The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 11, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Friday, March 11, 2022

Friday’s Conference Tournament Games
American Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals
Fort Worth, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
MemphisCentral Florida7.1
Atlantic 10 Conference–Quarterfinals
Washington, D.C.
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
St. BonaventureSaint Louis-1.9
Atlantic Coast Conference–Semfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
DukeMiami (Fla.)9.0
North CarolinaVirginia Tech0.9
Big 12 Conference Semifinals
Kansas City
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Texas TechOklahoma6.2
Big East Conference–Semifinals
New York
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Big Sky Conference–Semifinals
Boise, ID
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Montana St.Weber St.1.0
Northern ColoradoPortland St.2.4
Big Ten Conference–Quarterfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
WisconsinMichigan St.0.2
PurduePenn St.9.4
Big West Conference–Semifinals
Henderson, NV
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Long Beach St.UCSB-2.8
HawaiiCal St. Fullerton0.4
Conference USA–Semifinals
Frisco, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
North TexasLouisiana Tech3.4
Middle TennesseeUAB-6.6
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference–Semifinals
Atlantic City, NJ
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
St. Peter’sQuinnipiac6.4
Mid-American Conference–Semifinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Kent St.Ohio-1.5
Mideastern Athletic Conference–Semifinals
Norfolk, VA
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Norfolk St.Morgan St.6.9
UNC CentralCoppin St.1.9
Mountain West Conference–Semifinals
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Boise St.Wyoming2.2
Colorado St.San Diego St.-1.4
Pac-12 Conference–Semifinals
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Southeastern Conference–Quarterfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
AuburnTexas A&M9.2
TennesseeMississippi St.6.8
Southland Conference–Semifinals
Katy, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Nicholls St.Texas A&M–CC3.8
Southeast LouisianaNew Orleans-1.6
Southwestern Athletic Conference–Semifinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Alcorn St.Alabama A&M4.6
Texas SouthernGrambling6.9
Western Athletic Conference–Semifinals
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
New Mexico St.Grand Canyon0.5
SeattleAbilene Christian-0.9

Dance Tickets Punched
1Murray St.Ohio Valley27-2
2LongwoodBig South26-6
3Loyola (Chi.)Missouri Valley25-7
5Georgia St.Sun Belt18-10
6Jacksonville St.Atlantic Sun21-10
8DelawareColonial Athletic22-12
9Wright St.Horizon21-13
10South Dakota St.Summit30-4
11GonzagaWest Coast26-3

March 10, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Thursday, March 10, 2022

Thursday’s Conference Tournaments
American Athletic Conference–1st Round
Fort Worth, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
CincinnatiEast Carolina6.1
Wichita St.Tulsa5.9
Central FloridaSouth Florida10.1
Atlantic 10 Conference–2nd Round
Washington, D.C.
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
FordhamGeorge Mason-4.6
Saint LouisLa Salle12.0
George WashingtonMassachusetts-2.3
RichmondRhode Island3.9
Atlantic Coast Conference–Quarterfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Miami (Fla.)Boston College6.5
Notre DameVirginia Tech-1.6
North CarolinaVirginia4.2
Big 12 Conference–Quarterfinals
Kansas City
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
KansasWest Virginia9.1
Texas TechIowa St.7.1
Big East Conference–Quarterfinals
New York
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
VillanovaSt. John’s7.1
ConnecticutSeton Hall2.2
Big Sky Conference–Quarterfinals
Boise, ID
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Montana St.Sacramento St.9.9
Weber St.Montana3.3
Southern UtahPortland St.5.7
Northern ColoradoEastern Washington0.8
Big Ten Conference–2nd Round
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Michigan St.Maryland3.1
Ohio St.Penn St.5.0
Big West Conference–Quarterfinals
Henderson, NV
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Long Beach St.Cal St. Bakersfield5.2
UC-IrvineUC Santa Barbara0.9
HawaiiUC Riverside0.6
Cal St. FullertonUC Davis2.0
Conference USA–Quarterfinals
Frisco, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
North TexasRice10.4
Western KentuckyLouisiana Tech-1.2
Middle TennesseeUTEP3.6
UABFlorida Atlantic7.3
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals Continue
Atlantic City, NJ
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Mid-American Conference–Quarterfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
ToledoCentral Michigan18.1
Kent St.Miami (O)6.3
OhioBall St.8.9
Mideastern Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals Continue
Norfolk, VA
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Morgan St.South Carolina St.2.5
UNC CentralMaryland Eastern Shore2.0
Mountain West Conference–Quarterfinals
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Boise St.Nevada6.9
Colorado St.Utah St.0.9
San DIego St.Fresno St.4.9
Pac-12 Conference–Quarterfinals
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
UCLAWashington St.7.8
Southeastern Conference–2nd Round
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Texas A&MFlorida-1.4
South CarolinaMississippi St.-3.7
Southland Conference–Quarterfinals
Katy, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Texas A&M–CCHouston Baptist6.4
New OrleansMcNeese3.5
Southwestern Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals Continue
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Florida A&MAlabama A&M1.9
Western Athletic Conference–2nd Round
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Grand CanyonSam Houston4.0
Stephen F. AustinAbilene Christian1.0

Dance Tickets Punched
1Murray St.Ohio Valley27-2
2LongwoodBig South26-6
3Loyola (Chi.)Missouri Valley25-7
5Georgia St.Sun Belt18-10
6Jacksonville St.Atlantic Sun21-10
8DelawareColonial Athletic22-12
9Wright St.Horizon21-13
10South Dakota St.Summit30-4
11GonzagaWest Coast26-3

March 9, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:56 am
Wednesday’s Conference Tournaments
America East Conference–Semifinals
Higher Seed at Home
Maryland Baltimore Co.Hartford6.3
Atlantic 10 Conference–1st Round
Washington, D.C.
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
La SalleSt. Joseph’s-3.2
Rhode IslandDuquesne8.9
Atlantic Coast Conference–2nd Round
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Florida St.Syracuse0.7
Wake ForestBoston College9.3
Virginia TechClemson5.1
Big 12 Conference–1st Round
Kansas City
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Kansas St.West Virginia1.2
Big East Conference–1st Round
New York
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
St. John’sDePaul6.4
Seton HallGeorgetown12.4
Big Sky Conference–1st Round
Boise, ID
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Sacramento St.Idaho3.3
Portland St.Idaho St.6.5
Eastern WashingtonNorthern Arizona8.9
Big Ten Conference–1st Round
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Penn St.Minnesota3.2
Conference USA–2nd Round
Frisco, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Louisiana TechMarshall9.2
UTEPOld Dominion3.0
Florida AtlanticSouthern Miss.12.9
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
St. Peter’sFairfield4.7
Mideastern Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals
Norfolk, VA
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Norfolk St.Delaware St.12.1
HowardCoppin St.5.8
Mountain West Conference–1st Round
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
NevadaNew Mexico4.0
Utah St.Air Force13.6
Fresno St.San Jose St.10.7
Pac-12 Conference–1st Round
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Arizona St.Stanford3.5
OregonOregon St.11.6
Washington St.California7.2
Higher Seed at Home
Southeastern Conference–1st Round
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Southland Conference–1st Round
Katy, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Incarnate WordHouston Baptist-3.8
Northwestern St.McNeese-1.1
Southwestern Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals
Birmingham, AL
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Texas SouthernJackson St.5.9
Alcorn St.Prairie View2.6
Western Athletic Conference–1st Round
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Sam HoustonCalifornia Baptist3.3
Abilene ChristianUtah Valley0.4

Dance Tickets Punched
1Murray St.Ohio Valley27-2
2LongwoodBig South26-6
3Loyola (Chi.)Missouri Valley25-7
5Georgia St.Sun Belt18-10
6Jacksonville St.Atlantic Sun21-10
8DelawareColonial Athletic22-12
9Wright St.Horizon21-13
10South Dakota St.Summit30-4
11GonzagaWest Coast26-3

February 17, 2022

February Madness

This is the time of year where college basketball starts to get really interesting.  2022 is more interesting than normal.  Teams that were almost locks to be at-large tournament teams have lost multiple games and have moved down into Bubbleville.  Teams that were on the Bubble for the NIT two weeks ago have played themselves into at-large contention in just a couple weeks.  Then, there are a plethora of Mid-Major conferences where the best team has moved into contention for an at-large possibility if they do not win their conference tournament, and there are a few mid-major leagues where two or more teams have resumes worthy of consideration.  The first conference tournaments tip off in 12 days.  Here’s a quick look at the leagues for basketball fans that haven’t had the time to follow as closely as this maniac does.

Power Conferences


North Carolina lost against lowly Pittsburgh this week, and the Tar Heels are now fighting for a last 4 in spot with a dozen other teams.

Notre Dame has won 9 out of 10 games, basically against the lower half of the league but with wins over Miami and Virginia, to move to the good side of the Bubble.  The Irish have two critical road games left that can move their resume into safe territory with wins.  If they beat Wake Forest and Florida State, they will break through the Bubble and enter safe territory.

Virginia and Virginia Tech have considerable work to do to get into consideration.  UVa is 10-6/16-10, which in most years in the ACC would be enough, but not this year.

Big 12

Kansas, Baylor, Texas Tech, and Texas are safe, while TCU is close to being safe.  Kansas State is making a late charge in the league, moving from last place in January to 5th place today.  Their final 5 games are tough, and a 3-2 finish might give them enough resume boost to get the Wildcats into the field.  

Oklahoma and Iowa State are both 4-9 in the league.  I cannot remember any team 5 games under .500 in a power conference that ever got into the field of 68.  It looks like 7-11 is the ceiling for both teams.  Yet, their team sheets, as seen by the Selection Committee, still show them in strong contention for an at-large bid.

Big East

Providence, Villanova, and UConn are safe at this point, but there is a logjam after that.  Creighton, Marquette, and Xavier are on the good side of the Bubble today, but Seton Hall is 3-4 in their last 7 games and now has work to do to secure an at-large spot.

Big Ten

Rutgers is the hottest team in the nation other than Gonzaga.  From being hopeful to sneak into the NIT three weeks ago, the Scarlet Knights have knocked off Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Illinois in succession combined with prior wins over Purdue, Iowa, and Michigan.  RU is now 10-5 in the Big Ten and facing a really tough 4-game stretch, where if they split these games, they have to be moved into the at-large field and high enough to avoid having to go to Dayton for a First Four game.

Indiana has fallen off the mat with four consecutive losses to drop to 7-8 in the league.  They are now in the danger field.


This is an interesting process.  First-year Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd might be the national Coach of the Year, and he makes the Mark Few coaching tree look sturdy.  The Wildcats are vying for a #1 seed,  UCLA, Oregon, and USC should also be in the field, but they still need to win some games.  Unless another team wins the automatic bid, it doesn’t appear like the Pac-12 will go beyond four teams, and it could fall to three if Oregon drops some games in the final fortnight.  Washington, Washington State, Colorado, and Stanford sit just below the threshold of contention.  If one of these teams were to win out in the regular season, they could get into contention with a couple of conference tournament wins.


The big news here is that Florida has played itself out of the field for now after losing at home to Texas A&M.  The Gators are now 6-7 in the league and have a tricky closing schedule and just one big win all season.  Michael White’s job security is getting thinner and thinner as his teams tend to underachieve again and again.  Following Billy Donovan has been tough, and this could be the year the Gators decide to move on to another situation.

The rest of the league is pretty well set.  Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU, and Alabama are safe.  None of the rest of the league can work themselves into an at-large situation and can only get into the field as an automatic bid.

Mid-Majors (and Low-Majors)

American Athletic

Houston has been safely in the field for weeks.  Their seed line has dropped from a 2 to maybe a 5 or 6.  SMU is on the Bubble but likely looking at a high NIT seed unless the Mustangs can beat Memphis at home and then knock off Houston on the road.  Memphis has worked themselves back into contention after suffering through a horrific January.

America East

This is a one-bid leage (OBL), and if anybody other than Vermont wins the conference tournament, it will be a big shame.  Stony Brook has been banned from the post-season tournament for announcing its move out of the league.  If the Catamounts don’t win the bid, whoever does is likely looking at a #16 play-in game in Dayton.

Atlantic 10

Davidson has not done enough to guarantee themselves an at-large spot should they not win the automatic bid.  Dayton, VCU, Saint Louis, and St. Bonaventure are co-contenders with the Wildcats for the possible one bid.  Keep an eye on the Billikens; they probably have the most complete team in the A-10.

Atlantic Sun

If you are a basketball maniac like me, you should cheer for Bellarmine to win the automatic bid in this OBL.  The Knights, with long-time coach Scott Davenport.  I know Scott from the past.  He was Allan Houston’s high school coach at Louisville Ballard, and I think he is the last former Denny Crum assistant to be in college basketball.  He also worked for Rick Pitino at UL.  He took over the Bellarmine program when the Knights were still Division 2, and he won a national championship.  The Knights have a unique playing style, a five-out motion offense similar to the old Princeton offense under Pete Caril.  They put a big scare in close losses to Saint Mary’s and UCLA and are battle-tested with other games against Gonzaga, Murray State, and Purdue.  

Liberty was leading the A-Sun for most of the year until a couple losses moved the Flames down to third place.  Jacksonville State (from Alabama not Florida) is currently in first in the league.  Their coach, Ray Harper, has had a controversial career, where he was accused of verbal and other abuse during his tenure at Western Kentucky, but he won big there.  He’s stayed out of the headlines at JSU, and the Gamecocks are the team to beat in the league tournament.

Keep an eye on Jacksonville (The one in Florida where Artis Gilmore played).  First-year coach Jordan Mincy has done an admirable job with the Dolphins.  He’s just 35 years old and has a rep for being a great recruiter.  He probably has an long and successful career ahead. and JU has to be considered the Dark Horse to win the league tournament.

Florida Gulf Coast is playing their best ball at the present, and they have sneaked into the upper division.  

Big Sky

The league has five teams that are rather evenly matched and all talented enough to play a high-seeded favorite close enough to put a scare in them.  Montana State is 16-1 since early December, but the Bobcats begin a rough three-game road trip tonight.  Weber State and Southern Utah could sneak past MSU if the road trip proves to be trouble.

Big South

This is a two-team race between Longwood and perpetual contender Winthrop.  The best the Big South can hope for this year is a #16 seed that avoids a play-in game in Dayton.  Winthrop has a road win against Washington, but the Huskies were not in great shape at the time of that game.

Big West

Covid affected this league more than most other leagues, and thus the conference standings have been overly skewed.  This is an OBL, so it will be all about the conference tournament.  Defending champion UCSB is in 7th place with a 4-5 league mark, but they have won three games in a row.  Perpetual contender UC-Irvine started 1-3 but has reeled off six consecutive wins to move to 7-3 and 4th place.  I’d put my money on the Anteaters as the top contender for the bid.  The three teams ahead of UCI in the standings, Long Beach State, Cal St. Fullerton, and Hawaii have decent talent, but UCI is the superior team.

Colonial Athletic

Considering this is another OBL, it has been an interesting race to this point with four equally talented teams emerging as the co-favorites.  Towson looked like a potential runaway winner in the conference race into late January, but in the last three weeks, UNC-Wilmington has been the hot team, and the Seahawks have won 15 of their last 17 games.  They are a small team, mostly guards and a tough matchup for bigger teams that cannot match UCW’s quickness.

Speedy Claxton is one incredible gentleman.  He was a big star at Hofstra, playing for a conference championship team under coach Jay Wright before Wright went to Villanova.  After having a semi-successful NBA career, Claxton returned to his alma mater as head coach.  When the Pride needed a better arena, Claxton wrote a sizable check to make it happen.  When longtime coach Joe Mihalich retired last year, Claxton took over the Hofstra program and has the Pride in 3rd place in the CAA.

Conference USA

North Texas and UAB are both potential Bubble teams at this point.  UNT has won 10 games in a row and sits at 11-1/18-4.  The Mean Green has a tough man-to-man defense that forces opponents to use all of the shot clock on many possessions.  The Blazers are the better offensive team but not as consistent at UNT.  There are at least four other CUSA teams strong enough to win the automatic bid. 

Middle Tennessee State has a nice history of upsetting big teams in the Dance, and current Coach Nick McDevitt took UNC-Asheville to a Big Dance from about the same spot the Blue Raiders sit today.

Sixth place UTEP and seventh place Western Kentucky cannot be ignored in the conference tournament.  The Miners, under first year coach Joe Golding, are a team nobody wants to play.  Their pressing defense has become stronger and stronger as the players gain the experience playing it.  Golding made Abilene Christian a tough out.


Oakland appeared to be running away with the league championship in January, but they came back to the rest of the pack.  This is another OBL, and the conference tournament should be quite exciting, because there are at least six teams that can win it.  Third place Northern Kentucky has won 9 of their last 10, and I think they are the team to beat in March.


This league only invites the top 4 teams to its fledgling postseason tournament.  Yale, Penn, and Princeton are rather secure at this point, but the fourth spot is still up for grabs between Cornell, Brown, and Harvard.  If any team other than Yale wins the tournament, they are looking at a #16 seed.  Yale is probably a #15 seed.  Princeton has the most talent.

Metro Atlantic

Rick Pitino is doing it again.  He has taken Iona back to the heights it enjoyed under Jim Valvano 40+ years ago.  The Gaels looked to possibly run the table in the MAAC until they fell in consecutive road games to Niagara and Siena.  Iona still has a multi-game lead over the rest of the league and will be the #1 seed in the MAAC Tournament.  If you are looking for a potential upset team, it has to be Monmouth, where Coach King Rice tends to have his undermanned team playing in peak form in March.


Toledo and Ohio will be the number one seeds out of the two divisions, and one of the two should win MACtion in Cleveland.  Both teams have just enough talent to pull off a first round upset in the Big Dance.

Mid-Eastern Athletic

The MEAC has been wounded by defections to other conferences and now has just eight teams left.  Norfolk State has quietly dominated this league the last 11 years, winning more than 78% of their conference games, but the Spartans have only won two conference tournaments in that time.  They did once beat Missouri in the NCAA Tournament.  Usually, the MEAC champion automatically goes to Dayton to play a first four game as a #16 seed, but Norfolk has the potential to work up to one of the top two 16-seeds this year if they can keep winning.  Of course, that means instead of having a chance to win a tourney game against another 16-seed, they will get blasted against a #1 seed in their only game.

Missouri Valley

Arch Madness in St. Louis is always fun, and the league championship game is always the first big one televised by CBS on the first Sunday of Championship Fortnight.  Loyola (Chi.) is ending their membership in the league at the end of this season, but the folks in the MVC, led by a long-time acquaintance in Commissioner Jeff Jackson, didn’t ban the Ramblers from Arch Madness.  Loyola is firmly an at-large candidate if they do not win Arch Madness, and this year, the tournament will be loaded with good teams capable of cutting down the nets.  

Drake, Missouri State, and Bradley have already defeated the Ramblers, while Northern Iowa has beaten those same three teams and still gets Loyola at home to conclude the regular season.  These five teams will make Arch Madness Madnificent.

Mountain West

Might the MWC get more teams in the Big Dance than the Pac-12?  The answer is most likely “no,” but this league will put three teams in the field with the possibility of a fourth getting in.  Boise State, Wyoming, Colorado State, and San Diego State are within one game in the loss column of each other.  If the Aztecs can finish the regular season 5-1 in their six games in two weeks dash, then all four could be in line for a bid if there aren’t many Power Conference upset winners. All four of these teams have Sweet 16 talent.


Wagner has been rated highly in the NET Rankings this year, as they have a signature road win against VCU, but this is another OBL.  The Seahawks beat second place Bryant at home in overtime and still have to play the Bulldogs in Rhode Island.  One of these two should win the automatic bid.

Ohio Valley

Could the OVC be a two-bid league this year, as they have been multiple times in the past?  Murray State has the best overall record in D1 basketball at 24-2 and is 14-0 in the league.  Should the Racers be upset in the OVC Tournament, then yes, this is definitely a two-bid league.  Additionally, if Murray State wins the league tourney, and they beat Belmont in the Championship Game, and Belmont has a record of 26-7 or 27-6, then the Bruins might sneak into the field as an 11 or 12-seed playing in a First Four game.  Belmont has wins over Drake, Iona, and Saint Louis, all away from Nashville, plus a win at home over Chattanooga.  The Bruins still must play at Murray.

Patriot League

Colgate is 12-1 in their last 13 games, and the Raiders look to have returned to their lofty elite position they enjoyed last year in the PL.  They do have one nice road win, topping Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, but this is most likely a one and done team if they win the automatic bid, even if the Raiders are one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation.  They will get manhandled in the paint by a bigger opponent.

Navy and Boston U have enough talent to win the automatic bid.  If either does win, they will most likely be a 16-seed or at best, the weakest 15-seed.


The SoCon has frequently been overlooked in the past, especially once Davidson left the league.  Chattanooga is definitely a team that must be shown respect, as the Mocs have an above average offense and defense.  UC has swept second place Furman in the regular season, and there is the old saying that it is hard to beat a good team three times in one season.  The Mocs might have to do just that to get a Dance ticket.


This poor league was decimated by the loss of its best teams to the WAC, and now, this may be the weakest of the D1 conferences.  New Orleans, Nicholls State, and Southeast Louisiana are the only three teams with winning conference records, but 6th place Texas A&M-Corpus Christi may actually be the best team.  Regardless of the eventual winner, they will play in Dayton in a First Four game.

Summit League

Do you remember last year?  Fourth place Oral Roberts finished the regular season at 10-6 in the league and just 13-10 overall.  The Golden Eagles then upset South Dakota State in the Summit Semis and topped North Dakota State in the Summit Championship Game to sneak into the field as a 15-seed.  They then upset 2-seed Ohio State and 7-seed Florida to make the Sweet 16, where they faced a heavily favored Arkansas team and took the Razorbacks to the buzzer, losing by two.

ORU is in second place in the league at the present time at 11-3, but three games behind what looks like a potential Sweet 16 team in South Dakota State.  Even with the 2021 success, this league is an OBL, because neither team has the strength of schedule or strength of record to get an at-large bid.  

From deep in the pack, keep an eye on Western Illinois.  The Leathernecks’ style of play will keep them loose in tournament action, and if they can pull off a quarterfinal upset, they will get the confidence and have the momentum to do more.

Sun Belt

Of the Low-major leagues, this one has the most parity, and it will be a crap shoot to predict the automatic bid winner in this OBL.  Nine of the 12 teams can make it to the SBC Championship Game.  If I had to choose one team in the bottom half of any conference to win their league’s conference tournament, it would be here in the SBC.  Coastal Carolina is in 8th place at 5-7 in the league and 13-11 overall, but this is the deep dark horse in my opinion.  Aged veteran coach Cliff Ellis has been coaching college basketball for 50 years, and I was there watching his tiny Cumberland College in Lebanon, TN, in the early 1970’s.   He’s been the head coach at South Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, and CCU and has taken all four schools to the NCAA Tournament, a combined 10 times.  

The actual co-favorites for this conference are Texas State, Appy State, and Troy.  Texas State has won a lot of close games, and the Bobcats lead the race at the moment.  Appy State has the best backcourt, but they lack inside muscle.  Troy has the best inside muscle but is lacking in the backcourt.

Southwestern Athletic

The SWAC teams must schedule a lot of paycheck games to fund their basketball programs, so their records are never great.  In fact, some past NCAA Tournament teams have lost 10 more games than they won out of conference.  With the addition of two former MEAC teams and the expansion in the number of conference games, the SWAC overall records are a little better this year.  15-10 Southern could actually avoid Dayton if they win out.  Texas Southern is 11-11, but in their numerous paycheck games, they own a 15-point win at Florida.  The Tigers kept it close in road games against Oregon, Saint Mary’s, Washington, BYU, and North Carolina State.  Coach Johnny Jones has taken three different schools to the Dance and has the favorite to do so again this year.

Western Athletic

If I was offered a free tournament pass to see all the games in a Mid-Major league this year, the WAC would be the one I chose.  Of course, the tournament is in Las Vegas, but there is another reason to make this one my choice.

The WAC gained a bunch of quality teams when they raided the Southland, and now this 13-team league has seven rather strong teams competing for the league’s one bid.  There are interesting little stories to each of the teams.

Seattle is leading the league today with a record of 11-2 in the WAC and 20-6 overall.  The Redhawks are playing under an interim head coach, Chris Victor, after their former coach was forced to resign after making racist statements.  Seattle has actually made it to the National Championship in the distant past, as one of the 10 greatest players in the game’s history, Elgin Baylor, took the school to the finals, where they fell to Adolph Rupp’s “Fiddlin’ Five” last national champions at Kentucky.

New Mexico State is a year removed from being a travel squad, as the Aggies had to leave New Mexico and hole up in a motel in Arizona for months just to play a handful of games.  NMSU is 10-2/21-4 led by my #1 Mid-Major head coach in Chris Jans, and the Aggies present significant matchup problems with their size and quickness.

Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin dominated the Southland Conference for many years, and the two Lone Star State teams are doing just fine playing in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones, even better playing their new rivals at home.  Ask Kansas and Bill Self about playing SFA.  He wants nothing more of them after watching the Lumberjacks come into Allen Fieldhouse and take KU to the final minutes.

Grand Canyon, Abilene Christian, and Utah Valley might be leading five or six other Mid-Major/Low-Major leagues this year.  ACU still has the great pressure defense they had under former coach Joe Golding when they won last year’s Southland Tourney.  GCU may be a tad stronger this year than last year, after they won both the regular season and conference tournament.  Utah Valley has the top big man in the league in Fardaws Aimaq, who averages 19.2 points and 13.4 rebounds per game.

West Coast

Should this league still be considered a Mid-Major?  Along with the AAC, the WCC is one of the top eight leagues and should be considered a power conference.  Gonzaga is number one in the nation, looking at another 1-seed.  Saint Mary’s and San Francisco are also at-large worthy, while Santa Clara and BYU both have the potential to get back into the at-large discussion.  

Look out for USF in the NCAA Tournament.  Todd Golden’s Dons have senior leadership along with a team that knows how to take care of the ball and play cohesively as a team.  USF played Gonzaga tough in Spokane and gets a rematch with the Bulldogs a week from today.  Golden might be on an expedited path to a big time job.  With his past ties to Bruce Pearl, he could easily coach east of the Mississippi River as well as west.

January 3, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:27 am
4TexasIllinoisMichigan St.USC
5Ohio St.AlabamaUCLAConnecticut
6Texas TechLoyola (Chi.)IowaXavier
7Iowa St.ProvidenceSeton HallColorado St.
8Virginia TechBYUNorth CarolinaFlorida
9MichiganWisconsinSan FranciscoMississippi St.
10OklahomaSaint Mary’sIndianaClemson
11West VirginiaMemphisNorthwesternMinnesotaArkansasFlorida St.
13IonaNew Mexico St.OhioTowson
14WagnerOaklandNavySouth Dakota St.
16Georgia St.Nicholls St.Southern UtahTexas SouthernCampbellHoward

First Four Out

San Diego St.
Central Florida

Next Four Out

Wake Forest
Boise St.
Washington St.
Texas A&M

November 28, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Football–Championship Week

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:59 am

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads

Champ 1Champ 2PiRateMeanBias
Dec. 3 C-USA Championship Game–7 PM EST on CBSSN

UTSAWestern Kentucky-1.5-2.5-3.5

Dec. 3 Pac-12 Championship Game–8 PM EST on ABC–Las Vegas


Dec. 4 Big 12 Championship Game–12 PM EST on ABC–Arlington, TX

Oklahoma St.Baylor8.28.68.7

Dec. 4 MAC Championship Game–12 PM EST on ESPN–Detroit

Northern IllinoisKent St.-3.4-5.7-5.0

Dec. 4 Mountain West Championship Game–3 PM EST on FOX

San Diego St.Utah St.10.99.810.3

Dec. 4 Sun Belt Championship Game–3:30 PM EST on ESPN

LouisianaAppalachian St.

Dec. 4 SEC Championship Game–4 PM EST on CBS–Atlanta


Dec. 4 AAC Championship Game–4 PM EST on ABC


Dec. 4 Big Ten Championship Game–8 PM EST on FOX–Indianapolis


Dec. 4 ACC Championship Game–8 PM EST on ABC–Charlotte

PittsburghWake Forest-1.9-0.8-1.8

Regular Season Game


This Week’s PiRate Ratings

2Ohio St.130.4
5Oklahoma St.123.0
6Notre Dame121.9
8Iowa St.120.1
11Texas A&M118.6
14Ole Miss116.2
15U C L A115.0
16Penn St.114.8
22NC State112.7
23Wake Forest112.4
24Mississippi St.112.0
26L S U111.5
31Arizona St.110.3
32Oregon St.110.3
33North Carolina110.2
34Miami (Fla.)110.1
36Appalachian St.109.7
38West Virginia109.4
39Kansas St.109.3
42Washington St.109.2
43Michigan St.108.2
45Boise St.106.4
49Florida St.105.3
50U S C104.9
51Coastal Carolina104.7
52Texas Tech104.2
53Fresno St.104.1
54Air Force103.9
57San Diego St.103.1
59Virginia Tech102.6
61Western Kentucky102.3
62Central Michigan102.1
63T C U101.8
66South Carolina100.6
68East Carolina100.0
71Boston College99.3
74Georgia St.98.7
77Miami (Ohio)98.4
78U A B98.2
80U T S A96.8
82Georgia Tech95.1
83Utah St.94.8
85Western Michigan94.5
89Ball St.93.8
90Kent St.93.4
95Eastern Michigan92.1
98North Texas90.3
99Middle Tennessee90.2
100South Alabama89.8
101Colorado St.88.9
102Northern Illinois88.7
103San Jose St.88.6
107Georgia Southern87.0
108Florida Atlantic86.3
111Old Dominion85.7
112U N L V85.2
113U T E P84.5
116Texas St.83.0
117Arkansas St.82.8
120Louisiana Tech79.7
121New Mexico78.0
122Southern Miss.77.6
123Bowling Green77.1
127New Mexico St.71.8
129Florida Int’l.65.9

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Carolina99.899.5100.8100.0

AAC Averages96.896.597.596.9

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division
NC State112.5112.3113.2112.7
Wake Forest112.3112.1112.8112.4
Florida St.104.9105.2105.7105.3
Boston College99.499.299.399.3

Coastal Division
North Carolina109.7109.7111.1110.2
Miami (Fla.)110.4109.8110.2110.1
Virginia Tech103.0102.5102.4102.6
Georgia Tech95.

ACC Averages104.4104.4104.6104.5

Big 12 Conference
Oklahoma St.123.2123.0122.9123.0
Iowa St.120.8119.4120.1120.1
West Virginia110.7109.1108.4109.4
Kansas St.110.1109.3108.5109.3
Texas Tech104.5104.5103.7104.2
T C U102.9101.4101.2101.8

Big 12 Averages110.4109.3109.0109.6

Big Ten Conference
East Division
Ohio St.130.0130.0131.3130.4
Penn St.114.0114.6115.8114.8
Michigan St.108.0108.1108.6108.2

West Division

Big Ten Averages108.2108.4109.0108.5

Conference USA
East Division
Western Kentucky101.0102.6103.3102.3
Middle Tennessee89.790.290.790.2
Florida Atlantic86.086.786.286.3
Old Dominion84.885.986.385.7
Florida Int’l.65.965.965.865.9

West Division
U A B98.098.498.398.2
U T S A96.597.196.996.8
North Texas89.990.590.690.3
U T E P84.
Louisiana Tech80.080.278.879.7
Southern Miss.77.478.077.477.6

CUSA Averages86.086.686.486.3

FBS Independents
Notre Dame121.1121.9122.7121.9
New Mexico St.72.172.770.771.8

Indep. Averages91.291.390.691.0

Mid-American Conference
East Division
Miami (Ohio)99.698.397.398.4
Kent St.
Bowling Green77.677.875.877.1

West Division
Central Michigan102.9101.8101.5102.1
Western Michigan94.894.893.794.5
Ball St.94.894.292.593.8
Eastern Michigan93.492.190.892.1
Northern Illinois89.788.687.888.7

MAC Averages91.290.789.790.5

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Boise St.106.1106.3106.7106.4
Air Force103.5103.8104.5103.9
Utah St.94.495.294.794.8
Colorado St.89.188.988.888.9
New Mexico78.578.377.178.0

West Division
Fresno St.103.2104.3104.9104.1
San Diego St.103.3103.1103.0103.1
San Jose St.88.989.087.888.6
U N L V85.385.085.485.2

MWC Averages95.295.495.395.3

Pac-12 Conference
North Division
Oregon St.109.9110.5110.6110.3
Washington St.108.6109.6109.4109.2

South Division
U C L A114.5115.1115.4115.0
Arizona St.109.8110.5110.8110.3
U S C105.0104.6105.0104.9

Pac-12 Averages105.5106.2106.2106.0

Southeastern Conference
East Division
South Carolina101.1100.7100.2100.6

West Division
Texas A&M118.4118.8118.5118.6
Ole Miss116.0116.1116.3116.2
Mississippi St.111.8112.1112.0112.0
L S U111.1111.8111.7111.5

SEC Averages112.3112.4112.4112.4

Sunbelt Conference
East Division
Appalachian St.109.2109.2110.6109.7
Coastal Carolina105.5103.8104.6104.7
Georgia St.98.898.398.998.7
Georgia Southern86.987.187.087.0

West Division
South Alabama90.189.889.489.8
Texas St.83.882.482.883.0
Arkansas St.

Sun Averages93.993.493.693.6

Conference Ratings

2Big 12109.6
3Big Ten108.5
5Atlantic Coast104.5
6American Athletic96.9
7Mountain West95.3
8Sun Belt93.6
11Conference USA86.3

Playoff and Bowl Projections

Note: 83 teams gained bowl eligibility. There are spots for 82 teams. One team will be left out. As of today, we project Wyoming to be that team.

BahamasWestern KentuckyCentral Michigan
CureMemphisGeorgia St.
BocaLibertyMiami (O)
New MexicoUTEPUtah St.
Lending TreeKent St.Old Dominion
L. A.Fresno St.Arizona St.
New OrleansUABLouisiana
Myrtle BeachSMUCoastal Carolina
Famous Idaho PotatoEastern MichiganBoise St.
FriscoNevadaBall St.
Armed ForcesArmyMarshall
HawaiiHoustonSan Diego St.
CamelliaNorthern IllinoisAppalachian St/
Quick LaneToledoMissouri
MilitaryLouisvilleSouth Carolina
BirminghamCentral FloridaAuburn
First ResponderTulsaNorth Texas
LibertyKansas St.Mississippi St.
HolidayVirginia TechUCLA
Guaranteed RateMarylandMiddle Tennessee
FenwayEast CarolinaBoston College
PinstripeNorth CarolinaPenn St.
Cheez-ItWake ForestWest Virginia
AlamoIowa St.Oregon St.
Duke’s MayoNorth Carolina St.Texas A&M
Music CityPurdueTennessee
Las VegasWisconsinOregon
Tax Slayer GatorClemsonArkansas
Tony The Tiger SunMiami (Fla.)Washington St.
ArizonaWestern MichiganAir Force
CitrusMichigan St.Ole Miss
TexasTexas TechLSU
PeachPittsburghOhio St.
FiestaOklahomaNotre Dame
CottonMichiganOklahoma St.

October 24, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Football–October 28-30, 2021

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Coastal CarolinaTroy22.920.822.8
East CarolinaSouth Florida12.112.013.3
BuffaloBowling Green24.923.925.7
Wake ForestDuke24.523.125.8
Michigan St.Michigan-2.3-3.3-3.6
North Carolina St.Louisville10.29.88.7
SyracuseBoston College1.11.11.0
Georgia SouthernGeorgia St.-6.4-5.5-6.4
West VirginiaIowa St.-5.6-5.9-7.7
Florida AtlanticUTEP13.814.215.5
PittsburghMiami (Fla.)
TempleCentral Florida-16.2-14.2-17.2
Georgia TechVirginia Tech0.01.31.4
ClemsonFlorida St.12.312.113.3
RiceNorth Texas3.43.43.5
Utah St.Hawaii1.42.52.0
Arizona St.Washington St.15.515.115.7
CaliforniaOregon St.-8.5-4.9-6.2
San Jose St.Wyoming7.57.05.1
MarshallFlorida Int’l.20.119.419.5
Oklahoma St.Kansas32.935.037.4
Old DominionLouisiana Tech-8.7-8.3-6.8
LouisianaTexas St.26.426.727.7
Middle TennesseeSouthern Miss.12.812.113.8
Kansas St.TCU-0.80.3-0.7
Mississippi St.Kentucky-0.6-2.2-1.9
OklahomaTexas Tech21.920.021.8
Ohio St.Penn St.19.919.319.3
AuburnOle Miss3.32.73.3
Florida (N)Georgia-17.7-16.7-18.5
Appalachian St.Louisiana-Monroe26.225.529.0
South AlabamaArkansas St.
Western KentuckyCharlotte10.911.410.9
Colorado St.Boise St.-6.4-5.9-6.6
Notre DameNorth Carolina7.48.07.3
San Diego St.Fresno St.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

3Ohio St.130.9
5Iowa St.120.7
7Texas A&M118.6
9Ole Miss117.2
14Notre Dame114.8
15Penn St.114.4
17Arizona St.114.0
19Oklahoma St.113.5
24U S C111.6
26Oregon St.111.3
27West Virginia111.3
28NC State111.1
29Coastal Carolina110.8
30T C U110.6
32Michigan St.110.3
33North Carolina110.3
34L S U110.2
36Wake Forest110.0
37U C L A109.9
38Miami (Fla.)109.8
40Mississippi St.108.4
44Kansas St.107.2
49Florida St.104.6
52Appalachian St.104.2
54Boise St.103.6
55Texas Tech103.0
56San Diego St.102.9
57Virginia Tech102.4
59Fresno St.102.2
64Boston College101.7
65Washington St.101.6
66U T S A101.6
67Air Force101.1
69Georgia Tech100.4
73East Carolina98.6
76Miami (Ohio)97.8
78South Carolina97.1
80U A B96.3
81Ball St.96.3
85Florida Atlantic95.0
86Colorado St.94.8
87Eastern Michigan94.6
88Western Michigan94.5
89Central Michigan94.3
91San Jose St.94.0
92Georgia St.93.8
97Kent St.91.3
98South Alabama90.9
99Utah St.90.7
101Northern Illinois89.8
102Western Kentucky89.7
106Middle Tennessee88.6
109Georgia Southern86.2
110Louisiana Tech85.2
111U N L V85.1
112Arkansas St.84.8
113U T E P83.5
114Texas St.83.4
115New Mexico82.4
120North Texas80.3
123Southern Miss.78.2
124Florida Int’l.77.5
125Old Dominion75.2
127Bowling Green73.6
128New Mexico St.72.0

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Carolina98.397.899.698.6

AAC Averages96.996.697.797.0
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division
NC State111.2110.8111.2111.1
Wake Forest110.0109.5110.4110.0
Florida St.104.4104.6104.7104.6
Boston College101.6101.7101.8101.7

Coastal Division
North Carolina109.7109.8111.3110.3
Miami (Fla.)110.2109.2110.1109.8
Virginia Tech103.2102.1102.0102.4
Georgia Tech100.2100.5100.4100.4

ACC Averages105.1105.2105.4105.3
Big 12 Conference
Iowa St.121.2119.8120.9120.7
Oklahoma St.113.7113.5113.3113.5
West Virginia112.7111.0110.2111.3
T C U111.4110.0110.4110.6
Kansas St.107.6107.3106.7107.2
Texas Tech103.2103.4102.3103.0

Big 12 Averages110.5109.4109.1109.7
Big Ten Conference
East Division
Ohio St.130.3130.3132.0130.9
Penn St.113.4114.0115.7114.4
Michigan St.110.3110.3110.4110.3

West Division

Big Ten Averages108.0108.2108.9108.4
Conference USA
East Division
Florida Atlantic94.295.695.295.0
Western Kentucky88.690.290.389.7
Middle Tennessee88.288.389.288.6
Florida Int’l.77.077.678.077.5
Old Dominion74.875.575.475.2

West Division
U T S A101.2101.9101.7101.6
U A B96.296.496.496.3
Louisiana Tech85.585.884.285.2
U T E P83.484.482.683.5
North Texas80.480.480.280.3
Southern Miss.77.978.677.978.2

CUSA Averages86.086.586.486.3
FBS Independents
Notre Dame114.1114.7115.6114.8
New Mexico St.72.373.070.872.0

Indep. Averages90.790.890.090.5
Mid-American Conference
East Division
Miami (Ohio)99.397.696.697.8
Kent St.91.092.390.791.3
Bowling Green74.174.372.373.6

West Division
Ball St.97.196.894.996.3
Eastern Michigan96.094.693.394.6
Western Michigan94.695.093.794.5
Central Michigan95.494.093.594.3
Northern Illinois90.989.589.089.8

MAC Averages91.290.789.690.5
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Boise St.103.4103.2104.0103.6
Air Force100.8101.0101.6101.1
Colorado St.94.694.895.094.8
Utah St.90.491.290.690.7
New Mexico82.882.981.482.4

West Division
San Diego St.103.1102.7102.8102.9
Fresno St.101.1102.5103.1102.2
San Jose St.94.594.593.094.0
U N L V85.584.785.285.1
MWC Averages95.095.395.195.1
Pac-12 Conference
North Division
Oregon St.111.1111.2111.6111.3
Washington St.101.1102.1101.6101.6

South Division
Arizona St.113.6114.2114.3114.0
U S C111.3111.2112.1111.6
U C L A109.5110.0110.2109.9

Pac-12 Averages105.9106.5106.5106.3
Southeastern Conference
East Division
South Carolina97.697.296.697.1

West Division
Texas A&M118.2118.9118.6118.6
Ole Miss117.1117.1117.4117.2
L S U109.7110.5110.5110.2
Mississippi St.108.4108.5108.2108.4

SEC Averages111.8112.0112.0111.9
Sunbelt Conference
East Division
Coastal Carolina111.4109.6111.4110.8
Appalachian St.103.8103.3105.4104.2
Georgia St.94.293.593.893.8
Georgia Southern86.386.685.986.2

West Division
South Alabama91.291.190.390.9
Arkansas St.84.985.284.384.8
Texas St.84.582.783.083.4

Sun Averages93.693.193.393.3

Conference Ratings

2Big 12109.7
3Big Ten108.4
5Atlantic Coast105.3
6American Athletic97.0
7Mountain West95.1
8Sun Belt93.3
11Conference USA86.3

Playoff and Bowl Projections

CureSMUCoastal Carolina
BocaLouisiana TechAir Force
New MexicoUTEPNorthern Illinois
IndependenceBYUFlorida Atlantic
Lending TreeWestern MichiganAppalachian St.
L. A.San Diego St.UCLA
New OrleansUTSALouisiana
Myrtle BeachCentral MichiganCharlotte
Famous Idaho PotatoEastern MichiganBoise St.
Armed ForcesArmyUAB
GasparillaMiddle TennesseeBuffalo
HawaiiCentral FloridaFresno St.
CamelliaKent St.Troy
Quick LaneBall St.Wyoming
MilitaryNorth CarolinaTulsa
First ResponderWestern KentuckyTexas Tech
HolidayMiami (Fla.)USC
Guaranteed RatePurdueWest Virginia
FenwayHoustonBoston College
PinstripeNorth Carolina St.Penn St.
Cheez-ItWake ForestIowa St.
AlamoBaylorArizona St.
Duke’s MayoClemsonTennessee
Music CityMarylandArkansas
Las VegasWisconsinOregon St.
Tax Slayer GatorVirginiaFlorida
Tony The Tiger SunLouisvilleUtah
ArizonaMiami (O)Utah St.
CitrusIowaOle Miss
OutbackMinnesotaTexas A&M
TexasKansas St.Auburn
FiestaNotre DameMichigan
RoseOregonMichigan St.
SugarOklahoma St.Alabama
CottonOklahomaOhio St.
ChampionshipGeorgiaOhio St.

NCAA Strikes Out On New Overtime Rule

Did you watch the Penn State-Illinois game Saturday?  It was tied 10-10 after 60 minutes of excellent defensive football.  The Illini shut down the Penn State passing game while controlling the clock by running and running and more running.

Both teams scored field goals in the first two overtimes to make the score 16-16.  The new overtime rule states that starting with the third overtime, both teams get a two-point conversion attempt.  If the score remains tied, then successive two-point conversion attempts are taken until one team scores and the other team does not.

Additionally, after the first overtime, there are no more coin flips.  The teams rotate the choice.  And, what happens is the home team always wants to play on the side of the field where the student body cheers in the end zone, while the opponent wants to play at the other end of the field.  After each overtime, the players, officials, chain gang, and hundreds of fans must make the 100-yard walk to the other end of the field.

It’s no longer much of a secret that making two-point conversions is about as difficult as making 55-yard field goals.  That became a huge problem yesterday in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania.  Penn State and Illinois could not convert their two-point conversion attempts.  Overtimes three, four, five, six, and seven produced 10 consecutive botched conversions.  As each overtime ended, everybody had to move to the other end of the field, and the longer into this mess it continued, the big tubby linemen began to walk at a snail’s pace to get back.

Illinois finally scored in the eighth overtime, but then Penn State did the same forcing a ninth overtime.  The game was finally decided when the Nittany Lions missed their ninth overtime attempt, while Illinois scored to win the game 20-18.

In the amount of time it took to play the nine overtimes, another game that kicked off at the same time as the first overtime began the second quarter of their game just before the nine-overtime game concluded.  In other words, it took a little longer than one full quarter to play the nine overtimes.

Imagine a game in late November with sloppy playing conditions where regulation ends in a tie game, and nobody can score in the overtimes for 10 or more of these ridiculous two-point conversion attempts.  If it took nine yesterday, there is a possibility that somebody else will need 10 or more.

The NCAA must re-evaluate this fiasco of a rule.  In fact, the NCAA needs to have a constitutional convention and modify a lot of the rules to get into the 21st century.  Here is our suggestion for rules changes–use the same rules the NFL uses.  To wit:

1. Overtime should be one, 10-minute period with a touchdown on the first possession winning the game, but a field goal allowing the other team to have a possession.  If the game is still tied after 10 minutes, it stands as a tie game.

2. Intentional pass interference is now a definite defensive option to stop a big gain.  Players will even deliver cheap shots knowing that giving up 15 yards beats giving up 50 or a touchdown.  Because passing the ball is tantamount to winning, the pass interference penalty needs to go back to giving the offense the ball at the spot of interference, be it 12 yards past the line or 50.

3. The clock should not stop on first downs.  That rule was in effect when chain gangs were the only way to spot the ball.  In today’s world, the ball can be spotted quickly via computerization and an extra referee.  Let the clock move on first downs.

4. Add the two-minute warning.  In lieu of the clock stopping on first downs, add a two-minute warning to both halves.  That is when teams need the clock to stop, and the networks can get an extra commercial break before halftime or the end of the game.

5. Allow a player that falls to the ground with the ball but having been untouched by the defense to get up and advance.  Why should poor playing conditions be responsible for making a defensive stop?  

Here’s one additional rule change that should be considered.  Targeting happens too much these days when the ball carrier lowers his head to invite the targeting penalty.  This is almost like the flop in basketball.  The rule needs to be changed so that when the ball carrier initiates the targeting by putting himself into position for any tackle to become a potential targeting penalty, the offense should be penalized 15 yards for a personal foul.

Additionally, ejection is much too harsh of a penalty.  How about making targeting a 20-yard penalty and automatic first down, and also allowing it to supersede the half the distance to the goal and be allowed to go all the way to the 1-yard line if the offense is in the Red Zone?  A penalty in one game shouldn’t be allowed to stay in effect for a half of another game.  This may be the most ridiculous rule in college football history.  Think of a basketball game where a Syracuse player commits an intentional foul on a Connecticut player late in the second half of a game, and then three days later when Syracuse plays Duke, Duke gets to start the game with 2 foul shots from the intentional foul three days back.

August 11, 2021

It’s Football Time!

The PiRate Ship arrived at the port today. Our College PiRate Ratings, The PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings to be exact, are ready to go public. As we expected, the top teams in the nation are more experienced as a whole than they were last year, but a large majority of FBS teams are more experienced. In fact, as we hinted earlier this Summer, the total amount of college football experience and average age is at its highest since the late 1940s, when the G.I. Bill allowed former collegians to return from the War and resume their lives where it was before the War.

Because the weakest teams will be better than they have been in normal years, and because our ratings must average 100.0, since 100 is par, that means that the preseason top 10 will have lower then normal power ratings to begin the 2021 season.

As we do every year, we will begin Friday reviewing one conference per day until Monday, February 23. We will start with the weakest conference by average PiRate Ratings, ending with the strongest conference on the 23rd. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, August 13: Conference USA

Saturday, August 14: Mid-American Conference

Sunday, August 15: The FBS Independents

Monday, August 16: Mountain West Conference

Tuesday, August 17: Sun Belt Conference

Wednesday, August 18: American Athletic Conference

Thursday, August 19: Atlantic Coast Conference

Friday, August 20: Big Ten Conference

Saturday, August 21: Pac-12 Conference

Sunday, August 22: Big 12 Conference

Monday, August 23: Southeastern Conference

Later on Monday, August 23, we will post our opening college spreads for Week 0.

March 8, 2021

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update

Complete Tournament Guide

America East Conference

Championship Game–Saturday, March 13, 11 AM, ESPN2

6 U Mass-Lowell at 4 Hartford

American Athletic Conference

1st Round–Thursday, March 11 @ Fort Worth, TX

8 South Florida vs. 9 Temple (winner plays 1 Wichita St. Friday)

(4 SMU plays 5 Cincinnati Friday)

7 Tulsa vs. 10 Tulane (winner plays 2 Houston Friday)

6 Central Florida vs. 11 East Carolina (winner plays 3 Memphis Friday)

Atlantic Coast Conference

First Round–Tuesday, March 9 @ Greensboro, NC

12 Pittsburgh vs. 13 Miami (Fla.)

10 Duke vs. 15 Boston College

11 Notre Dame vs. 14 Wake Forest

Atlantic 10 Conference

Championship Game–Sunday, March 14, 1PM, CBS @ Dayton, OH

1 Saint Bonaventure vs. 2 Virginia Commonwealth

Big East Conference

1st Round–Wednesday 10 @ New York, NY

8 Georgetown vs. 9 Marquette (winner plays 1 Villanova Thursday)

(4 St. John’s plays 5 Seton Hall Thursday)

7 Xavier vs. 10 Butler (winner plays 2 Creighton Thursday)

6 Providence vs. 11 DePaul (winner plays 3 Connecticut Thursday)

Big Sky Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Boise, ID

8 Northern Colorado vs. 9 Sacramento St. (winner plays 1 Southern Utah Thursday)

(4 Idaho St. plays 5 Montana St. Thursday)

7 Portland St. vs. 10 Northern Arizona (winner plays 2 Eastern Washington Thursday)

6 Montana vs. 11 Idaho (winner plays 3 Weber St. Thursday)

Big Ten Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Indianapolis, IN

12 Northwestern vs. 13 Minnesota

11 Penn St. vs. 14 Nebraska

Big 12 Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Kansas City, MO

8 TCU vs. 9 Kansas St. (winner plays 1 Baylor Thursday)

(4 West Virginia plays 5 Oklahoma St. Thursday)

7 Oklahoma vs. 10 Iowa St. (winner plays 2 Kansas Thursday)

(3 Texas plays 6 Texas Tech Thursday)

Big West Conference

1st Round–Tuesday, March 9 @ Las Vegas

8 Cal St. Northridge vs. 9 Long Beach St. (winner plays 1 UCSB Wednesday)

(4 Cal St. Bakersfield vs. 5 UC-Davis Wednesday)

7 Cal St. Fullerton vs. 10 Cal Poly (winner plays 2 UC-Irvine Wednesday)

(3 UC-Riverside plays 6 Hawaii Wednesday)

Colonial Athletic Association

Semifinals–Monday, March 8 @ James Madison (Harrisonburg, VA)

4 Hofstra vs. 8 Elon

2 Northeastern vs. 6 Drexel

Conference USA

1st Round–Tuesday, March 9 @ Frisco, TX (Dallas Cowboys Practice Facility)

6W Rice vs. 7W Southern Miss.

6E Middle Tennessee vs. 7E Florida Intl.

Horizon League

Semifinals, Monday, March 8 @ Indianapolis, IN

1 Cleveland St. vs. 8 Milwaukee

3 Oakland vs. 4 Northern Kentucky

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

1st Round, Monday, March 8 @ Atlantic City, NJ

6 Canisius vs. 11 Rider

(1st Round continues Tuesday with 8 Quinnipiac playing 9 Rider and 7 Fairfield playing 10 Manhattan)

Mid-American Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Cleveland

1 Toledo vs. 8 Ball St.

4 Kent St. vs. 5 Ohio U

2 Buffalo vs. 7 Miami (O)

3 Akron vs. 6 Bowling Green

Mideastern Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals, Thursday, March 11 @ Norfolk, VA

2S Florida A&M vs. 3N Morgan St. (winner plays 1N Coppin St. Friday)

2N Norfolk St. vs. 3S UNC-Central (winner plays 1S North Carolina A&T Friday)

Mountain West Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Las Vegas

8 Wyoming vs. 9 San Jose St. (winner plays 1 San Diego St. Thursday)

(4 Boise St. plays 5 Nevada Thursday)

7 UNLV vs. 10 Air Force (winner plays 2 Utah St. Thursday)

6 Fresno St. vs. 11 New Mexico (winner plays 3 Colorado St. Thursday)

Northeast Conference

Championship Game, Tuesday, March 11, 7PM, ESPN2

4 Mount St. Mary’s at 2 Bryant

Pac-12 Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Las Vegas

8 Arizona St. vs. 9 Washington St. (winner plays 1 Oregon Thursday)

(4 UCLA plays 5 Oregon St. Thursday)

7 Utah vs. 10 Washington (winner plays 2 USC Thursday)

6 Stanford vs. 11 California (winner plays 3 Colorado Thursday)

Patriot League

Semifinals–Wednesday, March 10

9 Loyola (MD) at 4 Army

6 Bucknell at 2 Colgate

Southeastern Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Nashville, TN

12 Texas A&M vs. 13 Vanderbilt

Southern Conference

Championship Game–Monday, March 8, 7PM, ESPN @ Asheville, NC

1 UNC-Greensboro vs. 7 Mercer

Southland Conference

1st Round–Tuesday, March 9 @ Katy, TX (Greater Houston)

8 Southeast Louisiana vs. 9 McNeese St.

7 Incarnate Word vs. 10 Houston Baptist

Southwestern Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals–Wednesday, March 10 (& Thursday, March 11) @ Birmingham, AL

1 Prairie View vs. 8 Mississippi Valley (3/10)

4 Grambling vs. 5 Southern (3/11)

2 Jackson St. vs. 8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3/10)

3 Texas Southern vs. 6 Alcorn St. (3/11)

Summit League

Semifinals, Monday, March 8 @ Sioux Falls, SD

1 South Dakota St. vs. 4 Oral Roberts

2 South Dakota vs. 3 North Dakota St.

Sun Belt Conference

Championship Game–Monday, March 8, 7PM, ESPN2 @ Pensacola, FL

1E Georgia St. vs. 4E Appalachian St.

West Coast Conference

Semifinals–Monday, March 8 @ Las Vegas

1 Gonzaga vs. 4 Saint Mary’s

2 BYU vs. 3 Pepperdine

Western Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Las Vegas

4 California-Baptist vs. 5 Seattle (winner plays 1 Grand Canyon Friday)

3 New Mexico St. vs. 6 UT-Rio Grande Valley (winner plays 2 Utah Valley Friday)

Automatic Qualifiers

Liberty 23-5

Winthrop 23-1

Loyola (Chi.) 24-4

Morehead St. 23-7

February 18, 2021

The Sure Thing/The Contenders/The Still Alives

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:25 am

Who’s in the Big Dance? Who’s still in contention?

Today, we break down the projected NCAA Tournament field by conference.  The format will be teams that are locks to make the tournament; teams that would be safely in if the season ended today but a losing streak could jeopardize their safety; teams that would be on the good side of the bubble if the season ended today; teams that would be on the bad side of that bubble; and teams that are not in the conversation now but with a big winning streak could play their way into an at-large bid.

We won’t include the automatic bids, because the conference tournaments will do that for us.  Of course, this season, there could be some cancellations of these tournaments.  We’ll have to wait and see.

First, let’s look at the one-bid leagues.  As of today, we foresee 20 conferences receiving just one bid, but an upset in the conference tournament in one or two could lead to an extra bid from that league.


The perpetual top contenders share the conference lead.  UMBC and Vermont are tied at 9-3 in conference play.  The two rivals face off in back-to-back games in Maryland tonight and tomorrow.  If one of these two teams earn the bid, they are probably looking at a #15 seed.


Bellarmine has a one-game lead in the league race at 10-2, but the Knights are not yet eligible as a transitioning team to D1.  Liberty is in second place at 8-2, but this Flames team is not as strong as the last two editions.  The rest of the league is mediocre for a low-major conference.  Current sixth place Florida Gulf Coast is starting to put it together and could sneak up to the #2 seed by conference tournament time.


This year’s race is as wide open as the real estate in the Near West.  Eastern Washington leads Southern Utah by 1 ½ games, but that is a Covid-scheduling issue, as SUU at 6-2 has played three fewer conference games.  The teams split back-to-back games at EWU a month ago.  This conference will hope to avoid a 16-seed play-in game.


Winthrop has lapped the field.  The 15-1 Eagles lead second place Radford by 3 ½ games and most recently swept the Highlanders.  Winthrop is 18-1 overall and has a chance to earn an at-large bid should they not earn the automatic one.


This has in recent years been the UC-Irvine show, as the Anteaters have dominated this league.  This year, UCI looks up at rival UCSB, as the 8-2 Gauchos have reeled off 10 consecutive victories.  Cal State Bakersfield is in a statistical tie with UC-Irvine for second place.  The Roadrunners venture to Santa Barbara to face UCSB twice this weekend.


James Madison has risen from fourth place to first at 8-1, while the top contenders have all lost in recent games.  Fifth place Delaware and sixth place William & Mary are the other two conference teams with hot hands, but when the CAA holds its conference tournament, any of the top six could win the event.


With wins over Memphis and Alabama, one might think that Western Kentucky could earn an at-large bid if they could take the regular season CUSA title.  It is possible, but the 8-2 Hilltoppers may find it tough to get a lot of support this year with so few quality out of conference games.

WKU faces a tough doubleheader this weekend with 8-2 North Texas in Denton.  If either team sweeps, they become the sizable favorite to cop the league crown.  If they split, then Old Dominion, UAB, and Marshall all remain in contention to win the race in the final lap.


Wright St. and Cleveland St. are tied at 15-3 in the league and own four game leads over the next contender, Northern Kentucky.  Wright State has won nine games in a row since losing to CSU.  One of the top three should take the tournament title and the automatic bid.


Covid has done a number on this league this year.  Monmouth has played 14 conference games and is 10-4.  Siena has played 10 conference games and is 8-2 to lead by percentage points over the Hawks.  Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels have played just seven conference games and they have lost two in a row to fall back to fifth place at 4-3.  Iona gets both of the two co-leaders in doubleheader games on their home floor in New Rochelle, including two with Monmouth this weekend, weather permitting.


Year in and year out, the MAC postseason tournament in Cleveland is one of the most exciting and unpredictable as any other.  We expect the same results this year.  Toledo has been leading the league race most of the season, and the Rockets are in first at 12-3, but 11-3 Akron and 10-4 Kent St. are coming on strong in February.  It doesn’t end there.  Ohio U and Buffalo, both at 7-4, and Bowling Green at 8-7 have played well enough in recent weeks to contend for the automatic bid.  If the MAC Tournament plays as scheduled, this is one that you will want to watch.


With three league teams opting out, scheduling has been an issue this year in the MEAC.  Usually, this league struggles to avoid the #16-seed play-in game, but more than once, the MEAC has produced an upset winner in the Round of 64.  North Carolina A&T leads the South Division with a perfect 4-0 conference record, but the Aggies have only played two conference games since January 3.  They had five games postponed.  

In the north, Norfolk St. 7-4, leads Morgan St. and Coppin St., both 6-4, by a half game.  NSU swept Morgan and split with Coppin, but their remaining regular season games have been cancelled.  If the MEAC Tournament is cancelled, N.C. A&T will almost assuredly be awarded the automatic bid and express trip to a 16-seed play-in game.


Merrimack sits in a first place tie with Wagner at 8-4, but the Warriors are still in the transition phase to D1 and not yet eligible for the Dance.  Wagner leads 6-4 Bryant by a game.  The Seahawks have won seven games in a row.  There are seven teams within two games of first in the NEC, so this should be an interesting conference tournament.


Belmont is 16-0 in the league and 22-1 overall, but the Bruins did not play any power conference teams like they usually do.  Still, because Belmont has been winning games by lopsided scores, they have a shot at an at-large bid should somebody shock them in the OVC Tournament.  Second place Morehead St., 13-3, lost at Belmont by 15, but they get the Bruins to close out the regular season in Morehead.


The league was split into thirds this year to lessen travel.  Army and Navy are the only two teams to play out of conference games, so it will be close to impossible for the automatic winner to receive anything other than a 16-seed.  Navy is 8-1 in the league and 11-2 overall.  Their out of conference wins include a sweep of the DC teams, George Washington and Georgetown.  Should the Midshipmen run the table, they could move up to a 15-seed.

Colgate at 9-1 is the overall leader in the league, while Lafayette at 7-5 leads the three-team Central Division.  Bucknell has won four in a row to improve from 0-4 to 4-4, but all four games came at the expense of Lehigh.


The Socon has been worthy of multiple bids in past years, and there are four rather good teams this year, but this is not the year for two league teams to get bids.

UNC-Greensboro has been near the top for the last five years, but the Spartans have won the SoCon Tournament just once.  UNCG leads the league at 10-4 by a half-game over 10-5 Wofford.  Two years ago, Wofford destroyed Seton Hall in the opening round and scared Kentucky in the Round of 32 at the Big Dance.

Furman (8-4) and Chattanooga (9-5) have begun to play like legitimate contenders in the last two weeks.


Five teams have taken over in February, and any of the five could win the conference tournament.  Even though Stephen F. Austin is in third place at the moment, their conference record is 9-1, and their one loss came at 10-1 Abilene Christian.  Sam Houston is also 10-1, and their lone loss came at SFA.  Nicholls is 9-2, which would lead most leagues, but in this one, it’s only good enough for fourth place.


The SWAC rates last in conference power, so the winner of this league will be in the 16-seed play-in round.  Prairie View and Jackson St. sport 6-0 league marks, with Texas Southern at 4-2.  The two co-leaders had both of their scheduled games against each other postponed, and they could both remain undefeated in conference play.


It’s a good bet that the team representing the Summit League in the Big Dance will have the word “Dakota” in its name.  South Dakota St. (6-2), South Dakota (9-3), and North Dakota St. (9-3) are the top three in the league.  SDSU has a neutral site win over Utah St. and a narrow loss to West Virginia, so the Jackrabbits probably give this league its best chance to win a game in the Big Dance.


This league has a lot of better than average but not great teams.  Texas St. leads the West Division at 9-3 with 7-5 Arkansas St. in second.  Both teams have four game winning streaks.  South Alabama leads the East Division at 8-5, and the Jags have reeled off six in a row.


New Mexico St. has dominated this conference in recent years, but Covid has really done a number on the Aggies this year, and they have fallen to sixth place.  Perennial also-ran Grand Canyon has ascended to the top at 6-0 in the league and 12-3 overall.  The Antelopes own an eight-game winning streak with a 22.8 point scoring margin in that streak.

Multiple Bid Leagues


Lock: Houston 11-2/17-2

Safe: —–

Good Bubble: —–

Bad Bubble: Wichita St. 8-2/12-4

In Contention: Memphis 8-3/12-6, SMU 7-4/11-4

Wichita St. could move to the Good Bubble with a win over Houston tonight.


Lock: —–

Safe: —–

Good Bubble:  VCU 9-2/16-4

Bad Bubble: St. Bonaventure 8-3/10-3, Saint Louis 4-2/11-3

In Contention: Davidson 6-2/10-5, Richmond 4-3/11-5

Wins over St. Bonaventure and Richmond have moved VCU into the field for now.


Lock: Virginia 11-2/15-4, Florida St. 8-2/12-3

Safe: Virginia Tech 8-3/14-4, Louisville 6-3/11-4

Good Bubble: North Carolina 7-5/13-7, Clemson 7-5/13-5

Bad Bubble: Syracuse 6-5/12-6

In Contention: Duke 7-6/9-8, Georgia Tech 6-6/10-8

Duke was given up for dead in January, but the Blue Devils are far from dead.  Look out UVA!  You’re headed to an ambush as Cameron Indoor this weekend.

BIG 12

Lock: Baylor 9-0/17-0

Safe: Kansas 10-5/16-7, Oklahoma 8-4/13-5, Texas 7-4/13-5, West Virginia 7-4/14-6, Texas Tech 6-5/14-6, Oklahoma St. 7-6/14-6

Good Bubble: —–

Bad Bubble: —–

In Contention: TCU 4-6/11-8

This league is pretty much set in stone barring some unusual circumstance.  The top seven teams should receive bids, and even 7th place Oklahoma St. should be an 8 or 9-seed and safely in the field.


Lock: Villanova 8-2/13-3, Creighton 12-4/16-5

Safe: —–

Good Bubble: Xavier 4-4/11-4, Seton Hall 10-5/13-8

Bad Bubble: Connecticut 7-5/10-5

In Contention: St. John’s 8-7/14-8

Madison Square Garden should be exciting if the Big East gets to hold their tournament this year.  St. John’s really needs three additional good wins in addition to not losing to a bad team.


Lock: Michigan 9-1/14-1, Illinois 11-3/13-5, Ohio St. 11-4/17-4, Iowa 9-5/15-6

Safe: Wisconsin 9-6/15-7, Purdue 9-6/14-8

Good Bubble: Rutgers 8-7/12-7, Indiana 7-7/12-9

In Contention: Maryland 7-9/13-10, Minnesota 6-9/13-9, Michigan St. 4-9/10-9

Any Big Ten team that plays .500 ball in conference play will receive a bid this year, and we believe there is one more bid for the team that goes 9-11 (or 9-10 or 8-9 depending on missed games).  A couple of Big Ten coaches are on hot seats and on the Bubble.  Penn State will definitely have a new coach next year, but Indiana, Maryland, and Minnesota could also be forced to make moves if they don’t get into the field.


Lock: —–

Safe: Loyola (Chi.) 14-2/19-4

Good Bubble: Drake 12-2/21-2

Bad Bubble: —–

In Contention: —–

After Wichita St. fled the Valley for the AAC, it was thought that the days of this league receiving two bids to the tournament were over.  Guess again.  Loyola of Chicago and Drake would both have to collapse to miss out on the Dance this year.


Lock: —–

Safe: San Diego St. 9-3/15-4

Good Bubble: Boise St. 13-3/17-4, Colorado St. 11-3/14-4, Utah St. 11-3/14-6

In Contention: Nevada  9-5/14-7

A win over UCLA makes SDSU safer than the other four contenders.  Boise St. finishes with Utah St. and two games against San Diego St.  A 3-0 finish would propel the Broncos into the Safe category.


Lock: USC 12-2/18-3

Safe: UCLA 10-3/14-5, Oregon 7-3/12-4

Good Bubble: —–

Bad Bubble: Colorado 10-5/16-6, Stanford 9-6/13-8

In Contention: Utah 6-7/9-8, Oregon St. 6-8/10-10

The former Conference of Champions has not earned one since Arizona cut the nets in 1997!  Only UCLA twice and Oregon once have made the Final Four since then (Utah made it before they joined the league).


Lock: Alabama 12-1/17-5, Arkansas 9-4/17-5

Safe: Tennessee 8-5/15-5, LSU 8-4/13-6, Florida 6-5/10-6

Good Bubble: Missouri 6-6/13-6

Bad Bubble: Ole Miss 7-6/12-8

In Contention: Georgia 6-8/13-8

You don’t see Kentucky on this list.  They are out of contention for an at-large bid, but that doesn’t mean the Wildcats cannot win the conference tournament.  The two hot teams in this league are Arkansas and Ole Miss.  The Razorbacks probably have the best chance to make it past the Sweet 16 from this league.  Ole Miss needs a few more big wins to get into the field.


Lock: Gonzaga 11-0/20-0

Safe: —–

Good Bubble: BYU 6-3/15-5

Bad Bubble: —–

In Contention: Saint Mary’s 2-4/11-6

We placed SMC in the “In Contention” section, because in theory, they could finish 6-4/15-6 in the regular season, which would include an upset of Gonzaga.  Short of that, the Gaels will be staying home this year.

Coming tomorrow–Updated ratings, updated bracketology, and our annual mid-major coaches ready for the big time list in three separate posts.

Coming soon–The PiRate Ratings have created a tabletop baseball strategy game more advanced than anything on the market.  It’s called “Sabertooth Baseball,” and look for more information about this next week!

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