The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 27, 2017

The Pirate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Report For February 27, 2017

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:01 am

Gonzaga’s Loss–Good or Bad

Minutes after Gonzaga lost their home finale Saturday night, we began hearing the so-called experts talk about how a loss might help the Bulldogs rather than keep the pressure on them to stay undefeated.  We have heard this statement many times in the past, and we believe it is hogwash.  A loss never really helps a team, even if coaches and others say it may help focus attention and force players to play harder.

The team that goes 29-0 before losing is not one that needs help focusing or one that can find a way to improve on the loss.  As a matter of fact, we believe this loss hurts Gonzaga more than what it looks like on face value.  Their players lost a lot of confidence, and any self-doubt can create weaker play.  Look at it in baseball.  When a player has to think about facing Aroldis Chapman, or before him Randy Johnson, Rob Dibble, or Sandy Koufax, the thought of facing a pitcher than they cannot possibly hit oftentimes leads to the batter not being able to hit these stars.  The all-time hits leader, Pete Rose, didn’t believe he could hit Koufax’s curve ball, and he didn’t.  He hit below .175 against him.

In the basketball world, we see a close correlation between Gonzaga and the 1977 San Francisco Dons.  That USF team had four stars that would matriculate to the NBA, including future Chicago Bulls’ center Bill Cartwright, who had been considered the nation’s top high school prospect when he signed with the Dons.

The 1977 USF team played in the West Coast Athletic Conference, the predecessor of today’s West Coast Conference, of which Gonzaga is a member (as is USF).  The Dons were the odds-on favorite to win the WCAC title, but nobody expected USF to do what they did that year.  Starting just outside the top 10, USF began winning game after game.  Their early schedule featured several power conference teams, including eventual SEC champion Tennessee and WAC Champion Utah.  The Dons stayed undefeated throughout November and December, and with a win over St. John’s and a second win over Houston, USF moved to the top of the polls in early January.  There was no real competition in conference play as the Dons won the league by five games.  With a 29-0 record and a scoring margin near 20 points per game, USF closed out the regular season with a road game against a good but not great Notre Dame team.

In the second half, the Irish began to wear down the USF stars, and they were able to neutralize the Dons’ best factor–their rebounding ability.  Notre Dame went on a run and knocked USF out of the unbeaten ranks just before NCAA Tournament play began.  USF fell to number three in the nation behind Michigan and UCLA, but the experts of the day said that the loss would help USF be able to focus and recover.  It wasn’t to be.  In their very first tournament game, USF ran up against the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV, and Coach Jerry Tarkanian was about to take his team to its first Final Four.  UNLV ran out to a quick double-digit lead and cruised to a 121-95 victory to end USF’s year at 29-2.

We are not saying that Gonzaga will lose its first tournament game, and remember that when USF lost to UNLV, there were just 32 Tournament teams.  What we are saying is that Gonzaga’s chances of making the Final 4 are now less by several percentage points than it was prior to Saturday.  In fact, we are willing to state that we do not believe the Bulldogs will make it to the Elite 8 this year, because their confidence level has dropped.  They may not even win the WCC Tournament.  Saint Mary’s might advance further in the Dance.  That’s how much we believe this loss hurt the Zags.

 

Our Weekly Look at the Conferences

To many basketball fans, the next five weeks equates to summer vacation. Conference tournament action commences today with the opening round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament tipping off in Fort Myers, Florida, Nashville, Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Jacksonville, as the four higher seeded teams host the four lower seeded teams.

Starting today, our Bracketology Report merges with the Conference Tournament Coverage, so you will get a bit of both. In total 10 different leagues have their tournament brackets in place, so instead of showing you the records of the top teams in those leagues, we will show you the tournament schedules along with a brief look at who is hot, who is not, and who we think might win.
Our Bracketology Gurus have sent their selections to us this week, and many of them plan to update every time their bracket changes in the last two weeks before Selection Sunday.

ONE BID CONFERENCES
America East

America East Tournament–Higher Seed at Home
Quarterfinal Round, Wednesday, March 1
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 1 Vermont 26-5 vs. 8 Maine 7-24 7:00 PM ESPN3
2 2 Stony Brook 17-12 vs. 7 Binghamton 12-19 7:00 PM ESPN3
3 3 Albany 19-12 vs. 6 Hartford 9-22 7:30 PM ESPN3
4 4 New Hampshire 19-11 vs. 5 Md.-Baltimore Co. 18-11 7:30 PM ESPN3
 

Semifinal Round, Monday, March 6

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed 7:00 PM ESPN3
6 2nd Highest Remaining Seed vs. 2nd Lowest Remaining Seed 7:30 PM ESPN3
 

Championship Game, Saturday, March 11

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 Game 5 winner Game 6 winner 11:00 AM ESPN2
* This Tournament Re-seeds after the quarterfinals like the NFL Playoffs

Vermont finished the regular season with a perfect 16-0 record in the league, and there is only one other team remaining that has an undefeated conference record (Princeton is 12-0 in the Ivy League with two games remaining). So, the Catamounts must be considered prohibitive favorites, especially since they have home court advantage throughout the tournament. Only one league opponent gabe Vermont any real difficulty this year, and that was Maryland-Baltimore County. However, UMBC finished as the fifth seed, and the Retrievers will have to win a road game against New Hampshire to get a chance at the Catamounts. UNH lost at Vermont by just eight points after playing to a stalemate in the first half, and the Wildcats did not lose another game afterwards, finishing on a five-game winning streak.

Atlantic Sun

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament–Higher Seed at Home
Quarterfinal Round, Monday, February 27
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 1 Florida Gulf Coast 23-7 vs. 8 Stetson 11-20 7:00 PM WatchESPN
2 2 Lipscomb 19-12 vs. 7 NJIT 11-19 8:00 PM WatchESPN
3 3 North Florida 13-18 vs. 6 Jacksonville 17-14 7:00 PM WatchESPN
4 4 USC-Upstate 17-14 vs. 5 Kennesaw St. 13-17 7:00 PM WatchESPN
 

Semifinal Round, Thursday, March 2

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 Game 1 winner vs. Game 4 winner TBA WatchESPN
6 Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner TBA WatchESPN
 

Championship Game, Sunday, March 5

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner 3:00 PM ESPN

Florida Gulf Coast has been in this spot before, and the Eagles have come through as the favorite more than once. They did lose at home to second seed Lipscomb in an ugly game where defense dominated, but the Bisons will most likely have to beat North Florida in the semifinals to get to Fort Myers for the title game. North Florida swept Lipscomb during the regular season, with their star Dallas Moore scoring 75 points in the two contests. FGCU is looking pretty and the Eagles would be competitive if they make the Big Dance. They beat UT-Arlington and lost close games to Michigan St. and Baylor.

Big Sky
North Dakota 13-3/18-8
Eastern Washington 12-4/20-9
Weber St. 11-5/16-11
Idaho 10-6/16-12
Montana St. 10-6/15-14

Weber State dropped three straight games, while the two teams above them in the standings are enjoying nice winning streaks. Montana State is the hot team from the next waive, but keep an eye on 8th place Portland State (7-9/14-13). The Vikings have lost a lot of close games, five in overtime, and they have the ability to score points in big spurts. It would not be a surprise if PSU upset a team or two in this tournament, which in our opinion is wide open.

Big South

Big South Conference Tournament–1st Round & Championship at Higher Seed, Middle 2 Rounds at #1 Winthrop
1st Round, Tuesday, February 28 (at Higher Seed)
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 7 Campbell 14-16 vs. 10 Presbyterian 5-24 7:00 PM BSouth Net.
2 8 Charleston Southern 11-18 vs. 9 Longwood 6-23 7:00 PM BSouth Net.
 

Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 2 (at Winthrop)

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 2 UNC-Asheville 23-8 vs. Game 1 winner 1:00 PM ESPN3
4 3 Liberty 19-12 vs. 6 Radford 13-17 3:00 PM ESPN3
5 1 Winthrop 23-6 vs. Game 2 winner 7:00 PM ESPN3
6 4 Gardner-Webb 18-13 vs. 5 High Point 15-15 9:00 PM ESPN3
 

Semifinal Round, Friday, March 3 (at Winthrop)

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner 6:00 PM ESPN3
8 Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner 8:00 PM ESPN3
 

Championship Game, Sunday, March 5 (at Higher Seed)

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9 Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner 1:00 PM ESPN

Winthrop and UNC-Asheville could be on a collision course for a rematch of last year’s championship game, where UNCA won on a neutral floor and then became fodder for eventual National Champion Villanova in the Round of 64. Winthrop has the edge this year, as the Eagles will play at home as long as they remain in the tournament. The two games between these teams were both nip and tuck games that went to the wire, with the game in Asheville needing an extra 10 minutes to decide the winner (UNCA won to earn a split). If you are looking for a dark horse, Gardner-Webb is playing its best ball of the year at the present time, and the Bulldogs upset UNCA to give the regular season title to Winthrop.

Big West
UC-Davis 10-4/18-11
UC-Irvine 10-4/17-13
Cal St. Fullerton 8-6/14-13

No team has been able to dominate in this league this year, and the tournament should be competitive. The current co-leaders meet in Irvine to close the regular season, and the winner should take the top seed. Long Beach St. (8-7/13-18) has been dreadful away from home this year, but Anaheim is almost like being at home in the Pyramid, so the 49ers might be worth looking at as a dark horse.

Colonial Athletic

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament–Charleston, SC
1st Round, Friday, March 3
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 Hofstra 15-16 vs. 9 Delaware 12-19 6:00 PM CAA.tv
2 7 James Madison 9-22 vs. 10 Drexel 9-22 8:30 PM CAA.tv
 

Quarterfinal Round, Saturday, March 4

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 1 UNC-Wilmington 26-5 vs. 12:00 PM Comcast SN
4 4 William & Mary 16-13 vs. 5 Elon 18-13 2:30 PM Comcast SN
5 2 College of Charleston 23-8 vs. 6:00 PM Comcast SN
6 3 Towson St. 19-12 vs. 6 Northeastern 15-15 8:30 PM Comcast SN
 

Semifinal Round, Sunday, March 5

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner 2:00 PM Comcast SN
8 Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner 4:30 PM Comcast SN
 

Championship Game, Monday, March 6

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9 Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner 7:00 PM CBSSN

A month ago, we could have just ceded this tournament to defending champ UNC-Wilmington, but that was before the Seahawks lost to William and Mary, Charleston, and Elon. Now, this looks like a tournament that is much more up for grabs. UNCW is still the favorite, but they will not win this is a cake walk. Expect some competitive games, and it would not be a surprise if somebody other than the top two teams emerges as the eventual champion. We are keeping an eye on 8-seed Hofstra. The Gaels lost a lot of close games and then won a couple on the road at the end. They have to play in the opening round and would need to win four games to take the NCAA bid, but they could sneak into the semifinals.

Conference USA
Note: Middle Tennessee is closing in on moving into the Bubble should they win out and make it to the CUSA Championship Game and lose. For now, we keep CUSA as a one-team bid.

Middle Tennessee 15-1/25-4
Louisiana Tech 13-4/21-9
Old Dominion 11-5/18-10
UTEP 11-5/13-15
Rice 10-6/20-9

Middle Tennessee clinched the CUSA regular season title yesterday, and with two home games over bottom-feeders, the Blue Raiders should enter the conference tournament at 27-4. The good news for MTSU is the host team looks like they are headed for a 7th place finish, and UAB could not face the Blue Raiders until the Championship Game from that spot. The Blazers took the Raiders to the wire yesterday in the Magic City. UTEP was the lone team to beat the Raiders, but Rice and Louisiana Tech played MTSU close and could pose a challenge.

Horizon
Oakland 14-4/24-7
Valparaiso 14-4/24-7
Northern Kentucky 12-6/21-10
Green Bay 12-6/18-12
Wright St. 11-7/20-11

Imagine how the Cleveland Cavaliers would respond if Lebron James were lost just prior to the start of the playoffs. That’s how Valpo feels right now, as their big star is out of action, and the Crusaders are just an average team without him. Will Alec Peters return 100% healthy from his leg injury that cost him to miss the last two games? Without him yesterday, Valpo lost at Northern Kentucky to fall into a first place tie with Oakland.

Oakland has won nine consecutive games, while Northern Kentucky is making a name for itself for the first time since it became the third Cincinnati-area team to play Division 1 basketball. NKU Head Coach John Brannen is one of the up and coming coaches with a future at a bigger program sometime down the road, and his Norse could be ready to make some noise in Motor City Madness.

Ivy
Princeton 12-0/19-6
Harvard 10-2/18-7
Yale 7-5/15-10
Columbia 5-7/11-14
Penn 5-7/12-13

The top four teams in the Ivy League qualify for the inaugural Ivy League Tournament at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Princeton and Harvard have clinched spots, while Yale needs another win to clinch a spot. The final spot is still to be decided, as Columbia beat Penn Saturday night to move back into a tie for fourth place. At present, Columbia holds the tiebreaker, but Penn has the more advantageous closing schedule with two home games, while the Lions must play two road games.

Princeton must still get by Harvard at home to finish 14-0 and then most likely will have to beat Harvard a third time to make it to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers played a couple of good non-conference foes close, but this does not look like the year where an Ivy team will win an NCAA Tournament game.

Metro Atlantic

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament at Albany (Siena)
1st Round, Thursday, March 2
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 Quinnipiac 10-20 vs. 9 Niagara 9-22 5:00 PM ESPN3
2 7 Canisius 17-14 vs. 10 Marist 8-23 7:00 PM ESPN3
3 6 Rider 17-14 vs. 11 Manhattan 10-21 9:00 PM ESPN3
 

Quarterfinal Round–Day 1, Friday, March 3

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
4 1 Mounmouth 26-5 vs. Game 1 winner 7:00 PM ESPN3
5 2 St. Peter’s 18-12 vs. Game 2 winner 9:30 PM ESPN3
 

Quarterfinal Round–Day 2, Saturday, March 4

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
6 3 Iona 19-12 vs. Game 3 winner 7:00 PM ESPN3
7 4 Siena 15-16 vs. 5 Fairfield 16-13 9:30 PM ESPN3
 

Semifinal Round–Sunday, March 5

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8 Game 4 winner vs. Game 7 winner 4:30 PM ESPN3
9 Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner 7:00 PM ESPN3
 

Championship Game–Monday, March 6

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
10 Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner 9:00 PM ESPN2

An interesting factoid here: The MAAC tiebreaker system forced a coin flip to determine the bottom two seeds. Marist and Manhattan tied for last at 5-15. Using the MAAC tiebreaker system, the two teams split their games. The second tiebreaker resorts in seeing who had the better record against the top-ranked team and downward until one team finished with a better record against the teams in order. Unfortunately, both Marist and Manhattan were swept by the top 5 teams. The 6th and 7th place teams tied, and Marist and Manhattan both went 1-3 against those two teams. Both teams swept Niagara, so that left no choice but to flip a coin to decide which team would be the #10 seed and which team would be the #11 seed.
Marist won the coin flip and will be the #10 seed, while Manhattan will be the #11 seed.

As for the other end of the standings, Monmouth tries to make up for stumbling in this tournament last year when the Hawks had enough talent to do some damage in the Big Dance. They may get there a year late, but the 2017 Hawks do not look to be as strong as last year’s team; they do enter the tournament riding a 16-game winning streak. Siena has to be considered a contender, since the tournament will be played on their home floor. Iona and St. Peter’s will not go down without a fight, so if the bracket holds, the semifinal round should be one worth watching.

Mid-American
Akron 13-3/23-6
Ohio 10-6/18-9
Ball St. 9-7/18-11
Kent St. 9-7/17-12
Buffalo 9-7/15-14
Western Michigan 9-7/13-15

The MAC Tournament is always a wide-open event, and the regular season champ is rarely a big favorite. Buffalo has won the last two MAC Tournaments, and the Bulls have to be considered a contender to “three-peat.” Akron failed as the top seed last year, and the Zips have lost the magic touch they had earlier in the season when they ran off a dozen victories in a row. Kent State is the hot team in the East, while Western Michigan is trying to become the MAC basketball version of the 1914 Miracle Boston Braves. WMU was in last place at 3-7 in the league, but the Broncos have won six consecutive games to move into a tie for first in the West.

Mideastern Athletic
UNC-Central 13-1/22-6
Norfolk St. 12-3/15-14
Morgan St. 10-4/13-14

MEAC hopes for avoiding Dayton rest on UNC-Central winning the conference tournament. The Eagles could even concievably move up to a 15-seed if they win out.

Mountain West
Nevada 12-4/23-6
Colorado St. 12-4/20-9
Boise St. 11-5/18-9
Fresno St. 9-7/17-11

Every week, we see a different team looking like the best in this league, but what the last few weeks have really told us is there is no really great MWC team this year like San Diego State and New Mexico have been in recent years. Then again, the top four this year are not chopped liver, and even though this figures to be a one-bid league in 2017, don’t automatically select this league’s representative to fall in their first NCAA Tournament game. Nevada has a very good offense. Colorado State has a very good defense. Boise State and Fresno State have better than average offenses and defenses. And, then there is always the possibility that one of the two recent teams that have controlled this league (San Diego St. and New Mexico) could get hot and take the conference tournament crown.

Northeast

Northeast Conference Tournament–All Games at Higher Seed
Quarterfinal Round, Wednesday, March 1
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 1 Mount St. Mary’s 16-15 vs. 8 Sacred Heart 13-18 7:00 PM NEC Frontrow
2 2 Long Island 20-11 vs. 7 Robert Morris 13-18 9:00 PM MSG+/FCS
3 3 Wagner 15-13 vs. 6 Fairleigh-Dickinson 11-18 7:00 PM MSG+/FCS
4 4 St. Francis (PA) 14-15 vs. 5 Bryant 12-19 7:00 PM NEC Frontrow
 

Semifinal Round, Saturday, March 4

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed 12 or 2 PM MSG/FCS
6 2nd Highest Remaining Seed vs. 2nd Lowest Remaining Seed 12 or 2 PM MSG/FCS
 

Championship Game, Tuesday, March 7

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 Game 5 winner Game 6 winner 11:00 AM ESPN2
* This Tournament Re-seeds after the quarterfinals like the NFL Playoffs

In the last four years, four different teams have won the NEC regular season championship, and four different teams have won the conference tournament. In the four cases, the regular season champion did not win the conference tournament. The last team to win both the regular season and conference tournament was Long Island five years ago. Mount St. Mary’s won the regular season title, but LIU looks like the team to beat once again, as the Blackbirds enter tourney play riding a six-game winning streak that includes a victory at MSM.

Ohio Valley

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at Nashville
1st Round, Wednesday, March 1
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 5 Southeast Missouri 14-17 vs. 8 Tennessee St. 17-12 7:30 PM OVC Digital
2 6 Tennessee Tech 12-19 vs. 7 Murray St. 14-16 9:30 PM OVC Digital
 

Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 2

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 4 Jacksonville St. 17-14 Game 1 winner 7:30 PM OVC Digital
4 3 Morehead St. 14-15 Game 2 winner 9:30 PM OVC Digital
 

Semifinal Round, Friday, March 3

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 1 Belmont 22-5 Game 3 winner 7:30 PM ESPNU
6 2 UT-Martin 20-11 Game 4 winner 10:00 PM ESPNU
 

Championship Game, Saturday, March 4

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 Game 5 winner Game 6 winner 8:00 PM ESPN2

Belmont has been in the NCAA Tournament seven times in the last 11 years, and if the Bruins do not make it eight out of 12 this year, it will be a major shock. Last year, Austin Peay came from the lowest seed to upset the field, and if you are looking for a team to repeat that, keep an eye on Tennessee State.

Patriot

Patriot League Tournament–All Games at Higher Seed
1st Round, Tuesday, February 28
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 7 Loyola (MD.) 14-15 vs. 10 Lafayette 9-20 7:30 PM Patriot Lg Net
2 8 Army 12-18 vs. 9 American 8-21 7:00 PM Patriot Lg Net
 

Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 2

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 2 Boston U 23-8 vs. Game 1 winner 7:00 PM Patriot Lg Net
4 3 Lehigh 19-12 vs. 6 Colgate 10-21 7:00 PM Patriot Lg Net
5 1 Bucknell 23-6 vs. Game 2 winner 7:00 PM Patriot Lg Net
6 4 Navy 18-13 vs. 5 Holy Cross 15-16 7:00 PM Patriot Lg Net
 

Semifinal Round, Sunday, March 5

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner 12 or 2 PM CBSSN
8 Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner 12 or 2 PM CBSSN
 

Championship Game, Wednesday, March 8

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9 Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner 7:30 PM CBSSN

Bucknell is tough to beat at home, and the Bison will get home court advantage throughout the tournament, but Lehigh swept the Bison during the regular season. The Explorers were swept by Boston U, and they will most likely have to win in Boston to get to Bucknell. Boston was swept by Bucknell, so the top three were like Rock, Paper, Scissors. Might another team be in the mix? It would be a very long shot, because the top three ended the season looking double-digit points better than the rest of the league.

Southern
East Tennessee 14-3/24-6
Furman 14-4/21-10
UNC-Greensboro 13-4/22-8
Chattanooga 10-7/19-10

The two hot teams meet tonight to decide the regular season champion, with ETSU visiting UNCG. Both teams enter with six-game winning streaks, and both teams have been playing defense like champions. The loser of this game will probably get a chance for revenge when the outcome is much more important.

Southland
New Orleans 12-4/17-10
Texas A&M-CC 11-5/18-9
Stephen F. Austin 11-5/16-12
Houston Baptist 10-6/15-12

This is a weak year in the SLC, and the eventural league representative in the NCAA has a high probability of heading to Dayton as a 16-seed in a first four game. The two hot teams as conference play comes to the end are Texas A&M-CC with a nine-game winning streak and Houston Baptist with a seven-game winning streak. TAMCC coach Willis Wilson came close to getting into the Dance many times with Rice, and he has slowly built the Islanders into a contender. It would be touching if Wilson finally made it to the NCAA Tournament in his 22nd season as a Division I head coach.

Southwestern Athletic
Texas Southern 13-2/17-11
Southern 10-6/14-15
Grambling 8-7/13-15

Unfortunately for this league, the hottest team is the one ineligible to go to the NCAA Tournament (Alcorn State). Texas Southern will be the heavy favorite, but even if the Tigers win the tournament, they will almost assuredly have to play in the First Four in Dayton.

Summit

Summit League Tournament–Sioux Falls, SD
Quarterfinal Round–Day 1, Saturday, March 4
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 1 South Dakota 21-10 8 Western Illinois 8-19 7:00 PM ESPN3
2 2 North Dakota St. 19-10 7 IUPUI 13-17 9:30 PM ESPN3
 

Quarterfinal Round–Day 2, Sunday, March 5

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 4 South Dakota St. 15-16 5 Denver 16-13 7:00 PM ESPN3
4 3 Omaha 16-13 6 Fort Wayne 19-11 9:30 PM ESPN3
 

Semifinal Round–Monday, March 6

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 Game 1 winner Game 3 winner 7:00 PM ESPN3
6 Game 2 winner Game 4 winner 9:30 PM ESPN3
 

Championship–Tuesday, March 7

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 Game 5 winner Game 6 winner 9:00 PM ESPN2

This should be a rather interesting tournament. 4-seed South Dakota State and 6-seed Fort Wayne cannot be overlooked, but the top three seeds are clearly the co-favorites. Omaha and Fort Wayne can light up the scoreboard, and their quarterfinal game could see one or both teams top the century mark.

Sun Belt
UT-Arlington 12-3/22-6
Georgia St. 11-5/18-10
Georgia Southern 11-5/18-11
Arkansas St. 10-5/18-9

UT-Arlington has the lone signature win in this league this year (beat St. Mary’s), and the Mavericks could be this year’s version of UALR. The top four in this league could play each other 10 times, and the final records might range from just 17-13 to 13-17, so UTA cannot automatically waltz through to the NCAA Tournament.

Western Athletic
Cal St. Bakersfield 12-1/21-7
New Mexico St. 10-3/24-5

One of these two teams should win the conference tournament, mostly because the only other quality team (Grand Canyon) is still a year away from becoming a full-fledge Division I member. CSUB has won 10 games in a row by an average of 11.5 points per game, which includes a win over New Mexico St.

MULTIPLE BID LEAGUES

American
In: SMU, Cincinnati
Bubble: Houston

Atlantic 10
In: Dayton, VCU
Bubble: Rhode Island

Atlantic Coast
In: North Carolina, Florida St., Louisville, Notre Dame, Duke, Miami, Virginia Tech, Virginia
Bubble: Syracuse, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech

Big 12
In: Kansas, West Virginia, Baylor, Iowa St., Oklahoma St.
Bubble: Kansas St., TCU, Texas Tech

Big East
In: Villanova, Butler, Creighton
Bubble: Seton Hall, Providence, Xavier, Marquette

Big Ten
In: Purdue, Wisconsin, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan St., Northwestern, Michigan
Bubble: Iowa

Missouri Valley

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament (Arch Madness) at St. Louis
1st Round, Thursday, March 2
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 Evansville 15-16 vs. 9 Indiana St. 11-19 7:00 PM MVC TV
2 7 Bradley 12-19 vs. 10 Drake 7-23 9:30 PM MVC TV
 

Quarterfinal Round, Friday, March 3

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 1 Illinois St. 25-5 vs. Game 1 winner 1:00 PM MVC TV
4 4 Southern Illinois 16-15 vs. 5 Loyola (Chi.) 18-13 3:30 PM MVC TV
5 2 Wichita St. 27-4 vs. Game 2 winner 7:00 PM MVC TV
6 3 Northern Iowa 14-15 vs. 6 Missouri St. 16-15 9:30 PM MVC TV
 

Semifinal Round, Saturday, March 4

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner 3:30 PM CBSSN
8 Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner 6:00 PM CBSSN
 

Championship Game, Sunday, March 5

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9 Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner 2:00 PM CBS

In: Wichita St.
Bubble: Illinois St.

Pac-12
In: Oregon, Arizona, UCLA
Bubble: California, Utah, USC

SEC
In: Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina
Bubble: Vanderbilt, Georgia

West Coast

West Coast Conference Tournament at Las Vegas
1st Round, Friday, March 3
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 Pepperdine 9-21 vs. 9 Pacific 10-21 BYUtv 9:00 PM
2 7 San Diego 13-17 vs. 10 Portland 10-21 BYUtv 11:00 PM
 

Quarterfinal Round, Saturday, March 4

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 3 BYU 21-10 vs. 6 Loyola Marymount 15-14 4:00 PM BYUtv
4 4 Santa Clara 16-15 vs. 5 San Francisco 20-11 6:00 PM BYUtv
5 1 Gonzaga 29-1 vs. Game 1 winner 10:00 PM ESPN2
6 2 Saint Mary’s 26-3 vs. Game 2 winner 12:00 AM ESPN2
 

Semifinal Round, Monday, March 6

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner 9 or 11:30 ESPN/ESPN2
8 Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner 9 or 11:30 ESPN/ESPN2
 

Championship Game, Tuesday, March 7

Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9 Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner 9:00 PM ESPN

In: Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s
Bubble: None

The PiRate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Composite For February 27, 2017
1. North Carolina, Kansas, Villanova, Oregon
2. Gonzaga, Louisville, Kentucky, Baylor
3. Arizona, UCLA, Butler, Florida St.
4. West Virginia, SMU, Purdue, Florida
5. Duke, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Creighton
6. Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oklahoma St.
7. Saint Mary’s, Miami, Maryland, Iowa St.
8. South Carolina, Dayton, Michigan St., Virginia Tech
9. Michigan, Wichita St., Arkansas, VCU
10. Middle Tennessee, Northwestern, Seton Hall, Syracuse
11. Providence, Seton Hall, Xavier, California, Marquette
12. UNC-Wilmington, Nevada, UT-Arlington, Illinois St., Wake Forest
13. Vermont, Monmouth, Bucknell, East Tennessee
14. Western Michigan, Belmont, Princeton, UNC-Asheville
15. Oakland, Cal St. Bakersfield, Florida Gulf Coast, South Dakota
16. Eastern Washington, UNC-Central, Texas Southern, UC-Davis, Long Island, Texas A&M-CC

Last Four Byes: Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Syracuse
Last Four In/Dayton Bound: Wake Forest vs. Illinois St. / Marquette vs. California
First Four Out/#1 NIT Seeds: Vanderbilt, Rhode Island, Kansas St., TCU
Next Four Out: Georgia Tech, Houston, Texas Tech, Georgia

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