Friday, October 12, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 1

No. 1: The Bracket - Preseason Edition
Over the years, we have shied away from putting together a preseason bracket, only because preseason brackets - like preseason polls when they eventually come out - won't end up meaning jack in a few weeks. Our first bracket of the year has traditionally come out after a couple of weeks of games - usually in mid-to-late November...well, until now. After years of holding out, we decided to give the readers what they have e-mailed us about and wanted for three years now - a preseason bracket. We made it our Bold Prediction No.1 for the 2007-2008 college basketball season.

Here it is: B101's Preseason Field of 65:

Conference Breakdown
ACC (7), Big East (7), Pac-10 (7), SEC (6), Big XII (5), Big Ten (4), A-10 (2), Colonial (2), MVC (2), WAC (2)

Last Four In
Florida State, Missouri, California, Auburn

Last Four Out
Providence, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Houston

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

The 2s
Georgetown, Louisville, Tennessee, Indiana

The 3s
Michigan State, Washington State, Duke, Kentucky

The 4s
Marquette, Oregon, USC, North Carolina State

The 5s
Gonzaga, Texas, Arkansas, Southern Illinois

The 6s
Xavier, Arizona, Clemson, Texas A&M

The 7s
Ohio State, Connecticut, Butler, Stanford

The 8s
Virginia, Pittsburgh, Florida, Syracuse

The 9s
Wisconsin, Davidson, Mississippi State, Kansas State

The 10s
Maryland, Villanova, VCU, BYU

The 11s
Auburn, California, Missouri, New Mexico State

The 12s
George Mason, Bradley, Florida State, St. Joseph’s

The 13s
Utah State, Winthrop (Big South), Akron (MAC), Holy Cross (Patriot)

The 14s
Vermont (America East), Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), UC-Santa Barbara (Big West)

The 15s
Siena (MAAC), Montana (Big Sky), Texas A&M-CC (Southland), IUPUI (Summit)

The 16s
Sacred Heart (Northeast), Cornell (Ivy), East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), Delaware State (MEAC, Play-In Game), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (SWAC, Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at

Thursday, October 11, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 2

No. 2: They Get To Play With Scissors
Our Bold Prediction No. 2 is a quick look at our preseason picks for the Final Four and the national championship game.

Final Four
North Carolina

Championship Game
UCLA 84, North Carolina 77

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 3

No. 3: These Are The 1 Seeds
Our Bold Prediction No. 3 is a look at UCLA, the top No. 1 seed in our Preseason bracket.

How does a team in the toughest conference in the country lose its best player and get tabbed by many – including us – as the preseason favorite to win it all the next year? Let us count the ways (this could take a while): The Bruins have the best point guard west of the Mississippi in Darren Collison, a future NBA swingman in junior Josh Shipp, two solid forwards in Lorenzo Mata and All-Name Team MVP Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and just for fun, the best rookie post player in the nation in Kevin Love. If preseason favorites are determined by potential pros on a team’s roster, UCLA would be a hands down choice. But pro prospects aside, it’s hard to imagine that even without the departed Aaron Afflalo and even with the schedule that comes with being a member of the Pac-10, that the Bruins wouldn't make a third straight Final Four appearance. UCLA also has the most tournament experience of any preseason title contender, has the added motivation of trying to avenge two straight disappointing Elite Eight losses, and perhaps most importantly, plays in a league that will have them as battle-tested as possible come postseason. In Collison, Ben Howland (how about the job he has done since arriving on the West Coast?) has a veteran floor general that can score and pass (he was freakishly consistent points-wise and averaged 5.7 assists per contest as a sophomore). Howland also has athleticism at every position and has a team that loves to play unselfishly despite its remarkable individual talent. And now, finally, Howland has something that UCLA lacked the last two years and something that 95 percent of college teams only dream of – a dominant presence inside. The 6’10” Love may not be Greg Oden on the defensive end, but his offensive exploits are already legendary and he hasn't even slipped on a powder blue jersey yet. He set every Oregon high school scoring record as a senior and has also received rave reviews from scouts for his passing ability, especially to start the fast break. Comparisons to Bill Walton and Wes Unseld have already been thrown Love’s way, and in anticipation of his debut, the Bruin faithful are expecting nothing less than a title game appearance. Frankly, even if Love is half as good as advertised, there’s no reason why those lofty expectations shouldn’t become a reality. The Bruins have no noticeable holes, no real question marks, a chip on their shoulder, at least four draftable players on their roster, and perhaps most telling, they garner unanimous praise as the best team in the nation’s deepest league. That's good enough for the top No. 1 seed right now, and quite possibly, a Hollywood ending down the road.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 4

No. 4: These Are The 1 Seeds
Our Bold Prediction No. 4 is a look at North Carolina, the second No. 1 in our Preseason bracket.

North Carolina
In blowing a double-digit second half lead against Georgetown in last year’s regional final, the Tar Heels confirmed what many of their loyal fans had feared: North Carolina may have had the second-most talent (to Florida) of any team in the tournament, but it didn’t have the experience and veteran leadership necessary to advance to a Final Four. Carolina’s four best players – Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Brandon Wright, and Wayne Ellington – had a combined five regular seasons of college ball under their belts at that point, and that youth cost the Heels dearly late versus the Hoyas. As a new season opens, though, a renewed sense of anticipation has invaded Chapel Hill, as Roy Williams and Co. prep for what many believe will be a season full of sweet redemption. Yes, the Heels lost Wright to the NBA lottery, but top to bottom, North Carolina has a roster overflowing with talent and a team full of players who are amped to show everyone that they are now ready to win a title. The leader of this group is, of course, Hansbrough. The Wooden Award front-runner (and our preseason pick for POY) is a force in the paint and looks ripe for a 20-point, 10-rebound-per-game junior season. He will also – unofficially – lead the country in hustle plays, and may cause Dick Vitale’s head to finally explode if he drops 35 at the Dean Dome against Duke. Carolina also has the most explosive backcourt in the conference in the lightning-fast Lawson (the ACC’s second best guard) and the sharpshooting Ellington. Alex Stephenson and Deon Thompson will give Hansbrough all the help he needs down low, and the trio of Marcus Ginyard, Bobby Frasor, and Danny Green gives the Heels unparalleled flexibility, defense, and depth on the perimeter. Overall, the Heels appear to have no weaknesses. Most of the team’s core players are sophomores, but last year’s tourney run made this team a seasoned one quickly. A tough ACC schedule and an even more brutal OOC slate (UNC plays at Ohio State, at Kentucky, at Penn, and at Rutgers in one Major League Baseball-esque four-game roadie in Nov. and Dec.) will have the Heels ready to go come tourney time. As the season opens, an ACC title, a No. 1 seed, and a Final Four appearance look like pretty safe bets. The Tar Heels and their fans, want more than that, though; they want to leave San Antonio with a trunk full of hardware. With its talent pool, the Heels won’t have any built-in excuses if that doesn’t happen.

Monday, October 08, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 5

No. 5: These Are The 1 Seeds
Our Bold Prediction No. 5 is a look at Memphis, the third No. 1 seed in our Preseason bracket.

In a year when legendary programs like UCLA and North Carolina are Final Four favorites, could Memphis (Memphis!?) win the national title? Believe it folks – the Tigers aren’t just for real, they might be Preseason No. 1 and will likely spend the most days at No. 1 of any team this season. We all know about their conference schedule – the Tigers have won 35 of their last 36 games in the putrid C-USA – but they showed last year in advancing to the Elite Eight that they have as much if not more talent than any team in the country. They also relish the fact that no one shows them any love during the regular season, and they use that us-against-the-world mentality to their advantage. On paper, John Calipari’s crew has no holes. Chris Douglas-Roberts can take the ball to the basket as good as anyone in the country, and he and Joey Dorsey (a beast underneath) make for an unstoppable inside-outside combo. Memphis also has Robert Dozier to crash the boards and Antonio Anderson to defend the opponent’s best shooter out on the perimeter. Memphis’ only question mark was at the point guard spot – until Calipari landed All-everything prep star Derrick Rose. Rose is a Nash-like pass-first, shoot-only-when-necessary floor general that fits this team perfectly. He certainly has plenty of options to get the ball to, and all signs point to Rose finding some highlight reel ways to do just that. Still not convinced the Tigers are for real? Critics won’t be able to pick on Memphis’ schedule this year, either. Yes, C-USA is garbage, but the Tigers might have the hardest OOC schedule of any team in the nation, with games against Georgetown, Arizona, Tennessee, and Gonzaga (all at home, but still). They also play USC in the Jimmy V Classic and potentially Kentucky in the 2K College Hoops Classic. Can you say No. 1 in the RPI? Can you say San Antonio? We’ll see. For now, we’re very confident in saying this: Memphis is a 1 seed.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 6

No. 6: These Are The 1 Seeds
Our Bold Prediction No. 6 is a look at Kansas, the fourth No. 1 seed in our Preseason bracket.

The Jayhawks may be the fourth No. 1 seed in our bracket, but they may have a better chance that some of the other four teams on this line to be a one seed when all is said and done. If Brandon Rush’s knee is OK – and all reports so far say that it is and that he should ready by early December – the Jayhawks will be favored to return to the Final Four and to contend for its first national title since 1988. Kansas is the clear favorite in the ridiculously weak Big XII, and therefore they should have no problem, barring injuries, getting through the regular season with four or fewer losses. Their OOC schedule is manageable (vs. Arizona, at USC, at BC) and they shouldn’t lose more than a couple games in conference. Aside from Rush, the Jayhawks are stacked at every position. Russell Robinson and Sherron Collins make up a dynamic backcourt. Super sophomore Darrell Arthur takes over as Kansas’ force inside, replacing the departed Julian Wright. He’ll have some help in the paint with the arrival of 6’11” freshman Cole Aldrich, who Bill Self loves. All told, the Jayhawks have as much depth as anyone in the country, they are tournament tested, and they have a star player looking to show NBA scouts that the knee that kept him out of last year’s draft is just fine. Sounds like a one seed to us. Don’t be surprised to see Kansas fans strolling the River Walk come March.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 7

No. 7: These Are The 2 Seeds
Our Bold Prediction No. 7 is a breakdown of the four teams that will be on the two line in our Preseason bracket.

Hoya fans had half of their prayers answered in the off-season, as one of their two junior stars – Roy Hibbert – decided to returned to school. Even with Jeff Green, last year’s Big East player of the Year, gone, it’s Final Four or bust this season for Georgetown. Hibbert is the best true center in the country, and he has plenty of talent around him. Jonathan Wallace doesn’t exactly fill up a stat line, but he runs John Thompson III’s offense to perfection, Jessie Sapp is a solid shooting guard, and DaJuan Summers and Vernon Macklin are improving options in the frontcourt. The Hoyas also welcome a heralded recruiting class, led by guards Austin Freeman and Chris Wright. In short, Georgetown is loaded. It has the a style of play and a cornerstone player that will give everyone they play match-up problems – and the Hoyas have Final Four experience to boot. The only issue, if you want to call it an issue, that Georgetown has as it enters this season is the conference it plays in. The Big East is very deep, and with an expanded 18-game conference schedule, the Hoyas could get picked off a few times. They also have to play Louisville twice. Kansas won’t have those obstacles in a poor Big XII, meaning even with a Big East title, Georgetown might not get a 1 seed.

Louisville lost a grand total of five points per game off of last year’s team, and returns maybe the most balanced team in the Big East. Unlike Georgetown, the Cardinals don’t have a superstar, but what they do have is a ton of talent and a ton of options on the offensive end. Many people argue that because of this balance, Louisville is a safer pick to win the Big East than Georgetown is. We don’t necessarily agree, based on the idea that Louisville right now at least lacks a true go-to guy that they can consistently rely on in crunch time of a huge conference game. That said, with Derrick Caracter, David Padgett, Terrence Williams, and Earl Clark up front, and Terrence Williams an a feisty and underrated Edgar Sosa in the backcourt, scoring points won’t be a problem. The Cardinals are also solid on the defensive end. Louisville will be a top-6 team in the post-season polls and will be around that spot all season long. We’ll say they finish a game back of Georgetown for the Big East title and join the Hoyas on the two line.

Bruce Pearl’s chest painting aside, last year was a unforgettable season for Tennessee, as the Volunteers made it to the Sweet 16 before falling by a point to Ohio State. This season hasn’t started off on the best foot, with sophomore Duke Crews being suspended indefinitely after a violation of team rules and then marijuana subsequently being found in his on-campus apartment, but even that news has not done much to lower expectations in Knoxville. Tennessee should be a top-8 team when the first official polls are released, thanks in large part to the core group of talent that returns. Chris Lofton is the nation’s most lethal shooter and a likely first-team All-American. With Ramar Smith beside him in the Vols’ backcourt, Tennessee will be extremely tough to defend on the perimeter. JuJuan Smith is an underrated, do-everything player on the wing, Wayne Chism is a scrappy competitor down low, and a third Smith – transfer Tyler Smith – should step in and contribute immediately. Even without Crews, Tennessee is the class of the SEC – a distinction that will earn them a two seed in March.

It only seems like D.J. White has been at Indiana since the Reagan administration. In reality, it’s (only) been four years, and this year, the senior’s decision to return to school has Hoosier fans anticipating a Big Ten title. With White back and dominating the paint, and freshman sensation Eric Gordon likely scoring in bunches from his shooting guard spot, Indiana has a tough-to-beat inside-out combination. The rest of the starting lineup, which might soon include impressive juco transfer Jamarcus Ellis, is talented in its own right and gives Kelvin Sampson a depth advantage over Tom Izzo’s Michigan State squad. The Michigan State-Indiana games are going to be intense and will likely decide who wins the Big Ten title. That honor will earn someone – we say Indiana – a two seed in the NCAA tourney.

Friday, October 05, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 8

No 8: These Are The 3 Seeds
Our Bold Prediction No. 8 is a breakdown of the four teams that will be on the three line in our Preseason bracket.

Michigan State
The formula for success in East Lansing has been the same for over a decade. The Spartans are built on solid, smart point guard play and a grind-it-out, crash-the-boards style that make them a tough match-up for anyone they play. The 2007-2008 edition of Michigan State basketball is no different, and that why expectations are understandably high on campus. Drew Neitzel is the best guard in the Big Ten and brings a toughness that can’t be overlooked. His backcourt mate, point guard Travis Walton, is cut from the same cloth. The kid can run an offense, too; he averaged an impressive 5.5 assists as a sophomore last season. That duo, along with Raymar Morgan at the small forward spot and a lot of height to choose from inside, gives the Spartans balance and depth. Indiana may be better than Michigan State on paper, but not by much, and both of them are head and shoulders above anyone else talent-wise in a weak Big Ten. The Big Ten champ will get a two seed, and the runner up a three seed. Right now, that three seed goes to MSU.

Washington State
The Cougars are living proof that preseason polls (and preseason bracketology picks for that matter) don’t mean squat. Picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 before last season, Washington State exploded onto the national scene, winning 26 games and earning Tony Bennett national Coach of the Year honors. The Cougars won’t sneak up on anyone and can anticipate everyone’s best shot this season, but with the players they return, that shouldn’t temper expectations in Pullman. Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver are back for their senior seasons, and combine to form one of the better backcourts in the country. Robbie Cowgill is a tough match-up inside, and the rest of the Wazzou roster is full of complimentary players on the front line and on the perimeter that will contribute just enough to have the Cougars near the top of the Pac-10 standings all season. They won’t win the league (UCLA will), but Washington State will finish second, and earn a three seed on Selection Sunday.

Gone are the days of the Blue Devils having a dominant presence inside to rely on down the stretch in games. This year’s Duke squad, which returns hungry after last season’s late collapse and stunning first round loss to VCU, is set up to be a guard-heavy, three-point shooting machine. Greg Paulus, DeMarcus Nelson, and Jon Scheyer are back and will be responsible for a bulk of the team’s scoring output. Freshman Kyle Singler (a taller J.J. Redick) is Duke’s most hyped newcomer and will be the team’s long distance gunner. He might also turn, like Redick, into the player that the Cameron Crazies adore and opponents’ fans heckle and hate. The only issue with Duke is their balance: The Blue Devils will be so reliant on their outside shooting (Brian Zoubek is their biggest post presence…yikes), that they will likely be one of the streakiest teams in the country. But they have enough explosiveness in the backcourt – and enough McDonald’s All-Americans to pick from off the bench – to finish as the second best team in the ACC.

Remember the 2006 Villanova team that advanced to the Elite Eight by using a four guard lineup (Foye, Ray, Nardi and Lowry)? Well, this year’s Kentucky squad may not start four guards like Jay Wright’s club did at times, but Billy Gillispie’s new club does have something in common with that Villanova team – its best four players are all in the backcourt. Joe Crawford, Ramel Bradley, Jodie Meeks and Derrick Jasper might be the finest quartet of guards on one team in the SEC and they hold the key to Gillispie’s much-anticipated rookie season in Lexington. Kentucky fans have expectations set ultra-high for this group, and those expectations were raised even more when Gillispie was able to get a late commitment from prep forward Patrick Patterson, who should fill in a glaring hole down low. This squad as assembled may not be Final Four caliber, but a second place finish in the SEC and a three seed isn’t a shabby start for the Gillispie Era.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 9

No. 9: These Are The 4 Seeds
Our Bold Prediction No. 9 is a breakdown of the four teams that will be on the four line in our Preseason bracket.

Most of the preseason buzz in the Big East has been on the conference’s two-headed monster – Louisville and Georgetown. That’s probably fine with Marquette coach Tom Crean, but unfortunately, the Golden Eagles’ anonymity won’t last very long. Marquette is at worst the third best team in the Big East, and at best could contend for a conference title thanks to the loaded backcourt trio of Dominic James (maybe the most underrated PG in the country), Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews. The team’s big question mark is down low, where Marquette lacks experience and scoring ability. If they can just get one or two unproven forwards to contribute at all to the offense, the result may be a deep run in March. If not, James and Co. is a pretty solid back-up option.

Oregon enters the season as the Marquette of the Pac-10. No one thinks the Ducks will win the national title (that honor goes to rival UCLA), and they don’t have the celebrated recruits of some other conference mates (see USC). But Oregon does have two things that should excite everyone in Eugene: senior leadership and superb guard play. Gone is Aaron Brooks, but guards Malik Hairston, Bryce Taylor and Tajuan Porter should be able to fill the void quite nicely. They’ll be in charge of keeping Oregon’s high octane, high speed offense running smoothly, and if last year is any indication, that won’t be a problem. The ultimate key, though, to another Elite 8 run will be the play of Porter at the point. He was called on to be a shooter as a freshman last season and averaged just two assists per game. If he can get that up to five or six per game, Oregon fans will be quacking deep into the NCAA tourney.

Yup, we’ve already bought in to the hype machine that is O.J. Mayo. The heralded freshman hasn’t played a minute of college ball, and he already has experts predicting a Carmelo-like Hollywood ending for the Trojans this season. We won’t go that far (USC did lose Nick Young and its top three scorers), but we love what we hear about the kid’s playmaking ability and desire to bring a national title to L.A. We also love the guys he might occasionally pass the ball to. Taj Gibson is a force inside and he’ll have help from RouSean Cromwell and freshman Davon Jefferson. USC might takes some hits early as Mayo gets up to speed and learns the offense, but if the kid is a tenth as good as everyone (including Mayo himself) says he is, he’ll be just fine once conference play starts. Overall, the Trojans have enough pieces to be the third or fourth best team in the Pac-10, which this season earns them a spot on the four line.

North Carolina State
We admitted our preseason love affair with N.C. State in our ACC preview, and rewarded the Wolfpack with a four seed. We’ll temper our expectations more than some prognosticators have, but it is hard to ignore all of the talent and experience that N.C. State returns. The only hole on its roster – and it’s a gaping one – is at the point guard spot. Engin Atsur ran the show nicely last season, but he’s gone. Someone has to feed the ball to Brandon Costner, Brandon McCauley, and newcomer J.J. Hickson inside and to Gavin Grant on the wing. That duty might go to a freshman, which is not only dangerous but a reason that the Wolfpack might struggle early. By February, though, they’ll have gelled and will be the third best team in the deep ACC. That kind of season deserves a top-four seed.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 10

No. 10: These Are The 5 Seeds
For our final 10 Bold Predictions, we will slowly unveil our Preseason Field of 65, starting with the four teams we have on the five line. We will release the final, complete bracket on October 12 for our final Bold Prediction.

For now, though, here is our Bold Prediction No. 10 - a breakdown of the four teams that will be on the five line in our Preseason bracket:

The Zags should fly through the WCC with no more than a couple of losses, and will have plenty of chances to boost their RPI with an impressive OOC schedule (at St. Joseph’s, at UConn, vs. Washington State, vs. Tennessee). Gonzaga is strong in the backcourt with Pargo, Downs, and Pendergraft, has the conference’s best player in Heytvelt, an up-and-comer in Bouldin, and a nasty recruiting class. If the Zags keep gym clothes (and gym clothes) only in their gym bags this season, a deep NCAA run is a near-certainty.

This pick is part D.J. Augustin and part an indictment on the conference they play in. Even without Kevin Durant, Texas returns a ton of talent and one of the top three point guards in the country in the sophomore Augustin. The speedy backcourt of Augustin and A.J. Abrams will be tough for any team to handle, and they should lead Texas to a second place finish in the ultra-weak Big XII.

Who’s the third best team in the SEC? We think it’s Arkansas, a team that earned the most debatable dance card of anyone last season when they somehow made it to the SEC final and nabbed a 12 seed despite 14 losses and a 7-9 conference record. The core from that team is back, led by super sophomore Patrick Beverly, who averaged 14 points a game a year ago. New coach John Pelphrey has to find a point guard from a host of halfway decent candidates, and if he does so, the Razorbacks will win the SEC West and be a top-5 seed.

Southern Illinois
The Valley is down this season, but that may actually be good news for favorite Southern Illinois. They are by far the MVC’s most talented team, led by senior Randal Falker, who is the early favorite for conference POY. A 3-4 loss Valley season and a reputation as a dangerous tourney team (see last year’s Sweet 16 run) will earn the Salukis a top-5 seed. Among mid-majors, Southern Illinois is second only to Gonzaga in terms of sleeper upside, and again will be a tough out for whoever they play in the second round of the NCAA tourney.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 11

No. 11: Who’s The Last Team In?
While Providence cries, who will be cheering? Who will survive life on the bubble and be the last team in this year’s final Field of 65?

Last Team In:
Florida State
There are a number of candidates here, and all according to our projections would be the last teams in from their respective BCS conferences. Auburn (the last SEC team in) and Cal (the seventh team in from the stacked Pac-10) were heavily considered for out preseason Last Team In. But in the end, we decided to give the honor to a team that has been a permanent fixture on the bubble for years now.

Our Bold Prediction No. 11 is that Florida State (finally) will do just enough to earn a trip to the dance as the seventh and final team out of the ACC. We are banking much of this projection on the play of Toney Douglas and the young group of frontcourt players that the Seminoles will be relying in what will be a highly competitive middle of the pack in the ACC. FSU’s young forwards may take some to fit in, but by the end of the season, they should have gelled well enough to lead the Seminoles on a nice ACC tourney run (knocking off a Duke or NC State in the process). That run will finally (congrats ‘Noles fans) move FSU onto the right side on the bubble on Selection Sunday.

(Note: If the last two Bold Predictions actually happen, we will brag about it forever. Just a warning…)

Monday, October 01, 2007

B101's Bold Prediction No. 12

No. 12: Who’s The Last Team Out?
Of all the comments we get on the blog or via e-mail during the season, most are concerning the teams that we have in our Last Four In or Last Four Out. So, as we count down to Midnight Madness, we would be doing our loyal fans a disservice if we didn’t take a ridiculously early stab at who, come Selection Sunday, will see their bubble burst and who will sneak their way into the final field.

We won’t pick all four in and out this early, but here’s our attempt at predicting the Last Team In and Last Team out for 2007-2008:

Last Team Out:

What does the committee have against Mike Tranghese and the Big East? Two years ago, Cincinnati was mysteriously overlooked on Selection Sunday, and last year, the same fate befell Syracuse – a team that no one even had on the bubble heading into the season’s final weekend. In both cases, a middle-tier Big East team ended up as the last team out of the final Field of 65.

Who are we to mess with tradition?

Our Bold Prediction No. 12 is that Providence will be the last team out of this year’s NCAA tournament. Our rationale for this impossible-to-predict-at-this-point projection is as follows: Providence returns some decent junior talent in Sharaud Curry, Weyinmi Efejuku and Geoff McDermott, but without the graduated Herbert Hill, the Friars on paper are the seventh or eighth best team in the Big East. Their mediocre OOC schedule, which is “headlined” by games against Florida State and Boston College, leaves a lot to be desired as well. A bad non-conference season killed Syracuse last season and overshadowed the Orange’s 10-6 Big East mark. The same thing could be in the cards for the Friars, especially if they were to lose to either the Seminoles or the Eagles.

In the end, we think that the Big East will earn seven NCAA tourney bids, but we don’t think one of them will be Providence. The Friars will likely have a winning Big East record (we’ll say 10-8 for the sake of argument), but like Syracuse and Cincinnati, that won’t be enough.

Sorry Friars, you might as well not even play out this season.

You’re the Last Team Out.