Thursday, December 31, 2009

B101's New Year's Eve Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Thursday's results:

Michigan's loss at Indiana (sans Maurice Creek) tells you all you need to know about the Wolverines' tourney chances. It also shows what a heck of a job Tom Crean is doing in Bloomington.

There's no shame in Ohio State losing at Wisconsin without Evan Turner, but their ineptitude on offense against the Badgers without Turner was a little alarming. The Buckeyes scored just 18 points in the second half and had just two bench points.

Wisconsin, meanwhile, is a solid 4 seed right now. How long can they stay that high? Their next five games (at Penn State, at Michigan State, Purdue, at Northwestern, at Ohio State) will go a long way in showing whether the Badgers can climb onto the 3 line and, more importantly, whether they can challenge for a Big Ten title.

Tennessee desperately needed a quality OOC win and, thanks to some tough defense and an intensity that would make Lane Kiffin smile, that exactly what they got at Memphis on Thursday. The Vols were the deeper and more physical team, and Memphis had no answer for Tennessee inside - three Memphis players fouled out, and Elliot Williams missed a big chunk of the first half after two early fouls. Tennessee held Williams and Willie Kemp to a combined 2-for-16 from the field.

Memphis could have snuck into our field with a win, but their consolation is they still have OOC games at Syracuse and home against Gonzaga left which could pad their resume. With Tulsa struggling, the Tigers appear to be the second-best team in C-USA heading into conference play.

The Pac-10 picture got cleared up quite nicely Thursday night. USC won its seventh straight game, disposing Arizona by six at home. The Trojans are looking at a single digit seed in our next bracket.

Washington State, meanwhile, lost a brutal game at home to Oregon. In what is sure to be one of the wackier finishes of the year, the Cougars celebrated what they thought was the game-winner in regulation a little too much, got T'd up, watched Oregon hit two FTs with under a second left to tie the game, and then lost to the Ducks in OT. Ouch. In another head-scratching result, Arizona State (fraud alert!) lost at UCLA.

Gonzaga beat Oklahoma in Spokane, no big deal. The big story from this game, if you haven't seen it yet, was the alley-oop gone wrong by Oklahoma's ironically-named Tiny Gallon. The 6-9, 300 pound forward rang in the New Year by shattering the backboard on a missed dunk attempt in the second half, delaying the game for an hour.

Richmond came thisclose to adding another OOC win to its already impressive resume. The Spiders took Wake Forest to OT before losing 74-68. Richmond plays at Bucknell tomorrow and opens A-10 play at Duquesne on Wednesday.

Of note: Georgetown beat St. John's at home in its Big East opener; Washington opened up Pac-10 play with a win at home over Oregon State; Butler beat Green Bay by 23 at home, handing the Phoenix their first Horizon loss; Mississippi State (thanks to Jarvis Varnando's 23 points and 17 boards) won at San Diego; Oral Roberts lost at South Dakota State in its first game since upsetting New Mexico.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

B101's Weekday Tweets - Wednesday

Our quick thoughts on Wednesday's results:

After two tough OT losses, Cincinnati finally got the big win their resume needed on Wednesday night, upsetting UConn in their Big East opener. In what turned into a Stephenson/Vaughn vs. Robinson/Dyson two-on-two battle, the Bearcats' duo made the big plays down the stretch. Stephenson's last-second drive wasn't pretty, but it got him to the line with under a second left, and the freshman (who could play in the NBA tomorrow) calmly hit both FTs to seal the win.

On that last play, Gavin Edwards did bump Stephenson a little with his body, but it would have been nice to see the refs swallow the whistle there and let the outcome be decided in OT.

It's going to be a long winter in Storrs if the Huskies can't find someone not named Robinson or Dyson to score. Kemba Walker's point production has slipped of late (8.8 ppg over his last four), and UConn has no legitimate scoring threats down low. Ater Majok is not the answer; he's a giant question mark.

Northwestern really could have cemented a place in our Field of 65 with a win at Illinois. Instead, the Wildcats blew a 10-point second half lead and lost to Mike Tisdale (31 points) and the Illini 89-83 in overtime. Northwestern's resume, which still has just one notable win on it (Notre Dame), is looking less and less attractive in terms of an at-large. They'll need to upset Michigan State on Saturday to avoid falling out of our bracket.

Illinois, meanwhile, now has two solid wins on its resume. Those don't exactly cancel out their four questionable losses, but Wednesday was a big step in the right direction. If they beat Gonzaga on Saturday, we'll welcome them back in the bracket with open arms.

Hard to believe UAB followed up such an impressive performance against Butler with such a dud at Virginia. The Blazers are still playing better than anyone else in C-USA, but this loss will hurt them a seed line or so in our next bracket.

Kalin Lucas' response to his much-publicized benching at practice? Sixteen points in 29 minutes. Message received.

We may have raised a few eyebrows in our last bracket by giving William & Mary a 10 seed, but we loved the Tribe's OOC resume and fet they were playing the best ball of anyone in the Colonial. Our faith was rewarded in a big way again Wednesday, as they beat Maryland 83-77 in a game that wasn't that close. The Tribe, who now boast wins over Maryland, Wake, Richmond, and VCU, would be on the 8 line if we did a bracket tonight.

Of note: Baylor (who is now in Last Eight Out territory) crushed Arkansas; Old Dominion won at home against Duquesne; Boston College beat South Carolina at home; Notre Dame beat Providence at home; Temple beat Northern Illinois in its final tune-up before Kansas comes to town.

B101's Questions For The Competition

Questions For The Competition is a weekly column that addresses our issues with the brackets of other bracketology "experts." This week's questions - the first we've posed to the competition this season - are reserved for SI.com's Andy Glockner. As the season goes on, and more major sports websites (ESPN.com, CBS, etc.) consistently post weekly brackets, we will ask questions to them as well. Keep in mind that these questions are about Glockner's latest bracket, which was released before Monday's games.

Andy Glockner (SI.com) - Dec. 28 Bracket
If the season ended today, five A-10 teams would get bids? Five?? Xavier and Rhode Island have tourney-quality resumes right now? Did Fordham and St. Joe's make your bubble sheet?

Does the Pac-10 really deserve two top-four seeds? What has Washington done to earn a 3 seed if the season ended today? How in the world has Cal earned a 4?

No Wake Forest, but St. John's and Seton Hall are in right now?

We like Temple too, but a 3 seed? (Well, I guess, if Cal's a 4 seed...)

How is Pitt even in the field? And how are they an 8 seed?

How is VCU five seed lines better than William & Mary?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

B101's Weekday Tweets - Tuesday

Our quick thoughts on Tuesday's results:

Another game, another dramatic finish for West Virginia. Da'Sean Butler's ridiculous, no-timeouts-left, 20-foot fade-away with 2.3 seconds gave the Mountaineers an improbable win over Marquette Tuesday night after they were down five with less than a minute to play.

Is there a better three-headed monster in the Big East than Butler, Ebanks, and Kevin Jones? Answer: Nope. (Apologies to Dyson, Walker, Robinson and Monroe, Wright, Freeman). Ebanks' get-out-of-my-way dunk on WVU's second to last possession got everyone in the building believing the Mountaineers could pull off a miracle.

If I'm a Marquette player, I'm expecting to shoot about 500 free throws in practice tomorrow. The Golden Eagles missed three huge freebies in the last minute that would have made WVU's comeback that much more impossible. Marquette will need every FT they can get over the next 10 days - they play Villanova twice and host Georgetown in what is a very front-loaded Big East schedule.

It took John Wall all of 14 games to set a Kentucky single game record. His 16 assists against Hartford broke Travis Ford's old mark of 15 set in 1993. Almost as impressive - Wall turned the ball over just once. Get a napkin, Rod Thorn. You're drooling.

As great as Wall's performance was, the freshman had nothing on Wesley Johnson or Jeremy Hazell Tuesday night. Johnson finished with 20 points, 18 rebounds, and five blocks in Syracuse's big road win at Seton Hall. Hazell followed up his 41-point explosion against West Virginia last time out with a 38-point effort against Syracuse. He also added five rebounds and five steals.

New Mexico's win over Texas Tech at The Pit wasn't a huge surprise, but the margin of victory certainly was. The Lobos looked nothing like the team that lost at Oral Roberts last week, and their resume now features three wins over tourney-caliber power conference teams (Cal, A&M, TT). They're a low-end 5 seed right now, while Texas Tech looks like a low 9/high 10.

The "Big Three" in the Valley opened conference play Tuesday, and only two came out victorious. Wichita's double-digit loss at Illinois State further cements Missouri State at the Valley's second best team right now.

Of note: Minnesota won its Big Ten opener at home against Penn State, Xavier crushed LSU, Louisiana Tech won at Houston, Cornell won at LaSalle.

Of note? South Carolina State outscored Clemson by eight in the second half in a 70-67 loss.

Monday, December 28, 2009

B101's Weekday Tweets - Monday

Our quick thoughts on Monday's results:

The final score may not reflect it, but Carolina didn't look good at all against Rutgers. We'll chalk some of those struggles up to the fact that they were missing Marcus Ginyard, but the Scarlet Knights deserve some credit too. RU played some scrappy D in the second half and guard Mike Rosario (love the hair, btw) was the best player on the floor all night.

Look ahead much, Richmond? The Spiders, who face Wake Forest on Thursday, scored only 18 points in the first half and needed two late FTs to escape a poor UNC-Wilmington team at home.

It's not even January yet, but BYU's Jimmer Fredette may have already turned in the performance of the year. He put up 49 against Arizona Monday night, including nine threes, and he also chipped in with seven rebounds and nine assists. If you haven't seen the highlights yet, check them out here.

As if any more evidence was needed that the MWC is better than the Pac-10 this year, Arizona's 30-point loss (yikes) to BYU was their third loss to an MWC team this season (UNLV, SDSU).

Make it six in a row for Temple, who blew out Bowling Green at the old McGonigle Hall. The Owls have one more tune-up before top-ranked Kansas comes to town on Saturday. Upset anyone?

Speaking of upsets, Tennessee might be walking into a buzz saw against Memphis on New Year's Eve. Elliot Williams, who scored 27 in Memphis' win over IUPUI Monday night, is playing as good as any guard in the country right now. He's scored 20 or more points nine times already this season.

Nevada picked up its second straight nice OOC win by beating Portland (remember the Pilots?) by nine at home. The Wolfpack open conference play Saturday at Louisiana Tech, in a game that should clear things up a little bit in the WAC.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

B101's Sunday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Sunday's results:

There weren't any games of note on Sunday's schedule, but there were a couple of impressive individual performances:

Stanley Robinson put up a season-high 29 in UConn's win over Iona. The Huskies are going to need Robinson to continue his solid play of late on Wednesday, as they open Big East play with a tricky game at Cincinnati.

Greivis Vasquez scored over 20 for the third straight game as Maryland downed Florida Atlantic. The Terps have two more tune-ups before their ACC schedule opens, including a very dangerous visit from William & Mary on Wednesday. Just ask Wake Forest.

Speaking of 20-point games, Quincy Pondexter had his eighth such game Sunday as Washington cruised past San Fransisco. The Huskies open defense of their Pac-10 title Thursday at home against Oregon State.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

B101's Saturday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Saturday's results:

To say West Virginia escaped Newark with a big conference win would be a ginormous understatement. Seton Hall played really well, and their comeback from 10 down in the final minute was remarkable, but they also missed 24 threes and 17 free throws (ouch and ouch).

In the end, the Mountaineers pulled through because of their depth; Seton Hall didn't have much besides Jeremy Hazell (19 three point attempts?!?) offensively, while WVU had three players (Butler, Ebanks, and Jones) score 19 or more points.

This loss could prove extra devastating for Seton Hall when considering how their Big East schedule is shaping up. The Pirates play Villanova, Georgetown, and UConn only once, and all of those games are on the road. If they can't upset Syracuse at home on Tuesday, they'll have to make some serious noise on the road to compile a tourney-worthy resume. Keep in mind that Seton Hall's best OOC win came against Cornell.

B101's Weekday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on the week's results:

Friday's Games
USC's Christmas present to its fans - and to the Pac-10 - was another marquee OOC win, this time over 20th-ranked UNLV in the finals of the Diamond Head Classic. The Trojans aren't just the clear front-runners at the moment for the third Pac-10 bid - they have the best OOC resume in the entire league.

It's no coincidence that USC's emergence has coincided with the reinstatement of transfer Mike Gerrity. The Trojans are 4-0 with their new senior point guard running the show, and he's averaging 14.8 points and 4.3 assists per night.

Wednesday's Games
Nice resume-adding win for WVU over Ole Miss in Morgantown. The Mountaineers not only shot the ball well, but looked light years better on defense than they did in their near-loss to Cleveland State last time out.

Oral Roberts did its late founder pround Wednesday, upsetting New Mexico to knock the 12th-ranked Lobos from the ranks of the unbeaten. It was Oral's second win over a power conference school at the Mabee Center in two weeks (they beat Missouri back on Dec. 9.) Good luck getting anyone else to come visit.

What's gotten into USC? The Trojans now have two nice wins on their resume after upsetting St. Mary's in the semis of the Diamond Head Classic. Despite the loss, we still like the Gaels as a second bid out of the WCC.

The race for the Colonial title is going to be a tight one. William & Mary has the best resume so far, but preseason favorite Old Dominion is right behind them after they destroyed Charlotte at home.

For the second year in a row, Siena didn't do much much with a tough OOC schedule. The Saints looked every bit the MAAC favorite, though, in beating Rider (picked to finish third in the league) by 22 at the Pepsi Center.

Move over Tulsa, UAB has emerged at the best team in C-USA. The Golden Hurricane looked all sorts of awful in a 31-point loss to Nevada.

Illinois' miracle comeback against Clemson feels like it happened about a year ago. The Illini lost their second straight head-scratcher Wednesday, falling by 13 to a mediocre Missouri team.

Tuesday's Games
It's official: the two best teams in the country right now are tied atop the Big XII. Kansas, who people like to (stupidly) pick apart because of their weak OOC schedule, annihilated Cal in Lawrence, while Texas beat its second top 10 team in three days in downing Michigan State. Do we really have to wait over a month for these two to play? Sigh...

Cal stinks right now.

Speaking of Kansas, their New Year starts with a pretty tough three game stretch - at Temple, home vs. Cornell, at Tennessee, at Nebraska. We'll give them an 85% chance of staying unbeaten through those four.

UAB cracked our Next Four Out list this week, and they'll be ranked even higher than that next bracket after their 10-point home win over Butler. Even with Tulsa losing last night to Nebraska, we aren't ready to crown the Blazers the best team in C-USA, but right now they're in the top two (sorry Memphis).

Butler's loss dropped the Bulldogs to 8-4 and has some throwing the word overrated around. Yes, Butler is not the 3 seed we thought they might be at the beginning of the year, but they do have wins over Northwestern, Ohio State, and Xavier and have played the 12th toughest schedule so far. The Bulldogs are probably looking at a 5-7 seed come March, depending on how many games they lose in conference (it won't be many.)

Head scratcher of the night: South Alabama 67, Florida 66. The Gators have now lost two questionable games in a row, but they aren't out of the bracket just yet. They can say good-bye to a single digit seed line, though.

Yikes of the night: Florida Gulf Coast 64, DePaul 61.

Games don't get much worse than what Texas A&M suffered through last night. They lost by 10 at Washington and lost their best defender, Derrick Roland, to a Theismann-esque leg injury. Ouch and ouch.

Of note: William & Mary (who we admit we like a lot more than some other people...just check the resume, though) picked up a nice road win at Big South favorite Radford.

It's not that Missouri State's loss at Arkansas was a "bad" one, but the Bears really could have cemented their spot in the bracket with a road win against an SEC team.

Monday's Games
St. John's stay in our Field of 65 lasted all of a few hours. The Red Storm got outscored by 10 in the second half in a loss to Cornell at the Garden. The Big Red are going to be a very tough out for someone if they make the tourney; we might have them a little underseeded at a 13.

What's going on in Norman? Oklahoma's home loss to UTEP drops them to 8-4 on the season and all but assures they will have no OOC resume to speak of come March. Their last chance at a marquee OOC win comes New Year's Eve at Gonzaga (not gonna happen). Remember, this was a team picked to finish third in the Big XII.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Dec. 21

It's been a over a month since our Preseason Field of 65, and as could be expected, there are a ton of changes to our latest bracket. Putting together the field before most teams have started conference play is still tough, but the following bracket is how we see things right now.

You'll notice that some teams have essentially "earned" their ranking and are seeded where they are because of one or more big non-conference wins (see: Syracuse, Kansas State, Temple). Others are hanging on to a decent seed line or remain in the field because, even though their resume is weak right now (see: Connecticut, Tennessee, California), we project that once conference play starts, they will regroup and do enough damage to get in.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In

Minnesota, Missouri State, St. John's, Washington State

Last Four Out
Vanderbilt, Old Dominion, Charlotte, Xavier

Next Four Out
Maryland, UAB, Illinois, Seton Hall

---------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big East (7), ACC (7), Big Ten (6), Big XII (6), SEC (5), A-10 (3), MWC (3), Pac-10 (3), MVC (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

ACC - Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL)

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Temple, Richmond, Dayton

Big East - Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown, Connecticut, Cincinnati, St. John's

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Radford

Big Ten - Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Northwestern, Minnesota

Big XII - Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State

Big West - Pacific

Colonial - William & Mary

Conference USA - Tulsa

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Akron

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa, Missouri State

MWC - New Mexico, UNLV, BYU

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - Washington, California, Washington State

Patriot - Army

SEC - Kentucky, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi State

Southern - Western Carolina

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - IUPUI

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Prairie View A&M

WAC - Louisiana Tech

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's

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The Seeds
The 1s

Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, Syracuse

The 2s
Purdue, Duke, Villanova, West Virginia

The 3s
Georgetown, North Carolina, Kansas State, Michigan State

The 4s
Mississippi, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Gonzaga

The 5s
Butler, Connecticut, Ohio State, Florida

The 6s
Washington, Temple, Tennessee, Texas A&M

The 7s
Clemson, Wake Forest, Texas Tech, UNLV

The 8s
Northwestern, Florida State, Mississippi State, California

The 9s
Tulsa, Georgia Tech, Richmond, Northern Iowa

The 10s
St. Mary's, Dayton, Oklahoma State, William & Mary

The 11s
Cincinnati, BYU, Minnesota, Missouri State

The 12s
Miami (FL), St. John's, Washington State, Western Carolina

The 13s
Louisiana Tech, Siena, Western Kentucky, Cornell

The 14s
Akron, IUPUI, Pacific, Radford

The 15s
Murray State, Weber State, Vermont, Sam Houston State

The 16s
Belmont, Army, Morgan State, Robert Morris (Play-In Game), Prairie View A&M (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)




Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 20, 2009

B101's Sunday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Sunday's results:

It's impossible to look rustier than UConn did against UCF Sunday afternoon. If Stanley Robinson didn't explode in the second half, the Huskies would have been in some serious trouble.

In other UConn news, Ater Majok is not going to solve the Huskies' offensive woes anytime soon. The stats from his much-aticiapted debut: 17 miuntes, one point, three rebounds, and one loud "sit the eff down" from Jim Calhoun when he got pulled late in the second half. Welcome aboard!

Huge win for FSU at Georgia Tech in the ACC opener for both teams. The best part for 'Noles fans? Their team won with Solomon Alabi, their only reliable offensive threat thus far, scoring just nine points.

Wake Forest also won its ACC opener, beating N.C. State in Winston-Salem. They have one more tune-up (UNC-Greensboro) next week before a rough two game stretch against a dangerous Richmond team and a Xavier squad that needs a big win to stay relevant in the crowded A-10.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

B101's Saturday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Saturday's results:

It took over a month, but the Pac-10 finally has a signature win, thanks to USC's drubbing of Tennessee. Bruce Pearl - what happened?

Remember when Michigan was good? Yikes. Give the Wolverines credit for playing a tough OOC schedule, but they're now 2-5 in their last seven games.

Any argument that Duke is the best team in the ACC right now? They made a good Gonzaga team look awful.

Texas plays pretty well against non-cupcakes, too. Damion James and Dexter Pittman were unstoppable inside against the Tar Heels, whose front line isn't too shabby, either.

Nice escape, West Virginia (they won at Cleveland State on a Da'Sean Butler layup at the buzzer). The Mountaineers were up 12 at the half.

Yes, Xavier got absolutely hosed by Butler's clock operator, but there wouldn't have been a controversial ending if the Musketeers could have grabbed a rebound on that final possession. They gave the Bulldogs way too many chances.

Speaking of Xavier, their OOC schedule was certainly tough, but still have only one good win (Cincinnati). They could really use a win at Wake on Jan. 3 for their tourney resume.

Heck of a day for the A-10 - UMass edged Memphis at home, and Richmond - who owns the SEC - won at Florida (wow). The A-10 looks like a three-bid league (at least) again this season.

It's hard to believe we're writing this, but the Pac-10's having a solid day too. First USC, now Arizona State, who beat visiting San Diego State 55-52.

Cross Georgetown off the unbeaten list - the Hoyas lost by four at home to Old Dominion in a game that wasn't nearly that close. ODU led by 18 with 14 minutes to go.

Head scratchers - Illinois losing at Georgia, South Carolina losing at Wofford (ouch).

Don't tell Temple the Big East is the best league in the country. First they knocked off Villanova, and tonight they went on the road and handed Seton Hall its first loss. The Pirates still may be a bubble team come March, but their OOC resume won't help them much.

The unbeatens continue to fall. This time it's Texas Tech going down at Wichita State. The Red Raiders made a furious comeback to erase a 14-point halftime deficit, but it wasn't enough.

Wichita's win is ginormous for the Valley, which could be a multiple-bid league for the first time in three years. Northern Iowa is still the favorite, but Wichita (10-1) and unbeaten Missouri State are playing like serious conference title contenders.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Breaking Down The ACC-Big Ten Challenge

The Results
Monday's Games
Penn State 69, Virginia 66

Tuesday's Games
North Carolina 89, Michigan State 82
Purdue 69, Wake Forest 58
Northwestern 65, North Carolina State 53
Maryland 80, Indiana 68
Virginia Tech 70, Iowa 64

Wednesday's Games
Wisconsin 73, Duke 69
Ohio State 77, Florida State 64
Illinois 76, Clemson 74
Boston College 62, Michigan 58
Miami (FL) 63, Minnesota 58

The Biggest Win
Wisconsin's win over Duke
Not only did this game give us the first quality court rush of the year, it was ginormous for the reputation of the Big Ten and (most importantly) huge for the Badgers' OOC resume. Wisconsin now has wins over two of the best teams in the ACC (Duke and Maryland) and one over a potential tournament team from the Pac-10 (Arizona) in the last two weeks. With apologies to Syracuse, that might be the best OOC resume in the country. Not bad for a team that most people (ourselves included) didn't have in their preseason brackets.

The Worst Loss
Clemson's loss to Illinois
The Tigers inexplicably blew a 23-point second-half lead at home to the Illini, whose furious comeback was the biggest in school history. The loss definitely takes a little luster off Clemson's big win over Butler last weekend, and makes Sunday's game against South Carolina that much bigger in terms of their OOC resume. On the other side, the win saved Illinois coach Bruce Weber from what would have been a pretty rough post-game news conference. The Illini couldn't afford a third straight defeat, after suffering two bad losses last week to Utah (a game they led by 16 at the half) and Bradley.

What We Learned About The ACC
1. North Carolina is good (and can play a little defense)
Big Ten fans would argue that the Tar Heels should have won at home against Michigan State, but anyone who watched the game had to walk away impressed with the young talent and overall depth that Roy Williams has assembled in Chapel Hill. Ed Davis and Larry Drew II each had career highs with 22 and 18 points, respectively, and the Tar Heels held Michigan State to 2-for-20 shooting from three. Both Drew and Marcus Ginyard were great with the ball, combining for 13 assists and answering the lingering "Do the Heels have any good point guards?" question with a convincing "yes."

2. Miami may actually be legit
Despite winning the Charleston Classic, Miami still hasn't been getting a lot of national love because their path to the title went through Tulane, UNC-Wilmington, and South Carolina. The 'Canes win over Minnesota Wednesday night, though, might go a long way in changing that perception. They are now the only unbeaten ACC team, and if they can win at BC on Sunday (conference play already?) there is a very, very good chance that they go 15-0 to start the season. Their NCAA tourney hopes will still depend on whether then can finish better than .500 in conference, but Miami fans couldn't have hoped for a better start.

3. The ACC is still a really good league
All the talk over the next couple of days will be about the "arrival" of the Big Ten, but the ACC is still a top-three league that is going to get a boatload of bids in March. There are 10 ACC teams that have legitimate NCAA tourney hopes at this point in the season (sorry Virginia and N.C. State) and a lot of the ACC teams on the bubble to start the year (BC, Miami, Florida State) have all picked up big OOC wins in the early-going. Give the Big Ten credit - they won their first Challenge - but don't cry for the ACC. They were just a Clemson collapse away from a 6-5 victory.

What We Learned About The Big Ten
1. Michigan and Minnesota are overrated
Both teams have now lost three in a row following Michigan's bad home loss to BC and Minnesota's loss at Miami. Minnesota's loss capped a day to forget for the Gophers - freshman Royce White pled guilty Wednesday afternoon to charges of disorderly conduct and shoplifting. Against the Hurricanes, Minnesota blew a five point lead at the half and committed three bad turnovers late in the game to help Miami pull away. Michigan, meanwhile, had an awful first half and made just 9 of 34 threes for the game in a four-point loss.

2. Northwestern is alive and well
Like many people, we left Northwestern for dead once leading scorer Kevin Coble was lost for the season, but they picked up a nice road win over N.C. State Wednesday night to add to their respectable OOC resume. The N.C. State win, coupled with a victory over Notre Dame, should go a long way in helping the Wildcats' NCAA chances come March.

3. The Big Ten may be deeper 1 through 5 than the ACC
Yes, it's just three days of games, but it's impossible to not be impressed with the Big Ten, and specifically with what the second-tier Big Ten teams were able to do in the Challenge. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio State all won their games, and Northwestern and Penn State picked up quality road wins as well. Michigan losing at home to BC hurt, but other than that, the Big Ten really had no bad losses in the Challenge.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bracketology 101's First Field of 65 - Nov. 14

Here is Bracketology 101's First Field of 65 for the 2009-2010 season:

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In
Oregon State, Memphis, Boston College, Northwestern

Last Four Out
South Carolina, Seton Hall, Florida State, Wisconsin

Next Four Out
Arizona, Creighton, Richmond, UNLV

---------------------------------------------------------------

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

America East - Boston University

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Clemson, Wake Forest, Boston College

Atlantic Sun - Jacksonville

A-10 - Dayton, Xavier

Big East - West Virginia, Villanova, Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Cincinnati

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Radford

Big Ten - Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern

Big XII - Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M

Big West - Long Beach State

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - Tulsa, Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Akron

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC - BYU, San Diego State

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Murray State

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

Patriot - Holy Cross

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

Southern - Charleston

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Jackson State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga

----------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s
Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Texas

The 2s
North Carolina, West Virginia, Purdue, Villanova

The 3s
Duke, Washington, Butler, Tennessee

The 4s
Connecticut, California, Mississippi State, Ohio State

The 5s
Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Michigan

The 6s
Dayton, Clemson, Louisville, Maryland

The 7s
Siena, Kansas State, Minnesota, Illinois

The 8s
Syracuse, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Gonzaga

The 9s
BYU, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, UCLA

The 10s
Xavier, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Northern Iowa

The 11s
San Diego State, Mississippi, Oregon State, Memphis

The 12s
Cincinnati, Boston College, Northwestern, Western Kentucky

The 13s
Old Dominion, Akron, Utah State, Charleston

The 14s
Long Beach State, Holy Cross, Oakland, Cornell

The 15s
Weber State, Jacksonville, Murray State, Sam Houston State

The 16s
Boston University, Morgan State, Radford, Robert Morris (Play-In Game), Jackson State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)













Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bracketology 101's Preseason Final Four

Here are Bracketology 101's preseason Final Four picks:

Final Four
Kansas
Kentucky
Michigan State
West Virginia

National Championship
Kansas over Kentucky

Sunday, November 08, 2009

We're Back...Almost

The 2009-2010 college basketball season officially tips off this week - and so does a new season at Bracketology 101.

Over the next five months - just as we have for the last six years on this site - we will bring you our projections, insight, and opinions on all things bracket-related. As always, our focus will remain on our weekly bracket, but we will supplement the bracket with daily Games To Watch, polls, mailbags, tweets, podcasts, and more.

Our first orders of business are our conference champion picks and our first Field of 65, all of which will be posted later this week. Our preseason Final Four and national championship picks will also be posted. Check back later this week for our first posts of the new season.

Chris & Craig
Bracketology 101

Monday, July 13, 2009

B101's Summer Reading List

Things are pretty quiet college basketball-wise right now, but there are still a few ways for fans to get their fix while relaxing on the beach this summer. These five books, all published over the last couple years, detail everything from national championship games to mid-majors to Division II recruiting, and each will give the reader an inside look at all levels of college basketball.

We will be back this fall with our pre-season bracket (we'll have an occasional "tweet" in the meantime, too.) Until then, enjoy the list and enjoy the sun...

When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball
By Seth Davis
In "When March Went Mad," Davis explores, in vivid detail, the 1979 national championship game between Indiana State and Michigan State - the "Bird vs. Magic" game. Aside from reliving the game itself, Davis also tells the tale of how each superstar ended up at their respective school, how the seasons unfolded for both teams en route to the championship game, how different Magic and Bird were off the court, how Indiana State fought all season to earn respect, and how Michigan State dealt with lofty expectations. Davis also discusses the cultural impact that game had on the world of college basketball which, at the time, was just beginning to grow in popularity. Twenty years later, the 1979 championship game still has the highest rating of any basketball game in history, and as you read through Davis' book, you'll know exactly why America was so excited to watch Bird and Magic square off.

Destination Basketball: A Once in a Lifetime Adventure to Meet the Best Coaches in College Hoops
By Andrew Hemminger & Dave Bensch
Hemminger and Bensch began their 15-month trek to write this book with only a Honda Civic and a dream - and when all was said and done, the two best friends and college basketball fanatics had compiled a book full of lengthy, candid interviews with 29 of the country's most accomplished coaches. Among their interviewees: John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Calhoun, Roy Williams, Rick Pitino, Lute Olson, Jim Boeheim, Dean Smith, Gary Williams, Tom Izzo, John Chaney, and Billy Donovan. Each coach gets their own chapter in the book, and the interviews themselves are funny, informative, thought-provoking, and enlightening and show the true personalities of some of the most important figures in the game.

Birds, Dogs, and Kangaroos: Life on the Back Road of College Basketball
By Rich Zvosec & Greg Echlin
Most fans have never heard of Rich Zvosec, and that's part of the reason why he and Echlin wrote this book. Zvosec has spent his entire coaching career at small conference schools like St. Francis, North Florida, and UMKC. "Birds, Dogs, and Kangaroos" brings the reader into the world of small conference basketball, where coaches are responsible for way more than just Xs and Os. They need to raise money to keep programs afloat, find their student-athletes housing, and do a slew of other tasks that are often reserved for the team manager at big-time college programs. Zvosec tells a ton of funny and touching stories in this book, and all of them show just what life as a coach in a one-bid league is all about.

Cinderella Ball: A Look Inside Small-College Basketball in West Virginia
By Bob Kuska
If "Birds, Dogs, and Kangaroos" is small-college enough for you, "Cinderella Ball" should do the trick. In the book, Kuska chronicles a year in the life of the Division II Alderson-Broaddus College basketball team, which plays in the West Viriginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (what?...you didn't know that?). Not only does Kuska point out the myriad of differences between big-time Division I basketball versus Division II ball, he captures the underdog mentality that the team, the town, and the conference all have as they battle to stay relevant in the ever-expanding world of college sports. The book certainly has a "Hoosiers"-type feel to it, and Kuska tells the inspirational story perfectly.

Cinderella: Inside the Rise of Mid-Major College Basketball
By Michael Litos
We've touted "Cinderella" before on B101, but in case you haven't read it yet, we highly recommend it (now available in paperback!). In the book, Litos gives an all-access look at the rise of the Colonial in 2005-2006, which culminated in George Mason's miracle run to the Final Four. The book gives a fantastic recap of the Patriots' rise to national fame that season, and it also details the reasons why several mid-major conferences across the country have risen to prominence over the last few seasons and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day challenges that the player and coaches from the best teams in the conference (Old Dominion, George Mason, UNC-Wilmington, Hofstra, VCU, and Northeastern) faced that season.

Also receiving votes: Bo Ryan: Another Hill to Climb by Bo Ryan (Ryan’s autobiography details the path he took to get the Wisconsin job and the people who influenced him along the way); Rebound Rules: The Art of Success 2.0 by Rick Pitino (Pitino discusses the personal and professional challenges in his life and his strategy for dealing with them over the years); Playing For Coach Meyer by Steve Smiley (Smiley, a former player for Meyer, details his time with college basketball’s all-time winningest coach); The Gold Standard: Building a World-Class Team by Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K details his time spent building – and winning a gold medal with – Team USA); Taking The Shot: The Davidson Basketball Moment by Michael Kruse (Kruse tells the behind-the-scenes story of the Wildcats’ run to the Elite Eight in 2008)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Congrats and Thanks

Congratulations to T. Stote who was the winner of Bracketology 101's Bracket Challenge. He was able to top 140 other entries including Craig and Chris who finished 7th and 11th, respectively.

We'd like to thank everyone for another great year at B101. We appreciated all of the questions, comments, and support.

Check back in the next few weeks for NBA draft news and in the fall for our preseason bracket.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Down To Three...

In B101's Tourney Challenge group. It's a battle between M. Comisky, C. Fox, and T. Stote for the $50 prize. A Michigan State win gives Fox the win, while Comisky and Stote are pulling for UNC. If UNC does win and it comes down to the tie-breaker, Comisky will be looking for a game in the 60s, while Stote wants one in the 80s.

Sorry we haven't made many comments in regards to the tourney, but overall it's been a bit of a disappointment. Is it just us or was Championship Week a lot more exciting?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bracketology 101's Bracket Picks

To view or download Chris', Craig's, and Matt's complete tournament bracket, click on the title of this post.

The brackets are printable and are saved in .pdf format.

Good luck in your office pools...

*Note: If the top link is not working for you, try this one.

More Bracket Stats (We're Still No. 1...)

The Bracket Matrix has posted his final results matrix for all 61 brackets he monitors. He ranked the top brackets by category (number of exact seeds, etc.) and listed overall results based on the Paymon scoring system, which gives brackets three points for each correct team, two points for each exact seed, and one point for each team within one seed line.

This year we finished fifth in the overall standings and we tied for first in the number of exact seeds picked (35). We are the only bracketology site to finish in the top five in the overall standings each of the past four years, and over the last four years, we continue to be - by a pretty significant margin - the most consistently accurate bracketology site out there. This year, we finished well above the average bracket score of 303.4.

Top overall brackets for 2009 (Paymon scoring):
Bracketography: 325
Yahoo! Rivals : 318
Baseline Stats: 317
Bracketville: 316
Bracketology 101: 315
Jerry Palm (CollegeRPI.com): 315
Joe Lunardi's score: 307

Ranking The Bracketologists (*UPDATED to include 2009 stats*)
1. Bracketology 101
2. March Madness All Season
3. The Bracket Project
4. Bracketography
5. The Bracket Board
10. Joe Lunardi (ESPN.com)

For the complete rundown of how everyone fared this year, click here.

For an updated Ranking The Bracketologists list - which ranks bracketologists on how they fared over the past four years, click here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bracketology 101's Final Bracket Stats

Here are our final numbers for this year's bracket:

Teams correct: 64/65
Exact seeds: 35/65
Seeds within one of seed line: 53/65
*Paymon score: 315

For a complete breakdown of how every bracketologist did in predicting the field, click here.

All in all, we were slightly disappointed with our final stats, but pretty pleased with how we did this year compared to other bracketologists. It turned out to be a tough year for everyone seed-wise, but we think that our 315 Paymon score will put us among the top couple of scores yet again, and keep us atop The Bracket Project standings as the most accurate bracket over the last four years. We had hoped to match our 40-60 performance from last year, but some interesting seeding by the committee and some regrettable last-day changes prevented us from doing that.

Like everyone, we were pretty surprised that Arizona got in, considering their awful road record and the fact that they lost four of their last five games. Once USC won the Pac-10 tournament, we all but eliminated Arizona from serious at-large consideration. We thought a mid-major team like St. Mary's (or SDSU or Creighton) was worthy of that final spot, but yet again, the committee showed no love to the little guy. We are even more surprised that the big conference team they chose in the end was Arizona (over Penn State). The Wildcats were rewarded for what they did out of conference, and that gave them the edge over the OOC-challenged Nittany Lions. There were a handful of seeds given out that we found a little confusing, too. Boston College (and their 60 RPI) getting a 7 seed was the most shocking, and a Jerome Dyson-less UConn getting the last 1 seed over Michigan State or Memphis was a little bit of a surprise, too. Siena (a 9), Utah State (an 11), Marquette (a 6), Butler (a 9), Ohio State (an 8) and Wisconsin (a 12) all got questionable seeds as well, we thought.

Looking back over the season, we are proud of a couple of the predictions we made along the way. We thought all along that the Big Ten would get seven bids, and after a lot of debate, (especially on this site) that's exactly what they got. We also thought the MWC would max out at three bids (not 4 or 5 like some people had), and in the end only two teams from the conference made it. Finally, we were correct in predicting that Maryland would find its way back in the bracket and that the A-10 would eventually produce a bid-stealer. We had Temple in as our original A-10 bid stealer three week ago, and the Owls ended up making the field alongside Xavier and Dayton.

In the next couple of days, we will post our Final Four picks and our complete brackets. We will also set up the annual Bracketology 101 Tournament Challenge group on ESPN.com. The winner of this year's Tournament Challenge will get a $50 gift card of their choice.

In the meantime, feel free to post any bracket-questions in the comments section of this post. We'll check in periodically to answer as many of them as we can. Thanks to the tens of thousands of people who visited the site over the last week, and to the hundreds who posted comments and questions.

Enjoy filling out your brackets...

Live Selection Show Feedback

Here are our running thoughts as the bracket gets announced:

Wow! 3 Big East #1s. UConn always gets favorable seeding.

Big Ten not getting much love, Ohio State a 8.

Arizona in, WOW! That looks like the last team in.

Maryland looking good with BC getting a 7.

B101 can forget about getting 60 seeds within 1 this year.

Looks like the little guy is gonna get screwed. No SDSU, St Mary's or Creighton.

It's over for the bubble teams...9-12 lines will be Michigan, Western Kentucky, Temple, and LSU.

Bracketology 101's Final Field of 65

Bracket Breakdown
Here is Bracketology 101's Final Field of 65:

A couple of notes:
St. Mary's is our last at-large team in the field despite the fact that they are on the 11 line. We had to put Maryland down on the 12 line for numbers purposes.

Penn State was knocked out today by Mississippi State.

Last Four In
Minnesota, Dayton, Maryland, St. Mary's

Last Four Out
Penn State, San Diego State, Creighton, Arizona

Next Four Out
Auburn, Providence, South Carolina, Florida

---------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s
North Carolina, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Michigan State

The 2s
Connecticut, Duke, Memphis, Oklahoma

The 3s
Missouri, Wake Forest, Villanova, Kansas

The 4s
Syracuse, Florida State, Washington, Gonzaga

The 5s
Illinois, Purdue, Xavier, Arizona State

The 6s
UCLA, Utah, West Virginia, Ohio State

The 7s
Tennessee, Texas, Clemson, Butler

The 8s
LSU, Marquette, California, Oklahoma State

The 9s
BYU, Utah State, Michigan, Texas A&M

The 10s
Boston College, Wisconsin, Minnesota, USC

The 11s
Siena, Dayton, Temple, St. Mary's

The 12s
Maryland, Mississippi State, Western Kentucky, Northern Iowa

The 13s
Cleveland State, VCU, Binghamton, American

The 14s
Stephen F. Austin, North Dakota State, Portland State, Akron

The 15s
Cornell, Morgan State, Robert Morris, East Tennessee State

The 16s
Cal State Northridge, Radford, Morehead State, Chattanooga (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In-Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)













Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Selection Sunday Bracket Talk

We are putting the final touches on our Final Field of 65, which will be released around 4 p.m. ET.

In the meantime, readers can use this post to ask questions, discuss the bubble, or make their own predictions about who's in, who's out, and who's seeded where. We will check in periodically to answer questions.

Enjoy the last few hours before the Slection Show...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 14

On Friday we saw the amount of available bids shrink dramatically and we saw at least one bid stealer develop with both Dayton and Xavier falling in the A-10 semis. Virgina Tech, Florida, and South Carolina all lost games that will cost them tourney bids, while Maryland and SDSU may have punched their tickets with big wins. Here is how we see the field going into the weekend...

If we had to put a number on it we think that there are 4 bids still in question. All of the teams on the last 4 in line are still vulnerable, while everyone above them (the 10 line and better) are relatively safe.

SDSU held on against BYU to reach the MWC final. In the past two days, they have seen their RPI climb to all the way to 31. If the Aztecs lose to Utah in the MWC final they will have to sweat it out on Sunday. They still only have two Top 50 wins plus losses to St. Mary's and Arizona on their resume. It wouldn't be unthinkable for the Aztecs to be left out if they don't win the auto bid, especially if there are anymore bid stealers.

Maryland got into the bracket on the strength of their win over Wake Forest. The win sent their RPI up 10 points to 50 and gives them the chance to lock up a bid against Duke. So long as the Terps put up a good effort against the Blue Devils, it's tough to envision the committee not giving them a bid as the 7th best team out of the ACC.

Penn State hung onto a bid in our current field despite their blowout loss to Purdue. The Nittany Lions are clearly the #8 team from the Big Ten, which we have said for weeks is not a good place to be. They have six Top 50 wins on their resume, which is more than anybody else in consideration and finished above .500 in Big Ten play. They even have road wins over Michigan State and Illinois. The problem is that all of their Top 50 wins (Top 100 for that matter) came in conference and they blew a chance to lock up a bid at Iowa last week. They laid an egg on Friday against a red-hot shooting Purdue team and will now have to hope things hold throughout the weekend and no more bid stealers pop up.

Our last team in is St. Mary's, barely. Scheduling another game against Eastern Washington looks like it may pay off. It didn't hurt their RPI and the 20-point win on Friday night gives the committee another look at them, as opposed to their season ending on Monday with a blowout loss to Gonzaga. All week we liked Creighton ahead of the Gaels, but that changed with the results of Friday night. Dayton losing completes an absolute disaster week for Creighton. Not only has the bubble gotten squeezed, but all of the Bluejays' good OOC wins have lost. New Mexico lost to Wyoming, George Mason got blown out by VCU to drop out of the RPI Top 50, and now Dayton lost - giving Creighton ZERO Top 25 wins. St. Mary's, on the other hand, has benefited from SDSU playing so well, and they've seen Utah State (another team they beat) also climb into the Top 25 of the RPI. The Gaels also got some of their wins away from home (neutral vs SDSU and Providence). The biggest issue in all of this is the fact that the Gaels are 18-2 when Patty Mills has played the whole game. We think their bad road losses without Mills will get overlooked and, so long as no more bid stealers pop up, they will get a bid.

Here's what the bubble team fans needs to hope for in Saturday's action: Memphis over Tulsa, LSU over Mississippi State, Tennessee over Auburn, Duke over Maryland in a blowout, ASU over USC, Temple over Duquense, Utah over SDSU, Utah State over Nevada, and most importantly - Missouri over Baylor. The potential of 4-5 more bid stealers still exists, so nobody on the last 4 in line is safe.

Our next and final bracket will be published on Sunday afternoon. Enjoy the weekend and good luck to your bubble team.

Bracket Breakdown
In This Bracket

Maryland, Temple

Out This Bracket
South Carolina, Creighton

Last Four In
San Diego State, Maryland, Penn State, St. Mary's

Last Four Out
Creighton, Arizona, USC, Auburn

Next Four Out
Providence, South Carolina, Florida, New Mexico

---------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big Ten (8), ACC (7), Big East (7), Big XII (6), Pac-10 (4), A-10 (3), MWC (3), Horizon (2), SEC (2), WCC (2)

America East - Binghamton

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson, Boston College, Maryland

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10 - Temple, Xavier, Dayton

Big East - Louisville, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Villanova, Syracuse, West Virginia, Marquette

Big Sky - Portland State

Big South - Radford

Big Ten - Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Penn State

Big XII - Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M

Big West - Cal State Northridge

Colonial - VCU

Conference USA
- Memphis

Horizon - Cleveland State, Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena


MAC - Buffalo

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC - Utah, BYU, San Diego State

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Morehead State

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

Patriot - American

SEC - LSU, Tennessee

Southern - Chattanooga

Southland
- Stephen F. Austin

Summit - North Dakota State

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC
- Alabama State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's

----------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s
North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Michigan State

The 2s
Connecticut, Duke, Oklahoma, Memphis

The 3s
Missouri, Wake Forest, Villanova, Syracuse

The 4s
Florida State, Kansas, Washington, Illinois

The 5s
Arizona State, Gonzaga, Xavier, UCLA

The 6s
Purdue, West Virginia, Texas, Utah

The 7s
LSU, California, Clemson, Tennessee

The 8s
Marquette, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Butler

The 9s
BYU, Boston College, Michigan, Texas A&M

The 10s
Siena, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dayton

The 11s
San Diego State, Utah State, Maryland, Penn State

The 12s
Temple, St. Mary's, Cleveland State, Western Kentucky

The 13s
Northern Iowa, VCU,
Buffalo, Binghamton

The 14s
North Dakota State, American, Portland State,
Stephen F. Austin

The 15s
Cornell, East Tennessee State, Robert Morris,
Morgan State

The 16s
Cal State Northridge, Morehead State, Radford, Chattanooga (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In-Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)














Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 13

The Thursday of Championship Week is always exciting, as all of the big conferences get their tournaments started. This one was no different. The biggest shocker of the day was that three No. 1 seeds went down. The upsets started when Pitt got beat up by West Virginia, and that was followed by Oklahoma getting knocked off by Oklahoma State in a last-second thriller. To top it all off was the 6OT epic battle/game of the year between UConn and Syracuse. The Huskies had plenty of opportunities in just about every OT period to put the game away, but they were unable to do so. It eventually became a game of attrition and by the sixth overtime, too many UConn big men had fouled out and they just went cold from the field. Syracuse continues to have the Huskies' number in the Big East tourney the past few years.

By the end of the night, Pitt was the only team that played that was able to hold onto their 1 seed. Oklahoma dropped down to the third 2 seed and really has no chance to climb back up. UConn, on the other hand, may be able to get back on the 1 line should Louisville lose to Villanova or Michigan State go down before the Big Ten final. Duke is also in the running for a one seed if they can make a run to the final of the ACC tourney, and even Wake Forest could get itself in the mix if it won the ACC tourney. Despite what some commentators may believe, we still think that Memphis has no shot at a 1 seed.

Now onto the all important bubble talk. The bigget winners of the day were the Big Ten bubble bunch, San Diego State, and Oklahoma State. The biggest losers were Providence, Arizona, and New Mexico. Here's another conference-by-conference breakdown:

In the A-10...
Rhode Island completely knocked themselves out of at-large consideration with their loss to Duquesne. Meanwhile, Dayton is now a lock for the tourney and Temple is back in the mix. The Owls' slim tourney were revived with URI going down, but they are still on life support. If the Owls can take out Xavier on Friday they would be back in the mix for an at-large, but they would still need a lot of help and only a close loss to Dayton in the final would give them any hope. They have some nice OOC wins and a solid RPI, but simply have too many bad losses.

In the ACC...
Maryland and Virginia Tech moved on to keep their tourney hopes alive, while BC locked up their bid. Now both the Terps and the Hokies have a chance to pick up another marquee win and play their way into the field. We wouldn't go so far as saying that both would be a lock with a win on Friday, but they would be in good shape and would likely find themselves in the tourney.

In the Big XII...
One of the big winners of the day was Oklahoma State. Their win over Oklahoma erases any doubt concerning their tourney chances and also moved them up to a 8 seed. Kansas State is officially done after they went down in a close battle with Texas. Kansas became the first conference one seed to go down out of the major conferences and opened up the possibility of Baylor running the table to steal a bid.

In the Big East...
The best games of the day were played at Madison Square Garden. Early in the day, Villanova dropped Marquette on a last second lay-up, and more importantly for those on the the bubble, Providence get blown out by Louisville. The Friars will remain in the mix until Selection Sunday because of their above-.500 conference record and wins over Syracuse and Pitt, but we can't see anyway that they climb back into the field. Their OOC resume contains no wins over any tourney teams (the loss to St. Mary's really hurts right now) and they continue to get blown out by Big East tourney teams away from their home court.

In the Big Ten...
We never like the admit we were wrong, but it looks like we have no choice in this one. We finally were forced to cave and put eight Big Ten teams in the field. Minnesota, Michigan, and Penn State all won easily to move onto the Big Ten quarters and all eight teams left in the Big Ten field look like they will be dancing. If we had to pick one team that would miss out on the dance at this point we would have to say Penn State. Their RPI is 25-30 points lower than the rest of the bubble teams and if they were to get blown out by Purdue it would not be unthinkable for the Nittany Lions to be left out.

In the Pac-10...
Arizona suffered yet another loss, making it five out of six losses to end the year. This team has a ton of talent, but they really just can't seem to make that translate into wins on the court. They will now have a long wait till Sunday and their streak of 24 straight tourney appearances is in serious trouble. They have plenty of good wins on their resume, but none of them were a true road game. The one point loss that the Wildcats suffered at Texas A&M back in December must really hurt UofA fans. They let a big lead slip away late in that one and if they could of just hung on they would be in ahead of the Aggies now. They are currently our last team out so they will remain in the mix throughout the weekend and will be the focus of plenty of debate. Will their five Top 50 wins be enough to earn them a bid, or will their poor finish keep them out? USC was able to keep their slim tourney hopes alive by knocking off Cal. They will need a win over UCLA on Friday to really recieve any serious consideration.

In the MWC...
Bubble teams throughout the land couldn't be happier with the way things went in the MWC today. We have been saying all season that the conference has no chance for four bids and it looks like we'll at least get that one correct. SDSU won yet again at UNLV to keep their tourney hopes alive, and in the process, destroy UNLV's chances. In the night cap, New Mexico was stunned by Wyoming. The Lobos can start preparing for the NIT since their at-large hopes are over. They may have finished in a three-way tie for first and have won 8 of their last 10, but they also have a 65 RPI, a disgusting OOC resume, and have no good road wins. Their loss also takes some luster off of Creighton's resume. The Aztecs, on the other hand, may have been the biggest winners of the day. Not only did they pick up another road win against UNLV, which helped pump their RPI up seven spots, but they are also the clear cut third choice out of the MWC. A win over BYU in the semis would be a good idea, though. They have only one win over a team in our current bracket, which is also their only top 50 win. If they can't get by BYU then their resume will not stack up very favorably when compared with fellow bubble teams that they lost to - Arizona and St. Mary's.

In the SEC...
There were really no surprises in Tampa yesterday. Florida beat Arkansas to set up an elimination game with Auburn. A win for Florida may be enough to get them a bid, and if they can get to the finals they would be a lock. Auburn, on the other hand, will need to beat Florida and Tiger fans should actually hope Tennessee avoids another upset against Alabama. Auburn needs all the good wins it can get and they will need to beat Florida and Tennessee to really like their at-large chances heading into the SEC championship. South Carolina faces a must-win against a Mississippi State team that they recently lost to. The Gamecocks also will need a run to the final to lock down a bid. Bubble teams throughout the land will have a close eye on the SEC, since right now the third and fourth best teams are looking like teams on either the Last Four In or Last Four Out lines come Sunday.

We will post one more bracket on Friday night before going into lockdown to produce our final bracket, which will be released Sunday afternoon. Enjoy the rest of Championship Week...

Bracket Breakdown
In This Bracket
Minnesota, St. Mary's, San Diego State

Out This Bracket
Arizona, Providence, New Mexico

Last Four In
South Carolina, Creighton, St. Mary's, San Diego State

Last Four Out
Arizona, Florida, Providence, Maryland

Next Four Out
Auburn, Virginia Tech, Temple, USC

---------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big Ten (8), Big East (7), ACC (6), Big XII (6), Pac-10 (4), MWC (3), SEC (3), A-10 (2), Horizon (2), MVC (2), WCC (2)

America East - Binghamton

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson, Boston College

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10 - Xavier, Dayton

Big East - Pittsburgh, Louisville, Connecticut, Villanova, Syracuse, West Virginia, Marquette

Big Sky - Portland State

Big South - Radford

Big Ten - Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Penn State

Big XII - Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M

Big West - Cal State Northridge

Colonial - VCU

Conference USA
- Memphis

Horizon - Cleveland State, Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Buffalo

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa, Creighton

MWC - Utah, BYU, San Diego State

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Morehead State

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

Patriot - American

SEC - LSU, Tennessee, South Carolina

Southern - Chattanooga

Southland
- Stephen F. Austin

Summit - North Dakota State

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Alabama State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's

----------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s
North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Michigan State

The 2s
Connecticut, Duke, Oklahoma, Memphis

The 3s
Wake Forest, Villanova, Washington, Missouri

The 4s
Florida State, Xavier, Syracuse, Kansas

The 5s
UCLA, Gonzaga, Illinois, Arizona State

The 6s
Purdue, Texas, West Virginia, Marquette

The 7s
Utah, California, Clemson, LSU

The 8s
Oklahoma State, Tennessee, BYU, Ohio State

The 9s
Butler, Dayton, Boston College, Michigan

The 10s
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas A&M, Penn State

The 11s
Siena, South Carolina, Creighton, Utah State

The 12s
St. Mary's, San Diego State, Cleveland State, Western Kentucky

The 13s
Northern Iowa, VCU, Buffalo, Binghamton

The 14s
North Dakota State, American, Portland State, Stephen F. Austin

The 15s
Cornell, East Tennessee State, Robert Morris, Morgan State

The 16s
Cal State Northridge, Morehead State, Radford, Chattanooga (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In-Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)













Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 12

Last night was about as quiet as a Championship Week night can be. All but one big conference team that should have won did win, and in the two small conference championship games, favorites Robert Morris (in the NEC) and Portland State (in the Big Sky) punched their tickets to the dance. The lone favorite to lose was Texas A&M, thanks to a ridiculous 35-point second half performance from Texas Tech's Mike Singletary. The Aggies are still safe in terms of an at-large berth, but their seed took a bit of a hit in today's bracket. They fell from the top 9 seed to the third 10 seed.

The real fun (and the chaos) starts tonight. There are 53 games on today's schedule, and a large majority of them involve teams on or close to the bubble.

Here's a quick breakdown of tonight's biggest games, a look at what each of the bubble teams playing tonight has to do to eventually secure an at-large, and what the biggest storylines are with less than 96 hours remaining until the Selection Show:

In the A-10...
The most important sub-plot heading into the A-10 tournament is whether Rhode Island can get to the final and get an at-large. The second-seeded Rams, who have won 10 of their last 12, begin that journey today against Duquesne. If they win, they face Dayton in the semis. Another win over the Flyers, who they beat at home at the buzzer two weeks ago, might be enough to get URI dancing.

In the ACC...
Miami and Virginia Tech face off today in an at-large elimination game. The loser's at-large chances are over; the winner will still need to beat Carolina in the quarters to get a bid. Maryland is also in action against N.C. State in the 7-10 game. If the Terps can beat the Wolfpack, and then upset Wake Forest in the quarters, they'll be back in the bracket.

In the Big XII...
There's already been one upset victim in the Big XII tourney...will there be more today? Oklahoma State fans are hoping their team can pull a Texas Tech against second-seeded Oklahoma tonight. The Cowboys, who have now won seven of eight, probably punched their ticket by beating Iowa State last night, but they better not get blown out by the Sooners tonight if they want to feel safe on Selection Sunday. The wild card, if Oklahoma State does get blown out, is Kansas State. The Wildcats face Texas in their first game today, and if they upset the Longhorns and then beat top-seeded Kansas in the semis, they'd be in great shape for a bid.

In the Big East...
It's looking more and more like Providence is going to have to beat Louisville tonight (or at the very least play a very, very competitive game) to get a bid. Having to play DePaul, and not Cincinnati, in their first game, really hurt the Friars, who were in need of one more notable win. Providence isn't 100% done with a loss tonight, but they'll certainly need some things to break right over the next few days. In other quarterfinal action today, Marquette takes on Villanova, UConn plays Syracuse, and West Virginia plays Pitt.

In the Big Ten...
The tournament with the most critical set of first round games is the Big Ten. We have held firm in our belief that the Big Ten is going to be a seven-bid league when all is said and done, and whether that happens or not will depend a lot on what happens today. In the first Big Ten game of the day, Minnesota takes on Northwestern in a game that we have commented an approximately 8,427 times in the last four days. We still think the Wildcats, despite a season-ending loss at Ohio State, are a dangerous team in this tourney, and we like their chances to upset the Gophers. If we are wrong, and Minnesota wins, Creighton or Providence would see their bubble burst and the Gophers would be back in the field. The other two ginormous first round games today involve Michigan and Penn State. Michigan takes on Iowa, and if the Wolverines win, they're a lock for an at-large. If they lose (which is very possible), they wouldn't be done, but they would be in for a very long, painful weekend. Penn State, meanwhile, faces Indiana under circumstances that are very similar to Michigan's. With a win, the Nittany Lions should be in for good. A loss opens up a huge can of worms, especially if Michigan loses as well. We would give the slight edge to Penn State as the seventh Big Ten team if that scenario happens, but we aren't sure the committee would agree. It would depend on whether they value Michigan's solid OOC wins or Penn State's extremely strong arsenal of Big Ten wins. Did Penn State do enough in conference to make up for a non-existent OOC resume? Nittany Nation is hoping they don't have to find out the answer to that question.

In the Pac-10...
The biggest question heading into the Pac-10 tournament is whether Arizona will get an at-large. The Wildcats face Arizona State, who swept them during the regular season, in their first round game. One win gets Arizona in, while a loss will have them on the Last Four In or Last Four Out list (depending on what happens elsewhere) on Selection Sunday.

In the MWC...
The MWC has a chance to be anywhere from a two- to a four-bid league depending on what happens over the next couple of days. Utah and BYU are safe, and right now, we like New Mexico as the third and final MWC bid. The Lobos open up with Wyoming today, and if they win, they face the Utes in the semis. If New Mexico wins that game, they're in. If they don't, the third MWC bid (if there is one) would be the winner of today's UNLV/San Diego State game. The Rebels and Aztecs just played last week, and SDSU completed a season sweep by winning at home. If the Aztecs win this game and get past BYU and into the final, they'll get a bid. If they can't beat the Cougars, their at-large hopes depend on how New Mexico does and what happens elsewhere. Keep in mind that this tourney is in Vegas, where the Rebels lost just once (to SDSU) all season.

In the SEC...
Of all the major conference tournaments, the most wide-open is no doubt the SEC. Whether the league ends up with three or four bids will be determined by how South Carolina, Florida, Auburn, and Kentucky fare. The Wildcats, who need to get to the final to get back in the at-large discussion, open with Mississippi today, while Florida opens with Arkansas. If the Gators win, they play Auburn in the quarters in an at-large elimination game. The winner of that game, if they can beat Tennessee and get to the final, will get a bid. If that team loses to the Vols, they'll have to hope that South Carolina loses its first game (to Georgia or Mississippi State) and that no other craziness happens in the rest of the conference tournies.

Bracket Breakdown
In This Bracket

None

Out This Bracket
None

Last Four In
South Carolina, Providence, Creighton, New Mexico

Last Four Out
Minnesota, St. Mary's, Florida, San Diego State

Next Four Out
Maryland, Auburn, Rhode Island, Miami (FL)

---------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), Big Ten (7), ACC (6), Big XII (6), Pac-10 (5), MWC (3), SEC (3), A-10 (2), Horizon (2), MVC (2)

America East - Binghamton

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson, Boston College

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10 - Xavier, Dayton

Big East - Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Louisville, Villanova, Syracuse, Marquette, West Virginia, Providence

Big Sky - Portland State

Big South - Radford

Big Ten - Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State

Big XII - Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State

Big West - Cal State Northridge

Colonial - VCU

Conference USA - Memphis

Horizon - Cleveland State, Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Buffalo

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa, Creighton

MWC - Utah, BYU, New Mexico

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Morehead State

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

Patriot - American

SEC - LSU, Tennessee, South Carolina

Southern - Chattanooga

Southland - Stephen F. Austin

Summit - North Dakota State

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Alabama State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga

----------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s

Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Connecticut, Oklahoma

The 2s
Louisville, Michigan State, Duke, Memphis

The 3s
Wake Forest, Villanova, Kansas, Washington

The 4s
Florida State, Missouri, Xavier, UCLA

The 5s
Gonzaga,
Syracuse, Illinois, Clemson

The 6s
Marquette, Arizona State, Purdue, California

The 7s
Utah, Texas, LSU, Tennessee

The 8s
BYU, West Virginia, Ohio State, Butler

The 9s
Dayton, Boston College, Wisconsin, Michigan

The 10s
Oklahoma State, Penn State, Texas A&M, Arizona

The 11s
South Carolina, Providence, Creighton, Siena

The 12s
Utah State, New Mexico, Cleveland State, Western Kentucky

The 13s
Northern Iowa, VCU,
Buffalo, Binghamton

The 14s
North Dakota State,
American, Portland State, Stephen F. Austin

The 15s
Cornell, East Tennessee State,
Robert Morris, Morgan State

The 16s
Cal State Northridge, Morehead State, Radford, Chattanooga (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In-Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)
*Congratulations to Matt and his wife, who welcomed a new baby boy to their family on Tuesday*














Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com