Monday, February 22, 2010

NCAA Tournament Bracket Projections -- February 22, 2010

After two weeks, the biggest change was seeing Purdue's two road upsets in Columbus and East Lansing. The two wins put them as a clear #4 overall team, who can move even higher if Kentucky falters. Also, despite severe internal resistance, Kansas State was elevated to the final #2 seed. In no way am I big believer in the Wildcats, as I see them as that#2 seed who can go down to the 7/1o winner.

Meanwhile, we began to drink the Virginia Tech Kool Aid. This is a good team, but in no way are they home free. This is about the point in which Seth Greenberg's teams of the past have believed themselves rather than believed in themselves. A few miles west and south, Oklahoma State defeated Baylor at home to squeak into the field. Their key win was at Kansas State; if the Wildcats falter, then there will be collateral damage for James Anderson & Co.

This week, we had two minor victories. First, in a rare show of supporting anything related to Jim Calhoun, we have thought that UConn is an out-and-out tournament team. After some huge victories (and some team play for a change), the Huskies are back on pace to make the tournament. Second, though they still have a ton of work to accomplish, the Minnesota Golden Gophers have a real shot to finish 9-9. Despite failing the eye test (in my opinion), they have the key wins against tournament teams, something that their at-large bid competitors do not have.

One final note is that we again have some bid stealing in Conference USA (this time, Memphis taking the bid) and the Pac-10 (Arizona State). Just missing the mark are Dayton (Duquesne .. ouch), UAB (who can play their way in their last four), St. Mary's, and Rhode Island.

Last Four In: UConn, Oklahoma St., Minnesota, Mississippi St.
Last Four Out: Dayton, UAB, St. Mary’s, Rhode Island
Next Four Out: Cincinnati, Seton Hall, San Diego St., Charlotte

Conference Breakdown (multiple bid conferences only)
Big East (8) -- Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, UConn
ACC (7) -- Duke, Maryland, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida St., Georgia Tech
Big XII (6) -- Kansas, Kansas St., Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Baylor, Oklahoma St.
Big Ten (6) -- Purdue, Ohio St., Michigan St., Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota
SEC (5) -- Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi St.
Mountain West (3) -- New Mexico, BYU, UNLV
A10 (3) -- Temple, Xavier, Richmond
C-USA (2) -- Memphis, UTEP
Pac-10 (2) -- Arizona St., California

Seedings (does not account for seeding conflicts)
1: Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Purdue
2: Duke, Villanova, Ohio St., Kansas St.
3: West Virginia, Michigan St., Texas, Wisconsin
4: Pittsburgh Georgetown, New Mexico, Temple
5: BYU, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Maryland
6: Gonzaga, Wake Forest, Missouri, Tennessee
7: Baylor, Xavier, Butler, Northern Iowa
8: Virginia Tech, Illinois, Richmond, Florida
9: Clemson, Florida St., Louisville, Georgia Tech
10: Marquette, Utah St., UTEP, UNLV
11: Old Dominion, California, Cornell, UConn
12: Oklahoma St., Minnesota, Siena, Mississippi St.
13: Arizona St., Memphis, Murray St., Kent St.
14: Oakland, Charleston, Sam Houston St., Coastal Carolina
15: Weber St., UCSB, Middle Tennessee St., Stony Brook
16: Morgan St., Lehigh, Robert Morris, Belmont, Jackson St.

Next Update: When time allows ...


Mark G said...

Kudos on sticking with UConn. You were the first I saw to say they'd go 9-9. It looks realistic now.

I still shake my head when I think about your overrating of the Mississippi schools.

Paymon said...

Thanks, ... and sorry.

UConn's resume looks a lot like Georgetown's last year, so they are not out of the woods yet.

For those who do not recall, Georgetown beat a #1 (early Jan) and a #2 (late Feb) on the road, and a #3 at home last year. They did not make the tournament, because a lot of bad losses negated those wins.

Anonymous said...

You were smart not to jump on the Minnesota bandwagon. They couldn't even beat a shorthanded Purdue team at the barn. Minnesota is NIT bound. Bracketology 101 was dead wrong.

Clemson would love to have that Illinois game back. The Tigers have a brutal schedule to finish out. What happens if they lose 3 out of 3?

Anonymous said...

*2 out of 3

Tulsa Troy said...

Memphis certainly did not look like a tourney team last night. They got thumped by a mediocre Houston team. UAB has the better resume than Memphis and should be in the bracket, not Memphis.

Paymon said...

Thanks for the kudos and the question.

First B101 does admirable work. Though I do not always agree with them, they generally provide sound rebuttals that are data-driven. They're human though.

Second, Minnesota is in my field, but they hang on by a thread. 9-9 is still possible if they win 2 of 3 (@ Illinois, @ Michigan, v. Iowa). They are IN if they finish 9-9 and get to the semis of the Big Ten tournament. Though they do not pass my eye test, they wins versus Butler on a neutral court, v. Ohio State and v. Wisconsin. None of the teams they are competing with have those types of wins. All of that said, you are probably right about Minnesota being NIT bound, though it depends on the quality of the rest of the field. They do not have the look or feel of a tournament team.

Great question about Clemson. I'm so glad I'm not a fan of them -- seeing the number of bad shots chucked with 20+ seconds in the shot clock in a half-court set kills me.

If they finish 7-9, they would likely need to win 2 in the ACC tournament to shore up a place.

If they finish 8-8, they are probably in, but their seeding wlll take a hit.

I'm afraid to delve into the ACC Tournament because it's really tough to predict who they would play, and how that would affect their portfolio.

Paymon said...

Tulsa Troy - Memphis looked awful last night. We agree in principle. UAB has a better resume by a slight margin. The scale would shift towards Memphis if UAB lost its last two and Memphis won its last two.

Our prediction (for now) is that Memphis will win the C-USA conference tournament. The logic: they beat Tulsa on their home court, so they can do it again. Also, UTEP is due for a slip. They've been amazing.

Realistically, UTEP, Memphis, UAB, Marshall, Tulsa and even Houston can win the the automatic bid.

Anonymous said...

Minnesota had no business in the bracket even with a win over Purdue. They have more bad losses than good wins. Anyone who thinks at Michigan is an automatic win obviously didn't watch the Wolverines dominate Minnesota in Minneapolis. The Gophers will likely lose 2 of their last 3 and then lose to Ohio State or Michigan State in the Big Ten Quarterfinals. It was wrong to put Minnesota in the field in the first place. The bubble must be very weak if you thought Minnesota was deserving.

Mark said...

Oklahoma State has two very tough games coming up. What happens to the Cowboys if they lose both of them? Would their poorous ooc resume and losses to bubble teams Rhode Island and Tulsa doom Ok State?

Why is that TV analysts just mention good wins for teams but ignore the bad losses. An ESPN guy said Oklahoma State should be in cause they beat Kansas State and Baylor. He failed to mention their weak ooc resume. Why is that?

Paymon said...

Anonymous - The bubble is very weak. When a more deserving team shows themselves, they will be in the field. I was ready to put Dayton (who also has quality wins and has more of the look / feel factors than Minnesota) in there, but they handed a game away to Duquesne and couldn't hit the side of a barn at Temple in a must-win situation. Under your scenario, the Gophers would definitely be out.

Mark - Same theme. We're dealing with a weak bubble. Ok St. does not have a lot of bad losses, though they are nowhere near firm ground. If they only beat Nebraska, then they'd have to win 1 and be competitive in the Big XII tournament to solidify their push for a bid. At the end of the day, it's more about who you beat rather than you lost to, which is why some teams with several chances from major conferences get in over more deserving teams from the smaller conferences. The losses you mentioned hurt, but their candidacy is more contingent on how good Kansas State is in the eyes of the committee, because their away win is now viewed as a signature win.

Failure to mention bad losses is usually a result of poor research, laziness (I'm guilty of this sometimes) or lack of time to present an entire case.

Eric Berge said...

I couldn't help to notice that you have Oklahoma State in and Rhode Island out. Who won when these 2 teams played?

Paymon said...

And who won when VCU played Rhode Island? That would be VCU. Does that mean VCU should be in over Rhode Island? No.

Head-to-head meetings don't carry weight.

Question: How many clear tournament teams has Rhode Island defeated?

Answer: Squadoosh. They were 0 for 4 in such games (Temple 2x, v. Richmond, @ Xavier). They need to get a lot done at the A-10 tournament.

Patrick VanBuskirk said...

Virginia Tech has a nice record but have 15 wins over teams out of the top 50. Do you go by the Hokies record or the fact that they have beat up on so many awful teams?

Do you think Georgia Tech or Clemson is in more danger of missing the big dance?

Anonymous said...

Some people say Cal will get an at large. What do you think? The Golden Bears have no top 50 wins.

Paymon said...

Patrick -

1. If the Hokies played a real OOC schedule (ranked in the 300s), they would be a high 6 seed or better. We go by their record, how they are playing (esp. their top 5 adjusted defensive efficiency -- see, and what we anticipate their record will be.

2. If Georgia Tech gets to 8-8 (6-7 now; v. BC, @ Clemson, v. VT), they are in the tournament. They have a signature win (Duke), which really helps them.

If Clemson gets to 9-7 (7-6 now; @ FSU, v. GT, @ WF), they are in. Their best win is a neutral court win against Butler.

Whoever loses their game is in more danger of missing out.

3. Cal is in my field as an at-large. We think they'll win their last 3, which would put them at 13-5. We also think that they'll lose in the PAC-10 tournament final. It's important to note that Theo Robertson missed 6 games earlier in the season, and they may have some games they lost. I know this is subjective (unless you follow, but Cal has the look of a tournament team, and can make it to the second weekend with their impressive trio.

TJ Guitar said...

If Arizona State can finish 13-5 in conference, would they be a lock? Its still hard to imagine Dan Guerrero won't find a way to get two pac ten teams in.

TJ Guitar said...

Paymon, Who do you think will beat Cal in the tournament final?

Paymon said...

Not necessarily. Let's toss out the Dan Guerrero factor for now, though it plays an unspoken role.

13-5 would give Arizona State a share of the Pac-10 regular season title, and that is a talking point that previous tournament selection committees have used to justify either a seed bump or inclusion in the field.

I still think Arizona State will need to make the final and lose to Cal to garner heavy consideration for a bid. They are 5-5 in road/neutral court games, but none of them are against tournament-caliber teams. In short, they still have a lot of work to do.

Paymon said...

I have Arizona State stealing a bid against Cal in the final (as stated in the text of the post)

Anonymous said...

Are you expecting Minnesota to win the Big 10 tourney? Because the Gophers have no shot for at large. For poor ooc resume and 3 bad losses in conference are unacceptable. I would be shocked if Minnesota even made it to the semifinals in Indy, let alone win the automatic bid. Minnesota was a poor selection on your part.

Anonymous said...

Great job on the blog. I had a couple bracket questions for you. What does San Diego State need to do to get in? What kind of seed is Purdue looking at if they lose 2 games without Hummel?

Paymon said...

Anon 1 - I stand by my Minnesota pick. If they get to 9-9, I like their at-large prospects (and avoid an embarrassing loss), especially if Ohio State or Wisconsin win the Big Ten regular season and/or tournament.

Anon 2 - Thanks for your questions. SDSU will likely win their last to finish 22-8 overall and 11-5 in conference. Their OOC schedule is weak and were just 2-4 against the tournament-caliber teams in conferences. They need to make the final in the very least, defeating either New Mexico or BYU.

On Hummel (sorry for my tardiness), 2 losses without Hummel would likely result in a 2 or 3 seed. If the Boilers win their last two (v. Indiana, @ Penn St), they'll earn a share of the conference regular season title, and the committee loves that.