Weekly Bracketology – 02.16.09

Posted by nvr1983 on February 16th, 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.

Here’s the latest edition of RTC Bracketology from our resident bracketologist Zach. This was created before the Pitt-UConn game last night so it does not reflect that game or any others from last night.

RTC Bracket as of February 16th

RTC Bracket as of February 16th

More on the key games this week and a rationale of the seeds and snubs after the jump.

A quick look at the key games this week.

Key Bubble Games (February 16-22)
Kentucky @ Vanderbilt, 2/17– Kentucky greatly helped their chances for a bid with a sweep over Florida and Arkansas this past week, but they could find themselves right back in a sticky situation should they fall to a down Vanderbilt squad.

New Mexico @ BYU, 2/17– This is a must-win for the Cougars at home. If New Mexico can steal this road game, they’ll begin to deserve major consideration for a bid.

Maryland @ Clemson, 2/17– The Terrapins climbed back into the bubble picture and are now even in the ACC. The next 4 of 5 games (other than @ NC State, not exactly an easy win) are a regular murderers row and they’re hoping to steal one or two.

Miami @ Florida State, 2/18– The Hurricanes face an easy schedule down the stretch in the ACC, but this game doesn’t qualify. It would be a huge steal for Frank Haith and Co.

Penn State @ Illinois, 2/18– The Nittany Lions are over .500 in the Big 10, yet lack OOC quality wins and their computer numbers are slacking. Could they pull another Michigan State here?

Notre Dame @ West Virginia and @ Providence, 2/18 and 2/21– Notre Dame essentially needs to go 5-2 the rest of the way to get to 9-9, meaning they’ll have to win one of road games at Connecticut, Providence and West Virginia.

Georgetown @ South Florida, 2/18– The Hoyas desperately need this win to basically save their season. They cannot afford another Cincinnati or Seton Hall or their chances might be dead.

Providence @ Louisville, 2/18– If the Friars can pull off the miracle upset and reel in the quality win they need, the Friars will put themselves in a prime position to snatch a bid.

Virginia Tech @ Virginia, 2/18– The Hokies have much more talent than the reeling Cavaliers, but this is a rivalry game and a loss could prove crippling.

Tennessee @ Ole Miss and @ Kentucky, 2/18 and 2/21– Tennessee is starting to play some better basketball against the dregs of the weak SEC and find themselves tied for first in the East. Two losses on the road and they’ll be 16-10 (7-5). Yeesh.

Minnesota @ Michigan, 2/19 and Michigan @ Iowa, 2/22– Two games Michigan can and should win.

Wisconsin @ Indiana, 2/19– For their serious lack of talent, the Hoosiers have played some of their Big 10 opponents very close. They’d love nothing more than to knock the Badgers out of the bubble picture.

Butler @ Davidson, 2/21– Will Stephen Curry be back for this game? Butler isn’t a bubble team, but Davidson, should they slip in the SoCon tournament, would only hang on that West Virginia neutral court victory in MSG, a risky proposition.

Boston College @ Miami, 2/21– Big game for both teams in the ACC with easier schedules at the end.

Baylor @ Oklahoma State, 2/21– Baylor avoided one elimination game on Saturday by defeating Texas A&M. Here’s another one.

Marquette @ Georgetown, 2/21– Should Georgetown handle South Florida, they’d keep their chances alive by defeating one of the top teams in the Big East at home.

Northern Iowa @ Siena, 2/21– Neither of these conference leaders have much to tout from out-of-conference, meaning the winner will possess a win over a tournament team should they slip up in their respective conference tournaments and the other does not. Try to understand that one!

San Diego State @ New Mexico, 2/21– You wouldn’t be crazy to call this a make-or-break week for Steve Alford and his Lobos.

North Carolina @ Maryland, 2/21– Any chance here? Any chance at all?

Kansas State @ Iowa State, 2/21– The Cyclones are pretty putrid this year, yet they hung with Oklahoma for 35 minutes this season and Kansas State would be putting themselves in a very bad position for the bubble should they lose this conference game.

Washington @ USC, 2/21– A chance for the Trojans to defeat the top team in the Pac-10 and pick up a much needed quality win.

Florida State @ Virginia Tech, 2/21– Despite the loss to Maryland, Virginia Tech would be in a good position should they win both games this week.

Oklahoma @ Texas, 2/21– The Longhorns escaped what could have been an awful loss at Colorado on Saturday. They’re trending the wrong way as the mighty 25-1 Sooners enter Austin and would love to get back on track at the hands of their biggest rival.

George Mason @ Creighton, 2/21– The Mason has a quality RPI this season. Every win will count for Creighton when Selection Sunday rolls around should Northern Iowa take the tournament.

BYU @ UNLV, 2/21– Seems like every week there are 2-3 huge bubble games in the Mountain West.

Villanova @ Syracuse, 2/22– Should Syracuse slip at home to Villanova, they’ll be right back at .500 in the Big East. They’re still in a decent position, though.

Wisconsin @ Michigan State, 2/22– It’s not like Wisconsin has to win this game, but it would surely help.

Arizona @ Arizona State, 2/22– Never thought I’d end up saying this at any point this season, but Arizona essentially cements a bid with a win in Tempe.

Last Four In: Southern Cal, Miami (FL), Virginia Tech, UNLV
Last Four Out: Cincinnati, Providence, Penn State, Michigan
Next Four Out: Kansas State, Georgetown, Creighton, Maryland
Also considered: UAB, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Temple, New Mexico, Illinois State.

Automatic Bids: Binghamton, Dayton, North Carolina, Jacksonville, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Weber State, Radford, Michigan State, Cal State Northridge, Northeastern, Memphis, Butler, Cornell, Siena, Buffalo, Morgan State, Northern Iowa, Utah, Robert Morris, Morehead State, Washington, American, LSU, Davidson, Sam Houston State, Alabama State, North Dakota State, UA-Little Rock, Gonzaga, Utah State.

1 Seeds: Not much argument on who deserves the top seeds in each region- Connecticut, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Pittsburgh. They are clearly the top four teams in the nation right now.

2 Seeds: Louisville and Memphis were easy selections. Projected Big 10 champion Michigan State was also an obvious pick. The final #2 seed was quite the dilemma with Duke losing to Boston College, pushing Missouri, Kansas, Villanova and Marquette all into contention. Kansas’ 9-1 conference record, 12 RPI and wins over Washington, Tennessee, Siena and Kansas State pushed them over the top in an extremely close race that took me like 30 minutes to decide.

3 Seeds: Duke, Marquette, Villanova and Missouri- the four teams considered for the final 2 seed- were then clear choices for this line.

4 Seeds: Wake Forest is only 6-4 in the ACC, but a 4-0 record vs. the RPI top 25 pushes them to at least a 4 seed. Also, projected Pac-10 champion Washington finds a home here. Illinois is building an impressive resume with a 21-5 (9-4) record and 14 RPI in a fairly challenging conference. Although they’ve slipped up recently, Xavier’s 8 RPI and 6 wins vs. the RPI top 50 still allow them to grasp the final 4 seed.

5 Seeds: Rather than possibly receiving a 3 seed, Clemson’s stunning loss to Virginia pushes them down to a 5. Projected SEC champion LSU also finds a home at the 5-spot. With only 2 wins against the RPI top 50, they can’t afford major losses and expect to stay in the top half of the bracket. Two Pac-10 schools, California and Arizona State, also receive 5-seeds. Arizona State defeated both LA schools at home while Cal has a sneaky impressive resume: 19-6 (8-4), 23 RPI, 36 SOS and a 3-2 record vs. the RPI top 25.

6 Seeds: UCLA lost two games this week to fall from a 3 to a 6 seed. Their best win on the season is California at home, so it’s not exactly a glowing slate for Ben Howland to tout at this point. Purdue is a fairly easy fit here with their decent resume; going 0-4 vs. the top 25 hurts and they have a chance to alter that stat with a win over the Spartans this week. Filling out the 6-spots are Florida State and Gonzaga, who will probably go undefeated in the WCC.

7 Seeds: I had all kinds of trouble mixing and matching 7 and 10 seeds to find games that didn’t pair conference foes or previous season match-ups. Before my head exploded, I had to pair Syracuse and Kansas for a possible second round game even though they played in November. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please forgive me. Anyway, Syracuse saved their butt with the OT win over Georgetown to stay here. Joining the Orange are slipping Butler, Tennessee and Ohio State.

8 Seeds: Dayton has now moved into my projected Atlantic 10 champion spot with their win over Xavier and shoot up a few seeds. Boston College now has wins over North Carolina and Duke, cementing their bid barring a collapse against poor ACC competition down the stretch. Utah’s 11 RPI and Mountain West lead give the Utes this spot (congrats, Connecticut second round in Philly!). Texas is also an 8-seed.

9 Seeds: Minnesota is now at 7-6 in the Big 10 and bordering on bubble city if not for their perfect non-conference record. Arizona went from last team in last Sunday to a #9 seed after their defeat of USC and thrashing of UCLA. They have 5 wins vs. the RPI top 50, including Gonzaga, Washington, UCLA and San Diego State. BYU and West Virginia round out this seed.

10 Seeds: Another heroic performance by Jodie Meeks helps Kentucky move a tad off the bubble and to a 10 seed, joining San Diego State, South Carolina and Utah State. The Gamecocks dodged a major bullet with another last second tip-in at Alabama on Saturday, while Utah State’s 19-game winning streak was snapped in Boise. They drop 2 seeds with the defeat.

11 Seeds: Major bubble territory here at the 11’s and 12’s. Davidson should win the Southern Conference easily, but Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and Florida still have major work to do. Wisconsin kept their season alive with the squeaker over Ohio State at home. They must take care of Indiana next. Florida suffered a horrific loss to Georgia for their first SEC win. If Florida doesn’t improve defensively, they could miss another tournament with the lack of quality wins and the poor SOS (106).

12 Seeds: Siena receives a 12 seed as the MAAC champion, joined by three of my last teams in: UNLV, Miami and Cincinnati. UNLV is boosted by their 4 wins vs. the RPI top 50, but a 7-4 conference record and 54/104 RPI/SOS means there’s no room for a few more losses. Miami, despite the poor conference record, has a 41/12 RPI/SOS and quality wins vs. Wake Forest, Florida State and at BC and Kentucky. Cincinnati at 7-6 in the Big East gets a slight edge over the 6-6 Pac-10 record of USC. The computer numbers are close enough where their respective conferences make the difference.

nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

Share this story

2 responses to “Weekly Bracketology – 02.16.09”

  1. mw says:

    please improve the size and clarity of the bracket on this page. when you click on the bracket, it still does not open to a size and dimension where it can easily be read. thanks.

  2. nvr1983 says:

    Your browser is probably automatically resizing it to fit the window. If you use the enlargement function on your browser (scroll over the image and a button should appear) it should be pretty easy to read when you click on the bracket to open up a separate image.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *