It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Originally Posted

13 Days Until Selection Sunday!!

It’s bracketology time!!!  No intro needed.  Let’s start with the at large “locks”

ACC – Duke, UNC, Florida St, Virginia

Big 12 – Kansas, Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State

Big East – Syracuse, Marquette, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame

Big Ten – MSU, OSU, Mich, Wisc, Indy

SEC – Kentucky, Florida, Vandy

Pac 12 – California (Washington, Arizona, Oregon)

Atlantic 10 – Temple, St Louis

CUSA – Memphis, Southern Miss

MVC – Wichita State, Creighton

Mountain West – UNLV, New Mexico, SDSU

West Coast Conference – St Marys, Gonzaga


That leaves 20 one-bid conferences.  Teams that are on the bubble need to pray that the following teams win their conference tournaments, or the following mid majors have a chance to possibly steal at large bids from some of the big boys

Murray State (35/30) – Nationally ranked and a bye to the semi finals of the Ohio Valley Tournament.  Even a loss in that game shouldn’t keep them from the dance

Long Beach State (37/36) – Long Beach has more losses (7) than would typically be acceptable for a mid major trying to sneak in, but they played a ridiculous non conference schedule.  Sadly the Panthers flop takes away from their win @Pitt, but they still managed to beat Xavier and they lose to both Kansas AND UNC by single digits

Harvard (41/38) – Since the Ivy League doesn’t have a tournament, they would need to lose another regular season game, which I think seriously puts them in jeopardy, but they may have done enough.  If they lose one of the next two games to Columbia or Cornell to lose the auto bid they are in trouble, but if they force a one game playoff with Penn and lose THAT game, they might still make the tourney.

Iona (52/42)  – Scott Machado might be the best team in the country regardless of Mid Major or Power Six status.  This team can score.  Transfer MoMo Jones from Arizona does it all and Sean Armand is an absolute sniper who buried my alma mater in a close game on Friday night.  I’m biased, because I went to MAAC rival Fairfield, but I think this team is fantastic…still…they might need to win the MAAC to get in.

Belmont (36/65) – I’m less optimistic that Belmont could grab an at large if they lose in the conference tourney, but it’s not totally out of the question.  They were one point away from winning at Cameron in the season opener, but sadly their best win was @Middle Tennessee…good win, but doesn’t look good as the only real signature win.  Speaking of the Blue Raiders…

Middle Tennessee (48/49) – This looked a lot better before February 4.  They’ve lose two of their last six games in a bad Sun Belt Conference.  They also don’t have any incredibly impressive wins.  Just a few good ones against mediocre power six teams (UCLA, Ole Miss) and some other good mid majors (Belmont, Akron)

Oral Roberts (76/46) – This might be wishful thinking for ORU, but with that RPI they’re worth a look, even if they go down in the conference tourney

VCU(58/61) /Drexel (74/67) – One of these teams PROBABLY wins the CAA.  The other doesn’t have the greatest resume, but these are two good teams, and the fact that VCU went all the way to the final four LAST year has to help the committee to see this conference as a whole in a more positive light.  Keep in mind George Mason went to the final four out of the CAA just six years ago as well, so I think they get the benefit of the doubt over some other Mid Major conferences…

Ok, so 33 locks, 20, one bid conferences (including the CAA) leaves us with 53 berths and 15 spots for bubble teams.  In order of the list of conferences above, here is your bubble (note…I was VERY conservative with my locks)

team (record –BPI/RPI)

Miami (17-10 – 46/47)

NC State (18-11 – 61/70)

Kansas State (19-9 – 23/44)

Texas (18-11 – 24/55)

South Florida (17-11 – 70/45)

Connecticut (17-11 – 34-29)

Cincinnati (20-8 – 47/75)

Seton Hall (19-10 – 44/43)

West Virginia (17-12 – 45/48)

Purdue (19-10 – 43/50)

Northwestern (17-11 – 51/40)

Alabama (19-9 – 21/24)

Mississippi State (19-10 – 57/62)

LSU (17-11 – 86/66)

Washington (20-8 – 54/53)

Arizona (21-9 – 33/71)

Oregon (20-8 64/52)

Xavier (18-10 – 50/54)

St Joes (19-11 – 56/51)

Central Florida (18-8 – 63/60)

Northern Iowa (18-12 – 75/64)

Colorado State (16-10 – 81/25)

BYU (22-7 – 38/50)

Whoever gets left out between Drexel and VCU

That’s 15 spots for 24 teams.  Let’s start to separate them…

Kansas State and Alabama should have been locks the first time around.  I hate UConn, but I think they’ll get the benefit of the doubt from the committee, especially with that RPI.  The Pac 12 will definitely get AT LEAST 1 more team (2 total) and probably three, but which one is the most logical choice to be the next “sure” thing, Washington or Arizona?  Washington swept the Wildcats, so we’ll go with Washington.

Now we’re down to 11 spots…

I can’t see Purdue getting left out…not after winning @ Michigan this weekend.  Sure it’s their first win in eight tries against a ranked opponent, but DAMN, how about that schedule?  They have early season wins against Temple and bubble teams Miami and Iona.  BYU has some good wins against some good mid majors…22 in all.  They’ll likely run into Gonzaga for a third time if they win their first WCC tourney game.  A win there would make them a lock.  Texas should be in with a top 25 BPI despite some recent struggles.  Beating Kansas in the finale would take them off the bubble.  The more I look at this bubble, the weaker I feel it is…Arizona is in.

7 spots to go….

Yesterday’s win over Florida State has Miami sitting pretty.  The Big East is going to get more than six, but who’s next in line?  West Virginia has come unraveled over the past month and a half, Seton Hall is starting to recover, but they lost six straight, South Florida is a 11-5 in conference, but somehow its been the most unimpressive 11-5 I’ve ever seen, and Cincinnati has played NOBODY and their 75 RPI is reflective of that…ugh…USF beat Cincy this weekend…I’m going with them.  Also, the weak bubble makes me feel good enough to give the Pac 12 their fourth team…Oregon, some on down!!!

12 teams four spots…maybe we can weed some of these teams OUT…

St Joes, LSU and UCF…I was kinda just being nice.  Northern Iowa makes me appreciate Wichita and Creighton even more…UNI is a GOOD team and they could only manage 9-9 in the MVC?  That conference is deep.  Still, no more Ali Farokhmanesh…no tourney…and there’s the obligatory Farokhmanesh March Madness name drop.  Colorado State has a stellar RPI of 25, but the BPI is more than triple that.  The Mountain West is a good conference, but it’s no Big Ten…I don’t think I can justify a 6-6 conference record out of a mid major conference in the Big Dance…sorry Rams.  Maybe you can go back to the NIT and lose to my Fairfield Stags again…oh wait…Fairfield’s probably not even going to make that tournament…

That leaves me with the following teams for 4 spots…

NC State (18-11 – 61/70)

Cincinnati (20-8 – 47/75)

Seton Hall (19-10 – 44/43)

West Virginia (17-12 – 45/48)

Northwestern (17-11 – 51/40)

Mississippi State (19-10 – 57/62)

Xavier (18-10 – 50/54)

65.  Seton Hall – Thank the weak bubble.  The Big East had 11 bids last year, so even with 8 this year, it’s a “down” year

66.  Northwestern – FIRST TIME EVER!!!  Come on, Committee…make this happen.

67.  Xavier – The December brawl with Cincy really set them back.  Tuesday night’s tilt @ St Louis is a big one.  If they lose that, they might find themselves on the wrong side of the cut line

68 comes down to two teams that have been pitiful down the stretch…it’s teams like Mississippi State and West Virginia that make me wish they’d go back to a 64 team field.  The other option is to have the VCU or Drexel in this spot, depending on who wins the CAA…Mississippi State has lost five in a row, scoring an average of 56 points per game.  WVU has lost 7 of 9…in their defense, four of those losses were to ranked opponents…screw it…

…Drexel wins the CAA and VCU gets an at large bid as a play in team for the second year in a row…can Shaka do it again???