The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 23, 2017

PiRate Ratings Bracketnomics 505 Sweet 16 Criteria Reveal

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:00 am

If you get to start anew with your brackets in whatever pool you are playing in as a participant, we have updated our PiRate Ratings Criteria for the Sweet 16.
If you played along with us, you should have 10 teams left in your Sweet 16, having 26 of the 32 first round winners. If you are in a league where you get one point for each winner that goes from 64 to 32, and two points for every correct Sweet 16 team, then you should be sitting pretty with 46 points. Hopefully, we will help you score some 3-point winners the next two nights, whether you must stick with your original picks, or you get to start over with the 16 remaining teams.

To understand our methods if you don’t already know, refer to this primer:

Here is a breakdown of each game for the next two nights, followed by an update at how the Elite 8 and Final Four look using our criteria.

Oregon vs. Michigan
Power Conference: Both teams

Strength of Schedule: Very slight edge to Michigan, but not enough to matter much

R+T Rating: Large edge to Oregon, as the Ducks’ R+T is 14.7 to the Wolverines’ 3.2. This means that on average, Oregon will have an opportunity through superior rebounding, ball-steals, and overall turnover differential to outscore Michigan by 11.5 points. There is a caveat, as the Ducks are missing a key component in Chris Boucher.
Ability to Win Away from Home: Oregon 14-5/Michigan 11-8. The Ducks have a decent advantage here, but not enough to move this game to the win column.

Winning Streak(s): The Ducks won 17 games in a row at one point this season and eight in a row another time, while Michigan had two, five-game winning streaks. Once again, Oregon has the advantage here, but we cannot annoint the Ducks winners just yet. Not having Boucher removes a lot of these advantages three rounds into the Big Dance.

Since the strengths of schedule are similar, the following stats can be used at face value.
Scoring Margin: Michigan = 8.9, Oregon = 13.8, Ducks look better here
FG% Differential: Michigan = 1.9, Oregon = 7.8, Ducks look much better here, as UM fails to qualify
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 68

This is a tough game to figure out, because Boucher’s absence makes Oregon less than what the stats say. Still, the Ducks come out as the superior team based on how we use the criteria. In our original picks, we had Louisville knocking Oregon out of the tournament in this round, but the Cardinals were sent packing last weekend.

PiRate Criteria Pick: OREGON


Gonzaga vs. West Virginia
Power Conference: West Virginia is, Gonzaga is not. A slight edge to the Mountaineers

Strength of Schedule: WVU 55.55. Gonzaga 54.02, a slight edge to the Mountaineers

R+T Rating: WVU 19.1, Gonzaga 21.2, a push when SOS is applied

Ability to Win Away from Home: WVU 11-6, Gonzaga 19-0, even with SOS factored into the equation, Gonzaga has the advantage here.

Winning Streak(s): WVU 8 & 4, Gonzaga 29 & 5, Gonzaga enjoys a small advantage

We must handicap these stats with Gonzaga playing in a weaker conference and a slightly weaker schedule
Scoring Margin: WVU 15.3, Gonzaga 22.8, a push
FG% Differential: WVU 3.4, Gonzaga 14.5
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 71

This is where we see another #1 seed going down. Gonzaga’s main Achilles Heel is their conference, where the WCC has two other quality teams. Of course, teams like Butler, George Mason, VCU, and Wichita State have advanced to the Final Four, but the percentages say that these are exceptions and not the norm. When you are trying to win a contest by going with the percentages, you go with the norm unless you have a major reason not to do so. When looking at the obvious way this game will deviate from the norm, it comes from the vaunted WVU full-court press, something that Gonzaga has not faced from a quality team this year. It is our belief that GU will commit very few turnovers against the press and even capitalize with a couple of easy baskets, making it look like to the casual fan that the press is not working. However, we believe it will take the Bulldogs out of their offense just enough to cause them to rush and make poor shot selections, and it will also begin to wear their bigger, bulkier players down in the second half. A fatigued team is only a shell of itself, and once GU is fatigued, WVU will pull away and win this game.

PiRate Criteria Pick: WEST VIRGINIA

Kansas vs. Purdue
Power Conference: Both

Strength of Schedule: KU 58.11, PU 55.83, a decided advantage for the Jayhawks

R+T Rating: KU 12.3, PU 15.5, a credible advantage for the Boilermakers

Ability to Win Away from Home: KU 16-3, PU 12-5, a tiny advantage for KU

Winning Streak(s): KU 18 & 8, PU 7 & 6, KU has the advantage, but this isn’t overwhelming since PU has two 6+ streaks, and that is all we are looking for in this criterion

Since the strengths of schedule favor KU enough to matter, we must handicap the following stats.
Scoring Margin: KU 11.4, PU 12.6, with the handicap, KU has a minor advantage here
FG% Differential: KU 7.3, PU 6.4, a slight edge to the Jayhawks
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 72 which will favor KU in the 2nd half

In previous years where Purdue was very good, we would call for Kansas to easily win this game because in the past, Purdue did not own good R+T numbers. In fact, they were downright awful. However, this year is very different up in West Lafayatte, where Purdue has an R+T number strong enough to reach the Final Four. Unfortunately, Kansas has the criteria strong enough to win the National Championship, and thus we must go with the team that is only a tad better in this game. A Boilermaker win would not be a surprise at all, but we must go with the percentages.

PiRate Criteria Pick: KANSAS (but this should be an outstanding game)

Arizona vs. Xavier
Power Conference: Both (in recent years, we would discount the Pac-12 some, but not this year. Three league teams made the Sweet 16.

Strength of Schedule: Arizona 58.17, Xavier 58.70, a wash

R+T Rating: Arizona 18.0, Xavier 15.2, the Wildcats with an ever so slight advantage that is not enough to mean much

Ability to Win Away from Home: Arizona 17-3, Xavier 11-9, this is a big advantage for ‘Zona

Winning Streak(s): Arizona 15 & 6, Xavier 7 & 6, Another tiny advantage to the Wildcats

Since the strengths of schedule are almost identical, the following stats can be used at face value.
Scoring Margin: Arizona 11.0, Xavier 4.1, the Wildcats have a major advantage here, as XU’s scoring margin is well beneath the threshold of a Final Four contender.
FG% Differential: Arizona 6.0, Xavier 0.9, another big edge for Arizona
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 67

This one appears to be headed to a double-digit win for the higher-seeded team. Add on to the criteria the fact that Xavier has not been the same since Edmund Sumner was lost for the year at the end of January, and this game looks like a potential breeze for Arizona.
PiRate Criteria Pick: ARIZONA (by double digits)


North Carolina vs. Butler
Power Conference: Both

Strength of Schedule: UNC 59.00, BU 59.04, a total push

R+T Rating: UNC 31.1, BU 9.5, do we really need to go on after this criterion shows the Tar Heels with a chance on average to score 20 more points on rebounds, steals, and turnovers?

Ability to Win Away from Home: UNC 13-7, BU 12-5, pretty much even here

Winning Streak(s): UNC 13 & 7, BU 12 & 5, another push

Since the strengths of schedule are identical, the following stats can be used at face value.
Scoring Margin: UNC 14.8, BU 7.8, Give the Heels a little more advantage here
FG% Differential: UNC 5.5, BU 3.7, more props for the Heels
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 70 (Butler will want to slow the pace, but they will have to play catchup)

Pirate Criteria Pick: NORTH CAROLINA

Baylor vs. South Carolina
Power Conference: Both

Strength of Schedule: BU 59.40, USC 56.23, the Bears have a little advantage here

R+T Rating: BU 19.3, USC 10.4, Baylor with decent advantage in this one

Ability to Win Away from Home: BU 12-5, USC 11-7, another tilt to the Bears

Winning Streak(s): BU 15 & 5, USC 8 & 5, BU with yet another advantage

Since the strengths of schedule favors Baylor, the following stats must be handicapped a little
Scoring Margin: BU 10.1, USC 7.9, the criteria keeps tilting green
FG% Differential: BU 7.2, USC 1.9, this continues the trend
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 67, Baylor will conrol the pace.

PiRate Criteria Pick: BAYLOR


Kentucky vs. UCLA
Power Conference: Both

Strength of Schedule: UK 58.63, UCLA 54.00, a nice advantage for the Wildcats, but UCLA still meets the minimum number for Final Four consideration, and remember UCLA won at Kentucky earlier this season

R+T Rating: UK 17.2, UCLA 10.9

Ability to Win Away from Home: UK 16-3, UCLA 14-3, nothing to learn here

Winning Streak(s): UK 13 & 7, UCLA 13 & 10, not much here either

We must handicap the following stats in UK’s favor fde to the strengths of schedule
Scoring Margin: UK 13.9, UCLA 15.0, basically a wash
FG% Differential: UK 5.4, UCLA 10.2, The Bruins pick up a big advantage here with Championship-caliber differential
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 74, expect the most up-tempo game of the Sweet 16, and it could even top 75.

Face it: this is the game that is going to make this round. The winner most likely plays North Carolina in the Elite 8, making for a fantastic 48-hours in Memphis, where they could move these games to the Liberty Bowl and still not have enough seats for the fans that want to get in. Think of this game like the second Ali-Frazier fight. Or, if you are a Bruin fan over the age of 55, be forewarned and remember that Houston beat your Bruins in the 1967-68 regular season before meeting up with the worst ever whipping by a number one team in the history of the game.

PiRate Criteria Pick: KENTUCKY — Until the Wildcats are knocked out of the tournament, they have the best resume when comparing it to past National Champions.


Florida vs. Wisconsin
Power Conference: Both

Strength of Schedule: Fla 59.34, UW 54.79, The Gators have a decided advantage

R+T Rating: Fla 3.3, UW 3.3 This is a dirty wash, as neither team can expect to be a Championship team with these R+T ratings.

Ability to Win Away from Home: Fla 17-7, UW 12-7, Florida played a lot of neutral site games near home when their arena was not ready following remodeling. This becomes a wash

Winning Streak(s): Fla. 9 & 7, UW 9 & 8, a wash

Since the strengths of schedule favor the Gators, the following stats must be handicapped in UF’s favor. Scoring Margin: UF 6.2, UW 9.2, a wash
FG% Differential: UF 4.6, UW 4.2, a small edge for the Gators
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 69 We look for the Badgers to slow the tempo a little

When Florida isn’t playing Vanderbilt, they look like Final Four contenders. Actually, two of the three losses to the Commodores came after the Gators lost John Egbunu for the season due to injury, and UF went from 23-5 to 24-8 after that loss. This discounts the Gators’ results enough to make up for the schedule strength favor. In other words, this is a game where you flip a coin. We do not use the Four Factors in this criteria selection process, but if we were to use them for this game, it would just add a bunch of balance, as the teams would come out dead even. We must select somebody to go on and lose to Baylor Sunday, and just because they have a little more recent NCAA Tournament success, we will go with the Badgers.

PiRate Criteria Pick: WISCONSIN –but this is really a tie

Elite 8 to Final Four
Baylor over Wisconsin
Arizona over West Virginia
Kentucky over North Carolina
Kansas over Oregon

Baylor over Arizona
Kentucky over Kansas

Kentucky over Baylor

Note: When we first revealed the criteria for all 68 teams in the dance, we listed the top 10 teams with the best matching criteria to past champions. The top 6 teams in this list, and 8 of the 10 made the Sweet 16. Here is that top 10 again.
1. Kentucky
2. North Carolina
3. Baylor
4. Arizona
5. West Virginia
6. Gonzaga
7. Louisville
8. Villanova
9. Kansas
10. Purdue



March 22, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Ratings for Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament Games

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:33 pm

Sweet 16

Thursday, March 23
Team Team Red White Blue
Oregon Michigan -1 -1 -1
Gonzaga West Virginia 4 2 9
Kansas Purdue 4 4 1
Arizona Xavier 4 4 4


Friday, March 24
Team Team Red White Blue
North Carolina Butler 6 6 12
Baylor South Carolina 3 5 7
Kentucky UCLA 2 -1 1
Florida Wisconsin 5 4 -2


TV Schedule

Region Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
Thursday, March 23
Midwest 7:09 PM CBS Oregon vs. Michigan
West 7:39 PM TBS Gonzaga vs. West Virginia
Midwest 9:39 PM CBS Kansas vs. Purdue
West 10:09 PM TBS Arizona vs. Xavier
Friday, March 24
South 7:09 PM CBS North Carolina vs. Butler
East 7:29 PM TBS Baylor vs. South Carolina
South 9:39 PM CBS Kentucky vs. UCLA
East 9:59 PM TBS Florida vs. Wisconsin
Saturday, March 25
Midwest TBA TBA Oregon/Michigan vs. Kansas/Purdue
West TBA TBA Gonzaga/WVU vs. Arizona/Xavier
Sunday, March 26
South TBA TBA UNC/Butler vs. Kentucky/UCLA
East TBA TBA Baylor/S Car vs. Florida/Wisconsin




March 17, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Ratings for Saturday’s NCAA Tournament Games

Saturday, March 18, 2017 NCAA Tournament Games

Team Team Red White Blue
West Virginia Notre Dame 6 4 1
Villanova Wisconsin 8 6 6
Gonzaga Northwestern 17 10 8
Florida St. Xavier 8 5 4
Butler Middle Tennessee 5 4 7
Arizona Saint Mary’s -2 -1 1
Florida Virginia 1 1 1
Purdue Iowa St. 1 2 1


Saturday’s TV Schedule

Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
12:10 PM CBS West Virginia vs. Notre Dame
2:40 PM CBS Villanova vs. Wisconsin
5:15 PM CBS Gonzaga vs. Northwestern
6:10 PM TNT Florida St. vs. Xavier
7:10 PM TBS Butler vs. Middle Tennessee
7:45 PM CBS Arizona vs. Saint Mary’s
8:40 PM TNT Florida vs. Virginia
9:40 PM TBS Purdue vs. Iowa St.



March 15, 2017

Red-White-Blue Ratings For Thursday’s NCAA Tournament Games


Team Team Red White Blue
Notre Dame Princeton 6 6 2
Virginia UNC-Wilmington 7 9 9
Butler Winthrop 10 9 10
Gonzaga South Dakota St. 24 21 15
West Virginia Bucknell 13 12 11
Florida East Tennessee St. 10 12 13
Minnesota Middle Tennessee 2 1 3
Northwestern Vanderbilt -1 -1 -5
Maryland Xavier -1 -1 -1
Villanova Mount St. Mary’s 22 23 21
Saint Mary’s VCU 5 6 4
Purdue Vermont 9 9 5
Florida St. Florida Gulf Coast 13 14 11
Wisconsin Virginia Tech 4 4 4
Arizona North Dakota 15 15 14
Iowa St. Nevada 6 6 6

March 11, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Saturday, March 11, 2017

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:16 am

Joining The Field

You might be thinking, “Wait, there were no conference championship games Friday, so how could there be an addition to the automatic bid list?”

It is a technicality issue.  In the SWAC, Alcorn State is ineligible for postseason play, but they were eligible for the conference tournament.  The Braves have made it to the Championship Game of the SWAC Tournament, but they cannot receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Their opponent tonight is Texas Southern, the regular season SWAC champion.  The rules in the SWAC state that if the conference tournament champion is ineligible for the postseason, the regular season champion gets the automatic bid.  Thus, Texas Southern is in the Dance no matter what happens tonight in the conference championship game.

We rarely issue opinions on matters like this, but this one seems obvious.  The conference championship game is now meaningless, and leagues like the SWAC struggle to fill seats in tournament games if they do not put them on the home courts of the higher seeds.  This league does not include all their members in the conference tournament, yet they included an ineligible team.  It seems obvious that the SWAC should have kept Alcorn State out of the conference tournament and allowed Arkansas-Pine Bluff (one of two teams left out) to participate.  That at least would make the Championship Game mean something.

Today’s Schedule

All times Eastern Standard 

America East Conference Tournament Championship — Vermont Hosts
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Vermont 28-5 vs. 3 Albany 21-12 11:00 AM ESPN2

Vermont has a perfect America East record this year, now at 16-0, as they prepare to host Albany.  The last time these two teams met, Albany took a seven-point first half lead in Burlington, before the Catamounts clawed back into the lead in the second half.  The game was still close with less than four minutes remaining before a big closing run by VU produced a 12-point victory.  David Nichols kept Albany in that game with his three-point shooting, and if the Great Danes are to pull off the upset, they will need to be hot from behind the arc.  Vermont should win its 21st consecutive game and become a feisty lower-seed foe for a second round biggie.


American Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals–Hartford,CT
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 SMU 28-4 vs. 4 Central Florida 21-10 3:00 PM ESPN2
2 Cincinnati 28-4 vs. 6 Connecticut 16-16 5:00 PM ESPN2

One might think that SMU and Cincinnati have this tournament semifinals all wrapped up and will face off tomorrow in a rubber game to decide the conference tournament title winner.  Think again.  Central Florida and Connecticut are worthy competitors, and both teams have the ability to pull off upsets.

Cincinnati destroyed UConn both times they played, but the Huskies have a knack for becoming a different team in conference tournament play.  They looked like they were poised for a repeat performance after smashing a good Houston team and ending the Couagars’ hopes of an at-large bid.

Central Florida presents incredible matchup problems with 7-6 behemoth Tacko Fall able to alter gameplans all by himself.  UCF has won six consecutive games, and Coach Johnny Dawkins knows how to use Fall to suck defenders in so that his prime long-range shooters, Matt Williams, B J Taylor, and Nick Banyard, can get open looks.  UCF hit 14 three-pointers in their decimation of Memphis.


Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Championship–Brooklyn
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 Duke 26-8 vs. 3 Notre Dame 25-8 9:00 PM ESPN

Neither team was picked by most of the ACC media experts to make it to the championship game of this tournament.  Duke dropped Louisville and North Carolina to make it here, while Notre Dame took care of business against Virginia and Florida St.  Both teams are safely in the NCAA Tournament, so the two are playing for pride and a chance to move up one seed line in the Dance.  Duke won at Notre Dame in their only meeting this year, and this win occurred during Coach K’s absence with Jeff Capel guiding the team.  The Blue Devils had a hot streak in that game, hitting over 50% from the field and an amazing 23 of 24 at the foul line.


Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Semifinals–Pittsburgh (Duquense)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9 Davidson 17-14 vs. 4 Rhode Island 22-9 1:00 PM CBSSN
2 VCU 25-7 vs. 3 Richmond 20-11 3:30 PM CBSSN

Nervous fans of teams on the Bubble will be watching this league the next two days.  With top-seed Dayton dismissed by Davidson, there are three teams left in this quartet that can burst some bubbles elsewhere.  Rhode Island may have already played itself in to the NCAA Tournament, but Richmond and Davidson must win the automatic bid.  This tournament should be must watch this afternoon if your team still needs some help.


Big 12 Conference Tournament Championship–Kansas City
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
4 Iowa St. 22-10 vs. 2 West Virginia 26-7 6:00 PM ESPN

They hit just 26.7% of their shots, and their press was not very effective yesterday, but West Virginia found a way to beat Kansas State, doing so by dominating on the glass.  Now, the Mountaineers go for the Big 12 Title against an Iowa State team that did not fare well against WVU in two previous tries.

In both games, the Cyclones wore out with fatigue from facing full-court pressure.  WVU went on big runs both times to win by double digits.  ISU might have more fatigue problems tonight, since this is their third game in three days.  The Mountaineers seemed to look a little tired as well last night, but Coach Huggins provided the adrenaline needed to get over the hump.


Big East Conference Tournament Championship–New York City
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Villanova 30-3 vs. 6 Creighton 25-8 5:30 PM Fox

Villanova already knows they will be a #1 seed as they attempt to defend their National Championship, but the Wildcats can secure the overall top-seed with a win over the Blue Jays this afternoon.  Both teams were down a key player when they met most recently, but VU has its key player back now in power forward Darryl Reynolds.  Reynolds has been pulling down the tough rebounds in his three games back, and the Wildcats once again have the look of a Final Four team.


Big Sky Conference Tournament Championship–Reno, NV
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 North Dakota 21-9 vs. 3 Weber St. 19-12 8:30 PM ESPNU

North Dakota swept the season series with Weber State, including the big win back in February that put the Fighting Hawks in control of the Big Sky race.  UND won with their incredible guard tandem of Quinton Hooker and Geno Crandall, and WSU will have to come up with an incredible defensive gameplan to keep UND out of the Big Dance.  The Hawks are hoping a convincing win can help them avoid a layover in Dayton.


Big Ten Conference Tournament Semifinals–Washington, DC
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8 Michigan 22-11 vs. 4 Minnesota 24-8 1:00 PM CBS
2 Wisconsin 24-8 vs. 6 Northwestern 23-10 3:30 PM CBS

The four teams remaining will not hurt anybody else’s Bubble chances, as they will all receive Dance invitations, but there is still drama remaining in this tournament.  Michigan survived a travel nightmare just to get to this tournament.  Northwestern has never been a factor in this tournament and has not won a Big Ten title of any kind.  Meanwhile, it would make for a terrific championship game tomorrow if neighboring rivals Minnesota and Wisconsin played for the trophy.  It also would give the Big Ten a chance to move a team into the 4-seed line.


Big West Conference Tournament Championship–Anaheim
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UC-Irvine 21-13 vs. 2 UC-Davis 21-12 11:30 PM ESPN2

The top two seeds split their two regular season meetings, but UC-Irvine thoroughly embarrassed UC-Davis when they met in Irvine last week with the regular season title on the line.  The Anteaters opened the game with a 22-3 lead, and the Aggies never threatened the rest of the way.  UCI connected on 14 treys in that game.


Conference USA Tournament Championship–Birmingham, AL
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Middle Tennessee 29-4 vs. 6 Marshall 20-14 8:30 PM CBSSN

This game might be the most exciting one of the entire day, and the fact that Middle Tennessee might already have done enough to lock up an at-large bid will not take anything away from the excitement this game promises.  Expect the shot clock to play very little factor in this game, as both teams like to push the tempo.

If you like to follow the Houston Rockets with James Harden, Lou Williams, and Eric Gordon playing like thoroughbred race horses, then Marshall is the team for you.  There is a good reason why the Thundering Herd plays like the Rockets, as they are coached by Dan D’Antoni, Mike’s brother.  The Thundering Herd run up and down the floor like UNLV from the 1970’s, but they have one huge Achilles’ Heel.  They cannot rebound very well.  Middle Tennessee is an average rebounding team, but the Blue Raiders swept Marshall in the regular season thanks to spreading the wealth around.  In their most recent game against the Herd, MTSU placed six players in double figures, while a seventh had nine points in a 97-86 win.  Get your popcorn and soda ready for this one, as it will give you two hours of pure viewing pleasure.


Ivy League Tournament Semifinals–Philadelphia
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Princeton 21-6 vs. 4 Penn 13-14 1:30 PM ESPNU
2 Harvard 18-9 vs. 3 Yale 17-10 4:00 PM ESPNU

We aren’t going to hide our joy over this tournament finally becoming a reality.  The Ivy League plays quality fundamental basketball.  If you play or coach at a lower level and must use sound principles and intelligence for your team to win, this is the league for you to watch.

Princeton aced the field this year with a perfect 14-0 league mark, and if the Tigers knock off rival Penn tonight and then win tomorrow, they should be a 13-seed in the Tournament with a somewhat decent chance to knock off the right type of 4-seed (not West Virginia or Cincinnati).  Having legendary rivals Harvard and Yale play in the second game just makes this inaugural affair perfect.

Harvard took Princeton to the wire in both games, but the Tigers handled the Bulldogs rather easily.  Few fans are giving Penn much chance in this tournament, but they are getting to host this thing at the Palestra, which should give the Quakers about 5-6 points in home court advantage.


Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship–Cleveland
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Akron 26-7 vs. 6 Kent St. 21-13 7:30 PM ESPN2

A February swoon cost Akron any chance of qualifying as an at-large team should they not win the MAC automatic bid.  Included in that fall was a three-point loss at home to Kent State, as the Golden Flashes put an end to the Zips’ 30-game home winning streak.  Akron recovered to win at Kent State last week, so this should be an interesting rematch and close to a 50-50 tossup.


Mideast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship–Norfolk, VA (Norfolk St.)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UNC-Central 24-8 vs. 2 Norfolk St. 17-15 1:00 PM ESPN2

UNC-Central has remained unnoticed among the nation’s basketball fans outside of the MEAC, but the Eagles have gone 15-2 in their last 17 games and fared rather well in its road games against the power conference teams.  Should UNCC win and then be forced to head to Dayton, the Eagles would most likely emerge victorious and advance, but a win today coupled with an upset somewhere else could be all that it takes to keep Central out of Dayton.  If Norfolk State pulls off the upset, they can send their laundry to Dayton on the next express out of Norfolk.  It does help that the Spartans get to play this game on their home floor.


Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship–Las Vegas (UNLV)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Nevada 27-6 vs. 2 Colorado St. 28-6 6:00 PM CBS

These two teams squared off last Saturday in Reno with the top seed in this tournament on the line.  Nevada won by 13, controlling the tempo and going on a big 20-3 run in the middle of the game.  Nevada is a team without a glaring weakness, albeit not on the same page with Kentucky and Oregon.  The Wolf Pack have a lineup similar to SMU in that all five starters can play in the wing positions and can post up inside.  It reminds us a lot of Louisville during Denny Crum’s time when he had big-time stars like Junior Bridgman, Darrel Griffith, Jim Price, and Ron Thomas.

Colorado State plays a muscle power game and tries to grind opponents down.  The Rams rely on senior guard Gian Clavell to score points, and when his shots are off, CSU can struggle to score.  In the Rams’ favor tonight is the fact that they just played Nevada a week ago and know what they are going to face, as there has not been time to tweak the gameplans all that much.


Pac-12 Conference Tournament Championship–Las Vegas
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Oregon 29-4 vs. 2 Arizona 29-4 11:00 PM ESPN

Our Red-White-Blue Ratings that we will not publish today actually indicate that this game is a true tossup.  In fact, two of the ratings show the spread at 0!  The top two seeds met just once in the regular season, and Oregon used a 36-9 run in the first half to put the game away quickly.  The Ducks have the top home court advantage in America, so the 27-point margin of victory can be tossed out the window, and you can give the Wildcats a little more incentive to seek revenge tonight.  However, we think the Ducks have the better roster, and that gives Oregon the slight edge.


Southeastern Conference Tournament Semifinals–Nashville
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Kentucky 27-5 vs. 5 Alabama 19-13 1:00 PM ESPN
7 Vanderbilt 19-14 vs. 3 Arkansas 24-8 3:20 PM ESPN

Vanderbilt played its way into the NCAA Tournament with its third win over Florida.  The Commodores should be able to avoid a First Four game in Dayton as well.

Alabama has the potential to give Kentucky all it can handle.  Had the Tide hit their free throws in their one contest against the Wildcats, they could have won their regular season game in Tuscaloosa.  This is Nashville, and the last time we checked, Nashville was about halfway between these two schools’ campuses, but it will look more like Rupp Arena this afternoon as the Music City is crawling with Royal Blue clothed tourists up and down Broadway and in Hatty B’s Hot Chicken.

Arkansas and Vanderbilt played two close games this year, with the visiting team winning both times.  Since the Commodores won at Bud Walton, Arkansas has been a different team.  The Razorbacks have won seven of eight games, including a road victory over South Carolina.


Southland Conference Tournament Championship–Katy, TX (Greater Houston area)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 New Orleans 19-11 vs. 2 Texas A&M-CC 20-10 9:30 PM ESPN2

Disclaimer: We cannot preview this game in an impartial manner.  We will not withhold the secret that we are rooting like crazy for Coach Willis Wilson to guide TAMCCU to the Big Dance.  A finer man in the coaching business does not exist, and Wilson has not been given the accolades that should have been afforded to him.  The Rice alum coached at his alma mater for 18 years, taking the Owls to the near edge of NCAA qualification only to come up a tad short, having to make do with the NIT.  Trying to win at Rice is extremely tough, as the high-academic standards and having to be the number two team in the city of Houston did not help the Owls recruit players to Main Street, where on a sunny day, more folks turn out to the zoo across the street than come to the Rice basketball games.

Wilson has built up the TAMCCU program to the point where the Islanders have made consecutive trips to the CIT, as Stephen F. Austin dominated the league under former coach Brad Underwood.  Tonight, the Islanders have their best shot at making the Dance, where they have been just once before, back in 2007.

New Orleans also has a nice story that needs to be told.  The basketball program shut down after the 2009-2010 season and stayed dark for two seasons before re-emerging as one of the final two teams to play as an independent (Cal State Bakersfield is the other).  The Privateers have had a somewhat storied history with a bevy of excellent coaches working in the Crescent City (Ron Greene, Butch van Breda Kolff, Bennie Dees, Tim Floyd, and Buzz Williams).  They have made it to four NCAA Tournaments, albeit none in the last 20 years, and they actually have won Dance win over BYU in 1987.  There will be emotions running wild on both sides tonight, so check this game out if only for a little bit of your time.


Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament Championship–Houston
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Texas Southern 22-11 vs. 2 Alcorn St. * 18-13 6:30 PM ESPNU
* Alcorn St. is ineligible for the postseason. Texas Southern earns automatic bid win or lose tonight.

We have already spoken about this game and the fact that it does not matter if TSU wins or loses, since they already own the automatic bid.  However, it will help the Tigers to win this game, because we believe they will definitely avoid Dayton with a win tonight, and they could be punished and sent to Dayton if they lose.

The game should be entertaining and nip and tuck, as TSU had difficulty beating Alcorn twice this year, once by a bucket, and once in overtime.  Unfortunately, the one player that might have made a difference for the Tigers against a power conference team, muscular forward and former SWAC POY Derrick Griffin, decided to leave school to prepare for the pro draft–not the NBA, but the NFL, where he stands a good chance of being drafted as a mighty big receiver target.


Sun Belt Conference Tournament Semifinals–New Orleans
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UT-Arlington 25-7 vs. 4 Texas St. 19-12 12:30 PM ESPN3
2 Georgia St. 20-11 vs. 6 Troy 20-14 3:00 PM ESPN3

There are some Bracketologists that believe UT-Arlington will have done enough to get an at-large bid if they beat Texas State this afternoon and lose tomorrow, but 12 of our 13 Bracketology Gurus beg to differ.  The Mavericks are the team to beat in this tourney, but the other three teams don’t fear UTA.  In fact, Texas State and Troy both know they can beat the top seed, as they did so convincingly during the regular season.  Still, UTA is a team that defeated Saint Mary’s and had a double-digit lead at Arkansas before the Razorbacks nipped them in the final minute.  If the Mavericks win the automatic bid, it would not surprise us at all if they move up to a 12-seed, the one seed that has become the seed of upsets.


Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship–Las Vegas
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Cal St. Bakersfield 22-8 vs. 2 New Mexico St. 27-5 11:00 PM ESPNU

When we think of Bakersfield, we think of the “Bakersfield Sound” that produced stars like Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and Jean Shepard.  Our founder also thinks of some great Bakersfield Dodgers baseball teams in the Class A California League that produced future Dodgers stars like Ron Cey, Steve Yeager, Doug Rau, Eric Karros, Pedro and Ramon Martinez, John Wetteland, and Mike Piazza.

Others might think of all the farmland in and around the area or the giant arch just off Highway 99.  Basketball does not come to mind when one thinks of Bakersfield.  Yet, the Roadrunners, under former Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes, are just one win away from making their second consecutive trip to the Big Dance.

It will be no cakewalk tonight for the top-seeded Roadrunners.  Their opponent is a formidable foe, and New Mexico State might even be considered the favorite in this game.  The teams match up favorably well, and this looks like a championship game where if they played a best of seven series, it would go seven games.

CSUB has one big disadvantage tonight.  The Roadrunners were forced to play an extra half last night, when Utah Valley took them to 4 overtimes.  The Roadrunners shot less than 30% from the field, gave up an astronomical 68 rebounds to Utah Valley, and they still won, because they forced the Wolverines into committing 28 turnovers and stole the ball 11 times.


PiRate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Update for Saturday AM

  1. Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga
  2. Kentucky, Oregon, Duke, Arizona
  3. Baylor, Louisville, West Virginia, Florida St.
  4. UCLA, Notre Dame, Butler, Minnesota
  5. Florida, Cincinnati, Iowa St., SMU
  6. Virginia, Purdue, Wisconsin, Creighton
  7. Maryland, Saint Mary’s, Michigan, Wichita St.
  8. Virginia Tech, Miami, Northwestern, VCU
  9. Arkansas, South Carolina, Dayton, Oklahoma St.
  10. Middle Tennessee, Marquette, Michigan St., Seton Hall
  11. Providence, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Wake Forest, USC
  12. UT-Arlington, UNC-Wilmington, Nevada, Kansas St., Syracuse
  13. Vermont, Princeton, Akron, Bucknell
  14. East Tennessee St., Florida Gulf Coast, New Mexico St., Winthrop
  15. Iona, Texas Southern, Northern Kentucky, UC-Irvine
  16. South Dakota St., UNC-Central, Jacksonville St., Texas A&M CC, North Dakota, Mount St. Mary’s

Last Four Byes

Seton Hall




Last Four In–Headed to Dayton

Wake Forest vs. USC

Kansas St. vs. Syracuse

First Four Out

Rhode Island–can jump into the field with a win Saturday

Illinois State


Alabama–we jumped the Tide up here, because they are the only team still playing with a chance to move up.  All others in this spot have no chance to make the field and have no games left to play (Illinois, Iowa, Houston, TCU, Georgia, Indiana)























February 3, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview For February 4-5, 2017


Games Scheduled for: Saturday, February 4, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Syracuse Virginia -7 -6 -9
Duke Pittsburgh 15 16 12
Boston College Louisville -15 -13 -15
North Carolina St. Miami (Fla.) -1 -1 1
Wake Forest Georgia Tech 11 12 11
North Carolina Notre Dame 9 8 9
Georgetown Seton Hall 3 3 7
DePaul Marquette -10 -8 -9
Creighton Xavier 6 5 5
Villanova St. John’s 17 19 19
Maryland Purdue -2 -3 1
Penn St. Rutgers 8 6 8
Illinois Minnesota -2 1 -1
Michigan Ohio St. 7 8 2
TCU Texas 8 6 5
Kansas Iowa St. 11 10 10
Baylor Kansas St. 9 9 14
West Virginia Oklahoma St. 11 13 7
Texas Tech Oklahoma 7 9 7
Oregon Arizona 2 4 5
Stanford Utah -3 -3 -2
Oregon St. Arizona St. -6 -2 -1
Washington St. USC -7 -8 -5
Washington UCLA -11 -10 -6
South Carolina Georgia 8 6 6
Vanderbilt Ole Miss 6 6 8
Mississippi St. Tennessee -4 -1 -6
Missouri Arkansas -6 -4 -3
Florida Kentucky 1 4 1
Alabama Auburn 6 7 9
LSU Texas A&M -3 -2 -6
Cincinnati Connecticut 14 14 14
Tulsa SMU -6 -6 -6
Gonzaga Santa Clara 27 20 23
San Diego Saint Mary’s -15 -16 -16


Games Scheduled for: Sunday, February 5, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Florida St. Clemson 8 6 8
Wisconsin Indiana 9 7 4
Iowa Nebraska 7 6 3
California Colorado 5 6 8

PiRate Ratings Top 25

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Villanova
  3. Louisville
  4. West Virginia
  5. Kansas
  6. Kentucky
  7. North Carolina
  8. Virginia
  9. Duke
  10. Florida
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Baylor
  13. Arizona
  14. Purdue
  15. UCLA
  16. Cincinnati
  17. Florida St.
  18. Oregon
  19. Creighton
  20. St. Mary’s
  21. Notre Dame
  22. SMU
  23. Butler
  24. South Carolina
  25. Wichita St.


  1. Louisville
  2. North Carolina
  3. Virginia
  4. Duke
  5. Florida St.
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Clemson
  8. Wake Forest
  9. Virgnia Tech
  10. Miami
  11. Syracuse
  12. Georgia Tech
  13. North Carolina St.
  14. Pittsburgh
  15. Boston College

Big East

  1. Villanova
  2. Creighton
  3. Butler
  4. Xavier
  5. Marquette
  6. Seton Hall
  7. Georgetown
  8. Providence
  9. St. John’s
  10. DePaul

Big Ten

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Purdue
  3. Maryland
  4. Northwestern
  5. Michigan St.
  6. Michigan
  7. Minnesota
  8. Indiana
  9. Ohio St.
  10. Iowa
  11. Illinois
  12. Penn St.
  13. Nebraska
  14. Rutgers

Big 12

  1. West Virginia
  2. Kansas
  3. Baylor
  4. Oklahoma St.
  5. Iowa St.
  6. Kansas St.
  7. TCU
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Texas


  1. Arizona
  2. UCLA
  3. Oregon
  4. Utah
  5. USC
  6. California
  7. Colorado
  8. Stanford
  9. Arizona St.
  10. Washington
  11. Washington St.
  12. Oregon St.


  1. Kentucky
  2. Florida
  3. South Carolina
  4. Arkansas
  5. Tennessee
  6. Georgia
  7. Vanderbilt
  8. Alabama
  9. Auburn
  10. Texas A&M
  11. Ole Miss
  12. Mississippi St.
  13. LSU
  14. Missouri

Games You Will Want to Watch 

All Times Eastern Standard


Maryland vs. Purdue 12:00 PM on ESPN

Creighton vs. Xavier 3:00 PM on Fox

North Dakota St. vs. South Dakota 3:00 PM on ESPN3

Oregon vs. Arizona 4:00 PM on ESPN

North Carolina vs. Notre Dame 6:00 PM on ESPN

Harvard vs. Princeton 7:00 PM on ESPN3

Wichita St. vs. Illinois St. 8:00 PM on ESPN2

Florida vs. Kentucky 8:15 PM on ESPN


Wisconsin vs. Indiana 1:00 PM on CBS

The Groundhog may have seen his shadow to forecast 6 more weeks of winter, but cheer up.  Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training in 10 days.

New England 24  Atlanta 20

Use this at your own expense–we do not gamble.  Some experts are going heavy on the UNDER the last 36 hours, and computer sims say it is a sharp selection, but still we won’t wager a penny.

January 31, 2017

The Pirate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Report For January 31, 2017

The end of January means the NCAA Tournament Bracketology report begins to get serious. Many teams have now played themselves into the Dance short of pulling a 1964 Philadelphia Phillies collapse. Many teams now know that their only hope is to win their conference tournament. They may have actually already thrown in the towel until then.

Then, you have about 30 to 40 teams that are in the hoops Twilight Zone as the Ground Hog prepares for his big day. These three dozen or so teams are the infamous Bubblers. From this group, about a dozen will receive invitations, while the rest will have to make due with the NIT. Of course, with every 11-20 team that gets hot for four days and becomes quick-exit fodder for a high seed, one of those bubbles will pop.

As for our Gurus, we have made some major changes. Because not all of our Gurus from last season returned this year, and because we decided to stop including seven bracketologists due to ridiculous brackets (like including two Ivy League teams in last year’s bracket), we have reduced our numbers to just 11 Gurus this week. However, we are attempting to include five more nationally renowned Gurus,  a quintet of rather accurate Bracketologists, as soon as next week. One new Guru has already agreed to join us, and his bracketology ratings are included in this report.

Once again, the Guru Composite shows 22 conferences that will send just one team to the tournament. That leaves 46 teams from among the remaining 10 leagues, so that means 36 at-large teams will be needed if the one-bid leagues stay consistent. As of this week, there are 54 teams competing for those 36 spots, meaning 18 will be disappointed. This number of disappointments will go up as surprise conference champions emerge from the 10 top leagues.

American East
At 8-0/18-5, Vermont has lapped the field with road wins over Stony Brook 6-2/11-10, New Hampshire 5-3/14-8, and Albany 4-4/13-10, three of the next four teams. The Catamounts also beat UMBC 5-3/14-7, but it was at home. The Retrievers host Vermont on Sunday, February 12. Vermont has a 14.3 points per game scoring margin in A-East play.

Atlantic Sun
Two teams have pulled away from the pack in the last two weeks. Florida Gulf Coast 7-1/18-6 and Lipscomb 6-2/14-11 have shown they are the class of the league this year. The always competitive FGCU won at Lipscomb in early January, and the two play on Thursday, February 9, in Fort Myers. FGCU has won 11 of their last 12 games.

Big Sky
After a 2-6 start, Weber State has won 10 of 11 games to improve to 7-1/12-7. The Wildcats are heavy favorites to earn what should be a number 16 seed and possible demotion to Dayton in the opening round. Top contenders include North Dakota 7-3/12-8 and Eastern Washington 6-3/14-8.

Big South
The race is wide open with three co-leaders at the moment. Winthrop 8-2/16-5, UNC-Asheville 8-2/16-7, and Liberty 8-2/13-10 are two games clear of the field, but the hot team in the league at the end of Janaury is High Point 6-4/12-10. The Panthers own a five-game winning streak that includes a comeback overtime win at Winthrop.

Big West
An off year in the league makes for excellent parity, as five teams could still win the regular season title. UC-Davis 5-1/13-8 has the lead, but it is precarious. Hot on the Aggies’ heels are UC-Irvine 6-2/13-11, Cal State Northridge 5-3/9-12, Long Beach State 4-3/9-14, and UC Riverside 4-3/6-12. Long Beach State is our choice to become the eventual representative, but the Gurus go with the top team at the time of their reports, so UC Davis will be the team listed in our report.

Colonial Athletic
UNC-Wilmington 9-1/20-3 proved they could be defeated in league play last week, as William & Mary 6-4/12-9 rode the arms of Omar Prewitt and Daniel Dixon to shoot the Seahawks out of Kaplan Arena. Other top contenders in the CAA include College of Charleston 8-2/17-6, Elon 6-4/14-9, and Northeastern 6-4/13-9. Still, it will be a major surprise if UNCW doesn’t threepeat in the CAA Tournament.

Conference USA
It is now a near metaphysical certitude that Middle Tennessee State 9-0/19-3 is the top mid-major team in the land this year (this statement is true only if you consider the Missouri Valley and West Coast Conferences to be Power Conferences with multiple bids forthcoming from both leagues). The Blue Raiders have double digit wins over three top contenders, UAB 7-2/14-8, Louisiana Tech 6-3/14-8, and Marshall 6-3/13-9. MTSU has yet to play Old Dominion 6-3/13-8. Kermit Davis’s squad faces a three-game road gauntlet in the second half of the month against Western Kentucky, Marshall, and UAB, one of whom is sure to give the Blue Raiders a loss. If Middle runs the table and then wins the CUSA Tournament, at 31-3, they would have to be favored to make it to the Sweet 16 a year after trouncing Michigan State in the Round of 64.

Valparaiso won the regular season title a year ago but suffered an upset in the conference tournament and had to make do with the NIT. This year, the Crusaders 8-1/18-4 have a new coach in Matt Lotich, but they still have the top player in the league in Alex Peters, who averages 24 points and 11 rebounds per game. Valpo’s path to the top seed will not be easy, though, as Green Bay 7-3/13-9 and Oakland 6-4/16-7 get to host the Crusaders in February. Oakland previously won at Valpo.

With the inaugural Ivy League Tournament just 39 days away, it’s all about finishing in the top four, since the first Ivy League tourney will have just four participants. If you ask us, and since you are reading this, you have in essence asked us, the four teams that will make it to the Palestra on March 11 have already been determined. Princeton 3-0/10-6, Harvard 3-1/11-6, Yale 3-1/11-6, and Columbia 3-1/9-8 were the top four teams last year, and they appear to be so again. None of this quartet appears to be talented enough to get past the Round of 64.

Metro Atlantic
They don’t have the resume they had last year when they felt they were jilted by the Big Guys that look out for the Big Guys, but Monmouth 10-2/18-5 is starting to look like a prohibitive favorite in the MAAC. The Hawks have outscored their opponents by 15 points per game in their eight game winning streak. Iona 8-4/15-8 and St. Peter’s 8-4/12-10 are the top two contenders.

With each passing week, Akron 8-0/18-3 distances themselves from the rest of the league. The Zips have opened up a three-game lead over the pack in the MAC, with a pair of 6-10 dominators inside in Kwan Cheatham, Jr. and Isaiah Johnson teaming to average 28 points and 15 rebounds per game. Akron is not an at-large candidate at this point, as the Zips have no Top 100 wins along with a nasty loss to Youngstown State, who rates below #250. Additionally, even though they have run the table in the first half of the conference schedule, the Zips are not blowing opponents away. So, keep an eye on four teams all with 5-3 conference marks (Ohio, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, and Northern Illinois). The MAC Tournament is usually chock full of upsets, and if we had to pick a team today, we would go with EMU.

Mideastern Athletic
Four teams have moved to the top of the pack, and the quartet is red hot with a combined 20-game winning streak. The second half of the 2017 MEAC race promises to be about as exciting as a low-major conference race can be, and if you have access to this league’s televised games, you will be entertained with some exciting basketball.

Morgan State 7-1/10-11 has a great inside/outside presence teaming for 42 points per game in wing man Tiwian Kendley and post man Philip Carr. The Bears are led by former Cal head coach Todd Bozeman with former Michigan head coach Brian Ellerbe as his top assistant. MSU may not have the talent to compete for a Sweet 16 bid, but the Bears will not be an easy out if they make the round of 64.

The remaining hot teams in the MEAC include UNC-Central 6-1/15-6, Savannah State 7-2/10-12, and Norfolk State 6-2/9-13. Savannah State games are some of the most exciting on the hardwoods in America. There is a good chance that one team will top 100 points when the Tigers play, but it could be SSU or the opposition.

Mountain West
Any chance for mulitple bids from the MWC crashed and burned in the last week as the top contenders suffered losses. It makes for a wide open regular season race as well as a wide open conference tournament with all the marbles up for grabs. Nevada 7-2/18-4 has led all the way, but the Wolf Pack have no signature wins that can get them into the Dance, as their lone game against a top 50 opponent was an 18-point loss to Saint Mary’s. Boise State 6-3/13-7 has a win over SMU, but the Broncos are not close to the Bubble. Five other teams have the talent to eeke through a three-day marathon and earn the automatic bid.

In the last three weeks, Mount St. Mary’s 9-1/11-12 has emerged as the clear choice to win the regular season title and the favorite to earn the lone bid. Bryant 5-5/8-15 is well back in the pack, but the Bulldogs already have a win over MSM and plays the Mountaineers a second time Thursday night in a game that will be televised on ESPNU.

Ohio Valley
Like their CUSA Counterpart in the same Metropolitan Area (MTSU), Belmont 10-0/16-4 is pulling away from the field like Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes. The Bruins own a 12-game winning streak. They put that streak on the line Thursday night, when the Bruins venture to Murrary, Kentucky, to take on West Division co-leader Murray State 6-3/12-11. Belmont beat the other co-leader Southeast Missouri 6-3/11-13 by double digits and own a 13.4 ppg scoring margin in OVC play.

Bucknell 9-1/17-6 is the favorite but not overwhelming favorite to win the Patriot League’s lone bid this year. Even though the top seed gets to host every game in the postseason tournament, Bucknell’s long league loss came at home to Lehigh 6-4/12-9. Besides these two teams, five other teams have the talent to win the tournament. Navy and Boston U are tied for second at 7-3/12-10, with Loyola (MD), Holy Cross, and Colgate tied at 5-5 in league play. If a team other than Bucknell wins the conference tournament, they better be prepared for a trip to Dayton.

This league is on a mini-upswing, but no team has an at-large shot this year. East Tennessee 7-2/17-5, Furman 7-2/14-8, UNC-Greensboro 7-3/16-7, and Chattanooga 6-3/15-6 could all be formidbale underdogs in the Round of 64.

For Sam Houston 7-2/16-6, the sum of their whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Bearkats have raced to the top of the league with a seven-game winning streak even though the team lacks a go-to star. Instead, they play a stifling tough defense and rarely give up a second shot to the opponents on a possession. SHSU has pulled even with New Orleans 7-2/12-8 in the standings, which includes a win at Lakefront Arena in NO over the Privateers.

Southwestern Athletic
Five lopsided losses to top 50 teams means that Texas Southern 8-1/12-10 is not likely to challenge a #1 or 2 seed in the Round of 64, but if the Tigers can earn the automatic bid, they should be able to avoid an opening round game in Dayton. Alcorn State 6-3/9-11 has won four games in a row. The Braves lost to TSU at home on a buzzer-beater, and that is all that has kept ASU out of a first place tie in the SWAC.

They may be the third place team in the league at the present time, but Fort Wayne 5-4/16-7 has the big out of conference win over Indiana. The Mastodons get the teams ahead of them in the standings in Forth Wayne in February, and it would not surprise us if FW moved to the top in time to secure the number one seed. Don’t expect North Dakota State 7-1/15-6, and South Dakota 6-3/15-9 to lay down and cede first place to the Mastodons. The Bison and Coyotes are tough teams, and they won’t wither when they go to Hilliard Gates Sports Center in February.

Sun Belt
How about a six-team race where the best resume belongs to the fourth place team. Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, and Georgia State lead the way with 7-2 SBC records. UT-Arlington 6-3/16-6 is tied for fourth with Texas State 6-3/13-8. UTA has that nice resume with a 14-point win over Saint Mary’s. It is not enought to propel the Mavericks into the Bubble picture.

Western Athletic
A 19-game winning streak and a perfect 7-0 record in league play is not enough to push New Mexico State 7-0/21-2 into the Bubble talk. Our own opinion is that the Aggies deserve equal billing with Wichita State at this juncture. Neither team has a bad loss, and neither team has a top 50 win.

The Aggies are 1-1 against the next 50 teams (a win and loss against rival New Mexico), while Wichita State is still winless to team number 100. NMSU presents some matchup issues for opponents, so if the Agiiges get into the Dance, they could be a hot underdog in the Round of 64.
Cal State Bakersfield 5-1/14-7 is the principal contender to NMSU, but in this league the Roadrunners are almost like the Washington Generals and not a true contender. The lack of competition is what will hurt NMSU’s seeding if they run the table and enter the Dance at 30-2.

American Athletic
Cincinnati 8-0/19-2 is a sure thing now after beating Xavier and padding its resume. Can the Bearcats contend for the Final Four? Cinti dominates in everything but foul shooting, but in the NCAA Tournament, referees tend to call fewer fouls, and this will help UC in two ways–they won’t take as many foul shots, and they will be able to get away with increased physical play, where they can exploit finesse teams.

SMU 8-1/18-4 should receive an at-large bid if the Mustangs do not win the AAC Tournament. SMU has six top 100 wins and no losses outside of the top 100.

Memphis 6-3/16-6 and Houston 6-4/15-7 are squarely on the Bubble, while Tulsa 6-2/12-8 has moved into position to earn a Bubble spot if the Golden Hurricane can go 2-2 in their four future games against the top two teams.

Atlantic 10
Dayton 6-2/15-5 and VCU 6-2/16-5 would be in the Dance if the season ended today, but the two teams are not locks for the Tournament yet. In fact, neither is in first place in the A-10, as Richmond 7-2/13-8 has stormed to the top by a half-game. The Spiders were never in their game at Dayton earlier this year, losing by 16, and they have yet to face VCU, so it is likely that VCU or Dayton will eventually take the top two seeds.

A three-way tie at 5-3 for fourth place exists between LaSalle, Rhode Island, and St. Bonaventure. Rhode Island has a win against Cincinnati, and the Rams have been in the top 25 this year. They could still work their way back into at-large status.

Atlantic Coast
Figuring out the possible number of ACC teams headed Dancing this year has almost become a cottage industry. At one time, many pundits believed 11 teams would earn invitations to the Tournament. We never agreed with that number, and now the so-called experts are coming around to our belief that the ACC will send eight or nine to the tourney.

Seven teams are basically sure things at this point. North Carolina 7-2/19-4, Virginia 6-2/16-4, Florida St. 6-3/18-4, Louisville 6-3/18-4, Notre Dame 6-4/17-6, and Duke 5-4/17-5 are locks at this point. Virginia Tech 5-4/16-5 is in short of a major collapse. Six other ACC teams are still alive, but we believe that at most, three of the six will be happy in Mid-March. Those six teams are: Georgia Tech 5-4/13-8, Syracuse 5-4/13-9, Miami 4-4/14-6, North Carolina St. 3-6/14-8, Wake Forest 3-6/12-9, and Clemson 2-6/12-8. We do not see an ACC team getting an at-large bid with a conference record weaker than 8-10 or with more than 13 overall losses by Selection Sunday.

Big 12
The Big 12 was supposed to blitz the SEC Saturday in the 10-game challenge. Forecasters called for eight and even nine wins out of the 10 games, but when the dust cleared Saturday night, the leagues finished in a 5-5 standoff. Surprisingly, those five winning SEC teams did not include Kentucky.

How does this affect the Big 12’s NCAA Tournament outlook? We have reduced the number of expected representatives by one this week, reducing the number from eight to seven. Kansas 7-1/19-2 moved into a comfortable top-seed position with its win at Kentucky. Baylor 7-1/20-1 stayed on the top line with their big comeback win at Ole Miss. West Virginia 5-3/17-4 held on to edge Texas A&M at home and stay in contention for a number two or three seed. Five teams will compete for the other four likely at-large bids, with one probably facing some disappointment. Iowa St. 5-3/13-7 and Kansas St. 4-4/15-6 are the top contenders, so it is more than likely going to come down to two teams from among Texas Tech 3-5/15-6, TCU 3-5/14-7, and Oklahoma St. 3-6/14-8, and one of these teams could be facing an opening round game in Dayton.

Big East
We added a sixth team to the Big East riches as the ACC and Big 12 lost teams. The league that produced the 2016 champion might have three teams with Final Four potential and five teams with Sweet 16 talent. Start with the reigning national champs, Villanova 7-2/20-2. Also close to sure things are Butler 7-3/18-4 and Creighton 6-3/19-3. Xavier 5-3/15-6 and Marquette 5-4/14-7 are in good shape but still have work to do to become locks.

Three more teams, Providence 4-6/14-9, St. John’s 4-6/10-13, and Seton Hall 3-5/13-7, still have NCAA Tourney aspirations, while Georgetown 3-6/12-10 has not been completely eliminated.

Big Ten
The Big Ten took a big hit in the football season with the league losing out in the Playoff race and performing poorly in the bowls. The great fans in the Upper Midwest hoped that basketball season would give the league a chance to redeem itself for the poor results on the gridiron, but there are few teams in this league that look like they are headed to the Sweet 16.

One of those teams that does look Sweet 16 secure is Wisconsin 7-1/18-3, currently tied for first in the league with Maryland 7-1/19-2. The Terps’ nasty losses to Pittsburgh and Nebraska leave a little doubt in the mind of our Gurus and thus cannot be considered a Sweet 16 lock. They will be dancing for sure though.

We are moving Northwestern 7-2/18-4 into the safely in the Tournament status. Maybe it is a year for long Chicago curses to be broken, as the Wildcats look certain to break through with their first ever NCAA Tournament bid, leaving no room for doubt. Joining NU in near lock status is Purdue 6-3/17-5.

Six more teams are competing for what we believe to be four more bids. If the season ended today, Michigan St. 5-4/13-9, Indiana 4-5/14-8, Michigan 4-5/14-8, and Minnesota 3-6/15-7 would get the four at-large bids, while Illinois 3-6/13-9 and Ohio St. 3-6/13-9 would be on the outside looking in. Iowa, Penn St., and Nebraska are actually ahead of Minnesota, Illinois, and Ohio State in the conference standings at 4-5, but their resumes are not tourney-worthy at this time.

Missouri Valley
There is not a consensus among all the Gurus here, but a majority of six Gurus say two MVC teams will get bids.

Editor’s Note: This piece was written before we had all 11 Guru results submitted. At the time there were 7 Guru reports available, it looked like the Shockers would be in their Field, but the final four Gurus omitted WSU in their brackets.

Illinois State 10-0/18-4 has a one-game edge on Wichita St. 9-1/19-4, but the Redbirds win over the Shockers came in Bloomington-Normal. The two teams meet again in Wichita this Saturday in a nationally televised game on ESPN2 at 8PM EST. If you are a rabid basketball fan, be sure to tune into this game to see two aggressive defenses battle it out. We believe there will be a third match between these two Valley behemoths at Arch Madness in early March. The loser should still get into the Field of 68 if they have no other conference losses or maybe one additional loss.

Keep an eye on Loyola of Chicago 6-4/16-7. Maybe, it is a year meant to be for Chicagoans. The Ramblers have been to just one NCAA Tournament since legendary coach George Ireland had a dynasty in the 1960s. We’re not saying this current cache of Ramblers is to be compared to the Leslie Hunter and Vic Rouse teams, but this is Loyola’s best team since the Alfredrick Hughes and Andre Moore team scared the Pat Ewing-led Georgetown Hoyas for 30 minutes plus in the 1985 Sweet 16.

Arizona 9-0/20-2 marched through Los Angeles, sweeping USC and UCLA like General Sherman marched through Georgia. The Wildcats are clearly the second best team in the West, and they can solidify a hold on a two-seed if they go to Oregon 8-1/19-3 this Saturday night and take care of the Ducks. The game will be televised on ESPN at 4 PM EST, and it should be as exciting as the Kansas-Kentucky game was this past Saturday.

UCLA 6-3/19-3 has dropped back-to-back games to Arizona and USC 5-4/18-4, as the Wildcats and Trojans exploited the Bruins’ defensive liabilities and softness in the paint. As for the Trojans, Andy Enfield’s team has a slight bubble advantage over Utah and California, both 6-3/15-6. The league should get four teams minimum, but we do not see all six of these squads going Dancing. The bottom half of this league is really week this year, and it is going to hurt strengths of schedule if any contender loses to one of the bottom six.

At the start of the season, the SEC was considered just a two-bid league this year. Then, eventually, it became a three-bid league, and now it is most likely a four-bid league. Could a fifth bid be forthcoming before the bids go live? It is highly possible as seven or eight teams are still in contention for the fourth bid, and a fifth bid would not be out of the ordinary.

Start with Kentucky and South Carolina, both 7-1/17-4. The Wildcats have the better overall resume, but the Gamecocks are not that far behind. Add sure thing Florida 6-2/16-5 as team number three.

After that, there is a logjam vying for the fourth bid, but first among equals goes to Arkansas 5-3/16-5. The Razorbacks left the Big 12-SEC Challenge with their tails between their legs, and the 28-point loss to Oklahoma State certainly dimmed their rising star. It has allowed teams like Alabama 6-2/13-7, Georgia, 4-4/13-8, Mississippi State 4-4/13-7, and Tennessee 4-4/12-9 to move into contention to be in contention. The Volunteers were picked to finish 13th in the league by many publications, so kudos go to Coach Rick Barnes, who should compete with USC coach Frank Martin for Coach of the Year honors. If Tennessee had held onto leads in the final 30 seconds against Oregon in Hawaii and North Carolina at the Dean Dome, the Vols would be at the top of the Bubble and looking like a seed high enough to avoid playing in Dayton.

West Coast
Gonzaga 10-0/22-0 deserves its number one ranking. The Bulldogs have not fatten up just on cream puffs. Included in their 22 wins are neutral site victories over Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, and Iowa State, as well as wins at home over St. Mary’s and Akron, all current top 50 teams. They have gone 15-0 against teams rated under 100, but their average margin of victory in those wins has been 30 points per game. You would expect a number one team to beat a lower-ranked team by 30 points.

St. Mary’s 9-1/19-2 belongs in the field on its own merits. The Gaels have defeated Dayton at Dayton and have a 6-2 record against top 100 teams. One of those two losses is a defeat at Gonzaga, and SMC still has a home date with the Bulldogs to try to even the score.

Brigham Young 7-3/16-7 is not in contention for an at-large bid at this time, but the Cougars still have a chance to make some noise, as they have home dates against the top two teams in the month of February (as well as a return trip to Gonzaga in the regular season finale.) BYU hosts Gonzaga Thursday night at 11 PM EST in a game that will air on ESPN2.


Seed Team Conf.
1 Baylor B12
1 Kansas B12
1 Villanova B E
1 Gonzaga WCC
2 Louisville ACC
2 Arizona P12
2 North Carolina ACC
2 Kentucky SEC
3 Virginia ACC
3 Florida State ACC
3 Butler B E
3 Oregon P12
4 West Virginia B12
4 UCLA P12
4 Wisconsin BTen
4 Cincinnati AAC
5 Maryland BTen
5 Duke ACC
5 Creighton B E
5 Florida SEC
6 Notre Dame ACC
6 Purdue BTen
6 South Carolina SEC
6 St. Mary’s (CA) WCC
7 Southern Methodist AAC
7 Xavier B E
7 Northwestern BTen
7 USC P12
8 Virginia Tech ACC
8 Minnesota BTen
8 Dayton A10
8 Marquette B E
9 Michigan State BTen
9 Iowa State B12
9 Arkansas SEC
9 Virginia Commonwealth A10
10 Middle Tennessee CUSA
10 Kansas State B12
10 NC-Wilmington CAA
10 Illinois State MVC
11 Clemson ACC
11 Miami (FLA.) ACC
11 Oklahoma State B12
11 Georgia Tech ACC
12 Indiana BTen
12 TCU B12
12 Michigan BTen
12 Texas Tech B12
12 Nevada MWC
12 Valparaiso Hor
13 Akron MAC
13 New Mexico State WAC
13 Vermont AEast
13 Monmouth MAAC
14 Belmont OVC
14 Florida Gulf Coast ASun
14 E. Tennessee State Sou
14 Georgia Southern SBC
15 Winthrop BSth
15 Bucknell Pat
15 Princeton Ivy
15 North Dakota State Summ
16 Sam Houston State SLC
16 Texas Southern SWAC
16 Weber State BSky
16 North Carolina Central MEAC
16 Mount St. Mary’s NEC
16 UC Irvine BWest

First Four Participants

12-Seeds: Texas Tech, Michigan, TCU, Indiana (last 4 in)

16-Seeds: UC-Irvine, Mount St. Mary’s, UNC-Central, and Weber St.

First Four Out

69 Seton Hall

70 Wichita St.

71 Tennessee

72 Richmond

Next Four Out

73 California

74 Georgetown

75 Wake Forest

76 Utah

The Bubble Contenders

North Carolina St.



Rhode Island



Ohio St.





January 27, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview For January 28-29, 2017

PiRate Ratings Spreads for January 28-29, 2017

Games Scheduled for: Saturday, January 28, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Georgia Tech Notre Dame -4 -8 -3
Pittsburgh Clemson -2 -1 2
Syracuse Florida St. -4 -4 -5
Miami North Carolina -7 -7 -7
Wake Forest Duke -2 -4 -1
West Virginia Texas A&M 19 19 8
Oklahoma Florida -4 -6 -7
Texas Tech LSU 14 16 12
Tennessee Kansas St. 1 -1 5
Oklahoma St. Arkansas 8 5 7
Georgia Texas 6 6 6
Vanderbilt Iowa St. -3 -4 4
TCU Auburn 10 12 13
Ole Miss Baylor -10 -10 -10
Kentucky Kansas 9 8 8
Marquette Providence 10 9 8
Creighton DePaul 14 16 14
Butler Georgetown 11 11 7
Rutgers * Wisconsin -13 -17 -11
Minnesota Maryland 5 5 6
Penn St. Illinois 3 2 -1
Iowa Ohio St. 1 2 -1
Utah Oregon St. 22 22 21
Colorado Oregon -7 -9 -10
Alabama Mississippi St. 7 6 8
Missouri South Carolina -12 -12 -12
Pepperdine Gonzaga -27 -26 -19
Santa Clara St. Mary’s -9 -12 -13

* Rutgers-Wisconsin game to be played at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan

Games Scheduled for: Sunday, January 29, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Villanova Virginia 5 6 5
St. John’s Xavier -5 -8 -7
Louisville North Carolina St. 18 17 18
Virginia Tech Boston College 13 15 10
Michigan St. Michigan 2 3 9
Nebraska Purdue -9 -10 -4
Northwestern Indiana 5 1 -1
Arizona St. Washington St. 10 12 8
California Stanford 8 11 7
Cincinnati South Florida 26 28 28

What a week!  So, who is number one now?  Unless they suffer a monumental upset loss tomorrow, Gonzaga will assume the top spot in the polls, but are the Bulldogs really the best team in college basketball?

To answer that question yourself, ask yourself, “Would I take Gonzaga over X in a neutral site game in the NCAA Tournament?  Now, plug all the other top teams in the “X” spot in that question.

If you find yourself saying that a couple of schools would beat the Bulldogs, does that mean Gonzaga is not number one?  Not so fast my friends.  Maybe two of the other top 10 teams might be the “X’s” in your mind that can beat Gonzaga, while the Zags would beat the other eight.  However, which team among that group of ten would do any better?  Maybe both of the teams you figured to beat Gonzaga might only beat seven of the other top ten.  This is the 21st Century, and the John Wooden UCLA dynasty is nowhere to be found.  From 1964 to 1975, except for 1966, you might have been able to say that UCLA could beat all the other top teams with very little argument.  The Bruins were to men’s basketball what Connecticut is to women’s basketball now.

So, yes indeed.  As of this writing, Gonzaga is the legitimate number one team in the nation.  That does not mean that they are a lock for the Final Four, but in our opinion Mark Few has his best team, and the Bulldogs have the potential to make it to Phoenix.  It has been done before.  UNLV, Marquette, UNC-Charlotte, Pennsylvania, Virginia Commonwealth, and Butler were all very powerful teams from non-power leagues when they first made Final Four appearances.  Gonzaga is much like UNLV and Marquette from the 1970’s.  They have been very good for a long time, and they have beaten many power teams, but they have yet to win the big games.  UNLV made the Final Four in 1977 and again in 1987 before breaking through in 1990 to win the title.  Marquette had an undefeated regular season and lost before the Final Four.  They had the second best team in 1976 but had to play the best team (Indiana) in the Mid-east Regional.  Finally, with Al McGuire’s weakest team during his dynasty in the won-loss ledger, his only seven-loss team since he turned the then Warriors into a power, MU won the 1977 title.

Gonzaga cannot be overlooked.  They might not get to the promised land this year, but then again, this could be their year.  There is no top ten team at this point that doesn’t have some weakness.  Gonzaga has the talent to exploit any weakness this year, something Few has not had in the past.


This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25 

Using an algorithm based on the Four Factors

  1. Gonzaga
  2. North Carolina
  3. West Virginia
  4. Baylor
  5. Louisville
  6. Villanova
  7. Kentucky
  8. Kansas
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Arizona
  11. Virginia
  12. Butler
  13. Oregon
  14. Purdue
  15. UCLA
  16. Cincinnati
  17. Florida St.
  18. Creighton
  19. Notre Dame
  20. South Carolina
  21. SMU
  22. Saint Mary’s
  23. Kansas St.
  24. Duke
  25. Florida

Power Conferences


  1. North Carolina
  2. Louisville
  3. Virginia
  4. Florida St.
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Duke
  7. Wake Forest
  8. Clemson
  9. Miami 
  10. Virginia Tech
  11. Syracuse
  12. North Carolina St.
  13. Georgia Tech
  14. Pittsburgh
  15. Boston College

Big East

  1. Villanova
  2. Butler
  3. Creighton
  4. Marquette
  5. Xavier
  6. Seton Hall
  7. Georgetown
  8. Providence
  9. St. John’s
  10. DePaul

Big Ten

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Purdue
  3. Northwestern
  4. Michigan
  5. Indiana
  6. Minnesota
  7. Maryland
  8. Michigan St.
  9. Ohio St.
  10. Illinois 
  11. Penn St.
  12. Iowa
  13. Nebraska
  14. Rutgers

Big 12

  1. West Virgina
  2. Baylor
  3. Kansas
  4. Kansas St.
  5. Iowa St.
  6. TCU
  7. Oklahoma St.
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Texas


  1. Arizona
  2. Oregon
  3. UCLA
  4. USC
  5. Utah
  6. California
  7. Colorado
  8. Stanford
  9. Arizona St.
  10. Washington
  11. Washington St.
  12. Oregon St.


  1. Kentucky
  2. South Carolina
  3. Florida
  4. Arkansas
  5. Tennessee
  6. Georgia
  7. Alabama
  8. Texas A&M
  9. Vanderbilt
  10. Mississippi St.
  11. Auburn
  12. Ole Miss
  13. LSU
  14. Missouri

Other Conferences Top Teams

Competing for NCAA Tournament bids (automatic or at-large depending on league)

Atlantic 10

  1. Dayton
  2. Virginia Commonwealth
  3. Rhode Island

America East

  1. Vermont
  2. New Hamsphire
  3. Albany

American Athletic

  1. Cincinnati
  2. SMU
  3. Houston

Atlantic Sun

  1. Florida Gulf Coast
  2. Lipscomb
  3. North Florida

Big Sky

  1. Weber St.
  2. Eastern Washington

Big South

  1. Winthrop
  2. UNC-Asheville

Big West

  1. UC-Irvine
  2. UC-Davis
  3. Long Beach St.


  1. UNC-Wilmington
  2. College of Charleston

Conference USA

  1. Middle Tennessee
  2. Louisiana Tech


  1. Valparaiso
  2. Oakland


  1. Princeton
  2. Yale
  3. Harvard

Metro Atlantic

  1. Monmouth
  2. Iona
  3. Canisius
  4. St. Peter’s


  1. Akron
  2. Eastern Michigan
  3. Ohio U

Mideastern Athletic

  1. Morgan St.
  2. Norfolk St.
  3. UM-Eastern Shore
  4. Hampton

Missouri Valley

  1. Wichita St.
  2. Illinois St.

Mountain West

  1. Nevada
  2. San Diego St.
  3. Boise St.


  1. Mount St. Mary’s
  2. Fairleigh-Dickinson
  3. Wagner

Ohio Valley

  1. Belmont
  2. Murray St.


  1. Bucknell
  2. Lehigh

Sun Belt

  1. UT-Arlington
  2. Arkansas St.


  1. Chattanooga
  2. East Tennessee
  3. UNC-Greensboro


  1. New Orleans
  2. Sam Houston St.


  1. North Dakota St.
  2. Fort Wayne
  3. South Dakota
  4. Denver

Southwestern Athletic

  1. Texas Southern
  2. Prairie View
  3. Southern U

Western Athletic

  1. New Mexico St.
  2. Cal State Bakersfield

Grand Canyon is not eligible but would be number 2

West Coast

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Saint Mary’s
  3. BYU


January 23, 2017

The Pirate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Report For January 23, 2017

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 4:34 pm

Welcome to our first 32 Bracketology Gurus report of the 2016-17 college basketball season. So as not to be incorrect, we would love to present our first 32 Bracketology Gurus report, but in truth, this will be a 17 Bracketology Gurus report, since we never received anything from the other 15 gurus.

Our 17 Gurus agree on one thing: 22 leagues will send just one representative, their conference tournament champion to the Big Dance, while ten leagues will send two or more teams to the 68-team party. The Gurus agree that as of today, the West Coast and Missouri Valley Conferences will send two teams to the Dance.

In recent weeks, the ACC and Big 12 have seen their prospective invitees dwindle to more legitimate numbers. At one time, some of the Gurus believed 11 ACC teams and eight Big 12 teams would receive bids. Those numbers have decreased to nine for the ACC and seven for the Big 12. The SEC has doubled from two to four, while the Big East and Big Ten both picked up an invitation.

Let’s break it down by conference first and show you who would be Dancing today if the NCAA Tournament began. This report accounts for all games played by Sunday, January 22.

One Bid Leagues (winner of conference tournament will get the bid)
Regular season champion is guaranteed an NIT bid if not in the NCAA Tournament

America East
Vermont 6-0/16-5 owns an eight-game winning streak, which includes wins over two of the top contenders (at New Hampshire 4-2/13-7 and UMBC 4-2/13-6). It does not include a win over Stony Brook 5-1/10-9, and the Catamounts visit the Seawolves this Saturday.

Atlantic Sun
The top four teams have separated themselves from the bottom four teams, and any of the top quartet could earn the automatic bid. Perennial contender Florida Gulf Coast 4-1/15-6, South Carolina Upstate 4-1/14-8, and North Florida 4-1/9-13 remain tied at the top with Lipscomb 3-2/11-11 right there. SC Upstate has a leg up on the top seed with a road win against FGCU, but any of the top four could move ahead of the pack to at least secure an automatic NIT bid if another team wins the conference tournament.

Big Sky
Weber State is the Duke of this league, and the Wildcats once again find themselves in first place with a 5-1/10-7 mark. The contested race includes top contenders North Dakota 6-2/11-7, Eastern Washington 5-2/13-7, Montana 5-3/10-11, and Portland State 4-3/13-7. The representative of this league has not found success in recent years, and the best team in the last 10 years (Montana in 2013) lost to Syracuse by 44 points in the Round of 64. Don’t expect an upset coming forth this year either.

Big South
Winthrop 7-1/15-4 has taken command in the regular season race having just swept its top rivals UNC-Asheville 6-2/14-7 and Liberty 6-2/11-10. The Eagles have now won 10 of 11 games. Earlier in the year, Winthrop stayed within shouting distance at Florida State, won at Illinois, and kept it close at Dayton for about 25 minutes. The Eagles are capable of pulling off an upset in the Round of 64.

Big West
An eight-game winning streak has propelled UC-Irvine 6-0/13-9 to the front of the pack with UC Davis in second at 4-1/12-8. Don’t lose track of Long Beach State, even with the 49ers at 3-3/8-14. Five of LBSU’s losses have come on the road against Wichita State, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA, and Kansas. The 49ers have wins over Oregon State and Colorado State.

Colonial Athletic
It would be a shame if UNCW 8-0/19-2 does not win the automatic bid from this league, because Kevin Keatts has a team capable of sneaking into the Sweet 16 this year. If the Seahawks were to get a rematch with Duke this year, UNCW’s winning might not even be an upset. College of Charleston 7-1/16-5 is a formidable challenger in this league, and the Cougars lost to UNCW by just six points even though they connected on just 29% of their shots in that game.

Conference USA
What was just said about UNCW goes double for Middle Tennessee 7-0/17-3 in this league. The Blue Raiders actually beat UNCW in November, and they also pulled off their upset in last year’s tournament. MTSU has enough talent to become the next Mid-Major to make it to the Sweet 16 and if the brackets were really nice, Coach Kermit Davis could sneak this team into the Elite 8. Louisiana Tech 6-1/14-6 has a chance to take over the top spot in the league this week, but the Bulldogs will have to do it on the road with trips to UAB 5-2/12-8 and to Middle. Marshall 5-2/12-8 is the hardest team to match up with on short notice like would happen in the conference tournament, as the Thundering Herd use the “7 seconds or less” principle of pace. A fatigued team not accustomed to playing at this pace could find the going tough if playing for the third consecutive day.

Having the top player in the league with no real number two in the picture makes Valparaiso 6-1/16-4 the overwhelming favorite to avoid the upset bug this year after falling in the conference semis last year and having to settle for a trip to the NIT finals. The Crusaders have non-conference wins over Alabama, BYU, and Rhode Island, with two of their four losses coming at Oregon and Kentucky. Star big man Alec Peters chose to stay for his senior year rather than declare for the NBA Draft, and Peters currently averages 24 and 11 for Valpo. Don’t think Peters has padded his stats against the weak sisters of the poor. Against Alabama, BYU, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Kentucky, he scored 24, 24, 26, 27, and 23 points respectively. He also tallied 40 points and 27 rebounds in Valpo’s wins over top league contenders Green Bay 5-2/11-8 and Oakland 5-3/15-6.

The last holdout in sponsoring a postseason tournament, the Ivy League will send its top four teams to the Palestra in Philadelphia this March to decide the NCAA automatic qualifier. The home town Penn Quakers do not figure to be part of the quartet, so it will be a truly neutral affair. Princeton 3-0/10-6 and Harvard 2-0/10-5 will almost assuredly be there, while Yale 2-1/10-6 will most likely be there. The final participant should come from whoever emerges from a three-team dogfight between Columbia 1-1/7-8, Cornell 1-1/5-12, and Brown 1-2/10-9. Expect a Princeton-Harvard championship game.

Metro Atlantic
With early season losses to Rider and St. Peter’s (2nd in the MAAC at 6-3/10-9), it looked like Monmouth 8-2/16-5 was suffering a hangover from their 2106 conference tournament loss to Iona, a team that became a really fierce rival last year in the image of the Red Sox and Yankees. Coach King Rice has the Hawks moving on all cylinders since those two stubbings of the toes, and Monmouth has reeled off six wins in a row by an average score of 84-69. Iona 5-4/12-8 is back in the pack this year.

When a team from the MAC is 6-0 in conference play and 16-3 overall with two of the losses to top 10 teams Creighton and Gonzaga, you might think said team would be considered an at-large invitee if it fell in the conference tournament. However, Akron is not bubble-worthy at this point in time. The Zips have a nine-game winning streak, but the Zips are 10-0 at home and just 2-3 on the road this year. They are the class of the league, but there are teams that can upset them in the conference tournament, such as Ohio, Eastern Michigan, and Northern Illinois, all 4-2 in league play. Akron was in this position last year and suffered an upset loss to eventual conference champion Buffalo. The Zips will be loaded for bear in March this year.

Mideastern Athletic
In recent years, the MEAC has been underrated by the seedmeisters. Forced to appear in Dayton in the opening round, and almost always given a #15 or #16 seed, the MEAC has done better than forecast in the Big Dance, including one of the biggest upsets in the 21st Century. This year, the MEAC race is tightly contested between nine teams within one game of each other in the loss column. The best shot at avoiding a 16-seed comes from UNC-Central 3-1/12-6, the only team with an overall winning record. Out of the MEAC, the Eagles performed admirably in close losses at Ohio State and LSU, and they whipped Missouri in Columbia.

Mountain West
Almost every season, the MWC conference race goes down to the wire with many teams still in contention in the final weeks. This year is more of the same, as eight of the 11 teams are bunched up within two games of each other. The current contenders in the lead or within a game are Nevada 5-2/16-4, Boise State 5-2/12-6, Fresno State 5-3/13-7, New Mexico 5-3/12-8, Colorado State 4-3/12-8. Recent top team San Diego State started slowly this year and appeared to be out of the race, but the Aztecs are approaching their peak. SDSU is 3-3/11-7 and cannot be overlooked. As a whole, the league has no big wins over a top 25 team, and thus it is to be a one-bid league this year.

When Wagner upset Connecticut to open the season, it looked like the NEC could have a team capable of competing in the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Since that big win, the Seahawks have gone 7-10 and just 4-4 in NEC action. Instead, the three teams most frequently in the lead in this conference in the past have ascended to the top of the league standings. Mount St. Mary’s 7-1/9-12 and Fairleigh Dickinson 7-1/9-10 lead Long Island U 6-2/13-8. No other team has a winning league mark at this time. MSM has the upper hand at this time, as the Mountaineers defeated FDU and LIU. It is a strong possibility that the winner of this league will head to Dayton as part of the First Four.

Ohio Valley
Two teams have dominated this league like Ohio State and Michigan dominated Big Ten football for more than a decade, and they currently lead their respective divisions yet again this season. In the East, Belmont 7-0/13-4 has outscored its last nine foes by an average of 80-67. The Bruins four losses came at Vanderbilt to open their season, against Florida in a so-called neutral site game in the Sunshine State, at then #23 Rhode Island, and at home to the top mid-major in the nation in Middle Tennessee. Belmont has come close before, including a last-second loss to Duke in the Big Dance, but Coach Rick Byrd has pulled off some incredible road upsets in the past including wins at Marquette, North Carolina, Stanford, Cincinnati, and Alabama. Additionally, the Bruins went to Cameron Indoor Stadium and lost to Duke by a point. In the West, Murray State 5-2/11-10 leads UT-Martin and SEMO by a game.

Bucknell has been the dominant team in this league this century, and the Bison are on top again this year with a 7-1/15-6 slate. Keep an eye on Navy. The Middies have won five games in a row and sit in a tie for second at 5-3/10-10. Lehigh 5-3/11-8 hung the lone conference loss on Bucknell.

Two hot teams have begun to create distance from the rest of the league. UNC-Greensboro 7-1/16-5 has won six consecutive games, while Chattanooga 6-1/15-4 has won five in a row. There is a shelf at 5-2 in league play where two more teams have separated from the remainder of the league. Furman 12-8 and East Tennessee State 15-5 have nights when they can beat UNCG and UC, but the top seed will probably be decided on February 2, when UNCG heads to Chattanooga.

New Orleans has fielded some mighty good basketball teams in the past with some outstanding coaches (Ron Greene, Butch Van Breda Kolff, Benny Dees, Tim Floyd) that would go on to big time universities or who had come from big time programs. After Hurricane Katrina decimated the Crescent City, UNO struggled and even de-emphasized the sport for three seasons. Mark Slessinger came on board when the Privateers came back to D1 and re-joined the SLC. With Stephen F. Austin on the decline after a brief dominance, UNO is on top of the league with a 6-1/11-7 record. Perennial contender Sam Houston 6-2/15-6 won at UNO and might be the team to beat this year.

Southwestern Athletic
Texas Southern 6-0/10-9 may be the only team in this league that could avoid playing in Dayton in the opening round of the tournament. Still, the Tigers would most assuredly be a 16-seed. This league has the two weakest teams in D1 basketball in Mississippi Valley and Alabama A&M, both of whom are being outscored by close to 20 points per game.

This league shows promise every year as usually one or more members beat a power conference team. This year’s major upset belongs to Ft. Wayne, as the Mastodons, with their high-octane offense, knocked off Indiana. However FW is just 3-4 in league play and 14-7 overall, proving that the Summit is one tough league. North Dakota State is the current top tomato with a 6-1/14-6 record, two games ahead of Denver and South Dakota.

Eight of the 12 teams in the SBC have reasonable chances to win the conference tournament, and this league features a host of playing styles that should make the tournament quite interesting. You like fast-paced racehorse basketball? Then, follow UL-Lafayette 3-3/13-6 and Troy 2-4/10-10. Texas State 3-3/10-8 controls the pace and rarely challenges the tempo. But, if you like to go with the top contenders, look at Georgia Southern 6-0/13-6 winners of seven consecutive games in which the Eagles have averaged better than 85 points per game. Four teams are tied for second at 4-2–UT-Arlington, Georgia State, Arkansas State, and Coastal Carolina.

Western Athletic
New Mexico State 5-0/18-2 has been in the Final Four in the past, so it should come as no surprise that the Aggies are once again in control in the WAC race. Coach Paul Weir is a successful recruiter and knows how to get his players to play tough defense. You would think Weir was destined for the big time, but he may be a lifer at NMSU. Because Grand Canyon is not eligible as a transitioning team, the only real rival the Aggies might have is from Cal State Bakersfield 3-1/12-7. The Roadrunners lost by just five points at NMSU and get to host the Aggies on February 9.

Multiple Bid Leagues

Cincinnati 7-0/17-2 has a win at Iowa State as well as losses to Rhode Island and Butler. The Bearcats are close to becoming a lock for the Dance. In AAC play, UC enjoys a scoring margin of more than 12 points and holds opponents to 58.4 points per game. The Cinti defense is outstanding, limiting opponents to 36% shooting and enjoying hefty rebounding and turnover margins. They will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament and must be considered a possible Elite 8 team.

SMU 7-1/17-4 may not be the best shooting or ball-handling team in the nation, but few teams can match the Mustangs on the glass, where they enjoy an enormous rebounding edge. They are gathering offensive rebounds on 41% of their missed shots, and a 40% shooting team can be as effective as a 50% shooting team when they can rebound the ball on two out of every five missed shots.

Memphis 5-2/15-5 is not far away from getting into the at-large conversation. Give Coach Tubby Smith credit. He has taken Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Texas Tech to the Big Dance, so taking a great program like Memphis would come as no surprise.

Atlantic Coast
The ACC may not get 11 teams in the Dance like once thought possible, but nine teams would not be a reach. The Three co-leaders, North Carolina 6-1/18-3, Florida State 6-1/18-2, and Notre Dame 6-1/17-3 are locks to make it into the tournament. It is close to lock status for Virginia 5-2/15-3 and Louisville 4-3/16-4. It is a good bet that Virginia Tech 4-3/15-4 and Duke 3-3/15-4 will be there as well. There could should be two additional invitations, which will come from a pool of Wake Forest 3-4/12-7, Georgia Tech 3-4/11-8, Syracuse 3-4/11-9, Miami 2-4/12-6, and NC State 2-5/13-7. However, current last place team Clemson 1-6/11-8 has enough talent to do what Virginia did in 1976 when the Cavs finished last in the ACC and then won the conference tournament.

Atlantic 10
This league is a near lock for at least two bids if not three or four. It will depend on what happens in the second half of the conference schedule. Dayton 6-1/15-4 should finish strong enough to avoid having to play an opponent on their home floor in the opening round. Virginia Commonwealth 5-2/15-5 has one signature win, but it is a home victory over Middle Tennessee. The Rams need to finish strong to earn an at-large bid.

LaSalle 5-2/11-6 has been to one NCAA Tournament in a quarter century, but Coach John Giannini has his best offensive squad in his 13 years in Philadelphia and best overall since he was at Maine in the 1990’s.

Three other contenders for an at-large bid should any of the trio go on an extended winning streak include Richmond 5-2/11-8, St. Bonaventure 4-2/12-6, and Rhode Island 4-2/12-6. URI was in good shape until a swoon sent them on a 6-6 mark before turning things around.

Big East
Reigning National Champion Villanova 7-1/19-1 is very much alive as a repeat possibility this year. The Wildcats are 4-1 against the top 25, and they outscore opponents by an average of 16.5 points per game. VU is just one of four sure things for the Dance and as many as six teams if teams number five and six can stay in contention.

Butler 6-2/17-3, Creighton 5-2/18-2, and Xavier 4-3/14-5 are locks for Dance invitations, while Marquette 4-3/13-6 and Seton Hall 3-4/13-6 are top contenders for the Bubble. Providence 3-5/13-8 is a team to watch in the Big East Tournament, as they have enough talent to get to the championship game.

Big Ten
This league usually gets six to eight teams in the Dance, and this year should be no different. However, this league has been a big disappointment in this century, as no team has won the thing this century (the century began in 2001 and not 2000). Co-leaders Maryland 5-1/17-2 and Wisconsin 5-1/16-3 are locks, as is Purdue 5-2/16-4.

This is where it gets interesting. Northwestern has NEVER been to the NCAA Tournament! The Wildcats would be in if the season ended today, and their 5-2/16-4 record includes wins over Dayton and Ohio State. NU needs to pad the resume a little more to break through their glass ceiling, and a home win over Maryland or Indiana might be enough if the Wildcats finish 11-7 or better in league play.

Indiana 4-3/14-6 and Michigan State 4-3/12-8 have not yet earned for sure invitations. As for Minnesota 3-4/15-5 and Michigan 3-4/13-7, neither has done enough to earn a bid at this point.
Ohio State 2-5/12-8 sits in 13th place in the league, but the Buckeyes are dangerous enough to get on a role and win the conference tournament.

Big 12
Kansas 7-0/18-1 keeps dominating this league. Bill Self is the sixth KU head coach to dominate in this league, and the Jayhawks could easily be primed to win the whole ball of wax for the first time since 2008.

Baylor 6-1/18-1 could give the league more than one team in the Final Four, but the Bears must show they can hold onto the ball against quality pressure defenses.

Speaking of handling the ball, Kansas State 4-3/15-4 showed West (Press) Virginia 4-3/15-4 it can handle the havoc, but the Mountaineers will get a chance to solidify their lock status when they host Kansas Tuesday night in what should be can’t-miss action if you are a gym rat.

Iowa State 4-3/12-6, TCU 3-4/14-5, and Texas Tech 3-4/14-5 compete for what could be two or three additional bids. Okahoma State was once firmly in this pack, but the Cowboys are now just 1-6 in the league and will have to win the conference tournament to make the Dance.

Missouri Valley
What was once considered a two-bid league only if Wichita State 7-1/17-4 finished with no more than one or two conference losses and then lost in the Championship Round of Arch Madness has now moved into the two-bid league even if the Shockers finish second in the league race and lose in the Championship Round.

Illinois State 8-0/16-4 has won nine straight games, which includes a 14-point pasting over the Shockers. The Redbirds would earn the keys to lock up their at-large bid if they beat Wichita State in Wichita, or else they might have to beat them in St. Louis in March. For now, we go with two MVC teams.

UCLA discovered there’s more to the game than just shooting. Arizona 7-0/18-2 showed the Bruins 6-2/19-2 that a quality defense and equally strong fastbreaking offense can dominate, even on the road. The Wildcats completed the massacre of the City of Angels after previously smashing USC 4-4/17-4.

It is Oregon 7-0/18-2 that is a Final Four contender. The Ducks began the year 2-2 and have now won 16 games in a row, most of them by lopsided margins. The two co-leaders finally face off February 4 in their only regular season meeting, and the game will be played in Eugene, where OU has won 38 straight games, the last loss coming at the hands of Arizona in 2015.

Even with the losses, the LA schools figure to be in the Dance. Whether Utah 5-2/14-5 and/or California 5-3/14-6 can find that invitation in their mailbox is still to be determined. Anywhere between four and six bids will go to Pac-12 teams. Like the Big Ten, the Pac-12 has not seen a member team cut the nets in this century.

Kentucky 7-0/17-2 could run through six opponents and easily take the National Title, but they could just as easily go down in an upset loss as early as the Round of 32. That’s what you get with an inexperienced, young team with incredible talent. The Wildcats can run like the former teams of Adolph Rupp, but Rupp liked to have experienced upperclassmen in his starting lineup. John Calipari usually fields a team that could pass for Harry Lancaster’s freshmen teams under Rupp.
South Carolina 5-1/15-4 and Florida 5-2/14-5 are good bets to continue winning enough to get at-large bids, while Arkansas 4-3/15-4 is getting to that point. If all three teams do not get into the tournament, at least two of the three should.

Alabama 4-2/11-7 has just enough talent and a fabulous coach in Avery Johnson to sneak into the Dance, but it will most likely take a 9-3 finish in league play and at least a visit to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the Crimson Tide to get that bid.

Georgia 4-3/12-7 most likely has a date with the NIT after losing a most controversial game to Texas A&M on Saturday. Aside from the terrible clock malfunction, it sure looked like the Bulldogs scored in enough time to get the win that was taken from them. Teams have missed out on the tournament by one controversial loss before.

West Coast
With Arizona looking like a Final Four team more and more each day, it really makes this year’s Gonzaga team 7-0/19-0 like a legitimate Final Four team. The Bulldogs once again face fierce competition from rival St. Mary’s 7-1/17-2, and the Gaels have a resume worthy of receiving an at-large bid, even if they lose thrice to the Zags.

BYU 6-2/15-6 lurks back in third place, and the Cougars have the talent to upset both of the big two ahead of them in the standings.

The Guru’s Seeding Conensus
1: Villanova, Kentucky, Gonzaga, Kansas
2: Baylor, Florida St., North Carolina, Virginia
3: West Virginia, Louisville, Wisconsin, Arizona
4: Butler, Duke, UCLA, Purdue
5: Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Creighton, Oregon
6: Florida, SMU, St. Mary’s, Iowa St.
7: South Carolina, Kansas St., Xavier, Northwestern
8: Marquette, Indiana, Wichita St., TCU
9: Illinois St., Maryland, Dayton, Middle Tennessee
10: Michigan St., Virginia Tech, Arkansas, USC
11: Seton Hall, UNC-Wilmington, Utah, Texas Tech
12: Minnesota, Wake Forest, Virginia Commonwealth, California, Akron, Nevada
13: Chattanooga, Vermont, Monmouth, Valparaiso
14: Winthrop, Belmont, New Mexico St., Georgia Southern
15: North Dakota St., Bucknell, Florida Gulf Coast, Princeton
16: Texas Southern, Weber St., UNC-Central, New Orleans, UC-Irvine, Mount St. Mary’s

The Last 4 In & Headed to Dayton
68 California
67 Minnesota
66 Virginia Commonwealth
65 Wake Forest

The First 8 Out
69 Miami (Fla)
70 Rhode Island
71 Georgia
72 Clemson
73 Michigan
74 Houston
75 Syracuse
76 Pittsburgh

The 4 Weakest Automatic Teams & Headed to Dayton
UC-Irvine, New Orleans, UNC-Central, Mount St. Mary’s

Lowest Seed Seen as Capable of Winning the National Championship
5 Seed (Oregon)

Lowest Seed in Sweet 16
13 Seed (Monmouth)

Highest Seed Eliminated Before Sweet 16
4 Seed (UCLA & Purdue)

January 20, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview For January 21-22, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Games Scheduled for: Saturday, January 21, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Boston College North Carolina -17 -20 -15
Notre Dame Syracuse 10 9 10
Florida St. Louisville 2 1 2
North Carolina St. Wake Forest -1 1 -1
Virginia Georgia Tech 17 20 22
Duke Miami (Fla.) 10 11 14
Kansas Texas 17 19 15
Oklahoma Iowa St. -2 -4 -3
Texas Tech Oklahoma St. 3 5 3
Kansas St. West Virginia -4 -7 -1
TCU Baylor -1 -2 -6
Villanova Providence 17 19 15
DePaul Butler -13 -16 -17
Creighton Marquette 9 9 14
Rutgers Nebraska 1 -2 -6
Purdue Penn St. 14 16 14
Michigan Illinois 6 8 -1
Indiana Michigan St. 8 8 3
Minnesota Wisconsin -1 -4 5
Washington St. Colorado -5 -6 -7
UCLA Arizona 7 6 1
Oregon Stanford 15 18 14
Washington Utah -4 -3 -6
Oregon St. California -11 -14 -11
Florida Vanderbilt 14 14 11
Texas A&M Georgia 1 3 3
Missouri Ole Miss -3 -4 -8
Auburn Alabama 2 1 -2
Kentucky South Carolina 14 17 14
Tennessee Mississippi St. 7 5 10
Arkansas LSU 13 14 13
Gonzaga Portland 31 32 26


Games Scheduled for: Sunday, January 22, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Seton Hall St. John’s 9 10 10
Ohio St. Northwestern 1 2 2
Xavier Georgetown 10 10 7
Clemson Virginia Tech 6 8 8
USC Arizona St. 10 10 10


This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25 (A Four Factors Metric-Based Ranking)

  1. Villanova
  2. Kentucky
  3. Kansas
  4. Virgina
  5. North Carolina
  6. Gonzaga
  7. Louisville
  8. Wisconsin
  9. West Virginia
  10. Baylor
  11. Arizona
  12. Butler
  13. UCLA
  14. Creighton
  15. Oregon
  16. Florida St.
  17. Duke
  18. Cincinnati
  19. Notre Dame
  20. Florida
  21. Purdue
  22. St. Mary’s
  23. South Carolina
  24. SMU
  25. Kansas St.



  1. Virginia
  2. North Carolina
  3. Louisville
  4. Florida St.
  5. Duke
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Clemson
  8. Miami (Fla)
  9. Wake Forest
  10. Syracuse
  11. Virginia Tech
  12. Pittsburgh
  13. North Carolina St.
  14. Georgia Tech
  15. Boston College

Big East

  1. Villanova
  2. Butler
  3. Creighton
  4. Xavier
  5. Marquette
  6. Seton Hall
  7. Providence
  8. Georgetown
  9. St. John’s
  10. DePaul

Big Ten

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Purdue
  3. Indiana
  4. Northwestern
  5. Minnesota
  6. Michigan St.
  7. Maryland
  8. Michigan
  9. Ohio St.
  10. Illinois
  11. Penn St.
  12. Nebraska
  13. Iowa
  14. Rutgers

Big 12

  1. Kansas
  2. West Virginia
  3. Baylor
  4. Kansas St.
  5. Iowa St.
  6. Texas Tech
  7. TCU
  8. Oklahoma St.
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Texas


  1. Arizona
  2. UCLA
  3. Oregon
  4. Utah
  5. USC
  6. California
  7. Colorado
  8. Stanford
  9. Washington
  10. Arizona St.
  11. Washington St.
  12. Oregon St.


  1. Kentucky
  2. Florida
  3. South Carolina
  4. Georgia
  5. Arkansas
  6. Alabama
  7. Tennessee
  8. Mississippi St.
  9. Texas A&M
  10. Vanderbilt
  11. Ole Miss
  12. Auburn
  13. LSU
  14. Missouri

Must Watch Games This Week


Notre Dame vs. Syracuse on ESPN at 12PM EST

Florida St. vs. Louisville on ESPN at 2PM EST

UCLA vs. Arizona on CBS at 4PM EST

Minnesota vs. Wisconsin on Big Ten Network at 4:30 PM EST

Kentucky vs. South Carolina on ESPN at 6PM EST

TCU vs. Baylor on ESPNU at 8PM EST



Ohio St. vs. Northwestern on ESPN at 1PM EST

Watch football afterwards


We hoped to have our first 30 Bracketology Guru report of the season today, but to date we have only received lists from 11 gurus.  Apparently, the guys and one gal prefer to wait until the weekend games have been played, so we will try to debut our annual bracketology report Tuesday.






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