Monday, March 03, 2008

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 3

The Breakdown
Picking the last few at-large teams is always extremely difficult at this point in the season, but this year it has become ridiculous. There are probably about 58 teams that deserve bids at this point, and everyone else – on the good side of the bubble and the bad – is playing like they have Spring Break trips to Cancun already booked. We really had to hold our noses putting the last three teams in the field and it was difficult to envision scenarios for the last few teams to make the field.

In the end, though, we settled on the following. Maryland, after their huge win at Wake Forest, made it back into the bracket this week. They could have really secured themselves a bid if they would have held on against Clemson. We went with Virginia Tech for the last at-large bid, and the only reason they got it is because of their two wins over the Terps. Both teams still have work to do and the only way both will make it is if Miami ends up as the 4th or 5th place team in the conference. That way Maryland and Virginia Tech won't meet in an ACC tourney quarterfinal elimination game. Virginia Tech has the opportunity to get to 10 wins in conference this week, which could end up being their golden ticket to the tourney (even if they lose in the ACC quarterfinals to Miami or Maryland). If they only manage to get to 9-7 that means they will need one or two more wins in the conference tourney (two if they don't finish in the top four in the conference). Maryland needs to take care of business this week at Virginia. If they manage to get to the semifinals of the ACC tourney, they will lock down a bid. Anything less and they will have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday and hope fellow bubble teams go down. Florida State has also worked itself back into the picture in the last week, but will have to win two this week (at UNC, Miami) to have a chance.

Despite dropping two games this week, Villanova managed to hang on to their bid (because everyone else played so poorly). They need to win their next three to have any chance at a bid (USF, at Providence, and most likely Cincinnati). We like their chances of winning their next three much better than we like Syracuse winning its next three, so we went with the Wildcats.

We still like Kentucky to be able to get an at-large bid even without Patrick Patterson. They played well without him at Tennessee on Sunday and the schedule really breaks in their favor down the stretch. We like their chances to go 2-0 this week and finish up at 12-4 in conference which would give them second place in the SEC East. This would give them a very favorable draw in the SEC tourney since they wouldn't have to worry about Vanderbilt or Tennessee until the championship. Last week, we said that for the SEC to get six bids everything needed to break right, which meant that Florida had to beat Mississippi State. With the Gators' tough schedule remaining (Tennessee, at Kentucky) we no longer like their chances at getting a bid.

We went with two bids out of C-USA for the first time this season. As we see it right now second place in conference and a trip to the C-USA final may actually be enough to get a bid in two weeks. UAB is playing better ball then Houston right now so we went with them. They also have a better opportunity to prove themselves with their game at Memphis this week.

You will also notice that for the first time since the beginning of the season the A-10 is down to a two-bid league. Too much parity is killing the league as you have 12 teams within four games of each other and nine teams within two games of each other. The conference is wide open for one of the bubble teams (St. Joe's, Dayton, Temple, URI) to make a deep run into the conference tourney and steal one of the last at-large bids to the dance. It's just hard to pick which team will be able to make that run right now with everyone being so hot and cold and with so much potential change in the standings before the conference tourney. We'll watch things closely throughout the final week of the regular season and see if someone emerges.

Oregon was our 66th team this week. They have a great opportunity with the Arizona schools coming in this week to make a big statement and play themselves back into the field. They just have not been playing well enough lately to give us confidence in them winning both games. Plus, if we included Oregon in the field we would have seven teams in from the Pac-10, which at this point seems like an impossible scenario to play out.

*Note: Our next bracket will be released on Friday. Starting next Monday, we will make daily updates.

Out This Bracket
St. Joseph’s, Florida, Wake Forest, Southern Illinois, CS-Northridge, Winthrop

In This Bracket
Illinois State, Maryland, UAB, Virginia Tech, CS-Fullerton, UNC-Asheville

Last Four In
Kentucky, Villanova, UAB, Virginia Tech

Last Four Out
Oregon, Florida, Syracuse, Dayton

Next Four Out
Temple, Texas Tech, Houston, Ohio State


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

America East - UMBC

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

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Xavier, Massachusetts

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

Big Sky - Portland State

Big South - UNC-Asheville

Big Ten - Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State

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

Big West - CS-Northridge

Colonial - VCU

C-USA - Memphis, UAB

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Drake, Illinois State


Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

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

Patriot - American

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

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
Memphis, Tennessee, North Carolina, UCLA

The 2s
Kansas, Texas, Duke, Xavier

The 3s
Stanford, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Louisville

The 4s
Connecticut, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Indiana

The 5s
Michigan State, Notre Dame, Clemson, Marquette

The 6s
Drake, Washington State, Gonzaga, Butler

The 7s
Pittsburgh, USC, St. Mary’s, BYU

The 8s
Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Baylor, Miami-FL

The 9s
Arkansas, Kansas State, South Alabama, Arizona

The 10s
UNLV, West Virginia, Texas A&M, Kent State

The 11s
Arizona State, Illinois State, Maryland, Kentucky

The 12s
Massachusetts, Davidson, VCU, Villanova

The 13s
UAB, Virginia Tech, Oral Roberts, Stephen F. Austin

The 14s
Cornell, New Mexico State, CS-Northridge, Siena

The 15s
Portland State, UNC-Asheville, Belmont, Robert Morris

The 16s
American, UMBC, Morgan State, Austin Peay (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at


Anonymous said...

I sympathize with your plight regarding the last few teams. Doesn't anybody want in? In fact, on the poll question of "which of the last eight out is most deserving of a bid", you should add an option #9 -- None of the above. I think that would be the run-away winner.

It is flat painful to see Villanova and Virginia Tech in the field, but I think that you are right unless the Committee decides to punish the big conferences for OOC record-padding by taking more schools from some of the smaller conferences. I would love to see that, but it is probably doubtful. It still pains me that a 19-9, 8-8 SEC or ACC or Big East team who went 11-1 OOC because all they scheduled were bottom-tier programs out of bottom-tier conferences will get in, but a 22-6, 10-3 team from one of the "mid-majors" will not.

Dan Holmes said...

Texas A&M as a 10th seed? With the way they're playing down the stretch, barring a win over Kansas this weekend, I don't see any way they get in.

redsox08 said...

first i believe indiana should be a 3 seed, not L'ville..and put kansas at a one seed and not the tar heels only because i think the jayhawks can handle the pressure better and they play a FULL game and i dont see unc playing the full game , they get too lazy sometimes and that will cost them.

Peter said...

problem with Kansas is they play so few road games. This hurts them every year come tourney time (when they lose early). I'm glad you didn't put New Mexico in, but take a close look at Creighton from the MVC. With wins over fellow bubble teams (Oral Roberts, SIU, St Joseph) and an RPI of 50, they warrant bubble status. Also, if you're scraping the bottom of the BCS barrell for crappy teams, just stop it and put SIU in. After losing most of thier starters last year, they have held it together and managed a late surge (RPI 48). Considering thier SOS of 10 or 12 depending on where you look, they are solid at-large contenders and have shown they do well in the tourney.

Peter said...

btw, Louisville is def a 3-seed. Unless they have a bad matchup in regionals, I've got them in the final four. They've recovered from injuries and are playing thier best ball at the right time. Padgett may not be NBA material, but he is a phenominal player in Rick Pitino's system.