Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Donate To Wilson's "Ultimate Assist" Charity!

During the NCAA basketball tournament, Wilson Sporting Goods runs a program on Facebook called Ultimate Assist. This program asks people to make the “ultimate assist” in the fight against cancer by "passing a basketball" to their Facebook friends using a simple application. For every ball passed, Wilson donates money to Coaches vs. Cancer, which is a non-profit organization that unites the National Association of Basketball Coaches with the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer.

To date, Coaches vs. Cancer has raised nearly \$50 million since its inception to support the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission to eliminate cancer as a life-threatening disease. Wilson makes it free and easy for Facebook users to join in this effort.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bracketology 101's Bracket Picks

To view or download Chris, Craig, and Matt's complete tournament brackets, click on the title of this post.

The brackets are downloadable, printable, and are saved in .pdf format. There is also an editable and downloadable blank bracket that you can use for your own picks.

Good luck in your office pools...

Also, if you haven't done so yet, sign up for Bracketology 101's Tournament Challenge group at ESPN.com.

Private Group Name: B101's Bracket Challenge

Sign up for the group ASAP. The group locks at the tip-off of the first game on Thursday. Only one bracket per person.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bracketology 101's Final Bracket Stats

The Bracket Matrix has posted his final results matrix for all 83 brackets he monitors. He lists overall results based on the Paymon scoring system, which gives brackets three points for each correct team, two points for each exact seed, and one point for each team within one seed line.

Here are our final stats:

Teams correct: 63/65
Exact seeds: 31/65
Seeds within one of seed line: 54/65
*Paymon score: 305

For a complete breakdown of how every bracketologist did in predicting the field, click here.

All in all, we were very disappointed with our final Paymon score, which was down 10 points from last year and put us right in the middle of the pack after four straight years of having a top-five bracket. Missing Utah State, and getting 63 teams instead of 64, cost us six points on our final score and really hurt us in the end. A score of 311 (had we put the Aggies in) would have put us in the Top 10 score-wise.

The strangest part of this year's results was that most of the brackets done by the four or five year bracketology "veterans" (with the exception of Jerry Palm) were at or below the average Paymon score (299.8). Here's how we stacked up against some of the more seasoned experts:

Bracketville (who had the best bracket of the year): 322
Jerry Palm (CollegeRPI and CBS): 312
Bracketology 101: 305
Andy Glockner (SI): 302
Joe Lunardi (ESPN): 300
David Mihm (Bracketography): 284

For the fifth straight year, we had a higher Paymon score than Lunardi and for the fifth straight year we outscored the Sports Illustrated bracket (which was done by Glockner the last two years).

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We'll be back later today with more bracket stats, our Final Four picks, and our complete downloadable brackets. We will also set up the annual Bracketology 101 Tournament Challenge group on ESPN.com.

In the meantime, feel free to post any bracket-questions in the comments section of this post. We'll check in periodically to answer as many of them as we can.

We'd also like to thank to the tens of thousands of people who visited the site over the couple of days (we destroyed our Selection Sunday hits record yesterday), as well as the hundreds of readers who posted comments and questions. We think that over the past few months, no site had better debates and discussions about all things bracket-related than we did at B101. The credit for that goes to our loyal readers, who are the most knowledgeable group of college basketball fans around. Thanks for all of your contributions to the site this year. You all deserve a huge chest bump.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bracketology 101's Bracket Reaction

"There shall not be more than two teams from a conference in one region unless a ninth team is selected from a conference."

"Conference teams shall not meet prior to the regional final unless a ninth team is selected 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."

Apparently these rules do not apply to the Big East. The selection committee placed three Big East teams in the South Region and set up two potential Big East Sweet 16 matchups (Villanova-Notre Dame and West Virginia-Marquette). We decided to follow the rules when bracketing, and it led to us missing all three Big East teams by more than one seed line.

That wasn't our only gripe with the selection committee, though. Here are some other seeds that we are still scratching our heads about:

1. Temple should be a 3, and certainly no worse than a 4. We guess the committee didn't think they should be seeded that far ahead of fellow A-10 teams (which doesn't make a whole lot of sense). The Owls also drew a dangerous Cornell team in the first round, which is a real double whammy.

2. Tennessee as a 6 seed is really harsh considering they beat the top two teams in the tournament.

3. SDSU and UNLV should swap seeds. The Aztecs have the biggest complaint of any team in terms of the seed they got. How can they possibly be seeded three lines lower than UNLV when their RPI was 30 spots higher, they finished tied in conference, and they beat UNLV two out of three times they played? The biggest joke, though, has to be the fact that SDSU has to travel all the way to Providence to play their first round game.

4. The two potential Sweet 16 match-ups weren't the questionable moves involving the Big East. Notre Dame and Marquette played well at the end of the year, but neither deserves 6 seeds, and Villanova, who stumbled down the stretch, wasn't deserving of the last 2 seed. (How does Temple not get the 2 over Villanova considering they beat them head-to-head?)

In terms of the teams selected, we can't really complain too much. Florida is seeded too high as a 10, but looking back, their overall body of work is slightly better than Mississippi State. We now regret watching the Mississippi State-Kentucky game on Sunday afternoon. We thought that the committee would be impressed by the Bulldogs' performance and that they would put more emphasis on conference tourney results. We also got too hung up on the fact that Florida had lost four of their last five. We couldn't imagine the SEC only getting three bids; we just picked the wrong team for the fourth bid.

Our biggest regret is leaving Utah State out of our final bracket, even though we are happy to see the committee give some more bids to mid-majors. In our opinion, Utah State is more deserving than Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, or Illinois. We should have done what we usually do and just go with what we think should happen, instead of what we think the committee will do. We finally bailed on the little guy and it cost us. It also appears from the final bracket that committee members were probably paying attention to how many bids each conference was getting. They didn't want to give the ACC seven bids, so they left Virginia Tech out; they wanted the SEC to get four bids so they went with Florida; and they didn't want the Big Ten to get six bids so they left out Illinois.

Stat-wise, we ended up with 31 teams seeded exactly and 54 teams within one seed line. By our math, we once again beat Lunardi. We'll post some more scores when all the math is complete. One thing we do know is that we ended up winning the Selection Sunday Expert's Challenge on NCAA.com over experts from CBS, The Sporting News, and Sports Illustrated, as well as some other bloggers.

Bracketology 101's Final Field of 65

Here is Bracketology 101's Final Feld of 65:

This was the hardest last three teams to pick that we can remember. Most seasons, it's tough to pick the last one or two teams, but this year, it was three.

We think that any of our last three in (Virginia Tech, UTEP, Mississippi State) could get left out for either Utah State and Florida. We think Minnesota has done enough to get in regardless of how the Big Ten final ends up. We went with Mississippi State over Florida because we can't imagine the fourth best conference in the country getting just three bids. We also like the Bulldogs' neutral court victory over the Gators two days ago and the way they played against Kentucky today.

We have been on the Utah State bandwagon for a while, but in the end, C-USA is better than the WAC because UAB and Memphis are better than New Mexico State (or anyone else in the WAC). We also can't see the committee rewarding both little guys. Outside of the power six conferences, we already have seven at-large bids. We think eight is too many.

We only had one grouping issue with the final bracket. Louisville had to be bumped to be bumped down to a 12 seed.

The Breakdown
Last Four In

Minnesota, Virginia Tech, UTEP, Mississippi State

Last Four Out
Utah State, Florida, Illinois, Seton Hall

Next Four Out
Rhode Island, Arizona State, William & Mary, South Florida

---------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s

Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke

The 2s
West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State, Georgetown

The 3s
Temple, Villanova, New Mexico, Pittsburgh

The 4s
Wisconsin, Purdue, Baylor, Tennessee

The 5s
Michigan State, Maryland, Butler, Texas A&M

The 6s
Vanderbilt, Richmond, BYU, Xavier

The 7s
Gonzaga, Texas, Oklahoma State, Northern Iowa

The 8s
Clemson, Notre Dame, Marquette, San Diego State

The 9s
Florida State, Missouri, St. Mary's, California

The 10s
UNLV, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Old Dominion

The 11s
Washington, Minnesota, Virginia Tech, UTEP

The 12s
Louisville, Mississippi State, Cornell, Siena

The 13s
New Mexico State, Murray State, Oakland, Houston

The 14s
Wofford, Sam Houston State, UC-Santa Barbara, Ohio

The 15s
Montana, Morgan State, North Texas, Vermont

The 16s
East Tennessee State, Robert Morris, Winthrop, Lehigh (Play-In Game), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

B101's Sunday Morning Thoughts

We are currently in lockdown mode in the Bracketology 101 War Room with "One Shining Moment" playing on a continuous loop in the background.

Yesterday's results were nothing short of chaotic, and they caused a huge shake-up amongst the teams on the bubble. Here is how we see things heading into today's games:

1. We think Utah State and UTEP both deserve at-larges, but we also wouldn't be surprised if one of the two gets left out (especially if Mississippi State wins today).

2. We can't see Minnesota getting left out now. They dominated Purdue yesterday, and the Big Ten title game is so late in the day that it is really to the Gophers' advantage.

3. We think Mississippi State probably still needs to win today to get in.

4. Two of the following three teams will not make it: Virginia Tech, Illinois, and Florida. We are going to be picking apart each of their resumes all day today. If Mississippi State wins, they all might be out.

5. The last 2 seed is really tough to fill right now. Is it Temple (with a win today)? Is it Georgetown (despite their loss last night)? Is it Pittsburgh, who finished three games better than Georgetown in conference?

6. If Duke loses the ACC final, they may also lose their 1 seed to West Virginia.

We have release our Final Field of 65 betwee 4:00-5:00 p.m. ET today. Until then, we will check the comments section periodically to answer any questions.

***NOTE***: FOXSports is having some "technical difficulties" with posting our updated bracket and it's all messed up. Check in HERE (Bracketology 101) for our official, up-to-date bracket.

Join NCAA.com's Selection Sunday Challenge!

Do you think you can predict the bracket better than Bracketology 101 or the rest of the bracketology "experts?" Then sign up today on NCAA.com for their Selection Sunday Challenge.

The free game allows users to predict and seed the tournament field before it is announced at 6:00 p.m. ET. Brackets are scored in terms of teams picked corrected, teams seeded correctly, and teams placed in the correct location.

We are part of the Selection Sunday Experts group, which includes 14 bracketologists.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 13

As expected, the bubble picture cleared up a bit on Friday. San Diego State and Georgia Tech both locked down their bids, while Virginia Tech and Florida moved closer to the bubble and onto our Last Five In list. We used a Last Five In list today (instead of the traditional Last Four In list) because those five teams are the only ones who we could see not making the final bracket if things break a certain way over the weekend.

The Big Ten was the big winner overall on Friday. Minnesota and Illinois were added to our latest bracket, while Mississippi State and Tulsa were removed. The Gophers and Illini both pulled off upsets on Friday, and they are now in position to lock up their bids with wins in the Big Ten semis. As long as Washington is not blown out by Cal, we like the Huskies' chances for a bid as well. The last thing that Virginia Tech needed was a bad loss to close out the season, but that's what happened against Miami. The Hokies just need to hope now that the Miami or N.C. State does not win the ACC tourney and they should be safe on Sunday.

With UTEP now in the C-USA final, we were forced to abandon our C-USA bid-stealer. The opportunity for bid-stealers still exists in the WAC and C-USA, but we just don't see it happening with the way that Utah State and UTEP have played. The only other spot where a bid-stealer is still possible is in the ACC, with N.C. State and Miami still being alive. The only teams that we do not currently have in who we could see getting an at-large still are Mississippi State and Rhode Island. If URI can get by Temple on Saturday, they would put themselves in good shape for an at-large. Mississippi State, meanwhile, picked up a big win over Florida on Friday, which means a win in the semis over Vanderbilt would probably be enough to warrant a bid. If the Bulldogs do find a way to win on Saturday, then Florida fans need to be worried about the Gators' at-large chances.

The biggest seed climbers after Friday's results were Georgetown moving from a 4 to a 3, Tennessee and Vanderbilt going from 5s to 4s, Cal and UNLV going from 9s to 7s, and SDSU going from a 12 to a 10. The biggest declines were Michigan State going from a 3 to a 5, Maryland dropping from a 4 to a 5, and Marquette and Florida State going from 7s to 9s.

We will now go into weekend lockdown mode and will release our final bracket on Sunday afternoon. For the first time in the history of Bracketology 101, Chris and Craig will be together on Sunday to complete their final bracket. Hopefully the two minds being together in the same room on Selection Sunday will lead to going 65/65 for the first time ever and once again seeding at least 60 teams within one spot of their seed line and at least 40 teams exactly on their seed.

The Breakdown
Last Five In
Virginia Tech, Florida, Washington, Minnesota, Illinois

Last Four Out
Rhode Island, Mississippi State, Seton Hall, Arizona State

Next Four Out
South Florida, Mississippi, William & Mary, Memphis

---------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), ACC (7), Big 12 (7), Big Ten (6), MWC (4), SEC (4), A-10 (3), Pac-10 (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

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

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10 - Temple, Xavier, Richmond

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

Big Sky - Montana

Big South - Winthrop

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

Big 12 - Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA
- UTEP

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Akron

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC
- New Mexico, BYU, UNLV, San Diego State

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10
- California, Washington

Patriot - Lehigh

SEC
- Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida

Southern - Wofford

Southland
- Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - North Texas

SWAC
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga

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The Seeds
The 1s

Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse

The 2s
Purdue, West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State

The 3s
Temple, Villanova, Georgetown, New Mexico

The 4s
Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin

The 5s
Baylor, Michigan State, Butler, Maryland

The 6s
Texas A&M, Xavier, Richmond, BYU

The 7s
Gonzaga, Texas, California, UNLV

The 8s
Northern Iowa, Oklahoma State, Clemson, Notre Dame

The 9s
Marquette, Florida State, Missouri, St. Mary's

The 10s
Utah State, Wake Forest, Old Dominion, UTEP

The 11s
San Diego State, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech

The 12s
Cornell,
Florida, Washington, Minnesota

The 13s
Illinois, Siena, Murray State, Oakland

The 14s
Akron, Wofford, UC-Santa Barbara, Montana

The 15s
Sam Houston State, Morgan State, North Texas, Vermont

The 16s
East Tennessee State, Winthrop, Robert Morris, Lehigh
(Play-In Game), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 12

Nothing can match the excitement level of the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament, but the Thursday of Championship Week comes pretty darn close to doing that every year. This year was no exception. There were a ton of crazy games, wild finishes, and a slew of upsets on Thursday that affected teams at the top of the bracket (Syracuse, Villanova, Pittsburgh) as well teams fighting for their lives on the bubble (Memphis, UAB, Arizona State).

Here's a quick conference-by-conference breakdown of what happened and what it means in terms of bids and seeding with just 72 hours until the Selection Show:

In the ACC...
The most important result from Greensboro on Thursday was Georgia Tech's win over North Carolina. The Yellow Jackets were the last team in our field before heading into their ACC opener - despite a 7-9 conference record - because we at least liked their chances to beat the Tar Heels. Now comes the hard part: a date with Maryland in the quarters on Friday. We aren't that confident in Georgia Tech's ability to win that game considering how the Terps have played of late, but with the bubble collapsing the way it is, it's very conceivable that a close loss is all that the Yellow Jackets need. Their wins are better than any other bubble team's wins right now, and that should push them over the top if need be. In other first round action Thursday, Wake Forest got blown out by Miami to put an exclamation point on their year-end free-fall. The Demon Deacons lost five of six down the stretch, and as a result, they are down to a 10 seed in our latest field. Clemson also suffered a head-sratching loss to N.C. State on Thursday and dropped from a 7 to an 8. Miami's win over Wake sets up a Virginia Tech-Miami quarterfinal game on Friday that Hokie fans have to love. With one more win, Virginia Tech will almost certainly be dancing.

In the Big East...
The double bye jinx was in full effect in Madison Square Garden on Thursday, as top-seeded Syracuse, second-seeded Pittsburgh, and fourth-seeded Villanova all lost. West Virginia came close to joining that list, but Da'Sean Butler's banked-in three at the buzzer gave the Mountaineers a wild 54-51 win over Cincinnati. Despite their loss, Syracuse is still safe on the 1 line because they won the regular season Big East title by two games. Pitt, meanwhile, dropped down from a 3 seed to a 4 as a result of their loss to Notre Dame. The Irish have now won six in a row and are up to an 8 seed in our latest field. That's a seed line below Marquette, which jumped up from a 9 to a 7 by beating 'Nova. The Wildcats are clinging onto the final spot on the 3 line for now, but they very well could fall to a 4 depending on how teams like Wisconsin, Georgetown, Baylor, and others do from here on out.

In the Big 12...
To say the Big 12 tournament has lacked the drama of the Big East tournament would be an understatement. The top four seeds all advanced in relatively easy fashion on Thursday, highlighted by top-seeded Kansas' win over Texas Tech. Next up for the Jayhawks is Texas A&M, which took care of Nebraska in its quarterfinal game. The other two quarterfinal games were both 19-point blowouts: Kansas State beat Oklahoma State 83-64 and Baylor beat Texas (for the third time this season) 86-67. If A&M can upset Kansas on Friday, they'll move up to the 4 line, and they would be joined there by Baylor if the Bears can get past the second-seeded Wildcats.

In the Big Ten...
All eyes are going to be on the Big Ten on Friday as Illinois and Minnesota will try to pull off upsets and play their way into the field. The Golden Gophers kept their at-large hopes alive by beating Penn State in their Big Ten opener on Thursday. Next up is a quarterfinal match-up with Michigan State. With a win, Minnesota is in. With a loss, they'll be bound for the NIT. That same mantra might also apply to Illinois, which plays Wisconsin in another quarterfinal. The Illini may just need that win to get in, but their 13 losses and poor RPI might make it necessary for them to at least play a close game against Ohio State in the semis to get in. In the two other games today, Purdue faces Northwestern and the top-seeded Buckeyes take on Michigan.

In C-USA...
The craziness of C-USA has to be right up there with the Big East results. How much money could you have made by betting we would see a Houston-Southern Miss semifinal? UAB's late season collapse is now complete after they got absolutely blown out by Southern Mississippi and Memphis lost any hope they had of snatching an at large bid dropping a heart-breaker to Houston (on of all things a double-dribble call). We're still going to play the odds and say that there has to be a bid-stealer out there somewhere, and we put Tulsa in today's bracket as the auto bid as a result. The Golden Hurricane play UTEP on Friday, and we think they have a good chance to win since the game is in their backyard.

In the MWC...
Things went perfectly for the MWC on Thursday. The top four seeds moved on, UNLV wrapped up its bid with a win over Utah, and San Diego State hung on to beat Colorado State. At this point, three bids is a lock and four bids looks like a safe bet. SDSU would be a lock if they beat New Mexico in the semis, but they should be in good shape with a close loss. as well. If the Aztecs do suffer a blowout loss, and ifbubble teams in the SEC, Big Ten, and A-10 step up, then the Aztecs could get snubbed again. We'll be the first to admit that we didn't see things developing the way they have over the past few weeks to enable the MWC to get four bids.

In the Pac-10...
So much for that elimination game between Washington and Arizona State. The Sun Devils didn't hold up their end of the deal by losing to Stanford. There are two things that we know about the Pac-10 right now: Cal is a lock and Washington is the only other team with at-large hopes. What we don't know is whether there will be one, two, or three teams from the Pac-10 dancing. If Washington were to lose to Stanford and if Cal wins the tourney then it would still be possible for the league to get one bid (that's unlikely). The most likely scenario is for Washington and Cal to both win their semifinal games, and then for both teams to get in regardless of who wins the title. Another possible scenario would be for UCLA to beat Cal and then beat Washington in the final. The league would then get three bids as the Huskies would grab one of the final at-large bids because of their two Top 25 wins.

In the SEC...
There were no big surprises on the first day of the SEC tourney. Florida avoided a bad loss by beating Auburn, so they should now be safe. Tennseess was able to take down LSU, which is good for Mississippi since they need a big conference win to secure their bid. Friday should be a very interesting day in the SEC. Mississippi and Mississippi State will both be fighting for their tourney lives. Also, Vanderbilt and Tennessee have great opportunities to improve their seeds with a run to the final or by winning the whole thing.

Elsewhere, Utah State beat Boise State to advance to the WAC semis, there they will face Louisiana Tech. In the MAC, top-seeded Kent State was upset by Ohio 81-64. The Golden Flashes are not at-large worthy and have been replaced in the bracket by Akron - a 98-87 winner over Eastern Michigan in double OT.

The Breakdown
Last Four In

San Diego State, Washington, Georgia Tech, Mississippi

Last Four Out
Illinois, Minnesota, Seton Hall, Mississippi State

Next Four Out
South Florida, Arizona State, Saint Louis, Memphis

---------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), ACC (7), Big 12 (7), SEC (5), Big Ten (4), MWC (4), A-10 (3), C-USA (2), Pac-10 (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

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

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10
- Temple, Xavier, Richmond

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

Big Sky - Montana

Big South - Winthrop

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

Big 12 - Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - Tulsa, UTEP

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Akron

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC
- New Mexico, BYU, UNLV, San Diego State

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - California, Washington

Patriot - Lehigh

SEC - Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, Mississippi

Southern - Wofford

Southland
- Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - North Texas

SWAC
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga

----------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s

Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse

The 2s
Purdue, West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State

The 3s
New Mexico, Temple, Michigan State, Villanova

The 4s
Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Maryland

The 5s
Baylor, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Butler

The 6s
Texas A&M, Xavier, BYU, Richmond

The 7s
Gonzaga, Florida State, Texas, Marquette

The 8s
Notre Dame, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma State, Clemson

The 9s
Missouri, California, UNLV, Utah State

The 10s
Wake Forest, Louisville, St. Mary's, Old Dominion

The 11s
UTEP, Florida, Virginia Tech, Cornell

The 12s
Siena,
San Diego State, Washington, Georgia Tech

The 13s
Mississippi, Tulsa, Murray State, Oakland

The 14s
Akron, Wofford, UC-Santa Barbara, Montana

The 15s
Sam Houston State, Morgan State, North Texas, Vermont

The 16s
East Tennessee State, Winthrop, Robert Morris,
Lehigh (Play-In Game), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Bracketology 101 on FOX Sports

Our Field of 65 and a brief analysis of each team is also featured on the college basketball page of FOXSports.com.

Our March 12 bracket can be viewed here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 11

All eyes were on the Big East tournament on Wednesday, but the league's two most interesting bubble teams didn't offer much excitement. South Florida was down double-digits at the half and eventually lost by 20 to Georgetown, and Seton Hall scored just 21 points and shot 34 percent from the field in a 68-56 loss to Notre Dame. Luke Harangody had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the win for the Irish, who have now won five in a row to move up to a 9 seed in our latest bracket. South Florida and Seton Hall, meanwhile, saw their bubbles officially burst as a result of their losses, and they fell to the Next Four Out and Last Four Out lists, respectively.

South Florida's loss, in terms of our bracket, was Georgia Tech's gain. The Yellow Jackets were the first team out of our field, and now they're the last team in. They're on the bottom of the 11 line in today's bracket for grouping purposes - they had to be bumped up from a 12.

In other Big East second round games, Marquette held off St. John's and Cincinnati knocked off Louisville. The Cardinals dropped from a 9 seed to a 10 as a result.

The biggest upset of the day came in the first round of the Big XII tournament where Nebraska, which won a grand total of two conference games all year, knocked off Missouri, 75-60. The Tigers fell from a 7 seed to the bottom of the 8 line as a result of the loss. In other Big XII first round games of note, Oklahoma State blew out Oklahoma and Texas beat Iowa State.

There were two more automatic bids given out Wednesday as well. Robert Morris won the Northeast automatic by beating top-seeded Quinnipiac on the Bobcats' home floor, and Montana - thanks to a ridiculous 42-point performance from Anthony Johnson - erased a 20-point halftime deficit to win the Big Sky final over Weber State. Johnson scored Montana's last 21 points to lead the Grizzlies back to the NCAA tournament for the first time 2006.

The only other notable result of the night was Jackson State's stunning loss in the quarterfinals of the SWAC tournament. The top-seeded Tigers were 17-1 in conference during the regular season, but lost 65-57 to eighth-seeded Grambling State, which had won a whopping six games all season coming in.

The Breakdown
Last Four In
San Diego State, Washington, Mississippi, Georgia Tech

Last Four Out
Illinois, Arizona State, Minnesota, Seton Hall

Next Four Out
South Florida, Mississippi State, Saint Louis, UAB

---------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), ACC (7), Big 12 (7), SEC (5), Big Ten (4), MWC (4), A-10 (3), C-USA (2), Pac-10 (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

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

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10
- Temple, Xavier, Richmond

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

Big Sky - Montana

Big South - Winthrop

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

Big 12 - Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma State

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA
- Memphis, UTEP

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC - New Mexico, BYU, UNLV, San Diego State

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10
- California, Washington

Patriot - Lehigh

SEC - Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, Mississippi

Southern - Wofford

Southland
- Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - North Texas

SWAC
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga

----------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s

Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke

The 2s
Purdue, West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State

The 3s
Villanova, New Mexico, Temple, Pittsburgh

The 4s
Michigan State, Wisconsin, Maryland, Tennessee

The 5s
Baylor, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Butler

The 6s
Texas A&M, Xavier, BYU, Richmond

The 7s
Gonzaga, Texas, Clemson, Oklahoma State

The 8s
Florida State, Northern Iowa, Wake Forest, Missouri

The 9s
Marquette, California, UNLV, Notre Dame

The 10s
Louisville, St. Mary's, Utah State, Old Dominion

The 11s
UTEP, Florida, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech

The 12s
Cornell, Siena,
San Diego State, Washington

The 13s
Mississippi, Memphis, Kent State, Murray State

The 14s
Oakland, Wofford,
UC-Santa Barbara, Montana

The 15s
Sam Houston State, Morgan State, North Texas, Vermont

The 16s
East Tennessee State, Winthrop, Robert Morris, Lehigh (Play-In Game), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 10

Where are all the bid stealers? Two nights after top-seeded Northern Iowa punched its dance ticket, and one night after top-seeded Old Dominion earned the Colonial's automatic bid, Butler destroyed Wright State 70-45 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in the final of the Horizon conference tourney.

The Bulldogs' blowout victory one of several key results on what was a busy day for major and mid-major bubble teams. Most of those teams are from the Big East and the A-10, both of which kicked off their tourneys on Tuesday. Here's a quick recap:

In the Big East...
UConn seemingly wasn't aware -or didn't care - that it was playing for its at-large life against St. John's in its Big East opener. The Huskies absolutely mailed it in against the much hungrier Red Storm, losing 73-51 and leaving (a retiring?) Jim Calhoun pretty speechless at the podium afterwards. In more important Big East news, both South Florida and Seton Hall each won their first round games to set up a pair of potential win-and-maybe-in games on Wednesday. Dominique Jones and the Bulls had no problem with DePaul in their first round game, and the Pirates escaped - after nearly blowing a 29-point lead - to beat Providence 109-106. South Florida faces Georgetown in the early game at the Garden on Wednesday, and Seton Hall takes on Notre Dame in the night session. St. John's will face Marquette, and Cincinnati - who barely survived a scare against Rutgers - will take on Louisville in the other two second round games.

In the A-10...
Charlotte's late-season skid ended with a loss to UMass in the first round of the A-10 tourney. Rhode Island beat St. Joseph's and Dayton beat George Washington in their first round games. The Rams face Saint Louis and the Flyers take Xavier in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Besides Butler, there were two other automatic bids handed out Tuesday night as well. Derick Nelson scored 36 points to lead Oakland to a 76-64 win over IUPUI in the Summit final, and Josh White hit the game-winner with 22 seconds left for North Texas, as the Mean Green beat Troy 66-63 in the Sun Belt final. Elsewhere, top-seeded Weber State and fourth-seeded Montana each won their semifinals to advance to tomorrow's Big Sky title game.

The Breakdown
Last Four In

San Diego State, Washington, Mississippi, South Florida

Last Four Out
Georgia Tech, Seton Hall, Illinois, Arizona State

Next Four Out
Minnesota, Mississippi State, Saint Louis, UAB

---------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big East (9), Big XII (7), ACC (6), SEC (5), Big Ten (4), MWC (4), A-10 (3), C-USA (2), Pac-10 (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

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

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10 - Temple, Xavier, Richmond

Big East - Syracuse, West Virginia, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, South Florida

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Winthrop

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

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

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - Memphis, UTEP

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC - New Mexico, BYU, UNLV, San Diego State

Northeast - Quinnipiac

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - California, Washington

Patriot - Lehigh

SEC - Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, Mississippi

Southern - Wofford

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - North Texas

SWAC
- Jackson State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga

----------------------------------------------------------------

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

The 2s
Purdue, West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State

The 3s
Villanova, New Mexico, Temple, Pittsburgh

The 4s
Michigan State, Wisconsin, Maryland, Tennessee

The 5s
Baylor, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Butler

The 6s
Texas A&M, Xavier, BYU, Richmond

The 7s
Gonzaga, Texas, Missouri, Clemson

The 8s
Florida State, Oklahoma State, Northern Iowa, Wake Forest

The 9s
Marquette, Louisville, California, UNLV

The 10s
St. Mary's,
Utah State, Notre Dame, Old Dominion

The 11s
UTEP, Florida, Virginia Tech, Cornell

The 12s
Siena, San Diego State, Washington, Mississippi

The 13s
South Florida, Memphis, Kent State, Murray State

The 14s
Oakland,
Wofford, Weber State, UC-Santa Barbara

The 15s
Sam Houston State, Morgan State, North Texas, Vermont

The 16s
East Tennessee State, Winthrop,
Lehigh, Quinnipiac (Play-In Game), Jackson State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 9

After 72 hours of craziness, a little order was restored to the bracket on Monday night. St. Mary's made sure, in pretty emphatic fashion, that they won't have a stressful Selection Sunday this year, as they destroyed Gonzaga to win the WCC final. In the Colonial final, Old Dominion delighted the rest of the teams on the bubble by beating William & Mary and assuring that the CAA is a one-bid league, and in the MAAC final, Siena rallied from 15 down in the first half to beat Fairfield in overtime. The Saints' at-large chances were slim at best had they lost, but that debate is moot now as well.

The fourth and final automatic bid given out on Monday was to Wofford, who beat Appalachian State in the Southern final to earn their first ever trip to the tourney.

In semifinal action in the Summit, Oakland and IUPUI won their games and will face off in the final tomorrow night. In the Sun Belt semis, Troy and North Texas both won and will square off tomorrow for the auto bid.

Championship Week continues on Tuesday with the start of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. South Florida and UConn play their first round games in the morning session, and Seton Hall plays its opener in the night session. The A-10 tournament also opens tomorrow, with URI, Dayton, and Charlotte hosting first round games before the tournament heads to Atlantic City for the quarterfinals.

Teams on the bubble will have their attention on those two tourneys and on Tuesday's Horizon final, which pits Butler against Wright State. The Bulldogs have the advantage of playing on their home floor, but the Raiders did finish second in conference. Will this game finally bring us our first true bid-stealer of Championship Week?

The only other games on Tuesday's schedule are the Big Sky semis (Weber State vs. Portland State, Northern Colorado vs. Montana) and the first round of the MEAC.

The Breakdown
Last Four In
San Diego State, Washington, Mississippi, South Florida

Last Four Out
Georgia Tech, Seton Hall, Illinois, Arizona State

Next Four Out
Minnesota, Mississippi State, Saint Louis, UAB

---------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big East (9), Big XII (7), ACC (6), SEC (5), Big Ten (4), MWC (4), A-10 (3), C-USA (2), Pac-10 (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

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

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10 - Temple, Xavier, Richmond

Big East - Syracuse, West Virginia, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, South Florida

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Winthrop

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

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

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - Memphis, UTEP

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC - New Mexico, BYU, UNLV, San Diego State

Northeast - Quinnipiac

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - California, Washington

Patriot - Lehigh

SEC - Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, Mississippi

Southern - Wofford

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Troy

SWAC - Jackson State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga

----------------------------------------------------------------

The Seeds
The 1s

Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke

The 2s
Purdue, West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State

The 3s
Villanova, New Mexico, Temple, Pittsburgh

The 4s
Michigan State, Wisconsin, Maryland, Tennessee

The 5s
Baylor, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Butler

The 6s
Texas A&M, Xavier, BYU, Richmond

The 7s
Gonzaga, Texas, Missouri, Clemson

The 8s
Florida State, Oklahoma State, Northern Iowa, Wake Forest

The 9s
Marquette, Louisville, California, UNLV

The 10s
St. Mary's,
Utah State, Notre Dame, Old Dominion

The 11s
UTEP, Florida, Virginia Tech, Cornell

The 12s
Siena, San Diego State, Washington, Mississippi

The 13s
South Florida, Memphis, Kent State, Murray State

The 14s
Oakland, Wofford, Weber State, UC-Santa Barbara

The 15s
Sam Houston State, Morgan State, Troy, Vermont

The 16s
East Tennessee State, Winthrop,
Lehigh, Quinnipiac (Play-In Game), Jackson State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Monday, March 08, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 8

In true March Madness style, the previous 72 hours did more to complicate the bracket than it did to finalize it. The biggest mess continues to be the bubble, where a dozen of the weakest at-large hopefuls we can remember are playing their way out of the bracket more than they are playing their way in.

Here's how we see the Last Four In and Last Four Out - for now - with just seven days to go before Selection Sunday:

The Last Four In
Our last four teams in are San Diego State, Washington, Mississippi, and South Florida. The Aztecs begin MWC tourney play on Thursday (against Colorado State) with two scenarios working in their favor. If they beat New Mexico and make the final, they're in. Even if they lose a close game to the Lobos, we think there's a chance they'll get a bid as well. We weren't ready to say that a couple of days ago, but with all of the craziness of this past weekend, a semis appearance - to go along with a top 40 RPI and wins over New Mexico and UNLV - might be enough to get them a bid. Washington is in this week as an at-large after being in our last couple brackets as a Pac-10 bid-stealer. It's looking right now like even if Cal wins the Pac-10 tournament, that a second Pac-10 team will get in as well. The winner of the potential Washington-Arizona State semifinal game will be that second team, and we like the Huskies to win that game and get the at-large if they need it.

Mississippi and South Florida jumped into the bracket this week because we think they'll win enough conference tournament games to get in. South Florida, after their home win over UConn on Saturday, got the nod as the ninth and final Big East bid because they open with DePaul and then play an up-and-down Georgetown team in the quarters that they already beat this season on the road. Mississippi will likely play Tennessee in their first SEC game, and a win there could be enough to get them a bid. While the Rebels' SEC resume is far from impressive and includes two losses to Mississippi State, they've won four in a row to end the year and they do have wins against Kansas State and UTEP on their OOC resume, which is solid.

The Last Four Out
Our last four teams out as of today are Georgia Tech, Seton Hall, Illinois, and Arizona State. The Yellow Jackets are out after a killer home loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday that dropped them to 7-9 in conference. They've lost five of seven down the stretch and they have to play Maryland (if they can get past UNC first) in the ACC quarters. The way the Terps are playing right now, there's no way we see them winning that game. Seton Hall just missed in favor of South Florida because they will have to play a red-hot Notre Dame in the Big East quarters if the get past Providence on Tuesday. Illinois has the wins of an at-large team, but they also have way too many losses. Their home loss to Wisconsin was their 13th loss, and we think they'll get a 14th in their rematch against the Badgers in the Big Ten tourament. That loss total, a mid-70s RPI, and a potential four-game losing streak to end the year will have the Illini on the outside looking in on Selection Sunday. Arizona State's at-large chances, as mentioned above, depend on whether or not they can beat Washington in the Pac-10 semis. If they do, they're in. Right now, though, we like the Huskies better.

Elsewhere in the bracket, there were some significant changes made in terms of seeding. West Virginia moved up to the 2 line after their huge come-from-behind win at Villanova - a result that also dropped the Wildcats (who have now lost four of six) to the 3 line. Pitt moved up to the 3 line, and Michigan State moved down to the 4 line, because the Panthers ended up getting the 2 seed in the Big East tournament, which means potentially avoiding Syracuse until the final. Vanderbilt also dropped a spot to the 5 line after their home loss to South Carolina.

We will update our bracket every day this week and our final bracket will be posted in the mid-afternoon on Selection Sunday. Enjoy the madness of Championship Week...

The Breakdown
Last Four In
San Diego State, Washington, Mississippi, South Florida

Last Four Out
Georgia Tech, Seton Hall, Illinois, Arizona State

Next Four Out
Minnesota, Mississippi State, Saint Louis, UAB

---------------------------------------------------------------

Conference Breakdown
Big East (9), Big XII (7), ACC (6), SEC (5), Big Ten (4), MWC (4), A-10 (3), C-USA (2), Pac-10 (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

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

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

A-10 - Temple, Xavier, Richmond

Big East - Syracuse, West Virginia, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, South Florida

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Winthrop

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

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

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - Memphis, UTEP

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC - New Mexico, BYU, UNLV, San Diego State

Northeast - Quinnipiac

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - California, Washington

Patriot - Lehigh

SEC - Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, Mississippi

Southern - Wofford

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Troy

SWAC - Jackson State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's

----------------------------------------------------------------

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

The 2s
Purdue, West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State

The 3s
Villanova, New Mexico, Temple, Pittsburgh

The 4s
Michigan State, Wisconsin, Maryland, Tennessee

The 5s
Baylor, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Butler

The 6s
Texas A&M, Gonzaga, Xavier, BYU

The 7s
Richmond, Texas, Missouri, Clemson

The 8s
Florida State, Oklahoma State, Northern Iowa, Wake Forest

The 9s
Marquette, Louisville, California, UNLV

The 10s
UTEP, Utah State, Notre Dame, Old Dominion

The 11s
Florida, Virginia Tech, Cornell, St. Mary's

The 12s
Siena, San Diego State, Washington, Mississippi

The 13s
South Florida, Memphis, Kent State, Murray State

The 14s
Oakland, Wofford, Weber State, UC-Santa Barbara

The 15s
Sam Houston State, Morgan State, Troy, Vermont

The 16s
East Tennessee State, Winthrop, Lehigh, Quinnipiac (Play-In Game), Jackson State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com

Sunday, March 07, 2010

B101's Sunday Tweets

Our quick thoughts on Sunday's results:

There won't be any bids stolen out of the MVC. Wichita State led Northern Iowa by three at the half, but the top-seeded Panthers found their shooting stroke in the second half and pulled away for a 67-52 win over the Shockers in St. Louis. Kwadzo Ahelegbe scored 24 points and Jake Koch added 13 for UNI, who have now made the tournament five of the last seven years. They'll be a single-digit seed this time around, and will likely be on the 8 line in our bracket tomorrow.

Florida will now have to secure their bid in the SEC tournament. The Gators trailed by as many as 18 points late in the first half and lost to Kentucky 74-66 Saturday at Rupp Arena. The Gators shot just 4-of-15 from three, leading scorer Erving Walker was 3-of-15 from the field, and Chandler Parsons was held to just nine points. The Wildcats, on the other hand, had a very balanced attack, with five players in double figures and their bench leading the way with 48 points. They are now an absolute lock for a 1 seed. Florida will still be in the bracket tonight, but they need to win two games in the SEC tourney, against Auburn and Mississippi State, to avoid sweating out Championship Week and Selection Sunday. One SEC win might be enough, but that's a risk they won't want to take.

Wisconsin got its revenge on Illinois on Saturday, and they may have punched them a ticket to the NIT in the process. The llini have now lost three in a row and five of six overall, and their 72-57 blowout loss - at home - to the Badgers on Saturday is certainly not the impression they wanted to give the committee heading into the Big Ten tourney. The Illini have three Top 25 wins to their credit, which is impressive, but they will end up with 14 losses and an RPI in the 70s. They will likely fall out of tonight's bracket, since we aren't too confident that they will be able to beat the Badgers on a neutral court this week in their first game of the Big Ten tournament. They might also need more than one win to secure a bid, given their poor computer numbers and their struggles down the stretch.

Old Dominion came real close to being the ultimate bubble team, but they rallied to beat VCU in overtime on Saturday to advance to the Colonial final. The Monarchs trailed by 12 with 11 minutes to play, but that's when they made their run to get back in it. Gerald Lee was the key to ODU's comeback, as he scored a career-high 26 points and got the game tied on a bucket with 1:55 to play. Ben Finney scored five of ODU's 11 points in OT, including a big three with 1:08 left. With everything that's happened over the last two days, it's hard to see the Monarchs not getting an at-large - if they need it - now that they've made the final. If they had lost in the semis, they would have been in trouble, but we can't see the committee (especially this year) leaving out the regular season champ of a top 12 league that also made the final. They'll face William & Mary in the final on Monday night, a team that they swept in the regular season.

The WCC final turned out to be the one we all expected to see. Gonzaga held off a second-half comeback attempt by Loyola Marymount to win 77-62 in the first semifinal, and more importantly, St. Mary's dominated Portland to win the second semifinal. A finals appearance doesn't make the Gaels a lead pipe lock for a bid, but we really can't see them getting left out at this point given the way the rest of the bubble has fallen apart the last few days. Their wins at Utah State and San Diego State are looking better by the day, they have a top 50 RPI, and they made the final in convincing fashion. That's enough to keep them in our bracket even if they lose to the 'Zags, and we think the committe will feel the same (Right, committee members, right? Don't screw us with the Gaels again this year...)

Of note: Wake Forest snapped their four-game losing streak with a 70-65 home win over Clemson; Michigan State blew out Michigan at home; Minnesota blew out Iowa at home.

MAAC Tournament - Semifinals
No. 1 Siena beat No. 5 Rider; No. 2 Fairfield beat No. 6 Niagara.

Northeast Tournament - Semifinals
No. 1 Quinnipiac beat No. 4 Long Island; No. 2 Robert Morris beat No. 3 Mount St. Mary's.

America East Tournament - Semifinals
No. 4 Boston University knocked off No. 1 Stony Brook; No. 2 Vermont beat No. 6 New Hampshire.

Southern Tournament - Semifinals
S1 Wofford beat N2 Western Carolina; N1 Appalachian State beat S2 Charleston.

Patriot Tournament - Semifinals
No. 1 Lehigh beat No. 4 American; No. 3 Lafayette beat No. 7 Holy Cross.

Summit Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 3 Oral Roberts beat No. 6 North Dakota State in OT; No. 5 IPFW beat No. 4 South Dakota State.

Sun Belt Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Troy beat No. 9 South Alabama; No. 2 North Texas beat No. 10 Louisiana-Monroe; No. 6 Denver beat N. 3 Middle Tennessee State; No. 4 Western Kentucky beat No. 5 Arkansas State.

MAC Tournament - First Round
No. 5 Buffalo beat No. 12 Toledo; No. 6 Eastern Michigan beat No. 11 Northern Illinois; No. 7 Western Michigan beat No. 10 Bowling Green; No. 9 Ohio beat No. 9 Ball State.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

B101's Saturday Tweets

Our quick thoughts about Saturday's results:

The last game at Freedom Hall was one to remember. Kyle Kuric scored all of his 22 points in the second half, as Louisville completed a gigantic season sweep of Syracuse by upsetting the top-ranked Orange 78-68. The win makes Louisville an absolute lock to make the tournament and it will move them to around the 8 line in our next bracket on Monday. Syracuse, meanwhile, will still be on the 1 line on Monday even with a loss (its first one on the road all year), and they still have to be regarded as the favorite going into the Big East tournament next week. As long as they make the semis in the Garden, which means just one win, they'll be a lock for 1 seed on Selection Sunday. They might even be able to make it with a loss in the Big East quarters depending on what happens elsewhere.

Like Louisville, West Virginia didn't wait until the Big East tournament to make a final statement to the selection committee. Thanks to some huge clutch shots from Da'Sean Butler, including the decisive runner with 5.8 seconds left in overtime, the Mountaineers rallied from 13 down at the half to knock off Villanova 68-66 on Saturday at the Wachovia Center. After Butler's shot, Scottie Reynolds got a good look at what would have been a game-winning three at the buzzer, but the shot was too strong and West Virginia held on for the victory. The win moved the Mountaineers to 13-5 in conference and clinched them the No. 3 seed in the Big East tournament. They'll move up to the 2 line in our next bracket on Monday, while Villanova will likely drop to a 3. The Wildcats have now lost four of six down the stretch, and looking ahead, we like Ohio State's chances to win the Big Ten tourney better than we like 'Nova's chances to win the Big East tourney. That projection will keep 'Nova on the top of the 3 line.

March is a fun month to be Irish, and it's also been a heck of a month to be a Notre Dame fan. The red-hot Fighting Irish won their fourth straight game Saturday - beating Marquette 63-60 in overtime in Milwaukee - and they all but locked up an at-large bid in the process. ND trailed by six with just under a minute to go in regulation in this one, but Carlton Scott hit a three at the buzzer (no foul, Buzz Williams?) to send the game into OT. Tim Abromaitis and Tyrone Nash took over for the Irish after that, scoring 10 of ND's 12 points in overtime. At this point, ND would be an absolute lock for an at-large with just one Big East win, and they'll probably get in regardless. The return of Luke Harangody (he scored five points in a cameo appearance against Marquette) definitely helps the Irish's case if they were to slip up at the Garden. Even with the loss, Marquette is still safe in terms of an at-large. They'll be playing for seeding in the Big East tourney, and they'll likely be a low 9 seed in our bracket next week.

There's no need to discuss UConn's in-or-out scenarios anymore: the Huskies are going to have to win the Big East tournament to go dancing. Their 75-68 loss at South Florida on Saturday was as shocking as it was ugly, and the final score wasn't indicative or how easy USF had it at times. UConn trailed by double digits for much of the second half against the Bulls, before cutting the lead to four in the closing minutes. They wouldn't get get any closer, though, as South Florida made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to ice it. The most curious part about the game's ending was who was on the floor for UConn - Jerome Dyson and Stanley Robinson were both on the bench during the Huskies' comeback, while seldom-used Darius Smith and Jamal Coomb-McDaniel got a lot of playing time. The win moved South Florida to 9-9 in the Big East and puts them back into bubble contention heading into the Big East tournament. Two Big East wins is a minimum (they play DePaul and then Georgetown), and they might have to win a third too (Syracuse) depending on what happens elsewhere, but the Bulls are certainly a lot more alive for a bid than they were yesterday.

(We wonder where the Huskies will be in Lunardi's Monday bracket. A 12 seed? 13 seed? The last 1 seed?)

Speaking of Lunardi, how's that Kansas State as a 1 seed move looking now? The Wildcats lost an absolute stunner at home to lowly Iowa State on Saturday, falling 85-82 in OT.

We apologize, Hokie Nation: we shouldn't have ended our season-long support of Virginia Tech when we did. The Hokies proved us wrong - and proved that they are indeed worthy of an at-large - by beating Georgia Tech 88-82 in Atlanta on Saturday. Malcolm Delaney had 32 points in the win for Virginia Tech, who not got picked up the 10th ACC win they so desperately needed, they also clinched the four seed and a first round bye in the ACC tourney. They'll face Wake Forest or Florida State in the quarters. If they win, they're a lock, but with everything that went on today bubble-wise, even a loss might get them in. They'd have to root for as few bid-stealers as possible, but a fourth place finish and 10 wins in a conference like the ACC is tough to ignore.

Georgia Tech, meanwhile, will be on the wrong side of the bubble come Monday. The Yellow Jackets have lost five of seven overall and their 7-9 finish in the ACC looks really ugly right now (especially with VT at 10-6). Two wins in the ACC tourney are a must to get Georgia Tech back into the at-large mix, but given their ACC road record this season (1-7), we don't like their chances to make a whole lot of noise in Greensboro.

Rhode Island's stay in our bracket lasted less than 24 hours. The Rams, who we liked the best out of all the free-falling A-10 bubble teams, blew a six-point halftime lead and lost at UMass 69-67 on Saturday. Ricky Harris was the hero for the Minutemen, scoring 28 points and making what ended up being the game-winning lay-up with 3.5 seconds left. URI shot 37% from the field and went just 9-of-17 from the line in the loss, which dropped them to 9-7 in conference. They'll enter the A-10 tournament needing a trip to the final to make up for their 0-4 record against the Big Three in conference and two straight killer road losses to teams in the bottom half of the A-10 standings.

Saint Louis should probably get the blame should the A-10 only end up with three bids next Sunday. The Billikens beat Dayton 71-66 on Saturday and have now beaten Dayton twice and Rhode Island once in the last month to finish two games clear of the field, and in 4th place, in the A-10. If Saint Louis had been able to pull the upset against Temple or Xavier on their home floor over the past two weeks, then they would have been in great shape for a bid. Unfortunately for both the Billikens and the A-10, they weren't able to win either of those games, plus they have three losses outside of the top 100 RPI. They still have an outside chance at an at-large, though, should they reach the A-10 final. Dayton has now lost five of seven games and is completely out of the running for an at-large. The absolute collapse of all of the A-10 bubble teams has really opened things up and will make this next week even crazier.

Did any team do more this week to hurt their tourney chances than Mississippi State? They had a great opportunity to finish 11-5 in the SEC and pick up their first big win in conference against Tennessee at home on Saturday night. Instead of sitting pretty going into the SEC tourney, they lost 75-59 and will now need to make a deep run into the SEC tourney to get any serious consideration for a bid. The Vols were in control from the very start of this one (a 17-0 run to start the game is tough to overcome) and they can now prepare for their opening round game in the SEC tourney against LSU on Thursday.

On a side note, we think the SEC needs to change the way it seeds teams for the conference tourney. Even though Tennessee finished two games better than both Mississippi and Mississippi State, they will still have to play in the opening round of the SEC tourney since they finished in 3rd place in the SEC East. The SEC should either get rid of the East and West divisions or just seed teams based on their conference record regardless of the division.

Mississippi State's loss might be San Diego State's gain in our next bracket. The Aztecs took care of business against Air Force on Saturday - winning 61-42 on the road - and they've now won six of seven heading into the MWC tourney. They'll be the No. 4 seed in that tourney, which means a potential semifinal match-up with New Mexico. If they win that game and make the final, they're going to be in great shape for a bid, especially with all of the losses on and around the bubble that happened today. Playing a close game against the Lobos might still be enough, but it would take a perfect storm of favorites winning for that scenario to get the Aztecs in.

Head-scratcher: South Carolina won 77-73 at Vanderbilt (Devan Downey had 26 points for the Gamecocks in the win).

Of note: Kansas won at Missouri; Baylor beat Texas at home; Texas A&M won at Oklahoma; Oklahoma State beat Nebraska at home; Georgetown beat Cincinnati at home; Pittsburgh beat Rutgers at home; Purdue won 64-60 at Penn State; Duke blew out North Carolina at home; Maryland won at Virginia; Florida State won 61-60 at Miami; Temple beat George Washington at home; Xavier beat St. Bonaventure at home; Richmond won at Charlotte in OT; BYU won at TCU; UNLV beat Wyoming at home; UTEP rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat UAB at home; Memphis beat Tulsa at home; Cal won at Stanford; Washington won at Oregon State; Utah State beat New Mexico State at home; Cornell won at Yale; Seton Hall won at Providence; Mississippi escaped with a 68-66 win at Arkansas.

Automatic Bids
Winthrop won the Big South final, beating Coastal Carolina 61-48 on the Chanticleers' home floor. It's the fifth NCAA tournament appearance in the last six years for the Eagles.

East Tennessee State won its second straight Atlantic Sun tournament, beating tourney Cinderella Mercer 72-66 on Mercer's home floor.

Murray State capped off a great season with a 62-51 win over Morehead State to clinch the Ohio Valley auto bid. We will likely have the Racers on the 13 line in our final bracket, but we wouldn't be shocked if they end up a 12.

Colonial Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Old Dominion beat No. 8 Towson; No. 5 VCU beat No. 4 George Mason; No. 2 Northeastern beat No. 7 Hofstra in double OT; No. 3 William & Mary beat No. 11 James Madison.

Horizon Tournament - Semifinals
No. 1 Butler beat No. 4 Milwaukee; No. 2 Wright State beat No. 7 Detroit.

MVC Tournament - Semifinals
No. 1 Northern Iowa beat No. 5 Bradley; No. 2 Wichita State beat No. 3 Illinois State.

WCC Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 3 Portland beat No. 6 San Diego; No. 5 Loyola Marymount beat No. 4 San Francisco.

America East Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Stony Brook beat No. 8 Albany; No. 2 Vermont beat No. 7 UMBC; No. 4 Boston University beat No. 5 Hartford; No. 6 New Hampshire beat No. 3 Maine.

Southern Tournament - Quarterfinals
S1 Wofford beat N4 UNC-Greensboro; N1 Appalachian State beat S4 The Citadel; N2 Western Carolina beat N6 Elon; S2 Charleston beat N3 Chattanooga.

MAAC Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Siena beat No. 9 Manhattan; No. 2 Fairfield beat No. 7 Canisius; No. 6 Niagara beat No. 3 Iona; No. 5 Rider beat No. 4 St Peter's.

Summit Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Oakland beat No. 8 UMKC; No. 2 IUPUI beat No. 7 Western Illinois.

Sun Belt Tournament - First Round
No. 9 South Alabama beat No. 8 Florida Atlantic; No. 4 Western Kentucky beat No. 13 New Orleans; No. 5 Arkansas State beat No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock; No. 6 Denver beat No. 11 Florida International; No. 10 Louisiana-Monroe beat No. 7 Louisiana-Lafayette.

Big Sky Tournament - First Round
No. 6 Portland State beat No. 3 Montana State; No. 4 Montana beat No. 5 Northern Arizona.

Friday, March 05, 2010

B101's Weekday Tweets - Friday

Our quick thoughts on Friday's results:

One bid down, 64 to go. Cornell wrapped up the first automatic berth of the season on Friday night, tying a league record with 20 three-pointers in a 95-76 win over Brown in Providence. It's the third straight Ivy League title for the Big Red, who have lost in the first round of the NCAA tourney each of the last two years as a 14 seed. Their seed will be a few seed lines better than that this season, thanks to a 46 RPI and a 16-3 road/neutal record that includes road wins over Alabama and St. John's. We have the Big Red on top of the 11 line right now, but they climb onto the 10 line if things break right for them over the course of the next week.

Of note: Kent State won at Akron.

Atlantic Sun Tournament - Semifinals
No. 6 Mercer beat No. 2 Jacksonville; No. 5 East Tennessee State beat No. 8 Kennesaw State.

OVC Tournament - Semifinals
No. 1 Murray State beat No. 4 Eastern Illinois; No. 2 Morehead State beat No. 6 Tennessee Tech.

MVC Tournament - Quarterfinals
Top-seeded Northern Iowa trailed by one at the half but beat No. 8 Drake 55-40; No. 2 Wichita State beat N0. 7 Missouri State; No. 3 Illinois State beat No. 6 Indiana State; No. 5 Bradley beat No. 4 Creighton.

Horizon Tournament - Second Round
No. 7 Detroit beat No. 3 Green Bay; No. 4 Milwaukee beat No. 5 Cleveland State.

Colonial Tournament - First Round
No. 5 VCU beat No. 12 Delaware; No. 11 James Madison beat No. 6 Drexel; No. 7 Hofstra beat No. 10 Georgia State; No. 8 Towson beat No. 9 UNC-Wilmington.

WCC Tournament - First Round
No. 5 Loyola Marymount beat No. 8 Pepperdine.

MAAC Tournament - First Round
No. 7 Canisius beat No. 10 Marist; No. 9 Manhattan beat No. 8 Loyola (MD).

Southern Tournament - First Round
N6 Elon beat S3 Davidson; N3 Chattanooga beat S6 Georgia Southern; S4 The Citadel beat N5 Samford; N4 UNC-Greensboro beat S5 Furman.

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - March 5

There were a bunch of huge bubble battles over the last four days, and those games resulted in a few key changes to our Friday field. Minnesota, after their loss at Michigan, and UAB, after their loss at home to Memphis, are now out, and Rhode Island and Memphis are now in. The Rams blew out Charlotte at home on Wednesday and slid into the bracket as a 12 seed. They got in just ahead of Virginia Tech (who we still think will lose at Georgia Tech on Saturday) and just ahead of San Diego State. The Aztecs beat Colorado State on Wednesday and should finish 11-5 in conference, but URI's computer numbers are still slightly better, plus we like URI's chances to get to the A-10 semis more than we like SDSU's chances to get to the MWC final. That's what it would take, as things stand right now, for each to get an at-large.

Memphis is in the field as a bid-stealer out of C-USA. The Tigers solidified themselves as the second-best team in the conference by completing a season sweep of UAB on Wednesday, and as much as we like UTEP, the Miners are far from a sure thing to win the C-USA title. Memphis' inclusion now gives us two bid-stealers in our bracket: the Tigers out of C-USA and Washington (a winner at Oregon on Thursday) out of the Pac-10.

The rest of the notable changes in the bracket were in terms of seeding, and a lot of those changes involved ACC teams. Maryland moved from the end of the 6 line to the top of the 5 line thanks to their upset of Duke, Florida State went from a 9 to an 8 thanks to their win over Wake Forest, and Clemson moved from an 8 to a 7 by beating Georgia Tech. The Demon Deacons fell from a 7 to a 9 as a result of their loss, and the Yellow Jackets fell from a 10 to an 11. Duke stayed put as the final 1 seed, despite losing to the Terps, on the strength of their eight Top 50 wins and the likelihood that they'll likely at worst lose in the final of the ACC tourney.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In

Notre Dame, St. Mary's, Rhode Island, Mississippi State

Last Four Out
Virginia Tech, San Diego State, Connecticut, Mississippi

Next Four Out
UAB, Minnesota, Dayton, Seton Hall

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Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), Big XII (7), ACC (6), Big Ten (5), SEC (5), A-10 (4), MWC (3), C-USA (2), WCC (2)

America East - Stony Brook

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

Atlantic Sun - Jacksonville

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

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

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Coastal Carolina

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

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

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - Memphis, UTEP

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC - New Mexico, BYU, UNLV

Northeast - Quinnipiac

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - Washington, California

Patriot - Lehigh

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

Southern - Wofford

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Troy

SWAC - Jackson State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's

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The Seeds
The 1s

Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke

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

The 3s
New Mexico, West Virginia, Temple, Michigan State

The 4s
Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Tennessee

The 5s
Maryland, Butler, Baylor, Georgetown

The 6s
Gonzaga, Texas A&M, Xavier, BYU

The 7s
Texas, Richmond, Missouri, Clemson

The 8s
Marquette, Oklahoma State, Florida State, Northern Iowa

The 9s
UTEP, California, UNLV, Wake Forest

The 10s
Utah State, Louisville, Old Dominion, Florida

The 11s
Cornell, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Notre Dame

The 12s
St. Mary's, Siena, Rhode Island, Mississippi State

The 13s
Washington, Memphis, Kent State, Murray State

The 14s
Oakland, Wofford, Weber State, UC-Santa Barbara

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

The 16s
Stony Brook, Jacksonville, Lehigh, Quinnipiac (Play-In Game), Jackson State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com