Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2/28 recap

@Kentucky 73, Vanderbilt 67 - dammit.  Dammit all to hell.  You coulda made me look good, Vandy
@South Carolina 63, Mississippi St 57

@Duke 75, Florida St 70 - FSU is in big trouble now of going west - UNC/UL/Dook have separated as the top 3
@Georgia Tech 61, Pittsburgh 52 - well, you can only win the games in front of you, and GT needs every single one.  Bubble death match coming against Syracuse

@Purdue 86, Indiana 75 - sigh
Maryland 79, @Rutgers 59 - road wins are never tri....well this one was kinda trivial

Big 12:
@Iowa St 86, Oklahoma St 83 - we've advanced to the point where this game was only about seeding

Big East:
@Seton Hall 62, Georgetown 59 - every win at this point in the season is a big win
@Creighton 82, St John's 68
@Providence 73, DePaul 64 - every win is big

Big South 1st round:
Charleston Southern 79, Longwood 74
Campbell 81, Presbyterian 62

Patriot League 1st round:
Army 74, American 58
Loyola(MD) 67, Lafayette 64

Miami(OH) beats Akron on the road.  What.  Akron is doing legitimate damage to its seed now, the 14 line is in play
NITWatch:  A&M beat Mizzou...Davidson over Bonaventure, which helps Richmond...Ohio St beats Penn St on the road.  Perhaps in a parallel world, OSU wins out until Selection Sunday and becomes a factor...Fresno wins on the road at Boise, Colorado St holds at home over Wyoming.  Still think Boise and CSU are NIT teams

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament preview

This is part 8 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

The standings:
Monmouth 18-2
St Peter's 14-6
Iona 12-8
Siena 12-8
Fairfield 11-9
Rider 10-10
Canisius 10-10
Quinnipiac 7-13
Niagara 7-13
Marist 5-15
Manhattan 5-15

Tournament format:
Thursday March 2 to Monday March 6.  (semis March 5, quarterfinals March 3/4.  They're sharing the tournament with the women, which throws off all the schedules.  Gah)  We're at a neutral site at Albany here.  All 11 teams are going.

The matchups:
1) Monmouth vs. 8/9) Quinnipiac/Niagara
4) Siena vs. 5) Fairfield
3) Iona vs. 6/11) Rider/Manhattan
2) St Peter's vs. 7/10) Canisius/Marist

The stakes:
MAAC was RPI 16.  That's about average for them.  Sometimes they sneak an at-large candidate into the fray, but not this year.  This includes RPI 42 Monmouth, who doesn't have the resume it had last year.  Their only Top 100 win is Princeton, so much like others we've talked about already, they have the RPI and nothing else working in their favor (there's also a win at Memphis mixed in that could help).  3 of their 5 losses are true quality, too.  Monmouth is in line for a 13 seed, as the combination of a competent conference and a Top 50 RPI does bode well for them.

If someone else wins the conference, they'll probably avoid Dayton, but a 15 or 16 seed would be a threat.  St Peter's 134 RPI, Iona 118 RPI.  Seems like a 15 seed to me, at face value.  No one really has a quality win to work with for seeding.  Well, Iona beat Nevada?  So maybe a 14 seed.

No one's in NIT range, which is a mild upset for this conference.  St Peter's and Iona would be a lock for the CIT if they want it, and Fairfield, Canisius, and Rider are all eligible (and Siena can get there with 2 wins).  So expect a healthy MAAC presence in the EIEIO tournaments.

Missouri Valley Conference tournament preview

This is part 7 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

The standings:
Illinois St 17-1
Wichita St 17-1
Northern Iowa 9-9
Southern Illinois 9-9
Loyola(Chi) 8-10
Missouri St 7-11
Bradley 7-11
Evansville 6-12
Indiana St 5-13
Drake 5-13

Tournament format:
Four days, Thursday March 2 to Sunday March 5, at a neutral in St Louis.  Straight-up format.

The matchups:
1) Illinois St vs. 8/9) Evansville/Indiana St
4) Southern Illinois vs. 5) Loyola(Chi)
3) Northern Iowa vs. 6) Missouri St
2) Wichita St vs. 7/10) Bradley/Drake

The stakes:
Our first tournament with legitimate bubble stakes.  We're going to need to acknowledge something with Wichita St, who is kenpom 10 and RPI 40:
- if we give them an at-large bid, they have only 2 top 100 wins.  It will be, on paper, one of the worst at-large resumes to ever make the field, if not the worst ever
- if we don't give them at at-large bid, it will be a historic exclusion.  No team this beloved by the analytics has ever missed the tournament, and it wouldn't be close
Wichita St is an outlier.  Period.  It will set a record one way or the other.  Period.  It will break a fundamental rule of bracketology by its mere appearance on the bubble.  So pick a side, and realize that it's going to run contrary to public wisdom.  It's ok.  Of course this is all solved by winning this damned tournament.

Illinois St is in the same boat...but doesn't have nearly the analytic love.  Therefore, I think they're doomed.  I just don't see how they separate themselves from the Nevada/UNC-W/UTA gaggle of good mid-majors without resume heft.  2 Top 100 wins:  Wichita and New Mexico who is fading out of NIT contention.  Only one bad loss among their four (although it IS a stinker).  Despite a non-con SoS around 120, they gave themselves exactly one chance at something resembling a quality win (@TCU) and lost.  It's so tough to justify a resume like this without any depth of substance.  That one win over Wichita just can't carry this.

This is going to be a flashpoint for bracketologists.  If there's going to be a spot where the committee will be unpredictable, it'll be with the loser of this tournament between these two teams.  I can make reasonable arguments the other way, but recent committee trends make me think the MVC is doomed.

The rest of the conference is a tire fire, which doesn't help the cause.  No one near the NIT.  Your 3 seed is 13-15 against D1 competition.  Your CIT-eligible teams are SIU, Loyola, and Missouri St.  Have fun with that group.

2/28 S-CURVE

The handy Bracket Matrix guide to what I changed from my last S-Curve:

Moved Kentucky from a 2 seed to a 3 seed
Moved UCLA from a 3 seed to a 2 seed

East Tennessee St from a 13 seed to OUT
UNC-Greensboro from OUT to a 14 seed
Princeton from a 14 seed to a 13 seed

Ironically, Baylor caused the Kentucky/UCLA switch.  Baylor moved back ahead of Kentucky with their win over WVU, and then with Kentucky and UCLA ranked next to each other, I applied head-to-head.

The 1 line:  Kansas (27-3), Villanova (27-3), Gonzaga (29-1), North Carolina (24-6)
The 2 line:  Louisville (23-6), Oregon (25-4), Baylor (23-6), UCLA (26-3)
The 3 line:  Kentucky (24-5), Arizona (26-4), Florida (23-6), Butler (23-6)
The 4 line:  Florida St (23-6), Duke (22-7), West Virginia (23-7), Purdue (23-6)
The 5 line:  Virginia (20-9), Notre Dame (22-7), Minnesota (22-7), Cincinnati (25-4)
The 6 line:  St Mary's (26-3), Creighton (21-7), SMU (25-4), Iowa St (19-9)
The 7 line:  South Carolina (20-8), Oklahoma St (19-9), Maryland (21-7), Wisconsin (22-7)
The 8 line:  Miami (20-9), Michigan St (18-11), Virginia Tech (21-8), Dayton (22-5)
The 9 line:  Northwestern (20-9), Xavier (18-11), Michigan (19-10), Arkansas (22-7)
The 10 line:  VCU (23-6), Middle Tennessee (24-4), Seton Hall (18-10), Wichita St (26-4)
The 11 line:  USC (21-8), Syracuse (17-13), Providence (18-11), Vanderbilt (16-13), California (19-9), Kansas St (17-12)
The 12 line:  Texas-Arlington (21-6), Nevada (23-6), Illinois St (24-5), UNC-Wilmington (24-5)
The 13 line:  Akron (22-6), Monmouth (26-5), Vermont (25-5), Princeton (18-6)
The 14 line:  Belmont (21-5), Bucknell (23-8), Winthrop (21-6), UNC-Greensboro (20-8)
The 15 line:  Oakland (22-7), South Dakota (19-10), Cal St-Bakersfield (18-7), FGCU (21-7)
The 16 line:  Texas Southern (18-11), North Dakota (15-8), New Orleans (14-10), Mount St Mary's (16-15), North Carolina Central (19-7), UC-Davis (16-11)

Next 4 in:
Seton Hall
Wichita St

Last 4 in:
Kansas St

Last 4 out:
Marquette (17-11)
Georgia Tech (15-13)
TCU (16-12)
Wake Forest (16-12)

Next 4 out:
Illinois (16-12)
Rhode Island (19-9)
Houston (20-8)
Indiana (16-13)

2/27 recap

@Kansas 73, Oklahoma 63

@Virginia 53, North Carolina 43 - 1 line implications?  Nah.  I still like UNC over Louisville and Oregon at the moment.  The bigger development is that it's a bit more cushion for Kansas/Villanova/Gonzaga at the top.  It's going to take something unusual for them to fall off the 1 line.  Bigger news is Virginia, who's back in play for the 4 line.

@Baylor 71, West Virginia 62 - significant for Baylor to steady its seed at 2.  Also significant in that I think it caps WVU's ceiling at a 4 seed.

@Virginia Tech 66, Miami 61 - kind of a status quo result for both teams, I'm largely unmotivated to move either team too much based on this result

Atlantic Sun quarterfinals:
FGCU 87, Stetson 57
North Florida 77, Jacksonville 74
Kennesaw St 80, South Carolina-Upstate 78 - your only (mild) upset on Day 1 of Championship Week That Is Actually 14 Days
Lipscomb 97, NJIT 66

UNC-Greensboro stole the #1 seed in the SoCon from ETSU at the gun
UT-Arlington won again, continues its march forward on the bubble.  Also, Arky State won to stay on the NIT bubble

Ohio Valley Conference tournament preview

This is part 6 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

Final standings:
Belmont 15-1
Morehead St 10-6
Jacksonville St 9-7
Tennessee Tech 8-8
Tennessee St 8-8
Eastern Kentucky 5-11
Tennessee-Martin 10-6
Southeast Missouri St 9-7
Murray St 8-8
Austin Peay 7-9
Eastern Illinois 6-10
SIU-Edwardsville 1-15

Tournament format:
What a mess.  First, even though they have east and west divisions, that doesn't impact tournament seeding.  And while the league has 12 teams, only 8 make the conference tourney.

And then the format itself.  Top 2 teams have a double bye to the semis, 3rd and 4th have a single bye to the quarterfinals.  Convoluted structures!  At least this tournament is 4 straight days, from Wednesday March 1 to Saturday March 4, at a neutral site in Nashville

The matchups:
1) Belmont vs. 4/5/8) Jacksonville St/Southeast Missouri St/Tennessee St
2) Tennessee-Martin vs. 3/6/7) Morehead St/Tennessee Tech/Murray St

The stakes:
OVC is RPI 23.  However, Belmont is powering a lot of that, all the way up to 21-5, RPI 58.  There's no Top 100 win, though, so don't get any ideas that they're at-large relevant.  In fact, their best win is RPI 148.  Much like Vermont, they'll be a test case for the selection committee on how much RPI matters compared to other metrics in the room when it comes to seeding.  And I think they're a half-step behind Vermont.  This feels like a 14 seed, doesn't it?

The rest of the league has been merely mediocre at best.  They barely have one team (TSU) in the RPI Top 150.  I think there's a fair chance for a different team in this league to avoid Dayton, but it's a possibility that it happens.  It'll depend what other unexpected winners emerge.  What doesn't help is 2nd place was just 10-6 in conference, so no one established themselves as a quality team.

As for the CIT, Jax State, Tennessee St, and UT-Martin are over .500.  (Morehead has the 3 seed and is just 14-15!).  I'd project TSU and UT-M in the CIT if I were still doing that kind of madness.

Monday, February 27, 2017

America East conference tournament preview

This is part 5 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

Final standings:
Vermont 16-0
Stony Brook 12-4
Albany 10-6
New Hampshire 10-6
UMBC 9-7
UMass-Lowell 5-11
Hartford 4-12
Binghamton 3-13
Maine 3-13

Tournament format:
Quarterfinals Wednesday March 1, semis Monday March 6, finals Saturday March 11.  The bye days in this tournament are brutal.  Each game is hosted at the highest seed, with reseeding for the semifinals.  So weird to space your games out like this.

UMass-Lowell is still in D-1 transition and is sitting out.

The matchups:
8) Maine at 1) Vermont
5) UMBC at 4) New Hampshire
6) Hartford at 3) Albany
7) Binghamton at 2) Stony Brook

The stakes:
A-East rose to RPI 21, on the back of Vermont and a sturdy top half.  4 teams have RPIs in the mid-100s, balancing out 4 in the 300s.  And Vermont...47!  Vermont currently counts as a top 50 win for Providence, South Carolina, and Butler!  Vermont is 25-5, RPI 47, and a pretty damn good SoS for an A-East team in the 160s.  No at-large hope, though, as they don't have a Top 100 win.  They'll be a good bellweather for how the committee will treat RPI for mid-majors.  If they seed Vermont as a 12 or a 13, it's clear they love RPI.  If they seed them as a 14, it means they're still paying attention to overall resume of teams in that range.

The next 4 teams in the standings are all over .500 by a healthy margin, and with RPIs in the mid-100s, are in range of CIT bids.  This seems to be one of the better years for the league, getting close to the teens in the CRPI.  Any of these 4 teams should be able to miss Dayton if they win out here.  Which they won't, because Vermont is bossing this league right now.

Northeast Conference tournament preview

This is part 4 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

Final standings:
Mount St Mary's 14-4
Long Island 13-5
Wagner 11-7
St Francis (PA) 11-7
Bryant 9-9
Fairleigh Dickinson 9-9
Robert Morris 9-9
Sacred Heart 8-10
Central Connecticut 4-14
St Francis (NY) 2-16

Tournament format:
First, only the top 8 get to play in this one, which works out well in this case since there's 2 clear teams at the bottom that get cut off.

Higher seed hosts each game.  Quarterfinals Wednesday March 1, semis Saturday March 4, finals Tuesday March 7.  They reseed in the semifinals, by the way.

The matchups:
8) Sacred Heart at 1) Mount St Mary's
5) Bryant at 4) St Francis (PA)
6) Fairleigh Dickinson at 3) Wagner
7) Robert Morris at 2) Long Island

The stakes:
Conference is RPI 30.  Everyone but Mount St Mary's is sub-200 in the RPI.  If Mount St Mary's gets lucky, they can avoid Dayton if other terrible teams win their way into the field.  Otherwise, the winner of this conference is headed to Dayton.  There's really not much to talk about here.  The entire conference was sorta kinda not good at all.

Mount St Mary's obviously has the NIT bid...Long Island is 20-11 overall, so maybe they sneak into the CIT.  Wagner is also over .500 overall.  But frankly it's not like this conference deserves anything postseason-wise.  So just enjoy this tournament in its most basic terms, whoever wins this will be irrelevant.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2/27 S-CURVE

The 1 line:  Kansas (26-3), Villanova (27-3), Gonzaga (29-1), North Carolina (24-5)
The 2 line:  Louisville (23-6), Oregon (25-4), Kentucky (24-5), Baylor (22-6)
The 3 line:  UCLA (26-3), Arizona (26-4), Florida (23-6), Butler (23-6)
The 4 line:  Florida St (23-6), West Virginia (23-6), Duke (22-7), Purdue (23-6)
The 5 line:  Notre Dame (22-7), Minnesota (22-7), Virginia (19-9), Cincinnati (25-4)
The 6 line:  St Mary's (26-3), Creighton (21-7), SMU (25-4), Iowa St (19-9)
The 7 line:  South Carolina (20-8), Oklahoma St (19-9), Maryland (21-7), Wisconsin (22-7)
The 8 line:  Miami (20-8), Michigan St (18-11), Virginia Tech (20-8), Dayton (22-5)
The 9 line:  Northwestern (20-9), Xavier (18-11), Michigan (19-10), Arkansas (22-7)
The 10 line:  VCU (23-6), Middle Tennessee (24-4), Seton Hall (18-10), Wichita St (26-4)
The 11 line:  USC (21-8), Syracuse (17-13), Providence (18-11), Vanderbilt (16-13), California (19-9), Kansas St (17-12)
The 12 line:  Texas-Arlington (20-6), Nevada (23-6), Illinois St (24-5), UNC-Wilmington (24-5)
The 13 line:  Akron (22-6), Monmouth (26-5), East Tennessee St (22-6), Vermont (25-5)
The 14 line:  Princeton (18-6), Belmont (21-5), Bucknell (23-8), Winthrop (21-6)
The 15 line:  Oakland (22-7), South Dakota (19-10), Cal St-Bakersfield (18-7), FGCU (20-7)
The 16 line:  Texas Southern (17-11), North Dakota (15-8), New Orleans (14-10), Mount St Mary's (16-15), North Carolina Central (19-6), UC-Davis (16-11)

Bubble in:

Next 4 in:
Seton Hall
Wichita St

Last 4 in:
Kansas St

Last 4 out:
Marquette (17-11)
Georgia Tech (15-13)
TCU (16-12)
Wake Forest (16-12)

Next 4 out:
Illinois (16-12)
Rhode Island (19-9)
Houston (20-8)
Indiana (16-13)

NIT lines:
The 3 line:  Pittsburgh (15-14), Clemson (14-14), Tennessee (14-14), Boise St (17-9)
The 4 line:  BYU (21-10), Alabama (16-12), Utah (16-10), Georgia (16-12)
The 5 line:  Ole Miss (18-11), Ohio St (16-13), Charleston (22-8), Colorado St (18-9)
---typical bubble cutline---
The 6 line:  Richmond (17-11), Auburn (17-12), Texas Tech (17-12), Iowa (16-13)
The 7 line:  Valparaiso (23-7), New Mexico St (21-5), Central Florida (19-10), St Bonaventure (18-10)
The 8 line:  Texas A&M (15-13), Arkansas St (18-9), Fresno St (15-11), North Carolina St (15-15)

Break it down!
B1G 7
Big 12 6
Big East 6
Pac-12 5
A-10 2

Top 16 report

1) Kansas @Tulsa
2) Louisville @Indianapolis
3) Florida @Orlando
4) Purdue @Milwaukee

1) North Carolina @Greenville
2) Kentucky @Indianapolis
3) UCLA @Sacramento
4) West Virginia @Buffalo

1) Gonzaga @Salt Lake City
2) Oregon @Sacramento
3) Butler @Milwaukee
4) Duke @Greenville

1) Villanova @Buffalo
2) Baylor @Tulsa
3) Arizona @Salt Lake City
4) Florida St @Orlando


1) Kansas vs. 16) New Orleans/UC-Davis
8) Miami vs. 9) Northwestern
4) Purdue vs. 13) Akron
5) Notre Dame vs. 12) Illinois St
3) Florida vs. 14) Princeton
6) SMU vs. 11) USC
2) Louisville vs. 15) FGCU
7) South Carolina vs. 10) Middle Tennessee

1) North Carolina vs. 16) Texas Southern
8) Michigan St vs. 9) Xavier
4) West Virginia vs. 13) Monmouth
5) Virginia vs. 12) Nevada
3) UCLA vs. 14) Winthrop
6) St Mary's vs. 11) Providence/Kansas St
2) Kentucky vs. 15) Oakland
7) Maryland vs. 10) VCU

@Salt Lake City
1) Gonzaga vs. 16) North Dakota
8) Dayton vs. 9) Arkansas
4) Duke vs. 13) East Tennessee St
5) Minnesota vs. 12) UNC-Wilmington
3) Butler vs. 14) Belmont
6) Iowa St vs. 11) Vanderbilt/California
2) Oregon vs. 15) Cal St-Bakersfield
7) Oklahoma St vs. 10) Seton Hall

1) Villanova vs. 16) Mount St Mary's/North Carolina Central
8) Virginia Tech vs. 9) Michigan
4) Florida St vs. 13) Vermont
5) Cincinnati vs. 12) Texas-Arlington
@Salt Lake City
3) Arizona vs. 14) Bucknell
6) Creighton vs. 11) Syracuse
2) Baylor vs. 15) South Dakota
7) Wisconsin vs. 10) Wichita St

2/26 recap

@Louisville 88, Syracuse 68 - Syracuse.  NOT SAFE YET.  Only one game left, hosting Ga Tech.  Double bubble game!  Gotta keep the wheels on the road for that one.
@Notre Dame 64, Georgia Tech 60 - speaking of Ga Tech, here we go.  They have home to Pitt before @Syracuse...they better win that.  SU/GT likely then becomes a winner-in-loser-out game

@UCF 53, Cincinnati 49 - Cincy finally blinked.  It's going to be tough to move them to the 4 line, although they won't fall too much

@Michigan St 84, Wisconsin 74 - I wonder how people will react when Wisky and Maryland have terrible seeds in a couple weeks.  These aren't great resumes.  MSU to the lockbox?  @Illinois and @Maryland remain, they probably need 1 to feel good
Illinois 73, @Nebraska 57 - road wins are never trivial

@Arizona St 83, USC 82 - oh noooooooooooooooooooooo.  No no no no no.  This is a problem.  The profile can't absorb these kinds of things

Butler 88, @Xavier 79 - well Butler really wants a 2 seed, doesn't it?  Xavier is become a real problem here

Middle Tennessee 66, @UAB 64

NITWatch:  Houston over Memphis on the road.  Houston looks like a probable NIT team now

Patriot League conference tournament preview

This is part 3 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

Final standings:
Bucknell 15-3
Boston 12-6
Lehigh 12-6
Navy 10-8
Holy Cross 9-9
Colgate 8-10
Loyola(MD) 8-10
Army 6-12
American 5-13
Lafayette 5-13

Tournament format:
First round Tuesday February 28 among the bottom 4, higher seed hosts.  The quarterfinals Thursday March 2, hosted by higher seed.  Semis Sunday March 5, championship Wednesday March 8.  High seed hosts each game, so this tournament is a slow burn.

The matchups:
1) Bucknell vs. 8/9) Army/American
4) Navy vs. 5) Holy Cross
3) Lehigh vs. 6) Colgate
2) Boston vs. 7/10) Loyola(MD)/Lafayette

The stakes:
Patriot League is RPI 22, translates to a borderline 14/15 seed.  Kind of an average year for the league.  Bucknell has RPI 74 and a win at Vandy in its pocket, so they're likely a 14 seed (probably too many candidates for the 13 line to have a chance to sneak up).  Still, that win, plus one against Richmond, is going to be better than any team on the 15 line will be able to show.

Lehigh is RPI 114 and can probably miss Dayton if they win; everyone else is in the direct path of it though.

As far as the CBI/CIT go, Lehigh seems like a lock, and probably Boston U too.  Navy is currently .500, and will need to beat Holy Cross to be postseason-eligible in the CIT.  (Holy Cross and Loyola could theoretically get there with 2 wins, but nah).

Big South conference tournament preview

This is part 2 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

Final standings:
Winthrop 15-3
UNC-Asheville 15-3
Liberty 14-4
Gardner-Webb 11-7
High Point 9-9
Radford 8-10
Campbell 7-11
Charleston Southern 7-11
Longwood 3-15
Presbyterian 1-17

Tournament format:
First round is Tuesday February 28 for the bottom 4 seeds (higher seed hosts).  Then the quarters and semis are Thu-Fri March 2-3, hosted by the 1 seed Winthrop.  Championship Sunday March 5, hosted by the higher seed.

The matchups:
1) Winthrop vs. 8/9) Charleston Southern/Longwood
4) Gardner-Webb vs. 5) High Point
3) Liberty vs. 6) Radford
2) UNC-Asheville vs. 7/10) Campbell/Presbyterian

The stakes:
The Big South is RPI 25.  The little secret they've held this year is that their top two teams have actually good RPIs!  Winthrop sits at 21-6, RPI 78.  Asheville at 21-8 RPI 66.  Between them, they have 3 other Top 100 wins this year, although two are Furman.  So the resume isn't exactly teeming with quality wins.  Therefore, they're probably either a 14 or 15 seed (probably 14 once upsets happen in other conferences).  Still, getting to the 14 line would be a modest victory for the conference.

What might be an interesting call is Asheville and the NIT.  Winthrop has the autobid there.  Asheville would probably not make the NIT, just based on resume, but they would likely be the highest RPI team to be left out of that tournament.  But the NIT has steered away from low-majors with shiny RPIs as of late, so I think Asheville is doomed there.

If anyone else wins the conference tourney, Dayton is a likely destination.  Liberty might, might have the RPI that allows it to avoid Dayton; everyone else would be doomed.

As far as the CBI/CIT, Liberty and Gardner-Webb are over .500 and seem likely.  High Point will need one win to ensure eligibility.  Based on merit, I'd have Liberty easily in one of these, and G-W as a bubble team.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

2/25 recap

@Rhode Island 69, VCU 59 - URI was dead going in...and is still probably dead, but we'll put a pin in them and see how much bubble traffic cleared out today.  The bigger news is that VCU is NOT home free
elsewhere, in NITWatch, Richmond and Bonaventure won and maintain their bubble status

North Carolina 85, @Pittsburgh 67
@Miami 55, Duke 50 - Miami to the lockbox, I can't see them missing from this position.  And Duke is starting to give up seed lines again, back the 4, at least
Virginia 70, @NC State 55 - more important than you think, to stabilize Virginia's seed
Florida St 76, @Clemson 74 - a useful win for bracketologists, to finally be able to bury Clemson for good
Virginia Tech 91, @Boston College 75 - I'm having a tough time seeing how VaTech will miss from this position.  We're likely up to 8 teams in the ACC Lockbox, and GT and Syracuse as the only 2 wildcards

SMU 69, @UConn 61

Big 12:
Kansas 77, @Texas 67
@Iowa St 72, Baylor 69 - ISU to the lockbox.  Baylor to the 3....2 line.  2 line.  But things are starting to get crowded on those 2 lines
West Virginia 61, @TCU 60 - TCU only has KSU and @OU left...how are they going to get the quality wins they need?  This is a fatal blow
@Oklahoma St 80, Texas Tech 63 - OSU to the lockbox
@Oklahoma 81, Kansas St 51 - wat

Big East:
@Villanova 79, Creighton 63
@Providence 73, Marquette 69 - okay, so this Providence thing is happening
Seton Hall 82, @DePaul 79 - we kind of have a mini-mess of Big East bubble teams right now.  I'm not convinced on what the order of SHU/MU/PU should be right now...but are all 3 in?
meanwhile, Georgetown lost to St John's and has gone full clownshoes down the stretch

@Michigan 82, Purdue 70 - there's a couple holes in the resume, but it'll be really tough for Michigan to miss at this point
Iowa 83, @Maryland 69 - Maryland is doing a lot of damage to its seed, likely down to the 8/9 range.  The good news is there's enough room between them and the bubble
@Minnesota 81, Penn St 71
@Indiana 63, Northwestern 62 - NU is NOT home free, folks.  Michigan and Purdue left, if they don't get one things get dicey

UNC-Wilmington wins and is in the regular season clubhouse at 26-5.  I've seen crazier at-large ideas

Wichita St 86, @Missouri St 67
Illinois St 63, @Northern Iowa 42 - sometimes, there's value in just keeping the wheels on the road

Nevada 94, @UNLV 58 - again, like UNCW, I've seen crazier ideas.  Downballot, Boise and Colorado St won and appear set for the NIT, at least

UCLA 77, @Arizona 72 - this will require some reconfiguring of the top 3 lines.  Arizona and UCLA can both occupy the 3 line now
Oregon 75, @Stanford 73

@Kentucky 76, Florida 66 - between this and Arizona/UCLA, this is going to require a lot of fine tuning and analysis to figure out who's ahead of who
@South Carolina 82, Tennessee 55 - USC to the lockbox, and Tennessee can just get right the heck out of here with that kind of performance
@Ole Miss 80, Missouri 77 - okay, okay.  We'll let Ole Miss hang out on the bubble for awhile
@Vanderbilt 77, Mississippi St 48 - this Vandy thing is happening, folks
Arkansas 79, @Auburn 68 - road wins are never trivial
@Texas A&M 56, Alabama 53 - other people thought Alabama was a thing?
@Georgia 82, LSU 80 - Georgia has the RPI but no other profile characteristic working in its favor

Fun Belt:
UT-Arlington won, and we're going to have to continue to pay attention to this

BYU 79, @Gonzaga 71 - the plot thickens
@St Mary's 70, Santa Clara 56

Atlantic Sun conference tournament preview

This is part 1 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

Final standings:
FGCU 12-2
Lipscomb 11-3
North Florida 8-6
USC Upstate 7-7
Kennesaw St 7-7
Jacksonville 5-9
NJIT 3-11
Stetson 3-11

Tournament format:
Quarterfinals on Monday February 27, semis on Thursday March 2, final on Sunday March 5.  The better seed hosts each game, so home court advantage is in play.

The matchups:
8) Stetson at 1) FGCU
5) Kennesaw St at 4) USC Upstate
6) Jacksonville at 3) North Florida
7) NJIT at 2) Lipscomb

The stakes:
A-Sun is the 26th ranked conference out of 32, by RPI.  That translates into a 15 seed.  FGCU has the overall RPI and profile to avoid a 16 seed, easily, and might even get to the 14 line with some help elsewhere.  FGCU actually has a Top 50 win against Texas-Arlington in its pocket which will help.  Lipscomb would be borderline with an RPI around 150 and a very pedestrian profile even for an A-Sun team.  Everyone else would be Dayton fodder.

As for the CBI/CIT tournaments, Lipscomb being 2nd in this conference and 19-12 overall, they will most likely have the option to play.  USC Upstate and Jacksonville are both 17-14 overall thanks to 4 non-D1 games; they really don't deserve the CIT by any measure but you never know these days.  Everyone else is out.

Friday, February 24, 2017

2/24 recap

Dayton 89, @Davidson 82 (OT) - that's cutting it close, but for the most part, Dayton has kept the wheels on the road in conference season, and it's going to pay off
@California 76, Oregon St 46 - merely a service hold at this point in the season

All the top mid-majors in action won...Akron, Valpo, Princeton, Monmouth.  Status quo in the entire bracket.

2/24 S-CURVE

The 1 line:  Kansas (25-3), Gonzaga (29-0), Villanova (26-3), North Carolina (23-5)
The 2 line:  Baylor (22-5), Louisville (22-6), Oregon (24-4), Arizona (26-3)
The 3 line:  Florida (23-5), Kentucky (23-5), Butler (22-6), Duke (22-6)
The 4 line:  Florida St (22-6), UCLA (25-3), West Virginia (21-6), Purdue (23-5)
The 5 line:  Cincinnati (25-3), Notre Dame (21-7), Creighton (21-6), Minnesota (21-7)
The 6 line:  Virginia (18-9), St Mary's (25-3), SMU (24-4), Maryland (21-6)
The 7 line:  Wisconsin (22-6), South Carolina (19-8), Iowa St (18-9), Oklahoma St (18-9)
The 8 line:  Northwestern (20-8), Virginia Tech (18-9), Xavier (18-10), Miami (19-8)
The 9 line:  Michigan St (17-11), VCU (23-5), USC (21-7), Dayton (21-5)
The 10 line:  Middle Tennessee (23-4), Arkansas (21-7), Michigan (18-10), Wichita St (25-4)
The 11 line:  Syracuse (17-12), Seton Hall (17-10), Marquette (17-10), Kansas St (17-11), Vanderbilt (15-13), Georgia Tech (15-12)
The 12 line:  Nevada (22-6), Texas-Arlington (19-6), UNC-Wilmington (23-5), Illinois St (23-5)
The 13 line:  Akron (21-6), Monmouth (24-5), Princeton (16-6), Vermont (24-5)
The 14 line:  East Tennessee St (21-6), Valparaiso (22-6), Belmont (20-5), Cal St-Bakersfield (17-7)
The 15 line:  North Dakota St (17-9), Winthrop (20-6), Bucknell (22-8), FGCU (20-7)
The 16 line:  Texas Southern (16-11), New Orleans (14-9), North Dakota (14-8), North Carolina Central (18-6), Mount St Mary's (15-15), UC-Davis (15-11)

Next 4 in:
Wichita St
Seton Hall

Last 4 in:
Kansas St
Georgia Tech

Last 4 out:
Providence (17-11)
California (18-9)
TCU (16-11)
Wake Forest (16-12)

Next 4 out:
Tennessee (14-13)
Illinois (15-12)
Clemson (14-13)
Pittsburgh (15-13)

NIT lines:
The 3 line:  Rhode Island (18-9), Houston (19-8), Alabama (16-11), Indiana (15-13)
The 4 line:  Boise St (16-9), Georgia (15-12), Georgetown (14-14), Texas Tech (17-11)
The 5 line:  Ole Miss (17-11), Utah (16-10), Colorado St (17-9), Ohio St (16-13)
---typical bubble cutline after autobids fill the bottom---
The 6 line:  Richmond (16-11), Charleston (21-8), Arkansas St (18-8), BYU (20-10)
The 7 line:  New Mexico St (20-5), Stanford (13-13), Penn St (14-14), Auburn (17-11)
The 8 line:  UConn (13-13), New Mexico (16-12), St Bonaventure (17-10), Memphis (18-10)
Last 4 out:  Iowa (15-13), Towson (18-11), Central Florida (18-10), UNC-Asheville (20-8)

Top 16 report:

1) Kansas @Tulsa
2) Arizona @Salt Lake City
3) Duke @Greenville
4) West Virginia @Buffalo

1) North Carolina @Greenville
2) Baylor @Tulsa
3) Florida @Orlando
4) Purdue @Milwaukee

1) Villanova @Buffalo
2) Louisville @Indianapolis
3) Kentucky @Indianapolis
4) UCLA @Sacramento

1) Gonzaga @Salt Lake City
2) Oregon @Sacramento
3) Butler @Milwaukee
4) Florida St @Orlando

The problem is Duke in this bracket.  If I just assigned everyone based on geography, Duke as the last 3 seed gets placed in the West.  But thanks to other various conference conflicts, that makes the west far too weak compared to the other 3 regionals.  So I had to move Duke out of the West and place Butler there instead.  The teams that get a raw deal are:
- Butler (has to be sent west to make everything fit)
- Florida St (but they are the 4th ACC team, and someone has to go West...)
- UCLA (can't fit them into the South or the Midwest without throwing off the balance significantly)

Everyone else gets pretty acceptable regional draws.

Break it down!
ACC 10
B1G 7
Big 12 6
Big East 6
Pac-12 4
A-10 2

Thursday, February 23, 2017

2/23 recap

@Ohio St 83, Wisconsin 73 - what the hell are you doing, Wisconsin?
@Michigan St 88, Nebraska 72 - service hold

Georgia 60, @Alabama 55 - this is probably fatal for Alabama

@Arizona 90, USC 77 - no real harm to USC
UCLA 87, @Arizona St 75

@Cincinnati 87, Memphis 74

Gonzaga 96, @San Diego 38
St Mary's 78, @Pepperdine 49

@UNC-Wilmington 83, Towson 78 - UNCW has the NIT bid locked up
@Charleston 78, Delaware 65 - as Charleston stays on the NIT bubble
Utah Valley 84, @New Mexico St 72 - that might cost NMSU; Bakersfield is going to win the WAC
Utah 86, @Colorado 81

2/23 update

I don't have the time today to get in-depth, but this is how I feel things shake out at the moment:

The 1 line:  Kansas, Gonzaga, Villanova, North Carolina
The 2 line:  Baylor, Louisville, Oregon, Arizona
The 3 line:  Florida, Kentucky, Butler, Duke

*shifting Illinois St back in as an autobid

Relatively safe, at least for now (in no particular order):
Xavier, Iowa St, Oklahoma St, USC, Virginia Tech, VCU, Dayton, Miami, Northwestern

Legitimately bubbly teams above the last 4 in (in no particular order):
Syracuse, Seton Hall, Marquette, Michigan, Arkansas

Last 4 in:
Wichita St
Kansas St

Last 4 out:
Georgia Tech
Wake Forest

Next 4 out:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2/22 recap

There's going to be a lot of bubble movement.  Signature wins change a lot.  Signature ROAD wins are the entire world.

@North Carolina 74, Louisville 63 - move UNC to the 1 line post haste!
@Syracuse 78, Duke 75 - Syracuse isn't home free because of the sheer number of losses, but they've given themselves some working room these next couple of weeks.  Duke falls a full step behind in the pursuit of the 2 line
@Wake Forest 63, Pittsburgh 59 - Pitt's resurgence was short-lived.  This doesn't solve Wake's problems though, except for the fact that it's one less team in the crowded bubble to worry about

Big East:
Butler 74, @Villanova 66 (OT) - signature road wins!  This is why the bad losses are so maddening for Butler.  Butler would be on the 1 line if you could erase Indiana St and St John's.  We'll deal with the #1 overall seed in another post somewhere, but that's back in play, obviously
Providence 68, @Creighton 66 - GO AWAY PROVIDENCE.  This particular case just got more complicated.  Again, road wins are magic, so much more than home wins.  I don't feel like putting them in the field yet, but it's a conversation at least
DePaul 67, @Georgetown 65 - lol.  DePaul.  At home!
@Seton Hall 71, Xavier 64 - SHU's in the same pile as most of these bubble teams, and they pick up a quality win of their own.  They might be able to survive a bad loss, unlike most other teams in this situation.  Xavier's seed is becoming a real, real issue

Big 12:
@Kansas 87, TCU 68 - this doesn't hurt TCU, but we're at the point where they may need more than standing still
Oklahoma St 80, @Kansas St 68 - as I like to say, when you have bubble v. bubble games, pay attention when the road team wins.  OSU is just about home free to an at-large bid, and Kansas St remains on the edge

Oregon 68, @California 65 - what a crucial chance blown for Cal.  And they're out of signature win chances for awhile.  They're going to fall out of the field, by the law of averages, as others pick up better wins

Minnesota 89, @Maryland 75 - signature road wins!  Maryland has a resume problem, and is in bigger trouble than you think, seed wise.  Minny's in that 6-8 range too, but that's not too interesting to talk about
Michigan 68, @Rutgers 64 - tough to see given the signature wins flying around tonight, but this was just as important.  Michigan has a serious problem with its road record, so showing any kind of competency is big here

Vanderbilt 67, @Tennessee 56 - road wins!  road wins everywhere!  This Vanderbilt thing is happening if they to selection Sunday with 15 overall losses.  Deal with it.  I think Tennessee's done, but I'd appreciate a loss at South Carolina to make life easy
@Arkansas 86, Texas A&M 77

@VCU 64, St Louis 50

@Illinois 50, Southern Illinois 46 - nights like tonight are the disaster for ISU.  Idling while everyone else picks up signature wins is just as bad as losing a bad game yourself
@Nevada 85, Boise St 77 - Nevada earns the right to carry faint at-large hopes over the next 2 weeks

@East Tennessee St 93, Furman 81 (OT) - notable just because I had ETSU around the NIT bubble if they didn't win the SoCon, but now....they should win it
@Houston 75, UConn 70 - hey did you know UConn crept over .500?  neat

2/22 update

Full S-Curve updates go daily next Monday.  I'll try to update the bubble daily though, at least.

Illinois St has been the projected winner of the MVC for awhile now, but Wichita is 1/2 game ahead now (ISU plays tonight), so that creates one extra at large slot.  We also move Ga Tech out of the field, and the bubble with 2 new entrants is:

Last 4 in:

Last 4 out:
Georgia Tech
Wake Forest

Next 4 out:

Vandy's at Tennessee, so that'll be eventful.  TCU is at Kansas and will likely hold their spot at a minimum.  Pitt is at Wake, that obviously also matters.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2/21 recap

@Virginia Tech 71, Clemson 70 - I just want to get rid of Clemson for good this year.  Can we finally do that?  Please?
NC State 71, @Georgia Tech 69 - ugly, ugly, just awful home loss against the rare ACC team that's done for the year.  Just awful

Big East:
@Marquette 93, St John's 71 - service hold

Big 12:
@Baylor 60, Oklahoma 54

Purdue 74, @Penn St 70 - I think this whole damned conference is a travesty at this point.  Good teams should act like they're good
@Illinois 66, Northwestern 50 - Um.  NU.  Do try and finish this season off, will you?  Let's not tempt fate
@Iowa 96, Indiana 90 (OT) - good God, Indiana, what the hell is your problem?  What is this entire conference's problem?  What an disaster, up and down the entire league.  Go ahead, tell me a program that isn't failing this season.  Purdue's down, Wisky's down, Maryland's light, everyone but Northwestern is below where they should be

Kentucky 72, @Missouri 62
@Florida 81, South Carolina 66 - no harm to USC, but the next loss is going to start to hurt a bit
Auburn 98, @LSU 75 - NIT bubble game!
Ole Miss 87, @Mississippi St 82 (OT) - road wins are never trivial...but Ole Miss is still near-dead

Rhode Island 67, @LaSalle 56 - I guess, according to some, they still matter
@Dayton 83, George Mason 70
@Richmond 84, Davidson 76 - NIT bubble game!

@Wichita St 109, Evansville 83
@Bowling Green 66, Akron 65 - welp.  Hey, Monmouth and Valpo won their games as league leaders
Colorado St 68, @New Mexico 56 - road wins are never trivial.  Alas, CSU can only get in the way of Boise and Nevada at this point, and knock UNM out of the NIT and take their place.  Which isn't nothing

2/20 recap

@West Virginia 77, Texas 62
Miami 54, @Virginia 48 - Virginia's seed is starting to become a real point of discussion, although I still think it'll be tough to be below a 6 or 7.  Miami has a nasty schedule, so stealing one here was everything.  They might (might) be able to survive losing out from here, just because no loss would be a bad one
@Florida St 104, Boston College 72
Texas-Arlington 81, @Georgia Southern 71 - probably too far off the pace, but it's a nice road win
Iowa St 82, @Texas Tech 80 (OT) - road wins are never trivial.  TTU is dead

Monday, February 20, 2017

2/20 Analysis

Let's discuss some of the flashpoints in the S-Curve.

1) the final #1 seed
Enjoy it while lasts Baylor.  Nearly pulled the trigger with them and UNC.  And frankly Louisville can make the same argument that UNC does.  Alas...UNC and Louisville play Wednesday.  The winner of that game adds a signature win and will leapfrog Baylor no matter what.  We'll have a new team on the top line Thursday.

2) The #7 overall team
Duke is coming.  Oregon and Arizona hold for now, but Duke is coming.  Arizona will have a chance to leap Oregon by beating UCLA; Duke the next week has FSU and UNC in their bid to leap both.  And behind them, the winner of Kentucky/Florida this week is also in play for a 2 seed.  5 teams for 2 spots on the 2 line, and I don't think Oregon can do anything to protect themselves.

3) The last protected seeds
Butler hangs on to #15 overall based on their quality wins. Creighton sneaks back into the top 4 lines, just ahead of Purdue and fading Virginia.  The big key is quality wins.  Creighton can show more than the B1G teams.  There's not a lot of chances, outside of the ACC teams, of getting signature wins to leap Butler and Creighton, so the teams that wind up on the 4 line will most likely be the one that avoids bad losses going forward.  This dynamic also gives the likes of WVU and UCLA some protection from falling out of the top 16.


I'm not completely happy with the balance of the bracket, but it's the best I could do.  Arizona gets shipped across the country but most everyone else is in okay position.

1) Villanova (26-2) vs. 16) North Carolina Central (17-6)/Mount St Mary's (15-14)
8) Oklahoma St (17-9) vs. 9) VCU (22-5)
4) West Virginia (21-6) vs. 13) Monmouth (23-5)
5) Virginia (18-8) vs. 12) UNC-Wilmington (22-5)
3) Florida St (21-6) vs. 14) Belmont (20-5)
6) St Mary's (24-3) vs. 11) Wichita St (24-4)
@Salt Lake City
2) Arizona (25-3) vs. 15) North Dakota St (16-9)
7) SMU (24-4) vs. 10) Kansas St (17-10)

1) Baylor (21-5) vs. 16) Texas Southern (15-11)
8) USC (21-6) vs. 9) Michigan St (16-11)
4) Butler (21-6) vs. 13) Valparaiso (21-6)
5) Purdue (22-5) vs. 12) Illinois St (22-5)
3) Florida (22-5) vs. 14) Furman (18-9)
6) Minnesota (20-7) vs. 11) Syracuse (16-12)/California (18-8)
2) North Carolina (22-5) vs. 15) FGCU (19-7)
7) South Carolina (19-7) vs. 10) Middle Tennessee (23-4)

@Salt Lake City
1) Gonzaga (28-0) vs. 16) UC-Irvine (14-12)
8) Iowa St (17-9) vs. 9) Miami (18-8)
4) Creighton (21-5) vs. 13) Akron (21-5)
5) Cincinnati (24-3) vs. 12) Texas-Arlington (18-6)
3) Duke (22-5) vs. 14) UNC-Asheville (20-7)
6) Maryland (21-5) vs. 11) Marquette (16-10)
2) Oregon (23-4) vs. 15) Cal St-Bakersfield (16-7)
7) Xavier (18-9) vs. 10) Michigan (17-10)

1) Kansas (24-3) vs. 16) New Orleans (13-9)/North Dakota (14-8)
8) Virginia Tech (18-8) vs. 9) Dayton (20-5)
4) UCLA (24-3) vs. 13) Vermont (23-5)
5) Notre Dame (21-7) vs. 12) Nevada (21-6)
3) Kentucky (22-5) vs. 14) Princeton (16-6)
6) Wisconsin (22-5) vs. 11) Georgia Tech (15-11)/Seton Hall (16-10)
2) Louisville (22-5) vs. 15) Bucknell (21-8)
7) Northwestern (20-7) vs. 10) Arkansas (20-7)

2/20 S-CURVE

The 1 line:  Villanova (26-2), Kansas (24-3), Gonzaga (28-0), Baylor (21-5)
The 2 line:  North Carolina (22-5), Louisville (22-5), Oregon (23-4), Arizona (25-3)
The 3 line:  Duke (22-5), Florida (22-5), Kentucky (22-5), Florida St (21-6)
The 4 line:  UCLA (24-3), West Virginia (21-6), Butler (21-6), Creighton (21-5)
The 5 line:  Purdue (22-5), Virginia (18-8), Cincinnati (24-3), Notre Dame (21-7)
The 6 line:  Wisconsin (22-5), Maryland (21-5), St Mary's (24-3), Minnesota (20-7)
The 7 line:  SMU (24-4), South Carolina (19-7), Northwestern (20-7), Xavier (18-9)
The 8 line:  Iowa St (17-9), Oklahoma St (17-9), USC (21-6), Virginia Tech (18-8)
The 9 line:  Michigan St (16-11), VCU (22-5), Dayton (20-5), Miami (18-8)
The 10 line:  Middle Tennessee (23-4), Arkansas (20-7), Kansas St (17-10), Michigan (17-10)
The 11 line:  Marquette (16-10), Wichita St (24-4), Georgia Tech (15-11), Seton Hall (16-10), Syracuse (16-12), California (18-8)
The 12 line:  Texas-Arlington (18-6), Nevada (21-6), UNC-Wilmington (22-5), Illinois St (22-5)
The 13 line:  Akron (21-5), Monmouth (23-5), Valparaiso (21-6), Vermont (23-5)
The 14 line:  Belmont (20-5), Princeton (16-6), UNC-Asheville (20-7), Furman (18-9)
The 15 line:  Cal St-Bakersfield (16-7), North Dakota St (16-9), Bucknell (21-8), FGCU (19-7)
The 16 line:  Texas Southern (15-11), UC-Irvine (14-12), North Carolina Central (17-6), New Orleans (13-9), North Dakota (14-8), Mount St Mary's (15-14)

Next 4 in:
Kansas St
Wichita St

Last 4 in:
Georgia Tech
Seton Hall

Last 4 out:
TCU (16-10)
Clemson (14-12)
Vanderbilt (14-13)
Indiana (15-12)

Next 4 out:
Pittsburgh (15-12)
Wake Forest (15-12)
Georgetown (14-13)
Providence (16-11)

NIT lines:
The 3 line:  Texas Tech (17-10), Tennessee (14-12), Alabama (16-10), Rhode Island (17-9)
The 4 line:  Houston (18-8), Boise St (16-8), Ole Miss (16-11), Utah (15-10)
The 5 line:  Charleston (20-8), Penn St (14-13), Georgia (14-12), Illinois (14-12)
The 6 line:  Auburn (16-11), Ohio St (15-13), BYU (19-10), New Mexico St (20-4)
The 7 line:  Memphis (18-9), Richmond (15-11), Colorado St (16-9), Arkansas St (18-8)
The 8 line:  East Tennessee St (20-6), St Bonaventure (16-10), New Mexico (16-11), UConn (13-12)
Last 4 out:  Colorado (15-12), George Mason (17-9), Towson (18-10), San Francisco (18-10)
Next 4 out:  Central Florida (17-10), Iowa (14-13), Texas A&M (14-12), San Diego St (15-10)

Break it down!:
ACC 10
B1G 7
Big East 6
Big 12 6
Pac-12 5
A-10 2

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Let's put one more of these up for the year.  Here's a primer on this post, as a wall of text is going to follow:

Below are mini-profiles for every team in at-large contention, and quick blurbs for those that just missed that cut.  It's a one-stop shop for quick information - has all the main metrics, list of notable wins/losses, and a quick takeaway or two from the profile to consider.  Use this to quickly compare teams, to identify where a team is weak and where it's strong.  It's a bit wall of text-y, but there's no way around that.



North Carolina (22-5) (11-3) RPI 5 SoS 17
Vital signs:  8-5 R/N, non-con SoS 26, 9-3 vs. Top 50, 13-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Wisky, FSU, UND, Virginia
Bad losses:  @Indiana
This resume smells like a 2 seed, no?  Minus an elite, elite win, but a bunch of really good wins.  Well, they have 3 elite opponents coming up, so they can charge to the 1 line.  Just not there yet.

Louisville (22-5) (10-4) RPI 4 SoS 4
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 10, 6-5 vs. Top 50, 12-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Purdue, Kentucky, Duke
Bad losses:  none at all
Their best away from home win is…Wichita St, I think?  That might be the only nit to pick with this resume, and something like that may keep them from the 1 line, but it’s no big deal.  That’s just the difference between the 1 line and the 2 line right now.

Duke (22-5) (10-4) RPI 11 SoS 22
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 75, 8-4 vs. Top 50, 13-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Florida, UNC, @Virginia
Bad losses:  NC State, I suppose @VT?
As far as they slipped down…they’re more than fine, and compare favorable with other 2 seeds minus a couple of details.  The non-con SoS is merely very good instead of great, and they mixed in a terribad home loss.  That leaves them a step behind.  But more signature win chances loom.  The 1 line is do-able here.

Florida St (21-6) (9-5) RPI 12 SoS 25
Vital signs:  5-6 R/N, non-con SoS 133, 9-2 vs. Top 50, 12-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Florida, @Virginia, Duke, Louisville
Bad losses:  N-Temple…@Pitt, Syracuse, and GT I suppose
That road record is a bit concerning, if we’re talking about a chance at a 2 seed.  Good collection of high quality wins, though.  All those marginal road losses by themselves aren’t bad, but in combination, it’s a concerning trend.  One that @Virginia doesn’t quite erase.

Virginia (18-8) (8-6) RPI 15 SoS 7
Vital signs:  8-5 R/N, non-con SoS 57, 6-6 vs. Top 50, 10-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  swept Louisville, @ND, @Cal?
Bad losses:  @Pitt I suppose is the worst
Swept Louisville but most most other games against truly elite competition.  No big deal normally, but it leaves them behind several other ACC teams, which could hurt during seeding.  No real risk of falling below a 6 or so.

Notre Dame (21-7) (10-5) RPI 25 SoS 31
Vital signs:  7-5 R/N, non-con SoS 163, 6-6 vs. Top 50, 9-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Louisville, FSU, Northwestern?
Bad losses:  @GT is the worst
No real risk of missing the tournament, but it’s tough to have enough momentum to crack the top 4 lines with this resume.  Kind of stuck in bracketology purgatory where they’ll be a 5-7 seed and very uninteresting to talk about in the next month


Virginia Tech (18-8) (7-7) RPI 35 SoS 58
Vital signs:  5-7 R/N, non-con SoS 291, 2-6 vs. Top 50, 10-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Duke, Virginia, @Michigan
Bad losses:  @NC State, N-A&M
Gulp, that non-con SoS is in the true danger zone.  But two signature home wins might be enough to mask that on this bubble.  They’ve held serve in enough games as well, with 10 top 100 wins.  The non-con SoS has a problem with 5 300+ opponents, but does have 5 opponents between 51-100.  Who knows how exactly the committee will respond.

Miami (18-8) (8-6) RPI 45 SoS 58
Vital signs:  5-6 R/N, non-con SoS 254, 2-7 vs. Top 50, 6-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  UNC, VT?  @Pitt?  Uh
Bad losses:  @Syracuse is the worst, maybe @Wake
Kind of the quintessential bubble team that ends up making the tournament.  Just good enough on the road.  Just good enough against the top 100.  Posted the one signature win.  Very marginal non-con SoS complicates the situation though.  They’ve held at home over the other bubble teams, so that’s good.  What’s not good is the schedule:  @Va, Duke, @VT, @FSU.  2-2 is enough to get to the lockbox, but good luck with that.

Syracuse (16-12) (8-7) RPI 87 SoS 53
Vital signs:  2-9 R/N, non-con SoS 157, 5-6 vs. Top 50, 7-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  FSU, Virginia, Miami?
Bad losses:  @Pit?  @GT?  @BC for sure.  St John’s at home
The damning problem here is all the damage has been done in home games.  Clemson is their one road win of note.  They’ve only got Louisville on the road left to try and rectify that problem, and Duke’s on the sked too.  So they either pick up a signature win, or fall off the bubble.  A very solvent situation.

Georgia Tech (15-11) (7-7) RPI 76 SoS 47
Vital signs:  2-8 R/N, non-con SoS 235, 4-7 vs. Top 50, 6-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @VCU, UNC, FSU, ND
Bad losses:  Georgia at home, Ohio too
That non-con SoS is not a good situation.  And a bad road record.  Those two things combined usually equal death, but they have a collection of signature wins better than most teams on the bubble, so they might survive.  With winnable games coming, they will either move forward or way back.  That @VCU win is so huge because of all the road losses to bubble teams.

Wake Forest (15-12) (6-9) RPI 38 SoS 16
Vital signs:  6-9 R/N, non-con SoS 17, 1-9 vs. Top 50, 5-12 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Miami, GT, uh
Bad losses:  swept by Clemson?
So every loss is reasonable, except maybe Clemson at home.  Problem is simple.  Look at that list of wins.  The other top 100 wins are Charleston, Bucknell, and Richmond.  When you have as many chances as Wake does in conference play, you have to cash in more than just Miami and GT at home.  They’ve only got a couple chances left to add.  This likely isn’t happening, the committee needs to see a team like this cash in a better signature win than Miami.

Clemson (14-12) (4-10) RPI 59 SoS 18
Vital signs:  5-8 R/N, non-con SoS 99, 4-9 vs. Top 50, 9-11 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @S Carolina, swept Wake?
Bad losses:  N-Oklahoma, Syracuse
Probably can’t justify them holding on too much longer.  4 Top 50 wins seem sexy, but 2 are Wake and another is UNCW.  Perhaps the worst of all, outside of signature win chances outside of FSU at home.  Sure, they can win their way into the tourney, but I’m not optimistic.

Pittsburgh (15-12) (4-10) RPI 60 SoS 11
Vital signs:  4-7 R/N, non-con SoS 38, 3-8 vs. Top 50, 6-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Maryland, Virginia, FSU
Bad losses:  @NC State, N-Duquesne
Too many losses.  Tis a shame, because the high end part of the resume holds up.  But when you play that many high end games in a high end conference, you can’t lose that many swing games.  Syra, Miami, Clemson, VT…you gotta win swing games, and they just didn’t get them.  Not completely dead yet, though.

Big East


Villanova (26-2) (13-2) RPI 2 SoS 31
Vital signs:  13-2 R/N, non-con SoS 44, 9-1 vs. Top 50, 15-2 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Purdue, N-ND, @Crei
Bad losses:  @Marquette is the worst
I think you can make an argument for Kansas ahead of them just based on resume.  Kansas has better signature wins.  But Nova passes the eye test for #1 overall.  Either way, there won’t be much difference between #1 and #2 overall, so it’s no big deal, but I’d consider the switch.

Butler (21-6) (10-5) RPI 13 SoS 21
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 11, 7-2 vs. Top 50, 15-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Arizona, Cincy, Nova, N-Northwestern?
Bad losses:  @Indiana St, @St John’s
It’s really aggravating they lost a few games they shouldn’t have.  4 losses to non-tourney teams which is just frustrating.  They’ve got high end wins.  They have the sterling SoS, every vital sign is great.  Just those stupid losses.  It’ll catch up with them as they have a tough finish coming up and they’re going to absorb reasonable losses.

Creighton (21-5) (9-5) RPI 22 SoS 42
Vital signs:  10-2 R/N, non-con SoS 109, 6-3 vs. Top 50, 10-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Wisky, swept Butler, @X
Bad losses:  home to Marquette
They’re in a good spot for a protected seed with a strong finish.  They’ll be favored in 3 of those final 4 games, so it’s just a matter of holding their ground.  Very good road/neutral record, none of the vital signs are in bad shape.  Your bread-and-butter 5 seed at this point.


Xavier (18-9) (8-6) RPI 17 SoS 6
Vital signs:  6-7 R/N, non-con SoS 13, 3-6 vs. Top 50, 9-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Creighton, N-Wake, N-Clemson?
Bad losses:  @Colorado, @Provi?
Only here because I can’t call them a lock when they can still theoretically suffer 5 more losses.  They need some better wins, and their seed will suffer as a result, but they’ve done enough against decent competition to be solidly in the field.  Great job scheduling in the non-con, avoiding cupcakes, which led to a slightly deceiving #13 (but it does also include a good pocket collection of wins like NDSU, Utah, Wake, and Clemson).

Marquette (16-10) (7-7) RPI 71 SoS 57
Vital signs:  4-7 R/N, non-con SoS 239, 5-5 vs. Top 50, 7-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Nova, @Creighton, Xavier
Bad losses:  @St John’s, Provi?
A couple things to note:  5 Top 50 wins is great, although one is Vandy.  The non-con SoS is in the danger zone, which is hurt further by losses to Michigan and Pitt which could really be useful right now.  They had a bit of a cupcake problem in the non-con.  This is probably a true bubble resume which will teeter on the edge.  Can’t make a definitive call on them right now.

Seton Hall (16-10) (6-8) RPI 47 SoS 33
Vital signs:  6-8 R/N, non-con SoS 156, 3-6 vs. Top 50, 6-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-S Carolina, N-Cal, Creighton
Bad losses:  @St John’s, N-Stanford?
The non-con SoS is marginal, but cupcakes appear to have sunk that, and their wins aren’t the worst in the world among bubble teams.  What kills them is just losing some of their swing games in conference play (road games against other bubble teams, home games against lockboxed teams).  Need to win a couple more of those to make it, and they’ve got a couple chances left.

Providence (16-11) (6-8) RPI 67 SoS 35
Vital signs:  3-8 R/N, non-con SoS 194, 3-7 vs. Top 50, 8-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Butler and Xavier; swept G’town?
Bad losses:  St John’s, @DePaul, @BC
This is an uber-generous listing, but they have a very light back 4 games with one exception @Creighton.  If they win their final four, there’s hope, but they need all 4 to erase a ton of sins.  The losses are worse than the numbers would suggest.

Georgetown (14-13) (5-9) RPI 61 SoS 7
Vital signs:  5-7 R/N, non-con SoS 19, 3-9 vs. Top 50, 6-13 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Oregon, Creighton, @Butler
Bad losses:  Arky State at home is the worst, which isn't THAT bad
Ugly number of losses, and things like losing to other bubblers like Provi 2x and SHU and others are just killer.  They’ve got high-end wins, so they force their way into a listing here.  Gotta win a bunch, though.  Probably all of ‘em down the stretch, including Nova, to have a legit chance.  That Top 100 number is butt-ugly.

Big 12


Kansas (24-3) (12-2) RPI 1 SoS 5
Vital signs:  11-2 R/N, non-con SoS 24, 7-2 vs. Top 50, 16-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Duke, Baylorx2, WVU
Bad losses:  N-Indiana
What’s likely going to keep them from catching Nova (without help) is the one bad loss, and the non-con SoS just merely being great instead of outstanding.  Still, a remarkable track record of handling their business.  Could still lose a 1 seed, but it would require multiple stunning losses.

Baylor (21-5) (9-5) RPI 3 SoS 1
Vital signs:  8-3 R/N, non-con SoS 8, 8-3 vs. Top 50, 14-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Oregon, N-Louisville, Xavier, N-VCU
Bad losses:  K-State at home is sloppy, @TTU is worse
Nothing too wrong with the resume, outside of maybe losing one game too many in the conference.  Losing to WVU and Kansas 2x is forgivable.  Their non-con work still puts them in solid position, but the chance for a 1 seed is in danger.  They’re behind Nova and Gonzaga and Kansas and can’t do a whole lot about that, and their spot is going to be under siege from the ACC schools.  But!  They hold trump cards on Louisville and Oregon if they need them.

West Virginia (21-6) (9-5) RPI 28 SoS 63
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 258, 5-2 vs. Top 50, 10-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Virginia, Baylor, Kansas, @ISU and OSU?
Bad losses:  @TTU, Oklahoma, N-Temple
A couple sloppy losses, and a really sloppy SoS.  They only had 3 Top 100 teams in the non-con schedule, that really killed them.  The high-end wins will offset some, but not nearly all, of that.  This is going to be a tricky balancing act for the committee to figure out how high they go.


Iowa St (17-9) (9-5) RPI 43 SoS 44
Vital signs:  7-6 R/N, non-con SoS 157, 3-6 vs. Top 50, 7-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Kansas, N-Miami, @OSU
Bad losses:  @Texas, @Iowa, @Vandy?
I do wish there was a second win over a lockboxed team to make this easier.  But given the current state of the bubble, I think they’re fine on that front (and they have chances against Baylor and WVU coming).  That is one spot of hesitation.  With those two and Okie State still coming, it wouldn’t be hard to fall to 18-12, and another conference tourney loss and things get dicey.  None of the vital signs are in critical condition, yet at least.

Oklahoma St (17-9) (7-7) RPI 29 SoS 20
Vital signs:  8-5 R/N, non-con SoS 32, 3-7 vs. Top 50, 7-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @WVU, Arky?  @Wichita St?
Bad losses:  @Texas, K-State at home?
6 of their losses are clustered together to start Big 12 play.  Might be a help, but I’m not sure.  One bit of help is the non-con losses are UNC and Maryland, so they avoided fatal blows in the non-con.  The key will be to try and add a win or 2 to the Top 50 tally (chances are coming) and to keep that Top 100 record around .500.  The other resume pieces are in good shape for now.

Kansas St (17-10) (6-8) RPI 57 SoS 45
Vital signs:  6-6 R/N, non-con SoS 236, 3-8 vs. Top 50, 4-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  WVU, @Baylor, @OSU
Bad losses:  @TTU, @Tennessee I suppose
Two big wins make the resume, but there’s a couple warning signs of note.  That non-con SoS is an obvious one, and is in the danger zone.  Worse, they’re out of chances for impact wins, so their task at the moment is fixing that horrendous Top 100 record.  This is doable, though.

TCU (16-10) (6-8) RPI 58 SoS 32
Vital signs:  4-6 R/N, non-con SoS 113, 2-8 vs. Top 50, 5-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Iowa St, @K-State?  Illinois St?
Bad losses:  Auburn, @TTU
No win over a lockboxed team is not great.  Most teams on the bubble are going to be able to at least play that card.  That poor overall record v. the top 100 is damaging to the overall situation as a result.  Can’t beat great teams and can’t hold own against good teams is usually a bad formula, combined with just okay road/neutral and SoS numbers.  Have Kansas and WVU left, I recommend getting one.

Texas Tech (17-10) (5-9) RPI 90 SoS 89
Vital signs:  2-8 R/N, non-con SoS 340, 2-6 vs. Top 50, 4-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Baylor, WVU, K-State and TCU?
Bad losses:  @Oklahoma, @Texas
An absolutely terrifying 1-7 in true road games, and non-con SoS 340.  This completely wipes out their wins over WVU and Baylor, IMO.  They make the listing only because the two signature wins are truly notable, and road chances at OSU and KSU are coming.  Winning those helps mask one of the flaws (although the other flaw will doom them regardless).



Purdue (22-5) (11-3) RPI 20 SoS 51
Vital signs:  8-3 R/N, non-con SoS 123, 6-3 vs. Top 50, 11-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-ND, Wisky, @Maryland
Bad losses:  @Nebraska, @Iowa
They’re a couple of sloppy road losses away from a real chance at the 2 or 3 line.  As is, they miss the true high-end win that can compete with the other competition for a top 2 seed.  Everything in the profile is very good without being great enough to reach that point.  Still, it would take serious damage to knock them into 7-8 range.  And with 3 roadies coming up, it’s possible.

Wisconsin (22-5) (11-3) RPI 24 SoS 70
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 235, 3-4 vs. Top 50, 13-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Maryland, @Minny, Michigan?
Bad losses:  @Michigan, maybe
On the good, 13 Top 100 wins, although many of them are more trivial than you think.  Missing some high-end wins that would really help, and that non-con SoS really worsens the problem.  They’re going to be a seed or two below what everyone else expects, I fear.

Maryland (21-5) (10-4) RPI 19 SoS 39
Vital signs:  10-2 R/N, non-con SoS 100, 3-2 vs. Top 50, 13-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Oklahoma St?  @Minnesota and @Northwestern, ok
Bad losses:  @Penn St, Nebraska?
They’ve got a signature win problem, but the road record helps erase most concerns.  This is a standard resume for a 5-7 seed.  It’s the type of resume typically held by a mid-major – good road record, pile of good but not great wins, couple marginal losses.


Northwestern (20-7) (9-5) RPI 37 SoS 65
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 172, 3-6 vs. Top 50, 8-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Dayton, @Wisky, Wake?
Bad losses:  Illinois
It’s happening.  Sure, there’s some weak spots in this resume.  Just good enough against good competition, just good enough on the road, just good enough everywhere.  There’s time to damage this resume, to be fair, but it’s getting late.

Minnesota (20-7) (8-6) RPI 23 SoS 22
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 30, 5-5 vs. Top 50, 10-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Purdue, @NW, Michigan?
Bad losses:  @OSU and @PSU, perhaps
The 5 Top 50 wins are mirage-y, with UTA and Vandy mixed in.  But still, a solid performance against a solid non-con schedule, plus a reasonably good conference performance means relative safety.  I can’t call them home free yet because with a couple marginal losses already, a couple more would be exponentially harmful.

Michigan St (16-11) (8-6) RPI 43 SoS 14
Vital signs:  4-9 R/N, non-con SoS 18, 4-6 vs. Top 50, 8-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  swept Minny, NW, Wichita St?
Bad losses:  @OSU and Indiana and PSU?  Northeastern for sure
I’m not that optimistic here, there’s just enough to support the at-large bid, but there’s holes.  There’s a couple too many marginal losses, and a couple too many road giveaways.  Still in for now, but they have to hold serve in games they’re supposed to win (and there’s a couple left).

Michigan (17-10) (7-7) RPI 55 SoS 33
Vital signs:  3-7 R/N, non-con SoS 95, 3-7 vs. Top 50, 9-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-SMU, Wisky, Michigan St?
Bad losses:  OSU at home, @Illinois and Iowa?
One true road win on the year.  That ain’t good.  3 more road games still to come, 2 of them extremely winnable.  Either they mask their problem, or they make it into a bubble-bursting problem.  Pretty simple diagnosis of this profile.  Everything else here is just good enough to sneak into the field with.

Indiana (15-12) (5-9) RPI 90 SoS 37
Vital signs:  2-8 R/N, non-con SoS 151, 3-8 vs. Top 50, 6-11 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Kansas, UNC, Michigan St
Bad losses:  Nebraska, N-IPFW
Man, I don't know.  What doesn't help is losing sooo many swing games in the conference.  Swept by Michigan, lost to Minny and NW and swept by Wisky, lost to Purdue....win a swing game!

Off the board:
Penn St (14-13) (6-8) RPI 73 SoS 25 – it’s not theoretically impossible; they have wins over Minny, Maryland, and MSU, but nothing of consequence on the road, so the raw number of losses is a big problem
Illinois (14-12) (5-9) RPI 67 SoS 16 – a couple too many bad losses, and the wins aren’t high-impact enough.  Pass
Ohio St (15-13) (5-10) RPI 82 SoS 29 - nahhh



Kentucky (22-5) (12-2) RPI 8 SoS 11
Vital signs:  9-3 R/N, non-con SoS 6, 6-5 vs. Top 50, 13-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-UNC, S. Carolina, N-Michigan St?
Bad losses:  probably @Tennessee counts
Sneaky problem with the resume:  3 of those 6 Top 50 wins are Arky, @Vandy, and Georgia.  You would hope for more depth, but the SEC has hurt them.  That one loss to UCLA is pretty harmful right now; they could really use a second high-end win.  Another Florida game awaits, at least.

Florida (22-5) (12-2) RPI 10 SoS 21
Vital signs:  15-4 R/N*, non-con SoS 8, 5-5 vs. Top 50, 14-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Kentucky, @Arky, N-Miami
Bad losses:  home to Vandy is the only real mistake
The usual caveat:  they’re 8-2 in true road games (they played a bunch of neutral site games in the state of Florida in the non-con).  Point is the metric is flawed but the winning percentage is valid.  Same general issue as Kentucky – could use more depth of wins.  SEC didn’t help; they lost chances to Duke and FSU, and their non-con SoS is buoyed by scheduling the right mid-majors.


South Carolina (19-7) (10-4) RPI 30 SoS 43
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 69, 3-4 vs. Top 50, 11-6 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Florida, N-Syracuse?  @Tennessee
Bad losses:  @Memphis technically counts, home to Alabama?
I think they’ll be home free.  Beat Syracuse in New York, that other top 50 win was Monmouth.  They’ve mostly beaten the teams they should have, as the 11 Top 100 wins testify.  No metric of theirs is disqualifying.  If there’s an issue, the final week brings the Mississippi schools, who could damage their resume with wins.

Arkansas (20-7) (9-5) RPI 33 SoS 62
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 53, 4-5 vs. Top 50, 9-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @S Carolina, @Tennessee?  UTA?
Bad losses:  MSU and Vandy at home
That win at USC is huge, it’s their only win over a sure tourney team at this point.  When Vandy, UT, and UTA are 3 of your Top 50 wins, your profile can be a bit deceiving.  Down the stretch, they have one optional game (@Florida) and 3 other games they really need to hold service in.  Two marginal home losses mean there’s less margin for error than you think.

Alabama (16-10) (9-5) RPI 74 SoS 65
Vital signs:  7-5 R/N, non-con SoS 83, 2-5 v. Top 50, 4-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @S Carolina, @Georgia?  Oh no
Bad losses:  @Texas, @Auburn perhaps, N-Valpo?
Very marginal listing here.  Only here because of the road win at USC.  They’re out of quality teams to play, but winning those 4 would fix the Top 100 mark, so we can’t kill them yet.

Tennessee (14-12) (7-7) RPI 50 SoS 10
Vital signs:  4-8 R/N, non-con SoS 9, 2-8 vs. Top 50, 8-11 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Kentucky, K-State, GT?
Bad losses:  @MSU, I suppose Chattanooga counts too
Only really here with the Kentucky win.  They did schedule up, and had plenty of chances to get big wins…and missed all the other chances.  Lost to S Carolina and Arky at home, which really hurt the resume depth.  One last chance @USC which is do or die for them.

Vanderbilt (14-13) (7-7) RPI 49 SoS 3
Vital signs:  5-8 R/N, non-con SoS 1, 4-7 vs. Top 50, 9-12 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Florida, Iowa St, S Carolina, @Arky?
Bad losses:  @Mizzou, N-Bucknell?  Auburn?
Only here because they have 4 probable wins over tourney teams, and they own the Magic Bullet – the #1 non-con SoS.  Did a great job playing Belmont, Bucknell, M Tennessee, and others.  Not so good was losing a few of those.  MT, Minny, Marquette, Dayton…just missed chance after missed chance.  They still have Kentucky and Florida coming though, so we must pay attention.  This absolutely could be a resume that gets in at 18-15 overall.

Off the board:
Ole Miss (16-11) (7-7) RPI 71 SoS 38 – 2-9 v Top 50, no wins over tourney teams.  No real chances to fix either problem, so they’re stuck here
Georgia (14-12) (6-8) RPI 59 SoS 16 – another case where the metrics are similar to other SEC teams, but they’re missing the big win that gives them a real chance, and they’re out of such chances
Texas A&M (14-12) (6-8) RPI 96 SoS 51 – did you know they’re 1-11 vs. Top 50?  Yikes
Auburn (16-11) (5-9) RPI 84 SoS 72 – if you’re wondering, their signature win is @Alabama.  Just can’t make the case



Oregon (23-4) (13-2) RPI 7 SoS 26
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 42, 6-2 vs. Top 50, 12-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Arizona, UCLA, swept USC?
Bad losses:  @Colorado, N-Gtown
It’ll be tough to see if they can ascend all the way to the 1 seed.  Don’t think they can get enough signature wins to matter.  Borderline 2/3 seed at the moment, with a marginal loss at Colorado dooming the Pac-12 title hopes.  They did NOT have to play Arizona on the road, so head-to-head doesn’t matter as much as you’d think.

Arizona (25-3) (14-1) RPI 8 SoS 38
Vital signs:  11-3 R/N, non-con SoS 28, 5-3 vs. Top 50, 11-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @UCLA, @USC and Cal, N-Michigan St?
Bad losses:  not even close to a bad one
They lost their 3 toughest games on the schedule so far, so that probably locks them out of the 1 line.  2 line is possible, but I’d like to see some more wins against UCLA (another game is coming) and Oregon (which isn’t).  They may have to settle for the 4 line because their chance of improving the resume is pretty small.

UCLA (24-3) (11-3) RPI 20 SoS 89
Vital signs:  10-2 R/N, non-con SoS 246, 4-3 vs. Top 50, 10-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Kentucky, Oregon, USC
Bad losses:  @USC is the worst
That damned non-con SoS.  They beat Kentucky and Michigan, but the cupcakes caught up with them.  Playing the other top Pac-12 teams to par so far, and avoiding bad losses would typically mean a 2 seed, but that SoS number will literally cost them seed lines in March.


USC (21-6) (8-6) RPI 32 SoS 74
Vital signs:  9-3 R/N, non-con SoS 168, 2-5 vs. Top 50, 5-6 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  SMU, UCLA, and it gets light from there
Bad losses:  @Utah, Cal?
No real harmful losses, and they’ve won enough home games against good competition.  Competent enough, with one metric (road wins) balancing out another (just an okay SoS).  This profile could miss, but mostly because of the threat of horrible losses are still out there.  All they need to do is hold.

California (18-8) (9-5) RPI 39 SoS 43
Vital signs:  4-6 R/N, non-con SoS 77, 1-6 vs. Top 50, 4-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @USC, Utah?  Yeesh
Bad losses:  @Stanford perhaps, N-SDSU
Here’s a case where Cal lost 7 of their 8 toughest games on the schedule, and only one more outside of that.  They haven’t exactly proven they can beat tourney teams, and all that remains is @Oregon on that front.  Still, if they hold serve in other games, I think the other metrics can just hang on.  I’m not thrilled by this resume, though.

Off the board:
Utah (15-10) (8-7) RPI 96 SoS 100 – it’s tough to have only 1 Top 100 win at this stage in the season



Cincinnati (24-3) (13-1) RPI 14 SoS 80
Vital signs:  8-3 R/N, non-con SoS 40, 3-2 vs. Top 50, 5-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Iowa St, Xavier, SMU
Bad losses:  N-URI
They’ll probably be fine even if they lose their next 5 games.  Enough wins against tournament teams (just barely, though).  And complete bad loss avoidance, which increases cushion.  It’s now about seeding, and to be honest, it’ll be more about what the teams around them do than what Cincy does.  Their resume is more or less fully formed


SMU (24-4) (14-1) RPI 18 SoS 85
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 113, 1-2 vs. Top 50, 7-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Cincy, TCU?  N-Pitt?
Bad losses:  @Boise is the only marginal one
I suppose they could lose 4 to end the year and miss, so no lockbox yet.  The profile is good, but not good enough to withstand that kind of collapse.  That win over Cincy was so important just to put a win over a sure tourney team into the ledger.

Off the board:
Houston (18-8) (9-5) RPI 62 SoS 88 – no wins over probably tournament teams, and they’re out of chances against SMU and Cincy.  And a couple bad, bad losses.  Nothing in the resume is strong enough to mask those things



VCU (22-5) (12-2) RPI 24 SoS 69
Vital signs:  9-4 R/N, non-con SoS 74, 2-1 vs. Top 50, 8-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Dayton, MTSU
Bad losses:  I suppose N-Illinois, @Fordham definitely
8 Top 100 wins…4 Top 95 wins.  Watch out for stats that are deceiving.  A metric that would suggest a lock is really deceiving.  Still, they’re in pretty good shape, but two roadies at URI and Dayton loom, and those can be easily lost.

Dayton (20-5) (12-2) RPI 27 SoS 70
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 36, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 11-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  footage not found
Bad losses:  @UMass, N-Nebraska
Hmm.  Did you know they don’t have a win over a tourney team right now?  11 Top 100 wins!  And 0 against tourney teams!  How in the hell is that possible!  Beat UNM, Winthrop, ETSU, Bama, Vandy…URI, a few other A-10 teams…pretty amazing feat.  Non-con SoS is great, they did a great scheduling job as you can see by the 12 Top 100 opponents.  I’d really like them to beat VCU at home just to make sure they’re in.

Rhode Island (17-9) (9-5) RPI 51 SoS 60
Vital signs:  6-6 R/N, non-con SoS 24, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 3-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Cincy, and we’re done
Bad losses:  Fordham, LaSalle?
We’ll keep them on the board with a game against VCU coming.  A second good win would help, and several losses on the road were reasonable (against 51-100 competition).  Still a pretty big stretch, though

Everyone else:


Gonzaga (28-0) (15-0 WCC) RPI 6 SoS 79
Vital signs:  13-0 R/N, non-con SoS 48, 7-0 vs. Top 50, 11-0 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Florida, N-Iowa St, N-Arizona, swept St Mary’s
Bad losses:  nah
I’m okay with the argument to put them #1 overall.  Only 2 of the Top 50 wins are deceiving (Akron, Tennessee).  5 legit Top 50 wins


Nevada (21-6) (10-4 Mountain West) RPI 42 SoS 126
Vital signs:  10-5 R/N, non-con SoS 163, 0-1 vs. Top 50, 6-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Boise, swept New Mexico?
Bad losses:  @Utah St, @Fresno?
Courtesy listing.  Top 100 record isn’t nothing to sneeze at, but there’s a lot of MWC teams mixed in there, and very little heft OOC.  Won at Washington in a game that should’ve meant more.  Such is life for a non-power conference school.

St Mary’s (24-3) (14-2 WCC) RPI 16 SoS 74
Vital signs:  10-1 R/N, non-con SoS 67, 2-3 vs. Top 50, 7-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Dayton, Nevada
Bad losses:  UTA at home?
I do wish there was just a couple more quality wins to make this easier.  4 of the 7 Top 100 wins are sweeps of BYU and San Fran.  And the non-con SoS feels a bit deceiving.  But even if they lose 3 in a row to finish the year, it’s a stretch to call them out, IMO.  No bad losses yet means they have that mulligan still to burn

Illinois St (22-5) (15-1 MVC) RPI 33 SoS 138
Vital signs:  9-5 R/N, non-con SoS 116, 1-1 vs. Top 50, 2-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Wichita St, New Mexico?
Bad losses:  N-San Fran, @Tulsa, @Murray St
This is a very marginal listing.  The road/neutral record isn’t strong enough for a middie, the SoS isn’t good enough, not enough quality wins, too many marginal losses.  Can’t do it

Wichita St (24-4) (15-1 MVC) RPI 41 SoS 155
Vital signs:  10-3 R/N, non-con SoS 182, 1-4 vs. Top 50, 2-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Illinois St, @Colorado St, and we’re done here
Bad losses:  Okie State is the worst
How much do you like advanced metrics?  If you don’t, they’re out.  If you do, they’re in.  It’s that simple, really.  I don’t know what to do with them, myself.  Nothing in the overall resume says they deserve an at-large bid, with perhaps an exception for the road/neutral record

Middle Tennessee (23-4) (14-1 CUSA) RPI 31 SoS 124
Vital signs:  13-2 R/N, non-con SoS 16, 2-1 vs. Top 50, 4-1 vs. Top 100S
Signature wins:  Vandy, @Belmont?  N-UNCW?
Bad losses:  Tennessee St at home, @UTEP is hideous
They somehow managed to put together the #16 non-con SoS by playing exactly one team with reasonable at-large chances (VCU).  Pretty fluky.  However, they did beat some other competent teams, and have powerful computer numbers, so we’ll look at them for now.  1 CUSA loss is pretty much all they can afford; I just wish they used it on someone better than UTEP.

Off the board:
Boise St (16-8) (10-4 Mountain West) RPI 62 SoS 96 – there’s actually a win vs. SMU in here that could be handy…except they lost to Mississippi St and Evansville.  They could’ve made it up with a strong MWC season, but got swept by New Mexico.  Flip those two and we’d be cooking
UNC-Wilmington (22-5) (13-3 Colonial) RPI 41 SoS 153 – shiny RPI, but @Charleston is the signature win, so I just can’t defend it.  SoS is a bit of a mirage, to be honest
Charleston (20-8) (12-4 Colonial) RPI 67 SoS 116 - @UNCW is the signature win, so they’re a bit of a NIT bubble team if it comes to it
Texas-Arlington (18-6) (10-3 Sun Belt) RPI 36 SoS 138 – they do have a win at St Mary’s in their pocket, but 3 Fun Belt losses kill.  Now, the top of the league is decent…but the losses aren’t to any of the top teams.  They’re to minnows.  That’s why they’re dead on the bubble, which is a shame
Arkansas St (18-8) (10-4 Sun Belt) RPI 79 SoS 194 – beat G’town on a neutral, alas it doesn’t carry enough weight.  NIT bubble team, probably trending out
Akron (21-5) (12-2 MAC) RPI 48 SoS 167 – How to become a Top 50 RPI team without a Top 100 win:  the Akron story
Monmouth (23-5) (15-2 MAAC) RPI 47 SoS 190 – Win at Memphis is rotting away.  Nowhere near the heft in their resume that they had last year
Valparaiso (21-6) (12-3 Horizon) RPI 72 SoS 191 – Had wins against Bama, BYU, and URI.  Watched those wins become nothing and then lost a couple marginal games.  Out
New Mexico St (20-4) (9-2 WAC) RPI 56 SoS 235 – Don’t be fooled by the RPI and record, the resume doesn’t hold up
Vermont (23-5) (14-0 A-East) RPI 51 SoS 197 – Again, don’t be fooled by the RPI and record.  0 Top 100 wins

Belmont (20-5) (14-1 OVC) RPI 64 SoS 212 – Broken record