Monday, February 04, 2008

2008 NCAA Projections - February 4, 2008

Paulus: Facilitates Duke offense and leads nation in floor pounding.
Credit: Baltimore Sun

After Wednesday, only one undefeated team remains. On Saturday, that number nearly reached zero following a stern test of Memphis by the UTEP Miners.

In the ACC, the gap between UNC and Duke continues to tighten. Some rate Duke ahead of the Tar Heels due to their undefeated conference record, yet Wednesday’s game at the Dean Dome will be a determinant on whether teams can exploit the Blue Devils in the second half of the ACC schedule.

Along the 2-line, Xavier has replaced Michigan State, and the Spartans can only blame themselves. With defeats at Iowa and Penn State already weighing down their resume, my once-steady confidence in Michigan State is waning.

In the Pac-10, the surprising weekend sweep of Washington State gave a glimpse to the preseason fears that I had about the Cougars (6th-rated Pac-10, 11-seed). As a result, Stanford ascended to the second-rated Pac-10 while WASU slipped to fourth. Meanwhile, Arizona achieved a Los Angeles split, but looked horrible in primetime in a blowout loss to the UCLA Bruins.

Among our high risers, UConn tops that list. In their five-game win streak, the Huskies have triumphed over four teams who are in the upper half of our at-large bids. With many of their toughest games already played, UConn is in strong position to achieve a top-3 seed in the Big East Tournament.

Among our projected teams that are not currently in first place by a full game or more, here are some quick hitters …

George Mason – Did I say that they would defeat VCU? After falling behind by six points, the Patriots turned on the afterburners to overcome a stout Rams squad.
Sam Houston State – Outplayed Stephen F. Austin last week late in the game.
New Mexico State – Can Utah State defeat New Mexico State on a neutral court? Absolutely. Unfortunately, the WAC Tournament will be played in Las Cruces and Herb Pope will be that much more acclimated to the Aggies squad.
Bucknell – For some reason, I have a tough time accepting that a team not named Bucknell or Holy Cross can win the Patriot League.

That’s all for now. If you have any questions, comments, or just wish to send a shout, shoot me a line at

The Seedings
1: Memphis (C-USA), UCLA (PAC-10), Kansas (Big XII), North Carolina (ACC)
2: Tennessee (SEC), Duke, Georgetown (Big East), Xavier (A-10)
3: Michigan State (Big Ten), Texas, Stanford, Butler (Horizon)
4: Arizona, Drake (MVC), Wisconsin, UConn
5: Kansas State, Marquette, Texas A&M, Indiana
6: Washington State, Gonzaga (WCC), Louisville, Clemson
7: USC, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame
8: Purdue, Rhode Island, Arkansas, St. Mary’s
9: Florida, Mississippi State, Maryland, Baylor
10: Dayton, UNLV (MWC), Vanderbilt, Ohio State
11: Syracuse, South Alabama (Sun Belt), St. Joseph’s, West Virginia
12: Ole Miss, Kent State (MAC), Virginia Tech, BYU
13: George Mason (Colonial), Davidson (Southern), Oral Roberts (Summit), Cal State Northridge (Big West)
14: Rider (Metro Atlantic), UNC-Asheville (Big South), Sam Houston State (Southland), New Mexico State (WAC)
15: Cornell (Ivy), Hampton (MEAC), UM-Baltimore County (America East), Bucknell (Patriot)
16: Northern Arizona (Big Sky), Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), Sacred Heart (Northeast), Alabama State (SWAC)

IN: Syracuse, Virginia Tech, BYU, Rider, UNC-Asheville
OUT: Cleveland State, Siena, Miami, Illinois State, Winthrop

Last Four In: West Virginia, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, BYU
Last Four Out: Illinois State, Seton Hall, California, UMass
Next Four Out: Kentucky, Utah State, Miami, Oregon

Seeding Summary (Multi-Bid Conferences Only in Order of Percentage)
Pac-10: 5/10 – UCLA, Stanford, Arizona, Washington State, Arizona, USC
Big East: 8/16 – Georgetown, UConn, Marquette, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Syracuse, West Virginia
Big XII: 6/12 – Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor
SEC: 6/12 – Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Florida, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss
Big Ten: 5/11 – Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State
ACC: 5/12 – North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Maryland, Virginia Tech
A-10: 4/14 – Xavier, Dayton, Rhode Island, St. Joseph’s
Mountain West: 2/9 – UNLV, BYU
West Coast: 2/10 – Gonzaga, St. Mary’s


Anonymous said...

In the SEC, your seedings indicate that it's Tennessee and then everyone else. Do you think Kentucky can emerge as the 2nd team?

Sum said...

This Duke team doesn't really strike me as one of the stronger ones from years past. Yet they're a 2-seed ... does this speak to the level of teams as a whole this year? Or am I just underestimating the Blue Devils?

Paymon said...

First, absolutely, Kentucky has the talent and ability to emerge as the 2nd team out of the SEC despite a horrific first half of the season. The team has gelled quite well in January and early February.

Second, it pains me to say it, but Duke is pretty good and while I have yet to hear the annual line, "This season is Mike Krzyzewski's best coaching job ever", that may ring true. He's coaching to his players' strengths (athleticism, speed, pressure on the perimeter). They're a legitimate #2 seed and have to be considered favorites in the Dean Dome if Ty Lawson can't roll tonight. Should they win, they supplant UNC as a #1 seed.

That said, Duke's lack of an inside presence will cause them a myriad of problems tonight and into March. Perhaps, the blueprint will be established tonight.