Wednesday, February 16, 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
Last night was highlighted by teams at the bottom of the bracket trying to avoid bad losses or trying to pick up that marquee win that their resume was in desperate need of. Tonight is highlighted by some big match-ups at the top of the bracket, particularly Georgetown at UConn and Wisconsin at Purdue.

The match-up between Georgetown and UConn may be one of two teams heading in opposite directions. Georgetown is arguably playing the best ball in the nation, having won 8 in a row, while UConn suddenly cannot win a tough game and has lost three of five. The Huskies' schedule down the stretch is brutal, and a home loss to the Hoyas could make it hard for them to finish above .500 in league play. This is Georgetown's toughest game left, and if they get a win, they would be looking at the potential for a 1 seed heading into the Big East tourney.

The game between Wisconsin and Purdue is a battle for second place in the Big Ten and a battle for a better spot in the Big Ten pecking order. The Badgers are probably still on a high after their weekend win over Ohio State, and a win here on the road will give them a good chance for a 2 seed next week. Purdue looks great on paper (a 20-5 record and an 11 RPI) but they still have zero Top 25 wins. They will get two chances for Top 25 wins on their home court this week as Ohio State visits this weekend. The Boilermakers must win at least one of these two games to prove that they belong in the top quarter of the bracket.

Elsewhere on the Big Ten bubble, Michigan plays at Illinois. It's hard to say which team needs this one more. The Illini have a tough final stetch and may need to pick up this win to ensure at least a .500 finish in league play. Michigan has a been on a roll lately, winning five of their last six, and a 2-0 week (they play at Iowa this weekend) would likely push them into next week's bracket.

The biggest bubble games of the night are in Conference USA, with UAB playing at Memphis and UTEP visiting Southern Miss. C-USA is currently the 8th-rated conference in the country, and a first place finish in the regular season may just be enough to earn a team an at-large bid this year. All four of the teams in action tonight have a chance to finish at the top of the standings and tonight's games will go a long way in determining who ends up on top in the end. A win for Memphis would be huge since it would give them a season sweep over Southern Miss and UAB and their RPI would likely climb into the top 30. UTEP really doesn't have much of an at-large resume, but this trip to Hattiesburg is their toughest road game remaining. If the Miners can pull out a win, they will be in great shape to win the league outright, potentially by multiple games.

A few other bubble games of interest tonight are Louisville at Cincinnati and Vanderbilt at Georgia. Both Georgia and Cincinnati sit on similar spots on the bubble: each of them has beaten the teams they should beat, but they struggle to pick up wins over tournament teams. If the Bearcats go 0-2 this week (some would argue if they just lose this game) the Big East will be down to 10 bids on Monday. If Marquette slips up against Seton Hall over the weekend, that number might be down to nine.

Also keep an eye on: Oklahoma State at Texas, New Mexico at San Diego State, South Carolina at Tennessee, Duke at Virginia, South Florida at Pittsburgh, Iowa State at Texas A&M, Xavier at St. Joseph's, St. Mary's at San Diego, Colorado State at TCU, Montana-Western at Utah State, Duquesne at UMass, Nebraska at Oklahoma

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cann anyone explain to me the seemingly irrational favor the RPI has for CUSA? Compared to other "objective" ratings, RPI places Memphis, UTEP and the rest far above what others believe them to be. Where are the good wins for the contenders in that league? Michigan? Cal? Miami? Gonzaga? Is much of their RPI based solely on the transitivity of Marshall's upset of WVU and all of Memphis "good" losses?

Anonymous said...

you have absolutely got to be kidding that a loss to 16th ranked Louisville - the 3rd place team in the Big East- could alone, even with a win over Providence, drop the Bearcats out of the bracket into the NIT. That is preposterous.

Brian Reinthaler said...

Anon. (11:23), I'm a huge Big East fan and rooting for 11 conference teams to make the dance. But the Bearcats have got some work to do.

I agree that a loss to Louisville tonight shouldn't bump them from the field (as of today), but as I understand it, B101 projects the field based on how it predicts each team will close out its season. Cincy's best chances at wins in its final six games are tonight vs. Louiville, @Prov and home vs. UConn (and as you note, each of those will be tough). At this point, Cincy projects to finish 22-9 (9-9), but a loss tonight likely drops that to 21-10 (8-10) and the Bearcats 133rd rated schedule won't do them any favors if that's their final tally.

Also, Louisville is not 3rd in the BE, its 4th, and only a 1/2 game ahead of Nova and St. John's, who are tied for 5th.

Bracketology 101 said...

Remember - we look ahead when we put together our bracket. If Cincinnati loses to Louisville and wins at Providence, they'll have to go 2-2 over their last four games to get a bid. Those four games are at Georgetown, vs. UConn, at Marquette, and vs. Georgetown.

What have the Bearcats done for us to think they'll go 2-2?

Bracketology 101 said...

Cincinnati is allowed to beat decent teams at home. Consecutive home losses to West Virginia, St. John's, and Louisville is not exactly the mark of a tournament team.

RichieO said...

If St. John's takes care of business vs. DePaul, USF and Seton Hall, and pulls off and upset vs. either Pitt or Nova (I can envision a W vs. Pitt at MSG), and are in the final 8 of the Big East tournament, whether it be by double bye, or victory, how high of a seed do you see them getting in the NCAA Tournament?

Paymon said...

You might want to rethink the #9 seed for Mason, unless you have them losing to UNI w/O'Rear and in the CAA tournament (latter is very possible). They have clobbered opponents when it matters most, and it's reflected in their efficiency statistics.

The 20-point difference last night does not give justice to the level which Mason obliterated a good VCU team.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call B101 off base in regards to George Mason. Northern Iowa should have been a 6 seed last year, but shafted them with a 9. The same could very well happen to a good George Mason team whose resume isn't quite as good as Northern Iowa's was.

Rachel said...

where can you find the answers to the questions for lunardi and other "experts"?

msutter said...

If Utah St loses @ St Mary's I'm assuming they'll have to win the WAC Tournament to get in? With no top 100 wins I don't see anyway they can be an at-large consideration.

Joe said...

To piggyback on msutter's comment, which teams outside the Big 6, Mountain West, and Atlantic 10 would get serious consideration if they lose their conference tournament? George Mason, Utah St. & St. Mary's are obvious. Anyone else?

BracketologyMAGIK said...

^ Witchita State, Missouri State, ODU, Gonzaga, Memphis, UAB, UTEP, mabye Harvard, Cleveland State, that is about it.

Bracketology 101 said...

If Utah State loses at St. Mary's, they'll have to win the WAC tournament to get in.

@ Joe: Old Dominion, Wichita State, Missouri State, Gonzaga, Memphis, UTEP, Harvard, Butler, UAB, VCU

We have a feeling George Mason is headed for an 8/9 game. Their conference resume is certainly impressive, but there's a chance they finish with no OOC wins over tourney-quality teams (if Harvard and Duquesne don't make it). The Northern Iowa comparison is a good one. The Panthers finished 28-4, 15-3, 17 RPI last year with a similar OOC resume in a similarly rated conference (the MVC was 9th a year ago, the Colonial is 10th this year), and they got a 9.

Anonymous said...

With regards to teams like UNI and George Mason, I think the question is why the selection commitee can't seem to get it right. Is it really so difficult to fairly evaluate temas like this? Is the committee so blinded by the "quality wins" stat that all else pales by comparison? Sad, especially when it was obvious from the get-go that UNI was underseeded, last year.

Anonymous said...

Kansas was a lot better than Northern Iowa and should've beaten them last year, but it's clear they got screwed by having to play Northern Iowa in the second round. Like the previous poster said, the committee shouldn't be screwing up seeding like that. In this day and age, underseeding a team like that isn't okay. It's not fair to the underseeded team and it's not fair to teams like Kansas. By earning the number one overall seed, they shouldn't have been burdened with such a tough second round opponent.

Anonymous said...

J. Johnson on Purdue is the best post player in the country!

Todd Lucas said...

Interesting take on Kansas getting hosed. It's really true that they were saddled with a tougher 2nd round opponent than they should have been.

What REALLY irritates me is how fashionable "top 50 wins" has become as THEE measuring stick over the past few years, so much so that people sort of repeat it by rote, as if nothing else matters. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there's so much wrong with that line of thought, it's almost difficult to know where to begin.

Jack said...

With the loss, does Georgetown fall off the two line? Is a 1 seed out of reach even if they win out?

edgeinducedcohesion said...

With with Connecticut and Cincy and Pitt winning, it looks like the Big East 10 or 11 bid-train keeps a-rolling strong for now.

Does a UTEP win give it some more at-large credibility or just make an auto-bid appear that much more likely? Does a Michigan loss mean its at-large hopes are buried next to Maryland's?

mag900 said...

are we supposed to feel sorry for the #1 #1 seed that didn't show up to play its 2nd round game last year? so UNI was a little underseeded. bfd. it's not like kansas got duke in the 2nd round and it's also not like anyone was calling for kansas to lose that game. if you want to win a NC -- and the #1 #1 seed better have that as a goal -- then beating mid-majors along the way isn't exactly an outrageous obstacle.

Anonymous said...

I'm from El Paso, Texas...I've seen this team play several times...It's an NIT team. Unless they win the C-USA tournament which is at home, they're done. I even felt that way before tonight's game. Their best OOC victory was against Michigan on a neutral court...That says it all.

Anonymous said...

With the close loss to Illinois (abysmal 3-point shooting to blame for that), does a win @Iowa this weekend keep Michigan as one of the last 8 teams out?

Anonymous said...

Michigan is done. With 11 losses and 4 games left, the absolute best they can muster is 3-1 because they won't beat Wisconsin and Michigan State(fighting for their tournament life). With a loss somewhere in the BT tournament, that's 13 losses with no big wins. It looks like the NIT.

Bracketology 101 said...

It's still too early in the week to say if Georgetown will fall off the 2 line. What is certain, though, is that their dreams of a 1 seed are pretty much over.

UTEP's at-large chances took a serious hit tonight. It's looking more and more like the only way they're getting a bid is by winning the C-USA tourney.

Michigan needs to win its last four games now to get an at-large. A 9-9 finish won't be good enough with their mediocre OOC resume.

Anonymous said...

Big Georgia fan here, just a crushing loss tonight. Being realistic I have a hard time justifying keeping them in the field right now, they have failed mulitple times at home to win a big game lately,

Bracketology 101 said...

Georgia's going to have to win at Tennessee on Saturday to stay in the bracket.

Including tonight's loss, the Bulldogs have blown four big opportunities at home over the past month (Tennessee, Florida, Xavier, and Vanderbilt.) At-large worthy teams don't do that.

Anonymous said...

OK...Here's a question. If Notre Dame and Pittsburgh wins out and meets in the BE final with Notre Dame winning,will the BE get two #1seeds if Kansas or Duke loses one more game before the tournament?

AG said...

Georgia is done. Cinci might have saved its season and Mick Cronin's job with that win.

With their big win over Wisconsin, Purdue is now 1 game up on the Badgers in the Big Ten standings. Assuming ND is one of the protected seeds in Chicago, who gets the 2nd spot: Purdue or Wisconsin?

San Diego > St. Mary's??? said...

MAJOR UPSET ALERT - (3-21) San Diego ranked #317 in the RPI leads St. Mary's by 11 with 1 minute left.

Unless St. Mary's makes a miraculous comeback this would have to cripple their at-large chances.

Anonymous said...

I think Purdue. They have a higher RPI and SOS. Plus, they have no bad losses...Their worst one is at 20-win Richmond on the road-not an easy game. Wisconsin has semi-bad losses to Penn State and Illinois.

Anonymous said...

Flat-out unacceptable loss for St. Mary's.

San Diego's previous wins by RPI: #123 Utah, #273 Loyola Marymount, #299 CS Bakersfield, DIII Occidental, DIII La Verne

edgeinducedcohesion said...

Maybe Gonzaga's not done in the WCC just yet?

Anonymous said...

If George Mason wins the CAA tournament, can the CAA still be a two bid league?

Bracketology 101 said...

@ Anonymous (11:50): The Big East would have a very good chance of getting two 1s if that scenario unfolded.

@AG: We still like Wisconsin a little better than Purdue because they did more OOC and they have two more Top 50 wins. The Boilermakers can close the gap, and maybe pass the Badgers, though, with a win over Ohio State this weekend.

@Anonymous (7:00): Yes, the CAA can still get two bids if Mason wins the conference tourney. ODU would be that at-large team.

Todd Lucas said...

mag900, nobody is feeling sorry for Kansas. It's merely an interesting observation. They would up with a team in the 2nd round that should have been about a 6 seed instead of a 9 seed. The bigger issue is the committee not being able to adequately seed teams like UNI.

Last year, UNI and Notre Dame could have flipped seeds. The Irish were barely a bubble team a couple of weeks before the end of the regular season. They play very well for three weeks or so and are suddenly a 6 seed. Ridiculous.

Will said...

The problem with teams without quality wins isn't that they aren't good, it's that you don't know how good they are. UNI won the game, so revisionist history says they should've been a 5 seed or something, but without any of the comparison vs other good teams that games against quality opponents offers, it's really pompous to assume that they should have had a higher seed. 28-4 with no good wins DESERVES a #9 seed. Murray State was 30-4. Did they deserve a 5-6 seed? No, the same way UNI didn't.

Will said...

Notre Dame had 2 wins over a 3 seed, a win over a different 3 seed, a win over a 2 seed, and a six seed. UNI had no good wins. Sorry, but revisionist history isn't THAT incorrect. Notre Dame deserved to be 3 seed lines higher, if not more.

Bracketology 101 said...

The biggest winner last night, other than Cincinnati, might have been Gonzaga. St. Mary's inexplicable loss at San Diego left the Zags just a game behind in the loss column in the WCC standings. If Gonzaga wins at St. Mary's next Thursday, the two teams will likely end up sharing the WCC regular season title. That would be an unexpected and much-needed addition to the Zags' resume, which could help them snag an at-large if they advance to the WCC tourney final.

Bracketology 101 said...

St. Mary's at-large chances are by no means crippled, but they need to at worst split their remaining games against Utah State and Gonzaga to feel totally safe.

Joe said...

It is too early to answer the Purdue/Wisconsin question since they both have to play Ohio State. If OSU loses to either team, you would think that team would have the inside track to a better seed and Chicago. Of course, that is advantage Purdue sicne their game is at home. Purdue and Wisconsin will likely meet again in the Big Ten Tournament semfinal. Maybe that game determines who gets Chicago.

Will said...

If texas wins out, the furthest they'll have to travel, likely, for the tournament will be their first round site... They won't leave the state for the other two rounds

Anonymous said...

Will, it's more difficult but far from impossible to determine where a team like UNI ought to be seeded. And it's not mere revisionist history to say they should have been a six seed. And no, Murray State wasn't a six seed because the OVC isn't the MVC. They were better than a 13 seed though.

First, maybe UNI finsihing with an RPI of 17 might be trying to tell you something. I happen to think that the RPI is a pretty flimsy formula but you still have to consider the possibility. And if the RPI is so unreliable that a team ranked 17th is really a nine seed, how can you trust the formula to tell you how many top 50wins a team has? Completely convoluted logic.

Anonymous said...

Wisky already beat OSU, so they have the edge until Purdue beats OSU.

Will said...

Temple was 8, and a 5 seed. Tell you anything?

I think RPI tends to be a ridiculously overused stat. And in case you didn't notice, I used tournament seeds, not RPI. UNI didn't beat any teams that made the tourney, Notre dame beat 4 teams that got top 3 seeds.

Will said...

Or... Temple at 8 RPI lost first round. Vandy at 26 lost first round, Utah state at 30 lost in the first round, UNM at 10 lost second round, KU at 1 lost in the second round...

Will said...

Forgot Georgetown, who was #7, and lost first round.

mag900 said...

it's completely revisionist history to claim that UNI should have been seeded higher AFTER it beat kansas. so it had an rpi of 17? bfd. where should temple have been seeded with its rpi 8 and first round loss? what about new mexico and its rpi of 10 and a 3 seed that barely squeaked by 14-seed montana and then got blown out in the 2nd round?

the committee usually screws up plenty of seeds but i have absolutely no sympathy for kansas last year having to play a mid-major in the 2nd round that actually was a good team.

Will said...

And no. 11 Villanova, who lost second round, 15 pitt, in the second, Texas A&M, who lost in the second round... In fact, 7 of the top 16 lost in either the first or second round.

Anonymous said...

Aside from RPI, can you give me another reason UNI should have been seeded higher?

Anonymous said...

mag, why do you assume that it wasn't possible to know that UNI was better than a 9 seed before they beat Kansas? I can't retroactively type this, as of March 15, last year. Even if they'd have lost to Kansas, they were better than a 9 seed.

Everyone is making the mistake of assuming that I'm commenting based solely on what happened in the tourney. Who cares when Villanova lost? Completely irrelevant.

Will said...

Then it's irrelevant that UNI beat KU, right?

Anonymous said...

Of course, I as much as said that in my last post.

Will said...

Then where is your proof that UNI was good?

Anonymous said...

You're making a circular argument. The RPI said they were good. So did the Sagarin Ratings. They were 27-4, coming out of a good conference. Not Big 6 good, of course, but the champions of Big 6 conferences are typically battling for #1 seeds. I also knew they were good because I actually watched them play multiple times. Top 50 wins are just a piece of the puzzle, not the only piece.

As to Notre Dame, yes they had some good wins but they also had 11 losses and 17 of their wins came at home.

Will said...

Interesting... If only the committee had your phone number on record to call you up and discuss "eyeball tests". Unfortunately you are ABSOLUTELY incorrect that Quality wins are "just a piece of the puzzle". They mean almost everything. If a team can't beat good teams, then guess what? They aren't good, no matter how many times they beat missouri state or drake.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the guys on here had No. Iowa a 7 seed in their final bracket, last year. Somebody else besides me thought they were underseeded. And they were trying to project where the committee would have them, not where they thought UNI really belonged.

It's more than eyeball tests. You're completely ignoring other numbers like the RPI itself or the Sagarin Ratings. Those are designed specifically to take into account divergent schedules.

Quality Wins is the most overused term there is. Winning against the top 50 is great but there's a big differece between beating the #50 team and beating the #10 team. Beating #50 at home is vastly different from beating them on the road. Context is way more important than some raw figure.

A road win against #90 is actually a better win than beating #50 at home. Sagarin's numbers show that a win at home against team #50 is about equal to a road win against team #120. Context.

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