Monday, February 23, 2009

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Feb. 23

As the season goes on and more games are played, the bracket tends to stabilize, which is exactly what we have seen in the past two weeks. Teams on the top 4-5 seed lines have made their case and and likely won't move more than a seed line up or down week to week. This is especially true of the 1 seeds, since three out of four lost in the last week but they all held on to their 1 seeds. Most of the changes from here on out will be teams going from the last four out line to last four in.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we could never have imagined both Notre Dame and Wisconsin playing their way back into the bracket, but that is exactly what has happened. The Irish picked up a huge road win over the weekend against Providence and ended up taking the Friars' bid. We are expecting the Irish to be able to win out at home, which would include a win over Villanova, which would get them to 9-9 and put them in the best shape of all the Big East bubble teams. Penn State also made its way back into the bracket after their ugly win at Illinois. The Nittany Lions have now beaten the top three teams in the Big Ten, and seven bids out of the Big Ten seems possible. Things still need to break right for the league, though, since four of the seven bids are an 8 seed or worse, and each of these teams could easily play their way out.

We once again downgraded the MWC to two teams. The top teams in the league beat up on each other a bit in the past week and this trend will likely continue given each team's upcoming schedule. At this point we think that it is more likely that the MWC will end up with two bids than three (four bids is insane.) New Mexico has really hurt the conference's chances of getting three bids. They have beaten all three bubble teams at the Pit, but have no chance at an at-large because of their bad losses OOC. The best chance for the conference to get three bids is to have Utah slip up and to have BYU or SDSU go on a run and share the conference title with the Utes. That would put the two teams who split the regular season crown in good shape, and UNLV should be able to at least get to the tourney championship game on their home court and earn a bid as well.

Bracket Breakdown
In This Week
Maryland, Penn State, Notre Dame, Radford, Belmont, Long Beach State, UT-Martin

Out This Week
Providence, Virginia Tech, San Diego State, VMI, Jacksonville, Cal State Northridge, Morehead State

Last Four In
Maryland, Penn State, Kansas State, Notre Dame

Last Four Out
San Diego State, Cincinnati, BYU, Miami (FL)

Next Four Out
Texas A&M, St. Mary's, Providence, UAB


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

America East - Binghamton

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

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Temple, Xavier, Dayton

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

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Radford

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

Big XII - Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Kansas State

Big West - Long Beach State

Colonial - VCU

Conference USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Buffalo

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Creighton

MWC - Utah, UNLV

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - UT-Martin

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

Patriot - American

SEC - LSU, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina

Southern - Davidson

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, Oklahoma, Connecticut, North Carolina

The 2s
Louisville, Clemson, Michigan State, Duke

The 3s
Memphis, Wake Forest, Marquette, Missouri

The 4s
Villanova, Kansas, Arizona State, Purdue

The 5s
Illinois, Florida State, Washington, Gonzaga

The 6s
Xavier, UCLA, Butler, California

The 7s
LSU, Texas, West Virginia, Syracuse

The 8s
Utah, Dayton, Florida, Ohio State

The 9s
Boston College, Arizona, Minnesota, Kentucky

The 10s
Wisconsin, Tennessee, South Carolina, UNLV

The 11s
Utah State, Maryland, Temple, Penn State

The 12s
Kansas State, Siena, Creighton, Notre Dame

The 13s
Davidson, Western Kentucky, VCU, Buffalo

The 14s
Binghamton, Weber State, North Dakota State, American

The 15s
Stephen F. Austin, Cornell, Radford, Belmont

The 16s
Long Beach State, Morgan State, UT-Martin, Robert Morris (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In-Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at


marchmadness23 said...

Notre Dame!!!???? no way they should be in, I realize Michigan lost but they arent deserving as a final 8 out??? along with Anyone of those final 8 deserve a bid over Notre Dame.

Lee said...

Is the Big Ten/ACC challenge something you all look at? I find it hard to beleive .500 in the league that loses this challenge every year is worth the same as .500 in the league that wins it. I know it's a team by team thing but I guess I just don't see how you can say the Big Ten is as strong a league as the ACC from top to bottom with the ACC beating them down head to head for 8 (however old the challenge is) straight years now.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely NO reason to believe Notre Dame can beat Villanova at home. Its more likely that Villanova's red hot offense will run ND out of their own gym. Its not even like they won a lot of good games, other than beat Texas in Maui, they haven't beaten anyone. I don't think the selection committee will give this team a bid just because of Luke Harangody.

Lee, what makes you think the ACC bubble teams will even finish .500? Maryland might have beaten UNC, but they still have to play Duke and Wake Forest. VT still has to play all the top teams, and an FSU team on the road that beat them at home. Miami can get to .500 by sweeping GT, NCSt, and UVa, but even that's not guaranteed.

What I take offense to the most is Kansas State. Seriously? Who have they beaten? Not Kansas, they lost at home. But hey, at least their next game was vs. North Carolina Central so Clemente could serve his "suspension".

Paymon said...

You're picking Temple as the A-10 automatic bid, right?

I back the ND pick. They have a real shot at 9-9 in the Big East which puts them in no questions asked.

Lastly, I think the MWC gets a third team in the mix, assuming UNLV takes the automatic bid. Agree to disagree.

Solid work per usual.

Bracketology 101 said...

Keep in mind we don't do the bracket as if the season ended today. If we did it that way, Michigan would probably be last four out, but with the schedule they have remaining we just don't like their chances.

Lee said...

Well VT certainly crapped the bed but I think that either MD or Miami or both will make it to 8-8. If either of them don't they will need 2 ACC tourney wins which would mean a second round win over one of the top 4. Of course I would consider an argument that 7-9 in the ACC and an ACC tourney win is better than 8-8 in the Big Ten. MD is 2-0 in the Big Ten this year...

Dan said...

Anonymous, Kansas State fans are hanging their hats on their win at Texas, which does look a little more impressive after last night.

Bracketology 101 said...

Quick hits...

Temple is in as the A-10 automatic.

We aren't completely sold on Kansas State either, but the Wildcats are in better shape right now than the teams we have on the Last Four Out and Next Four Out list are. They have three nice Big XII road wins on their resume (Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M) and two of those wins (Texas and A&M) came on the road. If they can win one of their two remaining road games (they play at Missouri and at Oklahoma State), they should finish 10-6 in conference, which will get them a bid. Losses in both of those games and they will be on the outside looking in.

Brian said...

How far back on the radar would a win by Georgetown tonight put them?

Anonymous said...

Couple Big 10 questions

How in the world is Ohio State still locked in as a 9 seed, when they have lost 3 in a row? Also Michigan not being in the next 8 out is a crime one bad loss at Iowa, but if they can beat Purdue they will need to win only one of their two remaining games to get to 9-9. You would think a 9-9 Michigan would fair better than a PSU team at 10-8. Notre Dame is 14-11? and in the field. Please explain B101

Anonymous said...

"I back the ND pick. They have a real shot at 9-9 in the Big East which puts them in no questions asked"

Does 8-8 in the ACC put a team in, no questions asked? Becasue 4 teams are guaranteed 8-8, Wake just has to win one of UVA, NCSU, and Maryland, BC can clinch their 8 wins against either NCSU or GT, Plus they have FSU at home, Maryland, even if they dont beat duke or wake, has NCSU and UVA on the schedule, and beating those would put them at 8-8, Va tech has virtually no shot at 8-8, as its more likely theyll lose out than win out, Miami could easily run off 3 straight against the worst teams in the conference, and even NC st has an outside shot, with 3 "easy" games coming up in the last 4, If 8 teams make 8-8, will they all get in?

Anonymous said...

Will 9-9 for Notre Dame really get them in the dance? They only have 1 good conference win, against L'ville, and a win over texas which originally looked huge, but now is only so-so, other than that, syracuse, uconn, pitt, ucla, and unc all blew them out, they dont seem to be a strong team, despite the big names

Anonymous said...

Seriously, the media's love for Notre Dame is sickening. They're currently #72 in the RPI and #39 in SOS. They're 3-9 vs. the top 50 and 4-10 vs. the Top 100. Their only true road wins are against #76 Providence, #189, and #318 Loyola-Marymount.

How does any of that translate to 17-12 (9-9) being good enough to get them in?

Anonymous said...

You are right 17-12 would be sickening if a team like Maryland/Michigan would go 19-12 and and .500 in league play and get passed by Notre Dame would be a crime. Notre Dame sucks.

judolphin said...

Finally, FSU is nationally ranked in both polls and is a 5 seed or higher in all the major bracke projections... even Lunardi has them at #4 now. I've been screaming about this all season. Kudos to Bracketology 101 for being ahead of the curve.

Here's a rant that took the words right out of my mouth about FSU...

Anonymous said...

The problem with Judolphin's article is the attack on duke, who has been one of the top programs in the country over the last 15 years... WVU and duke are only comparable in Tourney performance, which has no influence on tourney seeding... Consider the following... Heading into the Tourney

Duke 24-6 11-5 3 top 25 wins (UM, UCLA, WF) 3 seed in tourney
FSU 13-14 (4-12) 1 top 25 win (H #5 Duke)Left out of tourney
WVU 14-15 4-12 1 top 25 win (UF)Left out

Everything seems right there, Except duke, the ACC tourney champions, might have been a bit underseeded...

Duke 27-5 13-3 9 top 25 wins(!) 1 seed
FSU 18-13 6-10 4 top 25 wins Left out
WVU 15-13 6-10 0 top 25 wins

Everything seems good there

Duke 25-5 11-5 ACC tour Champs 2 top 25 wins 1 seed
FSU 12-19 4-12 left out
WVU 21-10 8-8 2 wins over top 25 7 seed

Everything still seems ok here, WVU did extremely well in the tournament, but very well may have been overseeded as a 7 with just 2 quality wins, and 10 losses...

Will finish statistical analysis later...

Bracketology 101 said...

More quick hits...

A win over Louisville would get Georgetown onto the Next Four Out list, but it won't be nearly enough to get them a bid. The Hoyas need to win out and finish 9-9 if they want to get in.

As far as Notre Dame goes, we know that their resume at the moment does not look that pretty, and if we did our bracket based on the season ending today, the Irish definitely wouldn't get a bid. The fact that they are even in the discussion right now just goes to show how weak the bubble is this year. Looking ahead, though, (as we do in our bracket), ND has a very good chance of finishing 9-9, and if they do, they would have quality conference wins over Louisville, Providence (on the road) and either UConn or Villanova, depending on who they beat down the stretch. As long as they get to 9-9 and make the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament, they should be fine. A trip to the semis would make them a lock.

We've already had several comments today about the Big Ten bubble and about Michigan in particular. Just like we do with every bubble team, we projected what we thought Michigan would do down the stretch and it's harder to get them to 9-9 than it is to get Notre Dame to 9-9. The Wolverines are only 2-5 in Big Ten road games this season, and those wins came at Indiana and at Northwestern. There is a very, very good chance they lose at Wisconsin and at Minnesota to close out the season. The Badgers have beaten both Illinois and Ohio State at home in recent weeks,and while Minnesota has struggled lately, they have played pretty well at home this season. We can't assume that Michigan will beat Purdue at home, either. The Boilermakers have won five in a row and 10 out of their last 12. We consider these future results when we do our Field of 65 and that's why we can't put the Wolverines in.

If Michigan (somehow) steps up and does get to 9-9, they will be right in the discussion for a bid entering the Big Ten tournament. If they come out of the Big Ten tourney with the league's seventh best resume (over Penn State), they'll be dancing.

We included Maryland this week not only beacuse of their win over Carolina, but because we think they can beat Duke or Wake at home over the next two weeks and finish 8-8 in conference. Those wins, combined with what they did OOC, should get them a bid provided they don't flame out in their first game of the ACC tourney.

Eric Z said...

OK, as a admittedly fair-weather Dayton Flyer fan, I'm getting nervous.

What do they need to do to guarantee themselves a spot in the NCAAs? Their remaining schedule is tough: @ RI, home v Temple, and @ X.

It is conceivable they lose all 3. If they do, and then get to the semis in the A-10 tourney, is it enough?

(And do you see any scenario where the A-10 gets 4 in - X, Dayton, Temple, and RI?)

judolphin said...

Anonymous #7, the point of the column was that polls and tournament selection should not be a historical comparison: it's a seasonal comparison. And I'm pretty certain you're arguing against a straw man -- no one is arguing the 12-19 2004-2005 Seminoles should have made the NCAA tournament.

And their records since 2003: 18-13, 12-19, 19-9, 20-12, 19-14. Consistently on the bubble, 4 out of 5 years.

Bracketology 101 said...

First off, there is no way the A-10 gets four bids. Given Dayton's recent road woes the chances are good that they drop both of their remaining road games. If they also dropped the home game to Temple then they would finish no better than 10-6 or 4th place in conference. They would be in big trouble at this point with Temple definitely being ahead of them in the pecking order and possibly URI as well. A trip to the conference final would probably be required at that point to give them a good shot at a bid.

Anonymous said...

Duke 30-3 14-2 ACC Tourney Champs #1 seed
FSU 19-9 9-7 win over #1 duke Left out
WVU 20-10 11-5 6 seed in tourney...

This almost completely disproves that guys point, as WVU and FSU seem to have similar resumes, although the site i am using doesnt give me rankings for that season's victories, FSU was above .500 in the top conference, and had a great win in duke, and still got out, whereas WVU had 10 losses and was a 6 seed, something that is unheard of... Duke was well seeded

Duke 22-10 8-8 4 wins over top 25 teams 6 seed
FSU 20-12 7-9 3 top 25 teams (including defending and eventual champion florida, and duke) Left out
WVU 22-9 9-7 2 wins over top 25 teams... Left out

Here is where the argument starts, i believe... However, duke had a OOC schedule that included Indiana(last season they were good, with DJ white and eric gordon) Marquette, Davidson, GT, and gonzaga, whereas WVU played teams such as the Citadel, Duquesne, and a school called "Slippery rock" Duke very obviously had the better resume by leaps and bounds, and to me, WVU did not deserve a birth, going 1-8 on the road... Note that 2005 WVU and 2006 Duke are very similar

Duke 27-5 13-3 5 top25 wins including #5 wisconsin, at #1 UNC 2 seed in tourney
FSU 19-14 7-9 1 win over top 25
WVU 24-10 11-7 3 top 25 wins 7 seed

In conclusion, this guy was wrong, the name means nothing, and all teams, for the most part, are treated equally...

judolphin said...

Good points, Anonymous... the common thread is apparently that FSU gets screwed over ;) Hopefully for me that won't happen this year.

judolphin said...

By the way -- I'm from Pittsburgh. Morgantown is a little over an hour drive away. Duquense is in Pittsburgh and Slippery Rock is very closeby. So WVU really shouldn't be penalized for playing local mid-major schools, especially since the Big East in-conference schedule is so brutal. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Slippery rock is Division 2, doesnt actually count as mid-major, not even low major, and come on, they played two valid games OOC that year, (Arkansas and NCSU) and the rest were games designed to pad the record with little resistance

Dan said...

Rock chalk Jayhawk! I think that tonight's victory, coupled with a trip to the Big 12 championship game (I really don't think that KU has much of a chance with the tournament played in Oklahoma City), puts us in the driver's seat for a possible #2 seed.

judolphin said...

You make soe good points and you're correct on Slippery Rock. Are non-D1 games even counted in the standings you're looking at? They often are not.

Anonymous said...

The site does count the game as a victory for WVU, although it does appear that the game did not count towards slippery rocks record, as, apparently, D2 schools get 2 exhibition games a year that dont count to their record, and slippery used that game, and a later one against Cleveland State

Anonymous said...

It's Binghamton, not Binghamtom or Binghampton. Thanks ;)

Anonymous said...

I think Auburn should get in winning 6 of their last 7 games, all wins were in a route making them 19-10 (8-6). I don't think Tenn should go, Auburn did beat them and deserve the spot over them.If they beat LSU next week they should get an invite over Tenn.

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