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Bracket Bits: Six teams that could still use opening round wins

March 9, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015With Utah State securing its Dance Ticket by upsetting San Diego State in the Mountain West championship game, we already have one less at-large spot available.  The Aggies might have made it regardless, but all doubts have been erased.

With that as a backdrop, here is a corresponding disclaimer:  The Bubble extends deeper into the bracket than it appears.

As we sit today, the 11-seed line contains all four play-in participants.  That means teams along the 10-seed line are hovering perilously close to the cutline.  Which also means that the nine-seeds are close enough to the edge of the Field that a poor week could leave them vulnerable to being passed.

Below is a quick peak at six teams above the immediate fray who could still benefit from at least one victory at conference tournaments this week … Read more…

Bracketology: Preparing for Championship Week

March 6, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Championship Week begins on Saturday, meaning we’ve reached the final stages of our journey to Selection Sunday.  The final turns, however, are filled with potential roadblocks and potholes.

Bracketology

Tulsa is Exhibit A.  The Golden Hurricane now lead the American Conference, thrusting them into the bracket as the AAC’s automatic qualifier.  It represents the type of scenario we could see in the coming days as conference tournaments unfold.

There are about 12 teams with varying degrees of work to do to retain current positions within the Field of 68.  Late surges by teams like UCLA and Texas have squeezed the at-large pool; and it could get tighter if someone upsets San Diego State in the Mountain West.  Stay tuned.

Bracket Bits: Sizing up the race for No. 2 Seeds

March 4, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015We haven’t seen a change on the No. 1 seed line for more than a month, so let’s take a closer look at some teams in the race for the No. 2 seed line …

Dayton – The Flyers boast a 27-2 record heading into action tonight against Rhode Island.  Those two losses came in overtime to Kansas and Colorado.  With a 10-2 record against Quadrants 1/2 and Top 50 schedules (both overall and non-conference, Dayton can likely lock up a two seed by finishing a perfect Atlantic 10 campaign.
Schedule: at URI, George Washington

Seton Hall – The Pirates are an impressive 15-7 against Quads 1/2 with 10 Quadrant 1 wins.  SHU’s NET win average is under 100, which is difficult to achieve and made possible by a Top 20 schedule.  The caveat here is that the Big East provides the Pirates both a platform to grab a two-seed or take a minimal stumble.
Schedule: Villanova, at Creighton Read more…

Bracketology: Texas back in March picture

March 2, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Welcome to March.  The chaos has begun.

Bracketology

The biggest beneficiary of that chaos today is Texas.  Nearly off the bubble three weeks ago, the Longhorns have won four straight – including a victory over West Virginia and Saturday’s upset of Texas Tech in Lubbock.  While the Longhorns’ work is far from finished, they are squarely back in the at-large picture.  They get another chance to enhance their framework Tuesday at Oklahoma.

As usual, the bubble remains fluid.  The margins between teams is minimal, and if this past weekend is any indication about how the next two weeks will unfold, hold on.

Bracket Bits: Trouble brewing for Texas Tech?

March 1, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015As March arrives, so does a question about the at-large status of Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders lost at home to Texas on Saturday, leaving them with some potentially risky profile numbers.  These include a 3-8 record against Quadrant 1, a 7-11 mark against Quads 1/2, and a sub-.500 total against Quads 1-3 (10-11). TTU’s remaining eight wins are against Quad 4, with seven of those coming at home against teams ranked 235 or worse in the NET.

And … the next week is no picnic.  Texas Tech travels to Baylor before ending the season at home against Kansas.  What if the Red Raiders lose both and head to the Big 12 tournament at 18-13?  Solid NET number(s) or not, that’s tricky business.

The good news: TTU’s final two games are also a blessing in disguise.  Winning could undo much, if not all, of the angst heading to Kansas City. Read more…

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…