Wednesday, February 22, 2017
FEB 21st Bracket- Doesn’t include Tuesday’s games.
The top four seeds stay the same, though Villanova and Gonzaga are basically identical, and UNC and Kansas are pretty close as well. Nova can play their way back to the top seed, and UNC can pretty easily end up the #3 overall. The bracket will realign with Nova in the East… for now this is acceptable. Kentucky move back to the 2 line… barely. They still don’t look game to stay ahead of Florida.
As this bubble l;itterally collapse on itself with a lack of mid-majors and sub .500 BCS teams imploding and crapping the bed on the road, the play in games shift back a seed line to accommodate for the fact that a 14/15 loss Syracuse team with 2 road/neutral wins does not belong ahead of numerous 26-30 win mid-major champions.
LAST FOUR IN: Michigan State, Houston, Syracuse, Alabama. This is about as close as the SEC can get to a 5th team. Georgia can’t beat anybody significant, and nobody else can string together 3 wins in a row. UNCW and MTSU could do the committee a favor and lose in their conference tourneys to provide a few stronger options.
FIRST FOUR OUT: Rhode Island, TCU, Georgia Tech, Seton Hall. TCU and URI really belong in the field, but bad recent losses have them in the penalty box. Georgia Tech and Seton Hall are a barrage of potential, but just put too many questionable losses out there.
NEXT FOUR OUT: Indiana, Texas Tech, Georgetown, Clemson. A couple of dumpster dives into the RPI here with Indiana and Texas Tech. Both need a huge win streak of Top 50 and road variety to prove anything. Clemson and Georgetown have the strength of schedule, but man, Clemson hit the wall so hard they could put Humpty Dumpty back together again. ETSU jumped into the field over Chatt and Furman.
Dayton vs Xavier- Battle of I-75! Xavier is reeling right now and probably didn’t expect to be the lower seed here.
Saint Mary’s vs Princeton (in Sacto): Virtual home pod for the Gaels, but Princeton can compete and the crawling tempo.
Wichita State vs Kansas State: KSU can beat anyone, anywhere, on any night. Shockers have not had many opportunities and the winner of this battle for the Sunflower State could be a Final Four darkhorse.
Wisconsin vs Vermont: Wisconsin has shown they do not have the depth and the Cats could expose that.
Notre Dame vs Marquette: Two Coach K prodigies, different generations. The over under here could over 170.
Locks- 6: UNC, Louisville, Duke, FSU, UVA*, Notre Dame
Good Shape- 2: Miami, VT (they can exhale now)
Bubble- 4: Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Clemson (probably finished), Wake
There is no way that 11 teams can get in. There just isn’t enough wins out there. If GT and Cuse split, it probably eliminates both of them (especially if they can’t harvest road wins). Wake needs to win out and can change their lack of good wins..
Locks- 3: KU, Baylor, WVU
Good Shape-2: OSU, ISU
Bubble- 3: KSU, TCU, Texas Tech
TTU has a lot of ground to cover… their profile is weak mid major, and now that they are way behind in the standings… Beard, Dixon, and Weber have done some great triage on some hurting [rograms.
Locks- 3: Nova, Butler, Creighton
Good Shape- 1: Xavier (yikes)
Bubble- 4: Marquette, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Providence
Xavier needs to right the ship soon or they could easily fall into double digit bubble trouble. Marquette still has work to do, and the Hoyas and Friars are all but dead.
Locks- 3: Purdue, Wisconsin, MD
Good Shape- 3: NW, Minnesota, Michigan
Bubble- 2: MSU, Indiana
Hoosiers RPI is probably too much to overcome, unless they beat Purdue twice down the stretch. Crazy to think they could knock off both UNC AND Kansas and stagger into an NIT road game. MSU probably can’t afford a split in their final 4 games… Nebraska and Illinois are not quality wins.
Locks- 4: Oregon, Arizona, UCLA, USC
Bubble- 1: California
Just commentary, but not sure I get the Markelle Fultz hype. The PAC 12 is mid-major quality outside the top 3, and he could only help put up 2 league wins? The Huskies have killed TCU’s RPI!
Locks- 2: UK, Florida
Good Shape- 2: USC, Arkansas
Bubble- 1: Alabama
Ole Miss and Auburn have wins, Tennessee has RPI, Georgia has broken hearts… none are even that close.
Locks- 2: Dayton, VCU
Bubble- 1: URI
Locks- 2: Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s
Locks- 2: Cincinnati, SMU
Bubble- 1: Houston
Locks- 2: WSU, ISU
I don’t get the anti-WSU/ISU rhetoric coming out of Bristol. The Shockers have 4 losses, all to teams projected to be in the tournament. Sure, LSU and OU being among the worst teams in the country have hurt their RPI, and the bottom heavy MVC hasn’t helped. The Redbirds have won 16 of 17, but their schedule is significantly weaker. The split with Tulsa hurts. Murray State hurts. The committee will probably punk the loser to the play-in game, and if it’s the Shockers, they can make a solid run. Regardless, a 6 loss ISU team should be in.
Locks- 1: MTSU
Good Shape- 1: UNCW
Bubble- 5: Nevada, Vermont, Monmouth, Arlington, ETSU
These are in no particular order. MTSU can afford a loss or two. UNCW cannot and would be smart at least make the CAA semifinals, losing to Charleston. Of the other 5, Monmouth is the only one with a solid paper case, but Memphis falling apart has not helped. They need Princeton to be a Top 50 team… man, that USC game would have been their free pass.
52 locks (30 plus one bid leagues), 11 in good shape, and 22 teams vying for 5 slots. MADNESS.