Bracketology: What to make of limited resumes?

February 2, 2021 Leave a comment

Dave2015Unless something unexpected happens, we figure to see Gonzaga and Baylor as No. 1 seeds when the 2021 NCAA tournament bracket is revealed on Selection Sunday.  So let’s move further down the seed list and take a quick peek at what appears to be a slim and uneven bubble.

Seed List

To be honest, the current list of bubble teams is quite short.  While there are multiple reasons for this, one of the biggest is the ongoing pandemic.  Between shutdowns, restarts and a variety of missed games due to cancellations and postponements, many teams have limited resumes.

Take a team like Penn State.  The Nittany Lions enter today with a NET rating of 29.  It’s a strong number and PSU benefits from its inclusion in a deep Big Ten.  At the same time, PSU stands at 6-7 overall, at least partly due to a shortened non-conference slate.  In four non-conference games, the Nittany Lions defeated VCU, Virginia Tech and VMI.  They lost in overtime to Seton Hall.  During a traditional campaign, Penn State would probably have played an additional four or five games, many at home against winnable foes.  So instead of being 6-7 right now, they might be 10-7 or 11-7.  We’ll never know.  Regardless, if PSU was 10-7 right now, with its additional B10 wins over Rutgers and Wisconsin, the Nittany Lions would almost certainly be “in the mix” as a bubble team.

Which brings us to what we don’t know.  How will the Selection Committee handle these types of profiles? Will a team with an even or sub-.500 record be considered?  In most years, the answer would be no.  At-large teams typically have to be at least two games over .500 to be serious contenders.  Anyway, it’s an interesting debate we’ll have to watch in the weeks ahead.

Quick Takes: Saturday’s resume builders

January 31, 2021 Leave a comment

Dave2015It’s never a good idea to over react to a single result in college basketball.  We’ve seen plenty of instances when a “big” win is followed by a “questionable” loss.  Even so, let’s have a go at some Quick Take-aways from the final Saturday in January.

We’ll start with Florida.  The Gators went into Morgantown and exited with a victory over West Virginia.  While technically Tennessee is ranked higher in the current NET ratings, beating the Mountaineers on the road qualifies as UF’s biggest resume win to date.  The journey ahead isn’t easy – with trips to LSU, Tennessee and Arkansas on the horizon – but Florida got a major boost to its profile, regardless.  Now they need to make it stick. Read more…

Bracketology: Top line stays steady

January 30, 2021 Leave a comment

Dave2015As February approaches, Gonzaga and Baylor remain atop the bracket, and it will take more than one loss from either to change that.  Heading into a busy weekend, the rest of the top line stays steady, with Michigan and Villanova holding the final No. 1 seeds.  Houston keeps winning and a continued dominant run through the American Athletic Conference would keep the Cougars in the conversation for a one-seed.

Seed List

With the exception of aforementioned Michigan (thus far), the Big Ten continues its internal assault on each other, with Illinois taking down Iowa on Friday night.  The league currently has six teams on the top six seed lines, with four stashed along lines 3-4 and five among the top 15 teams on the Seed List.

Although Virginia’s resume certainly has some question marks, the Cavaliers grab the final No. 2 seed this morning, based on its overall record, metrics and status as ACC leader.  They could be re-passed by numerous Big Ten contenders if some separation develops.  Enjoy a busy weekend.  More frequent updates ahead.

Categories: Bracketology

Quick Takes: Michigan State and the Mountain West …

January 29, 2021 Leave a comment

Dave2015Let’s begin Quick Takes with this … we could realistically be looking at an NCAA tournament bracket without these teams: Kentucky, Duke and Michigan State.  Since winning at Duke on December 1, MSU has one win against a tournament team, Rutgers.  And Thursday, those same Spartans lost at Rutgers by 40.  Pauses due to COVID have certainly impacted Sparty, along with many other teams, but MSU’s current resume has more questions than answers.  With more than a month left in the regular season (we hope), there’s ample time for Tom Izzo and Company to right the ship.  We’ll see if last night ends up being a turning point or the edge of a cliff. Read more…

Quick Takes: What to make of the Pac-12, ACC and others?

January 24, 2021 Leave a comment


Let’s open Quick Takes with a rather obvious observation … Gonzaga and Baylor are currently a step ahead of everyone else. The Zags mowed down another West Conference Conference opponent Saturday night and Baylor put up a 49-spot in the second half at Oklahoma State to move to 14-0 overall and 7-0 in the Big 12. Yes, OSU wasn’t at full strength, but the burst demonstrated again how explosive the Bears can be. A close game turned romp in a matter of moments.

Another potential No. 1 seed, Michigan, is now on pause due to COVID-19 concerns. The Wolverines could miss up to four games (Indiana, at Northwestern, Michigan State and Illinois). Given that it will be the second week of February when they return, it’s likely at least one or two of those games may not be played. It’s one of the many challenges Committee members will face, assuming we reach Selection Sunday.

Read more…