The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 15, 2016

America’s Most Accurate Bracketology Composite—February 15, 2016

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:13 pm

The first of the conference tournament play gets underway two weeks from tomorrow (March 1). Needless to say all remaining games among contenders for at-large bids and for seeding in one-bid leagues have become vital. One wrong loss or one big win might alter the course of a half-dozen or more games.

The “Bubble” remains very slippery as of today, and it also remains rather weak. When you have teams two games below .500 in their league and just a tad above .500 overall still in contention for a possible at-large bid, you know it is either a weak year or a year with extremely competitive races.

We see a lot of parity this year, but we also believe it is a rather weak basketball season. Of course, when 20 players are in the NBA who could still be in college, it tends to weaken the college game.
Consider that Kentucky could still have Willie Cauley-Stein, Archie Goodwin, Julius Randle, James Young, and Karl Anthony-Towns on its roster.

The number of one-bid leagues remained roughly the same this week. A couple of teams expected to receive at-large bids from mid and low-major conferences remained the same, but the names have changed a little. Saint Mary’s went from an almost assured at-large team to a team that must win the West Coast Conference Tournament, following a Thursday night home loss to Pepperdine.

With road games against Gonzaga and San Francisco the next two Saturdays, the Gaels will either get back on the bubble with impressive wins or falter and guarantee a must-win in the WCC Tournament.

Wichita State has now lost two of three games, including their first at home after 43 consecutive wins at the Roundhouse. The Shockers are still on the good side of the Bubble, but a couple more losses and an early Arch Madness exit in St. Louis could make for a precipitous hold onto an at-large invitation. A weather makeup game against New Mexico State tonight will be an interesting contest, which you can tune in online at ESPN3 at 8 PM Eastern.

At one time, Valparaiso had a shot at earning an at-large spot in the Big Dance if they lost in the Horizon League Finals, but a second loss to Wright State and a killer closing schedule means the Crusaders may have a tough time hanging on to the number one seed, as they hold a slim lead over Wright State and Oakland.

Three teams moved higher up on the Bubble since our last report. Gonzaga had won six straight games until falling at SMU Saturday night, but the Bulldogs appear to be on the safe side of the Bubble for now. If the Zags beat Saint Mary’s Saturday night, they should be safe with just one WCC Tournament win.

San Diego State continues to lead the Mountain West. The Aztecs are three games up on New Mexico, and a 4-1 finish with a visit to the MWC semifinals should allow SDSU to get into the field of 68 as an at-large.

Finally, there is Monmouth. Usually, teams in low-major conferences rarely sniff at-large consideration, but the Hawks are not your typical MAAC team. With non-conference wins over UCLA, Notre Dame, USC, and Georgetown, and having won 12 of their last 13 games, Monmouth may be a power conference team’s worst nightmare.

Let’s take a brief look at the One-Bid Leagues this week. These bids will go to the conference tournament champions. Rather than repeat much of the same stuff from last week, let’s concentrate on the actual upcoming tournaments.

All Standings from the official NCAA website.
All Championship Game times are Eastern

One-Bid Leagues
America East
Site–Campus Sites. All games will be played on home court of higher seed.
U Mass-Lowell is not eligible for the tournament, leaving eight teams to play a true 8-team bracket
Quarterfinals–March 2: 8 @ 1, 7 @ 2, 6 @ 3, 5 @ 4
Semifinals–March 7
Championship–March 12: ESPN2 @ 11:00 AM

Current Standings

America East CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Stony Brook 13 0 22 4
Albany 10 3 21 7
New Hampshire 8 4 15 10
Vermont 7 5 15 12
Massachusetts Lowell 7 6 11 15
Maine 4 9 8 18
Binghamton 3 9 6 19
Hartford 2 10 7 20
UMBC 2 10 6 21

Atlantic Sun
Site–Campus Sites. All games will be played on home court of higher seed.
Stetson is ineligible for the automatic NCAA bid, but the Hatters will be allowed to participate in the conference tournament; if Stetson wins the tournament, then the regular season champion will get the automatic bid.
Quarterfinals–March 1: 8 @ 1, 7 @ 2, 6 @ 3, 5 @ 4
Semifinals–March 3
Championship–March 6: ESPN2 @ 12:30 PM

Current Standings

Atlantic Sun CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
North Florida 7 4 18 10
N.J.I.T. 7 4 16 11
Jacksonville 7 4 15 13
Florida Gulf Coast 6 5 15 12
Lipscomb 6 5 10 18
Kennesaw State 5 6 9 18
Stetson 3 8 9 18
USC Upstate 3 8 9 19

Big Sky
Site: Reno
All 12 teams will be eligible
Opening Round–March 8: 5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinals–March 10: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10, 3 vs. 6/11, 4 vs. 5/12
Semifinals–March 11
Championship–March 12: ESPN-U @ 8:45 PM

Current Standings

Big Sky CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Montana 11 2 16 8
Weber State 10 2 18 7
Eastern Washington 9 4 15 10
Idaho State 8 4 13 11
Idaho 8 5 16 10
North Dakota 7 6 12 12
Montana State 7 6 12 13
Northern Colorado 5 8 8 17
Portland State 4 8 8 15
Sacramento State 3 9 10 13
Southern Utah 2 11 4 19
Northern Arizona 2 11 4 20

Big South
Site: Campbell will host the conference tournament in Buies Creek, NC, with all 11 teams participating.
Opening Round–March 3: 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinals–March 4: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10, 3 vs. 6/11, 4 vs. 5
Semifinals–March 5
Championship–March 6: ESPN2 @ 2:30 PM

Current Standings

Big South CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Winthrop 10 4 18 7
UNC Asheville 10 4 17 9
Coastal Carolina 10 5 16 9
High Point 9 5 16 9
Liberty 9 5 12 15
Gardner-Webb 8 7 13 14
Radford 7 7 14 12
Charleston Southern 5 10 9 17
Longwood 4 10 8 19
Campbell 4 11 10 15
Presbyterian 3 11 8 17

Big West
Site: Anaheim
The number nine team will be disqualified from the tournament, with the other eight playing at the Honda Center.
Quarterfinal–March 10: 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semifinal–March 11
Championship–March 12: ESPN2 @ 11:30 PM

Current Standings

Big West CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Hawaii 9 1 20 3
UC Irvine 8 2 19 7
Long Beach State 8 3 14 12
UC Santa Barbara 5 5 11 12
UC Davis 5 6 10 14
UC Riverside 4 7 13 14
Cal State Northridge 4 7 9 16
Cal Poly 3 8 9 15
Cal State Fullerton 2 9 9 15

Colonial Athletic
Site: Baltimore
All 10 teams will participate
Opening Round–March 4: 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinal–March 5: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semifinal–March 6
Championship–March 7: NBC Sports Network @ 7:00 PM

Current Standings

Colonial Athletic CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
North Carolina-Wilmington 12 2 20 5
Hofstra 10 4 18 8
James Madison 9 5 19 8
William & Mary 9 5 17 8
Towson 9 5 18 9
Charleston 8 6 16 9
Northeastern 6 8 14 13
Elon 5 9 14 13
Delaware 1 13 6 19
Drexel 1 13 3 22

Conference USA
Site: Birmingham
Southern Miss. is ineligible. The remaining 13 teams will participate.
Opening Round–March 8: 12 vs. 13
Second Round–March 9: 5 vs. 12/13, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinal–March 10: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10, 3 vs. 6/11, 4 vs. 5/12/13
Semifinal–March 11
Championship–March 12: Fox Sports 1 @ 2:30 PM

Current Standings

Conference USA CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
UAB 11 2 21 5
Middle Tennessee 10 3 18 7
Marshall 9 3 13 12
Louisiana Tech 8 4 19 6
Old Dominion 7 5 14 11
UTEP 7 6 15 11
Charlotte 6 6 10 15
Florida International 6 7 12 14
Florida Atlantic 5 8 7 19
Western Kentucky 4 8 12 13
North Texas 4 8 9 16
Rice 4 8 9 16
Southern Miss 4 8 7 16
UTSA 2 11 4 22

Horizon
Site: Detroit (Motor City Madness)
Northern Kentucky is ineligible for NCAA or NIT play, but they will participate in the Horizon Tournament
Opening Round–March 5: 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinal–March 6: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semifinal–March 7
Championship–March 8: ESPN @ 7:00 PM

Current Standings

Horizon CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Valparaiso 11 2 21 5
Oakland 10 4 18 9
Wright State 10 4 16 11
Milwaukee 7 6 16 10
Green Bay 7 6 15 11
Detroit 7 7 13 12
Northern Kentucky 5 9 9 16
Youngstown State 4 9 9 17
Cleveland State 3 10 8 18
Illinois-Chicago 3 10 5 19

Ivy
The Ivy League does not conduct a conference tournament, even though they claim that their conference tournament is a 14-game round robin. However, all ties for first place result in a playoff for the championship, regardless of whether one team swept another team. There can be multiple team playoffs, and there is a slight chance that three teams could finish 12-2 or 11-3 this year.
There is a strong indication that the Ivy League will implement a conference tournament in the near future, possibly as early as next season.
If there is a playoff between two teams, it will be held on Saturday, March 12. If there is a three-way tie for first, two teams will play on Thursday, March 10, with the winner playing the third team on March 12.

Current Standings

Ivy League CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Yale 8 0 17 5
Princeton 6 1 16 5
Columbia 6 2 17 8
Pennsylvania 3 4 9 12
Harvard 2 6 10 14
Cornell 2 6 9 13
Dartmouth 2 6 8 14
Brown 2 6 7 15

Mid-American
Site: Opening round games will be played on campus sites on March 7. Final three rounds will be played in Cleveland.
Opening Round–March 7: 12 @ 5, 11 @ 6, 10 @ 7, 9 @ 8
Quarterfinal–March 10: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10, 3 vs. 6/11, 4 vs. 5/12
Semifinal–March 11
Championship–March 12: ESPN2 @ 7:30 PM

Current Standings

Mid-American CONFERENCE OVERALL
EAST W L W L
Akron 9 3 20 5
Ohio 7 5 16 8
Kent State 7 5 16 9
Buffalo 7 5 14 11
Bowling Green 4 8 13 12
Miami (OH) 3 9 9 16
WEST W L W L
Ball State 7 5 16 9
Toledo 7 5 16 9
Northern Illinois 6 6 17 8
Central Michigan 6 6 13 12
Eastern Michigan 5 7 13 12
Western Michigan 4 8 10 15

Mideastern Athletic
Site: Norfolk State will host this tournament in Norfolk.
Florida A&M is ineligible. The remaining 12 teams will participate
Opening Round–March 7: 5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11 & March 8: 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinal–March 9: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10 & March 10: 3 vs. 6/11, 4 vs. 5/12
Semifinal–March 11
Championship–March 12: ESPN2 @ 1:00 PM

Current Standings

Mid-Eastern CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Hampton 9 2 14 9
Norfolk State 9 2 13 13
South Carolina State 9 3 14 12
Bethune-Cookman 6 5 9 16
Savannah State 6 6 10 13
Maryland-Eastern Shore 5 6 8 18
North Carolina A&T 5 6 8 18
Howard 4 6 10 15
North Carolina Central 4 6 9 15
Coppin State 4 7 6 18
Florida A&M 3 7 7 16
Morgan State 3 7 5 18
Delaware State 3 7 5 20

Northeast
Site: Campus Sites. All games will be played on home court of higher seed.
9th and 10th place teams will be disqualified, while the top 8 teams will participate in the tournament.
Quarterfinal–March 2: 8 @ 1, 7 @ 2, 6 @ 3, 5 @ 4
Semifinal–March 5
Championship–March 8: ESPN or ESPN2 @ 7:00 PM

Current Standings

Northeast CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Wagner 9 5 16 9
Fairleigh Dickinson 9 5 13 12
St. Francis (PA) 9 5 13 12
Mount St. Mary’s 9 5 12 15
Sacred Heart 8 6 9 16
St. Francis (BKN) 7 6 11 15
LIU Brooklyn 6 7 12 12
Robert Morris 6 8 8 19
Bryant University 4 10 7 20
Central Connecticut State 2 12 3 22

Ohio Valley
Site: Tennessee State & Belmont are the home teams in Nashville
The top 8 of the 12 teams will qualify for the tournament. The top 2 seeds get byes to the semifinals.
Opening Round–March 2: 5 vs. 8, 6 vs. 7
Quarterfinal–March 3: 3 vs. 6/7, 4 vs. 5/8
Semifinal–March 4: 1 vs. 4/5/8, 2 vs. 3/6/7
Championship–March 5: ESPN2 @ 7:00 PM

Current Standings

Ohio Valley CONFERENCE OVERALL
EAST W L W L
Tennessee Tech 10 3 18 8
Belmont 10 3 18 9
Tennessee State 9 3 18 7
Morehead State 8 5 14 11
Eastern Kentucky 5 8 14 14
Jacksonville State 4 9 8 20
WEST W L W L
Murray State 8 5 14 12
Tennessee-Martin 7 5 15 12
Eastern Illinois 7 6 11 15
Austin Peay 5 8 12 16
SIU-Edwardsville 2 11 5 20
Southeast Missouri State 2 11 5 21

Patriot
Site: Campus Sites. All games will be played on home court of higher seed.
All 10 teams will participate
Opening Round–March 1: 9 @ 8, 10 @ 7
Quarterfinal–March 3: 8/9 @ 1, 7/10 @ 2, 6 @ 3, 5 @ 4
Semifinal–March 6
Championship–March 9: CBS Sports Network @ 7:30 PM

Current Standings

Patriot League CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Bucknell 10 4 13 12
Navy 9 5 18 9
Boston University 9 5 16 11
Lehigh 8 5 10 14
Colgate 8 6 12 13
Loyola (MD) 7 7 8 17
Army 6 8 15 11
Holy Cross 5 8 10 14
American University 5 9 7 18
Lafayette 2 12 5 20

Southern
Site: Asheville, NC
All 10 teams will participate
Opening Round–March 4: 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinal–March 5: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semifinal–March 6
Championship–March 7: ESPN2 @ 9:00 PM

Current Standings

Southern CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Chattanooga 12 2 23 4
Furman 11 4 17 11
Wofford 10 4 14 13
East Tennessee State 9 4 16 10
Mercer 8 6 18 9
Western Carolina 6 7 11 15
UNC Greensboro 5 8 9 17
Citadel 3 11 10 17
Samford 3 12 12 16
Virginia Military 2 11 7 17

Southland
Site: Katy, TX (About 30 miles west of Downtown Houston) (Houston Baptist is quasi-home team)
Abilene Christian, Central Arkansas, and Incarnate World are not eligible.
The top 8 of the 10 remaining teams will participate. The top 2 seeds receive byes to the semifinals.
Opening Round–March 9: 5 vs. 8, 6 vs. 7
Quarterfinal–March 10: 3 vs. 6/7, 4 vs. 5/8
Semifinal–March 11: 1 vs. 4/5/8, 2 vs. 3/6/7
Championship–March 12: ESPN2 @ 9:30 PM

Current Standings

Southland CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Stephen F. Austin 11 0 18 5
Texas A&M-CC 9 3 18 6
Incarnate Word 8 3 13 9
Houston Baptist 8 4 14 11
Sam Houston State 8 4 13 12
Abilene Christian 6 5 11 13
New Orleans 4 7 8 14
Southeastern Louisiana 4 7 6 18
Central Arkansas 4 7 5 16
Northwestern State 4 8 7 15
McNeese State 4 8 6 16
Nicholls State 3 9 7 19
Lamar 2 10 10 14

Southwestern Athletic
Site: Houston (Texas Southern will be the host team)
Alcorn State is ineligible for the NCAA & NIT, but the Braves will be allowed to participate in this tournament.
Opening Round–March 8: 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinal–March 9: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10 & March 10: 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semifinal–March 11
Championship–March 12: ESPN-U @ 6:30 PM

Current Standings

Southwestern Athletic CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Texas Southern 10 1 11 12
Southern University 9 3 17 8
Alcorn State 9 3 11 12
Jackson State 8 4 13 12
Mississippi Valley State 5 7 5 21
Alabama A&M 4 8 8 13
Alabama State 4 8 9 15
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 4 8 6 20
Prairie View A&M 3 8 3 20
Grambling State 3 9 6 18

Summit
Site: Sioux Falls, SD
The number 9 team does not qualify. The remaining 8 teams participate.
Quarterfinal–March 5: 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7 & March 6: 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semifinal–March 7
Championship–March 8: ESPN2 @ 9:00 PM

Current Standings

Summit League CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
South Dakota State 9 3 20 6
IPFW 9 3 20 7
Nebraska-Omaha 9 4 17 10
IUPUI 7 5 11 16
North Dakota State 6 6 16 10
Denver 5 8 13 13
Oral Roberts 5 8 13 14
South Dakota 4 9 12 15
Western Illinois 2 10 9 14

Sun Belt
Site: New Orleans
The 9th, 10th, and 11th place teams do not qualify. The remaining 8 teams participate with the top 2 seeds receiving byes to the semifinals.
Opening Round–March 10: 5 vs. 8, 6 vs. 7
Quarterfinal–March 11: 3 vs. 6/7, 4 vs. 5/8
Semifinal–March 12: 1 vs. 4/5/8, 2 vs. 3/6/7
Championship–March 13: ESPN2 @ 1:00 PM

Current Standings

Sun Belt CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Arkansas-Little Rock 12 2 22 3
Louisiana-Lafayette 10 4 14 9
Texas-Arlington 8 5 17 7
Louisiana-Monroe 8 5 13 12
Arkansas State 7 6 11 14
Georgia Southern 7 7 11 13
Georgia State 6 8 13 10
South Alabama 6 8 11 14
Texas State 4 9 10 12
Appalachian State 4 10 6 19
Troy 3 11 8 17

Western Athletic
Site: Las Vegas
Grand Canyon is ineligible. The remaining 7 teams will participate.
Quarterfinal–March 10: 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semfinal–March 11: 1 vs. 4/5, 2/7 vs. 3/6
Championship–March 12: ESPN-U @ 11:00 PM

Current Standings

Western Athletic CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
New Mexico State 9 1 18 8
Grand Canyon 8 2 22 4
Cal State Bakersfield 8 2 18 7
Seattle 6 4 12 12
Utah Valley 4 6 10 15
UMKC 3 7 10 15
Texas Rio Grande Valley 2 8 6 19
Chicago State 0 10 4 23

Possible Two-Bid Leagues
These are the conferences where if the overwhelming favorite wins the conference tournament, there will only be one bid awarded to these leagues, but if the heavy favorite loses in the championship round or possibly semifinal round, there could be two bids awarded to these leagues, bursting the bubble of a probably undeserving at-large team from a power conference.

Metro Atlantic
Site: Siena will host the MAAC Tournament in Albany
Opening Round–March 3: 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinal–March 4: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10, & March 5: 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semifinal–March 6
Championship–March 7: ESPN @ 7:00 PM

Current Standings

Metro Atlantic Athletic CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Monmouth 13 2 21 5
Iona 11 4 14 10
Siena 11 5 18 9
St. Peter’s 9 6 11 13
Manhattan 8 6 11 12
Fairfield 8 7 14 11
Rider 7 9 11 16
Canisius 6 10 11 16
Quinnipiac 5 10 8 16
Niagara 4 12 6 21
Marist 2 13 5 19

Monmouth has a shot at receiving an at-large bid if they do not win the MAAC Tournament. Siena would be a tough out in a possible semifinal or championship game match, but the Hawks swept the Saints, including a 6-point win in Albany. At 28-6, Monmouth would have to be a serious candidate for an at-large bid, but we won’t discard the fact that politics play some part in the Selection Committee’s decision-making, so a borderline team from a power conference could take this spot away from a deserving Monmouth team should the Hawks hit a bump in the road in Albany.

Missouri Valley
Site: St. Louis (Arch Madness)
All 10 teams will participate.
Opening Round–March 3: 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinal–March 4: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semifinal–March 5
Championship–March 6: CBS @ 2:00 PM

Current Standings

Missouri Valley CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Wichita State 12 2 18 7
Illinois State 10 4 16 11
Southern Illinois 9 5 20 7
Evansville 9 5 20 7
Northern Iowa 8 6 16 11
Indiana State 7 7 13 13
Missouri State 7 7 11 15
Loyola (IL) 5 9 12 14
Bradley 2 12 4 23
Drake 1 13 6 20

Mountain West
Site: Las Vegas (UNLV Hosts)
All 11 teams participate.
Opening Round–March 9: 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinal–March 10: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7/10, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semifinal–March 11
Championship–March 12: CBS @ 6:00 PM

Current Standings

Mountain West CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
San Diego State 12 1 19 7
New Mexico 8 4 15 10
Boise State 8 5 17 9
Fresno State 7 5 16 9
Nevada 7 5 15 9
Colorado State 6 6 14 11
UNLV 6 7 15 11
Wyoming 5 8 12 14
Utah State 4 8 12 11
Air Force 3 10 12 14
San Jose State 3 10 8 17

San Diego State has one difficult game left on its regular conference schedule, a game at New Mexico, where the Lobos are tough to beat. If the Aztecs win that game and win out the regular season, their record will then be 24-7 with wins over California and two over New Mexico, plus losses to Utah, West Virginia, and Kansas. This looks like a rather thin resume, but the Aztecs currently hold onto a #46 RPI, and if they win out, that ranking will move up a little. SDSU would then have to make it to the championship round and lose before they would be a serious at-large candidate at 26-8.

West Coast
Site: Las Vegas
Pacific is ineligible. The remaining 9 teams will participate.
Opening Round–March 4: 8 vs. 9
Quarterfinal–March 5: 1 vs. 8/9, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5
Semifinal–March 7
Championship–March 8: ESPN @ 9:00 PM

Current Standings

West Coast CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Gonzaga 12 2 20 6
Saint Mary’s 11 3 20 4
BYU 10 4 19 8
Pepperdine 9 6 16 10
San Francisco 7 7 13 11
Portland 5 9 11 16
Santa Clara 5 9 9 17
Pacific 5 9 7 17
Loyola Marymount 4 11 11 15
San Diego 3 11 8 17

What’s an NCAA Tournament without Gonzaga? The Bulldogs are to the 21st Century Big Dance what Marquette was to the 1970’s NCAA Tournament, the best program year in and year out not in a power conference. Saint Mary’s can no longer be considered a serious at-large candidate, but the Gaels could still work their way into contention by winning out, including a season-sweep over Gonzga.

The Power Conferences

American Athletic
Site: Orlando
SMU is ineligible. The remaining 10 teams will participate.

Opening Round–March 10: 8 vs. 9 (ESPNU–3:30 PM), 7 vs. 10 (ESPNNews–6 PM)

Quarterfinal–March 11: 1 vs. 8/9 (ESPN2–12PM), 4 vs. 5 (ESPN2–2PM), 2 vs. 7/10 (ESPNU–7PM), 3 vs. 6 (ESPNU–9PM)

Semifinal–March 12: ESPN2 @ 3 & 5 PM

Championship–March 13: ESPN @ 3:15 PM

Current Standings

American Athletic Conference CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Temple 10 3 16 8
SMU 9 3 21 3
Cincinnati 9 4 19 7
Connecticut 8 4 18 7
Houston 8 5 18 7
Tulsa 8 5 16 9
Memphis 5 7 14 11
UCF 5 7 11 12
Tulane 3 10 10 16
East Carolina 2 10 10 15
South Florida 2 11 5 21

Safe
—–

Close
Connecticut

Bubble
Cincinnati, Temple, Tulsa

With wins over Wichita State, Connecticut, and SMU, Tulsa could have been cruising up to Last Four In status with a win at UConn Saturday. Falling just short in a frantic comeback, keeps the Golden Hurricane out of the Dance for now. Temple is the hot team with five consecutive wins boosting the Owls into first place ahead of SMU in the league standings. Still, their resume needs a little more upward tweaking. Cincinnati has won six of seven and eight of ten games, and the Bearcats have a chance to work their way into the Field of 68 by closing strong with two wins from among Tulsa, Connecticut, and SMU.

 

Atlantic 10
Site: Brooklyn
All 14 teams will participate.

Opening Round–March 9: American Sports Network 12-13 (6:30PM), 11-14 (9PM)

Second Round–March 10: NBC Sports Network 8-9 (12PM), 5-12/13 (2:30 PM), 7-10 (6:30 PM), 6-11/14 (9PM)

Quarterfinal–March 11: NBC Sports Network 1-8/9 (12 PM), 4-5/12/13 (2:30 PM), 2-7/10 (6:30 PM), 3-6/11/14 (9PM)

Semifinal–March 12: CBS Sports Network @ 1:30 PM & 4:00 PM

Championship–March 13: CBS @ 12:30 PM

Current Standings

Atlantic 10 CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Dayton 11 1 21 3
Saint Joseph’s (PA) 10 2 21 4
Virginia Commonwealth 10 2 18 7
St. Bonaventure 9 3 17 6
George Washington 7 5 18 7
Davidson 6 6 14 9
Richmond 6 6 14 10
Rhode Island 6 6 14 11
Duquesne 5 7 15 10
Massachusetts 4 8 11 13
Fordham 3 9 12 11
George Mason 3 9 9 16
Saint Louis 3 9 8 16
La Salle 1 11 5 18

Safe
Dayton

Close
St. Joseph’s

Bubble
VCU, George Washington, St. Bonaventure

St. Joe’s has won nine of their last ten, and the Hawks could move to safe status with a midweek win over Dayton. Losing at UMass last week sent VCU down to the Bubble, and the Rams don’t seem to be clicking at crunch time like they did when Shaka Smart coached this team. GWU has fallen even more than VCU. The Colonials have only split their last eight games, and without a mad dash to the finish, they will be NIT-bound. St. Bonaventure owns a five-game winning streak, but the Bonnies must pick up a signature win on the road to climb high enough to earn an at-large bid. They will get that chance with a Saturday afternoon contest at Dayton.

 

Atlantic Coast
Site: Washington, D.C.
Louisville is ineligible. The remaining 14 teams will participate.

Opening Round–March 8: ESPN2 12 vs. 13 (12PM), 11 vs. 14 (2 PM)

Second Round–March 9: ESPN 8 vs. 9 (12 PM), 5 vs. 12/13 (2 PM), ESPN2 7 vs. 10 (7 PM), 6 vs. 11/14 (9 PM)

Quarterfinal–March 10: ESPN 1 vs. 8/9 (12 PM), 4 vs. 5/12/13 (2 PM), 2 vs. 7/10 (7 PM), 3 vs. 6/11/14 (9 PM)

Semifinal–March 11: ESPN or ESPN2 @ 7:00 PM & 9:00 PM

Championship– March 12: ESPN @ 9:00 PM

Current Standings

Atlantic Coast CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
North Carolina 10 2 21 4
Miami (FL) 9 3 20 4
Virginia 9 4 20 5
Notre Dame 9 4 18 7
Duke 8 4 19 6
Louisville 8 4 19 6
Clemson 8 5 15 10
Syracuse 8 5 18 8
Pittsburgh 6 6 17 7
Florida State 6 7 16 9
Virginia Tech 5 7 13 12
Georgia Tech 3 9 13 12
North Carolina State 3 9 13 12
Wake Forest 1 12 10 15
Boston College 0 12 7 18

Safe
Virginia, North Carolina, Miami (Fla.), Duke

Close
Notre Dame, Syracuse, Pittsburgh

Bubble
Florida State, Clemson
Duke moved into safe status with wins over Louisville and Virginia. With three straight wins over North Carolina, Clemson, and Louisville, Notre Dame is maybe one more win away from moving to the Safe line. Syracuse has won five in a row, and a Saturday win over Pittsburgh may be enough to move the Orangemen to Safe status. as for the Panthers, three consecutive losses and a 3-6 record after a 3-0 start in league play is quickly pushing them down to the Bubble. Pitt must correct the free fall and win at least three of their last six games and then once in the ACC Tournament to stay on the positive side of the Dance fence. Florida State faces must wins this week in games with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. The Seminoles then need to win at least one of their last three against Duke, Notre Dame, and Syracuse and then probably win one ACC Tournament game before they become serious players. Clemson probably needs to get to 12-6 in league play to make the Tournament, because the Tigers don’t have much to show outside of league play with no impressive wins.

Bubble Buster: Virginia Tech has played the league leaders close and owns a win over Virginia. They will have to win four games in four days, but it is remotely possible, they could do it.

 

Big 12
Site: Kansas City
All 10 teams will participate.

Opening Round–March 9: ESPNU 8 vs. 9 (7:00 PM), 7 vs. 10 (9:00 PM)

Quarterfinal–March 10: ESPN2 4 vs. 5 (12:30 PM), 1 vs. 8/9 (2:30 PM), ESPNU 2 vs. 7/10 (7 PM), 3 vs. 6 (9 PM)

Semifinal–March 11: ESPN or ESPN2 @ 7:00 PM & 9:00 PM

Championship–March 12: ESPN @ 6:00 PM

Current Standings

Big 12 CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Kansas 9 3 21 4
West Virginia 9 3 20 5
Oklahoma 8 4 20 4
Baylor 7 5 18 7
Iowa State 7 5 18 7
Texas 7 5 16 9
Texas Tech 5 7 15 9
Kansas State 3 9 14 11
Oklahoma State 3 9 12 13
TCU 2 10 11 14

Safe
Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa State

Close
Texas, Baylor

Bubble
Texas Tech, Kansas St.

Texas and Baylor are virtually safe at this moment, just as long as neither goes into a free-fall. The Longhorns have a 21 RPI, while Baylor is at 30, and both teams’ schedules will only send those numbers higher shy of losing out. Texas Tech is now a serious player following a week in which the Red Raiders beat Iowa State and then trounced Baylor in Waco. TTU can get into the Dance with an 8-10 league record and one conference tourney win. Kansas State is a different story altogether. The Wildcats have a lot of work left to do. It will take a sweep of TCU plus upset wins over Texas and Texas Tech just to get to 7-11 in league play, which would be a historic low conference record for any at-large team. We don’t see the boys from the Little Apple making it this year.

 

Big East
Site: New York (St. John’s is the host at Madison Square Garden)
All 10 teams will participate.

Opening Round–March 9: Fox Sports 1 8 vs. 9 (7:00 PM) 7 vs. 10 (9:30 PM *)

Quarterfinal–March 10: Fox Sports 1 1 vs. 8/9 (12 PM), 4 vs. 5 (2:30 PM *), 2 vs. 7/10 (7 PM), 3 vs. 6 (9:30 PM *)

Semifinal–March 11: Fox Sports 1 @ 6:30 PM & 9:00 PM *

Championship–March 12: FOX @ 5:30 PM

* All Games immediately following another game will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the preceding game. Times given are approximate.

Current Standings

Big East CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Villanova 12 1 22 3
Xavier 10 3 22 3
Creighton 8 5 17 9
Seton Hall 7 5 17 7
Providence 7 6 19 7
Georgetown 7 6 14 12
Butler 6 7 17 8
Marquette 5 8 16 10
DePaul 2 10 8 16
St. John’s 0 13 7 19

Safe
Villanova, Xavier

Close
Providence

Bubble
Seton Hall, Butler, Creighton

A 2-4 slide has begun to drop Providence out of Safe status and close to falling to Bubble status. The Friars next two games are on the road against Xavier and Seton Hall and two more losses sends them down to the Bubble. Seton Hall’s home loss to Butler damaged but did not destroy the Pirates’ chances, and did not rescue the Bulldogs. It just left both in limbo with more work to accomplish if they want a Dance ticket. Creighton is trying to be like a stretch-running horse, picking the right time to start a winning streak that has reached three games. A win at Butler tomorrow night would send the Blue Jays ahead of both Butler and Seton Hall in the Bubble department.

 

Big Ten
Site: Indianapolis
All 14 teams will participate.

Opening Round–March 9: ESPN2 12 vs. 13 (4:30 PM), Big Ten Network 11 vs. 14 (7:00 PM)

Second Round–March 10: Big Ten Network 8 vs. 9 (12PM), 5 vs. 12/13 (2:30 PM), ESPN2 7 v. 10 (6:30PM), 6 vs. 11/14 (9PM)

Quarterfinal–March 11: ESPN 1 vs. 8/9 (12PM), 4 vs. 5/12/13 (2:30PM), Big Ten Net. 2 vs. 7/10 (6:30PM), 3 vs. 6/11/14 (9PM)

Semifinal–March 12: CBS @ 1:00 PM & 3:30 PM

Championship–March 13: CBS @ 3:00 PM

Current Standings

Big Ten CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Iowa 11 2 20 5
Indiana 10 3 20 6
Maryland 10 3 22 4
Michigan 9 4 19 7
Wisconsin 8 4 16 9
Purdue 8 5 20 6
Ohio State 8 5 16 10
Michigan State 8 5 21 5
Nebraska 6 7 14 12
Northwestern 5 8 17 9
Penn State 3 9 12 13
Illinois 3 9 11 14
Rutgers 0 12 6 19
Minnesota 0 13 6 19

Safe
Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue

Close
Indiana, Michigan

Bubble
Wisconsin

If the NCAA Tournament began today, Wisconsin would be in the field. The Badgers are the hottest team in the league with seven consecutive wins, including a mighty impressive 13-point win at Maryland Saturday night, in which the Badgers were in control for almost the entire game, following an early 23-5 run.

 

Pac-12
Site: Las Vegas
All 12 teams will participate.

Opening Round–March 9: Pac-12 Net. 8 vs. 9 (3PM), 5 vs. 12 (5:30 PM), 7 vs. 10 (9PM), 6 vs. 11 (11:30 PM)

Quarterfinal–March 10: Pac-12 Net. 1 vs. 8/9 (3PM), 4 vs. 5/12 (5:30 PM, 2 vs. 7/10 (9PM), Fox Sports 1 3 vs. 6/11 (11:30 PM)

Semifinal–March 11: Pac-12 Network @ 9:00 PM, Fox Sports 1 @ 11:30 PM

Championship–March 12: Fox Sports 1 @ 10:00 PM

Current Standings

Pac-12 CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Oregon 9 4 20 6
Arizona 9 4 21 5
Colorado 8 5 19 7
Utah 8 5 19 7
USC 7 5 18 7
California 7 5 17 8
Washington 7 6 15 10
Oregon State 6 7 15 9
Stanford 5 7 12 11
UCLA 5 7 14 11
Arizona State 4 9 14 12
Washington State 1 12 9 16

Safe
Oregon, Arizona, Utah, USC

Close
California, Colorado

Bubble
Oregon St., Washington, Stanford, UCLA

Cal’s three straight wins gives the Bears a leg up on the five other contenders in the Close or Bubble range. Cal’s last six games are pivotal, starting with a road trip to the Evergreen State to take on Washington and Washington State; followed by home games with USC and UCLA; and concluding with road games at Arizona and Arizona State. A 4-2 finish would give them enough wins to secure a bid. Colorado must win three out of their final five and then do something in the Pac-12 Tournament, and the Buffs have a tough road to climb to get there. As for the four teams on the Bubble, only Oregon State is playing like they belong in the conversation. It figures that one of these four will move into the field, but it is not a guarantee. Washington is the most likely of this quartet to get hot and go on a run in Las Vegas.

 

Southeastern
Site: Nashville (Vanderbilt is the host team)
Missouri is ineligible. The remaining 13 teams will participate.

Opening Round–March 9: SEC Network 12 vs. 13 (8:00 PM)

Second Round–March 10: SEC Net. 8 vs. 9 (1 PM), 5 vs. 12/13 (3:30 PM), 7 vs. 10 (7 PM), 6 vs. 11 (9:30 PM)

Quarterfinal–March 11: SEC Net. 1 vs. 8/9 (1 PM), 4 vs. 5/12/13 (3:30 PM), 2 vs. 7/10 (7 PM), 3 vs. 6/11 (9:30 PM)

Semifinal–March 12: ESPN 1:00 PM & 3:30 PM

Championship–March 13: ESPN 1:00 PM

Current Standings

Southeastern CONFERENCE OVERALL
Team W L W L
Kentucky 9 3 19 6
LSU 9 3 16 9
South Carolina 8 4 21 4
Texas A&M 7 5 18 7
Florida 7 5 16 9
Georgia 7 5 14 9
Vanderbilt 7 5 15 10
Ole Miss 6 6 16 9
Alabama 6 6 15 9
Arkansas 5 7 12 13
Tennessee 5 7 12 13
Mississippi State 3 9 10 14
Auburn 3 9 9 15
Missouri 2 10 9 16

Safe
Kentucky

Close
Texas A&M, South Carolina, Florida

Bubble
LSU, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss

Texas A&M fell from the Safe to Close with their 0 for February streak. 3-3 is about the absolute worst the Aggies can finish, and they will be in with a 10-8 league mark with just one conference tournament win. South Carolina and Florida will eventually play themselves into the Safe range short of losing four in a row like A&M. LSU is tied for first in the league standings, and with Ben Simmons, it figures that the Selection Committee will give the Tigers major extra credit. Alabama is the team nobody wants to play at the present. The win at Florida Saturday night was ugly, but the Crimson Tide dominated the Gators in the second half and looked like an Alabama team from the Wimp Sanderson days. With their schedule, a 10-8 record probably gets ‘Bama in the party. Vanderbilt has yet to get a signature win away from home. They still have road games at Florida and Texas A&M, and it figures the Commodores will have to win at least one of those two and hold serve at home, or if they cannot win a key road game, Vandy will need to make it to the semifinals of the conference tournament to have a shot. Ole Miss has even less road success this year, and the Rebels have just one more chance to pick up a quality road win at Texas A&M, who they play tomorrow night. Short of winning in Aggieland, Ole Miss will probably have to make it all the way to the conference championship game to have any at-large shot.

 

This Week’s Bracketology Field of 68

Seed Team
1 Kansas
1 Villanova
1 Oklahoma
1 Virginia
2 North Carolina
2 Iowa
2 Xavier
2 Maryland
3 Miami (Fla.)
3 West Virginia
3 Oregon
3 Michigan St.
4 Iowa St.
4 Kentucky
4 Dayton
4 Duke
5 Purdue
5 Arizona
5 Utah
5 Notre Dame
6 Texas
6 Texas A&M
6 USC
6 Indiana
7 South Carolina
7 Baylor
7 California
7 Providence
8 Colorado
8 Syracuse
8 Florida
8 Connecticut
9 St. Joseph’s
9 Pittsburgh
9 Michigan
9 Wisconsin
10 Oregon St.
10 Seton Hall
10 Florida St.
10 Wichita St.
11 Monmouth
11 Gonzaga
11 Valparaiso
11 San Diego St.
12 Cincinnati
12 Texas Tech
12 LSU
12 VCU
12 Temple
12 UALR
13 Chattanooga
13 Akron
13 Stony Brook
13 South Dakota St.
14 Hawaii
14 Yale
14 UNC-Wilmington
14 UAB
15 Tennessee St.
15 Stephen F. Austin
15 New Mexico St.
15 Montana
16 UNC-Asheville
16 Hampton
16 NJIT
16 Wagner
16 Bucknell
16 Texas Southern

 

Last 4 In
Texas Tech
LSU
VCU
Temple
 
First 4 Out
Alabama
Butler
Washington
St. Bonaventure
 
Next 4 Out
Vanderbilt
GWU
Tulsa
UCLA
 
1st Round #16’s
NJIT
Wagner
Bucknell
Texas Southern

 

 

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