Wednesday, February 09, 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
The year's first installment of Duke-North Carolina is the main event tonight, but the undercard is shaping up to be pretty solid as well. Thirteen ranked teams are in action, with seven of those teams facing unranked opponents on the road, and the other six facing each other in three huge conference games.

The biggest of those games, and the most likely to cause Dick Vitale to spontaneously combust, will take place at Cameron Indoor. The freshly-ranked Tar Heels come in as the hottest team in the ACC over the last few weeks, winning their last three games by a combined 68 points. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, bounced back from their nightmarish performance against St. John's with blowout victories over Maryland and N.C. State last week. The winner of this game will have temporary control over first place in conference and will have temporary bragging rights until the teams meet again in the regular season finale on March 5. If Duke wins, they will add a sixth Top 50 win to their resume and inch a little closer towards returning to the 1 line. If Carolina wins, and then beats Clemson on the road this weekend, they could be as high as a 3 seed next week.

In the other two marquee games of the night, Notre Dame hosts Louisville and Syracuse hosts Georgetown. These four teams are pretty tightly packed between the 2 and 4 lines, and they could very well swap spots on those lines depending on what happens tonight. If Notre Dame or Georgetown win, they would tie Texas for the most RPI Top 50 wins in the country with eight.

There are also some huge bubble battles tonight in the Big XII, as Colorado hosts Texas A&M and Baylor hosts Nebraska, and in the Colonial, as VCU plays at Delaware and Old Dominion plays at William & Mary. We have Colorado behind Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State on the Big XII bubble list because of their 1-5 record in their last six games, but they have a chance to leap to the front of that line with a 2-0 week. They play a struggling Aggies team tonight and then host Kansas State on Saturday. Baylor, meanwhile, made it back in the bracket this week, (despite an underwhelming resume) because of the easy schedule they have left. One of the presumed wins on that schedule is this game against the Huskers. If the Bears lose, they'll be back on the outside looking in. VCU just edged ODU for the Colonial's second bid this week, and if both take care of business tonight on the road, their showdown at ODU on Saturday will determine who gets that at-large bid on Monday.

The last intriguing game of the night is Florida at South Carolina. The Gators are coming off a huge two-win week that vaulted them ahead of Kentucky in the SEC pecking order and up to the top of the 4 line in our latest bracket. Their victories over Vandy and Kentucky last week gave them a very respectable six Top 50 wins on the year. On the flip side, they also have three losses outside the Top 100, one of which was a home loss to the Gamecocks back on Jan. 15. If they can exact some revenge tonight, they'll open up a 2.5 game lead over Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia in the SEC East standings with six games to play.

Also keep an eye on: Texas at Oklahoma, BYU at Air Force, Villanova at Rutgers, Wisconsin at Iowa, UNLV at TCU, Utah State at Idaho, Marquette at South Florida, Fordham at Temple, Richmond at George Washington, Memphis at UCF, Bradley at Missouri State, Wyoming at New Mexico, Northwestern at Michigan

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Duke-UNC is the main event tonight only if you go by the time the game is played. Going by the combined rankings of the teams, it's merely the 3rd best game tonight.

Anonymous said...

Neither of those games are for first place...

Bracketology 101 said...

It's the main event in terms of hype and time slot, but you're right, the two Big East games are going to be equally (if not more) entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Any information on what UNLV is going to have to do from here on out to guarantee themselves a spot in the tournament. I keep reading how they are "in trouble" yet remain around a 7-8 seed in the bracket. Are they safe or not? It seems with their strong OOC resume and the weak bubble, they are in pretty good shape?
Thoughts?

AG said...

In referring to the Big East, is "entertaining" a euphemism for "can't defend home court?"

Anonymous said...

What's the hang up with home court with you? You realize there are no home games in March right? So settle in tonight and watch a couple great games involving the best conference in America.

Tom said...

"Dick Vitale will break down what Duke does better than anybody else" - ESPN


In the words of Bart Scott, "CAN'T WAIT"


....not really though

Bracketology 101 said...

UNLV is in good shape right now. Some prognosticators are down on them because they are 0-3 so far against BYU and SDSU, but they have three quality OOC wins (Wisconsin, at Kansas State, Virginia Tech), a top 30 RPI, and they should finish 10-6 at worst in the fourth best conference in the country. If they beat the Aztecs in Vegas this weekend, it's hard to see them not making it.

Anonymous said...

Wow North Carolina is a much different team now then they were earlier in year.

Solid Big East games tonight, as always, they didnt disapoint.

AG said...

The games may not have disappointed, but Villanova had the fail of the year blowing a 5pt lead with 11 seconds left. A go-ahead 4pt play with 0.8 seconds left? To *Rutgers*?

On second thought, I don't know if you can say all the Big East games didn't disappoint, either. That Marquette/USF game was unspeakably bad.

UNC/Duke was pretty good though.

Anonymous said...

Georgetown making a push for a 1 seed?

Bracketology 101 said...

You could say that G'town is making a push, but they need to see ND lose a couple games so they can pass the Irish in the pecking order.

Anonymous said...

G'town is probably still a ways away from the 1 seed (my guess is that they have to run the table through Selection Sunday to do it), but they should have passed UConn now in the pecking order, right? They have them beat in virtually every metric now (RPI, SOS, Top 50 wins, conference record).

Also, how much does Utah State's loss last night damage their chances at an at-large? Still possible for them to get in if they go undefeated until the WAC Final?

Anonymous said...

If Alabama doesn't get in, USU shouldn't sniff a bid.

Bracketology 101 said...

Georgetown has passed UConn in the Big East pecking order after last night. They don't deserve a 1 seed yet, but they'll be a solid 2 as long as they beat Marquette at home on Sunday.

If Utah State wins out and makes it to the WAC final, they'll get a bid.

Anonymous said...

gtown as a 1 seed now? no way. they have 5 losses. there's no way that they would leapfrog over ohio st, kansas, pitt and duke/texas. they are 3 losses behind pitt in the BE standings with just 6 BE games left, which means that they almost certainly won't win the BE regular season. there's no way that they get a 1 over duke if duke wins the ACC regular season and gets to saturday in the ACCT.

Anonymous said...

Nobody said Gtown as a 1 seed now. What about "making a push" don't you understand...

mag900 said...

"making a push" implies on the doorstep. they are nowhere near on the doorstep because there are 5 teams that are leaps and bounds ahead of them. should we then be discussing how 5-loss wisconsin is "making a push" for a 1-seed? how about ND?

Bracketology 101 said...

Aside from Pitt, the Big East team with the best chance to get a 1 seed is Notre Dame. The Irish have eight Top 50 wins (tied for most in the country), they beat Georgetown and Pitt head-to-head, and they're a game up on Georgetown in conference.

Anonymous said...

MICHIGAN needs to be more considered for the big dance!

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Duke-UNC is the main event tonight only if you go by the time the game is played. Going by the combined rankings of the teams, it's merely the 3rd best game tonight.
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