Bracketology- Never Too Early Edition IIIPosted by zhayes9 on January 4th, 2009
Zach Hayes is RTC’s resident bracketologist. He’ll be regularly out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the next three months.
Some notes before you check out the bracket:
- You’ll notice I have Oklahoma, a 1-loss team from the Big 12, as a #1 seed over undefeated Wake Forest from the much more strong ACC. The reasoning for this is simple: 1) I take into account what will happen in the future in terms of conference champions, and I have the Sooners projected to win the Big 12 regular season and conference tournament, giving them a huge boost before Selection Sunday and 2) it’s simply unrealistic to have three #1 seeds from the same conference. Although Wake Forest is undefeated and Duke/UNC have 1 loss each, their SOS sits at a dismal #224 with their best wins vs. Baylor and @ BYU, while Duke and North Carolina have more quality wins and better computer numbers. If I’m ranking the top four teams in the nation, Wake is there. But a team finishing in third in the ACC (where I have them projected, could change) simply cannot receive a #1 seed. Sorry Deacon fans.
- Once again, both Michigan State (#2), Tennessee (#3) and Memphis (#5) are slightly over-seeded for the same reason as Oklahoma. I have those teams winning their respective conference titles.
- Hard to believe, but Mike Montgomery’s California Bears have earned the right to a #4 seed with their wins @ UNLV, @ Utah and home this week against Arizona and Arizona State. I spent like 15 minutes trying to find the last 4 seed.
- Notre Dame took the hardest shot, slipping to a #7 seed with their bad loss at St. John’s. That Texas win looks excellent, but they need to take care of at home to avoid a 1-2 Big East start.Georgetown
- Boston College‘s stunning upset of North Carolina launched them to a #9 seed from the Last Team In.
- On my bracket, Syracuse and Louisville could meet in the second round. The committee would obviously not let that happen, but I’m leaving it to avoid switching teams to seeds they don’t deserve.
- George Mason took over the Colonial bid from Virginia Commonwealth while Saint Mary’s (13-1) earned the automatic bid from the West Coast Conference (Gonzaga is still in the field). With Illinois State’s thrashing of Creighton, they claim the Missouri Valley auto bid and jump a few seeds, while Creighton barely misses the field. UNLV now has the Mountain West bid with BYU still making the field. Stephen F. Austin, Oakland, Pacific and Morehead State are also new additions. Arkansas jumps into the bracket with their outstanding record and huge home win over Oklahoma.
- In the end, four spots remained for 13 teams. Edgar Sosa’s buzzer beater gave Louisville the very last spot, edging out Miami (lacked quality wins), Creighton, Oklahoma State (best win was Rhode Island) and, speaking of which, Rhode Island. Also in consideration were South Carolina (beat Baylor this week but still has a 304 SOS), Washington (lacked quality wins), Utah (bad losses) and Arizona (what happened?). USC almost sneaked into consideration before losing to Oregon State. Yikes.
Last Four In: Louisville, LSU, Missouri, Florida State
Last Four Out: Miami (FL), Creighton, Oklahoma State, Rhode Island
Next Four Out: Washington, Utah, South Carolina, Arizona
Automatic Bids: Vermont, Xavier, North Carolina, Belmont, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Portland State, VMI, Michigan State, Pacific, George Mason, Memphis, Butler, Cornell, Siena, Miami (OH), Hampton, Illinois State, UNLV, Quinnipiac, Morehead State, UCLA, Navy, Tennessee, Davidson, Stephen F. Austin, Alabama State, Oakland, Western Kentucky, St. Mary’s, Utah State
Bids per Conference: Big East (9), ACC (7), Big 10 (7), Big 12 (6), SEC (4), Pac- 10 (4), Atlantic 10 (2), Mountain West (2), West Coast (2)
Key Bubble Games for 1/5-1/11 (24 this week!)
- Connecticut @ West Virginia, 1/6- This type of quality win for the Mountaineers would give the Big East nine solid teams in the field.
- Miami (OH) @ Dayton, 1/6- Important game for Dayton to hold serve at home against the MAC favorite.
- Texas @ Arkansas, 1/6- Another chance for the Razorbacks to add an outstanding win to their resume after toppling Oklahoma last week.
- Purdue @ Penn State, 1/6- Penn State is floating under the radar for the bubble picture. A win over Purdue would show they’re here to stay.
- LSU @ Utah, 1/6- A home win over an SEC school that may make the tournament could loom vital for the at-large hopes of the Utes.
- Louisville @ South Florida, 1/7- The Cardinals badly need to get off on the right foot in the Big East to put their disappointing non-conference season behind them.
- Providence @ Cincinnati, 1/7- An outside chance Providence could be in the bubble picture.
- Oregon @ Arizona, 1/8- Arizona needs to protect their home floor in the Pac-10 to make the tourney.
- Stanford @ Washington, 1/8- Two teams that could be sitting right on the Pac-10 bubble in March.
- Louisville @ Villanova, 1/10- Another chance for a big conference road win for Louisville, while Villanova needs to watch for out for a Big East slip because their non-conference resume isn’t exactly loaded with quality victories.
- Providence @ Georgetown, 1/10- This would be a colossal upset, but you never know.
- Texas Tech @ Baylor, 1/10- The Red Raiders have plenty of work to do in order to get back in the NCAA picture, and this wouldn’t be a bad start.
- Oklahoma @ Kansas State, 1/10- That applies to both Texas Tech and Kansas State.
- Kansas @ Michigan State, 1/10- Kansas grabbed a huge win over likely SEC-champ Tennessee last Saturday. This would be another tremendous resume win for the young Jayhawks.
- Duke @ Florida State, 1/10- The Seminoles are sitting squarely on the bubble and a win over Duke would go a long, long way.
- Missouri @ Nebraska, 1/10- The Tigers need to win these types of Big 12 road games to stay in the field.
- Utah @ San Diego State, 1/10- Underrated Mountain West game with some serious implications.
- California @ Washington, 1/10- Important week for Washington.
- Miami @ Boston College, 1/10- Both of these ACC teams sitting around the bubble.
- Creighton @ Bradley, 1/10- Bradley is off to an undefeated MVC start, so Creighton would love this win to stay in the at-large picture.
- Texas A&M @ Oklahoma State, 1/10- Like Texas Tech and Kansas State, Oklahoma State is another Big 12 team that needs wins like this game to stay in the outside hunt.
- Utah State @ New Mexico State, 1/10- Could be a tough game for WAC favorite Utah State on the road.
- LSU @ Alabama, 1/11- Another fairly difficult road test for the largely untested Tigers.
- UCLA @ USC, 1/11- Huge opportunity for the Trojans to pick up a quality win.