Monday, February 09, 2009

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Feb. 9

Every year at about this time it seems like 65 teams don't want to make the tournament, and this year is no different. This week alone, we had a total of five at-large bids swap hands. Just when we started to believe in Penn State, they went out and dropped two huge games. The Nittany Lions now have an 84 RPI, face a brutal schedule from here on out, and have to overcome the fact that they have now lost to Wisconsin twice. The Badgers, meanwhile, managed to climb back into the bracket after beating Illinois and Penn State. They have a much easier schedule left than Penn State, a 28 RPI, and own a 3-0 record against the conference bubble boys.

We dealt with a similar situation in the Big East after Cincinnati beat Georgetown for a second time. The Hoyas have dropped six of seven and now have seven conference losses. They still have four games remaining against Big East teams currently in the bracket, so a .500 Big East record is looking doubtful. The Bearcats have some decent OOC wins (at UNLV and neutral Mississippi State) and have a good chance of finishing with 10 wins in conference. However, they will still need to knock off a tournament-caliber Big East team to feel confident in their chances. They will get four opportunities to do so down the stretch with games at Pitt and Syracuse, and home matchups against Louisville and West Virginia.

We finally had to cave this week and include three MWC teams in the bracket. It is by no means a guarantee at this point, but with all of the bubble teams falling, it has opened the door for the MWC to be a three-bid league. We added SDSU to the bracket because of the fact that the MWC regular season champion has always received an at-large bid to the tournament if they needed it. If the Aztecs are able to come up with another huge road win this week over Utah, they would be in the driver's seat for the regular season title.

One thing we don't like about this week's bracket is the lack of mid-major/small conference teams that appear in it. We had to remove St. Mary's after their blowout loss to Santa Clara. They have not done well since Patrick Mills went down and his return date is still in question. With Mills, the Gaels had some decent wins against SDSU and Providence, but had no marquee wins on their resume and were only a borderline tourney team. They have a huge four-game home stand coming up and will need to win three of four to put themselves back in the running for an at-large bid. We also still think there will be one or two bid stealers come Championship Week, but it is difficult to project who it may be. The most likely conferences from bid stealers to emerge at this point would be the WAC, A-10, or Horizon. The teams we have in from these three leagues are all looking solid for at-large bids, so any team that is able to go on a run and win the conference tourney will be stealing a bid from one of the BCS conferences or the MWC.

One other note for this week's bracket is both USC and Arizona being on th 12 line, but not in our Last Four In. Both teams were higher on our S-curve than the 12 line, but had to be placed there because of the four other Pac-10 teams being on the 3, 6, and 7 lines.

Bracket Breakdown
In This Week
Wisconsin, San Diego State, Kansas State, Cincinnati, Arizona, Boston University

Out This Week
Penn State, Georgetown, St. Mary's, Texas A&M, Baylor, Vermont

Last Four In
San Diego State, Kansas State, Cincinnati, Kentucky

Last Four Out
Miami (FL), Penn State, Michigan, Georgetown

Next Four Out
BYU, St. Mary's, Nebraska, Maryland


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

America East - Boston University

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

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10 - Xavier, Dayton

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

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - VMI

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

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

Big West - Long Beach State

Colonial - Northeastern

Conference USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Buffalo

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC - Utah, UNLV, San Diego State

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Morehead State

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

Patriot - American

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

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

Connecticut, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Pittsburgh

The 2s
Duke, Louisville, Clemson, Michigan State

The 3s
Wake Forest, Marquette, UCLA, Memphis

The 4s
Xavier, Villanova, Kansas, Ohio State

The 5s
Illinois, Florida State, Missouri, Butler

The 6s
Purdue, Gonzaga, California, Florida

The 7s
Minnesota, Arizona State, Washington, Syracuse

The 8s
Texas, West Virginia, LSU, Utah State

The 9s
Dayton, Davidson, Utah, Boston College

The 10s
Virginia Tech, Tennessee, UNLV, Wisconsin

The 11s
South Carolina, San Diego State, Kansas State, Cincinnati

The 12s
Arizona, USC, Siena, Kentucky

The 13s
Western Kentucky, Buffalo, Northern Iowa, Northeastern

The 14s
VMI, Stephen F. Austin, North Dakota State, Weber State

The 15s
Boston University, East Tennessee State, Long Beach State, Cornell

The 16s
American, Morehead State, Robert Morris, Morgan State (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In-Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at


Unreal said...

How in the world do you have Ohio St. back at a 4 seed??

This team is nowhere near a 4 seed. The Big Ten is really soft this year, in the fact that their "upper" teams are very soft. Michigan St. is nowhere close to a 2 seed either. You can't lose games to Maryland, Northwestern, and at home to Penn St. and be anywhere near a 2 seed.

The rest of the Big Ten is so muddled it's not even funny. All these teams like Purdue, Ill, Ohio St., and on the way down are not even close to consistant. They win a big game, then lose the next by 20 on the road. Honestly, I really don't see any of these teams as a real threat to make it to the sweet 16.

I mean come on, stop giving Ohio St. so much credit just because they won 2 home games, one of which went into OT. Purdue was due for a loss, and Minnesota is garbage on the road. They don't deserve anything higher than a 7.

You honestly think this is a top 16 team when it's all said and done??

Snapple said...

I disagree with Unreal that the Big Ten is soft. They're right there in the discussion for best conference in the country. They've played a lot of elite teams tough. And Ohio State is better than a 7.

Anyway, I'm more kind of surprised that you still have Texas as high as an 8 seed. I'm a Texas fan, and I'm thoroughly embarrassed by these three straight losses, including to Kansas State at home and to Nebraska? Now they're only .500 in conference play, and that loss to Notre Dame gets more pathetic by the week. I know they beat UCLA, but that's the only thing this team can hang their hat on. I'm kind of bracing myself for the NIT.

unreal said...

What logic do you have to base that the Big Ten is "right there in the discussion for best conference in the country"???

You can't have your best team get spanked by a Terps team that is 8th in the ACC. You also can't feature teams like Indiana and Iowa, who wouldn't have a winning record in any conference in the country.

Teams #2-8 are all interchangeable. It's really a mediocre conference and in no way is comparable to the Big East or ACC

Bracketology 101 said...

Quick hits...

We agree that Ohio State, Illinois, Minnesota, and Purdue have all been interchangeable during the course of the season, but right now, Ohio State has the best resume of all of them, and because of that, they deserve the 4 seed they received this week. The Buckeyes have no bad losses, they have OOC wins against Miami, ND, and Butler, and in conference, they swept Michigan and have wins over Minnesota and Purdue. That's seven quality wins - which is more than than anyone on the 5 or 6 line...

We agree that the Big Ten is not comparable to the Big East or the ACC, but it is still the third best conference in the country. That's not too shabby, and come Selection Sunday, the league is going to get a minumum of five bids, and will likely get six. Say what you want about Ohio State's or Illinois' chances of getting to the Sweet 16, but they will have earned a bid for they have done both in and out of their league...

As far as Texas goes, we agree that an 8 may be a seed line or so too high given their recent skid, but we still think they have the talent to turn things around and get higher than the 8 they currently have. Their UCLA win can't be ignored, not can their win over Villanova or their win over Wisconsin (which is looking better by the day). The Longhorns still have a couple of chances to pick up a marquee Big XII win (they host Oklahoma and play at Kansas in their regular season finale) and if they win one of those games and take care of business in the other winnable conference games they have coming up, they'll be a couple of seed lines better than they are now come Selection Sunday. They can start by winning their two games this week - at home against Oklahoma State tomorrow night and at lowly Colorado on Saturday.

Dan Holmes said...

I'm somewhat surprised you have Clemson in the 7th position, esp. ahead of Wake. The home win vs. Duke is nice, but the Tigers just seem so inconsistent that as a 2 seed, they would really remind me of the 2005-2006 Tennessee team that got eliminated early in the tournament by Wichita State.

On a side note, as a Kansas fan, I'm devastated that I'm unable to watch tonight's game. Thanks for some good analysis on the Border War in your last post.

Brian said...

Does 8-10 in the Big East + 1 win @ BET get Georgetown safely into the field? Out of all the bubble teams, no-one can match the big wins of @Uconn and Memphis (who will coast into the top 5 by the end of the season).

Bracketology 101 said...


Your scenario won't get G'town safely into the field. An 8-10 conference record would probably mean 9th or 10th place for the Hoyas which would force them to play on day one of the "new" Big East tourney against DePaul or Rutgers. They would then need another win the next day (against the 6 or 7 seed) to have a chance at a bid. If they are somehow able to get to 9-9 and finish in the top half of conference and then win their first game over the 9 or 10 seed then they would be in fairly decent shape for a bid.

Anonymous said...

If FSU wins at Wake this weekend, do they get Wake's spot on the 3 line? it would give FSU wins over a 2 seed, a 3 seed, 2 6 seeds, and an 11, with the 2 highest being on the road, not to mention beating maryland, and having a top 20 RPI, with losses to a 1 by 3 on a half court buzzer beater, a 2 by 8(closer than the final score indicated, FSU played them to a stalemate at the 3:00 mark), another 1, by 6(pitt scored the last six, holding FSU scoreless the last 3 mins), a last four out team on the road, and at NW, who has a win in east lansing.
Surely that resume is better than, say Wake, Clemson, Xavier, villanova, Marquette, Kansas, or Ohio State?

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