Wednesday, February 02, 2011

B101's Bracket Banter - Wednesday

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.

Wednesday's Games
If there are going to be significant changes in our next bracket, it will likely be because of what happens tonight across the country. Twenty-six of the 68 teams we have in our current field are in action tonight, as are seven of the eight teams on our First Eight Out list.

The two most important games of the night involve teams that are thisclose to earning a bid - Maryland and Colorado State. The Terps host Duke tonight in College Park, three days after the Blue Devils were embarrassed by St. John's in the Garden. That loss knocked Duke off of the 1 line, and they'll have a tougher road getting back there if they lose this one. Maryland, meanwhile, has won three in a row to get back into the bubble mix after a 1-3 start in conference. The Terps have don't have any terrible losses on their resume, but they only have one Top 50 win and they've yet to beat a tourney-caliber ACC team. A victory here would give them a second marquee win, a much-needed RPI bump, and most importantly, a resume worthy of an at-large.

In the Mountain West, Colorado State can stake their claim to an at-large with a win over the visiting Aztecs. The Rams have a nice profile already - they have a road win at UNLV and are in third place in the fourth-ranked conference in the country - but they need a second signature win. They missed out on an opportunity to get that second win at home against BYU a week and a half ago, and if they miss out again tonight, they are going to have to beat SDSU or BYU on the road to be at-large worthy.

In other important bubble games, Georgia plays at Arkansas, Virginia Tech plays at N.C. State, Baylor plays at Oklahoma, Nebraska plays at Kansas State, and Missouri plays at Oklahoma State. The Big XII bubble is an absolute mess right now, and has left the third ranked conference in the country with as many bids as the Mountain West, Pac-10, and A-10. Oklahoma State has dropped below Baylor, Kansas State, and Nebraska in the Big XII pecking order, but they can return to relevance with an upset at home against the Tigers. Kansas State has the easiest remaining schedule of any Big XII bubble team, but they've also lost five of their last seven. Nebraska, meanwhile, stunned everyone with the defensive effort they put forth against Texas A&M this past weekend. If the Huskers can get past the Wildcats tonight, their schedule sets up nicely for them to make a real run at a bid. They host Kansas this weekend and they still have home games left against Oklahoma State, Texas, Kansas State, and Missouri.

There are also two huge games tonight in the Big East, as Syracuse plays at UConn and Marquette plays at Villanova. The Orange have now famously lost four in a row are down to a 5 seed in out latest bracket. They face a Huskies team tonight that will be out to avenge a rare Gampel Pavilion loss at the hands on Louisville on Saturday. UConn was our fourth and final 1 seed this week, but their hold on that spot is very tenuous given the tear that Texas has been on the last three weeks. A slip-up here, and they'll be back on the 2 line. In the other notable Big East game, Marquette will try to avoid picking up its ninth loss of the year by winning on the road against the struggling Wildcats. The Golden Eagles resume is shaping up to be one of the toughest resumes to evaluate in the country. They have three Top 25 wins, but they've lost a ton of close games and their RPI (59) has been hurt because of some really bad small conference teams they played early in the year. A win tonight would keep Marquette safely in the field, while a loss would leave as one of the last teams in.

It's also a big night in the Colonial and the A-10. In the Colonial, Old Dominion hosts (and looks for revenge against) Delaware, VCU plays at Northeastern, and George Mason hosts Hofstra. In the A-10, Temple plays at LaSalle, Xavier plays at Charlotte, Richmond hosts St. Joseph's, and bracket newcomer Duquesne hosts George Washington.

Also keep an eye on: Michigan State at Iowa, Minnesota at Indiana, Rutgers at St. John's, Seton Hall at West Virginia, Clemson at Virginia, BYU at Wyoming, Utah at UNLV, USC at UCLA, Nevada at Utah State, Missouri State at Evansville, Tulsa at Memphis, Southern Miss at UAB, Illinois State at Northern Iowa

21 comments:

AG said...

I just want to reiterate my previous statements that the gap between the SEC East and West isn't as large as some would have you believe, and that this is more because the SEC East is bad than the SEC West is good. It would be a crime if the SEC got more than 4 bids.

Bracketology 101 said...

The SEC West has definitely closed the gap over the last couple of weeks, but the SEC East is still superior. Here's a stat: The SEC East has 12 OOC wins over teams in the RPI Top 50. The SEC West has a grand total of one (Mississippi over Penn State.)

If Georgia doesn't win at Arkansas tonight, the SEC might be down to a four bid league on Monday.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope that you aren't referring to the penn state win as a marquee win... Congrats, maryland... You've boldly gone where just 8 teams have also gone since november.

Anonymous said...

I have been really confused about the Mountain West this year..and my favorite team UNLV. Assuming the Rebels beat the teams "they are suppose to beat" (Utah, Wyoming, Air Force), then how do they have to do against the remaining games with SDSU at home and BYU, Colorado State, and New Mexico on the road to put them safely in? Win two of these? three? all four? Also, what does Colorado State or New Mexico have to do to ensure a possible fourth team in (assuming BYU, SDSU, and UNLV get in)? It would seem that for the fourth highest rated conference, they shouldn't be struggling to get four teams in.

edgeinducedcohesion said...

Oklahoma's win over Baylor makes the Big XII bubble even more convoluted.

give me the brandy said...

The Big 12 really looks like it's going to be a 4 bid league.

The winner of tonight's KSU/Nebraska game probably has the best shot of getting the 5th Big 12 bid, but both have a long way to go. KSU has to get back to .500 in conference, and Nebraska did next to nothing in non-conference and needs more quality wins.

edgeinducedcohesion said...

Minnesota losing @Indiana looks like a bad loss, but on the positive side maybe Indiana is shaping up for an NIT bid now with a couple of scalps in its collection from league play.

mike said...

Baylor now on life support of just being on the bubble.

And WTF Michigan State.

Memphis loses at home to Tulsa.
Xavier loses to Charlotte.
VCU loses to Northeastern.
Nebraska getting pounded at K-State.

Huge game for Colorado State.

Anonymous said...

very few teams actually want to make the tournament I guess.

edgeinducedcohesion said...

It looks like those borderline teams that keep on winning (like George Mason and Duquesne) will make themselves look more and more attractive if no one else wants to win themselves.

Anonymous said...

Agree. Duquense has really snuck in there. I think they'd be in if the committee met today.

AG said...

Another failtacular night in college basketball. Minnesota loses to a team that probably fielded less talent tonight than DePaul will tomorrow. MSU punches an NIT bid, the Hawkeyes were bound to blow someone out eventually.

Baylor's done, and still nobody in the Big East can defend home court!

Anonymous said...

Maryland now needs a win at VT, a win at UNC, or a trip to the ACC final.

Oklahoma State is making a push for a bid if they get one of Texas, Kansas, or A&M. Still, they'd probably need two wins in the conference tourney.

edgeinducedcohesion said...

And check out that Virginia win over Clemson. Does anyone want to win a spot in the NCAA's? Anyone? Georgia was able to pull out a close one against Arkansas, as was St. John's, but Colorado St. wasn't able to win itself. I guess the win over Mississippi State means that Alabama might merit an at-large bid in Lunardi's next bracket, right?

Anonymous said...

Gotta be feeling good if you're Virginia Tech, UCLA, or Georgia. You don't have to do a whole lot because there's nobody to take your bid.

DavidATL said...

What is up w/ Mich. St.? They are a total of 8 points away from being 0-8 in the Big 10, and only 1 point away from a 5 game losing streak. I know that other than last night's 20 point debacle against Iowa one can say that they do not really have any bad losses - maybe (one wonders about the Michigan loss at home) - but that loss total is really piling up quickly. Are they in trouble yet?

Was it really THIS season that they started as ranked #2 in the country? That would have to be some sort of record if they were not to make the Big Dance.

DavidATL said...

Seems to me that Alabama tells you all you need to know about the SEC this year -- In-conference, 6-1. Out of conference 8-6 with losses to Seton Hall, Iowa, St. Peter's, Providence and Okla St. and only 2 OOC wins over teams with a winning record (Lipscomb and SE Louisiana). Ouch. One could say they just needed time to jell, and are now coming on strong. Maybe. Alternate theory is that the SEC is just plain weak this year.

Anonymous said...

Against teams not on your 1 or 2 line, maryland is 14-4, duquesne is 16-4. Maryland has one win over a tournament team, at penn state, and duquesne has one, at home vs temple. Maryland also has 4 road wins at big 6 conference teams, and duquesne has none. I don't understand why they are in over maryland.

Bracketology 101 said...

Those stats are a little skewed. We wouldn't exactly count road wins over Wake Forest, Virginia, and Georgia Tech as huge positives on Maryland's resume.

The main reason Duquesne is in over Maryland is because the Dukes are unbeaten and in first place in the A-10. Maryland's currently in a tie for fifth in the ACC. Both teams have only one Top 50 win (which is why Duquesne is only a 12 seed), but Duquesne's win (Temple) is better than Maryland's (Penn State). The Terps will have plenty of chances down the road to earn an at-large, but they missed a big opportunity last night against Duke.

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