Countdown to March

Monday, March 12, 2012

2012 NCAA Tournament Schedule

Posting this for reference.

TUESDAY
6:40 Dayton OH [16] Western Kentucky v. [16] Mississippi Valley State - SOUTH
9:10 Dayton OH [14] Iona v. [14] BYU - WEST

WEDNESDAY
6:40 Dayton OH [16] Lamar v [16] Vermont - MIDWEST
9:10 Dayton OH [12] South Florida v [12] California - MIDWEST

THURSDAY
12:15 Louisville KY [11] Colorado State v [6] Murray State - WEST
12:40 Pittsburgh PA [9] Southern Miss v [8] Kansas State - EAST
1:40 Portland OR [13] Davidson v [4] Louisville - WEST
2:10 Albuquerque NM [13] Montana v [4] Wisconsin - EAST
2:45 Louisville KY [14] Iona/BYU v [3] Marquette - WEST
3:10 Pittsburgh PA [16] UNC-Asheville v [1] Syracuse - EAST
4:10 Portland OR [12] Long Beach State v [5] New Mexico - WEST
4:40 Albuquerque NM [12] Harvard v [5] Vanderbilt - EAST
6:50 Louisville KY [16] Western Kentucky/Mississippi Valley State v [1] Kentucky - SOUTH
7:15 Portland OR [12] VCU v [5] Wichita State - SOUTH
7:20 Pittsburgh PA [10] West Virginia v [7] Gonzaga - EAST
7:27 Albuquerque NM [14] South Dakota State v [3] Baylor - SOUTH
9:20 Louisville KY [9] Connecticut v [8] Iowa State - SOUTH
9:45 Portland OR [13] New Mexico State v [4] Indiana - SOUTH
9:50 Pittsburgh PA [15] Loyola MD v [2] Ohio State - EAST
9:57 Albuquerque NM [11] Colorado v [6] UNLV - SOUTH

FRIDAY
12:15 Nashville TN [11] Texas v [6] Cincinnati - EAST
12:40 Columbus OH [11] North Carolina State v [6] San Diego State - MIDWEST
1:40 Greensboro NC [9] Alabama v [8] Creighton - MIDWEST
2:10 Omaha NE [10] Virginia v [7] Florida - WEST
2:45 Nashville TN [14] St Bonaventure v [3] Florida State - EAST
3:10 Columbus OH [14] Belmont v [3] Georgetown - MIDWEST
4:10 Greensboro NC [16] Lamar/Vermont v [1] North Carolina - MIDWEST
4:40 Omaha NE [15] Norfolk State v [2] Missouri - WEST
6:50 Columbus OH [9] St Louis v [8] Memphis - WEST
7:15 Greensboro NC [15] Lehigh v [2] Duke - SOUTH
7:20 Nashville TN [13] Ohio v [4] Michigan - MIDWEST
7:27 Omaha NE [10] Purdue v [7] St Mary's - MIDWEST
9:20 Columbus OH [16] LIU-Brooklyn v [1] Michigan State - WEST
9:45 Greensboro NC [10] Xavier v [7] Notre Dame - SOUTH
9:50 Nashville TN [12] South Florida/California v [5] Temple - MIDWEST
9:57 Omaha NE [15] Detroit v [2] Kansas - MIDWEST

Sunday, March 11, 2012

3/11 FINAL S-Curve

1 Kentucky
1 Syracuse
1 Michigan State
1 Missouri
2 Kansas
2 Ohio State
2 North Carolina
2 Duke
3 Baylor
3 Marquette
3 Florida State
3 Michigan
4 Louisville
4 Georgetown
4 Wichita State
4 Vanderbilt
5 Wisconsin
5 Indiana
5 New Mexico
5 Murray State
6 Temple
6 Memphis
6 San Diego State
6 Saint Mary's
7 Cincinnati
7 UNLV
7 Creighton
7 Notre Dame
8 Florida
8 Kansas State
8 Gonzaga
8 Iowa State
9 Purdue
9 Alabama
9 Connecticut
9 Saint Louis
10 Virginia
10 VCU
10 Long Beach State
10 Colorado State
11 California
11 South Florida
11 North Carolina State
11 West Virginia
12 Texas
12 Seton Hall/Southern Miss
12 Drexel/Xavier
12 Belmont
13 St. Bonaventure
13 Harvard
13 Colorado
13 South Dakota State
14 Ohio
14 New Mexico State
14 Davidson
14 Loyola (MD)
15 Montana
15 LIU-Brooklyn
15 Lehigh
15 UNC-Asheville
16 Lamar
16 Detroit
16 Norfolk State/Western Kentucky
16 Vermont/Mississippi Valley State

Last Four In: Drexel, Seton Hall, Southern Miss, Xavier
First Four Out: Oregon, Marshall, Massachusetts, Iona
Next Four Out: Dayton, Washington, BYU, Miami FL

3/11 3:00 PM S-Curve

Second of 3 S-Curve projections today. Final one coming at 5:30 EST.

1 Kentucky *
1 Syracuse
1 Michigan State *
1 Missouri √
2 Kansas
2 Ohio State
2 North Carolina
2 Duke
3 Baylor
3 Marquette
3 Florida State
3 Michigan
4 Louisville √
4 Georgetown
4 Wichita State
4 Vanderbilt
5 Wisconsin
5 Indiana
5 New Mexico √
5 Murray State √
6 Temple
6 Memphis √
6 San Diego State
6 Saint Mary's √
7 Cincinnati
7 UNLV
7 Creighton √
7 Notre Dame
8 Florida
8 Kansas State
8 Gonzaga
8 Iowa State
9 Purdue
9 Alabama
9 Connecticut
9 Saint Louis
10 Virginia
10 VCU √
10 Long Beach State √
10 Colorado State
11 California
11 South Florida
11 North Carolina State
11 West Virginia
12 Texas
12 Seton Hall/Southern Miss
12 Drexel/Xavier
12 Belmont √
13 St. Bonaventure √
13 Harvard √
13 Colorado √
13 South Dakota State √
14 Ohio √
14 New Mexico State √
14 Davidson √
14 Loyola (MD) √
15 Montana √
15 LIU-Brooklyn √
15 Lehigh √
15 UNC-Asheville √
16 Lamar √
16 Detroit √
16 Norfolk State/Western Kentucky √
16 Vermont/Mississippi Valley State √

Last Four In: Drexel, Seton Hall, Southern Miss, Xavier
First Four Out: Oregon, Marshall, Massachusetts, Iona
Next Four Out: Dayton, Washington, BYU, Miami FL

3/11 12:00 PM S-Curve

First of 3 S-Curve projections today. Final one coming at 5:30 EST.

1 Kentucky *
1 Syracuse
1 North Carolina *
1 Michigan State *
2 Kansas
2 Missouri √
2 Ohio State
2 Duke
3 Baylor
3 Marquette
3 Michigan
3 Georgetown
4 Louisville √
4 Florida State
4 Wichita State
4 Wisconsin
5 Indiana
5 New Mexico √
5 Temple
5 Murray State √
6 Memphis √
6 Vanderbilt
6 San Diego State
6 Saint Mary's √
7 Cincinnati
7 UNLV
7 Creighton √
7 Notre Dame
8 Florida
8 Kansas State
8 Gonzaga
8 Iowa State
9 Purdue
9 Alabama
9 Connecticut
9 Saint Louis
10 Virginia
10 VCU √
10 Long Beach State √
10 Colorado State
11 California
11 South Florida
11 North Carolina State
11 West Virginia
12 Xavier *
12 Seton Hall/Oregon
12 Drexel/Southern Miss
12 Texas
13 Belmont √
13 Harvard √
13 Colorado √
13 South Dakota State √
14 Ohio √
14 New Mexico State √
14 Davidson √
14 Loyola (MD) √
15 Montana √
15 LIU-Brooklyn √
15 Lehigh √
15 UNC-Asheville √
16 Lamar √
16 Detroit √
16 Norfolk State/Western Kentucky √
16 Vermont/Mississippi Valley State √

Last Four In: Seton Hall, Drexel, Southern Miss, Oregon
First Four Out: Marshall, Massachusetts, Iona, Dayton
Next Four Out: Washington, BYU, Miami FL, Oral Roberts

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

3/6 S-Curve

Those were some pretty damn heartstopping games last night. A great way to kick off Championship Week in earnest.

* = projected autobid
√ = actualized autobid

1 Kentucky *
1 Syracuse *
1 Kansas *
1 North Carolina *
2 Michigan State *
2 Ohio State
2 Duke
2 Missouri
3 Marquette
3 Baylor
3 Georgetown
3 Indiana
4 Michigan
4 Temple *
4 Wichita State
4 Wisconsin
5 UNLV *
5 Murray State √
5 Florida State
5 Vanderbilt
6 San Diego State
6 Louisville
6 Notre Dame
6 Saint Mary's √
7 Kansas State
7 Creighton √
7 Florida
7 Memphis *
8 New Mexico
8 Gonzaga
8 Iowa State
8 Purdue
9 Saint Louis
9 Southern Miss
9 Virginia
9 Alabama
10 Cincinnati
10 VCU √
10 West Virginia
10 California *
11 Long Beach State *
11 Colorado State
11 South Florida
11 Drexel
12 Harvard *
12 Connecticut/Xavier
12 Washington/Tennessee
12 Nevada *
13 Oregon
13 St. Joseph's
13 Dayton
13 Belmont √
14 South Dakota State *
14 Davidson √
14 Ohio *
14 Loyola MD √
15 Weber State *
15 Bucknell *
15 Valparaiso *
15 LIU-Brooklyn *
16 Texas-Arlington *
16 UNC-Asheville √
16 Norfolk State/North Texas *
16 Stony Brook/Mississippi Valley State *

Last Four In: Washington, Connecticut, Xavier, Tennessee
First Four Out: Mississippi State, Northwestern, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall
Next Four Out: Texas, Miami FL, Iona, North Carolina State

Monday, March 5, 2012

End of Regular Season Bubble Rundown

This is going to be beefy, so I'll spare you the intros. Also, I'll have an S-Curve tomorrow after tonight's conference title games:

Big Ten (6)
LOCKS: Michigan State (RPI: 5), Ohio State (8), Michigan (11), Indiana (12), Wisconsin (22), Purdue (44)
WORK TO DO: Northwestern (47)

The toughest conference in the country has been kind enough to sort itself out almost completely going into tournament play. There will be at least six teams Dancing, with Purdue locking up a bid thanks to its road win over Michigan and an above .500 record in league. Illinois and Minnesota played their ways off of the bubble, so now, Northwestern, the NCAA Tournament virgin, is the one team left kicking around postseason purgatory. The Wildcats missed a monstrous opportunity when Ohio State ripped their hearts out last Wednesday night. They did, however, bounce back in a must-win game, topping Iowa 70-66 on Saturday. Northwestern is 6-12 vs. the RPI top 100, but a very problematic 1-10 vs. the top 50. It will get credit for the 14th ranked SOS and a strong average RPI loss of 30. Obviously, this team can't afford a loss to Minnesota on Thursday. Assuming the Wildcats get beyond that, though, one would have to assume that Friday's quarterfinal matchup with Michigan would constitute a must-win as well. Should they get that one, I think they'll have a leg to stand on with seven top 100 wins and two top 25 wins, plus a decent nonconference win over fellow bubble team Seton Hall on a neutral court.

Big East (9)
LOCKS: Syracuse (1), Marquette (7), Georgetown (10), Louisville (29), Notre Dame (39)
WORK TO DO: Connecticut (34), West Virginia (43), South Florida (45), Seton Hall (59), Cincinnati (67)

It's been pretty painful the last few weeks, seeing team after team refusing to step forward and claim a sixth bid out of the Big East. I'm confident, however, that when the dust settles, this previously powerful power conference will get at least eight teams in, probably nine and possibly ten. Connecticut has by far the best computer profile of any Big East bubble team, but the Huskies are going to have to explain finishing the season 4-9. This is a perfect example of a struggling team that will still go to The Garden with its destiny in its hands (see: Syracuse, 2006). UConn needs a convincing win over DePaul and a victory over West Virginia in the second round. Should they get those two, the Huskies will be 9-10 vs. the top 100 and likely 5-6 or 6-6 vs. the top 100, which should be enough to get them over the hump despite the dreadful finish to the season. West Virginia, like UConn, seemed home free earlier in the season, then suffered through a cold streak, going 2-7 before closing the season with wins over DePaul (home) and South Florida (away). The Mountaineers are 9-10 vs. the top 100 and 4-7 vs. the top 50 and did manage to secure a bye in the conference tournament, so they're in better shape than most bubble teams. A date with UConn looms on Wednesday, and though I think WVU will be OK even with a loss there, a win would remove all doubt. South Florida is pretty much the polar opposite of the aforementioned Big East bubble teams, passing the 'close the season strong' test with flying colors, but failing miserably in the 'quality win' section. The Bulls somehow finished 12-6 in the second toughest conference in America despite only racking up one top 50 win all season. The lack of signature wins comes with no heft in the nonconference, so at first glance this seems like a flimsy at-large case. But the fact remains that USF won six of eight to finish the season and its two losses in that stretch were close ones against a likely Tournament team (home vs. West Virginia) and one of the top two teams in the country (at Syracuse). The Bulls also knocked off Cincinnati (home) and Louisville (away) in that period, so if you had to pick an at-large team based on how likely they are to beat a quality team nine days from now, would you pick South Florida or UConn? USF gets the Villanova/Rutgers winner on Wednesday, which is the kind of game bubble teams can't lose. If the Bulls get past that, they'll take on Notre Dame on Thursday, and if they pick that win up, they're a Tournament lock. Seton Hall badly fumbled away what looked like a sure at-large bid after its blowout home win over Georgetown. The Pirates proceeded to lose to Rutgers at home, then get their doors blown off at DePaul to put their Tournament prospects back in flux. The Hall now is saddled with a below .500 record in conference and zero signature wins other than the Georgetown score. On the plus side, the Pirates do have wins over several fellow bubble teams, beating VCU (neutral), St. Joseph's (neutral) and Dayton (away) in the nonconference, as well as West Virginia (home) and Connecticut (home) in league play. Hall has to handle Providence tomorrow, then at the very least, put up a good fight against Louisville on Wednesday to have a chance on Sunday. Cincinnati would be a lock right now were it not for a dreadfully soft nonconference resume and a poor computer profile. Still, the Bearcats finished 5-1 to go 12-6 in conference and sport a 5-4/7-6 record vs. the top 50/100. Barring a blowout loss in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Cincinnati will make it through.

Big 12 (5)
LOCKS: Kansas (6), Baylor (9), Missouri (15), Iowa State (30), Kansas State (41)
WORK TO DO: Texas (51)

Even though Iowa State has really nothing to show for its nonconference schedule, the Cyclones have been too sharp in league play to get left out on Sunday. Texas, however, is in dire straits. The Longhorns simply don't have the quality road/neutral wins right now to put them over the top. Texas finished the season 9-9 in conference, with a 4-10 record vs. the top 100 and all four of those wins coming at home. Thursday night's game against Iowa State is a must-win.

SEC (5)
LOCKS: Kentucky (2), Vanderbilt (26), Florida (27)
WORK TO DO: Alabama (32), Mississippi State (62), Tennessee (75)

Alabama
took care of business down the stretch, finishing 4-1 to get to 9-7 in conference, beating the other two SEC bubble teams in that sequence. The Tide is 3-5/7-9 vs. the top 50/100 and has several key nonconference wins. Barring a loss to South Carolina on Thursday, Bama will get an at-large. Mississippi State has several quality wins (3-4/7-7 vs. top 50/100), but the Bulldogs lost five in a row before righting the ship slightly to end the season with wins over South Carolina (away) and Arkansas (home). At just 8-8 in league with a middling computer profile and an iffy finish, MSU will have to beat Georgia on Thursday and at least put up a solid fight against Vanderbilt on Friday in order to merit serious consideration on Sunday. Tennessee has burst onto the bubble scene by finishing the season 8-1 to go 10-6 in conference, beating Florida (away) and Vanderbilt (home) along the way. Similar to South Florida, the Vols have very little in the way of a nonconference CV, but will be taken seriously because of their league record and how they finished the season. Tennessee is 4-7/6-9 vs. the top 50/100, but has four sub-100 losses to explain. The most recent of those defeats was Jan. 18 though, so those are preferable to the type of embarrassments Seton Hall suffered over the weekend. The Vols get the Ole Miss/Auburn winner and certainly have to win that game. But if they do, then play competitively in the semifinals, it may be tough to deny the SEC's runner-up a bid.

Mountain West (4)
LOCKS: UNLV (13), San Diego State (25), New Mexico (33)
WORK TO DO: Colorado State (21)

Colorado State moved closer to locking up a bid by overcoming a 15-point halftime deficit to beat UNLV on Wednesday, then taking care of business at Air Force on Saturday. Those were both key, since the UNLV win gave the Rams a third top 50 win and the Air Force win secured an above .500 record in conference. They now stand at 3-5/7-8 vs. the top 50/100, but have a similar problem to Texas in that their best road/neutral win came over RPI No. 158 UTEP. What Colorado State has that Texas doesn't, apart from more top 100 wins, is a superb computer profile and the seventh-ranked strength of schedule in the country. The Rams need a win over suddenly hot TCU on Thursday. With that, plus a competitive game against top seed San Diego State, Colorado State should be safe.

ACC (4)
LOCKS: North Carolina (3), Duke (4), Florida State (24)
WORK TO DO: Virginia (41), Miami FL (53), North Carolina State (54)

Well it's been weeks now, and Virginia still hasn't locked up an at-large bid. It seems like the Cavaliers should be well in the field right now, and they're still likely to make it, but this is hardly a slam-dunk resume. They finished just 9-7 in the sixth-ranked conference and hold just two top 50 wins, with one of them coming over RPI No. 49. What will catch the committee's attention is five top 100 wins in the nonconference, including the big one over Michigan at home. Virginia will likely get N.C. State in the ACC quarters, and if the Cavs get handled there, they'll be sweating Sunday out. Miami FL is a life-support bubble team, holding on thanks to two RPI top 25 wins. But there really isn't much else to see here, and the Hurricanes are going to need at least two ACC tourney wins (Georgia Tech, followed by Florida State) to be a viable at-large option. North Carolina State has zero top 50 wins, so while Thursday's matchup with Virginia (N.C. State will most likely handle Boston College) is one the 'Hoos want, it's one the Wolfpack absolutely need. N.C. State then probably needs another win to be seriously considered for the big bracket.

Atlantic 10 (4)
LOCKS: Temple (14)
WORK TO DO: Saint Louis (28), St. Joseph's (55), Xavier (57), Dayton (73)

Saint Louis may have zero top 50 wins, but the Billikens have nine against the top 100 and finished the season 11-2. It would take a seriously lopsided loss to the Richmond/La Salle winner on Friday for SLU to be in hot water come Sunday. St. Joseph's missed a chance to get an eighth top 100 win on Wednesday, falling in double overtime at St. Bonaventure. The Hawks are 2-4/7-9 vs. the top 50/100, so they're probably one signature win away from locking up a bid. The problem is, they'll have to go through Charlotte and St. Bonaventure in order to get a shot at Temple. If St. Joe's does get through those two and puts up a good fight against Temple, it'll have a solid case. Xavier just can't get any traction, alternating wins and losses for the last nine game to finish 10-6 in conference. The Musketeers' resume looks solid at first glance, but the committee knows that their only two top 50 wins came pre-brawl. Xavier gets the Dayton/George Washington winner on Saturday, and if it's Dayton the Muskies draw, we're most likely looking at a bubble elimination game. Dayton has a subpar computer profile and several head-scratching losses, but the Flyers also have nine top 100 wins, as well two things Xavier doesn't have: wins over Saint Louis (home) and Temple (away). Neither team should plan on losing the anticipated quarterfinal matchup on Friday, but if one team can survive it more, it's Dayton.

Other Conferences
AUTOMATIC BIDS: Murray State (19), Creighton (23)
LOCKS: Wichita State (16), Memphis (18), Gonzaga (20), St. Mary's (31)
WORK TO DO: Southern Miss (17), Harvard (36), California (37), Oral Roberts (38), Nevada (44), Oregon (49), VCU (50), Washington (56), Drexel (71)

Southern Miss
has the strongest computer profile of any of the bubble teams, and the Golden Eagles are still in very good shape considering their nine top 100 wins, but after finishing the season 2-3 (with losses at Houston and UTEP), they've likely put a smidge of doubt into committee members' minds. Barring a loss to the Rice/East Carolina winner though, USM should be fine. Harvard will only need an at-large if two things happen: (a.) Penn wins at Princeton on Tuesday, (b.) Penn beats Harvard in the one-game playoff on Saturday. If those two things happen, the Crimson will be squarely on the bubble. They have a 1-1/5-3 records vs. the top 50/100 and a bad loss at Fordham that brings down their average RPI loss figure. California failed to lock up the Pac-12 regular season title, making it more difficult for the Golden Bears to grab an at-large. They do have seven top 100 wins, however, so a loss in the conference championship game might be absorbable. Oral Roberts makes an interesting case at 17-1 in the Summit League, but with zero top 50 wins and three against the top 100, the Golden Eagles likely need the autobid. Same goes for Nevada, which dominated a pretty solid WAC, but doesn't have much in the way of quality wins. The Wolf Pack did, however, beat fellow bubble team Washington in the nonconference. Oregon is the Tennessee of the west coast, coming on very strongly down the stretch to finish tied for second in the Pac-12, finishing the season with a four-game win streak and a 46-point blowout of conference doormat Utah. The problem is there are still no top 50 or quality nonconference wins on the resume, but if Oregon steamrolls its way to the Pac-12 title game and loses there, I think the Ducks will have played too well late in the season to be denied a bid. VCU takes on Drexel in an Armageddon-esque CAA title game tonight, as there probably is only room for one of the two in the field of 68. However, both teams have been scorching hot down the stretch, so considering the soft bubble, I wouldn't rule anything out. VCU went 1-1/5-4 vs. the top 50/100 and absolutely demolished George Mason in yesterday's semifinal. Washington has tons of talent, but other than in a few close nonconference losses, it really hasn't shown itself the way it should've this season. The Huskies did win the Pac-12 thanks to Cal's loss at Stanford, but they backed into it, losing at UCLA on Saturday. U-Dub has three top 100 wins, and like Cal and Oregon, probably needs to make a run to the Pac-12 title game to be confident about its chances on Sunday. Drexel has won 19 straight games, and that alone is enough reason for the Dragons to be seriously considered for an at-large bid. But the quality wins aren't there for Drexel, so it'll be interesting to see how the committee handles this case if the Dragons fall in a close one against VCU tonight.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2/29 S-Curve Projection

  • 1 Kentucky (RPI: 3, 28-1, 14-0) *
  • 1 Syracuse (1, 27-1, 16-1) *
  • 1 Kansas (6, 24-5, 14-2) *
  • 1 Duke (4, 26-4, 13-2) *
  • 2 Michigan State (2, 24-6, 14-5) *
  • 2 North Carolina (5, 25-4, 12-2)
  • 2 Ohio State (7, 23-6, 13-5)
  • 2 Missouri (14, 25-3, 12-4)
  • 3 Marquette (8, 22-5, 13-3)
  • 3 Baylor (9, 22-5, 11-5)
  • 3 Georgetown (13, 21-6, 11-5)
  • 3 Indiana (18, 23-7, 10-7)
  • 4 Michigan (10, 21-8, 11-5)
  • 4 Wichita State (15, 26-4, 16-2) *
  • 4 Temple (16, 21-5, 11-3) *
  • 4 Wisconsin (22, 20-7, 10-6)
  • 5 UNLV (12, 24-6, 8-4) *
  • 5 Florida State (19, 19-9, 10-4)
  • 5 Vanderbilt (25, 19-8, 9-5)
  • 5 Louisville (20, 22-7, 10-6)
  • 6 Notre Dame (40, 20-10, 12-5)
  • 6 Florida (17, 22-6, 10-4)
  • 6 Murray State (37, 28-1, 15-1) *
  • 6 Saint Mary's (33, 25-5, 14-2) *
  • 7 Kansas State (36, 19-9, 8-8)
  • 7 Virginia (34, 21-7, 8-6)
  • 7 Gonzaga (21, 21-5, 13-3)
  • 7 Alabama (41, 19-9, 8-6)
  • 8 New Mexico (29, 21-5, 8-4)
  • 8 San Diego State (34, 22-6, 8-4)
  • 8 Creighton (28, 24-5, 14-4)
  • 8 Long Beach State (39, 21-7, 14-0) *
  • 9 Iowa State (42, 21-8, 11-5)
  • 9 Southern Miss (11, 23-6, 10-4) *
  • 9 California (31, 22-6, 13-4) *
  • 9 Purdue (55, 17-10, 9-7)
  • 10 Seton Hall (30, 19-9, 8-9)
  • 10 Saint Louis (23, 21-5, 10-4)
  • 10 Memphis (26, 21-8, 11-3)
  • 10 South Florida (51, 16-10, 11-5)
  • 11 Cincinnati (81, 20-9, 10-6)
  • 11 Harvard (32, 24-4, 10-2) *
  • 11 Miami FL (49, 17-10, 8-6)
  • 11 Middle Tennessee (38, 25-5, 14-2) *
  • 12 Iona (44, 24-6, 15-3) *
  • 12 Washington (52, 21-8, 13-3)
  • 12 Dayton (74, 18-10, 8-6)
  • 12 Saint Joseph's (47, 19-11, 8-6)
  • 13 West Virginia (54, 18-12, 8-9)
  • 13 VCU/Northwestern
  • 13 Xavier/Colorado State
  • 13 Oral Roberts (45, 26-5, 17-1) *
  • 14 Nevada (23-5, 11-1) *
  • 14 Akron (20-9, 12-2) *
  • 14 Belmont (65, 24-7, 16-2) *
  • 14 Drexel (25-5, 16-2) *
  • 15 Davidson (22-7, 16-2) *
  • 15 Weber State (78, 23-4, 14-1) *
  • 15 Bucknell (79, 22-8, 12-2) *
  • 15 LIU-Brooklyn (86, 22-8, 16-2) *
  • 16 Cleveland State (22-9, 12-6) *
  • 16 UT-Arlington (99, 22-6, 14-0) *
  • 16 UNC-Asheville/Savannah State *
  • 16 Mississippi Valley State/Stony Brook *

Monday, February 27, 2012

Debut of the S-Curve

You can all stop clamoring now, the S-Curve has returned. It'll be back on The Matrix shortly, where I finished like 15th out of 80 or so last year, and along with dozens of others, beat Joe Lunardi. I'm not obsessed or anything. From now on the S-Curve will be continuously updated on the sidebar.

* = projected automatic bid

  • 1 Kentucky (RPI: 3, 28-1, 14-0) *
  • 1 Syracuse (1, 27-1, 16-1) *
  • 1 Michigan State (2, 24-5, 14-4) *
  • 1 Kansas (6, 24-5, 14-2) *
  • 2 Duke (4, 25-4, 12-2) *
  • 2 North Carolina (5, 25-4, 12-2)
  • 2 Ohio State (7, 23-6, 11-5)
  • 2 Missouri (14, 25-3, 12-4)
  • 3 Marquette (8, 22-5, 13-3)
  • 3 Baylor (9, 22-5, 11-5)
  • 3 Georgetown (13, 21-6, 11-5)
  • 3 Michigan (10, 21-8, 11-5)
  • 4 Wichita State (15, 26-4, 16-2) *
  • 4 Indiana (18, 22-7, 9-7)
  • 4 Temple (16, 21-5, 11-3) *
  • 4 Wisconsin (22, 20-7, 10-6)
  • 5 UNLV (12, 24-6, 8-4) *
  • 5 Florida State (19, 19-9, 10-4)
  • 5 Vanderbilt (25, 19-8, 9-5)
  • 5 Louisville (20, 22-7, 10-6)
  • 6 Notre Dame (40, 20-10, 12-5)
  • 6 Florida (17, 22-6, 10-4)
  • 6 Murray State (37, 28-1, 15-1) *
  • 6 Saint Mary's (33, 25-5, 14-2) *
  • 7 Kansas State (36, 19-9, 8-8)
  • 7 Virginia (34, 21-7, 8-6)
  • 7 Gonzaga (21, 21-5, 13-3)
  • 7 Alabama (41, 19-9, 8-6)
  • 8 New Mexico (29, 21-5, 8-4)
  • 8 San Diego State (34, 22-6, 8-4)
  • 8 Creighton (28, 24-5, 14-4)
  • 8 Long Beach State (39, 21-7, 14-0) *
  • 9 Iowa State (42, 21-8, 11-5)
  • 9 Southern Miss (11, 23-6, 10-4) *
  • 9 California (31, 22-6, 13-4) *
  • 9 Purdue (55, 17-10, 9-7)
  • 10 Seton Hall (30, 19-9, 8-9)
  • 10 South Florida (51, 16-10, 11-5)
  • 10 Saint Louis (23, 21-5, 10-4)
  • 10 Memphis (26, 21-8, 11-3)
  • 11 Cincinnati (81, 20-9, 10-6)
  • 11 Harvard (32, 24-4, 10-2) *
  • 11 Miami FL (49, 17-10, 8-6)
  • 11 Middle Tennessee (38, 25-5, 14-2) *
  • 12 Iona (44, 24-6, 15-3) *
  • 12 Connecticut (24, 17-11, 7-9)
  • 12 Washington (52, 21-8, 13-3)
  • 12 Dayton (74, 18-10, 8-6)
  • 13 Saint Joseph's (47, 19-11, 8-6)
  • 13 West Virginia/Northwestern
  • 13 Xavier/Colorado State
  • 13 Oral Roberts (45, 26-5, 17-1) *
  • 14 Nevada (23-5, 11-1) *
  • 14 Akron (20-9, 12-2) *
  • 14 Belmont (65, 24-7, 16-2) *
  • 14 Drexel (25-5, 16-2) *
  • 15 Davidson (22-7, 16-2) *
  • 15 Weber State (78, 23-4, 14-1) *
  • 15 Bucknell (79, 22-8, 12-2) *
  • 15 LIU-Brooklyn (86, 22-8, 16-2) *
  • 16 Cleveland State (22-9, 12-6) *
  • 16 UT-Arlington (99, 22-6, 14-0) *
  • 16 UNC-Asheville/Savannah State *
  • 16 Mississippi Valley State/Stony Brook *

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2/22 Bubble Report

Back at it this week, and we'll start projecting how many at-large bids each conference will get (as always, assuming no outlying automatic qualifiers), as well as how many remain in the pool for the bubble teams. Several big wins by previous bubble inhabitants have compressed the picture just a bit. S-Curve coming later today/tomorrow.

Big Ten (Projected Bids: 6)
LOCKS: Michigan State (RPI: 2), Ohio State (7), Michigan (10), Indiana (18), Wisconsin (22)
WORK TO DO: Northwestern (48), Purdue (55), Illinois (69), Minnesota (76)
Indiana and Wisconsin both gain lock status this week, the former on account of multiple outstanding wins, and the latter by way of several good wins and clinching a minimum .500 record in the country's toughest conference. Northwestern lost in overtime to Michigan for the second time this season last night, and time is running out on the Wildcats' chances of sealing an at-large bid. They're now 2-7 vs. the RPI top 50 and 5-11 vs. the top 100. Other than one very good win over Michigan State (home), the committee is going to have major doubts as to whether Northwestern can consistently beat good teams. The Wildcats' season (barring a Big Ten tourney run) will come down to its home date with Ohio State next Wednesday. Purdue has the best chance at a sixth Big Ten bid, not necessarily because of quality wins, but because of the Boilermakers' work against other conference bubble teams. After beating Illinois on the road last week, Purdue moved to 5-0 against Northwestern, Illinois and Minnesota. Purdue is 5-7 against the RPI top 50, but keep in mind that only one of those wins (neutral vs. Temple) came over a top 25 team. The Boilers do have several good nonconference wins though, so if they can get to 9-9 in league, they'll be on the strong side of the bubble. If, however, they can steal a win at Michigan (Saturday) or at Indiana (3/4), they'll be in without a doubt. Illinois is one loss away from being removed from the conversation altogether. The only reason it's still here is because of three very good wins (vs. Gonzaga, vs. Ohio State, vs. Michigan State), but those are getting further away in the rearview. The Illini have now lost eight of nine, and weren't competitive in their last two at Nebraska (!) and Ohio State. They finish with Iowa (home), Michigan (home) and Wisconsin (away) and need to win all three of those to have any prayer of an at-large bid. Methinks the Bruce Weber era is about to come to a merciful end. Minnesota is also in dire straits, having lost to Ohio State and Northwestern in the past week to fall to 5-9 in conference. The Golden Gophers don't have much on their resume other than a road win over Indiana, so they'll have to win three of four down the stretch to remain an option. They start with Michigan State at home tonight, then host Indiana, visit Wisconsin and get Nebraska at home. In summation, things are looking bleak for most of the Big Ten bubble contingent.

Big East (9)
LOCKS: Syracuse (1), Marquette (8), Georgetown (13), Louisville (20), Notre Dame (40)
WORK TO DO: Connecticut (24), Seton Hall (30), West Virginia (43), South Florida (51), Cincinnati (81)
Notre Dame moves into the lock category because, despite a middling RPI and very little in the way of nonconference beef, the Irish are 11-3 in the Big East and have seven RPI top 50 wins. Connecticut got a win it had to have at Villanova thanks to Shabazz Napier's late heave, but the Huskies still have road to hoe. Saturday's home game with Syracuse is obviously enormous. UConn doesn't necessarily have to win that game, but it has to be competitive (which it wasn't against Marquette), showing the committee that the Huskies can still strike fear in elite teams in March. Besides that, Connecticut gets Providence (away) and Pittsburgh (home) and can't afford a loss in either of those two. Seton Hall improved its position in a big way by cruising past Georgetown last night, and the Pirates now sit on the strong side of the bubble. They're 4-7 vs. the RPI top 50 and 7-8 vs. the top 100, and if they take care of business against Rutgers (home) and DePaul (away), they'll be Dancing. West Virginia looked like an at-large certainty about a month ago, but the Mountaineers have dropped five of seven to put things somewhat in doubt. Though they have four RPI top 50 wins, three of those are tentative, coming against RPI Nos. 45, 49 and 46. They only have one undoubtedly high-quality win (home over Georgetown), but get chances at two more coming up tonight (at Notre Dame) and Friday (vs. Marquette). Overall, with the seventh-best SOS in the country and nine top 100 wins, West Virginia should be fine, but stealing one of these next two would lock things up. South Florida just keeps hanging around, and the Bulls helped end the dreams of former bubble-dweller Pittsburgh on the road Sunday. USF's next four games will be enormous, as it closes the season with Syracuse (away), Cincinnati (home), Louisville (away), West Virginia (home). If the Bulls can manage to win their two home games, they'll be an interesting experiment in conference record vs. quality wins. They'd be 12-6 in the second-best conference in the land, but would have zero top 25 wins and just two top 50 wins. Grab your popcorn. Cincinnati got a much-needed home win over Seton Hall on Saturday and now sits at 9-5 in conference. The Bearcats have quietly steadied themselves, winning four of five after dropping three in a row. They're 4-3 vs. the RPI top 50 and 5-5 vs. the top 100, but also have three losses outside the top 100. Cincinnati finishes with Louisville (home), South Florida (away), Marquette (home) and Villanova (away). A split would most likely be enough to lock up Cinci's bid despite the lousy computer profile.

Big 12 (5)
LOCKS: Kansas (6), Baylor (9), Missouri (14), Kansas State (36)
WORK TO DO: Iowa State (42), Texas (58)
Despite the so-so computer profile, there's no way Kansas State gets left out of the Tournament now. The Wildcats swept Missouri, beat Baylor on the road and have five RPI top 50 wins. If it weren't for getting swept by Oklahoma, K-State would've been a no-doubt inclusion much earlier. That leaves a scenario where Iowa State actually needs Saturday's showdown in Manhattan more than the home team does. The Cyclones are 1.5 games ahead of K-State in the Big 12 standings, but have very little to show for their resume other than the home win over Kansas. They're 2-4 vs. the RPI top 50 and 3-6 vs. the top 100 and their best nonconference mark was a home win over RPI No. 107 Lehigh. The good news is that even if they fall on Saturday, they finish with Missouri (away) and Baylor (home), so the opportunities for quality wins are there. Assuming Iowa State handles Texas Tech at home tonight, it should be in good shape with a 3-1 finish. 2-2 makes things a little dicier, and 1-3 puts an at-large bid in real jeopardy. Texas is running out of chances to impress the committee, the latest resulting in a blown double-digit second half lead against Baylor at home. With a 7-8 Big 12 mark and a 3-9 record vs. the RPI top 100, this is becoming an increasingly difficult case to make. Barring a road win over Kansas in the season finale (not happening), the Longhorns will go to the conference tournament with major work to do.

SEC (5)
LOCKS: Kentucky (3), Florida (17), Vanderbilt (25)
WORK TO DO: Alabama (41), Mississippi State (61), LSU (65), Arkansas (87)
Attribute it to the weakness of the bubble, but I see no scenario in which Florida (eight top 100 wins) or Vanderbilt (nine) miss the Tournament, so the SEC now has at least three locks. After that though, it gets way murkier. Alabama lost to Florida last week, but rebounded by securing a must-win against Tennessee. Now that the suspension situation is settled (Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele are back, JaMychal Green will be soon, Tony Mitchell is done for the year), perhaps the Crimson Tide can return to building on its outstanding nonconference output. Yet sitting at 6-6 in the fourth-ranked conference, Bama finds itself squarely on the bubble. It's just 1-5 vs. the RPI top 50, but 7-8 vs. the top 100. Three of the Tide's last four come against top 100 teams, so if it can find a way to win two of those, Bama should be safe. Nine top 100 wins and an above .500 record in conference would almost certainly do the trick despite few wins over elite teams. This is a Tournament team. Mississippi State blew the biggest opportunity of all the bubble teams in the past week, frittering away a 13-point halftime lead over consensus best-team-in-the-country Kentucky and getting blown away in the second half. That makes four losses in a row for the Bulldogs, with the previous three coming against Georgia (home), LSU (away) and Auburn (away). Considering that M-State wasn't really even competitive against Auburn, the committee most likely has major questions about this team's quality now. The good news is that there are several good wins on this resume, including two in the nonconference over Arizona (neutral) and West Virginia (home), but the committee cares a great deal about how you finish the season. Saturday's game at Alabama looms large for both teams. LSU refuses to go away, following up a noncompetitive loss at Vanderbilt with three straight wins, beating top 100 foes Alabama and Mississippi State. The Tigers are 2-6 vs. the RPI top 50 and 5-8 vs. the top 100, which, when taken with the huge nonconference win over Marquette, makes this a surprisingly viable at-large case. Unfortunately for LSU, it has just one game remaining against a top 100 opponent (Saturday at Mississippi), but if they can win that, plus their other three games to get to seven in a row, this team will be in the Dance (!). Arkansas stays in the conversation by way of several high-quality wins, but the Hogs got their doors blown off by Tennessee and Florida back-to-back, so this is a life-support scenario. However, with games remaining against Alabama (home), Mississippi (home) and Mississippi State (away), the chances for more quality wins are still there.

Mountain West (4)
LOCKS: UNLV (12), New Mexico (29), San Diego State (34)
WORK TO DO: Colorado State (27)
I contemplated not putting San Diego State into lock territory, and its most recent three-game losing streak does make the Aztecs' ground a little shakier, but its nonconference quality and 6-5 record vs. the RPI top 100, compared to the rest of the bubble, would be enough to get them in assuming they don't completely unravel. New Mexico's back-to-back wins over the other two MWC Tournament teams gets the Lobos in despite a loss to Colorado State last night. Speaking of the Rams, they got that win they had to have, but I don't think they've locked up a bid just yet. They're 2-4 vs. the RPI top 50 and 6-6 vs. the top 100, but don't have real quality in the nonconference, have three losses outside the top 100 and are still just 6-5 in league. They likely need to win one of the next two (at San Diego State on Saturday, vs. UNLV 2/29) to feel comfortable heading into the MWC tourney.

ACC (4)
LOCKS: Duke (4), North Carolina (5), Florida State (19)
WORK TO DO: Virginia (34), Miami FL (49), North Carolina State (60)
Virginia is very close to lock status despite the loss at Clemson last week. The Cavaliers just have too many top 100 and good nonconference wins, and their hard-fought road win at Virginia Tech last night puts them one win away from an at-large bid. Miami FL is in much shakier territory after losing to Maryland last night. The fact remains that while the Hurricanes have one terrific win (at Duke), they really don't have anything else to impress the committee. Sunday's home date with Florida State is a must-win. North Carolina State also has very few quality wins, and with a real chance to get one last night, the Wolfpack couldn't come through against North Carolina. N.C. State has to win its last three to have any chance to get into the Tournament.

Atlantic 10 (4)
LOCKS: Temple (16)
WORK TO DO: Saint Louis (23), Saint Joseph's (47), Xavier (56), Dayton (74)
Saint Louis is a likely Tournament team with a 21-5 (10-3) record, six top 100 wins and zero losses outside the top 100, but I just can't put a team with zero top 50 wins in lock territory. Saint Joseph's has won five of six to strengthen its case, and the Hawks do have one top 50 win (home vs. Creighton). Saturday's home test against Temple will be crucial. If St. Joe's can get that one and beat Richmond (home) and St. Bonaventure (away), it most likely will be safe regardless of what happens in Atlantic City. Xavier won a game it had to have, upending Dayton at home on Saturday, but the Muskies couldn't follow it up with a win over Massachusetts last night. There's no doubt that X has the best nonconference body of work of the non-Temple A-10 teams, but that was a long time ago, pre-brawl. Xavier visits Saint Louis next Tuesday. Absent a win there, the Musketeers will head to AC with work to do. Dayton, unlike Xavier, has beaten both Temple and Saint Louis, and therefore stays in the discussion despite a 6-6 league record and several perplexing losses. The Flyers are 3-4 vs. the RPI top 50 and 7-7 vs. the top 100, so if they are able to win three of four down the stretch (at Duquesne, vs. Massachusetts, at Richmond, vs. George Washington), they'd have a strong at-large case to make.

Missouri Valley (2)
LOCKS: Wichita State (15), Creighton (28)
Creighton moves into lock territory following a blowout win over Southern Illinois and a narrow win in BracketBusters over Long Beach State.

Conference USA (2)
LOCKS: None
WORK TO DO: Southern Miss (11), Memphis (26)
Oh jeez, just as I'm about to chisel Southern Miss' name into the lock category, the Golden Eagles go and lose to RPI No. 221 Houston. Still, with a rock-solid computer profile, nine top 100 wins and several good nonconference wins, USM should be fine, provided there are no more missteps against sub-100 teams. Memphis also shot itself in the foot over the weekend, falling at home to RPI No. 148 UTEP. The Tigers don't have nearly the cushion that Southern Miss has, and likely need a sweep of Marshall (Saturday, away) and Central Florida (Tuesday, home) to feel good about their chances heading into the postseason.

Pac-12 (2)
LOCKS: None
WORK TO DO: California (31), Washington (52), Arizona (68)
I still think that when the smoke clears, the Pac-12 will get two teams in the Tournament, but these resumes are still sorely lacking. California is 0-3 vs. the RPI top 50 and 6-4 vs. the top 100 and beat Washington on the road in the two teams' only meeting this season. The Golden Bears finish the season with three road games, and if they can sweep that swing, they'll be in, zero top 50 wins or no. Washington has a lack of quality wins on its resume, but you'd better believe that the committee noticed how well they played Marquette and Duke on neutral courts in the nonconference. They have no losses outside the top 100 and picked off Arizona in a crucial game on Saturday. The Huskies also finish the season with three road games. Arizona had its five-game win streak snapped by Washington, but with USC (home), UCLA (home) and Arizona State (away) remaining on the schedule, the path is paved for a 13-5 record in conference, which, coupled with five top 100 wins, will keep Arizona in the discussion.

West Coast (2)
LOCKS: None
WORK TO DO: Gonzaga (21), Saint Mary's (33), BYU (46)
Gonzaga missed a huge chance to solidify its resume and catch Saint Mary's in the WCC standings, falling at San Francisco on Saturday. Now Thursday's home game with BYU takes on even more importance, as it would give the Zags a fourth RPI top 50 win and probably lock up a bid, considering their nonconference work. But should they lose, they'd have to turn around and face the committee with a sweep at the hands of BYU and without a WCC regular season title for once. Saint Mary's also whiffed on a chance to lock up a bid, getting handled at Murray State in BracketBusters to follow up a noncompetitive home loss to Loyola Marymount since Matthew Dellavedova's ankle injury. The Gaels still have a strong resume overall, but once again, how you're playing at the end of the season is very important, and SMC needs to bounce back in upcoming roadies at Portland and San Francisco to stay on solid at-large ground. BYU suddenly looks like the most solid of the conference's bubble teams, and the Cougars' late-season surge has made a three-bid WCC a distinct possibility. BYU is just 1-4 vs. the RPI top 50 and 6-5 vs. the top 100, so Thursday's visit to Gonzaga will be critical. If BYU can pull off that win, I think it'll be in the Tourney solidly.

The Rest

LOCKS: Murray State (37), Long Beach State (39)
WORK TO DO: Harvard (31), Middle Tennessee State (38), Iona (44), Oral Roberts (45)
Murray State and Long Beach State move into lock territory for me. The Racers have simply taken advantage of every opportunity against a quality team this season and have proven that they're a Tournament team, regardless of what happens in the OVC tournament. Long Beach State fell at Creighton in heartbreaking fashion, but it was yet another example of Beach going on the road against an elite team in a tough environment and playing down to the wire. Would it be nice if the 49ers had a few more top 100 wins? Sure. But this team has held its own against one of the toughest schedules in the country and has done exactly what the committee asks teams to do: go play well against good opponents on the road in nonconference play. Harvard took care of business at home against Brown and Yale over the weekend, and the Crimson can lock up the Ivy League crown this weekend in home games against Princeton and Pennsylvania. Middle Tennessee State still holds those four top 100 wins, but somehow didn't have a BracketBusters game, so there are no new developments on this front. Iona won a bubble elimination game with Nevada, and the Gaels now find themselves with six RPI top 100 wins, including several in the nonconference. Iona's 14-5 road/neutral record will be tough to ignore as well. Oral Roberts picked up a fourth win against the RPI top 100 in BracketBusters, handling Akron at home.

Total at-large bids locked up (assuming Murray State and Long Beach State get automatic bids): 18/37
Total at-large bids projected (assuming no outlying automatic qualifiers): 34/37