December 11 Bracket

SOUTH

1 Duke
16 NC A&T / Navy

8 Arizona
9 Rhode Island

5 Missouri
12 SF Austin

4 TCU
13 UC Santa Barbara

6 St John’s
11 Iowa State / Boston College

3 Kentucky
14 Murray State

7 Arkansas
10 Texas

2 Wichita State
15 FGCU

MIDWEST

1 Michigan State
16 Rider / Liberty

8 Central Florida
9 Alabama

5 Seton Hall
12 Loyola-Chicago

4 Kansas
13 St Bonaventure

6 UNI
11 Florida

3 Virginia
14 Idaho

7 Nevada
10 Butler

2 UNC
15 Louisiana

WEST

1 Arizona St
16 East Tenn State

8 Creighton
9 Clemson

5 Texas Tech
12 Washington / Baylor

4 Purdue
13 Central Michigan

6 Florida State
11 Middle Tenn

3 Miami
14 S Dakota

7 Notre Dame
10 Oklahoma

2 Texas A&M
15 SF Austin

EAST

1 Villanova
16 Grand Canyon

8 Western KY
9 Utah

5 Syracuse
12 Towson

4 Xavier
13 Milwaukee

6 Gonzaga
11 Virginia Tech

3 Tennessee
14 Wagner

7 Temple
10 Minnesota

2 West VA
15 Albany

 

Advertisements
December 11 Bracket

Saturday Thoughts

A new bracket will be coming out soon, but for now, some thoughts:

Duke and Kansas – These two suffered truly shocking upsets this week (to Boston College and Washington, who will both sneak into the bracket). Despite the losses, both will remain on the one line if Kansas can defeat Arizona State. A Sun Devils victory on Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse, though, would move them to the one line and send Kansas tumbling down to the three line. 

TCU – The Horned Frogs picked up a couple of quality wins this week, beating Nevada and SMU. They are still undefeated and have moved themselves up to the four line.

Florida and Cincinnati – This is a matchup of AP top 20 teams, but the loser will be out of the bracket and the winner will only be in as a 12 seed. Florida could end up with an all-timer of a horrible resume week, with the potential to go from #5 in the country to a 5-4 record.

 Nevada – The Wolfpack dropped two tough games to Big XII schools this week (TCU and Texas Tech).  Despite looking like a top 25 team, their inability to grab a quality win really hurts their chances of landing a 5 seed or better.  They are a seven seed in this bracket, and that may be about the best they will do on Selection Sunday.

Baylor – The Bears are ranked towards the bottom of the top 25, but they are just inside of the bracket right now.  Although their losses are more than acceptable (to Xavier and Wichita State),  they’ve only played four teams in the top 200 of the RPI.  Fortunately for Baylor, the Big XII will provide plenty of quality win opportunities to go with their win over Creighton in Kansas City.

 

 

Saturday Thoughts

December 3 Bracket

Some thoughts:

-The race for the College Football Playoff has gotten most of the attention, but it was also a solid weekend for basketball.  The three results that most caught my eye are Xavier over Cincinnati, Wichita State winning at Baylor, and Arizona surviving at UNLV.  All of the winners moved up in the bracket, and it was enough to push three-loss Arizona back in (albeit as an 11).

-Virginia Tech snuck into the bracket with a win at Ole Miss in overtime after trailing by double digits at the half. Because of the committee’s emphasis on road victories, this may end up as a Tier 2 road win even if Ole Miss fails to impress this season.

-Rhode Island kept things going with a win over Providence. They are unlikely to be as high as a five seed in March, but they find themselves there now.

-Syracuse had their moments against Kansas in their game in Miami, but Kansas won 76-60.  The loss doesn’t hurt Syracuse much, but it does show their current 8 seed might be about right for the team.

-SMU is back in the bracket as a 9 after rolling USC. It drops the Trojans to a ten and moves Western Kentucky up to a 7, as their SMU and Purdue wins are looking better by the day.

SOUTH

1 Duke
16 Penn / Navy

8 Alabama
9 SMU

5 Tennessee
12 Vermont

4 West Virginia
13 Towson

6 Seton Hall
11 NC State

3 Florida
14 Murray State

7 Texas Tech
10 Missouri

2 Wichita State
15 UNC-Asheville

WEST

1 Villanova
16 Prairie View A&M / NC A&T

8 Northern Iowa
9 Florida State

5 Nevada
12 Virginia Tech / Texas

4 Arizona State
13 Portland St

6 Baylor
11 Arizona

3 UNC
14 UC Santa Barbara

7 Purdue
10 Utah

2 Notre Dame
15 Grand Canyon

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 East Tenn State

8 Creighton
9 Louisville

5 Minnesota
12 St John’s

4 Gonzaga
13 Northern KY

6 Cincinnati
11 Louisiana Tech

3 Virginia
14 Central Michigan

7 Western KY
10 UT Arlington

2 Texas A&M
15 SF Austin

EAST

1 Michigan State
16 Wagner

8 Syracuse
9 Providence

5 Rhode Island
12 Kansas St / UNLV

4 Xavier
13 Rider

6 TCU
11 Clemson

3 Kentucky
14 South Dakota

7 Temple
10 USC

2 Miami
15 FGCU

December 3 Bracket

Friday Bracket

SOUTH

1 Duke
16 Brown / Navy

8 Temple
9 Providence

5 Xavier
12 Vermont

4 Cincinnati
13 Towson

6 Seton Hall
11 Texas

3 Florida
14 Tenn Tech

7 Syracuse
10 Missouri

2 Villanova
15 UNC-Asheville

WEST

1 Texas A&M
16 Prairie View A&M / NC A&T

8 Northern Iowa
9 Florida State

5 Nevada
12 NC State / Saint John’s

4 Arizona State
13 Portland St

6 USC
11 Oklahoma

3 UNC
14 Hawaii

7 Texas Tech
10 Utah

2 Virginia
15 Grand Canyon

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 East Tenn State

8 Creighton
9 Purdue

5 Baylor
12 UCLA / Clemson

4 Gonzaga
13 Milwaukee

6 Minnesota
11 Washington State

3 Wichita State
14 Akron

7 Arkansas
10 UNLV

2 Miami
15 W. Illinois

EAST

1 Michigan State
16 Wagner

8 Alabama
9 Western Kentucky

5 Tennessee
12 Colorado

4 West Virginia
13 Rider

6 Rhode Island
11 UT-Arlington

3 Notre Dame
14 SF Austin

7 TCU
10 Louisville

2 Kentucky
15 FGCU

 

Some notes:

-The ACC is going to be stacked at the top this year.  That means the committee is going to have a hard time slotting them into different regions to meet the principles and procedures. In this bracket, UNC is a three seed but the fifth selection from the ACC. Because the top four teams are all in different regions, UNC was able to be slotted into the same region as another ACC team, Virginia.

-Man, does Michigan State look like they’re hitting their stride?! They have looked absolutely dominating in victories over UNC and Notre Dame.  Those two are three seeds in this bracket, but Michigan State’s defense completely overwhelmed them.  All the talk this year is about Duke, but Michigan State and Kansas have been absolutely suffocating their opponents since both teams’ third game.

-What a huge win for Miami at Minnesota.  That will undoubtedly be a Tier 1 victory, and it shows that Miami is a legitimate threat for not just a top seed, but for a Final Four down the road.

-Rhode Island and Nevada are flying under the radar. Don’t sleep on those two, as both are well-coached, talented teams. The Rams have a neutral court win over Seton Hall and Nevada is unbeaten with a win over URI.

-Every year, we see more and more rivals being paired up in the bracket because of the committee’s emphasis on placing teams in their natural region.  This bracket would be a doozy with Cincinnati and Xavier potentially meeting in the second round, as well as Louisville and Kentucky.  And don’t be surprised if Kansas and Wichita State potentially meet in Omaha for a trip to the Final Four.

Friday Bracket

11/26 Bracket

This first bracket of the year factors in the “eye test” way more than later brackets will. Not enough games have been played for that to be only a minor factor. That said, the results do matter.  That’s why neither Purdue nor Arizona are in the bracket, after meeting in the seventh place game at the Battle for Atlantis.

EAST

1 Duke
16 Brown / Army

8 West Virginia
9 Xavier

5 Texas Tech
12 Vermont

4 Wichita State
13 Wagner

6 Miami
11 Seton Hall

3 Florida
14 Towson

7 Rhode Island
10 Syracuse

2 Texas A&M
15 NC A&T

WEST

1 Villanova
16 UNC Asheville / TN Tech

8 Utah
9 Texas

5 Temple
12 Ole Miss / St Mary’s

4 Arizona State
13 South Dakota St

6 Gonzaga
11 UCLA

3 Virginia
14 Hawaii

7 UNLV
10 UT-Arlington

2 Kentucky
15 Prairie View A&M

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 Montana State

8 Creighton
9 Missouri

5 Louisville
12 Washington State

4 Cincinnati
13 Toledo

6 Alabama
11 TCU

3 Minnesota
14 Grand Canyon

7 Colorado
10 Providence

2 Michigan State
15 Rider

SOUTH

1 UNC
16 Lamar

8 Arkansas
9 Wyoming

5 Florida State
12 Oklahoma / Penn State

4 USC
13 Milwaukee

6 Nevada
11 Northern Iowa

3 Baylor
14 FGCU

7 Louisiana Tech
10 Tennessee

2 Notre Dame
15 Furman

 

11/26 Bracket

Some Early Thoughts

It’s time for some more early season thoughts:

-Undefeated BAYLOR finds themselves in good tournament shape already after winning the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Both of their wins in Kansas City (over Wisconsin and Creighton) should end up as at least Tier Two wins, though both (especially Creighton) could end up as Tier One wins. More importantly, opportunities loom on the horizon. If they can win at Xavier and beat Wichita State, these Bears will start to look like a one seed contender.

-VIRGINIA TECH is in some trouble. The Hokies own a neutral court win over Washington, but that shouldn’t do much, if anything, to boost the resume. With a neutral court loss to Saint Louis already in the books, a second OOC loss could prove fatal. That’s because an already weak non-conference schedule appears even weaker with Iowa struggling. Winning at Ole Miss isn’t a must, but it will be an uphill climb without it.

-The best power conference title race will probably be in the SEC. Kentucky and Florida both look like they could make the Elite Eight or beyond, but it’s TEXAS A&M that has the league’s best resume. They’ve already secured neutral site victories over West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Penn State.

-NORTHWESTERN famously made the tournament for the first time last year, but the odds may be against a return this season. In addition to a home loss to Creighton, they were absolutely pummeled by Texas Tech. Their victories have also not only been unhelpful to the resume, but they’ve also been unconvincing. This is a team that was slightly overseeded last year, and was never going to live up to this year’s hype.

-WICHITA STATE hasn’t exactly been cruising in Maui, but their chances at a top two seed will dramatically improve if they can pair a win over Marquette with a championship over Notre Dame, who figures to compete for a top three seed, as well.

-KANSAS finds themselves sorely lacking depth while freshman Billy Preston is held out pending an investigation into a car he was driving. Nevertheless, the Jayhawks are absolutely crushing all of their opponents outside of Kentucky. That said, while they have a Tier 1 win locked up, their non-conference schedule isn’t providing many chances for Tier 1 wins (as Washington, Arizona State, Stanford, and Nebraska don’t appear as formidable as their power conference status would indicate). At worst, they’ll need to go 1-1 against Syracuse and Texas A&M. But with the Big XII lacking another top 15 team, 2-0 would make things a whole lot easier.

-Coming into the year, it looked like UTAH had a shot at two Tier 1 wins by having Missouri and Ole Miss on the schedule. But Ole Miss isn’t guaranteed to even finish as a Tier Two win, let alone a Tier One. And Missouri is going to be playing without Michael Porter Jr. for the season. While it sounds like the undefeated Utes are in great shape, their resume is weaker than it would appear.

-WYOMING is flying under the radar. Still unbeaten, their wins over South Dakota State and Louisiana at the Cayman Islands Classic could both prove to be Tier 1/2 quality wins. In addition, they have a HUGE opportunity to bolster their profile by facing Cincinnati in the finals.

-While Wyoming is playing well, the MOUNTAIN WEST had a rough Tuesday. Fresno State lost to Evansville, Pacific beat Air Force, and Tennessee Tech defeated New Mexico. Nevada did manage to top Davidson, but this is only looking like a one or two bid league.

-The resume isn’t overwhelming, but it is solid for TEMPLE. The Owls are unbeaten and the neutral court win over Clemson could end up having more mileage than it would first appear.

-Check out the BIG XII. They only have four total losses and two of those were by Iowa State, winners of three straight and a holiday tournament. Texas Tech annihilated Northwestern, Kansas beat Kentucky in Chicago, and Baylor beat Wisconsin and Creighton. So while their schedules might not be the best, there is some serious heft in there.

Some Early Thoughts

Early Bracket Impacts

The season has just started, but the bracket is already being impacted by games that have taken place.

WINNERS –

Duke and Kansas – These two challenged themselves by signing up for the Champions Classic. Though Duke looked better than Kansas, both teams got a guaranteed quality win (over Michigan State and Kentucky, respectively). Kansas may be the bigger benefactor, though, as this gives them inside position for the one seed in Omaha (especially since Michigan State took a loss).

Texas A&M – The Aggies surprised the country not necessarily by beating West Virginia, but by doing so convincingly. WVU likely won’t be in the running for a one or two seed this year, but this should still be a Tier 1 resume win, as it occurred on a neutral court against a likely RPI top 50 opponent.

Maryland – The Terps scored an important home win over Butler. Of note, the committee changed the team sheets to make wins at home “Tier 1” wins only if that opponent is in the RPI top 30, rather than the traditional top 50. This will be a boost to Maryland’s resume regardless, but it may even be a Tier 1 win.

Minnesota – Providence should have a strong year and the Gophers beat them on a neutral court. I expect this will hold up as a Tier 1 win and will be a big boon to their chances of landing a protected seed.

Creighton – The Bluejays appear more likely than not to make the NCAAs after winning at Northwestern. Starting this year, all road wins over top 75 teams are considered Tier 1 wins. Expect this one to be in that category.

LOSERS –

West Virginia – Losing to Texas A&M is a big deal because WVU does not have a good non-conference schedule. Virginia and Kentucky are the only two potential quality wins OOC. Sometimes the first game of the season is more important to a team’s seed than most realize. This is one of those cases, as this likely will cost WVU a seed line.

Wake Forest – With home losses to Georgia Southern and Liberty, Wake’s NCAA chances are already on life support. The Deacs will have to be shockingly good from here on out to go dancing.

Pitt – Kevin Stallings is looking like a disaster of a hire. Pitt has lost to Navy and Montana. Like Wake Forest, they seemed destined for a double-digit ACC standings finish (and probably dead last).

The American Athletic Conference – Wichita State moved to a much better league, but their new conference mates aren’t doing them any SOS favors. USF, Tulsa, and ECU all have horrible losses, and Memphis was no match for Alabama.

Michigan State – The Big Ten is looking very strong early, so there will be plenty of opportunities to grab the Midwest’s #1 seed. However, Kansas already has a big win over Kentucky and an advantage in the loss column and the Phil Knight Invitational may only provide one chance for a top 50 neutral court win, as there is no guarantee Oregon and/or UConn will be top 50. I still believe the Spartans will get a one seed, but winning their Phil Knight Invitational bracket would do wonders for their resume.

Early Bracket Impacts