Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Jan. 29

The Breakdown
As conference play continued this week and teams continued to struggle mightily on the road (UCLA, Texas A&M, Oregon, etc.) , the amount of teams on the bubble rose to record size. The SEC and the ACC continued to be the toughest conferences to figure, and both leagues saw several teams make major movements in this week's bracket.

The SEC was the most fluid conference of the week. After weeks of being in the bracket based solely on potential and not performance, Alabama and (especially) LSU are finally on the outisde looking in. Alabama's non-existent OOC resume and its second loss this season to Arkansas knocked them out, while LSU's inability to win a game period sent them to the outer edges of the bubble. Vanderbilt continued its strong play this week and moved up two seeds lines while Georgia, fresh off wins over Kentucky and LSU, makes its bracket debut. Tennessee and Arkansas are in a virtual tie in our minds as the fifth and sixth teams out of the conference. The SEC should be a six-team league, but the Vols and Razorbacks need to pick it up to make sure that in the end they are two of the six.

The other interesting conference this week proved to be the ACC. Last week, we took Boston College out of the backet, citing Sean Williams' suspension and the Eagles' tough February stretch of conference games as reasons why. BC's win over Florida State this week, though, changed those projections. By winning that game and finishing the week at 6-2 in conference, the Eagles, we now believe, have a great chance of getting to 9-7 and earning a bid. Their end of the season stretch is tough, but needing three wins versus needing four is a huge difference. BC's game at Miami on Feb. 7 is one win, and they can definitely win two more, expecially with four games left at home. Georgia Tech's 0-2 week, and 2-5 mark in conference, knocked them out this week. The Yellow Jackets were replaced by a hot Virginia team that extended its ACC winning streak to four with victories over NC State and Clemson.

Our final major projection change came in the Colonial. After weeks of calling the CAA a one-bid league, both Hofstra and VCU are in this week's bracket. VCU finally picked up some quality road wins this week, including a huge win over at-large hopeful Drexel. Those wins, and a tough-to-ignore 10-0 mark in conference, have us believing now in their at-large hopes. VCU and Hofstra, who we still project as the tournament champ, face of in a battle for Colonial suppremacy Wednesday at Hofstra.

The other mid-major stories of note this week were in the MWC and MVC. BYU's win over Air Force earned the Cougars a spot on the Last Four Out list, and it makes their showdown with UNLV Saturday even more ginormous. With a two-win week, BYU will make the MWC a three-team league next bracket. In the MVC, parity continues to be a problem. Southern Illinois and Creighton have pulled two games clear of the rest of the league, and no one else seems to want a bid. Northern Iowa is still in - barely - despite a two loss week, while Missouri State was knocked out thanks to their home loss to Creighton, a 6-5 record in conference, and a head-to-head loss to UNI. The Bears have two road games this week (at Drake and at Indiana State), and they'll need both to get back on track and back in the bracket.

Here is Bracketology 101's Field of 65 for Jan. 29:

Last Four In
Maryland, VCU, Northern Iowa, Syracuse

Last Four Out
Georgia Tech, Alabama, Missouri State, BYU

Conference Breakdown
ACC (8), Big East (6), Pac-10 (6), SEC (6), Big XII (5), Big Ten (4), MVC (3), Colonial (2), MWC (2), WAC (2)

America East - Vermont

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Virginia, Boston College, Florida State, Maryland

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10 - Xavier

Big East - Pittsburgh, Marquette, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, Syracuse

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Winthrop

Big Ten - Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan State

Big 12 - Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas

Big West - Long Beach State

Colonial - Hofstra, VCU

C-USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Penn

Metro Atlantic - Loyola (MD)

MAC - Toledo

MCC - Oral Roberts

MEAC - Delaware State

MVC - Southern Illinois, Creighton, Northern Iowa

MWC - Air Force, UNLV

Northeast - Central Connecticut State

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

Pac-10 - UCLA, Oregon, Washington State, USC, Stanford, Arizona

Patriot - Holy Cross

SEC - Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas

Southern - Appalachian State

Southland - Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

SWAC - Jackson State

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

WAC - New Mexico State, Nevada

WCC - Gonzaga

The Seeds
The 1s
North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, UCLA

The 2s
Ohio State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Kansas

The 3s
Duke, Memphis, Oklahoma State, Marquette

The 4s
Texas A&M, Air Force, Washington State, Butler

The 5s
Nevada, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Kentucky

The 6s
Indiana, Southern Illinois, Stanford, USC

The 7s
Arizona, Clemson, UNLV, Texas Tech

The 8s
Vanderbilt, Michigan State, Texas, Georgetown

The 9s
Georgia, Creighton, Virginia, Villanova

The 10s
Tennessee, Arkansas, Boston College, Florida State

The 11s
New Mexico State, Gonzaga, VCU, Xavier

The 12s
Maryland, Hofstra, Northern Iowa, Syracuse

The 13s
Winthrop, Toledo, Western Kentucky, Appalachian State

The 14s
Oral Roberts, Vermont, Holy Cross, Penn

The 15s
Loyola (MD), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Weber State, Long Beach State

The 16s
East Tennessee State, Austin Peay, Central Connecticut State, Delaware State (Play-In Game), Jackson State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
This Week's Bracket - Jan. 29



Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Short of winning the conference tournament, is there any way for GW to play their way into the tournament out of the A-10 or is that league locked into 1 bid unless Xavier slips up?

Anonymous said...

go vcu air

Paymon said...

Do you live in Hempstead, NY? I'm not sold on Hofstra's interior play. They've struggled with teams that they should be defeating handily.

I'm shocked by the exclusion of Missouri State. They have a stronger resume than some of the teams you've included and the MVC also deserves a 4th team.

PS My bracket is up.

Bryan said...

Being a Fla. State fan myself, I am glad to see that they are still in most brackets, but for how long? After their home game with maryland this week, they will have 8 ACC games remaining (3 home, 5 away). So far, they are 0-3 in ACC road games this year. How much will a continued lack of road wins hurt them in the future? And, just a question about road wins -- do you guys know what the worst road record for a team to make the NCAA's was?

Anonymous said...

I simply cannot understand Notre Dame as a 5 seed. Their RPI has them as an 8 seed. Of the three decent teams they played OOC, they lost to Butler, have a decent win @ Maryland, but the home win over Alabama seems more useless by the minute. In conference, they are 0-3 on the road, including an embarrassing loss at St. John's. They also have a very weak Big East schedule with their only (and this is a stretch) chance at a quality road win at Syracuse. They got blown out in their only two road games against decent BE teams (@GU, @NOVA). I just don't see any way they are higher than an 8 right now.

Bracketology 101 said...

Some very good comments today. Here's a couple quick hits...

The A-10 is a one-bid league right now, but GW still has hope to make it two. The Colonials' biggest key will be winning their Feb. 10 game against Xavier and finishing with a max of three conference losses. A lot could happen, but if GW does those things and makes the final of the A-10 tournament and loses to Xavier, both teams could get in...

Hofstra's wins might not be pretty, but a 16-2 record in its last 18 games is pretty hard to ignore. The Pride have beaten every quality CAA team not named VCU (they host the Rams Wednesday) and we stand by our prediction that they will win the conference tournament. If Hofstra beats VCU in the final, provided VCU has continued its strong play, the CAA should get two bids...

It's tough to argue that the MVC is a four-bid league right now, when even Northern Iowa is questionable. Missouri State is hurt by a bunch of factors, aside from losing four of six: their best conference win is at Bradley, they lost head-to-head to UNI (at home), they have tough road games left (including two this week), and right now it's hard to project much more than a .500 record in conference. The MVC is good, but not .500-in-conference-gets-you-in good. Parity kills, and it's killing Missouri State...

FSU better win at home against Maryland Tuesday if they want to stay in the bracket. With road games at Duke and at Clemson to follow, the Noles are a week away from being very in or perhaps very out...

Be careful when going solely on RPI in looking at ND's seed line. They are 17-4 and 5-3 in the Big East and have an extremely easy schedule left. If the Irish win at Syracuse Tuesday, they have a good chance to lose just one more conference game all year. The road games they have left after Syracuse may be easy, but they are road wins nonetheless and they will help their RPI (currently 41). In the end, without any big slipups and with a good Big East tourney showing, they should be in the 5-6 range come dance time...

Bracketology 101 said...

In addition to what Chris said...Missouri State, GT, and Alabama (who are the last 3 teams out) appear in a lot of other brackets out there this week. The major reason they do not appear in ours is because we are giving 2 bids to the CAA and WAC. Come conference tourney time everyone knows there will be upsets happening and some of these mid-major conferences will get 2 bids. If its not the CAA and WAC like we are projecting right now, then it may be the A-10 (GW, Xavier) or the WCC (Gonzaga and whoever wins the conference tourney).

Natty544 said...

I'm questioning if Vanderbilt should be in the AP top 25. They play Florida and Georgia next which I see them loosing both. An 8 seed was probably good for Vanderbilt but they may fall to an even worse seed. With losses vs. App St. vs. Furman and @ Wake I don't see them winning a great percentage of the rest of there games.

winthropfan12 said...

If for some chance Winthrop gets upset in the confrence tournament will they still get in? They had the BEST team in North Carolina and Wisconsin on the ropes. They have only lost to 4 really good teams that were all in the top 25. What do you think about Winthrop?

Paymon said...

Good points about Missouri State, their slide, and their upcoming schedule. I don't think their Wisconsin win will be forgotten. The issue here is whether the MVC will be treated like the 5th-rated conference by the RPI or if it'll be treated as a traditional non-power six conference. I'm not a huge Doug Elgin fan, and would personally love to see a 2nd CAA team included.

On that note, the Hofstra comment (beaten every quality opponent in the CAA except for VCU) is misleading. By that definition, you posit that there are 4 quality teams (VCU, Hofstra, Drexel, ODU), with Mason two games out of first. They have two quality wins overall - @ Drexel and vs. Old Dominion. By next Saturday, you might have something if they defeat VCU tomorrow and win @ Mason on the 10th. Even if they win those, the conference losses to UDel and N'Eastern will sting.

Bracketology 101 said...

Winthrop does not have a chance at an at-large. They may have played UNC and Wisconsin tough but they still have no quality wins, 4 non D1 wins, and their conference is 30 in the RPI. If they end up undefeated in conference then they get to play all of the tourney games on their home court which makes it less forgiving should they loss in the championship.

Hofstra's road losses to bottom feeding CAA teams is troubling (especially Monday's loss to Delaware). We'll see how they do against VCU on Wednesday. VCU has at-large potential if they only loss one more game in the regular season (maybe 2). The Bracket Buster game against Bradley is going to be huge should they keep winning.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any predictions about what will accually happen in the tourney? What is your final 4?

Anonymous said...

How far down the list of bubble teams is West Virginia?

Bracketology 101 said...

We'll worry about the tourney after they announce the field. WVU is basically on the next four out list. They have a very good record but have beaten no one.

natty said...

UVA pulls off another unprobable comeback right when it seems all hope is lost. After the win vs. Duke the Cavs have one 5 strait which were all ACC games. Next they play vs. Miami which will probably extend their win streak to 6. The Hoos are looking for atleast 9 ACC wins and it seems now that won't be a problem. With 4 more pretty easy ACC home games besides one at Tech, the Cavs are in great posistion to end the season at 11-5 in ACC play 21-9 overall. This would put them around a 6 seed in my oppinion which is what I think they deserve.

Paymon said...

The Cavs would be around a 6-seed now if they never went to Puerto Rico.

Bracketology 101 said...

Virginia's final seed will ultimately be decided by its performance in the ACC tourney, but the win over Duke (and their remaining schedule) make the Cavs a virtual lock for 9-10 wins in conference. They really should be able to get to 11-5, and if they do that and win a game or two in the ACC tourney, they'll be right around the 6 line.

Tim Driscoll said...

Will BYU get respect after their 27 point Win over UNLV?

Anonymous said...

Florida State finally gets a big road win albeit over an overrated Duke team. Southern Illinois cemented their spot in the tourney with a road win at Wichita.

Gabe said...

I'm not sure where all this "If its not Xavier it will be GW out of the A-10" talk is coming from. UMASS compares favorably with GW - they won a head to head match up, they have similiar RPIs, UMASS has a win over Louisville at Louiville that is starting to look pretty decent, a good road record, and has a home game with A-10 leading Rhode Island - the winner will be alone atop the A-10.

Add on a favorable schedule the rest of the way and you are looking at the potential of a UMASS team with 23 or 24 wins and a regular season A-10 title heading into the A-10 tourney. It wouldn't be a shocker to see UMASS win two games, lose the finals and go the dance with 25 or 26 wins.

Of course, I'm partial to the Minutemen.

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