Monday, January 25, 2010

PHSports Field of 65 -- January 26, 2010

After an amazing NFC Championship game (and that thing that pays the bills), little time was left to do our bracket projections. But alas, they are complete. As a reminder, PHSports is of the brand that uses the projection / prediction model. In other words, we're a different cup of tea, and we wouldn't have succumbed to having UVa as the automatic bid from the ACC last week.

In the last two weeks, Kansas re-established the #1 overall seed, while Texas slipped to the 5th overall seed because of some lackluster team defense. Though I do not trust Duke or their 1-3 true road record, they get the #1 seed because the ACC is the nation's top conference and they have some solid non-conference wins. Kentucky and Syracuse complete the #1 seeds, though Texas may be the second #1 seed from the Big XII when this is all said and done.

There are a few teams that I like which other bracketologists or fans may not be too fond of. Some may BYU has no right being a #3 seed. I see a team that crushes the eye test with top 16 ratings nationally in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. The second is Missouri as a #5 seed. On paper, they are a 7 through 9 seed, but this team plays great defense and has depth -- two things that will be on their side come later in February. North Carolina at #7 seed may be seen as a homer pick, and that is fine. They have the talent, plenty of depth in the frontcourt, and they have the coach, though it hasn't quite gelled yet.

Moving down to our last four teams in the tournament, I was fairly confident about UNLV and Minnesota, despite the latter's internal turmoil. Prior to tonight's win against Northwestern (which was predicted), Minnesota lost 3 games in a row by 12 times, 2 of which were to Michigan State, who is undefeated in the Big Ten. If Harvard only loses to Cornell from this point onward (which is what we're predicting), and no bids are stolen from the multiple bid conferences, then they are worthy of an at-large. The same goes for St. Mary's. If they win out, except in games against Gonzaga, and the same principles apply, then they are our 65th team, due to some good out of conference wins. Ultimately, a 3rd team from C-USA or a 2nd team from the Pac-10 may be more realistic.

Last Four In: UNLV, Minnesota, Harvard, St. Mary's
Last Four Out: UAB, Illinois, Virginia Tech, Northwestern
Next Four Out: Arizona St., Rhode Island, Cincinnati, Notre Dame

Conference Breakdown (multiple bid conferences only)
ACC (7) -- Duke, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Florida St., Clemson, Maryland
Big XII (7) -- Kansas, Texas, Kansas St., Missouri, Baylor, Oklahoma St., Texas A&M
Big East (7) -- Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown, UConn, Pittsburgh, Louisville
SEC (6) -- Kentucky, Mississippi St., Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Florida
Big Ten (5) -- Michigan St., Purdue, Wisconsin, Ohio St., Minnesota
A10 (3) -- Temple, Xavier, Dayton
Mountain West (3) -- BYU, New Mexico, UNLV
C-USA (2) -- Tulsa, Memphis
Ivy (2) -- Cornell, Harvard
WCC (2) -- Gonzaga, St. Mary's

1: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke
2: Texas, Villanova, Michigan St., Purdue
3: West Virginia, Georgetown, BYU, Wisconsin
4: Kansas St., Temple, UConn, Ohio St.
5: Gonzaga, Mississippi St., Missouri, Georgia Tech
6: Pittsburgh, Baylor, Tennessee, Wake Forest
7: North Carolina, Florida St., Clemson, Northern Iowa
8: Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Butler, California
9: Oklahoma St., Siena, Maryland, Cornell
10: Xavier, Texas A&M, Tulsa, Florida
11: Dayton, New Mexico, Memphis, Old Dominion
12: Louisville, UNLV, Minnesota, Murray St.
13: Harvard, St. Mary's, Charleston, Louisiana Tech
14: Oakland, Coastal Carolina, Northern Colorado, Akron
15: Sam Houston St., Arkansas St., Morgan St., Pacific
16: Lafayette, Stony Brook, Jacksonville, Prairie View A&M, Quinnipiac

(Bracket will be posted later in the week)

NEXT UPDATE: After results ending February 7

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