Circle of March, Vol. X

Posted by rtmsf on March 8th, 2012

Due to technical difficulties Tuesday night, we weren’t able to get a new Circle of March up in time for Wednesday’s games, so this is a two-fer. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, another 43 teams were eliminated from national title contention, leaving us with a total of 149 teams now left. Thursday and Friday will be huge days, as 14 conference tournaments will be in action with many of them at the knockout-heavy first or quarterfinal round.

There’s only about 78 hours until we’ve narrowed this thing down to 68 teams vying for the ring. The names drop off quickly, don’t they?

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Circle of March, Vol. IX

Posted by rtmsf on March 6th, 2012

The start of Championship Week didn’t fail to titillate, as four conference championship games all went down to the last few possessions before Davidson, St. Mary’s, Loyola (MD), and VCU each survived. All in all, including those conferences — the SoCon, WCC, MAAC, and CAA — plus the Summit League and Sun Belt, we knocked nine more schools off the Circle of March tonight. And as you see below, some serious swaths of emptiness are developing and appear to be concentrating in the northern hemisphere of the CoM now, with 192 teams still standing.

There are three more championship games tonight in the Horizon League, Summit League and Sun Belt Conference, while the Big East tips off from Madison Square Garden as well as the Atlantic 10 in Atlantic City and the MEAC in Winston-Salem. Onward…

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Circle of March, Vol. VIII

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2012

Sunday was day seven of Championship Fortnight, and although there weren’t a lot of championship games — Monday is actually a better night for that — we still eliminated another 15 teams from national title contention. Yesterday also brought us to our first quandary of what to do with bubble teams from small conferences with Top 50 RPI ratings. We’d rather be more inclusive at this point rather than less, so for that reason we’re keeping MAAC regular season champion Iona (RPI: #38) and Sun Belt regular season champion Middle Tennessee State (RPI: #44) in the Circle of March. Their fates are in the Selection Committee’s hands now, but we’re not willing to eliminate them just yet.

That leaves us with 201 schools still alive heading into tonight’s action. Monday is a relatively light night beyond the four championship games in the CAA, MAAC, SoCon and WCC, but we’ll be back tomorrow as always with an updated CoM.

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Circle of March, Vol. VII

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2012

Saturday was a ridiculous elimination day with a total of 42 teams dropping off of our Circle of March. Granted, four of those schools were simply Great West teams finishing up their regular season, and another six were A-10 and SWAC schools who did not qualify for their respective conference tournaments. But 32 other teams were beaten in knockout games from 15 conferences in one of the busiest days of Championship Fortnight. We won’t list them all here, but the biggest name off our CoM is the two-time national runner-up, Butler, who was taken apart by Valparaiso in the Horizon League semifinals yesterday. We are now at 216 teams still alive for the 2012 national champoinship, which means that in just over six days, we’ve already eliminated over 100 schools from contention.

Sunday is a bit less busy than yesterday with eight tournaments in action and the MVC the only one among those to have a championship game. More importantly, we’re now only one week from the best hour in American sports — the revealing of the official bracket.


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Circle of March, Vol. VI

Posted by rtmsf on March 3rd, 2012

Friday was a massive day of conference tournaments around college basketball nation, with 22 more teams ultimately losing their shot at the 2012 national title. The unlucky group includes: Canisius, Tennessee Tech, Indiana State, Drake, College of Charleston, James Madison, The Citadel, Towson, Northern Iowa, William & Mary, East Tennessee State, Youngstown State, Samford, St. Peter’s, Chattanooga, Milwaukee, Hofstra, Mercer, Loyola Marymount, Morehead State, Missouri State and San Diego. We also removed two Ivy League teams, as Princeton and Yale were eliminated as that conference closes out its regular season schedule this weekend (but for one game Tuesday). Note that William & Mary ended its 74th season in a row without an NCAA bid tonight, and Towson’s miserable 1-31 season mercifully came to an end as well. Better luck next year, guys.

Saturday is a HUGE day of tournaments, with no fewer than 15 mini-Dances occurring all around the country, including three championships that will result in the first three automatic bids for this year’s NCAA Tourney. Also, if Harvard wins and Penn loses, the Crimson will join the Dance for the first time since 1946. We’ve got an exciting day ahead of us…


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Circle of March, Vol. V

Posted by rtmsf on March 2nd, 2012

Last night 14 more teams were eliminated from National Championship contention from seven different conference tournaments. Those schools were: Bradley, Charleston Southern, Jacksonville State, Monmouth, North Florida, Pepperdine, Portland, Sacred Heart, South Carolina Upstate. Southeast Missouri State, Southern Illinois, St. Francis (NY), UMBC, and Winthrop. The one surprise team among this group was #2 Big South seed Charleston Southern seeing its season end at the hands of VMI. From 296 down to 282…

Three more conference tourneys tip off today — the CAA, MAAC, and SoCon — with four others starting tomorrow. Gonna be a fun weekend throughout mid-major land.

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Circle of March, Vol. IV

Posted by rtmsf on March 1st, 2012

And now after three nights we start to see some holes forming in the Circle of March, as a total of 14 teams were eliminated from national championship contention. Say good bye to the following 13 schools who lost in their conference tournaments last night — Army, Austin Peay, Campbell, Coastal Carolina, Colgate, Eastern Kentucky, High Point, Holy Cross, Jacksonville, Liberty, Lipscomb, Navy, and Santa Clara. We also removed Longwood, an Independent, because the Lancers finished their season with a loss at Seattle last night. It was a tough Wednesday for the service academies and the ghost of Jerry Falwell, we suppose.

Tonight three more conference tournaments tip off — the Missouri Valley, the NEC, and the America East — while the A-Sun, OVC, Big South and WCC continue, which means it will be a big knockout evening for the Circle. As of this moment, though, there are still 296 schools alive for the 2012 national championship.

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Circle of March, Vol. III

Posted by rtmsf on February 29th, 2012

It’s the third day of “March” and already we’ve eliminated 10 teams from our Circle in just the first two nights. On Tuesday, the Horizon League opening round tipped off with all four home teams winning their games, leaving Wright State, Loyola (Chicago), Illinois-Chicago and Green Bay on the outside looking in this year. Furthermore, the Big Sky Conference finished off its regular season last night, so the three teams not invited to next weekend’s tournament were also eliminated — Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, and Sacramento State. Better luck next year, fellas.

Tonight is the first big night of Championship Fortnight. The Atlantic Sun, OVC, Patriot League, and WCC all tip off with opening round games, and the Big South returns for its quarterfinal round. The Horizon League won’t be back in action until Friday for its quarterfinal round, hosted by top-seed Valparaiso.

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Circle of March, Vol. II

Posted by rtmsf on February 28th, 2012

The first night of Championship Fortnight went off without a hitch, as the Big South Tournament began its opening round Monday with Radford and Gardner-Webb the first victims of elimination through tournament action (grayed out below). Four more teams will be knocked out tonight as the Horizon League tips off its tournament at various home sites.

One programming note since we received a methodology question yesterday. Since Cornell, Columbia, Brown and Dartmouth were already mathematically eliminated from the Ivy League’s regular season “tournament,” those four teams were excluded originally along with several other ineligible schools (due to APR, transitional, etc.). With no automatic bid to the NCAA in place, we decided to provide the remaining Great West Conference schools and Independent teams the courtesy of staying in the CoM until their regular seasons were complete. As such, we also eliminated Cal State Bakersfield in this version.

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Circle of March, Vol. I

Posted by rtmsf on February 27th, 2012

It may still read February on your calendar, but the Big South Tournament tips off tonight and therefore it’s time to start the 35-day journey from 321 teams alive to only one left standing — colloquially known around here as The Best Time of the Year. As we did last season, we’re going to represent this visually with our 2012 version of the Circle of March. We’ll remove teams each day as they’re eliminated from contention.

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