Friday, December 30, 2016

12/29 recap

Big East:
@St John's 76, Butler 73 - what an awful, awful loss for Butler.  This puts them a half-step behind the other teams as far as jockeying for seeding position goes

Kentucky 99, @Ole Miss 76
Florida 81, @Arkansas 72 - road wins are never trivial.  Arkansas kind of needed this to legitimize their resume
Georgia 96, @Auburn 84 - you can just copy the above comment for this one
Tennessee 73, @Texas A&M 63 - ditto.  This one surprised me a bit more, I had A&M pegged as a better team than this.  The SEC can't exactly afford several teams to be lumped together in the upper half of the conference, it'd be nice for them to get separation and establish quality teams (and quality win chances) as a result
Vanderbilt 96, @LSU 89 - good lord will someone win a home game

Gonzaga and St Mary's win their openers...this conference season will be all about avoiding land mines for these two.  No one else, not even BYU and surprising San Fran, figures to be relevant to our interests this year

Western Illinois 93, @IPFW 91 - that's an awful loss
Lipscomb 81, @Missouri 76 - lol
@Drake 102, Loyola(Chi) 98 - in case you thought Loyola was relevant

Thursday, December 29, 2016

12/28 recap

Virginia 61, @Louisville 53 - Signature road win!
@Florida St 88, Wake Forest 72

Big East:
@Villanova 68, DePaul 65
@Creighton 89, Seton Hall 75
@Xavier 82, Providence 56
@Marquette 76, Georgetown 66

@Oregon 89, UCLA 87 - no real harm to UCLA, and a major boon to Oregon.  The top of the Pac-12 is in good shape
USC 70, @Oregon St 63 - road wins are never trivial

Big 10:
Nebraska 87, @Indiana 83 - catastrophic home loss, no other way to say it.  Nebraska isn't good enough to make the tourney.  This'll cost a seed line
@Purdue 89, Iowa 67

Cincinnati 56, @Temple 50 - Cincy is establishing themselves as the best in the conference, but this really hurts Temple's at-large chances.  One quality win chance already off the board
Houston 62, @UConn 46 - important hold for Houston

Wichita St 80, @Indiana St 72
Mountain West....Boise with a road win, UNM > Fresno, Nevada and CSU held at home.  Middle of this conference will be a mess

@North Carolina 102, Monmouth 74
@Clemson 87, UNC-Wilmington 73

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

12/27 recap

Big 10:
@Wisconsin 72, Rutgers 52
Northwestern 87, @Penn St 77 - NU is a very light 12-2 team right, so every single road win matters so much.  If you play light, you need to beat the bad road teams.  More of these nervy games are coming up, though
@Maryland 84, Illinois 59 - well, this helps us define Illinois' status a bit
Michigan St 75, @Minnesota 74 - such an important hold for MSU, they can't lose toss-up games anymore after wasting a lot of their margin of error in the non-con.  And such an important loss for Minny, they've got to win these swing games to get in

SMU 58, @Memphis 54 - Memphis wasn't awful in the non-con, so this is actually a decent win and important for SMU, one of the tougher conference games for them right here

Kent St 63, @Texas 58 - just in case you thought Texas was still alive.  It's going to be interesting to see whether they're 6-12 bad or 2-16 bad in the Big 12 - how many catastrophic losses can they deliver to the conference?

Monday, December 26, 2016

12/26 S-CURVE

The season starts to come into focus.  The tricky thing about December/early January projections is blending predictions with results.  There's still some baked in predictions in this S-Curve; they'll slowly be filtered out by late January.  There's a few teams I'm not giving up on yet ('sup, Izzo), and a few I'm buying in.

If you asked me about the 1 line, I think Kansas and Duke are going to charge into Baylor and Louisville's slots, but for now, they sit on the 2 line.

Things about this S-Curve that is interesting:
1) 4 ACC teams in the top 9.  Are there enough quality wins to go around in the ACC to keep all 4 up there?
2) The Pac-12 is top heavy.  UCLA/USC/Arizona/Oregon are in great shape, everyone else well back.  Are there enough quality wins to go around in that conference?
3) The B1G's highest seed is a 4 right now.  That situation will fix itself, but that might mean some difficulty for the bubble teams in March, with less signature wins to go around.
4) It got real light in mid-major land.  There's a few good teams, but their bad conferences will sink them.  UT-A, Chattanooga, MTSU, Wichita, plenty of names to note, but we need to wait for their RPIs and SoSs to settle before we get crazy about their chances.
5) The SEC is in a little better shape.  A few teams building up solid records, helping to boost the SoS numbers.  I'm not sure they can hang on to all 6 bids I gave them here, but the disaster scenario of 3 or less is out of play for now.

The 1 line:  Villanova (12-0), UCLA (13-0), Baylor (11-0), Louisville (11-1)
The 2 line:  Kansas (11-1), Duke (12-1), Kentucky (10-2), North Carolina (10-2)
The 3 line:  Virginia (10-1), Butler (11-1), Gonzaga (12-0), Xavier (10-2)
The 4 line:  Creighton (12-0), Indiana (10-2), West Virginia (11-1), Purdue (11-2)
The 5 line:  USC (13-0), Wisconsin (11-2), St Mary's (10-1), Arizona (11-2)
The 6 line:  Florida St (12-1), Oregon (10-2), Notre Dame (10-2), Florida (9-3)
The 7 line:  Maryland (11-1), Cincinnati (10-2), Auburn (10-2), Virginia Tech (10-1)
The 8 line:  Pittsburgh (10-2), Seton Hall (10-2), South Carolina (9-2), Miami (9-2)
The 9 line:  Texas A&M (8-3), Oklahoma St (9-2), Dayton (8-3), Arkansas (11-1)
The 10 line:  Michigan (10-3), VCU (9-3), SMU (10-3), Minnesota (12-1)
The 11 line:  Wichita St (9-3), Michigan St (8-5), Temple (9-4), Northwestern (11-2), TCU (10-1), California (9-3)
The 12 line:  Texas-Arlington (8-3), UNC-Wilmington (9-1), Nevada (11-2), Valparaiso (8-3)
The 13 line:  Monmouth (10-2), Middle Tennessee (9-3), IPFW (8-3), Chattanooga (7-3)
The 14 line:  Akron (9-3), Tennessee St (7-3), Yale (6-5), New Mexico St (10-2)
The 15 line:  FGCU (7-5), Eastern Washington (6-5), Vermont (7-5), Winthrop (6-3)
The 16 line:  Texas Southern (4-9), Sam Houston St (5-4), Bucknell (8-5), North Carolina Central (6-5), Long Island (6-6), UC-Irvine (5-9)

Next 4 in:
Michigan St

Last 4 in:

Last 4 out:
North Carolina St
Iowa St

Next 4 out:
Rhode Island
San Diego St
Ohio St

Break it down!
Big 10 8
Big East 5
Big 12 5
Pac-12 5
A-10 2

12/25 recap

Diamond Head:
San Diego St 62, San Francisco 48 - well, SDSU get their 3 wins after they had wrecked their resume beyond saving.  We'll see if they matter any in March, I doubt it
Illinois St 68, Tulsa 56
@Hawaii 60, Southern Miss 46
Utah 74, Stephen F Austin 66 - a disaster for Utah by losing their 1st game

Saturday, December 24, 2016

12/23 recap

@Auburn 70, UConn 67 (OT) - road wins matter, this one a lot, because it's a sign Auburn is a player this year
@Boston College 79, Providence 67 - the reasons road wins matter?  Losses like this, which wreck a resume pretty badly
@Seton Hall 72, Rutgers 61
@Oakland 86, Georgia 79 - another reasons road wins matter.  Oakland's a decent team, of course the public won't care about that
@Minnesota 82, Arkansas St 75
Harvard 57, @Houston 56 - pretty fatal for UH's at-large hopes

Las Vegas Classic:
USC 94, Wyoming 92 (OT) - so I don't think USC is THAT good, but they appear good enough to be bubble-relevant
Missouri St 69, DePaul 58

Diamond Head:
San Diego St 82, Tulsa 63
Stephen F Austin 67, Southern Miss 64
San Francisco 66, Illinois St 58
Utah 66, @Hawaii 52 - SDSU and San Fran is the title game here...I'm not sure what to make of any of these 8 teams.  One minor boon to Utah - this counts as a true road win

Friday, December 23, 2016

Non-conference tournaments, part IV: Christmas

Whoops, forgot to get this up.  Only 2 tourneys this year, and I'm surprised this is still a thing, frankly.

Las Vegas Classic:
DePaul vs. Wyoming
Missouri St vs. USC
The stakes:  USC can't afford to lose either game.  Simple as that.

Diamond Head:
Tulsa vs. Stephen F Austin
San Diego St vs. Southern Miss
San Francisco vs. Utah
Illinois St vs. Hawaii
The stakes:  Utah can't afford to lose.  Hey, remember when Tulsa was an at-large team, SDSU was the MWC king, SFA was the mid-major darling?  And SMiss being a decent CUSA team and Illinois St being a team on the rise and all that jazz?  Yeah, just about every team here is in some form of disarray, and Utah is trapped with a tournament with high risk and little nutritional value.

12/22 recap

Kansas 71, @UNLV 53 - road wins are never trivial
@Cincinnati 93, Marshall 91 (OT) - that was almost catastrophic
Tennessee 72, @East Tennessee St 68 - road wins are never trivial
@Miami 72, George Washington 64
Santa Clara 87, @Valparaiso 80 - resume-killing loss
@Wake Forest 110, LSU 76
@Long Beach St 56, Colorado St 55 - hey, a home game for this team!

Las Vegas Classic:
USC 83, Missouri St 75
Wyoming 72, DePaul 58

Diamond Head:
Tulsa 74, Stephen F Austin 51
San Diego St 66, Southern Miss 51
San Francisco 89, Utah 86 - ugly ugly loss for Utah.  This is not the tourney to be trapped on the losers' bracket
Illinois St 71, @Hawaii 45

12/21 recap

@Louisville 73, Kentucky 70 - this could help or hurt the case for a 1 or 2 seed for these teams, but otherwise not much bracket impact here.  Both these teams are where they expected to be overall
@North Carolina 85, Northern Iowa 42 - just in case you were wondering, it's safe to check out on UNI now
Virginia 56, @California 52 - road wins are never trivial, remember that.  ACC is going to have a tricky logjam at the top - 4 teams legitimately in the 1 seed race
Clemson 62, @South Carolina 60 - pretty crushing loss for USC here.  Remember that quality win chances are down in the SEC, this was a lost chance to add some resume heft
@Dayton 68, Vanderbilt 63 - all these holds at home really matter to Dayton's resume now
Georgia St 64, @Middle Tennessee 56 - MTSU had actually been assembling a half-decent resume, but this is a major blow
Auburn 74, Oklahoma 70 - neutral site wins like this matter too
@Alabama 67, Arkansas St 52 - Arky St had also gotten off to a nice start, so this isn't a trivial win

Catastrophic loss of the century:
St John's 93, @Syracuse 60 - there are no words

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

12/20 recap

Creighton 96, @Arizona St 85 - road wins are never trivial
@Arizona 77, New Mexico 46
@Oregon 75, Fresno St 63
Georgia 60, @Georgia Tech 43
Northeastern 61, @Oakland 59 - NU is starting to pile up road wins over quality programs.  It's too bad they lost 4 road games already though

12/19 recap

There's almost nothing here, despite many games.  Do we really need to list out Duke/Purdue/Indiana cupcake wins?

@Oral Roberts 63, Little Rock 48 - UALR was off to a nice start, and this is a terrible loss, even though it's on the road
Colorado 75, @Air Force 68
@SMU 72, Stanford 49
Loyola Marymount 69, @Colorado St 66 - another bad loss for the MWC

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

12/18 recap

Gonzaga 86, Tennessee 76
Penn St 92, @St John's 76 - remember when I say road wins are never trivial?  Yea, this one is trivial
Gardner-Webb 70, @Nebraska 62 - lol
Clemson 67, Alabama 54 - not a great sign for the SEC, and a good one for the ACC
Portland 53, Oregon St 45 - lol
Northeastern 81, @Michigan St 73 - okay, MSU is now in legitimate bubble trouble

Monday, December 19, 2016

12/17 recap

Kentucky 103, North Carolina 100 - could be a useful result if both are competing for a 1 seed in March, but otherwise this is just confirmation these two will hang out around the top lines for the year
Butler 83, Indiana 78 - ditto
Purdue 86, Notre Dame 81 - these tams are a little further down the S-Curve, but otherwise, ditto
Arizona 67, Texas A&M 63 - more harm than you think to A&M, given the general state of the SEC

UCLA 86, Ohio St 73 - neutral site wins matter too
Kansas 89, Davidson 71
South Carolina 77, @South Florida 66 - road wins are never trivial
@Xavier 69, Wake Forest 65
@Oregon 83, UNLV 63
Georgetown 78, @Syracuse 71 - very damaging loss to Syracuse very important to GU's minuscule at-large hopes
Memphis 99, @Oklahoma 94
Texas Tech 79, @Richmond 72 - RU isn't the greatest team, but road wins matter, TTU may be an at-large player
Arkansas 77, Texas 74 - Arky may be a viable at-large team this year
Kansas St 89, Colorado St 70
Iowa 69, Northern Iowa 46
Northwestern 67, Dayton 64 - actually a quality win, and NU will be hanging around the bubble this year.  Dayton, notsomuch
Oklahoma St 93, @Wichita St 76 - signature road wins matter
@VCU 80, Middle Tennessee 77 - Middle's a good team who possibly maybe could've been in the at-large discussion with a ouch
New Mexico St 81, @Arizona St 70
@Vanderbilt 76, Chattanooga 74
Illinois 75, BYU 73 - BYU is dead team walking

Saturday, December 17, 2016

12/16 recap

Long Beach St 71, @Oregon St 67 - oh man, OSU.  EVERYONE is beating LBSU.  Ahahahaha.
...not much else going on in this day.  Arkansas St and UT-Arlington filed away wins in the "road wins are always non-trivial" category, but that's about it.

12/15 recap

@George Washington 74, UCF 59
...I don't know.  You tell me what mattered from this day.  A whole lot of nothing on the schedule this day.

Friday, December 16, 2016

12/14 recap

East Tennessee St 67, @Mississippi St 65 - don't think ETSU has enough juice to make it to the at-large board, but it's still a noticeable win and a nice story
Middle Tennessee 79, @Belmont 66 - road wins are never trivial
Illinois-Chicago 80, @DePaul 75 - lol

Not much else.  UCLA held easily over UCBS....Gonzaga, Wisky, St Mary's and Arizona were cupcake winners

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

12/13 recap

@Villanova 78, Temple 57
@Cincinnati 95, Texas Southern 58 - just to point out that the schedule is finally catching up to TSU
Monmouth 82, @Memphis 79 - hey, there's our darling from last year with another road win.  Sadly, they don't have the high-impact wins to matter this year
New Mexico St 79, @UTEP 68 - more important to NMSU's seed in March than you think

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

12/12 recap

Seton Hall 67, South Carolina 64 - a solid neutral court win, and a modest blow to USC's at-large hopes.  Remember, the SEC will not provide an abundance of signature win chances
Boston College 72, Auburn 71 - this is a legitimately terrible loss for Auburn, though
Penn 58, @Central Florida 49 - UCF was creeping into at-large discussion...this will get them kicked out for awhile though

12/11 recap

@North Carolina 73, Tennessee 71 - status quo for both teams
@St Mary's 84, UC-Irvine 53 - we're going to have to detail the nosedive the Big West is doing as a conference soon
@Florida St 83, Florida 78 - kind of status quo for both teams, this won't hurt Florida too badly or help FSU too much, at least compared to what FSU faces in conference play
@Oregon 65, Alabama 56
@Virginia Tech 80, Ole Miss 75
@Long Island 74, St John's 73 - LIU might win the NEC, so this isn't horrible
Savannah St 93, @Oregon St 90 (OT) - now this, this is horrible
Nevada 87, @Washington 85 - road wins matter

Monday, December 12, 2016

12/10 recap

Villanova 74, Notre Dame 66 - Nova crusing to the 1 line at this point
@UCLA 102, Michigan 84 - UCLA to the 1 line could be a developing story
@Kansas 89, Nebraska 72
Duke 94, @UNLV 45 - road wins by 50 are always okay
@Gonzaga 61, Akron 43
@Xavier 77, Utah 69 - a good solid resume booster, and no harm to Utah's resume
@Butler 75, Cincinnati 65 - same story here, a quality win for Butler and no real harm to Cincy
Wisconsin 93, @Marquette 84 - road wins are gold
Arizona 79, @Missouri 60 - yes, even a road win over a minnow matters
Temple 73, DePaul 65
@Memphis 62, UAB 55
@Houston 82, Rhode Island 77 - um, are we sure URI is good?  I don't think so anymore
@Dayton 75, East Tennessee St 61 - ETSU isn't a bad team
Pittsburgh 81, Penn St 73
@NC State 67, Tennessee St 55 (OT) - curious
Wichita St 76, Oklahoma 73 - neutral site wins matter too
Oklahoma St 71, @Tulsa 67
@Texas 71, Long Beach St 65 - end this madness LBSU
@Ohio St 64, UConn 60
Arizona St 74, @San Diego St 63 - ok, now we know for sure that SDSU isn't good
Kansas St 70, Washington St 56
Valparaiso 84, @Missouri St 81 - road wins!
VCU 67, @Old Dominion 64
@New Mexico St 84, New Mexico 71 - just throw the entire MWC in the trash
@BYU 79, Colorado 71

Saturday, December 10, 2016

12/9 recap

A 1-game recap, because that's all that mattered:

Wake Forest 78, @UNC-Greensboro 75 - ok, UNC-G is a decent team, but this win looks better than you think.  Remember, road wins matter.

Friday, December 9, 2016

12/8 recap

Texas-Arlington 65, @St Mary's 51 - this can be broken down in a few directions.  First, a catastrophic loss for St Mary's, but if this is an isolated incident, they'll be fine.  Meanwhile, UTA has this and @Texas in the W column and 3 other roadies in the loss column.  Not completely sure what to do with them yet, but they'll be relevant for awhile

@Iowa 78, Iowa St 64 - I know it's a roadie, but this isn't very good for ISU
@Middle Tennessee 71, Vanderbilt 48 - MTSU is another team I'm not sure what to do with yet.  They're not going to have a signature win chance all year

Thursday, December 8, 2016

12/7 recap

@Kentucky 87, Valparaiso 63 - this doesn't hurt Valpo any
@North Carolina 83, Davidson 74 - this doesn't hurt Davidson any
@Gonzaga 98, Washington 71 - yawn
Creighton 77, @Nebraska 62 - remember, road wins matter, even when you're the superior team
@Colorado 68, Xavier 66 - and this is why road wins matte.  You can easily lose games to competent teams on the road.  No real harm for Xavier, except for the theoretical chance at a 1 seed
@Indiana St 72, Butler 71 - this road loss might be a bit dicier, as Indiana St is a level down from Colorado or Nebraska.  Butler should be fine as they built up a fine resume to this point, though
George Mason 85, @Penn St 66 - and then there's road wins like this that just prove that Penn St is irrelevant
Harvard 74, @Boston College 66
@Pittsburgh 84, Buffalo 79
Georgia Tech 76, @VCU 73 (OT) - VCU is likely not gonna be doing much this year
George Washington 66, @Temple 63 - Temple lost to New Hampshire, GWU, and UMass, and beat WVU and FSU.  What is going on here
@SMU 74, TCU 59
@Grand Canyon 76, San Diego St 72 - what in the world, SDSU?
Seton Hall 60, California 57 - this should be a quality neutral site win, useful for the resume

Mid-major junction:
North Dakota 74, @North Dakota St 56 - reminder:  the Summit is down this year
@Tulsa 70, Illinois St 68
@Northern Iowa 86, South Dakota St 58 - things are really wide open for Fort Wayne in the Summit this year
Loyola(Chi) 77, Wright St 64 - looks bad for the Horizon, good for the Valley
UAB 84, @Stephen F Austin 73 - I'm now fully out on the Southland, just slot them in Dayton already

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

12/6 recap

Duke 84, Florida 74 - no real change in either team's profile
Purdue 97, Arizona St 64 - does count as a neutral site win
Villanova 89, LaSalle 79 - also counts as a neutral site win
@Notre Dame 87, Fort Wayne 72
@Arkansas 84, Houston 72 - road win is a tough ask, but Houston needs the profile help
@Rhode Island 51, Old Dominion 39
St Bonaventure 81, @Hofstra 75
@Utah 87, Utah Valley 80
@Michigan 53, Texas 50

Catastrophic loss of the year:
Florida Atlantic 79, @Ohio St 77 (OT)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

12/5 recap

@UConn 52, Syracuse 50 - UConn is still in major trouble, but at least they dragged Syracuse into major trouble with them

...and that's about it for major impact games.  Not a lot else going on here.

Monday, December 5, 2016

12/4 recap

Marquette 89, @Georgia 79 - remember, road wins always matter
Florida St 67, George Washington 48 - so do neutral site wins, kinda
@Charleston 76, Davidson 61 - this is why road wins matter, not getting them looks worse than it actually is
@Georgetown 77, lona 74 - man oh man...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

12/3 recap

UCLA 97, @Kentucky 92 - in the game of Bracketology, road wins are king.  Road wins over good teams are gold.  Signature road wins over probable 1 seeds are magic elixirs that practically guarantee inclusion in the field, even if they collapse.  The focus for UCLA now turns to seeding
@Villanova 88, St Joseph's 57
@Kansas 89, Stanford 74
West Virginia 66, @Virginia 57 - hey, speaking of signature road wins...
@Baylor 76, Xavier 61 - but on the other hand, it's okay if you don't get the signature road win.  You'll be fine
Gonzaga 69, Arizona 62 - neutral site win, if you're scoring at home.  I've talked about the mid-major signature win effect plenty already, so you know what this meant
@Creighton 82, Akron 70
Louisville 79, @Grand Canyon 70 - curious spot for a true road game, but hey, it worked
@Wisconsin 90, Oklahoma 70
@Providence 63, Rhode Island 60 - no single loss for URI is a sin...but they were all swing games, which means they have to swing your way once in awhile.  And they aren't
Wake Forest 75, @Richmond 67 - road win
@Ole Miss 85, Memphis 77 - lesson:  Memphis isn't good
@Tennessee 81, Georgia Tech 58
Omaha 98, @Iowa 89 - that's it for Iowa this year
Illinois 64, VCU 46
@Wyoming 81, Northern Iowa 73 - and that's it for UNI this year
@Loyola(Chi) 65, San Diego St 59 - and who knows what the hell to do with the Mountain West now; UNM lost to Illinois St too.  Maybe it's Nevada now, who knows
Wichita St 82, @Colorado St 67
New Orleans 70, @Washington St 54 - ahahahaha
@Minnesota 56, Vanderbilt 52
USC 91, BYU 84
@TCU 77, Arkansas St 54
Auburn 74, @UAB 70 - road win!
@Maryland 71, Oklahoma St 70
Colorado 76, @Portland 63 - road win

Saturday, December 3, 2016

12/2 recap

Duquesne 64, @Pittsburgh 55 - man, Pitt had momentum, a road win, and threw away a lot of their progress in this game
@SMU 49, Cal St-Bakersfield 43 - CSUB is a competent team, but still, this is unnerving for SMU
@Texas 77, Alabama 68 - I love how these two schools schedule on a Friday instead of a college football Saturday.  Savvy

12/1 recap

Cincinnati 55, @Iowa St 54 (OT) - big, big win for Cincy.  We've talked about how the AAC is down, so Cincy needs to maximize their signature wins out of conference.  Road win at ISU counts as such
@South Carolina 68, Vermont 50 - Vermont is competent, and USC is due to lose sometime, but not now I guess
Florida 91, @North Florida 60 - goes down as a road win, so yeah
@Arkansas 78, Stephen F Austin 62 - using this space to point out that SFA looks to be down from past years, so adjust your seeding accordingly bracketologists
@Mississippi St 74, Oregon St 57 - if two terrible power conference teams play a non-conference game and no one cares, did it really happen?

Light day, most of the big names play earlier or later in the week.  Of note, MAAC conference season is underway.

Friday, December 2, 2016

11/30 recap

@Indiana 76, North Carolina 67 - as always, everyone should just wait and see exactly how great these teams will be, before deciding the actual resume value of the win for IU here
@Virginia 63, Ohio St 61
St Mary's 66, @Stanford 51 - this St Mary's thing continues to be serious.  Another road win, and every road win is a signature win for a mid-major
@Louisville 71, Purdue 64 - you'll note I won't have much to say on these types of games where the home team holds...modest boost to UL, no real harm to Purdue, and the circle of life goes on
@Arizona 85, Texas Southern 63
@TCU 86, Washington 71 - still don't believe in TCU, but worth monitoring the W-L for awhile
Temple 78, @St Joseph's 72 - road wins!
Virginia Tech 73, @Michigan 70 - road wins!
@Miami 73, Rutgers 61
Middle Tennessee 77, @Ole Miss 62 - good sign for MTSU and CUSA, even if Miss is way way down
George Mason 54, @Northern Iowa 50 - well, that's not good
Colorado St 72, @Colorado 58 - both these teams felt like bubble-minus teams, so not sure how much value to put on this yet
@California 68, Louisiana Tech 59 - near disaster, and it might be time to lower expectations for Cal
@Boise St 71, SMU 62 - road wins are difficult
@Clemson 60, Nebraska 58
Fort Wayne 103, @Austin Peay 99 - road win
USC 76, San Diego 55 - road win
BYU 77, @Utah St 63 - road win

11/29 recap

Villanova 82, @Penn 57 - this goes down as a road win for Nova, and hey, road wins matter
@Kansas 91, Long Beach St 61 - someone should just stop LBSU for its own sake
@Duke 78, Michigan St 69 - man, MSU might be fine, but their W-L is going to be ugly.  And really, they've got a modest problem.  Played 4 signature opponents and went 0-4.  Their non-con signature win will be N-Wichita.  Not optimal
@Xavier 85, North Dakota St 55 - I'm using this space to send the message that it looks like the Summit is down a bit this year
@Creighton 93, Buffalo 72
@Wisconsin 77, Syracuse 60 - kind of status quo for both teams, Syracuse is worse and on the road so don't make too much of it
@Valparaiso 65, Rhode Island 62 - very, very important scalp for Valpo.  They'll merit further study down the road, but their resume is do-able from an at-large standpoint.  URI too for that matter
Pittsburgh 73, @Maryland 59 - I'll always harp on it - road wins matter.  A road win at a probable bubble team is better than you think
@Penn St 67, Georgia Tech 60
Chattanooga 68, @Coastal Carolian 52 - keeping an eye on this team, just in case
Davidson 78, @Mercer 57 - yes Mercer is down, but remember:  road wins!
@VCU 81, Princeton 70
Texas-Arlington 72, @Texas 61 - let's go ahead and remove Texas from the at-large boards
@Vanderbilt 83, Tennessee St 59 - notable just because TSU had a hot start to the year, and now seem to have proven it was a mild fluke
@LSU 84, Houston 65
@Illinois 88, NC State 74 - tough spot for NC State against a clearly worse team on the road.  Not the best look here
@Notre Dame 92, Iowa 78

LOL of the day:
Delaware St 79, @St John's 72

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

11/28 recap

Kentucky 115, Arizona St 69 - I love that this game existed.  This was played at a neutral site, more specifically the rave arena at which the Battle 4 Atlantis is played.  So Kentucky, not being in the Atlantis field, just to feel special, scheduled a neutral site game against a terrible power conference team, just to feel special.  GTFO Calipari

Butler 68, @Utah 59 - signature win?  Yes, because road wins are signature wins
@Oregon 68, Boise St 63
@Florida St 75, Minnesota 67
@Northwestern 65, Wake Forest 58 - both ACC/B1G games go as scripted, good news for FSU/NU, not that much harm to the losers

Monday, November 28, 2016

11/28 S-CURVE

It's still pretty early for this.

The 1 line:  Villanova (6-0), Kentucky (6-0), North Carolina (6-0), Kansas (5-1)
The 2 line:  Duke (6-1), Xavier (6-0), Virginia (6-0), Arizona (5-1)
The 3 line:  Baylor (6-0), Indiana (4-1), Gonzaga (6-0), UCLA (7-0)
The 4 line:  Creighton (6-0), Louisville (4-1), Purdue (5-1), Iowa St (5-1)
The 5 line:  Michigan St (4-3), South Carolina (6-0), Butler (6-0), Wisconsin (5-2)
The 6 line:  St Mary's (5-0), Michigan (5-1), West Virginia (4-1), Cincinnati (5-1)
The 7 line:  Dayton (4-2), Florida (6-1), Oregon (4-2), Texas A&M (4-2)
The 8 line:  Oklahoma (4-1), Rhode Island (5-1), Wichita St (5-2), Notre Dame (6-0)
The 9 line:  Michigan (5-1), Maryland (6-0), San Diego St (2-1), USC (6-0)
The 10 line:  Florida St (5-1), Syracuse (4-1), California (4-1), VCU (5-1)
The 11 line:  Pittsburgh (5-1), Seton Hall (4-2), Virginia Tech (5-1), Auburn (4-1), Ohio St (6-0)
The 12 line:  Northern Iowa (2-2), SMU (4-2), Valparaiso (5-1), Chattanooga (3-2), Iona (3-2)
The 13 line:  Middle Tennesse (5-1), Akron (5-1), UNC-Wilmington (4-1), Arkansas St (5-1)
The 14 line:  North Dakota St (3-2), Texas Southern (4-2), Tennessee St (5-0), Columbia (3-2)
The 15 line:  Vermont (5-2), Eastern Washington (4-2), Hawaii (3-3), New Mexico St (4-2)
The 16 line:  Stephen F Austin (1-1), Bucknell (5-2), FGCU (3-3), Long Island (4-1), Winthrop (2-2), North Carolina Central (3-2)

Next 4 in:
Seton Hall
Virginia Tech

Last 4 in:
Ohio St
Northern Iowa

Last 4 out:

Next 4 out:
Oklahoma St

11/27 recap

Advocare Inv:
Gonzaga 73, Iowa St 71 - such an important signature win for Gonzaga
Florida 65, Miami 56
Stanford 66, Seton Hall 52
Quinnipiac 80, Indiana St 77

Wooden Legacy:
UCLA 74, Texas A&M 67 - I'm not sure anything in this tourney counts as a signature win, but it's still very important for UCLA
Virginia Tech 66, Nebraska 53
Dayton 64, New Mexico 57 - after a bad loss, Dayton limits the damage
Portland 96, Cal St-Northridge 78

@St Mary's 76, UAB 63
San Jose St 88, @Washington St 76 - lol

11/26 recap

Emerald Coast Classic:
Virginia 63, Providence 52 - 2 standard wins for UVa here
Memphis 100, Iowa 92 - so much for Iowa

Great Alaska Shootout:
Iona 75, Nevada 73 - Iona gets the 3-0 record here, boon to the MAAC.  This hurts Nevada and the MWC a bit
Buffalo 74, Weber St 72
Oakland 79, UC Davis 66
Alaska-Anchorage 74, Drake 69 - oh no

Barclays Center Classic:
Maryland 69, Kansas St 68
Richmond 67, Boston College 54

Global Sports Classic:
TCU 93, Washington 80 - maybe neither of these teams are relevant after all
UNLV 71, Western Kentucky 61

@Xavier 64, Northern Iowa 42 - second time they played in a week, extension of a tourney.  UNI whiffs twice, but the Oklahoma win will soften this blow
South Carolina 64, Syracuse 50 - it's technically neutral court, but it was Syracuse friendly.  And now USC piles this win on top of Michigan and there's something here, folks
@UMass 70, Harvard 66 and @Vermont 67, Yale 65 - yikes, Ivies
Penn St 74, @George Washington 68 - road wins!
Utah Valley 114, @BYU 101 - catastrophic loss of the day, WCC really needed that 3rd relevant team to help out the top two

Sunday, November 27, 2016

11/25 recap

Battle 4 Atlantis:
Baylor 66, Louisville 63 - all of a sudden, Baylor has wins over Oregon, N-MSU, and N-Louisville already.  Big-time resume is forming here
Michigan St 77, Wichita St 72 - Michigan St was kind of in a desperate position given their insane schedule, this win will do for now.  Wichita, meanwhile is now in a bit of bubble trouble
VCU 85, LSU 74
Old Dominion 63, St John's 55

Wooden Legacy:
UCLA 82, Nebraska 71
Texas A&M 68, Virginia Tech 65 - a swing game between probable bubble teams, more important than you think
New Mexico 105, Cal St-Northridge 89
Dayton 84, Portland 74

Temple 81, West Virginia 77 - So Temple blew a couple early games, and mostly erase that with WVU and FSU wins.  We'll see where it leads, I'm not sure what to make of them yet
Florida St 72, Illinois 61

Las Vegas Inv:
Butler 69, Arizona 65 - there's the signature win siren going off.  Pac-12 isn't the greatest conference, so this might hurt Arizona more than you think
Vanderbilt 76, Santa Clara 66

Advocare Inv:
Gonzaga 77, Florida 72 - very important quality win for Gonzaga, must get them before conference play
Iowa St 73, Miami 56 - Gonzaga/Iowa St in this final, that's good for both
Stanford 65, Indiana St 62
Seton Hall 90, Quinnipiac 79

Emerald Coast Classic:
Virginia 74, Iowa 41
Providence 60, Memphis 51

Great Alaska Shootout:
Oakland 71, Alaska-Anchorage 65
UC Davis 64, Drake 58
Nevada 67, Buffalo 62
Iona 76, Weber St 54

Barclays Center Classic:
Kansas St 72, Boston College 54
Maryland 88, Richmond 82 (OT) - that was almost a disaster

Global Sports Classic:
Washington 86, Western Kentucky 47
TCU 63, UNLV 59

@USC 78, SMU 73 - as always, these swing games matter more to the team from the lesser conference. Missed chance for SMU
Lehigh 87, @Mississippi St 73 - good Patriot team beats bad SEC team.  Don't overreact
Fresno St 63, @Oregon St 58 - don't overreact to this either
@California 71, Wyoming 61

Saturday, November 26, 2016

11/24 recap

I'm behind.  So sue me.

Battle 4 Atlantis:
Louisville 62, Wichita St 52
Baylor 73, Michigan St 58 - it's tough to get a read on the value of a win over Izzo given their murderous schedule so far.  For now, we can still assume it's a signature win, and Baylor's resume has some speed now
VCU 75, St John's 69
LSU 66, Old Dominion 60

Las Vegas Inv.:
Arizona 69, Santa Clara 61
Butler 76, Vanderbilt 66 - Butler gets the signature win chance tomorrow

Advocare Inv:
Gonzaga 82, Quinnipiac 62
Iowa St 73, Indiana St 71
Miami 67, Stanford 53
Florida 81, Seton Hall 76 - the 4 best teams probably won in the quarterfinals here, so the winners are going to get 2 reasonably valuable games.  It's nice when things work out like this

Wooden Legacy:
UCLA 99, Portland 77
Texas A&M 95, Cal St-Northridge 73
Virginia Tech 92, New Mexico 72 - a pretty positive sign that VaTech is moving in the right direction, and a really bad sign for UNM and the Mountain West in general
Nebraska 80, Dayton 78 - oops, for Dayton, and a very important win for Nebraska.  NU gets two shots at quality wins, and Dayton is now trapped on the side of the bracket with absolutely zero resume impact.  All of a sudden, Dayton's resume is going to look a lot lighter than it should.  Could be the most damaging loss of the day right here

West Virginia 89, Illinois 57
Temple 89, Florida St 86 - disaster for FSU, as Temple was off to a pretty bad start.  Now not getting a shot at WVU either, which is a modest hit to the SoS

Great Alaska Shootout:
Iona 64, Drake 53
Weber St 86, UC Davis 58

@Binghamton 72, Long Beach St 64 - just pointing this out, LBSU has played a brutal non-con this year, but another road game, this time at a minnow, and another loss.  So tough to figure out if this means LBSU is plain bad or if this is just wear and tear

Friday, November 25, 2016

11/23 recap

North Carolina 71, Wisconsin 56 - UNC with an early statement for the 1 line
Oklahoma St 97, Georgetown 70
Oregon 79, UConn 69
Tennessee 95, Chaminade 81 - outside of a GU>OU upset, Maui goes according to form

Battle 4 Atlantis:
Louisville 68, Old Dominion 62 (OT) - near disaster for everyone involved
Baylor 71, VCU 63 - Baylor wins the mega-important swing game and VCU is trapped on the wrong end of the bracket
Michigan St 73, St John's 62
Wichita St 82, LSU 47

Charleston Classic:
Villanova 63, Charleston 47

Purdue 96, Auburn 71

Gulf Coast Showcase:
Kent St 66, Wofford 59
George Mason 77, Bradley 66
Hofstra 65, South Dakota 57
Houston 72, Vermont 71 - 3 neutral court wins for Houston, we'll see if it matters down the road

MGM Grand Main Event:
Alabama 62, St Louis 57
Valparaiso 92, BYU 89 - words can't describe how big this is for Valpo, the team is light on resume building chances

Great Alaska Shootout:
Buffalo 85, Alaska-Anchorage 79
Nevada 82, Oakland 78

@South Carolina 61, Michigan 46 - the lesson, as always:  road win are tough to get

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Non-conference tournaments, part III: Thanksgiving

Battle 4 Atlantis:
VCU vs. Baylor
Michigan St vs. St John's
Wichita St vs. LSU
Louisville vs. Old Dominion
The stakes:  Michigan St and Louisville are the two best teams, and it would be a stark failure for either to reach the final.  Signature win chance looms in the final, though.

VCU/Baylor is one heck of a swing game.  Winner gets Michigan St and a probable chance at Wichita.  Loser gets trapped in a bracket with St John's, LSU, and ODU.  Biiiiiig difference.  Resume-defining difference.  That game is for the world for both teams.

Wichita will be looking just to beat LSU and take their two chances at quality wins.  Everyone else would do real good just to not be in the losers' bracket.

Great Alaska Shootout:
Buffalo vs. Alaska-Anchorage
Oakland vs. Nevada
UC Davis vs. Weber St
Drake vs. Iona
The stakes:  Rough downgrade for the GAS, no one in here represents a signature win chance.  Still, as I've mentioned, neutral court wins have value, and someone's getting 3 of them.  I think Nevada is closest to the at-large board, but this should be a wide-open tournament.

Advocare Invitational:
Indiana St vs. Iowa St
Stanford vs. Miami
Gonzaga vs. Quinnipiac
Seton Hall vs. Florida
The stakes:  Here's a tournament that represents what can go right or wrong in a tournament.  Gonzaga represents a signature win chance...Miami, Iowa St, Stanford, Florida could all vary from great opponents to non-NCAA opponents...and there's a landmine in Indiana St and Quinnipiac.  All you can do if you're any of these teams is win and hope.  If you're Gonzaga, hope you win and then the SHU/UF winner turns out to be good.  Same for Iowa St and Stanford/Miami.  There's a lot of hope that the next team you line up against ends up being good.  Every year there's a tournament where the losers bracket ends up with a really good team, and the winner of the tournament doesn't even get a quality win out of the tourney.  This feels like that tournament to me this year.

Temple vs. Florida St
Illinois vs. West Virginia
The stakes:  Given that Temple and Illinois appear to be poop, it's mega-important for FSU and WVU to hold serve, and then take their chance at a quality win.

Wooden Legacy:
Texas A&M vs. Cal St-Northridge
New Mexico vs. Virginia Tech
Dayton vs. Nebraska
Portland vs. UCLA
The stakes:  For teams like VaTech and New Mexico, a very important first game to get on the bracket side with A&M and UCLA.  Loser gets trapped.  Same with Dayton/Nebraska, but Dayton should win that.  Other than that, this will be all about which teams can't hold serve.

Las Vegas Invitational:
Vanderbilt vs. Butler
Arizona vs. Santa Clara
The stakes:  Vandy/Butler is clear.  One chance at a good win and a house money chance against Arizona.  Simple stakes.

Emerald Coast Classic:
Virginia vs. Iowa
Memphis vs. Providence
The stakes:  Nothing special.  Chances at quality wins, nothing resume-defining in this tourney unless someone beats Virginia.

Barclays Center Classic:
Maryland vs. Richmond
Kansas St vs. Boston College
The stakes:  If Maryland doesn't win, something will have gone horribly wrong.

Savannah Invitational:
Mercer vs. East Carolina
Akron vs. Air Force
The stakes:  Likely no bracket impact, but a couple decent neutral court wins are available here, and it may be worth a seed line for a conference champ in March.

Global Sports Classic:
Washington vs. Western Kentucky
The stakes:  Meh.  Washington should handle this.

11/22 recap

North Carolina 107, Oklahoma St 75
Wisconsin 73, Georgetown 57 - Wisky/UNC is a pretty nice game, albeit optional for both schools' case at a 1 seed.  G'town/OSU is much more interesting from a bubble perspective
Oregon 69, Tennessee 65 (OT)
UConn 93, Chaminade 82

Legends Classic:
Colorado 68, Texas 54 - UT takes the damaging 0-2 here
Notre Dame 70, Northwestern 66 - and ND leaves with 2 quality neutral wins

CBE HoF Classic:
Kansas 65, Georgia 54
UAB 81, George Washington 74

Cancun Challenge:
Pudue 85, Utah St 64
Auburn 67, Texas Tech 65

Gulf Coast Showcase:
Bradley 70, Wofford 62
George Mason 79, Kent St 75
Vermont 87, Hofstra 73
Houston 85, South Dakota 58 - Houston/Vermont for this title, probably the best 2 teams in the field already

@Fort Wayne 71, Indiana 68 - and with that, no power conference team will ever play a road game ever again.  In all seriousness, as long as IPFW lives up to their Summit League favorites status, Indiana won't be hurt by this.  Road losses happen.  The real trick will be IPFW turning this into an at-large resume moment
@Pittsburgh 75, Yale 70
Holy Cross 63, @Harvard 52 - notable as the Ivy favorites aren't supposed to lose this kind of home game
@Minnesota 85, Arkansas 71
@Tulsa 75, Oregon St 64
@Washington 94, Long Beach St 88

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

11/21 recap

Georgetown 65, Oregon 61 - disaster for Oregon, not for the loss, but because all the other top teams are on the other half of the bracket and will miss all the big teams in the tourney
Wisconsin 74, Tennessee 62
North Carolina 104, Chaminade 61
Oklahoma St 98, UConn 90

CBE HoF Classic:
Kansas 83, UAB 63
Georgia 81, George Washington 73 - important chance against Kansas coming up

Paradise Jam:
Creighton 86, Ole Miss 77 - not bad for Creighton, and really okay for Ole Miss too who got out of this one with 2 wins
Montana 68, Oral Roberts 47
Loyola(Chi) 88, Washington St 79
NC State 73, St Joseph's 63 - NC State doesn't come out too bad here, loss to Creighton will be forgivable in March

Legends Classic:
Northwestern 77, Texas 58 - the type of win that will matter in March
Notre Dame 89, Colorado 73 - ditto

Gulf Coast:
Vermont 60, Wofford 59
Hofstra 92, Bradley 90
South Dakota 80, Kent St 77
Houston 93, George Mason 56

MGM Grand Main Event:
BYU 92, St Louis 62
Valparaiso 68, Alabama 60 - so important for Valpo just to get to BYU instead of St Louis, big big deal for the at-large resume

@TCU 80, Illinois St 71 - time to eject on the MVC again
Texas Southern 67, @James Madison 56 - um, that's 4 road wins already for TSU
Winthrop 84, @Illinois 80 (OT) - uh
@San Diego St 77, California 65 - the result of the day.  This will be a very important win fo SDSU, especially since it's a roadie

Monday, November 21, 2016

Non-conference tournaments, part II: early Thanksgiving week

Covers pre-Thanksgiving day tourneys.

Tennessee vs. Wisconsin
Georgetown vs. Oregon
Oklahoma St vs. UConn
North Carolina vs. Chaminade
The stakes:  Lower than most years.  UNC kind of catches a bad break, as Chaminade ain't helping anyone's resume, UConn is in the tank, and OkState is okay but not a top team.  UNC will likely acquire several wins better than any semifinal could offer.

However, Oregon/UNC would be a prime matchup, and one that Oregon might need to make an argument for the 1 line.  Pac-12 has a minor perception problem where they're not considered as often for the 1 line.  Oregon winning three times with wins over Wisky and UNC would be a game-changer.

Wisky/Oregon would be a pretty sexy semifinal.  Each of these 4 games has a clear favorite, so we'll see if anyone gets out of line here.

Legends Classic:
Notre Dame vs. Colorado
Texas vs. Northwestern
The stakes:  4 teams in various states of bubble.  Each of the 4 likely expecting to be NCAA tourney teams, all have modest-to-good chances to get there.  Going 0-2 here would be damaging, 2-0 would be very solid.  This tournament analyzes itself, doesn't it?

Men Who Speak Up Main Event:
St Louis vs. BYU
Alabama vs. Valparaiso
The stakes:  Valpo is going to be a mid-major darling.  They'll get mentioned on at-large boards.  This means, right here, neutral site for 2 games....gotta win both.  To give themselves a realistic shot at an at-large, must win 2 neutral site games over a decent Bama team and a decent BYU team.  Valpo should absolutely root to play BYU, by the way.  Quality win chance trumps easier road to the tourney title.

CBE HoF Classic:
George Washington vs. Georgia
UAB vs. Kansas
The stakes:  Kind of a meh tourney for Kansas.  We can move on.  Georgia gets a signature win chance they need if they beat GW, but let's be real.

Cancun Classic:
Texas Tech vs. Auburn
Purdue vs. Utah St
The stakes:  Purdue seems to be a pretty sizable favorite, anything less than 2-0 is a disaster.  Auburn and TTU, if you're serious about the NCAAs this year, you have to beat the other.

Gulf Coast Showcase:
Vermont vs. Wofford
Hofstra vs. Bradley
Kent St vs. South Dakota
Houston vs. George Mason
The stakes:  Um.  Yeah.  Nothing to see here.  Well, almost nothing.  If a team like Vermont wins AEast, having a few neutral site wins like these might be worth a seed line.  Applies to Wofford and the SoCon too.  Other than that, pass.

11/20 recap

HoF Tipoff:
Duke 75, Rhode Island 64 - no harm, no foul to URI, a good neutral site win for Duke
Cincinnati 71, Penn St 50

Charleston Classic:
Villanova 67, Central Florida 57 - it's going to be tough for this tourney to hold any resume value for Nova (given they're worried more about the 1 line than anything else)
Boise St 91, Western Michigan 70
Mississippi St 61, UTEP 54 - these results don't help the perception of CUSA
Wake Forest 78, Charleston 61

Tire Pros Inv'l:
Xavier 67, Northern Iowa 59 - Xavier leaves with 3 neutral site wins, which is more valuable than you think
Oklahoma 70, Clemson 64 - Clemson didn't lose a bad game, but 1-2 hurts; more pressure in conference play to get quality wins
Missouri 67, Tulane 62
Davidson 68, Arizona St 60 - headline writers say "Davidson stuns Arizona St".  What.  What idiots

Paradise Jam:
Creighton 112, NC State 94 - and Creighton gets the tourney win and valuable neutral site wins here
Ole Miss 81, St Joseph's 68

@Virginia 62, Yale 38
@Michigan St 78, FGCU 77 - oy
@UCLA 114, Long Beach 77 - LBSU death march continues
@Stanford 56, Colorado St 49
@Arkansas St 73, Chattanooga 67 - and that's the road loss that actually hurts.  Chattanooga had a great start to the year and this happens

Sunday, November 20, 2016

11/19 recap

Light day, but two signature wins lurk in the rundown below.

HoF Tipoff:
Duke 78, Penn St 68
Rhode Island 76, Cincinnati 71 - a quality neutral win, and a shot at Duke for URI.  Not the best look for Cincy in a fading AAC

Paradise Jam:
Washington St 87, Montana 63
Loyola(Chi) 78, Oral Roberts 53

St Mary's 61, @Dayton 57 - this should be bolded, underlined, and everything.  A signature road win means everything to a team trapped in the WCC.  And this isn't the greatest for Dayton, but their resume will be okay
Texas Southern 77, @LaSalle 76 - that's 3 road wins for TSU already.  Worth noting

Saturday, November 19, 2016

11/18 recap

Charleston Classic:
Villanova 96, Wake Forest 77
Central Florida 60, Charleston 40 - Nova/UCF final.  Man, this tourney sucks
UTEP 85, Western Michigan 75
Mississippi St 80, Boise St 68 - not good for the MWC

Tire Pros Invitational:
Xavier 83, Clemson 77
Northern Iowa 73, Oklahoma 67 (OT) - and UNI gets the signature win chance against Xavier
Davidson 70, Missouri 55 - at least Davidson might get 2 P5 wins out of this, although even that won't have much value
Arizona St 80, Tulane 71

Paradise Jam:
St Joseph's 71, Loyola(Chi) 57
Ole Miss 95, Oral Roberts 88 (OT)
Creighton 103, Washington St 77
North Carolina St 85, Montana 72 - results in these quarterfinals go as expected.  Creighton could pick up a decent win over NCSU, we'll see

2K Classic:
Pittsburgh 78, Marquette 75 - solid neutral court victory
Michigan 76, SMU 54 - some urgency for SMU coming up against Marquette.  AAC is down, need to grab as many wins as possible OOC

USC 65, @Texas A&M 63 - road wins are never trivial
@Minnesota 92, St John's 86
@New Mexico 72, New Mexico St 59
@Nevada 83, Oregon St 58
North Carolina 83, @Hawaii 68 - road wins are never trivial

Friday, November 18, 2016

Non-conference tournaments, part I: pre-Thanksgiving

I'm doing posts to break down each exempt tournament in the non-conference.  This one will deal with the pre-Thanksgiving week ones.

Tire Pros Invitational:
Clemson vs. Davidson
Xavier vs. Missouri
Northern Iowa vs. Arizona St
Tulane vs. Oklahoma
The stakes:  A pretty solid tournament.  There's no signature wins, but the committee will pay attention to three-neutral site wins in a field like this.  Xavier and Oklahoma will have the pressure of probably being the best teams, while it's much more important for UNI and Davidson to pick off a few quality wins.  With a few marginal teams (see:  Tulane), it's important to get in the winners' bracket in this tournament.

Charleston Classic:
Western Michigan vs. Villanova
Wake Forest vs. UTEP
Mississippi St vs. Central Florida
Boise St vs. Charleston
The stakes: Villanova should roll.  For the other 7 teams, this is a freeroll chance to add a signature win over 'Nova.  It's tough to see a lot of value coming out of any other win in this tournament, but a couple of neutral site wins will have value.  Again, important to get in the winners' bracket, to better the chances of a win that will actually have impact.

2K Classic:
Pittsburgh vs. SMU
Michigan vs. Marquette
The stakes:  4 good teams who generally expect to be in the NCAA tournament.  0-2 isn't a disaster in this tournament, 2-0 means two quality neutral site wins.  The good news is everyone in this tourney is competent, so there's no mines to dodge.

Paradise Jam:
Loyola(Chi) vs. St Joseph's
Oral Roberts vs. Ole Miss
Montana vs. North Carolina St
Washington St vs. Creighton
The stakes:  Kind of a weird field.  Solid low-majors (Oral Bob, Montana), middling mid-majors, a couple marginal power conference teams, and Creighton.  Creighton is the favorite and might have to be more in a resume protection mode, as no single win in this field will carry a resume.  There's value in neutral court wins overall, but that's where the value stops in this tournament.

Hall of Fame Tip-Off:
Duke vs. Penn St
Cincinnati vs. Rhode Island
The stakes:  Cincy/URI is a sneaky good game between two probable tourney teams.  Duke will roll everyone in this tourney, though.

11/17 recap

Charleston Classic:
Villanova 76, Western Michigan 65
Wake Forest 103, UTEP 81
Central Florida 86, Mississippi St 61
Charleston 60, Boise St 47

Tire Pros Invitational:
Xavier 83, Missouri 82 (OT)
Clemson 95, Davidson 78 - the kind of swing game that the A-10 needs to win to make a step forward as a conference
Northern Iowa 82, Arizona St 63
Oklahoma 89, Tulane 70

2K Classic:
SMU 76, Pittsburgh 67 - this win has solid value
Michigan 79, Marquette 61

Regular 'ol games:
@Oregon 76, Valparaiso 54 - Valpo is good, this isn't a trivial win
@Louisville 88, Long Beach St 56 - good God, LBSU, stop doing this to yourself
Arkansas St 78, @Georgetown 72 - wat
Ohio St 72, Providence 67 - one power conference teams holds homecourt over the other.  Nothing to see here
Seton Hall 91, @Iowa 83 - road wins are never trivial; home losses aren't a good thing
@UConn 65, Loyola Marymount - road wins are never trivial, and good God did UConn need this

Thursday, November 17, 2016

11/16 recap

@California 75, UC-Irvine 65 (OT) - UCI is a competent team, but it's still not a good sign for Cal
@Butler 70, Northwestern 68
Miami 94, @North Florida 56 - road wins are never trivial
@Illinois St 75, IPFW 57 - interesting in that the top teams in the Summit have spent most of the first week losing some big chances at good wins
@Wichita St 80, Tulsa 53
Lamar 63, @Oregon St 60 - oy

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

11/15 recap

Kansas 77, Duke 75 - I suppose it mattered more for Kansas to get a quality win on the board, but we won't know the impact of this win until March and we have a clearer idea of what the 1 line would look like
Kentucky 69, Michigan St 48 - Michigan St will need some quality wins at some point, but no reason to panic.  Margin of victory is important to a Kentucky team that will be light on quality wins because of the SEC

@Baylor 66, Oregon 49 - it's tough to win road games, I get it.  But these are the games 1 seeds in March win
@Creighton 79, Wisconsin 67 - again, it's tough to win road games.  I see this as Creighton holding serve as a solid tournament team for now
Dayton 77, @Alabama 72 - not good for the SEC; really good for Dayton
@South Carolina 70, Monmouth 69 (OT) - I still think Monmouth will be good but man, this really deflates the party early on
Maryland 76, @Georgetown 75 - quality road win for Maryland.  Not the most crushing loss for GU, but it does remove some margin of error on the bubble

We're slowly starting to see other teams ramp up....Penn St beats a decent Grand Canyon team at home....Florida St over Iona at home...Middle Tennessee over Murray St at home...K-State over Omaha...VCU played a roadie at Liberty for some reason and won...Vandy over Belmont.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

11/14 recap

Villanova 79, @Purdue 76 - these road wins matter when you're arguing for a 1 seed in March.  Quality win, and a no-harm loss for Purdue
@Gonzaga 69, San Diego St 48 - SDSU can still be fine, but this isn't a good look for the resume.  Important win for Gonzaga to establish at-large credentials before entering league play
@Cincinnati 74, Albany 51 - huh, didn't see this MOV coming
New Hampshire 57, @Temple 52 - not optimal for the American
Northeastern 64, @UConn 61 - and REALLY not optimal for the American
Furman 84, @UAB 74 - that's the CUSA favorites losing at home to Furman, not a good look for CUSA
@Ohio St 69, North Carolina Central 63 - about as close as I expected
@BYU 82, Princeton 73 - this could count as a quality win in March

Monday, November 14, 2016

24-hour Tip-Off Marathon

It's time to preview an artificially-created marketing tool for ESPN!

Now, there's actually a few decent games in here, so it's worth planning in advance to see which games are relevant.

Monday 7 EST:  Albany at Cincinnati
Monday 9 EST:  North Carolina Central at Ohio St
I lump these two games together - competent mid-majors at vulnerable power conference schools.  Odds feel good that someone gets an upset in one of these games.

Monday 10 EST:  Princeton at BYU
It's been a quiet ascension, but the top half of the Ivy League is now good.  This is a winnable game for Princeton, and a must-hold for BYU and the WCC in general.

Tuesday 12a EST:  San Diego St at Gonzaga
What a sexy game.  It's likely neither team will need this in order to make the tournament, so this is about seeding.  For both teams, quality win chances are small in February and March, so these really matter.

After this, there's a bunch of games in the middle of the night that I just can't endorse.

Tuesday 1 EST:  Dayton at Alabama
Such an important, important game for the SEC.  They need to legitimize themselves.  Holding serve at home over a A-10 favorite is the type of result they need.

Tuesday 330 EST:  Oregon at Baylor
Road wins are always valuable.  1 seeds win this game.  3 or 4 seeds lose this game.  Oregon, are you 1-line worthy?

Tuesday 7 EST:  Kentucky vs. Michigan St
Tuesday 930 EST:  Duke vs. Kansas
I hear these teams are good.

11/13 recap

Another day where there's very little impact.  All of the big teams are taking this weekend off ahead of big games in the next couple of weeks, or are playing cupcakes with success.

Not many game-changers out there in terms of impact wins.

@Colorado St 64, New Mexico St 61 - interesting to me only because NMSU is trapped in the WAC, so these losses matter more to them than it does to other teams
Yale 98, @Washington 90 - here's one mild upset.  I'm not sure Washington is any good, but this is good news for the Ivy League as a whole
@Wichita St 92, Long Beach St 55 - good God, Monson, schedule down every once in awhile
@North Carolina 97, Chattanooga 57 - no big deal for Chattanooga, they got a split in their first two roadies which is perfectly fine

There's a slew of big name schools that held serve...pretty quiet day overall.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

11/12 recap

I'm having trouble coming up with a post because I see a few teams who held serve as big favorites....and basically no game-changing results.

So carry on with your day then.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

11/11 recap

It's the return of the daily recaps.  A reminder as to what these posts include:

- These will be short, we're looking just for quick-hitting thoughts
- I'm not listing out scores where top teams play cupcakes.  Duke beating Marist by eleventy billion doesn't change anything for us, so we'll just ignore it
- We pay attention to who gets quality wins, who blew their chances at one, and who suffered losses that will look bad in March

Let's Go:

Indiana 103, Kansas 99 - usually, analysis for this kind of game is useless in November.  We'll see where both teams are in March and see how much value this win/loss holds.
@Xavier 84, Lehigh 81 - notable only in the margin of victory; we'll keep Lehigh in the back of our minds as the non-con season marches forward to see if there's something here
Arizona 65, Michigan St 63 - see Indiana/Kansas comment
@St Mary's 81, Nevada 63 - Nevada's pretty good, so this was a non-trivial hold by St Mary's.
Wagner 67, @UConn 58 - and there's your catastrophic loss of the day.  Wagner might win the NEC, but UConn has to handle any NEC team with ease
Marquette 95, Vanderbilt 71
Chattanooga 82, @Tennessee 69 - there's your SoCon favorites with a quality road win early
Albany 87, @Penn St 81 - again, quality mid-majors getting early quality road wins
@Clemson 74, Georgia 64 - this is the type of game bubble teams have to win....two bubble teams here
@Arkansas 92, Fort Wayne 83 - proof that not all quality mid-majors got a quality road win last night
@Stanford 80, Harvard 70

Friday, November 11, 2016

11/11 S-CURVE

A new season begins, and your first S-Curve of the season is below.  This is mostly the same as the offseason bracket, with a few tweaks here and there.

In the preseason bracket, I would argue it's more important to look at my conference breakdown rather than the individual teams.  Sure, of course teams get bids and not conferences, but for preseason projections, I like to look at the relative strength of each conference.  The strength will be an indicator of how many quality wins will be available in each conference, which will influence the likelihood of increased bids in the conference.  I would look at the conference breakdown as a rough guide of how good I expect each conference to be, and how easy it'll be for them to get more bids.

More specifically:
- ACC will be strong.  I have 8/15 getting in, that could easily be more than 8.
- I expect a mild rebound from the Mountain West, getting a 2nd team back in, and I expect the WCC Top 2 to keep clear of the bubble.
- The top of the SEC will be a bit stronger, but they only have 4 bids.  I see very little depth.  This won't hurt Kentucky, but it will hurt all of the bubble teams needing quality wins.  My Auburn call is a bit of a hunch, though.
- The other power conferences lurk around the 50% mark in getting at-large bids, give or take a team.  This is pretty standard.
- I'm probably selling the American conference short with only 3 teams, but I can't figure out who that 4th team will be.  I'll wait and see there.

Individual team calls I'm leaning on:
- Monmouth will get their vengeance this year.
- Marquette/VT/Auburn is a trio of teams on my 9 line that are my bolder calls.  There's room for each team in their conference to settle into the middle of the pack.
- I'm not completely sold on New Mexico being that 2nd MWC team, or Davidson being that 4th A-10 team, but I like the odds of those conferences posting a 2nd team and 4th team, respectively.
- I feel like the odds are the MVC gets 2 teams in, but I just didn't find room in this initial bracket.
- One note after the fact:  some have 10 or 11 ACC teams in their bracket.  It's not impossible, but let's slow your collective roll until we see evidence they should get that many.  If you're wondering why Syracuse is off the board....I had to take a couple ACC teams off the board for balance...made my call with them over others.

One tradition has died this year.  The traditional MAC at-large bid I give out in my first bracket of the year has been eliminated.  RIP.

The 1 line: Duke, Villanova, Kansas, Oregon
The 2 line: Kentucky, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Michigan St
The 3 line: Virginia, Xavier, Arizona, Iowa St
The 4 line: Louisville, Indiana, UCLA, UConn
The 5 line: Dayton, Purdue, Gonzaga, Texas A&M
The 6 line: Baylor, California, Creighton, Rhode Island
The 7 line: West Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Miami
The 8 line: Wichita St, Maryland, Cincinnati, Colorado
The 9 line: Marquette, Virginia Tech, Auburn, St Mary's
The 10 line: Monmouth, Texas, Notre Dame, VCU
The 11 line: San Diego St, Florida St, USC, Seton Hall
The 12 line: Oklahoma, Davidson, New Mexico, SMU, Valparaiso, Harvard
The 13 line: Akron, Towson, Long Beach St, North Dakota St
The 14 line: Chattanooga, Texas-Arlington, Belmont, UAB
The 15 line: Weber St, Lehigh, Vermont, North Florida
The 16 line: Winthrop, Sam Houston St, Fairleigh Dickinson, New Mexico St, South Carolina St, Texas Southern

Next 4 in:
Florida St
Seton Hall

Last 4 in:
New Mexico

Last 4 out:
Illinois St
Northern Iowa

Next 4 out:
Ohio St

Break it down!
Big 12 6
Big 10 6
Pac-12 6
Big East 5
A-10 4

Thursday, November 10, 2016


I haven't completely checked previous years matchups and some other obscure bracket rules for now....this is preseason, dammit.  I'll worry about that as the picture clears.

1) Duke vs. 16) New Mexico St/Texas Southern
8) Maryland vs. 9) Auburn
4) UCLA vs. 13) Long Beach St
5) Gonzaga vs. 12) Davidson/New Mexico
3) Xavier vs. 14) Chattanooga
6) Rhode Island vs. 11) USC
2) Michigan St vs. 15) Lehigh
7) West Virginia vs. 10) Monmouth

1) Oregon vs. 16) Winthrop
8) Cincinnati vs. 9) St Mary's
4) Indiana vs. 13) Akron
5) Texas A&M vs. 12) Valparaiso
3) Iowa St vs. 14) Texas-Arlington
6) California vs. 11) Florida St
2) North Carolina vs. 15) North Florida
7) Florida vs. 10) VCU

1) Kansas vs. 16) Sam Houston St
8) Colorado vs. 9) Marquette
4) Louisville vs. 13) Towson
5) Dayton vs. 12) Oklahoma/SMU
@Salt Lake City
3) Arizona vs. 14) UAB
6) Baylor vs. 11) Seton Hall
2) Wisconsin vs. 15) Weber St
7) Miami vs. 10) Texas

1) Villanova vs. 16) Fairleigh Dickinson/South Carolina St
8) Wichita St vs. 9) Virginia Tech
@Salt Lake City
4) UConn vs. 13) North Dakota St
5) Purdue vs. 12) Harvard
3) Virginia vs. 14) Belmont
6) Creighton vs. 11) San Diego St
2) Kentucky vs. 15) Vermont
7) Michigan vs. 10) Notre Dame

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Offseason bracketology 16-17

The 1 line: Duke, Kansas, Villanova, Oregon
The 2 line: Kentucky, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia
The 3 line: Xavier, Michigan St, Arizona, Iowa St
The 4 line: Louisville, Indiana, California, Dayton
The 5 line: Purdue, UConn, Texas A&M, West Virginia
The 6 line: Baylor, Rhode Island, Marquette, Virginia Tech
The 7 line: Gonzaga, UCLA, Florida, Creighton
The 8 line: Michigan, Miami, Wichita St, Maryland
The 9 line: Colorado, Auburn, Cincinnati, Monmouth
The 10 line: Texas, St Mary's, Notre Dame, VCU
The 11 line: Florida St, USC, Seton Hall, Oklahoma, Davidson
The 12 line: New Mexico, Illinois St, Valparaiso, Harvard, San Diego St
The 13 line: Akron, Towson, Long Beach St, North Dakota St
The 14 line: Chattanooga, Texas-Arlington, Belmont, UAB
The 15 line: Weber St, Lehigh, Vermont, North Florida
The 16 line: Winthrop, Sam Houston St, Fairleigh Dickinson, New Mexico St, South Carolina St, Texas Southern

Next 4 in:
Florida St
Seton Hall

Last 4 in:
New Mexico
Illinois St

Last 4 out:
Northern Iowa

Next 4 out:
Ohio St

Break it down!
Big 12 6
Big 10 6
Pac-12 6
Big East 5
A-10 4

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The RPI sucks

It's time for another rant against the RPI.  I've said the things I'm about to say before.  In fact, I encourage you to go back to last April's archives and find the RPI/SoS post there.  I won't reprise the mathematics here, but I'll refer to the end lesson.  The lesson is this:  in building a schedule, the current system emphasizes bad team avoidance more than playing good teams.  It rewards teams more for simply playing below-average teams instead of the bottom of D1, instead of rewarding teams who actually play good teams.

It's fair to say the overall system is biased against mid-majors.  Note that you have to be careful in what you mean about bias, though.  It's not that very few mid-majors get at-large bids.  It's that the system is set up in a way to make earning an at-large bid impossible for mid-majors.  The current system, based on how the RPI is calculated, favors teams who have bad team avoidance, which is something by definition that the mid-majors cannot do.  There is no recourse for a mid-major to prevent this fatal flaw from ruining their resume.

Knowing this, let's brainstorm a new version of the RPI.  This new version should still punish teams who willingly schedule many cupcakes, but it should reward teams who schedule up and attempt to get quality wins, without erasing those gains unfairly.  There's two main ways to do this:

1) Throwing out outliers.  You know in some judging competitions, how the high score and low score get thrown out when there are many judges?  Let's introduce that to the RPI.  For the SoS calculation, throw out the best team and worst team, and then calculate the SoS.  Or even just throw out teams on one end.  Throw out the worst 3 records in a team's non-conference schedule before calculating the non-con SoS.  In fact, this is my favorite solution.

What does this do?  By throwing out the bottom 3 teams on a team's schedule when calculating non-con SoS, you allow everyone a couple of free cupcakes without hurting their computer numbers, which is okay.  You keep the truly horrendous teams from causing extra damage to a good team's profile.  If a team still has several other cupcakes on the schedule, now they're still going to be punished, even more severely when compared to teams with just a couple of cupcakes.  And finally, with less teams factoring into the SoS calculation, the excellent teams will stand out more clearly.

2) Artificial scaling.  For the SoS calculation, put in a floor.  If an opponent has less than a .250 record...bump it up to .250 for the SoS calculation.  Or .300.  Or .200.  Or any number you want.  This would require some research that I don't have time for, but I'm sure an optimal number is out there.  Or you can introduce a sliding scale, where all below .500 records receive a proportional bump in value.  A .200 record becomes .300, a .400 record becomes .450, you get the idea.

What does this do?  It softens the blow that a truly terrible team has on the SoS.  It mitigates the bad team avoidance issue by helping prevent a single bad team from having excessive influence on the SoS.

I'd like to see someone figure out a system incorporating one or both of these ideas.  We need something to lessen the impact of cupcake games on the SoS.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Random musings

I'm working on a post where I'm going to propose some changes to the RPI, in order to come up with a metric that can be used to sort teams that isn't mathematically flawed the way RPI is.  But for now, I wanted to hit a few topics that, by themselves, don't warrant full blog posts.  But I want to get them out for public consumption.

1) Three times in 11 years, a bubble team makes the final four (Mason, VCU, Syracuse).  This just proves that bubble talk is actually important.  It actually matters who gets in and who gets out.  Syracuse was a true bubble team this year (although the media narrative that they should've been out is a bit too revisionist - they had a reasonable case).  Do we know that Valpo or SDSU can't make that type of run, especially with that region being cleaned out in the bottom half?  This is why bubble discussion matters, because there are several teams that didn't make the tourney that could've made the run Syracuse made.

2) This is going to sound blasphemous and counter to everything I stand for...but I think the NIT is going to have to get rid of autobids (or increase their field).  There's good teams being left out of the NIT, and there's a big imbalance between the 8 line and the 6 line in that tournament.  Now that the CIT is established, those low-level conference champs do have another home, and actually have a chance to play for several games instead of just 1, maybe 2.  It runs counter to my general philosophy, but I think this is best for everyone.

3) Vegas should keep their tourney at 8 going forward, and frankly I think all those teams should migrate back to the CIT anyways.  If anything, the CIT should adopt the Vegas 8.  Have 32 teams play down to 8 the first weekend, then send those 8 to Vegas.  Something like that would work best for the low-level tourneys.

4) It's important to seed the bottom four lines correctly.  This is what happens when you match a 1 seed (Michigan St) with a 14 seed (MTSU), only you call it a 2-15.

5) I know you shouldn't use tournament results to justify selection/seeding, but you can't tell me that mass ejection by the Pac-12 on the first weekend had nothing to do with their overvaluing.  More about this in the RPI post coming in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Bracketing fixes

Ok, we have the committee seed list 1-68.  How should the tournament have been bracketed?  Guess what:  the committee messed a couple things up.  Here's what I got when I applied their principles to their S-Curve.

*note:  I didn't have immediate access to previous tourney matchups, to see if that blocked anything

@Des Moines
1) Kansas vs. 16) Austin Peay
8) Colorado vs. 9) Butler
4) California vs. 13) Hawaii
5) Maryland vs. 12) South Dakota St
3) Miami vs. 14) Buffalo
6) Arizona vs. 11) Vanderbilt/Tulsa
@St Louis
2) Xavier vs. 15) Middle Tennessee
7) Wisconsin vs. 10) Syracuse

1) Oregon vs. 16) Southern/Holy Cross
8) Texas Tech vs. 9) UConn
4) Duke vs. 13) UNC-Wilmington
5) Baylor vs. 12) Yale
@Oklahoma City
3) Texas A&M vs. 14) Green Bay
6) Texas vs. 11) Northern Iowa
@Oklahoma City
2) Oklahoma vs. 15) Cal St-Bakersfield
7) Oregon St vs. 10) VCU

1) Virginia vs. 16) Hampton
8) USC vs. 9) Providence
4) Iowa St vs. 13) Iona
5) Purdue vs. 12) Arkansas-Little Rock
3) Utah vs. 14) Fresno St
6) Seton Hall vs. 11) Gonzaga
@St Louis
2) Michigan St vs. 15) Weber St
7) Dayton vs. 10) Temple

1) North Carolina vs. 16) FGCU/Fairleigh Dickinson
8) St Joseph's vs. 9) Cincinnati
@Des Moines
4) Kentucky vs. 13) Stony Brook
5) Indiana vs. 12) Chattanooga
3) West Virginia vs. 14) Stephen F Austin
6) Notre Dame vs. 11) Michigan/Wichita St
2) Villanova vs. 15) UNC-Asheville
7) Iowa vs. 10) Pittsburgh

The 1 line:  no changes
The 2 line:  Villanova and Xavier should switch.  Not only does it reward Nova and keep them home, it also gives Xavier a better site to my eyes as well.  Instead of giving geographical advantages to the 7th and 8th teams, they choose to save the teams ranked above them.  I'm not sure that's how it's supposed to work.
The 3 line:  I agree.  I think OKC is a better geographical site for Miami, barely.  However, the chain reaction would've sent A&M away from OKC, and the difference between OKC and Provi for Miami is negligible, so it's a good switch to make.
The 4 line:  You could make an argument that Iowa St (Denver) and Kentucky (Des Moines) should switch regional sites.  Obviously ISU wants Des Moines, and Kentucky can't travel by car/bus either way.  It wouldn't be the worst change in the world to make.
The 5 line:  On first glance, I've got Maryland and Baylor flipping spots.  Obviously Maryland being ranked higher, they should stay east while Baylor goes to Spokane.  But the devil is in the details.  Baylor and Kansas played 3 times this year; therefore they can't be in the top half of the South bracket with Kansas.  This costs Maryland a cross-country trip.  Tough break.
The 6 line:  Here's a place where I think the committee could have gotten creative if it wanted to.  Currently, they have Arizona making a cross-country trip and Texas lining up against A&M.  If you send Texas to Denver instead, you can fit Arizona into OKC.  More fair to Arizona, less fair to Texas.  But, as I was working up this plan, Seton Hall gummed the whole thing up.  Seton Hall as a 6 played Xavier and Villanova three times each this year, locking them out of their two regionals.  Therefore, SHU has to play in either Denver or OKC, which messes up the whole Arizona/Texas plan.  Therefore, I think the committee got the 6 line right.  Arizona ends up with the short straw in this scenario.
The 7 line:  no changes
The 8 line:  Here's one of the stupider things the committee did.  Texas Tech has two options:  Raleigh and Spokane.  Both aren't great.  They're about equal.  However, if you send TTU to Raleigh, then you eventually have to send St Joe's to Spokane.  That's what this committee did.  Why not send TTU to Spokane and save St Joe's a couple thousand miles or so?  That's a sloppy mistake by the committee.  By the way, this also changes USC's fate just a bit, as they're in UVa's path instead of UNC's.
The 9 line:  I'm not sure anyone's in the spot they're supposed to be.  Providence as the highest on the 9 line should be in UVA's path, not UNCs.  A modest mistake here.  Butler is next and should get Des Moines.  UConn as the lowest should be the one of the four to bite the bullet and go to Spokane.  The committee made a pure mess of the 9 line, and I'm not sure why.  Why is Butler taking the trip to Spokane?  The only logic I see is UConn fans traveling better and the NCAA doing a blatant favor, but it's not like UConn is staying close to home - they're going to Des Moines.  This is weird.
The 10 line:  Shouldn't Pitt be in Brooklyn?  I know the committee put Temple there, and they're closer.  But Pitt is higher ranked and close enough to Brooklyn, compared to St Louis, to make it a real difference.  This change causes a chain reaction that changes 3 of the 4 7-10 matchups.
The 11 line:  The committee chose the right two sites to send PIG winners to.  The actual PIG matchups kinda feel arbitrary to me.  I'd have the best play the worst among the four, as there are no in-bracket conflicts that get in the way.  Wichita gets a minor, minor shaft by having to play Vandy instead of Michigan.
The 12 line:  no changes
The 13 line:  no changes
The 14 line:  no changes
The 15 line:  Middle Tennessee is the best 15 seed.  If they're going to play in St Louis (and they should), it should be against the worst 2, Xavier, not the best 2, Michigan St.  Middle Tennessee got a screw job here.  Everything else lines up fine.
The 16 line:  It sucks sending a winner from Dayton to Spokane, but the only alternative is moving the winner to the 15 line instead.  Nope.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


I don't really feel like doing this, but whatever:

66 of 68 teams correct
34 seeded correctly
59 seeded within one line
2.56 average S-Curve miss

These are all marginal numbers.  66 and 34 seem to be above average with respect to everyone else; 59 isn't.  2.56 is also below the 2.25 target, but I'm far too lazy to calculate it for every other person out there.

7 teams I missed by more than 1 seed line:
Texas A&M (NCAA 3, Bracketball 5)
California (NCAA 4, Bracketball 6)
Oregon St (NCAA 7, Bracketball 9)
USC (NCAA 8, Bracketball 10)
Providence (NCAA 9, Bracketball 7)
Wichita St (NCAA 11, Bracketball 9)
Gonzaga (NCAA 11, Bracketball 9)

The committee went away from trends on the Gonzaga thing - usually conference champs get a seed bump in the process.  That applies to Wichita too.  However, on the other end, A&M got that bump.  So apparently that bump now applies to majors only?

The Pac-12 I underseeded as a whole.  I trusted the committee to look past the RPI gimmicks a bit; they didn't.  Oregon St is definitely a flagrant rank.  Did they see Cal's road/neutral record?  I don't like any of the Pac-12 seeds in this tournament, period.

Providence is probably the one mistake I think I made.  Too high on my end.

Other lessons:
1) Last year, I missed some 13-16 seeds when I tried to break down their resume too much.  The committee used the RPI and the conference RPI, and did a poor job seeding them.  So this year, I tried to mimick that strategy...and the committee went the other way.  PICK A WAY OF EVALUATING MID-MAJORS AND STICK WITH IT.  I'm very frustrated by some of these seeds.  Green Bay clearly got a name recognition bump with the Horizon...but UNC-Wilmington didn't despite the big year from the Colonial.  I give up on the 13-16 lines, there's horrible inconsistency.
2) The committee is very vulnerable to RPI manipulation.  Beware the conference that plays the game well; they'll get overseeded like the Pac-12 did.
3) Contingencies are meaningless.  The committee ignores Sunday results; they just do.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Vegas 16/CBI/CIT fields

This whole thing ended up being an adventure, but it looks like we finally have fields for all 3 of these shindigs.

Vegas 16:
Tennessee Tech vs. Old Dominion
UC-Santa Barbara vs. Northern Illinois
Oakland vs. Towson
Louisiana Tech vs. East Tennessee St

So, the Vegas 16 has 8.  HA.  Turns out all those high-majors they wanted...everyone turned them down.  Everyone.  I had speculated that this was the most likely tournament to attract the high-majors, and no one bit.  They had to go to 8 teams because they couldn't find more.  It's pretty damning for the future of this tournament, which I don't think is viable without those big boys.  Well, it could be viable if the CBI/CIT didn't exist, perhaps.  But otherwise, this might be a one-and-done.  They failed to get the types of teams they wanted.

As for the actual 8 teams?  Deserving.  It's not a bad field.  All 8 are certainly deserving of the postseason from a profile perspective.

Jackson St vs. Sam Houston St
South Carolina St vs. Grand Canyon
Mercer vs. Coastal Carolina
Louisiana-Monroe vs. Furman
Ball St vs. Tennessee Tech
UT-Arlington vs. Savannah St
Boston vs. Fordham
Norfolk St vs. Columbia
New Hampshire vs. Fairfield
Tennesse-Martin vs. Central Michigan
Army vs. NJIT
UC-Irvine vs. North Dakota
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Now, if you know how to can count to 26 teams.  Not 32.  The CIT could not fill a full field, and they don't need to look any further to Vegas, who siphoned off 8 teams who otherwise would've fit the CIT profile.  I would have thought, for all the world, that it would be the CBI that would suffer.

Since they didn't fill the full field, I can't be critical of any selection.  Army and NoDak, and maybe one or two of the HBCUs would've been marginal postseason picks in a normal year, but I can't criticize their inclusion in a year with only 26 teams.

Morehead St vs. Siena
Omaha vs. Duquesne
Western Carolina vs. Vermont
Albany vs. Ohio
Houston Baptist vs. UNC-Greensboro
Montana vs. Nevada
Pepperdine vs. Eastern Washington
Idaho vs. Seattle

Naturally, the CBI didn't get hurt while the other two got hurt.  I had predicted the exact opposite.  I really do wonder why teams preferred the CBI over the CIT.  Maybe these teams were expecting a few upper-majors to play.  Of course, none of them showed up.

Now, here, there's some questionable selections.  Seattle is 12-16 (7-7 WAC) with a RPI of 287.  Greensboro is 11-18 (10-8 SoCon) with a RPI of 237.  Western Carolina is 13-17 (10-8 SoCon), albeit with a tolerable RPI.  Duquesne is under .500 against D-1 competition.  There are some flagrant selections here.  Absolutely flagrant.

As it turns out, if you remove those 4 teams, plus 4 out of the back end of the CIT, and insert the Vegas have two pretty decent postseasons.  Instead, we have 3 marginal tournaments.

The lessons:
1) The majors have checked out.  No one simply wants to play 'em.  The Big 8 conferences don't, with the lone exceptions of Duquesne/Fordham, who don't get many chances.  The Mountain West had an avalanche of available teams, yet only Nevada accepted (and Nevada is on the rise and hasn't been a postseason team in awhile).  The MVC is skipping them all.  Seems like those 10 conferences, in general, are taking a collective stand.  That can be a problem.

2) I think the CIT may need either the Vegas to die, or to pare down to 16.  In the beginning, it was a great way for teams to finally make the postseason, as many of the small-majors had just their conference tournament every year as an option otherwise.  However, a few years in, with so many teams finally getting their feet wet, it's no longer a novelty.  Sure, there'll always be a few teams who've never played the postseason, or haven't played in awhile, but that list of candidates is slowly fading away as, year after year, a few teams leap off that list.  It's a simple case of attrition.

We'll see what happens going forward.


Presented, without comment:

Lowest RPIs to receive an at-large bid
72 Syracuse
63 Vanderbilt
58 Tulsa
57 Michigan
56 Butler
53 Pittsburgh
51 USC

Highest RPIs to miss the field
30 St Bonventure
34 Akron
38 St Mary's
39 Princeton
41 San Diego St
49 Valparaiso
52 Monmouth

Sunday, March 13, 2016

NIT field/analysis

I'm still gonna hit the NCAA committee hard, but tonight, let's complete the NIT analysis.

The actual field:
1) St Bonaventure vs. 8) Wagner
4) Creighton vs. 5) Alabama
3) Virginia Tech vs. 6) Princeton
2) BYU vs. 7) UAB

1) Valparaiso vs. 8) Texas Southern
4) Florida St vs. 5) Davidson
3) Georgia vs. 6) Belmont
2) St Mary's vs. 7) New Mexico St

1) Monmouth vs. 8) Bucknell
4) George Washington vs. 5) Hofstra
3) Ohio St vs. 6) Akron
2) Florida vs. 7) North Florida

1) South Carolina vs. 8) High Point
4) Georgia Tech vs. 5) Houston
3) Washington vs. 6) Long Beach St
2) San Diego St vs. 7) IPFW

My performance:
31 of 32 teams correct
14 of 28 teams seeded correctly (remember, we knew the 1 seeds going in)
21 of 28 teams within 1 seed line

Seeding kinda sucked, but at least I got 31.  Missed William & Mary, in favor of Long Beach St.  I'm very suspicious of their selection, given they play on the west coast, and that UC-Irvine was a legit NIT bubble team and finished higher than LBSU in its conference.  I think they missed but it's not a major sin.

Princeton as a 6?  Yea.  I like that.  Their RPI was inflated, and honestly didn't deserve a bid if you were to ignore the RPI.  That 6 seed feels like a compromise.  This seemed to happen to Akron too, getting docked big in seeding when you only had the RPI in your favor (Akron obviously had the autobid though).

Part of me wonders if they docked Akron a seed line to match up with OSU.  Many of these first round games line up geographically, but a few don't.  Further, later-round matchups are really random.  Seems like after the first round, the NIT doesn't care about geography,  Which is probably a fair plan.

Hofstra as a 5 was my big miss...why do they disrespect the Colonial?  They're a good team.  I'm not sure how they just plain old missed on this one.  A few mid majors are low seeds, but Hofstra's really the only one with a major issue.

I give the NIT an A-.  Hofstra feels like too big a miss, and LBSU too awkward a selection, to make it a pure A.  But for the most part, sanity ruled the day.

NCAA 1-68 seed list

This is mostly for my own reference later, but here it is in text format.

The 1 line:  Kansas, North Carolina, Virginia, Oregon
The 2 line:  Michigan St, Oklahoma, Villanova, Xavier
The 3 line:  West Virginia, Miami, Utah, Texas A&M
The 4 line:  Duke, California, Kentucky, Iowa St
The 5 line:  Indiana, Purdue, Maryland, Baylor
The 6 line:  Texas, Notre Dame, Arizona, Seton Hall
The 7 line:  Wisconsin, Dayton, Iowa, Oregon St
The 8 line:  Texas Tech, Colorado, USC, St Joseph's
The 9 line:  Providence, Butler, Cincinnati, UConn
The 10 line:  Pittsburgh, Temple, Syracuse, VCU
The 11 line:  Vanderbilt, Michigan, Wichita St, Gonzaga, Tulsa, Northern Iowa
The 12 line:  Chattanooga, Arkansas-Little Rock, Yale, South Dakota St
The 13 line:  UNC-Wilmington, Hawaii, Stony Brook, Iona
The 14 line:  Green Bay, Buffalo, Fresno St, Stephen F Austin
The 15 line:  Middle Tennessee, Cal St-Bakersfield, UNC-Asheville, Weber St
The 16 line:  Austin Peay, Hampton, FGCU, Fairleigh Dickinson, Southern, Holy Cross

Quick reactions/criticisms of actual bracket

@Des Moines - Thursday afternoon session
1) Kansas vs. 16) Austin Peay - interesting that Peay avoids the play-in game
8) Colorado vs. 9) UConn - by the way, the Des Moines regionals are loaded.  Kansas/UConn in the afternoon, Indiana/Kentucky at night
@Spokane - Friday afternoon session
4) California vs. 13) Hawaii - wow, California all the way to the 1 line.  Here's where road/neutral got to me: they were 5-10 in road/neutral games.  4 seed is aggressive for that kind of record
5) Maryland vs. 12) South Dakota St
@Providence - Thursday night session
3) Miami vs. 14) Buffalo
6) Arizona vs. 11) Vanderbilt/Wichita St - metrics schmetrics.  The committee obviously discarded them, and threw Vandy/WSU at the end of the bracket to throw everyone off their scent.  Vandy was a true bubbler, but this is a flagrant seed for Wichita
@Brooklyn - Friday afternoon session
2) Villanova vs. 15) UNC-Asheville - so why isn't Nova in the East regional?  I honestly don't know.  It looks like seed imbalance isn't an immediate issue.  Xavier and Villanova could trade and not break any principles.  Unless they specifically wanted to protect UNC, I'm not sure
7) Iowa vs. 10) Temple

@Spokane - Friday evening session
1) Oregon vs. 16) Holy Cross/Southern - so a play-in game winner to Dayton?  No choice.  The other three 1 seeds are playing at Thursday/Saturday sites
8) St Joseph's vs. 9) Cincinnati
@Providence - Thursday afternoon session
4) Duke vs. 13) UNC-Wilmington - aw man, no Duke in Spokane after all.  And to add insult to injury, Duke's in the afternoon session instead of the night session
5) Baylor vs. 12) Yale
@Oklahoma City - Friday evening session
3) Texas A&M vs. 14) Green Bay - I don't get this 3 seed
6) Texas vs. 11) Northern Iowa - I guess I was aggressive on Texas' seed after all
@Oklahoma City - Friday afternoon session
2) Oklahoma vs. 15) Cal St-Bakersfield
7) Oregon St vs. 10) VCU - what a pair of ridiculous seeds.  VCU barely made my field and are a few spots above where they should be.  Oregon St is a ridiculous seed, plain and simple.  Defend it.  I dare you

@Raleigh - Thursday afternoon session
1) Virginia vs. 16) Hampton
8) Texas Tech vs. 9) Butler
@Denver - Thursday afternoon session
4) Iowa St vs. 13) Iona
5) Purdue vs. 12) Arkansas-Little Rock - not much to complain about in these quadrants so far
@Denver - Thursday evening session
3) Utah vs. 14) Fresno St
6) Seton Hall vs. 11) Gonzaga - Seton Hall probably should be a 5, seems like not enough credit for their run.  But it's not a major sin
@St Louis - Friday afternoon session
2) Michigan St vs. 15) Middle Tennessee - I thought injuries were supposed to be considered...
7) Dayton vs. 10) Syracuse - too high for Syracuse, plain and simple

@Raleigh - Thursday evening session
1) North Carolina vs. 16) FGCU/Fairleigh Dickinson
8) USC vs. 9) Providence - so I went the wrong way on USC late.  Dammit
@Des Moines - Thursday evening session
4) Kentucky vs. 13) Stony Brook - 4 seed is fine for UK, but not compared to A&M's 3
5) Indiana vs. 12) Chattanooga - apparently the committee doesn't care about conference titles after all.  I'm confused
@Brooklyn - Friday evening session
3) West Virginia vs. 14) Stephen F Austin
6) Notre Dame vs. 11) Michigan/Tulsa - Tulsa is a stupid pick.  Not as catastrophic as, say, Air Force 2006, but it's pretty bad
@St Louis - Friday evening session
2) Xavier vs. 15) Weber St
7) Wisconsin vs. 10) Pittsburgh

East 32, South 34, Midwest 35, West 35.  Balance!  You know what's even better?  Swapping Nova and X, which would give you a 33-33-35-35 configuration.  By the way, that's the only error I see among the top 16 overall teams in terms of placement - everything else checks out to me.

Final NIT projections

We soldier on.  Plenty of reaction posts coming up about the NCAA field.

The 1 line:  St Bonaventure (22-8), South Carolina (23-8), Valparaiso (24-6), Monmouth (27-7)
The 2 line:  San Diego St (23-9), St Mary's (26-5), Hofstra (23-9), Florida (19-14)
The 3 line:  Ohio St (20-13), Davidson (19-12), Alabama (18-14), George Washington (23-10)
The 4 line:  Georgia Tech (19-14), Washington (18-14), Georgia (19-13), Florida St (19-13)
The 5 line:  Akron (25-8), BYU (22-10), Houston (22-9), Virginia Tech (19-14)
The 6 line:  Princeton (21-6),  William & Mary (18-11), Creighton (18-14), IPFW (22-9)
The 7 line:  UAB (25-6), Belmont (19-11), New Mexico St (21-10), High Point (18-10)
The 8 line:  Bucknell (16-13), North Florida (19-11), Wagner (21-10), Texas Southern (18-14)

Last 4 out:  LSU (19-14), UC-Irvine (23-9), Northwestern (20-12), Clemson (17-14),
Next 4 out:  Ole Miss (20-12), Kansas St (17-16), Boise St (18-12), Marquette (20-13)

Reminder that for these, I like to move teams up and down a seed line for geographic reasons.

1) St Bonaventure (22-8) vs. 8) Bucknell (16-13)
4) Georgia (19-13) vs. 5) Virginia Tech (19-14)
3) Ohio St (20-13) vs. 6) Creighton (18-14)
2) St Mary's (26-5) vs. 7) UAB (25-6)

1) Monmouth (27-7) vs. 8) Wagner (21-10)
4) George Washington (23-10) vs. 5) Princeton (21-6)
3) Davidson (19-12) vs. 6) William & Mary (18-11)
2) Florida (19-14) vs. 7) High Point (18-10)

1) Valparaiso (24-6) vs. 8) Texas Southern (18-14)
4) Florida St (19-13) vs. 5) Akron (25-8)
3) Washington (18-14) vs. 6) BYU (22-10)
2) San Diego St (23-9) vs. 7) New Mexico St (21-10)

1) South Carolina (23-8) vs. 8) North Florida (19-11)
4) Georgia Tech (19-14) vs. 5) Houston (22-9)
3) Alabama (18-14) vs. 6) IPFW (22-9)
2) Hofstra (23-9) vs. 7) Belmont (19-11)


The 1 line:  Kansas (30-4), Michigan St (29-5), North Carolina (28-6), Virginia (26-7)
The 2 line:  Oregon (27-6), Oklahoma (25-7), Villanova (29-5), West Virginia (26-8)
The 3 line:  Xavier (27-5), Miami (25-7), Utah (26-8), Kentucky (26-8)
The 4 line:  Indiana (25-7), Duke (23-10), Purdue (26-8), Iowa St (21-11)
The 5 line:  Seton Hall (25-8), Texas A&M (26-8), Texas (20-12), Maryland (25-8)
The 6 line:  California (23-10), Baylor (22-11), Notre Dame (21-11), Arizona (25-8)
The 7 line:  Iowa (21-10), Wisconsin (20-12), St Joseph's (27-7), Providence (23-10)
The 8 line:  Colorado (21-11), UConn (24-10), Dayton (25-7), Texas Tech (19-12)
The 9 line:  Butler (21-10), Gonzaga (25-7), Wichita St (23-8), Oregon St (18-12)
The 10 line:  Pittsburgh (20-11), Cincinnati (22-10), USC (21-12), Monmouth (27-7)
The 11 line:  Michigan (21-12), St Bonaventure (22-8), Temple (21-11), Syracuse (19-13), VCU (24-10), South Dakota St (24-7)
The 12 line:  UNC-Wilmington (23-7), Arkansas-Little Rock (27-4), Chattanooga (27-5), Northern Iowa (21-12)
The 13 line:  Yale (21-6), Stony Brook (24-6), Fresno St (23-9), Hawaii (25-5)
The 14 line:  Iona (22-10), Middle Tennessee (22-9), Buffalo (19-14), Stephen F Austin (23-5)
The 15 line:  Green Bay (21-12), Weber St (23-8), Cal St-Bakersfield (21-8), UNC-Asheville (20-11)
The 16 line:  Hampton (20-10), FGCU (16-13), Fairleigh Dickinson (16-13), Southern (19-12), Austin Peay (16-17), Holy Cross (14-19)

Last 3 in:

Last 2 out:
San Diego St