The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 7, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For March 7, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:08 am

Saturday’s Games

 

Home

Visitor

Spread

Alabama A&M

Jackson St.

-3.9

Alabama St.

Grambling

-0.1

Alcorn St.

Texas Southern

-0.8

Arizona

Washington

10.0

Arizona St.

Washington St.

9.9

Arkansas Pine Bluff

Mississippi Valley St.

8.3

Belmont

Murray St.

2.9

Bradley

Drake

3.0

Cal St. Fullerton

Long Beach St.

4.1

Cal St. Northridge

Hawaii

1.4

Central Arkansas

Northwestern St.

4.7

Cincinnati

Temple

9.8

Creighton

Seton Hall

3.0

Dartmouth

Brown

5.2

Dayton

George Washington

23.8

Drexel

UNC Wilmington

3.1

Duke

North Carolina

12.5

East Tennessee St.

VMI

13.9

Eastern Washington

Weber St.

12.0

Elon

James Madison

1.0

Florida

Kentucky

2.7

Florida Intl.

Western Kentucky

-0.4

Florida St.

Boston College

17.8

Fordham

George Mason

-2.1

Furman

Wofford

6.3

Georgetown

Villanova

-2.2

Grand Canyon

Cal St. Bakersfield

3.0

Hartford

UMass Lowell

3.0

Harvard

Yale

-1.6

Idaho

Idaho St.

-1.0

Incarnate Word

Abilene Christian

-11.7

Indiana

Wisconsin

2.1

Kansas St.

Iowa St.

2.1

Lamar

McNeese

3.5

Louisiana

Arkansas St.

1.7

Louisiana Tech

Charlotte

9.1

LSU

Georgia

8.8

Massachusetts

Rhode Island

-5.2

Mercer

Western Carolina

-2.2

Miami (Fla.)

Syracuse

-0.5

Middle Tennessee

Southern Miss.

2.6

Mississippi St.

Ole Miss

5.3

Missouri

Alabama

-0.8

Missouri St.

Valparaiso

2.1

Montana

Southern Utah

4.2

Montana St.

Northern Colorado

-5.8

New Orleans

Southeastern Louisiana

5.4

North Dakota St.

Denver

11.7

Northwestern

Penn St.

-8.2

Notre Dame

Virginia Tech

6.1

Oregon

Stanford

7.0

Oregon St.

California

9.6

Pacific

San Francisco

-3.4

Penn

Columbia

12.2

Portland St.

Sacramento St.

3.8

Princeton

Cornell

10.9

Providence

DePaul

7.9

Purdue

Rutgers

4.5

Rice

UTEP

2.3

Robert Morris

Long Island

5.0

Saint Joseph’s

La Salle

-3.4

Saint Louis

St. Bonaventure

6.3

Saint Mary’s

Pepperdine

8.5

San Diego St.

Utah St.

5.2

South Dakota St.

Purdue Fort Wayne

9.9

South Florida

SMU

0.6

Southern

Prairie View

0.1

St. Francis (PA)

Sacred Heart

4.6

St. John’s

Marquette

-1.6

Stephen F. Austin

Sam Houston

10.0

Stony Brook

Albany

9.0

TCU

Oklahoma

-0.7

Tennessee

Auburn

1.1

Texas

Oklahoma St.

4.1

Texas A&M

Arkansas

-4.5

Texas A&M-CC

Houston Baptist

9.8

Texas Tech

Kansas

-4.0

UAB

Old Dominion

1.2

UC Santa Barbara

Cal Poly

13.2

UMBC

New Hampshire

2.2

UNC Greensboro

Chattanooga

5.9

USC

UCLA

3.8

UT Rio Grande Valley

California Baptist

-0.9

UT-Arlington

Coastal Carolina

6.8

Utah

Colorado

-4.8

UTSA

Marshall

-0.4

Vanderbilt

South Carolina

-5.1

Vermont

Maine

20.3

Virginia

Louisville

-2.3

West Virginia

Baylor

0.4

Xavier

Butler

1.4

 

Saturday’s Key Games on TV

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

12:00 PM

ESPN

Indiana

Wisconsin

12:00 PM

ESPN2

Tennessee

Auburn

12:00 PM

ESPN3

St. Francis (PA)

Sacred Heart

1:00 PM

CBS

Florida

Kentucky

1:00 PM

ESPN+

West Virginia

Baylor

2:00 PM

ESPN

Texas Tech

Kansas

2:00 PM

ESPN3

Robert Morris

Long Island

2:30 PM

Fox

Creighton

Seton Hall

3:15 PM

CBS

USC

UCLA

3:35 PM

CBSSN

Bradley

Drake

4:00 PM

ESPN

Virginia

Louisville

5:30 PM

CBS

San Diego St.

Utah St.

5:30 PM

ESPN3

Stephen F. Austin

Sam Houston St.

6:00 PM

ESPN+

Penn

Columbia

6:00 PM

ESPN+

Princeton

Cornell

6:00 PM

ESPN2

TCU

Oklahoma

6:05 PM

CBSSN

Missouri St.

Valparaiso

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Harvard

Yale

8:00 PM

ESPN2

Belmont

Murray St.

8:30 PM

ESPN+

UNC Greensboro

Chattanooga

8:30 PM

FS1

Xavier

Butler

11:00 PM

FS1

Oregon

Stanford

12:00 AM

ESPN2

Saint Mary’s

Pepperdine

 

CONFERENCE  TOURNAMENTS  UPDATE

 

America East Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 7

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

1 Vermont (24-7)

8 Maine (9-21)

7:00 PM

ESPN3

2 Stony Brook (19-12)

7 Albany (14-17)

7:00 PM

ESPN3

3 Hartford (16-15)

6 UMass Lowell (13-18)

5:00 PM

ESPN3

4 UMBC (15-16)

5 New Hampshire (15-14)

1:00 PM

ESPN3

Vermont is the heavy favorite to repeat as AEC Champions.  The Catamounts will host every game they play in this tournament, and while Vermont’s two conference losses did come at home, it would be a major upset if another team represented the league in the NCAA Tournament.  Vermont is certainly an upset-worthy double-digit seed in the Big Dance, while no other team in this league is talented enough to win anything other than a play-in game in Dayton.

 

 

 

Big South Tournament

Semifinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Winthrop

78

Gardner-Webb

66

Hampton

86

Radford

78

With top seed Radford losing to Hampton, Winthrop now becomes host team for Sunday’s Big South Championship Game.  The Eagles will host the surprise Hampton Pirates at 1:00 PM tomorrow in a game televised on ESPN.

 

 

 

Colonial Athletic Tournament

1st Round

March 7

Washington, D.C. (Entertainment & Sports Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

8 Drexel (13-18)

9 UNC Wilmington (10-21)

4:00 PM

FloHoops (Subscrip.)

7 Elon (11-20)

10 James Madison (9-20)

6:30 PM

FloHoops (Subscrip.)

 

Five CAA Teams finished with double-digit conference wins, and none of them play today, as they received byes to the quarterfinals.  We don’t expect any of today’s combatants to be around by the semifinals.  

The #’s 5 & 6 seeds in this tournament, Delaware and Northeastern, are the two dark horses that could create some havoc during the the next few days.  Hofstra and William and Mary are the top two seeds, but neither is a shoo-in to make the conference championship game.

 

 

 

Missouri Valley Tournament (Arch Madness)

Quarterfinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Drake

77

Northern Iowa

56

Bradley

64

Southern Illinois

59

Valparaiso

74

Loyola (Chi.)

73 ot

Missouri St.

78

Indiana St.

51

 

Missouri Valley Tournament (Arch Madness)

Semifinals

March 7

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

4 Bradley (21-11)

8 Drake (20-13)

3:30 PM

CBSSN

6 Missouri St. (16-16)

7 Valparaiso (18-15)

6:00 PM

CBSSN

 

As we mentioned in our first preview of Arch Madness, this tournament has been won by a team coming from back in the pack as often as it has been won by the top seed.  Well, after yesterday, you can kiss the top three seeds good bye!  Northern Iowa, Loyola of Chicago, and Indiana State all went home, and we are left with a 4, 6, 7, and 8 seed.  And, the 8-seeded Drake Bulldogs looked the most impressive by far in the quarterfinal shellacking of UNI.  

Missouri State vastly played beneath the level of its talent in the regular season, so it would not be surprising to see the Bears playing for a spot in the NCAA Tournament tomorrow.  MSU coach Dana Ford comes from the Gregg Marshall coaching tree, and his team plays a similar style, which tends to bring teams to their peak performance in March.

 

 

 

Mountain West Tournament

Semifinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

San Diego St.

81

Boise St.

68

Utah St.

89

Wyoming

82

 

Mountain West Tournament

Championship

March 7

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 San Diego St. (30-1)

2 Utah St. (25-8)

5:30 PM

CBS

 

With the top two teams making it to the Championship Game, the league is now guaranteed to have two Dance tickets punched.  Utah St. has now moved off the Bubble into the safe part of the projected field.  

San Diego State started cold last night and trailed by 16 points before a barrage of three-pointers brought the Aztecs back and allowed them to tie the game at the half and then run away in the second half in a similar manner to their blowout of Iowa across town in a mid-season tournament in Vegas.  A win today could secure a number one seed for SDSU, as they are locked in a fierce battle with Dayton for the fourth number one seed as of this moment.

 

 

 

Northeast Tournament

Quarterfinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Robert Morris

59

St. Francis (NY)

58

St. Francis (PA)

87

Bryant

61

Sacred Heart

61

Mount St. Mary’s

59

Long Island

73

Fairleigh-Dickinson

72

Northeast Tournament

Semifinals

March 7

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

2 St. Francis (PA) (21-9)

3 Sacred Heart (20-12)

12:00 PM

ESPN3

1 Robert Morris (18-14)

4 Long Island (15-17)

2:00 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

Ohio Valley Tournament

Semifinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Belmont

60

Eastern Kentucky

50

Murray St.

73

Austin Peay

61

 

Ohio Valley Tournament

Championship

March 7

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Belmont (25-7)

2 Murray St. (23-8)

8:00 PM

ESPN2

 

This tournament can almost schedule this game as part of its regular season package.  Belmont and Murray State have met in the OVC Title Game numerous times since the Bruins entered the league.  Last year, both teams made the NCAA Tournament and won their first games.  Neither are as strong as they were last year, but that doesn’t mean that the winner of this game must be taken lightly in the Big Dance.  The champion will receive a #14 or #15 seed in the field, and some #2 or 3 seed will be in for a real fight.

 

 

Southern Tournament

1st Round

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

VMI

96

Samford

78

Wofford

93

The Citadel

76

Southern Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 7

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

1 East Tennessee St. (27-4)

9 VMI (9-23)

12:00 PM

ESPN+

4 Mercer (17-14)

5 Western Carolina (18-11)

2:30 PM

ESPN+

2 Furman (25-6)

7 Wofford (17-15)

6:00 PM

ESPN+

3 UNC Greensboro (23-8)

6 Chattanooga (19-12)

8:30 PM

ESPN+

East Tennessee coach Steve Forbes doesn’t let his troops rest on their laurels.  When Northern Iowa was upset yesterday in the quarterfinal round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, you can bet he used this to make sure his team knew it better come ready to play against VMI today.  The Keydets can score points in a hurry, and if ETSU comes out flat thinking they can walk over VMI like Sherman marched through Atlanta, the Bucs may find themselves in a big hole.

All four of these games are worth watching.  Any of the remaining eight teams are strong enough and talented enough to win three games in the next three days.  Even the lowest remaining seed, Wofford, can cut the nets, as they did last year.  

If East Tennessee wins two games in this tournament and then loses to a Furman or UNC Greensboro, the Buccaneers could still receive an at-large bid, but it isn’t a sure thing.  The chances that two SoCon teams get bids are rather slim, which makes this tournament so exciting with eight quality teams remaining.  If you like contrasting styles of play, this is a tournament you want to watch even if you have no dog in the fight.

 

 

 

Summit Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 7 & 8

Sioux Falls, SD (Sanford Premier Center)

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

1 North Dakota St. (22-8)

8 Denver (7-23)

7:00 PM 3/7

ESPN+

4 Oral Roberts (16-13)

5 Omaha (16-15)

7:00 PM 3/8

ESPN+

2 South Dakota St. (22-9)

7 Purdue Fort Wayne (13-18)

9:30 PM 3/7

ESPN+

3 South Dakota (20-11)

6 North Dakota (13-17)

9:30 PM 3/8

ESPN+

 

Depending on which way you drive into the Denny Sanford Premier Center, you might think the building is a giant cylinder or you might think it is a long rectangular complex.  Take it from somebody that was there and mistook the building for something else because he arrived on the back side of the arena rather than the front.

This year’s Summit League Tournament may have the same feeling.  On the front side of the league, South Dakota State and North Dakota State look like potent teams destined to make the championship round.  But, on the back side of the league, teams like Omaha and Oral Roberts might look like they belong in a different league, but when the front end and back end are brought together (the venue looks like a giant barge), the tournament takes on a different style with some potentially interesting games.  Don’t put the top two seeds in the Championship Game bracket in pen.  

Having no connection to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, let me highly endorse visiting this beautiful city.  The Falls here are nothing like those in Niagara, but they are incredibly wonderful in their own way.  There is a traquilizing effect to seeing multiple falls at the level of the falls as opposed to being well above in Niagara or in the Maid of the Mist in the water.  While Niagara is a power plant of water flow, Sioux Falls has more peaceful water.  Consider Sioux Falls in a future Summer Vacation when you plan a visit to Mount Rushmore.

 

 

 

Sun Belt Tournament

1st Round

March 7

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

8 Louisiana (13-18)

9 Arkansas St. (16-15)

12:00 PM

ESPN+

7 UT-Arlington (14-17)

10 Coastal Carolina (15-16)

3:00 PM

ESPN+

 

The Sun Belt Conference plays its tournament in a similar manner to the Ohio Valley and West Coast Conferences.  The bottom four teams play in the first round with the two winners advancing to play the next two teams above them in the seed line.  Then, the two winners in the second round advance to play the next two teams above them in the seed line.  Meanwhile, the top two seeds receive byes to the Semifinal Round.

Unlike the OVC and WCC, the first three rounds are played on the home courts of the higher-seeded teams, so it really makes the regular season standings meaningful.

This format gives the top two seeds, Little Rock and South Alabama, huge advantages over the rest of the field, since they can plan to be in Le Vieux Carre while the other teams must earn their way to the Smoothie King Center.

In this tournament, the 3rd-seeded Texas State Bobcats are probably the best team, and they should make it to New Orleans to face 2nd-seed South Alabama.  If they beat the Jaguars in the semifinal round, they stand a better than 50-50 chance of knocking off Little Rock if the Trojans knock of 4th-seed Georgia Southern or an upset winner in the prior rounds.

 

 

 

West Coast Tournament

2nd Round

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

San Francisco

82

Loyola Marymount

53

Pepperdine

84

Santa Clara

73

West Coast Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 7

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

4 Pacific (23-9)

5 San Francisco (21-11)

10:00 PM

ESPN2

3 Saint Mary’s (24-7)

6 Pepperdine (16-15)

12:30 AM

ESPN2

The two winners last night looked very impressive beating teams they were favored to beat.  Now, the competition gets a little tougher, and tonight’s games should be tense and close.  Gonzaga faces the winner of the Pacific-San Francisco game, while BYU faces the winner of the SMC-Pepperdine game.  The remainder of this tournament is going to be uber interesting, and you should stay up late and catch all the action.  Hopefully, the zebras won’t become too much of a factor like last night’s Pepperdine-Santa Clara game, when they whistled more technical fouls in a three-minute stretch than most conference tournaments have in the entire meet.

 

Don’t Forget–Spring Forward Tonight Before Bedtime–Turn up your clocks one hour for daylight savings time and realize you are “losing an hour of sleep.”  I’ve heard about that thing called sleep; maybe some time, I will try it out.

March 6, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For March 6, 2020

Friday’s Games

 

Home

Visitor

Spread

Akron

Kent St.

6.7

Belmont

Eastern Kentucky

9.7

Bowling Green

Buffalo

1.6

Bradley

Southern Illinois

4.1

Canisius

Niagara

5.8

Central Michigan

Western Michigan

4.6

Clemson

Georgia Tech

3.1

Dartmouth

Yale

-6.5

Davidson

VCU

2.0

Duquesne

Richmond

-0.7

Harvard

Brown

12.0

Indiana St.

Missouri St

0.9

Loyola (Chi.)

Valparaiso

3.7

Manhattan

Fairfield

4.9

Miami (O)

Ohio

-0.1

Monmouth

Siena

1.3

Murray St.

Austin Peay

2.1

North Carolina St.

Wake Forest

7.0

Northern Illinois

Ball St.

0.4

Northern Iowa

Drake

9.8

Pennsylvania

Cornell

11.4

Pepperdine

Santa Clara

0.6

Princeton

Columbia

10.7

Radford

Hampton

12.3

Saint Peter’s

Iona

4.5

Samford

VMI

-3.1

San Diego St.

Boise St.

8.9

San Francisco

Loyola Marymount

7.2

Toledo

Eastern Michigan

5.7

Utah St.

Wyoming

16.2

Winthrop

Gardner-Webb

4.5

Wofford

Citadel

12.6

 

Key TV Games on Friday

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

1:00 PM

ESPN+

Northern Iowa

Drake

6:00 PM

ESPN+

Winthrop

Gardner-Webb

6:00 PM

ESPNU

Bowling Green

Buffalo

6:30 PM

CBSSN

Akron

Kent St.

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Duquesne

Richmond

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Monmouth

Siena

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Harvard

Brown

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Penn

Cornell

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Princeton

Columbia

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Dartmouth

Yale

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Loyola (Chi.)

Valparaiso

8:00 PM

ESPNU

Belmont

Eastern Kentucky

8:00 PM

ESPN+

Radford

Hampton

9:00 PM

CBSSN

San Diego St.

Boise St.

10:00 PM

ESPNU

Murray St.

Austin Peay

11:30 PM

CBSSN

Utah St.

Wyoming

 

Conference Tournament Updates

 

Atlantic Sun Tournament

Semifinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Liberty

66

Stetson

62

Lipscomb

73

North Florida

71

Liberty will now host Lipscomb for the Atlantic Sun Championship on Sunday at 3:00 PM EDT.  The game will be televised on ESPN.

 

 

Big South Tournament

Quarterfinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Winthrop

106

USC Upstate

70

Gardner-Webb

72

UNC Asheville

62

Radford

62

Charleston Southern

48

Hampton

78

Longwood

53

 

Semifinals

March 6

at #1 Seed Radford

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

2 Winthrop (22-10)

3 Gardner-Webb (16-15)

6:00 PM

ESPN+

1 Radford (21-10)

5 Hampton (14-18)

8:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Horizon League Tournament

Quarterfinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Green Bay

78

Oakland

63

Illinois Chicago

67

Youngstown

61

The tournament now moves to Indianapolis for the final two rounds.  The top four seeds have advanced.  On Monday night, #1 Wright St. will play #4 Illinois-Chicago at 7:00 PM EDT on ESPNU.  Then 30 minutes after the conclusion of that game, #2 Northern Kentucky will play #3 Green Bay on ESPN2.

 

 

 

Missouri Valley Tournament (Arch Madness)

1st Round

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Drake

75

Illinois St.

65

Valparaiso

58

Evansville

55

 

Quarterfinals

March 6

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Northern Iowa (25-5)

8 Drake (19-13)

1:00 PM

MVC TV Network

4 Bradley (20-11)

5 Southern Illinois (16-15)

3:30 PM

MVC TV Network

2 Loyola (Chi.) (21-10)

7 Valparaiso (17-15)

7:00 PM

MVC TV Network

3 Indiana St. (18-11)

6 Missouri St. (15-16)

9:30 PM

MVC TV Network

 

 

 

Mountain West Tournament

Quarterfinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

San Diego St.

73

Air Force

60

Boise St.

67

UNLV

61

Utah St.

75

New Mexico

70

Wyoming

74

Nevada

71

 

Semifinals

March 6

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 San Diego St. (29-1)

5 Boise St. (20-11)

9:00 PM

CBSSN

2 Utah St. (24-8)

11 Wyoming (9-23)

11:30 PM

CBSSN

 

 

Ohio Valley Tournament

Quarterfinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Eastern Kentucky

58

Tennessee St.

48

Austin Peay

76

Eastern Illinois

65

 

Semifinals

March 6

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Belmont (24-7)

4 Eastern Kentucky (16-16)

8:00 PM

ESPNU

2 Murray St. (22-8)

3 Austin Peay (21-11)

10:00 PM

ESPNU

 

 

 

Patriot League Tournament

Quarterfinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Bucknell

64

American

59

Boston U

69

Navy

63

Lafayette

73

Army

68

Colgate

83

Lehigh

70

The tournament resumes Sunday with the semifinal round.  Boston U hosts Bucknell at 12:00 PM and Colgate hosts Lafayette at 2:00 PM.  Both games will be televised on CBSSN.

 

 

Southern Tournament

1st Round

March 6

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

8 Samford (10-22)

9 VMI (8-23)

5:00 PM

ESPN+

7 Wofford (16-15)

10 The Citadel (6-23)

7:30 PM

ESPN+

Southern Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 7

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

1 East Tennessee St. (27-4)

Samford/VMI

12:00 PM

ESPN+

4 Mercer (17-14)

5 Western Carolina (18-11)

2:30 PM

ESPN+

2 Furman (25-6)

Wofford/The Citadel

6:00 PM

ESPN+

3 UNC Greensboro (23-8)

6 Chattanooga (19-12)

8:30 PM

ESPN+

Southern Tournament

Semifinals

March 8

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

ETSU/Samford/VMI

Mercer/Western Carolina

4:00 PM

ESPN+

Furman/Wofford/Citadel

UNCG/Chattanooga

6:30 PM

ESPN+

Southern Tournament

Championship

March 9

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

7:00 PM

ESPN

This tournament has six teams talented enough to win and receive the automatic bid.  East Tennessee has a long winning streak, and the Buccaneers have a chance to earn an at-large bid if they fail to win the tournament.  Furman and UNC-Greensboro appeared to be a little off their peaks as the calendar flipped to March, while Chattanooga and Western Carolina are playing their best ball of the season.

 

 

 

West Coast Tournament

1st Round

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Loyola Marymount

75

San Diego

61

Santa Clara

76

Portland

62

 

2nd Round

March 6

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

5 San Francisco (20-11)

8 Loyola Marymount (11-20)

9:00 PM

BYUtv

6 Pepperdine (15-15)

7 Santa Clara (20-12)

11:30 PM

BYUtv

 

Coming Later Today:  Updated Bracketology

 

March 21, 2019

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament For Thursday, March 21, 2019

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Louisville

114.1

0.0

Minnesota

109.7

4.4

LSU

114.6

0.0

Yale

106.1

8.5

Auburn

115.7

0.0

New Mexico St.

108.9

6.8

Vermont

105.7

1.0

Florida St.

115.4

-8.7

Michigan St.

121.1

0.0

Bradley

99.8

21.3

Maryland

113.1

0.0

Belmont

109.5

3.6

Kansas

114.5

0.0

Northeastern

105.8

8.7

Marquette

112.6

0.0

Murray St.

109.2

3.4

Nevada

113.1

0.0

Florida

111.5

1.6

Kentucky

118.0

0.0

Abilene Christian

101.4

16.6

Villanova

111.9

1.0

Saint Mary’s

111.1

1.8

Gonzaga

122.9

0.0

Fairleigh-Dickinson

97.3

25.6

Michigan

119.0

0.0

Montana

102.4

16.6

Wofford

113.6

0.0

Seton Hall

108.9

4.7

Purdue

117.1

0.0

Old Dominion

103.6

13.5

Syracuse

110.8

0.0

Baylor

110.0

0.8

Schedule for Thursday

Time

Game

TV

Location

12:15 p.m.

(10) Minnesota vs. (7) Louisville

CBS

Des Moines

12:40 p.m.

(14) Yale vs. (3) LSU

truTV

Jacksonville 

1:30 p.m.

(12) New Mexico St. vs. (5) Auburn

TNT

Salt Lake City 

2 p.m.

(13) Vermont vs. (4) Florida St.

TBS

Hartford 

Approx. 2:30 PM

(15) Bradley vs. (2) Michigan St.

CBS

Des Moines 

Approx. 2:55 PM

(11) Belmont vs. (6) Maryland

truTV

Jacksonville 

Approx. 3:45 PM

(13) Northeastern vs. (4) Kansas

TNT

Salt Lake City 

Approx. 4:15 PM

(12) Murray St. vs. (5) Marquette

TBS

Hartford 

6:50 p.m.

(10) Florida vs. (7) Nevada

TNT

Des Moines 

7:10 p.m.

(15) Abilene Christian vs. (2) Kentucky

CBS

Jacksonville 

7:20 p.m.

(11) Saint Mary’s vs. (6) Villanova

TBS

Hartford 

7:27 p.m.

(16) Fairleigh-Dickinson vs. (1) Gonzaga

truTV

Salt Lake City

Approx. 9:20 PM

(15) Montana vs. (2) Michigan

TNT

Des Moines 

Approx. 9:40 PM

(10) Seton Hall vs. (7) Wofford

CBS

Jacksonville 

Approx. 9:50 PM

(14) Old Dominion vs. (3) Purdue

TBS

Hartford 

Approx. 9:57 PM

(9) Baylor vs. (8) Syracuse

truTV

Salt Lake City 

Happy Spring!

 

March 19, 2019

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament For Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:12 am

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Prairie View A&M

96.9

0.0

Fairleigh-Dickinson

97.2

-0.3

Temple

106.5

0.0

Belmont

109.3

-2.8

 

Tonight’s Schedule

Both Games on Tru TV

7:40 PM EDT

16 Prairie View A&M   vs. 16 Fairleigh-Dickinson  

30 Minutes After the Conclusion of First Game (approx. 10:00 to 10:15 EDT)

11 Belmont   vs. 11 Temple  

 

Coming Later Today

The Captain picks his Bracket using Bracketnomics.

 

March 17, 2019

Bracket Gurus Breakfast Meeting

The Bubble Has Deflated

Good Morning PiRate Supporters.

This is the Captain writing this morning, as our sleepy Bracket Gurus try to wipe the sleep out of our eyes and begin perusing all the numbers.

One good thing about sleeping 3-4 hours a night for almost a fortnight is there isn’t much time to develop the junk that one must wipe out of his or her eyes.

If you have been following PiRate Ratings Bracketology prior to today, what you saw on this website was one person’s (moi) prediction as to what the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee would choose for the final bracket.

Beginning this morning, I step aside as sole Bracketologist to become one of multiple Bracket Gurus.  I have selected an excellent group of qualified experts to help interpret the criteria used by the Selection Committee to attempt to replicate what the actual Committee has been doing for the last five days.

Our Gurus include members of the sports media, a couple with former basketball coaching experience, a mathematics professor, a sports handicapper, and a basketball savant that can tell you exactly how many points Charlie Scott scored in the three games when North Carolina won the December 1967 Far West Classic.

Our Gurus have done an incredible job already this morning.  They have culled the field down to 69 teams.  Basically, three teams remain in consideration for the final two spots in the field.  Early this afternoon, we will reveal our 68 teams that we predict will make the field, and then following the Big Ten Championship Game (or earlier if the game is no longer in doubt), we will reveal our final Bracketology seeding.

Check back around 2PM Eastern Time today for our Final 68, and then sneak a peak here once the Michigan State-Michigan winner is known to see our final prediction.

 

Bracketnomics in Less Than 36 Hours

Once the field of 68 is announced, we begin perusing all the stats from all 68 teams.  We look at each school’s official athletic site to get their official cumulative box for the season, and then we add our own touches to help you select your brackets for your pools.

Our system is unique, and we have back-tested data that helps us isolate the contenders from the pretenders.  If you haven’t taken a look, here is the primer that will help you earn your online Bachelor of Madness Degree.

https://piratings.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/bracketnomics-2019/

March 8, 2019

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For Friday, March 8, 2019

March 8, 2019

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Gonzaga

Duke

Virginia

Kentucky

2

Tennessee

Michigan

North Carolina

Michigan St.

3

LSU

Houston

Purdue

Texas Tech

4

Florida St.

Kansas

Wisconsin

Kansas St.

5

Marquette

Virginia Tech

Mississippi St.

Maryland

6

Villanova

Nevada

Iowa St.

Cincinnati

7

Buffalo

Louisville

Wofford

Auburn

8

Baylor

Syracuse

Iowa

Washington

9

Ole Miss

Central Florida

Oklahoma

St. John’s

10

Virginia Commonwealth

Florida

Minnesota

Ohio St.

11

Texas

Utah St.

Seton Hall

Temple

12

North Carolina St./TCU

Arizona St./Alabama

Belmont

Lipscomb

13

New Mexico St.

Old Dominion

Vermont

Hofstra

14

UC-irvine

Yale

South Dakota St.

Montana

15

Texas St.

Bucknell

Drake

Wright St.

16

Campbell

Sam Houston St.

Norfolk St./St. Francis (PA)

Iona/Texas Southern

Last 4 In

North Carolina St.

Arizona St.

TCU

Alabama

Last 4 Bye

Texas

Utah St.

Seton Hall

Temple

First 4 Out

Clemson

Indiana

Furman

Georgetown

Next 4 Out

Murray St.

Nebraska

UNC Greensboro

Saint Mary’s

Bids By Conference

Bids

ACC

8

Big Ten

8

Big 12

8

SEC

8

AAC

4

Big East

4

MWC

2

Pac-12

2

One-Bid Leagues

24

 

*** Bracketnomics 2019 Is 10 days away! ***

The Pirates Have Gathered in the Crow’s Nest to see what we can see, and we are beginning to compile the information that will go into our annual Bracketnomics Report on Monday, March 18.

Please note that our Bracketnomics change a little or a lot every year.  For some reason, readers here have been linking past Bracketnomics reports for others to read, and while we appreciate this, please note that the 2015 and 2014 reports are not the same as our current report.

If you are looking at an archived Bracketnomics report, you are not up to date with our latest research.  Make sure you read the 2019 version when it comes out.

 

March 8, 2013

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments Update–Friday, March 8, 2013

Today’s Conference Tournaments in Action

Atlantic Sun—Semifinal Round 

Horizon—Quarterfinal Round

Metro Atlantic—Opening Round

Missouri Valley—Quarterfinal Round

Ohio Valley—Semifinal Round

Southern Conference—Opening Round

Sun Belt Conference—Opening Round

West Coast—Quarterfinal Round

 

America East Conference

 

Seed

Team

Conference

Overall

RPI

1

Stony Brook

14-2

23-6

71

2

Vermont

11-5

19-10

128

3

Hartford

10-6

17-12

171

4

Albany

9-7

21-10

164

5

Maine

6-10

11-18

273

6

U M B C

5-11

7-22

312

7

N. Hampshire

5-11

9-19

293

8

Binghamton

1-15

3-26

338

 

Conference Tournament—Albany, NY  (Championship Game at Higher Seed)

 

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals

Time

TV

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

1

2-Vermont vs. 7-New Hampshire

12:00 Noon

ESPN3

2

3-Hartford vs. 6-U M B C

2:00 PM

ESPN3

3

1-Stony Brook vs. 8-Binghamton

6:00 PM

ESPN3

4

4-Albany vs. 5-Maine

8:00 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

5

Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

5:00 PM

ESPN3

6

Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

7:00 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 –Finals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 16

 

 

7

Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

11:30 AM

ESPN2

 

at Higher Seeded Winner’s Home Court

 

 

 

Online Site: www.americaeast.com

 

Atlantic Sun Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Mercer 14-4 22-10 131
2 Florida Gulf Coast 13-5 22-10 109
3 Stetson 11-7 15-15 223
4 SC Upstate 9-9 16-16 228
5 Jacksonville 9-9 14-18 268
6 North Florida 8-10 13-19 220
7 East Tennessee St. 8-10 10-22 263
8 Lipscomb 7-11 12-18 235

 

Conference Tournament—Macon, GA (Mercer)

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals Time TV

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 06, 2013    

1

#2 Florida Gulf Coast  73  #7 N. Florida  63    

2

#1 Mercer  82  #8 Lipscomb  48    

 

     

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals    

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 07, 2013    

3

#3 Stetson  67  #6 East Tennessee St.  46    

4

#5 USC-Upstate  76  #4 Jacksonville  62    

 

     

 

Day 3 – Semifinals    

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 08, 2013    

5

#2 Fla. Gulf Coast vs. #3 Stetson 5:30 p.m. ESPN3 & CSS

6

#1 Mercer vs. #5 USC-Upstate 8:00 p.m. ESPN3 & CSS

 

     

 

Day 4 – Finals    

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 09, 2013    

7

Semifinal Winners 12:00 p.m. ESPN2

 

Online Site: http://www.atlanticsun.org

 

Big South Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Charleston Southern 12-4 18-11 186
2 High Point 12-4 17-13 248
3 Gardner-Webb 11-5 21-11 185
4 UNC-Asheville 10-6 16-16 202
5 Coastal Carolina 9-7 14-15 246
6 V M I 8-8 14-16 311
7 Campbell 7-9 13-20 293
8 Radford 7-9 13-19 313
9 Winthrop 6-10 14-17 275
10 Liberty 6-10 13-20 324
11 Presbyterian 4-12 8-24 339
12 Longwood 4-12 8-24 336

 

Conference Tournament—Conway, SC (Myrtle Beach Area) (Coastal Carolina)

Game #

Day 1 – First Round

Time

TV

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 5

 

 

1

5S Winthrop  60  4N Radford  58 ot

 

 

2

6N Longwood  87  3S UNC-Asheville  72

 

 

3

3N Campbell  81  6S Presbyterian  73

 

 

4

5N Liberty  78  4S Coastal Carolina  61

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 7

 

 

5

1S Charleston Southern  54  5S Winthrop  47

 

 

6

2N V M I  90  6N Longwood  86

 

 

7

2S Gardner-Webb  71  3N Campbell  57

 

 

8

5N Liberty  61  1N High Point  60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

9

1S Charleston Southern vs. 2N V M I

12 Noon

ESPN3

10

2S Gardner-Webb vs. 5N Liberty

2:00 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4-Finals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

11

Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10

12 Noon

ESPN2

 

Online TV Site: www.bigsouthsports.com

 

Colonial Athletic Association

 

Seed

Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Northeastern 14-4 19-11 160
2 Delaware 13-5 18-13 127
3 James Madison 11-7 17-14 207
4 George Mason 10-8 17-13 155
5 Drexel 9-9 13-17 205
6 William & Mary 7-11 13-16 265
7 Hofstra 4-14 7-24 321

 

Conference Tournament—Richmond, VA

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals

Time

TV

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

1

4-George Mason vs. 5-Drexel

3:30 PM

Online

2

2-Delaware vs. 7-Hofstra

6:00 PM

Online

3

3-James Madison vs. 6-William & Mary

8:30 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

4

1-Northeastern vs. Winner Game 1

2:00 PM

NBCSN

5

Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3

4:30 PM

NBCSN

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3-Finals

 

 

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

6

Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5

7:00 PM

NBCSN

 

Online Site: http://www.caasports.com

 

Horizon League

 

Seed

Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Valparaiso 13-3 24-7 63
2 Detroit 12-4 20-11 58
3 Wright St. 10-6 19-11 166
4 Green Bay 10-6 17-14 167
5 Illinois-Chicago 7-9 17-14 164
6 Youngstown St. 7-9 17-14 190
7 Loyola (Chi) 5-11 15-16 218
8 Cleveland St. 5-11 14-18 196
9 Milwaukee 3-13 8-24 301

 

Conference Tournament—1st Round & Championship @ Higher Seed, Quarterfinals & Semifinals at Valparaiso

 

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 5

 

 

1

4-Green Bay  62  9-Milwaukee  46

 

 

2

5-Illinois-Chicago  82  8-Cleveland St.  59

 

 

3

6-Youngstown St.  62  7-Loyola (Chi)  60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

4

3-Wright St. vs. 6-Youngstown St.

6:00 PM

ESPN3

5

4-Green Bay vs. 5-Illinois-Chicago

8:30 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

6

2-Detroit vs. Winner Game 4

6:00 PM

ESPNU (10:30)

7

1-Valparaiso vs/ Winner Game 5

8:30 PM

ESPNU

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 12

 

 

8

Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 7

9:00 PM

ESPN

 

Online Site: http://www.horizonleague.org

 

M A A C

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Niagara 13-5 18-12 123
2 Rider 12-6 18-13 135
3 Loyola (MD) 12-6 21-10 98
4 Iona 11-7 17-13 117
5 Canisius 11-7 18-12 110
6 Manhattan 9-9 12-17 200
7 Fairfield 9-9 17-14 170
8 Marist 6-12 10-20 250
9 Siena 4-14 7-23 297
10 St. Peter’s 3-15 9-20 283

 

Conference Tournament—Springfield, MA

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

1

8-Marist vs. 9-Siena

7:30 PM

Online

2

7-Fairfield vs. 10-St. Peter’s

9:30 PM

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

3

1-Niagara vs. Winner Game 1

2:30 PM

ESPN3

4

4-Iona vs. 5-Canisius

4:30 PM

ESPN3

5

2-Rider vs. Winner Game 2

7:30 PM

ESPN3

6

3-Loyola (MD) vs. 6-Manhattan

9:30 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

7

Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

2:00 PM

ESPN3

8

Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

4:30 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

9

Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8

9:00 PM

ESPN2

 

Online Site: http://www.maacsports.com

 

Missouri Valley Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Creighton 13-5 24-7 36
2 Wichita St. 12-6 24-7 40
3 Northern Iowa 11-7 18-13 79
4 Evansville 10-8 18-13 96
5 Indiana St. 9-9 17-13 78
6 Illinois St. 8-10 17-14 120
7 Missouri St. 7-11 11-21 211
8 Bradley 7-11 16-16 181
9 Drake 7-11 15-16 150
10 Southern Illinois 6-12 14-17 177

 

Conference Tournament—St. Louis (Arch Madness)

 

Game #

Day 1 – Opening Round

Time

TV

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 7

 

 

1

9-Drake  81  8-Bradley  66

 

 

2

7-Missouri St.  61 10-Southern Illinois  53

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

3

1-Creighton vs. 9-Drake

1:05 PM

ESPN3

4

4-Evansville vs. 5-Indiana St.

3:35 PM

ESPN3

5

2-Wichita St. vs. 7-Missouri St.

7:05 PM

ESPN3

6

3-Northern Iowa vs. 6-Illinois St.

9:35 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

7

Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

2:35 PM

ESPN3

8

Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

5:05 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

9

Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8

2:05 PM

CBS

 

 

Online Site: http://www.mvc-sports.com

 

 

Northeast Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Robert Morris 14-4 24-9 114
2 Wagner 12-6 20-11 124
3 Long Island 12-6 19-13 195
4 Bryant 12-6 19-12 146
5 Mt. St. Mary‘s 11-7 18-13 156
6 Quinnipiac 11-7 15-17 191
7 Central Connecticut 9-9 13-18 197
8 St. Francis, NY 8-10 12-19 216

 

Conference Tournament—Games at Campus Sites.  Higher Seeds Host All Games.  Teams Will Be Re-Seeded After Quarterfinals

 

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals

Time

TV

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6

 

 

1

1-Robert Morris  75  8-St. Francis (NY)  57

 

 

2

2-Wagner  72  7-Central Connecticut  50

 

 

3

3-Long Island  91  6-Quinnipiac  83

 

 

4

5-Mt. St. Mary‘s  75  4-Bryant  69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

5

5-Mt. St. Mary’s at 1-Robert Morris

2:30 PM

ESPN3

6

3-Long Island at 2-Wagner

12:00

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Finals

 

 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 12

 

 

7

Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

7:00 PM

ESPN2

 

Online Site: http://www.northeastconference.org

 

Ohio Valley Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Belmont 14-2 24-6 24
2 Murray St. 10-6 20-9 128
3 Eastern Kentucky 12-4 24-8 65
4 Tennessee St. 11-5 18-13 111
5 Morehead St. 8-8 15-18 172
6 Southeast Missouri 8-8 17-16 224
7 E. Illinois 6-10 11-21 272
8 UT-Martin 5-11 9-21 306

 

Conference Tournament—Nashville

 

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6

 

 

1

5-Morehead St.  73  8-UT-Martin  66

 

 

2

6-Southeast Missouri  78  7-E. Illinois  68

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 7

 

 

3

4-Tennessee St.  88  5-Morehead St.  75

 

 

4

3-Eastern Kentucky  84  6-S E M O  69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Semifinals

 

 

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

5

1-Belmont vs. 4-Tennessee St.

7:00 PM

ESPNU

6

2-Murray St. vs. 3-E. Kentucky

9:00 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

7

Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

7:00 PM

ESPN2

 

Online Site: http://ovcsports.sidearmsports.com

 

Patriot League

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Bucknell 12-2 26-5 52
2 Lafayette 10-4 18-14 173
3 Lehigh 10-4 21-8 105
4 Army 8-6 16-14 213
5 American 5-9 10-20 261
6 Colgate 5-9 11-21 255
7 Holy Cross 4-10 12-18 249
8 Navy 2-12 8-23 314

 

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals

Time

TV

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6

 

 

1

1-Bucknell  58  8-Navy  42

 

 

2

4-Army  65  5-American  44

 

 

3

2-Lafayette  77  7-Holy Cross  54

 

 

4

3-Lehigh  71  6-Colgate  64

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

 

Games at Higher Seed

 

 

5

4-Army at 1-Bucknell

4:30 PM

CBSSN

6

3-Lehigh at 2-Lafayette

2:00 PM

CBSSN

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Finals

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13

 

 

 

Game at Higher Seed

 

 

7

Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

7:30 PM

CBSSN

 

Online Site: http://www.patriotleague.org

 

Southern Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Davidson 17-1 23-7 82
2 College of Charleston 14-4 22-9 147
3 Elon 13-5 20-10 176
4 Appalachian St. 10-8 14-15 270
5 Western Carolina 9-9 13-18 251
6 Samford 9-9 11-20 281
7 Chattanooga 8-10 13-18 276
8 Wofford 7-11 13-18 240
9 Georgia Southern 7-11 13-18 277
10 UNC-Greensboro 6-12 8-21 330
11 The Citadel 5-13 8-21 327
12 Furman 3-15 6-23 342

 

Conference Tournament: Asheville, NC

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

1

8-Wofford vs. 9-Georgia Southern

11:30 AM

ESPN3

2

5-Samford vs. 12-Furman

2:00 PM

ESPN3

3

7-Chattanooga vs. 10-UNC-Greensboro

6:00 PM

ESPN3

4

6-Western Carolina vs. 11-The Citadel

8:30 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

5

1-Davidson vs. Winner Game 1

12:00 PM

ESPN3

6

4-Appalachian St. vs. Winner Game 2

2:30 PM

ESPN3

7

2-Elon vs. Winner Game 3

6:00 PM

ESPN3

8

3-College of Charleston vs. Winner Game 4

8:30 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

9

Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

6:00 PM

ESPN3

10

Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8

8:30 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

11

Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10

7:00 PM

ESPN2

 

Online Site: http://www.soconsports.com

 

Summit League

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 South Dakota St. 13-3 22-9 75
2 Western Illinois 13-3 21-7 126
3 North Dakota St. 12-4 22-8 81
4 Oakland 10-6 16-15 132
5 I P F W 7-9 15-16 264
6 Mo.-Kansas City 5-11 8-23 287
7 South Dakota 5-11 10-19 242
8 I U P U I 1-15 6-25 325

 

Conference Tournament—Sioux Falls, SD

 

Game #

Day 1 – Quarterfinals

Time

TV

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

1

1-South Dakota St. vs. 8-I U P U I

7:00 PM

FOXCS

2

2-Western Illinois vs. 7-South Dakota

9:30 PM

FOXCS

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

3

4-Oakland vs. 5-I P F W

7:00 PM

FOXCS

4

3-North Dakota St. vs. 6-UM-Kansas City

9:30 PM

FOXCS

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 –Semifinals

 

 

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11

 

 

5

Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 3

7:00 PM

FOXCS

6

Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 4

9:30 PM

FOXCS

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 12

 

 

7

Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

9:00 PM

ESPN2

 

Online Site: http://www.thesummitleague.org

 

Sun Belt Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Middle Tennessee 19-1 27-4 23
2 South Alabama 14-6 17-11 149
3 Arkansas St. 12-8 18-11 154
4 Florida Int’l 11-9 16-13 137
5 Arkansas-Little Rock 11-9 17-14 163
6 Western Kentucky 10-10 16-15 178
7 Florida Atlantic 9-11 14-17 209
8 Louisiana-Lafayette 8-12 12-19 229
9 North Texas 7-13 12-19 233
10 Troy 6-14 11-20 271
11 Louisiana-Monroe 3-17 4-22 299

 

Conference Tournament—Hot Springs, AR

Note: This Tournament Uses Two Courts— S=Summit Arena, C=Convention Center Court

 

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

1

6-Western Kentucky vs. 11-UL-Monroe

7:00 PM  S

Online

2

8-UL-Lafayette vs. 9-North Texas

7:30 PM  C

Online

3

7-Florida Atlantic vs. 10-Troy

9:30 PM  S

Online

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

4

4-Florida Int’l vs. 5-Ark.-Little Rock

7:00 PM  C

Sun Belt Network

5

1-Middle Tennessee vs. Winner Game 2

7:30 PM  S

Sun Belt Network

6

3-South Alabama vs. Winner Game 1

9:30 PM  C

Sun Belt Network

7

2-Arkansas St. vs. Winner Game 3

10:00 PM  S

Sun Belt Network

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

 

 

8

Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5

7:30 PM  S

Sun Belt Network

9

Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 7

9:00 PM  S

Sun Belt Network

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Finals

 

 

10

Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9

7:00 PM  S

ESPN

 

Online Site: http://www.sunbeltsports.org

 

West Coast Conference

 

Seed Team Conference Overall RPI
1 Gonzaga 16-0 29-2 10
2 St. Mary’s 14-2 26-5 41
3 B Y U 10-6 21-10 62
4 Santa Clara 9-7 21-10 90
5 San Francisco 7-9 14-15 152
6 San Diego 7-9 14-17 180
7 Pepperdine 4-12 12-17 204
8 Portland 4-12 11-21 219
9 Loyola Marymount 1-15 9-22 253

 

Conference Tournament: Las Vegas

 

Game #

Day 1 – 1st Round

Time

TV

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6

 

 

1

9-Loyola Marymount  65  8-Portland  54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – 2nd Round

 

 

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 7

 

 

2

9-Loyola Marymount  61  5-San Francisco  60

 

 

3

6-San Diego  62  7-Pepperdine  59

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Quarterfinals

 

 

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

 

 

4

4-Santa Clara vs. 9-Loyola Marymount

8:00 PM

ESPNU

5

3-B Y U vs. 6-San Diego

10:30 PM

ESPNU

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Semifinals

 

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 9

 

 

6

1-Gonzaga vs. Winner Game 4

8:00 PM

ESPN2

7

2-St. Mary’s vs. Winner Game 5

10:30 PM

ESPN2

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5 – Finals

 

 

8

MONDAY, MARCH 11

8:00 PM

ESPN

 

Online Site: http://www.wccsports.com

 

As The Bubble Blows

Pop goes the bubble for a couple of major conference schools.  Kentucky lost by double digits for the third consecutive time away from Rupp Arena, and the Wildcats face a must-win game at home against Florida tomorrow.  You have to figure that politics will play a large role when their resume comes forth by the Selection Committee.  Like the heavyweight champion of the world, you have to have a knockout to knock the champ off the throne, especially when that champ is the Joe Louis of basketball.  If the Cats lose to Florida and then fail to make it to at least Saturday in the SEC Tournament, then you have your knockout.

 

Virginia’s loss to Florida State moves the Cavs from definitely in to possibly out if they fail to beat Maryland and depart early in the ACC Tournament.

 

Butler’s win over UMass insured the Bulldogs’ ticket to the Dance and forced the Minutemen to win the A-10 Tournament to get in.

 

Colorado moved to the top level of the bubble with a 23-point win over Pac-12 Conference leader Oregon, sweeping the Ducks.  They did so without the services of the nation’s leading scorer Andre Roberson, who sat out with a virus.  The Buffs are now 4-2 against Top 25 teams, and if their jerseys said, “Kentucky,” CU would be looking at a 6-seed.

 

It wasn’t a bad loss since it came to a team that was 12-4 in league play entering the night, but Louisiana Tech’s loss to New Mexico ended any possible at-large possibilities for the Bulldogs.

 

Other Big Games of Note for Friday, March 08, 2013

Princeton at Yale:  The Tigers lost at home to Yale and cannot afford to get swept.  Princeton holds a half-game lead over Harvard for the Ivy League title, and the Tigers close with three road games.  They must sweep the weekend tilts at Yale and Brown, because the finale at Penn will be much more difficult, even though the Quakers have a worse record than either of this weekend’s opponents.

 

Columbia at Harvard:  The Crimson have a much easier path to close out the regular season.  They host Columbia and Cornell, the sixth and seventh place teams in the Ivy.  Count on Harvard winning both to finish Ivy League play at 11-3.  One Princeton loss means there will be a playoff for the NCAA bid.

 

Kent State at Akron: The Zips have the regular season MAC title already in their pockets, but they have major troubles at the wrong time.  Point guard Alex Abreu, the quarterback on the floor, has been suspended indefinitely following his felonious arrest for traffic marijuana.  The Zips have won 20 of 21 games and appeared to be safe as an at-large team if they did not win the MAC Tournament.  KentState provides Akron with stiff competition, and the Golden Flashes have enough talent to pull off the upset tonight and to also win the conference tournament.  Losing Abreu is like the Denver Broncos losing Peyton Manning.  Expect the Zips to be about 12-15 points weaker per game without him.

 

 

March 14, 2011

2011 PiRate NCAA Basketball Tournament Preview

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:01 pm

1. Which teams meet the upper range criteria in every category?  That means they outscored their opponents by eight or more per game; their field goal percentage was greater than 7.5% better than their opponents; they outrebounded their opponents by five or more per game; they forced at least three more turnovers per game than they committed; and they stole the ball 7.5 or more times per game.

 

ANSWER—No teams this year meet all the perfect criteria described above.  Six teams come close to meeting the perfect criteria, but all fall short in at least one statistic.  This means there is no clear-cut favorite—only six teams that most closely resemble the great champions of the past.  Of the six, three come from power conferences.  These three are Kansas, Ohio State, and Syracuse.

 

Kansas fails to meet the turnover margin requirement, but the Jayhawks surpass all the other qualifications.  Ohio State comes up a tad bit short in field goal percentage margin, rebounding margin, and steals per game, but just misses in all three.  Syracuse misses in rebounding and turnover margin, but they Orangemen do not miss by much. 

 

2. Which teams can be immediately eliminated due to a negative R+T rating?  Which teams have an incredibly low R+T Rating (<2.0)?

 

ANSWER—Three teams can immediately be eliminated due to negative R+T Ratings.  It comes as no surprise that Alabama State and Texas-San Antonio, two teams facing off in the First Round in Dayton, have negative R+T ratings.  The third team is Michigan.  The Wolverines were outrebounded by 1.9 boards per game, and they only had a +1.4 turnover margin with just 4.7 steals per game.

 

Five other teams finished with R+T ratings less than 2.0.  This usually means one and done for these teams, unless they have outstanding FG% margins or cupcake opponents with worse criteria numbers.  Those five teams are: Penn State, Richmond, St. Peter’s, UCLA, and UCSB.

 

3. Which teams are capable of winning it all?

 

ANSWER—We separate the contenders from the pretenders by looking at the total PiRate Criteria score and then looking to see if the high criteria scoring teams receive merit on every individual statistic.

 

Last year, Duke was head and heels better than the other 64 teams.  The Blue Devils had the highest score overall, and they satisfactorily rated in every PiRate category.

 

No teams appear to be as strong this year as the Blue Devils were last year, but nine teams meet most of the minimum requirements to be considered Final Four contenders this year.

 

It should come as no surprise that the top two teams, Ohio State and Kansas, rank at the top in the Criteria.  Kansas actually has the highest score of the 68 teams, a score of 23.  The Jayhawks outscored their opposition by 17.2 points, shot 11.7% better from the field than their opponents, and outrebounded their opponents by 7.8 boards per game.  These stats are worthy of a powerhouse.  However, KU enjoyed just a 0.9 turnover margin and stole the ball 7.9 times per game, giving the Jayhawks an R+T Rating of 9.5.  We tend to look for teams with an R+T Rating in excess of 10, so KU is not a great favorite to go all the way. 

 

Ohio State’s total Criteria score is 21, good for second best.  However, the Buckeyes enjoy an R+T Rating of 13.2, which is a number we really like in a Final Four contender.  This number correlates to 13 extra scoring opportunities that their opposition does not receive.  OSU outscores their opponents by 17.3 points per game, shot 6.9% better from the field than they allows, outrebounded their opponents by 4.9 per game, had a turnover margin of +4.8, and stole the ball 7.2 times per game. 

 

San Diego State comes in third with 19 total criteria points.  BYU, Pittsburgh, and Texas come in next with 18 points; the Panthers have an R+T rating above 10.  The other three teams with PiRate Criteria scores showing themselves to be strong contenders for a Final Four berth are Syracuse, Purdue, and Duke

 

Florida, North Carolina, and UNLV are actually almost in a statistical tie with Duke, meaning those three are dark horse candidates for the Final Four.

 

Overall, this is the weakest field by far in the six tournaments where we have ranked the teams according to our criteria.  Looking back, this could be the weakest field since the tournament expanded to 64 teams. 

 

North Carolina State, Kansas, and Villanova won national titles in the past with less than stellar numbers.  We do not have all the statistics from those years, so we cannot really calculate criteria numbers for those three champions.  Could this be a season in which one team gets hot for six games and comes from out of the pack to win it all?  It could happen, but we are sticking with this mechanical system and going with its results.  Kansas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and Texas appear to be the best PiRate Criteria matches to past Final Four teams, and they are the quartet we officially pick to make it to Houston.  Syracuse becomes the wildcard team that could sneak into the mix.

 

Here is a look at the First Four Round One games and the 32 second round games.  The number in (parentheses) represents the PiRate Bracketnomics criteria number.

 

First Four Round

 

#16 Texas-San Antonio 19-13 (Elim) vs. #16 Alabama State 17-17 (Elim)

At first, we thought this was highly ironic, but upon further review, we consider it sort of a compliment.  These two teams both must be eliminated based on negative R+T ratings.  Of course, one of them must win this game so that they can advance to a 25-point or more loss in the next round.

 

Most of you filling out your brackets do not have to worry about these games in Dayton.  You get to turn in your choices after these games have been played.

 

UTSA has better criteria numbers after you factor out both teams’ R+T numbers. 

 

Prediction: Texas-San Antonio 64  Alabama State 55

 

 

#12 U A B 22-8 (2) vs. #12 Clemson 21-11 (1)

If you have been following the “experts” since the pairings were announced Sunday evening, then you know that these two teams do not belong in the tournament in their opinion.  It is not our mission statement to declare which teams should and should not have been included in the Big Dance, but we will tell you that Harvard and Saint Mary’s enjoyed Criteria scores several points better than these two teams, while Colorado and Virginia Tech had equal numbers to these two.

 

This game should be as close as the criteria scores show.  UAB has a one-point advantage in the criteria, but the Blazers just do not excel in any stage of the game.  Clemson’s strong point is forcing turnovers by way of steals, and that leads to a lot of cheap baskets.  Cheap baskets pay off big time in the NCAA Tournament, so we will take the Tigers in this one.

 

Prediction: Clemson 74  UAB 67

 

#11 Southern Cal 19-14 (-1) vs. #11 Virginia Commonwealth 23-11 (-1)

The winner of this game is going home two days later.  Neither team merits inclusion in the Big Dance this year. 

 

Southern Cal has no apparent weakness according to the PiRate Criteria.  In fact, they have a great resume—for an NIT team.

 

The Trojans outscore their opponents by four points per game, and they outshoot them by 3.3%.  They have a small rebounding margin of 1.2, and they have an even smaller turnover margin of 0.6.  They average six steals per game and have a R+T rating of 2.1.  On top of these modest numbers, their schedule was average.

 

VCU is much in the same boat as USC with two exceptions.  They have a negative turnover margin, but they also average 8.5 steals per game.

 

The only other difference in these teams is their records away from home.  USC won only 41% of their games, while VCU won 60%.

 

This one is quite tough to pick, but we will go with the Trojans due to their superior inside talent.  We expect USC to win the rebounding edge by at least five.

 

Prediction: Southern Cal  65  V C U  60

 

#16 UNC-Asheville 19-13 (-5) vs. #16 Arkansas-Little Rock 19-16 (-13)

Obviously, we have two teams that would not even merit NIT bids had they lost in the championship games of their conference tournaments.  UALR has one of the lowest Criteria Scores in the seven years we have been calculating this data.

 

UNC-Asheville actually has a couple of positive Criteria stats.  Their R+T is 5.5, which had it come against a more difficult schedule, would have made them worthy of becoming a possible team to watch in the Round of 64.

 

We will go with UNCA here, as schedule strength is about the same for both teams.

 

Prediction: UNC-Asheville 69  Arkansas-Little Rock 59

 

 

Second-Round Games

 

East Regional

 

#1 Ohio State 32-2 (21) vs. #16 UTSA (Elim)/Alabama State (Elim)

This game will be over quickly.  There will be no scare, not even for two TV timeouts.  The second highest Criteria score versus one of the teams with an R+T Rating of “Eliminate.”

 

The Buckeyes outscored their opponents by more than 17 points per game.  Their strength of schedule was 13 points better than UTSA and 16 points better than Alabama State. 

 

We will go under the theory that UTSA will be the opponent in this game.  Using our Criteria Rating, Ohio State figures to be 30-40 points better than UTSA.  Coach Thad Matta will definitely empty his bench early in this game, so the Buckeyes may “only win” by 25-30. 

 

Prediction: Ohio State 78  Texas-San Antonio 50

 

#8 George Mason 26-6 (8) vs. #9 Villanova 21-11 (5)

George Mason is the higher seed in this game, so if they win, it cannot really be considered an upset.

 

Villanova was on course to be a four-seed when the Wildcats were 16-5 and contending for the Big East Conference regular season title.  The Wildcats could not compete down low against the more physical teams in their league.

 

George Mason has a higher PiRate Criteria Score, but it is not an insurmountable advantage.  The key stat for this game is the R+T Rating.  For GMU, it is 6.8.  For VU, it is 4.9.  Considering that Villanova played a harder schedule, these numbers basically cancel each other out, thus making this a tossup game.

 

There are two variables to consider here.  George Mason performed much better on the road, and Villanova is banged up a bit.

 

Prediction: George Mason 66  Villanova 62

 

#5 West Virginia 20-11 (6) vs. #12 UAB (2)/Clemson (1)

We believe the Mountaineers will be facing Clemson in this game, but the prediction will hold up if they play UAB. 

 

West Virginia is not as good this season as last season, and the Mountaineers will not advance to the Final Four, or even the Elite Eight.  They are liable to be out by the end of the weekend.  However, they are strong enough to get into the Round of 32. 

 

The Mountaineers best attribute is that they put up decent numbers against one of the toughest schedules in the country.  Of the NCAA Tournament teams, only Georgetown played a tougher schedule.  They will have to limit turnovers, or else this game will be close and go down to the wire.  We believe Coach Bob Huggins will be able to keep the pace at a level he likes and not allow Clemson (or UAB) to force the Mountaineers into enough mistakes to turn the tide.

 

Prediction: West Virginia 69  Clemson 62 (Or UAB 58)

 

#4 Kentucky 25-8 (14) vs. #13 Princeton 25-6 (-2)

Princeton has pulled off the big upset in the past, and they came within a missed jumper at the buzzer of becoming the only #16 seed to beat a #1 seed.  However, that was two decades ago.  The Tigers have not been to the NCAA Tournament in seven years, and that big win over UCLA was 15 years ago. 

 

Kentucky is not the type of team that will allow Princeton’s style of play to affect their style of play.  The Wildcats should actually play better than their norm with fewer mistakes. 

 

We believe that Princeton will actually crumble under relentless man-to-man pressure and turn the ball over enough times in the opening minutes of the game to allow the Wildcats to open a quick double-digit lead.  This group of Cats tends to fiddle around a little once they get a quick double-digit lead and then play uninspired ball until the opponent makes a run.  Then, they go on the attack at the right time and put the game away.

 

Adolph Rupp had a team just like this in 1958.  They were called “The Fiddlin’ Five.”  They were also called National Champions.  We won’t go so far as to put UK into this category, but we will advance the Wildcats into the next round and then into the Sweet 16.

 

Prediction: Kentucky 72  Princeton 59

 

#6 Xavier 24-7 (8) vs. #11 Marquette 20-14 (3)

If you are looking for a tough, hard-fought game with two Midwestern teams, then tune into this game Friday evening.

 

If the Musketeers were a little more competent at forcing turnovers, they could be a dark horse candidate to advance to the Elite Eight.  XU shoots the ball well and plays well on defense when it comes to preventing a lot of easy shots.  They do well on the boards, and against a team that cannot exploit their ball-handling and ball-hawking deficiencies, they will hold their own inside.  The only other possible problem for the Musketeers is a lack of depth, but in the NCAA Tournaments, TV timeouts are longer.  It is hard to wear a team down with such long breaks every four or so minutes.

 

Marquette does not have enough depth to take advantage of Xavier’s lack of depth, so this factor will become a non-factor.  The Golden Eagles got to this tournament due to their ability to put the ball into the basket.  Marquette needs to shoot better than 46% to win, while Xavier is adept at holding teams under 45% as a rule.

 

Prediction: Xavier 71  Marquette 65

 

#3 Syracuse 26-7 (17) vs. #14 Indiana State 20-13 (-4)

Syracuse has been getting very little national exposure since their 18-0 start ended with an 8-7 finish.  The Orangemen are a team to watch in this tournament.  If not for a pedestrian 71% winning percentage away from the Carrier Dome, we would have them as one of the top four teams in this tournament.

 

Coach Jim Boeheim’s team outscores their opposition by 10.3 points per game; they outshoot them by 7.6%, and they outrebound them by 3.6 boards per game.  Their turnover margin is +1.9, and they averaged almost nine steals per game.  Their R+T Rating is 7.6, and their Strength of Schedule is somewhere between above-average and very good.  This is the Criteria Score of a team that will advance to the Sweet 16 and compete for an Elite Eight and Final Four berth.

 

Indiana State needs the return of Larry Bird to win this game.  They are too perimeter-oriented.  The Sycamores do not have the beef down low to contend in the paint, and even though Syracuse plays a 2-3 zone, teams rarely beat the Orangemen by firing up 25 long-range bombs.

 

This one smells like a blowout.

 

Prediction: Syracuse 81  Indiana State 62

 

#7 Washington 23-10 (13) vs. #10 Georgia 21-11 (2)

Washington is one of those teams that can play with anybody in this tournament—when they are playing up to their potential.  The Huskies could also exit in the first round if they play like they did the weekend they went to Oregon and Oregon State.

 

Georgia is much more consistent, but their best effort will not defeat the Huskies’ best effort.

 

Washington lacked the seasoned experience this season, and it showed when they ventured away from Seattle.  The Huskies lost to weaker opponents because they lacked the composure to win on foreign courts.  That changed when they arrived in Los Angeles for the Pac-10 Tournament.  Isaiah Thomas took over command of the team and led them to the tournament title.  This makes UW a scary and dangerous team capable of returning to the Sweet 16.

 

Georgia must really dominate the glass in this game, because we believe they will turn the ball over too many times against UW’s pressure man-to-man defense.  It is our opinion that the Bulldogs will play a little timidly at the start of this game and find themselves in a hole.

 

The Bulldogs had trouble against Alabama’s defense, and Washington is similar but with a much better offense.

 

Prediction: Washington 78  Georgia 70

 

#2 North Carolina 26-7 (15) vs. #15 Long Island 27-5 (-1)

 

Long Island is just the type of team that can forget that their opponent is a dynasty program that chews up and spits out little programs like this.

 

Teams from Brooklyn don’t intimidate easily, especially when they are led by a trio of Texans.  So, LIU will not be intimidated, but will they be talented enough to make a game of this contest?

 

That’s the rub.  They lack the defensive ability to slow down the Tar Heels, while Coach Roy Williams’ team will be able to hold the Blackbirds under their scoring average.  The big problem for LIU will be holding onto the ball, and we could see North Carolina forcing 20 turnovers in this game.  When the Tar Heels force more turnovers than they commit, they are almost unbeatable.  This game could be interesting for a short time, but it will eventually get out of hand.

 

Prediction: North Carolina 88  Long Island 70

 

West Regional

 

#1 Duke 30-4 (15) vs. #16 Hampton 24-8 (-8)

Duke has nothing to worry about here.  This will be like one of their November/December home games where they quickly put the cupcake away with a barrage of power and speed.  You know the type: a 37-point win over Princeton; a 34-point win over Miami of Ohio; a 52-point win over Colgate.

 

Hampton got to the Dance using an aggressive defense and three-point shooting barrage on offense.  Duke will not be affected by the defensive pressure, and they will cut off the open shots from the outside.  It will be a mercy killing, and it will be quick.  Look for the Blue Devils to be up by more than 15 points before the halfway point of the first half.  By the time Coach K empties the bench, the Blue Devils should be up by 25-30 points.

 

Prediction: Duke 81  Hampton 61

 

#8 Michigan 20-13 (Elim) vs. #9 Tennessee 19-14 (10)

Michigan is the highest-rated team that fails to meet our R+T Rating requirement, so the Wolverines are automatically tabbed as a first-round loser.

 

Coach Jim Beilein has been in a similar position before.  He guided a West Virginia team with not-so-flashy Criteria numbers to the Elite Eight, where they forced Louisville to come from 20 points down to rally for the victory.  That WVU team had one of the worst negative rebounding numbers of any team in Elite Eight history, but that team made few mistakes and had a nice turnover margin.

 

This Michigan team was only outrebounded by two a game, but they do not create enough extra possessions with their miniscule turnover margin of 1.4 and their average of just 4.7 steals per game.

 

Tennessee has been up and down, and the Volunteers are not going to make a repeat run to the Elite Eight this year.  However, Coach Bruce Pearl’s troops will control the boards in this game and maybe force more turnovers than they commit.  We figure that Tennessee will have 10 more opportunities to score in this game, and that is too many for the Wolverines to make up with their three-point shooting.

 

Prediction: Tennessee 74  Michigan 69

 

#5 Arizona 27-7 (3) vs. #12 Memphis 25-9 (-1)

Memphis was not going to earn an at-large bid this season had they failed to win the Conference USA Tournament.  They received an ideal first round opponent, and the Tigers actually have a fighting chance to pull off yet another classic #12-seed over #5-seed upset.

 

Arizona needs to pound the ball inside and rely on numerous offensive rebounds to win this game.  Other teams might be able to exploit Memphis’s poor ball-handling skills, but the Wildcats do not have the defensive acumen to take advantage here.

 

Memphis will try to make this an up-tempo game where they can neutralize Arizona’s height advantage inside.  It has a chance of working, but Arizona probably has too much power inside and just enough quickness to stop the Tigers’ transition game.

 

Prediction: Arizona 76  Memphis 69

 

#4 Texas 27-7 (18) vs. #13 Oakland 25-9 (3)

This has become a popular upset pick in the media.  Oakland has generated a lot of positive press, and many “experts” are calling for the upset in this game.  We are not one of them.  Not only do we believe the Longhorns will take care of Oakland with relative ease in this game, we believe Texas is a force to be reckoned with in the next two or three rounds. 

 

Let’s look at Texas’ Criteria Rating.  At 18, the ‘Horns rate as our sixth best team in the tournament.  They have a 13.5 point scoring margin, a 7.1% field goal margin, a 6.6 rebounding margin, and a 1.2 turnover margin.  Their only Achilles Heel is a low amount of steals resulting in a R+T Rating of 8.3.  Had that number been above 10, we would be selecting Coach Rick Barnes’ team for the Final Four.

 

Oakland won this year with strong rebounding and an excellent ability to force their opponents into bad shots.  Center Keith Benson is a future NBA player, but he is not enough to propel the Golden Grizzlies into the next round.

 

Prediction: Texas 77  Oakland 65

 

#6 Cincinnati 25-8 (9) vs. #11 Missouri 23-9 (10)

On paper, this looks like the best game of this round between a team with contrasting styles.

 

Cincinnati is one of the top defensive teams in the tournament.  The Bearcats are tough inside, and they have quality depth to continue playing hard in the paint. 

 

Missouri uses the “40 minutes of Hell” approach that Coach Mike Anderson learned under his mentor Nolan Richardson.  The Tigers press full court and run the fast break as often as they get the chance.  They are perimeter-oriented and can score a lot of points in a hurry.

 

When we try to decide tossup games, we look to the all-important defense and rebounding stats, since that is what wins close games in the Big Dance. 

 

Missouri is vulnerable in both of these crucial areas.  They have given up a lot of cheap baskets this year when teams solved their press.  The Tigers were outrebounded by 1.7 boards per game.

 

Cincinnati owns a +2.7 rebounding margin, and the Bearcats held onto the ball quite competently.  We believe Coach Mick Cronin’s crew will advance.

 

Prediction: Cincinnati 68  Missouri 65

 

#3 Connecticut 26-9 (9) vs. #14 Bucknell 25-8 (-4)

Ask Kansas Coach Bill Self if it is wise to underestimate Bucknell.  The Bison know how to hold onto the ball and work for intelligent shots.  Give them an opening, and they can bury you with a high field goal percentage.

 

Connecticut did the unthinkable by winning five games in five days.  Their defense does not get the merit it deserves, because Kemba Walker gets more attention for his offensive antics.  The Huskies actually held teams under 40% from the field.

 

Coach Jim Calhoun knows how to prepare a team for tournament action.  He will have UConn ready for this game, and the Huskies will not overlook the Bison.

 

Prediction: Connecticut 73  Bucknell 58

 

#7 Temple 25-7 (5) vs. #10 Penn State 19-14 (-1)

Temple’s score must be tempered by the fact that they are a wounded team coming into this tournament.  Two starters suffered injuries late in the season, and one is out for the remainder of the year, while the other may or may not be ready to play.  We must throw out Temple’s score of “5” in the PiRate Criteria, because 40% of the key players that produced that number will either not play or be greatly less effective.

 

Penn State is a lot like Southern Cal in this tournament.  The Nittany Lions have the look of a strong NIT team.  Aside from a so-so record against a strong schedule, they really have little to offer outside of one star player. 

 

We believe this Keystone State rivalry game will be close, and it could come down to the last shot.  Because the Owls are limping, we will go with the Big Ten representative.

 

Prediction: Penn State 59  Temple 56

 

#2 San Diego State 32-2 (19) vs. #15 Northern Colorado 21-10 (-6)

Most of you reading this probably cannot remember Texas Western University, but you may have scene the movie where the Miners were too quick for Kentucky and pulled off the big upset to win the 1966 National Championship.  Maybe some of you remember the Long Beach State 49ers ascension into the top 10 under Jerry Tarkanian and then Lute Olson.  Still more can remember when Tark the Shark moved to UNLV and turned the Runnin’ Rebels into a national power.

 

San Diego State is the next Western team to fit this bill.  The Aztecs are legitimate contenders to advance deep into this tournament.  They have few exploitable weaknesses, and they are the best team West of the Rockies.  Coach Steve Fisher knows how to get teams ready for tournament play, as he has three Final Fours on his resume and one National Championship.

 

SDSU’s PiRate Criteria numbers are flashy.  Their scoring margin is 13.3 points per game.  Their FG% margin is 7.1%.  They outrebound their opposition by almost seven per game, and they force 1.6 more turnovers than they commit.  Their one weak spot is a pedestrian 6.2 steals average.  If they run up against a more powerful team inside, they could have trouble getting enough extra scoring opportunities.

 

Northern Colorado will not be one of those teams that can cause trouble for the Aztecs.  The Bears are a good rebounding team, but their rebounding prowess came against a schedule that rates 10 points weaker than San Diego State’s schedule.

 

Prediction: San Diego State 73  Northern Colorado 51

 

Southwest Regional

#1 Kansas 32-2 (23) vs. #16 Boston U 21-13 (-11)

Kansas is a team on a mission.  The Jayhawks will not allow a repeat of what happened last year, and that extra incentive should be enough to send KU to Houston.

 

Kansas has the top PiRate Criteria Score this year.  They meet the basic requirements that most prior National Champions have met—scoring margin: 17.2; FG% margin: 11.7; Rebounding margin: 7.8; Turnover Margin: 0.9; Steals per game: 7.9; R+T Ratings: 9.5.

 

How do you beat this year’s KU team?  Kansas State and Texas pulled it off by matching up well inside and going head-to-head with them in the paint.

 

Boston U has the second lowest PiRate Criteria score of the 65 teams that have positive R+T Ratings.  The Terriers are way overmatched in this game, and they will have to be glad they just made it here.

 

Prediction: Kansas 90  Boston U 62

 

#8 U N L V 24-8 (15) vs. #9 Illinois 19-13 (1)

If our ratings are worth their salt, then this game should not be all that close.  UNLV may be just the third best team in the Mountain West, but the MWC was better overall this year than the Pac-10.  Third best in the MWC makes the Runnin’ Rebels one of the dozen or so teams capable of making a two weekend run.

 

Coach Lon Kruger has taken two different teams to the Elite Eight (Kansas State and Florida).  His teams play intelligently without being flashy.

 

UNLV went 24-3 against teams not named Brigham Young or San Diego State.  They are not particularly strong on the boards, and this will eventually be their downfall.  The Rebels shoot the ball brilliantly, and they alter enough opponent shots to force a lower field goal percentage.  They also take care of the ball and do not make a lot of floor mistakes.

 

Illinois is an inconsistent, underachieving team.  This can be dangerous for the prognosticator, because it is difficult if not impossible to predict which schizophrenic state will appear for each game.

 

The Illini are not particularly strong on the glass or at taking care of the ball, and that is a recipe for disaster when the opponent is as good as UNLV.  Even if Illinois comes out playing their best basketball, it may not be enough to beat UNLV playing their typical game.

 

Prediction: U N L V  72  Illinois 64

 

#5 Vanderbilt 23-10 (5) vs. #12 Richmond 26-7 (2)

Here is another game getting a lot of attention due to its upset potential.  Historically, the #12 seed produces the a lot of great upsets.

 

This game could go either way.  Both teams have exploitable weaknesses, and it just so happens that both teams’ have the assets capable of exploiting the other’s weaknesses.

 

Let’s start with Vanderbilt.  The Commodores are not particularly strong on the defensive perimeter.  Worthy opponents have been able to beat them off the drive and get a lot of open inside shots.  This weak perimeter defense has also led to frontcourt players having to help, thus leaving open holes near the basket.

 

Richmond’s offense is a modified version of the Princeton Offense.  The Spiders have the talent to get open shots inside and in the five to ten-foot range.

 

Richmond cannot rebound against more physical teams.  The Spiders make up for their rebounding liabilities by seldom throwing the ball away.

 

Vanderbilt has an excellent physical presence inside with three beefy players that can rebound the ball on offense and defense.

 

So, which team gets the edge in our PiRate Ratings?  We always look to defense in rebounding in tossup games.  Vanderbilt holds the rebounding edge, while Richmond holds the defensive edge.  It is basically a wash, so we have to look elsewhere.  While Richmond has been much better away from home, Vanderbilt’s schedule is seven points more difficult.  We’ll go with the power conference team, but not by much

 

Prediction: Vanderbilt 70  Richmond 67

 

#4 Louisville 25-9 (12) vs. #13 Morehead State 24-9 (3)

This should be an interesting game, but in the end the big brothers are going to defeat their little brothers in this battle of two Bluegrass State teams.

 

40 years ago this week, another little brother upset a big brother on their way to a surprise appearance in the Final Four (later vacated).  In 1971, Western Kentucky did not just upset Kentucky, the Hilltoppers ran the Wildcats off the floor.  Can there be a repeat two score later?  No!

 

Coach Rick Pitino’s Cardinals are vulnerable on the boards, and Morehead State has the nation’s best rebounder in the nation in Kenneth Faried.  However, the Eagles do not have enough talent or depth to keep up with Louisville.  They may emerge with a slight rebounding edge in this game, but it will not be enough to make up for all the open shots the Cardinals will get.

 

Louisville is going to run into trouble when they meet up with a team that can rebound and play credible defense.  That would be Kansas in the Sweet 16.  Until then, they have a relatively easy route to the Sweet 16.

 

Prediction: Louisville 78  Morehead State 62

 

#6 Georgetown 21-10 (8) vs. #11 Southern Cal (-1)/Va. Commonwealth (-1)

Last year, we discussed Georgetown’s vulnerabilities and the probability that they would fail to make it past the first weekend.  We expected the Hoyas to fall as a favorite in their second game, but they were a one and done team.

 

This year’s team is not much better than last year’s Hoya team, but they received a much more favorable draw.

 

Coach John Thompson III’s Hoyas once again have a rather low R+T Rating thanks to a turnover margin of -1.9 and a low amount of steals per game.  They will exit from the tournament in the next round unless there is a monumental upset in their pairing.

 

Neither USC nor VCU has the talent to take advantage of Georgetown’s deficiencies.  The three teams combined have a R+T rating below Purdue’s.

 

One additional note: The Hoyas will be a tad bit better than their Criteria Score in the tournament.  Chris Wright suffered a hand fracture in the middle of the schedule, and he is expected to be near 100% for the tournament.  You have to add maybe one point to their Criteria Score, but that is not enough to put them over the top in their second game.

 

Prediction: Georgetown 69  Southern Cal 61 (or VCU 60)

 

#3 Purdue 25-7 (16) vs. #14 St. Peter’s 20-13 (-7)

If only… Purdue fans will never know just how good their team might have been with Robbie Hummel joining JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore playing together.  This would have been the best Boilermaker team since Rick Mount led Purdue to the Championship Game against UCLA in 1969.

 

The Boilermakers no longer have that one glaring weakness that Gene Keady’s teams had and thus prevented Purdue from getting past the second round.  This team does well on the boards like most of those past Purdue teams, but they are particularly strong when it comes to forcing turnovers and taking advantage by converting steals into points.  It is the way many teams go on runs that put opponents out of commission.

 

St. Peter’s just barely avoided being immediately eliminated with a negative R+T Rating.  They squeaked by at 0.1.  It might as well be a negative number, as the Peacocks were outrebounded by 0.4 per game and had a turnover margin of -0.9 against a schedule that was four points below average and seven points weaker than the schedule Purdue faced.

 

Prediction: Purdue 73  St. Peter’s 56

 

#7 Texas A&M 24-8 (8) vs. #10 Florida State 21-10 (2)

The Big 12’s third best team has enough talent to challenge for a Sweet 16 berth.  We’ll leave the next round for another time and talk about this game.

 

The Aggies have no glaring weakness, and they have a few strengths, namely rebounding and defense (which wins games in the NCAA Tournament).  They are much like Kansas Lite.  A&M was not a team of surprises during the regular season.  They beat the teams they were supposed to beat and failed to upset the teams better than they were.  We expect the trend to continue.  They are better than the Seminoles.

 

Florida State does not take good care of the ball, and that costs them in confrontations against good opponents.  The Seminoles do not play particularly well away from Tallahassee, and they should be making a quick exit from the Dance.

 

Prediction: Texas A&M 73  Florida State 65

 

#2 Notre Dame 26-6 (11) vs. #15 Akron 23-12 (-9)

This is the best Irish team since Digger Phelps led Notre Dame in the late 1980’s.  Throw in the fact that this team has a chip on its shoulders following a first round exit last year, and the Irish have to be considered the Sweet 16 favorite in their four-team pairing this weekend.

 

The Irish finished the regular season with a scoring margin of 10.4 points per game.  Down the stretch, they went 7-2 against teams in this tournament.  The Selection Committee placed Notre Dame in a bracket that should provide a very memorable Sweet 16 contest against one of their most bitter arch-rivals.

 

Akron has a big seven-foot center, but the Zips do not rebound the ball all that well.  Zeke Marshall, the aforementioned big man, concentrates his efforts on blocking shots, and he frequently is not in position to rebound the ball.  So, the blocked shot frequently turns into a made basket off an offensive rebound.  The Zips did not fare well on the road this year, and with a considerably weaker schedule than average, this does not bode well.

 

Prediction:  Notre Dame 81  Akron 57

 

Southeast Regional

#1 Pittsburgh 27-5 (18) vs. #16 UNC-Asheville (-5)/U A L R (-13)

One of us here at the PiRate Ratings might be dating himself, but he sees a lot of the 1962 Cincinnati Bearcats in this year’s Pitt team.  The Panthers have a dominating inside power game that will pulverize any finesse team that cannot hit 10 three-pointers.  Neither UNCA nor UALR has a remote chance to make this game a close contest.

 

Pitt outscored their opposition by 13.1 points per game.  This stat looks even better when you factor in that they compiled this gaudy stat playing in a league that produced 11 NCAA Tournament teams.  The Panthers outshot their opponents by 7.6%, and they totally dominated the glass with a 10.4 rebounding advantage.  If you are thinking the way to beat them is to play a packed in zone, think again.  Ashton Gibbs can bury you from outside with his near 50% three-point accuracy, and Brad Wannamaker can still get the ball inside to one of the bruisers waiting to punish you with a thunder dunk.

 

Only a negative turnover margin prevents the Panthers from being there with Kansas as a co-favorite for winning all the marbles.

 

Pitt’s cupcake opponent will have to be happy with winning their First Four game, because they will be humiliated in this game.

 

Prediction: Pittsburgh 78  UNC-Asheville 54 (or UALR 48)

 

#8 Butler 23-9 (7) vs. #9 Old Dominion 27-6 (10)

This is the second best matchup in this round, and the winner will put a scare into Pittsburgh in the next round and even have a decent shot at the upset.

 

Butler is now the hunted rather than the hunter.  The Bulldogs will not sneak up on anybody this year.  More importantly, they are not as talented as they were last year.  The Bulldogs fared much better on the road last year than this season.  However, down the stretch, Butler started to look like a team proficient enough to get past the first weekend once again.

 

Old Dominion has the talent to advance past the first weekend as well.  The Monarchs are a miniature version of Pittsburgh, the team they would face in the next round should they win this game.

 

ODU is the nation’s number one rebounding team with a +12.2 margin.  The Monarchs’ schedule was not outstanding, but it was on par with several teams from the so-called power conferences, and they finished 6-4 against teams in this tournament.  This is a better ODU team than the one that upset Notre Dame in the first round last year, and this game should be one you do not want to miss.

 

 

Prediction: Old Dominion 72  Butler 70 in overtime

 

#5 Kansas State 22-10 (9) vs. #12 Utah State 30-3 (14)

This is the one game where a number 12 seed winning would not really be all that much of an upset.  Utah State should have been a top eight seed in this tournament.  If we were conspiracy buffs, we would say that the Selection Committee searched for a team that the Aggies do not match up with all that well and placed them in this spot to verify their actions.

 

Kansas State does not take care of the ball well enough to advance very deep into this tournament, but their first game opponent cannot take advantage of that weakness.

 

Utah State has dominated their opponents by forcing them to play a patient half-court game with very little scoring in transition.  They prefer to work the ball patiently for a good shot and then force opponents to take a low-percentage shot.  Thus, the Aggies outrebound their opponents, but they do so by forcing more bad shots than by out-leaping their opponents.

 

Kansas State has the talent to force Utah State to play at a quicker tempo and force them to defend one-on-one.  Jacob Pullen is a poor man’s (and smaller) Derrick Rose.  He can break down most opponents off the dribble, and he should be able to force USU to resort to some type of combination defense to keep him from going wild.

 

What scares us most about Utah State is that they had two opportunities to show they are deserving of their lofty ranking.  They lost to BYU and to Georgetown, and they never really threatened to pull of the upset in either game.

 

This is one game where we are going to go against our own chalk.  Kansas State’s schedule was seven points tougher, and the Wildcats can exploit the Aggies’ weaknesses.

 

Prediction: Kansas State 70  Utah State 63

 

#4 Wisconsin 23-8 (7) vs. #13 Belmont 30-4 (9)

This game has become the most-picked upset special around the nation.  Belmont is being compared with Butler of last year.  The Bruins are lofty of all this attention-gathering admiration, but Wisconsin is not the Washington Generals.

 

Belmont has the highest scoring margin in the nation at 18.4 points per game.  The Bruins outshot their opposition by 5.7% per game, and they took a lot of three-point attempts.  They outrebounded their opponents by 3.9, and they had an eye-popping 5.3 turnover margin.  They share the top steals per game average in this tournament with Missouri at 9.7, and their R+T Rating is the best in the tournament at 16.2 (three better than number two Ohio State).

 

Of course, these statistics were compiled against inferior competition.  Belmont’s schedule strength is nine points below the national average and a dozen below their first round opponent.  Against the opponents that made it to this tournament, they were 1-3.  They beat Alabama State by 13.  The three losses were on the road to in-state rivals Tennessee (twice) and Vanderbilt, but they led in the second half of those games.

 

The last time Belmont was in the Big Dance, the Bruins came within a missed last shot of sending Duke home.   

 

Wisconsin was not expected to be this good in 2011.  This was supposed to be a minor rebuilding season for the Badgers.  The Badgers usually run Coach Bo Ryan’s Swing Offense with great efficiency, rarely turning the ball over.  They outscored their opponents by 9.9 points per game, and they outshot they outrebounded them by 3.8 boards per game. 

 

The Badgers have been a hot and cold team this year.  When they have been hot, they have been nearly unbeatable, because Ryan’s teams always limit possessions.  When they have been cold, they have been easily beatable, because Ryan’s teams always limit possessions.  They finished the season as cold as ice, so the Badgers must be considered a slight underdog in this game.

 

Prediction: Belmont 74  Wisconsin 70

 

#6 St. John’s 21-11 (9) vs. #11 Gonzaga 24-9 (13)

Here is a game where we believe the seedings should be switched.  Gonzaga has been here enough times to be considered a regular in the NCAA Tournament, like Duke, Kansas, Ohio State, and Connecticut.  This makes a baker’s dozen consecutive appearances in the Big Dance for the Bulldogs. 

 

In past years, Gonzaga had a big scorer that could take over games.  Adam Morrison comes to mind.  This year, the Zags are more difficult to prepare for, because they are more team-oriented.  There is not a big star on the roster, but all five starters are capable of taking the team on his shoulders with a hot night.

 

In their nine-game winning streak to close the season, Gonzaga eliminated Saint Mary’s from the Dance party with two victories.  The Bulldogs scoring margin in those nine games was 76-58.  This is a good team playing its best ball of the year, and we expect Coach Mark Few to win yet another NCAA Tournament game.

 

St. John’s comes into the tournament minus one of its stars.  Starting forward D. J. Kennedy went down for the season with a knee injury in the Big East Tournament, and the Red Storm is now suspect in the paint.  Their Criteria Score of nine should be discounted by two to three points.  It is enough to take this contest from tossup status to near-comfortable status for Gonzaga.

 

Prediction: Gonzaga 74  St. John’s 66

 

#3 Brigham Young 30-4 (18) vs. #14 Wofford 21-12 (-1)

So, you didn’t get a chance to see Pete Maravich play at LSU in 1968, 1969, or 1970, eh?  We must admit that nobody will ever be the collegiate equal for Maravich, but Jimmer Fredette may be the closest thing to him.

 

Throw out the floppy socks and floppy Beatles haircut and throw out some of the most unbelievable passes in the history of the game (so unbelievable that Maravich’s teammates frequently could not see them coming), and Fredette is not that far behind Maravich.

 

The sports nation will be turning its eyes to this game just to see if Fredette can make a run at a single game scoring mark.  If we remember correctly, Notre Dame’s Austin Carr set the mark back in 1970 with 61 points against Ohio U in a regional qualifier game.

 

BYU may have been a strong Final Four contender had Brandon Davies not loved his girlfriend so much.  The Cougars averaged 8.7 fewer points per game once Davies was suspended. 

 

Wofford will not be able to take much advantage of Davies’ absence.  The Terriers fared well in all PiRate Criteria categories, but they did not meet even the minimum “numbers to look for” in any category, and their schedule strength was five points below the norm. 

 

Prediction: Brigham Young 75  Wofford 63

 

#7 U C L A 22-10 (-3) vs. #10 Michigan State 19-14 (1)

If only this were a few years ago.  Neither of these historically dominating teams is going to make waves in this year’s tournament, and the winner will be around for just one more game.

 

UCLA would be a national title contender if Kevin Love had stuck around for four years.  Imagine Love as a senior on this team.  Can you say Bill Walton-like numbers?  Alas, the Bruins must get by with a couple of well above-average forwards instead of the best three-man tandem in the nation.

 

The Bruins have the worst turnover margin of any team in this tournament.  At -3.4, UCLA would need to dominate on the boards, and while they usually win that battle, it is anything but dominating.

 

Michigan State’s one asset year in and year out under Coach Tom Izzo has been their rebounding acumen.  For most teams, a +4.3 edge on the boards would be considered outstanding, but in East Lansing, this is considered a down year. 

 

Neither team has done all that well away from their home court this season, and there really is only one stat where one team stands out ahead of the other.  MSU’s schedule was four points tougher than UCLA’s schedule.  That’s our spread for this game.  

 

Prediction: Michigan State 64  UCLA 60

 

#2 Florida 26-7 (15) vs. #15 UC-Santa Barbara 18-13 (-10)

The Gators looked like a potential Final Four team in the last month, at least when they were not playing Kentucky.  UCSB is not Kentucky. 

 

Florida tends to commit too many floor mistakes to win four games in this year’s tournament.  They have enough talent to get through the first weekend, but we do not see the Gators extending their stay after that.

 

UCSB upset Long Beach State to get here, and the Gauchos are one of the weakest teams in the tournament according to our Criteria Score.  With negative rebounding and turnover margins, they just barely escape automatic elimination with a R+T rating of 0.3. 

 

Prediction: Florida 76  U C S B  54

 

 

 

Our Bracket

 

You have seen the 32 teams that we believe will win the second round games.  Here is how we fill out the rest of our bracket.

 

Third Round Winners

Ohio State over George Mason

Kentucky over West Virginia

Syracuse over Xavier

North Carolina over Washington

Duke over Tennessee

Texas over Arizona

Connecticut over Cincinnati

San Diego State over Penn State

Kansas over UNLV

Louisville over Vanderbilt

Purdue over Georgetown

Notre Dame over Texas A&M

Pittsburgh over Old Dominion

Kansas State over Belmont

Gonzaga over Brigham Young

Florida over Michigan State

 

Sweet 16 Winners

Ohio State over Kentucky

Syracuse over North Carolina

Texas over Duke

San Diego State over Connecticut

Kansas over Louisville

Purdue over Notre Dame

Pittsburgh over Kansas State

Florida over Gonzaga

 

Elite 8 Winners

Ohio State over Syracuse

Texas over San Diego State

Kansas over Purdue

Pittsburgh over Florida

 

Semifinal Winners

Ohio State over Texas

Kansas over Pittsburgh

 

National Championship

Kansas over Ohio State

March 9, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 9 Update

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Three More Tickets Punched

Horizon League Championship

Butler 59  Milwaukee 44

 The Bulldogs held Milwaukee to 30% shooting from the field, and Matt Howard connected on seven of nine shots to pace Butler with 18 points, as the defending National Final runner-up earned another spot in the Big Dance.

 Summit League Championship

Oakland 90  Oral Roberts 76 

The Golden Grizzlies displayed a great offensive show with the aid of numerous first half steals by Drew Valentine and Reggie Hamilton to build a double-digit lead by the break.  After withstanding an early second half run by the Golden Eagles, Oakland pulled away to win the automatic bid.  

Keith Benson topped Oakland with 28 points and 14 rebounds.  Hamilton added 25 with six assists, while Will Hudson recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Sunbelt Conference Championship

U A L R  64  North Texas  63 

The Trojans won their first Sunbelt Championship and earned their first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 1990.

 

SBC Player of the Year Solomon Bozeman drove from the backcourt to the left side of the top of the key and drained a three-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining to give UALR the decisive points.  Bozeman scored a game-high 20 points. 

North Texas had led by seven points with less than two minutes to go, but the Mean Green wilted under the Trojan pressure defense.  With one last chance to try to win, UNT committed a turnover on the inbounds pass. 

11 Automatic Qualifiers To Date

Team Conference Record
Arkansas-Little Rock Sunbelt  19-16
Belmont  Atlantic South 30-4
Butler  Horizon 23-9
Gonzaga West Coast 24-9
Indiana State  Missouri Valley  20-13
Morehead State  Ohio Valley  24-9
Oakland  Summit  25-9
Old Dominion Colonial 27-6
St. Peter’s Metro Atlantic 20-13
UNC-Asheville Big South 19-13
Wofford Southern 21-12

 

Two Tickets To Be Punched Tonight

Big Sky Tournament Championship @ 9PM ET On ESPN2

#2 Montana (21-9) at #1 Northern Colorado (20-10)

 

Semifinal Round

Montana 57  Weber State 40

Northern Colorado 73  Northern Arizona 70

 

These two split their regular season series with Northern Colorado winning 63-45 in Greeley, and Montana winning 55-42 in Missoula.  Tonight’s game will be played at Butler-Hancock Hall in Greeley, so Northern Colorado will enjoy the home court advantage. 

This game is a great study in contrasts.  Northern Colorado is a quicker team, but Montana is a stronger team.  Northern Colorado has one exceptionally dominant player, while Montana has more, albeit less exceptional, weapons.

 

The Bears’ offense runs through 6-1 senior guard Devon Beitzel.  Beitzel averages a league-best 21 points per game, and he is deadly at the free throw line, where he connects on 91% of his tosses. 

The rest of the team collectively shoots under 41% from the field and commits more turnovers than assists, so if the Grizzlies can stop Beitzel, or at least limit his touches, they have a chance of defending their crown.

 

Montana has the dominant big man in the conference in 6-11/260 senior center Brian Qvale.  If the Grizzlies can keep this game a half-court affair, they stand a great chance of winning with Qvale plugging the middle on defense and controlling the boards at both ends of the court.  Qvale averages 15 points and nine boards a game, and he had a double-double with 16 points and 17 rebounds in the semifinal round.  Montana likes to limit possessions, so those numbers are even more impressive than they look. 

In the win over UNC, Montana held the Bears to 23.3% shooting, while they shot just 32.6% in the loss at Greeley.

 

It is our opinion that the visiting number two seed will pull off the mild upset over the host numbone seed, but it is not a strong feeling. 

 Northeast Conference Tournament Championship @ 7PM ET On ESPN2

#3 Robert Morris (18-13) at #1 Long Island (26-5)

Semifinal Round

Long Island 69  Central Connecticut 67

Robert Morris 64  Quinnipiac 62

Brooklyn has not been this excited over one of their own sports teams since the Dodgers won the 1955 World Series.  Long Island is one of the most exciting teams in the nation, and their 26-5 record has throngs of Brooklynites cramming into the Wellness, Recreation, and Athletic Center.  The WRAC holds just 2,500 seats, but you can bet that more than that amount will find their way into the game tonight, as they “Pack the WRAC.” 

Those fans will be converging to the corner of Ashland and Dekalb tonight, dressed in all white, to watch what could be a blowout win for their team.   

LIU is on a roll.  The Blackbirds have won 12 games in a row (longest current streak in the nation) and 20 of their previous 21 games.  They average almost 83 points per game.  The Blackbirds have exceptional depth with eight players capable of scoring 15 or more points. 

 

The Blackbirds pose difficult matchups with their roster, as they rely on quick guards and medium-sized forwards with great leaping ability to play at a fast pace.  There is no center on the roster, but the two 6-7 forwards have controlled the boards in most games this year. 

Those forwards are Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere, who team up for 25.4 points and 15.7 rebounds per game.

 5-10 backup guard Jason Brickman plays just 22 minutes per game, but he leads the team with 5.3 assists per game.  When he comes in the game, the pace picks up, and the Blackbirds shoot a lot of threes in transition.

 

Robert Morris is definitely not cannon fodder.  The Colonials are the two-time defending NEC Tournament champions, and they believe they can three peat even on the road in hostile conditions. 

The Colonials have won eight games in a row, relying on a stellar defense that limits possessions and pressures the guards.  They are missing their leading scorer, as 5-9 guard Karon Abraham’s season ended two weeks ago with a torn Achilles Tendon.  On the positive side, Abraham missed RMU’s win at LIU on December 2, as he was serving a multi-game suspension. 

Velton Jones and Russell Johnson will have to shine tonight for the Colonials to pull off the upset.  The duo are the only double figure scorers left, but both shoot less than 39% from the field. 

Without Abraham, RMU shoots just 33.7% from behind the arc, so the only way they can possibly win tonight is to replicate the formula that was successful more than three months ago—control the tempo and prevent LIU from getting off any uncontested three-pointers. 

We believe this game will begin slowly with RMU taking the lead in the early stages.  Somewhere in the first half, LIU will go on one of their patented runs and gain the lead.  Then, a second spurt will give them a commanding lead.  RMU might cut into that lead, but we believe in the end, the Blackbirds will be celebrating at the WRAC.  We do not believe the Brooklynites will be crying “Wait ‘Til Next Year.”  This will be like October of 1955 in the borough.

 

Yesterday’s Other Tournament Results

Atlantic 10 Conference

First Round

LaSalle 75  St. Bonaventure 73  2ot

St. Joseph’s 71  George Washington 59  ot

Rhode Island 70  St. Louis 61

Dayton 78  U Mass 50

 

Big East Conference

First Round

Connecticut 97  DePaul 71

Rutgers 76  Seton Hall 70 ot

South Florida 70  Villanova 69

Marquette 87  Providence 66 

M A C

First Round

Bowling Green 74  Northern Illinois 54

Ohio U 74  Toledo 57

Akron 67  Eastern Michigan 53

Buffalo 64  Central Michigan 50

 

M E A C

First Round

MD-Eastern Shore 87  F A M U 85  2ot

S. C. State 64  Delaware State 59 

Ivy League Playoff Set

Princeton defeated rival Penn 70-58 last night in Philadelphia, forcing a one-game playoff for the Ivy League’s automatic berth.  Princeton (24-6) will take on co-champion Harvard (23-5) Saturday afternoon at 4PM Eastern Time.  The game will be played at Yale University in New Haven, CT, and it can be seen live on ESPN3.com.

Princeton has appeared in all seven Ivy League tiebreaking playoff games in the history of the league.  This is Harvard’s first Ivy League basketball championship of any kind.  The Crimson last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1946. 

There is a chance that the loser of this game could hold a slim chance of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Harvard is ranked #35 in the RPI, while Princeton is ranked #49.  Harvard has two wins over top 50 teams as well as three losses.  Their biggest win was at Boston College.  Princeton has just one win against the top 50 and two losses.  For the Ivy to earn two bids, the Tigers have to win Saturday and hope Harvard’s high RPI is enough to earn the second bid. 

Conference Tournaments In Action Today

Big 12 Conference

Tournament Site: Kansas City

1st Round Games

#8 Nebraska (19-11) vs. #9 Oklahoma State (18-12)  12:30 PM ET

#5 Colorado (19-12) vs. #12 Iowa State (16-15)  3 PM ET

#7 Baylor (18-12) vs. #10 Oklahoma (13-17)  7PM ET

#6 Missouri (22-9) vs. #11 Texas Tech (13-18) 9:30 PM ET 

Big East Conference

Tournament Site: New York City

2nd Round Games

#8 Georgetown (21-9) vs. #9 Connecticut (22-9)  12 Noon ET on ESPN

#5 St. John’s (20-10) vs. #13 Rutgers (15-16)  Approx. 2:15 PM ET on ESPN

#7 Cincinnati (24-7) vs. #15 South Florida (10-22)  7 PM ET on ESPN

#6 West Virginia (20-10) vs. #11 Marquette (19-13)  Approx. 9:15 PM ET on ESPN 

Conference USA

Tournament Site: El Paso, TX

1st Round Games

#8 East Carolina (16-14) vs. #9 Central Florida (19-10)  1 PM ET

#5 Southern Miss (21-9) vs. #12 Tulane (13-16)  3:30 PM ET

#6 Marshall (21-10) vs. #11 Houston (12-17)  7:30 PM ET

#7 S M U (17-13) vs. #10 Rice (13-17)  10 PM ET 

M E A C

Tournament Site: Winston-Salem, NC

Note: The MEAC has a unique way of scheduling their tournament.  As a result, one first round game will be played today as well as two quarterfinal round games.  The other two quarterfinal round games will be played Thursday. 

1st Round

#6 Norfolk State () vs. #11 Howard ()  3 PM ET

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Bethune-Cookman (20-11) vs. #9 South Carolina State (10-21)  7 PM ET

#2 Hampton (21-8) vs. #10 Maryland-Eastern Shore (9-21)  9:30 PM ET 

Mountain West Conference

Tournament Site: Las Vegas

1st Round

#8 Wyoming (10-20) vs. #9 T C U (10-21)  5 PM ET 

Pac-10 Conference

Tournament Site: Los Angeles

1st Round

#8 Stanford (15-15) vs. #9 Oregon State (10-19)  9 PM ET on Fox Sports Net

#7 Oregon (14-16) vs. #10 Arizona State (12-18)  11:30 PM ET on Fox Sports Net 

Southland Conference

Tournament Site: Katy, TX (Houston Area)

Quarterfinal Round

#2 Northwestern State (LA) (18-13) vs. #7 Texas-San Antonio (16-13)  1 PM ET

#3 Sam Houston (17-12) vs. #6 Stephen F. Austin (18-10)  3:30 PM ET

#1 McNeese State (19-10) vs. #8 Nicholls State (14-13)  7 PM ET

#4 Texas State (15-15) vs. #5 Southeastern Louisiana (15-13)  9:30 PM ET 

S W A C

Tournament Site: Garland, TX (Dallas-Ft. Worth Area) 

Quarterfinal Round

#2 Jackson State (16-14) vs. #7 Prairie View (10-21)  12:30 PM ET

#1 Texas Southern (18-11) vs. #8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (7-23)  9 PM ET

W A C

Tournament Site: Las Vegas

1st Round

#5 Hawaii (18-11) vs. #8 San Jose State (15-14)  3 PM ET

#6 Nevada (12-18) vs. #7 Fresno State (14-16)  5:30 PM ET

March 8, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 8 Update

 

The Four Newest Dance Invitees

Did you see those conference championship games last night?  Was this the Monday Night Fights or basketball?  There were more cut men and cut women than in your average boxing card.

 

When it is all or nothing for these smaller conferences, you get what we saw last night—teams playing like their lives were on the line.

 

Colonial Athletic Association

Old Dominion 70

Virginia Commonwealth 65

 

Old Dominion 27-6

 

The Monarchs are capable of making a semi-surprise run in the Big Dance.  They lead the nation in rebounding margin, and they can score points in the paint. 

 

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

St. Peter’s 62

Iona 57

 

St. Peter’s 20-13

 

The Peacocks beat Alabama earlier in the season, and their defense could keep them within striking defense in an opening round game, but we cannot see SPC advancing to the second round.

 

Southern Conference

Wofford 77

College of Charleston 67

 

Wofford 21-12

 

The Terriers finally beat the Cougars (we predicted this yesterday), and they will not roll over and play dead in the first round.  This team returns to the Dance for the second consecutive season, and they will not back down.  They may not advance, but they will not be in awe of their heavily favored first round opponent.

 

West Coast Conference

Gonzaga 75

Saint Mary’s 63

 

Gonzaga 24-9

 

This edition of Zags may not be the most talented in the Coach Mark Few era, but they are playing their best ball at the right time.  It will depend on their bracket, but this team has Sweet 16 potential.

 

Three More Invitations Go Out Tonight

By 11:15 PM Eastern Time tonight, we will know the names of three more NCAA Tournament participants.  Let’s break down these games.

 

Horizon League Championship @ 9PM ET on ESPN

Butler (22-9)  at  Milwaukee (19-12)

 

Butler defeated Cleveland State in the semifinal round Saturday evening, while Milwaukee topped Valparaiso.  During the regular season, Milwaukee swept the Bulldogs, winning 76-52 at home and 86-80 in overtime on the road.  The top-seeded Panthers host this game.

 

Both teams are red hot coming into this title match.  Milwaukee has gone 10-1 in their last 11 games, and the only loss was in the Bracketbuster to Buffalo.  Their defense is what got them here, as they shoot only 43% from the field and 65% at the foul line.

 

Three Panthers average double figures in scoring, led by Anthony Hill.  Hill averages just under 16 points per game, but he broke out with a 24-point, 11-rebound performance in the semifinal game against Valpo.  Kaylon Williams is the X-factor for Panthers.  He can score when needed, rebound with the big men, and run the offense.  He recorded a triple-double earlier in the season against Butler (10 points-10 rebounds-10 assists), and he added a double-double in the second win over the Bulldogs.

 

Butler missed Gordon Hayward even more than most experts predicted.  The Bulldogs played a tough pre-conference schedule and limped into February.  With their backs against the wall, they reeled off eight consecutive victories to get to the title game tonight.

 

Most basketball fans know Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack from last year’s team that made the surprise run to the National Championship Game.  The duo has teamed for 32 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this year.  However, it has been the emergence of 6-11 sophomore center Andrew Smith that has allowed Butler to turn things around and look like a force to be reckoned with once again.  Smith averaged 11 points per game over the second half of the season.  In the eight game winning streak, he has averaged 32 minutes per game and pulled down close to eight rebounds per game.  His 63% field goal percentage has forced defenses to stop him first, giving Howard and Mack more room to get open.  Smith was a non-factor in the two games against Milwaukee, and he is the key to tonight’s game.  If he plays 32 minutes and gets double figure points and eight rebounds, Butler will be cutting down the nets yet again.

 

Summit League Championship @ 9PM ET on ESPN2

Site: Sioux Falls, SD

Oakland (24-9)  vs. Oral Roberts (19-14)

 

If you like high-scoring, fast-paced games, you will definitely clear your schedule to view this one.  Oakland is the second best offensive team in the nation, averaging 86 points per game (92 ppg in their last 10 games).  The Grizzlies connect on close to 50% of their field goal attempts, and they tend to hit spurts where they score 10 points in two minutes.  Oral Roberts averages 81 points per game and has no qualms running with Oakland.

 

Both teams are riding major winning streaks entering tonight’s title game.  Oakland has won 17 of their last 18 games, while the Golden Eagles have won 10 in a row.  In the regular season, Oakland won both high-scoring games, but both were nail-biters that went down to the wire. 

 

Oakland has a tall and short combination that has done a lot of the damage on opponents.  6-11 center Keith Benson is the best player in the league.  Benson averages 17.7 points and 10 rebounds per game.  He showed he can do it against the big schools, as he had 17 points and 12 rebounds in a close loss to Michigan State and 26 points and 10 rebounds in a big win at Tennessee. 

 

5-11 guard Reggie Hamilton is a threat to top 20 points any night.  He is quick and can get open without help from screens.

 

Oral Roberts has a star in its own right.  Dominique Morrison averages just under 20 points per game, and he doesn’t need to heave up 25 shots per game to get those points.  Morrison shoots 51.3% from the field, 40% from behind the three-point line, and 78.4% at the foul line.  He scored 56 points in the two games against Oakland.

 

This should be a great game, and we don’t believe Oakland is that much of a favorite.  ORU has been to the Big Dance four times in the last six years, while Oakland is the defending tournament champion.  We expect the winner to top 90 points in this game, and it is too close to call.  We say Oakland has about a 54% chance and Oral Roberts a 46% chance of winning.

 

Sunbelt Conference Championship @ 7PM ET on ESPN2

Site: Hot Springs, AR

 

North Texas (22-10)  vs. U A L R (18-16)

 

On paper this looks like a mismatch, even though the teams finished one game apart in the regular season.  North Texas finished fourth in the West with an 8-8 league mark, while Little Rock finished fifth at 7-9.

 

North Texas was one of the biggest underachievers this season.  The Mean Green returned four starters from their 2010 conference champion team and were expected to win again this year with the best backcourt and one of the best frontcourts in the league.  Instead, a 3-9 swoon in the middle of the season placed them out of contention for the West crown.  Since that awful slide, UNT has recovered with five consecutive victories.

 

6-5 senior guard Tristan Thompson has led the way for the Mean Green in the tournament, scoring 80 points in the first three games.  He has done a lot of the damage at the foul line, where he is 31-35 in Hot Springs, including an unbelievable 20-20 performance in the win over top-seed Florida Atlantic.  Thompson combines a quick move to the basket with a sweet shot from outside.  Beefy forward George Odufuwa averages 11 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, and UALR has a tough matchup problem against him.

 

The Trojans dropped both regular season games to North Texas, mostly because they could not compete under the basket.  Their chance to win this game will come down to limiting possessions and trying to win 55-50.  They have won three games in the tournament by getting to the foul line and hitting foul shots, while using the clock and taking 30 seconds to shoot on most possessions.  UALR’s big star in this tournament has been senior guard Solomon Bozeman.  Like Thompson, Bozeman has gotten to the free throw line and made the most of his opportunities.  He has connected on 37 of 42 attempts including an eye-popping 19 of 22 against Middle Tennessee last night.

 

We expect a low-possession, low-scoring game.  There may be fewer than 100 field goal attempts tonight.  North Texas has been there before, while UALR has never won the Sunbelt Conference Tournament.  We think that trend will continue, but it wouldn’t surprise us if this game stays relatively close for the entire 40 minutes.  We could see North Texas winning 60-54.

 

The Other Tournaments In Action Today

 

Atlantic 10 Conference

First Round At Higher Seed Home Court

 

#9 Dayton (19-12) at #8 U Mass (15-14)  9PM ET on CBSC

#12 St. Joseph’s (9-21) at #5 George Washington (17-13)  7PM ET on CBSC

#10 LaSalle (14-17) at #7 St. Bonaventure (16-13)  5 PM ET on CBSC

#11 St. Louis (12-18) at #6 Rhode Island (18-12)  7 PM ET no TV

 

Big East Conference

Madison Square Garden in New York City

 

#16 Depaul (7-23) vs. #9 Georgetown (21-9) 12 Noon ET on ESPN2

#13 Rutgers (14-16) vs. #12 Seton Hall (13-17) Approx. 2:15 PM ET on ESPN2

#15 South Florida (9-22) vs. #10 Villanova (21-10) 7PM ET on ESPNU

#14 Providence (15-16) vs. #11 Marquette (18-13) Approx 9:15 ET on ESPNU

 

Big Sky Conference

Semifinal Round At Higher Seed Home Court

#3 Weber State (18-11) at #2 Montana (20-9)

#4 Northern Arizona (19-11) at #1 Northern Colorado (19-10)

 

Mid-American Conference

1st Round At Higher Seed Home Court  All Games At 7PM ET

 

#10 Northern Illinois (9-20) at #7 Bowling Green (13-18)

#11 Eastern Michigan (9-21) at #6 Akron (19-12)

#9 Central Michigan (10-20) at #8 Buffalo (17-12)

#12 Toledo (4-27) at #5 Ohio U (17-14)

 

Mideastern Athletic Conference

Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, NC

 

#9 South Carolina State (9-21) vs. #8 Delaware State (9-20)  9PM ET

#10 Maryland-Eastern Shore (8-21) vs. #7 Florida A&M (12-19)  6:30 PM ET

 

Note: One more 1st round game Wednesday plus two quarterfinal games

 

 

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