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Archive for December, 2018

Quick Takes: Kentucky rebuilding its resume

December 30, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015Two months ago, when the preseason bracket was posted here at Bracketville, Kentucky opened as the No. 1 seed in the South Region.  The Wildcats were second on the initial Seed List.  Then came the 34-point opening-night loss to Duke … and we all took a step back, wondering what to expect from this year’s mix of fresh faces and returning talent.

Saturday’s win over rival Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center gave us a glimpse that the length and athleticism we lauded in October might still come together as expected.  Since their drubbing against Duke, the Wildcats are 10-1, including back-to-back victories over North Carolina and the aforementioned Cardinals.  Their lone loss in that span is a one-point overtime defeat vs. Seton Hall, who, by the way, handed St. John’s its first defeat yesterday.  With a favorable opening slate in the SEC, Kentucky is in position to rebuild its resume and continue climbing the Seed List. Read more…

Bracket Bits: An at-large outlook for mid-majors

December 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015Will any mid-majors earn an at-large bid?
It’s been a rare occurrence in recent years, that’s for sure.  If you look outside the power conferences and their cousins in leagues like the Atlantic 10, American Athletic, and Mountain West, at-large berths to the NCAA tournament have been hard to find.  Look no further than last year’s Saint Mary’s squad that presented a 28-5 profile on Selection Sunday, only to be turned away by a Team Sheet that revealed only one Group 1 wins to go along with 16 wins against Group 4. (RPI was the NCAA’s sorting tool last year).

Given that backdrop, let’s provide an outlook for some mid-majors who hope to be under at-large consideration come Selection Sunday … Read more…

Bracketology: Duke leads updated Field of 68

December 24, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015Merry Christmas from Bracketville!
With those wishes comes our annual Christmas Eve bracket update and seed list.  If we were watching Polar Express, the first gift of Christmas would go to the Duke Blue Devils, who hold the No. 1 overall seed.  Kansas is a close second, followed by Michigan and Tennessee.  Virginia is next in line.

Bracketology   |   Seed List

As usual for this time of year, we have a lot of ho-hum resumes.  Some teams have gifted themselves with strong schedules, others have been enjoying a feast of pre-Holiday treats, often served with icing on their home court.  As the New Year approaches and conference play begins, we’ll learn a lot more – or at least we hope so.

Until then, enjoy the Holidays.  Have a blessed Christmas with your family and friends.

Quick Takes: Marquette, Oklahoma casting NETs

December 22, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015Behind Markus Howard’s 45 points, Marquette won its seventh straight game Friday night, outlasting unbeaten Buffalo in Milwaukee.  It’s been a month since the Golden Eagles lost to Kansas at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  During that stretch, Marquette has added three Group 1 (NET) victories to its resume: Louisville (neutral), Wisconsin (home), and Buffalo (home).  The Eagles also own a home victory over Kansas State (Group 2 at the moment).  That’s a pretty good month.  At this point, the Eagles only resume deficiency is the lack of a true road win – Marquette has played just one road game, a loss at Indiana.  Opportunities come early in Big East play, however; the Eagles travel to both St. John’s and Creighton in an eight-day stretch to open January.

Oklahoma has no such deficiency after outlasting Northwestern in overtime last night. In fairness, the Sooners had early road wins against UT-Rio Grande and UTSA, but let’s also be honest: neither of those outcomes equate to beating the Wildcats in Evanston. A bit under-the-radar, the 11-1 Sooners take a Christmas break before opening Big 12 play at Kansas on January 2. Oklahoma’s non-conference resume includes a 7-1 mark against Groups 1/2 (NET – as of publication), noting a 6-0 mark against Group 2 teams.  We’ll see how the Sooners fare in conference play, but they’ve certainly cast their proverbial nets successfully so far.  Their lone blemish is a loss to Wisconsin. Read more…

Quick Takes: NC State wraps up notable win over Auburn

December 20, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015It wasn’t pretty – NC State and Auburn combined for 47 turnovers – but the Wolfpack wrapped up notable win over the Tigers Wednesday night in Raleigh.  Why so notable?  To put it simply – even with early victories over Vanderbilt and Penn State on neutral courts, the Wolfpack’s resume was somewhat overshadowed by seven Group 4 victories (per NET rankings) and an associated a non-conference schedule ranked around 300.  That’s quite a feast of pre-Holiday cupcakes.  And while a victory over Auburn doesn’t change those facts, it does add validity to the large margin of victory in most of those outcomes.  Up next: a couple more pastries before an opening ACC trip to Miami on January 3. Read more…

Quick Takes: Tennessee trimming its resume tree

December 16, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015In a bygone era it was common for folks to trim the tree – which involved actual trimming, and decorating, of the family Christmas tree.  Here at Bracketville, Tennessee is trimming a different kind of tree, a resume tree. Careful to remove any untidy branches, the Volunteers marched into Memphis on Saturday and snipped off any thoughts of a letdown after beating Gonzaga.  Given the fever pitch at the arena, it was a better-than-you-think road victory against a rival.  Teams with high seeds in March are routinely good at winning away from home.  Without a significant stumble, Tennessee should be 10-1 when it opens SEC play against Georgia on January 5. Read more…

Bracket Bits: Weekend’s top UTR matchups

December 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015The headliners are easy to find.  This weekend we get Villanova at Kansas and Gonzaga at North Carolina, among others.  Exciting stuff, for sure.  But we’re also blessed with a variety of less-neon-heavy matchups that could, come March, be equally important as teams compile resumes.  So, without further ado, here we go with this weekend’s picks for best UTR (Under-The-Radar) matchups ….

Tennessee at Memphis – Coming off an exciting, last-second victory over Gonzaga, the Volunteers head West on I-40 to take on what should be an energized group of Tigers.  Having dropped all of its “up” games to date, Memphis needs a major resume boost heading into AAC play in January.  Rivalry games are always good, but there could be a little extra juice in this one thanks to the current high in Knoxville. Read more…