If you’re a team that plays in a power conference you can survive an average (or even below average) non-conference slate and still earn an at-large bid. Last year’s Purdue team is a good example. The Boilermakers dropped non-conference decisions to Kansas State, North Florida, Vanderbilt, and Gardner-Webb. What Purdue was able to do, however, was win 8 of 9 Big Ten games during a mid-season stretch and finish 12-6 in league play en-route to a 9-seed in the Midwest Region.
If you’re a team from outside the power conferences, non-conference results become much more critical. Opportunities for resume-changing wins are more limited. With that thought in mind, here are five opening weekend games with March in mind … Read more…
For the past couple of weeks, Duke and Kansas have been battling for the final No. 1 seed position. With Kansas losing at Oklahoma State this past weekend, Duke and KU flip-flop on the Seed List and the Blue Devils now sit atop the South Region. Not that it’s a huge difference, Kansas is the No. 2 seed in the same region. The other No. 1 seeds remain the same: Kentucky, Virginia, and Gonzaga. It’ll be interesting to see how the Selection Committee ultimately handles Gonzaga. If the Bulldogs win out and enter Selection Sunday with only one loss, it’s tough to imagine a scenario in which they are not a No. 1 seed in the West. But on paper, one could clearly make a case that both Duke and Kansas have superior resumes.
Elsewhere, the Big Ten benefits from its bunching of teams. Illinois, Purdue, and Michigan State are all among the last six teams in today’s bracket – giving the B10 eight representatives. It’s doubtful that will hold up over the next month; five to six bids is much more likely.
A final thought … given the current landscape, Championship Week may become more like Tiebreaker Week for the Selection Committee. Conference tournament results could well determine the final few teams in and out of this year’s NCAA tournament.
Enjoy another week of hoops. Next bracket update is Friday.
It’s possible, given the current resumes of its contending teams. Before moving forward, let’s acknowledge two things … 1) there’s a lot of basketball yet to be played; 2) we have no idea how Championship Week will play out – do we end up with an unexpected team claiming an automatic invitation by winning its league tournament?
At this juncture of the college basketball season, four Mountain West teams have realistic at-large hopes: San Diego State, Wyoming, Colorado State, and Boise State. Only SDSU has a victory over a projected tournament team (Utah). Against the current RPI Top 50? The group is a combined 2-8. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of each team’s profile (current RPI in parenthesis – per ESPN): Read more…
It’s certainly been an interesting two months in college hoops. We’ve seen a variety of odd upsets. We’ve seen mid-major hopefuls slide out of contention for at-large consideration. And we’ve seen some traditional powers skid into the holidays. What hasn’t changed – thus far – is our projected No. 1 seeds. If anything, Kentucky and Duke have further solidified their positions atop the Midwest and East Regions. There’s nothing blue about Christmas in Lexington and Durham this year, except for their appropriately dressed fans.
Regular bracket updates resume in early January. It should be quite a ride. The current bubble is so fluid, a big road win (such as Stanford’s victory at Texas) can vault a team up the Seed List. With the exception of the Top 7-8 teams on our current seed rankings, you’ll find some quirky resumes. Some teams have a bad loss. Some teams lack a quality win. Some teams haven’t ventured far from home. And some are merely treading water as conference play looms. It’s safe to say, the middle and lower bracket positions will revolve in the coming weeks. Maybe more than usual. We’ll see.
Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Have a safe and joyous holiday season.
As we prepare for Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, it’s been more famine than feast for SMU and Pittsburgh. Both the Mustangs and Panthers were projected tournament teams in our preseason bracket. Less than two weeks into the college hoops season, SMU and Pitt have combined for five losses. Which begs the question: Could trouble be brewing?
Southern Methodist (SMU) – Things certainly haven’t gone as planned for Larry Brown’s crew in Dallas. They’ve played without Markus Kennedy, who is ineligible the first semester. Prized recruit Emmanual Mudiay bolted for professional ball in China. And the Mustangs have missed on their first three chances to make a non-conference impression on the Selection Committee – losing at Gonzaga, at Indiana, and at home to Arkansas. None of those are bad losses, but they are missed opportunities. SMU led Indiana late and had the Razorbacks at home. Which means … upcoming dates with Wyoming (Dec. 5) and at Michigan (Dec. 20) could be rather important. Because other than Connecticut at this juncture, the American Athletic Conference (AAC) isn’t filled with many sure-fire NCAA teams. Will Memphis, Cincinnati, or even Tulsa prove to be quality wins? There’s certainly time to regroup, and having Kennedy back will definitely help, but the jury is still out for a team projected to be a potential Top 5 seed.
Pittsburgh – Given a robust Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) slate, the Panthers will have plenty of opportunities to make impressions. But it certainly hasn’t been a great start. On its way to Maui, Pitt dropped a game at Hawaii. On Tuesday, the Panthers were easily dispatched by San Diego State. Which makes today’s game with Kansas State rather interesting. After that, Pitt’s top remaining non-conference game is at Indiana (Dec. 2, part of ACC-B10 Challenge). In other words, the next week will decide whether the Panthers have any cache heading into conference play. Without any, it could be a much tougher journey from January to March.
We could talk about Kentucky, Texas, and Duke … all of which posted quality wins this past week. But the Wildcats, Longhorns, and Blue Devils basically delivered as expected. So let’s move on after a quick note about Texas – in winning the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden – beating Iowa and California – the Longhorns proved they could win without point guard Isaiah Taylor, who injured his wrist late in the victory over the Hawkeyes. That bodes well over the next four-to-six weeks.
A bit more under the radar, Miami, Creighton, and aforementioned Cal posted resume-building wins. While we have a long way to go, these wins could make a difference – particularly for potential bubble teams … Read more…
As a fun and educational project, 10 college basketball fans – and Bracketville followers – were given the opportunity to build a preseason bracket by engaging many of the same procedures used by the Selection Committee. Since Fan Committee members were located throughout the country, and not in the same room, we used e-mail for nominations and voting. A few minor adjustments were made to facilitate the process.
Overall, it was a great success. It took about three weeks to complete. We started with the selection of 36 at-large teams and then completed the seed list and bracketing. Mock conference tournament results were provided. Although the actual Selection Committee often works on seeding and selection at the same time, we chose to take it step-by-step given the set-up.
During the process, a few curve-balls were thrown at the Fan Committee to simulate potential scenarios. However, knowing this was a preseason exercise, we kept those to a minimum. What you’ll find below is the culmination of their work – based on consensus of nominations/voting. Read more…