Monday, February 01, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Feb. 1

This week's bracket was probably the toughest one of the season for us to put together for a variety of reasons. The ever-evolving bubble continued to be a crap-shoot, and for the third straight week, a couple of teams made the field after not even being on the Last Eight Out list the week before. Complicating things even more were Sunday's late results out of the ACC and SEC. North Carolina's loss knocked them out of the bracket in favor of Virginia Tech, and Clemson's win over Maryland and Arkansas' win over Mississippi forced us to move some teams around to make sure there were no grouping issues with our seeds.

In the end, six major changes were made to the bracket, including the unexpected removal of two of the biggest names in college basketball - UConn and North Carolina. The Huskies' two-loss week knocked them to the Next Four Out list and in turn put Marquette in, while Carolina's blowout loss at home to Virginia burst the Heels' already thin bubble and gave the Hokies the seventh ACC bid. Maryland's win over Miami helped the Terps snag an at-large spot as well this week. They make their debut on the 11 line. In the A-10, Rhode Island finally made the field, and knocked Dayton out, by beating the Flyers on their home floor. In the Big Ten, Northwestern dropped out after an 0-2 week, and Illinois jumped in (eight losses and all) after winning a pair of games to improve to 6-3 in conference. Finally, in the Colonial, William & Mary's at-large dreams came to end after a road loss to James Madison. The Tribe aren't even on the Last Eight Out list this week, and Old Dominion is in as the Colonial's lone bid.

The only other change of note in out bracket was UTEP replacing Tulsa as our automatic bid out of Conference USA. We had the Golden Hurricane in as the auto bid for two weeks because of their unbeaten record at home, but UTEP's dominance on the road in conference (especially this week at UAB) made us change our thinking. We think the Miners have a pretty good chance to win the regular season title, and given how well they've played away from home, we like them right now as the favorite to win the C-USA tourney. UAB is still at-large worthy and is on the 8 line this week.

There are a couple of seeds in the bracket that may seem a bit off, and that's because we had to shift some teams around to fix grouping issues. The most notable changes were Marquette (who we had to move from a 10 to a 12), Florida (who we had to move from an 8 to a 7), and Mississippi State (who we had to move from a 13 to an 11). Other important seed changes that weren't grouping-related included: Kansas regaining the top overall seed, Charlotte and Xavier moving up three and two lines respectively, and Vanderbilt moving from a 6 seed to a 4.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In

Wichita State, Virginia Tech, Illinois, Mississippi State

Last Four Out
Richmond, St. Mary's, South Carolina, Virginia

Next Four Out
Dayton, Connecticut, North Carolina, Louisville


Conference Breakdown
ACC (7), Big XII (7), Big East (7), SEC (6), Big Ten (5), A-10 (4), MWC (3), C-USA (2), MVC (2)

America East - Stony Brook

ACC - Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Clemson, Maryland, Virginia Tech

Atlantic Sun - Jacksonville

A-10 - Temple, Xavier, Charlotte, Rhode Island

Big East - Syracuse, Villanova, Georgetown, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Marquette

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Coastal Carolina

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

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

Big West - Pacific

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - UTEP, UAB

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa, Wichita State

MWC - New Mexico, BYU, UNLV

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - California

Patriot - Lehigh

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

Southern - Charleston

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Middle Tennessee State

SWAC - Texas Southern

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga


The Seeds
The 1s

Kansas, Syracuse, Villanova, Kentucky

The 2s
Michigan State, Georgetown, Purdue, Duke

The 3s
West Virginia, Texas, Kansas State, Wisconsin

The 4s
Ohio State, Temple, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

The 5s
Gonzaga, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, New Mexico

The 6s
Butler, BYU, Baylor, Pittsburgh

The 7s
Xavier, Florida State, Missouri, Florida

The 8s
Clemson, UAB, Mississippi, Charlotte

The 9s
Northern Iowa, UNLV, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M

The 10s
Rhode Island, Cincinnati, California, Old Dominion

The 11s
Cornell, Siena, Maryland, Mississippi State

The 12s
Marquette, Wichita State, Virginia Tech, Illinois

The 13s
UTEP, Utah State, Charleston, Oakland

The 14s
Kent State, Murray State, Pacific, Weber State

The 15s
Coastal Carolina, Sam Houston State, Morgan State, Jacksonville

The 16s
Stony Brook, Robert Morris, Middle Tennessee State, Lehigh (Play-In Game), Texas Southern (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at


Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying seeing a lack of UConn or UNC in there. Of course, I bet that one of those two schools will be a 10 seed or better under Jerry Palm's next bracket.

Bracketology 101 said...

We'd bet money that both are.

Anonymous said...

I still believe Uconn should be at least a 12 seed right now. But, I definitely understand why the arent in there.

Bracketology 101 said...

If we did the bracket as if the season ended today, the Huskies might be worthy of a 12 seed. Their schedule is brutal the rest of the way, though, and that was the major factor in us taking them out. They have six road games left (they haven't won a road game all season) as well as a home game left against West Virginia.

Anonymous said...

Cornell looks to me like an interesting team. What if they go undefeated and lose in the conference tournament in say, the semi finals or the finals. Would they get a bid. Also, what if they win out? Would they deserve something like a 9 seed? They remind me of Bucknell a few years back.

Bracketology 101 said...

The Ivy League doesn't have a conference tournament, which makes it imperative that the Big Red win the regular season title. After their dismantling of Harvard on Saturday, there's no doubt in our mind that they'll do that. We wouldn't be surprised if they ended up a 10 seed in the end, and a 9 isn't out of the question either. A good point of reference is last year's Siena team, which finished with an 18 RPI and got a 9 seed in the tourney out of the 13th-ranked MAAC. The Ivy is ranked 19th in terms of RPI this season and Cornell's RPI is currently 34. Cornell also has a couple of wins over power conference teams (Alabama, St. John's) that Siena didn't have.

Zach said...

Is RPI even considered in this bracket? VT, Illinois and Miss. St all have despicable RPI/SOS. Wichita State has 4 L's vs. the RPI sub-100. None of those teams would get in, certainly not over top-20 RPI Richmond, 19-3 St. Mary's or even Connecticut.

AG said...

You know what's funny? You could line up the Pac-10 standings and the ACC standings next to each other with the names removed and you couldn't tell the difference.

Sure the ACC has many more quality wins, and probably fewer embarrassing losses, but you know more than 1 Pac-10 team will make the tournament if for no other reason than the selection committee's official stance of "we assign bids by team, not by conference" is so blatantly false. Remember back in 2006 when the committee picked Air Force even though they had 0 RPI Top 100 wins and they claimed they wanted "geographical representation?"

Bracketology 101 said...

RPI is definitely a factor in evaluating a team's resume, but it's not as important as some bracketologists make it out to be. Conference record, OOC wins, and road-neutral wins are all more important than a team's RPI.

As far as the teams you mentioned, Richmond may have a decent RPI (it's 39, btw, not top 20), but they also have the fifth-best resume in the A-10, which puts them in a tough spot. UConn's RPI is bolstered by a strong SOS, but they have a grand total of one good win and have lost five of their last seven games. St. Mary's has an OK RPI (35), but that number won't go up much in the WCC, plus the Gaels have only one more chance (at Gonzaga) to pick up a quality win.

The teams you mentioned (VT, Illinois, Mississippi State) have so-so RPIs right now, but those numbers will continue to rise as they go through conference play.

Zach said...

Fair enough. But each team is judged as if they were an independent, so if Richmond (with W over Missouri and Miss St) had the resume, they'd get in regardless of conference.

My bracket is judged on who would be in when the season ended today, while it appears you factor in future expectations. Which is fine, just a different strategy. And that's likely why I don't have Miss St or Illinois in my field at Rush the Court. Good work overall.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering what it will take for William & Mary to make the tourney as an at-large team? I was thinking if they win all but one more conference game (big game at ODU this wednesday), win their bracketbuster game, and at least make it to the CAA semis, they could sneak in the bracket because it is so weak.

K Wecht said...

How is Northwestern not at least in the last eight out? They have no bad losses and solid wins over Purdue, Illinois, and @Michigan. Why not put them ahead of teams like SCAR, Marquette, and Illinois, who have comparable wins but some pretty terrible losses (@ Wofford, @ Depaul, and Bradley, respectively).

Have the Cocks beaten anyone besides Kentucky?

Brian said...

What do you think it will take the rest of the way for Georgetown to get a #1 seed. Does a 2-0 week with a win over Villanova on Sat get them there in your next bracket?

TruFloridaGator said...

What's the justification for Florida at 7 and Ole Miss at 8, but Okie St. at 10?

Okie St's resume is much better, and projects to finish maybe 1 game worse in conference in a tougher conference.

Florida's top 2 wins are nice and about the same as Okie St, but Okie St. also doesn't have an awful bad loss like USA.

goroshnik said...

It's nice to see two MVC teams in your latest projection, but as longtime MVC fan, I'm already preparing to see at least one of these teams get snubbed, as it happens nearly every year now.

If Creighton couldn't make the field last year with the numbers they put up, then the Shockers aren't in the field right now. A big win at UNI this week could change my opinion, though.

On the flip side, with a stellar 8-1 record in true road games, I think you're off a couple of seed lines for UNI. The Panthers will likely end up with a 10-2 or 11-1 mark in true road games, and should they take care of Wichita State this Wednesday, having a commanding lead in a top-10 league like the MVC should be rewarded with a #5 or #6 seed.

K Wecht said...

Marquette a ten seed "on the safe side"? Really? They have two pretty poor losses: NC State at home and at Depaul. They are just 1-5 on the road. They do have a great win vs. Georgetown; their win at UConn doesn't look too great anymore. I'd say last four in at best.

TruFloridaGator said...

For some reason I had Marquette's resume/bad losses wrong. Hence the deleted post

TruFloridaGator said...

I have Marquette at like an 11 now.

Cornell deserves some love because they went on the road to beat St. John's and Alabama. Not exactly world beaters though, so if they were to slip up, I don't think you can guarantee them a bid. I'd put South Carolina & VT ahead of them if they get to .500 in league play, knowing they will get a number of decent to good wins to go with.

Bracketology 101 said...

Quick hits:

If William & Mary wins at ODU, loses just one more game in conference, wins its BracketBuster game, and makes the final of the Colonial tourney, they'd be in the mix for an at-large, but they'd still be on the very edge of the bubble. Even with that finish, they could still finish third in the Colonial, which would be a big black mark against them.

A 2-0 week would get Georgetown very close to the 1 line, but they would probably still be behind Michigan State if the Spartans go 2-0 as well.

What's keeping Northwestern off the Last Eight Out list is its awful 3-6 record in the Big Ten. The Wildcats are three games behind Illinois in the standings, which is why the Illini are in ahead of them. Marquette has better wins than Northwestern does, and South Carolina has a better chance with its remaining schedule to get a bid out of the slightly weaker SEC. It's very difficult right now to see Northwestern finishing any better than 9-9 in conference, which wouldn't be enough given their poor OOC resume.

We actually had Florida on the 8 line in our orginial field, but had to move them up to a 7 to avoid grouping issues. We had to move Clemson from a 7 to an 8 for the same reason. We have Oklahoma State a 9, not a 10.

We agree that we might have UNI a tad low, but we were hesitant to move them up to a 7 or 8 with a hungry Wichita team coming in this week. We aren't 100% sold on the Shockers getting an at-large either (they would have been out had they lost at Southern Illinois last night), but they do have a couple of chances to earn quality wins the rest of the way. If they don't win their BracketBuster game, their at-large chances are probably all but over.

Paymon said...

I'm having a hard time understanding VaTech being in the field. Their non-conference SOS is 334. At a glance, they've beaten none of the teams in the B101 field.

I know you like their wins away from Cassell and they are 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency. How many wins did you guys have them pegged for (reg season + ACC tourney)? They face each of the teams in your tournament field just once, so that limits mobility.

Bracketology 101 said...

Virginia Tech is in the bracket because of their schedule this week. They have North Carolina and Clemson coming in, and we like their chances to win both of those games. Looking even further down the road, the Hokies play at N.C. State and then at home against Virginia and Wake between now and Feb. 16.

Steve said...

I think people are jumping on the Maryland bandwagon a little too early. They have a very tough schedule coming up and could lose a lot more games. Don't be surprised if the Terrapins miss the big dance.

Does Arizona have any chance at an at large if they win 11-12 conference games?

Anonymous said...

I was very surprised to see Virginia Tech in your bracket. The Hokies played one of the weakest OOC schedules in the country. Do you guys think teams who build up a great record on a cream puff schedule should be rewarded?

Bracketology 101 said...

Arizona has no OOC resume whatsoever, so 11-12 wins (in a bad Pac-10) won't be enough for an at-large.

James G. said...

i agree with Paymon about virginia tech. they played an awful pre-conference schedule and do not belong in the current field. if they get some big acc wins, they may earn a spot, but they don't belong yet. Va. Tech certainly did not look like a tourney worthy team at Miami on Sunday.

Why does Duke stay on the 2 line. They continue to lose to more athletic Big East teams and don't play the defense to warrant a 2 seed. Sure Duke is a different team at home, but they get exposed on the road. Did you watch the Georgetown game? The Hoyas made several open layups. How is Duke still a 2 seed?

Bracketology 101 said...

Duke looked pretty bad against Georgetown, but they still have 7 wins overall against Top 50 teams. West Virginia has just 4.

A 10 fan said...

Is there anyway the A-10 will get more than 4 bids? Richmond and Dayton both got some very nice wins in OOC. If a team like Virginia Tech, who played a pathetic non league can get in, why wouldn't Richmond or Dayton? They played a stronger OOC and picked up some nice wins. Mississippi State is another team that didn't do much in OOC.

Anonymous said...

Lunardi has two big east teams facing off in the opening round. Can you guys actually see that happening?

matt r said...

Wow, I missed that about Lunardi, that is a big mistake. That is definitely not allowed and will not happen. Conference teams can't meet until the elite eight unless there are more than 8 teams, and even then they can't meet in the first round. I'm surprised it hasn't been fixed by now.

matt r said...

And now it's fixed! So much for updated Feb. 1st.

jeff said...

Does anyone know where i can find a copy of the bracket principles and procedures that is in normal text not pdf? I can't get the pdf version to load.

Anonymous said...

Didn't they change the rules a few years back so conference teams could meet as early as the sweet 16? But I am pretty sure they cannot meet in the first round like ESPN's bracket projection of #5 Pittsburgh vs. #12 Connecticut.

matt r said...

From the bracketing principles:

"Conference teams shall not meet prior to the regional final unless a ninth team is se-lected from a conference. If the committee is unable to reconcile the bracket after exhausting all reasonable options, it has the flexibility to waive this principle to permit two teams from the same conference to meet each other after the first round."

I have never had a problem with keeping teams out of the same half region, so I don't see them "exhausting" all the options, unless of course there are more than eight teams. And no first round matchups allowed.

Bracketology 101 said...

We aren't going to argue that both Richmond and Dayton have better resumes than Virginia Tech right now. But when we look ahead to what VT has left we feel better about their chances to make it over them. They have 6 of their remaining 10 games at home where they haven't lost this season and they should be able to pick up a road win or two (@BC and NC St. left). If they can get to 10-6 in the ACC there is no way they get left out and even 9-7 for them may be enough.

As for the A-10, we have been pretty emphatic in our stance that the league will not get more than 4 bids. As we go through the next month, bubble teams from the BCS conferences will pick up marquee victories and play their way into the bracket. Come championship week, the bubble will further shrink, with non-at large worthy teams from the WCC, C-USA, Horizon, MWC, MAAC, or MVC stealing bids. Every year the small conferences end up being the ones who end up getting squeezed out of bids. Last year, for example, everyone was predicting in February that the MWC would get 4 bids. We thought when all was said and done that the most they could possibly get would be 3 bids. When all was said in done the conference only get 2 bids with SDSU being one of the last teams left out of the field. We think that the A-10 will suffer a similar fate this year.

Anonymous said...

But there is a difference with the MWC this year. They have 3 teams who are deserving of at large bids, so if a 4th team win the automatic bid, then the MWC will get a 4th team in. I hope you are wrong about virginia tech. They play a pathetic non conference schedule while Richmond and Dayton played stronger non conference games. Why should the Hokies be rewarded for playing such a weak non conference schedule?

southwest said...

didnt richmond beat florida on the road? why do you have florida in and richmond out?

Bracketology 101 said...

Richmond beat Florida on a neutral floor, but the Gators still have a better resume overall and a better chance at an at-large. Their wins over Michigan State and Florida State are better than Richmond's best wins, and so far, Florida has no bad losses in conference. Richmond's two A-10 losses are both bad (at Saint Louis and at home to Charlotte by double digits) and they currently have the fifth best resume out of a league that is probably going to max out at four bids.

jackrabbit1 said...

Craig, i would like to see richmond rewarded for their strong pre-conference performance. They got nice wins over Mississippi State, Missouri, Old Dominion, and Florida. There are some teams in your bracket that don't even have 2 pre conference wins the quality of those 4. Richmond also played a great Overtime battle with Wake Forest at Winston Salem. Richmond definately deserves to be in the bracket.

Bracketology 101 said...

We agree that Richmond has a good OOC resume and we hope the committee rewards them for playing such a difficult schedule. Right now we believe that the A-10 will end up with 4 teams in the tourney and Richmond will not be one of those teams in the end. If the Spiders are able to take care of Temple this weekend then they will be in next week's bracket.

Anonymous said...

you guys use the term "neutral floor" very loosely as that game was played in front of Gators fans in Florida. It was anything but "neutral".

Bracketology 101 said...

Agreed...but technically that's what it was, and that's what the selection committee will view it as when evaluating both teams' resumes.

Anonymous said...

if Northeastern is not in as an at large at this point, everyone analysts opinion is a joke to me.

Anonymous said...

If Syracuse is higher in your bracket, then wouldn't they stay at Syracuse and have Villanov go somewhere else?