Monday, February 04, 2008

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Feb. 4

The Breakdown
Our list of bubble teams this week was the longest it's been all season, and because of that, we decided to take a look ahead at what teams had left on their schedules to try to separate the contenders from the pretenders.

With Arizona State, Miami-FL, and Villanova dropping out, there were three spots in the field up for grabs. The first of those spots went to BYU, thanks to the strength of the MWC (it’s 9th in conference RPI) and because we think that both UNLV and BYU, with their remaining schedules, should win enough games in the league to earn a bid. For the second spot, we had to figure out the mess that is the ACC bubble, and in the end we went with Maryland over North Carolina State, Miami-FL, and Virginia Tech for a couple of reasons. The Terps have the best win thus far out of those three teams (their W at UNC), they have a very favorable schedule remaining, and big picture-wise they have the best shot to get to 9-7 in conference, which should get them a bid. Virginia Tech, despite having one more win in conference and a win over Maryland (at home) under their belts, has no other good conference wins and has four very tough road games left. N.C. State’s schedule is extremely hard as well, and at 3-4 right now, they will have a hard time getting to nine wins. At 2-5, the same can be said for the slumping ‘Canes, who lost two more on the road last week. The third and final bracket spot went to Cal which, thanks to a huge week from Ryan Anderson, swept Washington and Washington State last week. Looking ahead, the Bears have a slightly better chance to get to .500 in conference than Oregon does (the two teams play at Cal this week) and if they can do that, they’ll earn the league's sixth bid.

The two interesting holdovers in this bracket are Mississippi State and Illinois State. The Aggies missed out on two chances to boost their resume this week by losing to Arkansas and Tennessee, but they are still 5-2 in the SEC with a not-so-difficult schedule left. They should win their two games this week (Alabama at home, Auburn on the road) and we like their chances of getting to 10 or 11 wins in conference. Our inclusion of Illinois State, meanwhile, is less of a projection and more of a prediction. The Redbirds have not lost at home all season, and we think that they will upset 15th-ranked Drake in front of what should be a rowdy crowd at Doug Collins Court on Tuesday. (The Bulldogs can’t really go undefeated in conference, can they??)

The only other interesting tidbits from this week’s field are the exclusions of Syracuse and UMass. We know we are in the minority in leaving these teams out, but we just don’t like the fact that the Orange have feasted on the bottom of the Big East so far or the fact that they have a brutal schedule left. We also don’t like that the Minutemen slipped up at Saint Louis over the weekend to fall under .500 in the A-10, and that they got swept by St. Joseph’s. If the A-10 is going to get five bids, a lot of things both in the league and across the country are going to have to break right. The way UMass has played of late, four bids is looking like a much safer bet.

Note: None of Monday’s results were taken into account when making this week's bracket.


Out This Bracket
Arizona State, Miami-FL, Villanova, Cal State Northridge, Siena, Winthrop, Hampton, Wagner

In This Bracket
BYU, California, Maryland, Pacific, Rider, UNC-Asheville, Morgan State, Sacred Heart

Last Four In
California, Mississippi State, Maryland, Illinois State

Last Four Out
Syracuse, Massachusetts, Miami-FL, Oregon

Next Four Out
Seton Hall, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, George Mason


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

America East - UMBC

ACC - Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Maryland

Atlantic Sun - Jacksonville

A-10 - Xavier, Rhode Island, Dayton, St. Joseph’s

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

Big Sky - Northern Arizona

Big South - UNC-Asheville

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

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

Big West - Pacific

Colonial - VCU

C-USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Rider

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

- Drake, Illinois State


Northeast - Sacred Heart

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

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

Patriot - Lafayette

SEC - Tennessee, Mississippi, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi State

Southern - Davidson

Southland - Stephen F. Austin

Summit - Oral Roberts

Sun Belt - South Alabama

SWAC - Alabama State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga


The Seeds
The 1s

Memphis, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas

The 2s
UCLA, Tennessee, Georgetown, Wisconsin

The 3s
Stanford, Michigan State, Texas, Xavier

The 4s
Drake, Connecticut, Butler, Indiana

The 5s
Kansas State, Washington State, Texas A&M, Arizona

The 6s
Marquette, St. Mary’s, Rhode Island, Notre Dame

The 7s
Pittsburgh, Dayton, Gonzaga, Oklahoma

The 8s
Mississippi, Baylor, Vanderbilt, Purdue

The 9s
Louisville, Clemson, Arkansas, West Virginia

The 10s
USC, Florida, UNLV, St. Joseph’s

The 11s
Ohio State, BYU, California, Mississippi State

The 12s
Maryland, Illinois State, Kent State, South Alabama

The 13s
Davidson, VCU, Utah State, Oral Roberts

The 14s
Stephen F. Austin, Rider, Pacific, UNC-Asheville

The 15s
Cornell, Lafayette, Northern Arizona, Morgan State

The 16s
UMBC, Sacred Heart, Jacksonville, Austin Peay (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at


Lee said...

ACC has the best conference RPI and owned the Big Ten again in the ACC/Big Ten Bloodletting yet the Big Ten has 5 teams and the ACC four with one in the last 4 in.


I see this trend every year the past five years that has the ACC with 1 or 2 national title contenders and 4 or 5 teams that are 'locks' at the beginning of conference play. Then as the top 2 teams go on to win a high percentage of conference games and the rest of the teams beat up on each other the 3-6 teams drop out of the top 25 and out of tourney consideration. Teams in the Big Ten and Pac 10 beat up on the likes of oregon state, washington, northwestern, and michigan and move into lock range.

Should the ACC look at adding North Carolina A&T and William and Mary to the conference in order to be perceived as stronger top to bottom because the 3-6 teams in the conference will all have an extra conference bid?

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with lee. I completely understand the theory of "teams" get bids not "conferences", I understand that. But, the bottom line is, if you can produce a winning record in the ACC, you should get a bid, unless you had an atrocious OOC showing.

I can see 4 right now in the Big Ten, I just can not for the life of me understand how Ohio St is not right on the verge of being out. They have 1 good win this entire season, and it was at home against Florida after they had just got waxed by FSU at home, who by the way is 11th in the ACC standings. Why does OSU get rewarded for beating bad teams, they lose at Iowa this weekend, and it means nothing, Iowa is terrible. Their 15-7 record really isn't even that good. I mean maybe the Syracuse win was good, but Syracuse was not very good in the beginning of the season. I feel like this is football all over again, we reward this team for beating bad schools, and then watch them get embarrassed on a national stage. Let's face it, if OSU was in the ACC they would be 1-6 right now.

sprawlnuts said...

While the ACC may be the #1 conference, I agree with these guys. They do their research. The non-conference results outside of the "challenge" are not that great. The only schools that really differentiated themselves were UNC and Duke. Clemson did just ok. Look at the schedules of the ACC and aside from those Big10 games, there isn't a whole lot there outside of the above 2 schools.

As far as the Big10, I agree with you guys. Purdue is in the same boat as Florida. They need to do more, if not more so because of a couple questionable losses. OSU needs to play better also. I believe the Big10 will get 4, possibly 3 if there are upsets and the ACC 4 or 5, but that is just my opinion and I am no expert.

B101, what do you think of Cornell getting a 13 seed if they can win out or go 13-1 in the Ivy? I think 12-2 with a 14 is more likely. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

How on earth is the Big 10 worthy of 5 bids? Purdue has 2 good wins -- Louisville and Wisconsin -- both at home. Losses include Iowa State, Clemson, Mizzou and Wofford (at home no less). They have fattened up on the likes of Lipscomb, Bethune-Cookman and Fla. International, and the bottom half of the Big 10, and they are Tourney material? Syracuse or Oregon go before them.

Same thing with Indiana (not saying they should not be in -- they should -- but saying they should be about a 6 or 7 seed). Best wins probably Georgia Tech, Southern Ill. and Kentucky (combined record of those 3 of 31-30). Their Big 10 wins so far have almost exclusively been bottom half. They have yet to play Michigan State, Ohio State or Purdue, and have lost in their only game against Wisconsin.

Really, the only team that I truly respect out of the Big 10 is Michigan State. They at least proved something by beating Texas, BYU, NC State and Missouri. Wisconsin only really had 3 OOC games, Duke, Marquette and Texas, and they lost 2 of those and won the third on a buzzer-beating 3 pointer.

Sorry, Big 10 is a 4 bid league.

Anonymous said...

annnnnnnnnd Ohio St. confirms the overatedness last night on ESPN. They trailed for about 37 mins last night at home to a terrible team. They were very lucky that Michigan just completely choked down the stretch.

Yet somehow this will bump Ohio St. up to a 8 or 9 seed, as we reward them so much for these types of games. If they lose to an overated Indiana team on short rest then they have to be out of the tourney for now

Bracketology 101 said...

A couple quick hits…

The ACC-Big Ten debate has been raging in the comments section for weeks now, but the reality of the situation hasn’t changed much. The bubble teams in the ACC still can’t distinguish themselves from one another, and based on their current resumes, none of them (besides Maryland) deserve a bid. Miami has fallen apart, Virginia Tech has no Top 50 wins, and N.C. State (who has the best chance of the three to eventually get a bid) has only two Top 50 wins, and they were against Seton Hall (whose RPI is 48) and Miami (who don’t really count as a good win right now). If the Wolfpack win at Maryland on Saturday, there is a chance for the ACC to have five bids in next week’s bracket, but that’s likely where the league will max out…

Ohio State isn’t on the “Last Four In” list yet, but they’re getting close. They are still in the field because of their wins over Syracuse and Florida, the fact that they have a good RPI and only one “bad” loss (Iowa), and the fact that they have a very favorable schedule remaining (they still have home games against the Big Three in conference, including Indiana this weekend). The Buckeyes are by no means a lock to make the tournament, and they still needs a big win or two in conference to be a sure thing, but for now they are safe. Even if they lose to the Hoosiers on Sunday, they’ll be in next week’s bracket…

Cornell probably won’t get any higher than a 14 seed when all is said and done. They’ll lose a couple games in conference and the Ivy’s conference RPI is down to 23…

andy22burns said...

How many people have to comment about this ACC-Big10 thing for people to believe it. Everybody has been of the opinion that the ACC is much better and the numbers prove it. #1 ranked RPI conference by a solid amount and have been ranked #1 all year. ACC gets the best recruits and they just flat out have better basketball teams. At least five teams should get in, I think 6, but people get distracted because good teams play good teams every night and somebody's gotta lose. Best teams in the Big 10, Indiana squeaked by Ga Tech at home, Purdue lost to Clemson, and Wisconsin got smacked by Duke. I do give Michigan State props but I think if they were in the ACC they would be in the same boat as a lot of other ACC teams, "having trouble distinguishing themselves".

Bracketology 101 said...

We don’t want to come across as ACC-bashers here, but it’s getting a little tiresome hearing fans of ACC bubble teams whining that their teams play “good teams” night in and night out, and because of that, they deserve some sort of leniency when it comes to getting a bid. Let’s not forget that Virginia Tech lost to “not-so-good teams” like Richmond, Old Dominion, and Penn State (who is still in the Big Ten at last check), and North Carolina State lost to New Orleans and East Carolina. Even Maryland, who has played its way into the bracket with some nice wins of late, still can’t erase home losses to Ohio and American. The only notable Big Ten team with those kind of head-scratching losses is Purdue (they lost to Wofford and Iowa State), but the Boilermakers are able to cancel those out with two big wins (Wisconsin and Louisville), which is a better pair of wins than any ACC bubble team has. The point here is that the ACC may be balanced, and playing an ACC schedule may beat teams up, but in the end, teams get bids based on their entire body of work. Too many ACC teams lost to the “bad teams” on their schedules, too – not just the “good” ones - and that's a big reason why they're on the wrong side of the bubble right now.

Anonymous said...

I understand your points of bad losses from ACC teams, but your argument for Big Ten getting key wins really is not there outside of Wisconsin and Michigan St. Purdue beat Louisville when they were hurt and really bad, and VT lost at Penn St in a close one when they had Claxton who is their entire team.

The counter to teams like MD and VT losing bad games early is due to the fact that they lost their top players from last year and are very young, while you can't use that as an excuse it has to have some accountability. These two teams are proving that they are tournament teams with their play in the ACC. While your early OOC play is important, I feel that your play in conference should be weighted heavier only because it is more relevant to tournament time, since OOC play is four months prior to the tourney, that is a long time.

I really wish the NCAA would look more into letting teams play good OOC games late in the season. Kind of like what they do with the mid majors, why can't they establish something for the major conferences, so we can match up bubble teams late in the season and end so much debate. Teams always change drastically since the beginning of the season when they have these important match ups. You see teams like MD and VT really gel with a new team that would have 3 or 4 more wins had they played that way earlier, and then on the opposite end, you have teams like Texas A&M and Washington St. who have regressed. I wish the ACC/Big Ten challenge was played in February so its more relevant, when its played in November it is irrelevant and people tend to forget the discrepancy between the two conferences.

Lee said...

The bottom line is that you could put the entire big ten and pac ten in the tourney and they still wouldn't win ANYTHING. Tourney stats since 1990.

Big Ten - 11FF 1 Champ
Pac 10 - 7 FF 2 Champ
Big East(including new teams!!) - 7 FF 2 Champ
Big 12 - 10 FF 0 Champ
Other - 5 FF 1 Champ
now for where real basketball is played, the mid Atlantic and southeastern united states
SEC - 14FF 6Champ
ACC - 18FF 6 Champ

So basically in the last 20 years the 25 teams in the ACC and SEC have gone to more final fours and won more championships then the other 290 schools in college basketball combined.

When fans of these schools wonder why the Pac 10 and Big ten get so many bids it's because they do nothing with them. Facts are facts.

Bracketology 101 said...

Keep in mind that five of those six champions and 14 of those 18 Final Four appearances from the ACC were by North Carolina or Duke. We're so sure how those numbers show the overall depth of the league. What they do show is that the two winningest teams in the last 20 years happen to be in one conference.

A more interesting stat would be how teams from the ACC and SEC that were seeded 7-12 did versus 7-12 seeds from the Big Ten and Pac-10. That would better show the depth of each league.

Lee said...

Yes they were and every team in teh ACC plays UNC Duke at least a combined 3 times each year...

My original point was that 8-8 in the ACC is better than 10-6 in the big ten or pac ten, and your point doesn't really do anything to disprove that...

And if you have the resources for the 7-12 comparison that would be great too. What would be even better is a comparison of the 3rd seed from each conference and lower, how did they do? If your arguement is that Duek and UNC make the ACC top heavy, take the top two out of other conferences. Take out Michigan State/Illinois and UCLA/Arizona and see what you have... I know MD's first final four was when they were a 2 seed out West and I think UNC and Duke were both seeded above them, not sure you can say that about a big 10 or pac 10 team...

Anonymous said...

The reality is that the middle of the ACC just isn't that good THIS YEAR. Clemson and Maryland have distinguished themselves above the bottom 8 teams, but outside of the truly poor Virginia, the other 7 teams down there are one and the same. Georgia Tech, for example, has 3 road wins in conference this year and they aren't remotely close to being a tourney team. It looks like VT and NC State are the most likely teams to sneak out a 5th ACC bid, but an 8-8 record in conference and an RPI in the 50's surely won't get it done. It's hard to watch those teams play and think they are really a deserving tourney team. NC State in particular has had numerous lucky wins this year (Villanova, home Miami and home WF) and would be a sure 1st round loss. They are not better than Purdue.

Paymon said...

Whoever said the ACC just isn't that good this year didn't watch basketball in the months of Nov/Dec.

While I think 5 bids is more appropriate right now for the ACC, I understand arguments where 4 are included (Va Tech has passed the eye test for the month of January, but has no wins to hang their hat on).

Indeed, the basketball shall be played and justice will be served ... at least, one can hope with Tom O'Connor at the Selection Committee helm.

If there are bids out of the ACC, then I'd expect the 3rd and 4th representatives to have higher seedings than what is allotted now.

Bracketology 101 said...

When you focus on stats like the ACC having the #1 conference RPI and the Big Ten being #6 and the ACC's 10-3 record against the Big Ten on the season it seems like a no brainer that the ACC should have more bids than the Big Ten. But then when you start looking at the teams themselves in gets tough.

Once you get past Duke, UNC, and Clemson and look into the rest of the league the teams that have the best non-conference wins are at the bottom of the standings (FSU, UVa, and Miami) and struggling in conference play. While the teams who had some bad losses out of conference (Maryland, NC St., and Va Tech) are doing better in conference but still haven't established themselves as a solid tourney team.

Right now the Big Ten is maxed out at 5 bids. Michigan State, Indiana, and Wisconsin are locks at this point for the tourney. Purdue is also looking pretty good at this point having won 11 of 12 and are tied for first in conference. They have a tough schedule remaining but shouldn't have much trouble getting to 13-5 in conference which will get them a bid. Ohio State's profile is by no means stellar and they are no where near a lock for the tourney. We like their chances though since they have some good opportunities to rest of the way to pick up some big wins and get to 11-7 or 12-6 in conference.

In the end if things go right for the ACC the conference could very well send 6 teams dancing. Teams that can get to 8-8 in the ACC will get consideration for a bid and 9-7 teams will have a good chance at getting one. While in the Big Ten 10-8 will be the minimum and 12-6 will probably be what gets it done. So its not like a .500 record in the ACC and Big Ten are looked at the same.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that last post B101. That was the first objective analysis I have heard yet. I totally agree with everything you said.

Now that settles the ACC-Big Ten debate, we have a new bone to pick, The Big East. After watching some of their games recently, just based on pure basketball, they do not look as strong as I thought. That Pitt - WVU game was horrible, it was some of the worst bball I've seen in a while. Granted, Pitt was playing w/out Fields, it was such a struggle for both teams to score. Even watching Marquette play the other night, it was horrible. I know they looked good early, but now they just look like a bad team. As of right now I feel that only 4 teams should feel safe, G-town, ND, UConn, and Pitt. Louisville is headed that way, but their early season still has to be a factor. But the rest of the conference is by no means safe, and I really see maybe only 6 teams from this conference getting in, rather than the 8 most are projecting. Your thoughts??

Lee said...

Well yeah the Big East is probably the most overrrated conference in the nation. They have less than half the final fours and a third of the championships as the ACC in the last 20 years. Look back at some of the quotes from BC and VT players and coaches after they left the Big East and came to the ACC regarding the quality of play and the arena atmosphere. But they have 20 teams int he leauge and they all get to beat st johns, rutgers, seton hall, whoever else is terrible 3 or 4 times a year in conference and 9 bids it is....

Lee said...

Boy that Indiana/Illinois game was a beauty . . . Probably just turned 1 million children into soccer players.

Anonymous said...

"Whoever said the ACC just isn't that good this year didn't watch basketball in the months of Nov/Dec."

Obviously Duke, UNC and Clemson are top notch and should be no worse than a 1, 2 and 4 seed at this point. Virginia is awful and should never be mentioned again.

I made sure to watch when:
Maryland lost to Missouri, VCU, Ohio U and American
VT lost to Penn St, ODU and Richmond
NC State lost to New Orleans and ECU
GT lost to UNCG, Winthrop and Georgia
WF lost to Charlotte and Georgia
BC lost to Robert Morris
FSU lost to Cleveland St and South Florida
Miami lost to Winthrop

But they don't really have tons of good wins:
Maryland's best non-con win was against Charlotte
VT's best was against UNC-Asheville
NC State had some solid and often fortunate wins against Seton Hall, Davidson, Villanova, Cincinnati and that might get them in the tourney
GT beat Notre Dame and Charlotte but played a brutal schedule. A softer schedule and they'd be a decent bet since they might not even break .500 overall
WF slammed BYU but otherwise didn't beat anyone with an RPI better than 140
BC beat Rhode Island but otherwise didn't beat anyone with an RPI better than 120
FSU beat UAB, Florida and Minnesota and would have been a good bet to make the tourney until everyone got hurt.
Miami beat Mississippi State, VCU and Providence, but have fully collapsed in conference and have no shot.

Now Maryland has played themselves back in and I think they'll be a top 8 seed and a real threat if they can draw a soft 2nd round team like a Wisconsin or Texas.
GT, WF, BC, Miami and FSU have almost no shot. Give GT Miami's non-conference results or vice versa and there's a solid team there, but neither are getting in. GT especially could win an 8-9 or 7-10 NCAA game, but even if they go 9-7 in conference and win an ACC tourney game, their record will be 17-14 without a top 25 win.
NC State is a fraud, but their resume might get them in for a quick 1st round loss if they can fight to 8-8 or 9-7. Their remaining schedule is manageable and those wins over middle of the pack Big East teams bode well. The UNO and ECU losses I believe are the 2 worst losses the conference suffered all year, but I think that will get overlooked if the committee has to choose between an ACC team with an RPI around 40 and another team with a slightly better RPI.
VT has a very easy ACC schedule, only playing UNC, Duke and Clemson once. They need to sweep their remaining home games to go 9-7 or upset UNC/MD/Clemson on the road or their resume is barely NIT worthy. As I type, they are losing at home to Miami. That would probably kill their chances now.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully you read this before putting together the final touches on your bracket. I know earlier this week you said Ohio St. was in the bracket even if they lost to Indiana, but come on, you really have to give serious consideration as to whether this team is a tourney team. They just aren't even competitive against good teams, they looked god awful yesterday. I know you will counter with the argument that they have no bad losses, but how about that division II school they lost to in the beginning of the year. Even though that doesn't count against their record, it was a freakin' home game, it has to count for something when you're on the bubble. I'm sorry, but we could add one more team from the ACC or one more mid major before we let this vastly overated team who looks terrible right now, it would not surprise me to see Michigan beat them handidly at home next weekend.

Lee said...

That UCLA/Washington tilt made the Indiana/Illinois game look like a beautiful poem last night. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

B101, if the Drake Bulldogs win out, will someone finally rank them higher than a 4 seed? killing iowa state, beating iowa.... and cleaning house with league play, how long until they at least get SOME consideration for a 2 seed? and what would them winning out mean for the rest of the valley? does this 2 bid league for years and years become a 1 win league? or are creighton and illinois state good enough for at-larges?

Anonymous said...

You can't be serious by saying that Drake could be a 2 seed....let's be realistic here, they should be at best a 5 or 6 seed. Even if they do win out, there's no way we put them as a 2 seed. Their best OOC win is against Iowa St. who is at the bottom of the Big 12. If they win at Butler then we can keep around that 4-6 line, but if they lose there's no way they finish any higher than a 6 seed, it's just not realistic.

Also, to further my point on Ohio St....they have 7 conference wins, none of which come against the top 4...that just further proves that they can only beat bad teams, they still have Wisc, Purdue, and MSU at home, and if they go 1-2 in those games, and lose in the first round of the conference tourney they HAVE to be out

85Warriors said...

To anonymous "BIG EAST":

Agree with sinking quality of the Big East relative to SEC/ACC, as well as to upper quadrent of both Big 10 and PAC 10. Dissappointed in MARQ performance of late, need big game at "Seton" Tuesday. Other than perhaps Gtown, top 4 BIG 10 and PAC 10 teams are playing better than remainder of Big East presently.