @Illinois St 62
@Belmont 63, Middle Tennessee 59
@Alabama 82, South Florida 71
@Wyoming 68, Denver 42
BYU 91, @Utah St 81

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

12/2 preview

B1G/ACC Challenge:
Pittsburgh at Indiana - two teams probably on the wrong side of the bubble, one team gets a modest boost today
Minnesota at Wake Forest - mandatory game for Minny
Syracuse at Michigan - both should be clear of the bubble in March, so this is mostly jockeying for position, and seeing just how elite these two teams can be
Illinois at Miami - beautiful matchup here.  Great litmus test for both teams
North Carolina St at Purdue - see Pitt/Indiana comment
Ohio St at Louisville - both teams have weaker schedules than you'd think, which just increases the importance of getting a signature win here

Games of significance:
Stephen F Austin at Memphis - I love SFA challenging themselves this season, and with Memphis down, this is eminently gettable
UMass at LSU - if anyone wants to take LSU seriously, they have to win this game.  Yet another road test for UMass, they're doing a great job of giving themselves opportunities that won't break them if they lose

Games of note:
Stony Brook at Cincinnati - SBU is a frisky small-major
Georgia at Chattanooga
Louisiana Tech at Northwestern St
VCU at Illinois St - a couple days after dropping a roadie at ODU.  VCU can afford road losses...but not THAT many
BYU at Utah St - bottom line, mandator game for BYU
Denver at Wyoming

12/1 recap

Impact result of the night:
Nebraska 70, @Florida St 65 - FSU is definitely cooked.  As for Nebraska, after losing at URI, it's nice to see them show they can beat a worse team on the road.  The committee notices those types of things

Rutgers 69, @Clemson 64, and no one cares
South Carolina 77, @Marshall 59 - any road win matters for the SEC at this point.  Any.
Baylor and Boston College among the cupcake winners

Monday, December 1, 2014

S-Curve 12/1

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

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

Bubble in:
Northern Iowa
Colorado St

Next 4 in:

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

Last 4 out:
Ole Miss

Next 4 out:
Boise St

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

12/1 preview

Big 10/ACC challenge is underway:  you should not care about Rutgers/Clemson.  You should care about Nebraska at Florida St.  Nebraska lost one roadie to URI this season, so getting this would be a nice balance.  FSU's already on the brink of falling out of at-large contention.

Outside of South Carolina travelling to a CUSA school (Marshall), there's literally nothing else of note today.

11/30 recap

Result of the day:
Texas 55, @UConn 54 - Texas goes on the road and picks up a signature win.  Welcome Texas to the conversation for the 1 line.  On the other end...the entire AAC is down, and UConn's seed might take a beating

Orlando Classic:
Kansas 61, Michigan St 56
Marquette 67, Tennessee 59
Georgia Tech 64, Rhode Island 61 - this one hurt URI's at large bid a bit
Santa Clara 68, Rider 60

Wooden Legacy:
Washington 68, UTEP 65 - title for U-Dub, not the greatest loss for UTEP to absorb
Long Beach St 73, Xavier 70
Princeton 69, San Jose St 54
Western Michigan 68, San Diego 66

@Kentucky 58, Providence 38
@DePaul 87, Stanford 72 - yes, it was a road game, but yikes to Stanford, this isn't a good look
@Northern Iowa 55, Richmond 50
@Arkansas 94, Iona 77
USC 66, @New Mexico 54 - I think we can safely pass on UNM for this year
California 64, @Fresno St 57