Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tuesday (2/19) Update

  • Oklahoma is only at-large team to drop out since last week, replaced in the field by VCU.
  • Three new Conference Leaders were added this week.  Yale moved back in replacing Princeton as the leader in the Ivy league, Texas State replaced UT-Arlington from the Atlantic Sun Conference, and Canisius takes Monmouth's spot as MAAC Leader.
  • Biggest move up in the field was Ole Miss, 8 spots on the S-Curve and up to seed lines from a 10 Seed to an 8 Seed
  • Biggest drop within the field Ohio State, who dropped 9 spots on the S-Curve and 2 seed lines from a 7 Seed to a 9 seed.

  • The #1 Seeds remain unchanged.  
  • Kentucky's big win over Tennessee Saturday night moves them closer to overtaking Gonzaga as the 4th #1 Seed.
  • Kansas replaces North Carolina on the #2 line.  
  • LSU and Texas Tech move into the top 16 and Louisville and Wisconsin drop out down to the 5 seed line.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Can Gonzaga Hold Onto a 1 Seed?

One of the interesting story lines to follow over the last month of the season is going to be whether or not Gonzaga, currently the 4th #1 Seed, can hang on to it until the brackets are released on Selection Sunday.

Gonzaga's challenge is that it has an incredibly weak schedule remaining.  Having dispatched the next best team in the conference this past weekend, a very mediocre Saint Mary's team, Gonzaga has very few opportunities left to win any games that will add to their resume'.  Any loss now, barring perhaps a neutral court loss in the West Coast Conference tournament to Saint Mary's would be considered a 'bad loss'.  In the mean time, the teams behind them in the 2 and 3 seed line who play in rugged conferences with highly rated teams are playing games that can impress the committee almost every night.

If Gonzaga is going to hold on, they will need a few more nights like the last couple to help.  The 4 number #2 seeds entering the week were held by Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Michigan State.    On Monday North Carolina lost at home to Purdue.  Last night Michigan was clipped by Penn State, a team with only 1 win in the conference entering the game, and Kentucky fell at home to LSU.  Michigan State is the only #2 seed this week who hasn't lost.  They were teetering on the 2/3 seed line before getting a big win at Wisconsin last night.

If a team from the 2/3 seed lines is going to run down Gonzaga, one of them is going to have close out the season hot.  So far, no one is stepping up.  Michigan State had lost 3 in a row, including an ugly home loss to Indiana a couple Saturday's ago, before righting the ship with back to back wins including their road win at the Kohl Center last night.  Michigan, has lost 3 games in the last 2 weeks.  Kentucky looked like the team most likely to challenge Gonzaga for the last spot on the 1 seed line lost last night.  Tennessee is next up on the Wildcats schedule, which looked like a big opportunity to overtake Gonzaga by the end of the week, but last night's home loss to LSU has likely made that unlikely even if the 'Cats knock off the Vols.  From the 3 Line, Purdue lost last night.  Nevada and Houston have a similar issue to Gonzaga ... they just don't have enough quality opponents left.  Only Marquette looks like a team on the 3 line who could possibly play enough quality games to get there.  They likely would have to win out the season, including the Big East tournament to leap frog everyone in front of them, including Gonzaga.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tuesday Morning Notes (2/12) - Virginia Bounces back and Changes on the Bubble

There was a very light schedule in College Basketball last night but still a couple results were note worthy, and one game in particular had an important impact on my projected field:

  • Virginia had an impressive bounce back from their home loss to Duke Saturday by beating North Carolina at Chapel Hill last night.  Virginia still finds itself behind Tennessee on the S-Curve, but opened up some breathing room between themselves and the 4th ranked 1 Seed Gonzaga.  Duke, Tennessee and Virginia are building resume's that are making it increasingly likely they will find themselves on the Top Line come selection Sunday.
  • Kansas' road win at TCU last night moved them past Purdue on the S-Curve, but both remain 3 Seeds.  A Michigan State loss to Wisconsin tonight though could allow Kansas to sneak into the 2-Seed line.
  • The most notable outcome from last night was the impact on the bubble resulting from Oklahoma's loss at Baylor.   With the loss, Oklahoma falls 3-9 in the Big 12.  No team has ever qualified as an At-Large team with a regular season conference record more than 2 games below .500.  Until the NCAA takes a 7-11 (or 8-12) At-Large team, I continue to consider 8-10 or 9-11 as the cut line for At-Large consideration.  Oklahoma would have to go 5-1 over their last 6 regular conference games to keep from falling below that marker.  Given the way they are playing and the remaining schedule they have left, which includes road games at Iowa State and current Conference leader Kansas State and a home match-up with Kansas, it seems implausible to me that they can avoid losing at least 2 more conference games to keep them in serious consideration.  I move them out and into the Next 4 Out grouping.  
  • Speaking of teams that I moved into the 'Next 4 Out' grouping, Indiana, finds themselves in a similar situation to Oklahoma.   Indiana is currently 4-9 in the Big Ten.  The Big Ten now plays 20 Conference games, so winning 9 seems to be the minimum conference games a Big Ten team would need to get for at large consideration.  Indiana would have to finish no worse than 5-2 over their 7 remaining conference games to be considered.  They have a little more opportunity to get back into consideration.  However this is a team that has lost 9 of their last 10 and now have a 5 game stretch starting tonight at Minnesota that is followed with games against Purdue, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan State.  Not impossible, but I consider it unlikely that they could go 3-2 during that stretch.  As such, they are on life support for At-Large consideration and moved into the 'Next 4 Out' tier of bubble teams.
  • The biggest beneficiary of Oklahoma's loss and my decision to move Indiana out of the 'First Team' out classification is VCU.  I now have them in as the last At-Large team.
Planning on my next full projection to be published Saturday afternoon or Sunday evening.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday (2/11) Update

*Through all games played on Sunday, February 10th

The NCAA Selection Committee spotted us their current top 16 Seeds in ranked order on Saturday.  Some of my top 16 seeds were moved accordingly.  They also acknowledged that Villanova was the first team left out of the top 16, nudged out by Wisconsin based on wins versus top teams on the road or on a neutral court.  Nothing happened since those were released to change the teams in the top 16.  Wisconsin and Villanova both lost to top 10 NET tens on the road, and Virginia Tech lost at home to Clemson. 

New to Field:
  1. UCF - At Large
  2. YALE - Ivy League Leader
  3. UT Arlington - Sun Belt Leader
  4. Monmouth - MAAC Leader
New Teams Under Consideration:
  • Clemson
  • Furman
No Longer Under Consideration:
  • Nebraska
  • Saint Mary's (CA)