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Bracket Bits: Evaluating No. 1 seed options beyond Baylor

January 16, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Baylor will be the No. 1 overall seed when Friday’s bracket update arrives tomorrow at Bracketville.  That shouldn’t be a surprise.  The Bears held the pole position on Tuesday and beat Iowa State at home.

Beyond that, it gets a little more interesting. Because two of Tuesday’s No. 1 seeds have since lost: Duke at Clemson and Butler to Seton Hall.

Does that mean Duke and Butler automatically drop?  If the Seed List were a traditional poll, the most likely answer would be yes.  But before making a decision, let’s go beyond the names and single-game results and dive into the resumes of six other contenders. Read more…

Bracket Bits: The value of road wins

January 8, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015When the Selection Committee gathers in two months to select and seed teams for the 2020 NCAA tournament, road wins (and overall road performance) often serve as a separating factor when comparing Team Sheets.  Who did you beat?  And where did you beat them?

That’s not to suggest that home wins aren’t important or that the Committee ignores losses (home or road – or in high numbers), rather, it’s a reminder that true road wins are a bit like gold: hard to find but of great value.

With that caveat in place – and conference play now in full swing – we note a few of Tuesday’s victorious road warriors: Baylor (at Texas Tech), Kentucky (at Georgia), Villanova (at Creighton), Houston (at Temple), Providence (at Marquette) and Florida (at South Carolina).  If we ranked those, it might look like this: Villanova, Baylor, Kentucky, Providence, Houston, and Florida. Read more…

Quick Takes: Appreciating Butler, SDSU while unpacking Saturday’s takeaways

January 5, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Before we walk through our bullet-point takeaways from the first full Saturday of college hoops in 2020, let’s take a moment to appreciate Butler and San Diego State.  Neither team was picked to win its conference, let alone be in contention for a protected seed on Selection Sunday.  Looking back, Butler was picked to finish eighth in the Big East and SDSU was slated second behind Utah State in the Mountain West.

This morning, both the Bulldogs and Aztecs hold Top 5 ratings in the NCAA’s NET metric. They are a combined 10-1 vs. Quad 1 teams with that single loss being a one-pointer by Butler against Baylor in Waco.  While the numbers will continue to evolve, only Butler, SDSU and Kansas have five wins vs. Quad 1 opponents as of this writing (per Warren Nolan).

The fact that Butler and San Diego State would be legitimate No. 1 seed contenders were today Selection Sunday is an incredible accomplishment – especially given preseason expectations. Read more…

Quick Takes: An early look at NC SOS

December 21, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015It’s way too early to have a serious conversation about bubble teams and how a team’s non-conference strength of schedule (known as NC SOS) could ultimately impact a team’s selection and/or seeding.

One thing we do know – at least from a historical perspective – is that uncommonly poor non-conference scheduling, when teams have the choice of who they play and where, tends to draw the attention of the Selection Committee.   Especially if that team is teetering on the edge of a seed line and/or the bubble.

With that in mind, here’s an early (and yet unfinished) look at where some current teams stand in the NC SOS picture – numbers courtesy of Warren Nolan (through Friday’s results). Read more…

Quick Takes: Five under-the-radar teams to watch

December 13, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015It’s easy to get caught up in early-season polls, made-for-TV events and name brands.  We’ve all seen hefty doses of heavyweights and Blue Bloods on national broadcasts.  The challenge, sometimes, (and/or fun) is looking past the headlines.

Who else is playing well?  What teams have exceeded expectations?  Are there any under-the-radar teams worth tracking?

The answer is yes.  While in no way a comprehensive list, as there are more than a handful of worthy options, following is a Quick Takes version of five teams who are currently are flying under-the-radar a bit … Read more…

Quick Takes: Michigan, SDSU impress; Iowa makes statement

November 29, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015On a day when Oregon and Gonzaga needed overtime in the Bahamas, two of the most impressive performances on Thanksgiving arrived via Michigan and San Diego State.  The Wolverines thumped North Carolina (a late UNC push made the final score deceiving), and SDSU throttled Creighton.  If you haven’t yet tuned in the Aztecs, it’s time.  Their earlier road win at BYU is looking better all the time, too.

For what it’s worth … Michigan looks like a major player in the Big Ten race – and San Diego State looks like a strong challenger to Utah State in the Mountain West.

Let’s also not overlook Iowa’s surprising victory over Texas Tech in Las Vegas.  Moving forward, we’ll see whether that result tells us more about the Hawkeyes or the re-tooling Red Raiders.  Read more…

Feast Week: Five teams hoping to fill their resume plates

November 25, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015From afternoon tip-offs to food aplenty, Feast Week is one of the best set-ups in college basketball.  The Maui Invitational features Michigan State and Kansas.  The Battle 4 Atlantis has the deepest field, with the likes of North Carolina, Gonzaga, Oregon and Seton Hall in attendance.  And that’s not factoring in solid groups gathered in Orlando, Anaheim and Las Vegas.  It’s a cornucopia of hoops, for sure.

With that as a backdrop, here are five teams hoping to build up resumes in the next seven days …

Dayton – An under-the-radar pick to potentially win the Atlantic 10, the Flyers open with Georgia in Maui. It’s a big opportunity in itself, but even bigger given the route a victory could provide (a matchup with Michigan State, for example).  With Davidson struggling out of the gate, it remains to be seen how many up games await during the A-10 season.  The Flyers would love to exit the islands with a couple of notables on their team sheet. Read more…