Monday, December 13, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 68 - Dec. 13

It's been almost a month since our Preseason Field of 68, and as expected, there are a ton of changes to our latest bracket. Putting together the field before most teams have started conference play is still tough, but this bracket is how we see things right now.

You'll notice that some teams have essentially "earned" their ranking and are seeded where they are because of one or more big non-conference wins (see: Connecticut, Tennessee, Louisville). Others are hanging on to a decent seed line or remain in the field because, even though their resume is weak right now (see: Michigan State, Gonzaga, Butler, Washington), we project that once conference play starts, they will regroup and earn their spot.

Gonzaga and Butler are probably two of the toughest calls to make right now, but both ended up in First Four games in our latest bracket. Gonzaga isn't even a .500 team as of today, but they still have plenty of chances to get quality OOC wins (they have games left with Baylor, Xavier, Oklahoma State, and Memphis) and they'll finish no worse than second in a pretty weak WCC. Butler, meanwhile, has whiffed on all of its OOC challenges to date (and lost a resume-killer to Evansville), but they still have a chance to pick up some quality wins at the upcoming Diamond Head Classic. A couple wins there, followed by a one- or two-loss season in the Horizon, will put the Bulldogs firmly on the bubble come March.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In
Butler, New Mexico, Gonzaga, Maryland

First Four Out
Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Georgia, Cincinnati

Next Four Out
North Carolina State, Mississippi, South Carolina, California

"First Four" Games
Butler vs. New Mexico, Gonzaga vs. Maryland, Morgan State vs. Liberty, American vs. Jackson State


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

America East - Vermont

ACC - Duke, North Carolina, Boston College, Miami (FL), Florida State, Virginia, Maryland

Atlantic Sun - Lipscomb

A-10 - Temple, Richmond, Xavier

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

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Liberty

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

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

Big West - UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - Memphis, UCF

Horizon - Cleveland State, Butler

Ivy - Princeton

MAAC - Fairfield

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Wichita State

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

Northeast - Quinnipiac

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - Washington, Arizona, Washington State

Patriot - American

SEC - Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt

Southern - Wofford

Southland - Stephen F. Austin

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Jackson State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga


The Seeds
The 1s

Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, Syracuse

The 2s
Kansas State, Tennessee, Connecticut, Pittsburgh

The 3s
Georgetown, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan State

The 4s
Villanova, Louisville, San Diego State, BYU

The 5s
Purdue, Temple, Baylor, Memphis

The 6s
UNLV, Notre Dame, Missouri, Minnesota

The 7s
Florida, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Richmond

The 8s
Wisconsin, Old Dominion, Boston College, West Virginia

The 9s
Washington, Vanderbilt, Texas, Wichita State

The 10s
Miami (FL), Florida State, Arizona, Xavier

The 11s
UCF, Northwestern, Cleveland State, Virginia

The 12s
Washington State, St. Mary's, Butler vs. New Mexico (FF), Gonzaga vs. Maryland (FF)

The 13s
Utah State, Princeton, Kent State, Lipscomb

The 14s
Wofford, Stephen F. Austin, Oakland, Fairfield

The 15s
UC-Santa Barbara, Western Kentucky, Murray State, Vermont

The 16s
Quinnipiac, Weber State, Morgan State vs. Liberty (FF), American vs. Jackson State (FF)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at or send us a tweet at


Anonymous said...

SEC went down to four? I thought you said in your last bracket that you still thought SEC would get six bids despite early season slump? No SEC west? What changed? I'm also curious about the Horizon league getting two bids? Are you saying that you think they will both do well enough to make tournament as At-Larges if they dont win conference tourney?

Anonymous said...

Also im very lost with your thoughts about ACC. Virginia and Maryland in making 7 ACC teams with Va Tech and NC State very close on the bubble. Sorry but I just think that only 1 of these teams (that performs well in conference) will make it. Virginia is a streaky shooting team that is doomed to perform poorly in conference. Maryland did nothing out of conference against good teams. Va Tech i think is the best of 4 but they have proved inconsistent. Lastly NC State lost every game in non-conference against good teams. Just cant see more then one of these teams getting in. ACC doesnt deserve seven bids.

Bracketology 101 said...

A lot has changed since we made those comments about the SEC. A few weeks ago, we thought the SEC could be a six-bid league, but since then, Mississippi State suffered two brutal losses to Florida Atlantic and ETSU and Georgia got squeezed out by some bubble teams that have done more with their OOC schedules. The SEC West has done nothing OOC, which not only hurts the league's overall profile, it left the West without a bid in our latest field. Mississippi and Mississippi State are the two most talented teams in the West, but they need to spruce up their resumes if they want to get in.

The Horizon is going to get at most one at-large bid. Butler wouldn't be at-large worthy if the season ended today, but they have some chances in the next couple of weeks to add some quality OOC wins to their resume. The same could be said of Cleveland State, who is undefeated thanks to a pretty cupcake schedule. If they can win at West Virginia this weekend, they can feel a lot better about their spot in the field.

We agree that the ACC is maxed out at seven bids (Maryland is our last team in), but in putting together the bracket, there weren't a whole lot of other options out there. It's still super-early, and if a team has lost games to the one or two quality OOC opponents they've played, it's hard to judge them. The one good thing the ACC has going for it right now is that it may not have a lot of great teams (like the Big East or Big Ten) but it has a lot of depth. Virginia Tech and NC State are very talented teams that could easily be back in the bracket soon. In the end, we think the league has a better chance of getting 6-7 bids than it does of getting 5.

Anonymous said...

I really don't get why Tennessee isn't a 1 seed. You aren't going to get any arguments from me that Duke is the best team, but at the same time I think it's pretty obvious that Tennessee has the best resume right now. Villanova and Pittsburgh, both on neutral floors, are easily the best pair of wins any of the undefeated teams have at this point. Missouri State and VCU are most certainly going to be Top 100 wins at the end of the year too. I just don't see what would indicate to you at this point (unless you think Pearl sitting out the first 8 SEC games is THAT big) that they won't win the SEC and finish with a top 5 ranking.

Anonymous said...

I really hate seeing Clevland State in the bracket when they have beaten absolutley no one so far this season. Athough i do understand you had to put them in. Even if they lose to West Virginia and two or 3 conference games and Butler in the tourney, do you still think they will make it into the tourney with 5 losses despite not winning a game against a decent team?

Ross said...

Where do you all see Michigan right now?

aaron.fidler said...

Seven teams from the ACC?


There must be some sort of mistake here.


Anonymous said...

If you would read up dude you would see why seven. ACC has a lot of decent teams just no great teams. This will result in them getting a lot of teams barely in, in the 6-11 range. Also it woulda been six but addition of four teams has Maryland in as well.

Anonymous said...

Saying what I just said about ACC, I still think Big Ten will be in consideration for 8 teams over ACC at seven based on the fact that everyone but Iowa is in RPI top 100 currently in the Big 10.

Bracketology 101 said...

Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is now a 68 team field. Three more teams in the bracket is quite substantial. A 65 team field this week would only have 6 ACC teams in it (no Maryland). It will take us all some time to adjust to a 68 team field after getting so used to the 65 team field.

Bracketology 101 said...

We didn't give Tennessee a 1 seed because we knew they were going to lose to Oakland.

Seriously, though, the Vols' 2 seed was more of an indictment on the SEC than anything else. Winning the Big Ten, Big East, ACC, or Big XII is going to be a bigger accomplishment than winning the SEC. That's why we have Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, and Syracuse as 1s for the moment.

If the committee stands by its long-standing mantra of "who did you play and where did you play them," your Cleveland State scenario probably would not get them in. If Cleveland State beats West Virginia ths weekend, they'll be in the bracket for a while. If they don't, it'll make their BracketBuster game a must-win and they might have to sweep Butler in conference to get a bid.

Michigan came up in our bubble discussion this week. The biggest problem for the Wolverines is that their best win (at Clemson) was immediately followed by a questionable loss to UTEP. They'll enter conference play as the eighth best Big Ten team, which isn't good enough for a bid.

Anonymous said...

So now that Tennessee lost at home to Oakland, and Louisville lost at home to Drexel, where are they going to be in the bracket

Bracketology 101 said...

If we did a bracket, Tennessee would probably drop to the bottom of the 2 line and Louisville would drop to a low 5/high 6. Oakland would likely be at the top of the 13 line.

AG said...

Michigan lost to UTEP *before* beating Clemson, not after. Although I can understand why you'd leave them out of the bracket. Let them take care of Oakland and separate themselves from Indiana before we talk about an 8th Big Ten team. Winning 9 Big Ten games this year is going to be no small feat.

Also, those losses to ETSU and whatnot make me question whether Mississippi State is a tournament team even with Bost and Sidney. I mean, that's a lot to ask of a kid who hasn't played ball in almost 2 years.

Bracketology 101 said...

Whoops...meant "preceded," typed "followed." Can I blame new father fatigue?

We agree with you on Michigan - the Big Ten is super-deep, but it's not getting eight bids. The silver lining for teams like Michigan and Indiana, though, is that they will have plenty of chances to pad their resumes once conference play starts. Let's see how the Wolverines handle the 8-day stretch they have beginning Jan. 5 - they play at Wisconsin, then host Kansas and Ohio State. One win would work wonders for their resume; two would get them in the bracket.

Ross said...

Been having this discussion with a few other Wolverine fans, if Michigan were to somehow pull the Kansas upset, would an 8-10 record in the Big Ten suffice for the tournament?

I tend to believe we would need to be .500, but it remains to be seen how many bids the conference will get.

Switching briefly to my other team, do you see the SEC conference as a detriment to Kentucky in the way it was last year (Kentucky never really seemed to be in consideration for top seeds over teams with the same record, even though it only came down to KU-UK). Put another way, what does UK need to do with SEC play and Louisville at this point to maintain that 3 seed you have them at?

Bracketology 101 said...

With a 68-team field and the Big Ten as loaded as it is, there's a decent chance a team could get in with an 8-10 conference record and a big OOC win (in Michigan's case, beating Kansas). A 9-9 record and a win over the Jayhawks would give them a really good chance at getting in.

This is looking really far ahead, but here are some ways Kentucky can stay a 3 seed (or maybe get higher): 1. Beat Louisville and finish in the top 2 in the SEC; 2. Lose to Lousiville, but win 3 out of 4 from Tennessee and Florida. The problem going forward for Kentucky , if they want a top 3 seed, is that there are few real good wins to be had in conference. Aside from Tennessee, Florida, and Vandy, no other wins (at least based on what's happened so far) look like they'll add much to their resume.

Anonymous said...

I actually was watching a sports show on TV where the commentator mentioned that UNLV's second straight loss means they are in "dire risk" of missing the tournament...REALLY?? I can't believe their wins of Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and Murray State don't amount to much. What are your thoughts on the Rebels at this point?

Bracketology 101 said...

You might want to stop watching that sports show. The Rebels are still solidly in the field, and would probably be in the 8-9 range if we did a bracket today. Losing at Louisville is not a bad loss, and UCSB is the best team in the Big West. We're not excusing UNLV's performance Wednesday night, considering they shot 29 percent for the game and lost at home, but that loss didn't knock them out of the field by any stretch.

As long as UNLV finishes in the top three in the MWC and splits with SDSU and BYU, they'll be comfortably in.

Ross said...

These back to back losses for Tennessee have been crazy. I realize they have some great tournament resume wins right now, but bad is this for their hopes of being a top 3 or 4 seed?

Ross said...

That should read "how bad"

Anonymous said...

Yeah I was going to post something about here asking about Tennesse losses. Specially with this one coming against a team who just dismissed their top scorer from the school 3 days ago. And Charlotte only shot like 32 percent. This has gotta be detrimental to not only Tennesse, but to all of the SEC.

Anonymous said...

Michigan is now 9-2, just crushed Oakland who beat Tenn. They have opened my eyes as maybe that 8th Big Ten team who could get a bid. You think 9-9 in conference could get them in?

Anonymous said...

nevermind my question was answered I just didnt read it up above.

Anonymous said...

This Saturday and week has been weird. Their are way too many upsets going on for December. UIC beats Illinois? Tennesse losses twice this week? Florida crushes KSU? Baylor, BYU in trouble? Are you guys suprised as I am this week with all these upsets?

Bracketology 101 said...

Some interesting results today, but the only shocking result is the Illinois loss. The other games you mention from Saturday are not too suprising. Florida may end up being the best team in the SEC, the BYU loss was essentially a road game against a UCLA team that only lost to Kansas by 1, and Gonzaga was due to pick up a big win.

Anonymous said...

Hey great post. Thought I'm not sure I agree with you 100%. Keep em coming. Are you interested in having anyone guest post opposing views?

Bracketology 101 said...

Thanks. We love debating the bracket in the comments section of each post. If you have any questions, that would be the best place to ask them.

We'll have a new bracket up sometime in the next week.

Happy Holidays,
Chris & Craig

AG said...

After getting run off the court in the 2nd half by, let's face it, a bad St. John's team, is it too early to say Northwestern is out? You'd have to think that defense is just too much of a liability.

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