Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Nov. 27

The Breakdown
As expected, it's been a wild, unpredictable first few weeks of the college basketball season. A handful of small conference "cupcakes" shocked big-conference opponents, and several early-season tournaments crowned surprise winners. Our first bracket of the regular season reflects many of these surprises - there are 13 teams that made their bracket debuts this week, and many teams saw major adjustments to their preseason seeding.

Out This Bracket
Mississippi State, Maryland, Auburn, VCU, Missouri, New Mexico State, Akron, Vermont, Texas A&M-CC, Sacred Heart, East Tennessee State, Delaware State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

In This Bracket
Vanderbilt, Seton Hall, Miami (FL), Baylor, St. Mary's, New Mexico, Miami (OH), Albany, Sam Houston State, Monmouth, Belmont, North Carolina A&T, Alabama State

Last Four In
St. Mary's, New Mexico, Bradley, St. Joseph's

Last Four Out
Missouri, VCU, Maryland, Illinois

Next Four Out
Texas Tech, West Virginia, Boston College, Creighton


Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), ACC (7), Pac-10 (7), Big XII (5), SEC (5), Big Ten (4), A-10 (2), MVC (2), MWC (2), WCC (2)

America East - Albany

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Virginia, North Carolina State, Miami (FL), Florida State

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Xavier, St. Joseph's

Big East - Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Syracuse, Connecticut, Seton Hall

Big Sky - Montana

Big South - Winthrop

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

Big 12 - Kansas, Texas A&M, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - George Mason

C-USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Miami (OH)

MEAC - North Carolina A&T

MVC - Southern Illinois, Bradley

MWC - BYU, New Mexico

Northeast - Monmouth

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

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

Patriot - Holy Cross

SEC - Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky

Southern - Davidson

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - IUPUI

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Alabama State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's


The Seeds
The 1s
UCLA, North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas

The 2s
Georgetown, Duke, Washington State, Texas A&M

The 3s
Michigan State, Marquette, Texas, Tennessee

The 4s
Indiana, Louisville, Oregon, Butler

The 5s
Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Xavier, Clemson

The 6s
Gonzaga, USC, Virginia, North Carolina State

The 7s
Arizona, BYU, Villanova, Wisconsin

The 8s
Vanderbilt, Stanford, Syracuse, Southern Illinois

The 9s
Kansas State, Connecticut, Arkansas, Miami (FL)

The 10s
Florida, Seton Hall, Baylor, George Mason

The 11s
Florida State, California, Davidson, Kentucky

The 12s
St. Mary's, New Mexico, Bradley, St. Joseph's

The 13s
Miami (OH), Utah State, Winthrop, Holy Cross

The 14s
UC-Santa Barbara, Belmont, Western Kentucky, Montana

The 15s
Siena, Cornell, Sam Houston State, North Carolina A&T

The 16s
Albany, IUPUI, Austin Peay, Monmouth (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

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

Monday, November 26, 2007

B101's Dean's List-Academic Probation - Week of Nov. 19-25

Dean's List-Academic Probation is a weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule are put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

Dean’s List

The nation’s best league thus far couldn’t have dreamed of a better showing in the early-season tournaments. A week after Miami stunned everyone by winning in Puerto Rico, the rest of its conference brethren followed suit: Duke beat Marquette to win its fourth Maui Invitational, NC State upended Villanova to win the Old Spice Classic, and North Carolina downed BYU to win the Las Vegas Invitational. The ACC still has six undefeated teams at this point in the season – two more than any other power conference.

The state of Texas
The Lone Star State single-handedly boosted the reputation of the Big XII this week. Undefeated Texas A&M crushed Ohio State to win the NIT Tip-Off, D.J. Augustin put up 23 points and eight assists to lead Texas to an eye-opening blowout of Tennessee, and 5-0 Baylor (this season’s most pleasant surprise) win the Paradise Jam with victories over Notre Dame and Winthrop. Even inconsistent Texas Tech got in the act with an upset W over Gonzaga.

The Bulldogs turned last season’s NIT Tip-Off win into an eventual Sweet 16 appearance, and after this week, it’s going to be tough to bet against that happening again this season. Led by the most underrated backcourt in the country in A.J. Graves and Mike Green, Butler knocked off Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Texas Tech to win the Great Alaskan Shootout.

St. Mary’s
Even the WCC has its share of impact freshman this season. Australian rookie Patty Mills dropped a school-record 37 points on Oregon Tuesday as St. Mary's blew out the visiting Ducks 99-87. The win earned St. Mary’s (who has some tough games ahead) a spot in our next bracket, and also earned Gaels fans the early lead in the race for Rush of the Year. Check out the ESPN video footage of the rush here or watch a nice commemorative slide show of it here.

Perhaps no team did more for its resume – or for its league – this week than Xavier, who blew out No. 8 Indiana to win the Chicago Invitational Challenge. The Musketeers’ stifling defense was the difference – Eric Gordon was held to just four field goals and the Hoosiers shot just 38 percent as a team in Xavier’s 80-65 victory.

Also receiving votes: Seton Hall (nice W over Virginia to improve to 5-0), Cornell (good home W over a Siena team fresh off its upset of Stanford), USC (held Southern Illinois to 45 points in Anaheim Classic title game), Brandon Rush (17 points in Kansas’ OT win over Arizona), Kevin Love (21 points, 11 boards in UCLA’s CBE Classic win over Michigan State)


Academic Probation
New Mexico State

The Theus-Aggies divorce has proven to be a disaster on both ends. The Sacramento Kings are 4-9 under everyone’s favorite “Hang Time” coach, and New Mexico State – pegged by many, including us, in the preseason as the team to beat in the WAC – already has four losses. The Aggies’ only two wins this season are against UC-Davis and the law firm of Lemoyne-Owen.

Mississippi State
The Bulldogs were fixture in everyone’s preseason bracket, but they have already managed to find their way on the bubble. Mississippi State has lost to all three quality opponents it has faced, including defeats this week to Southern Illinois and Miami-Ohio.

Give the Eagles credit for putting together a decent OOC schedule, but it’s about time they start winning some of those games. Losses to Baylor and Missouri State this week won’t look great on a resume, and it means Winthrop certainly won’t duplicate its 11 seed from a year ago.

Penn State
If any team was in need of deodorant this week, it was the embarrassingly-bad Nittany Lions. Their trip to the Old Spice Classic resulted in losses to South Carolina, Rider, and Central Florida.

Maybe the Wildcats should have softened their OOC slate just a little. With a loss to UNC already in the bag and games with Duke, UCLA and North Carolina State still looming, Davidson ran into a buzzsaw on the road against Western Michigan – and fell 83-76 to the three-point-happy Broncos.

Also receiving votes: Joe Lunardi (up to his old first-place-in-conference tricks again with two Southern Conference teams in his new bracket), DePaul (L to North Carolina A&T, which ended last season with an RPI of 274), Sacred Heart (preseason favorites in the NEC fall to 0-6)

Monday, November 19, 2007

B101's Dean's List-Academic Probation - Week of Nov. 12-18

Dean's List-Academic Probation is a weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule are put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

Dean’s List

Is there a way the state of Florida can recount the ACC preseason basketball poll? Picked to finish dead last, the Hurricanes upset Providence and VCU last week to win the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Guards James Dews and James McClinton led the way for Miami, which has four more winnable games on the horizon before heading to Mississippi State on Dec. 13.

Eighteen years after the program’s biggest win – over Stanford in the 1989 NCAA tournament – the Saints orchestrated a little deja vu at the Pepsi Center Saturday afternoon. Transfer Josh Duell scored 16 points and held Robin Lopez in check as Siena stunned the 20th ranked Cardinal 79-67. The best part of this game - the first court rush of the year. Here's another angle.

Rhode Island
Their five wins are decent at best, but the Rams are still undefeated – and atop the back-to-respectable A-10 – after wins against South Florida, Stetson, and UAB this week. Senior forward Will Daniels has been a stud inside thus far, posting a double-double against Stetson and averaging 18 points and seven boards a game in the early going.

Virginia's road win over Arizona is going to be golden come Selection Sunday. Sean Singletary led the way with 24 points for the Cavaliers, which now have only a home game with Syracuse on Dec. 5 standing between them and an 11-0 start.

Chris Douglas-Roberts
We could live without the weak “CDR” nickname (which Dan Shulman beat to death in the ESPN telecast), but Douglas-Roberts was nearly unstoppable against UConn in the 2KSports College Hoops Classic final, scoring 33 points to lead Memphis to an 81-70 win. Many of those points came when the Tigers needed them most – with Joey Dorsey on the bench in foul trouble.

Also receiving votes: Baylor (nice W over Notre Dame), Clemson (ditto vs. Mississippi State), Providence (upset of No. 18 Arkansas), Tyler Hansbrough (27 points, nine boards in UNC’s win over Iona), Terrence Williams (triple-double in Louisville’s beatdown of Hartford)


Academic Probation
Florida State

Granted, three games in three days is a tall task, but beating Cleveland State and South Florida on two of those days shouldn’t be. The Seminoles weren’t able to defeat either one, and now have to scramble to find some confidence before their showdown with Billy Donovan’s boys Friday night.

North Carolina State
Rumor has it that the Wolfpack are the third best team in the ACC. What does that make (gulp) New Orleans? Read about the bank-shot ending of this one if you haven’t yet.

It’s not like VCU lost to awful teams this week, but falling to Miami and Arkansas is killer considering the team’s weak OOC schedule. The Commodores’ last chance at a resume-padder comes Dec. 2 at Maryland.

The race for second place in C-USA was anyone’s to win as the season opened, but after the first lap, UAB has already been left in the dust. The Blazers got blitzed this week, losing to Florida State, Georgia Southern (ouch), and Rhode Island.

The WAC got a lot of two-bid love from people in the preseason, but through the first two full weeks of games, the league done nothing to justify that praise. Only two teams, Nevada and San Jose State, have winning records (and both of them have questionable losses, too), and last week alone, Utah State lost to Cal Poly and UC-Irvine, and Fresno State lost to CS-Bakersfield.

Also receiving votes: Oregon State (loss to DII Alaska-Fairbanks), Xavier (L to Miami-Ohio), UConn’s road uniforms, the 27-person crowd at the Oklahoma-Gardner Webb 2KSports College Hoops Classic semifinal game at the Garden, Louisville’s national title hopes (thanks to David Padgett’s season-ending kneecap injury)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dean's List-Academic Probation - Nov. 5-11

This season, B101 will feature a new weekly column that analyzes all of the highlights and lowlights from the previous week's slate of games. The teams, players, conferences, etc. that deserve praise for what they accomplished over the past week will make our Dean's List; those deserving ridicule will be put on Academic Probation.

Here are this week's honorees:

The Dean’s List
Atlantic Sun
Give it up for the best story in the young college basketball season – the dominant force otherwise known as the Atlantic Sun Conference. Not only did Gardner Webb put the league on the map by stunning Kentucky, but Mercer pasted USC (scoring 96 points in the process), and Belmont drubbed Cincinnati. If nothing else, this week all but guaranteed the league a 15 seed on Selection Sunday.

While it was an incredible week for the Atlantic Sun, the Runnin’ Bulldogs – picked to finish eighth in the league – deserve to be singled out for their monumental upset of 14th-ranked Kentucky (in case you were wondering, GWebb was a 26-point underdog). There will certainly be more memorable and more meaningful upsets as the season goes on, especially in conference play and during Championship Week, but none will be as utterly shocking as this one was.

Michael Beasley, Kansas State
Let the Kevin Durant comparisons begin. In his first two college games, Beasley is averaging 32 points and has 38 total rebounds for 2-0 Kansas State. In what is shaping up to be a legendary year for freshmen, Beasley’s name – so far – is at the head of the class.

Austin Daye, Gonzaga
With Josh Heytfelt on the shelf for four to six weeks with a stress fracture in his foot, the Zags need a scoring lift in a hurry – and they got one from the freshman Daye in their season-opening win over Montana. The 6’-10” Daye also added 10 rebounds in the 77-54 victory.

Josh Mayo, Illinois-Chicago
At the end of the first full week of games, a Mayo leads the leads the nation in scoring – and it’s not one you’ve ever heard of. Junior guard Josh Mayo dropped 34 points, to go along with five rebounds and four assists, in the Flames’ season-opening win over Bradley Saturday. He's your NCAA leader at 34.0 ppg.

Also receiving votes: UNC-Greensboro, Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love, the unbeaten Horizon


Academic Probation
Enough has already been written about how upset/stunned Kentucky fans were with the debacle that was the GWebb game. We’ll only add the following: on the bright side, the Wildcats won’t be hurt too much by losing out on potential games against UConn and Memphis. Their OOC schedule, which features UNC, Indiana, and Louisville, is still impressive – and will give Billy Gillespie three chances to make fans forget the Runnin’ Bulldogs incident ever happened.

It won’t matter how many points O.J. Mayo pours in this season if the Trojans can’t find a way to hold Atlantic Sun squads under 95 points. Then again, maybe Tim Floyd decided to play VMI’s defensive sets and just forgot to tell anyone.

Big East
Belmont beat Cincinnati, Creighton beat DePaul, Cleveland State beat South Florida, UConn barely beat Morgan State (by 4), and Seton Hall had to go to OT to beat Monmouth. Wake up boys, the season started…and the Atlantic Sun is better than you.

Michigan State
If the two played right now, Gardner-Webb might beat the Spartans by 30. Tom Izzo’s squad had already lost to DII Grand Valley State in double OT last week, and this week, they almost pulled off the DII double before barely beating Michigan Tech 61-55. Yes, it’s way too early to panic, but…wait, maybe it’s not.

The Cameron Crazies
For a group that considers itself in a class by itself in terms of fanaticism and tradition, this is beyond pathetic.

Also receiving votes: Auburn, New Mexico State, Georgia Tech