Monday, November 30, 2015

Big 10/ACC Challenge

Let's have a post about these games.  These are meaningless in the big scheme of things with regards to conference hierarchy, but individual games may be useful.

Wake Forest at Rutgers
Clemson at Minnesota - good way to hide the meaningless games on a Monday!  Clemson and Minny both might be fringe at-large candidates, but I doubt it.  Wake and Rutgers most definitely aren't.

Michigan at NC State - if I had to predict, Michigan will be fine and NC State won't.  Here's a road chance for UM to pick up a modest win for the resume.
Northwestern at Virginia Tech - I think NU is pretty clearly the better team, which makes this dangerous.  Road game at a competent opponent.  Tourney teams win this more often than not, good chance for an early statement.
Virginia at Ohio St - tough to value this game when OSU has turned into a tire fire.  The good news is a loss for them won't hurt, while a win erases a lot of sins.  As for UVa, a road win never hurt a resume.
Miami at Nebraska - Miami is probably exceeding expectations, and here we go:  another game where the road team is a modest favorite.  Things are interesting, no?
Purdue at Pittsburgh - Purdue is probably a very solid tournament team, and those teams win these games.  Big chance for Pitt to leap into the bubble conversation.
Maryland at North Carolina - sexy on-court matchup, little actual impact.  Both will have plenty of signature win chances going forward, so this won't make or break either team.

Louisville at Michigan St - see Maryland/UNC comment.
Wisconsin at Syracuse - I pegged Syracuse as a bubble team early, but winning Atlantis changes things fast.  Considering Wisky is fading, all of a sudden Syracuse is in a must-hold situation.
Penn St at Boston College - ew, no
Indiana at Duke - Duke is Duke, which means Indiana has a big chance to add something of value to their resume.  Kind of a no-win situation for Duke.
Notre Dame at Illinois - UI is becoming a tire fire, so Notre Dame must hold as a road favorite, which is never trivial.
Florida St at Iowa - Both are fringy bubble teams, so this could actually be really valuable to both teams.

The overarching theme:  Modest road favorites.  Northwestern.  Miami.  Purdue.  Notre Dame.  And we all know road wins are pure gold currency.  Which teams will get it, and which teams will receive a black mark on the resume?

11/29 recap

Wooden Legacy:
Michigan St 77, Providence 64
Arizona 68, Boise St 59
Evansville 75, UC Irvine 56
Santa Clara 62, Boston College 45 - notable just because this is a really bad Santa Clara team

Xavier 90, Dayton 61 - margin usually doesn't matter, but I'd file away this 3-game performance for X down the road
Monmouth 83, USC 73 - Monmouth has N-Notre Dame, N-USC, and @UCLA.  Gaining speed
Alabama 74, Notre Dame 73 - Alabama:  who knew?  Semi-disastrous trip for ND losing to Monmouth/Bama
Iowa 84, Wichita St 61 - oy

@Duke 85, Utah St 52
@Oklahoma 64, Wisconsin 48 - no sin to lose this but Wisky's behind the 8-ball
@Pepperdine 69, Montana 63

Cupcake winners:  SMU, Marquette, Rhode Island, SFA, UT-Arlington (on the road), UCLA, St Mary's

Sunday, November 29, 2015

11/28 recap

Emerald Coast Classic:
Iowa St 84, Illinois 73
Virginia Tech 82, UAB 77 (OT)

Barclays Center Classic:
Cincinnati 61, George Washington 56
Nebraska 82, Tennessee 71

Corpus Christi:
UTEP 99, Colorado St 90 (2OT)

Great Alaska:
Middle Tennessee 78, Toledo 70

Catastrophic losses of the day:
@UMKC 64, South Dakota St 57 - man.  SDSU beats TCU, IlSU, Weber St....they had the beginnings of at least thinking about an at-large bid, then this
@Ball St 69, Valparaiso 66 - dammit.  These road games, man.  Crippling loss to what was developing into a sterling at-large resume.  This sucks
Arkansas-Little Rock 64, @Tulsa 60 - and now Tulsa is giving away a fair chunk of its equity it gained by beating Wichita
Longwood 70, @Columbia 69 - that's the end of my Columbia bandwagon

@VCU 76, Old Dominion 67
@Seton Hall 69, Georgia 62
@BYU 95, Belmont 81

Cupcake winners:  Davidson, Northern Iowa, Hofstra (on the road!), Pitt, Butler, Northwestern, Louisville, UNLV

Saturday, November 28, 2015

11/27 recap

Battle 4 Atlantis:
Syracuse 74, Texas A&M 67
Gonzaga 73, UConn 70 - everyone in the top 4 kind of leaves with something of value for the resume
Michigan 78, Texas 72 - Michigan walks out with a Texas win, Texas walks out with a Washington win
Washington 71, Charlotte 66

Wooden Legacy:
Michigan St 77, Boise St 67
Providence 69, Arizona 65 - well, there's our mild upset.  Provi/Michigan St for the title, while Provi gets a signature win to work with.  Arizona will be fine, probably
over in the consy, Irvine binked BC and Evansville over Santa Clara

Dayton 73, Monmouth - Monmouth's done plenty for their resume, so no harm.  Now if they beat USC...oh boy
Xavier 87, USC 77 - Dayton/Xavier for the title, this set up nicely
Notre Dame 68, Iowa 62
Alabama 64, Wichita St 60 - if you can get Wichita/Iowa in a 7th place game, you're doing okay

Emerald Coast Classic:
Iowa St 99, Virginia Tech 77
Illinois 72, UAB 58

Barclays Center Classic:
Cincinnati 65, Nebraska 61
George Washington 73, Tennessee 70 - building on signature wins

Villanova 69, Georgia Tech 52
Stanford 69, Arkansas 66

Las Vegas Invitational:
Richmond 94, California 90 - losing to SDSU is fine; losing this too is one too many.  Is Richmond a threat now?
West Virginia 72, San Diego St 50 - and WVU gets 2 wins out of this

Corpus Christi:  UTEP over SIU, Colorado St over Portland

Great Alaksa:  Alaska-Anchorage over Drexel, for some reason

Kentucky 84, South Florida 63
Northeastern 78, @Miami 77 - UM just kinda game up some of the goodwill they got from the Utah and Butler wins, but they'll be fine.  NU has an uneven non-con sked and needs to hold in upcoming games to pay this off
@Florida 70, FGCU 50
@NC State 87, Winthrop 79
Memphis 81, Ohio St 76 (OT) - OSU is toast already
@Oklahoma St 79, Long Beach St 73
Tulane 60, Stephen F Austin 59 - awful for SFA.  Remember, this Tulane team lost to 2 SWAC schools already

Cupcake winners:  Baylor, South Carolina, Utah

Friday, November 27, 2015

11/26 recap

Battle 4 Atlantis:
Texas A&M 62, Gonzaga 61 - a pretty good coup for the SEC, really
Syracuse 79, UConn 76 - so it's A&M/SU and Gonzaga/UConn.  not bad
Texas 72, Washington 70
Michigan 102, Charlotte 47 - Michigan/Texas is a pretty good 5th place game

Wooden Legacy:
Michigan St 99, Boston College 68
Arizona 75, Santa Clara 73 (OT) - oh dear
Boise St 71, UC Irvine 64
Providence 74, Evansville 64 - the 4 teams that should've held serve...hold

Monmouth 70, Notre Dame 68 - for those keeping score at home, Monmouth has binked @UCLA and N-Notre Dame.  And more signature win chances are coming.  hmmmmmmm
Xavier 64, Alabama 45
USC 72, Wichita St 69
Dayton 82, Iowa 77 - so it's Monmouth/Dayton and Xavier/USC.  Some plot twists here.  Wichita, Iowa, and Notre Dame in the losers bracket.  Perhaps the team most hurt?  Dayton, who could use another signature win

Villanova 59, Stanford 45
Georgia Tech 83, Arkansas 73

Las Vegas:
San Diego St 72, California 58
West Virginia 67, Richmond 59

Cupcake winners:  SFA (finally on the board!)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

11/25 recap

Battle 4 Atlantis:
Gonzaga 80, Washington 64
UConn 74, Michigan 60
Texas A&M 84, Texas 73
Syracuse 83, Charlotte 70 - it feels like the right 4 teams won here...time for the top 4 to go for quality wins

Kansas 70, Vanderbilt 63
Wake Forest 80, UCLA 77 - is Wake better than we thought?  Or is this just simply a bad loss?  I'm going with the latter
UNLV 72, Indiana 69 - a catastrophic visit for Indiana
and St John's was closer than it needed to be to Chaminade

Cancun Challenge:
Maryland 86, Rhode Island 63
TCU 71, Illinois St 60

Gulf Coast Showcase:
Weber St 75, Murray St 59 - interesting resume brewing.  Losing at SDakSt is forgivable, to Utah St as well, and now 3 neutral site wins here.  Road game at BYU and return visit from SDakSt is still on the ledger.  Get both and....
Drake 69, Pepperdine 53 - just not a good loss for Pepperdine at all
Duquesne 81, Western Kentucky 73
Milwaukee 84, Central Michigan 78 - CMU betrayed me

Men Who Speak Up:
Creighton 97, UMass 76 - meh

Great Alaska:
Toledo, Loyola(Chi) win quarterfinals games

@Duke 80, Yale 61
@Ole Miss 68, Georgia St 59
@Manhattan 69, George Mason 67 - way to squander some of your early season results
@North Dakota St 73, Montana 53

Cupcake winners:  Oregon, Florida, VCU, Pitt, UNI, Wisky, BYU

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Early-season tournament preview, part III: Thanksgiving weekend

You know how we do.

Battle 4 Atlantis
Nov 25-27
8 teams in your standard format
The matchups:
Gonzaga vs. Washington
Texas A&M vs. Texas
Syracuse vs. Charlotte
Michigan vs. UConn
The stakes:  This is the one field where it's not completely awful if you're in the losers bracket.  Almost everyone is a quality win chance.  The best team is probably Gonzaga, but as long as they beat Washington, a loss won't harm them too badly.  Charlotte might (and I stress might) be the only weak link here, so the loser of Michigan/UConn won't be too happy.  Just sit back and enjoy.

Great Alaska Shootout
Nov 25-28
8 teams in your standard format
The matchups:
San Jose St vs. Toledo
San Diego vs. Loyola(Chi)
Middle Tennessee vs. Alaska-Anchorage
Drexel vs. UNC-Asheville
The stakes:  Man, what happened to this tournament?  The winner will get 3 neutral site wins over not-terrible teams...yippee.  Meh.

Advocare Invitational
Nov 26, 27, 29
8 teams in your standard format
The matchups:
Alabama vs. Xavier
Wichita St vs. USC
Notre Dame vs. Monmouth
Iowa vs. Dayton
The stakes:  Sneaky good field.  And sneaky competent teams.  Even among the lightweights, USC beat New Mexico and Monmouth won at UCLA and Drexel.  Iowa/Dayton is incredibly high stakes - the losers bracket won't be terrible, but there's a lot of resume value in the winners bracket in this tournament.  Both fancy themselves as tournament teams, so winning this first game is critical.  And Notre Dame can't sleep on Monmouth.  And what an opportunity for Alabama, because they need all the at-large help they can get.  Xavier can't afford to lose that either, as a probable bubble team.  And Monmouth with a chance to really leap in the at-large convo.  Remember they're in the MAAC, who has occasionally been good enough to support an at-large bid for their best team.  Meanwhile, Wichita needs some resume help to erase a loss to Tulsa.  This is by far the most impactful tournament this year.

Wooden Legacy
Nov 26, 27, 29
8 teams in your standard format
The matchups:
UC Irvine vs. Boise St
Boston College vs. Michigan St
Evansville vs. Providence
Santa Clara vs. Arizona
The stakes:  Well, there's a clear top 4 and bottom 4, and we know the top 4 teams must hold in the quarters.  That's self-explanatory.  Evansville is maybe the one team who can upset the apple cart.  Once we're past those, Arizona/Michigan St seem on a collision course for a signature win chance at each other...both Boise and Providence will have obvious chances to get that signature win for themselves.

NIT Season Tip-Off
Nov 26-27
4 teams in your standard format (wait, just 4?  Man have times changed for this tourney)
The matchups:
Arkansas vs. Georgia Tech
Stanford vs. Villanova
The stakes:  Yawn.  Villanova has to roll twice and can't afford anything less.

Las Vegas Invitational
Nov 26-27
4 teams in your standard format:
The matchups:
West Virginia vs. Richmond
California vs. San Diego St
The stakes:  The best two teams ended up on the same side of the draw.  Kind of works out well for resume impact, in that a loss isn't as harmful as normal and you get your guaranteed shot at the best possible win.  We'll see if either WVU or Richmond matter in March.

Emerald Coast Classic
Nov 27-28
4 teams in your standard format
The matchups:
Iowa St vs. Virginia Tech
Illinois vs. UAB
The stakes:  Iowa St should feel great shame if they don't win twice.  UAB must beat UI to feel even remotely confident they can make an at-large run.

Corpus Christi
Nov 27-28
4 teams in your standard format
The matchups:
Southern Illinois vs. UTEP
Colorado St vs. Portland
The stakes:  No impact, really, unless one of these teams surprises us with an at-large run.

Barclays Center Classic
Nov 27-28
4 teams in your standard format
The matchups:
Cincinnati vs. Nebraska
George Washington vs. Tennessee
The stakes:  I think Cincy and GW are the best teams, and I think Nebraska and Tennessee are most likely to slip into the lower division in their conferences.  The stakes should be obvious to infer from that.

11/24 recap

Legends Classic:
Marquette 78, Arizona 73 (OT) - that was nearly catastrophic for Marquette
NC State 83, LSU 72 (OT) - just a catastrophic result for LSU.  Their schedule is already down and they take the collar against NCSU and Marquette.  Legitimate at-large bid trouble now

Maui Invitational:
Kansas 92, UCLA 73
Vanderbilt 86, Wake Forest 64 - this is probably the correct title matchup:  Kansas/Vandy
Indiana 83, St John's 73 - but the damage was already done
and obviously UNLV beat Chaminade

Cancun Challenge:
Maryland 77, Illinois St 66
Rhode Island 66, TCU 60 - this tournament goes to form so far

CBE Hall of Fame Classic:
North Carolina 80, Kansas St 70 - UNC handles business it's supposed to
Northwestern 67, Missouri 62 - important hold for NW
in the consy:  Columbia 70, Wofford 59, Wofford officially off the at-large board

Gulf Coast Showcase:
Murray St 59, Pepperdine 55 - bracket didn't break Pepperdine's way, because beating Duquesne and Drake (upcoming) won't help them, and this obviously doesn't either
Weber St 74, Drake 58 - Murray/Weber is the title game here
Western Kentucky 88, Central Michigan 60 - officially hopping off the CMU bandwagon, by the way

Signature win of the day:
Valparaiso 63, @Oregon St 57 - yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Other notable scores:
Radford 86, @Penn St 74
Louisiana Tech 82, @Ohio St 74 - La Tech has 2 quality wins now (including UTA).  Keep an eye out
@Green Bay 66, Akron 63
@St Louis 70, North Florida 57
@Colorado St 108, Abilene Christian 100 (2OT) - remember, CSU has a win over UNI in the hopper

Cupcake winners:  Kentucky, Oklahoma, Cincy, George Washington, Tennessee, Louisville, Nebraska

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

11/23 recap

Legends Classic:
Marquette 81, LSU 80 - horrible loss for LSU because their schedule doesn't have many of these chances left
Arizona St 79, NC State 76 - and not a good look for NCSU either

Kansas 123, Chaminade 72
Wake Forest 82, Indiana 78 - and there's your catastrophic loss.  Wrong side of the bracket, and Indiana will leave Maui with zero quality opponents added to the sked
Vanderbilt 92, St John's 55
UCLA 77, UNLV 75

CBE HoF Classic:
North Carolina 80, Northwestern 69
Kansas St 66, Missouri 42

Paradise Jam:
Florida St 90, Ohio 81
Indiana St 67, Hofstra 66 - probably fatal to their fledgling at-large hopes
South Carolina 83, Tulsa 75 - and USC wins the tourney and leaves with a useful win.  Tulsa had wiggle room thanks to Wichita, but you'd rather not spend some of it on a team like this

Gulf Coast:
Murray St 66, Milwaukee 63
Drake 81, Western Kentucky 79 (OT)
Weber St 63, Central Michigan 60 - a catastrophic loss for the MAC.  CMU needed the SoS help of being in the winners' side of the bracket, if nothing else
Pepperdine 84, Duquesne 70

Men who speak up:
UMass 82, Clemson 65
Creighton 85, Rutgers 75

@Iowa St 83, Chattanooga 63
@Providence 83, NJIT 76
@Davidson 77, Mercer 71
UT-Arlington 68, @Memphis 64 - notable:  UTA has won at Ohio St and Memphis back-to-back

Cupcake winners:  Michigan St, Cal, Xavier, West Virginia, Illinois, Baylor, Boise St, SDSU

Monday, November 23, 2015

Early-season tournament preview, part II: Thanksgiving week

This will cover everything starting Monday and Tuesday.

Gulf Coast Showcase
Nov 23-25
8 teams in your standard format
Milwaukee vs. Murray St
Duquesne vs. Pepperdine
Drake vs. Western Kentucky
Weber St vs. Central Michigan
The stakes:  Fairly low, although a couple good mid-majors are lurking in here.  Pepperdine is everyone's favorite darkhorse, and with this field, they'd need to win this to make those people feel good.  Weber and Murray are competent teams, but there's no golden goose in here that will qualify as a signature win for any of these teams.  So the stakes are simple - the winner gets 3 neutral-site wins which the committee will like but not fawn over.

Maui Invitational
Nov 23-25
8 teams in your standard format
St John's vs. Vanderbilt
Wake Forest vs. Indiana
Kansas vs. Chaminade
The stakes:  Well, there's a clear top 4 and bottom 4 in this field.  So first things first: Vandy/Indiana and Kansas/UCLA need to handle their business.  After's both high stakes and no stakes.  All are in power conferences; all will have many signature win chances, so this isn't a make or break trip for any of the 4.  This is more about bad loss avoidance than anything else.  Low stress tournament, surprisingly.

Legends Classic
Nov 23-24
4 teams in your standard format
LSU vs. Marquette
NC State vs. Arizona St
The stakes:  Frankly, LSU is a tier above everyone else and needs to handle their business.  LSU's non-con SoS is frankly terrible, so these are two very very very important games for them.  Must handle.  Marquette and NC State definitely could use a boost, and this represents a solid chance to get a jump on the process.  ASU is a lost cause.  Also, Belmont/IUPUI is possible in the JV bracket.

Men Who Speak Up Main Event
Nov 23, 25
4 teams in your standard format
The matchups:
Clemson vs. UMass
Creighton vs. Rutgers
The stakes:  The names are shiny.  The caliber isn't.  I don't think 2 wins helps anyone here.

CBE Hall of Fame Classic
Nov 23-24
4 teams in your standard format
The matchups:
Kansas St vs. Missouri
North Carolina vs. Northwestern
The stakes:  Actually a poor setup for UNC.  They're getting nothing of value here.  Northwestern, assuming they lose, which would be fine, then needs to win that second game, no matter what.  Also note we've got Wofford at Columbia in the JV bracket, which is infinitely more interesting than the main bracket.

Cancun Challenge
Nov 24-25
4 teams in your standard format
The matchups:
TCU vs. Rhode Island
Maryland vs. Illinois St
The stakes:  Assuming URI and Maryland wins the games they're supposed to, it'll be a chance at a solid win for Maryland and a signature win for URI.  Standard stuff.  I don't see the other two teams as at-large threats for the time being, so we'll see if they change my mind.

11/22 recap

Charleston Classic:
Virginia 83, George Mason 66 - and UVa gets nothing of value out of this tourney
Seton Hall 75, Ole Miss 63
Oklahoma St 82, Long Beach St 77

2K Classic:
Duke 86, Georgetown 84 - no resume movement for either team
Wisconsin 74, VCU 73 - a resume-saver for now

Puerto Rico:
Miami 85, Butler 75 - a quality neutral site win
Utah 74, Temple 68
Texas Tech 81, Minnesota 68

HoF Tipoff:
Purdue 85, Florida 70
St Joseph's 66, Old Dominion 64 - losing to Purdue is fine.  This loss, however, is the type of loss that prevents at-large bids
Buffalo 77, Vermont 71

@Villanova 75, Akron 56
@Oregon 73, Valpariaso 67 - given that Valpo won at URI already, this was a house money shot
East Tennessee St 69, @Georgia Tech 68 - *giggle*
@SMU 71, Yale 69
Tulsa 67, @Indiana St 59 - Tulsa starting to pile up useful wins
@South Carolina 94, Hofstra 84 - darn, Hofstra could've at least begun to think about an at-large bid if they got this one
@St Mary's 78, Stanford 61

Cupcake winners:  Cincy, Colorado, SFA, Colorado St, UAB, George Washington, UTEP

Sunday, November 22, 2015

11/21 recap

Signature win of the day:
@Northern Iowa 71, North Carolina - self-explanatory category here

Catastrophic losses of the day:
Arkansas-Little Rock 49, @San Diego St 43 - these games are inexcusable, period
Chattanooga 81, @Illinois 77 - probably the end of their at-large hopes, realistically

HoF Tipoff Tournament:
Purdue 61, Old Dominion 39 - a better win than people will recognize
Florida 74, St Joseph's 63

@Louisville 89, North Florida 61
@Western Kentucky 67, Stony Brook 66
@Evansville 93, Belmont 88
@Dayton 69, William & Mary 66
South Dakota St 76, @TCU 67 - um, SDSU has now beat Weber St, Illinois St, and TCU.  Indivually, each win is okay, collectively, SDSU is building something big here
@USC 90, New Mexico 82

Cupcake winners:  Wichita St, Gonzaga, Notre Dame, UConn, Davidson (by one over Charleston, eep), Texas A&M, Oregon St (on the road at UCSB!), Providence, Syracuse, Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico St,

Friday, November 20, 2015

11/20 recap

Puerto Rico:
Miami 90, Utah 66 - not a good look for the Pac-12.  Mid-table ACC > Mid-table Pac-12
Butler 74, Temple 69

George Mason 71, Oklahoma St 68 (OT) - simply a bad loss, and a lost chance at a house money game against UVa.  Meanwhile, um, George Mason is competent?  Okay then!
Virginia 87, Long Beach St 52 - more notable is LBSU gets a shot at Oklahoma St and another good resume builder

Paradise Jam:
Tulsa 90, Ohio 88 - near disaster
Hofstra 82, Florida St 77 - now, Hofstra is probably the CAA favorite, so it's isn't as bad as it looks....but the middle of the ACC is going to be a dogfight, and FSU will have one black mark entering it.  The real issue is being trapped on the wrong side of the bracket and losing quality win chances
South Carolina 76, DePaul 61
Indiana St 70, Norfolk St 61

2K Classic:
Georgetown 71, Wisconsin 61 - GU saves its season, for now
Duke 79, VCU 71 - VCU hung most of the day, so file that away under useful information for March

Signature win of the day:
Xavier 86, @Michigan 70 - road wins are gold, remember

Catastrophic loss of the day:
UT-Arlington 73, @Ohio St 68 - no words to describe

@Georgia 63, Murray St 52 - MSU is decent so this isn't a trivial result
@Northwestern 83, Columbia 80 (OT) - ditto Columbia, but this was a little too close

Cupcake winners:  Kentucky, Maryland (although they took their sweet time before taking the lead against Rider), Oklahoma, Villanova, Michigan St, California, Baylor, Oregon, Minnesota, Iona, Pitt, BYU

11/19 recap

Virginia and Oklahoma St handled their business.  Ole Miss lost a bad, bad game to George Mason, and Long Beach St might be for real!  Long Beach St 80, Seton Hall 77.  LBSU/UVa and OSU/GMU here

Puerto Rico:
No surprises.  Utah, Butler win.  Miami handles Mississippi St.  Temple beats Minnesota.  Best 4 teams in the field win, no shenanigans.

Signature win of the day:
Iowa 89, @Marquette 61 - hammering a bubble team on the road is a more useful result than you think

@Arizona 88, Boise St 76 - no sin for Boise to lose here, but wiggle room is disappearing early
@Vanderbilt 79, Stony Brook 72 (OT) - SBU is good, file that away for later use
George Washington 73, @South Florida 67 - road wins are road wins
South Dakota St 83, @Illinois St 67
Oregon St 77, @Rice 69 - road wins matter
@UCLA 81, Pepperdine 67
SMU 85, @Stanford 70

Cupcake winners;  Indiana, LSU, Clemson, Texas A&M, UAB (on the road at Troy), Memphis, Colorado St, Washington

Thursday, November 19, 2015

11/18 recap

Signature win of the day:
@Providence 60, Illinois 59 - hey, a win is a win.  And pickings are slim for this day.

Catastrophic loss of the day:

@North Carolina 78, Wofford 58
Richmond 91, @Wake Forest 82 - Wake is down, but still not a bad win for the Richmond ledger
Akron 88, @Arkansas 80 - is the MAC sneaky-good this year?

Cupcake winners;  Gonzaga, Purdue, Cincinnati (on the road at BGU), NC State, Old Dominion, Belmont, Northwestern, Valpo, SDSU

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Early-season tournament preview, part I: pre-Thanksgiving

Yep.  Here at this fine blog, we're going to cover each and every neutral-site tournament that will take place in the non-conference schedule in the next 2 months.  This post will deal with the upcoming tournament this week, before the Thanksgiving rush.

Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Nov 19, 20, 22
8 teams, your standard 8-team bracket format
Temple vs. Minnesota
Butler vs. Missouri St
Miami vs. Mississippi St
Utah vs. Texas Tech
The stakes:  We have teams of varying expectations, with most of them having small expectations.  I'm not expecting Mississippi St or Texas Tech to do much here, for example.  Utah and Butler are your two best teams, and if either lose before the finals, they'll absorb a bad loss.  Miami is the other team I'm looking at that needs a 2-1 week to avoid a partially damaging loss.  For everyone else, this tournament is an opportunity to announce they're actually a contender this year.

Charleston Classic
Nov 19, 20, 22
8 teams, your standard 8-team bracket format
Ole Miss vs. George Mason
Oklahoma St vs. Towson
Long Beach St vs. Seton Hall
Virginia vs. Bradley
The stakes:  Virginia just has to win this tournament.  No single team in here provides a signature win chance, so getting 3 neutral site wins of varying quality will be mandatory.  Oklahoma St is probably the 2nd best team in this field and should probably plan on handling Ole Miss to avoid any type of profile damage.  Also keep an eye on Long Beach St, who already handled BYU.  The losers bracket in this tournament will be poor; but if they beat Seton Hall, they get a free money chance at Virginia and probably Ole Miss too.

2K Classic
Nov 20, 22
4 teams, with another 4 weak teams in a consolation bracket
Wisconsin vs. Georgetown
Duke vs. VCU
The stakes:  Boy, this worked out well.   Wisky and GU both absorbed terribad losses, and now have a shot at redemption.  The winner of that game gets a house money chance at Duke.  The loser gets the sting of another loss, although VCU won't be that bad of a second opponent.  Of course, I expect Duke to handle all teams in this field easily.
As part of this tourney, there's a bunch of campus site games between the top 4 and the bottom 4 (Radford, Prairie View, Bryant, Siena).  Obviously we know how Radford/Georgetown went.  These bottom 4 play in their own mini-tournament, hosted by Bryant.

Paradise Jam
Nov 20-23
8 teams, your standard 8-team bracket with a bye day for the quarterfinal winners
Ohio vs. Tulsa
Indiana St vs. Norfolk St
Hofstra vs. Florida St
DePaul vs. South Carolina
The stakes;  What an odd grouping.  You have a AAC contender in the top half, and a CAA favorite lumped in with 3 middling power conference teams on the bottom half.  Hofstra is probably a bit too far away from thinking about an at-large bid, but if they can find 3 wins here, I'll give them a fighting chance.  I don't expect much out of DePaul and USC, so FSU really needs to handle their business.  On the top half, Tulsa is clearly the best team and reallllly needs to handle their end of the draw.

Hall of Fame Tip-Off
Nov 21, 22
4 teams, with another 4 weak teams in a consolation bracket
Old Dominion vs. Purdue
St Joseph's vs. Florida
The stakes:  Well, here's a big chance for ODU.  Purdue and Florida will get chances in conference play to pad an at-large resume.  ODU won't.  So much more important for them.  Beat Purdue and get a quality win and a house money chance at Florida.  Lose and get an irrelevant game with St Joe's.  Not to overplay it, but a huge swing game for ODU.
In the bottom 4 in the draw, Vermont and Buffalo are reasonably decent teams (and get Niagara and NC A&T).  If they can both win, Vermont/Buffalo might be a good game.

11/17 recap

Signature wins of the day:
Kentucky 74, Duke 63 - in past years, this would've been very useful to UK, because the SEC didn't provide any signature win chances.  The SEC is better this year, so this wasn't as critical for UK.  Both teams will obviously be fine
Michigan St 79, Kansas 73 - will be useful for seeding purposes in March
@Tulsa 77, Wichita St 67 - for an AAC that's trending downwards, a critical signature win to prop up the at-large profile of Tulsa
Valparaiso 58, @Rhode Island 55 - I'm telling you, the Valpo bandwagon is humming along

Catastrophic loss of the day:
@Northern Iowa 70, Stephen F Austin 60 - and SFA has already given up about as much ground as it can afford to in the at-large race

Notable results:
@Maryland 75, Georgetown 71 - no sin for GU to lose in this spot, but their early loss puts them behind the 8-ball now
Oklahoma 84, @Memphis 78 - road wins are never trivial
@Villanova 87, Nebraska 63
UMass 69, @Harvard 63 - just in case anyone is still on the Crimson to do big things
@Oregon St 93, Iona 73

Cupcake winners:  Notre Dame, UConn, Dayton (big over Alabama), Colorado (on the road at Auburn!), Xavier (over Mizzou), Ohio St, Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt, Wisconsin, Florida St

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

11/16 recap

Signature wins of the day:
@George Washington 73, Virginia 68 - I pegged GW for the mid-table in the A-10.  Whoops.  Too early to say a definitive impact for either team, but a signature win for GWU and a loss that won't hurt too badly for UVa if they make up for it elsewhere
@Utah 81, San Diego St 76 - signature win for Utah, not a harmful loss for SDSU

Catastrophic loss of the day:
Southern 76, @Mississippi St 72 - oh no
@Long Beach St 66, BYU 65 - BYU is already at a conference-related disadvantage...they can't afford anything more like this, even though it was on the road

@Oregon 74, Baylor 67 - wait a second, Oregon is ranked?  Are we sure about this?  I guess we are now, but I already wrote this team off to the middle of the pack in the Pac-12, and here they are with a good win.  Huh
@Indiana St 70, Wyoming 55
@Old Dominion 77, Buffalo 58 - notable in just that a probable bubble team in ODU handled their business against a not-bad mid-major
NJIT 60, @South Florida 57 - this is why you can't have nice things, AAC
@Georgia Tech 69, Tennessee 67
@Miami 93, Louisiana-Lafayette 77
@South Dakota St 85, Weber St 68 - Summit > Big Sky
@Arizona St 83, Belmont 74 - as unfair as it is, very damaging to Belmont's at-large profile

Cupcake winners:  Iowa St, Arizona, Indiana, Cal, Vandy, LSU, Michigan, WVU, Florida, Oklahoma St, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Marquette, UAB, Boise St,

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tip-Off Marathon sanity check preview post

Let's look at these games and go on a scale from 1 to 5 Bill Waltons on how enthused you need to be to watch each game.

All times eastern, because the east coast rules the world:

7:30 PM Virginia at George Washington - GWU isn't the easiest out, but a road win Virginia should get.  Mild upset alert.  2 Waltons.  

9:30 PM San Diego St at Utah - Now here we go.  MWC #1 at Pac-12 #3.  We saw the Mountain West fade last year; these games will fix a lot of seed problems that come with playing in the MWC.  As for Utah, a simple chance at a quality win.  4 Waltons.

11:30 PM Baylor at Oregon - Even though it's a road game, Baylor should roll.  1 Waltons.  

1:45 AM BYU at Long Beach St - LBSU schedules up like crazy every year, but won't matter in the at-large picture.  A big game for BYU, though.  A bubble team needs to win games like this, especially on the road, which the committee likes to see.  A loss isn't devastating, but the margin of error is smaller in the WCC.  2 Waltons.  

4:00 AM Nevada at Hawaii - Naptime.  0 Waltons.

6:00 AM Green Bay at East Tennessee St - Neither are favorites in their league, so I'm going with 0 Waltons too.  This is reminiscent of those old BracketBuster games, of which this would be, say, a decent matchup.

8:00 AM Stephen F Austin at Northern Iowa - This looked a lot better before SFA got BTFO'd by Baylor, and UNI lost a bad one to Colorado St.  1 Waltons.  Because the loser of this game will be in desperation mode for their at-large chances.  

10:00 AM Valparaiso at Rhode Island - 5 Waltons!  EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE, is on the Valpo bandwagon.  And URI is your A-10 favorite.  This will be a quality win for whoever wins, and if it's Valpo, they can begin to think at-large bid.  This is the one you can't afford to miss.  Sleep through the earlier ones if you have to.  

1:00 PM Alabama at Dayton - Dayton should cruise.  1 Walton.  

3:00 PM Colorado at Auburn - Nah, take a mid-day nap.  You'll need it by this point.  1 Walton.  

5:00 PM Oklahoma at Memphis - OU is a bonafide team, and Memphis is regressing.  I can't talk myself into believing anything Memphis is selling this year.  2 Waltons, only because it's a road game for OU and you never know.  

7:30 PM Kentucky vs. Duke (Chicago)
10:00 PM Kansas vs. Michigan St (Chicago) - all the Waltons.  

9:00 PM Georgetown at Maryland - This looked a lot better before G'town gakked one to Radford.  3 Waltons.  

11/15 recap

It's kind of actually a very boring day to recap.

Wake Forest 90, @Bucknell 82
@Valparaiso 83, Iona 58 - well, there's a statement
@Illinois 80, North Dakota St 74
New Mexico 83, @New Mexico St 74
@UCLA 88, Cal Poly 83

And I'm filing everything else under cupcake win:  North Carolina, Wisconsin, Purdue, Ohio St, Seton Hall, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida St, Minnesota, Evansville, Iowa, Richmond, NC State, Missouri, Stanford

Sunday, November 15, 2015

11/14 recap

Signature win of the day:
Colorado St 84, @Northern Iowa 78 - I thought CSU wasn't supposed to be much of anything this year...file this away for later under "useful wins"....UNI in early trouble, tough to get an at-large with losses like these on the docket

Catastrophic loss of the day:
Radford 82, @Georgetown 80 (2OT) - oh no

Scores of note:
@Providence 76, Harvard 64 - it does appear Harvard is a bit down this year
Alabama St 85, @Virginia Tech 82 - VT isn't supposed to be good, but still....that's a SWAC team, bro
SMU 85, Sam Houston St 50 - so I think I'll cover SMU just like any other team...because wins off of them count as quality wins, so we need to keep tabs

Easy winners include:  Duke, Kentucky, Butler, Tulsa, Davidson, Oregon St, Memphis, Akron

Saturday, November 14, 2015

11/13 recap

Signature wins of the day:
@Baylor 97, Stephen F Austin 55 - the margin is notable here, a 40 pt win over a probable tourney team doesn't hurt
North Florida 93, @Illinois 81 - this can be worth a seed line in March, which for UNF is big.  Getting off the 16 line is huge
Belmont 83, @Marquette 80 - also qualifies as a catastrophic loss for Marquette, but a nice win for a team that likes to live on the periphery of the bubble

Catastrophic losses of the day:
Western Illinois 69, @Wisconsin 67 - I mean, WIU isn't even really an upper-table team in the Summit.  There's no good way to spin this, this is worth a seeding line (or 3) in March
Chattanooga 92, @Georgia 90 (OT) - at least Chattanooga is a SoCon contender so this isn't the death blow that WIU is, but still....not good
William & Mary 85, @NC State 68 - in what's supposed to be a loaded ACC, NC State is already a step behind the pack
@Montana 74, Boise St 72 - probably harsh to ding Boise for a true road loss at a solid team, but this really puts them behind the pack in the bubble race
@Auburn 75, UAB 74 - hard to criticize a road loss, but as far as power conference wins goes, this was as gettable as they come for UAB
Monmouth 84, @UCLA 81 (OT) - at least Monmouth is an upper-level MAAC team.  Still not a good look though, but it's recoverable

Catastrophic cancellations of the day:
Pittsburgh/Gonzaga - Pitt will have plenty of signature win chances later, so it's fine.  For a Gonzaga team that relies on the non-con for a SoS boost, it's borderline disastrous that they don't have this on their SoS ledger

Results of note:
North Carolina 91, Temple 64 - neutral site win
@Iowa St 68, Colorado 62 - service held
Sacramento St 66, @Arizona St 63 - ASU won't be relevant this year, but still
James Madison 87, @Richmond 75 - CAA favorite (or 2nd favorite) beats mid-table A-10 team on the road.  Could be useful info for later
@New Mexico 86, Texas Southern 57 - TSU won't play their way off the 16 line this year
Utah St 73, @Weber St 70
@Stanford 93, Green Bay 89 (OT) - close call
@Missouri 83, Wofford 74 - many mid-majors snagged a nice win.  Wofford wasn't one of them
@Texas Tech 77, High Point 73 - neither did HPU
@San Diego St 71, Illinois St 60
Washington 77, Texas 71

Screw you, I'm not listing out full scores, so here's a list of top teams who handled cupcake-like opponents:
Kentucky, Maryland, Kansas, Duke, Virginia, Wichita St, Villanova, Arizona, Michigan St, Cal, Indiana, Utah, Vandy, Notre Dame, UConn, Purdue, Michigan, LSU, Central Michigan, Ole Miss, Old Dominion, West Virginia, VCU, Cincinnati, Dayton, Miami, Syracuse, Louisville, Xavier, Oklahoma St, Northwestern, Rhode Island, Valparaiso, BYU, Florida, Iowa, Texas A&M

Friday, November 13, 2015

11/13 S-CURVE

There's some tweaking from the October S-Curve, but it's mostly the same as before.

The 1 line:  North Carolina, Maryland, Kentucky, Kansas
The 2 line:  Arizona, Villanova, Wichita St, Duke
The 3 line:  Indiana, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, California
The 4 line:  Iowa St, Michigan St, Virginia, Georgetown
The 5 line:  Baylor, Louisville, San Diego St, Purdue,
The 6 line:  LSU, Rhode Island, Xavier, Notre Dame
The 7 line:  Wisconsin, Utah, Vanderbilt, UConn
The 8 line:  Cincinnati, Michigan, Dayton, Butler
The 9 line:  Boise St, Texas A&M, Oregon, Providence
The 10 line:  Valparaiso, Texas, North Carolina St, Northern Iowa
The 11 line:  Ohio St, Davidson, Central Michigan, Tulsa
The 12 line:  Oregon St, Florida, Florida St, UCLA, Marquette, Old Dominion
The 13 line:  Iona, Belmont, Columbia, Montana
The 14 line:  Hofstra, UC Irvine, North Florida, Stephen F Austin
The 15 line:  Louisiana-Lafayette, Wofford, South Dakota St, Stony Brook
The 16 line:  New Mexico St, Robert Morris, High Point, Lehigh, North Carolina Central, Texas Southern

Bubble in:
Texas A&M
Valparaiso *in as automatic bid
North Carolina St
Northern Iowa

Next 4 in:
Ohio St
Central Michigan *in as automatic bid
Oregon St

Last 4 in:
Florida St

Last 4 out:
Old Dominion *in as automatic bid
West Virginia

Next 4 out:
Mississippi St

Bubble inception (we have to go deeper):
Illinois St
Utah St
Oklahoma St

edit after the fact:  oops.  First version of this post had Akron up in the bracket, second version has them out, and the Matrix picked up the first version.  No biggie.

The first Bracket Matrix is up

Some quick thoughts as I compare my rankings to everyone else's:

1) Virginia is a consensus 2 seed
I'm okay with this, even though I have them on the 4 line, the lowest of anyone.  My simple retort is one of mathematics.  The ACC is deep and I expect several mid-table teams to pick off games against UNC/Duke/Virginia.  Are there enough wins to go around to create 3 ACC teams on the top 2 lines?  I think Virginia will absorb a couple more body blows in ACC play than the other two teams, and it'll be worth a seeding line or so in March.

2) The Big East
The 2nd highest BEast team on the Matrix is Butler as the last 6 seed, then G'town as the first 7 seed.  If the BEast is as good as I think it is....there's no way their 2nd best team is only the last 6 seed.  They'll be much higher.  I made my bet on Georgetown as that team.  So I think the Matrix is wrong....but I see why the Matrix is off here.  People can't make up their mind as to who Big East #2 is, as Butler and Georgetown have a few 4 seeds and Xavier has a few 5s.

3) San Diego St as a consensus 9 seed, 5 seed here
I feel like SDSU (and Boise) will run away from the rest of the league, and the committee has given 5 seeds (or similar seeds) to teams who run away with conferences like the MWC.  Feels more right than not to start SDSU high.

4) The A-10
The Matrix has 3 A-10 teams in the bracket, but all in the 10-11 seed range.  Its best team on the 10 line?  That seems highly unlikely to me.  This seems to be another case where a lack of consensus hurts the Matrix performance - there seems to be a lot of disagreement on whether any single team can make the tournament.  URI and Dayton are out of several brackets.

5) I know it's hard to do in the preseason, but go look at Wichita's last 2 regular seasons and their current starting backcourt.  They just can't be below the 3 line, right?

6) The Pac-12
One place I might be too aggressive is on the Pac-12.  I count only 2 sure bets (Cal and Arizona).  Well, Utah too, but a step behind.  If the league doesn't supply quality wins, can they get a 3 and 2 seed, respectively?  Maybe.  But the degree of difficulty might be high.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


The season begins tomorrow.  If you're unfamiliar with the blog format, here's what we do here:

1) A recap post telling you every score of relevance from last night's games.  We tell you what results mattered, what didn't, and how it impacts the bracket.  The goal is to make sure no result goes under the radar.  That sexy mid-major pick get a road win?  We'll tell you.  Did a power conference school punt a horrible game that makes the whole conference look bad?  We'll tell you in our feature Catastrophic Loss of the Day.
2) A preview post telling you what you need to pay attention to today.  We'll highlight the games that will matter in March when you're looking at all those team sheets.  The goal is to make sure no game goes under the radar.

On a schedule:
1) Bracketology:  It'll be intermittent in November/December, but once January hits, we go weekly.  February we go twice-weekly, and we'll ramp up to daily updates and even more by Selection Sunday.
2) Bubble Watch:  Periodically this year, we'll get word-happy and provide a full-blown Bubble Watch for every team in the country.  These take time to write, so don't expect more than a few.  But these will include all the snapshot views you need to see before making your bracket.
3) Holiday tournaments:  Soon, we'll get preview posts up for each and every non-conference tournament ever.

1) Expect occasional posts dealing with topic like non-conference SoS, conference races, conference rankings, and the like.  I can't do detailed breakdowns for every team, so we'll highlight the unusual and noteworthy.