Weekly Bracketology: 02.14.11

Posted by zhayes9 on February 14th, 2011


Zach Hayes is RTC’s official bracketologist.

  • Last Four In: Memphis, Richmond, Michigan State, Oklahoma State.
  • Last Four Out: VCU, Kansas State, UAB, Wichita State.


  • For the first time since Bracketology debuted three weeks ago, Ohio State is not a clear cut overall #1 seed. Instead, they drop a hair behind Pittsburgh in my S-Curve for that top spot. Sure, the Buckeyes have one less loss and a slightly higher RPI, but Pitt’s overall profile is a bit more impressive. The Panthers have six wins vs. the RPI top-25 compared to OSU’s two. These wins include Texas (#1 seed), at Georgetown (#3), Connecticut (#4), at Villanova  (#4, without Ashton Gibbs), at West Virginia (#6, without Gibbs) and Syracuse (#5). The Buckeyes have quality wins, notably a victory from November at Florida that is looking more and more impressive, but not one at the level of Pitt. One of the many benefits of playing in the Big East. Pitt and Ohio State are joined by Texas and Kansas on the top line.
  • The benefits of building a resume through the Big East are also glaringly evident in the case of Notre Dame and Georgetown. The Irish have climbed into comfortable #2 seed territory with their bulk of quality wins — including a neutral court victory over Wisconsin from November and, of course, downing Pitt at Pitt — while scalding hot Georgetown has assembled a top-notch profile to go along with one of the best non-conference SOS in the country. Their win over Utah State continues to climb in value and Memphis sneaking into the field helps.

  • Florida continues to build quite the enviable profile with a #12 RPI, #5 SOS and #9 non-conference SOS. They are now 5-1 vs. the RPI top-25 and 8-1 vs. the RPI top-50 and four of those wins came in true road games — Florida State, Xavier, Tennessee and Georgia. The Gators were an easy call for a #3 seed for the second straight week. We’ll see if the rest of the Bracketology world joins me.
  • St. John’s now has an astounding six wins vs. the RPI top-25 and climbed to a #7 seed on the back of those impressive wins. Add Steve Lavin to the mix for Big East COY with Mike Brey, Jim Calhoun and Rick Pitino. Who would have ever thought we’d be discussing Louisville as a top four seed this season?
  • Where will the potential bid stealers come from this season? Two fascinating cases could come from the WAC and WCC where Utah State and Saint Mary’s will be heavily favored in their respective leagues. If the Gaels run the table the remainder of the season with a top-30 RPI, they should feel safe. It’s Utah State who might be in a precarious position. They haven’t defeated an RPI top-100 team the entire season and their top victory is Long Beach State. The Aggies are so far above their WAC competition this year it’s hard to envision them faltering with everything on the line in the conference tournament, though. The beauty of BracketBuster weekend? These two squads meet on Saturday in Moraga.
  • The state of the bubble can be summed up with Oklahoma State. The Cowboys sit in Last Four In territory last Monday, lose by 11 at NIT-bound Nebraska on Saturday and still remain in the field. The win over Missouri and, even more importantly, bubble foe Kansas State gave the Cowboys the edge as the last team in this week’s bracket.

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 (6)- Texas, Kansas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Baylor, Oklahoma State
  • Big East (11)- Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Louisville, Connecticut, Villanova, Syracuse, West Virginia, St. John’s, Marquette, Cincinnati
  • Big Sky (1)– Montana
  • 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 (2)– UTEP, Memphis
  • Horizon (1)– Valparaiso
  • Ivy (1)– Princeton
  • MAAC (1)– Fairfield
  • MAC (1)– Kent State
  • MEAC (1)– Hampton
  • Missouri Valley (1)– Missouri State
  • Mountain West (4)– BYU, San Diego State, UNLV, Colorado State
  • Northeast (1)– Long Island
  • Ohio Valley (1)– Murray State
  • Pac-10 (3)– Arizona, Washington, UCLA
  • Patriot (1)– Bucknell
  • SEC (5)– Florida, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia
  • Southern (1)– Charleston
  • Southland (1)–  McNeese 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, Montana, Coastal Carolina, Ohio State, Long Beach State, George Mason, UTEP, Valparaiso, Princeton, Fairfield, Kent State, Hampton, Missouri State, BYU, Long Island, Murray State, Arizona, Bucknell, Florida, Charleston, McNeese State, Oakland, Florida Atlantic, Texas Southern, Saint Mary’s, Utah State.

Key Bubble Games This Week (2/14-2/17):

  • February 14:  Kansas at Kansas State– These are the chances bubble teams kill for. The Wildcats bounced out of the bracket following Saturday’s heartbreaking loss to Colorado, but a win over #1 seed Kansas could vault them right back in.
  • February 15: George Mason at VCU- Mason needs quality wins to boost their at-large chances, while VCU is sitting right on the bubble and welcome an RPI top-25 team to Richmond, another golden opportunity for the Rams after falling to Old Dominion at home Saturday.
  • February 15: Maryland at Virginia Tech- I hesitate to over-use the phrase “must win,” but both squads desperately need a check in the win column on Tuesday. Maryland is fading further and further into NIT relegation while the Hokies sit firmly on the bubble and can’t afford to finish below .500 in the ACC.
  • February 15: St. John’s at Marquette- St. John’s has a handful of marquee wins and inch closer to lock status. It’s Marquette who badly needs another RPI top-25 win to feel safe about their tourney chances.
  • February 16: Louisville at Cincinnati- The Bearcats lost a key bubble contest with St. John’s on Sunday at home and barely remain in the bracket. They welcome sharp-shooting Louisville to the Queen City and a victory would add a top-25 RPI win to their resume.
  • February 16: Vanderbilt at Georgia- Georgia survived at South Carolina over the weekend. The Commodores can be had on the road and Georgia badly needs this one after losing to Florida and Tennessee in Athens.
  • February 16: UAB at Memphis- Two teams sitting squarely on the bubble face off in Memphis. The loser will in all likelihood find themselves on the outside looking in next Monday.
  • February 17: Richmond at Temple- Richmond doesn’t have a quality win opportunity on the slate until the Atlantic 10 Tournament after their visit to Philly on Thursday. For a team with a mid-70’s RPI on the bubble, a win here would go a long way.
  • February 17:  Washington State at Arizona- The Cougars are slipping further away from consideration following disappointing defeats in Pac-10 play. If they should go into Tucson and knock off the Pac-10 front-runners, their trajectory changes.

Next bracket: Monday, February 21.

zhayes9 (301 Posts)

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