Monday, January 11, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Jan. 11

After the wildest week of the season to date, there was a ton of movement in our latest bracket. That movement started at the top, thanks to the 16 losses that our top 20 teams suffered last week, and it continued all the way to the bubble, where four new teams found their way into the field. We also spent a considerable amount of time this week re-evaluating some teams that, despite lofty expectations and in some cases early OOC success, have simply not played well at all lately and deserved to fall a few seed lines - or more.

The teams that fell the most this week were Texas Tech, Washington, and Ohio State. The Red Raiders got blown out at Oklahoma State on Saturday and have played awful in each of their last three road games. The only notable win on their resume, Washington, is not very notable anymore, and looking big picture, Tech has lost ground in the crowded Big XII to both Baylor and Missouri. As a result, the Red Raiders dropped from the end of the 6 line to the Last Four In list this week. Ohio State, meanwhile, continues to struggle even with Evan Turner back (no pun intended) in the lineup. The Buckeyes lost at Minnesota on Saturday to fall to 1-3 in the Big Ten, and with games at Purdue and home against Wisconsin looming this week, there is a decent chance they fall to 1-5 and off the bubble altogether. For the time being, they slid from an 8 seed to the bottom of the 11 line.

The biggest tumble of the week and the biggest story of the week, though, involved Washington and the Pac-10. Washington's sweep at the hands of the Arizona schools and Oregon's inexplicable loss at home Sunday night to an Oregon State team that was coming off a 51-point loss to Seattle were simply devastating to the Pac-10. How devastating? Since the tournament expanded to 64 (and later to 65) teams, no power six league has received just one tournament bid, but that's exactly what the Pac-10 is getting in our bracket this week. Washington is the league's lone bid as an 11 seed, and the only reason that they're the representative (at 1-3 in conference) is the OOC win they have over Texas A&M and the talent edge we think they have over the other teams in conference.

As for the rest of the league, there is obviously still a long way to go until Selection Sunday, but the way the teams in the Pac-10 have beaten each other up so far, coupled with USC's postseason ban and the conference's awful OOC profile are all working against the Pac-1o getting multiple bids. The Pac-10 desperately needs one team (Washington? Cal?) to get its act together, string together some wins, and get at-large worthy - soon. If that doesn't happen, and if the not-so-great conference champ also wins the conference tourney, the Pac-10 could very well make history in a way it didn't exactly want to.

Elsewhere in the bracket, four teams are gone from last week's field: Oregon, California, Rhode Island, and VCU. They were replaced by Missouri (who picked up a huge win over Kansas State at home), Vanderbilt (who upset Florida at home), Notre Dame (who knocked off West Virginia), and Wichita State. The Shockers, who also have an OOC win over Texas Tech on their resume, won at Missouri State and at home against Creighton this week to cement themselves as the MVC's second-best team. With Northern Iowa looking like a very good at-large candidate, we like the Valley's chances to be a two-bid league come Selection Sunday, and for Wichita to be that second team.

Other movers in this week's bracket included Miami (who jumped up five lines as a result of their win over Wake Forest), Pittsburgh (who won at Cincinnati and went from a 9 to a 5), and BYU (who beat UNLV and UTEP and went from a 9 to a 6). New Mexico lost two games and dropped three lines to a 7, and Cincinnati lost twice and dropped from a 5 to a 9.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In

Ohio State, Wichita State, Texas Tech, Notre Dame

Last Four Out
Rhode Island, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Virginia Tech

Next Four Out
Louisville, Illinois, Arizona State, Oregon


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

America East - Vermont

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

Atlantic Sun - Mercer

A-10 - Temple, Dayton, Richmond

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

Big Sky - Northern Colorado

Big South - Coastal Carolina

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

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

Big West - Pacific

Colonial - William & Mary

Conference USA - UAB

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Akron

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa, Wichita State

MWC - BYU, New Mexico, UNLV

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - Washington

Patriot - Lafayette

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

Southern - Charleston

Southland - Texas-San Antonio

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Prairie View A&M

WAC - Louisiana Tech

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's


The Seeds
The 1s
Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, Purdue

The 2s
Syracuse, Villanova, Duke, West Virginia

The 3s
Georgetown, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Tennessee

The 4s
Gonzaga, North Carolina, Kansas State, Temple

The 5s
Pittsburgh, Butler, Clemson, Wake Forest

The 6s
Texas A&M, BYU, Mississippi, Mississippi State

The 7s
Georgia Tech, Florida, New Mexico, Miami (FL)

The 8s
UAB, Minnesota, Northern Iowa, Florida State

The 9s
Connecticut, Cincinnati, UNLV, Vanderbilt

The 10s
William & Mary, Baylor, Missouri, Dayton

The 11s
St. Mary's, Richmond, Ohio State, Washington

The 12s
Wichita State, Texas Tech, Notre Dame, Cornell

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

The 14s
Northern Colorado, Akron, Oakland, Coastal Carolina

The 15s
Pacific, Murray State, Texas-San Antonio, Vermont

The 16s
Morgan State, Mercer, Lafayette, 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


Anonymous said...

First time commentor, and Seminole fan here. Just wondering how you see the Noles resume' to date? I realize a they let one slip away by not beating Maryland on the road last night, but have already stolen one @GT. Overall what are your thoughts on the ACC?

Anonymous said...

I can hear Mike Kzyzewski complaining already if they actually put a 7 seed Florida so close to home against his 2 seed Duke. The NCAA will not put a 7 seed that close to home. Can you imagine how much Duke would complain if that happened? It would be very interesting.

You made the right call on putting Kentucky in SEC country. It made absolutely no sense to put them in Big 10 country Milwaukee.

Tammy said...

i am interested in hearing your feelings about the Missouri Valley. What do Wichita State and Northern Iowa need to do to get at large births?

matt r said...


The bracketing principles only protect teams from home court disadvantages in the first round, and only for seeds one-through-five. After that all bets are off. If this protection was placed any further, it would make following all the other bracketing rules damn near impossible. Even Florida in Jax is a good example of this... they were placed there not for geographic reasons but purely because of the other bracketing rules. In other words, it was an accident Florida got placed in Jacksonville anyway.

Your comment that a 7-seed would not be placed close to home is completely false... in fact the bracketing principles encourage the committee to do this. Ohio State was an 8 in Dayton, OH last year. Davidson was a 10 in Raleigh, NC two years ago.

And like I mentioned on the last comment section, Coach K really doesn't have much to complain about when it comes to first weekend sites... this is the first year since 2003 there is not a cushy site in North Carolina that they might have well called the Duke/UNC sub-regional.

Anonymous said...

Last year, putting Ohio State in Dayton was not a big deal cause Louisville was also very close to home. Like I said before, I would be if Duke was subjected to Florida being so close to home, cause Duke typically gets good treatment from the NCAA.

Anonymous said...

*would be shocked if Duke is subjected to playing Florida in Florida cause Dukes coach seems to have a lot of power and control.

matt r, do you remember how much Kzyzewski complained in 2003 when Duke got shipped to Salt Lake City? The NCAA doesn't want to hear him whine again.

Bracketology 101 said...


This year is shaping up a lot like the past 2 for the MVC, which isn't a good thing since they were a one bid league in each of those years. The MVC is sitting 9th in conference RPI currently which isn't as solid as in years when they have gotten multiple bids. Neither UNI or Wichita have lofty OOC resumes so each will need to get through the conference schedule with only a few losses (no more than 4) and pick up a win in their BracketBuster game. After that, one of the 2 needs win the conference tourney while the other avoids an early exit. As of right now, the conference is looking like there is a better than 50% chance of them getting 2 bids, but there is a lot of season left.

matt r said...

I just think you are giving Coach K too much credit. But maybe he did have something to do with always getting those North Carolina first weekend sites, coincidentally from 2004-2009!

Looking back at the 2003 bracket, it looks like he did have a legit beef. A 3-seed Duke going to Salt Lake while a 4-seed Louisville goes to Birmingham... that is pretty shady. The bracketing principles may have been different that year, but I doubt it.

Bracketology 101 said...

Seminole fan,

Welcome aboard...the 'Noles are one of the most talked-about teams on this site, so you came to the right place. As far as FSU's resmue goes, it's a typical FSU resume to this point. They really have no OOC wins to speak of, but as you mentioned they've already picked up a nice ACC road win at Georgia Tech (which is looking even better after the Yellow Jackets' upset of Duke). Right now, we have them seeded as the seventh ACC team, and if they stay in that position all year, and manage to get to 9-7 in conference, they'll almost certainly get in. The Maryland loss stings a little because they missed out on a chance to go 2-0 in conference and they missed out on a winnable road game. Unfortunately, that's been their M.O. the last few years - they always seem to knock off one big team at home and seem to lose a couple of questionable road games. If they can just split their six remaining home games this year(which is very possible given what they have left), they'll be in good shape.

Overall, we think the ACC is a seven bid league. Duke, Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, and Georgia Tech look pretty solid as at-larges, leaving Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Maryland to fight it out for the final two bids. The ACC isn't as top heavy as it has been in recent years (Duke is the only real dominant team this year) but it still has good depth, and will be one of the top conferences bid-wise come Selection Sunday.

Anonymous said...

What do you guys expect to see out of the Big Ten the rest of the season and specifically what does Illinois have to do to get in?

Bryan said...

Thought you guys at B101 would love to see this.. Lunardi is offering an online bracketology course through St. Johns University... for the nominal fee of $249.00 of course. I think you guys can offer a better one! Here's the link if you haven't heard about it.

Bracketology 101 said...

If the 10th-best bracketologist can charge $249 for a class, what do we get to charge? Maybe Lunardi can be our TA.

Bracketology 101 said...

The Big Ten is shaping up to be at worst a five-bid league, and it could get six bids if Northwestern or Illinois ever get their act together. The Illini have a pretty decent OOC resume, but they need to beat some tourney-worthy teams in conference before they get back into the bracket. After their game against Penn State tomorrow, they play at Michigan State, home against Purdue. If they win one of those, there's a decent chance they could sneak back in the field.

Avery said...

It would make more sense to put Purdue in Syracuse and Kansas in Salt Lake City. You have them both going cross country when they could be closer to their area.

bball_gurl26 said...

how do you folks see the A 10? Temple and Dayton are the class of the league, but how do you see Charlotte, Rhode Island, Xavier, and Richmond stacking up against other at large teams? Thank you and keep up the great work. I love you site.

Anonymous said...

How is Notre Dame in over Northwestern? Notre Dame hasn't done much besides a home win over WV. Northwestern beat Notre Dame and also have road wins over NC State and Michigan. Notre Dame has done nothing away from home.

Bracketology 101 said...

Northwestern's head-to-head win over Notre Dame is nice, but it still doesn't make them more at-large worthy than the Irish. The Wildcats still have no wins over tournament teams, and it's a little late in the year to still have that tag on your resume. ND is not safely in by any means, and they do have some questionable losses, but they also are 3-1 in the Big East and have a win over one of the best teams in the country.

Bracketology 101 said...

The A-10 is stronger than it's been in years. The league should get three bids, and there's an outside chance they get four. Temple is a legitimate top-five seed right now, and Dayton should like its at-large chances too. In our mind, Richmond is clearly the third best team in the league, ahead of Rhode Island, Xavier and Charlotte. The Spiders have the best OOC resume that no one talks about - they beat Mississippi State, Missouri, Florida, and Old Dominion - and because of that tough OOC slate, their RPI sits at a solid 24. Rhode Island barely missed being in our bracket this week, but they have shown that they can be a tournament caliber team. Xavier and Charlotte each have wins over tournament teams as well. The race is the A-10 is going to be one of the most fascinating in the country to watch, and we think it will end with Temple, Dayton, Richmond, and perhaps one other team hearing their names called on Selection Sunday.

Anonymous said...

I was stunned to see you have Notre Dame in the field. Who have they beaten outside of West Virginia? Don't let that 3-1 conference record fool you, 2 of those wins are against South Florida and Providence who are 2 of the worst teams in the Big East. Notre Dame played a very soft OOC schedule and lost by 14 to a team not in your field. How in the world can you justify putting the Irish in?

Anonymous said...

Ok, I just saw your Notre Dame reply above. According to your argument, Northwestern has not beaten a tournament team? You guys have Notre Dame listed as a tournament team and Northwestern beat them by 14.

matt r said...


That is a good point and something that might be considered if the order at the top (1-4 overall) stays that way.

Bracketology 101 said...

Good point...can we rephrase that to say good tournament team? As for ND, the WVU win wasn't the only reason we put the Irish in the field. We also liked their chances to win at struggling Cincinnati on Saturday and then at home against Syracuse on Monday. That would get them to 5-1 in conference and get them in everyone's bracket next week. We're hoping we're a week ahead of everyone else.

Ducks Fan said...

What is up with the PAC 10 this year? Is there a chance that anyone could get an at large spot or is the PAC 10 a one bid league going to the winner of the conference tournament? I expected Cal would step up and become the favorite but it sure hasn't happened yet.

Bracketology 101 said...

At the moment, it's very difficult to see any Pac-10 team getting an at-large. No one in the league (besides ineligible USC) has any sort of OOC resume, and everyone in the league has suffered a bad loss in conference play. That's the biggest problem that the Pac-10 right now: there is no way for teams to pick up quality wins, and thus no way for them to accumulate an at-large-quality resume. They'll need Washington or Cal (or some other team) to live up their potential, get on a nice run, build up a comfortable lead, and maybe get ranked. If that happens, the Pac-10 may be able to snag a second bid in one of our future brackets.

Anonymous said...

why is louisville in your next four out and charlotte not even listed? did you not watch the charlotte at louisville game?

Bracketology 101 said...

Charlotte has lost 3 of 4 and their best win was over Louisville, they aren't even on our bubble right now. Louisville had won 6 of 7 and was included on the next four out line mainly because they had a chance to get in the bracket next week if they had a 2-0 week (Villanova and @Pitt). If it makes you feel better Charlotte is back ahead of Louisville on the bubble's bubble.

Zachary said...

No Marquette? Two tough losses to NOVA and a heartbreaker vs the mountaineers. Teams need to watch out for the Golden Eagles

Bracketology 101 said...

If tough losses counted for anything, Marquette would be a 1 seed. Unfortunately they don't, so the Golden Eagles have a ways to go before they get back in the bracket.

(By the way, nice win tonight, Zach. Now get to got a lot of Journalism work to do tomorrow.)

Anonymous said...

Why does Florida State get so much publicity on this site? They are just another bubble team and looked bad against North Carolina State. Why does FSU get more attention than other bubble teams?

Who has the better resume? Wichita State, Oklahoma State, or St. Marys? Sorry, but trying to get you to discuss other bubble teams, not just Florida State all the time!!

sodak hoops said...

The Kansas campus is 100 miles closer to Salt Lake than Syracuse plus Purdue is much closer to Syracuse than SL so it makes sense to flip flop those 2. But it is likely a moot point as Villanova will probaly replace Purdue on the 1 line next week with Nova in the east and Kansas in the west.

It should be a great race all season long to see whether Kansas, Texas or Kentucky gets to go to St. Louis or Houston and which one gets shipped out west. Villanova, Purdue, Michigan State, or Duke will likely be the 1 seed in the east.

sodak hoops said...

I did forget about Syracuse. They could put a monkey wrench in things if they earned a 1 seed cause the East regional is in their home dome. So the Orangemen would have to be shipped to another region and another team would be forced to travel way up to Syracuse. I bet those teams are hoping Syracuse does not earn a 1 seed.

Shawn said...

Does Alabama have a chance to get in the bubble discussion? They played a very strong OOC schedule and all 4 losses are to good teams.(Cornell, Kansas State, Florida State, Purdue) They have wins over Baylor and Michigan which are more impressive than some teams OOC resume. If your going to put Notre Dame and their soft OOC slate in your bracket, then you better give teams who played strong OOC games some consideration as well.

Anonymous said...

Zachary, Marquette should benefit from getting to play Depaul and Providence twice but they still will need some big wins away from home. That home loss to NC State and blown lead to FSU may come back and bite them on selection Sunday. Even 1 win over Villanova could have given them a huge lift. But wins over Providence and Depaul will not improve the Marquette resume.

Bracketology 101 said...

There are a couple of reasons that Florida State gets talked about so much on this site. The first is that we have a couple of die-hard FSU fans (led by longtime reader Bryan) that post comments about the 'Noles on a pretty regular basis. The second reason is that FSU is on the bubble pretty much every season, and bubble teams get discussed more than anyone else. The top teams get talked about occasionally, but most of the controversy and debate on this site surrounds the bubble teams.

Bracketology 101 said...

Alabama's name did get brought up this week as we put together the bracket, but they were only discussed for a brief second. The Tide deserve a lot of credit for their OOC schedule but, as you mentioned, the only wins they were able to pick up from that schedule were Baylor and Michigan. Both are decent wins, but not great. Michigan is not a tourney-qualty team right now and Baylor is barely in, plus they took a little hit last night after losing at Colorado. We'll learn all we need to know about Alabama over their next four games. They host Vanderbilt tonight, and then play at Arkansas, home against Tennessee, and home against Mississippi State. If they can pick up a couple of wins over those tourney-level teams, we'll give them some serious at-large consideration.

walt said...

This is the best bracketology site in my opinion. Just one question on this week's field. How did Washington get in? They were uncompetitive in road games in Arizona last weekend. Neither Zona or ASU are very good teams but they sure beat up Washington. So how did those 2 poor performances earn Washington a spot in your bracket?

Bracketology 101 said...

Washington got the auto bid out of the Pac-10. Washington had a poor showing in Arizona last week and are not that competitive for an at-large bid currently, but we feel they are the best overall team in the Pac-10 and have the best chance to win the conference tourney.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys and gals, Atlantic 10 fan here. What would you say is a target conference record the bubble teams in the A 10 need to shoot for?

Anonymous said...

I heard that there is a new confrence called the Great West. Will they get an automatic bid in the tourney?

Bracketology 101 said...

The Great West will not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament until at least 2020. In order for a conference to send their champion to the NCAA tournament as an automatic bid, the conference has to have at least seven members who have passed their transitional process into Division I, seven schools that have been in Division I for a minimum of eight years, and six schools that have played in the same league for six years. The GWC will not meet the NCAA's requirements until 2020, as North Dakota and South Dakota begin their first Division I season this year.

Fortunately for the Great West, though, they won't be shut out of the post-season altogether. The Post-season Tournament (CIT) has offered the GWC conference tournament champion a bid this season. Old Dominion won the innaugural 16-team CIT last season, beating Bradley in the final.

Bracketology 101 said...

The easy answer to the A-10 question is 10 wins. A 10-6 record in the 6th or 7th rated conference should put the bubble team in question in good shape. The more complicated answer is 9-10 wins, depending on who those wins came against. A-10 bubble teams are probably going to need a win over Temple or Dayton on their resume to look very attractive (that's partly why URI's home loss to Temple was so damaging) since they are the class of the league. The A-10 is deeper 1-6 than it's been in years, but teams 7-14 are mediocre at best. Wins over those teams won't do much for a resume; wins over the Owls and Flyers will.

Looking at conference schedules, it's hard not to like Richmond's at-large chances of getting to 10 wins. The Spiders only have to play Temple and Dayton once, and both of those games are at home. Xavier, on the other hand, has a much more difficult schedule. The Musketeers play Dayton twice, Charlotte twice, and have a lone game at Temple. That's a schedule that gives them chances for wins, but one that could result in a lot of losses too. The hardest schedule byu far, though, belongs to Charlotte. The 49ers play seven of their next nine on the road, and finish up with games at Rhode Island and home against Richmond.

Zack Soulier said...

Uconn's bubble may have been burst tonight

Bracketology 101 said...

Bubbles don't burst in January.

James G. said...

you guys deserve credit for actually seeding UConn in the right spot. If anything, they should be a 10-12 seed or out since they havent really beaten anyone good. Their best win is probaly at home against a very mediocre Notre Dame team.
What do you see in Washington. Their defense has been pretty poor this year. Why doesn't Herb Sendek and ASU ever get any respect from the media and you bracket experts. I think ASU and California are the 2 teams to beat in the PAC 10 and will get the 2 ncaa bids. If the PAC 10 gets a 3rd bid, it might be Washington. But you guys are wrong to have Washington as number 1 in the PAC 10. I bet you they won't win the regular season or tounrament title in the PAC 10. how much will you bet me?

Anonymous said...

B 101, I think Zack was referring to the current brackey, that UCOnn's bubble should have burst for now. but for some reason, the bracket guys love UConn.

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