Thursday, January 20, 2011

B101's Bracket Banter - Thursday

Bracket Banter is our daily open thread to discuss all things bracket. Readers can post comments and questions during the night's games, and we will answer those questions as the night goes on.

Thursday's Games
The Pac-10 takes center stage tonight with a pair of key games: Arizona at Washington and Arizona State at Washington State.

Washington is still the most talented team in the Pac-10, but their underwhelming OOC resume and road loss to Stanford last weekend dropped them to a 7 seed in our latest bracket. The Huskies face an Arizona team tonight that is newly ranked but is still extremely unproven. The Wildcats have zero Top 50 wins on their resume, and their most notable victory to date is a home win over Cal.

If the Pac-10 is going to be a three-bid league on Monday, Washington State might have to win both its games this weekend. The good news for the Cougars is that they are back in Pullman, where they have lost just once this season (to Kansas State back on Dec. 3).

The other key game of the night is Virginia Tech at Maryland. The Hokies are barely hanging onto a bid in our latest bracket, and they'll need this win to stay in the field next week. Maryland, meanwhile, has played very well in its last two big games (Duke and Villanova), but has nothing to show for it. Winning this game might be imperative for the Terps' at-large chances down the road, especially considering they've already lost one game at home to a fellow ACC bubble team (BC). If Maryland does win, their upcoming schedule is easy enough (Clemson, at Virginia, at GT) that they could crack the bracket in the near future.

Also keep an eye on: California at UCLA, Florida at Auburn, Indiana at Wisconsin, Gonzaga at Santa Clara


Anonymous said...

RPI has conference rankings as
1. Big East(11)
2. Big Ten(6)
3. Big 12(6)
4. Mountain West(3)
5. ACC(6)
6. Pac-10(3)
7. SEC(5)
8. C-USA(2)
9. A-10(3)
10. Colonial(1)

Confused as to why ACC and SEC have so many more bids then MWC and Pac-10.
(Number of bids you gave to conference on Monday)

Bracketology 101 said...

Conference RPI is a good barometer to see which conferences are stronger than others, but it doesn't always corrolate exactly with the number of bids each conference gets. You have to look at the resumes of the individual teams (big wins, bad losses, conference record, computer numbers, etc.) and see if they have the profile to get an at-large bid.

The Mountain West is being carried by SDSU, BYU, and to a lesser extent UNLV, and that's a big reason why its RPI is so high. No one else in the league has an at-large profile as of now.

The Pac-10 only has three bids because its two best teams (Washington and Arizona) have done very little OOC and its third best team (Washington State) has struggled over its first six conference games.

AG said...

Indeed, the NCAA never gets tired of saying "they award bids by team not by conference". Its their 2nd favorite slogan after "players commit to a school, not a coach."

I'm wondering, though, whether any C-USA team is really deserving of an at-large bid at this point? Memphis' win @ Southern Miss was nice but does it cancel out the non-conference struggles? UCF is a sinking ship with that abominable defense. They might not finish with a winning conference record. Perhaps UAB or UTEP might have a chance but that's about it right now. And no, I don't believe in Southern Miss.

DavidATL said...

@Anon (first)

Another way to think of it is that Conference RPI blends all of the teams of the Conference, while NCAA bids are handed out individually (hopefully). So, for example, Conferences A and B each have 10 teams. Conf A has a team ranked #1 in RPI, and other 9 range from #100 to #120. Conf B has teams ranked ##s 2, 3 and 4 RPI, and other 7 range from #250 to #300. Result = that Conf A will have higher RPI than Conf B, but will only have 1 At-Large birth (presumably will win Conf tourney automatic as well, but may not) but Conf B will have 3 at-large invites.

Bracketology 101 said...

If the season ended today, it would be pretty tough to give C-USA an at-large bid. UCF is in freefall mode, and Memphis, UAB, UTEP, and Southern Miss did nothing OOC. Even Marshall, which picked up a huge win over West Virginia last night, is just 1-2 in league play.

What C-USA really needs is for UCF to get back on track or for one or two of the aforementioned teams to pull away from the pack. Until that happens, though, the number of bids the league gets is going to fluctuate week-to-week.

Anonymous said...

Ya I thought all this through as well when I posted earlier, but still feel like Mountain West is screwed over cause they're the mountain west and not the acc or sec.
I think Colorado State should be able to make it into NCAA tourney. Resume looks very solid and now has 2 quality road wins against UNLV and USM.

Anonymous said...

I know Pac-10 games are just finishing up first halves tonight, but the night has already been interesting. Florida 45-40 over Auburn??? Did they not use shot clocks??? Va Tech not only beating but annihilating Maryland was extremely shocking. Lastly, Santa Clara beats Gonzaga by 14?? I thought Zags were back on track for the year before this.

Anonymous said...

Given that Florida shot 15-53 from the field (including a putrid 5-26 from 3 point range) and Auburn shot only a little better, 18-48 (3-11), shot clocks apparently weren't the problem.

Other than Virginia Tech, did anyone really improve their position for the NCAA field? Washington State perhaps? Gonzaga looks like it might drop a bit though.

Anonymous said...

How far outside the bracket are UCLA and USC with their wins tonight?

Justin Howard said...

How bad is this loss to SCU for the Zags? When will winning the conference tourney be a necessity? Obviously it's a goal anyway.

Anonymous said...

I just can't comprehend why colorado state has a shot at an at large bid. To me, they'll have to finish no worse than 12-4 in conference, because it would be a tragedy if a 9 loss team with no out of conference schedule in the mountain west got an at large.

AG said...

Well, the Bubble really is *that* weak. Its a shame they expanded the field in a year when college basketball is so down. This is the weakest ACC in decades, the SEC and the Pac-10 did not improve from last year, Butler is down, the Big XII isn't as strong at the top, the Big Ten isn't as strong in the middle, and even the MWC is weak outside SDSU (mediocre offense) and BYU (mediocre defense).

Bracketology 101 said...

Last night was a pretty good night for the Pac-10 with Washington State, UCLA, and USC all winning. USC is still a long way from the bracket because of all their bad losses, but there's a nice battle developing between Washington State and UCLA for the third Pac-11 bid. Wazzu has a huge opportunity at home against Arizona on Saturday, and a win would secure their spot in the bracket for a little while. If Arizona loses and UCLA wins, a case ould be made that the Bruins should be the Pac-10's third bid on Monday. UCLA has a couple of bad losses, but they also have a big OOC win (BYU) which is something Arizona doesn't.

Colorado State's only in the discussion right now because the bubble is so weak. The Rams have to beat BYU at home this weekend before we can take them seriously.

Bracketology 101 said...

Any loss to a team other than St. Mary's in conference is a bad loss for Gonzaga, but they don't have to worry about their spot in the bracket just yet. If they lose at home to St. Mary's next week, then Zags fans can start to worry.

Anonymous said...

As a Colorado State fan, the fact they are even in the discussion has me giddy. But I'm realistic in knowing that they have very little room for error at this point, especially after a couple bone-headed non-conference losses. They must beat UNLV and New Mexico at home and really need at least one of the BYU and SDSU games then not do something stupid like lose at Air Force.

Anonymous said...

COlorado State is 5-4 vs teams with winning records :(

Anonymous said...

This Pac-10 has onlyCheap RS Gold 3 offers since the 2 very best teams (Wa as well as Az) do hardly any OOC as well as next best crew (California State) possesses struggled above Buy WOW Goldit is first six to eight conference activities.