Weekly Bracketology: 02.08.11

Posted by zhayes9 on February 8th, 2011

Zach Hayes is RTC’s official bracketologist.

  • Last Four In: Colorado State, Washington State, Oklahoma State, Richmond.
  • Last Four Out: VCU, Missouri State, Kansas State, UAB.


  • Monday night’s action only strengthened the case of Pittsburgh and Kansas to remain on the top seed line. Pittsburgh defeated arch rival West Virginia on the road without their best player and Kansas posted triple digits on hated Missouri in Allen Fieldhouse. Although BYU has the #1 RPI in the nation, you’re starting to see some separation with the four #1 seeds- Ohio State, Texas, Pittsburgh and Kansas- and the rest of the pack. The most vulnerable may be Pittsburgh given the unpredictability and depth of the Big East, but the Panthers boast a two-game lead in the loss column and one has to think the champion of the best conference in America has earned a #1 seed.
  • Notre Dame has marched to their highest seeding of any bracket as the third #2 seed ahead of both Duke and Connecticut in the overall rankings. The Irish have wins over Georgia, Wisconsin, Georgetown, St. john’s, Marquette, Pittsburgh and the aforementioned Huskies in their overall profile. Worth noting, too, that Kentucky’s win over the Irish in Louisville is all of a sudden looming large for the Wildcats, especially if they keep falling on the road in SEC competition.
  • The Big East continues to impress as their conference representatives simply have superior overall profiles than their competition. This is mostly due to an abundance of quality win opportunities and the RPI/SOS boost that playing in the Big East provides. Once again, the conference has 11 teams in the field and the closest to dropping out is Cincinnati at a #10 seed. The non-conference SOS is frightening and Yancy Gates is currently in the doghouse, so I’d say the Bearcats appear the most vulnerable to fall into NIT territory.
  • Climbers include Florida, Georgetown, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Arizona, while it appears Texas A&M, Washington, Kentucky and Illinois are trending the other direction, but there’s still a month to turn the ship around.
  • The bubble is still pretty gruesome. Case in point is Michigan State, even factoring in their current free-fall, remaining in the field as a #11 seed. Those wins against Wisconsin, Minnesota and Washington give them an edge over most teams on the bubble. Conversely, a lack of a signature win really hurt both VCU (UCLA on neutral and at Old Dominion highlighting their resume) and UAB in their quest for a spot. Colorado State’s win at UNLV was important, as were Oklahoma State’s victories over Missouri and fellow bubble team Kansas State. Same goes for Richmond downing Purdue back in December.
  • Cleveland State lost a spot in the bracket with Monday night’s loss to Detroit that pushed the Vikings just behind Valparaiso in a tight Horizon race. The Crusaders earned a #13 seed at the conference’s automatic qualifier and CSU could not garner an at-large berth.

Conference Call

  • America East (1)– Vermont
  • Atlantic 10 (3)– Xavier, Temple, Richmond
  • ACC (5)- Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Boston College, Virginia Tech
  • Atlantic Sun (1)– Belmont
  • Big 12 (5)- Texas, Kansas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Oklahoma State
  • Big East (11)- Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Georgetown, Villanova, Syracuse, Louisville, West Virginia, St. John’s, Marquette, Cincinnati
  • Big Sky (1)– Northern Colorado
  • Big South (1)– Coastal Carolina
  • Big Ten (6)– Ohio State, Wisconsin, Purdue,  Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan State
  • Big West (1)– Long Beach State
  • CAA (2)– George Mason, Old Dominion
  • Conference USA (1)– UTEP
  • Horizon (1)– Valparaiso
  • Ivy (1)– Princeton
  • MAAC (1)– Fairfield
  • MAC (1)– Kent State
  • MEAC (1)– Hampton
  • Missouri Valley (1)– Wichita State
  • Mountain West (4)– BYU, San Diego State, UNLV, Colorado State
  • Northeast (1)– Long Island
  • Ohio Valley (1)– Murray State
  • Pac-10 (4)– Arizona, Washington, UCLA, Washington State
  • Patriot (1)– Bucknell
  • SEC (6)– Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama
  • Southern (1)– Charleston
  • Southland (1)–  Northwestern State
  • Summit (1)– Oakland
  • Sun Belt (1)– Florida Atlantic
  • SWAC (1)– Texas Southern
  • WCC (1)– Saint Mary’s
  • WAC (1)– Utah State

Automatic bids: Vermont, Xavier, Duke, Belmont, Texas, Pittsburgh, Northern Colorado, Coastal Carolina, Ohio State, Long Beach State, George Mason, UTEP, Valparaiso, Princeton, Fairfield, Kent State, Hampton, Wichita State, BYU, Long Island, Murray State, Arizona, Bucknell, Alabama, Charleston, Northwestern State, Oakland, Florida Atlantic, Texas Southern, Saint Mary’s, Utah State.

Key Bubble Games This Week (2/8-2/11):

  • February 8: Xavier at Georgia– A Xavier win would give them another portfolio win should they slip in the Atlantic 10, while #10 seed Georgia could use a resume boost as well.
  • February 8: Boston College at Clemson– BC sports a lone top-50 win from November over Texas A&M on a neutral floor. A win in Littlejohn Coliseum would give the Eagles two huge bubble victories at Maryland and at Clemson in ACC play.
  • February 9: Memphis at UCF- The Tigers are inching closer to at-large territory following their win over Gonzaga in Spokane. UCF is struggling mightily following their hot start and Memphis needs to take advantage of a reeling team.
  • February 10: Connecticut at St. John’s– The Johnnies could come very close to punching their ticket with a win over the Huskiest to go along with Duke, Notre Dame, Georgetown and at West Virginia. The committee would have a hard time leaving them out in a 68-team field with those wins.
  • February 10: Penn State at Michigan State– A loss here and the Spartans are cooked, while Penn State’s home loss to Michigan zapped any NCAA momentum they carried last week. Here’s a chance for the Nittany Lions to creep back into the conversation.
  • February 10: Illinois at Minnesota– The loser isn’t in bubble danger quite yet, but fears of a complete collapse might be justified the way these two Big Ten schools have performed lately.
  • February 10: Alabama at Vanderbilt- If the Crimson Tide win in Nashville, we may actually have to take them seriously at an at-large candidate despite their lackluster non-conference resume.

Next bracket: Monday, February 14.

zhayes9 (301 Posts)

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3 responses to “Weekly Bracketology: 02.08.11”

  1. JR says:

    Belmont matching up with Syracuse would be nice. Belmont shoots a ton of 3’s.

  2. zhayes9 says:

    For sure. I think that game could be really tight.

  3. Andrew says:

    I think a couple of the really interesting teams when you get down to the last couple of slots are Bama and South Carolina… Both have terrible RPI and SOS #s (and those will likely keep them out), but they’re the two at the end with the best looking wins – SC @ Florida and at home against Vandy and Bama @ Tenn and at home against Kentucky. Comparing them with like Oklahoma State (no road wins of any consequence, best wins at home over Mizzou and K-State), Washington State (similar RPI/SOS #s to Bama/SC, less impressive big wins) Cleveland State (no wins of any consequence) and Richmond (big neutral-site win vs. Purdue, but little else and similarly terrible RPI/SOS #s) and I’d be liable to take South Carolina and Bama at the end.

    And I think a few of those ConfUSA teams (Memphis, Southern Miss in particular) have solid enough RPIs that one or both of them could earn a bid on a weak bubble. In fact, I think I’d take either of them over UAB at this point.

    And with very few teams from one-bid conferences with decent at-large resumes, there won’t be a lot of bid-stealing going on this year, so I think the bubble will remain weak. Gonna be a particularly interesting Selection Sunday this year.

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