Friday, March 10, 2017

Second-to-Last Update

I feel that on Sunday morning, we will probably know all we need to know other than a couple seedings.  Nova is the #1 overall, Gonzaga cannot lose Top 4 ranking with Kansas, Louisville, Baylor dead and UNC/Duke squaring off.  UCLA could bump Oregon from the 2 west spot... PAC-12 has a lot at stake.  Kentucky looks safe as a 2.  SMU grabs the final 4 seed for now, but get shipped to Milwaukee.  They may want to lose just to stay in the south/west and not have to play the Big 10 in a midwest location.

Teams in trouble: Syracuse, USC, URI
Late surges and varying strengths of wins doom these three.  Syracuse can't win away, USC can't beat the top 50, and URI can't stop losing to bad teams.  Kansas State, despite their slide, does what all three of these teams do not.

Probably safe, but definitely holding their breath as autobids are determined: Providence, Illinois State
The Friars, well, just aren't very good.  The did, however, take advantage of the hand they were dealt and won several more games than they should have.  The really needed to drop that depleted Creighton team again to assure passage.  The Redbirds, despite the schedule, flat out bring a better team to the table than any of the teams in trouble, and will present terrible matchup problems for whoever draws them.  If they get St. Mary's or UVA, first to 46 wins.

Teams that are safe: Vanderbilt, Xavier, Wake Forest
These teams actually look capable of of second weekend runs.

Teams with work to do: California, Georgia, TCU, Houston, Indiana
Cal probably bumps USC with a run to the PAC-12 title game.  I can't see this conference getting 5 teams as top heavy as it is.  Georgia may get an injury pass if they can run to the SEC title game with another big win.  TCU and Indiana are way behind the 8-ball, but the Hoosiers can point to November and March and make a case.  TCU needs to win it all.  Not sure how Houston, despite being right on the cut line, can leapfrog their way in without snatching the autobid in the process

Total Wildcard: Nevada
If the do not get the autobid, they will still sit right at 40 or so on all the major rankings, 10-30 spots ahead of many of these teams, same situation as URI and ISU.  I can totally see the committee ignoring a down year in the MWC and opting for the tradition of a multi-bid conference.

As always, this bracket will self destruct in 5 seconds.

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