Valentine’s Day is a week away. Who’s getting some NCAA Tournament love? Take a look at Bracketville’s February 8 Bracket Projection.
What else is in our box of chocolates? For starters, there’s a bunch of questions in the Big East: Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, South Florida, and Cincinnati. Marquette has the most quality wins/best overall profile - easy enough. Why do the Cardinals project in? Part of it’s a 6-4 Big East record and part of it’s because the Cards seem most capable (and proven under Rick Pitino) to make a run. Much like Marquette, the Cards’ record reflects close losses to very good teams. There’s also the strength of schedule (SOS) component. Louisville’s overall SOS ranks No. 5. Their non-conference SOS is 23. Now, consider the non-conference SOS of the others: South Florida (206), Notre Dame (230), Cincinnati (66). The Bearcats have lost three of four and have two tough road games up next (1-6 in road games so far). Hard to project them in; they are among our first five out.
Last Five In: Illinois, Oklahoma State, St. Mary’s, UTEP, and Louisville. First Five Out: Notre Dame, VCU, South Florida, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech. In the case of Virginia Tech, the Hokies are lumbering around with a non-conference SOS ranked No. 340. VT has only 1 Top 50 RPI win and half of their victores are against the bottom half of the RPI. A 5-3 ACC mark looks good, but we’re waiting to see how the Hokies navigate the next week or so. No. 1 seeds remain the same, although Kentucky moves back ahead of Villanova on the S-Curve and is back in the East Region.
The Atlantic 10 and Mountain West are taking advantage of some extra bids. The A-10 could realistically put six teams in the Dance. It’s also hard to imagine BYU, New Mexico, or UNLV (Mountain West) missing the NCAAs. Who else is on the bubble? Take a look at Bubble Banter. It launched this past Saturday. Our next update will be Thursday evening (late). More frequent updates will be made as we move toward Selection Sunday. With the Super Bowl behind us … March Madness takes center stage. As always, we credit CollegeRPI.com for the RPI and SOS data.