Monday, March 10, 2008

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 10

The Breakdown
The already hard-to-figure bubble got even more complicated this weekend. Here's how we see things right now, with seven days to go until Selection Sunday:

Despite losing at Oregon, we think that Arizona is still safe. They obviously have to beat Oregon State in their Pac-10 opener to stay safe, but if they do that, we think the Wildcats' SOS, their RPI, and the return of Nic Wise will sway the committee into giving them a bid. In any other year, they'd be done at 8-10, but this year, the way the bubble is, even two games under .500 in conference can get you in.

We also think that Illinois State is safe despite being blown out by Drake in the MVC final. After finishing second in conference, all the Redbirds needed to do was get to the conference tourney final to get a bid. Kentucky, meanwhile, is looking better and better and is up to a 10 seed in or latest field after beating Florida on Sunday. The Wildcats are the fourth best team in the SEC right now, and will probably be able to survive even if they lose to (we'll assume) Mississippi in the SEC quarters.

As for some other bubble issues:

We still aren't 100% sold on Ohio State, and we think they probably have to beat Michigan State again in the Big Ten tourney to get a bid, but right now, they're in. The committee does love teams that are playing late, and OSU certainly fits the bill...

Oregon needs to beat Washington State in their Pac-10 tourney game to lock down a bid, and the way they are playing right now, we think they'll be able to pull the upset...

Even with their semifinal loss to William & Mary, we think VCU deserves a bid (right now, at least). The Rams dominated the Colonial's regular season and, while they don't have a Top 50 win, their wins over Maryland, Houston, Richmond, and Bradley aren't shabby. VCU also has its own NCAA success and the Colonial's success in past years going for them, plus they have committee chair and George Mason AD Thomas J. O'Connor in their corner in the selection room. If mid-major teams aren't going to get a few extra bids this year, when will they?...

Yes, we still have Villanova (and not Syracuse) in as our final Big East team. As fate would have it, the two teams meet in the first round of the Big East tournament. The loser of that game is done; the winner might need one more to be totally safe. We've been saying for over two months now that the Orange wouldn't make the tourney. We're not about to jump ship now - we're sticking with 'Nova...

We considered putting Temple in as a third A-10 team this week, but in the end we decided against it. To get a bid, the Owls have to beat UMass in the A-10 semis. A spot in the final (on top of their second place regular season finish) should get Temple in, and it might knock UMass out, depending on what transpires elsewhere...

The above scenario also applies to New Mexico. If they beat UNLV in the MWC semis, they're in, and the Rebels might be squeezed out...

In the SEC, Mississippi and Florida each need two wins to get a bid. If Florida can get by Alabama in the first round, they face Mississippi State; if Mississippi gets past Georgia, they get Kentucky...

UAB's at-large chances are on life support after getting embarrassed by Memphis on Saturday. Even if they get to the C-USA final and lose to the Tigers again, we don't think they deserve a bid. We'll see if the committee agrees...

And finally, the ACC is down to a four-bid league after Maryland's pitiful loss to Virginia and Virginia Tech's loss at Clemson. The Terps need to beat BC and Clemson in the ACC tourney to get back in the mix, and the Hokies (after a first round bye) need to get past Miami/N.C. State and then have a good showing against Carolina in the semis. Even that might not be enough for a team that, despite a nice 9-7 conference record, has no Top 50 wins and sports a less-than-impressive RPI (57)...

Out This Bracket
Maryland, Virginia Tech, UAB, UNC-Asheville, Robert Morris

In This Bracket
Ohio State, Oregon, George Mason, Winthrop, Sacred Heart

Last Four In
Ohio State, Oregon, VCU, Villanova

Last Four Out
Syracuse, Temple, Mississippi, UAB

Next Four Out
New Mexico, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Florida


Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), Pac-10 (7), Big XII (6), Big Ten (5), SEC (5), ACC (4), A-10 (2), Colonial (2), C-USA (2), MVC (2), MWC (2), WCC (2)

America East - UMBC

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

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Xavier, Massachusetts

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

Big Sky - Portland State

Big South - Winthrop

Big Ten - Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan State, Indiana

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

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - George Mason, VCU

C-USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Drake, Illinois State


Northeast - Sacred Heart

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

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

Patriot - American

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

Southern - Davidson

Southland - Stephen F. Austin

Summit - Oral Roberts

Sun Belt - South Alabama

SWAC - Alabama State

WAC - New Mexico State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary’s


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

The 2s
Kansas, Texas, Georgetown, Duke

The 3s
Wisconsin, Xavier, Louisville, Stanford

The 4s
Notre Dame, Connecticut, Purdue, Drake

The 5s
Michigan State, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Washington State

The 6s
Marquette, USC, Gonzaga, Butler

The 7s
BYU, Clemson, St. Mary's, Pittsburgh

The 8s
Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, West Virginia

The 9s
Baylor, Miami-FL, South Alabama, Texas A&M

The 10s
Kent State, UNLV, Illinois State, Kentucky

The 11s
Arizona State, Arizona, Arkansas, Davidson

The 12s
Massachusetts, Ohio State, Oregon, VCU

The 13s
Villanova, Oral Roberts, George Mason, Stephen F. Austin

The 14s
Cornell, New Mexico State, UC-Santa Barbara, Siena

The 15s
Winthrop, Portland State, Belmont, Austin Peay

The 16s
UMBC, American, Morgan State, Sacred Heart (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at


Anonymous said...

Proving once again the most level-headed, honest brackets out there. Who knows what the Committee will do (I remain convinced that they very much take TV revenue and hotel rooms into account in giving bids), but thank God someone has the cajones to state that Md., V.Tech and Fla. do not deserve to be in. I would have said the same regarding Kentucky up until the last few weeks, but they have shown on the court that they deserve to be in. Not totally sold on Ohio State, Syracuse or Villanova yet, and the Pac-10 is just a jumbled mess.

Absent some sort of significant resume changer -- such as a deep league tournament run -- to give bids to Md., V.Tech or Fla. would be to reward stat padding of the most egregious sort by showing that unless you honestly believe yourselves to be Sweet 16 material, the best route to assure the Tourney payday is to schedule 13 or 14 poofsters in Nov and Dec in order to ensure 20 plus total wins and then hope for a .500 in league record. That attitude has killed college football. I would hate to see the same for basketball.

Anonymous said...

Here is the complaint that I have regarding bubble teams. I honestly feel that you have to have a big road win to make the tourney, OSU, Syracuse, Villanova do not have that. Those 3 teams should be nowhere near the bracket unless they get at least 2 wins in their conference tourney. Ohio St. was pitiful on the road, the OT win against Purdue was good, but Purdue played its worst game of the Big Ten season in tha game, and Michigan St. is very overated, they even lost bad at Penn St and Iowa, so for Ohio St. to get back into the bracket with that win yesterday is a joke, this team will lose to them on Friday, and hopefully we have the smarts to keep them out. For Syracuse and Villanova, if they don't win 2 games in the Big East tourney then see you later.

I believe that if MD wins 2 games which will include a win over Clemson, they should get a bid b/c they have the best win out of all the bubble teams a win at #1 UNC and a SOS in the top 10. I also believe that the possible VT-Miami game will be an elimination game, although bubble teams should root for Miami in that game, b/c they have more of a chance of getting a bid w/out winning that game.

I also believe that no matter what the committee will select Florida, whether anyone agrees or not, they will not deny a 2 time defending champion, there's no way....there's too much marketing in that, and in all honesty the school deserves a chance to win 3 in a row, even though they won't, i really believe they will get a bid regardless.

Anonymous said...

For the 1st post above, what the heck are you talking about rewarding stat padders like MD???...They played UCLA, Illinois, VCU, Missouri and some very good mid majors that will most likely be in the tourney.....obviously with a 40 game schedule, they will play some cupcakes, but that's every team in the country....they also have a win at that a "stat padder"??....please don't write stuff you have no clue about

Anonymous said...

Arizona is still living on past glories and the "bracketologists" need to reward them with a ticket to Tucson!

Anonymous said...

Arizona has road wins at WASU and USC. That's more than a lot of teams at the bottom of the bracket can say for themselves.

Maryland can only blame themselves.

I'm not sure that this is the most level-headed bracket out there, but it sure bears quality.

Anonymous said...

I'm still struggling with Kansas over Wisconsin. Similar strength of schedule... but who has Kansas beaten? Wisconsin has wins over Texas, Michigan St., and Indiana (2x). Kansas has what? A win over Oklahoma and Arizona... C'mon.

Anonymous said...

Kansas has won the Big 12. Big 12 rpi: 3 Big 10 rpi: 6

Anonymous said...

To anon...

Maryland's SOS is 17, not top 10. They were 1-3 against those 4 teams mentioned, two of whom aren't even any good (Illinois isn't even going to the NIT, Missouri maybe). They have two terrible losses and an RPI of 70. And just what other quality mid-major teams did they play? Charlotte? One flukey two point win over UNC is all they have going for them without a run in the ACC.

Anonymous said...

How is VCU in? Yes they won the Colonial pretty easily but this isn't the same Colonial of the past 2 seasons. None of the other teams in conference are even bubble teams, and none of their OOC wins are in your current field, with Maryland being the only borderline bubble team.

If either VCU or UAB (without winning CUSA Tournament) get in this committee should resign immediately.

Jack said...

Wow, you commenters have some stringent requirements for getting a bid. "A team has to have a big road win" to make the tourney? You do realize that if you go by that criteria, you're gonna have an at-large field of, like, 15 teams? Thirty-four at-larges are gonna make it, and they have to come from somewhere. If you're gonna throw OSU, Syracuse, Villanova, and the like to the wolves, you better be ready to point to teams with better resumes, and they had better be more attractive than "Illinois State won at Creighton" or "VCU won at Bradley."

Anonymous said...

I really don't get the love for Oregon and Arizona St.... Nebraska beat both these schools convincingly and they are a #7 team in the Big 12. It seems like everyone is so high on the PAC 10 but frankly the BIG 12 is much better. I think this is a year for the smaller schools again. Cuse', Nova, Ohio State etc... need to take a back seat to Illinois St, VCU and IUPUI/Oral Roberts conf tourney loser.

Anonymous said...

It won't happen especially with San Diego winning tonight and making the WCC a three bid league but to add something to the poster above... Oregon lost to Oakland earlier this year so don't say the Summit is extremely weak. While being a lower mid-major conference it still had some teams with a little pop. Nobody wants to play Oral Roberts or IUPUI. Shame only one will get in.

IUPUI also beat UMASS so don't even think of putting them behind UMASS