Friday Bracket

Yesterday produced a lot of changes in the bracket, as the seeds and teams become a little bit clearer.

-Georgia is my first team out, followed by Rhode Island. Indiana, TCU, Cal, and Illinois State are lurking.

-The shocking result today is Oklahoma State dropping all the way to a First Four game in Dayton after losing to Iowa State. That 0-6 start to Big XII play isn’t completely wiped away, and costs them here.

EAST

1 VILLANOVA
16 MT ST MARY’S / NEW ORLEANS

8 MICHIGAN STATE
9 MIAMI

5 VIRGINIA
12 NEVADA

4 ARIZONA
13 WINTHROP

6 MARYLAND
11 VANDERBILT

3 DUKE
14 IONA

7 WISCONSIN
10 VCU

2 BAYLOR
15 NORTH DAKOTA

WEST

1 OREGON
16 UC IRVINE / NC CENTRAL

8 SAINT MARY’S
9 PROVIDENCE

5 MINNESOTA
12 UNC-WILMINGTON

4 WEST VIRGINIA
13 VERMONT

6 SOUTH CAROLINA
11 KANSAS STATE / USC

3 LOUISVILLE
14 ETSU

7 ARKANSAS
10 WAKE FOREST

2 GONZAGA
15 CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD

MIDWEST

1 KANSAS
16 JACKSONVILLE STATE

8 VIRGINIA TECH
9 MARQUETTE

5 CINCINNATI
12 MIDDLE TENNESSEE

4 BUTLER
13 BUCKNELL

6 IOWA STATE
11 WICHITA STATE

3 FLORIDA
14 FGCU

7 DAYTON
10 NORTHWESTERN

2 FLORIDA STATE
15 SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

SOUTH

1 UNC
16 TEXAS SOUTHERN

8 MICHIGAN
9 SETON HALL

5 NOTRE DAME
12 UT-ARLINGTON

4 PURDUE
13 PRINCETON

6 CREIGHTON
11 OKLAHOMA STATE / ILLINOIS

3 UCLA
14 AKRON

7 SMU
10 XAVIER

2 KENTUCKY
15 NORTHERN KENTUCKY

Friday Bracket

Thursday Bracket

UPDATES:

-TCU beat a Josh Jackson-less Kansas in the Big XII quarters.  Kansas has already locked the Midwest one seed, so this only affects their chances at the overall one.  TCU, though,  has a chance of making the tournament if they can beat Iowa State and advance to the Big XII final.

-Michigan walloped Illinois. Michigan has likely secured a single-digit seed, while Illinois is smack dab on the bubble cut line.

-Duke beat Louisville to advance to an ACC semi against UNC.  Duke has secured at least a three seed, while UNC is in great shape for a one.

-Georgia and Middle Tennessee won to stay right in the thick of the bubble race, while Seton Hall is now a lock after beating Marquette.

-Oregon remains in contention for a one after beating Arizona State.

We have three days until Selection Sunday, which means we actually have four days of basketball before the brackets are released. Some thoughts on yesterday’s action and today’s games:

-USC held on to beat Washington.  The Trojans get rival UCLA in the quarters. A win would lock USC into the field, while a loss would leave them at the mercy of the committee. Even with a loss, they’ll have a good chance to get selected.

-Xavier stopped the skid with another win over DePaul.  Another win today would seal a bid.  Like USC, a loss probably isn’t fatal, but there is no way you can lock this team in.

-Syracuse missed a three that could’ve sent their game with Miami into overtime. The Orange fall out of my bracket, and I don’t expect them to return. Their replacement? Iowa.

-Wake couldn’t lock a bid up, falling to Virginia Tech. That said, it’s tough to imagine Wake Forest missing out on the tournament entirely. They’re in enough danger to be nervous until Selection Sunday, but in good enough shape to expect their name to be called.

-One reason for that is Ohio State lost to Rutgers in DC! That’s the craziest upset D.C. has seen in a long time… or not. Either way, the Buckeyes won’t be playing in the NCAAs. Their bubble has popped.

-Clemson can no longer make the NCAAs after losing to Duke. Whatever bubble they had (which wasn’t much) has popped. At least they have the football natty to fall back on.

-See the post two below this one for an in-depth look at the bubble.

MIDWEST

1 KANSAS
16 MT ST MARY’S / NEW ORLEANS

8 ARKANSAS
9 PROVIDENCE

5 MINNESOTA
12 UNC-WILMINGTON

4 VIRGINIA
13 BUCKNELL

6 IOWA STATE
11 MIDDLE TENNESSEE

3 UCLA
14 FGCU

7 DAYTON
10 MARQUETTE

2 LOUISVILLE
15 NORTH DAKOTA

WEST

1 OREGON
16 UC IRVINE / NC CENTRAL

8 VIRGINIA TECH
9 MICHIGAN STATE

5 NOTRE DAME
12 TEXAS-ARLINGTON

4 WEST VIRGINIA
13 WINTHROP

6 SMU
11 XAVIER

3 FLORIDA
14 IONA

7 SOUTH CAROLINA
10 WAKE FOREST

2 GONZAGA
15 SOUTH DAKOTA ST

EAST

1 VILLANOVA
16 JACKSONVILLE STATE

8 OKLAHOMA ST
9 SAINT MARY’S

5 CINCINNATI
12 ILLINOIS / USC

4 DUKE
13 PRINCETON

6 MARYLAND
11 WICHITA STATE

3 ARIZONA
14 AKRON

7 WISCONSIN
10 VCU

2 KENTUCKY
15 NORTHERN KENTUCKY

SOUTH

1 UNC
16 TEXAS SOUTHERN

8 MICHIGAN
9 SETON HALL

5 PURDUE
12 NEVADA

4 BUTLER
13 VERMONT

6 CREIGHTON
11 VANDERBILT / IOWA

3 FLORIDA STATE
14 ETSU

7 MIAMI
10 NORTHWESTERN

2 BAYLOR
15 CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD

Thursday Bracket

Wednesday’s Bracket

-Syracuse missed a three that could’ve sent their game with Miami into overtime. The Orange fall out of my bracket, and I don’t expect them to return.  Their replacement? Iowa.

-Wake couldn’t lock a bid up,  falling to Virginia Tech.  That said, it’s tough to imagine Wake Forest missing out on the tournament entirely.  They’re in enough danger to be nervous until Selection Sunday, but in good enough shape to expect their name to be called.

-One reason for that is Ohio State lost to Rutgers in DC! That’s the craziest upset D.C. has seen in a long time… or not.  Either way, the Buckeyes won’t be playing in the NCAAs. Their bubble has popped.

-Clemson can no longer make the NCAAs after losing to Duke. Whatever bubble they had (which wasn’t much) has popped. At least they have the football natty to fall back on.

-See the post below this one for an in-depth look at the bubble.

MIDWEST

1 KANSAS
16 MT ST MARY’S / NEW ORLEANS

8 ARKANSAS
9 PROVIDENCE

5 MINNESOTA
12 UNC-WILMINGTON

4 VIRGINIA
13 BUCKNELL

6 IOWA STATE
11 MIDDLE TENNESSEE

3 UCLA
14 FGCU

7 DAYTON
10 SETON HALL

2 LOUISVILLE
15 NORTH DAKOTA

WEST

1 OREGON
16 UC IRVINE / NC CENTRAL

8 VIRGINIA TECH
9 MICHIGAN STATE

5 NOTRE DAME
12 TEXAS-ARLINGTON

4 WEST VIRGINIA
13 WINTHROP

6 SMU
11 XAVIER

3 FLORIDA
14 IONA

7 SOUTH CAROLINA
10 WAKE FOREST

2 GONZAGA
15 SOUTH DAKOTA ST

EAST

1 VILLANOVA
16 JACKSONVILLE STATE

8 OKLAHOMA ST
9 MICHIGAN

5 CINCINNATI
12 ILLINOIS / USC

4 DUKE
13 PRINCETON

6 MARYLAND
11 WICHITA STATE

3 ARIZONA
14 AKRON

7 WISCONSIN
10 VCU

2 KENTUCKY
15 NORTHERN KENTUCKY

SOUTH

1 UNC
16 TEXAS SOUTHERN

8 ST MARY’S
9 MARQUETTE

5 PURDUE
12 NEVADA

4 BUTLER
13 VERMONT

6 CREIGHTON
11 VANDERBILT / IOWA

3 FLORIDA STATE
14 ETSU

7 MIAMI
10 NORTHWESTERN

2 BAYLOR
15 CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD

Wednesday’s Bracket

Wednesday Night Bubble Update

Ohio State and Clemson have fallen off the page.

Based on other results, Marquette and Providence are now locks.  Sometimes it’s nice to just watch other teams below you blow their chances, while you advance to the tournament.

There are 32 automatic bids to the tournament, and nine conferences that already have at least two locks. So 27 of the 36 at-large bids are already spoken for by:

A-10 (1) – Dayton

AAC (2) – Cincinnati, SMU

ACC (8) – Florida State, UNC, Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame, Duke, Miami, Virginia Tech

Big XII (5) – Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State

Big East (5) – Villanova, Butler, Creighton, Marquette, Providence

Big Ten (6) – Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue, Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan

SEC (4) – Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas

Pac-12 (3) – UCLA, Oregon, Arizona

WCC (2) – Gonzaga, St. Mary’s

There are then five teams that should be in the tournament, but aren’t locks. If they all make it, the bubble would be down to just four spots left. The following teams can likely lose out and make the field, but it’s not guaranteed:

Xavier – The Musketeers certainly don’t look like one of the country’s 36-best at-large teams. But the resume is still pretty strong, and they stopped their skid with two straight wins over DePaul. A win in the quarters over Butler would certainly do it, but it’s probably not necessary.

Seton Hall – The Pirates picked up the most surprising bubble win last weekend, winning at Butler. Winning over Marquette in the quarters will lock them, but this team should be dancing regardless.

VCU – Of all the teams on the “should be in” list, this is the one with the most to worry about. It’s not that the Rams haven’t put together a tournament worthy season; they have. But if power conference teams roll in their conference tournaments and VCU exits the A-10 tournament early, then VCU can simply get passed by multiple schools.

Northwestern – The Wildcats should make it, but they still aren’t a lock.  A victory today against Rutgers might not be enough to move to lock status.  Regardless, their tournament status is in good shape, as long as they don’t lose to Rutgers.

Wake Forest – Danny Manning is no stranger to success in March, and his Demon Deacons should be dancing after avoiding a bad loss to Boston College in the first round of the ACC tournament.  With wins over Louisville and Miami at home, and Virginia Tech on the road, expect Danny Manning’s team to dance even after they fell to Virginia Tech on Wednesday.  No matter what happens elsewhere, this resume is not strong enough to support a lock. But I expect Manning’s team to dance.

So, we get to the next teams, who are in good shape:

Vanderbilt – The Dores are in better shape than most believe. Simply beating Texas A&M in the SEC tournament 7-10 game will probably be enough. Winning on Friday over Florida would lock them. Even a loss to A&M on Thursday would put Vandy right near the cut line, and more likely in than out.

USC – The Trojans still aren’t in that comfortable of a position, but they are in good shape to make it.  UCLA is next, and a win locks.  No pressure.

The next tier are those truly on the cut line. All who have yet to play probably need at least one conference tournament win:

Illinois, Syracuse, Middle Tennessee, Illinois State, Iowa

The next tier is those who are well on the outside looking in. Strong upset wins are needed in the conference tournament:

Kansas State, Rhode Island, Indiana, Cal, Georgia

The last tier is a non-power conference champion needing a shocking committee decision to include them:

Nevada

Wednesday Night Bubble Update

Tuesday Bracket

-Iona wins a thriller over Siena to earn an auto bid. ETSU comes back against UNCG. UNC-Wilmington locks up a bid over Charleston, and Milwaukee continues their Cinderella run to the Horizon League final.

-Today is when the ACC tips. Clemson makes their last stand against NC State and Wake Forest tries to avoid a bad loss to Boston College.  Wake is a 13-point favorite, and a loss would be quite damaging.  But my gut is Wake will still make the field, even if they lose.

MIDWEST

1 KANSAS
16 MT ST MARY’S / NEW ORLEANS

8 ARKANSAS
9 PROVIDENCE

5 MINNESOTA
12 UNC-WILMINGTON

4 VIRGINIA
13 BUCKNELL

6 IOWA STATE
11 MIDDLE TENNESSEE

3 UCLA
14 FGCU

7 SAINT MARY’S
10 SETON HALL

2 LOUISVILLE
15 NORTH DAKOTA

WEST

1 OREGON
16 UC IRVINE / NC CENTRAL

8 MICHIGAN STATE
9 VIRGINIA TECH

5 NOTRE DAME
12 TEXAS-ARLINGTON

4 WEST VIRGINIA
13 WINTHROP

6 SMU
11 XAVIER

3 FLORIDA
14 CAL-STATE BAKERSFIELD

7 SOUTH CAROLINA
10 WAKE FOREST

2 GONZAGA
15 SOUTH DAKOTA ST

EAST

1 VILLANOVA
16 JACKSONVILLE STATE

8 OKLAHOMA ST
9 MICHIGAN

5 CINCINNATI
12 ILLINOIS / SYRACUSE

4 DUKE
13 PRINCETON

6 MARYLAND
11 WICHITA STATE

3 ARIZONA
14 AKRON

7 WISCONSIN
10 VCU

2 KENTUCKY
15 NORTHERN KENTUCKY

SOUTH

1 UNC
16 TEXAS SOUTHERN

8 DAYTON
9 MARQUETTE

5 PURDUE
12 NEVADA

4 BUTLER
13 VERMONT

6 CREIGHTON
11 VANDERBILT / USC

3 FLORIDA STATE
14 ETSU

7 MIAMI
10 NORTHWESTERN

2 BAYLOR
15 IONA

Tuesday Bracket

Monday Bracket

Just six days to Selection Sunday!

-Congrats to the Wichita State Shockers, the 2017 MVC regular season and tournament champions. They move up to an 11.

-Northwestern lost at home to Purdue. Despite what the media is saying, Northwestern still has not locked in a bid. If they don’t win their first Big Ten tournament game, they should be sweating bullets on Selection Sunday. The Wildcats’ loss is Providence’s gain, as the two switch bracket spots.

-Once again, Monmouth is upset in the MAAC Tournament and will miss the NCAAs. Siena takes their place for now.

-Michigan won at Nebraska (in an absolute romp) and locked up their spot in the bracket. Congrats to the Wolverines.

MIDWEST

1 KANSAS
16 MT ST MARY’S / NEW ORLEANS

8 ARKANSAS
9 PROVIDENCE

5 MINNESOTA
12 UNC-WILMINGTON

4 VIRGINIA
13 BUCKNELL

6 IOWA STATE
11 MIDDLE TENNESSEE

3 UCLA
14 FGCU

7 SAINT MARY’S
10 SETON HALL

2 LOUISVILLE
15 NORTH DAKOTA

WEST

1 OREGON
16 UC IRVINE / NC CENTRAL

8 MICHIGAN STATE
9 VIRGINIA TECH

5 NOTRE DAME
12 TEXAS-ARLINGTON

4 WEST VIRGINIA
13 WINTHROP

6 SMU
11 XAVIER

3 FLORIDA
14 CAL-STATE BAKERSFIELD

7 SOUTH CAROLINA
10 WAKE FOREST

2 GONZAGA
15 SOUTH DAKOTA ST

EAST

1 VILLANOVA
16 JACKSONVILLE STATE

8 OKLAHOMA ST
9 MICHIGAN

5 CINCINNATI
12 ILLINOIS / SYRACUSE

4 DUKE
13 PRINCETON

6 MARYLAND
11 WICHITA STATE

3 ARIZONA
14 AKRON

7 WISCONSIN
10 VCU

2 KENTUCKY
15 NORTHERN KENTUCKY

SOUTH

1 UNC
16 TEXAS SOUTHERN

8 DAYTON
9 MARQUETTE

5 PURDUE
12 NEVADA

4 BUTLER
13 VERMONT

6 CREIGHTON
11 VANDERBILT / USC

3 FLORIDA STATE
14 ETSU

7 MIAMI
10 NORTHWESTERN

2 BAYLOR
15 IONA

Monday Bracket

High Variance Teams

See the post below this one for my Sunday bracket.

But here, I’d like to take a moment to talk about high variance teams. What I mean is teams who could be seeded anywhere within a large seed range.

Many teams can be pegged with confidence to be exactly on one line. Examples are Kansas and Villanova will be one seeds, and UT-Arlington should expect a 12 seed if they win their conference tournament.

Now, for the high variance teams that could surprise many one week from today:

Wichita State – They could end up anywhere from an eight seed if the committee really values their efficiency ratings to a 12 seed if the committee punishes them for only recording three top 100 wins on the year. My personal expectation is that Wichita State will end up either a 10 or 11 seed, depending on what other teams do in their conference tournaments.

Dayton – The Flyers are a very good basketball team, and they have done their job by collecting quality victories this year. However, elite wins have escaped them this season. That is mostly due to a weaker conference schedule, but also because of an inability to win elite games out of conference. The Flyers can get up to a six seed, or as far down as a ten. My expectation is either a seven or an eight.

Virginia Tech – Buzz Williams is a terrific coach and has a very good basketball team, but they’re out of conference strength of schedule is bound to hurt them. The Hokies could get as high as a six seed because of strong wins (Duke, Virginia, Miami, at Michigan), but could also drop all the way to an 11. While they haven’t lost any terrible games, there are a few losses to mediocre teams. I expect the Hokies to end up in an 8/9 game, but their seed is very much up for grabs entering the ACC tournament.

SMU – Mustang basketball has thrived the past half decade, and a tournament bid is assured. Their seed, however, is very much up in the air. SMU has only one victory against the top 50, but they do have eight wins against the top 100. How the committee views an elite record with a lack of elite wins will determine where this team ends up. They could be as high as a five, and as low as a nine. My guess is they end up at or within a line of a seven.

Wisconsin – The Badgers are a confounding team. At times they look like a real contender, and other times, not even worthy of a tournament bid. With a resume lacking elite wins but plenty of good top 100 victories, they could be seeded as high as a five and as low as a nine. My expectation is +/- one line of a seven seed one week from today.

High Variance Teams