Thursday, February 10, 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
It's a big night in Bubbleville, as a half dozen teams play games that could have long-term impact on their at-large hopes.

The most important game of the night is UConn at St. John's. The Red Storm have a top 25 RPI and more big wins than any other bubble team, but they also have nine losses and a difficult schedule left. This game isn't necessarily a must-win, but a loss would leave St. John's at 6-5 in conference and with a little less margin for error going forward. They play at Cincinnati on Sunday and then at Marquette and at home against Pittsburgh next week.

In the SEC, Alabama plays at Vanderbilt, and in the Big Ten, Illinois plays at Minnesota and Penn State plays at Michigan State. The Tide have been the most debated team in our comments section over the past week because of their 7-1 SEC record, their terrible RPI, and their ratio of bad losses to good wins. They aren't at-large worthy yet, even with the bubble as soft as it is, but a road win against the Commodores would get them some serious consideration next week. Bama's schedule is pretty soft the rest of the way, and a 12-4 finish (even in the awful SEC West) would probably be enough to get the Tide a bid.

The Penn State-Michigan State game is a must-win for both teams. Despite some nice wins, neither of these teams look like NCAA tournament teams right now and neither would be in the bracket if the season ended today. The loser is going to have to go on a huge run to get back on the right side of the bubble. The Illinois-Minnesota game features two teams that just need to stop the bleeding. Illinois has lost five of seven and is down to an 8 seed this week, while Minnesota has lost three straight and has slid down to a 7. The Illini might be in more trouble with a loss here; they have three tough road games left and a date with Purdue in Champaign on Saturday. A 9-9 finish, with their decent OOC resume, might be enough for a bid, but they'd need a win in the Big Ten tournament to feel safe. Having Maryland and Gonzaga (two of their OOC victories) win some games down the stretch wouldn't hurt, either.

Finally, in the Pac-10, UCLA hosts Oregon, Washington hosts Cal, and Washington State hosts Stanford. The Cougars barely hung on to a bid in our latest bracket after getting drubbed at Oregon State, and they'll have to sweep Stanford and Cal at home over the weekend to stay in on Monday.

Also keep an eye on: Florida State at Georgia Tech, St. Mary's at Santa Clara, Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount, Wright State at Butler

36 comments:

AG said...

With their non-conference schedule, if anyone deserves a bid with a losing conference record, its St. Johns.

There, I said something nice about the Big East.

mag900 said...

do you mean their 1 win against duke? losses against fordham, stb, st mary's and ucla aren't exactly impressive.

Anonymous said...

Does Michigan's win last night move them up to at least considered for an at large? Every major bracket prediction has no mention of Michigan as having a shot. 15-10 with a few chances left to gain top 50 wins, do you think they have enough to make a late push and crash the dance?

mag900 said...

i think michigan first would need to notch a win against an NCAAT team before you can talk about them getting on the bubble.

Anonymous said...

well St. John's also beat Georgetown, Notre Dame and West Virginia. It wasn't just Duke.

And I think Old Dominion is being overlooked here. The appear to have a better resume than at least both Memphis and Kansas State. The should be an at-large. UAB and even Mississippi need to be looked at as well for consideration.

mag900 said...

AG wrote "With their non-conference schedule" not "With their quality conference wins." Their non-conference schedule is basically a win against Duke and nothing else. It's not impressive.

Anonymous said...

when you are in the Big East you don't necessarily need non-conference wins. A good win is a good win and the Duke win helps alot with those BE wins

DavidATL said...

@mag900

Yes, but that one win over Duke is better than the entire OOC of the SEC West combined. On your theory of in-conference does not count, we would basically have to throw out 3/4 of the SEC (Florida, TN, and KY can go -- no-one else), almost all of the ACC and probably half of the Big XII.

Heck, St. Johns is basically Florida State, but with better in-conference wins -- they each hold Duke up as the marquee win, but at least St. John's has something else to back it with. Both have bad losses (Fordham, Auburn), both beat a couple of mid-tier BCS opponents (ASU & Northwestern, Clemson & Baylor). I certainly would not consider road losses @St. Mary's and @UCLA to be bad losses -- certainly no worse than @Butler and home loss to Florida. The difference is that Duke is the only good win FSU has other than Clemson & Baylor, while St. Johns has, in addition to Duke, ASU and Northwestern also Georgetown, WV and Notre Dame.

Basically, mag900, the logical conclusion of your argument that wins over Duke, Georgetown, Notre Dame and West Virginia is not enough to off-set double digit losses is to go the BIG XII / SEC route - 1 or 2 games only against good OOC teams, lots of easy wins versus patsies who are willing to play without a return visit, and then whine "but we have such a tough conference, wahhhh"

mag900 said...

DavidATL said...

lighten up francis. please show me where i "argued" that "wins over Duke, Georgetown, Notre Dame and West Virginia is not enough to off-set double digit losses." reading comprehension is a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Jeez harsh comment board...


I guess they still play some decent bball at Michigan St. At least Lucas does.

Anonymous said...

When does Cinci fall away? I pushed for them over st. Johns earlier... but they have pretty much crumbled since then.

Rainmaker203 said...

St. John's has to be close to lock status after tonight's game. With a SOS that's likely to be #1 or 2 at the end of the year, and wins over Duke, Georgetown, and UConn, I can't see the committee leaving out the Red Storm even if they only finish 8-10 given how weak the bubble is. With home games left against DePaul and USF, I can't see them finishing any worse than that. One win out of the other 5 (home against Pitt, road against Cincy, Marquette, Villanova, and Seton Hall) should seal it.

Also, I think tonight's game was further proof of how overrated UConn is. Let's face it: UConn is 6-2 in games decided by 5 points or less and their Pomeroy ranking was 18 entering tonight. The biggest reason they are in the top 10 right now is plain luck.

edgeinducedcohesion said...

Looks like St. John's, Michigan St., and Florida St. took care of business in the early session--I assume all of those wins improved their stock, especially St. John's collection of yet another Top 50 win (even though it was at home).

Let's see if Alabama can collect another SEC East win tonight in the later games.

AG said...

If this is what Washington looks like when they're focused, they shouldn't have a problem staying on pace for a bid.

While I agree that UConn is not a top ten team, they were at one point in the year. They beat Texas, Tennessee, MSU, and Kentucky. That being said they're starting to play like the team picked 10th in the Big East again.

Then again, we seem to be running out of Top 10 quality teams. Other than OSU, Kansas, and Texas, nobody's really distinguished themselves this year. Duke is vulnerable to size, and Pitt just isn't that good.

Anonymous said...

Whats your thoughts about the Gophers right now after losing 4 straight? 9-9 in conference with a win in tourney good enough to get them in? (Without being one of the last 4 out?)

give me the brandy said...

St John's would have to really fall apart to miss the tournament now. 11 bids for the Big East is looking very likely.

Minnesota is probably in at 9-9, with their solid non-conference wins vs WVU and UNC. Their remaining schedule isn't bad, but 4-2 in the last 6 is no guarantee.

Michigan St saved their season tonight (Penn St should start worrying about making the NIT), but they still have a long way to go. Their schedule down the stretch is much tougher, I see only one or two games of the 6 where they'll be favored and 9-9 might not be enough to get them in.

give me the brandy said...

Also, what a disaster for Wazzou tonight. They probably need to win at Arizona or Washington now, or make the Pac-10 finals.

edgeinducedcohesion said...

Well, UCLA looks good, but Wazzou went down the wazoo.

Anonymous said...

"Pitt just isn't that good"...lol. But Texas is? hmmm let's see Pitt beat Texas on a neutral court and has less losses and a higher rpi and a tougher SOS...

Bracketology 101 said...

If Minnesota goes 9-9 in conference and wins one game in the Big Ten tourney, they'll be in. If they finish 9-9 and lose in the first round, they'll be sweating it out Selection Sunday as one of the last teams in or out.

It's really hard to imagine St. John's not making it now (barring an all-out collapse.) They have five wins over the RPI Top 25, a 19 RPI, and the No. 1 SOS in the country. Sounds like a tournament resume to us.

Washington State will be out of the bracket on Monday.

Brian Reinthaler said...

AG, saying Pitt just isn't that good is both ignorant of reality and logically inconsistent with your annointment of Texas as one of only three teams to have "distinguished" themselves.

* 22-2 (5-2 vs. RPI Top 25) against the 20th rated schedule and clear leader of the toughest conference in the country
* Neutral court win over Texas
* Road wins over Georgetown (RPI #4) and West Virginia (RPI #17)

What exactly has Pitt done to draw your contempt? And what has Texas done to earn such distinctly higher praise?

edgeinducedcohesion said...

So, working on your questions for the weekend?

BracketologyMAGIK said...

^AHHHH!, I can't function without the weekend question!!! I am hyperventilating.

edgeinducedcohesion said...

@Majik

Speaking of you, I'm waiting on you to update your own bracket so that I may critique it.

BracketologyMAGIK said...

Oh, ok nobody responded on here so I did not bother. I'll do it tomorrow morning. How was the one two weeks ago.

edgeinducedcohesion said...

@Magik

Well, I think you'll probably have Washington St. out, maybe switch Georgetown and UConn on the 2/3 seed line, probably drop down Georgia and Utah St., take out Penn St., maybe change around the seeding of a few SEC teams (boost FL up from a 7, move down KY a bit from a 4) and probably add in one or two of your bubble teams from the Big XII. How does that sound?

BracketologyMAGIK said...

Ok, I have update my bracket. Now that I know some of you guys are interested I will update like I stated on my page, every Monday and Friday.

Anonymous said...

Harvard pulled out a win over rival Yale at the end and Princeton dominated a decent Columbia team. Ivy Leagues chances at two bids is getting larger every day.

edgeinducedcohesion said...

Wait, are you saying Harvard is on your bubble watch?

Anonymous said...

yup i am.

Anonymous said...

harvard and princeton should both make the ncaa tournament, if you ask me. princeton will likely win the league and harvard is deserving of an at large bid if they win the rest of their games.

Anonymous said...

where are the questions for the weekend?

edgeinducedcohesion said...

Well, Harvard's portfolio isn't a bad one--of its four losses 3 look like they will be to teams with a very good chance to make the NCAA's (@Connecticut, @Princeton, @George Mason), with the other a respectable loss @Michigan. They don't have any bad losses, in other words. With a home win against Colorado and a win @Boston College they have a better OOC record than teams like Alabama or Utah St. If they win the rest of their games (including the home rematch against Princeton), they'd at least have to be in the mix in a craptastical year as this on the bubble. You have a fair point there.

Anonymous said...

problem with Harvard is that to get an atlarge they need to winout and beat princeton. If they beat Princeton they will either get the autobid or have a 1-game playoff for the autobid. Losing that game might very well pop their bubble

edgeinducedcohesion said...

I still think Harvard is better off than Princeton as far as an at-large goes *shudders* simply because it has a better portfolio, but winning out would possibly make it unnecessary to get an at-large spot.

Anonymous said...

Harvard has 3 wins over teams with winning records. Lets not get carried away, they don't even have a snowball's chance in hell to get in.