Monday, January 10, 2011

Bracketology 101's Field of 68 - Jan. 10

When the NCAA announced that the tournament was expanding to 68 teams, the consensus was that the change would make it easier to predict the field. That may end up being the case on Selection Sunday, but as things stand right now, the bubble is as hard to sift through and the bracket is as tough to seed as ever. Part of that difficulty is because we are still waiting for some big-name programs with big-time expectations (Michigan State, North Carolina, Kansas State, Baylor, Tennessee) to play to their full potential. The other factor is that, in a year where they are three more at-large bids to be had, there are very few standout at-large candidates from mid-major conferences. There were two mid-major casualties in this week's bracket alone in Drexel and Cleveland State.

In the end, five at-large teams dropped out of this week's field (Florida State, Xavier, Cleveland State, Northwestern, and Drexel) and they were replaced by St. John's, Georgia, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, and Dayton. Of those five, St. John's, Georgia, and Oklahoma State earned their way in with marquee wins to begin conference play, and Virginia Tech and Dayton essentially replaced FSU and Xavier out of the ACC and A-10, respectively, because of slightly better resumes to date. Our second First Four Game this week - New Mexico vs. Miami (FL) - features two holdover teams with very iffy resumes, but we like the Lobos' chances to pick up some quality conference wins in The Pit, and we like the fact that Miami (FL) has an OOC win over West Virginia and has a couple of winnable, resume-padding home games (BC and FSU) coming up over the next 10 days.

Elsewhere in the bracket, the Big East has pushed its bid total to 10 with the addition of St. John's as a 9 seed this week. The Big XII also has a season-high seven bids with the addition of Oklahoma State. The biggest upgrades in terms of seeding this week were Washington and Vanderbilt, who each moved up three seed lines. Tennessee's losses to Charleston and Arkansas knocked them from a 5 seed to a 10, while Georgetown fell four lines and Minnesota and Boston College fell three lines each.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In

Virginia Tech, Baylor, New Mexico, Miami (FL)

First Four Out
Xavier, Wichita State, Cleveland State, Florida State

Next Four Out
Marquette, Arkansas, USC, Clemson

"First Four" Games
Virginia Tech vs. Baylor, New Mexico vs. Miami (FL)


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

America East - Vermont

ACC - Duke, North Carolina, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Miami (FL)

Atlantic Sun - Jacksonville

A-10 - Temple, Richmond, Dayton

Big East - Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Villanova, Louisville, Georgetown, West Virginia, St. John's, Cincinnati

Big Sky - Northern Colorado

Big South - Coastal Carolina

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

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

Big West - Long Beach State

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - UCF, Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Princeton

MAAC - Fairfield

MAC - Akron

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Missouri State

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

Northeast - Wagner

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

Pac-10 - Washington, Arizona, Washington State

Patriot - American

SEC - Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Tennessee

Southern - Charleston

Southland - Sam Houston State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Florida Atlantic

SWAC - Jackson State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's


The Seeds
The 1s

Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, Syracuse

The 2s
Pittsburgh, Connecticut, San Diego State, Kentucky

The 3s
Notre Dame, Villanova, BYU, Purdue

The 4s
Texas, Illinois, Texas A&M, Missouri

The 5s
Temple, Louisville, Wisconsin, Washington

The 6s
Florida, UNLV, Georgetown, Vanderbilt

The 7s
Michigan State, UCF, North Carolina, Kansas State

The 8s
West Virginia, Minnesota, Gonzaga, Memphis

The 9s
St. John's, Butler, Old Dominion, Georgia

The 10s
Tennessee, Cincinnati, St. Mary's, Boston College

The 11s
Arizona, Richmond, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech vs. Baylor (FF)

The 12s
Washington State, Missouri State, Dayton, New Mexico vs. Miami (FL) (FF)

The 13s
Utah State, Princeton, Charleston, Jacksonville

The 14s
Oakland, Akron, Coastal Carolina, Fairfield

The 15s
Vermont, Long Beach State, Wagner, Austin Peay

The 16s
Florida Atlantic, Sam Houston State, Northern Colorado vs. Morgan State (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...

3 Big ten teams I wanna talk about and want your opinion on the teams.
Minnesota- Lost three of its last four and looks a lot like the bubble team it has been for the last few years. However with those 3 being against ranked opponents on the road in big ten are they still seen as a team that with good home play later in conference that could make it up to 5 or 6 line?
Michigan- Was the loss against Kansas yesterday helpful for the Wolveines? How far outside the bubble are Wolverines and what record are they gonna need in conference to have a legitimate chance come Selection Sunday?
Northwestern- I know they lack a quality win yet, but they dont have any bad losses either.
What record in conference will Northwestern need to have for a chance for their first dance?

Anonymous said...

I also agree with your Big East having 10 teams. Seems ridiculous that 11 teams in Big East have such a great resume. Personally, not sold on both Cincinatti or Marquette because they've each only beaten one team that could possibly be dancin. Ultimatly come seasons end I think Big East will get nine and those two will be left out.

Bracketology 101 said...

Minnesota slipped a few seed lines in our latest bracket, but the good news for Gophers fans is that the team's schedule is, as you mentioned, very frontloaded. Minnesota has only one really tough road test left - at Purdue on Jan. 29 - and as long as they take care of business at home, they could get back up to the 5 or 6 range come March. Beating the Boilermakers in Williams Arena on Thursday would be a good start.

Michigan and Northwestern are in basically the same spot. They have no OOC resume to speak of and they are at best the seventh best team in the Big Ten. Seventh place might still be good enough for a bid, but both teams will have to go a minimum of 10-8 in conference to be in consideration on Selection Sunday.

Bracketology 101 said...

There are obviously a lot of games left to be played, but it's looking more and more like the Big East is going to get a record 10 bids. With the ACC and Pac-10 down, and leagues like the MVC, Colonial, and Horizon getting potentially just one bid, the door is open (and the talent is there) for the Big East to get 10 teams in. Based on results thus far, there's a good chance that Cincinnati and Marquette will be battling for that final spot.

give me the brandy said...

Dayton is the one team I strongly disagree with. They probably won't go better than 9-7 or 10-6 in the A-10. They already have a couple of bad losses (UMass and ETSU), and no real marquee wins to offset those.

I'd take Wichita over Dayton, as they should rack up a strong record in the MVC. They haven't suffered any bad losses, and played UConn close on a neutral court. Neither has a great resume, but Wichita should end up with a much better record and RPI and fewer bad losses.

As a side question, how much does the committee take into account close losses vs blowout losses? For example, Marquette lost to Duke, Wisconsin, Vandy and Gonzaga in non-conference, but none by more than 5 points. Will they be rewarded for playing tough against high-quality opponents, or would they have been better off just crushing cupcakes? If Marquette makes it 9-9 in the Big East, could the conference get 11 teams?

Anonymous said...

what was so impressive about Vandy's loss that they moved up 3 seed lines this week?

Bracketology 101 said...

It had been two weeks since our last bracket, so we re-evaluated a lot of resumes. In Vandy's case, they have two nice OOC wins (UNC and Marquette), an 18 RPI, and with Tennessee struggling, they are at worst the third worst team in the SEC. That earned them a 6 seed this week.

Anonymous said...

This might be commical to most people out their as it was to me at first, but what are the chances that Ivy League gets 2 bids if Princeton and Harvard can go undefeated in conference play against the other much less talented Ivy League schools?

Bracketology 101 said...

There's not much separating Dayton and Wichita, but we gave the Flyers the edge because of their win over New Mexico and because they have more chances to pad their resume in conference play than Wichita does.

Marquette deserves credit for scheduling a tough OOC slate, but the reality is that they don't have much to show for it. In fact, their RPI is a pretty weak 86 even with those close losses because four of their OOC wins came against 300+ RPI teams. Their best OOC win RPI-wise to date is Bucknell (85).

The good news for Marquette is that they play in a league that can cure a weak OOC resume and work wonders for a team's RPI. A 9-9 record will definitely put them in the mix for a bid. The main reason we didn't give the Big East 11 bids this week, though, is that logistically it's going to be tough for the 11th place team in the league to still finish with a .500 record. If Marquette, or anyone else for that matter, can do that, they'll be right on the bubble come Selection Sunday.

Bracketology 101 said...

The Ivy's not getting two bids.

Anonymous said...

So now that Penn State has just beaten Michigan State and Illinois, how many wins in the Big Ten do they need to get an at-large bid?

Bracketology 101 said...

Given their poor OOC resume, Penn State is going to need at least a 10-8 finish in the Big Ten to get a bid. They'll also need to beat a tourney-caliber Big Ten team on the road. They'll get two cracks at that over the next week as they head to Ohio State this weekend and play at Purdue next Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

What does New Mexico have to do to get into the tournament at this point? Also, is Colorado State from the MWC also in contention and possibly rated higher? What about the "big three" (San Diego State, UNLV, and BYU)..are all three pretty much "locks" at this point given their OOC results or do they risk being shut out from conference play? What do these five teams need to do?

Bracketology 101 said...

The Big Three in the MWC are all "locks" at this point. New Mexico and Colorado State begin conference play in pretty much the same spot (weak OOC resume, RPI in the 60-70 range), but we give the Lobos the edge right now because they have one fewer bad loss than Colorado State does and because they have a long history of upsetting teams at The Pit.

Ultimately, both New Mexico and Colorado State's chances for an at-large depend on how they fare against the Big Three - and each other - the rest of the way. The Lobos host the Rams tonight, and if New Mexico wins, they'll have a firm hold on the MWC's fourth bid for a while.

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Furthermore, i believe your current Massive East getting Twelve clubs. Appears absurd that will 11 squads within Large Eastern possess Buy WOW Goldthis type of fantastic resume. Privately, not necessarily obsessed about equally Cincinatti as well as Marquette since they've got every simply overwhelmed one particular workforce which could come to be dancin. RS GoldUltimatly are available conditions conclusion I do think Major East is certain to get seven and those 2 is going to be omitted.

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It had been two weeks since our last bracket, so we re-evaluated a lot of resumes. In Vandy's case, they have two nice OOC wins (UNC and Marquette), an 18 RPI, and with Tennessee struggling, they are at worst the third worst team in the SEC. That earned them a 6 seed this week.

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