Welcome to Championship Week.
Duke rejoins the top line as a No. 1 seed in the West in our latest bracket update – largely due to the loss and surrounding uncertainty with BYU. The Cougars will be re-evaluated between now and Selection Sunday. How much their seeding is effected will depend on how BYU plays this weekend and in the Mountain West Tournament. Butler and Washington State rejoin the bracket today and are part of the First Four in Dayton. Butler largely backed its way in with the declining bubble landscape, but the Bulldogs will take a Dance ticket and run.
We still have 11 spots available in the bracket. That’s an amazing number. Usually it’s more like four or five. Great time to like college hoops with conference tournaments underway and some huge matchups on tap this weekend. Send a rebound if you like. There’s nothing like March Madness. We’ll have more frequent updates this entire next week.
Fresh off an impressive victory at San Diego State – with help from Texas and Duke – BYU claims the fourth spot on our latest S-Curve and a No. 1 seed in the West Region. Welcome to March. Our other No. 1 seeds remain the same – Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and Kansas. We have a strong set of 2-seeds: Texas, Duke, Notre Dame, Purdue. If you’re looking for San Diego State, the Aztecs are the highest ranked 3-seed. No shame in losing to BYU (twice this season). Instead, SDSU was passed by Purdue. Few teams are playing better than the Boilermakers.
We’re still sorting through the bottom of the bracket. The bubble has shrunk a bit. We’re now at roughly 28 teams battling for 12 spots. Every team seeded 10 and lower in this update has work to do. A lot of the teams are interchangeable. It’s very likely that conference tournaments will help determine the last few in and the last few out.
Send a rebound if you like. We’re in for an exciting two weeks until Selection Sunday.
Entering the stretch run, the Big East continues to claim 11 spots in our Valentine’s Day bracket. Whether Marquette and Cincinnati can keep two of those spots is becoming more questionable. Few teams have better losses than Marquette – the Golden Eagles have played 12 games against teams ranked in the Top 25 of the RPI and gone 3-9 in those games. The problem is that Marquette’s best non-conference win is Bucknell, and the Golden Eagles are 8-10 vs. the RPI Top 200. Teams with that type of resume have generally not fared well on Selection Sunday. Cincinnati’s biggest hurdle is it’s non-conference SOS (No. 285). Other than a good win over Xavier, the Bearcats did nothing before January and have only a win at St. John’s within league play.
The bottom of the bracket remains highly suspect. I’m not sold on any of the last in or last out. In fact, teams seeded nine (9) and lower all have some realistic concerns. We do have to fill 68 spots, so there will likely be a team or two whose profile would have produced an NIT bid last season.
An updated Bubble Banter on Wednesday. Then next week we’ll start more frequent updates – including an extra bracket projection during the week. Have a different opinion? Send a rebound. Bring some information along. March is just around the corner.
Now that the National Football League has crowned its champion, we look forward to March Madness. Selection Sunday is just over a month away. With that in mind, two quick observations about our bracket update. First, the No. 1 seeds remain solid – Ohio State, Kansas, Pittsburgh, and Texas. Second, the bottom half of the bracket is a mess. Bubble Banter opened with an incredible 41 teams on bubble. Not much has changed. See a team seeded eight or lower in the bracket? An NCAA future is far from certain. Thankfully, we have another month for teams to play their way in or out.
Notable changes this week are the inclusion of three teams from the Colonial – George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU. Plus, the departure of Michigan State and Penn State from the Big 10. Then, there’s Alabama. If we set up the bracket as … if the season ended today … the Crimson Tide would be designated with the SEC automatic bid. Although we don’t use that formula directly, we’ve include Alabama as one of the last teams in the field. Alabama is 7-1 in a BCS conference, and despite early struggles, they have won 10 of 12 games, including wins over Kentucky and at Tennessee. Certainly, ‘Bama still has work to do, but so do a large number of other teams with underwhelming profiles. Whether the Crimson Tide stay very long remains to be seen. You’ll find more in our Bubble Banter update on Tuesday.
We’re about to have our annual reality check. It’s the point of the college hoops season when actual performance starts to outweigh potential. Moving forward, projected selection and seeding will become increasingly reflective of a team’s actual profile and less about what we expect (or expected) said team to achieve. Note: until we hit Championship Week, there will always be some potential figured into bracket projections. The goal is still to provide both a snapshot of where we are while balancing realistic possibilities.
Early in the season, the bracket is mostly about potential – what do we expect? Then, as teams begin building actual resumes – schedule strength, wins, losses, road performance, etc – we have better guidelines to use. For some teams, that’s good. For others, not so much. Here are a couple of examples.
Memphis – The Tigers opened the season as a projected No. 3 seed based on talent and the expectations of a gaudy won-loss record in Conference USA. Since beating Miami-FL (Nov. 15), however, Memphis has missed – in some cases badly – opportunities against Kansas, Georgetown, and Tennessee. Thus, the Tigers have one win over a potential NCAA team to date – and Miami-FL would be among a handful of bubble teams on the edge if this were Selection Sunday. Factor in UM’s loss at Southern Methodist (RPI No. 271 – from CollegeRPI.com), and it’s easy to see why the Tigers’ actual profile is far different than what we anticipated in November. That’s not to say Memphis can’t make a run to the C-USA title, but the Tigers’ performance to date would land them outside the Field of 68. Read more…