Monday, January 17, 2011

Bracketology 101's Field of 68 - Jan. 17

It's pretty cliche at this point of the season to say that the bracket is fluid and even more cliche to say that the bubble is nearly impossible to figure. This week's Field of 68, though, has more turnover than any in recent memory. The changes begin at the top of the bracket, where Ohio State replaces Duke as the No. 1 overall seed, and they continued to the bubble, where a whopping five at-large bids changed hands this week. Oklahoma State, Richmond, Baylor, Dayton, and New Mexico all dropped out of the field and were replaced by Florida State, Marquette, Colorado, Xavier, and Wichita State. Southern Miss also replaces Memphis in the field as C-USA's automatic bid.

These changes left the Big East with a hard-to-fathom 11 bids this week. Mathematically, this means that a team with a losing record in conference could get a bid, but the way things are shaping up across the country, that possibility is very real. The Pac-10 is barely a three-bid league right now, the A-10 is only a two bid-league, and the only other mid-majors who are deserving of multiple bids at the moment are the MWC, WCC, C-USA, and MVC (with Missouri State and a generous second bid to Wichita State). No other mid-major conference has been able to take advantage of the weak bubble, and several power conference teams (see: Maryland and Penn State) were unable to pull off upsets over the weekend that would have gotten them one of the last at-large bids.

The biggest upgrade in terms of seeding this week was West Virginia, who moved from the 7 line to the 4 line thanks to their win over Purdue. The biggest downgrade was Kansas State, who fell eight spots on our S-curve, and down to the 9 line, after their home loss to Colorado. We had to make one change to avoid bracketing conflicts this week - Georgetown and Michigan State swapped spots on the 5 and 6 lines.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In
Xavier, Virginia Tech, Washington State, Wichita State

First Four Out
Richmond, Oklahoma State, Dayton, Baylor

Next Four Out
Memphis, Clemson, UCLA, Penn State

"First Four" Games
Xavier vs. Virginia Tech, Washington State vs. Wichita State, Northern Colorado vs. McNeese State, Morgan State vs. Jackson State


Conference Breakdown
Big East (11), ACC (6), Big XII (6), Big Ten (6), SEC (5), MWC (3), Pac-10 (3), A-10 (2), C-USA (2), MVC (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

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

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Temple, Xavier

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

Big Sky - Northern Colorado

Big South - Coastal Carolina

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

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

Big West - Long Beach State

Colonial - Old Dominion

Conference USA - Southern Miss, UCF

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Princeton

MAAC - Fairfield

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Missouri State, Wichita State

MWC - San Diego State, BYU, UNLV

Northeast - Long Island

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

Pac-10 - Washington, Arizona, Washington State

Patriot - Bucknell

SEC - Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia

Southern - Charleston

Southland - McNeese State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Florida Atlantic

SWAC - Jackson State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's


The Seeds
The 1s
Ohio State, Kansas, Syracuse, Duke

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

The 3s
Villanova, BYU, Texas A&M, Texas

The 4s
Missouri, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, West Virginia

The 5s
Illinois, Louisville, Purdue, Georgetown

The 6s
Michigan State, Temple, UNLV, Minnesota

The 7s
St. John's, Washington, Vanderbilt, Florida

The 8s
UCF, Gonzaga, St. Mary's, Tennessee

The 9s
Florida State, North Carolina, Georgia, Kansas State

The 10s
Arizona, Cincinnati, Boston College, Miami (FL)

The 11s
Old Dominion, Marquette, Butler, Missouri State

The 12s
Colorado, Utah State, Xavier vs. Virginia Tech (FF), Washington State vs. Wichita State (FF)

The 13s
Southern Miss, Princeton, Charleston, Oakland

The 14s
Belmont, Kent State, Coastal Carolina, Vermont

The 15s
Fairfield, Long Beach State, Bucknell, Florida Atlantic

The 16s
Long Island, Austin Peay, Northern Colorado vs. McNeese State (FF), Morgan State 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...

Sorry B101 your my favorite bracketologist but the Big East will not get 11 bids. The other five teams suck and for sure one of these 3 will not make the tournament because their gonna go about 7-11 because somebody has to. Big East is a great conference, but they will not get 11.

Bracketology 101 said...

It will be interesting how the Big East plays out. If the bottom feeders in the conference continue to get rolled over (see Providence, Seton Hall, Depaul, and Rutgers) then 11 bids are possible. But it is likely that these teams knock off some of the heavyweights and midweights at some point in the season and ruin some tourney hopes. 8-10 in conference with some wins over Big East teams in the top of the standings will earn the Cinci's and Marquette's a bid though, especially if the conference continues to beat up on fellow BCS conferences in their last few OOC matchups.

Anonymous said...

Looking at your bracket the East region cannot happen. Louisville the 5 seed and Notre Dame the 4 seed cannot meet until at least the Sweet Sixteen. Have the rules changed to allow this to happen because of the strength of the Big East?

Joe said...

What do you think it will take for Penn State? Their nonconference resume is terrible but they already have 2 signature wins in conference. Would 11-7 in the Big Ten do it for them?

Anonymous said...

data taken from

Discounting wins over teams ranked below 150 in RPI (who cares?), here are two teams:

Team A 5-3, average rank of top 150 wins: 128.6, average rank of losses: 14.3. Best win is ranked #110, worst loss is ranked #34.

Team B 5-3, average rank of top 150 wins: 45.6, average rank of losses: 22. Best win is ranked #11, worst loss is ranked #41.

Identical record against teams with a pulse. Team A's wins aren't nearly as good as Team B's, but their losses are slightly more forgivable.

Team A is Wichita State, who is in the "last four in." Team B is Kentucky, who is a 2(!) seed.

Any decision made concerning Wichita State (in or not and where they're seeded) suffers from the fact that they haven't played a single team ranked between #34 and #110. A team whose best win is against the #110 team should be solidly out. A team whose worst loss is to the #34 team and is undefeated against teams below #34 should be solidly in. Wichita State is both of these teams.

matt r said...

The committee did change the rules several years ago when the Big East went to sixteen and it was obvious that a nine or more bid scenario was coming soon. If a conference has eight bids or less, than teams from that conference cannot meet until the Elite Eight (and two teams per region max). If a conference has nine or more than they are allowed to meet in the round of 32 (now called the third round) as a worst case scenario. This bracket provides that worst case scenario, with the Big Ten having four teams on 1, 4, and 5 lines and the Big East having six teams on lines 1 through 5. Now last year the committee ignored their own rules by having two potential Sweet 16 matchups for the Big East despite having only eight teams in the field. Here is the link to the latest bracketing principles and procedures (keep in my mind that what we used to know as the first/second rounds are now called second/third rounds, the four opening games are the first round):

Bracketology 101 said...

It's hard to see Penn State, even with their poor OOC resume, getting left out if they finish 11-7 in conference.

Mike said...

11-7 will be tough for Penn State. An 8-4 finish in the Big Ten would be awesome though. I hope they can beat Purdue Wednesday night at Purdue.

give me the brandy said...

The Big Ten is so tough, I have a hard time seeing PSU going better than 9-9, which won't be good enough to make the tourney.

Does Pitt replace Syracuse as a 1 seed next week?

Anonymous said...

What do you project florida state finishing at?

Anonymous said...

Where do you see FSU finishing at, record-wise.

Timothy said...

Very interesting write up for this week. I was anxious to log on and see what the update would be.

As Nole fan I am happy to see that they are back in the field with the great week that they had. If they were to finish 12-4 and make it to the ACCT Semis or CG, do you think that would be enough to crack a top 6 seed? I know their OOC is going to hurt them, I am just hoping that it isn't too much.

Also I think the BE tops out at 10 this year. I realize it is the strongest conference, but 8-10 in conference getting in? I wouldn't think that would happen without a couple of wins in the BET.

I would like to hear your thoughts on what the Pitt win does for their resume as well.

Bracketology 101 said...

Barring a stunning loss at DePaul on Saturday, Pitt will be a 1 seed in our next bracket.

Florida State has been so inconsistent (especially on the road lately) that it's almost impossible to predict their final record. The most likely scenario, though, is that the Noles finish 10-6 (at best 11-5) in conference and then win a couple of games in the ACC tournament. If they were to finish 12-4 and advance that far in the ACC tourney, as Timothy suggested, they would probably be right around a 6 seed.

Pitt's win over Syracuse is huge for a couple of reasaons. It gives them an early one-game lead in conference, and it's almost a given that the Big East regular season champ will get a 1 seed. The win also gives the Panthers three top 25 RPI wins and six quality wins on the year (Syracuse, UConn, Texas, Georgetown, Marquette, and Maryland). Syracuse, by comparison, has three top 25 RPI wins as well (Michigan State, Notre Dame, and St. John's), but those wins aren't as impressive as Pitt's. They also have a win over Cincinnati and a chance to pick up another quality win this weekend as Villanova visits the Carrier Dome.

Anonymous said...

This year, the Mountain West has two legitimate teams in the form of San Diego State and BYU. Given that no team has ever won the MWC with one road loss or less, I don't seriously expect the following scenario to happen:

What if BYU or SDSU were to run the table in-conference and win the MWC tournament? Would either of them stand a chance getting at a 1 seed under that scenario?

Bracketology 101 said...

If either run the table, they'd deserve a 1 seed.

Anonymous said...

Apologies B101RS Gold your own my personal favorite bracketologist however the Massive Distance will not likely receive 13 prices for bids. The other 5 clubs are terrible as well as for positive one of these simple Several is not going to make match as their planning to begin 7-11 simply because an individual should. Massive Far east is a Cheap WOW Goldwonderful seminar, but they won't obtain 14.

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designer cloths said...

What do you think it will take for Penn State? Their nonconference resume is terrible but they already have 2 signature wins in conference.

embroidery bag said...

Sorry B101 your my favorite bracketologist but the Big East will not get 11 bids. The other five teams suck and for sure one of these 3 will not make the tournament because their gonna go about 7-11 because somebody has to. Big East is a great conference, but they will not get 11.