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Tag:Valparaiso
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:23 am
 

Harvard clinches bid in the library

Only in the Ivy League can a team can a team clinch a bid while sitting in the library studying for exams, but that's exactly what happened for Harvard tonight as Princeton knocked off Penn, securing the league title for the Crimson.  To celebrate, fans stormed the library in order to study together with the team.  (That may or may not be true).

Other bid winners tonight include South Dakota State, making its first appearance ever, Detroit in an upset over Valparaiso, and Western Kentucky, which fired its coach back in January and was the seventh seed in the Sun Belt.  The Hilltoppers are the first under-.500 team in the field and will almost certainly play in Dayton -- perhaps for the right to play Kentucky.

In bubble news, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Dayton and Saint Joseph's all took care of business against league bottom-feeders and avoided the bad losses that might have ended their hopes for good.

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: February 22, 2012 10:21 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:21 am
 

Bubbly Tuesday and other notes

It was a pretty bubbly Tuesday, so the bubble watch has been updated.

Seton Hall is off the list for now after the win over Georgetown last night.  With potential bad losses Rutgers and DePaul left on the schedule, there's always the chance the Pirates could return.

Last week, I thought New Mexico had the best week of the season.  That changed yesterday when Kansas State knocked off Missouri on the road, after winning at Baylor over the weekend.  That's how you play yourself off the bubble.

Florida beat Auburn last night, but may have lost Will Yeguete for the season.  He's not a big scorer for the Gators, but he is one of their better defensive players.  It will be interesting to see how much they miss him.

Valparaiso clinched the Horizon League regular season title last night and will host the conference tournament.  It's the Crusaders first conference title in eight years, and their first in the Horizon.

Binghamton finally got its first win of the season last night, and the Bearcats didn't beat just anyone, they took down league-leader Vermont.


Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:47 am
 

Baylor bombs and other bracket notes

I think we can safely say, without fear of contradiction, that Baylor is the third banana in the Big 12.  The Bears got blown out at Missouri, dropping them to 0-4 against the Tigers and Kansas.  Only one of those four losses was competitive.

For Baylor, a profile that looked worthy of a top seed a week ago now looks closer to a 3-seed than a one.

The Bears figure to get at least one more shot at the top two in the conference tournament.

I had been reluctant to put Ohio State on the top line of the bracket because they have been the No. 1 seed version of a home court hero.  The Buckeyes had been nothing short of invincible in Columbus, but struggled to beat decent teams on the road.  Finally, last weekend, they got the road monkey off their backs with a win at Wisconsin, but suddenly this week, they looked mortal at home.  Purdue put a real scare in them Wednesday night, and then Michigan State took their lunch money on Saturday.  Ohio State's stay on the top line may be short.

The Spartans pulled into a tie for first in the Big Ten with the win.  The league may end up with a four-loss champion and without a No. 1 seed, but is still likely to put the most teams in the bracket in March.  Well, among conferences with fewer than 16 teams.

It looks like Florida may have let Kentucky beat them twice.  The Gators seemed a bit hungover from their trip to Lexington in a home loss to Tennessee.  They have now been swept by the Vols and play four of their next five on the road.

The first of those is against what's left of Alabama.  Three more of the Tide have been suspended indefintiely, including leading scorer JaMychal Green.  Bama is without four of its starters and its tournament hopes are in serious doubt.

It was a rough weekend for some of the better non-majors too.

Creighton got blown up at home by Wichita State and has now lost three in a row.

Iona lost a battle for first place at Loyola in the Metro Atlantic on Friday, but the Greyhounds gave it back by losing at home to Fairfield on Sunday.

In the Horizon, Cleveland State lost at home to Valparaiso on Thursday, putting the Crusaders a half-game up in the league standings.  On Saturday, Valpo lost to Youngstown State for the first time in 16 games, but Butler won at CSU, so the Crusaders are still up for now.
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:48 am
Edited on: February 10, 2012 11:50 am
 

Feb. 10 bracket

Today's bracket is up, and for the first time in a couple weeks, there is a change at the top.  Baylor is gone after another blowout loss to KansasOhio State has moved up to take the Bears' place.

Duke's win over North Carolina has the Blue Devils making a push for the top line as well, but home losses to Florida State and Miami are still too much to overcome.

Murray State suffered its first loss of the season last night at home to Tennessee State.  That dropped them down to a five-seed in today's bracket.  Every Racers' loss, with the possible exception of one to St. Mary's, will have an increasing, negative effect on their seed.  It might only take three or four bad losses, including one in the Ohio Valley tournament, of course, to knock them out of the field altogether.

I think the best comparison to a past team right now is the 1998 Princeton team that went 25-1.  The fifth-seeded Tigers' only loss that year was to No. 1 North Carolina, so obviously, that is a much better loss than Murray's.  However Princeton beat only one top 50 RPI team that season, and nobody that made the tournament.

There is also a comparisons being made to the 2006 George Washington team that finished 26-2 and was an 8-seed, but their seed suffered because of an injury to star Pops Mensah-Bonsu.

The teams that were either a three or four seed in Tuesday's bracket went 1-5 since then.  Michigan State was the only winner, while Georgetown, Florida, Murray State, Creighton and St. Mary's all lost.

Florida State took a dive after losing at Boston College, dropping down to a 9-seed.  The Seminoles had been playing much better lately, but a third bad loss really hurts their tournament profile.
Cal replaces Washington again at the leader of the Pac 12, which still shows only one bid at the moment.  The Huskies got drilled at Oregon last night.

And finally, a reminder of how I make those conference leader decisions for the bracket.  The conference leader is designated as the team with the fewest conference losses.  Ties are broken by RPI.  As a Northwest Indiana guy, I'm as excited as anyone that Valparaiso beat Cleveland State last night to take a half-game lead on the Vikings in the Horizon League.  However, CSU still has a better RPI, so the Vikes are still listed as the leader and in the bracket.  I do it this way because it's the most likely way to get each league's best team into the projection.  Once conference tournament seeding is decided, I go with the top seed remaining.


Posted on: February 25, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: February 25, 2011 11:28 am
 

Feb. 25 Bracket - Marquette Makes a Move

by Jerry Palm

Thursday night, Marquette filled a big hole in its tournament resume when it won at Connecticut.   That was Marquette's first quality road win of the season, and the first of top 100 RPI road wins they picked up on the evening.

The other came from UW Milwaukee, which won at Cleveland State and the impact was felt in other places as well.  The biggest thing it did was make a jumble of the Horizon League standings, which is important because the top seed hosts the tourament.  UWM knocked the Vikings back into a three-way tie with themselves and Butler, and assumed control of its down destiny for the top seed.  It would have been a four-way tie, but Valparaiso was upset at home by Loyola.

Butler also got a boost, and not just in the conference race.  UWM moved into the top 100 of the RPI (94th), taking two of the Bulldogs' 100+ RPI losses off the board.  That is good because Butler had five of them before that game, and historically speaking, it's virtually impossible to get an at-large bid with that many bad losses.  UWM may end up back below that line again at some point, but for now, their rise to the top of the league has erased a little bit of the problems with the Butler profile.

St. Mary's
slide continued last night with a loss at home to Gonzaga.   That forged a tie between the two for first place in the WCC.  The Gaels win my RPI tiebreaker at the moment.  During their three-game losing streak, they have fallen 25 spots in the RPI and out of the top 50.  The team that affects the most is Utah State, which is lacking wins of any substantive quality, and having St. Mary's go into a slump devalues the Aggies' best win.

Michigan State continues to climb, aided by a win at Minnesota this week.  The Gophers though are in the tank ever since the loss of Al Nolen.  I still have them hanging on by a thread, but they may not make it.  Minny has a couple of winnable games left, but you have to wonder what qualifies as "winnable" for them.

A banked three-point shot at the buzzer by Wisconsin's Josh Gasser gassed Michigan's spot in the bracket for now.  Dayton moved in, and is in a First Four game, which is played on their home court.  Yes, that's allowed.

I'll have more in the Bubble Watch later today.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.



Posted on: February 18, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 5:17 pm
 

Feb. 18 - Bubble Watch

by Jerry Palm

There will be a lot of focus on the bracket busters this weekend, but there aren't too many bubble teams involved in that event.  One game that got a lot more interesting though is Utah State at St. Mary's.   The Gaels gagged one away at 300+ RPI San Diego this week and put what looked like a pretty secure tournament berth, not to mention a conference title, in jeopardy.

The Aggies haven't beaten anyone all year.  They have 23 wins and not a single one of them has come against a top 100 RPI foe.  So far, they have proven then can lose to a bad team (Idaho ), but haven't proven they can beat a good one.

Another game that could have some bubble implications is Cleveland State at Old Dominion on Sunday.  The Vikings are co-leaders in the Horizon league, but are missing a top 50 RPI win.  A road win against the Monarchs might give them a boost if they slip up in the conference tournament.

VCU at Wichita State looked like a potentially bubbly game when it was announced, but two big losses at home for the Rams this week were a buzzkill.

Missouri State at Valparaiso could help the winner perhaps, but probably only if the winner also wins its league regular season title.

Among the bigger schools, Boston College has a chance to make a splash this Saturday at the Dean Dome when they take on North Carolina.

Oklahoma State
is a home court hero, and they can't really do anything to fix that when they host Texas A&M this weekend, but you take quality wins where you can get them.

In the Big Ten, all eyes are focused on Purdue and Ohio State, but Illinois at Michigan State on Saturday has big bubble implications.  The Spartans are just 13-11, and no matter how good your schedule is, that record isn't going to cut it (some of you may remember Georgia in 2001 - this doesn't compare. Nothing even remotely compares).  The Illini have been fading some too, and they have the Buckeyes next, so this one is even more important.

The whole top of the Pac 10 seems to be on the bubble, and I wouldn't necessarily rule out haven't-beaten-anyone Arizona either.  The Wildcats host Washington in a big game in both the conference race and the tournament chase.

Finally, Georiga begins the final, brutal stretch of its schedule with a game at Tennessee.   The Bulldogs also have game at Florida and Alabama remaining, and may have to win at least one of those to feel any level of comfort entering the SEC tournament.  It's also a big game for Tennessee, which is 16-10 overall and cannot afford to slip too much with games at Vanderbilt and home against Kentucky left.

See complete Bracketology coverage here.

Bubble Watch


Posted on: February 5, 2011 9:04 am
Edited on: February 5, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Busted Brackets

by Jerry Palm

Earlier this week, the bracket buster matchups were announced.  The bracket buster is a decent concept in many ways.  Several smaller schools can get some late season TV exposure they would have never received before.  It also helps with scheduling because part of the deal is that each year's games are the front end of a home-and-home for the participants.

However, despite the name, no bracket is actually harmed, let alone busted, in the playing of these games.

The only team that may -- may -- have made the NCAA tournament in part because of a win in the bracket buster was George Mason in 2006.  Mason won at Wichita State and looked to be one of the last few teams in the field that year.  Of course, that team was the ultimate bracket buster.  The Patriots went all the way to the Final Four.

The reason we can't say for certain that Mason made the tournament because of the bracket buster win is that if the Patrios hadn't played that game, they would have played someone else of unknown quality and with an unknown result.

Nevertheless, if there is a list of teams that benefitted from the bracket buster, Mason is the only team on it.

This year's games don't appear to even have the cache of some other years.  Butler and Gonzaga are sitting it out (Gonzaga hasn't participated in a long time), although, given how those teams are doing, it probably wouldn't matter if they did.

The most intriguing game of the set is Utah State at St. Mary's .  The Aggies have crept into the bottom of the top 25 without a single win over a top 100 RPI team and in only two attempts.  They lost a competitive game at in-state rival BYU and were easily dispatched at Georgetown .  They have 21 wins, but 17 of them have come against teams ranked outside the top 150.  Those other four all came on their home floor, where they rarely lose.  Why this team is getting votes in a poll is beyond me, but this game is a much-needed opportunity for them to show they are worthy of the voters' respect.

Other than that, you have Cleveland State at Old Dominion , Mason at Northern Iowa and Missouri State at Valpo .  Fun games, but other than maybe ODU, there isn't really a decent at-large candidate in the bunch, and those games won't change that.

See complete Bracketology coverage here .




 
 
 
 
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