The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 18, 2017

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

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:02 pm

Sunday, March 18, 2017

Team Team Red White Blue
Louisville Michigan 4 3 6
Kentucky Wichita St. 1 1 8
Kansas Michigan St. 11 8 1
North Carolina Arkansas 14 10 8
Oregon Rhode Island 7 6 4
Baylor USC 17 9 8
Duke South Carolina 6 6 5
UCLA Cincinnati 1 1 -1

TV Schedule

Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
12:10 PM CBS Louisville vs. Michigan
2:40 PM CBS Kentucky vs. Wichita St.
5:15 PM CBS Kansas vs. Michigan St.
6:10 PM TNT North Carolina vs. Arkansas
7:10 PM TBS Oregon vs. Rhode Island
7:45 PM truTV Baylor vs. USC
8:40 PM TNT Duke vs. South Carolina
9:40 PM TBS UCLA vs. Cincinnati

Morning & Afternoon: Swallow Return to Capistrano

Spring Equinox: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 6:29 AM EDT

 

 

March 16, 2017

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

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:39 am

NCAA Tournament–Friday, March 17, 2017

Team Team Red White Blue
Michigan Oklahoma St. -1 3 1
Baylor New Mexico St. 11 12 13
Arkansas Seton Hall 2 1 -1
Oregon Iona 11 12 10
Louisville Jacksonville St. 18 18 17
SMU USC 8 8 4
North Carolina Texas Southern 22 20 19
Creighton Rhode Island 4 1 2
Kansas UC-Davis 22 19 18
Dayton Wichita St. -7 -5 -1
Duke Troy 15 16 14
Cincinnati Kansas St. 2 5 2
Miami (Fla.) Michigan St. 1 2 -2
Kentucky Northern Kentucky 19 18 13
South Carolina Marquette 1 -1 1
UCLA Kent St. 16 14 10

 

TV Schedule

Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
12:15 PM CBS Michigan vs. Oklahoma St.
12:40 PM truTV Baylor vs. New Mexico St.
1:30 PM TNT Arkansas vs. Seton Hall
2:00 PM TBS Oregon vs. Iona
2:45 PM CBS Louisville vs. Jacksonville St.
3:10 PM truTV SMU vs. USC
4:00 PM TNT North Carolina vs. Texas Southern
4:30 PM TBS Creighton vs. Rhode Island
6:50 PM TNT Kansas vs. UC-Davis
7:10 PM CBS Dayton vs. Wichita St.
7:20 PM TBS Duke vs. Troy
7:27 PM truTV Cincinnati vs. Kansas St.
9:20 PM TNT Miami (Fla.) vs. Michigan St.
9:40 PM CBS Kentucky vs. Northern Kentucky
9:50 PM TBS South Carolina vs. Marquette
9:57 PM truTV UCLA vs. Kent St.

 

 

 

March 11, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Saturday, March 11, 2017

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

Joining The Field

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

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

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

Today’s Schedule

All times Eastern Standard 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

PiRate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Update for Saturday AM

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

Last Four Byes

Seton Hall

Providence

Vanderbilt

Xavier

Last Four In–Headed to Dayton

Wake Forest vs. USC

Kansas St. vs. Syracuse

First Four Out

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

Illinois State

California

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2017

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

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

Games Scheduled for: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Virginia Pittsburgh 13 15 13
Louisville Notre Dame 10 9 12
Florida St. Miami (Fla.) 10 8 9
Syracuse Georgia Tech 7 10 6
Clemson Boston College 14 13 10
Virginia Tech Wake Forest 2 3 2
North Carolina Duke 9 7 7
SMU Memphis 15 16 16
Kansas St. Texas Tech 5 4 5
Oklahoma TCU 2 2 -1
Texas Baylor -4 -4 -6
Oklahoma St. Kansas 2 -1 -1
Georgetown Villanova -8 -9 -5
St. John’s Providence 1 -1 -1
DePaul Xavier -6 -7 -9
Butler Seton Hall 10 10 10
Marquette Creighton 3 3 1
Rutgers Illinois -3 -3 -5
Ohio St. Indiana 2 1 1
Maryland Michigan St. 4 3 1
Colorado California 2 -1 -3
Utah Stanford 10 10 9
Arizona St. Arizona -9 -10 -11
Oregon St. Oregon -19 -20 -17
USC Washington 12 12 9
UCLA Washington St. 24 25 18
Texas A&M Kentucky -9 -7 -4
Tennessee Alabama 4 3 4
Arkansas Georgia 5 6 2
Vanderbilt Florida -6 -7 -3
Auburn Missouri 10 9 7
LSU Mississippi St. -1 -1 1
Ole Miss South Carolina -2 -1 -3

 

Games Scheduled for: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Connecticut Cincinnati -6 -7 -4
Iowa Penn St. 6 5 5
Northwestern Purdue 1 -4 -4
Wisconsin Minnesota 5 9 2
Nebraska Michigan -4 -7 -1

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25

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

ACC

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

Big 12

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

Big East

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

Big Ten

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

Pac-12

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

SEC

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

Current Bubble Teams

Top 10 Bubble Teams (IN THE DANCE)

  1. VCU
  2. Providence
  3. Seton Hall
  4. Marquette
  5. Xavier
  6. USC
  7. Syracuse
  8. Wake Forest 
  9. Illinois
  10. Illinois St.

Top Bubble Teams (OUT OF THE FIELD & NIT-BOUND)

  1. California
  2. Kansas St.
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Georgia
  5. Houston
  6. Georgia Tech
  7. Vanderbilt
  8. TCU
  9. Utah
  10. Iowa

Conference Tournament Update

America East Tournament–Higher Seed at Home
Quarterfinal Round, Wednesday, March 1
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
1 1 Vermont 26-5 vs. 8 Maine 7-24 86-41  
2 2 Stony Brook 17-12 vs. 7 Binghamton 12-19 70-60  
3 3 Albany 19-12 vs. 6 Hartford 9-22 100-71  
4 4 New Hampshire 19-11 vs. 5 Md.-Baltimore Co. 18-11 74-65  
                   
Semifinal Round, Monday, March 6
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 1 Vermont 27-5 vs. 4 New Hampshire 20-11 7:00 PM ESPN3
6 2 Stony Brook 18-12 vs. 3 Albany 20-12 7:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Championship Game, Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 5 winner       Game 6 winner   11:00 AM ESPN2
  * This Tournament Re-seeds after the quarterfinals like the NFL Playoffs
                   
Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament–Higher Seed at Home
Quarterfinal Round, Monday, February 27
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
1 1 Florida Gulf Coast 23-7 vs. 8 Stetson 11-20 87-57  
2 2 Lipscomb 19-12 vs. 7 NJIT 11-19 97-66  
3 3 North Florida 13-18 vs. 6 Jacksonville 17-14 77-74  
4 4 USC-Upstate 17-14 vs. 5 Kennesaw St. 13-17 78-80  
                   
Semifinal Round, Thursday, March 2
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
5 1 Florida Gulf Coast 24-7 vs. 5 Kennesaw St. 14-17 74-62  
6 2 Lipscomb 20-12 vs. 3 North Florida 14-18 85-91  
                   
Championship Game, Sunday, March 5
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 1 Florida Gulf Coast 25-7 vs. 3 North Florida 15-18 3:00 PM ESPN
                   
Big South Conference Tournament–1st Round & Championship at Higher Seed, Middle 2 Rounds at #1 Winthrop
1st Round, Tuesday, February 28 (at Higher Seed)
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
1 7 Campbell 14-16 vs. 10 Presbyterian 5-24 81-62  
2 8 Charleston Southern 11-18 vs. 9 Longwood 6-23 79-74  
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 2 (at Winthrop)
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
3 2 UNC-Asheville 23-8 vs. 7 Campbell 15-16 79-81  
4 3 Liberty 19-12 vs. 6 Radford 13-17 52-56  
5 1 Winthrop 23-6 vs. 8 Charleston Southern 12-18 92-78  
6 4 Gardner-Webb 18-13 vs. 5 High Point 15-15 91-55  
                   
Semifinal Round, Friday, March 3 (at Winthrop)
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 6 Radford 14-17 vs. 7 Campbell 16-16 6:00 PM ESPN3
8 1 Winthrop 24-6 vs. 4 Gardner-Webb 19-13 8:00 PM ESPN3
                   
Championship Game, Sunday, March 5 (at Higher Seed)
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   1:00 PM ESPN
                   
Colonial Athletic Association Tournament–Charleston, SC
1st Round, Friday, March 3
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 Hofstra 15-16 vs. 9 Delaware 12-19 6:00 PM CAA.tv
2 7 James Madison 9-22 vs. 10 Drexel 9-22 8:30 PM CAA.tv
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Saturday, March 4
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 1 UNC-Wilmington 26-5 vs.       12:00 PM Comcast SN
4 4 William & Mary 16-13 vs. 5 Elon 18-13 2:30 PM Comcast SN
5 2 College of Charleston 23-8 vs.       6:00 PM Comcast SN
6 3 Towson St. 19-12 vs. 6 Northeastern 15-15 8:30 PM Comcast SN
                   
Semifinal Round, Sunday, March 5
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 3 winner   vs.   Game 4 winner   2:00 PM Comcast SN
8   Game 5 winner   vs.   Game 6 winner   4:30 PM Comcast SN
                   
Championship Game, Monday, March 6
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   7:00 PM CBSSN
                   
Horizon League Tournament (Motor City Madness)–Detroit
1st Round, Friday, March 3
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 7 Detroit Mercy 8-22 vs. 10 Milwaukee 8-23 5:30 PM ESPN3
2 8 Cleveland St. 9-21 vs. 9 Youngstown St. 11-20 8:00 PM ESPN3
                   
Quarterfinal Round–Day 1, Saturday, March 4
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 1 Oakland 24-7 vs.   Game 2 winner   5:30 PM ESPN3
4 2 Valparaiso 24-7 vs.   Game 1 winner   8:00 PM ESPN3
                   
Quarterfinal Round–Day 2, Sunday, March 5
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 3 Green Bay 18-12 vs. 6 Illinois-Chicago 14-17 5:00 PM ESPN3
6 4 Northern Kentucky 21-10 vs. 5 Wright St. 20-11 7:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Semifinal Round, Monday, March 6
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 3 winner   vs.   Game 6 winner   7:00 PM ESPNU
8   Game 4 winner   vs.   Game 5 winner   9:30 PM ESPNU
                   
Championship Game, Tuesday, March 7
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   7:00 PM ESPN
                   
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament at Albany (Siena)
1st Round, Thursday, March 2
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
1 8 Quinnipiac 10-20 vs. 9 Niagara 9-22 69-88  
2 7 Canisius 17-14 vs. 10 Marist 8-23 77-73  
3 6 Rider 17-14 vs. 11 Manhattan 10-21 69-68  
                   
Quarterfinal Round–Day 1, Friday, March 3
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
4 1 Mounmouth 26-5 vs. 9 Niagara 10-22 7:00 PM ESPN3
5 2 St. Peter’s 18-12 vs. 7 Canisius 18-14 9:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Quarterfinal Round–Day 2, Saturday, March 4
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
6 3 Iona 19-12 vs. 6 Rider 18-14 7:00 PM ESPN3
7 4 Siena 15-16 vs. 5 Fairfield 16-13 9:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Semifinal Round–Sunday, March 5
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8   Game 4 winner   vs.   Game 7 winner   4:30 PM ESPN3
9   Game 5 winner   vs.   Game 6 winner   7:00 PM ESPN3
                   
Championship Game–Monday, March 6
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
10   Game 8 winner   vs.   Game 9 winner   9:00 PM ESPN2
                   
Mideast Athletic Conference Tournament at Norfolk, VA (Norfolk St.)
1st Round, Day 1–Monday, March 6
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 5 Maryland-Eastern Shore 12-19 vs. 12 N. Carolina A&T 3-28 5:00 PM ESPN3
2 6 Coppin St. 8-23 vs. 11 Howard 8-23 7:00 PM ESPN3
                   
1st Round, Day 2–Tuesday, March 7
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 8 Delaware St. 10-21 vs. 9 Bethune-Cookman 9-21 4:00 PM ESPN3
4 7 South Carolina St. 10-19 vs. 10 Florida A&M 7-22 6:00 PM ESPN3
                   
Quarterfinal Round. Day 1, March 8
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 1 UNC-Central 22-8 vs.   Game 3 winner   6:00 PM ESPN3
6 2 Norfolk St. 15-15 vs.   Game 4 winner   8:00 PM ESPN3
                   
Quarterfinal Round. Day 2, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 3 Morgan St. 14-15 vs.   Game 2 winner   6:00 PM ESPN3
8 4 Hampton 14-15 vs.   Game 1 winner   8:00 PM ESPN3
                   
Semifinal Round, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 5 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   6:00 PM ESPN3
10   Game 6 winner   vs.   Game 7 winner   8:00 PM ESPN3
                   
Championship Game, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
11   Game 9 winner   vs.   Game 10 winner   1:00 PM ESPN2
                   
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament (Arch Madness) at St. Louis
1st Round, Thursday, March 2
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
1 8 Evansville 15-16 vs. 9 Indiana St. 11-19 83-72  
2 7 Bradley 12-19 vs. 10 Drake 7-23 67-58  
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Friday, March 3
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 1 Illinois St. 25-5 vs. 8 Evansville 16-16 1:00 PM MVC TV
4 4 Southern Illinois 16-15 vs. 5 Loyola (Chi.) 18-13 3:30 PM MVC TV
5 2 Wichita St. 27-4 vs. 7 Bradley 13-19 7:00 PM MVC TV
6 3 Northern Iowa 14-15 vs. 6 Missouri St. 16-15 9:30 PM MVC TV
                   
Semifinal Round, Saturday, March 4
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 3 winner   vs.   Game 4 winner   3:30 PM CBSSN
8   Game 5 winner   vs.   Game 6 winner   6:00 PM CBSSN
                   
Championship Game, Sunday, March 5
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   2:00 PM CBS
                   
Northeast Conference Tournament–All Games at Higher Seed
Quarterfinal Round, Wednesday, March 1
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
1 1 Mount St. Mary’s 16-15 vs. 8 Sacred Heart 13-18 76-73  
2 2 Long Island 20-11 vs. 7 Robert Morris 13-18 68-69  
3 3 Wagner 15-13 vs. 6 Fairleigh-Dickinson 11-18 72-70  
4 4 St. Francis (PA) 14-15 vs. 5 Bryant 12-19 100-78  
                   
Semifinal Round, Saturday, March 4
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 1 Mount St. Mary’s 17-15 vs. 7 Robert Morris 14-18 12 or 2 PM MSG/FCS
6 3 Wagner 16-13 vs. 4 St. Francis (PA) 15-15 12 or 2 PM MSG/FCS
                   
Championship Game, Tuesday, March 7
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 5 winner       Game 6 winner   11:00 AM ESPN2
  * This Tournament Re-seeds after the quarterfinals like the NFL Playoffs
                   
Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at Nashville
1st Round, Wednesday, March 1
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
1 5 Southeast Missouri 14-17 vs. 8 Tennessee St. 17-12 78-75 ot  
2 6 Tennessee Tech 12-19 vs. 7 Murray St. 14-16 84-85 2ot  
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 2
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
3 4 Jacksonville St. 17-14 vs. 5 Southeast Missouri 15-17 74-51  
4 3 Morehead St. 14-15 vs. 7 Murray St. 15-16 69-75  
                   
Semifinal Round, Friday, March 3
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 1 Belmont 22-5 vs. 4 Jacksonville St. 18-14 7:30 PM ESPNU
6 2 UT-Martin 20-11 vs. 7 Murray St. 16-16 10:00 PM ESPNU
                   
Championship Game, Saturday, March 4
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 5 winner       Game 6 winner   8:00 PM ESPN2
                   
Patriot League Tournament–All Games at Higher Seed
1st Round, Tuesday, February 28
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
1 7 Loyola (MD.) 14-15 vs. 10 Lafayette 9-20 67-64  
2 8 Army 12-18 vs. 9 American 8-21 74-58  
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 2
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
3 2 Boston U 23-8 vs. 7 Loyola (MD.) 15-15 64-60  
4 3 Lehigh 19-12 vs. 6 Colgate 10-21 77-72  
5 1 Bucknell 23-6 vs. 8 Army 13-18 78-62  
6 4 Navy 18-13 vs. 5 Holy Cross 15-16 49-42  
                   
Semifinal Round, Sunday, March 5
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 2 Boston U 24-8 vs. 3 Lehigh 20-12 12 or 2 PM CBSSN
8 1 Bucknell 24-6 vs. 4 Navy 19-13 12 or 2 PM CBSSN
                   
Championship Game, Wednesday, March 8
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   7:30 PM CBSSN
                   
Southern Conference Tournament–Asheville, NC
1st Round, Friday, March 3
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 Western Carolina 9-22 vs. 9 The Citadel 11-20 5:00 PM ESPN3
2 7 Samford 17-14 vs. 10 VMI 6-23 7:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Saturday, March 4
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 1 UNC-Greensboro 23-8 vs.   Game 1 winner   12:00 PM ESPN3
4 4 Chattanooga 19-11 vs. 5 Wofford 15-16 2:30 PM ESPN3
5 2 Furman 21-10 vs.   Game 2 winner   6:00 PM ESPN3
6 3 East Tennessee St. 24-7 vs. 6 Mercer 15-16 8:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Semifinal Round, Sunday, March 5
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 3 winner   vs.   Game 4 winner   5:00 PM ESPN3
8   Game 5 winner   vs.   Game 6 winner   7:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Championship Game, Monday, March 6
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   7:00 PM ESPN2
                   
Summit League Tournament–Sioux Falls, SD
Quarterfinal Round–Day 1, Saturday, March 4
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 1 South Dakota 21-10   8 Western Illinois 8-19 7:00 PM ESPN3
2 2 North Dakota St. 19-10   7 IUPUI 13-17 9:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Quarterfinal Round–Day 2, Sunday, March 5
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 4 South Dakota St. 15-16   5 Denver 16-13 7:00 PM ESPN3
4 3 Omaha 16-13   6 Fort Wayne 19-11 9:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Semifinal Round–Monday, March 6
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5   Game 1 winner       Game 3 winner   7:00 PM ESPN3
6   Game 2 winner       Game 4 winner   9:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Championship–Tuesday, March 7
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 5 winner       Game 6 winner   9:00 PM ESPN2
                   
West Coast Conference Tournament at Las Vegas
1st Round, Friday, March 3
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 Pepperdine 9-21 vs. 9 Pacific 10-21 BYUtv 9:00 PM
2 7 San Diego 13-17 vs. 10 Portland 10-21 BYUtv 11:00 PM
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Saturday, March 4
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 3 BYU 21-10 vs. 6 Loyola Marymount 15-14 4:00 PM BYUtv
4 4 Santa Clara 16-15 vs. 5 San Francisco 20-11 6:00 PM BYUtv
5 1 Gonzaga 29-1 vs.   Game 1 winner   10:00 PM ESPN2
6 2 Saint Mary’s 26-3 vs.   Game 2 winner   12:00 AM ESPN2
                   
Semifinal Round, Monday, March 6
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 3 winner   vs.   Game 4 winner   9 or 11:30 ESPN/ESPN2
8   Game 5 winner   vs.   Game 6 winner   9 or 11:30 ESPN/ESPN2
                   
Championship Game, Tuesday, March 7
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   9:00 PM ESPN

 

 

February 27, 2017

The Pirate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Report For February 27, 2017

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

Gonzaga’s Loss–Good or Bad

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Our Weekly Look at the Conferences

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

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

ONE BID CONFERENCES
America East

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

Semifinal Round, Monday, March 6

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

Championship Game, Saturday, March 11

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

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

Atlantic Sun

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

Semifinal Round, Thursday, March 2

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

Championship Game, Sunday, March 5

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

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

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

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

Big South

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

Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 2 (at Winthrop)

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

Semifinal Round, Friday, March 3 (at Winthrop)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colonial Athletic

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

Quarterfinal Round, Saturday, March 4

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

Semifinal Round, Sunday, March 5

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

Championship Game, Monday, March 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Metro Atlantic

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

Quarterfinal Round–Day 1, Friday, March 3

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

Quarterfinal Round–Day 2, Saturday, March 4

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

Semifinal Round–Sunday, March 5

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

Championship Game–Monday, March 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Northeast

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

Semifinal Round, Saturday, March 4

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

Championship Game, Tuesday, March 7

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

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

Ohio Valley

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

Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 2

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

Semifinal Round, Friday, March 3

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

Championship Game, Saturday, March 4

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

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

Patriot

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

Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 2

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

Semifinal Round, Sunday, March 5

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

Championship Game, Wednesday, March 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summit

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

Quarterfinal Round–Day 2, Sunday, March 5

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

Semifinal Round–Monday, March 6

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

Championship–Tuesday, March 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

MULTIPLE BID LEAGUES

American
In: SMU, Cincinnati
Bubble: Houston

Atlantic 10
In: Dayton, VCU
Bubble: Rhode Island

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

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

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

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

Missouri Valley

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

Quarterfinal Round, Friday, March 3

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

Semifinal Round, Saturday, March 4

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

Championship Game, Sunday, March 5

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

In: Wichita St.
Bubble: Illinois St.

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

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

West Coast

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

Quarterfinal Round, Saturday, March 4

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

Semifinal Round, Monday, March 6

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

Championship Game, Tuesday, March 7

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

In: Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s
Bubble: None

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

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

February 24, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview For February 25-26, 2017

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:23 am

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Red-White-Blue Spreads *

Games Scheduled for: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Clemson Florida St. -3 -1 -3
Pittsburgh North Carolina -10 -9 -6
North Carolina St. Virginia -8 -9 -9
Boston College Virginia Tech -6 -5 -2
Miami Duke -1 -1 -1
Connecticut SMU -6 -6 -4
TCU West Virginia -7 -7 1
Oklahoma St. Texas Tech 10 6 8
Iowa St. Baylor 3 2 -4
Texas Kansas -7 -6 -5
Oklahoma Kansas St. -1 -1 -2
St. John’s Georgetown 1 -1 -4
DePaul Seton Hall -5 -5 -7
Villanova Creighton 8 10 8
Providence Marquette 2 2 9
Minnesota Penn St. 10 9 11
Michigan Purdue -2 -1 -2
Maryland Iowa 7 8 9
Indiana Northwestern 3 6 8
Missouri St. Wichita St. -12 -9 -10
Northern Iowa Illinois St. -5 -3 -5
Stanford Oregon -7 -10 -8
Arizona UCLA 2 2 7
Arizona St. USC -3 -4 -4
Washington St. Washington 2 1 1
South Carolina Tennessee 6 5 4
Kentucky Florida 5 3 3
Ole Miss Missouri 11 10 10
Vanderbilt Mississippi St. 7 7 10
Georgia LSU 14 12 13
Texas A&M Alabama 4 3 6
Auburn Arkansas 1 1 -1
Gonzaga BYU 23 19 19
Saint Mary’s Santa Clara 17 18 19

 

Games Scheduled for: Sunday, February 26, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Louisville Syracuse 14 12 15
Notre Dame Georgia Tech 12 14 10
Central Florida Cincinnati -4 -5 -2
Xavier Butler 1 1 2
Michigan St. Wisconsin -1 -1 6
Nebraska Illinois 2 1 1


* Red, White, and Blue Ratings are 3 different algorithmic formulas using basketball’s Four Factors, Strength of Schedule, and where the game is played as the predominant data to come up with a game spread.  The Red and White Ratings closely mirror each other, while the Blue Rating uses considerably more data and is time-consuming to calculate.  Thus, we are limited with the amount of games we can predict.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25

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

ACC

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

Big 12

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

Big East

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

Big Ten

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

Pac-12

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

SEC

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

Oh, have we got some great games for you this weekend

Every week, we seem to tell you there are some great games to watch for that weekend.  This one is no different.  There are more than enough interesting games this week for you to watch.  Most of the Bubble teams are playing, and we have the crucial ones you can see on TV or online.  Then, you have some big games where both teams will be in the NCAA no matter what, so these games are big just to see who looks the part.  You also have a couple of rival games, and in one case there is a low-major conference rivalry game that ended in a fight the last time the two teams played on the same court where they will play this weekend.  You will see that we have compared this game to the 1965 Giants and Dodgers, but at least no baseball bats will be present (at least we hope).

All Times Eastern      
Time Home Visitor TV Why to Watch
Friday Night
7:00 PM Green Bay Oakland ESPNU 2nd place in Horizon on the line
7:00 PM Monmouth Siena ESPN2 Monmouth G Justin Robinson
8:00 PM Harvard Yale ESPN3 These two rivals will meet in Ivy Semis too
         
Saturday
Time Home Visitor TV Why to Watch
12:00 PM Clemson Florida St. ACC Net. Must win for CU on the Bubble
12:00 PM Connecticut SMU CBS SMU vying for #3 Seed
1:00 PM New Hampshire Md.-Baltimore Co. ESPN3 AmEst #3 Seed to avoid Verm. til finals
2:00 PM Kentucky Florida CBS SEC Reg. Season Championhip on the line
2:00 PM TCU West Virginia ESPN TCU needs win for Bubble Advancement
2:00 PM Oklahoma St. Texas Tech ESPNU TTU needs win for Bubble Advancement
2:00 PM Northern Iowa Illinois St. CBSSN ISU trying to stay on good part of Bubble
2:00 PM Rhode Island VCU ESPN2 URI needs win stay at bottom of Bubble
2:00 PM Vermont Stony Brook ESPN3 Top 2 teams in AmEst–Title preview?
3:00 PM Villanova Creighton Fox Top 20 Matchup
4:00 PM Vanderbilt Mississippi St. ESPNU VU needs win to stay on Bubble
4:00 PM Michigan Purdue ESPN2 Mich. trying to stay on good part of Bubble
4:00 PM Miami (Fla.) Duke CBS Miami can clinch NCAA w/win
4:00 PM Stanford Oregon Pac-12 Net. Ducks competing for #2 Seed
4:00 PM Iowa St. Baylor ESPN Baylor competing for #2 Seed
4:00 PM Providence Marquette CBSSN Both teams on Bubble–Marq in better pos.
6:00 PM Oklahoma Kansas St. ESPNU KSU must win to stay in Bubble
7:00 PM Columbia Penn ESPN3 Last Ivy League Tournament spot on line
8:00 PM Indiana Northwestern Big 10 Net. IU loss could be final straw for Crean
8:15 PM Arizona UCLA ESPN Game of the Day
10:00 PM Gonzaga BYU ESPN2 Zags Last resume builder until WCCT
         
Sunday
Time Home Visitor TV Why to Watch
1:00 PM UAB Middle Tennessee CBSSN MTSU slim chance for at-large if needed
2:00 PM Louisville Syracuse CBS Orange win secures NCAA bid
3:00 PM Central Florida Cincinnati CBSSN Will Tacko make Cinti Fall
3:30 PM Xavier Butler FS1 Game of the Day
4:00 PM Michigan St. Wisconsin CBS MSU win & on the “in” part of the Bubble
4:00 PM Iona Monmouth ESPN3 Mad Rivalry like 1965 Dodgers-Giants
6:30 PM Notre Dame Georgia Tech ESPNU Tech needs more W’s for NCAA bid

Conference Tournaments Begin Monday

One conference tournament commences play Monday night.  The Atlantic Sun Bracket is finalized, and the quarterfinal round begins on the 27th.  The A-Sun does not have one hosting site.  All games will be played on the home floor of the higher seed, and Florida Gulf Coast owns home court advantage throughout.

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

 

 

February 15, 2017

The Best of the Best and Where They Might Be Vulnerable–2nd Edition

A month ago, we showed you a couple dozen top college basketball teams’ advanced statistics and then tried to examine through those stats where each team might be vulnerable.  We found vulnerability with every team to some extent, so it is obvious that there is no clear-cut favorite to win the NCAA Championship.  The days of UCLA having a 95% chance of winning the title have come and gone.  The team with the most chance of winning it all this year might have something like a 7-8% chance of winning it all, while up to 20 teams may have 4% chances of cutting down the nets at University of Phoenix Stadium in The Valley of the Sun.

In our second edition of the Best of the Best, we see only minor changes from before.  While we hope all of you regularly read our little project, we know this is not so.  Therefore, we will bring the newcomers up to speed on how we operate here on the PiRate ship.

First, we are math geeks.  We have linear and boolean algebra experts helping us out, and our founder is an amateur mathlete and a professional in baseball analytics.  Fret not; you do not have to know algebra to enjoy this site.  We have done all the calculations.  We will show you some of the formulas that we use to come to our conclusions, but it won’t be on the test.  You get an A+ if you just show up (maybe that’s why we don’t teach at Cal Tech or M.I.T.).

The PiRates are proponents of the Four Factors in basketball.  We have found that with a little different emphasis in each of the factors, this set of data can be applied to the NBA, College, High School, Middle School, and even the kids’ youth leagues (although if somebody is using Four Factors’ data to coach a 5th and 6th grade team, they need to reconsider why they are coaching at all).

The Four Factors can really be considered Eight Factors, because they can be used to rate teams’ offense and defense.  When you subtract the defensive factor from the offensive factor in each of the four stats, you get a Four Factors margin (just like when you subtract points per game allowed from points per game scored, you get scoring margin).

Here are the Four Factors.  If you just want this week’s results, skip down to “BEST OF THE BEST”

  1. Effective Shooting Percentage
  2. Turnover Rate
  3. Offensive Rebounding Rate
  4. Free Throw Rate

1. Effective Shooting Percentage: (FG+(0.5*3pt))/FGA

The difference between regular field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage is that you count all made three-pointers as 1.5 made field goals.  So, if a team hits 25 of 55 shots and makes 6 three-pointers, their EFG% is: (25+(6*.05))/55 which equals 50.9%.

The defensive equivalent uses the same formula, and the difference between the offensive and defensive EFG% is the EFG% margin.

2. Turnover Rate (TOV/100 Possessions not including offensive rebounds)

The TOV Rate is the number of turnovers committed per every 100 possessions (and forced per 100 possessions for the defensive factor).  You can accurately measure possessions in college basketball by using the following formula.

FGA+(.475*FTA)+TO-Off. Rebounds

However for TOV Rate, we remove the offensive rebounds because it skews the rate.  When a team gets an offensive rebound, they almost always get another shot attempt and do not hold the ball long enough to commit additional turnovers at the same rate that they do in a possession not involving an offensive rebound.

If a team commits 14 turnovers in a game in which they had 69 possessions but with 8 offensive rebounds, their TOV Rate for the game is: 14/61, which comes to 23%

3. Offensive Rebound Rate: (Off. Rebounds/(Off. Rebounds + Opponents’ Def. Rebounds)

This is basically the percentage of offensive rebounds a team retrieves off its own missed shots.  If a team has 35 total missed shots in a game where a rebound is then retrieved by one team or the other, and they finish with 8 offensive rebounds, their Offensive Rebound Rate is: 8/35, which comes to 22.9%.

The defensive counterpart to this is Defensive Rebound Rate.  If a team’s opponent has 38 total missed shots in a game where there were rebounds retrieved by one team or the other, and the opponent finished with 6 offensive rebounds, then the team’s defensive rebound rate is: 6/38, which comes to 15.8%.  The rebound rate margin would be: 22.9-15.8 or 7.1%.

If you count the two examples, in standard parlance the better rebounding team won the battle of the boards 40-33.

4. Free Throw Rate 

The basketball math experts disagree on how to calculate this rating.  Some believe that just getting fouled is all that matters, since each foul makes it one foul closer to an opposing player becoming disqualified.  Others believe that this rate should be the percentage of free throw attempts to field goal attempts.  Others say, it should be made free throws per field goal attempts.

We disagree with these beliefs.  These numbers can easily become skewed when a team plays enough close games with the lead in the final minutes.  Said team may not attempt another field goal, while the opponent fouls them on purpose to stop the clock and hope this team misses foul shots.

Let’s say Florida leads South Carolina, Alabama. Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Tennessee by a few points in every game as the clock reaches 2 minutes.  These other teams foul the Gators’ players on purpose in hopes that the shots will be missed, and they can come down the floor and hit buckets to win the game or force overtime.

At the same time, Kentucky plays these same five teams and leads by 20 with 2 minutes to play.  These opponents do not need to foul at this point, as the reserves are ready to come in and try to get in the scorebook.  Are we to believe that Florida is a more effective free throw shooting team, simply because their opponents can still win in the final 2 minutes, so they will purposely foul, while there would be no use in fouling Kentucky with the Wildcats up 20.

So, what is the answer?  We must admit that there is no way to fully eliminate the intentional fouling in multiple close games, but at least we reduce it as much as possible.  And, we use made free throws to at least show that it is important to make them, especially in those close games.

We go with: (FT/100 Possessionsand this time we include offensive rebounds, because defenses frequently foul following an offensive rebound.

If a team makes 17 foul shots in a game in which they had 71 possessions, their Free Throw Rate is 17/71, which is 23.9%.

 

Now What

We take the stats (offense and defense) for each team we evaluate.  We have an algorithm (formula) that we use that gives different weight to each of the factors.  The weights differ depending on whether it is NBA, NCAA, High School, Middle School, or Youth.  Turnover margin matters less in the NBA than it does in college, and it matters more the lower you go down, until by the time you reach the 5th and 6th grade, it is the most important factor of all (so if you coach 5th and 6th grade basketball, you should do what you can to force as many turnovers as possible and then create the fastest offense you can have so as not to commit too many turnovers–think about a 10-second offense).

Now, you should have picked up on the apparent weaknesses of the Four Factors for college basketball.  By now, you have probably thought that Gonzaga’s stats might look a lot better than Wisconsin’s stats, because the Bulldogs play a much weaker conference schedule than the Badgers.  We use the strengths of schedule for every team to adjust their factors to a point where we hope we have found a happy midpoint to show what each teams’ stats might be against average competition.

Also, think about a team that plays 18 home games, 4 neutral site games, and 9 road games, versus another team that plays 14  home games, 3 neutral site games, and 14 road games.  We adjust for this as well.

As a point of fact, we treat schedule strength and ability to win away from home (nobody plays at home in the Big Dance) as importantly as a good horse handicapper treats class in a horse race.  The mid-major and low-major teams are like claiming and allowance horses, while the power leagues are like stakes-racing horses.  North Carolina is the horse that runs in the Breeder’s Cup Classic, while Cal State Bakersfield is still a maiden until it wins its small track maiden claiming race at WAC Downs.  We know which horse is going to finish ahead of the other as long as it does not throw his jockey.  The stakes horse finishes 20 lengths ahead.

R+T

The last component in our best of the best look is something we trademarked at the PiRate Ratings.  R+T is a combination of rebounding, turnovers, and steals.  It reveals how many extra shooting opportunities a team might have against any type of opponent.  To have a really good R+T number, a team must be equally competent in rebounding, forcing turnovers while not committing many, and by getting steals.

The formula is: (Rebound Margin * 2) + (Steals per Game * 0.5) + (6 – Opponents’ Steals per Game) + (Turnover Margin)

If a team has an R+T rating better than 20, then they can overcome a cold shooting night and still win an NCAA Tournament game over a team with an R+T rating below 10.  If a team has an R+T rating in the 28-35 range, they will be very difficult to beat if they also come from a power conference and wins consistently away from home.  If you find a team from one of the top leagues with an R+T over 28 and said team wins 75% of its games away from home, you have a team that frequently wins four games and makes the Final Four.

To the contrary, if you find a team that looks really good on paper, and they have a gaudy won-loss record, but their R+T rating is under 8, watch out.  All it takes is one cold shooting night or one hot shooting night from the opponent. and this team can go home.

And, if you find a power league team with a negative R+T rating, give great consideration toward picking the Cinderella underdog to pull off the upset in the Big Dance.  A majority of the higher seed power conference teams with negative R+T ratings actually lose in their first tournament game.  It does not happen that often, but ask Georgetown fans about Florida Gulf Coast and Virginia Commonwealth.  Ask Vanderbilt fans about Siena, Richmond, and Murray State.  Ask Purdue fans about Arkansas-Little Rock.  In all these cases, the favorite had a lousy R+T rating, while the underdog had decent or even very good R+T ratings.  The low R+T teams can win in the regular season against lesser-quality teams, but in the Big Dance, that stuff doesn’t cut it.  It is vital to get extra scoring opportunities while limiting them to your opponents.

Now it’s time for the reveal.

BEST OF THE BEST

We look at 28 teams this week.  As before, we have selected three mid-major teams as possible upset winners in an opening game if they get the right draw.  We do not include #1 Gonzaga as a mid-major.

We are listing these teams alphabetically.  The first four columns have already been adjusted using our algorithm.

Team FG TO OR FT SOS R+T Road  W-L% Poss/G
Arizona 3.3 0.1 1.1 1.0 57.8 18.3 75.00 66.9
Baylor 4.7 -0.4 1.4 0.3 61.7 17.3 72.73 65.6
Butler 1.8 1.0 0.1 0.2 60.4 9.4 66.67 67.7
Cincinnati 5.0 1.0 0.7 0.0 54.9 18.0 70.00 67.1
Creighton 5.6 0.5 -0.7 0.2 57.3 4.2 90.91 72.9
Duke 4.1 0.4 0.7 0.7 58.5 15.1 63.64 70.7
Florida 3.3 1.1 0.5 0.8 59.4 13.3 77.78 71.5
Florida St. 4.4 0.8 0.3 0.1 58.8 13.4 50.00 73.4
Gonzaga 8.5 0.5 0.6 0.7 54.3 20.1 100.00 70.9
Kansas 4.2 0.2 0.7 0.1 59.9 12.1 83.33 72.6
Kentucky 3.2 1.1 0.9 0.4 60.2 17.7 72.73 76.6
Louisville 3.7 1.0 1.2 0.1 61.0 19.9 66.67 69.6
Middle Tenn. 3.1 1.0 0.9 -0.3 50.9 16.3 84.62 66.3
North Carolina 2.1 0.8 2.6 0.6 59.1 31.6 61.54 74.2
Notre Dame 3.2 0.7 -0.4 0.3 58.1 5.2 54.55 68.7
Oklahoma St. 0.7 0.8 0.9 0.1 59.6 13.4 58.33 73.9
Oregon 5.2 0.6 0.7 0.5 58.4 15.6 63.64 69.6
Purdue 5.5 -0.3 1.3 0.8 56.6 18.0 72.73 71.2
SMU 3.9 0.5 2.2 0.7 54.0 26.7 63.64 63.7
South Carolina 2.4 1.3 0.5 -0.2 56.8 11.4 70.00 71.4
St. Mary’s 5.8 -0.2 2.0 0.3 54.0 20.7 90.00 60.4
UCLA 6.7 0.0 0.0 0.3 52.5 10.3 83.33 75.2
UNC-Wilm. 2.0 1.3 0.6 -0.3 50.2 12.4 73.33 72.7
Villanova 5.2 0.4 0.4 0.9 57.9 13.9 85.71 65.8
Virginia 5.3 1.1 0.9 -0.2 59.8 17.0 66.67 61.8
West Virginia 2.6 2.7 0.7 0.2 55.4 20.9 63.64 73.9
Wichita St. 5.5 1.0 1.5 0.5 49.8 23.6 75.00 70.5
Wisconsin 3.3 0.8 1.8 0.4 54.1 22.4 72.73 65.9

Vulnerabilities

Arizona: The Wildcats do not have the look of a Final Four contender at this point.  They do not have a glaring weakness, but their strengths lack muscle.  Their TO and OR numbers would be adequate if they had a better EFG% margin, but teams with their resume seldom win four games in the NCAA Tournament.  They do have a decent road win-loss record, and it includes a win at Pauley Pavilion.

Baylor: The Bears are very vulnerable to pressure defenses, as their game against West Virginia showed.  BU turns the ball over just a little too much and then does not force many turnovers on their defensive end.  A strong schedule predicts that they should slide through to the Sweet 16, but after that point, any pressure defense from a quality team is going to make the going tough for BU.

Butler: In December and early January, it looked like this Bulldog edition could contend for a deep run in the Dance.  Now, it looks more like Butler could be a team to watch out for an opening game upset.  They might handle pressure defenses better than most other tournament teams, but the Bulldogs lack enough rebounding strength and do not shine in the EFG% department.  It may be a stretch for this team to make the Sweet 16, and it is 50-50 as of now whether they can get to the Round of 32 if they fall to a 5-seed.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats are somewhat of a mystery.  They looked like an Elite 8 team and Final Four contender until they took a trip to Dallas, where SMU stopped the UC offense and won an ugly contest.  It’s a good bet that the Bearcats and Mustangs will meet again in the AAC Championship Game.  If Cinti enters the Big Dance playing at their peak, then the Bearcats should move on to the Sweet 16 with a chance to advance past that if they get a good draw and do not have to face a North Carolina, Villanova, Florida, or Oregon, teams with the right type of offense to hurt the Bearcats.

Creighton: This one is cut and dry.  The Blue Jays look like a team that will lose its first game in the NCAA Tournament.  They do not rebound the ball well enough to advance, and their R+T is the lowest of the 28 teams we have featured today.  We expect Creighton to go home quickly in the Dance, and a team like Monmouth, Wichita State, Middle Tennessee, or Bucknell could possibly dominate them in the Round of 64.

Duke: Coach K is back on the sideline, and there is going to be some silent gossip going around that he might be thinking about retiring.  So, his players might pick up on this and play the best they can play.  It won’t take much for this team to move into the Final Four discussion.  Duke is a better version of Arizona this season.  The Blue Devils’ numbers are just enough better to move from a Sweet 16 to an Elite 8 and better team.  The one thing that bothers us is that Duke has not always been sharp away from Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Florida: A month ago, we considered Florida a two and out team at best.  The Gators have started to turn things around this year, and their numbers are improving as the season continues.  They are not West Virginia when it comes to pressure defense, but they are better than most of the rest in that regard.  A dominant rebounding team may give the Gators fits.  An exceptional record away from home and a tough schedule indicates that the Gators are a force to be reckoned with and a Final Four contender this year.

Florida St: The Seminoles have begun to swoon a bit, and with every successive road game in the ACC, they look more vulnerable than the previous game.  Winning big at home and then losing on the road does not lead to a lot of success in the NCAA Tournament.  However, a few well-timed ACC road wins and a run in the ACC Tournament could give FSU a resume not that different than that of Duke..

Gonzaga: In case you didn’t know, technically a West Coast Conference team has won the NCAA Championship before.  When San Francisco won back-to-back championships in 1955 and 1956, they were a member of the California Basketball Association, which would be renamed the West Coast Athletic Conference in 1957.  This Bulldog team is different from others that did not make the Final Four, namely they are quite strong defending in the paint and then preventing offensive rebounds.  Opponents do not shoot the ball with much success against the GU defense, while the Bulldogs have a strong shooting offense.  However, they have yet to face a really quality pressure defense, and they could be somewhat vulnerable to a West Virginia, Florida, or even a South Carolina.

Kansas: This is not Bill Self’s best Kansas team, but if you watch this Jayhawk team play, you can see a winning attitude, where KU seems to find a way to win games.  A strong schedule and very successful road record tells us that Self definitely has a Final Four contender.  We think that the Jayhawks will meet their match in an Elite 8 matchup, because teams with this resume seldom get lucky more than once, and KU may need a little luck against other power teams.

Kentucky:  Don’t underestimate John Calipari’s ability to get a bunch of 5-star players to play cohesively as a team.  It isn’t easy.  The Wildcats could easily become a group of future first round picks that do not hustle, and even let up so as not to suffer an injury just before the draft.  Then again, this team has had bouts of inconsistency.  When the players are on their game, there are few teams (maybe no other teams) that can match up with them on talent alone.  When they are acting like they have ADHD, they are vulnerable even to mediocre .500 teams.  We won’t dismiss, Cal’s kids, because their resume says they have Final Four numbers.  They also have the fastest pace of any team that will be in the Dance, and they could wear opponents down.

Louisville: A little dissension can become a lot of dissension in a hurry, and recent troubles involving players on this team could come back to hurt the Cardinals.  UL looked like a team headed to Spring Break in their loss to Virginia when not at full strength.  When they are on their game, they are the best team in the Commonwealth, and that says they are a Final Four contender.

Middle Tennessee: The top mid-major team will not be overlooked this year, when they trounced Michigan State in the opening game last year.  The Blue Raiders are a better team in 2017 than they were in 2016, so it is not unthinkable to say they are a sweet 16 contender.  Their pressure man-to-man defense creates a lot of turnovers with easy scoring opportunities thanks to some quick perimeter players.  Their big liability is their schedule strength, as it is too low for a team to think about advancing past the sweet 16.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels looked like the best team by far back before New Year’s.  They still look like one of the best, but their EFG% margin has fallen a bit too much, while their incredible rebounding prowess has weakened a little.  We are not saying that UNC is doomed to lose in a big upset, but we are saying they could fall in a mild upset, but not until the Elite 8 round.  If we had to choose one team with the absolute best resume of a national champion, North Carolina would be surely be one of those teams in the discussion thanks to the Heels owning the best R+T rating; they are the only team with an R+T in excess of 28.  It will take a team that can shoot lights out from outside and put up a good fight inside to beat UNC, but there are a half-dozen or so teams this year that can do it.

Notre Dame: For the same reason as Creighton, we do not see a deep run for the Fighting Irish this year.  They cannot hold their own on the backboards, and they do not dominate teams in the field goal department.  and, they are not a team capable of forcing a lot of turnovers.  Their current R+T is the second worst in this field.  They do not look like a sweet 16 team.

Oklahoma St.: Brad Underwood was not supposed to get the Cowboys to the Dance in year one in Stillwater.  We’re not sure this OSU team could beat Underwood’s Stephen F. Austin team from last year, but the Cowboys have improved their resume the most in the last month.  If they continue to improve, then they will be a dangerous team in mid-March.  When Underwood gets his type of player on campus, watch out!

Oregon: Which Oregon team will show up in March–The team that beat Arizona by a million points, or the team that blew a 19-point lead to UCLA?   If basketball were all about shooting and defending the shot with no rebounding or turnovers, the Ducks would be a national title contender.  Still, this team would not surprise us if they cruise to the sweet 16 and survive to the elite 8 like last year.

Purdue: In past years, Gene Keady coaching tree members have under-performed in the NCAA Tournament, and they all share something in common.  These coaches stress half-court defense and prefer not to pressure the ball and play in the passing lanes.  They train their players to play smart and not take many chances, trying to win a game one possession at a time.  These coaches should have become football coaches.  In the NCAA Tournament, a team needs to have a way to get extra shooting opportunities, when they run up against an opponent that can shoot better than they can.  Purdue has its best chance in a long time to break that bad streak this year, not because the Boilermakers can force a lot of turnovers (which they cannot).  PU is such a dominating rebounding team that they can get those extra chances by taking multiple shots per possession.  We think PU has its best shot to get past the first weekend to the sweet 16 and maybe elite 8.  Still, the Boilermakers are not in the same class with the final four contenders.

SMU: Tim Jankovich served as an assistant under multiple NCAA Tournament coaches including two that have championship rings–Bill Self and Larry Brown.  Jankovich has a sleeper in Dallas this year.  SMU excels in all four phases of the game.  A schedule that is on the lower side of strength when compared to ACC, Big 12, and SEC teams, and a road record that is not indicative of winning 4 NCAA Tournament games probably foretells an exit in the Sweet 16 or round of 32.

South Carolina: Just getting to the NCAA Tournament after a long drought should be enough for Gamecock fans this year.  USC does not possess a Final Four resume, and it is debatable if what they have is strong enough to predict a sweet 16 appearance.  Their R+T is 11.0, which is okay in the first game and better than average for a second game, but the entire range of data puts them in the same boat as Arizona.

St. Mary’s: In a typical year, the Gaels might be considered the darling of the best of the rest conferences.  SMC has advanced to the sweet 16 before, and it would not be a major shock if they do so again this year with an incredible defense, a decent group of rebounders, and a tough road team.  Like Gonzaga, they do not have an overwhelmingly strong schedule.

UCLA: The Bruins can shoot an opponent out of a gym in two minutes, but other than that, they do not shine in the other departments.  They play better on the road than they do at home, and they play at a pace that can cause a lot of problems for teams that do not have a lot of depth or conditioning.  However, in the Big Dance, most teams have ample supplies of both as well as competent defenses.  Because UCLA cannot rebound or force turnovers well enough, this does not look like their year.  A run to the sweet 16 could be bumpy, and if they sons of Westwood make it that far, they should be an underdog in that game.

UNC-Wilmington: The Seahawks are starting to fade, and now it is only a 50-50 chance they will win the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament and earn a spot in the NCAA field.  A month ago, they were on par with Middle Tennessee as the top mid-Major threat.  This is the one team in this field that is hurt by fouling too much, and it comes because the players are getting hurt when opponents break their pressure defense.  Still, UNCW could recover and be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.  They have the confidence.

Villanova: The last team to repeat as National Champions was Duke in 1992 and 1993.  Before that, you have to go back to UCLA in 1967-68-69-70-71-72-and 73.  The Wildcats could be the next one to do it, because this team is even better than last year’s champion.  VU wins on the road against quality competition, and while they are not exceptionally strong in the R+T department, they are adequate.  The Wildcats will have trouble with a Kentucky, West Virginia, or even against a Middle Tennessee or Wichita St.  However, we expect VU to be in the elite 8 with a chance to make it back to the Final Four.

Virginia: Teams that play like Virginia seldom win the NCAA Tournament.  They always seem to run up against a team that can score on a couple of cheap baskets, and they cannot make up the difference in the remaining amount of time.  UVA has good numbers in all but their free throw rate.  The Cavaliers have played a tough schedule, but we do not believe they can win four games against NCAA Tournament-caliber teams.  We expect the Cavs to be put out as early as the second game and most likely in the sweet 16.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers are going to embarrass their early round opponents, possibly winning their first two games by a combined 50 points.  Then, they are going to run into trouble in either the sweet 16 or elite 8, when they face a team that does not wilt to their defensive pressure and one that can dominate them on the glass.  WVU’s biggest liability is that they don’t shoot the ball all that well.  They can still beat an average team while having an awful shooting night, because they can get 10 extra good shooting opportunities.  A team like Kentucky or North Carolina will turn the tables and embarrass the Mountaineers.

Wichita St.: The Shockers shocked the world with a Final Four trip and then shocked the world the following year by going undefeated in the regular season with a team that looked like it could contend for the title.  WSU ran up against an underrated Kentucky team that advanced to the national title game.  This year’s team is somewhere in between those two teams from their past.  Coach Greg Marshall has a team with no apparent weakness.  The only fly in the ointment is that this team has played a weak slate, and it is going to come back to haunt them when they face a power conference opponent like Duke or Baylor.

Wisconsin: The Badgers are the Midwest version of Arizona this year.  They have decent numbers in all respects, and they have played well on the road.  However, the Big Ten is definitely down this year.  We do not see a repeat of a couple years ago for the Badgers.  UW is no better than a sweet 16 team for now.

 

 

February 10, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview For February 11-12, 2017

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

 

Games Scheduled for: Sunday, February 12, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Virginia Tech Virginia -6 -7 -9
SMU Cincinnati 5 3 3
Indiana Michigan 4 4 8
Wisconsin Northwestern 8 9 14
UCLA Oregon St. 28 26 20
Colorado Washington St. 13 14 11

PiRate Ratings Top 25

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

ACC

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

Big 12

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

Big East

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

Big Ten

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

Pac-12

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

SEC

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

A Great Weekend For Watching Hoops on TV

The Following Games are listed in order of the most exciting and important and not in order of tip-off time

All times given are Eastern Standard

SATURDAY

St. Mary’s vs. Gonzaga  8:15 PM on ESPN

Xavier vs. Villanova  2:30 PM on Fox

Notre Dame vs. Florida St. 6:00 PM on ESPN

USC vs. Oregon  10:30 PM on Pac-12 Network

Alabama vs. Kentucky  1:00 PM on CBS

Texas Tech vs. Kansas  2:00 PM on ESPN

Princeton vs. Columbia  6:00 PM  For those that have purchased Ivy League Live Sports Access: http://www.ivyleaguedigitalnetwork.com/princeton/game/columbia-at-princeton-on-02112017

 

SUNDAY

SMU vs. Cincinnati  4:00 PM on ESPN

Virginia Tech vs. Virginia  6:30 PM on ESPNU

Indiana vs. Michigan  1:00 PM on CBS

Wisconsin vs. Northwestern  6:30 PM on Big Ten Network

 

February 3, 2017

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

 

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

 

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

PiRate Ratings Top 25

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

ACC

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

Big East

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

Big Ten

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

Big 12

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

Pac-12

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

SEC

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

Games You Will Want to Watch 

All Times Eastern Standard

SATURDAY

Maryland vs. Purdue 12:00 PM on ESPN

Creighton vs. Xavier 3:00 PM on Fox

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

Oregon vs. Arizona 4:00 PM on ESPN

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

Harvard vs. Princeton 7:00 PM on ESPN3

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

Florida vs. Kentucky 8:15 PM on ESPN

SUNDAY

Wisconsin vs. Indiana 1:00 PM on CBS

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

New England 24  Atlanta 20

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

January 23, 2017

The Pirate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Report For January 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Multiple Bid Leagues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pac-12
UCLA discovered there’s more to the game than just shooting. Arizona 7-0/18-2 showed the Bruins 6-2/19-2 that a quality defense and equally strong fastbreaking offense can dominate, even on the road. The Wildcats completed the massacre of the City of Angels after previously smashing USC 4-4/17-4.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lowest Seed in Sweet 16
13 Seed (Monmouth)

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

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.