The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 11, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 11 , 2018

Sunday’s PiRate Ratings Spreads for Conference Tournament Championships

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Harvard Penn -1.4
Rhode Island Davidson 2.8
Tennessee Kentucky 1.1
Georgia St. Texas-Arlington 0.9
Cincinnati Houston 4.8

 

Sunday’s Conference Championship Schedule

All Times EDT

Time Conference Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM Ivy League Harvard Penn ESPN2
1:00 PM Atlantic 10 Rhode Island Davidson CBS
1:00 PM Southeastern Tennessee Kentucky ESPN
2:00 PM Sun Belt Georgia St. Texas-Arlington ESPN2
3:30 PM American Cincinnati Houston CBS

Note:  Our Final Bracket Gurus Bracketology prediction will appear on this site roughly 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Atlantic 10 Championship Game.  Davidson is a potential bid-stealer, and until our gurus know whether they have earned an automatic bid or have been eliminated, they cannot fix the Bubble.  There are about a half-dozen teams that will sweat it out during today’s Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship.

Teams That Have Earned Automatic Bids Through Sunday, 6:00 AM EDT

Team Bid Conf. W-L Avg Score
Arizona AUTO P12 27-7 81-71
Bucknell AUTO Patriot 25-9 81-73
Buffalo AUTO MAC 26-8 85-77
Cal St. Fullerton AUTO BWest 20-11 73-72
Charleston AUTO CAA 26-7 75-69
Gonzaga AUTO WCC 30-4 85-67
Iona AUTO MAAC 20-13 80-76
Kansas AUTO B12 27-7 82-71
Lipscomb AUTO A-SUN 23-9 83-78
Long Island AUTO NEC 18-16 78-77
Loyola (Chi.) AUTO MVC 28-5 72-62
Marshall AUTO CUSA 24-10 84-79
MD-Baltimore Co. AUTO AE 24-10 73-71
Michigan AUTO BTen 28-7 75-64
Montana AUTO BSky 26-7 78-69
Murray St. AUTO OVC 26-5 77-66
New Mexico St. AUTO WAC 28-5 76-65
Radford AUTO B-South 22-12 67-64
San Diego St. AUTO MWC 22-10 77-68
South Dakota St. AUTO Summit 28-6 85-74
Stephen F. Austin AUTO SLC 28-6 78-68
Texas Southern AUTO SWAC 15-19 78-80
UNC-Central AUTO MEAC 19-15 70-71
UNC-Greensboro AUTO SoCon 27-7 74-62
Villanova AUTO BE 30-4 87-71
Virginia AUTO ACC 31-2 68-53
Wright St. AUTO Horizon 25-9 72-66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 10, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracketology Late Night Update–March 10-11 , 2018

The Bracket Gurus are burning the midnight oil and pouring more coffee as they try to determine who the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee will invite into the Dance, and who will not hear the phone ring on Sunday.

At this point last year, most of the gurus were 100% in agreement on about 66 teams with only three teams really fighting for the final two spots.

There is a bit more dissension this season.  There are six teams seriously in the final discussion for three spots, but this will all change is Davidson beats Rhode Island on Sunday.  The Gurus are 100% in agreement in their belief that St. Bonaventure is in, so the Atlantic 10 could move from two to three teams if the Wildcats upset the Rams.

The teams that need to be worried about Davidson winning include Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Saint Mary’s, Louisville, and Middle Tennessee State.  The Gurus are close to eliminating Marquette, Baylor, and Syracuse, but these teams still appear on exactly one Guru list (three different Gurus have one each of the three).

Check back tomorrow after the conclusion of the Atlantic 10 Championship Game.  Within about 30 minutes of the outcome, we will publish our final Bracket Gurus report in full.  The pressure is on our Gurus.  Last year, they correctly picked all 68 teams in the field, and also correctly picked 61 teams on the correct seed line or just one seed off.

Teams In The Field as of Saturday Night, 11:59 PM EST

Team Bid Conf. W-L
Bucknell AUTO Patriot 25-9
Buffalo AUTO MAC 26-8
Charleston AUTO CAA 26-7
Gonzaga AUTO WCC 30-4
Iona AUTO MAAC 20-13
Kansas AUTO B12 27-7
Lipscomb AUTO A-SUN 23-9
Long Island AUTO NEC 18-16
Loyola (Chi.) AUTO MVC 28-5
Marshall AUTO CUSA 24-10
MD-Baltimore Co. AUTO AE 24-10
Michigan AUTO BTen 28-7
Montana AUTO BSky 26-7
Murray St. AUTO OVC 26-5
New Mexico St. AUTO WAC 28-5
Radford AUTO B-South 22-12
San Diego St. AUTO MWC 22-10
South Dakota St. AUTO Summit 28-6
Stephen F. Austin AUTO SLC 28-6
Texas Southern AUTO SWAC 15-19
UNC-Central AUTO MEAC 19-15
UNC-Greensboro AUTO SoCon 27-7
Villanova AUTO BE 30-4
Virginia AUTO ACC 31-2
Wright St. AUTO Horizon 25-9

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 10 , 2018

Today’s PiRate Rating Spreads For Conference Tournament Games

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Vermont UMBC 12.4
Cincinnati Memphis 17.5
Wichita St. Houston 0.1
Rhode Island St. Joseph’s 6.7
St. Bonaventure Davidson -0.9
Virginia North Carolina 1.0
Kansas West Virginia 0.1
Villanova Providence 13.7
Montana Eastern Washington 4.2
UC-Irvine Cal. St. Fullerton 2.0
Western Kentucky Marshall 5.1
Harvard Cornell 6.6
Penn Yale 6.9
Buffalo Toledo 3.9
Hampton UNC-Central 3.8
New Mexico San Diego St. -4.9
Arizona USC 1.9
Kentucky Alabama 3.0
Tennessee Arkansas 3.0
SE Louisiana Stephen F. Austin -5.6
Arkansas-Pine Bluff Texas Southern -5.2
UL-Lafayette Texas-Arlington 5.8
Georgia St. Georgia Southern 3.1
New Mexico St. Grand Canyon 4.9

Games in Blue are Semifinal Contests

Games in Red are Championship Games

Today’s Schedules With Approximate Tip Times and TV

All Times are Eastern Standard (Remember Daylight Savings Time Begins Sunday at 2 AM)

America East Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Home Visitors TV
11:00 AM #1 Vermont #2 UMBC ESPN2

Vermont is the home team in this tournament played on campus sites.  Because the rounds are spaced out, both teams had ample time to prepare for this game.  The Catamounts won handily in the two regularly-scheduled games.

UMBC’s only hope is to try to contain Vermont’s dominating power forward Payton Henson and be able to hit a lot of contested shots.  In the two previous games, Vermont held the Retrievers to well under 40% from the field.

Henson, the former Tulane bench warmer who became a star when he transferred to Vermont, controlled the boards in both games and led Vermont in scoring both times.

 

American Athletic Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #1 Cincinnati #5 Memphis CBS
3:30 PM #2 Wichita St. #3 Houston CBS
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM Cinti or Memphis Wichita or Houston CBS

Tubby Smith lives to see another day as head coach of Memphis.  Two nail-biting wins into the tournament, Memphis finds itself taking on the top seed for a chance to play for an automatic bid and steal a bid for the AAC.

Memphis failed to tally 50 points in either meeting with the Bearcats, and neither game was close.  If Cincinnati does not come out flat, and it is hard to imagine a team that hustles like the Bearcats coming out flat, there is little chance the Tigers will pull the upset.

The other semifinal game should be very interesting, and there is a possibility that this game could come down to the 40th, or maybe the 45th minute before a winner is assured.  Houston’s defense has been improving all year long, while Wichita State’s defense is still somewhat of a work in progress.  The Cougars have not been this good in 25 years, and they look poised to make another step forward, maybe even to the Sweet 16.

 

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #1 Rhode Island #4 St. Joseph’s CBSSN
3:30 PM #2 St. Bonaventure #3 Davidson CBSSN
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM Rhode Island or St. Joe’s St. Bona. or Davidson CBS

The two lower seeded teams move into serious bid-stealer territory.  Of the two, we believe Davidson has a rather good chance of pulling off back-to-back upsets of the top two seeds and steal a bid from a Louisville, Oklahoma, or Arizona St.

When Davidson ventured up to Olean, NY, to face St.  Bonaventure less than two weeks ago, it produced one of the most exciting games of the NCAA season.  The Bonnies eventually won in triple overtime 117-113, and the stat sheet was a masterpiece.  Three St. Bonaventure players topped 30 points, combining for 14 made three-pointers, while Davidson’s Peyton Aldridge had 45 points, and Kellian Grady had 39.  Today’s game may be decided by the three-point shot.  Both teams are strong defensively inside the paint.

Rhode Island is the class of this league, but the Rams are beatable, and St. Joe’s knows how to beat them.  How about a 30-point pasting by the Hawks over the Rams in Kingstown?  If they could win at URI, then St. Joe’s should surely be able to win on a neutral court in the nation’s capital.  Something tells us that Rhode Island will play with multiple chips on multiple shoulders today and get revenge.

 

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM #1 Virginia #6 North Carolina ESPN

There seldom is need to give a lot of PR to the ACC Tournament.  The ACC Tournament is like football’s Rose Bowl.  It is the grandaddy of conference tournaments (aplogies to the Southern Conference Tournament, but the ACC is a bit more prestigious).

This should be a fantastic game tonight.  North Carolina didn’t fare all that well against the top-seeded and nationally top-ranked team this year.  The Tar Heels thought they had the Cavaliers Pack-line defense figured out in the first half, and it looked like this game would go down to the buzzer.  Then, a couple of fine-tuning adjustments totally stopped North Carolina for about 10 minutes, while Virginia’s offense slowly extended the lead out to double-digits.  The Tar Heels missed all of their shots in the second half of the second half.  UVa won by a dozen points, holding UNC under 50.

The mandatory statement that North Carolina is a much better team since that loss is required to be inserted here.  However, equal time forces us to state additionally that Virginia’s offense has improved almost as much in that time frame.

In other words, this game has the potential to be rivoting entertainment for you.  We expect the score to be around 60-60 with three minutes to play.  Then, who knows what might happen.  Past ACC Tournament history could help us predict something well worth watching.  We are excited about this game just writing these words!

 

Big 12 Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Kansas #3 West Virginia ESPN

Do we even need to hype this game?  In our opinion, the rivalry between KU and WVU is approaching that of the Yankees and Red Sox.  The contrast in styles between two A-1 coaches, and the talent level on the floor tonight will make this a game full of movement and spurts.  Kansas handled the Mountaineers press rather easily in both games, and WVU did not get many transition points.  In a half-court game, the Jayhawks are about 10 points better than the Mountaineers, so the question is, can Coach Bob Huggins find a new wrinkle that will force Kansas to commit an extra five turnovers tonight?  If so, then this game is a toss-up.  If not, then the Jayhawks cut down the nets yet again.

 

Big East Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #2 Villanova #5 Providence Fox

Usually, there is a tendency for the average generic sports fan to develop a temporary rooting interest for one generic team against another generic team–a game in which he or she has no ties to either team.  When a fan in Florida watches Oregon play USC, he or she might temporarily become a fan of one of the schools.  For instance, a typical guy in Orlando might cheer for USC solely because Trojan coach Andy Enfield married a former supermodel.

If you are one of the generic superfans, like all of us here on the PiRate ship, you are in a quandary tonight with these two teams.  Why is that?  It is because Villanova coach Jay Wright and Providence coach Ed Cooley are two of the best gentlemen in the game.  They are more than coaches to their players; they are second fathers, the type that dote over their children.

As for the game tonight, Villanova better not feel any overconfidence, because Providence has put all of its pieces together and has seen the finished puzzle of success.  The Friars are possibly still sitting on their best game of the season, and for that reason, we believe that at the least, Providence will cover in this game, and quite possibly win outright.  However, and this is a big however, the Friars have had to go to overtime the last two nights to get to this point.  Their legs may be a tad fatigued in the second half, while Villanova has won by comfortable margins and has rested their starters.  So, for that reason, the rest of the PiRates say the Wildcats are going to come out and be a bit too much for the underdog Friars.

What does this tell you?  Lay off this game if you like to invest in college basketball and just watch it for fun.

 

Big Sky Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM #1 Montana #3 Eastern Washington ESPNU

This is one of those tricky games.  Montana would appear to be the favorite, but in our opinion, the Grizzlies will have to play at the top of their talent level tonight to have a chance to win this game.  EWU lost a game at Idaho in early February that they should have won.  Since then, they have played like the king of the league, reeling off eight victories in a row by an average margin of more than 10 points per game.  The Eagles roster is a United Nations of basketball with players from Australia, Serbia, Lithuania, The Ukraine, and the Dominican Republic on the roster.

Montana has the best guard duo in the league, and in tournament play, strong guards lead to championships as long as there is adequate support in the front-court players, just enough to force defenses to stay honest.  Montana’s hopes for the NCAA Tournament rest on the shoulders of Ahmaad Rorie and Michael Oguine.  They were a combined 8 of 21 in the regular season loss to EWU.  Expect a 70-75 possession game tonight, and we believe Eastern Washington will send Montana to an automatic NIT berth.

 

Big West Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:59 PM #3 UC-Irvine #4 Cal St. Fullerton ESPN2

What did we tell you about this league?  The top four seeds were basically dead even in talent, and we believed that any of the four could advance and win the dancing invitation.  So, what happened late last night?  The two lower seeds advanced to the championship game.

If you live on the East Coast, you better get the coffee pot brewing after supper tonight if you want to see the last automatic bid of the day be handed out.  Tonight’s game is a great contrast in playing styles.  UC-Irvine wins by playing tough defense and controlling the boards, while Fullerton has a great passing offense that leads to taking open shots and not rushing the offense.

The two teams split the season series with both winning on the other team’s home floor.  This looks like a game where one team will jump for joy in the final few seconds of a closely contested game.  You may have to stay awake until after 2 AM on the East Coast if you want to know who got the bid.

 

Conference USA Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM #3 Western Kentucky #4 Marshall CBSSN

If you don’t have a dog left in the fight today, and you just want to watch a potentially incredible game in the evening, you might want to tune into this one.  All we have to say about Marshall is mention the coach’s name.  He is Dan D’Antoni, the brother of Houston Rocket coach Mike D’Antoni.  Houston is 51-14 in the NBA using the same type of playing style that Marshall uses.  The D’Antoni brothers are the Billy Beane’s of basketball.  They are high on analytics, and they believe that the offense has the best chance of scoring quickly before the defense can force a bad shot as the clock winds down.  It’s all about three-pointers and high percentage two-point shots, and the belief is that if your guards get the ball up the floor quickly, an open opportunity will develop in one of those two locations.

Of course, this works a lot better when one of your guards is James Harden.  Marshall has two guards that play at the collegiate level like Harden does in the NBA.  Jon Elmore and C.J. Burks can fill it up, and they both average in excess of 20 points per game.  Keeping defenses honest, the Thundering Herd have Ajdin Penava inside, but the offense itself creates close open shots for a host of average players, and any average player at this level can hit from three feet away.

What about Western Kentucky?  The Hilltoppers are notorious for playing their best ball in March.  This goes back for decades and decades through a who’ who of great coaches and players.  WKU is much like their big brother up in Lexington.  They go into tournament championship games with the prestige of the New York Yankees.  They expect to win, but they do not consider it a foregone conclusion, and the red uniform makes them put out an effort like every player is Enos Slaughter.  Both the good news and the not-so-good news about WKU is that they are a very balanced team with any of the five starters capable of scoring 20-25 points in a game.  However, sometimes, none of the five will take over and will the team to a victory.

Western swept the season series with Marshall, but we do not particularly love the Hilltoppers chance to get a three-peat in today’s championship game.  Marshall will come out loose and ready to play 75-possession basketball.  Western better be ready and not only come expecting to play 65-possession basketball.

 

Ivy League Tournament
Philadelphia (Ivy Madness)
Top 4 Teams Qualify
Semifinals EST Championship Game EDT
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM #1 Harvard #4 Cornell ESPNU
3:00 PM #2 Penn #3 Yale ESPN2
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM  Harvard or Cornell Penn or Yale  ESPN2

The final conference tournament begins play today.  The Ivy League only sends its top four to the Palestra, so in theory the winner should usually be able to avoid a trip to Dayton.  If Penn or Harvard win Ivy Madness, they should be 16-seeds but avoid Dayton.  If Cornell wins, they are almost assuredly headed to Dayton, and if Yale wins, it would be a 50-50 guess.

Penn has the advantage of playing on their home floor, and the Quakers went 7-0 at home in Ivy League play.  Their two conference losses came at Harvard and at Yale, so the championship game should provide a bit of excitement.  Of course, Penn has to get past a Cornell team that gave the Quakers two close games in the regular season.

 

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 Buffalo #2 Toledo ESPN2

The top two seeds found their way to the championship game, and we are returning to becoming confident in the Bulls.  Buffalo has the talent that if they can play with confidence and not become deer in the headlights, they could sneak past an opening round favorite in the NCAA Tournament.  We do not believe Toledo can do the same, but in the conference tournament, the Rockets could easily blast their way to victory.

These two teams played only once in the regular season, and it seems like it was a year ago.  Buffalo won on their home floor in an offensive shootout 104-94.  The difference in the game was the Buffalo ball-hawking defense.  The Bulls gave up a few easy baskets when their gambling defense did not force a turnover, but they forced Toledo into numerous turnovers that led to easy Buffalo scores.

This won’ be an 81-possession game like the first time, and if Toledo can take care of the basketball, they have the backcourt advantage with a couple of tall, sharp-shooting perimeter players in Tre’Shaun Fletcher and Jaelen Sanford.

If Buffalo is to hold serve and claim both the regular season and conference tournament titles, we believe that forward Nick Perkins needs to have a 20-point, 8-rebound game, and the Bulls need to force the tempo and not let Toledo slow the game down.

 

Mideastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #1 Hampton #6 UNC-Central ESPN2

Two teams with recent success in the MEAC will face off for the automatic bid.  Hampton has won the tournament title three of the last seven seasons under Coach Edward Joyner, while UNC-Central has claimed two of the last four under Coach LeVelle Moton.

Once again, this game presents an excellent study in different styles of play.  Hampton is more of a finesse team with better shooters, while UNC-Central has the superior power game and can control the action inside.  Finesse won out in the lone regular season game between the two teams, as Hampton shot lights out in a blowout win.

 

Mountain West Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #3 New Mexico #5 San Diego St. CBS

The two defensive behemoths easily advanced to the championship game, giving the Mountain West a second bid that came at the expense of a Louisville, Notre Dame, or Arizona St.

Either of these two teams will become a fierce, pesty opponent to a favored team in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.  New Mexico faced a major transition this year.  They raided in-state rival New Mexico State to hire Coach Paul Weir away from las Cruces.  Weir brought his tenacious, full-court press defense to Albuquerque, and the Lobos had growing pains for the first half of the season.

Since a rough start at 8-11, the Lobos improved by going 11-3 since mid-January.  The press began to pay dividends as the players obtained the needed live experience to see it work.  A much-improved up-tempo offense took off about the same time, as the Lobos gained confidence and went from a passive to a very aggressive team.

San Diego State basketball is all about outstanding pressure man-to-man defense and an inside power offense.  It’s much like the same offense that Aztec coach Steve Fisher used with the Fabulous Five at Michigan in the 1990’s.  Like New Mexico, SDSU had a slow start to the season, but they closed in a rush with eight consecutive wins by an average score of 78-64.  What they did to regular season champ Nevada last night should put a scare into any potential four or five seed team from a power conference.  The Aztecs looked like the UCLA team of 1970 in the semifinal trouncing of Nevada.  They controlled the boards like they had Sydney Wicks, Steve Patterson, and Curtis Rowe pounding the glass, as the former top team in the league trailed by 30 points in the first half!

Don’t expect New Mexico to be intimidated.  This game is going to be rough and tumble for 40 minutes, and if we had to pick one game where the referees may have to step in and separate the combatants in this war, this would be the game.

 

Pacific 12 Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
10:00 PM #1 Arizona #2 USC FS1

Usually, the Pac-12 Tournament Championship Game is the key college basketball game on the West Coast, but it won’t even be the best game in the host city.  It won’t even be the second best game in that city.  Las Vegas hosts both the Mountain West and Western Athletic championships tonight, and unfortunately for the “League of Champions,” this will be the third best game in sin city tonight.

The outcome of the game will matter very little, as both teams have now secured spots in the field of 68, and neither will move much by winning or losing.  We do not particularly feel like either the Wildcats or Trojans will make much of a dent in the NCAA Tournament, as the Pac-12 needs a transfusion, with an infusion of better talent.  Sorry Pac-12 fans, but your league is suffering somewhat of a malaise.

 

Southeastern Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #4 Kentucky #9 Alabama ESPN
3:30 PM #2 Tennessee #6 Arkansas ESPN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM Kentucky or Alabama Tennessee or Arkansas ESPN

Once Missouri fell, we called this tournament the Kentucky Invitational, as that is what we knew it would look like once the Blue Mist fans bought up all the Mizzou fans tickets.

Arkansas bested Florida, and that made Kentucky’s path to the title all that easier.  Today the Wildcats basically need to put an extra half-body on Colin Sexton and then control the boards like they should to advance to the title game tomorrow for the umpteenth time in their history.

The other game should be much more interesting, as Arkansas and Tennessee match up evenly well.  Arkansas won the regular season game in Fayetteville 95-93 in overtime in a game before New Year’s Day.  The Razorbacks then went 9-8 the rest of the regular season, while the Vols went on to share the conference title with Auburn.

This tournament is screaming for a game between bitter rivals in blue and orange.  Tennessee has always been the principle rival for Kentucky in all sports, while Tennessee considers Kentucky its chief basketball rival.

 

Southland Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
10:00 PM #1 SE Louisiana #3 Stephen F. Austin ESPN2

We hope you read our preview of this conference tournament the last two days.  If not, we referred to #3 Stephen F. Austin as the champion thoroughbred horse that stumbled and lost the 2017 race but still figured to be the great champion of the past, while Southeast Louisiana and Nicholls State were the two currently sexy horses vying for the finish line.

The crowd at the race track watches the two new hot contenders sharing a four furlong lead over the champion horse, and all in attendance feverishly focus their eyes on the champion waiting for him to make that patented closing move to win the race from three-wide.

Last night, Stephen F. Austin began to move, and when they did, they looked like Whirlaway at the Kentucky Derby.  The Lumberjacks just ran past Nicholls State, putting the game away handily in the first half.  Now, they have Southeast Louisiana in their sights, and the Lions better be ready to roar in the Championship Game, because SFA doesn’t look to be losing any speed at the finish line.

 

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM #1 Arkansas-Pine Bluff #3 Texas Southern ESPN2

Our heart says Texas Southern tonight, because our leader has a past friendly relationship with TSU coach Mike Davis, but our brain says that Arkansas-Pine Bluff will become the first team ever to begin a season 0-14 and make the NCAA Tournament.

These two teams could play 100 times, and we would pick UAPB to win about 55-60 of those games.  The Golden Lions won two very close games over the Tigers in the regular season, and they seem to have their number.

The winner of this game is already put in the First Four in Dayton in permanent marker.  There is no need to pencil the winner this year.  Either a 19-loss or 20-loss team will earn an automatic bid.

 

Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM #1 UL-Lafayette #4 UT-Arlington ESPN3
3:00 PM #2 Georgia St. #3 Georgia Southern ESPN3
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:00 PM ULL or UTA Ga St. or Ga. Sou. ESPN2

Louisiana-Lafayette may be the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament with a coach (Bob Marlin) that has taken the Ragin’ Cajuns and formerly Sam Houston to the NCAA Tournament, but Georgia State also has the tournament experience coach on their sideline, as Ron Hunter has taken GSU and IUPUI to the Dance in the past.

What does this mean for UT-Arlington and Georgia Southern?    Ten years ago, Scott Cross guided UTA to a conference tournament title, while Georgia Southern coach Mark Byington has been slowly upgrading the program at Hanner Fieldhouse.

Don’t expect the two favorite to easily coast to the finals tomorrow, but the chances are better than 50-50 that both teams win tonight.

 

Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
10:00 PM #1 New Mexico St. #3 Grand Canyon ESPNU

There’s nothing more to say about this tournament than what we previously stated.  This just might be the best Championship Game of the entire lot this weekend.  New Mexico State has been tournament savvy since November, when the Aggies beat Davidson and Miami (Fla.) in Hawaii and almost knocked off USC for the championship.  After NMSU completed the regular season sweep of GCU, their record stood at 22-3, and the Aggies were on the verge of cracking the top 25.  But, playing an overly physical team like GCU can take its toll, and NMSU suffered by losing consecutive road games against the other top two teams of the four in this league.  The team recovered and since then has won five games in a row by an average of 16.8 points per game.

Grand Canyon has made great strides moving into Division 1.  The only for-profit university playing Division 1 basketball, the Antelopes have a student base from all over the country, as they have both a real campus and an online presence.  Of course, John Doe, a GCU online-only student in Augusta, Maine, is not eligible to play on the team, but his tuition might help the school fund the athletic program a little bit.  This could be the start of something big if the Antelopes make the Dance.  Imagine the University of Phoenix or Devry University trying this out.   And, what happens when Penn State or Alabama discover that they must begin to have an online university in addition to a real campus?  The NCAA might have to eventually establish some ground rules, when Dunkin’ Bill Duncan and Henry Hoopshot decide to attend classes at home but play on the basketball team, because they both live just 10 miles away.  Who will really be doing the homework???

 

 

 

March 9, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 9 , 2018

Today’s PiRate Ratings Spreads For Conference Tournament Games

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Cincinnati SMU 12.5
Tulsa Memphis 4.3
Wichita St. Temple 8.4
Houston Central Florida 7.3
Rhode Island VCU 8.5
St. Joseph’s George Mason 6.2
St. Bonaventure Richmond 8.9
Davidson St. Louis 7.1
Virginia Clemson 5.8
Duke North Carolina 3.1
Kansas Kansas St. 5.3
Texas Tech West Virginia -0.6
Xavier Providence 8.0
Villanova Butler 8.9
Montana Northern Colorado 2.6
Southern Utah Eastern Washington -7.8
UC-Davis Cal St. Fullerton 2.6
UCSB UC-Irvine 1.1
Marshall Southern Miss. 6.8
Old Dominion Western Kentucky -1.1
Buffalo Kent St. 10.3
Toledo Eastern Michigan 2.3
Hampton North Carolina A&T 3.5
UNC-Central Morgan St. 0.7
Nevada San Diego St. 4.4
New Mexico Utah St. 2.2
Arizona UCLA 1.9
USC Oregon 2.6
Auburn Alabama 6.4
Kentucky Georgia 4.9
Tennessee Mississippi St. 6.4
Florida Arkansas 1.7
SE Louisiana Sam Houston St. 0.8
Nicholls St. Stephen F. Austin -4.8
Arkansas-Pine Bluff Southern -0.7
Prairie View A&M Texas Southern 0.1
UL-Lafayette Texas St. 11.2
UT-Arlington Appalachian St. 4.7
Georgia St. UL-Monroe 7.3
Georgia Southern Troy 0.9
Utah Valley Grand Canyon 2.4
New Mexico St. Seattle 10.9

No Automatic Bids Handed Out Last Night and None Will Be Handed Out Tonight

Teams Already In The Field of 68

Team Bid Conf. W-L Avg Score
Bucknell AUTO Patriot 25-9 81-73
Charleston AUTO CAA 26-7 75-69
Gonzaga AUTO WCC 30-4 85-67
Iona AUTO MAAC 20-13 80-76
Lipscomb AUTO A-SUN 23-9 83-78
Long Island AUTO NEC 18-16 78-77
Loyola (Chi.) AUTO MVC 28-5 72-62
Michigan AUTO BTen 28-7 75-64
Murray St. AUTO OVC 26-5 77-66
Radford AUTO B-South 22-12 67-64
South Dakota St. AUTO Summit 28-6 85-74
UNC-Greensboro AUTO SoCon 27-7 74-62
Wright St. AUTO Horizon 25-9 72-66

Conference Tournaments In Action On Friday

All Times are Eastern Standard

American Athletic Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Cincinnati #9 SMU ESPN2
2:30 PM #4 Tulsa #5 Memphis ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 Wichita St. #7 Temple ESPNU
8:30 PM #3 Houston #6 Central Florida ESPNU
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM Cinti or SMU Tulsa or Memphis CBS
3:30 PM Wichita St. or Temple Houston or Central Fla. CBS
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

There are still a couple of potential bid-stealers in this tournament.  Tulsa and Temple are certainly capable of winning the tournament.  A complete defensive gem by the Owls could easily allow TU to pull off the mild upset of Wichita State, while Tulsa can flex its muscle with Cincinnati.  Those matchups are not guaranteed though, and Memphis, SMU, and Central Florida will not lay down and play dead.

 

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Rhode Island #8 VCU NBCSN
2:30 PM #4 St. Joseph’s #5 George Mason NBCSN
6:00 PM #2 St. Bonaventure #7 Richmond NBCSN
8:30 PM #3 Davidson #6 St. Louis NBCSN
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM URI or VCU St. Joes or G. Mason CBSSN
3:30 PM St. Bon. or Richmond Davidson or STL CBSSN
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

We are keeping a sharp eye on Davidson, as long as the Wildcats remain in the tournament.  The top two seeds are not so superior to the rest of the league that a team from the back of the pack couldn’t win this tournament.  Davidson is not only capable, they are peaking at the right time.

 

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 Virginia #4 Clemson TBA
9:00 PM #2 Duke #6 North Carolina TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM  Virginia or Clemson Duke or North Carolina  ESPN

What could be better than Duke and Carolina on a neutral court in March?  Only if this was two weeks later in March.  Virginia is merely the top team in the nation with an incredible defense to go with an underrated offense.  This Cavs team certainly has the look of a Final Four team, and if they cut down the nets in Brooklyn, they will most likely be the overall number one seed.

 

Big 12 Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 Kansas #4 Kansas St. ESPN2
9:00 PM #2 Texas Tech #3 West Virginia ESPN2
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Kansas or Kansas St. Texas Tech or West Va. ESPN

The top four seeds advanced, which in this conference is a minor miracle.  Kansas State is now most likely safely in the field of 68, but the Wildcats might still be looking at a First Four game in Dayton.  An upset win today, would send KSU’s seed line soaring, and it could drop KU to a 2-seed.

The other semifinal game should be quite interesting.  Texas Tech handles pressure well, but West Virginia’s pressure is another story, especially this late in the season.

 

Big East Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #1 Xavier #5 Providence FS1
9:00 PM #2 Villanova #6 Butler FS1
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Xavier or Prov. Villanova or Butler Fox

All four semifinalists are safely in the NCAA Tournament field, and Xavier and Villanova have most likely secured number one seeds.  This should still be an interesting couple of rounds, especially if Xavier and Villanova meet for a third time.

 

Big Sky Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM #1 Montana #5 Northern Colorado Pluto tv
11:00 PM #10 Southern Utah #3 Eastern Washington Pluto tv
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM Montana or N. Color. S. Utah or E. Wash. ESPNU

Montana’s path to the automatic bid got a bit easier with 2-seed Idaho losing yesterday, but the Grizzlies still have work to do in this one-bid league.  Eastern Washington is blistering hot with a seven-game winning streak, which includes a win over Montana.  At this point , the Eagles are a better team than the Grizzlies.

 

Big West Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:30 PM #1 UC-Davis #4 Cal St. Fullerton ESPN3
11:55 PM #2 UCSB #3 UC-Irvine ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:55 PM UC-Davis or CS Fullerton UCSB or UC-Irvine ESPN2

The top four seeds advanced to the semifinals, and this one is a complete toss-up.  If they staged this tournament 40 times, each of the four might win it 10 times.  Cal State Fullerton swept top-seed UC-Davis, but our money is on Davis and Irvine advancing.

 

Conference USA Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:30 PM #4 Marshall #9 Southern Miss. CBSSN
4:00 PM #2 Old Dominion #3 Western Kentucky CBSSN
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM Marshall or Southern Miss ODU or WKU CBSSN

There might be a bid stolen here.  Top-seed Middle Tennessee was hit by the upset bug last night, as Southern Mississippi looked like the better team for most of the night.  The Blue Raiders have now dropped their last two games, and their resume is iffy.  In years prior to the new selection committee criteria, Middle wouldn’t even be in contention.  Road wins over Murray State and Western Kentucky still make for a thin resume.

The one sure thing is that somebody other than Middle will win an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Old Dominion and Western Kentucky should have a fantastic semifinal game tonight, but we are more interested in Marshall.  The Thundering Herd might be the toughest matchup out of this league for a team that has not seen Marshall play.

By the way, if you were wondering about the two court setup for this tournament, you could definitely hear the bands and public address system from court B during court A games.  On the other hand, you could position yourself in such a way in the football stands that you could watch both games at the same time.

 

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #1 Buffalo #5 Kent St. CBSSN
9:00 PM #2 Toledo #3 Eastern Michigan See *
* This game will be available at cbssports.com
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM Buffalo or Kent St. Toledo or EMU ESPN2

At one point this season, we thought that Buffalo was a possible Sweet 16 team, but the Bulls peaked in late January and have sort of coasted home with the top seed.  Toledo looked like a better team in early February.  Then, just as quick as a person could notice the change, things reversed.  Buffalo regained their composure and reached another peak, while Toledo stagnated.

Have you ever watched a horse race where the top two horses fought hard down the backstretch, fighting for the lead, and then from out of nowhere another horse comes from off the pace to put the two co-leaders away?  Well, we are sort of getting that feeling like Buffalo and Toledo are those two co-leading horses, and while few are noticing, Eastern Michigan is making a gallant effort for the lead in a 3-wide bid at the turn.

EMU has quietly won seven games in a row and nine of 10.  In that time, they have won by having outstanding shooting nights, coming up with incredible defensive efforts, and many ways in between.  Coach Rob Murphy has a reputation for developing small forwards and power forwards,  and he has the league’s best tandem in Elijah Minnie and James Thompson.  Throw in a competent backcourt general in Paul Jackson, and EMU may be the real team to beat in Cleveland.

 

Mountain West Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM #1 Nevada #5 San Diego St. CBSSN
11:30 PM #3 New Mexico #7 Utah St. CBSSN
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Nevada or SDSU New Mexico or Utah St. CBS

Nevada is one of those teams that many college basketball experts believed had Sweet 16 potential.  The Wolf Pack certainly looked capable of winning twice in the NCAA Tournament, and maybe even challenging to become another Butler or VCU, but in the last two weeks, Nevada has not looked as sharp as they did earlier in the year.

Boise State laid an egg yesterday, falling to Utah State, while San Diego State and New Mexico played stellar defense and advanced.  We can make a case where SDSU or New Mexico could win the tournament and steal a bid, but we also believe that Coach Eric Musselman will figure out a way to guide his Wolf Pack to the tournament title and keep Nevada in contention for a single-digit seed.

It might be ugly and a bit sloppy, but the New Mexico-San Diego State game might be one you want to watch.  The Lobos’ press defense is looking as strong as Press Virginia’s, while SDSU’s half-court pressure defense is starting to look like the 2014 team that led Arizona late in the second half in the Elite 8.

 

Pacific 12 Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM #1 Arizona #4 UCLA Pac12
11:30 PM #2 USC #6 Oregon FS1
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
10:00 PM Arizona or UCLA USC or Oregon FS1

The Pac-12 brass is feeling a little better this morning than this time yesterday, as UCLA and USC won to most likely secure NCAA Tournament berths.  At this time yesterday, there was a possibility that this could become a one-bid league.  With Oregon coming from behind to edge Utah, the Ducks are still in the running for the automatic bid and capable of winning it tomorrow night.  So, this could go from a possible one-bid league to a four-bid league in 48 hours!

Southeastern Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #1 Auburn #9 Alabama ESPN
3:30 PM #4 Kentucky #12 Georgia ESPN
7:00 PM #2 Tennessee #7 Mississippi St. SECTV
9:30 PM #3 Florida #6 Arkansas SECTV
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM Auburn or Alabama Kentucky or Georgia ESPN
3:30 PM Tennessee or Mississippi St. Florida or Arkansas ESPN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN

The quasi-home team Missouri was dismissed from the tournament by Georgia yesterday, and now we think this could turn into the UKIT like many past SEC Tournaments.  St. Louis will be painted royal blue while Kentucky continues to remain in the tournament, and the path to the trophy has split open like the parting of the Red Sea.  The Wildcats get a fatigued Georgia team that does not match up all that well with Kentucky’s size.  Then, if the Wildcats win, they would face either a wounded Auburn team lacking any big man talent or an Alabama team that we cannot see beating Kentucky.  It would place the Wildcats in the Championship Game on Sunday.

The other side of the bracket is more exciting.  Mississippi State is fighting for some respect and needs two more wins just to get into the Bubble discussion.  They lost at home to Tennessee last week by 20 points.  Arkansas and Florida are similar in talent and playing style.  Whichever team can sink the threes will most likely win.

A Kentucky-Tennessee final would be quite interesting and very possible.

Southland Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 SE Louisiana #4 Sam Houston St. ESPN3
8:30 PM #2 Nicholls St. #3 Stephen F. Austin ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM SE La. or SHSU Nicholls or SF Austin ESPN2

We talked about it yesterday.  Stephen F. Austin is like a champion race horse that lost its previous race and is no longer the favorite.  Two other horses, Southeast Louisiana and Nicholls State, have led this 10-furlong race through the first mile and do not appear to be slowing down as they entire the stretch.  Will SFA make its vaunted stretch run like it has in so many other races in the past, or is this horse going to putter out and watch the two new studs battle it out for supremacy?

What do we think?  We think Stephen F. Austin still has one incredible run left in this race, and we believe the Lumberjacks will cross the line ahead of the two co-favorites.

 

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:30 PM #1 Arkansas-Pine Bluff #4 Southern TBA
9:30 PM #2 Prairie View A&M #3 Texas Southern TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM  UAPB or Southern PVAM or TSU  ESPN2

The top four seeds advanced to the semifinals, and there is now a remote chance that this league could avoid a trip to Dayton if a couple of long shots win the remaining low-major tournaments.  If Prairie View wins the tournament, they will be 18-17, but the other three teams would have losing records (Pine Bluff has 20 losses), so it would be a given that any of the three would be forced to play in Dayton.

 

Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM #1 UL-Lafayette #9 Texas St. ESPN3
3:00 PM #4 UT-Arlington #5 Appalachian St. ESPN3
6:00 PM #2 Georgia St. #7 UL-Monroe ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 Georgia Southern #6 Troy ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM UL-Lafayette or Texas St. UT-Arlington or Appy St. ESPN3
3:00 PM Ga. St. or UL-Monroe Geo. Southern or Troy ESPN3
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:00 PM     ESPN2

Louisiana Lafayette faces some stiff competition against three or four possible upset-minded foes.  The Ragin’ Cajuns will only earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament field if it is automatic, but they will not coast to the bid.  Georgia State and Georgia Southern are almost as talented as ULL.

Texas State had lost nine games in a row prior to yesterday’s mild upset over Coastal Carolina.  Louisiana should romp today to make the semifinals, but things will get much tougher tomorrow if UT-Arlington also wins today.

 

Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM #2 Utah Valley #3 Grand Canyon ESPN3
11:30 PM #1 New Mexico St. #4 Seattle ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
10:00 PM UVU or GCU NMSU or Seattle ESPNU

We watched the WAC games yesterday and came away impressed with the four winners.  New Mexico State looked to be clicking on all cylinders again, and maybe the Aggies are primed to peak at the right time.  On paper, Seattle should not compete with NMSU, but the Redhawks split with the Aggies during the regular season and will not be intimidated.

The Utah Valley-Grand Canyon game will be ugly to watch but exciting at the same time.  60 points will most likely win this game, and the 60 will not be due to slow pace.  Two hustling defenses with blood and guts being spilled on the backboard and floor should make this game a war of attrition.  The only issue will be whether or not the winner has anything left in the tank to face New Mexico State or Seattle tomorrow.  You might can tell that we will be watching this tournament again tonight.

March 6, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 6, 2018

PiRate Rating Spreads for Tuesday’s Conference Tournament Games

Home Team Visitor  
or Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Vermont Stony Brook 14.1
UMBC Hartford 4.7
Boston College Georgia Tech 3.5
Notre Dame Pittsburgh 16.4
Syracuse Wake Forest 3.3
North Dakota Montana St. 0.7
Northern Colorado Northern Arizona 14.8
Idaho St. Southern Utah 2.9
Portland St. Sacramento St. 9.1
Charleston Northeastern -0.5
Wright St. Cleveland St. 9.8
Howard Florida A&M 2.3
UNC-Central Coppin St. 7.8
Morgan St. South Carolina St. 5.2
Wagner Long Island 8.7
Arkansas-Pine Bluff Mississippi Valley St. 9.3
Southern Jackson St. 5.9
Texas Southern Alabama St. 12.0
Prairie View A&M Alcorn St. 9.6
South Dakota St. South Dakota -1.4
Gonzaga BYU 9.4

Games in RED are Championship Games for NCAA Tournament Bids

Teams That Won Conference Championships Last Night

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Iona 83 Fairfield 71
Southern Conference Tournament
UNC-Greensboro 62 East Tennessee St. 47

List of Teams In the Field as of Tuesday Morning

Team Bid Conf. W-L
Iona AUTO MAAC 20-13
Lipscomb AUTO A-SUN 23-9
Loyola (Chi.) AUTO MVC 28-5
Michigan AUTO BTen 28-7
Murray St. AUTO OVC 26-5
Radford AUTO B-South 22-12
UNC-Greensboro AUTO SoCon 27-7

 

NCAA Bids Up For Grabs Tonight

All Times EST

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
Championship–March 6  
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 Charleston #2 Northeastern CBSSN

 

Horizon League Tournament
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #2 Wright St. #8 Cleveland St. ESPN

Note: Cleveland State comes into this game tonight sporting a 12-22 record.  If they upset Wright State (24-9), the Vikings will most likely become one of the 16-seeds that must play a First Four game in Dayton.

Northeast Conference Tournament
Championship–March 6
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Wagner #4 Long Island ESPN2

 

Summit League Tournament
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM #1 South Dakota St. #2 South Dakota ESPN2

 

West Coast Conference Tournament
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Gonzaga #3 BYU ESPN

Note:  BYU is a potential Bid Stealer.  If the Cougars upset the Bulldogs tonight at Orleans Arena, then the West Coast Conference would most likely send three teams instead of two to the NCAA Tournament, bursting the bubble of one of the teams on the fence, such as Alabama, Kansas St., USC, or UCLA.

Conference Tournaments Beginning Today

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Brooklyn
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #12 Boston College #13 Georgia Tech ESPN2
2:00 PM #10 Notre Dame #15 Pittsburgh ESPN2
7:00 PM #11 Syracuse #14 Wake Forest ESPNU
       
Second Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Florida St. #9 Louisville ESPN
2:00 PM #5 North Carolina St. Boston Coll. or Ga. Tech ESPN
7:00 PM #7 Virginia Tech N.Dame or Pitt ESPN2
9:00 PM #6 North Carolina Syracuse or Wake Forest ESPN2
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Virginia Fla. St. or Louis. ESPN
2:00 PM #4 Clemson NCSt/BC/GaT ESPN
7:00 PM #2 Duke VaT/N.Dame/Pitt ESPN
9:00 PM #3 Miami (Fla.) UNC/Syr/Wake For ESPN
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM UVa/FSU/Louis. Clem/NCSt/BC/GaT TBA
9:00 PM Duke/VaT/ND/Pitt Mia.UNC/Syr/WF TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM     ESPN

Note: #10 Seed Notre Dame is a team to monitor in this tournament.  With star forward Bonzie Colson returning to the lineup after missing 15 games, the Irish could sneak into the semifinals of this tournament.  They should quickly dismiss hapless Pittsburgh today.  The game with Virginia Tech tomorrow would most likely be a must-win for Notre Dame’s at-large hopes.  If the Irish win that game, they would face Duke in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

 

Big Sky Conference Tournament
Reno, NV
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 North Dakota #9 Montana St. Pluto tv
2:30 PM #5 Northern Colorado #12 Northern Arizona Pluto tv
5:30 PM #7 Idaho St. #10 Southern Utah Pluto tv
8:00 PM #6 Portland St. #11 Sacramento St. Pluto tv
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Montana UND or MSU Pluto tv
2:30 PM #4 Weber St. UNC or NAU Pluto tv
5:30 PM #2 Idaho ISU or S. Utah Pluto tv
8:00 PM #3 Eastern Washington PSU or Sac St. Pluto tv
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM Mont/UND/MSU Web/UNC/NAU Pluto tv
8:00 PM Ida/ISU/S.Utah EWU/PSU/Sac. St. Pluto tv
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPNU

Note: Montana comes into the tournament riding a 16-2 record in conference play.  The Grizzlies sport the best defense in the league, including the top ball-hawking perimeter players.

 

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
First Round at Higher Seed, Semifinal and Final Round in Houston
Grambling and Alabama A&M are ineligible due to low APR Scores
All Times CST
       
Quarterfinals–March 6
Time Home Visitors TV
7:30 PM #1 Arkansas-Pine Bluff #8 Mississippi Valley St. TBA
7:30 PM #4 Southern U #5 Jackson St. TBA
8:00 PM #3 Texas Southern #6 Alabama St. TBA
8:30 PM #2 Prairie View A&M #7 Alcorn St. TBA
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:30 PM UAPB or MVSU Southern or JSU TBA
8:30 PM PVAM or Alcorn TSU or ASU TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     ESPN2

Note:  There is no complete team in this tournament.  The best team in the league, Grambling, is ineligible due to low APR Scores.  Prairie View is the only team with a chance of getting its record over .500 by winning the tournament, and then the won-loss record would be 18-17.  Unless 4, 20-loss mid-major teams win conference tournaments, the automatic bid will go to a team that must quickly head to Dayton for a First Four game.

Conference Tournaments Continuing Today

America East Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 6  All Times EST
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Vermont #5 Stony Brook ESPN3
7:30 PM #2 UMBC #3 Hartford ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Home Visitors TV
11:00 AM Higher Seed Lower Seed ESPN2

 

Mideastern Athletic Conference Tournament
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM #8 Howard #9 Florida A&M ESPN3
6:30 PM #6 UNC-Central #11 Coppin St. ESPN3
9:00 PM #7 Morgan St. #10 South Carolina St. ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Hampton Howard or FAMU ESPN3
8:00 PM #2 Bethune-Cookman MSU or SCSU ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #3 Savannah St. UNCC or Coppin ESPN3
8:00 PM #4 North Carolina A&T #5 Norfolk St. ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Hampton/Howard/FAMU NCAT/Norfolk St ESPN3
8:00 PM BCU/MSU/SCSU Sav/UNCC/Coppin ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 5, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for March 5, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:32 am

The Bracket Gurus are doing double duty this week having to keep up with the conference tournaments every day as well as the bracketology.

The Gurus are starting to come to a consensus, as there were only 72 teams that received votes this week, meaning we only have a Top 4 out and not Next 4, since our geniuses feel there are no other teams that as of now have any shot at receiving an at-large invitation.

Consider this: as of today, there have been no teams that have gone from out to in based on their showing in their conference tournaments.  Nebraska failed to show up in the Big Ten Conference Tournament, while Penn State fell one round short of mattering.

Of course, except for the Big Ten Conference, all the power leagues that could possibly produce a team that might win enough to move into consideration have yet to begin conference tournament play.  There are a few teams remaining that still have remote at-large life.  These are:

ACC: Syracuse and Louisville

Big East: Marquette

Big 12: Oklahoma St.

Mountain West: Boise St.

Pac-12: Utah and Washington

SEC: LSU, Georgia, and Mississippi St.

There is the opposite to this discussion.  There are a host of teams that if they lose on the first day or even second day of their tournament, they could fall from in to out.  Another factor that could push these teams out is if upset winners claim automatic bids.  These are the teams that are hanging on by a thread at the current time.

Big 12: Baylor, Kansas St., and Texas

Big East: Providence

Pac-12: USC, Arizona St., and UCLA

SEC: Alabama

West Coast: Saint Mary’s

Which dark horse teams could make a run to an upset championship in each power conference?  (Does not include teams currently on the Bubble)

American: Tulsa

Atlantic 10: Davidson

ACC: Notre Dame

Big 12: None, because all that’s left is Iowa St. and we do not see the Cyclones winning.

Big East: St. John’s

Pac-12: Stanford

SEC: South Carolina

West Coast: BYU

Here are the seeds as our Bracket Gurus predict.  Teams in RED have clinched an automatic bid.

Seed Team Conference
1 Virginia ACC
1 Villanova B-EAST
1 Xavier B-EAST
1 Kansas B12
2 Duke ACC
2 Purdue B-TEN
2 Michigan St. B-TEN
2 Auburn SEC
3 North Carolina ACC
3 Cincinnati AAC
3 Tennessee SEC
3 Texas Tech B12
4 Wichita St. AAC
4 Michigan B-TEN
4 West Virginia B12
4 Arizona PAC-12
5 Clemson ACC
5 Gonzaga WCC
5 Ohio St. B-TEN
5 Kentucky SEC
6 Florida SEC
6 Houston AAC
6 Texas A&M SEC
6 TCU B12
7 Miami (Fla.) ACC
7 Arkansas SEC
7 Seton Hall B-EAST
7 Nevada MWC
8 Rhode Island A-10
8 Virginia Tech ACC
8 Missouri SEC
8 Oklahoma B12
9 Creighton B-EAST
9 Florida St. ACC
9 North Carolina St. ACC
9 Butler B-EAST
10 St. Bonaventure A-10
10 UCLA PAC-12
10 Middle Tennessee CUSA
10 Texas B12
11 Arizona St. PAC-12
11 Saint Mary’s WCC
11 Providence B-EAST
11 USC PAC-12
11 Alabama SEC
12 New Mexico St. WAC
12 Buffalo MAC
12 Murray St. OVC
12 Kansas St. B12
12 Baylor B12
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 South Dakota St. SUMMIT
13 Vermont A-EAST
13 Charleston CAA
14 UNC-Greensboro SOCON
14 Bucknell PATRIOT
14 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
14 Montana B-SKY
15 UC Davis B-WEST
15 Wright St. HORIZON
15 Wagner NEC
15 Lipscomb A-SUN
16 Penn IVY
16 Iona MAAC
16 Radford B-SOUTH
16 Hampton MEAC
16 Nicholls St. SLC
16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff SWAC

The First Four in Dayton

USC vs. Baylor

Alabama vs. Kansas St.

Radford vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff

Hampton vs. Nicholls St.

 

Top 4 Out 

Marquette B-EAST
Syracuse ACC
Louisville ACC
Utah PAC-12

Multiple Bid Leagues

Conference #
ACC 8
Big 12 8
SEC 8
Big East 6
Big Ten 4
Pac-12 4
American 3
Atlantic 10 2
West Coast 2

There are currently 23, one-bid leagues.

 

 

 

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 5, 2018

Today’s PiRate Rating Spreads for Conference Tournament Games 

Home Team Visitor  
or Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Charleston William & Mary 4.1
Northeastern UNC-Wilmington 9.6
Oakland Cleveland St. 8.4
Wright St. Milwaukee 4.0
Iona Fairfield 4.7
Central Michigan Bowling Green 7.6
Kent St. Northern Illinois 5.5
Miami (O) Ohio 2.7
Western Michigan Akron 7.8
North Carolina A&T Delaware St. 10.4
Norfolk St. Md. Eastern Shore 12.2
UNC-Greensboro East Tennessee St. -0.3
South Dakota St. North Dakota St. 6.4
South Dakota Denver 10.5
Gonzaga San Francisco 14.5
Saint Mary’s BYU 4.5

Yesterday’s Championship Games

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
Lipscomb 108 Florida Gulf Coast 96
Big South Conference Tournament
Radford 55 Liberty 52
Big Ten Conference Tournament
Michigan 75 Purdue 66
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Loyola (Chi.) 65 Illinois St. 49

Teams Already In The Field

Team Conf. W-L
Murray St. OVC 26-5
Radford B-South 22-12
Loyola (Chi.) MVC 28-5
Lipscomb A-SUN 23-9
Michigan BTen 28-7

Conference Tournament Championship Games Today

All Times EST

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #4 Iona #6 Fairfield ESPN
Southern Conference Tournament
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM #1 UNC-Greensboro #2 East Tennessee St. ESPN2

 

Other Conference Tournaments In Action Today

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Charleston #4 William & Mary CBSSN
8:30 PM #2 Northeastern #6 UNC-Wilmington CBSSN
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM Chas/W&M NE/UNCW CBSSN

 

Horizon League Tournament
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #4 Oakland #8 Cleveland St. ESPNU
9:30 PM #2 Wright St. #6 Milwaukee ESPNU
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM Oak/CSU WSU/Milw ESPN

 

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Cleveland (First Round at Higher Seeds)
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 5
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #8 Central Michigan #9 Bowling Green ESPN3
7:00 PM #5 Kent St. #12 Northern Illinois ESPN3
7:00 PM #7 Miami (O) #10 Ohio U ESPN3
7:45 PM #6 Western Michigan #11 Akron ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Buffalo CMU or BGU ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 Ball St. Kent or NIU ESPN3
6:30 PM #2 Toledo Mia or Ohio ESPN3
9:00 PM #3 Eastern Michigan WMU or Akron ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Buff/CMU/BGU Ball/Kent/NIU CBSSN
9:00 PM Tol/Mia/Ohio EMU/WMU/Akron CBSSN *
* This game will be available at cbssports.com
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

 

Mideastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Norfolk, VA
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #4 North Carolina A&T #13 Delaware St. ESPN3
9:00 PM #5 Norfolk St. #12 Md-Eastern Shore ESPN3
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM #8 Howard #9 Florida A&M ESPN3
6:30 PM #6 UNC-Central #11 Coppin St. ESPN3
9:00 PM #7 Morgan St. #10 South Carolina St. ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Hampton Howard or FAMU ESPN3
8:00 PM #2 Bethune-Cookman MSU or SCSU ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #3 Savannah St. UNCC or Coppin ESPN3
8:00 PM NCAT or Dela St. Norf St or UMES ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Hampton/Howard/FAMU NCAT/DelSt/NorfSt/UMES ESPN3
8:00 PM BCU/MSU/SCSU Sav/UNCC/Coppin ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2

 

Summit League Tournament
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 South Dakota St. #5 North Dakota St. ESPN3
9:30 PM #2 South Dakota #3 Denver ESPN3
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM SDSU/NDSU USD/Denver ESPN2

 

West Coast Conference Tournament
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM #1 Gonzaga #4 San Francisco ESPN
11:00 PM #2 Saint Mary’s #3 BYU ESPN2
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM  Gonzaga/USF SMU/BYU  ESPN

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report Coming Later Today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 3, 2018

As the first week of Championship Fortnight nears its conclusion, there have been few surprises so far.  However, in one league, the top two seeds were eliminated by teams at the bottom of the conference.  In the Metro Atlantic, top-seed Rider fell to 9-seed St. Peter’s, and 2-seed Canisius lost to 7-seed Quinnipiac.  Of course, the MAAC is a one-bid league, so if your favorite team is holding on for dear life on the bubble, this did nothing to affect its bursting.

The Big Ten Conference Tournament took an interesting twist yesterday.  Nebraska failed to show up against a Michigan squad cranking on all cylinders.  The loss certainly bursts the Cornhuskers’ bubble.  Just a little while later, Penn State replaced Nebraska among the hopeful teams trying to sneak into the dance through the side door.  The Nittany Lions made it a triple sweep over Ohio State to move into today’s semifinals.  If Penn St. drops Purdue today, then the Lions move squarely onto the bubble, and they would also be one win away from an automatic bid, which would obviously then burst another team’s bubble, such as Kansas St., Louisville, or Alabama.

The 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Field will see its first invitation handed out tonight in Evansville, Indiana, when #1-seed Murray State faces #2-seed Belmont in the Ohio Valley Conference Championship.  These two teams have been the Yankees and Red Sox of the league, and either one would be a formidable underdog in the first round of the Big Dance.  Murray State has multiple first round wins in its history, while Belmont has come very close a couple of times, including a one-point loss to Duke.

Here’s a look at yesterday’s conference tournament action.

Big South

Radford 61 Winthrop 52
Liberty 69 UNC-Asheville 64
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM #2 Radford #5 Liberty ESPN

Big Ten

Michigan St. 63 Wisconsin 60
Michigan 77 Nebraska 58
Penn St. 69 Ohio St. 68
Purdue 82 Rutgers 75
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:00 PM #1 Michigan St. #5 Michigan CBS
4:30 PM #3 Purdue #7 Penn St. CBS
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:30 PM     CBS

 

Horizon League

Green Bay 93 Detroit 81
Cleveland St. 72 Youngstown St. 71
Quarterfinals–March 3
5:30 PM #2 Wright St. #7 Green Bay ESPN3
8:00 PM #1 Northern Kentucky #8 Cleveland St. ESPN3
       
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #3 UIC #6 Milwaukee ESPN3
7:30 PM #4 Oakland #5 IUPUI ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM NKU/CSU/YSU Oakland or IUPUI ESPNU
9:30 PM Wright St./GB/Det UIC or Milwaukee ESPNU
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     TBA

Metro Atlantic

St. Peter’s 66 Rider 55
Quinnipiac 72 Canisius 69
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #3 Niagara #6 Fairfield ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 Iona #5 Manhattan ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM Iona or Manhattan #9 St. Peter’s ESPN3
9:30 PM Niagara or Fairfield #7 Quinnipiac ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     TBA

Missouri Valley

Loyola (Chi.) 54 Northern Iowa 50
Bradley 63 Drake 61
Southern Illinois 67 Missouri St. 63
Illinois St. 77 Indiana St. 70
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:30 PM #1 Loyola (Chi.) #5 Bradley CBSSN
5:00 PM #2 Southern Illinois #3 Illinois St. CBSSN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

Ohio Valley

Murray St. 70 Jacksonville St. 63
Belmont 94 Austin Peay 79
Championship–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 Murray St. #2 Belmont ESPN2

Southern Conference

Citadel 78 VMI 70
Chattanooga 89 Samford 79
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 UNC-Greensboro #8 The Citadel ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 Mercer #5 Wofford ESPN3
6:00 PM #2 East Tennessee St. #10 Chattanooga ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 Furman #6 Western Carolina ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM UNCG/Cit Mercer or Wofford ESPN3
6:30 PM ETSU//Chatt Furman or WCU ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

West Coast Conference

Loyola Marymount 78 Portland 72
Pepperdine 85 Santa Clara 69
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #3 BYU #6 San Diego NBCSN
3:00 PM #4 San Francisco #5 Pacific NBCSN
7:00 PM #1 Gonzaga #8 Loyola Marymount ESPN2
9:00 PM #2 Saint Mary’s #10 Pepperdine ESPN2
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Gonzaga/LMU USF or Pacific ESPN
8:00 PM SMU/Pepperdine BYU or USD ESPN2
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM     ESPN

Conference Tournaments Resuming Today

Northeast Conference

Semifinals–March 3
Time Home Team Visitors TV
12:00 PM #1 Wagner #7 Robert Morris ESPN3
2:00 PM #4 Long Island #6 Fairleigh-Dickinson ESPN3
       
Championship–March 6
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM Higher Seed Lower Seed ESPN2

 

Conference Tournaments Beginning Today

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
North Charleston, SC
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM #8 Drexel #9 James Madison CAA TV
6:30 PM #7 Delaware #10 Elon CAA TV
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 College of Charleston Drexel or JMU CAA TV
2:30 PM #4 William & Mary #5 Towson CAA TV
6:00 PM #2 Northeastern Delaware or Elon CAA TV
8:30 PM #3 Hofstra #6 UNC-Wilmington CAA TV
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM CofC/Drex/JMU W&M or Towson CBSSN
8:30 PM NE/Del/Elon Hofstra or UNCW CBSSN
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     CBSSN
Summit League Tournament
Sioux Falls, MS
All Times CST
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 South Dakota St. #8 Western Illinois ESPN3
8:30 PM #2 South Dakota #7 Omaha ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #4 Fort Wayne #5 North Dakota St. ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 Denver #6 Oral Roberts ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM SDSU or WIU Ft.Wayne or NDSU ESPN3
8:30 PM USD or Omaha Denver or ORU ESPN3
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2

Today’s PiRate Ratings Spreads for Power Conferences and Conference Tournaments

Home Team Visitor Spread
DePaul Xavier -6.6
Texas West Virginia -1.1
Florida Kentucky 3.2
Georgia Tech Wake Forest 1.6
Miami (Fla.) Virginia Tech 3.4
Providence St. John’s 3.3
LSU Mississippi St. 1.7
Syracuse Clemson -0.2
Florida St. Boston College 7.7
Texas A&M Alabama 5.9
Kansas St. Baylor 1.7
Fordham VCU -3.7
St. Joseph’s LaSalle 4.9
Arizona St. Stanford 8.1
Marquette Creighton -0.2
Dayton George Washington 4.6
Auburn South Carolina 7.6
Virginia Notre Dame 12.2
Oklahoma St. Kansas -4.0
Texas Tech TCU 6.1
Washington Oregon 0.5
Villanova Georgetown 17.9
Tennessee Georgia 9.9
North Carolina St. Louisville 1.3
Missouri Arkansas 2.7
Arizona California 18.2
Washington St. Oregon St. -2.3
Middle Tennessee Marshall 11.3
Utah Colorado 7.4
George Mason Richmond 2.3
Boise St. Wyoming 10.0
Seton Hall Butler 2.1
Massachusetts Duquesne 1.9
St. Louis St. Bonaventure 0.2
UT Rio Grande Valley New Mexico St. -11.2
Duke North Carolina 6.5
Ole Miss Vanderbilt 2.9
San Diego St. Nevada -0.9
USC UCLA 4.7
UMBC UMass-Lowell 9.2
Hartford New Hampshire 6.1
Vermont Maine 23.4
Albany Stony Brook 8.9
Drexel James Madison -0.9
Delaware Elon 0.1
South Dakota St. Western Illinois 15.2
South Dakota Omaha 15.1
Michigan St. Michigan 4.1
Purdue Penn St. 6.5
Wright St. Green Bay 7.6
Northern Kentucky Cleveland St. 14.8
Niagara Fairfield 1.2
Iona Manhattan 4.7
Loyola (Chi.) Bradley 7.0
Southern Illinois Illinois St. 0.7
Wagner Robert Morris 8.8
Long Island Fairleigh-Dickinson 3.9
Murray St. Belmont 1.4
UNC-Greensboro The Citadel 16.1
Mercer Wofford 2.3
East Tennessee St. Chattanooga 13.6
Furman Western Carolina 13.4
BYU San Diego 4.3
San Francisco Pacific 1.6
Gonzaga Loyola Marymount 20.7
Saint Mary’s Pepperdine 18.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 19, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for February 19, 2018

An interesting weekend of basketball following an interesting mid-week schedule only could move the needle a little bit in our Gurus’ minds.  Only a couple teams moved into the field replacing a couple of others, while the seed lines saw minimal movement.

Some conferences will wrap up regular season play by the end of the week, and the first conference tournaments will commence next week.  Once the first conference tournaments conclude, we will begin to update our bracketology daily, as long as our 14 gurus continue to supply their picks to us daily.

Our gurus were the best in the nation last year, as they correctly picked the entire 68-team field on the morning of Selection Sunday.

Our Gurus are using the same data and statistics available to the Selection Committee.  Each of the 14 independently sends us his/her (12 his’s and 2 her’s) 68 teams with seeds.

We then calculate the average in a multiple step manner.

  1. For every at-large team that is not on one of the gurus’ rosters, we give them a seed of 20, as a punishment for not being included.  So, if 10 gurus list State U as the 12 seed, while four gurus do not include State U, then State U receives a score of 200 (12 x 10) + (4 x 20).
  2. Each team is given a score, and the lowest X number of scores get in the field.
  3. Many automatic qualifiers from one bid leagues have higher scores than some of the at-large teams.  Since one team must go from each league, we eliminate the highest qualifying scores to accommodate these automatic qualifiers.
  4. The gurus do not always agree on which automatic qualifier to put for the one-bid leagues.  We go with the majority.  For instance, this week 9 gurus listed Murray State to represent the Ohio Valley Conference, while 5 gurus listed Belmont.  We chose Murray St.  In the rare instance of a tie, like we had this week with Savannah State and North Carolina A&T in the MEAC, we went with Savannah State, because they have the higher PiRate Rating this week.
  5. The four at-large qualifiers with the highest scores (lower scores are better) become the First Four teams that are seeded to play in Dayton.  The four automatic qualifiers with the highest scores are the four #16-seed teams that get seeded to play in Dayton.
  6. In the event that we do not receive a report from one or two gurus, we will go with what we have.  If the number ever drops under 10, then the members of the PiRate Ratings substitute with our own picks.  Otherwise, the PiRates do not have a vote in this report.

Here are this week’s Bracketology Gurus’ Picks

Seed Team Conference
1 Villanova B-East
1 Virginia ACC
1 Xavier B-East
1 Kansas B12
2 Duke ACC
2 Auburn SEC
2 Purdue BTen
2 North Carolina ACC
3 Michigan St. BTen
3 Texas Tech B12
3 Cincinnati AAC
3 Clemson ACC
4 Arizona Pac12
4 Tennessee SEC
4 West Virginia B12
4 Wichita St. AAC
5 Ohio St. BTen
5 Gonzaga WCC
5 Rhode Island A-10
5 Texas A&M SEC
6 Kentucky SEC
6 Oklahoma B12
6 Arizona St. Pac12
6 Missouri SEC
7 Alabama SEC
7 Michigan BTen
7 Houston AAC
7 Creighton B-East
8 Arkansas SEC
8 Nevada MWC
8 Florida St. ACC
8 Seton Hall B-East
9 Florida SEC
9 TCU B12
9 Butler B-East
9 Miami (Fla.) ACC
10 Providence B-East
10 Saint Mary’s WCC
10 Texas B12
10 North Carolina St. ACC
11 Virginia Tech ACC
11 Baylor B12
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
12 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
12 Buffalo MAC
12 Kansas St. B12
12 UCLA Pac12
12 St. Bonaventure A-10
12 Syracuse ACC
13 South Dakota St. Summ
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 Vermont A-East
13 East Tennessee St. Socon
14 Murray St. OVC
14 Northeastern CAA
14 Rider MAAC
14 UCSB B-West
15 Bucknell Pat
15 Montana B-Sky
15 Northern Kentucky Horiz
15 Penn Ivy
16 Wagner NEC
16 Nicholls St. SLC
16 Florida Gulf Coast A-Sun
16 Winthrop B-Sth
16 Savannah St. MEAC
16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff SWAC

The Bubble

The Last 10 In with Byes–in order of better to worse.

Florida

TCU

Butler

Miami (Fla.)

Providence

Saint Mary’s

Texas

North Carolina St.

Virginia Tech

Baylor

The Last 4 In & Headed to Dayton

Kansas St.

UCLA

St. Bonaventure

Syracuse

The Next 6 in Contention (or the only other teams that received votes)

Washington

Louisville

USC

LSU

Marquette

Utah

9 Teams That Could Still Play Themselves Into An At-Large Spot

*** Alphabetically ***

Boise St.

Georgia

Maryland

Mississippi St.

Nebraska

Old Dominion

Penn St.

Temple

Western Kentucky

 

An Update on PiRate Ratings Criteria in the Big Dance

If you have followed us this year, you might have read where we have done a remodel on our PiRate Rating Criteria in grading teams for their Big Dance talents.  We have simplified a great deal of the data to where a few things make up a majority of our criteria.

A. Our own Pirate Ratings R+T Rating, which is a measure of a teams ability to obtain extra scoring opportunities and prevent the opponent from getting extra scoring opportunities.  The higher the R+T rating, the more likely a team will get crucial points when the game is on the line or to put a game out of reach.  The formula for R+T Rating is:

(R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T, where

R = Rebounding Margin

S = Average Steals per Game

T  = Turnover Margin

Steals are worth more than other turnovers, so they get extra weight in this formula, basically being counted twice since every time a defense steals the ball, it creates a turnover for the other team.

B. Strength of Schedule, as it is obvious that a team playing a schedule of Quadrant 4 games will easily put up incredible numbers versus a team playing a schedule of Quadrant 1 and 2 games.

C. Field Goal Percentage Margin, as the goal of the game is to put the ball in the basket and prevent the other team from doing the same.

Any game can basically be broken down into shooting percentages and scoring opportunities.  The strength of schedule comes in handy when trying to handicap the stats between two teams.  If Team A has a FG% margin of 7.2%, an R+T Rating of 15.4, and has a strength of schedule of 59.3 (50 is average, 60 is tough), and Team B has a FG% margin of 9.8%, an R+T Rating of 16.8, and a strength of schedule of 48.3, then Team A would be expected to win by a decent amount, even though Team B’s stats are a little better.

Aside from the actual numbers in the Data for FG% Margin and the components of the R+T, we also look for consistency.

Let’s look at two teams: Michigan State and Cincinnati

Michigan State has a FG% margin of 15.3%, which ranks as the best in the nation.  Cincinnati’s FG% margin is in the top 10% in the NCAA at  8.3%.

Michigan State has a rebound margin of 10.8, which is in the top 10 nationally, while Cincinnati’s rebound margin is in the top 20 nationally at 8.2%.

Michigan State averages just 4.2 steals per game versus 6.2 for their opponents, while Cincinnati averages 7.7 steals per game versus 5.1 for their opponents.

Michigan State’s turnover margin is -3.1, which is the Spartans’ weakness.  Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s turnover margin is 3.5, which is in the top 50 nationally.

Michigan State’s R+T Rating is 20.3, and their strength of schedule is 57.7, a tough one.  Cincinnati’s R+T Rating is 24.7, and their strength of schedule is 54.9, 2.8 points per game weaker than the Spartans.

The stats are indicative of a toss-up game in the NCAA Tournament.  This would most likely be a Regional Final Game for a trip to the Final Four.  This is how we’d look at this game.

Michigan State would win the battle on the boards, but nothing like how they normally do.  The advantage would minimal.

Cincinnati would force some turnovers on MSU and convert these into points, but Michigan State would have the better half-court offense against Cincinnati’s half-court defense as opposed to Cinti’s offense vs. Sparty’s defense.

The game would probably come down to the last two minutes, where the team with the better clutch players would be expected to win.

It is better to have consistency in all numbers than to be extremely high in most but with one glaring weakness, so for now Michigan State would not be expected to get to the Final Four (that could change based on their bracket).  We look for what we call “Complete Teams.”  A complete team may not be the top in any category, but they are among the top 15% in every category.  We are looking for Willie Mays and not Mark McGwire.

To be a complete team, a team needs to meet this criteria:

  1. A FG% margin of 7.5%  or better
  2. A Rebounding margin of 3.5 or better
  3. Better than 7.5 steals per game
  4. Less than 6.0 opponent steals per game
  5. A positive turnover margin
  6. An R+T Rating over 15.0
  7. A strength of schedule better than 55.5 (almost always a power conference)

When you spot a team with all six characteristics, this team is going to be tough in the NCAA Tournament.

Let’s look at the leading power conference teams as well as some of the top mid-majors.

Team Reb. Stl. Opp Stl. TO R+T FG% DIff SOS
Alabama 0.4 6.7 6.4 -0.3 3.5 6.3 59.0
Arizona 6.9 5.0 6.0 0.3 16.6 7.5 56.5
Arizona St. 0.1 6.8 5.2 4.1 8.5 3.3 56.0
Arkansas -0.6 6.6 4.8 3.2 6.5 5.7 58.4
Auburn 2.2 4.0 7.4 6.4 11.4 3.0 57.0
Cincinnati 8.2 7.7 5.1 3.5 24.7 8.3 54.9
Clemson 2.4 6.1 5.9 0.2 8.2 4.6 58.6
Creighton 3.7 5.4 6.1 0.5 10.5 7.0 58.4
Duke 9.5 7.2 5.4 -0.4 22.8 9.7 60.1
Florida -1.1 6.9 4.7 4.0 6.6 0.2 59.4
Florida St. 4.1 6.8 6.0 1.6 13.2 5.9 57.2
Gonzaga 9.2 6.8 5.1 1.2 23.9 9.2 52.7
Houston 7.4 6.5 5.3 0.9 19.7 7.2 54.2
Kansas -0.5 6.7 5.5 2.0 4.9 7.1 60.5
Kentucky 5.2 5.6 6.0 -1.5 11.7 5.4 60.0
Miami (Fla.) 1.5 6.7 5.7 1.8 8.5 4.5 56.5
Michigan 1.1 6.3 4.2 4.1 11.3 3.4 57.2
Michigan St. 10.8 4.2 6.3 -3.1 20.3 15.3 57.7
Missouri 4.8 5.3 6.5 -3.0 8.8 5.9 58.8
Nevada 1.0 6.3 4.5 2.6 9.3 4.6 54.5
North Carolina 11.7 5.3 6.1 -0.6 25.4 4.5 61.5
Ohio St. 5.6 6.1 5.0 0.6 15.9 6.9 58.1
Oklahoma 1.3 6.7 6.8 -0.4 4.8 2.9 61.2
Purdue 2.4 6.1 5.2 1.9 10.6 8.9 59.1
Rhode Island 1.3 7.6 5.6 5.2 12.0 1.8 53.6
Saint Mary’s 5.4 4.6 5.4 0.2 13.9 7.5 50.8
Seton Hall 4.3 6.6 6.0 0.2 12.1 3.0 58.6
TCU 6.4 6.8 6.0 0.3 16.5 4.2 59.3
Tennessee 1.7 6.7 5.7 2.0 9.1 2.7 60.7
Texas A&M 6.9 5.9 6.5 -2.7 13.6 5.8 60.7
Texas Tech 4.4 8.1 5.9 3.4 16.4 7.6 58.2
Villanova 2.4 6.6 4.6 3.0 12.5 7.4 59.9
Virginia 2.7 7.2 4.0 4.8 15.8 8.3 59.8
West Virginia 3.9 8.4 5.6 5.7 18.1 1.7 59.4
Wichita St. 10.3 4.7 6.0 0.3 23.3 7.0 55.8
Xavier 6.6 5.7 6.7 -1.2 14.2 6.8 59.8
Buffalo 1.6 6.4 5.7 1.3 8.0 3.8 50.4
East Tennessee St. 5.2 7.7 6.2 1.3 15.4 7.4 48.1
Louisiana-Lafayette 7.2 7.7 6.0 1.4 19.7 4.5 49.2
Loyola (Chi.) 1.9 6.4 6.5 0.4 6.9 10.0 50.2
Middle Tennessee 6.3 6.3 5.5 1.0 17.3 3.6 53.4
Nevada 1.0 6.3 4.5 2.6 9.3 4.2 54.5
New Mexico St. 8.1 5.6 4.6 1.4 21.8 6.0 50.8
South Dakota St. 3.6 5.3 5.0 0.6 11.5 4.2 49.8
Vermont 4.5 3.9 5.4 0.2 11.8 5.0 49.9

Did you notice that Texas Tech is listed in Bold Font?  At the present time, the Red Raiders are the only Division 1 team that qualifies as a “Complete Team.”  If they can keep this rating by Selection Sunday, they might be a sleeper to make the Final Four.  TTU plays Kansas on Saturday.

Cincinnati misses out on complete team status by the thinnest of margins.  Their strength of schedule is 54.9, just a tenth of a point off the minimum criteria.

Virginia is another team that just misses complete team status.  The Cavs fall three-tenths of a steal shy.

Remember–The Atlantic Sun Tournament begins play one week from tonight.  Florida Gulf Coast has secured the top seed and is guaranteed to be the home team in any game it plays, but Lipscomb is now almost a co-favorite to win the A-Sun Tournament.  The Bisons beat FGCU in Fort Myers this weekend, and they are the hottest team in the league.

February 12, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for February 12, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:00 am

What a week in college basketball!  Villanova, Purdue, Duke, and Purdue lost, while Xavier continued to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat twice more.  The Muskateers are one of just two teams from the Queen City of Ohio that might be in line for a number one seed.

How can Cincinnati still be an under-the-radar team?  Look at this program.  The Bearcats are one of three teams that have made the Final Four five consecutive years (UCLA and Duke).  They have won two national titles and appeared in the Championship Game three times.

This Cinti team leads the nation in scoring margin at 20.6.  No team has finished the season with a +20 margin since Kentucky in 1996.  The Bearcats are catlike quick, and they seldom give up an easy shot.  They lead the nation in field goal percenage defense at 36%, and they dominate on the glass, seldom giving up a second shot.

Coach Mick Cronin has comes from an interesting family tree, learning the college game under Bob Huggins and Rick Pitino.  This is the best UC team since Huggins went to the Final Four with Herb Jones, Anthony Buford, and Nick Van Exel, and it could be the best Bearcat team since Ed Jucker took the school to two National Championships and a near miss third.  There are a lot of similarities between this Bearcat team and the 1962 champions.

What Are The Quadrants

With the release of the top 16 seeds a month before the real Selection Sunday, not much new came out of the committee that we did not already know, except for the fact that they seem to be placing even more emphasis this year on how each team did with quadrant wins and losses.

Our captain has already received numerous emails from friends and acquaintances asking him to explain what these quadrants are, so here is the explanation for all.

In the past, the Committee relied on won-loss records against the top 50, the 51-100 teams, the 101-150, and so on.  This was not as indicative of a team’s ability to play against the top teams in the nation as it could be.  A narrow home win over the number 50 team helped the winner a lot more than a narrow loss on the road to the number 51 team.  Teams could schedule 10 home games against opponents in the 51-100 range and go 8-2 due to home court advantage.  Meanwhile, another team might have to play all its marquee games on the road and go 3-7 against teams in the 51-100 range.  Yet, the second team might be considerably stronger than the homer team.

So, there was a change.  Now, there are four quadrants.  The ranking of the teams in each quadrant are different depending on whether a game against an opponent is at home, on a neutral floor, or on the road.  A quadrant one game is one where the home team faces an opponent ranked 1 to 30; is one where a team playing a neutral site game is facing an opponent ranked 1 to 50; or is one where a team playing a true road game is facing an opponent ranked 1 to 75.  Take a look at each quadrant.

Quadrant #1: At Home: 1-30   Neutral Site: 1-50   Road Game: 1-75

Quadrant #2: At Home: 31-75   Neutral Site: 51-100   Road Game: 76-135

Quadrant #3: At Home: 76-160   Neutral Site: 101-200   Road Game: 136-240

Quadrant #4: At Home: 161-351   Neutral Site: 201-351   Road Game 241-351

Let’s look at two teams on the Bubble, one a mid-major and one a power conference team.

Middle Tennessee State has defeated Michigan State and Minnesota in first round games in the last two NCAA Tournaments.  The Blue Raiders lead Conference USA and are listed at the most likely automatic qualifier from the league.  However, CUSA has three additional tough teams, and winning the CUSA Tournament Championship is far from a given for the Blue Raiders.  Currently at 20-5 overall, MTSU has a 1-3 record in Quadrant 1 games, a 4-1 record in Quadrant 2 games, a 4-1 record in Quadrant 3 games, and a 10-0 record in Quadrant 4 games.  Many so-called experts believe that the Blue Raiders would get in as an at-large team if they lost to Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, or Marshall in the CUSA Championship Game.

Now, let’s look at Nebraska.  The Cornhuskers have improved by leaps and bounds since November and early December.  They are 10-4 in the Big Ten, good enough for fourth place, ahead of Michigan.  Yet, the Huskers are deep down on the Bubble and not really a serious contender for an at-large bid on this date.  Why?  First, the Committee does not even look at conference won-loss records.  It may be ridiculous to rule out the fact that Nebraska blew 5th place Michigan off the floor a few weeks ago and at this point of the season are plainly the superior team.  This is not what the Committee will see in the selection room.  What they will see is:

Quadrant 1: 0-6

Quadrant 2: 3-2

Quadrant 3: 7-0

Quadrant 4: 9-0

Comparing Nebraska to Middle Tennessee, the Cornhuskers are just 3-8 in top 2 Quadrant games, while the Blue Raiders are 5-4.  On the type of paper that will count, Middle Tennessee has the better resume.

What this will do is give the Mid-Major powers a better shot at making the field as at-large teams over the power conference teams that would have been sure things a few years ago.  If you are a Nebraska fan, you better hope your Cornhuskers win out to finish the regular season at 14-4 in the Big Ten, and then they win their first Big Ten Tournament game.  Anything short of that, and it’s NIT for Nebraska.

This Week’s Bracketology Gurus Field of 68

Seed Team Conference
1 Villanova B East
1 Virginia ACC
1 Xavier B East
1 Purdue B Ten
2 Kansas B12
2 Auburn SEC
2 Duke ACC
2 Cincinnati AAC
3 Clemson ACC
3 Texas Tech B12
3 North Carolina ACC
3 Michigan St. B Ten
4 Tennessee SEC
4 Ohio St. B Ten
4 Arizona Pac12
4 Oklahoma B12
5 West Virginia B12
5 Rhode Island A-10
5 Texas A&M SEC
5 Gonzaga WCC
6 Kentucky SEC
6 Arizona St. Pac12
6 Wichita St. AAC
6 Florida SEC
7 Seton Hall B East
7 Miami (Fla.) ACC
7 Creighton B East
7 Saint Mary’s WCC
8 Alabama SEC
8 TCU B12
8 Missouri SEC
8 Butler B East
9 Nevada MWC
9 Michigan B Ten
9 Florida St. ACC
9 Arkansas SEC
10 Texas B12
10 Houston AAC
10 Providence B East
10 Washington Pac12
11 Virginia Tech ACC
11 UCLA Pac12
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
12 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
12 Buffalo MAC
12 Louisville ACC
12 Syracuse ACC
12 North Carolina St. ACC
12 Kansas St. B12
13 Vermont A East
13 East Tennessee St. SoCon
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 South Dakota Summit
14 Murray St. OVC
14 Charleston CAA
14 Rider MAAC
14 Montana B Sky
15 UCSB B West
15 Northern Kentucky Horizon
15 Bucknell Patriot
15 Wagner NEC
16 Florida GCU A Sun
16 UNC-Asheville B Sth
16 Harvard Ivy
16 SE Louisiana SLC
16 North Carolina A&T MEAC
16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff SWAC
     
 # Bubble Teams Out Conference
69 Temple AAC
70 USC Pac12
71 Boise State MWC
72 Mississippi State SEC
73 LSU SEC
74 St. Bonaventure A-10
75 Baylor B12
76 Maryland B Ten
77 Nebraska B Ten
78 Western Kentucky CUSA

First Four Games in Dayton

Louisville vs. Kansas St.

Syracuse vs. North Carolina St.

Harvard vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Southeast Louisiana vs. North Carolina A&T

Last Four Byes

Providence

Washington

Virginia Tech

UCLA

 

 

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