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Archive for January, 2019

Bracketology: Showdowns ahead for No. 1 seeds

January 31, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015The developing bubble is a garbled mess, so let’s stay positive and focus on the No. 1 seed race, which has seven serious contenders at the moment: Duke, Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, Gonzaga, and Kentucky.

Bracketology   |   Seed List 

Between now and Selection Sunday, battles will rage.  Virginia and Duke play again on February 9 (Duke was the first meeting by two points in Durham).  Kentucky and Tennessee play twice – February 16 and March 2.  Same for Michigan State and Michigan – February 24 and March 9.

Which brings us to Gonzaga.  The Bulldogs are expected to cruise through their West Coast Conference campaign; another 30-win season a realistic outcome.  Should that occur, it will be difficult for the Selection Committee to keep Gonzaga off the No. 1 seed line out West (especially given their high NET rating).

If that’s the case, it becomes a six team race for three No.1 seed positions with showdowns ahead. Feels like March is right around the corner.

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Quick Takes: Kentucky starting to roll

January 30, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Kentucky is starting to look like the team we expected back in October – a team with No. 1 seed potential.  Prior to steamrolling Vanderbilt in Nashville, the Wildcats were carrying a trio of victories over Auburn, Mississippi State and Kansas.  That’s a pretty good trifecta, even if Auburn and Mississippi State haven’t yet been as good as we thought.

Looking ahead, the most anticipated dates on UK’s remaining calendar are February 16 and March 2 – the Wildcats’ matchups with Tennessee.  If Kentucky is in contention for a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday those two outcomes will likely play a major factor.   Up next: a tricky trip to Florida. The desperate Gators need a big win to boost their NCAA resume. Read more…

Bracketology: An oversized early bubble

January 28, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015We still have five top-line resumes. Seven if you include Gonzaga and Kentucky.  Ultimately, though, with its third loss after a tough trip to surging Purdue, Michigan State was the odd team out today, now slotted as the top two-seed and No. 5 on the Seed List.  If you have a different take, I won’t argue.  Attrition within the ACC, SEC, and Big Ten will help define where we go from here.  And when the dust settles, don’t be surprised if Gonzaga again finds itself No. 1 in the West Region come Selection Sunday.

Bracketology   |   Seed List

The real dilemma today was finding 36 at-large teams to complete the bracket.  I’ll leave the term “worthy” off for now because, quite frankly, several teams in the field today have significant resume issues.  In all, 11 teams along the cutline lost this past weekend – which means we basically ended up about where we started.  If you’re a fan of one of the bubble teams at least you haven’t fallen too far behind.  The door is wide open as we head into February.

Seed List: Breaking down the top line

January 26, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Who’s the best team in college basketball?  It’s a tough question, with four or five terrific options.  Who’s the team with the best resume among those five?  Figuring that out was the goal of a deliberate break-down early this morning.

How did it turn out?  The biggest debate was actually between teams four and five, in other words, the last No. 1 seed and the top No. 2 seed.  In this case, those teams were Virginia and Michigan.

Seed List

Ultimately, Michigan State moved to the first position.  The Spartans have a group-best six road wins, lead the nation’s No. 2 NET-rated Conference, have five wins against the currently projected at-large field and rank No. 1 against the Strength of Record.  MSU also has 11 wins against NET Groups 1/2 – including nine  against Group 1.  Note: the last NET rankings available at the time of publication was through Wednesday’s games (1/23). Read more…

Bracketology: Michigan State gets its due

January 24, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Michigan State has completed a near two-month stretch of perfection, last losing at Louisville on November 27.  The Spartans’ run includes an impressive 8-0 start in the Big Ten and a 5-0 road record since that loss to the Cardinals.  Add in an impressive 7-2 mark against Group 1 (NET ratings) and MSU has a solid top-seed profile.

Bracketology   |   Seed List

In the interest of full disclosure, we have seven teams with viable one-seed resumes, and Kentucky is quickly building its case, too.  The race is on.

The middle and lower-end of the bracket remains littered with mix of average to questionable profiles.  That’s pretty typical for this time of year.  With Buffalo’s recent loss, Bowling Green earns the Mid-American’s automatic bid this morning; bumping the Bulls into the at-large pool.  That takes away one at-large spot from someone else.

Quick Takes: Virginia Tech’s resume concerns

January 22, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015We’re not picking on Virginia Tech, the Hokies are a good basketball team.  But as we move through mid-January, questions about the overall strength of their resume – in terms of potential NCAA seeding – are worth asking.  Here’s why …

If this morning were Selection Sunday, Virginia Tech would have two wins against teams currently in our projected bracket (Purdue, Washington – both on neutral courts).  They are a rather average 4-3 record against Groups 1/2 and have posted only one true road win (at Georgia Tech).  The Hokies also carry a non-conference SOS in the mid 250s, largely thanks to a cupcake-heavy home schedule in November and December.

The good news, of course, is that the ACC provides plenty of opportunities to bolster their team sheet.  VT hosts Syracuse this weekend, then travels to Miami and NC State next week.  The NET rankings and other metrics like the Hokies, too, which helps.  At some point, however, the Hokies need to beef up their resume if they want to land a protected seed in March. Read more…

Bracketology: Five teams, four spots for top line

January 21, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Someone had to be the odd man, i.e. team, out this morning.  Try as I might, there simply wasn’t a way to fit five teams into four slots on the top seed line.  Five teams have deserving resumes, and if you consider Gonzaga, which you should, it’s really six teams for four spots.  Talk about your square pegs in round holes.

Bracketology   |   Seed List

Depending on your choice of metric and resume breakdown, there is no “wrong” order to the five (or six).  If we were in the Selection Committee room, discussions would be eventful.  After several run-throughs, the weekend chaos on the top line (Michigan, Virginia, and Kansas all lost), left Tennessee and Michigan State in the top two positions.  For what it’s worth, being a “projected league champion” for bracket purposes this morning ended up being a factor, too.  The good news:  We still have eight weeks to sort through the process, and usually, these things work themselves out. Read more…