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Tag:BYU
Posted on: March 4, 2012 10:04 am
Edited on: March 4, 2012 10:07 am
 

Carolina back on top

Today's bracket is up and shows North Carolina on the top line, replacing Duke after the Heels whipped the Blue Devils at Cameron. 

That's not final by any means.  Michigan State and Ohio State could jump in.  They play Sunday, plus possibly again next Sunday.  Duke could take it back with an ACC tournament win.  Missouri could get in there with a win over Kansas in the Big 12 tournament.  There's still a long way to go.

Washington's loss to UCLA knocked the Huskies out of sole possession of first place in the Pac-12, and out of the bracket.  They were replaced by Miami.

My twitter feed blows up after every game -- sometimes during games -- with "we should in now" after someone wins or "they should be out" after some bubble team loses.  Fans tend to overreact to one game, but the committee does not.  It's just one of the 30ish games on your schedule.

So, yeah, Seton Hall got embarrassed today at DePaul, and yeah, that may eventually help cost them a spot in the field, but not quite yet.

South Florida lost, but they aren't out...yet.  Northwestern won, but they aren't a lock and probably never will be. 

Cincinnati
isn't a lock either.  The Bearcats have some historically bad negatives on their resume, but they may eventually become a lock.  They are this year's Alabama, which last year went 12-4 in the SEC, but was so poor out of conference that they were left out anyway.  The Bearcats' non-conference performance isn't quite as bad as Bama's, and the Big East is much better than the SEC West was last year, so they are in better shape than Alabama was last year.

But this team is an example that you can't just look at you conference record/performance.  A team's entire season counts.  Cincinnati had to post 12 conference wins to have a chance to overcome the non-conference part of its season.  Same thing for USF, which only went 6-6 and took three bad losses in non-conference play.

Even more extreme is Tennessee.  Cuonzo Martin's sqaud went 7-7 in non-conference play with four bad losses, but came back to finish 10-6 in the SEC and will be the second seed in the conference tournament if Kentucky beats Florida today.  The addition of Jarnell Stokes has helped, to be sure, but the committee can't ignore what happened before he joined the team.  Either their credentials will be good enough to get in or not.  Right now, they're not, and they might have to win the conference tournament before they are.

BYU became the first bubble team to lose in its conference tournament.  Gonzaga handled the Cougars easily last night in the WCC semifinals.  All they can do now is sit back and hope what they have done is enough.

Wichita State is the first team top seed to lose in its conference tournament.  The Shockers lost to Illinois State in the MVC semifinals.  If the Redbirds beat Creighton today, some potential at-large team will be headed to the NIT.

We also had a near-bid stealer with Murray State.  The Racers needed a last-second layup to beat Tennessee State and win the Ohio Valley Conference title.  Sighs of relief we heard everywhere.

Finally, we have to say goodbye to Butler, the two-time national runner-up.  I was at the ARC at Valparaiso last night when the top-seeded Crusaders ended the Bulldogs season 65-46, and the career of senior Ronald Nored, who was a key contributor on those two Final Four teams.




Posted on: March 3, 2012 2:20 am
 

Jam packed Saturday

There have been no changes to the bracket the last couple of days, but it is sure to change tomorrow as many teams end their regular seasons, and three conferences crown their tournament champions.

The Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley conferences will decided their automatic qualifiers Saturday.  All bubble teams will be watching the OVC game closely as Tennessee State tries to steal an at-large bid away when it faces Murray State.  The Racers are in the NCAAs, win or lose.

Harvard can also clinch the Ivy League title with a win at Cornell and a loss by Penn to Yale.

Everyone will be talking about North Carolina and Duke, which could have top seed implications, but the games involving teams trying to fight their way into the bracket are more interesting.

West Virginia is at South Florida in a battle of bubble teams.  The winner isn't necessarily a lock and the loser isn't necessarily eliminated, but the winner could have a leg up on the loser if they are competiting for a spot in the bracket.

Texas has a chance to make a big splash, and fill a big hole in its tournament profile, when it travels to Kansas.  The Longhorns do not have a win away from home of any significance, but I think it's safe to say, winning at Phog would be significant.

Northwestern will try to keep its number of bad losses at zero as it goes on the road to play Iowa.  The Hawkeyes have been playing much better the last few weeks, but they are not a tournament team, so it's a must win for the Wildcats.

Washington can wrap up an outright Pac-12 championship with a win at UCLA.

Finally, BYU has a chance to pick up its best win of the season when it faces Gonzaga in the semifinals of the WCC tournament.  The Cougars beat the Zags at home earlier this year.

Posted on: February 7, 2012 12:38 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Feb. 7 bracket

Today's bracket is up with very little change at the top.  The top two lines are the same, and only 3-seed Georgetown moved more than one-line up to join the top 16.  The Hoyas were a five-seed last week.  Florida also moved up one spot to a four-seed.  The Gators have a big opportunity to make a splash tonight at overall No. 1 Kentucky.

Ohio State continues to push for a spot on the top line.  The Buckeyes have some good wins, over a little better quality teams than Baylor, but has losses to Illinois and Indiana and just picked up their first win of any significance outside of Columbus last weekend when they beat Wisconsin.  Almost all of Baylor's best wins have come away from home, and the Bears worst loss came at Kansas.  That's Ohio State's best loss.  So, Baylor still holds on for now.

Marquette dropped a couple spots after getting blown out at Notre Dame.  The Irish continue their climb in the bracket.  They moved up to an 11-seed after being slotted in a First Four game last week.

I can't get Seton Hall out of the bracket yet, despite the Pirates' best effort to fall out.  Their six-game losing streak is troublesome, but they do not have a loss to a triple-digit RPI team yet (Villanova is close though).  The Hall needs to right the ship against Rutgers tomorrow.

Northwestern is also still in the bracket after a bounce-back week that included a win over Nebraska and also at Illinois.  That pick got a lot of criticism last week because at the time, the Cats were 2-6 in the league.  Keep in mind though that conference record and conference standings are not relevant to the selection process.  Teams are judged on their entire seasons, not just the conference part, and it doesn't get any special weight.  Conference record is just a number.  And with the unbalanced schedules most leagues play (ridiculously so in the Big East), standings aren't very useful.

I've been talking most of the last month or so about how if a team in the Big Ten is going to drop out of tournament contention, it would likely come from the group of Northwestern, Purdue or Minnesota, but keep an eye on the Fading Illini.  Illinois has lost four of its last five, including two at home, but get a load of their next five games: at Indiana, at Michigan, home vs Purdue, at Nebraska, which has beaten IU at home already, and at Ohio State.  ouchie.  The Illini have picked a bad time to slump.

Oklahoma's stay in the bracket was short lived after home losses to Iowa State and MissouriOle Miss is also gone.  Those two were replaced in the at-large pool by Miami, which won at Duke, and BYU, who crawls back in after beating Gonzaga.

Washington has taken over Cal's spot as the Pac 12 leader, and Drexel is in from the Colonial, in place of George Mason.

We're used to seeing the CAA produce at-large quality champions, and occasionally, multiple bids, but this is a down year for the league.  Only VCU and Drexel are in the RPI top 100, and just barely (86 and 85 respectively).  It's arguably the league's worse season since 1999-2000.  I have the Dragons as a 15-seed today.

The Pac 12 has only one time in the RPI top 50 -- for now.  Cal fell to 48th after losing at home to Arizona this week.  The league has struggled the last two years, but still ranked 7th.  This year, it's down to 10th, and is a miserable 1-31 vs the RPI top 50 (Stanford over Colorado State on Nov. 15).  It's hard to build a case for an at-large bid for anyone based on that performance.  The top three teams in the league are all on the road for two games this weekend, so we could have another mess come next week.


Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:18 pm
 

Feb. 1 bracket

It's February, the home stretch of the season, and today's bracket features a lot of teams going in the wrong direction.

West Virginia lost three times since the last bracket was posted, and fell six spots this week.  The Mountaineers lost at St. John's and at home to suddenly resurgent Pittsburgh, sandwiched around that controversial loss at Syracuse.

Seton Hall is also fading fast.  The Hall got off to a great start this season, but now has lost five in a row.  To make matters worse, the opponents that mark their best wins - UConn, West Virginia and Dayton - are also struggling.

The Huskies have lost three i row and five of their last seven.  The addition of Ryan Boatright should help, once he works his way into form.

It's not all bad news for the Big East, along with Pitt, Notre Dame is coming on and has crawled onto the bracket in the PIGs.  The Irish have very little margin for error though.  Despite a nice collection of wins (Syracuse at home, and at Louisville, UConn and Seton Hall), they are only 7-8 vs the top 200 teams in the RPI, and that's a very negative indicator for tournament selection.

Northwestern is stll hanging on by a thread after a loss to Purdue at home this week (a much needed win for the Boilers, by the way).  The best thing working for the Cats is that Purdue is the lowest rated team to beat them this year, and they have a couple good wins, although one of them -- Seton Hall -- looks worse every day.

Honestly, the fact that Notre Dame and Northwestern, along with Colorado State and Oklahoma, which round out the First Four, are in a bracket is reason enough to go back to the 64-team field.

Florida made the biggest move up this week by filling in a couple of holes in their tournament profile.  Their sweep of the Mississippi schools, including a win at Ole Miss, gave them two more top 50 RPI wins (three total now) and their first win of any consequence away from home.

Dropping off the bracket this week were BYU, Texas, Marshall, UCF and NC State.  Coming on were Notre Dame, Colorado State, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Saint Louis.  All ten belong in the NIT.

Dayton almost fell off too after losing twice this week, including a real head-scratcher at home to RPI No. 263 Rhode Island.

Michigan State lost more than a game to Illinois last night.  The Spartans' heart and soul, Draymond Green, limped off the floor late with an apparent knee injury.  If that is serious and causes him to miss significant time, that will be a big blow to Michigan State's chances of a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

The highest rated team in the RPI not in my bracket is No. 47 Arkansas.  The Hogs are the ultimate Home Court Hero, with a 16-1 home record.  The Hogs are 16-0 in Fayetteville, and lost to Houston in Little Rock, which the NCAA considers a home game.  They are the only team in college basketball with at least a .500 record that has yet to win off its home floor.

The next bracket will be posted on Tuesday as we move to a twice-a-week schedule.
Posted on: January 18, 2012 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 11:56 am
 

Jan. 18 Bracket

Readers are great.  Many have pointed out that Davidson won at the Sprint Center, not at the Phog.  Also, that Michigan St lost to UNC by 35 in 2008 to UNC before losing to the Heels again in the title game that season (by a more respectible 17 points).

One of last week's four number one seeds went down this week, but remains on the top line in my latest bracket.  Baylor picked up its first loss of the season at Kansas, but still has a strong enough profile to merit a one-seed.  It's not like there's a lot of shame in losing at Phog Allen.  If you had to win there to be a No. 1, we wouldn't have any.  Well, except Davidson.

Indiana, Michigan State and North Carolina all had difficult weeks.  Both the Hoosiers and Spartans lost twice.  Minnesota took down IU in Bloomington, something Kentucky and Ohio State failed to do, which bolstered the Gophers precarious spot in the bracket.  The Buckeyes got their revenge on Indiana on Sunday.  Sparty lost to Northwestern and Michigan.

That shuffling leaves Illinois on top of the league standings for now.  The Big Ten continues to dominate the RPI and the bracket, with a whopping nine teams in the field this week.  Even placing eight teams in the final bracket in March would be remarkable.  However, as the teams at the top beat each other up, you have to wonder if any team will create enough separation to stay in contention for a top seed at the end.

Last week, I got a lot of grief for having Duke ahead of North Carolina on the bracket, although that was before the 33-point pounding the Heels took at Florida State.  I have not been able to find a team even make the championship game, let alone win it, that suffered that big a loss in the regular season.

That win by the Seminoles not only put them into this week's bracket, but also strengthened the cases for the tournament quality teams that beat them earlier.

New Mexico is out of the bracket this week, despite not losing.  Sometimes, what you do impacts your position.  Sometimes, what your previous opponents do impacts the quality of your profile, even if you had a good week otherwise.  And sometimes, other teams near you in the pecking order just had better weeks that you did.

BYU fell into the First Four, which if it actually happens in March, will put the committee in a bit of a predicament.  Typically, they like to put the PIG winners into Friday-Sunday sites, but BYU cannot play on Sunday.  In this bracket, that means a quick turnaround and a long-distance flight from Dayton to Portland if the Cougars win.  Of course, the same applies to BYU's opponent, Stanford, even though the Cardinal have no qualms with playing on Sunday.


Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:22 am
Edited on: December 21, 2011 12:23 am
 

Mountain West/Big East behind the numbers

The Mountain West has applied for an exemption that would allow it to become an AQ conference for the next two seasons.  They base that in part on their performance over the last four years, and in part because of an exemption granted to the Big East in the past.  So let's look at the numbers.

The league is measure in three categories: highest rated team, average computer ranking of all teams, and a score based on teams in the top 25.  It is measured over a four year period, based on this year's membership.  Therefore, Utah and BYU do not count, but TCU and Boise State do, even though Boise was in the WAC the last three years.

The reason the MWC didn't qualify for AQ status outright and has to apply for an exemption is that the league is good at the top, but has no depth.  The league does well in the two categories that measure top of the league performance.  It is fifth in the highest rated team category, and has a score of 60.2% in the top 25 category (only 33% was required to apply for exemption).

In the category that measures all teams, the league is a distant seventh, with an average computer ranking of 61.3.  The Big East is sixth at 50.2.

The problem is, the top two MWC teams in the rankings the last four years have been TCU and Boise State.  Without them, the numbers aren't nearly as good, and both teams are leaving.  TCU is already gone.  The Broncos have just one more year.  San Diego State is also leaving at the same time as Boise State.  Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii will join.

Without TCU and Boise State, the MWC would be the ninth rated league in the highest rated team category, an even more distant seventh in the average computer category (67.1) and would score only 6.9% in the top 25 category.  Among the new lineup, only Nevada (15th) and Hawaii (24th) finished in the top 25 of any season in the last four years, both in 2010.

Those are numbers the presidents can't ignore, and the reason why the league won't get its exemption.

The Mountain West document states that the Big East was granted an exemption after the 2007 season to retain its AQ status.  While I don't doubt that, I have been told repeated by Bill Hancock that there is no provision for removing AQ status from a league, which is why the Big East's status isn't in doubt for the next two years, so I am confused as to why such an exemption would have been necessary in 2008.  In any event, the only category the Big East fell short in was the top 25 percentage, where it scored 49.11%, just below the 50% requirement.  The MWC, even with it's current membership, cannot say is just barely missed in the category in which it failed to meet the standard.

The new Bigger East, which along with the Mountain West schools, has added Houston, SMU and UCF from Conference USA, is doing ok for the first two years of the cycle that the new members will count for, which is the 2010-13 seasons.  The league is fifth so far in the high ranking category and a very comfortable sixth in the average computer rankings.  They only score 29% in the top 25 category, but only three leagues, the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 are doing better than 50% so far.

Of course, if this turns out to be true, all this will be moot.

Posted on: October 23, 2011 11:01 pm
 

BCS/Bowl notes

The official BCS is out this week, with no real surprises.

Oklahoma State would appear to be in the best position to play the SEC champ for the BCS title if both finish undefeated.  The Cowboys have a slight edge over Stanford in the polls, but a huge lead in the computers.  Stanford will close that gap some as the season goes on, assume neither loses, but the Cardinal will never catch OSU.

Boise State and Clemson are currently between Stanford and Oklahoma St, but if all four finish undefeated, Stanford should pass the Broncos and Tigers.

Oregon and Oklahoma are in the best spots for 1-loss teams.  That may very well include the loser of the LSU-Alabama game.

A lot of people are talking about a possible rematch of those two for the BCS title.  That is getting WAY ahead of yourself.  We still could have six undefeated teams.  This is the time of year to talk about that scenario.

But since you asked, voters showed us in 2006 that they prefer not to have a rematch.  They jumped Florida over Michigan after the Gators won the SEC title.  I think there is a sense that it isn't fair to make the winner beat the loser again.

However, there does have to be some reasonable alternative.  One-loss Oregon or Oklahoma would be that, as would undefeated Boise State or Clemson.

The bowl projections require a little explanation also.

The order for choosing at-large teams for the BCS bowls is Fiesta, Sugar and Orange.

Once you get past league champions, bowl selection order is about bowl choice, not conference standings.  So, the Capital One Bowl gets the Big Ten No. 2.  That does not mean the second best team in the conference standings, or the conference championship game loser.  It means second choice of all bowl-eligible teams.  Conference standings are rarely much of a factor, although some leagues do have rules requiring they be respected to some degree.

Michigan is projected to be the choice of the Fiesta Bowl as an at-large team, but the Wolverines are not projected to win their division.  That is Michigan State.  However, Michigan is MUCH more attractive to bowls because of its massive fan base, national appeal, and in this case, a bit of a dry spell from playing at this level.

The current bowl projection also has a couple of holes in it.  I am only projecting 68 teams to be eligible for 70 spots.  At this time, the NCAA has no provision for dealing with this situation, so I am not going to assume what they will do.  This kind of thing has a way of working itself out, so we'll see.

I did end up with one strange matchup - Ohio vs Eastern Michigan in the Idaho Potato Bowl.  EMU was the last team I put in the grid, and the only openings were against other MAC foes.  Ohio was the only one the Eagles don't play in the regular season.  I'm sure the fans in Boise would line up early to see that one!

Finally, BYU clinched the first bowl berth of the season with its win over Idaho State.  They are contracted to the Armed Forces Bowl, however I don't believe the bid has been officially offered yet because there are still some very slim hopes that the Cougars could end up in the BCS.
Posted on: March 12, 2011 12:16 pm
 

Saturday Showdowns

by Jerry Palm

For the most part, this is the last chance for some teams to make their case to the committee.  There are a few games tomorrow that could be impactful, but most of the action is today.

Conference USA gets it started with Memphis and UTEP.  The Miners have to win to get in.  Memphis may be an at-large with a loss, so this could be a two-bid league if UTEP wins.

In the A-10, Dayton and St. Joes play a semifinal game for the right to try to steal a bid from someone tomorrow.  That bid may get stolen from Richmond if the Spiders don't beat Temple in the other semifinal.

Virginia Tech gets another shot at Duke today.  Nolan Smith may give it a go on his injured toe for the Blue Devils.  The Hokies can definitely get off the bubble with a win.  They might be in anyway.

Clemson begins the day without a top 50 RPI win, but can change that in the other ACC semifinal against North Carolina.

Penn State is in my bracket this morning, but the Nits may not be able to survive a loss to Michigan State today.

The Ivy League Tournament championship is today.  It's like the BCS - a one-game tournament between Harvard and Princeton, being played at Yale.  Neither team has at-large hopes though.

Finally, the Mountain West tournament final between BYU and San Diego State will be important to the seeding of both teams.  The Aztecs aren't out of the question as a one-seed.  BYU probably is due to their play since the injury to Brandon Davies, but they may be able to keep from being dropped too far with a win today.


 
 
 
 
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