Big East NCAA Bracket Watch

Posted by George Hershey on February 6th, 2014

With a little over five weeks to go until Selection Sunday, most Big East teams have about eight games left before the Big East Tournament to solidify their standing for the NCAA Tournament. Eight teams have somewhat realistic hopes of making it into the 68-team field, but all but two still have plenty of work to do if they want to impress the selection committee. Here we will take a look at each of the 10 teams with a quick snapshot of what they have done, where they are, and what they need to do to hear their name called on March 16.

Steve Lavin and company have lots of work to do if they want to be dancing in March. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Steve Lavin and company have lots of work to do if they want to be dancing in March.
(AP Photo/Al Behrman)

#6 Villanova, 20-2 (8-1)

  • Key Stats: #4 RPI, #7 Pomeroy, #7 BPI, #14 Strength of Schedule
  • Projections: Lunardi #2 seed; RTC #2 seed; Bracket Matrix #2 seed
  • Good Wins: #8 Kansas, #17 Iowa, Providence, Xavier
  • Bad Losses: None

Villanova is all but a lock at this point. The Wildcats started the season with two huge wins in the Bahamas against Kansas and Iowa and they continued their great play into conference play. Their only two losses are understandable — at Syracuse and against a Creighton team that could have beaten the Knicks that night. They have rolled through conference play and look like they will have no problem the rest of the way. The one game remaining that can help solidify a #2 seed will be at Creighton on February 16. Going 8-1 or even 7-2 with a potential loss to St. John’s or Providence should be enough to finish with no worse than a #3 seed, leaving the Wildcats in a great position for March.

#12 Creighton, 18-3, (8-1)

  • Key Stats: #8 RPI, #3 Pomeroy, #12 BPI, #27 SOS
  • Projections: Lunardi #3 seed; RTC #3 seed; Bracket Matrix #3 seed
  • Good Wins: @ #6 Villanova, California, Arizona State, Xavier
  • Bad Losses: None

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

An Early Glimpse at ACC Bracketology

Posted by Chris Kehoe on February 5th, 2014

ESPN.com’s most recent bracketology update has six ACC teams making the Big Dance, with Florida State firmly on the bubble and projected into the #8/#9 game. The division between the elite and the rest of the ACC has become clear and it now appears to be a two-team race for the ACC regular season title (although things could spice up considerably if Virginia knocks off Syracuse). With Pittsburgh’s soft strength of schedule and inability to capitalize against Duke and Virginia, look for the Panthers to obtain a gaudy win total but not much substance on their résumé. North Carolina’s up-and-down season seems to have steadied recently and the Tar Heels’ quality wins rival any team in America as they seem to be firmly entrenched barring a complete collapse (you never know with this group). Syracuse is pushing for a number one seed overall and as this week’s unanimous top team in the national polls; the Orange are well on their way to that goal. Virginia continues to trend upward thanks to its elite-level defense and corresponding ACC success, as the Cavaliers have only one ACC loss at Duke and are within striking distance of the Orange. Duke has a good number of losses (five) for a projected #2 or #3 seed, but the Devils also have some good wins and impressed many supporters in their tight loss at the Carrier Dome last weekend.

The Two Winningest All-Time Coaches are Hugging it Out For Bracketology (credit: SI.com)

The Two Winningest All-Time Coaches are Hugging it Out For Bracketology (credit: SI.com)

The final development to keep your eyes on is whether Clemson can find a way of sneaking into the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers have three difficult games on the horizon — at Syracuse and Notre Dame, vs. Virginia — but if they can make it out of that stretch at 1-2, they could win the next five in a row until their season finale versus Pitt. If the Tigers finish out their season strong they could end up with 11 or 12 ACC wins and a seat firmly on the bubble. A win or two in the ACC Tournament could then result in a dance card. With that in mind, here is a snapshot look at the six ACC teams currently projected into ESPN’s Bracketology and their respective profiles.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

RTC Bracketology: February 3 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 3rd, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s 11th-best bracketologist out of hundreds of entries. 

Five top 10 teams lost this weekend and my latest bracketology reflects all of the wild results. No. 1 Arizona finally lost after playing with fire multiple times in the last few weeks, but more importantly, the Wildcats also lost power forward Brandon Ashley for the season. The Wildcats — a lock to make the Big Dance — will be evaluated by the selection committee as a new team without their second-leading scorer and rebounder in the lineup. Don’t read too much into it right this second, though. If the NCAA Tournament started today, I have no doubt that Arizona would still be a No. 1 seed.

  • Wichita State finally moved up to the No. 1 line in my bracket after Kansas lost to Texas, but like always, I’m going to be brutally honest about the Shockers. Wichita has only TWO wins over teams in my bracket and that is not the sort of quality resume you expect to see from a No. 1 seed. Still, I have the Shockers on the top line because they are undefeated and they look like a top-5 team when you watch them play.
  • Texas is moving up in a hurry after a convincing win Saturday over the Jayhawks. UCLA is also moving up, even after a loss to Oregon State on Sunday. The Bruins are unranked because the Pac-12 is seen as a weak conference (other than Arizona) and it’s really unfair to UCLA. Despite their bad loss yesterday, Steve Alford’s team looks like the conference’s second-best squad at this point and have the quality wins of a middle-of-the-road seed.
  • Pittsburgh is about to start sliding. The Panthers still lack a top-50 win after falling to Virginia on Sunday. For now, I left Pittsburgh as a No. 6 seed but the Panthers have the feel of a team that gets “shafted” on Selection Sunday and end up a couple of seed lines lower. I’m going to keep re-evaluating the Panthers, of course, but based on how the national media perceives Jamie Dixon’s team (currently seen as a Top 25 team), I have to predict the committee will likely see Pittsburgh in the same light and seed them accordingly.

For the first time this season, there are more than 36 at-large teams deserving a spot in the field which made it hard to pick the final few teams. The full bracket is after the jump:

First Four Out: Oregon, BYU, Clemson, Georgetown

Bids by Conference: Big 12 (7), ACC (6), Big Ten (6), Pac-12 (6), SEC (5), American (5), Atlantic 10 (4), Big East (3), Mountain West (2)

feb3bracketology(2)

Share this story

RTC Bracketology: January 27 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 27th, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s 11th-best bracketologist out of hundreds of entries. 

The top of the bracket continues to fluctuate quite a bit at this point of the season. Florida and Kansas moved up to the top line in the past week, as Michigan State and Villanova both lost. The Gators were already a No. 1 seed in my previous update, but Billy Donovan’s team strengthened its position when the Spartans lost. Kansas has the nation’s strongest profile when it comes to quality wins. Bill Self’s team is used to being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks are the easiest team to project when doing a preseason bracket because they always play a ridiculous non-conference schedule and win their power conference. Did anyone really think a team other than Kansas would win the Big 12 this season?

Michigan is the biggest mover in this week’s bracket. On January 5, the Wolverines were a No. 11 seed. Twenty-two days later, John Beilein’s team has wins over Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa and are a clear No. 2 seed. At that point, the Wolverines only had wins over Florida State and Minnesota. The win over the Gophers looks better every day but beating three top 10 teams in a row is the biggest reason for their jump in the bracket. The Wolverines have without a doubt turned around their season.

There are some other teams rising too, and No. 7 Texas is among them after beating Baylor. Other teams of note include No. 9 Providence and No. 3 Creighton, both of which continue to move up seed lines. I evaluate teams every day, so changes at the bottom of the bracket are in a state of constant flux at this point. The last eight at-large teams in the bracket below are very much on the fence. The entire bracket is after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

RTC Bracketology: January 23 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 23rd, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Over the past six years, Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s No. 11 bracketologist out of hundreds of entries. 

The movement in my newest batch of bracketology focuses completely on the Big Ten. Ohio State continues to slide after a loss to Nebraska earlier this week and still lacks a single quality win. The Buckeyes are No. 9 seed, based mainly on their high RPI and the eye test which seems to suggest Ohio State is a lot better than its recent record.

Some other notes about the January 23 edition:

  • Wisconsin started 16-0 and has now lost three consecutive games after a loss at Minnesota Wednesday night. The Badgers are now a No. 3 seed and at No. 9 on the S-curve. Villanova, despite getting destroyed by Creighton Monday night, stays on the No. 2 line for now. The Wildcats would have been the fourth No. 1 seed if the ‘Cats had won against Creighton.
  • Michigan is flying up the board and is now a No. 3 seed after a big win over Iowa on Wednesday night. The win over the Hawkeyes followed another big win over Wisconsin last Saturday. Minnesota is also moving up and is a No. 6 seed after beating the Badgers.
  • The last eight teams in the at-large field continue to look like a bunch of mediocre clubs with hardly anything separating them. Arkansas lost on the road Wednesday night at Tennessee, eliminating the Razorbacks’ chance of moving back into my field. Arkansas is now 2-22 on the road under head coach Mike Anderson and 44-5 at home. I need someone smarter than me to figure that one out. I’ll keep the Razorbacks outside of my field until they can beat anyone on the road, no matter what they do at home. Considering the Hawgs have only one more chance for a big win this year (vs. Kentucky, at Rupp) it’s likely they are done barring some kind of unbelievable turnaround in road games. Don’t count on it.
  • The SEC has four teams in my latest field, but No. 12 Missouri barely made it after a loss to LSU this week. No. 10 Tennessee only made it because there really is a lack of quality teams in the lowest at-large seed lines and at least the Vols have a couple of good wins.
  • The Pac-12 seems to be racing the SEC to get as few NCAA Tournament bids as possible. No. 1 Arizona is a lock, but teams like No. 10 California (which lost to USC Wednesday night) continue to dare the committee to only take two or three teams from the conference. No. 9 Colorado can’t help that Spencer Dinwiddie was injured against Washington, but the Buffaloes are now thrown into a group of Pac-12 bubble teams that they likely would have been head and shoulders above. No. 9 Oregon, No. 11 Stanford and No. 9 UCLA all appear to be very up and down this season.

The full bracket is after the jump.

NOTE: Teams in all capital letters are projected auto-bid winners.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

RTC Blind Resumes: January 20 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 20th, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s No. 11 bracketologist out of hundreds of entries. 

Which of these teams should make the NCAA Tournament field? Vote in our poll below, but DO NOT give away the team names because that takes away the fun of the entire exercise.

 

I will reveal the answers on Twitter at @bracketexpert at 7:00 PM CT Monday. Use the hashtag #bracketblinds to discuss.

blndresumejan20

Share this story

RTC Bracketology: January 20 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 20th, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s No. 11 bracketologist out of hundreds of entries. 

A lot changed in my bracketology following a crazy weekend of college basketball. I’m going to try to break it down and make it as simple and as easy as possible. First, let’s start at the top.

  • Villanova replaces Wisconsin on the No. 1 seed line after Wisconsin lost twice last week. The Wildcats simply have a better resume than Florida, who is No. 5 on my S-curve despite a loss to Wisconsin earlier this season. Remember, the Gators were not completely healthy in their loss at Wisconsin. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who has become the go-to guy for Florida in the final minutes of games, missed the final few minutes of the last second loss at Connecticut.
  • Wichita State stays on the No. 3 seed line despite being undefeated. The Shockers simply do not have the profile of a No. 1 or No. 2 seed at this point. Gonzaga didn’t last year at this time either, and still ended up on the No. 1 line, so stay patient Shocker fans.
  • Oklahoma has jumped up to a No. 4 seed after wins against Baylor and Iowa State. The Cyclones stay as a No. 3 seed, but are sliding. Baylor falls to a No. 8 seed after a couple more losses. Ohio State is also sliding — the Buckeyes’ profile looks nothing like the seed of a surefire NCAA Tournament team, although that is where most bracketologists continue to seed them as a No. 3 or No. 4 seed.
  • Anyone wanting a prediction from me can write this one down: Kansas will end up with a No. 1 seed. The Jayhawks have a tremendous profile like always, and are playing their best basketball of the season.

I think that’s enough for now. If you have questions (and surely you do), please tweet me @bracketexpert.

First Four Out: VCU, Illinois, Arkansas, Southern Mississippi.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

RTC Bracketology: January 18 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 18th, 2014

bracket pic

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert.

Going into Saturday, this has been a crazy week in college basketball. Let’s review:

  • Baylor is sliding after getting destroyed by Texas Tech.
  • Ohio State continues to have zero good wins and has now lost three straight games.
  • Wisconsin lost its first game of the year at Indiana Tuesday night.
  • Kansas knocked off Iowa State Monday night and continues to move up in my bracketology rankings.

I listed Kansas as a No. 1 seed in my preseason bracketology because the Jayhawks earn No. 1 seeds more consistently than any other team in the country. Kansas always schedules well and it pays off. The Jayhawks are up to No. 2 in my latest bracket and are nearing the No. 1 seed line at this point. Wichita State remains on the No. 3 line despite being undefeated. It’s nothing personal against the Shockers — really, it’s not. They just don’t have the profile of a top two seed at this point. Colorado lost Spencer Dinwiddie to an ACL injury earlier this week and the Buffaloes lost to UCLA  a few nights later. I’ve moved Colorado down because of Dinwiddie’s loss. For now, I’m keeping New Mexico State and Belmont in the bracket below despite losing games this week and technically falling out of first place. It’s still early in the year and for one night, I am willing to give those teams the benefit of the doubt.

Here is the complete field, seeded #1-#68:

First Four Out: Arkansas, Stanford, Indiana, Saint Mary’s

#1 Seeds:
ARIZONA (Pac-12/WEST)
SYRACUSE (ACC/EAST)
WISCONSIN (Big Ten/SOUTH)
Michigan State (Midwest)

#2  Seeds:
Villanova
FLORIDA (SEC)
KANSAS (Big 12)
San Diego State (MWC)

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

RTC Bracketology: January 13 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 13th, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert.

There was a lot of movement in my bracketology this weekend. After  a loss to Clemson, Duke is now free-falling. North Carolina, sitting at 0-3 in the ACC after a loss at Syracuse, has fallen all the day to the No. 8 seed line. Ohio State, a team which really has a lackluster overall profile after back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Iowa, has now fallen to my final  No. 3 seed position. The Buckeyes had risen to a No. 1 seed in a bracket I released last week. Colorado and Oregon are also falling quickly. The Buffaloes have the better resume but are preparing for bad news about leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie, who went down with an apparent knee injury last night in a loss to Washington. If Dinwiddie is out for the year, you will see that reflected in my next bracket. Among the teams moving up include Oklahoma, which handed Iowa State its first loss of the season over the weekend. San Diego State has also continued to climb and is nearing the No. 2 seed line, but stays as a No. 3 for now. Iowa also leaped up to the No. 5 line after one of the best resume-building wins of the year at Ohio State.

Last Four In: Indiana State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Georgetown
First Four Out: Arizona State, St. Mary’s, Boise State, Southern Mississippi

jan13bracket

Share this story

RTC Bracketology: January 10 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 10th, 2014

bracketology

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert.

Our latest bracketology shows a little bit of movement at the top. After Michigan State‘s big win over Ohio State Tuesday night, the Spartans jump to the No. 1 line. Iowa State continues to climb and is up to No. 6 overall on my S-curve, while Wichita State is up to No. 9. I’m still doubting that the Shockers can get a No. 1 seed unless they finish the regular season with an unblemished record (or at most one loss), so for now they remain on the No. 3 seed line despite remaining undefeated.

The "Most Annoying Team in America" to Bracketologists (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

The “Most Annoying Team in America” to Bracketologists (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

North Carolina remains the most annoying team in the country. The Tar Heels lost to Miami (FL) earlier this week to add another awful loss to a resume full of them. Of course, the Tar Heels also have three of the best wins in the country over Michigan State, Kentucky and Louisville.. The Tar Heels are like many of my ex-girlfriends, bipolar and unpredictable.

Here is the complete field, seeded #1-#68:

LAST FOUR IN: Georgetown, Texas, Oklahoma, Dayton
FIRST FOUR OUT: California, SMU, North Dakota State, St. Mary’s

#1 Seeds:

  • ARIZONA (Pac 12/WEST)
  • WISCONSIN (Big Ten/SOUTH)
  • SYRACUSE (ACC/EAST)
  • Michigan State (Midwest)

#2  Seeds:

  • Ohio State
  • IOWA STATE (Big 12)
  • FLORIDA (SEC)
  • Oklahoma State

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Big 12 M5: 01.08.14 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on January 8th, 2014

morning5_big12

  1. Just how good is Iowa State? That’s the question Rob Dauster over at College Basketball Talk is asking after the Cyclones pulled away from Baylor in the second half to win the battle of top 10 teams, 87-72. DeAndre Kane had his best game on the biggest stage of the season to date: 30 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and five steals. Dauster believes the Cyclones are a very good team but not a top 10 team. His points are valid — the Michigan and BYU wins don’t have the same cachet now as they did in November, and their best wins (Iowa and Baylor) came at the impregnable Hilton Coliseum. Regardless of what anyone thinks about them, the Cyclones are now one of only five undefeated teams in college basketball along with Arizona, Syracuse, Wisconsin and Wichita State.
  2. When a team commits 18 turnovers in a conference game, it usually spells doom for the road team. Kansas State was that road team on Tuesday night and still somehow emerged with an 18-point win over TCU, 65-47. The difference for the Wildcats was winning the rebounding edge over the Horned Frogs by 16 boards. “They are not a good rebounding team,” forward Thomas Gipson said. “They play hard and everything, but we really wanted to emphasize our rebounding against them. I feel like we did a good job with that.” Now Kansas State’s winning streak is at 10 games, its longest since the Elite Eight season of 2009-10. Their buddies from Lawrence will be their next opponent on Saturday.
  3. Jerry Palm’s latest bracketology has seven Big 12 teams in the field of 68. Think about that: 70 percent of an entire conference is projected to make the NCAA Tournament. What a number, considering that the Big East’s 11 bids in 2011 accounted for 68.8 percent of that conference. According to Palm, Kansas State and Texas were selected as First Four teams headed to Dayton, Ohio. If they were picked as two of the final teams in, I wouldn’t be so sure if I’d take both. While Kansasa State has recorded its best wins (Ole Miss, Gonzaga, George Washington, and Oklahoma State) within the state of Kansas, those wins are collectively better than Texas’, which pretty much starts and ends with North Carolina in Chapel Hill. But that’s why the season doesn’t end on January 8. Who knows, maybe at season’s end the Big 12 will have seven resumes that are worthy of NCAA Tournament bids.
  4. On Monday, Kansas State’s Marcus Foster picked up Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors, but the accolades don’t stop there. In a collaboration between the Wayman Tisdale Award and CBSSports.com, Foster has won the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week for his play against George Washington and Oklahoma State. This is certainly a breath of fresh air when you consider that the award seemed like it’d be passed around between Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon, Tyler Ennis, Andrew Wiggins and the Kentucky freshmen. Hooray for three-star recruits!
  5. West Virginia has missed some opportunities to rack up important wins in non-league play but leading scorer Eron Harris is encouraged by the team’s 2-0 start in the Big 12. Yes, those two wins came against Texas Tech and TCU both of which have worse overall records than the Mountaineers. It doesn’t seem to make a difference to Harris. “I don’t care what team you’re playing in the Big 12, it’s a tough conference,” Harris told MetroNews. “It’s significant.” Their first non-Texas opponent will come Saturday when WVU takes on Oklahoma State in Morgantown. We’ll see if things really are different.
Share this story

Does Cinderella Reside in the Big Apple This Season?

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on January 6th, 2014

In Ken Pomeroy’s recently-published conference race simulations, Manhattan wins the MAAC 6,161 times out of 10,000 simulations, which — in an 11-team league— makes it the overwhelming favorite. And for good reason. Despite being picked first in the conference preseason poll, the Jaspers have actually managed to exceed expectations in the first two months, using an aggressive defense and attack-first offense to notch several impressive road victories and an early 4-0 record in league play. So while fellow contenders like Iona, Canisius and Quinnipiac are likely to make the automatic bid far from a guarantee, Manhattan has already shown its potential as the most complete and dangerous upset threat from this league come March.

George Beamon and the Jaspers could be a tough NCAA Tournament match-up. (MAACSports)

George Beamon and the Jaspers could be a tough NCAA Tournament match-up. (MAACSports)

Iona has been the cream of this conference for the past two years, making the NCAA Tournament twice — including as an at-large bid in 2011-12, the second ever out of the MAAC — and doing so with exceptional offense. Tim Cluess’ up-tempo, free-flowing attack has yielded three straight top-30 finishes nationally in offensive efficiency and over 20 wins in each of those seasons. Their problem has often been on the other end of the court, as Cluess’ teams sometimes making a habit of playing porous defense for long stretches that the scoring cannot always overcome. Likewise, Saint Peter’s, the conference tournament champion in 2011, was one of the best defensive teams the league has ever seen (finishing fifth in the country in defensive efficiency), but it could not generate the offense necessary to become a threat in the Big Dance. Put simply, the NCAA Tournament’s MAAC representative has lacked balance in recent years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story