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Bubble Talk: Attrition in the Big Ten

February 21, 2021 Leave a comment

Dave2015From the outset, the depth of the Big Ten was going to be both a blessing and a curse.  It’s a scenario playing out before our eyes.  As we head into the closing stretch, eight bids now seems more realistic than a once-projected ten.  Indiana, Minnesota and Maryland all have work to do before Selection Sunday.  And while the climb ahead is formidable, Michigan State has ample chances to re-enter the conversation, too – at someone’s expense.

Bubble Talk

Elsewhere, the SEC bid race has solidified.  The Atlantic 10 is up for grabs and the Big East is Villanova, Creighton and …, well, you get the picture.  Then there’s the ACC, where Duke is showing a glimmer of life, too.  With March on the horizon should we expect anything less?  It’s a race to the finish with a nice balance of power teams and non-majors.  In the midst of a pandemic, let’s all be grateful.

Bracket Bits: Minnesota’s road woes continue

February 18, 2021 Leave a comment

Dave2015With its loss at Indiana on Wednesday, Minnesota is now 0-8 away from home; the Gophers have not played a neutral-court game and will not play one until the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.  How might the Selection Committee view a resume with four Quadrant 1 wins, no losses outside the NET Top 50 (as of this posting), and yet nothing of note outside Williams Arena?  We might have had a test case when Rutgers was in a similar situation a year ago, but the Committee never got a chance to release its Field of 68.  The Gophers still have a trip to Penn State on the docket and close with three of four at home.  Heading into the B10 tourney, it’s possible this team could be 16-10 with five or six Q1 wins and still have zilch on its away/neutral team sheet. Read more…

Bracket Bits: Making sense of Pac-12 resumes

February 14, 2021 Leave a comment

Dave2015It’s a difficult question to answer: What to make of Pac-12 resumes?

The Selection Committee’s NET ratings like at least two teams – USC (15) and Colorado (19) – although neither was mentioned during Saturday’s initial Top 16 seed list reveal on CBS.  Let’s take a quick peek at why that might be the case:

USC – The Trojans are 17-3 after Saturday’s win at Washington State, with a 3-1 mark vs. Quadrant 1 teams and a 6-3 record against Q’s 1-2 combined.  But if you look inside those columns, USC’s best NET win is against BYU on December 1. Of its other Quad 1-2 wins, only Stanford (a likely bubble team) and UCLA are currently NCAA tournament contenders.  That’s not to say the Trojans are not a quality team that could advance in March, rather, it showcases that as a whole, the Pac 12 doesn’t carry the same weight in the Committee room. Case in point: the Pac-12 ranks 6th as a conference in the NET ratings, just behind the Big East and just ahead of the American. Read more…

Bracketology: Gonzaga, Baylor against the Field

February 13, 2021 Leave a comment

Dave2015We are a month away from Selection Sunday, and as we sit today, it’s Gonzaga and Baylor against the Field of 68.  The Zags and Bears remain perfect and are about as locked-in as the top two overall seeds as two teams can be.  This morning, Michigan and Ohio State continue to occupy the other two slots along the top line.  It will be interesting to see how the Selection Committee handles a team like the Wolverines, who have just one blemish and lead the Big Ten, but who haven’t played for two weeks.  The Committee’s initial Top 16 seeds are revealed today.

Bracketology
Seed List

Elsewhere, many eyes will be on the Missouri Valley as Drake and Loyola-Chicago lock horns for a back-to-back set this weekend in Des Moines.  In a weird way, it would help the MVC if the teams split those games.  The bubble is as fluid as ever; we’ll start taking a closer look there after what figures to be a critical weekend for many teams.

Bracketology: Ohio State moves to top line

February 6, 2021 Leave a comment

Dave2015With its nation-leading eight Quadrant 1 wins, including four in the upper tier of that grouping, Ohio State moves to the top line in this morning’s bracket update.  Within the rugged Big Ten, the Buckeyes own road wins at Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.  The other three teams on the No. 1 seed line remain in place – Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan.  Alabama is now next in line.

Bracketology
Seed List

The bubble extends into the nine-seed line, and there are an array of questionable profiles.  The variations between them are minimal and it depends on how you dice them apart.  Enjoy a busy Saturday of college hoops and the Super Bowl.