Monday, February 21, 2011

Bracketology 101's Field of 68 - Feb. 21

When we put together the bracket each week, we fully expect there to be a debate about the last four teams in. This week, the debate started with the first four teams in, and it continued all the way down to the bubble.

Losses by Pittsburgh, Kansas, Ohio State, and Texas caused a shake-up on the 1 line for the first time in over a month. Texas' loss at Nebraska knocked the Longhorns down to the top of the 2 line and allowed Duke to move up. Also in the top quarter of the bracket, Purdue moved from a 4 to a 2 after beating Wisconsin and Ohio State, Georgetown fell to a 3 after losing at UConn, and UConn fell to a 4 after losing at Louisville.

Three at-large bids changed hands this week as Virginia Tech, Baylor, and Memphis dropped out and Kansas State, Nebraska, and Gonzaga jumped in. The Wildcats got the nod thanks to their upset of Kansas in Manhattan, and Nebraska earned their spot after upsetting Texas in Lincoln. Neither team is a lock at this point to get to 9-7 in conference, which is troubling, but we think there's still a decent chance that both can get in. Nebraska needs to beat Kansas State at home on Wednesday and finish 9-7 finish in conference to stay in the hunt, while Kansas State needs at least an 8-8 finish and at least one win in the Big XII tourney.

The final spot in the bracket went to Gonzaga, which won both of its games this week (over Santa Clara and San Francisco) and got some help when St. Mary's lost at San Diego. If the Zags can win at St. Mary's on Thursday (and we think they can given the week the Gaels just had), they will likely share the WCC regular season title with St. Mary's. That title, plus a decent OOC resume and a trip to the WCC final, will probably be enough for Gonzaga to get an at-large if they need it.

Another notable development this week was the difficulty we had finding teams for the First Eight Out list. Usually, we have a dozen (or more) teams to pick from, but this week, we were stretching to find candidates. Even the teams on the First Four Out list have tough roads ahead in order to get into the bracket. Virginia Tech has to face Duke at home this weekend, Memphis needs to win its final four regular season games and plays at UTEP on Saturday, VCU is still stuck behind George Mason and Old Dominion in the Colonial pecking order (probably the only way the Colonial is going to get three bids is if VCU wins the conference tourney), and Michigan has three tough games left (vs. Wisconsin, at Minnesota, vs. Michigan State). Boston College, Colorado State, Nebraska and Gonzaga may not have great resumes, but they're in better shape than the teams chasing them.

Other notable upgrades seed-wise this week were St. John's, who moved up from a 7 to a 5 after their wins over Marquette and Pitt; Cincinnati, who moved up from a 10 to an 8 after their win over Louisville); and George Mason, who climbed six spots on the S-curve to the top of the 8 line. Notable downgrades were St. Mary's, who dropped from a 7 to a 10 after their 0-2 week; and Minnesota, who fell from an 8 to a 10 after losing at Penn State.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In
Boston College, Colorado State, Nebraska, Gonzaga

First Four Out
Virginia Tech, Memphis, VCU, Michigan

Next Four Out
Baylor, Clemson, Cleveland State, Missouri State

"First Four" Games
Boston College vs. Colorado State, Nebraska vs. Gonzaga, Murray State vs. Morgan State, Texas Southern vs. McNeese State


Conference Breakdown
Big East (11), Big XII (6), Big Ten (6), SEC (6), ACC (4), MWC (4), A-10 (3), Pac-10 (3), Colonial (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

ACC - Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Boston College

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Temple, Xavier, Richmond

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

Big Sky - Montana

Big South - Coastal Carolina

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

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

Big West - Long Beach State

Colonial - George Mason, Old Dominion

Conference USA - UTEP

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Harvard

MAAC - Fairfield

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Wichita State

MWC - San Diego State, BYU, UNLV, Colorado State

Northeast - Long Island

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - Arizona, UCLA, Washington

Patriot - Bucknell

SEC - Florida, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama

Southern - Charleston

Southland - McNeese State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Florida Atlantic

SWAC - Texas Southern

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga


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

The 2s
San Diego State, Texas, Notre Dame, Purdue

The 3s
BYU, Georgetown, Florida, Wisconsin

The 4s
Connecticut, Louisville, Villanova, Vanderbilt

The 5s
Syracuse, North Carolina, Kentucky, St. John's

The 6s
Arizona, Texas A&M, Missouri, West Virginia

The 7s
Temple, Xavier, UNLV, UCLA

The 8s
George Mason, Florida State, Cincinnati, Old Dominion

The 9s
Utah State, Illinois, Tennessee, Washington

The 10s
Georgia, St. Mary's, Minnesota, Michigan State

The 11s
Richmond, Marquette, Alabama, Kansas State

The 12s
Butler, Boston College vs. Colorado State (FF), UTEP, Harvard

The 13s
Nebraska vs. Gonzaga (FF), Wichita State, Belmont, Charleston

The 14s
Coastal Carolina, Oakland, Fairfield, Vermont

The 15s
Kent State, Bucknell, Long Beach State, Long Island

The 16s
Montana, Florida Atlantic, Murray State vs. Morgan State (FF), Texas Southern vs. McNeese State (FF)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail us at or send us a tweet at


Anonymous said...

Why are UTEP and Harvard 12's and Nebraska and Gonzaga on 13 line? Seeding conflict or are they considered better then them?

Anonymous said...

Simply do not understand how Notre Dame, SDSU and Purdue are ahead of BYU on the #2 line. BYU has 7 top 50 wins 3 top 25 wins. SDSU has 4 top 50 wins and zero top 25 wins. Purdue 6 top 50 wins 2 top 25 wins. Notre Dame does have more top end wins than BYU but they have 5 losses and their advantage with quality wins is slim (top 50 wins 8). Compare Notre Dame and Purdue's road/neutral record to that of BYU. ND 6-5, Purdue 7-5. BYU is 14-2. Purdue's done all their work at home with the exception of the win over Illinois but that's nothing to hang your hat on. What big road wins do you project them to get by years end Iowa, Indiana? Even a win over MSU on the road doesn't put them in BYU's class for Road/Neutral Quality wins. BYU has a better RPI than all 3. More top 25 wins and top 50 wins that 2 out of the 3. Beat SDSU head to head by double digits. Has 3 fewer losses than ND and Purdue. Better SOS than all 3 and they are sitting #9 on your S-Curve? Based on any reasonable criteria for seeding there is no way BYU falls behind all three of the aforementioned teams. (Top 25,50 wins, road record, SOS, RPI etc). I appreciate all you guys do but I simply cannot agree with BYU sitting 9th on your S-curve.

Bracketology 101 said...

If UTEP and Harvard run the table (we think they can), they deserve 12 seeds.

Remember, we project ahead when putting together our bracket. We think that BYU is going to lose at SDSU on Saturday, and that's why we left them on the 3 line. If we did the bracket as if the season ended today, we'd have the Cougars a 2 seed for the reasons you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to go by top end wins Gtown has 5 top 25 wins and 7 top 30 wins (3 away) to go along with their 8 top 50 wins (4 away). Pretty impressive.

Anonymous said...

Lets say hypothetically that Alabama wins the rest of their regular season games and wins the SEC tourney whats the highest seed they can get? Also if bama loses to florida, but wins the other regular season games then loses in the first round of the SEC tournament are they in? Then same situation except they win one game in the SEC tournament are they still in? Sorry for all the questions thanks.

Eric Z said...

Hi everyone:

Quick question on the bracket. In one of the DC subregionals, you have Syracuse as a 5 and Villanova as a 4 - which means they would meet in a 2nd round game.

Is that legal/allowed? I know there are 11 teams, but doesn't the committee to separate the teams so they don't meet until the sweet 16? Or is that principle out the window?

(You could fix this by swapping Syracuse and Texas A&M)

(Or, if this bracket actaully came to pass, this question would be moot - as I would expect Harvard and Belmont to win those games.....)

Anonymous said...

So how many loses does marquette have to get to in order to be in trouble..really 11 loss team that keeps losing is not even in last four in?

Also UCLA loses and moves up to a 7?

Colorado st loses at home..they stay as well?

question for the competition? quesiton yourselves

Anonymous said...

I'd swap Georgia and Tennessee from the SEC, giving UGA the 9 and UT the 10.

UGA should end up with a better conference and overall record, and RPI within a few points of UT, and UT has several bad losses.

Bracketology 101 said...

Clean up some of these questions...

If Alabama were to win out they could climb to the 6/7 line. The scenario of losing to Florida and then winning a SEC Tourney game would make them safe. If they were to lose that first round game, then things could get interesting and a lot would depend on what happened throughout college bball (keep in mind that their first round SEC game will likely be against a bubbly Georgia or Tennessee).

This week a 4/5 Big East matchup was inevitable since we have 3 Big East teams on the 4 line and 2 on the 5 line. This is authorized since the Big East is getting more than 8 bids. And also keep in mind that these round of 32 games are now considered third round games because of the "first four" games.

Marquette is by no means safe, but with the schedule they have left they should be able to get to 10-8 in the Big East which will be enough. Colorado State's home loss to UNLV dropped them down to the last four in, and the only thing that will ensure them of a bid is a win over BYU or SDSU (they will likely have 3 cracks at that over the next few weeks). We weren't crazy about UCLA on the 7 line but we like their chances this week at home against Arizona and their OOC wins over St. John's and BYU keep looking better and better.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone think that the committee is going to put Nebraska in? Have you seen their OOC schedule, they have 1 win away from home. Their schedule screams of "we don't want to play in the tournament this year." Nebraska played the worst possible OOC schedule they could find, all at home of course. You guys will be wrong on this one, the committee will once again make an example of teams that play awful OOC schedules.

Anonymous said...

Alabama doesn't deserve to be in the tournament as well. 3-4 against the top 100, 10 wins against RPI top 200 teams, they finished 0-3 in the Paradise Jam, last place, the rest of their OOC schedule was absolute garbage other than a pasting against Purdue. Alabama has rebounded by beating some overrated SEC teams, but has alot of work to do to get into the dance. Beating Kentucky at home and leading a SEC West that 4 or 5 CAA teams would win does not make up for a pitiful OOC.

Bracketology 101 said...

Tennessee's still ahead of Georgia because of their OOC resume. Georgia has one Top 50 OOC win; Tennessee has three, and two of those (Pitt and Nova) are Top 25s.

Bracketology 101 said...

There's no defending Nebraska's OOC resume. Their best OOC win is USC (RPI 86) and their non-conference RRI is 301. The Huskers are the latest in a long line of teams that are benefiting from an expanded field and the weakest bubble in years. If they finish 9-7 in conference and win a Big XII tourney game, they'll be right in the mix for a bid, regardless of what they did (or didn't do) OOC.

Anonymous said...

I'm an ODU fan and hate VCU, but at least VCU has won @ODU, @ Wichita State, @JMU, UCLA neutral court, they have 10 wins away from home against better competition than Nebraska and Alabama.

Bracketology 101 said...

We like VCU's resume too, but they've been hurt a lot by George Mason's current tear through the Colonial. Mason is proobaby going to win the league by two games, which puts them ahead of VCU in the pecking order, and ODU (despite a home loss to VCU) has a better at-large resume. The Monarchs beat Xavier, Richmond, Clemson, Cleaveland State, and Dayton OOC, and in conference, they won at VCU and beat Mason at home. That's a lot of quality wins for a team out of the Colonial. Their RPI is 30 points higher than VCU's as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping ODU can win out, which is possible through the CAA tourney, in order to get away from the 8/9 line. ODU's projected RPI in that scenario is 14 with 13 top 100 wins. A 6 seed is warranted IMO, in that scenario, if not then I hope they can get seeded around 10/11.

Anonymous said...

Temple down one spot this week? I assume it has something to do with Duke on Wednesday? Maybe recent injuries too?

Bracketology 101 said...

Temple's game at Duke was a factor, but the main reason for the drop was St. John's, West Virginia, and Arizona posting big wins that bumped them past the Owls (and Xavier) on the S-curve.

derek.slimmon said...

Wow... you have West Virginia playing Alabama in the 1st round. That would be extremely bad news for West Virginia. West Virginia would be lucky to get 50 points.

Anonymous said...

Cincinnati had a big week. With 4 tough games left (however, 2 are at home), do you think Cincinnati ultimately makes the dance or slips out?

and, if they did pull an upset Wednesday @Georgetown, would that punch their ticket for good?

Anonymous said...

Regarding Tennessee, they have a couple of great OOC wins but also two or three fairly bad OOC losses. Frankly, I can't believe they're not squarely on the bubble, right now.

Jefferson said...

Question, you said your looking ahead with BYU on the 3 line, but wouldn't the winner of the BYU - SDSU be a two seed and the loser be a 4?

I'm assuming one of the three Big East teams on the four line gets two wins this week (obviously the loser would stay a three if the didn't happen)

Also how far back of Purdue is Gtown on the S-curve? Given Gtown's week schedule for the rest of the season can they move back to a two seed without going to the finals of the big east tourney?

Also if St. John's wins the big east tourney do they move up to a three seed? And I guess part of that is a question about your methodology, do you consider St. John's at MSG in the BE tourney to be playing Neutral court games or home games?

Thanks for answering any or all of these questions, You guys kick Lunardi's ass.

Timothy said...

Where do you see the Noles being if they finish the next 4 games .500 and win one in the ACCT?

Anonymous said...

Obviously the seedings give us a rough idea about where teams are on the S-cureve, but could you post your actual S-curve? I think it would be interesting and would spark even more debate.

Anonymous said...

How do you see Florida finishing its final four regular-season games along with the SEC Tournament?

Bracketology 101 said...

Quick hits:

We think Cincinnati will find a way to split their final four regular season games, which will make them a lock. Winning at Georgetown would make them a virtual lock too.

If SDSU beats BYU, an argument could be made for them to be a 1 seed next week. At worst, the loser of that game is a 3.

Georgetown can definitely get back up to the 2 line. If they win their final three games, they'll likely be a 2 heading into the Big East tourney.

With nine losses, St. John's won't get any higher than a 4 seed. Playing at the Garden for the Big Easy tourney (vs. playing at a neutral site) won't make much difference in St. John's final seeding.

Our seed list is our S-curve.

We'll say Florida goes 3-1 down the stretch and makes the final of the SEC tourney.

derek.slimmon said...

I'd be very impressed if Florida ended the season 3-1. vs. Georgia, @Kentucky, vs. Alabama, & @Vanderbilt. I see more like 2-2 but it's a very tough one to predict. Georgia is still pretty angry over that double OT loss earlier and playing on the road in Kentucky and Vanderbilt while hosting a streaking Alabama is extremely daunting. Florida has one of the tougher schedules to close out a season. Their seed will be well earned if they take care of business.

Bracketology 101 said...

If Florida does finish 2-2, they'll probably be a 4 seed heading into the SEC tourney.

Evan said...

I really wish people would stop judging Penn State by their record but by their SOS, wins vs top-50 RPI, etc. I know they don't belong in yet but to not even be mentioned in the 1st or 2nd four out? With a win @Northwestern this week, I expect them to be in the last 4 out when OSU comes to Happy Valley.

Anonymous said...

Penn State has 1 win away from home, againt Indiana. That is all you need to know about Penn St, NCAA tournament games are played away from home. Go beat some good teams on the road and get back to me.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how SDSU remains on the 3 line if BYU does manage to beat them (agree BYU is no worse than a 3 if they lose) -- mostly because a loss from SDSU is likely to drop their RPI to 6-7 at least, and would leave them with 0 top 25 RPI wins, and just 4-2 against RPI top 50. Not to say they couldn't get back there through MWC tourney -- just not sure they'd deserve it based on regular season.

Bracketology 101 said...

Penn State might crack the Next Four Out list with a win at Northwestern, but that's about it.

jzovas said...

If UConn finishes 2-2 (10-8 in Big East) and say wins 1 game in the Big East...what seed are they looking at?

Joe said...

Is Arizona's seed a function of the Pac-10 being down? A record of 23-4 for the projected Pac 10 champs seems like it should get you a top 4 seed. Are you projecting them to lose again?

Anonymous said...

Penn State, youve got to be joking. They have won one road game, and have been swept by Michigan a team they are competing for an at-large with.

A win at Northwestern would only keep them alive, not do any good for them. They dont play a strong OOC schedule either.

Anonymous said...

I'd piss myself if UF goes 3-1 and gets to the SEC Tournament final. I just hope they get to play in Tampa.

Jefferson said...

BTW as a GTown fan I love your current bracket, playing as the 3 seed in SDSU's bracket and looking up at a Duke team we always match up well against, especially now that St. John's gave us a blue print for how to beat them (not that hitting every shot and keep down unforced errors and Duke shooting poorly is really that hard to figure out)

Anonymous said...

I think if SDSU loses against BYU on Saturday a lot of questions will be asked about the Aztecs resume, in their defense the win @ Gonzaga hasn't had the luster they had hoped and with the recent descent of St. Mary's and to some extent Witchita St. the Aztecs solid OOC wins are losing some punch. The real question is if SDSU loses Saturday and then again in the conference semi's to UNLV being that I project UNLV as the #3 seed in the MWC tourney where do the Aztecs end up? Do they hold onto a 3 or do they slip to a 4 seed?

Evan said...

Everyone has a flaw on the bubble. Yes psu has only 1 conference road win. They also play the Big 10's toughest schedule, only getting to play iowa and illinois at home. The "tournaments a road game" argument is invalid anyway. They are neutral site, not on the road. Therefore, conference tournament record is a much better indicator.

If Penn State can beat OSU, they should be back on the good side of the bubble.

Evan said...

Iowa and indiana*, excuse me

Anonymous said...

That's a perfect example of why most non-BCS schools think that the media and selection process is an absolute joke. Penn State and Nebraska get 10-15 opportunities to get 2 quality wins-in conference whereas they don't come close to beating anyone OOC. Whereas, teams like ODU, VCU and Mason are consistently better throughout the entire season to only get leapfrogged by the 7th and 8th best teams from the Big10 and Big12. Those mid-majors historically do much better in the tournament than the leftover crap from the BCS schools.

Bracketology 101 said...

Arizona's 5 seed is a result of the Pac-10 being down. In a normal year, they'd be a 3 or 4.

If SDSU loses to BYU on Saturday and then loses in the MWC semis, they'll probably be a 4.

That's a BIG if for Penn State. Let's worry about Northwestern first.

give me the brandy said...

Penn St has to win 2 of their last 3 just to get back in the discussion and they won't be favored in any of them. They're clearly behind Michigan in the Big 10 pecking order. If they both finish 9-9 you can't put PSU in over Michigan (better non-conference, head-to-head sweep).

I'm very sceptical about Gonzaga being in your field, I don't see any reason to think they should win at St. Mary's. If they lose that game, there's no way they're getting an at-large. VCU's and Memphis's resumes look stronger overall to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to say you're wrong about VCU, OD and George Mason, but consider the fact that none of those teams have beaten a top 25 opponent. Then consider the fact that Nebraska beat a #2 and #11...losing by only 3 points @ Kansas sure doesn't look bad either.

Anonymous said...

ODU has 9 top 100 wins, neutral court win against ranked Xavier, who is RPI#23 and win against George Mason RPI#20, neutral court win against Clemson, win over fellow bubble teams Richmond, Cleveland State, played OOC Georgetown and @Missouri, noone attempts to play @Missouri.

George Mason is going to 16-2 in the CAA, has wins @VCU, @Duquesne, @N Iowa, also has a win over ODU and is in the middle of a 13 game win streak.

VCU beat UCLA on a neutral court, won at Wichita State.

The CAA has good teams that are in 5th and 6th place in Drexel and JMU, Drexel won @ Louisville and will have to fight for 6th in the CAA.

Anonymous said...

It's also probably worth noting that Nebraska pounded a Hofstra team that's 12-4 in the Colonial Athletic.

Anonymous said...

Hofstra is 12-4 but has played a weak CAA schedule, ODU once at home in which they were pounded, VCU once in which they lost. Hofstra actually beat George Mason early in the season and was pounded in the rematch.

Hofstra is 1-3 against the class of the CAA, three blowout losses.

Hofstra is the CAA's 6th best team.

mag900 said...

"ODU has 9 top 100 wins"

who cares about top 100 wins? does it really matter if you are racking up wins against the 80th and 90th best teams? top 10, top 25 and top 50 wins are much more relevant. if top 100 wins are your thing, then spend more time analyzing the nit field.

Anonymous said...

I was told the committee looks at it but fair enough.

ODU 2-1 vs. top 25
3-3 vs. top 50

Current RPI 28

Anonymous said...

mag, yes racking up wins against teams #80 and #90 on the road is actually tougher than beating #50 at home. Everybody conveniently seems to forget that where a game is played is of significance.

I did a little exercise, using Sagarin's numebers, a couple of years ago that showed beating #50 at home is roughly the same thing as beating #120 on the road.

Indiana and Iowa both have top 50 wins this year, primarily because of opportunity to play those games at home. Maybe they ought to be in the tournament too.

Anonymous said...

Nebraska = 2-5 vs. RPI Top 50.
Old Dominion = 3-3 vs. RPI Top 50.

Go Noles said...

"I'd piss myself if UF goes 3-1 and gets to the SEC Tournament final. I just hope they get to play in Tampa."

Unless UF completely falls apart and drops to a 6-seed, they will be in Tampa. No other top 4 seeds are tied into Tampa so Tampa will be getting UF's pod (whatever it is) and a 4-5-12-13 pod. Even if they drop to a 5 seed and aren't technically tied into Tampa, I can't see the committee shipping them out somewhere when they can easily put them into 1 of the 2 4-5-12-13 pods that are in Tampa.

As an FSU grad, there's little to no chance we will be here in Tampa (outside of running the table the rest of the way) so I'm planning on making a fortune on my 2 club level tickets on ebay to some sucker gator fan :).

Anonymous said...

We are all forgetting one thing(although this is a great event-I think one of the top 2-Super Bowl being the other)that has plagued college basketball foe decades.The mid-majors most of the time(not all)cannot get top teams to play them on equal terms...Here's my argument-Say a team like Missouri Stae(they probably won't make the tournament, but are somewhat near the bubble)wants to play Texas, UConn, Arizona-teams year in and year out that have quality teams...

Anonymous said...

They will only play them in most cases if they travel to their venue and not "make" a deal to get a home game for the following year!
There are several reasons, but the big ones are:1)The more home games they have = $$$$$
2) They know they have a good chance of losing whereas in the home game their chances are better.

Anonymous said...

But on the other side of the fence, if that mid-major travels anyway and loses a close game, they are critized for not having a good OOC resume...there's more to this(sometimes the big boy throws a bone when they do travel to the mid-major,but it's calculated-they know it's a down year for that team)as there are very educated people on this site, but B101 what do you think?

TheAnswer1313 said...

Your seed list is the s-curve?

Can you post what adjustments if any you had to do. I know the NCAA can move a team up or down 1 seed so I was wondering if you had to do that here with your bracket?

Anonymous said...

I live in El Paso,Texas(UTEP)-not a homer though as love the game. It would be great to see a Kentucky, Purdue, etc come here. It doesn't happen though as I guess we aren't big enough. Most years we have a decent team, but maybe the threat of losing at UTEP doesn't look good on a big time team's resume.

Bracketology 101 said...

Yes, our seed list is our S-curve. We didn't have to adjust anyone this week to avoid seeding conflicts. When we do move teams for that reason, we say so in our write-up.

Jefferson said...

Responding to Anonymous about mid majors:

I'm a Gtown fan and I appreciate that we're willing to play at ODU. They are a great random mid major rival and I always enjoy our games with them. We also played at temple and lost a close one. These game always help our resume when it comes tournament time. I appreciate that we are rewarded for those games and think that as long as that is the case, other Big conference schools will consider changing their position and play more games at mid majors.

give me the brandy said...

Duke is just 1-2 against the teams seeded 8 or better right now. It's crazy that they're the number one team right now (in the polls). They're best win is a home win vs UNC. Ohio St or Pitt should be number one.

Duke will still probably be a number one seed, because they should win the ACC tournament, but I'm not sure they're going be most deserving in the end.

Anonymous said...

@ Go Noles

I certainly hope you are right, although our recent tendency to fade down the stretch has me worried (especially considering the fact that all 4 teams are capable of making the NCAA Tournament and the SEC Quarterfinal game will probably be against a dangerous Tennessee team again).

Bracketology 101 said...

The major vs. mid-major argument has raged for years, and not a whole lot has really changed. It's an apples vs. oranges argument. It's always going to be difficult to compare the resume of a top mid-major to the resume of a middle-of-the-pack major conference team. The major conference team is going to have more chances at quality wins, and as a result, will usually have more quality wins. They'll also have more losses due to a more difficult schedule. Mid-majors will get occasional chances to play home games or neutral site games against power conference teams, and if they win those games, it works wonders for their resume. If they lose, it makes them look inferior. On the flip side, it's a lose-lose proposition for major conference teams to schedule mid-majors, home or away. If they win, they should have won. If they lose, it's viewed in most cases as a bad loss. The BracketBuster event was supposed to give mid-majors a chance to pick up another quality win that they would otherwise not have a chance to get. The problem is that the event has turned into mid-major on mid-major crime a lot of years. Some mid-majors get a boost with a win, and others are written off with a loss.

Scheduling aside, what we have seen over the last 10 years is that any good mid-major can play (and can beat) any quality major conference team (see: George Mason in 2006, Butler last year). The power conferences are always going to be deeper and better, and bring in more talented players, but the mid-majors are catching up because they tend to be veteran squads which have played together longer (with the occasional star player sprinkled in). The recent success of mid-majors is why we have always been a proponent of letting more "little guys" in the tournament each year. The committee (like the BCS in college football) has not always agreed, which is disappointing.

It's a never-ending debate, but it's still a fun one to have.

Anonymous said...

B101-perfect response to the mid-major vs. major...thanks! I guess the silver lining is our lives as college basketball fans would not be half as interesting without some inequities.

Anonymous said...

Here comes the end of season bias....the top 4 teams lose and they hardly move. Watch what happens to either BYU or SDSU when they lose next Saturday. Same O same O...

Here is a problem I have with all the statistical posturing: The 1 seeds should be the winners of the top 4 conferences this year. That most likely will be Duke, Pitt., Texas, and Ohio State. Now….how do we reconcile with the fact that Uconn. went to Tx and beat them at home? Texas with their 4 losses will win the Big 12 and yet I hear the nation clamoring for Kansas to be a 1 seed as well. Duke is now the consensus #1 ranked team in America (they should be, they are the National Champs) and yet they will not play anyone away from the smurf center; excuse me, they did and they lost to St Johns.

This year the MWC is the 4th best conference, not the ACC, the SEC, or the Pac 10. Why is the winner of the MWC not a viable 1 seed? BYU and SDSU have top 5 RPIs and BYU has played and beat as many ranked teams as any of the 5 five teams in the country.

Enough said.

Anonymous said...

For the record...As an avid college basketball fan,Georgetown is one of those teams that is willing to travel to play mid-majors. That is great. You see the way I look at it, if you are a really good team in a major conference, you should win about 80percent of those games anyway. The added bonus is if you lose and that mid-major is high quality that year, it won't hurt the resume as much as you think.

Anonymous said...

It's a funny thing. The conversation between anonymous and anonymous about the mid-major vs. major discussion-Georgetown as an example...I agree with everything both people said including B101's response.I have nothing against Georgetown, but they were pummeled in the tournament last year by low seed #14 Ohio U. Sometimes the venue is a result changer, but the way Ohio U played that night, they would have won decisively anywhere. The point I am making is you still have to play the game wherever.

Anonymous said...

With UTEP losing today-do you think their at-large hopes are done?

Anonymous said...

Alabama is playing just about as well as anyone in the country right now. They started off slow because we had a freshman point guard trying to get in a rhythm. Well now he is rolling. I understand that they started off terribly, but if you watch them play you will see that they are definitely a tourney team

LOL @ Alabama said...

The reason Alabama is playing well is because of who they're playing. Their schedule is a complete joke and any NIT team would have AT LEAST their record if not much better. Sure they have 10 SEC wins but 8 of their 12 SEC games have come against sub-100 teams. Again, any NIT team should be able to pull that off.

Their only 2 good wins are against 11-loss Tennessee that might not even make the Tournament and a Kentucky team that can't beat ANYONE on the road (1-5 in the SEC). On top of that Alabama has FIVE horrible losses. When your good win to bad loss ratio is 2:5, you're not an NCAA Tournament team no matter what your conference record is.

If Alabama is at-large worthy then so are Belmont and Coastal Carolina, none of which truly are.

Anonymous said...

Lunardi has Butler and Memphis playing in a First Four game as 11-seeds whilst Minnesota is a 12-seed. What?

Anonymous said...

BEST line I've read on this site:
"The problem is that the event has turned into mid-major on mid-major crime a lot of years."

C'mon B101, let's give some love to the Horizon....?

I'll ask again, how do you figure that Butler will be the rep from that conference, based on their mediocre season this year? DO you REALLY expect them to run the table in the conference tourney even though they've had a tough time on the road against above average Horizon teams?

They'll be lucky to get the #2 seed in the conference tourney?

Anonymous said...

I've been a Butler fan all my life and kind of wonder the same thing. They're playing better now but I'm not sure if I can expect it to last or not. If they wind up with the #3 or #4 seed and have to win four games to get the conference auto-bid, it's going to test their mettle, for sure.

Anonymous said...

Have you been watching Alabama? They struggled at the start of the year, but now they are a legit tournament team. They play as good at home as they do on the road. They went into Vanderbilt last week and should have won, but got a couple of bad calls at the end of the game. Plus that Tennessee win is huge because it was at Tenn and if I remember correctly they beat Pitt pretty much at Pitt, they beat Villanova and they beat Belmont that win and a UK win is pretty good. If you watch Alabama play right now they have the eye vote meaning that they are playing like a tournament team right now.

Anonymous said...

What happens if Wichita State beats Missouri State this weekend to win the Valley, (which will make thme undefeated on the road in conference), but then neither they or MSU win the conference tourney. Are they both out? What teams need to fall off in the last 2 weeks to get them an at large?

mag900 said...

"Duke is just 1-2 against the teams seeded 8 or better right now. It's crazy that they're the number one team right now (in the polls). They're best win is a home win vs UNC. Ohio St or Pitt should be number one.

Duke will still probably be a number one seed, because they should win the ACC tournament, but I'm not sure they're going be most deserving in the end."

could you do any more pathetic whining? duke did schedule the preseason #2 and #3 teams in the country -- mich st and ksu. it's not duke's fault that both have failed miserably in living up to their expectations. they are playing 7-seed temple this week to help calm your angst.

also, nobody really cares that some random person on the internet doesn't think that duke is "most deserving" of a 1 seed. if duke wins out except for at unc and gets to the ACC finals, it will be 30-3 when the committee finalizes its seedings. since when does 30-3 in the ACC (or any BCS conference) with many quality OOC wins (mich st, ksu, butler, marquette and temple) not get a 1 seed? i'll give you a hint -- never.

Anonymous said...

Many teams get a "rep" credit...If this year's Michigan State team had another name on their uniform ,I think most fans that are not rooting for that team would have written off that team a long time ago. I'm not a Butler fan, but mediocre basketball is mediocre basketball and yes I agree Butler has been that this year, but three-quarters of the SEC is mediocre or inferior. Only Florida(way above mediocre), Tennessee(barely above mediocrity),and Kentucky(who is mediocre because on the road they are atrocious and at home although the final scores did not indicate as much they struggled against Indiana and Penn)

LOL @ Alabama said...

"Have you been watching Alabama? They struggled at the start of the year, but now they are a legit tournament team. They play as good at home as they do on the road. They went into Vanderbilt last week and should have won, but got a couple of bad calls at the end of the game. Plus that Tennessee win is huge because it was at Tenn and if I remember correctly they beat Pitt pretty much at Pitt, they beat Villanova and they beat Belmont that win and a UK win is pretty good. If you watch Alabama play right now they have the eye vote meaning that they are playing like a tournament team right now."

Yes I've watched Bama plenty. They look like an NIT team. A pretty good NIT team, but an NIT team. They're by far the best of the SEC West but that's about as good as being the best of the Big South or the Atlantic Sun.

I love how you mention Tennessee's good wins but fail to mention their losses to Oakland, Southern Cal, Arkansas, and Charlotte. If they lose @Vandy they will definitely need to win their last 3 games or will need to make a run in the SEC Tourney to feel safe on Selection Sunday.

Besides, I never said the @Tennessee and Kentucky wins weren't good wins but every major conference bubble team in the country has at least 2 wins like that. The difference is, the others don't have 5 terrible losses like 'Bama does. Going 3-4 vs. the top 100 is terrible and going 5-4 vs. 100-200 teams is even worse. 2 pretty good wins doesn't make up for those facts.

Just because you pound on a bunch of pathetic teams like LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, South Carolina, and Mississippi State doesn't make you pass the "eye test".

Anonymous said...

@ LOL Alabama... Who do you think deserves bids from the SEC right now then? I want to hear your thoughts on the SEC as a whole.

Anonymous said...

I made comments about the mediocity
of the SEC...I didn't even mention Alabama because despite their record, they are less than mediocre simply because the SEC is atrocious and that they have several bad losses.Sadly, they will probably get in denying a credible team like VCU or Wichita State in the cold.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, B101, for recognizing Memphis for the borderline fraud that they are.

Bracketology 101 said...

UTEP's at-large chances are all but finished after losing at home to UCF today. The only C-USA team with a chance at an a-large right now is Memphis, but they still have some work to do to get on the right side of the bubble.

LOL @ Alabama said...

"@ LOL Alabama... Who do you think deserves bids from the SEC right now then? I want to hear your thoughts on the SEC as a whole."

Clearly Florida, Vandy, and Kentucky are locks. They all have top 20 RPIs, multiple top 50 wins (8, 5, and 5 respectively), and few bad losses (3, 2, and 0).

Then behind those 3 would be Georgia. They have a decent RPI with 3 pretty good wins and NO BAD LOSSES. Their worst loss is to #33 Tennessee. No other bubble teams can say that.

Then behind Georgia would be Tennessee. The only reason they're safe right now is because of genius scheduling by Bruce Pearl. I don't think their anywhere as good as their resume (RPI, quality wins, etc.) would indicate but their resume should get them in as long as they don't fall apart down the stretch. I'd imagine they will be anywhere from a 9-11 seed and might even fall into the play-in game if they're not careful.

Behind those 5 would be 'Bama. If Bama can get to 13-3 in the SEC and win a 1st round SEC Tourney game they'll get in. If they go 13-3 and lose their first round Tourney game they'll either be in the NIT or in the play-in game.

12-4 without a run to the SEC Championship and you can start planning on hosting an NIT game in Tuscaloosa.

There's only been 1 team in the history of the NCAA Tourney that's gotten in with a worse RPI than #70 and Bama's resume isn't nearly good enough to become the 2nd.

Bracketology 101 said...

Does any Butler fan like their team's chances? Jeez.

We have the Bulldogs in as the Horizon auto bid because we think their early struggles in conference play are behind them. They'll be on a seven game winning streak going into the Horizon tournament and they are 3-1 this season against Cleveland State and Valparaiso - their two likeliest challengers.

Anonymous said...

What teams do you consider locks at this point?

Brian Reinthaler said...

Anon (2:59 AM), I'm not going to say BYU doesn't deserve consideration for a 2-seed, but if you need help understanding how an objective evaluator could see it differently, here you go: not all Top 50 RPI wins are the same (hell, not all Top 25 wins are the same). Using ND as the sample comparison (FWIW, I think you've got a legit gripe vis-a-vis Purdue):

BYU has played 1 top 15 RPI team. One. At home.

ND has played 6 top 15 RPI teams. They're 4-2, including a road win at Pitt.

As for the rest of the Top 25 (16-25), ND is 2-2 and BYU is 2-0; so slight edge to BYU here, but neither of their wins here were on the road and both of ND's losses were. BYU did get a neutral court win over #17 Arizona, but ND has a neutral court win over #18 Wisconsin, so that's wash.

Looking at the overall picture, ND is 6-4 vs. the T25 (incl. 6 T15s and all 4 losses on the road) and BYU is 3-0 (incl. 1 T15; but no road games).

Furthermore, BYU's worst loss is @ #81 New Mexico. ND's is @ #66 Marquette.

All of this (admittedly, just a small slice of the big picture) suggests that BYU would have at least 3 more losses playing in the Big East. I understand it can be tough for teams like BYU to schedule tough opponents OOC, but that doesn't mean you can pretend that they'd do better than a big conference power if they had the opportunity to go on the road against elite opponents.

Anonymous said...

Okay Brian I agree with you that Notre Dame has a very compelling case to be a 2 seed and when comparing their resume to BYU an objective observer could place the Irish ahead of BYU but it is close. My argument was not that Notre Dame does not deserve a 2 seed just that SDSU, Notre Dame and Purdue did not possess better resumes and if they did as most likely is the case with Notre Dame the margin is slim. Their top end wins are better than BYU'S no argument here. However the difference is not too large and BYU's road/neutral record is far superior to the Irish's. Along with SOS and RPI. My argument was not with the Irish as much as it was with Purdue being a 2 seed over BYU. In nearly every category used for seeding BYU has the advantage over Purdue.

Anonymous said...

@ LOL Alabama: Everything you said is correct, but why then does everyone have Alabama in at this point? They also have 15 votes in the AP poll.

Anonymous said...

Michigan fans its time for a reality check, you just won @ Iowa in OT. Your best win is at Clemson. You are in a win or NIT game coming up against Wisconsin. If you lose that I think you have to win the last 2 (winnable) to get in discussion and then you need 2 BT tournament wins for a lock. Bottom line, you need to go 3-1, and hope for no mid major tournament upsets.

Anonymous said...

I do think it is a bit humorous that everyone wants to vilify Nebraska yet seem to ignore that they were never blow out save a game against Kansas and Kansas State... They lost on a last second tip in Lubbock, had Vandy down 10 and collapsed which lead to their only other questionable loss against Davidson the next night... This is a team that is a nightmare to play against because of their defense... they beat Texas, Texas A&M and lost a ball game they probably should have won @ Kansas... If they hold serve at home and win 1 of their 2 road games (Iowa St and Colorado) then they will easily be in... I am a big fan of the little guy but there is nobody who wants to get paired up with Nebraska and be forced to grind out a win in the first rd...

Anonymous said...

I might be a little late for this board, but im just curious if my gophers still need to finish 3-1 with a big ten tourney win to get a bid. I know with a weakned bubble we might be able to squeak by again (We seem to be barely on the right side of the bubble a lot) without accomplishing all the above. I just was curious what you thought the minimum would be for the gophers to have a chance of getting in?

Anonymous said...

Have you guys ever considered to do bracket odds for teams like Luinardi does currently for ESPN insiders?

Anonymous said...


"We also played at temple and lost a close one."

Temple is not a mid major.

Bracketology 101 said...

We address what Minnesota needs to do in the Tuesday bracket banter, 3-1 is required or else they need to get to at least the Big Ten semis.

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