Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The disaster that is South Carolina

I think this may need an explanation.

I think everyone can agree, give or take a Wichita State, that South Carolina got the most flagrant seed from the selection committee.  I had them on the 11 line.  Bracket Matrix on the 9 line.  Very few gave them a 7 seed.  They were the most mis-seeded team in the tournament, period.

So don't get trapped by their run!  Their Final Four run does NOT mean that their 7 seed was justified.  Don't fall for that trap.

The real disaster of the situation is, though, that the committee has been rewarded for their bad seed.  They gave a middling power conference team a much higher seed than they deserved, and they got validated.  This just means that in the future, the committee is much more likely to give more middling power conference teams better seeds, instead of mid-majors.

Notice what happened to Middle Tennessee.  Selection committee said they probably would've been an at-large team if they needed it...but got seeded as a 12, below all at-large teams.  Clearly there's a disconnect between selection and seeding that needs to be bridged.  But if all these teams seeded 7th, 8th, and 9th keep winning multiple games or coming close (see S Carolina > Duke, Wisky > Nova, and the Arkansas/UNC close call, for example), there's going to be no motivation for the selection committee to move mid-majors up into those seeds.

So this is what I'm worried about.  The selection committee is going to use South Carolina as validation to keep over-seeding major conference teams and to bury mid-majors.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Conference analysis

This is late, but I always like to look conference-by-conference, and see if there are any outliers or anything unusual to point out.

America East:
Not a bad year for the conference given Vermont trucked everyone.  I'm guessing New Hampshire declined a postseason bid, everyone else eligible went.

All the talk was 10 or 11 bids going in, and the ACC kind of hit the floor of 9 instead.  It just proved that there wasn't quite enough wins to go around.  It's tough to push 6-12 conference teams into the NCAAs.  In the end, Pitt, NC State, and Clemson took just a couple too many wins away from the pool.  Everyone over .500 at least got into the NIT.

The long-term trend isn't good for the conference.  The top 2 were obviously good, but the middle of this conference hurt the cause.  Houston was 12-6 in 3rd place, and couldn't mount a serious charge to the bubble.  The key?  Memphis and UConn, at 9-9, were also sub-100 in the RPI.  Those two, Temple, and Tulsa were all in between 100-150 when their goal should be 75-100.  This is something they'll need to work on.  Those 4 teams need to be on most years.  I am willing to chalk some of it up to variance, though.

Probably an average year for the A-10, given their champ was only on the 7 line and URI just squeaked in.  5 teams below them ranked between 73 and 122 in the RPI, which is the secret sauce to their success.  Interesting that some teams eligible for EIEIO tournaments sat, but GW and Mason played.

FGCU with the double crown here...interesting that Lipscomb apparently turned down the postseason...and two teams (USC Upstate, Jax) got in the CIT with pretty damn awful resumes.  Either the CIT has a A-Sun fetish or they're struggling.

Big 10:
The distribution of bids is about on par for the conference.  Their seeds weren't.  I'm surprised though.  It's tough to get 7 bids out of a conference when there isn't a high-end team distributing quality wins to the other teams.  I don't know how to describe it.  Everyone did just enough in the non-con to survive.

Big 12:
I'd say this is on par with the conference's expectations.  TTU isn't making the NIT, let alone the NCAA, with their scheduling practices.

Big East:
They overachieved a bit, squeaking out 7 bids.  They kind of had a perfect distribution of wins between teams 2-7, with conference records of 12-6, 4 10-8s and a 9-9.  That's pretty lucky.

Big Sky:
The 2nd-4th place teams took postseason bids.  Another example conference that likes to be fed by the EIEIOs.

Big South:
Pretty standard for the Big South.  The other 2 teams that broke away in the conference standings took their CIT bids...as well as a 7-11 Campbell, for some unholy reason.

Big West:
A disaster year for the conference.  3rd place team barely got CIT eligible.

A couple strong RPI years for the conference now.  Sadly, it didn't pay off in a better seed for UNCW.  All I can say is to keep plugging along.  Charleston actually got an at-large bid for the NIT, which is a good sign for the future of this conference.  This is trending upwards.  Also interesting:  everyone else turned down the CBI/CIT.  If those tourneys can't pull upper-majors like CAA teams, something's wrong with them.

Considering how far off this conference is, it's kind of amazing Middle Tennessee almost built an at-large profile.  Here's a conference that's shunning the CBI/CIT types, with Rice being the one team that decided to play.  There's a couple teams that deserved some kind of postseason, that obviously passed.

Pretty interesting...at-large NIT bid for Valpo.  Profile was just good enough, but didn't think the committee would pull the trigger.  Good for them.  Wright St probably turned down the postseason, which is the only way to explain the fraudulent CBI bid that UIC got.

The conference was secretly really blah behind Princeton.

Down a bit this year.  Poor, poor Monmouth.  Assuming Siena declined the postseason, a pretty fair distribution of postseason teams for the conference.

They have the resources to do better.  I wonder how long this will go before Akron starts to get fed up, because they're always the one on fringe at-large candidacy and can't get close enough.

And frankly they got more postseason teams than they deserved.

Just a catastrophic year.  Everyone 3rd on back sat out postseason, presumably as penance for their crimes against WSU and ISU.  My advice in the future:  don't suck.

Mountain West:
The thing is, I don't think the conference is THAT far away from where it needs to be.  After Nevada, they had 5 teams in between RPI 69 and 98.  This tells me incremental steps forward from those programs will rectify their single-bid status quickly.  They schedule mostly okay, they just need a few swing games.  Obviously they need to be better but I don't see a big philosophical shift needed to fix that.  Interesting that Wyoming in 7th took a CBI bid while 4th-6th in the standings decided not to play (assuming).

Seems fair.

The conference was a bit down, and frankly I'm not sure how many more postseason teams they deserve.

Kind of a disaster the conference just snuck a 4th team in, when their top 3 was this good.  As it turns out...everyone else was terrible.  No other way to paint it.  It's a pretty clear problem with a pretty clear solution for them.  There's nothing in their scheduling practices I think they need to change.  Just play better.

I'm guessing some teams turned down the CBI and CIT because the 6th place team here got the CBI bid.  Secret thing about these recaps:  you can see which conferences are shunning these tournaments.

A big year for the SEC, bigger than you think.  Remember they are in the middle of making great efforts to improve scheduling.  This year, those schedule benefits were reaped.  Vandy obviously got in on the strength of theirs, and the conference schedule didn't sink their overall SoS like it would have in years past.  Further, marginal resumes for Arkansas and S Carolina were enhanced by the SoS numbers.  Look at the RPIs of teams that missed:  UGa 53, A&M 93, Auburn 106, Ole Miss 68, Tenn 79.  In years future, those 5 bids will turn into 6 and 7 with those numbers.  Keep it up!  Good job!  I honestly mean that.

An okay year for them.  All 3 tri-champs got a postseason bid, so all is just.  I'm guessing Chattanooga declined a bid...and why did 8-10 Samford get a CIT invite?

Here's a case where it looks like just about all eligible teams, and basically the top 5 teams in the league, took their CIT bid and went.  Always interesting to compare the conferences who walk away en masse and the ones to take them en masse.

Down a bit from their highs of the past couple years.  Not much else to say here.

Sun Belt:
A good season overall, but that merely earned them the distinction of "best of the rest".  Best conference not to produce a serious NIT at-large candidate.  As you can see, several teams (interestingly, not Arky State though) cashed in for token postseason appearances...which they all deserved, more or less.  Good for them.


A big surge up the RPI for this conference thanks to the top 2 teams, but they didn't pay it off into anything tangible.  Those 2 CBI bids are pretty damn fraudulent.  Grand Canyon interestingly didn't play this year.

This is a pretty standard distribution for this conference.  The middle-to-bottom of this conference just isn't strong enough to support better.  All postseason bids and non-bids were just, IMO.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Let's build a bracket.

Every year, I like to do this exercise.  I build a bracket using the committee's 1-68 seed list.  And see what's different about mine.  Full breakdown below, but I'll put the highlights at the top.  Needless to say, there's a couple questions I have.

- Cincinnati has a legitimate gripe.  They're ranked higher than Maryland; why did Cincy get shipped West instead of them?
- Vandy as the highest 8 seed got sent to Salt Lake City...not sure why.
- I would have swapped VCU and Marquette.  Although Marquette is ranked higher, I think VCU's travel considerations trump Marquette's given what regional sites were available.
- The committee made a mess of the play-in games.  I offer a solution that doesn't involve the Sacramento site below.
- I also would have tweaked the 16 line, but it's no big deal.

Below is the breakdown, and at the end is my bracket.

The 1 line:
1 Villanova - gets Buffalo and the East regional
2 Kansas - gets Tulsa and the Midwest
3 North Carolina - gets Greenville and the South
4 Gonzaga - gets Salt Lake City and West.  You could make an argument Sacramento would be a better site for them, but as it turns out this assignment works better for the Pac-12 teams behind them
Through 1 line, regions remaining:  BUF, GRE, ORLx2, INDx2, MILx2, TUL, SLC, SACx2

The 2 line:
5 Kentucky - their best location is the South regional, and Indianapolis is open
6 Arizona - goes to Salt Lake City.  The West is the obvious regional for them
7 Duke - obviously goes to Greenville.  As far as regionals go, East is better than Midwest
8 Louisville - gets the other spot in Indianapolis, and the Midwest is the open regional
Through 2 lines, seed score:  East 8, West 10, South 8, Midwest 10
Through 2 lines, regions remaining:  BUF, ORLx2, MILx2, TUL, SACx2

The 3 line:
9 Oregon - Sacramento to start.  As for the region, with the West blocked, the Midwest becomes the next best option
10 Florida St - here's where being the 4th best team in a conference is fatal.  Duke, UNC, and UL are ahead of FSU.  With those 3 occupying 3 of the regions, FSU is forced to take the last available region - the West.  At least Orlando is open for them for the 1st 2 rounds
11 UCLA - they're going to have to travel no matter what...but of the two available regions, the South is better than the East.  They take the second spot in Sacramento
12 Baylor - they get the second spot in Tulsa.  As for regionals, the East is the last one available.  The South would be better, but Baylor as the last 3 seed gets no power in this decision.  Let's put a pin in this and revisit later
Through 3 lines, seed score:  East 20, West 20, South 19, Midwest 19
Through 3 lines, regions remaining:  BUF, ORL, MILx2

The 4 line:
Before we begin, we note the conflicts:  Butler can't go in the East, Florida can't go in the South, and WVU can't go in the East or Midwest.  Actually this is pretty lucky, usually at this stage you'd have more conflicts
13 Butler - Milwaukee is their ideal sub-regional, and it's still available.  As for region, South and Midwest are both close to even, but South is slightly better.  We'll put them in the South, knowing we have some flexibility if we need it
14 Florida - Orlando still has a spot available, so they luck out on that front.  Since UF can't go in the South, they can go either in the Midwest or East, with about the same travel.  The East is slightly better, so let's put them there, knowing we can revisit
15 West Virginia - Buffalo is their preferred site out of the 8 total...and somehow is still open.  Amazing that it's working out this well.  14 of 15 teams so far have gotten their first choice of site.  As for region, the Midwest and West are left and Kansas is in the Midwest.  WVU has to go west for now
16 Purdue - Milwaukee is the last site available...and works out pretty well for Purdue.  Midwest is the last region available...and works out well for Purdue again
Through 3 lines, seed score:  East 34, West 35, South 32, Midwest 35

Balance for the top 4 lines looks okay.  Let's revisit a couple things.
- If we flop Baylor and UCLA, we can help Baylor's travel and make things even more balanced.  However, it would make UCLA travel all the way across the country instead of halfway.  Let's leave it as is.
- In a perfect world, it's Purdue as the lowest seed that has to go to the West.  However, the region would them add up to 36, which is teetering on the edge of being unbalanced.  Knowing that, it's better for WVU to go West than Butler or Florida.
- If we put Butler in the Midwest instead, we still can't do anything with Florida...I don't think there's a permutation that helps anyone too much here.

The top 4 lines are set, with very little conflict!  The only issues for individual teams are probably Florida St (but we can't do anything about that) and West Virginia (in a perfect world, Purdue travels).  Regions are pretty balanced.  Let's move on.

The 5 line:
subregional sites for the 5 line:  BUF, ORL, MILx2
17 Virginia - Buffalo is their best choice, but UVa played WVU in the regular season.  This sends UVa careening towards Orlando instead.  This does keep UVa in the East though
18 Minnesota - two Milwaukee spots are open for Minny, but since Purdue is in one of them, Minny takes the spot in the South regional instead
19 Notre Dame - Milwaukee is better for them than Buffalo, but they played Purdue in the regular season.  So they go to Buffalo; although this is the West regional
20 Iowa St - Milwuakee is their preferred site anyway, so this works out well.  Having Kansas in the sweet 16 from this draw isn't ideal, but rematch conflicts sort of tie our hands here.  Plus this puts ISU in the Midwest regional
Through 5 lines, we have not deviated from the selection committee yet.

The 6 line:
subregional sites for the 6 line:  ORL, TUL, SACx2
21 SMU - Tulsa is by far the preferred regional here.  It's the East region, which isn't great, but first weekend takes precedence
22 Cincinnati - Orlando would be better than either Sacramento spot.  This does bury Cincy in the West region, though
23 Maryland - only Sacramento is available.  We'll stick them in the South spot to leave the Midwest spot open for Creighton below
24 Creighton - see above; they get the other Sacramento spot
We have hit our first deviation.  In real life, the committee sent Cincinnati out west and kept Maryland in Orlando.  I'm not really sure why they did this.

The 7 line:
subregional sites for the 7 line:  GRE, INDx2, SLC
25 St Mary's - Salt Lake City in the West region is open.  Perfect
26 South Carolina - Greenville is available for them, which is basically the committee's wet dream.  Perfect, again.  East regional too
27 Michigan - the two Indianapois sites are available for Michigan and Dayton.  Perfect again.  Honestly, it's kind of amazing how neat this all works out.  The South and Midwest regionals are the two available.  Mileage is really close for both teams and regions...Dayton going South is the best advantage for either team, so let's do that
28 Dayton - see above.  By the letter of the law, Michigan should get the South spot, but the advantage is so small that consideration for Dayton should trump it
We do not deviate from the committee on the 7 line.

The 8 line:
subregional sites for the 8 line:  BUF, GRE, TUL, SLC
29 Wisconsin - actually, Buffalo is the best site for them, over Tulsa.  But it's close enough that I wonder if consideration of the regional should mater more.  Midwest over East?  Let's put Wisky in Buffalo for now, which is East
30 Miami - they can't go to Greenville (UNC), so to Tulsa and the Midwest they go instead.  Note that this was the alternate Wisconsin path, but it's better to use it for Miami to help them
31 Arkansas - Greenville and the South is miles better than SLC and the West, obviously
32 Northwestern - the perils of being the last team on a line, they have to take the hike to SLC and the West
We do not deviate from the committee on the 8 line.

The 9 line:
subregional sites for the 9 line:  BUF, GRE, TUL, SLC
Here's where things get fun with conflicts.
Vandy can't go to Greenville, SHU can't go to Buffalo, MSU can't go to Buffalo or SLC, VT can't go to Greenville or Tulsa
33 Vanderbilt - Tulsa and the Midwest region is best available
34 Seton Hall - after conflicts, Greenville and the South become best available
35 Michigan St - Buffalo and SLC are the remaining sites.  See note above.  Oops.  Back to SHU we go!
34 Seton Hall - if we kick SHU out of Greenville to make room for MSU, we have to send Seton Hall to SLC and the West region
35 Michigan St - Greenville and the South region for Michigan St
36 Virginia Tech - Buffalo and the East region is available for them
We have a deviation!  In real life, the committee sent Vandy out to Salt Lake City, and Seton Hall to Greenville, and Michigan St to Tulsa.  In my world, the committee sends Vandy to Tulsa, SHU to SLC, and Michigan St to Greenville.  Vandy as the highest team on the 8 line avoids the travel.  Not sure why the committee went the other way on this.

The 10 line:
subregional sites for the 10 line:  GRE, INDx2, SLC
37 Oklahoma St - they can take either Indianapolis spot; they'll take the Midwest one over the South one
38 Wichita St - Indianapolis works for them too, and they'll take the South one that OSU passes up
39 Marquette - Greenville and the East is obvioulsy better than the western stuff
40 VCU - here's another example of unfairness in being the last team on a line.  Greenville and the East is PERFECT for VCU, while for Marquette it's merely a little better than SLC.  However, SLC and the West for VCU is horrible.  By NCAA rules, VCU has to get screwed so that Marquette is helped slightly.  This is a spot where I would pull an executive decision.
So we deviate from the committee on VCU and Marquette.  Common sense rules.

The 11 line:
subregional sites for the 11 line:  ORL, TUL, SACx2
We've got play-in games, and this gets really messy really quick.  Orlando is a Thu/Sat, Tulsa and Sacramento are Fri/Sun.  Automatically we know Orlando is getting someone to play Cincinnati.  USC has to go to a Fri/Sun site because of travel reasons.
Here's what we know for the PIG guys:  Providence can't go to SAC, Wake can't go to ORL, USC can't go to ORL, SAC, or TUL, and KSU can't go to Tulsa.
So um, you see a minor issue.  USC can't go to ANY of the sites.  They're blocked out by travel (Orlando), regular season rematches (Tulsa), and conference conflicts (Sacramento).  Of the 3 choices, regular season rematches are the one that the committee will violate in this case.  So Tulsa is hosting a PIG winner, and USC is one of the ones going there.  Since Wake can't go to Orlando, let's put them with USC going to Tulsa.  Providence/Kansas St to Orlando.  Let's proceed:
41 Xavier - for non-PIG participants, just Sacramento is left.  X gets the South spot over the Midwest spot
42 Providence - see above
43 Wake Forest - see above
44 Rhode Island - Sacramento in the Midwest is last available
45 USC - see above
46 Kansas St - see above
In real life the committee lost its mind.  They set both PIG participants to Fri/Sun sites, including one in Sacramento.  They did USC/Providence going to Tulsa and Wake/K-State going to Sacramento.  I'm not really sure why they took this route.

The 12 line:
subregional sites for the 12 line:  BUF, ORL, MILx2
Things get a little easier now with one-bid conferences.
47 Nevada - Milwaukee, in the Midwest over the South
48 Middle Tennessee - it's actually pretty close, but Milwaukee is better than Orlando or Buffalo for them.  As it turns out, sending them to Milwaukee helps the two teams below them as well
49 UNC-Wilmington - Orlando, easily
50 Princeton - Buffalo, easily
We do not deviate from the committee on the 12 line.

The 13 line:
subregional sites for the 13 line:  BUF, ORL, MILx2
51 Bucknell - Buffalo is their best spot
52 East Tennessee St - Orlando is their best spot, although it's close
53 Vermont - Milwaukee is left, they get the Midwest because of the team below them who strongly prefer the South
54 Winthrop - the other Milwaukee spot
We do not deviate from the committee on the 13 line.

The 14 line:
subregional sites for the 14 line:  ORL, TUL, SACx2
55 New Mexico St - they'll take Tulsa obviously
56 FGCU - FGCU in Orlando. Perfect
57 Kent St - stuck in Sacramento, we'll give them the South over the Midwest
58 Iona - stuck in Sacramento
We do not deviate from the committee on the 14 line.

The 15 line:
subregional sites for the 15 line:  GRE, INDx2, SLC
59 Northern Kentucky - obviously going to Indianapolis.  South regional is better for them than Midwest, slightly
60 Troy - Greenville is their best fit
61 Jacksonville St - Indianapolis is their choice
62 North Dakota - goes to Salt Lake City
We do not deviate from the committee on the 15 line.

The 16 line:
subregional sites for the 9 line:  BUF, GRE, TUL, SLC
Buffalo and SLC are Thu/Sat; Greenville and Tulsa are Fri/Sun.  Buffalo is earmarked for one PIG winner, we could go for either Fri/Sun site.  Let's give them to the #2 overall seed (Kansas) in Tulsa.  Davis needs the Fri/Sun site for sure; New Orleans would be 2nd on the geographic consideration list, plus Tulsa would be a great regional site for them.  MSM and NCCU can play Thu/Sat then, in Buffalo, which is a decent location for either school.
63 Texas Southern - after the above, SLC and Greenville are left.  TSU actually slightly prefers Greenville...
64 South Dakota St - and SDSU prefers SLC, obviously.  Let's send TSU east to help SDSU out
65 UC-Davis - see above
66 North Carolina Central - see above
67 New Orleans - see above
68 Mt St Mary's - see above
We actually differ from the selection committee on what we do with the PIG.  Not sure why they had Davis play NCCU.

1) Villanova vs. 16) North Carolina Central/Mount St Mary's
8) Wisconsin vs. 9) Virginia Tech
4) Florida vs. 13) East Tennessee St
5) Virginia vs. 12) UNC-Wilmington
3) Baylor vs. 14) New Mexico St
6) SMU vs. 11) USC/Wake Forest
2) Duke vs. 15) Troy
7) South Carolina vs. 10) VCU

@Salt Lake City
1) Gonzaga vs. 16) South Dakota St
8) Northwestern vs. 9) Seton Hall
4) West Virginia vs. 13) Bucknell
5) Notre Dame vs. 12) Princeton
3) Florida St vs. 14) FGCU
6) Cincinnati vs. 11) Providence/Kansas St
@Salt Lake City
2) Arizona vs. 15) North Dakota
7) St Mary's vs. 10) Marquette

1) North Carolina vs. 16) Texas Southern
8) Arkansas vs. 9) Michigan St
4) Butler vs. 13) Winthrop
5) Minnesota vs. 12) Middle Tennessee
3) UCLA vs. 14) Kent St
6) Maryland vs. 11) Xavier
2) Kentucky vs. 15) Northern Kentucky
7) Dayton vs. 10) Wichita St

1) Kansas vs. 16) UC-Davis/New Orleans
8) Miami vs. 9) Vanderbilt
4) Purdue vs. 13) Vermont
5) Iowa St vs. 12) Nevada
3) Oregon vs. 14) Iona
6) Creighton vs. 11) Rhode Island
2) Louisville vs. 15) Jacksonville St
7) Michigan vs. 10) Oklahoma St

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

1-68 seed list analysis

NCAA rank listed first, then my ranking in parentheses.

1 Villanova (Villanova)
2 Kansas (Kansas)
3 North Carolina (Gonzaga)
4 Gonzaga (Duke)
5 Kentucky (Arizona)
6 Arizona (North Carolina)
7 Duke (Kentucky)
8 Louisville (Baylor)
9 Oregon (Oregon)
10 Florida St (Louisville)
12 Baylor (Butler)
13 Butler (Florida St)
14 Florida (Florida)
15 West Virginia (West Virginia)
16 Purdue (Notre Dame)
17 Virginia (Iowa St)
18 Minnesota (Purdue)
19 Notre Dame (Virginia)
20 Iowa St (SMU)
21 SMU (Cincinnati)
22 Cincinnati (Minnesota)
23 Maryland (Creighton)
24 Creighton (Michigan)
25 St Mary's (Wisconsin)
26 South Carolina (Maryland)
27 Michigan (Miami)
28 Dayton (Northwestern)
29 Wisconsin (St Mary's)
30 Miami (Virginia Tech)
31 Arkansas (Wichita St)
32 Northwestern (Seton Hall)
33 Vanderbilt (Arkansas)
34 Seton Hall (VCU)
35 Michigan St (Dayton)
36 Virginia Tech (Rhode Island)
37 Oklahoma St (Marquette)
38 Wichita St (Middle Tennessee)
39 Marquette (Providence)
40 VCU (Oklahoma St)
41 Xavier (South Carolina)
42 Providence (Michigan St)
43 Wake Forest (Xavier)
44 Rhode Island (Kansas St)
45 USC (Vanderbilt)
46 Kansas St (Wake Forest)
47 Nevada (USC)
48 Middle Tennessee (Nevada)
49 UNC-Wilmington (UNC-Wilmington)
50 Princeton (Princeton)
51 Bucknell (Vermont)
52 East Tennessee St (New Mexico St)
53 Vermont (East Tennessee St)
54 Winthrop (Bucknell)
55 New Mexico St (Winthrop)
56 FGCU (Iona)
57 Kent St (FGCU)
58 Iona (Northern Kentucky)
59 Northern Kentucky (Texas Southern)
60 Troy (Kent St)
61 Jacksonville St (Troy)
62 North Dakota (North Dakota)
63 Texas Southern (South Dakota St)
64 South Dakota St (Jacksonville St)
65 UC-Davis (New Orleans)
66 North Carolina Central (Mt St Mary's)
67 New Orleans (UC-Davis)
68 Mt St Mary's (North Carolina Central)

Biggest differences:
South Carolina 15 (NCAA 26, me 41) - this ranking was nonsensical
Vanderbilt 13 (NCAA 33, me 45) - you know, losses are supposed to count too
Middle Tennessee 10 (NCAA 48, me 38) - this is part of the general disrespect for mid-majors
Rhode Island 8 (NCAA 44, me 36)
Dayton 7 (NCAA 28, me 35)
Michigan St 7 (NCAA 35, me 42)
Wichita St 7 (NCAA 38, me 31)
Virginia Tech 6 (NCAA 36, me 30)
VCU 6 (NCAA 40, me 34)

- The SEC's efforts to schedule up did pay off more than I thought it would.
- I don't know what to do with the A-10
- Losses don't matter as much to the NCAA given what Vandy and MSU got

I got 68/68 teams...I missed a team's overall rank by an average of 2.838 spots per team.

I wonder how 2.838 compares to other bracketologists.  If you want, give me your 1-68s and I can calculate.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

CBI/CIT analysis

George Mason (20-13) (9-9) vs. Loyola(MD) (15-16) (8-10)
Coastal Carolina (16-17) (10-8) vs. Hampton (14-16) (11-5)
UIC (15-18) (7-11) vs. Stony Brook (18-13) (12-4)
George Washington (19-14) (10-8) vs. Toledo (17-16) (9-9)
Wyoming (18-14) (8-10) vs. Eastern Washington (22-11) (13-5)
UMKC (17-16) (8-8) vs. Green Bay (18-13) (12-6)
Rice (22-11) (11-7) vs. San Francisco (20-12) (10-8)
Georgia Southern (18-14) (11-7) vs. Utah Valley (15-16) (6-8)

Norfolk State (17-16) (12-4) @ Liberty (19-13) (14-4)
Saint Francis (16-16) (11-7) @ Jacksonville (17-15) (5-9)
Houston Baptist (17-13) (12-6) @ Campbell (17-17) (7-11)
Canisius (18-15) (10-10) @ Samford (19-15) (8-10)
Ball State (21-12) (11-7) @ Fort Wayne (19-12) (8-8)
Fairfield (16-14) (11-9) @ UMBC (18-12) (9-7)
Georgia State (20-12) (12-6) @ Texas A&M Corpus Christi (20-11) (12-6)
Stephen F. Austin (18-14) (12-6) @ Idaho (18-13) (12-6)
Saint Peter's (19-13) (14-6) @ Albany (21-13) (10-6)
Furman (21-11) (14-4) @ USC Upstate (17-15) (7-7)
UNC Asheville (23-9) (15-3) @ UT Martin (21-12) (10-6)
Lamar (19-14) (10-8) @ Texas State (20-13) (11-7)
Weber State (19-13) (12-6) @ Cal State Fullerton (17-14) (10-6)

Vegas 16:

Quick hitting thoughts on these lesser tournaments below.  I'll save individual team comments for my conference-by-conference recap.

- The CIT only got 26 teams.  Vegas went defunct.  It's getting clear there isn't room for 3 tournaments like this...and maybe not 2.  In an ideal world I'd like to see all these resources combined into a single 16, 24, or 32 team tournament.
- The CIT mostly did wind up with good teams.  There's a couple teams, namely those below .500 in conference play, who clearly don't belong, but I can't slam their inclusion when the alternative is no team.
- The CBI is the more questionable part.  Teams in bad conferences below .500 overall and in conference just don't belong in any postseason.  Unless the CBI had no choice but to invite such teams, it's ridiculous.
- Let's combine resources of all these tourneys before they all die.  Clearly, there does deserve to be SOME third tournament out there.  A world where UNC-Asheville is shut out of the postseason is a bad, bad world.  So let's reduce 3 tournaments to 1, invite 32 teams with half the bracket exclusive to mid-majors (a CIT staple), and host the final 8 teams in Vegas.  Boom.  Done.

Monday, March 13, 2017

NIT analysis

Side note:  I miss old cranky CM Newton.

Region 1

8) UNC-Greensboro at 1) Syracuse
5) Ole Miss at 4) Monmouth
6) Georgia Tech at 3) Indiana
7) Belmont at 2) Georgia

On the whole, I like this region.  No seed is really out of line, and it's geographically about as compact as you could ever hope for.

Region 2

8) Cal St-Bakersfield at 1) California
5) Charleston at 4) Colorado St
6) UT-Arlington at 3) BYU
7) Akron at 2) Houston

Here, I'd pick a nit with the seeds of UTA and Akron.  UTA deserves a little better.  A lot better, actually.  This is the "west" region, but the bottom line is that a couple eastern teams were going to get boned.  Charleston and Akron get the bone this year.  I actually think this is a good spot for moving teams around a seed line.  I'd move Fresno from a 5 seed to a 6, put them in this bracket, move UTA to a 5 seed, and rescue Charleston.  I'd also consider making Irvine a 7 seed for this region.

Region 3

8) UC-Irvine at 1) Illinois St
5) Colorado at 4) Central Florida
6) Boise St at 3) Utah
7) Valparaiso at 2) Illinois

Actually pleasantly surprised by Valpo being in.  I thought with Peters out they'd be out, but the committee chose to reward their results with a full lineup.  I'm okay with this.

As for geography, this is kind of a mess.  This is an ugly regional for UCF, and I would've absolutely moved TCU into this spot.  Also would've rescued Irvine as described above.

Region 4

8) South Dakota at 1) Iowa
5) Fresno St at 4) TCU
6) Richmond at 3) Alabama
7) Oakland at 2) Clemson

No real issue with any of the seeds.  Geography isn't the cleanest, and is really a chain reaction from the above 2 regionals.

I got 31/32 teams correct in my projections.  Missed on Valpo as described above...had Ohio St in my field.  Committee said OSU and UNC-Asheville were the last 2 teams out.  Pretty encouraged to hear the presence of UNCA on that list.  Overall I can't complain too much about this field.  They could tighten up the geography a bit, though.

Of the 28 teams, I seeded 12 correctly and had 20 within 1 line.  Not great.  However, most of my misses were along the 3-5 lines where I didn't have strong preferences.  I'm okay with most of the misses, and well, as long as the right teams are in the tourney, that's good.  Seeding doesn't matter much here.  The NIT has really improved its selection process for teams in recent years, I'll give them that much.

Using these seeds, I created the following pairings:

1) California vs. 8) Cal St-Bakersfield
4) Fresno St St vs. 5) Colorado
3) BYU vs. 6) Boise St
2) Utah vs. 7) UC-Irvine

1) Illinois St vs. 8) Oakland
4) Indiana vs. 5) Monmouth
3) Alabama vs. 6) Georgia Tech
2) Illinois vs. 7) Akron

1) Syracuse vs. 8) UNC-Greensboro
4) Central Florida vs. 5) Charleston
3) Clemson vs. 6) Richmond
2) Georgia vs. 7) Belmont

1) Iowa vs. 8) South Dakota
4) TCU vs. 5) Texas-Arlington
3) Colorado St vs. 6) Valparaiso
2) Houston vs. 7) Ole Miss

Note the western pairings are much more compact.  The Cal region is perfect.  The Iowa regional is just about perfect, minus Valpo (one team had to travel to this region).  The Syracuse region is almost perfect, there's 7 southern teams with them so it's not ideal, but still clean.  The Illinois St region has a couple invaders from the south, but that's ok.  A bit tighter geographically, and no one moved more than one seed line.

Bracketing analysis

Let's take a quick look at the bracket itself and see if the committee did anything unusual.


1) Villanova vs. 16) Mount St Mary's/New Orleans
8) Wisconsin vs. 9) Virginia Tech
- Nothing special to note.  No major travel problems

4) Florida vs. 13) East Tennessee St
5) Virginia vs. 12) UNC-Wilmington
- This regional worked out well too, geography-wise and seedwise

3) Baylor vs 14) New Mexico St
6) SMU vs. 11) USC/Providence
- Another regional that worked out perfectly on geography.  They are sending a PIG winner to Tulsa, but that's not that bad

2) Duke vs. 15) Troy
7) South Carolina vs. 10) Marquette
- South Carolina's seed is one of the greatest injustices I've ever seen in my life.  And they get to play in-state against Duke.  Someone, please think of poor Duke, losing games in the state of NC and now having a road game in the round of 32.  When o when will Duke ever catch a break


@Salt Lake City
1) Gonzaga vs. 16) South Dakota St
8) Northwestern vs. 9) Vanderbilt
- Vandy's seed is a bit weird, although they're one of the ones that are suffering geographically.  So I guess it balances out

4) West Virginia vs. 13) Bucknell
5) Notre Dame vs. 12) Princeton
- Geographically perfect setup.  Notre Dame is a bit underseeded, I think it's fair to move them up a line

3) Florida St vs. 14) FGCU
6) Maryland vs. 11) Xavier
- Yet another regional with pretty solid geographical placements for teams.  Committee did a nice job on this front so far

@Salt Lake City
2) Arizona vs. 15) North Dakota
7) St Mary's vs. 10) VCU
- There was always going to be a eastern team like VCU sent careening out west.  Other than that, solid regional


1) Kansas vs. 16) North Carolina Central/UC-Davis
8) Miami vs. 9) Michigan St
- Yawn

4) Purdue vs. 13) Vermont
5) Iowa St vs. 12) Nevada
- Yet another regional which makes geographic sense.  I'm running out of things to complain about

3) Oregon vs. 14) Iona
6) Creighton vs. 11) Rhode Island
- Well URI going cross-country ain't great, but those things are bound to happen

7) Michigan vs. 10) Oklahoma St
2) Louisville vs. 15) Jacksonville St
- Still, running out of things to complain about


1) North Carolina vs. 16) Texas Southern
8) Arkansas vs. 9) Seton Hall
- Yawn

4) Butler vs. 13) Winthrop
5) Minnesota vs. 12) Middle Tennessee
- Another case where we had a good geographic fit for the 4 and 5 seeds.  It almost never works out that way.  Usually a team or two has to play way out of position just due to the flukes of where the regional sites are and who the top teams are.  This year, it fit perfectly like a glove.  Milwaukee ended up being the ignored site, but Butler and Purdue were on the 4 line waiting.  Orlando was out of most everyone's way, but FSU and Florida were available.  SLC and Sacramento were out there....and there were exactly 4 western teams on the top 4 lines.

3) UCLA vs. 14) Kent St
6) Cincinnati vs. 11) Kansas St/Wake Forest
- A PIG winner to Sacramento!  Finally something to complain about!  All the PIG participants are on the 11 line.  The sites hosting those seeds: Sacramento, Sacramento, Orlando, Tulsa.  Orlando is Thu/Sat, the others are Fri/Sun.  Here's the problem:
- USC has to go to a Fri/Sun site
- Sacramento and Tulsa are the two Fri/Sun sites
- Sacramento has Pac-12 teams blocking USC
Therefore, right off the bat, USC is headed to Tulsa.  We know K-State can't go there because of Baylor.  Committee chose to put Providence there.  But if they put Wake there instead, then the Orlando regional is open to Provi and K-State.  So....why didn't they do that instead of sending K-State/Wake to Sacramento?  Am I missing something here?

2) Kentucky vs. 15) Northern Kentucky
7) Dayton vs. 10) Wichita St

So there's the bracket.  Outside of one questionable situation involving the First Four, they didn't do anything stupid in bracketing.  Seeding was a problem (we'll get to that later), but bracketing was okay.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

FINAL NIT projections

The 1 line:  Syracuse (18-14), Illinois St (26-6), California (21-12), Iowa (18-14)
The 2 line:  Illinois (17-14), Texas-Arlington (23-8), Indiana (18-15), Georgia (18-14)
The 3 line:  Houston (21-10), Clemson (17-15), TCU (18-15), Alabama (19-14)
The 4 line:  Monmouth (27-6), Colorado St (21-11), Charleston (24-9), Georgia Tech (16-15)
The 5 line:  BYU (22-11), Akron (25-8), Utah (18-11), Ole Miss (20-13)
The 6 line:  Boise St (18-11), Richmond (20-12), Ohio St (17-15), Fresno St (18-12)
The 7 line:  Central Florida (21-11), Colorado (18-14), Belmont (21-6), Cal St-Bakersfield (19-9)
The 8 line:  UNC-Greensboro (22-9), Oakland (22-8), South Dakota (20-11), UC-Irvine (19-14)

Last 4 in:
Ohio St
Fresno St
Central Florida

Last 4 out:
George Washington
St Bonaventure

1) Syracuse vs. 8) UNC-Greensboro
4) Monmouth vs. 5) Utah
3) Alabama vs. 6) Richmond
2) Indiana vs. 7) Belmont

1) Illinois St vs. 8) Oakland
4) Georgia Tech vs. 5) BYU
3) Houston vs. 6) Fresno St
2) Illinois vs. 7) Colorado

1) Iowa vs. 8) South Dakota
4) Charleston vs. 5) Akron
3) Clemson vs. 6) Ohio St
2) Georgia vs. 7) Central Florida

1) California vs. 8) UC-Irvine
4) Colorado St vs. 5) Ole Miss
3) TCU vs. 6) Boise St
2) Texas-Arlington vs. 7) Cal St-Bakersfield


Didn't have to do too much to balance geographically or strength-wise.  We good here

1) Villanova vs. 16) Mount St Mary's/North Carolina Central
8) Virginia Tech vs. 9) Dayton
4) Florida vs. 13) Bucknell
5) Virginia vs. 12) UNC-Wilmington
3) Louisville vs. 14) Winthrop
6) Creighton vs. 11) Kansas St/Vanderbilt
2) Baylor vs. 15) Texas Southern
7) Miami vs. 10) Marquette

1) Duke vs. 16) New Orleans/UC-Davis
8) Seton Hall vs. 9) VCU
4) West Virginia vs. 13) Vermont
5) Purdue vs. 12) Wake Forest/USC
3) Oregon vs. 14) Northern Kentucky
6) Cincinnati vs. 11) Michigan St
2) Kentucky vs. 15) Kent St
7) Wisconsin vs. 10) Providence

@Salt Lake City
1) Gonzaga vs. 16) South Dakota St
8) Wichita St vs. 9) Rhode Island
4) Florida St vs. 13) East Tennessee St
5) SMU vs. 12) Princeton
3) Butler vs. 14) Iona
6) Minnesota vs. 11) South Carolina
@Salt Lake City
2) Arizona vs. 15) North Dakota
7) Northwestern vs. 10) Oklahoma St

1) Kansas vs. 16) Jacksonville St
8) St Mary's vs. 9) Arkansas
4) Notre Dame vs. 13) New Mexico St
5) Iowa St vs. 12) Nevada
3) UCLA vs. 14) FGCU
6) Michigan vs. 11) Xavier
2) North Carolina vs. 15) Troy
7) Maryland vs. 10) Middle Tennessee

3/12 recap

B1G finals:
Michigan 71, Wisconsin 56 - bubble to 6 line in 4 days

SEC finals:
Kentucky 82, Arkansas 65

AAC finals:
SMU 71, Cincinnati 56

A-10 finals:
Rhode Island 70, VCU 63 - yesssss.  Tough bubble call is off the board now

Sun Belt finals:
Troy 59, Texas St 53 - now here's a conundrum.  Fun Belt was RPI 13; Troy's resume says 16 line.  Which number takes precedent when you select Troy's seed?  I'm splitting the difference just a little and saying 15 seed, for now.  Same situation as Kent St

Ivy finals:
Princeton 71, Yale 59

Final bubble report

Latest adds to the lockbox:
Oklahoma St
South Carolina
Michigan St
Kansas St


Last 3 in:
Wake Forest

Last 2 out:
Illinois St

I think X is fine, although they cut it close.  MSU and K-State too.  Vandy, Wake, and USC are the teams I can see legit arguments for leaving out.

- Vandy has a raw accumulation of losses, as much as the SoS matters; that matters too
- Wake has a terrible record vs. the Top 50, you can argue they didn't cash in at a high enough rate
- USC has a lack of signature wins, kind of the same problem as ISU

- Syracuse has a butt RPI and road record
- Illinois St has a lack of depth in its profile

Any miss will come from within this group of 5.

Any surprise candidates?

California - they're behind USC, so nah
Illinois - would still be on my bubble if they didn't fire Groce
Iowa - has enough quality wins, but absorbed too much damage
Houston, Arlington.....GaTech and Clemson, nah.  I can't make the case for any team in this section.  We better not get a surprise this year.

Final Top 16 report

Did my final scrub...I think I'm settling on this:

The 1 line:  Villanova (31-3), Kansas (28-4), Gonzaga (32-1), Duke (27-8)
The 2 line:  Arizona (30-4), North Carolina (26-7), Kentucky (28-5), Baylor (24-7)
The 3 line:  Oregon (28-5), Louisville (24-8), UCLA (29-4), Butler (23-8)
The 4 line:  Florida St (25-8), Florida (24-8), West Virginia (26-8), Notre Dame (25-9)

Here's my theory on that 1 line:  the committee thinks Arizona is more deserving, but decides that Arizona is better served as the 2 in the west, instead of the 1 in the south opposite Duke.  So I think they pull an executive order here.

The roulette wheel landed on Butler for the 3 line.  I'm probably going to be wrong but I'm guessing signature wins will carry the day in the end.

I feel awful about this prediction.  Awful.

1) Villanova @Buffalo
2) Baylor @Tulsa
3) Louisville @Indianapolis
4) Florida @Orlando

1) Duke @Greenville
2) Kentucky @Indianapolis
3) Oregon @Sacramento
4) West Virginia @Buffalo

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

1) Kansas @Tulsa
2) North Carolina @Greenville
3) UCLA @Sacramento
4) Notre Dame @Milwaukee

Everything ended up pretty balanced on this front.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

3/12 overnight S-CURVE

- Lots of kerjiggering.  The committee chair has forced my hand to put Arizona on the 1 line.  I don't like it.
- Also moved FSU back to the 3 line ahead of Florida.  That last 3 seed is a pressure point in the bracket I can't quite figure out what to do.
- Also a pressure point:  the last 5 seed, which will likely go to the Cincy/SMU winner.  The last 6 seed will go to the Michigan/Wisconsin winner.  Or maybe they won't because the selection committee ignores Sunday games.
- And speaking of ignoring Sunday games, what do we do with URI if they lose?  I think I'm holding them in the field.
- One other group of changes:  lowered Providence and Oklahoma St further, after further review of their resumes.  I'm running out of teams for the 9 line in particular, and I'm not a fan of Dayton and VCU in those spots, but I'm running out of options.
- One mid-major enters the at-large field.  However, despite their win at St Mary's, I think UTA lags behind Illinois St in that division of the bubble.

The 1 line:  Villanova (31-3), Kansas (28-4), Gonzaga (32-1), Arizona (30-4)
The 2 line:  Duke (27-8), North Carolina (26-7), Kentucky (28-5), Baylor (24-7)
The 3 line:  Oregon (28-5), Louisville (24-8), UCLA (29-4), Florida St (25-8)
The 4 line:  Florida (24-8), Butler (23-8), West Virginia (26-8), Notre Dame (25-9)
The 5 line:  Iowa St (23-10), Purdue (25-7), Virginia (22-10), Cincinnati (29-4)
The 6 line:  Minnesota (24-8), Creighton (25-8), SMU (28-4), Wisconsin (25-8)
The 7 line:  St Mary's (28-4), Maryland (23-8), Miami (21-11), Michigan (23-11)
The 8 line:  Northwestern (23-11), Virginia Tech (22-10), Wichita St (29-4), Seton Hall (21-11)
The 9 line:  Arkansas (25-8), VCU (26-7), Dayton (23-7), Marquette (19-12)
The 10 line:  Middle Tennessee (28-4), Providence (20-12), Oklahoma St (19-12), South Carolina (22-10)
The 11 line:  Michigan St (19-14), Xavier (21-13), Kansas St (20-13), Vanderbilt (19-15), Wake Forest (19-13)
The 12 line:  USC (24-9), Rhode Island (23-9), Nevada (28-6), UNC-Wilmington (27-5), Princeton (21-6)
The 13 line:  Vermont (28-5), New Mexico St (25-5), East Tennessee St (25-7), Bucknell (26-8)
The 14 line:  Winthrop (24-6), Iona (22-12), FGCU (23-7), Northern Kentucky (22-10)
The 15 line:  Texas Southern (23-11), Kent St (21-13), Texas St (18-12), North Dakota (19-9)
The 16 line:  South Dakota St (16-16), Jacksonville St (18-14), New Orleans (17-11), Mount St Mary's (19-15), UC-Davis (20-12), North Carolina Central (22-8)

Last 5 in:
Kansas St
Wake Forest
Rhode Island

Last 3 out:
Syracuse (18-14)
Illinois (17-14)
Illinois St (26-6)

Off the board:
California (21-12)
Texas-Arlington (23-8)

The 1 line:  Syracuse, Illinois, Illinois St, California
The 2 line:  Texas-Arlington, Indiana, Georgia, Houston
The 3 line:  Clemson, Georgia Tech, TCU, Iowa
The 4 line:  Alabama, Monmouth, Colorado St, Charleston
The 5 line:  BYU, Akron, Utah, Ole Miss
The 6 line:  Boise St, Richmond, Ohio St, Colorado
The 7 line:  Fresno St, Central Florida, Belmont, Cal St-Bakersfield
The 8 line:  UNC-Greensboro, Oakland, South Dakota, UC-Irvine

We ended up with 9 bid poachers.  1 or 2 less than average:
Sun Belt, MAAC, MAC, OVC, WAC, SoCon, Horizon, Summit, Big West

We still have one more bid poaching threat on the board (Ivy), and it'll be UCF under threat there.

3/11 recap

ACC finals:
Duke 75, Notre Dame 69 - god I hate Duke

Big East finals:
Villanova 74, Creighton 60

Big 12 finals:
Iowa St 80, West Virginia 74 - ISU's seed is going to be tricky.  5 or 6?  WVU is a 4

B1G semis:
Michigan 84, Minnesota 77 - Michigan's fixed that away-from-home problem well this week
Wisconsin 76, Northwestern 48 - Wisky's resume still isn't that great but they're moving up by brute force now

SEC semis:
Kentucky 79, Alabama 74
Arkansas 76, Vanderbilt 62 - I'm not 100% convinced Vandy is home free, but I think so

Pac-12 finals:
Arizona 83, Oregon 80 - are we really pushing Arizona all the way up to the 1 line?  If you're going to win a mid-major conference like Arizona did, at least acquire the pile of non-con wins like Gonzaga did to get to the 1 line, right?

AAC semis:
SMU 70, Central Florida 59
Cincinnati 81, UConn 71 - a good job by both SMU and Cincy to keep a clean sheet throughout the year here

A-10 semis:
Rhode Island 84, Davidson 60 - URI will teeter on the brink, right to the death
VCU 87, Richmond 77 (OT)

MWC finals:
Nevada 79, Colorado St 71 - well that's one at-large question I'm glad was taken off the board

Sun Belt semis:
Texas St 83, Texas-Arlington 62 - sigh
Troy 74, Georgia St 63 - even more sigh.  Sun Belt to the 16 line?

Ivy semis:
Princeton 72, Penn 64 (OT) - that was nearly one of the all-time backfires in conference history
Yale 73, Harvard 71

CUSA finals:
Middle Tennessee 83, Marshall 72

MAC finals:
Kent St 70, Akron 65

AEast finals:
Vermont 56, Albany 53

WAC finals:
New Mexico St 70, Cal St-Bakersfield 60

Big Sky finals:
North Dakota 93, Weber St 89 (OT)

Southland finals:
New Orleans 68, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 65 (OT)

Big West finals:
UC-Davis 50, UC-Irvine 47

SWAC finals:
Texas Southern 53, Alcorn St 50

MEAC finals:
North Carolina Central 67, Norfolk St 59


A full S-Curve is coming overnight, but I'm tinkering with things...

The 1 line:  Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga, Oregon/Arizona winner
The 2 line:  Duke, North Carolina, Oregon/Arizona loser, Kentucky

I hate you selection committee.  You're forcing me to make the move with your comments.  You guys are too dumb to think up a smokescreen, so I think you're going to mess up and make the Arizona/Oregon winner a 1 seed in the south.

This is my last full bubble update of the year.  I'll chop this list shorter tomorrow as we go:

Next 4 in (I'm rethinking dropping Providence back in this range):
Michigan St
Kansas St

Last 4 in:
Wake Forest
Rhode Island

Last 4 out:
Illinois St

Next 4 out:

There's a real legitimate question on what to do with URI if they lose tomorrow.

3/11 S-CURVE

Welcome to my stream of thought, which I put in the 2nd half of this post.  It wanes as it goes along...I did a scrub of the top few lines.  Still want to look at the bubble, again, more and more.

The 1 line:  Villanova (30-3), Kansas (28-4), Gonzaga (32-1), North Carolina (26-7)
The 2 line:  Oregon (28-4), Kentucky (27-5), Duke (26-8), Baylor (24-7)
The 3 line:  Louisville (24-8), Arizona (29-4), UCLA (29-4), Florida (24-8)
The 4 line:  Florida St (25-8), Butler (23-8), West Virginia (26-7), Notre Dame (25-8)
The 5 line:  Purdue (25-7), Virginia (22-10), Minnesota (24-8), Cincinnati (28-4)
The 6 line:  Iowa St (22-10), Creighton (25-8), SMU (28-4), St Mary's (28-4)
The 7 line:  Maryland (23-8), Wisconsin (24-8), Miami (21-11), Northwestern (23-10)
The 8 line:  Michigan (22-11), Virginia Tech (22-10), Wichita St (29-4), Seton Hall (21-11)
The 9 line:  Providence (20-12), Dayton (23-7), Oklahoma St (19-12), Arkansas (24-8)
The 10 line:  Middle Tennessee (28-4), South Carolina (22-10), Marquette (19-12), VCU (25-7)
The 11 line:  Michigan St (19-14), Vanderbilt (19-14), Xavier (21-13), Kansas St (20-13), Wake Forest (19-13)
The 12 line:  USC (24-9), Rhode Island (22-9), Nevada (27-6), Texas-Arlington (23-7), UNC-Wilmington (27-5)
The 13 line:  Akron (25-7), Princeton (20-6), Vermont (27-5), East Tennessee St (25-7)
The 14 line:  Bucknell (26-8), Winthrop (24-6), Cal St-Bakersfield (19-8), Iona (22-12)
The 15 line:  FGCU (23-7), Northern Kentucky (22-10), UC-Irvine (19-13), Texas Southern (22-11)
The 16 line:  North Dakota (18-9), Jacksonville St (18-14), South Dakota St (16-16), New Orleans (16-11), Mount St Mary's (19-15), North Carolina Central (21-8)

Next 4 in:
Michigan St

Last 4 in:
Kansas St
Wake Forest
Rhode Island

Last 4 out:
Syracuse (18-14)
Illinois (17-14)
Illinois St (26-6)
California (21-12)

Next 4 out:
Indiana (18-15)
Georgia (18-14)
Houston (21-10)
Clemson (17-15)

1 line:  Villanova to me is a clear #1 overall.  I'm wrestling on the order of the other 3 teams.  I've moved Kansas back to #2 overall, although to me it's razor thin with Gonzaga and UNC.  The difference between KU and UNC is the road record; Kansas has kept more of a clean sheet on the road.  Gonzaga is tough to figure out as they don't have the depth of quality wins compared to these two; I put them in between as one "bad" loss to BYU at home is better than road losses to Indiana and GaTech.  I think.  I wouldn't have any big issue with ordering these three teams in any order.  And the order matters.  Their overall seed will dictate how the regions are balanced down the road.

2 line:  All the Pac-12 teams have depth issues with their signature win list.  There isn't much there.  Here's where I think the committee will invoke conference champion consideration and put Oregon (and Kentucky) above the heap.  Duke has played their way up, and I think given what they did with Boeheim last year, they'll elevate Duke's seed even more.  Tomorrow is big for Duke to hold their position.  For the last spot, I wanted to elevate a Pac-12 team, but Baylor and Louisville simply have better profiles.  I debated BU vs. UL for the longest time, splitting hairs, and I think Baylor's better T50 record and H2H win trump what UL has.  For now.  I know I flipped flopped, but I just don't have a good feel, and subconciously I think the committee won't put 3 ACC teams on the top 2 lines.

3 line:  The first 3 on this line are self-explanatory from the 2 line description.  The committee loves Florida a bit more than it should...I'm banking on that trend continuing.  The other 3 seed contenders have some version of a fatal flaw.  Yes I had FSU > Florida yesterday, but FSU's loss was more damaging as its road/neutral record was the flaw it needed to fix, and they blew that.

4 line:  Teams with multiple signature wins, but with fatal flaws that prevent them from going to the 3 line.  A combination of having sloppy losses, having marginal non-con SoS numbers, and merely okay-to-good road records instead of great.  Each fatal flaw is worse than Florida's (aka Vanderbilt).  Purdue's loss makes it easier to not have them a B1G team in the Top 16.  I do fear Minny or the winner of SMU/Cincy sneaking onto this line, but I think the committee will be disciplined here.

5 line:  How do you weigh a conference championship against overall resume?  That's my conundrum with Purdue, who I want to list behind Minnesota and Virginia.  I think all 3 are clear 5 seeds, but the order within is under debate.  I reserve the right to tinker with it...but I'm not sure I can elevate any of the three teams to the 4 line.  Notre Dame's run and the positives of the other resumes make that impossible.  I'm also guessing this is where Cincy winds up, just from good bad loss avoidance, although this spot could eventually be under fire from Iowa St.

6 line:  ISU and Creighton are examples of teams avoiding anything harmful happening to them, and sneaking up as a result.  Both have signature win chances to move up a line.  Cincy, SMU, and St Mary's are tricky teams to seed.  Mostly bad loss avoidance, but a lack of depth of quality wins.  Teams like ISU and Creighton with good depth are passing them up as they add more depth.  My guess is this is where SMU settles...but a probable Cincy/SMU game could be for that spot on the 5 line eventually.  And St Mary's/Maryland is something I'll likely change my mind on 27 times in the next day.

7 line:  This is where it feels like the field gets markedly weaker.  Wisconsin as a 7 makes me wince a bit given their non-con SoS, but I can't find anyone to put in front of them.  The 7 line is also where you can start to make a case for Wichita given their unique resume.  I don't feel very good about Miami either.  Northwestern too, but at least they're still playing, so there could be movement.  It seems like every B1G team is a 7 seed, by the way.  Wisky and NU will play for the right to stay on this line, probably.

8 line:  Big run for Michigan, they can still move up further.  This B1G tourney is going to cause a lot of late volatility in the S-Curve.  That last spot on the 8 line is a breaking point in the S-Curve...I don't like SHU in that spot but I can't find anyone I like more.

9 line:  I'm not as high on Dayton as others.  This is a more appropriate spot for them than the 7 line.  Also after further review, Oklahoma St's resume isn't nearly as good as everyone assumes.  I don't think they're THAT far from the bubble...I feel like I'm being modestly generous only dropping them to a 9.  They have a lack of quality wins.

10 line:  South Carolina is another team falling back after further study...the lack of premier teams in the SEC do hurt the bubble teams alot.  Legitimate bubble teams start to show up on this line, and SoS starts to become a bigger consideration.  Many teams around this area have marginal SoS numbers, so it's a question of how much the committee will be willing to stomach with, for example, Marquette.  The choices really start to become more about feel than about resume.

11 line:  The choices start to become about a single metric rather than 3 or 4.  MSU and Vanderbilt and Xavier have SoS in their side, along with enough quality wins despite a gaggle of chances.

12 line:  I reserve the right to go back and look at this again, but URI and USC don't have the strikes that Syracuse does with regard to SoS and road record.  I'm guessing there's an emphasis to be put here on road record, which kills Cal and Syracuse.  Syracuse's SoS numbers aren't that out of line compared to other teams a couple seed lines higher, but it's the combination of that and road record that kill them for now.  Compare them to the last few teams in the field, and they lag behind in that category while having a little better wins.  I think those wins get trumped.  Nevada is an interesting team to seed, I could absolutely see them up a seed line or two, but I don't think they're there.

Out:  In my mind, both Illinois and Illinois St are reasonable choices when you stack them up against USC and Rhode Island...ISU has good bad loss avoidance, but less quality wins than URI.  Feels like URI is a superior version of ISU's resume.  Illinois has a good SoS and a good number of quality wins, but just lost maybe once or twice too many.  I think the bubble gets cut off after ISU, don't think I can make a case for anyone else below them...I think.


- The regions balanced pretty okay on first pass, didn't make any changes off of it.  Part of the problem obviously is conference conflicts, so I'm very limited on the moves I can make.  So I'll tolerate that 36.
- Unique disaster for Florida St.  They're the 4th ACC team, and the west is the only open regional.  So they get sent across the country.  However, Notre Dame is also a 4 seed, but since they're the 5th ACC team, they're not restricted by the same rule that FSU is restricted by, and get to stay pretty close to home.  FSU gets punished for being better in this scenario.
- I swapped seeds of the First Four teams, because of the combination of available sites and conference conflicts.  This is the nightmare scenario from a prediction standpoint, where I could miss the seed of 4 teams only because of conference conflicts and travel considerations.  I'm actually rooting for upsets in the A-10 tourney, it would be the one way to ensure that all play-in teams wind up on the 11 line.

1) Villanova vs. 16) Mount St Mary's/North Carolina Central
8) Michigan vs. 9) Dayton
4) Notre Dame vs. 13) Akron
5) Purdue vs. 12) Kansas St/Wake Forest
3) Louisville vs. 14) Winthrop
6) Iowa St vs. 11) USC/Rhode Island
2) Baylor vs. 15) Texas Southern
7) Miami vs. 10) Marquette

1) North Carolina vs. 16) South Dakota St/New Orleans
8) Seton Hall vs. 9) Oklahoma St
4) West Virginia vs. 13) Princeton
5) Cincinnati vs. 12) Texas-Arlington
3) UCLA vs. 14) Cal St-Bakersfield
6) St Mary's vs. 11) Xavier
2) Kentucky vs. 15) Northern Kentucky
7) Wisconsin vs. 10) Middle Tennessee

@Salt Lake City
1) Gonzaga vs. 16) North Dakota
8) Wichita St vs. 9) Arkansas
4) Florida St vs. 13) East Tennessee St
5) Minnesota vs. 12) UNC-Wilmington
3) Florida vs. 14) Bucknell
6) SMU vs. 11) Michigan St
2) Oregon vs. 15) UC-Irvine
7) Northwestern vs. 10) VCU

1) Kansas vs. 16) Jacksonville St
8) Virginia Tech vs. 9) Providence
4) Butler vs. 13) Vermont
5) Virginia vs. 12) Nevada
@Salt Lake City
3) Arizona vs. 14) Iona
6) Creighton vs. 11) Vanderbilt
2) Duke vs. 15) FGCU
7) Maryland vs. 10) South Carolina

3/11 NIT/CIT projections

The 1 line:  Syracuse (18-14), Illinois (17-14), Illinois St (26-6), California (26-6)
The 2 line:  Indiana (18-15), Georgia (18-14), Houston (21-10), Clemson (17-15)
The 3 line:  Georgia Tech (16-15), TCU (18-15), Iowa (18-14), Alabama (19-13)
The 4 line:  Monmouth (27-6), Colorado St (21-10), Charleston (24-9), BYU (22-11)
The 5 line:  Utah (18-11), Ole Miss (20-13), Boise St (17-11), Richmond (20-11)
The 6 line:  Ohio St (17-15), Colorado (18-14), ||| Fresno St (18-12), Central Florida (21-10)
The 7 line:  New Mexico St (24-5), St Bonaventure (20-12), Valparaiso (23-8), New Mexico (17-14)
The 8 line:  Belmont (21-6), UNC-Greensboro (22-9), Oakland (22-8), South Dakota (20-11)

5 NIT bids have been poached by autobid so far.  By my count, this weekend, there are 11 bid poaching opportunities, and I'm guessing an average of 5-7 of them will come through.  Therefore, the true bubble of the NIT is somewhere around the middle of the 6 line.


I'll do my final CIT projections here.  I know some teams have already announced bids; I'm going to ignore those for the purpose of this post.  Here's what I'm doing here, since I know some of these teams will decline bids.  This is a list of the 32 teams I'd invite.  This is who I think deserves to play based on merit.  These are in no particular order.

St Bonaventure (20-12), Towson (19-13), George Washington (19-14), Lehigh (19-12)
St Peter's (19-13), William & Mary (15-14), George Mason (19-13), Albany (20-12)
Central Florida (21-10), Davidson (17-14), Georgia St (18-11), Furman (19-11)
UNC-Asheville (21-9), Georgia Southern (16-14), Old Dominion (19-12), Harvard (16-9)
Valparaiso (23-8), Ball St (20-12), Ohio (19-11), Southern Illinois (16-16)
Arkansas St (19-12), Louisiana Tech (21-10), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (17-10), Santa Clara (16-16)
Fresno St (18-12), New Mexico St (24-5), New Mexico (17-14), San Francisco (19-12)
San Diego St (18-14), North Dakota St (17-11), Grand Canyon (20-9), Eastern Washington (20-11)

Best 20 available after these 32:
power conference division (these teams aren't making the NIT so they're done):  Memphis (19-13), Texas Tech (18-14), Texas A&M (16-15), Auburn (18-14)
Others (these teams will likely have the option to play somewhere if they want it):  LaSalle (15-15), Wyoming (16-14), Elon (16-15), Louisiana-Lafayette (19-12), Texas St (17-12), Kent St (20-13), Chattanooga (17-12), Siena (17-17), Wright St (18-12), Green Bay (16-13), Omaha (17-14), Yale (16-10), Stony Brook (18-13), New Hampshire (17-12), Rice (20-11), Marshall (19-14), Tennessee-Martin (19-12), Lipscomb (17-13), Weber St (17-12), Long Island (19-12)

Postseason bubble (I expect the postseason bubble to cut most of these teams from the postseason, in a world where few teams turn down bids):
Liberty (16-13), UC-Davis (19-12), Loyola(Chi) (16-14), Buffalo (15-15), Fairfield (16-14), IPFW (16-12), Gardner-Webb (16-14), Houston Baptist (13-13), Idaho (16-13), Cal St-Fullerton (15-14)

3/10 recap

ACC semis:
Duke 93, North Carolina 83 - Duke to the 2 line!
Notre Dame 77, Florida St 73 - ND to the 4 line!

Big East semis:
Villanova 55, Seton Hall 53
Creighton 75, Xavier 72

Big 12 semis:
Iowa St 84, TCU 63
West Virginia 51, Kansas St 50 - KState has probably done enough though

B1G quarters:
Michigan 74, Purdue 70 (OT) - man, what the hell Purdue
Minnesota 63, Michigan St 58
Wisconsin 70, Indiana 60 - gtfo IU
Northwestern 72, Maryland 64 - seeding these B1G teams are going to be a nightmare

Pac-12 semis:
Oregon 73, California 65 - are we really sure Oregon's a 2 seed?  I mean, I'm dropping them below Duke and UK if they lose tomorrow, and maybe Arizona jumps them...I mean....we have to discuss this
Arizona 86, UCLA 75 - dammit, everyone's going to whine about UCLA on the 3 line aren't they

SEC quarters:
Kentucky 71, Georgia 60
Alabama 64, South Carolina 53 - USC is going to be a very annoying team to seed correctly
Vanderbilt 72, Florida 62 (OT) - I still would like to see one more win, just to be sure.  This moves the needle less than you think
Arkansas 73, Ole Miss 72

AAC quarters:
SMU 81, East Carolina 77
Central Florida 84, Memphis 54
Cincinnati 80, Tulsa 61
UConn 74, Houston 65 - gtfo Houston

A-10 quarters:
Davidson 73, Dayton 67 - what do you do with Dayton's seed now?
Rhode Island 74, St Bonaventure 63
VCU 71, George Mason 60
Richmond 70, George Washington 67

Mountain West semis:
Nevada 83, Fresno St 72
Colorado St 71, San Diego St 63

Sun Belt quarters:
Texas-Arlington 74, Coastal Carolina 51
Texas St 63, Louisiana-Monroe 51
Georgia St 86, Louisiana-Lafayette 76
Troy 90, Georgia Southern 70

MAC semis:
Akron 74, Ball St 70
Kent St 68, Ohio 66

CUSA semis:
Middle Tennessee 82, UTEP 56
Marshall 93, Louisiana Tech 77

WAC semis:
Cal St-Bakersfield 81, Utah Valley 80 (4OT)
New Mexico St 78, UMKC 60

Southland semis:
New Orleans 75, Sam Houston St 63
Texas A&M-Corpus Christia 77, Stephen F Austin 69

Big Sky semis:
North Dakota 69, Idaho 64
Weber St 80, Eastern Washington 72

Big West semis:
UC-Irvine 62, Long Beach St 57
UC-Davis 66, Cal St-Fullerton 64 (OT)

SWAC semis:
Texas Southern 62, Grambling 57
Alcorn St 81, Southern 59 - and TSU gets the NCAA bid.  Way to go, SWAC

MEAC semis:
North Carolina Central 77, UMES 49
Norfolk St 68, Howard 53

Friday, March 10, 2017

Ivy League tournament preview

This is part 32 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:
Princeton 14-0
Harvard 10-4
Yale 9-5
Penn 6-8
Columbia 5-9
Brown 4-10
Cornell 4-10
Dartmouth 4-10

Tournament format:
They sold their soul.  The top 4 teams only are headed to the Palestra.  Which means home games for Penn in the tournament!  Saturday/Sunday March 11/12 for the dates.

The matchups:
1) Princeton vs. 4) Penn
2) Harvard vs. 3) Yale

The stakes:
They sold their soul.  Oh well.  Onward.  Ivy League is RPI 20, which is down for them.  Princeton is the clear class of the league and even has RPI 52 to its name.  However, their only top 100 win is at Bucknell.  They did schedule up a bit and had a LOT of road games.  @BYU, Lehigh, VCU, Momouth, Bucknell, neutral site against Cal.  If they had cashed in a couple more of those than just Bucknell, we might be onto something.  Either way, Princeton is staring at the 13 or 14 line, depending on what happens elsewhere.

Harvard and Yale would probably be a 16 seed, maybe 15, if they won, while Penn is a PIGger.  As far as the CIT goes, Harvard and Yale are over .500 and have the resume deserving of that kind of tournament.

3/10 S-CURVE

I'm doing a lot of tinkering.  Too many changes to recap here, but the cliff notes:

- the winner of UCLA/Arizona is going to move to the 2 line, so I bumped UCLA up there a day early.  Baylor I think will be the team to suffer, instead of Louisville
- on the bubble, I feel fairly comfortable about Michigian St, Xavier, and Marquette making it.  On the other end, everyone from Houston on back is just about toast
- this means for me, the bubble is 8 teams playing 5 spots

The 1 line:  Villanova (29-3), Gonzaga (32-1), Kansas (28-4), North Carolina (26-6)
The 2 line:  Oregon (27-4), Kentucky (26-5), Louisville (24-8), UCLA (29-3)
The 3 line:  Baylor (24-7), Arizona (28-4), Duke (25-8), Florida St (25-7)
The 4 line:  Florida (24-7), West Virginia (25-7), Butler (23-8), Notre Dame (24-8)
The 5 line:  Purdue (25-6), Virginia (22-10), Cincinnati (26-4), Minnesota (23-8)
The 6 line:  SMU (27-4), Creighton (23-8), Iowa St (21-10), Maryland (23-7)
The 7 line:  St Mary's (28-4), South Carolina (21-9), Wisconsin (23-8), Oklahoma St (19-12)
The 8 line:  Miami (21-11), Northwestern (22-9), Virginia Tech (22-10), Wichita St (29-4)
The 9 line:  Seton Hall (21-10), Dayton (23-6), Arkansas (23-8), Michigan (21-11)
The 10 line:  VCU (24-7), Providence (20-12), Middle Tennessee (27-4), Michigan St (19-13)
The 11 line:  Xavier (21-12), Marquette (19-12), Vanderbilt (18-14), Kansas St (20-12), Wake Forest (19-13)
The 12 line:  USC (24-9), Syracuse (18-14), Nevada (26-6), UNC-Wilmington (27-5), Texas-Arlington (22-7)
The 13 line:  Vermont (27-5), Akron (24-7), Princeton (20-6), East Tennessee St (25-7)
The 14 line:  Bucknell (26-8), Winthrop (24-6), Cal St-Bakersfield (18-8), Iona (22-12)
The 15 line:  FGCU (23-7), Northern Kentucky (22-10), Texas Southern (21-11), UC-Irvine (18-13)
The 16 line:  Jacksonville St (18-14), Mount St Mary's (19-15), South Dakota St (16-16), New Orleans (15-11), North Dakota (17-9), North Carolina Central (20-8)

Next 4 in:
Michigan St

Last 4 in:
Kansas St
Wake Forest

Last 4 out:
Rhode Island (21-9)
California (21-11)
Nevada *(if they lose in the next 2 days)
Illinois St (26-6)
Houston (21-9)

Next 4 out:
Illinois (17-14)
Indiana (18-14)
TCU (18-14)
Georgia (18-13)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

3/9 recap

ACC quarters:
North Carolina 78, Miami 53 - UNC should be home free for a 1 seed now
Duke 81, Louisville 77 - man, I don't know.  My mind says UL is a 2 seed but the committee can be fickle in these situations.  They're also more likely to forgive them than Baylor
Florida St 74, Virginia Tech 68
Notre Dame 71, Virginia 58 - a useful game for seeding purposes

Big 12 quarters:
TCU 85, Kansas 82 - great, now we have to deal with a late arrival to the bubble scene, AND reorganizing the 1 line.  Thanks, Kansas
Iowa St 92, Oklahoma St 83 - ISU to the 5 line?
Kansas St 70, Baylor 64 - we'll be dealing with K-State a lot in the next couple days, so let's focus on Baylor here...does some combo of Duke/the Pac-12 teams FSU knock Baylor back to the 3 line?  It's debatable, and I like the odds of some combination of the above doing just that
West Virginia 63, Texas 53

Big East quarters:
Villanova 108, St John's 67
Seton Hall 82, Marquette 76 - Marquette is probably the most vulnerable of these BE bubble teams
Xavier 62, Butler 57 - X took their sweet time getting to the lockbox; Butler will be a very annoying 4 seed because they can't stop losing stupid games
Creighton 70, Providence 58 - I think Provi is fine, but there's some confusing 3-team monte going on here with them and MU and XU and the committee could swerve a few different ways on them

B1G 2nd round:
Michigan 75, Illinois 55 - very clean result, we can punt Illinois from consideration pretty easily
Michigan St 78, Penn St 51 - disaster avoidance was all MSU needed this week
Indiana 95, Iowa 73 - get out of our bubble Iowa
Northwestern 83, Rutgers 61

SEC 2nd round:
Georgia 59, Tennessee 57 - Georgia:  not dead yet?  I can't rule it out
Alabama 75, Mississippi St 55
Vanderbilt 66, Texas A&M 41 - I'd still like to see one more signature win just to be sure on this one
Ole Miss 86, Missouri 74

Pac-12 quarters:
Oregon 80, Arizona St 57
California 78, Utah 75 - Cal will get the signature win chance it needs to make the tournament
Arizona 92, Colorado 78
UCLA 76, USC 74 - well, this'll be a long couple days for USC.  There might, might be enough here with bad loss avoidance but I won't be comfortable with them on either side of the bubble

AAC 1st round:
East Carolina 80, Temple 69
Tulsa 66, Tulane 60
UConn 77, South Florida 66

A-10 2nd round:
Davidson 82, LaSalle 73
St Bonaventure 73, UMass 60
George Mason 82, Fordham 71 (OT)
George Washington 53, St Louis 46

Mountain West quarters:
Nevada 83, Utah St 69
Fresno St 65, New Mexico 60
Colorado St 81, Air Force 55
San Diego St 87, Boise St 68 - could have NIT implications

MAC quarters:
Akron 79, Eastern Michigan 62
Ball St 66, Western Michigan 63
Ohio 67, Toledo 66
Kent St 68, Buffalo 65

CUSA quarters:
Middle Tennessee 86, Texas-San Antonio 70
UTEP 86, Rice 76
Louisiana Tech 69, UAB 57
Marshall 64, Old Dominion 63

WAC quarters:
Utah Valley 65, Seattle 53
New Mexico St 67, Chicago St 53
UMKC 82, Texas-Rio Grande Valley 78 (OT)

Big Sky quarters:
North Dakota 95, Portland St 72
Idaho 81, Montana 77
Eastern Washington 89, Sacramento St 70
Weber St 90, Southern Utah 70

Southland 2nd round:
Sam Houston St 63, Houston Baptist 59
Stephen F Austin 75, Lamar 59

Big West quarters:
UC-Davis 66, Cal Poly 55
Cal St-Fullerton 81, Cal St-Northridge 68
UC-Irvine 76, UC-Riverside 67
Long Beach St 73, Hawaii 62

MEAC quarters:
Howard 68, Morgan St 65
UMES 68, Hampton 66

Big West Conference tournament preview

This is part 31 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:
UC-Irvine 12-4
UC-Davis 11-5
Cal St-Fullerton 10-6
Long Beach St 9-7
Hawaii 8-8
Cal St-Northridge 7-9
Cal Poly 6-10
UC-Riverside 5-11
UC-Santa Barbara 4-12

Tournament format:
Thursday March 9 to Saturday March 11.  Only the top 8 get invites, so GTFO UCSB.  The funny thing is, Hawaii was postseason ineligible until about a week ago...so that ruling ended UCSB's season.  They couldn't add an extra day to the conference tourney to fit in UCSB on such short notice.  Amusing.

The matchups:
1) UC-Irvine vs. 8) UC-Riverside
4) Long Beach St vs. 5) Hawaii
3) Cal St-Fullerton vs. 6) Cal St-Northridge
2) UC-Davis vs. 7) Cal Poly

The stakes:
The Big West is RPI 28.  What in the literal hell.  They were in the low teens the past couple of years.  How do you go from that to 28 in one year?  The explanation is too long for this blog, but the bottom line is the good teams all crapped the bed in the non-con, and everyone who wasn't good scheduled dumb.

This will cost the conference.  They have an outside chance at a 15 seed, but they're staring the 16 line in the face.  Irvine has a reasonable chance of reaching the 15 line; but everyone else is plain old Dayton fodder.  Their 2nd best team is RPI 195, which is a disaster.  An absolute disaster.

They've only got Davis and Fullerton even CIT eligible behind Irvine at the moment.  There's just not much good going on here.


Things I did after further review:

- Swapped Wichita and Seton Hall on the 8 and 9 lines.  The more I look at this the higher Wichita's seed goes
- Swapped Michigan St and Xavier on the 10 and 11 lines.  Now I'm really worried about Xavier's general capability

No other seed changes, although the order of some teams changed.

The 1 line:  Kansas (28-3), Villanova (28-3), Gonzaga (32-1), North Carolina (25-6)
The 2 line:  Oregon (26-4), Louisville (24-7), Baylor (24-6), Kentucky (26-5)
The 3 line:  UCLA (28-3), Arizona (27-4), Florida St (24-7), Florida (24-7)
The 4 line:  Butler (23-7), Duke (24-8), West Virginia (24-7), Purdue (25-6)
The 5 line:  Virginia (22-9), Notre Dame (23-8), Cincinnati (26-4), Minnesota (23-8)
The 6 line:  SMU (27-4), Creighton (22-8), Maryland (23-7), St Mary's (28-4)
The 7 line:  Iowa St (20-10), South Carolina (21-9), Wisconsin (23-8), Oklahoma St (19-11)
The 8 line:  Miami (21-10), Northwestern (21-9), Virginia Tech (22-9), Wichita St (29-4)
The 9 line:  Seton Hall (20-10), Dayton (23-6), Arkansas (23-8), Michigan (20-11)
The 10 line:  VCU (24-7), Providence (20-11), Middle Tennessee (26-4), Michigan St (18-13)
The 11 line:  Marquette (19-11), Vanderbilt (17-14), Xavier (20-12), Wake Forest (19-13), Syracuse (18-14)
The 12 line:  USC (24-8), Kansas St (19-12), Nevada (25-6), UNC-Wilmington (27-5), Texas-Arlington (22-7)
The 13 line:  Vermont (27-5), Akron (23-7), Princeton (20-6), East Tennessee St (25-7)
The 14 line:  Bucknell (26-8), Winthrop (24-6), Cal St-Bakersfield (18-8), Iona (22-12)
The 15 line:  FGCU (23-7), Northern Kentucky (22-10), Texas Southern (21-11), UC-Irvine (17-13)
The 16 line:  Jacksonville St (18-14), Mount St Mary's (19-15), South Dakota St (16-16), New Orleans (15-11), North Dakota (16-9), North Carolina Central (20-8)

Next 4 in:
Michigan St

Last 4 in:
Wake Forest
Kansas St

Last 4 out:
Rhode Island (21-9)
Illinois St (26-6)
Illinois (17-13)
Houston (21-9)

Next 4 out:
California (20-11)
Indiana (17-14)
Clemson (17-15)
Iowa (18-13)

3/8 recap

Patriot finals:
Bucknell 81, Lehigh 65

ACC 2nd round:
Duke 79, Clemson 72 - and thus terminates Clemson
Virginia 75, Pittsburgh 63
Miami 62, Syracuse 57 - now, the fun begins.  Syracuse will be a flashpoint in everyone's bubble
Virginia Tech 99, Wake Forest 90 - at this point I'm more likely to include Wake than Syracuse on my bubble

Big 12 1st round:
TCU 82, Oklahoma 63
Texas 61, Texas Tech 52

Big East 1st round:
St John's 74, Georgetown 73
Xavier 75, DePaul 64

B1G 1st round:
Penn St 76, Nebraska 67 (OT)
Rutges 66, Ohio St 57 - might knock OSU out of the NIT

SEC 1st round:
Mississippi St 79, LSU 52
Missouri 86, Auburn 83 (OT) - that's definitely going to cost Auburn the NIT

Pac-12 1st round:
Arizona St 98, Stanford 88 (OT)
California 67, Oregon St 62
Colorado 73, Washington St 63
USC 78, Washington 73

A-10 1st round:
UMass 70, St Joseph's 63
St Louis 72, Duquesne 71

Mountain West 1st round:
Utah St 90, San Jose St 64
Air Force 83, Wyoming 68
San Diego St 62, UNLV 52 (OT)

MEAC quarters:
North Carolina Central 95, Bethune-Cookman 60
Norfolk St 93, South Carolina St 88 (OT)

Sun Belt 1st round:
Coastal Carolina 80, South Alabama 67
Louisiana-Monroe 73, Arkansas St 70 (OT)
Louisiana-Lafayette 78, Arkansas-Little Rock 71
Troy 84, Appalachian St 64

CUSA 1st round:
Texas-San Antonio 56, Western Kentucky 52
Rice 86, Southern Miss 75
UAB 74, Charlotte 73
Marshall 89, Florida Atlantic 74

Southland 1st round:
Sam Houston St 77, Central Arkansas 69
Lamar 77, SE Louisiana 65

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Western Athletic Conference tournament preview

This is part 30 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:
Cal St-Bakersfield 12-2
New Mexico St 11-3
Grand Canyon 11-3
UMKC 8-6
Utah Valley 6-8
Seattle 5-9
UT-Rio Grande Valley 2-12
Chicago St 1-13

Tournament format:
Thursday March 9 to Saturday March 11.  Grand Canyon is still transitioning, so only 7 teams here.

The matchups:
1) Cal St-Bakersfield vs. 4/5) Utah Valley/Seattle
2/7) New Mexico St/Chicago St vs. 6/7) UMKC/UT-Rio Grande Valley

The stakes:
The WAC is RPI 19, a pretty solid improvement over the past few years.  They're making progress.  Bakersfield crept lower than RPI 100, giving itself a fighting chance at the 14 line.  Whether they hit the 14 or 15 will likely depend on what happens in other conferences.  Their resume's probably good enough to make the 14 line in a vacuum.

New Mexico St actually was lurking around RPI 50 for the longest time.  Their non-con resume was a bit smoke and mirrors for a RPI like that, but still they're sitting at RPI 64.  I don't think a NIT at-large bid is coming, though.  Could be a 14 seed in the NCAAs if they get there though.  Needless to say, if any other team here wins this, they're headed to Dayton.

Grand Canyon is 22-9 overall, and should have another CIT bid if they want it.  UMKC is also above .500, so we'll see if these lesser tourneys are desperate enough to invite them as well.

American Athletic Conference tournament preview

This is part 29 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:
SMU 17-1
Cincinnati 12-6
Houston 12-6
Central Florida 11-7
Memphis 9-9
UConn 9-9
Tulsa 8-10
Temple 7-11
East Carolina 6-12
Tulane 3-15
South Florida 1-17

Tournament format:
All 11 travel to Hartford, because UConn wields might power in this conference because they frankly deserve to.  Thursday March 9 to Sunday March 12.

The matchups:
1) SMU vs. 8/9) Temple/East Carolina
4) Central Florida vs. 5) Memphis
3) Houston vs. 6/11) UConn/South Florida
2) Cincinnati vs. 7/10) Tulsa/Tulane

The stakes:
SMU and Cincy.  Can they get to the 4 line?  I don't like their chances, and it's likely they'll live in 5-7 line purgatory.  This conference tournament is the last one in the clubhouse, which means a potential SMU/Cincy final is meaningless.  Which means neither team can pick up a quality win in this tournament.  Which means they won't move up.

Houston is on the periphery of the bubble, but I'm not even sure a win over Cincy would be enough.  And then, you might as well win the thing once you get by Cincy.

Yes, this is a very boring conference to write up.  Just not a lot of variance in what will happen with these teams.  Memphis and UCF are probably going to miss the NIT bubble, and from what we know, everyone in this conference will skip the CBI/CIT.  This means 3 postseason teams out of 11 here, my God.

Sun Belt Conference tournament preview

This is part 28 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:
Texas-Arlington 14-4
Georgia St 12-6
Georgia Southern 11-7
Texas St 11-7
Arkansas St 11-7
Troy 10-8
Louisiana-Lafayette 10-8
Coastal Carolina 10-8
South Alabama 7-11
Arkansas-Little Rock 6-12
Appalachian St 4-14
Louisiana-Monroe 2-16

Tournament format:
New Orleans is the city.  Wednesday March 8 to Sunday March 12.  There's actually an off day on Thursday, who knew.

The matchups:
1) Texas-Arlington vs. 8/9) Coastal Carolina/South Alabama
4) Texas St vs. 5/12) Arkansas St/Louisiana-Monroe
3) Georgia Southern vs. 6/11) Troy/Appalachian St
2) Georgia St vs. 7/10) Louisiana-Lafayette/Arkansas-Little Rock

The stakes:
Up until the very death, I thought UTA had a legit chance at the bubble.  But St Mary's remains its only RPI Top 99 win (ok ok Arkansas St is a Top 100 win for them, but not a Top 99 win).  And they have 4 sub-100 losses, which are too many to have when you don't have depth of wins.  A loss in this conference tourney would likely be the 5th such loss, and that's too many body blows.

Actually a great year for the Fun Belt; RPI 13.  I thought that would mean an extra team in the NIT, but it turns out everyone beat each other up.  No one else buy Arky State could crack the RPI Top 100, and ASU barely at that.  Ga State beat MTSU.  ASU beat G'town.  But as a whole, the conference couldn't keep the wheels on the road often enough.  They were 13th best in the country in a year there was a 12-conference breakaway at the top.

As such, Georgia St, Georgia Southern, and Arkansas St will settle for the CBI/CIT.    Also eligible are Texas St, ULL, and Troy, but the tournaments could be a bit too crowded to fit them all.


The only change is yanking Omaha out and putting South Dakota St in.  UC-Irvine moves from a 16 to a 15, South Dakota St enters on the 16 line.

Well one more change.  St Mary's loses a few spots but keeps its 6 seed.  I expect it to drop to a 7 or even 8 by the end of the week.  Thing is, they need quality wins, and an extra loss on that front is more harmful than you think.

The 1 line:  Kansas (28-3), Villanova (28-3), Gonzaga (32-1), North Carolina (25-6)
The 2 line:  Oregon (26-4), Louisville (24-7), Baylor (24-6), Kentucky (26-5)
The 3 line:  UCLA (28-3), Arizona (27-4), Florida St (24-7), Florida (24-7)
The 4 line:  Butler (23-7), Duke (23-8), West Virginia (24-7), Purdue (25-6)
The 5 line:  Virginia (21-9), Notre Dame (23-8), Cincinnati (26-4), Minnesota (23-8)
The 6 line:  SMU (27-4), Creighton (22-8), Maryland (23-7), St Mary's (28-4)
The 7 line:  Iowa St (20-10), South Carolina (21-9), Wisconsin (23-8), Oklahoma St (19-11)
The 8 line:  Miami (20-10), Northwestern (21-9), Seton Hall (20-10), Virginia Tech (21-9)
The 9 line:  Wichita St (29-4), Dayton (23-6), Arkansas (23-8), Michigan (20-11)
The 10 line:  VCU (24-7), Providence (20-11), Middle Tennessee (26-4), Xavier (19-12)
The 11 line:  Michigan St (18-13), Syracuse (18-13), Vanderbilt (17-14), Marquette (19-11), Wake Forest (19-12)
The 12 line:  USC (23-8), Kansas St (19-12), Nevada (25-6), UNC-Wilmington (27-5), Texas-Arlington (22-7)
The 13 line:  Vermont (27-5), Akron (23-7), Princeton (20-6), East Tennessee St (25-7)
The 14 line:  Bucknell (25-8), Winthrop (24-6), Cal St-Bakersfield (18-8), Iona (22-12)
The 15 line:  FGCU (23-7), Northern Kentucky (22-10), Texas Southern (21-11), UC-Irvine (17-13)
The 16 line:  Jacksonville St (18-14), Mount St Mary's (19-15), South Dakota St (16-16), New Orleans (15-11), North Dakota (16-9), North Carolina Central (19-8)

Next 4 in:
Michigan St

Last 4 in:
Wake Forest
Kansas St

Last 4 out:
Rhode Island (21-9)
Illinois St (26-6)
Illinois (17-13)
Houston (21-9)

Next 4 out:
California (19-11)
Georgia Tech (16-15)
Indiana (17-14)
Clemson (17-14)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

3/7 recap

WCC final:
Gonzaga 74, St Mary's 56 - St Mary's isn't going to be the easiest team in the world to seed

Horizon final:
Northern Kentucky 59, Milwaukee 53

Summit final:
South Dakota St 79, Omaha 77

NEC final:
Mount St Mary's 71, St Francis(PA) 61

ACC first round:
Clemson 75, NC State 61 - someone kill Clemson with fire
Wake Forest 92, Boston College 78
Pittsburgh 61, Georgia Tech 59 - well, that's an incredibly stupid way to die on the bubble

SWAC quarters:
Alcorn St 63, Mississippi Valley St 60
Texas Southern 87, Alabama St 72
Southern 69, Jackson St 63
Grambling 81, Prairie View A&M 77

Big Sky 1st round:
Portland St 80, Northern Arizona 67
Sacramento St 91, Idaho St 76
Southern Utah 108, Montana St 105 (3OT)

MEAC 1st round:
Bethune-Cookman 69, Delaware St 62
South Carolina St 82, Florida A&M 78 (OT)

Atlantic-10 conference tournament preview

This is part 27 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:
Dayton 15-3
VCU 14-4
Richmond 13-5
Rhode Island 13-5
St Bonaventure 11-7
George Washington 10-8
George Mason 9-9
LaSalle 9-9
Davidson 8-10
Fordham 7-11
St Louis 6-12
UMass 4-14
St Joseph's 4-14
Duquesne 3-15

Tournament format:
They're playing in Pittsburgh this year.  All teams go.  Wednesday March 8 to Sunday March 12.

The matchups:
1) Dayton vs. 8/9) LaSalle/Davidson
4) Rhode Island vs. 5/12/13) St Bonaventure/UMass/St Joseph's
3) Richmond vs. 6/11/14) George Washington/St Louis/Duquesne
2) VCU vs. 7/10) George Mason/Fordham

The stakes:
I think both VCU and Dayton are home free to bids.  The seed won't exactly be high, but I can't imagine excluding either team from the tournament at this stage.  Their profiles have both mostly avoided disaster, even if they're a bit light.  The middle of the A-10 is kind of a jumbled mess, so dominating the conference doesn't have the value it's had in years past.  It'll cost Dayton and VCU about 3 or so seed lines over what they would probably usually expect.

Rhode Island is your token bubble team.  Obviously they've got to get to the semis to have a chance, and then it's probably a signature win chance against Dayton.  Probably a pretty clear example of win-and-in, lose-and-out that you'll find this week.  URI needs more quality wins; there's one right there.

Richmond's a NIT bubble team; I don't think anyone else is good enough to get to the NIT.  This leaves GMU, GWU, LaSalle, Davidson, and Bonventure all for the CBI/CIT, if they care.