Monday, February 15, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Feb. 15

There were a ton of upsets this past week, both at the top of the bracket (Syracuse, Georgetown) and towards the bottom (Cornell, Siena). Several teams made major statements on the road (Illinois, Louisville, Xavier, New Mexico) and others flopped at home (UAB, Rhode Island). In the end, though, a lot of head-scratching and eye-popping scores resulted in just one new addition to our field this week. A half dozen teams on our Next Eight Out list from a week ago had chances to make the bracket had they picked up a win or two, but as has been the case for almost a month now, those teams on the bubble continued to stub their collective toes and couldn't crack the field.

The lone newcomer to the bracket was Mississippi State, who checks in on the 12 line and on the Last Four In list this week. The Bulldogs beat Mississippi and Auburn at home to improve to 18-7 overall and 6-4 in the SEC, which is now up to six total bids. Mississippi and Florida both suffered 0-2 weeks, but both managed to stay in this week's field because (a.) no one else was worthy of jumping in and (b.) each has a decent OOC resume. Mississippi has an easy schedule left, and while Florida's schedule is tough, they have bigger wins to fall back on, plus they have the opportunity going forward to knock off Vandy and Tennessee at home. The Gators fell from a 7 seed to a 10 this week, and the Rebels dropped from a 9 to the Last Four In List.

Joining Mississippi State and Mississippi on the Last Four In list are Rhode Island and UAB. The Rams lost at home to Richmond and got blown out at Temple this week, and despite having a good RPI (23), they now have the fifth best resume out of the A-10. They have yet to beat an A-10 team that is currently in our field, and they only have one halfway good OOC win (Oklahoma State). They also have a very tricky game coming up on Wednesday at Saint Louis. UAB, meanwhile, has now lost three of four after a home loss to Marshall on Saturday, and they currently sit in fourth place in Conference USA. The Blazers are clinging to a bid because of their OOC wins over Butler and Cincinnati, but they need to right the ship in a hurry to stay in future brackets.

Elsewhere on the bubble, Dayton remains our last team out after they lost at Saint Louis. Cincinnati almost made it back into the field as the eighth Big East bid after winning at UConn, but their remaining six games are brutal and we think they are going to have a very hard time finishing 9-9 in conference. Northwestern also missed out on a golden opportunity to get back in the field by losing at Iowa on Wednesday.

The most notable changes to this week's bracket were in terms of seeding. Georgetown's loss at Rutgers and West Virginia's two-loss week knocked both of them off the 2 line, and they were replaced by Kansas State and Ohio State. Other big seed changes included: Wake Forest moving up to a season-high 3 seed after wins over Georgia Tech and Boston College, Illinois moving from a 12 to an 8 after wininng at Wisconsin, A-10 leader Richmond movingup from a 10 to 7 after its 2-0 week, UTEP jumping from a 12 to a 9, and Cal moving from an 11 to a 9. Charlotte fell from an 8 to 11 after losing at Dayton, and Cornell fell from a 10 to a 12 after its loss at Penn.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In

Rhode Island, Mississippi State, Mississippi, UAB

Last Four Out
Dayton, Cincinnati, Northwestern, Wichita State

Next Four Out
South Florida, St. Mary's, San Diego State, Texas Tech


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

America East - Stony Brook

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

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

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

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

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Coastal Carolina

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

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

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - UTEP, UAB

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC - New Mexico, BYU, UNLV

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - California

Patriot - Lehigh

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

Southern - Charleston

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Middle Tennessee State

SWAC - Jackson State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga


The Seeds
The 1s
Kansas, Kentucky, Villanova, Syracuse

The 2s
Purdue, Duke, Kansas State, Ohio State

The 3s
Georgetown, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Wake Forest

The 4s
West Virginia, Vanderbilt, New Mexico, Gonzaga

The 5s
Texas, Pittsburgh, Temple, Butler

The 6s
Texas A&M, Tennessee, BYU, Baylor

The 7s
Xavier, Richmond, Northern Iowa, Missouri

The 8s
Clemson, Georgia Tech, Illinois, UNLV

The 9s
Maryland, Florida State, California, UTEP

The 10s
Marquette, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Florida

The 11s
Charlotte, Old Dominion, Rhode Island, Utah State

The 12s
Oklahoma State, Cornell, Mississippi State, Siena

The 13s
Mississippi, UAB, Murray State, Oakland

The 14s
Kent State, Weber State, Charleston, UC-Santa Barbara

The 15s
Morgan State, Sam Houston State, Coastal Carolina, Stony Brook

The 16s
Robert Morris, Belmont, Middle Tennessee State, Lehigh (Play-In Game), Jackson State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at


Anonymous said...

You guys have Wake way too high. Compare Wake with West Virginia:

Wake Forest
Best Wins: Richmond, Xavier (both in OT), and at UVA
Key Losses: William and Mary, at Miami
RPI: 11 SOS: 22

West Virginia
Best Wins: Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Texas A&M
Key Losses: at Notre Dame
RPI: 6 SOS: 1

Bracketology 101 said... forgot to mention Wake's wins at Gonzaga, and at home against Maryland and Georgia Tech.

The Demon Deacons aren't getting a lot of national attention, probably becuase they are somehow still not ranked, but we think they have the most underrated resume in the country right now. They deserve a 3 seed.

Eric J. said...

Does Florida have a "favorable remaining schedule," as it says here, or is the schedule the rest of the way "pretty tough," as it says two posts earlier? Looking at road games at Ole Miss and Kentucky and Tennessee and Vandy at home it looks tough. If they lose three of those games, do the Gators get in at 20-11/9-7? They need at least that, right?

Jeff said...

I agree that Wake is underrated, but they should not be a 3 while Temple is a 5. Our resumes are basically identical, in fact, Temple's is currently better.

RPI: Temple 12 Wake 11
SOS: Temple 28 Wake 22

No difference at all there.


RPI top 50 wins: 4 20 22 22 35 49 Average= ~25

Remaining top 50 RPI: 30
Best possible average (if we beat Dayton)= 26

RPI losses: 1 7 27 41 83
Average RPI Loss= ~32

Maximum RPI top 50 wins: 7


RPI top 50 wins: 20 27 29 40 Average= 29

Remaining top 50 RPI: 31 47 49
Best possible average= ~35

RPI losses: 3 10 29 51 78
Average RPI Loss= ~34

Maximum RPI top 50 wins: 7

So Temple has two more RPI top 50 wins currently, a better average of all RPI top 50 wins, and our average RPI loss is lower. Both Wake and Temple have a maximum RPI top 50 wins of 7.

Other than a negligibly higher SOS, and Big Six bias, I dont see any reason Wake should even be ahead of Temple.

Bracketology 101 said...

RPI-wise, Temple's wins might be even to Wake Forest, but a closer look shows that Wake's best wins are better.

Wake has beaten a 4 seed (Gonzaga - on the road), two 7 seeds (Xavier and Richmond), an 8 seed (GT) and a 9 seed (Maryland).

Temple has beaten a 1 seed (obviously the best win of the bunch) and a 7 seed (Xavier), but their other wins are against a 10 seed (VT), an 11 seed twice (URI), and a 12 seed (Siena).

That "big win" difference is enough to keep Wake eight spots ahead of Temple on the S-curve. Keep in mind, too, that we project ahead with our bracket, and if Wake can win at VT this week, they have a great chance to go 13-3 in the ACC. That's a better 13-3 than Temple would be out of the A-10.

It's not that we don't like Temple (we do), we just think they are a little behind Wake in terms of current and future resume.

Jeff said...

Yes, but I could counter by saying that our best win is MUCH better, plus we've beaten more tournament teams. If you average it out, it's an average of 7 for Wake, and 9 for Temple. Not much of a difference there, and certainly not enough to warrant a 3 versus Temple's 5.

Also, saying Wake beat seeds x and Temple beat seeds y doesn't seem to be a fair way to judge, since you're basing it on your own seed placement.

I really don't agree that Wake should be that ahead of Temple, let alone at all, but then again, it's your blog and not mine (you guys do a wonderful job, regardless).
If Temple and Wake both win out, then yeah, I'd probably put Wake ahead of Temple (slightly), but I feel that would be partially biased based on the ACC being historically better than the A10. They're both great, and should both probably be seeded the same.

Go Owls.

Bracketology 101 said...

The "easy schedule" comment was in reference to Mississippi. It's been updated in the write-up.

If the Gators go 3-2 down the stretch, and get to 9-7, they'll be in good shape for a bid heading into the SEC tourney. Two SEC tourney wins would make them a lock, and one would leave them squarely on the bubble. If Florida can somehow get to 10-6 (win all three home games and win at Mississippi) they'd be in for sure.

BEISketbol said...

How is Northern Iowa still a 7 seed after losing at Bradley? They shouldn't be that safe if they lose the MVC tourney. Their best win is Siena at home, I guess, or maybe at Iowa State with poor losses vs. Depaul and at aforementioned Bradley. The Panthers should be a double digit seed for sure.

Bracketology 101 said...

Northern Iowa still has a 25 RPI even after the Bradley loss. If they win out, beat ODU in the process, and then win the MVC tourney (which we project they will do), they'll deserve a 7. If they lose any more games down the stretch, though, a double-digit seed is very possible.

BEISketbol said...

I got ya. That makes sense. I keep on forgetting that your projections aren't "if the season ended today."

Andrew said...

If Cal wins out and wins the Pac-10 tourney how high of a seed could they reach?

Anonymous said...

The other "name" bracketologists seem to really dislike VT's record, even as they keep winning. I disagree with them after actually looking at VT's wins and record versus the T100, but is it possible that they're picking up on something and VT could end up getting left out even with 10 or 11 ACC wins?

give me the brandy said...

the only team in your field that i would have left out is oklahoma st. their schedule is tough down the stretch, it is hard to see them finishing better than 8-8 in conference and 7-9 is probably most likely. they don't have any OOC wins to help them out either (none against RPI top 100).

i think the winner of the USF/Cinci game on tuesday will have a good chance to be the team that replaces them.

Anonymous said...

Ohio State is a 2 seed. Seriously? Say that out loud. Ohio State is a 2 seed. That is ridiculous.

Bracketology 101 said...

If Cal wins out and win the Pac-10 tourney, they would be 26-8 overall and have a top-30 RPI. That would likely get them a 6 seed.

We have been on board the VT bandwagon for weeks now because we think they'll get to 10-11 wins in conference. We have no idea why other bracketologists are still so down on a 20-4 ACC team and how some (ex. Jerry Palm) can still have them out. We think those people are being extremely short-sighted. If the Hokies get to 10-11 wins in conference, they're not going to be left out.

You're right about Oklahoma State - they're nowhere near safe. They are probably going to need to go 2-0 this week (at Iowa State, vs. Baylor) to stay in the bracket next Monday.

If Cincinnati wins at South Florida, they'll still need to beat Marquette at home to get in. If South Florida goes 2-0 (they play St. John's at home this weekend), it'd be tough to keep them out next week.

Anonymous said...

Ohio State is 17-3 (10-1) with Evan Turner, which is what the committee will be considering. They look like a 2 seed to me.

Anonymous said...

I think you're putting too much emphasis on conference record and not looking at the actual schedule when it comes to Virginia Tech. Their 7-3 ACC record is a very soft 7-3. Their best win is Clemson at home. What is their second-best win? Virginia? North Carolina?

Their OOC resume is even worse than it looks, with way-too-close wins against some bad teams (#181 Iowa by 6 in the Challenge, #225 Penn State by 2, #209 Delaware in OT).

If they get to 10-6 without beating Wake Forest or Duke, I'd bet they're headed for the NIT.

Bracketology 101 said...

We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Anonymous. The Buckeyes are on a tear right now, and we wouldn't be surprised at all if they beat Purdue and then won in East Lansing this weekend. If they beat the Spartans, and finish 15-3 in the Big Ten, they'll be at the top of the 2 line going into the Big Ten tourney.

Paymon said...

Northern Iowa's 7-footer was suspended 3 games (v. Creighton, v. ODU, @ Evansville), so the Panthers could be looking at 1-2 additional losses. As an aside, a 3-game suspension for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is weak.

UNI's top 25 RPI is a mirage. In making their schedule, they avoided really awful teams, but there aren't a lot of tournament teams on it either. Siena and ODU are the only ones at first glance.

give me the brandy said...

if UConn somehow makes it to 9-9, how do you like their chances?

seems unlikely given how inconsistent they've been, but when they play their best they can definitely beat anybody.

Wolf said...

Can you explain your thinking on Charlotte as a #10? There are better schools, but one in particular - Dayton - stands out in comparison to Charlotte.

- Dayton has a better record vs top 50 teams (4-5 vs 3-5)

- Both have one good nonconference win (Dayton vs GaTech in Puerto Rico; Charlotte at Louisville). Both wins were early in the season (and the Cards followed up that game with a terrible loss vs Western Carolina, so they weren't playing their best (beat-Cuse) basketball at the time.

- Dayton has a better rpi (32 vs 41), and has a MUCH better Kenpom tempo-free rating, if you care about that stuff (35 vs 87).

- They shared two nonconference opponents in common: Georgia Tech and ODU. Dayton beat Tech, Charlotte lost to Tech. Dayton beat ODU, Charlotte lost to ODU by 33 (!).

- Even if you are using a "projection-predictor" model (which is obviously flawed if you have to revise it every week) ... it seems that Charlotte has the tougher remaining schedule - they'll be a pickem or dog in 4 of their remaining 6 games (vs XU, vs Richmond, at URI, at GW); Dayton will be a pickem or dog in only 2 of their remaining 6 games (at Temple, at Richmond).

- And, while, a "loss is a loss", the committee does (as they should) take into account the game summaries and box scores (they are explicitly listed among the resources provided to the committee per the NCAA's bracket principles and procedures manual). So on some level, margin of victory is relevant. And Charlotte has lost by 42, 33, 28, 17, 12 and 9 points. Dayton has lost by 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 and 1 (two of which - vs URI and vs SLU - were lost on 25 footers at the buzzer). All of that could be defended if Charlotte played a tougher schedule ... but their SOS is #101, while Dayton's is #34.

- And saving the best for last: they played each other ... and Dayton beat them by 28 (!!). This would seem to be the biggest piece of evidence, but I know that the "bubble teams" can't be looked at just with head to head matchups. But when Team A's "body of work" is better AND they blew Team B out of the gym in their one matchup, it seems tough to understand what your thinking is on this one.

Please help explain this one. It seems pretty messed up.

Sports said...

if Washington wins out and gets 2nd or 1st in the Pac 10 then maybe wins a couple of games in the tourney there in right?

Bracketology 101 said...

Washington would be in good shape for a bid if they do that, but we wouldn't bet on it happening. The Huskies are 1-5 in their last six conference road games, and they have three straight roadies to end the year (at Washington State and at the Oregon schools.) They also face a USC team this weekend that beat them by 26 back on Jan. 23.

Bracketology 101 said...

Wolf -

Your Charlotte-Dayton comparison had a lot of good stats in it, but you left out the fact that the 49ers are two games better than the Flyers in conference. You also forgot to compare each team's conference resume. Charlotte's only two road losses were on the road to a bubble team (Dayton) and on the road to a 7 seed (Xavier). Dayton, meanwhile, lost at home to a fellow bubble team (URI) and lost on the road to two teams who aren't tourney-caliber (St. Joseph's and Saint Louis). Those are two major reasons why Charlotte is in and Dayton is out.

Looking ahead, there's a good chance that Dayton will finish 10-6 in conference, which will put them in fifth or sixth place in the A-10. Even if Charlotte loses two more games as well (which is fair with their remaining schedule) they'll still be two games up on the Flyers heading into the A-10 tourney.

Anonymous said...

What does mississippi have to do down the stretch to secure a bid?

Tony said...

a question for Matt Reeves. Would the selection committe consider putting Ohio state in Buffalo and Wisconsin in Milwaukee?

Atlanta Falcons Guy said...

Would Georgia Tech deserve a bid if they finish 7-9 in acc play? Is there any chance St. Louis could get up to at large status over Rhode Island?

matt r said...


Certainly they would. In looking again at this bracket, that may have been the better move, since Buffalo vs Milwaukee is pretty much even for Ohio State.

SRIV94 said...

I had a question about the Kentucky Wildcats. Would they drop a seed line with 2 losses this week? They have two tough road games.
I also want to thank you guys for posting your projections on Fox. You do outstanding work.

Bracketology 101 said...

The first thing Mississippi needs to do is beat a tourney-caliber SEC team. They are a combined 0-4 so far against Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The Rebels have two chances to get that marquee win this week with Vandy and Florida coming in. If they split those games, they are going to have to run the table and win a couple of SEC tourney games to feel safe.

Saint Louis has a great chance to make some noise down the stretch in the A-10 because of who they have left on their schedule. The Bilikens still have home games left against Rhode Island, Xavier, and Temple, as well as a road game against Dayton. If they win three of those four (and especially if they beat the Rams this week), they'll be in over URI.

Georgia Tech needs to go 8-8 at worst to be position for a bid heading into the ACC tourney. They also need to find a way to win on the road against either Maryland or Clemson over the next couple weeks. The Yellow Jackets are just 1-5 on the road in conference, and that win came at UNC. That's certainly not a road record that's going to thrill the selection committee.

Pat said...

does Siena have a chance at an at large spot if they lose in the conference tournament? How about Utah State?

Bracketology 101 said...

Siena has a chance at an at-large, but only if they win at Butler in their BracketBuster game. Utah State has a slightly better chance, provided they win at home in their BracketBuster game against Wichita State. The Aggies have a big OOC win over BYU and the WAC is a better conference than the MAAC (10 vs. 15 in terms of RPI).

Bracketology 101 said...

Glad you like the FOX bracket. They've done a great job with it.

Two losses would likely knock Kentucky off the 1 line next week, but it depends on what Purdue and Duke do this week as well.

Anonymous said...

Duke is a great team at home, but don't be surprised if Maryland beats them in College Park. Duke is not strong enough on the road to deserve a one seed. The Devils look more like a 2.

Red Zone said...

Florida has a tougher 16 game SEC schedule than the Mississippi schools. Does that mean Florida could finish with a worse record than the SEC West teams but get in over them cause the East schedule is tougher? How does the unbalanced SEC schedule play into the committee's consideration when comparing those SEC bubble teams?

Anonymous said...

IS Virginia tech going to be rewarded for playing a terrible weak OOC schedule? Or will the committee reward a team who scheduled strong non conference opponents?

Bracketology 101 said...

Florida can finish one game worse than Mississippi or Mississippi State and still get in because of their tougher SEC schedule. The committee considers conference schedule strength, which is something the Gators have in their favor going forward.

Anonymous said...

How is Georgia Tech an 8 seed? They have struggled mightily on the road and have a losing conference record. They lost to bubble team Dayton and got swept by Florida State. Georgia Tech is in danger of missing the field and do not deserve an 8 seed. How is Georgia Tech a higher seed than FSU. Did the season sweep mean nothing?

Bracketology 101 said...

The only reason FSU is still in the field is their season sweep of Georgia Tech. Their only other win of note was against Marquette, and they already have five conference losses themselves. Georgia Tech - despite the FSU sweep - still has home wins over Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson and Siena and a road win at Charlotte. That's five Top 50 wins compared to FSU's two, and that's why GT is still a seed line ahead of them even with a 5-6 record in the ACC.

Anonymous said...

Is the Big 10 strictly a five bid league? Or can Northwestern get back in the discussion?

Bracketology 101 said...

Northwestern is still alive, but they are going to need to finish 10-8 in conference to be a serious at-large candidate. If they could ever win at Wisconsin, they'd be in for sure, but if not, they'll have to win the rest of their games, settle for a "weak" 10-8, and then have to win a couple of games in the Big Ten tourney to like their chances.

Anonymous said...

I'm praying hard for Northwestern, but I'd love to know what makes you so confident. They'll have a tough time getting an RPI better than 70 even if they win out. I think their chances are better than nil, but man, last four teams out? A shoo in if they beat UW? What makes you think so?

Bracketology 101 said...

If Northwestern wins at Wisconsin and wins out, they're going to be in the bracket heading into the Big Ten tourney. Would we bet large sums of money on that happening? In a word, no.

Anonymous said...

Is there any chance that New Mexico would play in Oklahoma City? It is closer than San Jose.

matt r said...

It is possible for New Mexico to play in OKC, but they would have to climb over Kansas or Kansas State in the seed list (S-curve). They are higher seeds and have higher priority when handing out sites for the first weekend.

Anonymous said...

How many conference wins does florida state need to feel safe? That loss to florida keeps looking worse. Outside of beating georgia tech the seminoles have not beaten very good teams in conference. With the poor road play for fsu, they could possible lose at miami and unc. i have a feeling fsu might fall out of bubble contention.

Bracketology 101 said...

If the 'Noles lose at Virginia and at UNC, they'll be on the wrong side of the bubble.. They need to find a way to go 3-2 down the stretch, finish 9-7 in conference, and then win a game (or two) in the ACC tournament.

Anonymous said...

What is the highest seed Butler can attain if they win out?

Bracketology 101 said...

Butler will probably max out at a 4.

Jeff said...

"Other than a negligibly higher SOS, and Big Six bias, I dont see any reason Wake should even be ahead of Temple."

Not that we set the world on fire today against Saint Joe's (albeit, we showed a lot of moxie, and won), but Wake just lost to NC State. I wasn't kidding, they shouldn't be ahead of Temple.

Anonymous said...

How does Kentucky get the #1 of the #1 seeds?

Does Marquette get in if they win only one of their final four games and finish below .500 in the Big East? They have a #70 RPI. That just seems very high? What is the highest RPI ever for an at large bid?

Does Wichita State have a chance for the tournament with a 22-7 record and a #50 RPI? They seem to be statistically better than Marquette.

Anonymous said...

I just did the research. New Mexico is the last team to make the tournament with an RPI of 70 or more. That happened in 1999. Bracketology 101 seeds Marquette as a 10th seed, but they have a #70 RPI. I take it you anticipate Marquette will win at least two of their remaining four games and finish above .500 in the Big East. Marquette's games at home against Louisville and away at St. Johns and Seton Hall appear to be tough games for Marquette. Their finale at home against Notre Dame should be a win. I would put them on bubble status if they lose their next two games.

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