Wednesday, February 28, 2018

MAAC conference tournament preview

This is part 8 of a 32-part preview.

Rider 15-3
Canisius 15-3
Niagara 12-6
Iona 11-7
Fairfield 9-9
Manhattan 9-9
Monmouth 7-11
Quinnipiac 7-11
St Peter's 6-12
Siena 4-14
Marist 4-14

March 1-5.  Neutral site in Albany.

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

The stakes:
More years than not, recently, the MAAC has had a say in some of the at-large discussion.  Alas, not this year. Conference is down at CRPI 18 and no one has a profile even remotely close.  Rider has a relatively shiny RPI in the 60s, but with no resume heft supporting it.  As such, the winner of the conference should very well be staring at the 15 line, although attrition in other conferences will likely bump that up to a 14 or even a 13 if the committee is feeling nice.

Eligible for CBI/CIT outside of the co-champs:  Niagara, Iona...and that's it.  It's been a down year for the conference, from top to bottom.  It's against recent form of the conference.  These things seem to work cyclically.

Missouri Valley conference tournament preview

This is part 7 of a 32-part series.

Loyola(Chi) 15-3
Southern Illinois 11-7
Illinois St 10-8
Drake 10-8
Bradley 9-9
Indiana St 8-10
Evansville 7-11
Missouri St 7-11
Northern Iowa 7-11
Valparaiso 6-12

Arch Madness, neutral site in St Louis from March 1 to March 4.

1) Loyola vs. 8/9) Evansville/Northern Iowa
4) Drake vs. 5) Bradley
3) Illinois St vs. 6) Indiana St
2) Southern Illinois vs. 7/10) Missouri St/Valparaiso

The stakes:
MVC was CRPI #8 this year.  Makes no sense, to be quite honest.  How'd they pull off the trick?  Nobody's bad.  The worst RPI in the bunch of 176.  Behind Loyola, they run 94, 85, 158, 114, 172, 132, 136, 140, 176.  That's how you rise in CRPI.

Loyola could benefit from that, right?  Nope.  See, you have to be a top 70 team in order to represent a Group 1 opponent at home.  Only away games against the top 135 count as Group 2 games.  Therefore, in conference play, Loyola played 4 Group 2 games and 12 Group 3 games.  Ouch.  The MVC as a conference was just good enough to fall short of providing Loyola enough schedule beef.

As is, they did win at Florida, but a Group 3 and Group 4 loss combined with a non-con SoS of 258 is a very tough spot to come from to get an at-large.  Not impossible, though.

Rest of the conference is missing the NIT.  Even SIU is probably too far off that cutline.  That could mean a flood of CIT/CBI teams if they want to go, as Valpo and Indiana St are the only sub-.500 teams at the moment.

2/28 S-CURVE

My heart isn't in to this Baylor thing, but as I currently see it I would be unable to counter an argument for them.

The MEAC has a 5-way tie right now.  Good God.  I think NC A&T has the tiebreaker, but lord knows if that's right.  Sort yourself out please.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier
The 2 line:  Michigan St, Purdue, Tennessee, Duke,
The 3 line:  North Carolina, Auburn, West Virginia, Cincinnati
The 4 line:  Texas Tech, Ohio St, Gonzaga, Arizona
The 5 line:  Clemson, Wichita St, Kentucky, TCU
The 6 line:  Miami, Nevada, Creighton, Seton Hall
The 7 line:  Rhode Island, Florida, St Mary's, Arkansas
The 8 line:  Butler, Michigan, Houston, Texas A&M
The 9 line:  Virginia Tech, Missouri, North Carolina St, Middle Tennessee
The 10 line:  USC, Oklahoma, Providence, Arizona St
The 11 line:  Florida St, St Bonaventure, Alabama, Texas, UCLA
The 12 line:  Louisville, Baylor, New Mexico St, Loyola(Chi), Buffalo
The 13 line:  Charleston, Louisiana, Vermont, South Dakota St
The 14 line:  Rider, Murray St, UNC-Greensboro, Bucknell
The 15 line:  Montana, Northern Kentucky, Penn, Wagner
The 16 line:  UNC-Asheville, FGCU, Nicholls St, UC Irvine, North Carolina A&T, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Next 4 in:
Arizona St
Florida St
St Bonaventure

Last 4 in:

Last 4 out:
Kansas St

Next 4 out:
Western Kentucky
Boise St

2/27 recap

Miami 91, @North Carolina 88 - signature road wins are a helluva drug

Oklahoma St 80, @Iowa St 71
@Baylor 87, Oklahoma 64 - oh wonderful, ok fine I'll deal with Baylor now
@TCU 66, Kansas St 59 - Baylor has to be ahead of K-State now, right?

@Arkansas 91, Auburn 82 - see, this is why I waited longer than most on elevating real evidence they could win the games that 2 seeds are supposed to win. This SEC really is a nightmare to seed
Tennessee 76, @Mississippi St 54 - thank god, I wasn't ready to deal with a MSU team on the bubble
Florida 73, @Alabama 52 - there just aren't enough wins to go around for every SEC bubble team.  Alabama is starting to be the one who suffers
Missouri 74, @Vanderbilt 66

@Creighton 82, DePaul 57

St Joseph's 78, @Rhode Island 48 - wat
@St Bonaventure 117, Davidson 113 (3OT) - near disaster for Bonaventure

@San Diego St 72, Boise St 64 - that might do it for Boise

Big South 1st round:
Longwood 68, High Point 55
Charleston Southern 68, Presbyterian 51

Patriot 1st round:
Loyola(MD) 82, Army 79
Lafayette 93, American 86

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Big 10 conference tournament preview


This is part 6 of a 32-part series.

Michigan St 16-2
Purdue 15-3
Ohio St 15-3
Michigan 13-5
Nebraska 13-5
Penn St 9-9
Indiana 9-9
Maryland 8-10
Wisconsin 7-11
Northwestern 6-12
Minnesota 4-14
Illinois 4-14
Iowa 4-14
Rutgers 3-15

In a beautiful, beautiful misstep, Delany moved up the tournament a week so that they can play in Madison Square Garden.  February 28-March 4.

1) Michigan St vs. 8/9) Maryland/Wisconsin
4) Nebraska vs. 5) Michigan vs. 12/13) Iowa/Illinois
3) Purdue vs. 6) Indiana vs. 11/14) Minnesota/Rutgers
2) Ohio St vs. 7/10) Penn St/Northwestern

The stakes:
Quite possibly the worst Big 10 I've ever seen.  Only 3 teams in the lockbox, although I think Michigan should be home free, non-con SoS notwithstanding.  6 teams (SIX!) are below .500 overall, which is very unusual for a power conference.  So many teams ejected on the season, and the top 5 broke away and rarely had a slip up allowing anyone else to pick up quality wins.

Let's deal with the top end.  MSU doesn't have the quantity of signature wins to climb to the 1 line.  Similarly, Purdue and Ohio St are in similar spots but have a couple dumb losses that Michigan St doesn't have.  They're playing for positioning maybe, but it feels like we can pencil all 3 teams somewhere in the top 16 and move on.  Michigan's seed might be the wild card; I can see anywhere from 5 to 8.

The one true bubble team is Nebraska.  22-9 (13-5) in the Big 10 is usually lockbox territory.  But red flags are everywhere.  1 Group 1 win and 2 Group 2 wins are impossibly low, but that's in part because they only got 11 Group 1 and 2 games to play all season (which is very low for a power conference teams).  Non-con SoS is baaaad (279).  4-7 road record.  1 win over a probable tourney team (Michigan at home).  The scheduling gods buried them.  They only got one game apiece against Ohio St, Michigan St, and Purdue.  All on the road, all losses.  They never got a reasonable chance at a signature win.  Now, they must get it here.  Beating Michigan is a must, and frankly beating Michigan St is a must too.  They need quantity of signature wins.  Beating both Michigans might be enough given their schedule balance.

By the way, this also means they need to root hard for Michigan and MSU.  A Michigan loss to Iowa or Illinois pops Nebraska's bubble.  A MSU loss to Maryland or Wisky also pops Nebraska's bubble automatically.  Nebraska MUST get access to, and obtain, these signature wins.

Penn St at least has a couple steady wins, sweeping OSU.  But there's not much going on here.  Beat OSU and Purdue, and we'll revisit.

No one else is even close.  This is the issue.  Maryland is the only other team even inside the RPI Top 100.  Meaning no one is giving other teams Group 1 or Group 2 win chances, depressing everyone's resume.  I'll predict PSU and Maryland are probably at least in the NIT, but that's it.  Even an Indiana team over .500 overall ain't getting in there.

Northeast Conference tournament preview

This is part 5 of a 32-part series.

Wagner 14-4
Mount St Mary's 12-6
St Francis(PA) 12-6
Long Island 10-8
St Francis(NY) 10-8
Fairleigh Dickinson 9-9
Robert Morris 9-9
Central Connecticut 7-11
Sacred Heart 5-13
Bryant 2-16

Higher seed hosts each game.  February 28, March 3, March 6.  Only the top 8 of 10 play.  And they reseed after every round, by the way.

1) Wagner vs. 8) Central Connecticut
2) Mount St Mary's vs. 7) Robert Morris
3) St Francis(PA) vs. 6) Fairleigh Dickinson
4) Long Island vs. 5) St Francis(NY)

The stakes:
Not very high.  NEC is CRPI 27, and that's a surge for this conference from years past.  Wagner's probably the only team that would avoid Dayton for sure.  The conference didn't not just win a Group 1 game, they played 16 total between the 10 teams.  Everything about this conference screams 16 line.

Your two teams tied for 2nd in this conference are the only other ones over .500, for CIT/CBI purposes.

Ohio Valley conference tournament preview

This is part 4 of a 32-part series.

Murray St 16-2
Belmont 15-3
Austin Peay 12-6
Jacksonville St 11-7
Tennessee Tech 10-8
Tennessee St 10-8
Southeast Missouri St 8-10
Eastern Illinois 7-11
Eastern Kentucky 5-13
Tennessee-Martin 5-13
Morehead St 4-14

This one gets a bit weird. Only the top 8 play in the conference tournament, and SEMO got APR'd this year.  So SIUE won the tiebreaker for the 8th spot.

They play for four days, February 28 to March 3.  Why 4 days?  The double bye system is in place, top 2 teams with a double bye to the semis, 3 and 4 seeds with a single bye to the quarterfinals.  They also share sites with the women.  Evansville is the host city.

1) Murray St vs. 4/5/8) Jacksonville St/Tennessee Tech/SIUE
2) Belmont vs. 3/6/7) Austin Peay/Tennessee St/Eastern Illinois

The stakes:
Both Murray and Belmont are sporting decent RPIs, and Belmont actually owns a signature win at Middle Tennessee.  And at Western Kentucky.  Belmont is ceremonial CUSA champs this year.  Either of these teams could be 12, 13, or 14 seeds depending on what happens everywhere else.  Probably 13 with normal attrition in other conference tourneys.  (if you're wondering, Belmont has only 6 wins outside of Group 4, so put away those at-large thoughts)

Murray St has the better RPI and the league title, but the worse overall resume, for those scoring at home.  Belmont might actually make an intriguing NIT at-large candidate, if you're into those sort of things.

Further down, teams like Austin Peay and Jax State are in good shape for CIT/CBI bids, and even TTU and TSU are eligible for it.

2/26 recap

@Virginia Tech 64, Duke 63 - this should send VaTech to the lockbox, and once again we have a mess on the 2 line.  Go ahead and tell me who deserves to be there

@Kansas 80, Texas 70
@West Virginia 84, Texas Tech 74  - ok, everyone back Tech's seed down a bit

Marquette 90, @Georgetown 86 (OT) - road wins are never trivial

A-Sun quarterfinals:
North Florida 80, NJIT 76 - your one mild upset of the day
Jacksonville 87, Kennesaw St 68
FGCU 96, South Carolina Upstate 76
Lipscomb 89, Stetson 73

Monday, February 26, 2018

Patriot League conference tournament

This is part 3 of a 32-part series.

Bucknell 16-2
Colgate 12-6
Navy 11-7
Lehigh 11-7
Boston 10-8
Holy Cross 8-10
Lafayette 7-11
Loyola(MD) 6-12
Army 6-12
American 3-15

Higher seed hosts each game here.  February 27, March 1, March 4, March 7 for the four rounds.  It's a travel slog.

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

The stakes:
Bucknell was a chic mid major pick going into the year, and they scheduled like it.  Went 6-7 vs a tough non-con with tons of road games at relevant teams.  Unfortunately, such teams included VCU, Richmond, Maryland, and others which all did worse than expected, so they lost the games AND didn't get the seed help they were looking for.  In addition, the PL slipped to RPI 28, killing Bucknell's seed even more.  The lesson:  if they get in, they'll be probably on the 14 line, and very dangerous.

Everyone else would be destined for the 16 line, if not Dayton, as the rest of this league was frankly pretty bad.  For those keeping score, Colgate, Navy and Lehigh are your CIT-eligible teams, although none of them are particularly worthy of postseason play.

Big South conference tournament preview

This is part 2 of a 32-part series.

UNC-Asheville 13-5
Radford 12-6
Winthrop 12-6
Campbell 10-8
Liberty 9-9
Gardner-Webb 9-9
High Point 9-9
Charleston Southern 9-9
Presbyterian 4-14
Longwood 3-15

A bit quirky.  First round between the bottom 4 teams played February 27 at the higher seed.  Quarters and semis are March 1-2, hosted by the top seed.  Final is March 4, at the higher seed.   Lots of schedule tetris involved here.

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

The stakes:
Big South is CRPI 25...everyone in the conference is within range of the 16 line.  Only UNCA and Radford can realistically avoid it.  So the stakes are rather low for the conference as a whole.  This'll be a short writeup as a result; there's just not much to break down here.

CIT could get interesting.  Radford, Winthrop, Campbell, Liberty all eligible.

Atlantic Sun conference tournament preview

This is part 1 of a 32-part series.

FGCU 12-2
Lipscomb 10-4
Jacksonville 8-6
NJIT 7-7
North Florida 7-7
Kennesaw St 6-8
Stetson 4-10
USC Upstate 2-12

3 rounds to be played February 26, March 1, and March 4.  Higher seed hosts each time, no neutral site games here.

1) FGCU vs. 8) USC Upstate
4) NJIT vs. 5) North Florida
3) Jacksonville vs. 6) Kennesaw St
2) Lipscomb vs. 7) Stetson

The stakes:
Pretty low.  FGCU might avoid the 16 line if enough upsets happen; so might Lipscomb.  Everyone else would be Dayton-bound.  A-Sun is in their usual position near the bottom of D-1, so not a lot going on here.  Did you know Lipscomb's non-con SoS is 27?  Who knew.  They're the only team in the conference in position for a CBI/CIT bid, if they want one.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

2/26 S-CURVE

I got to about the 7 line, and I wanted to throw up.  You can order the next 20 teams in any order you want to.  It's a hot mess, and I blame the SEC, which has like 57 bubble teams right now.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier
The 2 line:  Duke, Michigan St, North Carolina, Auburn
The 3 line:  Purdue, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Cincinnati
The 4 line:  West Virginia, Ohio St, Gonzaga, Arizona
The 5 line:  Clemson, Rhode Island, Wichita St, Kentucky
The 6 line:  Nevada, Creighton, TCU, Seton Hall
The 7 line:  St Mary's, Miami, Butler, Arkansas
The 8 line:  Florida, Michigan, Houston, Oklahoma
The 9 line:  Texas A&M, Missouri, North Carolina St, Middle Tennessee
The 10 line:  USC, Providence, Alabama, Arizona St
The 11 line:  Florida St, Virginia Tech, St Bonaventure, Texas, UCLA
The 12 line:  Louisville, Kansas St, New Mexico St, Loyola(Chi), Buffalo
The 13 line:  Charleston, Louisiana, Vermont, South Dakota St
The 14 line:  Rider, Murray St, UNC-Greensboro, Bucknell
The 15 line:  Montana, Northern Kentucky, Penn, Wagner
The 16 line:  UNC-Asheville, FGCU, Nicholls St, UC Irvine, Bethune-Cookman, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Next 4 in:
Arizona St
Florida St
Virginia Tech
St Bonaventure

Last 4 in:
Kansas St

Last 4 out:

Next 5 out:
Western Kentucky
Boise St
Mississippi St

2/26 lesser tournament projections

This will likely be the only in-depth look we take at these tourney projections this year.  We'll do a couple NIT ones close to Selection Sunday once the autobid picture is a bit clearer.


In reality, the cutline usually happens around the projected 6 line (10 or so automatic bids per year).

The 1 line:  Syracuse, Marquette, Georgia, Utah
The 2 line:  Western Kentucky, Baylor, Nebraska, Boise St
The 3 line:  Mississippi St, Penn St, Oklahoma St, Washington
The 4 line:  Temple, Oregon, Notre Dame, Northeastern
The 5 line:  Old Dominion, Maryland, South Carolina, Colorado
The 6 line:  Stanford, LSU, Davidson, Toledo
The 7 line:  BYU, Boston College, SMU, Tulsa
The 8 line:  Indiana, Central Florida, Fresno St, Southern Illinois

The quick and dirty bracket (yeah I know I piled all the Pac-12 teams into a single bracket, I don't care)
1) Syracuse vs. 8) Indiana
4) Northeastern vs. 5) Old Dominion
3) Penn St vs. 6) Toledo
2) Western Kentucky vs. 7) Boston College

1) Georgia vs. 8) Central Florida
4) Temple vs. 5) South Carolina
3) Mississippi St vs. 6) Davidson
2) Baylor vs. 7) SMU

1) Marquette vs. 8) Southern Illinois
4) Notre Dame vs. 5) Maryland
3) Oklahoma St vs. 6) LSU
2) Nebraska vs. 7) Tulsa

1) Utah vs. 8) Fresno St
4) Oregon vs. 5) Colorado
3) Washington vs. 6) Stanford
2) Boise St vs. 7) BYU

TAKE NOTE.  Now we're into the nether regions of projections.  CBI and CIT.  Truth is, plainly, we don't know what teams want to play in these and what teams don't.  Therefore, I am making the following assumption in these projections:  everyone will play.  I will make the projections assuming everyone who is eligible is in.

Now, many of these teams will not play, so there will be plenty of spots left for teams who do want to play.  These projections are a way of me identifying the teams who will definitely have spots available and will likely be able to dictate road/home terms during these tourneys.

CBI projections:

Georgetown vs. Hofstra
Canisius vs. VCU

Memphis vs. Belmont
Willam & Mary vs. East Tennessee St

South Dakota vs. Illinois St
Wright St vs. Ball St

Wyoming vs. Utah Valley
San Diego St vs. UC-Santa Barbara

CIT projections:

UMBC vs. Colgate
Albany vs. Harvard
Marshall vs. Austin Peay
St Francis (PA) vs. Radford

Lipscomb vs. Georgia St
Georgia Southern vs. Furman
Wofford vs. Iona
North Carolina A&T vs. Texas-Arlington

Bradley vs. St Louis
Drake vs. Western Michigan
Stephen F Austin vs. UNLV
New Mexico vs. SE Louisiana

San Francisco vs. Weber St
Idaho vs. UC Davis
Grand Canyon vs. Northern Colorado
San Diego vs. Eastern Washington

Other teams in good shape for getting a chance to play:  Eastern Michigan, Towson, Seattle, Texas-San Antonio, UAB, Mercer, IPFW, NIagara, Portland St, Jacksonville St, Tennessee TEch, Cal St-Fullerton, Hawaii, Hartford, Winthrop, UIC, Oakland, Mount St Mary's, Navy, Lehigh, Sam Houston St, Lamar


1) Virginia vs. 16) Nicholls St/UC Irvine
8) Florida vs. 9) Middle Tennessee
4) West Virginia vs. 13) South Dakota St
5) Rhode Island vs. 12) Loyola(Chi)
3) Cincinnati vs. 14) Murray St
6) Creighton vs. 11) St Bonaventure
2) Michigan St vs. 15) Wagner
7) St Mary's vs. 10) Arizona St

1) Xavier vs. 16) UNC-Asheville
8) Michigan vs. 9) Missouri
4) Gonzaga vs. 13) Vermont
5) Kentucky vs. 12) Buffalo
3) Texas Tech vs. 14) UNC-Greensboro
6) Nevada vs. 11) Virginia Tech
2) Duke vs. 15) Penn
7) Arkansas vs. 10) Providence

1) Kansas vs. 16) FGCU
8) Houston vs. 9) Texas A&M
@San Diego
4) Arizona vs. 13) Charleston
5) Wichita St vs. 12) Louisville/Kansas St
3) Purdue vs. 14) Rider
6) Seton Hall vs. 11) Texas/UCLA
2) Auburn vs. 15) Northern Kentucky
7) Miami vs. 10) USC

1) Villanova vs. 16) Bethune-Cookman/Arkansas-Pine Bluff
8) Oklahoma vs. 9) North Carolina St
@San Diego
4) Ohio St vs. 13) Louisiana
5) Clemson vs. 12) New Mexico St
3) Tennessee vs. 14) Bucknell
6) TCU vs. 11) Florida St
2) North Carolina vs. 15) Montana
7) Butler vs. 10) Alabama

2/25 recap

as I write, Northwestern and Iowa are playing.  Allow me to sum that one up in advance:  WHO CARES

Also, prepare yourselves.  Conference tourney time!  My 32-part preview series starts tomorrow.  Bonus early key preview with the Big 10 coming, because Delany was an idiot.  I'll probably cut off worrying about the lesser conferences in these recaps until those regular seasons finish.  (it's not like I have a whole lot of time anyways)

Also, we should get a fresh bracket up tonight, along with NIT, CBI, and CIT projections.

@NC State 92, Florida St 72

Michigan St 68, @Wisconsin 63
@Purdue 84, Minnesota 60
@Nebraska 76, Penn St 64 - so it looks like Nebraska is our team to pay attention to next week in MSG

@Cincinnati 82, Tulsa 74
@Houston 109, East Carolina 58 - lol
@Temple 75, UCF 56

@Nevada 92, Colorado St 83

@Colorado 80, UCLA 76

2/24 recap

Davidson 71, @Duquesne 60 - for those with NIT projections, it seems like Davidson has emerged with the 3rd best A-10 profile
St Bonaventure 68, @VCU 63 - well, they're holding steady for now

Virginia 66, @Pitt 37
@Duke 60, Syracuse 44
@Clemson 75, Georgia Tech 67
Louisville 75, @Virginia Tech 68 - the law of bubbles:  road wins in games between bubble teams are big gains for the winner and big losses for the loser
@Miami 79, BC 78
Notre Dame 76, @Wake Forest 71

Wichita St 84, @SMU 78

Kansas 74, @Texas Tech 72 - Kansas is getting a 1 seed.  Deal with it
@West Virginia 85, Iowa St 70
@TCU 82, Baylor 72 - please tell me everyone's backed off the Baylor thing for now
@Texas 65, Oklahoma St 64 - that was almost a disaster
@Oklahoma 86, Kansas St 77 - good god, OU needed this.  And so did K-State

@Creighton 89, Villanova 83 (OT) - woah, signature win!  Remember how tight and weird things are on the 6-8 lines, having this in your pocket can easily be worth 2 seed lines
@DePaul 70, Marquette 62 - oy vey
Providence 74, @Georgetown 69
Seton Hall 81, @St John's 74 (OT)

Michigan 85, @Maryland 61 - road wins are never trivial

@Middle Tennessee 79, UAB 54
@Western Kentucky 88, Old Dominion 66 - this gets ODU out of the awkward 3-way CUSA tie, so your two at-large candidates in the conference now co-lead the conference

@William & Mary 114, Charleston 104 (OT) - this gets Northeastern a share of the CAA title.  Charleston did sweep NU though, so that gives them the NIT autobid

@Penn 74, Harvard 71 - this likely decides the regular season title in the Ivy

@Loyola 68, Illinois St 61 - LUC likely hasn't done enough for an at-large, but they limited the number of dumb losses they had at least

@Oregon 98, Arizona 93 (OT)
USC 74, @Utah 58 - I think USC should be safe now
Washington 68, @Cal 51
@Stanford 86, Washington St 84
@Oregon St 79, Arizona St 75 - oy

@Florida 72, Auburn 66
Tennessee 73, @Ole Miss 65
@Georgia 93, LSU 82
@Mississippi St 72, South Carolina 68 (OT)
Texas A&M 89, @Vanderbilt 81
Arkansas 76, @Alabama 73
@Kentucky 87, Missouri 66 - I don't want to seed all these teams in the middle of this conference.  What a mess

Gonzaga 79, @BYU 65
@St Mary's 67, Santa Clara 40

2/23 recap

Ohio St 80, @Indiana 78 (2OT)
@Rhode Island 81, Dayton 56

@IUPUI 66, Wright St 56 - this gives control of the Horizon to Northern Kentucky
Wofford 75, @East Tennessee St 71 - this pulls UNC Greensboro even with ETSU in the SOCon

2/22 recap

Gonzaga 77, @San Diego 72
@St Mary's 75, Pepperdine 61

Purdue 93, @Illinois 86

@Cincinnati 77, UConn 52
@Memphis 91, Houston 85 - the good news is UH built up plenty of goodwill before a road loss here, they're fine

Arizona 75, @Oregon St 65 (OT)
@Stanford 94, Washington 78 - and that'll just about do it for UW
@Utah 84, UCLA 78
@Oregon 75, Arizona St 68

Seton Hall 89, @Providence 77 - the type of game bubble teams need to win at home

@Western Kentucky 93, Charlotte 55

@UNC Asheville 89, Winthrop 75 - this should give UNCA the Big South title
@Charleston 79, Elon 58 - Charleston 1 up on Northeastern with 1 to play in the CAA
@Monmouth 91, Rider 77 - this costs Rider sole possession of 1st in the MAAC
@Jacksonville St 78, Belmont 67 - with this loss, control of the OVC now belongs to Murray St
@South Dakota St 76, South Dakota 72 - this should give SDSU the Summit title

2/21 recap

@Virginia 65, Georgia Tech 54
@Duke 82, Louisville 56
North Carolina 78, @Syracuse 74
@Virginia Tech 65, Clemson 58 - looks like VT should be good to go now, and my aggressive seeding of Clemson in the past is backfiring

@Villanova 93, DePaul 62
Xavier 89, @Georgetown 77
@Marquette 85, St John's 73

@Oklahoma St 79, Texas Tech 71 - uh oh.  Top 2 seeds aren't supposed to lose these games
TCU 89, @Iowa St 83
@Kansas St 58, Texas 48 - K-State is really starting to piss me off now.  Impossible to guess what'll happen with their selection and/or seed because of their resume

@Auburn 90, Alabama 71
@Tennessee 62, Florida 57
@South Carolina 66, Georgia 57 - can Georgia please make up their mind as to whether they're going to be in on this bubble talk or not?

Michigan 72, @Penn St 63 - that'll slow the PSU at-large bid bandwagon a lot.  You gotta win this game if you're going to get there

@Wichita St 93, Tulane 86
SMU 77, @East Carolina 58

@Nevada 80, San Jose St 67
Boise St 87, @Colorado St 54

@St Bonaventure 73, Duquesne 67

USC 75, @Colorado 64

2/20 recap

West Virginia 71, @Baylor 60

@NC State 82, Boston College 66

Mississippi St 93, @Texas A&M 81 - just when I thought A&M was safe, this is a mysterious game to drop.  Home to a non-bubble team?
Ole Miss 90, @Missouri 87 (OT) - and this loss is even worse!
Kentucky 87, @Arkansas 72
@LSU 88, Vanderbilt 78

@Butler 93, Creighton 70

@Michigan St 81, Illinois 61
@Ohio St 79, Rutgers 52
@Nebraska 66, Indiana 57

Rhode Island 95, @LaSalle 93 (OT)

The Citadel 84, @East Tennessee St 82 - and the SoCon is still in play.  UNCG one back of ETSU
@Miami(OH) 84, Buffalo 81 - hurts Buffalo's potential seed in March a lot, and keeps the MAC in play.  Buffalo +1 on Toledo, 3 to play

2/19 recap

@Kansas 104, Oklahoma 74 - of all the damage OU has absorbed....this one is the most trivial.  Kansas at Phog, they won't get docked for this.  But an accumulation problem is starting to emerge

Miami 77, @Notre Dame 74 - road wins are never trivial

Maryland 71, @Northwestern 64 - this has been so funny this year to watch the B1G schedule.  Monday games, Friday games.  Delany trying to take over college sports by having a presence every day on the schedule.  Of course, nothing about it works when your teams are bad
@Wisconsin 73, Minnesota 63 (OT)

@Hampton 114, Savannah St 102 (OT) - and with this, the MEAC seems to be a mess.  SSU 10-3, NC A&T 10-3, Hampton 10-4, Norfolk 9-4, B-C 10-3.  Oy

Wright St and NKU stay tied, now at 13-3 in the Horizon

Saturday, February 24, 2018

2/18 recap

Wichita St 76, @Cincinnati 72 - okay, I'd been waiting awhile for WSU to add some true value to the resume.  This works for sure

@Purdue 76, Penn St 73
@Michigan 74, Ohio St 62 - should send Michigan to the lockbox
Duke 66, @Clemson 57 - you people realize Duke could still get to the 1 line, right?
Seton Hall 82, DePaul 77
@Illinois 72, Nebraska 66 - see, this is why I wasn't taking Nebraska seriously all this time
Houston 80, @Temple 59 - a road win and Houston is rapidly approaching the lockbox; and Temple is quickly approaching bubble death
@Florida St 88, Pitt 75
Stanford 77, Cal 73

Hartford 69, @Vermont 68 - that's a pretty surprising spot to lose your first AEast game

2/17 recap

So here's what we're doing on the blog, as I return.  Daily recaps of what I missed.  This could be instructive as to how the committee does things.  I'll be reacting to stuff that is ancient history, treating it all the same, as if it just happened.  This is how the selection committee does things, mostly ignoring the date of game played.

So let's see what I missed.  I'm looking ONLY at scores here, I'm completely behind on any context behind these.  Which is also important to realize, as context for each result becomes muddied by the end of the year.  Because the selection committee simply can't consider context for every single game.

North Carolina 93, @Louisville 76 - time to admit UL is in some trouble
Syracuse 62, @Miami 55 - UM might not be completely safe.  Meanwhile, a very important Group 1 win for Syracuse and the ACC bubble is pretty crazy right now
Virginia Tech 76, @Georgia Tech 56
Notre Dame 84, @Boston College 67
NC State 90, @Wake Forest 84

@Baylor 59, Texas Tech 57 - okay, Baylor's resurgence into the bubble discussion is officially annoying as of this win
@Kansas 77, West Virginia 69
Texas 77, @Oklahoma 66 - um, ok, do we have to worry about Oklahoma right now?  Signature win for Texas though, for a team that desperately needed one
@Kansas St 78, Iowa St 66 - I can't wait until KState misses the tourney with their non-con SoS and everyone wonders why
@TCU 90, Oklahoma St 70

Villanova 95, @Xavier 79 - well, that's one 1 seed spoken for
@Butler 69, Providence 54
Marquette 90, @Creighton 86 - road wins are never trivial

@Idaho 79, Montana 77 (OT) - the Big Sky just got interesting.  Montana and Weber at 12-2, Idaho 1 back, it's tightened up

Michigan St 65, @Northwestern 60 - ok, some road wins are trivial
Indiana 84, @Iowa 82
@Maryland 61, Rutgers 51

UC Davis 71, @UCSB 54 - Big West race just got a lot tighter between these two and UCI

Middle Tennessee 87, @Louisiana Tech 70
Western Kentucky 85, @Rice 66 - onwards for all 3 CUSA contenders

Nevada 93, @Utah St 87
@Boise St 76, Air Force 52

@Washington 82, Colorado 59
Utah 77, @Washington St 70
@UCLA 86, Oregon 78 (OT)
@USC 72, Oregon St 59

@South Carolina 84, Auburn 75 - way to go Auburn.  People start believing in your 1 line hopes and there you go.  You're up again, Kansas.  Never should have left you in the first place
@Georgia 73, Tennessee 62
@Arkansas 94, Texas A&M 75
@LSU 64, Missouri 63 - ok, this road loss might hurt the profile, unlike the other two road losses above
@Kentucky 81, Alabama 71
@Vanderbilt 71, Florida 68 - another road loss that hurts
@Mississippi St 79, Ole Miss 62

@Seattle 73, New Mexico St 63 (OT) - might be the end of the at-large profile here

@Gonzaga 81, Pepperdine 67
St Mary's 73, @Portland 61

Saturday, February 17, 2018


Hey, you know what's a good idea during the most important part of basketball season?

Leaving the country and getting cut off from the internets for a full week.

The blog will fall silent for a week.  Bracketball returns on February 24 with what likely will be an insane amount of catching up.

Friday, February 16, 2018

2/17 S-CURVE

WTF point #1:  1 line, #4 overall
I'll cede to the committee and put Auburn over Kansas.  I'm not convinced that'll hold through March, but I'll give it to them for now.

WTF point #2:  4 line, #16 overall
It doesn't feel right having one of those Big 12 teams there, and there's just no good candidates to work with.  So we'll give Gonzaga a bone here.

WTF point #3:  5 line, #20 overall
I stared at this one forever.  I have no idea.  There's literally no one who deserves that spot.  No one.  When in doubt, go with the committee overseeding a team whose conference has manipulated the RPI numbers the best.

WTF point #4:  6 line, #24 overall
Ok I'll admit, two big jumps for SEC teams here.  Same reasoning as before - as teams fall apart above them, I'm going to err on the side of the committee throwing a bone to the conference with strong SoS numbers.  It also helps that the Big East's next best teams are showing some pretty significant flaws at the moment.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Auburn
The 2 line:  Kansas, Duke, Texas Tech, Purdue
The 3 line:  Michigan St, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Clemson
The 4 line:  Arizona, Tennessee, Ohio St, Gonzaga
The 5 line:  West Virginia, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas A&M
The 6 line:  St Mary's, Miami, Nevada, Alabama
The 7 line:  Missouri, Kentucky, Creighton, Florida
The 8 line:  Seton Hall, Butler, Houston, Florida St
The 9 line:  Wichita St, Providence, Arizona St, TCU
The 10 line:  Michigan, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Arkansas
The 11 line:  Middle Tennessee, North Carolina St, UCLA, Kansas St, USC
The 12 line:  Texas, St Bonaventure, New Mexico St, Buffalo, Loyola
The 13 line:  Charleston, Vermont, Louisiana, South Dakota St
The 14 line:  East Tennessee St, Belmont, UC Santa Barbara, Montana
The 15 line:  Canisius, Bucknell, Wright St, Wagner
The 16 line:  Harvard, Winthrop, FGCU, Nicholls St, Savannah St, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Next 4 in:
Virginia Tech
North Carolina St

Last 4 in:
Kansas St
St Bonaventure

Last 4 out:
Penn St

Next 4 out:
Boise St
Western Kentucky

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

2/16 recap

@St Bonaventure 77, Rhode Island 74 - there's the one that gets Bonaventure back in bubble range.  Don't pretend that this is a magic elixir win, though.  It's still just a home hold, albeit a group 1 win.  Work remains.

@Wright St 69, Northern Kentucky 67 - WSU is even in the standings, with tiebreaker in hand.  And for some reason I care about a conference currently submerged in the 20s in the CRPI

Penn and Harvard won, go to dual 8-1s to lead the Ivy.

2/15 recap

@Houston 67, Cincinnati 62 - signature wins are a great way to get off the bubble.  NOW what do you do with Cincy's seed?  So much of it was contingent on keeping their nose clean....for now, my rule of 1 applies.  Everyone gets one.
@Wichita St 93, Temple 86 - it's running-the-table time for Temple

@Wisconsin 57, Purdue 53 - here's your dumb loss of the day...
@Penn St 79, Ohio St 56 - although this is pretty dumb too.  Penn St and Nebraska can have a pillow fight to see who is the more relevant bubble team.  I have a bad feeling one of them will get there by March

@Gonzaga 76, Loyola Marymount 46
@San Francisco 70, St Mary's 63 - everyone gets one.
BYU 75, @Pepperdine 70

Arizona 77, @Arizona St 70 - this is really helpful to Zona's seed, more than you think
Utah 70, @Washington 58 - I wish some of these bubble teams would make up their damn mind if they're any good or not
@USC 72, Oregon 70
@Washington St 73, Colorado 69
@UCLA 75, Oregon St 68

Middle Tennessee 72, @Southern Miss 62
Western Kentucky 102, @North Texas 94 (OT) - we play on in CUSA.  MT up one on WKU (with Old Dominion 1 back, with no real at-large profile to work with.  This is becoming fascinating to watch to see if ODU gets in the way of these two now)

@Utah Valley 86, New Mexico St 79 - this was going to be the toughest ask for NMSU in conference play.  That's likely the at-large bid by the boards

A-Fun:  FGCU finally loses in conference play, and may cost them a chance to get out of the 16 line
AEast:  Vermont moves to 12-0 and has essentially ended this race
Big Sky:  Montana's first loss comes to Eastern Washington.  Weber St moves 1.5 back with 5 to play
CAA:  Charleston remains one up on Northeastern, as those 2 have finally separated from the rest

Thursday, February 15, 2018

2/14 recap

@Providence 76, Villanova 71 - hey, a signature win for a bubble team!
@Xavier 102, Seton Hall 90
St John's 77, @DePaul 76

Kansas St 82, @Oklahoma St 72 - well okay, road win!  A pretty big deal here for KSU's resume

@Auburn 76, Kentucky 66
@Vanderbilt 81, Mississippi St 80
Georgia 72, @Florida 69 (OT) - this comes on the heels of just about everyone moving on from Georgia as a viable at-large team.  Now we have to pay attention to them again, so annoying

@Florida St 81, Clemson 79 - home signature win!  These wins aren't magic elixirs, FSU still has to hold the line, but it's a big one for now.  Bigger deal at the moment for me is what this does to the 3 lines and 4 lines.  Clemson's in a weird spot
@Duke 74, Virginia Tech 52
NC State 74, @Syracuse 70 - in a bubble v bubble battle, road wins are precious, and home losses are devastating.  Syracuse off the cutline for now

@Michigan 74, Iowa 59
@Indiana 78, Illinois 68 - NIT bubble action!

Nevada 77, @Boise St 72 - this is a big deal to Nevada's seed line...and Boise's at-large hopes, which are very much in peril with a signature win chance by the boards
@San Diego St 87, Wyoming 77 - NIT bubble action!

@UCF 72, South Florida 57
Memphis 70, @SMU 67 - a surprising slide for SMU, and they're done and dusted here

@Loyola 80, Valpo 71 - Loyola just about has the MVC won, so we'll reintroduce them to the at-large board, only because a 6-loss team from the #8 conference would get at-large consideration in general

2/13 recap

Virginia 59, @Miami 50
Boston College 81, @Pitt 58 - is BC in bubble play? No.

Michigan St 87, @Minnesota 57
@Nebraska 70, Maryland 66 - I think we have to put Nebraska on the bubble, just on sheer principle of being 11-4 in a power conference.  This is so weird
@Rutgers 67, Northwestern 58 (OT)

@Texas Tech 88, Oklahoma 78 - okay, seeding Tech is starting to get really annoying.  They have flaws that prevent them from being on the 1 line, but does a Big 12 champ miss the 1 line?  We have a paradox incoming.
Kansas 83, @Iowa St 77 - for the love of god, KU, run the table.  You'll get a 1 seed that way and make my life easier

@Rhode Island 84, Richmond 67 - 5 to go for URI
St Bonaventure 79, @LaSalle 68

@Tennessee 70, South Carolina 67
@Missouri 62, Texas A&M 58 - A&M did good work as of late, so they can easily afford one road loss.  But they're still under .500 in the SEC, they should aim to erase that.  Another decent win for Mizzou; I'm leaning in on most of these SEC bubble teams right now
Arkansas 75, @Ole Miss 64 - road wins are never trivial
@Alabama 80, LSU 65

Georgetown 87, @Butler 73 - what the hell is Georgetown doing?  They're starting to ruin everything for the conference.  This'll be worth a seed line next month

MACwatch:  Toledo and Buffalo both win, both continue on at 11-2

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

2/12 recap

@North Carolina 83, Notre Dame 66
@West Virginia 82, TCU 66
Baylor 74, @Texas 73 (2OT) - I see Baylor starting to invade some bubble talk.  I'm ok with this, but let's be careful out there

@Savannah St 108, NC A&T 106 - SSU is now 2 clear for the lead in the MEAC, 5 to play
Grambling 78, @Texas Southern 55 - usually the SWAC waits until their conference tournament to screw up everyone's projections with non-eligible teams, but here we are, with an ineligible Grambling now leading the conference on its own.

@UNC Greensboro 74, East Tennessee St 56 - finally a SoCon loss for ETSU, and it's game on in the conference, 1.5 ahead of UNCG with 4 to play

Monday, February 12, 2018

2/11 recap

I welcome everyone to Service Hold Sunday - every team even remotely relevant held serve.

Cincinnati 76, @SMU 51
Duke 80, @Georgia Tech 69
Michigan 83, @Wisconsin 72
Louisville 94, @Pitt 60
@Syracuse 78, Wake Forest 70
UCF 68, @Memphis 64
@Colorado 64, Stanford 56
@Houston 73, Tulane 42
Penn St 74, @Illinois 52
@Oregon 94, Washington St 57

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Mock the selection committee mock

The 1 line:  Villanova, Virginia, Xavier, Kansas

The first 3 are easy. But man I don't know.  Can you leap Michigan St all the way up there?  I almost left Purdue on the 1 line.  Clemson, TTU, and Cincy (and Auburn) all have thin enough resumes.  In the end, Kansas has:  the #1 SoS, 9 Group 1 wins, and an average RPI win of 80.  These are magic bullets.

The 2 line:  Michigan St, Purdue, Clemson, Texas Tech

MSU has concerning metrics which caused them to drop, but winning cures all ailes.  And now with a signature win in tow, here they are.  I wouldn't argue against almost any order of these four teams.  The SoS numbers aren't great for MSU and Tech so I wouldn't be surprised if they wind up on the 3 line.

The 3 line:  Cincinnati, Auburn, Duke, Ohio St

I think these teams are pretty self explanatory.  I wouldn't be surprised if the committee cites SoS numbers and puts Duke on the 2 line.

The 4 line:  North Carolina, Arizona, Rhode Island, Tennessee

All of a sudden, we're running out of quality teams for the back end of this list.  WVU and Oklahoma are punting...Gonzaga and St Mary's aren't quite good enough.  Creighton has SoS issues and Seton Hall is losing games now.  I just don't know who else you can put here except for these teams.

1) Villanova @Pittsburgh
2) Clemson @Charlotte
3) Ohio St @Wichita
4) Rhode Island @Boise

1) Kansas @Wichita
2) Michigan St @Detroit
3) Duke @Pittsburgh
4) Arizona @San Diego

1) Xavier @Nashville
2) Purdue @Detroit
3) Auburn @Dallas
4) North Carolina @San Diego

1) Virginia @Charlotte
2) Texas Tech @Dallas
3) Cincinnati @Nashville
4) Tennessee @Boise

As you can see, a balancing issue persists.  There's no real way to solve it.  The problem?  The ACC has 4 teams in the top 4, meaning someone has to go west.  But Arizona is the only western team, which means North Carolina (sharing the same line as Arizona) can't go west. Therefore it's Duke who has to go, and having a weak 3 seed go in with a weak 1 and 2 seed makes for a soft region.  The other solution is to send Clemson to the west, which really isn't fair to them.

Don't be surprised if the selection committee in March artifically fudges the seeds of a couple ACC teams, to make the regions seem more balanced than they are.  I also wouldn't be surprised if they automatically put #4 and #5 overall in the west, especially if there's a lot of debate over who should be a 1 seed.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

2/10 recap

@St Bonaventure 97, Richmond 88

Virginia Tech 61, @Virginia 60 (OT) - wat.  VT finds a signature win out of nowhere and Virginia punts their #1 overall seed for the time being
North Carolina 96, @NC State 89
@Boston College 72, Miami 70 - and speaking of stupid losses, what is Miami doing punting this game?  Is BC friskier than we thought?  (I like to pretend that the Duke game was a hallucination)
@Notre Dame 84, Florida St 69 - and this ACC loss might be dumber than all the others!  UND is in the tank and FSU gives up a lot of bubble equity in this one

Temple 73, @South Florida 55 - oh boy, we're going to be doing this, aren't we.  This is going down, isn't it
@Wichita St 95, UConn 74

Texas Tech 66, @Kansas St 47 - Tech is now winning road games with ease and I don't know what's right in the world anymore
@Baylor 80, Kansas 64 - we'll deal with the 1 line later.  For now, let's focus on Baylor suddenly having at-large life?  I guess they have to be in play now
@Iowa St 88, Oklahoma 80 - I think most people assume this is a top 12 team....nope.  Those teams don't consistently lose swing games like this
Oklahoma St 88, @West Virginia 85 - man, didn't we just finish burying OSU's at-large hopes?  Do we need to dig those back up?  And what the hell do you do with WVU's seed now?  This Big 12 is utter chaos
@TCU 87, Texas 71 - finally a game with 2 bubblers where the home team holds, and we can move on

Xavier 72, @Creighton 71 - X to the 1 line
@Villanova 86, Butler 75 - Nova back to 1 overall
@St John's 86, Marquette 78 - I'm so mad at St John's right now.  So might the league, if they start ruining bubble resumes, starting with Marquette's
@Georgetown 83, Seton Hall 80 - in a day filled with inexplicable losses, this might be the most.  I think everyone including me assumed SHU would fly along at cruising altitude to the tournament
DePaul 80, @Providence 63 - actually I take that back, THIS is the dumbest loss of the day.  Home to DePaul?  Bubble teams don't do this!

@Michigan St 68, Purdue 65 - now what....Purdue has a lack of quality wins, needed this week to cement their 1 seed, and instead went the other way.  Both of these seeds are quite frankly up in the air now
@Ohio St 82, Iowa 64
@Maryland 73, Northwestern 57
@Nebraska 67, Rutgers 55 - I kind of wish NU would just lose and get out of the way on the bubble already

@Middle Tennessee 79, North Texas 73
@Western Kentucky 83, Florida International 76

@Nevada 83, San Diego St 58
@Utah St 71, Boise St 65 - oh no

@Arizona 81, USC 67
@Arizona St 88, UCLA 79
@Utah 77, Cal 43
@Oregon 97, Washington 94 (2OT) - sigh

Auburn 78, @Georgia 61
@Alabama 78, Tennessee 50 - whoa UT, what are you doing.  You were really climbing the seed lines, and this was just ugly
@Texas A&M 85, Kentucky 74 - alright, A&M is fully back and we can seed them accordingly
Florida 65, @South Carolina 41
@Missouri 89, Mississippi St 85 (OT) - near disaster
@LSU 82, Ole Miss 66
@Arkansas 72, Vanderbilt 54

Gonzaga 78, @St Mary's 65

2/9 recap

@Rhode Island 72, Davidson 59

@Indiana 80, Minnesota 56 - um why again is the Big 10 playing Friday night games?

quiet night as per usual.  Toledo with another win and look like they might stretch Buffalo out to the end for the MAC title.  Penn still undefeated in the Ivy meanwhile.

Friday, February 9, 2018


*Boise St is currently listed as the Mountain West champ, if you're wondering about the machinations of their current seed.  I can't seed them on the 11 line because their presence would mess with the seed of the play-in game winners.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Purdue, Kansas
The 2 line:  Xavier, Clemson, Auburn, Duke
The 3 line:  Cincinnati, Texas Tech, Michigan St, North Carolina
The 4 line:  Tennessee, Ohio St, West Virginia, Arizona
The 5 line:  Oklahoma, Rhode Island, St Mary's, Miami
The 6 line:  Kentucky, Seton Hall, Gonzaga, Florida
The 7 line:  Butler, Texas A&M, Nevada, Creighton
The 8 line:  Louisville, Florida St, TCU, Michigan
The 9 line:  Wichita St, Texas, Alabama, Arizona St
The 10 line:  Missouri, Providence, Arkansas, Middle Tennessee
The 11 line:  North Carolina St, UCLA, Houston, USC, Washington, Syracuse
The 12 line:  Boise St, New Mexico St, Buffalo, Loyola
The 13 line:  Charleston, Louisiana, East Tennessee St, South Dakota St
The 14 line:  Vermont, Rider, Montana, UC Santa Barbara
The 15 line:  Belmont, Wright St, Bucknell, Wagner
The 16 line:  Penn, UNC Asheville, FGCU, Nicholls St, North Carolina A&T, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Next 4 in:
Middle Tennessee***
North Carolina St

Last 4 in:
Boise St***

Last 4 out:
Virginia Tech
Kansas St
Western Kentucky

Next 4 out:
St Bonaventure
New Mexico St***

Break it down!:
Big 12 6
Big East 6
Pac-12 5
B1G 4

2/8 recap

@North Carolina 82, Duke 78 - a fatal blow to Duke's 1 line hopes, and re-invigoration to the 2 line hopes of UNC
@Clemson 72, Pitt 48
@Louisville 77, Georgia Tech 54

St Mary's 83, @Loyola Marymount 62
Gonzaga 71, @Pacific 61

UCLA 82, @Arizona 74 - a signature win to differentiate yourself from the other Pac-12 bubble teams is golden right now
@Utah 75, Stanford 60
@Oregon 65, Washington 40 - sigh, Pac-12 bubble team
@Arizona St 80, USC 78

@Houston 67, SMU 58 - Houston is your definitive #3 team in the AAC, right?

@Georgia St 106, Louisiana 92 - UL finally drops one in the Fun Belt

@Middle Tennessee 94, Rice 75
@Western Kentucky 75, Florida Atlantic 63

Bubble watch part 6 (Pac-12 fail edition)


Arizona (19-6) (9-3) RPI 21 SoS 39
Vital signs:
7-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 51
avg RPI win 129
2-3 vs. Group 1
6-3 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  A&M, Alabama, Arizona St
Bad losses:  @Colorado perhaps, Atlantis was a disaster
You do have to remember that there's not that much high-end success on this resume.  I do think they'll get a bump for being a conference champ from the committee, but the @Colorado and @Washington losses are more damaging to them than usual because of the lack of high-end wins.


Arizona St (18-6) (6-6) RPI 34 SoS 66
Vital signs:
7-4 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 111
avg RPI win 137
3-3 vs. Group 1
7-5 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Kansas, N-Xavier, USC?
Bad losses:  Oregon, @Colorado, and just too many in-conference in general
The high end wins will carry the resume for the time being, but they're losing too many swing games in the conference to be safe.

UCLA (17-7) (8-4) RPI 51 SoS 64
Vital signs:
5-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 68
avg RPI win 143
2-3 vs. Group 1
3-3 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Kentucky, @Arizona
Bad losses:  @Oregon St, Colorado, @Stanford?
Two high-end wins save the rest of what is a mediocre overall resume.  Did have some other big games, lost them.  It's really your standard, stock version of a bubble profile.  Only 2 true road wins, with many opportunities coming, so there's a resume flaw and a direct path for them to fix it coming up.

USC (17-8) (8-4) RPI 44 SoS 48
Vital signs:
7-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 33
avg RPI win 142
2-5 vs. Group 1
4-2 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-MTSU, N-New Mexico St
Bad losses:  @Stanford, Princeton
Diamond Head has wins over MTSU and NMSU.  Those are better than you think.  Those also aren't enough if those are your best wins.  USC will need to obtain quality wins, and they're sorta kinda running low on opportunities.  The good news is they avoided the bad loss in conference play, mostly.  The bad news is the loss to Princeton removes a lot of that gain.

Washington (17-7) (7-4) RPI 39 SoS 38
Vital signs:
4-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 43
avg RPI win 147
4-3 vs. Group 1
1-3 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Kansas, @USC, Arizona St, Arizona
Bad losses:  Cal, @Wazzu
The good news here is the high end wins are enough to get them to the tourney.  The bad news is there's a couple troubling losses ruining everything.  Their finish will be more about bad loss avoidance than quality win pickups.

Utah (14-9) (6-6) RPI 58 SoS 52
Vital signs:
5-7 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 202
avg RPI win 158
2-6 vs. Group 1
2-2 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  Mizzou, @Arizona St, Washington?
Bad losses:  @UNLV
Their issue is the raw number of losses, especially in conference...they've had plenty of chances against the upper crust of the conference and lost probably 1 or 2 too many.  It's an uphill climb for them going forward.

I think we can cut off the bubble from there.  Oregon and Stanford lack quality wins.  Colorado has them but has lost a few too many questionable games.

Bubble watch part 5 (Big 12 edition)


Kansas (19-5) (8-3) RPI 6 SoS 1
Vital signs:
8-1 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 9
avg RPI win 82
8-2 vs. Group 1
5-2 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Kentucky, @WVU, TTU
Bad losses:  home to Arizona St and Washington and Okla St and what the hell is going on
So weird.  Looking at the SoS and the Group 1 wins and the road record and you assume it's a 1 seed, no questions asked.  But those catastrophic home losses.  I still think they get the benefit of the doubt if they eventually are able to put "Big 12 champ" on their resume.  Especially with that avg RPI win metric, which is historically high.

Texas Tech (20-4) (8-3) RPI 13 SoS 55
Vital signs:
5-4 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 196
avg RPI win 137
5-3 vs. Group 1
5-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  Nevada, @Kansas, WVU, @TCU
Bad losses:  @Iowa St perhaps
Didn't play a true road game in the non-con.  However, they're .500 on the road in Big 12 play, which helps mask that flaw.  Non-con SoS was actually in worse shape than that, but it's out of the danger zone.  And most importantly, they're winning in-conference.  This would be a much different story if they weren't poaching their fair share of quality wins and were hovering around .500 in conference.

West Virginia (18-6) (7-4) RPI 25 SoS 36
Vital signs:
7-4 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 189
avg RPI win 148
5-5 vs. Group 1
5-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  Virginia, swept Oklahoma, N-Missouri?
Bad losses:  @Iowa St
There's some cupcakes really submarining the non-con SoS into marginal territory.  Their losses are mostly reasonable minus the ISU thing, as they've lost most of their biggest games.  But on the other hand, they got the Virginia game, so some of those resume flaws are masked.  Their ceiling is limited as a result of being merely .500 against Group 1, but a protected seed should be attainable for them.

Oklahoma (16-7) (6-5) RPI 17 SoS 14
Vital signs:
5-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 82
avg RPI win 113
5-6 vs. Group 1
3-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Wichita St, swept TCU, Kansas and TTU
Bad losses:  @Okla St, @K-State?
Safely in the tournament but seed upside is limited.  They've had a lot of swing games and have won their fair share...but have also lost their fair share.  2-5 in true road games is a little bit of an issue here.  That'll keep them off the 2 line for now.


TCU (16-8) (4-7) RPI 31 SoS 16
Vital signs:
5-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 70
avg RPI win 127
4-7 vs. Group 1
2-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Nevada, WVU, SMU?
Bad losses:  @Vandy
Should probably be okay.  But they're losing most their swing games in the Big 12, beating the teams they're supposed to and losing to the better ones (with WVU being their counter-result).  That's mildly concerning, and now factor in that they didn't play a true road game in the non-con.  The good news is the SoS numbers are good enough and that Nevada win is holding up for now.

Texas (15-9) (5-6) RPI 46 SoS 17
Vital signs:
4-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 77
avg RPI win 132
4-6 vs. Group 1
3-3 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Butler, @Alabama, TTU and Oklahoma
Bad losses:  K-State at home?  @Okla St?
Honestly don't have much to say here.  Every metric is in good but not great shape.  They've won just enough over teams just good enough to feel safe.

Kansas St (17-7) (6-5) RPI 59 SoS 85
Vital signs:
6-4 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 326
avg RPI win 163
3-6 vs. Group 1
4-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Texas, TCU, Oklahoma
Bad losses:  N-Tulsa
That non-con SoS is going to be an albatross.  They're going to need to get a higher-end win than any they already have as a result.

The other 3 teams are off the board.  All have simply accumulated too many losses.  Oklahoma St actually has a good collection of wins, but their non-con SoS is getting sunk by some very costly cupcakes.  If they get from 4-7 back to .500 in the conference, the wins it would take would be very notable, and they'd be back on the bubble then.  3-8 vs. Group 1 right now.

Baylor has simply lost all their swing games in the conference.  1 Group 1 win is not enough.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

2/7 recap

I want you to sit down.  Find a stable chair.  Get comfy.  Make sure no fragile objects are around you.  I want you to absorb this madness, this ridiculousness, as safely as possible.  Our world has been torn asunder:

St John's 79, @Villanova 75


...okay, that's out of the way.  Let's get to the rest:

Ohio St 64, @Purdue 63
@Virginia 59, Florida St 55 - all of a sudden, Virginia's path to the #1 overall seed has been thrown wide open.  And they get a quality road win in itself on the same day.  Purdue and Nova are safe on the 1 line, so don't worry about them.  And there's the Ohio St angle, they pick up the most signature of signature wins and are right in play for the 2 line, believe it or not

Marquette 88, @Seton Hall 85 - for bubble teams, nothing is as good an elixir as a road win over a tournament team
Creighton 76, @DePaul 75

@Miami 87, Wake Forest 81
@Virginia Tech 85, NC State 75

@Texas Tech 76, Iowa St 58
Kansas St 67, @Texas 64 - K-State isn't dead yet....and Texas just got yanked from safety back onto the bubble

Texas A&M 81, @Auburn 80 - looks like A&M is all the way back to resume normalcy.  Auburn might have lost touch with the 1 line but are still in decent shape for the 2
@Florida 73, LSU 64
@Vanderbilt 81, Georgia 66 - the very wide bubble in the SEC means there will be a couple early casaulties...and it looks like Georgia is one

@Penn St 74, Maryland 70 - yeesh, I regret even putting mild faith into this Maryland team

@Temple 90, East Carolina 73

@St Bonaventure 79, St Louis 56

UNLV 86, @Nevada 78 - you really don't want to spend some of these losses on home games, Nevada.  Still in good shape, but that's one less mulligan in their pocket

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Bubble watch part 4 (SEC resurgence edition)

I can't believe this conference reformed themselves.  Until at least the inevitable Bruce Pearl scandal surfaces.


Auburn (21-3) (9-2) RPI 9 SoS 39
Vital signs:
9-2 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 82
avg RPI win  120
4-3 vs. Group 1
5-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Tennessee, N-MTSU, @Missou?
Bad losses:  N-Temple perhaps
I can't quite make the case for the 1 line yet.  The non-con SoS is more a product of bad team avoidance than actually scheduling up well.  2nd best win the non-con might be @Dayton or @Murray St.  So I can't endorse the 1 line, at least yet.  There's a fair bit of substance still to come in the SEC schedule, so winning the SEC might yet get them to the 1 line, but let's slow our roll for now.

Tennessee (18-5) (8-3) RPI 10 SoS 14
Vital signs:
8-3 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 21
avg RPI win 108
5-5 vs. Group 1
4-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Purdue, swept Kentucky, A&M?
Bad losses:  none, honestly
This is a profile that's closer to the 1 line, IMO, although Auburn is currently ahead of them on the S-Curve.  Higher end wins, and the losses are perfectly fine (Nova, UNC, @Arky and Mizzou).  Only issue is they're kind of out of signature win chances, so they will be in service hold mode for awhile here.

Kentucky (17-7) (6-5) RPI 17 SoS 7
Vital signs:
4-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 7
avg RPI win 106
2-5 vs. Group 1
8-2 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  A&M and @WVU are the best
Bad losses:  @South Carolina, probably
UK will get a better seed than most think - that SoS is a magic bullet, and 10 Group 1/2 wins are a very solid amount.  They have what I often refer to as a nice pocket collection of wins.  Add up all the loose change in their pocket, and they can use it to move up a seed line or two.  Plenty of signature win chances lurk as well.


Florida (16-8) (7-4) RPI 48 SoS 28
Vital signs:
6-4 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 35
avg RPI win 122
5-3 vs. Group 1
4-5 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Gonzaga, N-Cincy, @Kentucky, a couple roadies
Bad losses:  @Ole Miss, South Carolina
They'll probably be fine, but the raw number of losses is a mild concern.  Especially since a couple of their losses are a bit loose right now.  Some of these road losses are concerning (Loyola, FSU, Bama, etc).  Every single one is reasonable in a vacuum, but it's the combination that's devastating.

Arkansas (16-8) (5-6) RPI 36 SoS 34
Vital signs:
4-7 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 79
avg RPI win 125
4-6 vs. Group 1
1-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mizzou?
Bad losses:  @Miss St, @LSU?
A classic bubble resume.  One or two signature wins, poor but not awful road record with a couple marginal losses in there, solid SoS numbers and a general capability to be good but not great.

Missouri (15-8) (6-5) RPI 30 SoS 19
Vital signs:
6-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 64
avg RPI win 109
5-6 vs. Group 1
3-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  Tennessee, @Bama, Kentucky
Bad losses:  N-Illinois
We have to be honest:  that non-con SoS is fraudulent.  It's got wins over the likes of St John's, Wagner, Utah, Iowa St and UCF, all of which play a lot better with the computers than they should.  Just about every metric is a little better than they should be, given the computer ranking of their opponents.  This just means that a profile that looks like a lock to the computers isn't quite as safe, although I'll be surprised if they don't at least hold onto a bid from this position.

Texas A&M (16-8) (5-6) RPI 20 SoS 5
Vital signs:
5-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 12
avg RPI win 108
5-5 vs. Group 1
3-2 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-WVU, @USC, @Auburn
Bad losses:  swept by LSU!
Okay, they should be fine after a swoon.  The start of the SEC (@Bama, @UK, @Tennessee) turned out to be nastier than most realized.  That LSU thing is concerning, but now that they're out of the abyss, there's enough profile strength to carry them.  Note the SoS numbers and the other peripherals look fine.

Alabama (15-9) (6-5) RPI 42 SoS 16
Vital signs:
5-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 22
avg RPI win 100
5-4 vs. Group 1
4-4 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  URI, A&M, Auburn, @Florida, Oklahoma
Bad losses:  @Vandy, @MSU, N-Minnesota
A profile that would be in great shape with 1 or 2 less silly losses.  As is, the rest of their season should be more about bad loss avoidance, as they should have enough high-end wins to make it.  Of course, the SEC is filled with a few traps this year so easier said than done.  Home holds would be more than enough for them.

Off the bubble:

Mississippi St seems like a team to put on the list, right?  17-6 (6-5), RPI 54 SoS 96.  Good.  But....1 true road wins.  They are home court heroes, all their wins of consequence are home wins (@South Carolina is their only Group 1 win).  Non-con SoS is 300 on the note.  With 8 teams above them in the resume pecking order, they're in trouble.  Even worse for them, signature win chances are dwindling.

I could look silly not doing a full profile for Georgia right now.  N-St Mary's and Florida are the signature wins, but 4-7 in conference with a merely middling non-con SoS of 161 leaves them here for now.

LSU and South Carolina both could merit long looks if they start winning, but their resumes are at the point where the raw number of losses are becoming a big problem.  But if they get hot, there is definitely some substance in the resumes to work with.

2/6 recap

Michigan St 96, @Iowa 93 - cutting it close there, Izzo
@Northwestern 61, Michigan 52 - not a loss you want to absorb too many more of
Nebraska 91, @Minnesota 85

Tennessee 61, @Kentucky 59 - road wins are never trivial.  UT has separated with Auburn to get away from the rest of the SEC on the seed lines
@Arkansas 81, South Carolina 65 - USC is probably running out of time
@Mississippi St 67, Alabama 63 - MSU is starting to be pretty annoying to the rest of the SEC.  No at-large chances, but they're mucking things up in the conference standings
Missouri 75, @Ole Miss 69

@Kansas 71, TCU 64
Baylor 67, @Oklahoma St 56 - probably a fatal blow to OSU.  Gotta hold in these types of home games

Notre Dame 96, @Boston College 85

Xavier 98, @Butler 93 (OT) - the type of wins that keep you on the 2 line
@Providence 73, Georgetown 69

@Cincinnati 77, UCF 40
Wichita St 85, @Memphis 65

Boise St 73, @New Mexico 71

Buffalo 88, @Central Michigan 82
@Davidson 91, St Joseph's 62 - for those who care, seems like Davidson has been identified as your 2nd best A-10 team now

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bubble watch part 3 (ACC edition)


Virginia (22-1) (11-0) RPI 1 SoS 16
Vital signs:
8-1 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 77
avg RPI win 107
6-1 vs. Group 1
5-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Duke, UNC, Clemson, N-URI, etc etc
Bad losses:  none
No need to elaborate on this profile.

Duke (19-4) (7-3) RPI 7 SoS 23
Vital signs:
8-3 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 17
avg RPI win 111
4-2 vs. Group 1
3-2 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Michigan St, @Miami, N-Florida
Bad losses:  @St John's, @BC?
It'll be tough to get a 1 seed if those record against Group 1 and Group 2 keep the same ratio.  All other aspects of the profile are plenty fine, with the probable exception of being just 4-3 in true road games.  They'll need to lift that slightly.

Clemson (19-4) (8-3) RPI 4 SoS 12
Vital signs:
7-4 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 52
avg RPI win 112
4-4 vs. Group 1
6-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Ohio St, @Florida, UNC, Miami
Bad losses:  N-Temple, but who the hell knows with them these days
This is a very Duke-ish profile, right down to the 4-3 road record.  Solid group of wins.  All the losses are reasonable, give or take an NC State on the road.  No losses outside Group 1.

North Carolina (17-7) (6-5) RPI 11 SoS 4
Vital signs:  7-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 6
avg RPI win 102
4-5 vs. Group 1
4-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Tennessee, Clemson, N-Ohio St
Bad losses:  NC State at home perhaps, Wofford!
The damage is probably now done in order to get a 1 seed, but I'd like to point out that they have a staggering 6 (SIX!) Group 1 games still on the schedule.  This profile can change rapidly, so pay attention going forward.


Miami (17-5) (6-4) RPI 18 SoS 44
Vital signs:
9-4 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 127
avg RPI win 156
3-4 vs. Group 1
3-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Middle Tennessee in Diamond Head might be the best?
Bad losses:  @Ga Tech
A merely okay non-con that featured a loss to New Mexico St (isn't that bad).  Their best ACC wins so far are Louisville at home, NC State and Va Tech on the road.  Not bad, but by the end of the season, most bubble teams will be able to show those types of wins in their resume.  They'll need to add something more substantial by the end of the year.  Miami wins the Eff You award from the scheduling gods this year, only getting Duke, UVa, UNC, and Clemson once apiece, which really puts pressure to hold the fort in the other games.

Syracuse (16-8) (5-6) RPI 43 SoS 24
Vital signs:
4-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 22
avg RPI win 130
1-4 vs. Group 1
5-2 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Louisville, Buffalo?  Va Tech?
Bad losses:  @Wake perhaps, home to Notre Dame, @Ga Tech!
Thank god for that Louisville win, because otherwise the profile is very lean at the moment.  They'll have quality wins chances coming up, and they'll need to cash in a couple.  Good news is the SoS is a boon at the moment, but the non-con wins (Maryland, UConn, Georgetown) aren't holding up well, and a loss at home to Bonaventure stings.

Virginia Tech (16-7) (5-5) RPI 67 SoS 93
Vital signs:
5-4 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 286
avg RPI win 179
2-5 vs. Group 1
4-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  UNC, N-Washington?
Bad losses:  N-St Louis
Uh oh, that non-con SoS.  That is usually accompanied by a lack of depth of quality wins.  A problem that is fixable in the near future.  The schedule is backloaded with signature win chances everywhere, so buckle in.  This profile isn't close to being complete yet.

Florida St (17-6) (6-5) RPI 41 SoS 70
Vital signs:
7-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 299
avg RPI win 162
5-2 vs. Group 1
1-4 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  UNC, Miami, @Louisville, @Florida
Bad losses:  @Wake, @BC
More non-con SoS madness!  At least they've got something in conference to lean on for the time being, as well as the weird 4-1 vs. Group 1 mark.  This is your garden variety 8/9 seed resume at the moment that can easily swing in either direction.  The schedule is manageable down the stretch, if they win the games they should they'll be fine.

NC State (16-7) (6-4) RPI 63 SoS 71
Vital signs:
3-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 292
avg RPI win 177
4-4 vs. Group 1
0-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Arizona, Duke, Clemson, @UNC
Bad losses:  Greensboro at home, N-UNI
How can someone who plays in the Battle 4 Atlantis have a non-con SoS of 292?  How?  A ridiculous cavalcade of cupcakes.  The good news is that when you have high-end wins this high, you can survive it.  All they honestly really need to do is win the games they're supposed to.  Tougher to do than say, because most of the schedule is traps (roadies at worse teams, home games against fellow bubble teams).

Louisville (16-8) (6-5) RPI 42 SoS 20
Vital signs:  3-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 59
avg RPI win 155
1-6 vs. Group 1
2-2 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @FSU, um
Bad losses:  none, surprisingly
The classic good bad team.  Beat just about everyone they're supposed to.  Worst losses are Syracuse and FSU at home.  And they beat FSU on the road to balance that out.  So, they just simply need to add quality wins to make the tournament.  There's no other options there.  Road games against bubblers and home games against kings coming up.  So, they must get one, and preferably two or three to be safe.

Everyone else off the board:
Boston College has a non-con SoS approaching 300, and the win over Duke is great, but there's just no depth of wins in their resume.
Notre Dame has fallen off a cliff, which is a shame as the resume early on was good enough.

2/5 recap

Syracuse 78, @Louisville 73 - road win!
West Virginia 75, @Oklahoma 73 - road win!
Indiana 65, @Rutgers 43 - road win.  This was Rutgers.  You get no exclamation point, Indiana

Monday, February 5, 2018

Bubble watch part 2 (Big 10 fail tracker edition)



Purdue (23-2) (12-0) RPI 8 SoS 52
Vital signs:
9-2 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 82
avg RPI win 130
6-2 vs. Group 1
5-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Arizona, N-Butler, Louisville
Bad losses:  I suppose N-WKU
The B1G will cost them a chance at the #1 overall seed by definition.  Note the general lack of depth in their quality wins and the average RPI win.  Can't get there with those numbers.  In a stupid development, they play MSU only once this year.  One final note:  that loss in the Battle 4 Atlantis to Tennessee (that trapped them in the losers bracket) doesn't look so bad anymore.

Michigan St (22-3) (10-2) RPI 21 SoS 91
Vital signs:
8-2 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 237
avg RPI win 158
2-3 vs. Group 1
4-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-UNC, and, uh
Bad losses:  I guess Michigan at home?
Ouch, that non-con SoS looky dicey.  The PK80 gave them UNC, but UConn and DePaul have provided no nutritional value to the resume, and Notre Dame has tanked.  Add it all up and Michigan St is in unusual SoS territory.  Plus they lost their only game against Ohio St, and their only game against Michigan.  They only get Purdue once.  The SoS Gods are unleashing their fury at this time this year, this might be the unluckiest schedule top-to-bottom in the country.  It's almost as if the karma gods are trying to punish this school for something that happened.  As is they're fine because of the R/N record, but they're going to be stuck in service hold mode for the rest of the year.

Ohio St (20-5) (11-1) RPI 20 SoS 35
Vital signs:
6-3 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 34
avg RPI win 132
2-4 vs. Group 1
6-4 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  Michigan St, Michigan
Bad losses:  Penn St at home
The resume of a solid tournament team.  They've mostly won the games they should and lost the games they should, with a flip flip of the Michigan St and Penn St results.  They only get Purdue 1x this year, naturally (boy the scheduling gods punished this conference this year).  Two chances at signature road wins (PU and UM) remain.


Michigan (18-6) (8-4) RPI 30 SoS 62
Vital signs:
5-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 232
avg RPI win 162
2-5 vs. Group 1
2-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Texas, @Michigan St
Bad losses:  N-LSU?
When you go to Maui and get LSU, VCU in a down year, and Chaminade.  Oof.  And UCLA and Texas and UNC?  How is this 232 overall in the non-con SoS?  The cupcakes hurt more than usual.  Right now they're in a very scary spot - marginal resume with little chance of an impact win coming up.  Massive home game with OSU down the road.

Should be out:

Nebraska (17-8) (8-4) RPI 58 SoS 94 - only one Group 1 win (Michigan), only one Group 2 win (@Northwestern), and a non-con SoS of 262.  And they're done with every team in legit NCAA contention, with just a home game against Maryland left to really make an impact.  It's going to take something special to get there.
Maryland (15-9) (5-7) RPI 55 SoS 38 - non-con SoS approaching 200, only 1 win in either the first two groups (albeit against Butler).  They do have some bullets left to add to that number (4 in total), but I wouldn't be optimistic

I'm not even sure others warrant mentioning right now.  Presented without comment, I give you the non-con SoS ranking of other select teams in the conference:
Penn St 258
Minnesota 219
Indiana 185
Northwestern 234
Iowa 231
Wisconsin 109
Illinois 164
Rutgers 333

Holy mother of God!

Bubble watch part 1 (Big East)

You know what I haven't done this entire year yet?  Bubble Watch!  Let's bang out a set over the next few days.

Big East


Villanova (22-1) (9-1) RPI 2 SoS 24
Vital signs:
13-1 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 53
avg RPI win 110
9-1 vs. Group 1
3-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Tennessee, N-Gonzaga, Xavier
Bad losses:  none
Not a whole lot to discuss with Nova.  Only potential flaw?  It's possible Virginia could stack up more signature wins than them to poach the #1 overall seed.  But the schedule is littered with Group 1 and Group 2 chances down the stretch, and Nova just isn't going to lose much, period.

Xavier (21-3) (9-2) RPI 3 SoS 19
Vital signs:
6-3 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 38
avg RPI win 113
5-3 vs. Group 1
5-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  Cincy, @Seton Hall, Creighton, Butler
Bad losses:  N-Arizona St is not aging well
It's going to be pretty tough for X to build a case for a 1 seed...doable but not impossible.  All the numbers scream great but not #1 great.  They got a @Butler/@Creighton/SHU/Nova stretch coming.  Have fun with that one.

Should be in:

Seton Hall (17-6) (6-4) RPI 17 SoS 21
Vital signs:
5-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 61
avg RPI win 129
5-5 vs. Group 1
0-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-TTU, @Louisville, @Butler
Bad losses:  @Rutgers
It's safe to say 5 Group 1 wins with this resume means a solid position.  It's really just a matter of seeding for this team.  I don't have much to say here; this is the resume of your garden variety 5 seed right here.

Butler (17-7) (7-4) RPI 25 SoS 32
Vital signs:
5-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 81
avg RPI win 150
3-7 vs. Group 1
2-0 vs. Group 0
Signature wins:  N-Ohio St, Nova
Bad losses:  @Maryland might be the worst
When all your losses are within Group 1, and you've got a couple signature wins in that group, you'll be fine.  Seeding will be an issue - getting clipped by Seton Hall at home or Provi on the road limits your seed upside.  You can see this problem represented by the average RPI win of 150 - that's low.

Creighton (17-6) (7-4) RPI 23 SoS 54
Vital signs:
4-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 258
avg RPI win 155
3-5 vs. Group 1
4-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  Butler, Seton Hall
Bad losses:  N-Baylor?
A couple red flags, which are related  Avg RPI win is not good.  Non-con SoS is's submarined by a few bad cupcakes.  They scheduled Northwestern, Gonzaga, UCLA, Baylor...just about all of them have failed CU.  Still, the committee does not judge intent, just results, and Creighton will pay the price for their non-con schedule.  It's going to be difficult for them to miss the tourney because so many of their losses are reasonable (road losses at BE teams).  However, they have X and Nova both coming at home.  Lose both and you're fine, but you then have to hold serve in your other games just in case.


Providence (15-8) (6-4) RPI 27 SoS 15
Vital signs:
5-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 55
avg RPI win 127
5-5 vs. Group 1
2-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  Xavier, Butler, Creighton
Bad losses:  @UMass, Minny
In reasonably good shape.  Do own a road win at Marquette, which helps mask, just a little bit, that all their best wins are at home.  They are really hurt by the new RPI Group rules, as they have home wins over 77, 79, and 68 in the non-con.  Still, without a glaring flaw, they'll be fine if they avoid the bad loss trap (there's a few coming though).

Marquette (13-10) (4-7) RPI 60 SoS 9
Vital signs:
4-4 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 118
avg RPI win
2-9 vs. Group 1
2-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  Seton Hall, @Providence
Bad losses:  Georgia at home is the worst
Good SoS numbers, which will help.  But if you have enough opportunities, you have to eventually cash them in.  And I fear they may have exhausted their chances.  They're both with Nova, Butler, and X for the year, but they do have Creighton 2x coming.  They kinda need a higher-end win than what they have right now.  One other modest flaw:  only played 1 road game in the non-con (@Wisky).  Have roadies with all 3 basement teams in the conference coming still.  Will need to hold serve to boost those numbers just a bit.

The other 3 teams have lost the plot:
St John's non-con resume:  10-2, RPI 17, SoS 5.  With a signature win over Duke.  The hell?
Georgetown's non-con SoS has actually taken a turn for the better, all the way up from 351 to 348.  And one of their 10 wins in the non-con moved up to a Group 3 win!
DePaul is DePaul.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

2/4 recap

@Villanova 92, Seton Hall 76
@Ohio St 75, Illinois 67
Arizona St 88, @Washington St 78
@Maryland 68, Wisconsin 63
Temple 83, @Tulane 76

2/3 recap

abbreviated version today.

St Bonaventure 84, @Duquesne 81

Virginia 59, @Syracuse 44
@St John's 81, Duke 77 - the hell is this?
@North Carolina 96, Pitt 65
Clemson 75, @Wake Forest 67
@NC State 76, Notre Dame 58
Miami 84, @Virginia Tech 75 - quality win chances can't go by the boards like this for VT too much more often
Florida St 80, @Loiusville 76 - UL's resume is a bit more dicey than their current seed would suggest.  Pretty important Group 1 win for FSU to stabilize the profile

Cincinnati 65, @UConn 57
Houston 69, @UCF 65 - there's an important road win for the profile

Oklahoma St 84, @Kansas 79 - well well well.  A dormant at-large profile gains new life
Texas Tech 83, @TCU 81 - okay, Tech is starting to stack road wins and is quickly making up for its profile problems
@Texas 79, Oklahoma 74 - important home hold for a bubble team
@West Virginia 89, Kansas St 51
@Baylor 81, Iowa St 67 - NIT bubble game!

@Xavier 96, Georgetown 91 (OT) - good lord
@Butler 80, DePaul 57
Providence 77, @Marquette 75 - a bubble-on-bubble game....the road team winning is very significant in these games

Purdue 78, @Rutgers 76
Michigan St 63, @Indiana 60
@Michigan 76, Minnesota 73 (OT)
@Penn St 82, Iowa 58 - man, the Big 10 is boring this year

@UT San Antonio 74, Western Kentucky 63 - dammit WKU, that's the one
Middle Tennessee 78, @Charlotte 73

@Boise St 93, UNLV 91 (OT)
Nevada 76, @Colorado St 67

@Washington 78, Arizona 75 - okay, we're taking UW seriously now
@Stanford 96, Oregon 61
@UCLA 82, USC 79

@Auburn 93, Vanderbilt 81
@Tennessee 94, Ole Miss 61
@Missouri 69, Kentucky 60
Alabama 68, @Florida 50 - there's a curious road win right there
@Texas A&M 83, South Carolina 60
@LSU 94, Arkansas 86
@Mississippi St 72, Georgia 57

St Mary's 65, @San Diego 62
@Gonzaga 68, BYU 60

Friday, February 2, 2018


Pressure point 1:  #1 overall.  Virginia has surpassed Villanova.  It doesn't really matter long-term, but still.
Pressure point 2:  #4 overall, 1 line.  I'm going to say the Big 12 champ will leap an ACC non-champ, most other things being equal. Kansas has better resume depth at the moment over Duke.
Pressure point 3:  #7 overall, 2 line.  Clemson/Auburn/Oklahoma range.  There's some different angles the committee can tackle this from.  I'm going to lean towards Auburn's road record and OU's win over Kansas as differentiating them from Clemson for the time being.
Pressure point 4:  #10 overall, 3 line.  I do think the committee does like to reward dominant teams in relevant conferences, and I think Cincy and Zona both get a resume bump as a reward.
Pressure point 5:  #14 overall, 4 line.  Things get weird behind Tennessee.  Flaws start to become noticeable.  I can be talked in or out of the order of the next few teams here.  One sneaky fact:  TTU's non-con SoS is rallying a bit.  So is WVU's.  So let's be a little gentler on their seed for the time being.
Pressure point 6:  #25 overall, 7 line.  This is where we start to see the bubble slowly creep in.  A few teams mostly safe but with plausible paths to miss the NCAA tourney.  URI and Nevada escape this group and move up to the 6 line.  This is where non-con SoS starts to matter ('sup, Creighton).  Gonzaga is in a weird spot where their conference is shredding up their SoS numbers.  They should be fine, I think.
Pressure point 7:  #30 overall, 8 line.  Every single legitimate business at-large contender can at least flop down 1 Group 1 on the table for their at-large resume.  Except Wichita and Boise.  This situation should resolve itself in due time for Wichita, but still.
Pressure point 8:  #37 overall, 10 line.  This is where the true bubble starts.  Teams with legitimate flaws.  You can argue for almost any order of teams you want to here.
Pressure point 9:  #40 overall, 10 line.  NC State's non-con SoS?  Yikes.  But I can't ignore the signature wins either.  Sigh.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Purdue, Kansas
The 2 line:  Duke, Xavier, Auburn, Oklahoma
The 3 line:  Clemson, Arizona, Cincinnati, North Carolina
The 4 line:  Tennessee, Texas Tech, Kentucky, West Virginia
The 5 line:  Michigan St, Ohio St, Seton Hall, Florida
The 6 line:  Rhode Island, Miami, TCU, Nevada
The 7 line:  St Mary's, Gonzaga, Butler, Louisville
The 8 line:  Creighton, Wichita St, Arizona St, Arkansas
The 9 line:  Michigan, Texas, Florida St, Alabama
The 10 line:  Texas A&M, Providence, USC, North Carolina St
The 11 line:  Middle Tennessee, Missouri, Western Kentucky, Houston, Washington
The 12 line:  Boise St, Syracuse, Loyola(Chi), New Mexico St, Buffalo
The 13 line:  William & Mary, Vermont, South Dakota St, East Tennessee St
The 14 line:  Louisiana, UC Santa Barbara, Rider, Belmont
The 15 line:  Montana, Wagner, Wright St, Bucknell
The 16 line:  Penn, Radford, FGCU, New Orleans, Savannah St, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Next 4 in:
North Carolina St
Middle Tennessee***
Western Kentucky

Last 4 in:
Boise St

Last 4 out:
Virginia Tech
Kansas St

Next 4 out:
Notre Dame

Break it down!:
Big 12 6
Big East 6
B1G 4
Pac-12 4

Preliminary NIT projections:
The 3 line:  St Bonaventure, Temple, South Carolina, BYU
The 4 line:  Nebraska, Utah, Central Florida, Mississippi St
The 5 line:  Wyoming, Oregon, LSU, Oklahoma St
The 6 line:  Memphis, Toledo
---the NIT bubble traditionally falls around this spot (middle of 6 line)
Power programs with bursting bubbles:  Colorado, Boston College, Iowa St, Stanford, Indiana, Northwestern, Penn St

Your way-too-early CBI projections:
Charleston vs. Old Dominion
Northeastern vs. VCU
Furman vs. Georgia St
Bradley vs. Ball St
Murray St vs. Southern Illinois
Northern Kentucky vs. Missouri St
Fresno St vs. UC Davis
South Dakota vs. Utah Valley

Other teams in clear range of the CBI/CIT:  Illinois St, Davidson, Hofstra, Towson, San Diego, Grand Canyon, UAB, Marshall, UNC Greensboro, Wofford, Canisius, Iona, Georgia Southern, UNC Asheville, Oakland, Lipscomb, Stephen F Austin

2/2 recap

Rhode Island 81, @VCU 68 - 7 to go
@Colorado 67, Utah 55 - the Pac-12 has failed itself this year

everything else from the past 2 days is a hodge-podge of mid-majors....I'd rather go focus on the next S-Curve.

2/1 recap

@Villanova 98, Creighton 78

@Temple 81, Wichita St 79 (OT) - it may be time to start yanking away multiple seeding lines from this team
@Tulsa 76, SMU 67 - things are starting to break very badly for the AAC behind Cincy

@Washington 68, Arizona St 64 - Washington has a pulse on the bubble after all!
Oregon 66, @Cal 53
@Stanford 80, Oregon St 71

@St Mary's 79, San Francisco 43
@Gonzaga 69, San Diego 59
@Loyola Marymount 76, BYU 69

Middle Tennessee 66, @Old Dominion 59
Western Kentucky 72, @UTEP 60

Northwestern 60, @Wisconsin 52

1/31 recap

@Virginia 74, Louisville 64 - UVa/Nova is starting to turn into an interesting conversation for #1 overall
@Miami 69, Pittsburgh 57
@Wake Forest 76, Florida St 72 - the type of game that bubble teams drop.  Again, given the depth of the league, this is not where you want to spend one of your league losses
@Georgia Tech 55, Syracuse 51 - ditto
Virginia Tech 85, @Boston College 80 (OT) - meanwhile, here's a bubble team holding their ground in a road game

@Seton Hall 73, Providence 57
Butler 92, @Marquette 72

@Texas Tech 73, Texas 71 (OT) - nearly a very dangerous loss for Tech's resume; as is it's status quo for both teams going forward
@Iowa St 93, West Virginia 77 - meanwhile, this is NOT a profile that can afford body blows like this.  Could be worth multiple seeding lines

@Tennessee 84, LSU 61
Mississippi St 81, @South Carolina 76 - what a dumb loss for a fringe bubble team
Missouri 69, @Alabama 60 - when you have bubble vs. bubble, the road team winning is a big deal.  Big boon to Mizzou, big ding to Bama

@Purdue 75, Maryland 67
@Michigan St 76, Penn St 68

Arizona 100, Washington St 72

@Cincinnati 80, Houston 70
@UCF 70, UConn 61

St Bonaventure 85, @George Mason 69 - this only gets Bona back to 5-4 within the A-10.  They're going to need to find a way around everyone back into 2nd by the end of the year

@Bradley 69, Loyola(Chi) 67 - probably endgame for the at-large hopes of the conference.  It's not a bad loss but LUC is in dire need of more signature wins

Wyoming 91, @Colorado St 86 (2OT) - starting to creep into the NIT bubble picture
@Nevada 102, Fresno St 92