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Bracketology: UCLA making its case

February 28, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015With just over two weeks until Selection Sunday, this year’s Selection Committee is once again going to have some challenging resumes to dissect. Today’s Case Study is UCLA.

Bracketology

Relegated to a rebuilding year after a sluggish 6-6 start, the Bruins have won six straight games (7 of 8 overall) in the Pac-12 and enter today tied with Oregon atop the league standings. That’s important, because should the Bruins end in a tie – or win an outright regular-season title – it would add a profile component the Committee values.

Back to the most recent stretch, UCLA’s streak includes road victories at Arizona and Colorado, and a home win last night over Arizona State.  In all, UCLA’s profile now includes five Quadrant 1 wins (including the aforementioned two Top Tier Quad 1 road wins) and four wins against likely NCAA teams. Read more…

Quick Takes: Rutgers’ road woes continue

February 27, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Away from The RAC, it’s been tough season for Rutgers. After rallying from a 21-point deficit Wednesday night, the Scarlet Knights saw another elusive road win disappear in the waning seconds at Penn State, leaving them 1-8 in road games and 1-10 in games played away from home.

After hosting Maryland next Tuesday, Rutgers travels to Purdue to close the regular season; one last chance for the Scarlet Knights to win a road game before heading to the Big Tourney (neutral court) in Indianapolis.

How might the Committee handle a Rutgers’ team with potentially 10 Big Ten wins – if they beat Maryland at home – but who might also finish 1-12 away from home if the Scarlet Knights lose at Purdue followed by an opening-round B10 tourney game?

It’s a question we don’t have to answer right now, but it looms large over the next two weeks. Historically, that type of futility away from home has given past Committee’s a reason to leave a team out. Read more…

Quick Takes: Oklahoma’s Bubble win; Duke’s loss to Wake

February 26, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Let’s start on a positive note.  Oklahoma picked up a needed Quadrant 1 victory against Texas Tech in Norman.  It boosted the Sooners to 4-9 vs. Quad 1 teams (not great, but four of its losses are to Kansas and Baylor); it was also, based on the NCAA’s NET Ratings, their first Quad 1A (Top Tier) victory of the season.  At least for today, OU can smile.  Next up, a trip to Morgantown, followed by dates with Texas (home) and TCU (road).  We’ll see if the Sooners can keep improving an overall mark of 17-11. (See note on Texas Tech below)

Meanwhile, Duke lost at Wake Forest.  Although technically a Quad 2 road loss (so not horrible), it does raise questions as to how the Selection Committee will view Duke’s seeding profile unless the Blue Devils beat Louisville and/or Florida State in the ACC tourney.  While analytics love the Blue Devils (Top 10 in all metrics listed on Team Sheets heading into Tuesday), the ACC simply hasn’t offered its usual chances for high-end wins.  As of this morning, Duke has three (3) wins over current tournament teams and is 4-3 vs. Quadrant 1.  By comparison, the top Big East schools vying for spots on the Top 3 lines have much better totals: Creighton (9-6), Villanova (8-6), Seton Hall (10-5). Read more…

Quick Takes: FSU sweeps Louisville, WVU continues slide

February 25, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015It may not have been a volume night in college hoops, but Monday’s results could certainly impact how the bracket appears in three weeks.  Takeaways:

Florida State looked scary good in the second half against Louisville in Tallahassee.  The Seminoles put up a 50-27 margin in the final 20 minutes; perhaps the most dominant single-half performance we’ve seen this season.  The victory gives FSU a season sweep of the Cardinals and positions the Seminoles as a strong two-seed heading into a closing stretch that includes Clemson, Notre Dame (road games) and Boston College (home).

Louisville wraps up its regular season with Virginia Tech (home) and Virginia (road).  The Cardinals may need another shot at Duke or FSU in the ACC tourney to reclaim its seeding mojo. Read more…

Bracketology: Kansas grabs overall No. 1 Seed

February 24, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Following its win at Baylor, Kansas grabs the No. 1 overall seed in today’s bracket update.  That said, it’s basically semantics. Kansas continues to lead the Midwest Region and Baylor the South Region.  The margin between the two is more of a 1-A and 1-B approach.

Bracketology

The biggest surprise of the weekend was San Diego State losing at home to UNLV.  For now, the Aztecs hold onto their No. 1 seed in the East.  Maryland could have made a strong case had the Terrapins won at Ohio State on Sunday.  Either way, the door is now open for a Big Ten, Big East, or ACC champion to potentially overtake SDSU. Dayton is squarely in the mix, too.

As for the Bubble, the Providence Friars and UCLA Bruins have both recovered from challenging starts to emerge as serious at-large contenders.

 

Bubble Takes: Providence, UCLA emerge as serious contenders

February 23, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Three weeks from Selection Sunday, the once forgotten Providence Friars and UCLA Bruins have emerged as serious at-large contenders.  UCLA also finds itself in position to potentially win the Pac-12 regular season title.  Let that sink in for a moment.

Here’s quick glance at those two teams with three weeks to go – plus some other Bubble Notes from a busy Saturday:

Providence:
With its victory over Marquette, Providence improved to 16-12 overall and 9-6 in the Big East.  While those numbers may not be overwhelming, consider where the Friars started 2020.  They ended the non-conference portion of their schedule at 7-6, with losses to Northwestern, Penn, Charleston, and Long Beach State.  In other words, it was going to take a long, uphill climb to re-emerge in March.  Thus far, mission accomplished.  Now, can the Friars finish the deal? Read more…

Bracketology: Are the No. 1 seeds locked up?

February 21, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015We’re about to enter the final two weeks of the regular season, and we’ve had the same No. 1 seed line for more than a month.  Which begs the question: Are the No. 1 seeds locked up?

Bracketology

We can’t go that far – yet.  But we may not be far off, either.  Baylor and Kansas play again Saturday in Waco.  At least for now, the outcome affects the Big 12 title chase more than it does the top line of the bracket.  Gonzaga plays at BYU, but would a single loss at a tough venue drop the one-loss Zags?  Probably not, although it could open the door for San Diego State to claim the West Region.  As for the Aztecs, they will be heavily favored in every remaining regular season game.  Without a surprise, they will enter the Mountain West tournament with a perfect record.  That’s an incredible accomplishment. Read more…