Saturday, March 15, 2008

2008 NCAA Tournament Projections - March 15, 2008

With one more night of basketball, it’s business as usual for the elite teams. Excluding Tennessee, all of the top teams played well en route to victories. In the Big XII, we have projected Kansas to gain retribution for a regular season loss in Austin versus Texas. If Texas sweeps Kansas, then the Longhorns immediately become a #1 seed due to what would be four wins against our current top five teams. Meanwhile, Georgetown is playing its best basketball of the season, especially on the offensive side (they are already #1 in defensive FG%), and that makes them more dangerous than originally perceived. Here are some non-bubble talking points …
  • Clement and I had a heated discussion on who should be the #12 overall team. We really want Pittsburgh to show us a little more tomorrow night before we put them there. Mind you, this is the same team that had lost 4 of 7 following the return of Levance Fields prior to the Big East Tournament at Pitt’s home away from home (MSG). We also have not forgotten about Pitt’s home loss to Rutgers.
  • In the words of Clement, “We are pulling a ‘Jay Mariotti’” and switching our Mountain West allegiance to BYU (prior to the UNLV/Utah game). UNLV’s utter lack of perimeter defense scares us.

The other theme involved potential bid stealers trying to make their mark. However, they largely fell short. Here are some quick bubble talking points …

  • In our humble opinion, the field should just end after the loser of the A-14 championship game.
  • Among the successful, St. Joe’s handled Xavier for the second time in two weeks. With that victory, the Red Hawks and their annoying mascot punched their ticket. Meanwhile, they will play Temple, who we project to win the A-14 tournament since Xavier is out. If St. Joe’s takes the automatic bid, we still like Temple (Paymon more than Clement) to make the field.
  • How could Arizona State (RPI: 81) and Arizona (19-14, 9-11) be in and Oregon (RPI: 56; 18-13, 9-10) be out of the mix? In evaluating these teams, Arizona State has the best set of wins (versus Stanford, USC, Xavier); Arizona is 3-5 against the top four teams in the conference (won twice versus Washington State and had an away split with USC) and has their standard outstanding non-conference schedule; Oregon is 1-7 against the top four teams with its best wins being versus Stanford and at Kansas State. All things considered, the Arizona schools won more games that mattered.
  • Virginia Tech earned its first victory over a RPI Top 50 team on Friday (Miami-FL). Though some are ready to crown them due to the ineptitude of fellow bubble teams, we are not. Keep a close eye on their game with UNC. If they keep it close, they will gain credibility if nothing else, and frankly, that may be enough.
  • In C-USA Final tomorrow morning, Tulsa will need a Herculean effort to overcome Memphis, who themselves are clinging onto a #1 seed.
  • The MAC Final will be a rematch of last week’s showdown between Kent State and Akron. With Al Fisher’s game-winning shot on the mind, Akron may steal a bid, as Kent State possesses the makings of an at-large bid resume.
  • Either Minnesota or Illinois will be in the Big Ten Final. If you’re a shrink, you have a market among our Last Four In and Last Out.

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: North Carolina (ACC), Tennessee (SEC), UCLA (PAC-10), Memphis (C-USA)
2: Kansas (Big XII), Texas, Georgetown (Big East), Duke
3: Wisconsin (Big Ten), Stanford, Louisville, Drake (MVC)
4: Pittsburgh, Michigan State, USC, Marquette
5: Xavier, UConn, Vanderbilt, Washington State
6: Butler (Horizon), Purdue, Notre Dame, Indiana
7: Gonzaga, Clemson, BYU (MWC), Arkansas
8: Kansas State, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Oklahoma
9: West Virginia, Kent State (MAC), Miami-FL, Davidson (Southern)
10: Texas A&M, Arizona State, St. Mary’s, St. Joseph’s
11: Arizona, Temple (A-10), Baylor, UNLV
12: Villanova, South Alabama, Illinois State, George Mason (CAA)
13: Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), Oral Roberts (Summit), Siena (Metro Atlantic), San Diego (WCC)

14: Cornell (Ivy), American (Patriot), Cal State Fullerton (Big West), New Mexico State (WAC)
15: Belmont (Atlantic Sun), UM-Baltimore County (America East), Winthrop (Big South), Portland State (Big Sky)
16: Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), UT-Arlington (Southland), Mount St. Mary’s (Northeast), Morgan State (MEAC), Mississippi Valley State (SWAC)

Last Four In: UNLV, Villanova, South Alabama, Illinois State
Last Four Out: Oregon, VCU, Ohio State, Virginia Tech
Next Four Out: Ole Miss, Syracuse, Stephen F. Austin, UMass

IN: St. Joseph’s, South Alabama, UT-Arlington, Cal State Fullerton, Mount St. Mary’s, Mississippi Valley State
OUT: Ohio State, VCU, Stephen F. Austin, UC-Santa Barbara, Sacred Heart, Alabama State

Seeding Summary (Multi-Bid Conferences Only in Order of Percentage)
Pac-10: 6/10
Big East: 8/16
Big XII: 6/12
SEC: 5/12
West Coast: 3/8
Big Ten: 4/11
ACC: 4/12
Mountain West: 2/9
A-10: 3/14
Missouri Valley: 2/10
Sun Belt: 2/12


Anonymous said...

The Bluejays are IN.

Paymon said...

Unless Creighton fans take Tom O'Connor or his loved ones hostage, they will be NIT-bound.

Best wins: v. St. Joe's, @ Oral Roberts, v. Nebraska, v. Southern Illinois

Bad losses: @ Evansville, @ Indiana State (this one isn't that bad)

I'll be mortified (a la Air Force in 2006) if Creighton gets in.

Sum said...

As much as I love my law-school alma mater (ok, I don't really), I cannot picture them as a 14 seed, especially as the 2nd 14th seed. I think the highest they'll get is a 15, though they might deserve the lowest 14 seed.

They definitely deserve better than the 16 seed other sites are giving them.

Sum said...

I should clarify that I was speaking of American.

fabotk45 said...

It's about time that you gave Marquette some respect. They're going to make the Elite 8.

Pitt will only get a 3 if they beat Georgetown.

Paymon said...

A couple of quick hits ...

- American won the regular season and postseason tournament in the #16 conference. They also have an away win against an RPI Top 100 squad and a winning record away from home. That combination makes them a viable #14 seed though possibly not the 2nd one.

- Marquette is right on that #4/5 seed line. Our anger at Xavier (9-2 against RPI Top 50) during the last two weeks may have gotten the best of us. Michigan State and USC had their opportunity to show us something and Pitt has their chance tonight. They do not need a win to be on the #3 line, but a win never hurts (unless they sustain an injury).