Monday, January 14, 2008

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Jan. 14

The Breakdown
The continuation, or in some cases the start, of conference play brought about a ton of upsets this week. It also resulted in a slew of changes in this week’s bracket. Twenty-three of the 44 teams we had seeded on the 2-12 lines in our last bracket lost at least one game this week, including seven of the eight teams we had on the seven and eight lines. All of these losses made us review some teams extra closely, and in the end it caused us to cut ties with a couple that we've had in the field for a while.

The two most notable dropouts this week turned out to be North Carolina State and Massachusetts. N.C. State’s loss at North Carolina obviously wasn’t a bad loss, but the Wolfpack certainly didn’t look like a tournament team in scoring 13 first half points and losing by 31. N.C. State also has a tough stretch of games coming up, beginning with a road game at Clemson Tuesday night, and we feel that that stretch will knock them down the ACC standings and keep them out of the bracket for a while. UMass’ upcoming schedule is also brutal (at Dayton, Charlotte, and at St. Joseph’s over the next nine days), which makes their home loss to St. Joe’s this past week that much worse. We still think the A-10 could be a four bid league come March, but we just aren’t sure right now that that fourth team is going to be the Minutemen.

N.C. State and UMass were replaced in the bracket by Florida and Connecticut. The Gators won two more games this week to move to 15-2 on the year, and while they don’t have a marquee win yet, we have come around on the idea that they can get to double digit wins in the weak SEC and earn a bid. We like UConn now as well (yes, we are putting them in off a loss) because the Huskies are improving game by game and they proved on the road against Georgetown that they are certainly a tournament-caliber team. UConn's remaining Big East schedule also shapes up very nicely in terms of home and away games, and we think that they too have the talent to get 10 or 11 wins in conference and earn a bid.

The only other noteworthy development in the bracket this week was the downgrade of the MWC from a two-bid to a one-bid league. Last week, in our Bracket Breakdown, we argued for the MWC being a two-bid league, but our thinking has changed based on the results of the past week. Over the last six days, BYU and San Diego State suffered bad OOC losses, UNLV lost at Air Force and New Mexico lost at home to SDSU. Those results make it impossible to conclude that one team in the MWC is markedly better than the rest and thus is worthy of an at-large bid. We kept BYU in as our lone Mountain West team this week, and took the Lobos out.

Out This Bracket
North Carolina State, Massachusetts, Syracuse, New Mexico, George Mason, UC-Santa Barbara, East Tennessee State

In This Bracket
Louisville, Florida, Kansas State, Connecticut, VCU, Cal State Northridge, Jacksonville

Last Four In
Illinois State, Kansas State, Connecticut, Nebraska

Last Four Out
North Carolina State, Massachusetts, Syracuse, Providence

Next Four Out
St. Joseph’s, Missouri, Boston College, San Diego State


Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), Big XII (7), Pac-10 (7), ACC (5), SEC (5), Big Ten (4), A-10 (3), MVC (2), WCC (2)

America East - UMBC

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Miami-FL, Clemson, Virginia

Atlantic Sun - Jacksonville

A-10 - Dayton, Xavier, Rhode Island

Big East - Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Louisville, Connecticut

Big Sky - Northern Arizona

Big South - Winthrop

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

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

Big West - Cal State Northridge


C-USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Hampton

MVC - Drake, Illinois State


Northeast - Wagner

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

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

Patriot - Holy Cross

SEC - Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida

Southern - Davidson

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - IUPUI

Sun Belt - South Alabama

SWAC - Arkansas-Pine Bluff

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga


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

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

The 3s
Georgetown, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Texas

The 4s
Indiana, Marquette, Butler, Dayton

The 5s
Vanderbilt, Xavier, Pittsburgh, Mississippi

The 6s
Miami-FL, St. Mary’s, Clemson, Oregon

The 7s
Rhode Island, Arizona, Gonzaga, Villanova

The 8s
Arizona State, Drake, Oklahoma, Notre Dame

The 9s
Ohio State, Arkansas, West Virginia, Stanford

The 10s
Baylor, Louisville, California, Florida

The 11s
Virginia, Illinois State, Kansas State, Connecticut

The 12s
BYU, Nebraska, Kent State, South Alabama

The 13s
VCU, Sam Houston State, Davidson, Utah State

The 14s
Siena, Cal State Northridge, Holy Cross, Winthrop

The 15s
IUPUI, Cornell, Northern Arizona, Hampton

The 16s
UMBC, Wagner, Jacksonville, Austin Peay (Play-In Game), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at


Anonymous said...

Looking into your crystal ball, will the number of conference games (18) help or hurt Big East bubble teams come tournament time?

Bracketology 101 said...

You could look at the new (but still unbalanced) Big East schedule a couple of ways. Playing each team once and three teams twice is certainly a fairer and more balanced schedule than the old one, and will hopefully avoid the recent problem the conference has recently had with some bubble teams, at the end of the year, having played a much tougher Big East schedule than others. Many Big East coaches believe that two more games will give a clearer picture of who the best six or seven teams are in the league, and will hopefully weed out some of the pretenders. As fans, it helps your team if the home-and-home games are against opponents that will help your resume if you beat them.

On the other hand, some coaches, like UConn’s Jim Calhoun and Pitt’s Jamie Dixon, aren’t big fans of the two extra conference games for a variety of reasons. Villanova coach Jay Wright made the point at Big East Media Day that having 18 as opposed to 16 conference games makes it more likely that teams will beat up each other in conference play, resulting in less attractive profiles for each bubble team (i.e. 10-6 looks a lot better than 10-8 in conference).

In the end, only time will tell how all of the Big East teams will be affected by the new schedule this season. If you want to look ahead, though, here are the teams that each of the bubble teams in the conference play twice (some of these games have already happened obviously). We’ll give Georgetown, Marquette, and Pittsburgh bids; here are the home-and-homes for the rest of the Big East bubbles:

Villanova – DePaul, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
Notre Dame – UConn, Marquette, DePaul
West Virginia – Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Providence
Louisville – Marquette, Georgetown, Rutgers
Connecticut – Notre Dame, Providence, Cincinnati
Syracuse – Villanova, Georgetown, South Florida
Providence – UConn, DePaul, West Virginia

MIKEY Y said...

I know they are under the radar a little bit and had a couple bad losses earlier in the season (Wofford and Iowa State)in the Las Vegas Classic but you better take notice of Purdue and fast.

They are 4-1 in the big ten with their only loss being a close game in michigan state that they probably should have won. They also lost very close tough road games to Clemson and Missouri. With their upcoming schedule they could very easily be 8-2 or 9-1 in the big ten. They are dynamite at home and are showing a lot of heart for a young and inexperienced team on the road. I expect them to get a few votes in the media and coaches poll this week as well.

I expect 5 big ten teams in the dance, but i wouldn't be surprised to see Purdue leap frog one of if not both of Ohio State and Wisconsin.