Thursday, February 16, 2017
Valentine's Day Bracket Update
Numbers were compiled through the 14th, but a couple of adjustments have been made. First, Rhode Island’s tank job against a pretty bad Fordham team has been reflected. Seton Hall gets the benefit of the doubt in their place, though they were not convincing beating Creighton (like seriously, how does a clock suppressing “roll-in” get intercepted?) and still have to host Nova, Xavier, and go to Butler… they need two more wins there, because DePaul is not helping the RPI. I bumped Arkansas up to the 11 line against Syracuse.
So, apologies go out to Indiana as I am not seeing them getting back in the mix without winning at least 5 in row. Georgia also has a case, but needs to beat UK and Bama to make a statement to be considered in the first four out, let alone the field. Providence has not fared well away from the Dunk, and that DePaul loss is killing them… they are basically Syracuse in different uniforms, just not getting the computer number love. Georgetown also continues to lurk out there, without any bad losses since Arkansas State turned out pretty good… just can’t win enough games.
LAST FOUR IN: Seton Hall, TCU, Arkansas, Syracuse. I think Arkansas is most likely to establish themselves in the bye field as a 10/11. The other 4 are just too inconsistent to have any margin of error to hold off…
FIRST FOUR OUT: Rhode Island, Texas Tech, Marquette, Clemson. Clemson has the best numbers and as recently as the last federal holiday was looking more like a 5/6 seed in the NCAA tournament, not a road team in the NIT. Marquette and Texas Tech possess criminally low RPI numbers despite decent Top 50 records. They were squaring off in the last play-in game at some point and that looks to be their only destiny. The Rams were the A-10’s only hope for a 3rd at-large bid, and that is long gone without extraordinary circumstances.
NEXT FOUR OUT: Utah, Wake Forest, Alabama, East Tennessee State. Wake needs something. The Clemson loss drops them to 0-37 against the Top 50. A win at Cameron isn’t saving them. 4 in row in the ACC might. Utah is in the same boat as Wake; so little quality to support their standing with Cal and USC. Need to beat Oregon tonight and avoid any slip ups. Alabama started pretty far behind the curve, but I have been saying for a month now that it is a better candidate than Georgia. ETSU gets a fair chance to enhance their profile against Furman and Chattanooga, but they are really only here because nobody else has stepped up.
THE SLUDGE AT THE BOTTOM: Michigan, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Houston, Cal, Miami, Kansas State. Once again, these are all teams that are making this season so frustrating. Typically, there would be more mid-major strength to weed these teams out, but they all seem comfortable getting trounced on the road and pulling a home upset or two to get people excited. This why I feel Illinois State, Middle Tennessee State, Wilmington, and Vermont are all fairly safe at-large candidates.
No surprises with the 1 seeds. Gonzaga and Villanova continue to pull away, while Kansas fights to the death every night. It is impossible to imagine the ACC not grabbing a 1 seed, but it is not likely to sort out until the ACC tourney semi-finals. In this order: UNC, UL, Duke, FSU, UVA. Gonzaga would probably benefit from the game in Sacto, as elevation could be a factor working against them.
Games of interest: Northwestern vs. Illinois State… Wisconsin, bounced to the 4 line with Purdue, vs Nevada, Notre Dame vs. Wilmington. Monmouth has huge upset potential vs Creighton, and we all know what to expect from Gulf Coast, who played Baylor tight and only lost to MSU by 1.
One ACC conflict, as Duke could inherit Syracuse via the play in game the first weekend.
Also not happy that Baylor and Kansas ended up in the same bracket... that will be avoided next time if they are 1/2.