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Archive for January, 2020

Bracketology: Diving into the Bubble

January 31, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015It’s been an interesting week for Bubble teams.  Texas Tech, Virginia and Mississippi State posted key wins.  Many others lost; some to good opponents and others to not-so-strong opponents.  Amid the chaos, a deep dive was required, with more than twenty team resumes parceled apart, trying to separate nuances. The result?

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About what you would expect – a quagmire of mediocrity with some good, some bad, and a whole lot of average.  Ten people, such as the Selection Committee, could view the same material and develop different responses as to how teams might be placed on the Seed List.  Not so sure about today’s outcome?  Wait until Monday.

It was a particularly rough week for Stanford, which lost at California on Sunday and at home last night to Oregon State.  Those results leave the Cardinal without a Quad 1 win and two Quad 3 losses.  And with just three Quad 2 wins (only one of which is in today’s bracket) Stanford’s light resume became even lighter.  Every year we have a team whose NET rating doesn’t seem to match its profile.  For now, Stanford fits that bill.

Quick Takes: Virginia nets key win over Florida State

January 29, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Trailing late, Virginia rallied to beat Florida State in Charlottesville, netting the Cavaliers a key Quadrant 1 win over Florida State.  Beforehand, UVA’s best profile wins were against fellow bubble teams – Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Arizona State.  And that’s without factoring in losses to South Carolina and Boston College.

One win does not a season nor a profile make.  But if Virginia wants a chance to defend its national title in the NCAA tournament, beating FSU was a big step in that direction. Looking ahead, there’s no return trip to Tallahassee.  UVA’s closing chances for additional marquee wins are a pair of games against Louisville and a visit from Duke.

Elsewhere, the bubble wasn’t so kind.  Additional Quick Takes: Read more…

Quick Takes: Urgency for NC State; Tuesday’s Bubble Games

January 28, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015A week ago, North Carolina State was riding a three-game winning streak that included a road victory at Virginia.  This morning, the Wolfpack are facing a potential three-game losing streak, having dropped back-to-back games to Georgia Tech and North Carolina – with Louisville heading to Raleigh this weekend.  Urgency is needed.

NC State’s only NCAA-level win (per Monday’s bracket projection) is Wisconsin at home.  If we peel back the onion a bit further, the Wolfpack are 1-2 vs. teams “In the Field”  – with five losses to teams “Outside the Field.” Read more…

Bracketology: Baylor strengthens its grip on the No. 1 overall seed

January 27, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Baylor continues to strengthen its grip on the No. 1 overall seed.  The Bears won their fifth true road game (5-0 in opportunities) of the season at Florida on Saturday.  They are No. 1 in the NCAA’s NET ratings, 6-1 in Quadrant 1 games and 10-1 against Quadrant 1 and 2 opponents combined.  Baylor hasn’t lost since November 8, a nearly three-month stretch of perfection.

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Elsewhere, the top line remains in tact.  There’s room for debate across lines two through four. It’ll be interesting to see how the Selection Committee views the profiles of teams like Florida State, Louisville and Duke in the weeks ahead.  Unless something changes, there will be fewer Quad 1 opportunities in this year’s Atlantic Coast Conference.

Tracking the Bubble is going to keep you busy.  It’s several lines deep into the bracket today.  The margins between a nine seed and an 11-seeded play-in team are minimal.  And that’s not factoring in the next 8-12 teams knocking on the door.

Bracket Bits: Evaluating Wins vs. The Field

January 25, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Evaluating a team’s resume involves many factors.  As bracket fans, we talk a lot about Quadrant wins and losses, strength of schedule (including NC SOS), road and neutral court records, and NET rating (along with other metrics).  There are even occasional references to conference performance and recent play, although neither of those is an official criteria currently used by the Selection Committee.

Another component – at least in terms of precedent mentioned by previous Selection Committee chairpersons –  is a team’s record (and wins) versus The Field – i.e. teams (especially at-large teams) that have been voted into the Field of 68.  For our purposes, that would be teams within an individual bracket projection. Read more…

Bracketology: Top seeds remain in place

January 24, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015It’s been a while since we could say this:  All four No. 1 seeds remained in place between bracket updates: Baylor, Gonzaga, Kansas and San Diego State.

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Elsewhere, more than a handful of teams still have significant resume questions.  And several current bubble teams have important showdowns this weekend – including key matchups in the Big 12 / SEC Challenge.

On a closing note … remember that the Selection Committee evaluates a team’s entire profile, from beginning to end.  How a team performed in its last ten games is no longer an official criteria (although each Committee member may have his or her own perspective on its importance).  So while Ohio State and Michigan, as examples, have both struggled of late, each team’s early wins remain relevant considerations with regard to team sheet evaluation.

Quick Takes: Illinois building its resume

January 22, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Without much on its non-conference slate to present the Selection Committee, Illinois needed a strong Big Ten showing to build its resume.  Thus far, mission accomplished.

Behind a dominant second-half performance, the Illini exited Mackey Arena with a 17-point road win over Purdue; the Illini’s second league road tally in the past two weeks.  And their fifth straight conference win overall.  An overlooked stat from the game: Illinois out-rebounded the Boilermakers, 37-19.

There are few (if any) off days in the Big Ten, so a lot of work remains.  But early returns should have fans in Champaign excited for February basketball. Read more…