The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 11, 2021

It’s Football Time!

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

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

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

Friday, August 13: Conference USA

Saturday, August 14: Mid-American Conference

Sunday, August 15: The FBS Independents

Monday, August 16: Mountain West Conference

Tuesday, August 17: Sun Belt Conference

Wednesday, August 18: American Athletic Conference

Thursday, August 19: Atlantic Coast Conference

Friday, August 20: Big Ten Conference

Saturday, August 21: Pac-12 Conference

Sunday, August 22: Big 12 Conference

Monday, August 23: Southeastern Conference

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

September 27, 2020

PiRate Ratings–College Football For October 2-3, 2020

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 1:30 pm

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads

HomeVisitorsPiRateMeanBias
BYULa. Tech25.223.023.8
FloridaS. Carolina13.314.914.8
TexasTCU11.011.911.0
TennesseeMissouri12.512.211.9
PittsburghNC St.12.614.412.7
Georgia St.E. Carolina-1.5-2.1-0.2
Coastal Car.Arkansas St.-2.4-3.5-2.0
West Va.Baylor-6.1-6.4-6.3
UABUTSA19.519.919.5
AlabamaTexas A&M10.511.812.4
Boston Coll.N. Carolina-8.9-9.8-10.5
CincinnatiUSF20.421.222.2
KansasOklahoma St.-25.1-24.5-26.4
SMUMemphis-5.1-4.2-4.9
Kansas St.Texas Tech9.69.79.4
DukeVirginia Tech-10.9-11.2-13.9
KentuckyOle Miss8.09.59.0
Fla. AtlanticCharlotte-3.6-2.5-4.0
Middle Tenn.Western Ky.-12.4-12.9-13.5
Air ForceNavy3.26.25.2
UL-MonroeGa. Southern-17.0-18.0-20.2
Iowa St.Oklahoma-4.1-4.8-4.4
GeorgiaAuburn5.14.95.8
VanderbiltLSU-22.3-22.1-26.0
UCFTulsa15.718.419.0
North TexasSouthern Miss.-4.8-4.4-3.5
Mississippi St.Arkansas18.517.222.6
ClemsonVirginia19.721.023.7
S. AlabamaTroy-2.9-3.3-4.0
FBS vs. FCS
FBSFCSPiRate
Wake ForestCampbell29.9
LibertyN. Alabama24.0
ArmyAbilene Chr.27.5
Florida St.Jacksonville St.22.5

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

Note: This week’s ratings expand from 90 to 127 teams, the number now committed to playing in 2020. Only Old Dominion, Connecticut, and New Mexico St. are not playing.

#TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg.Conference
1Ohio St.131.3130.0134.3131.9BTen-E
2Clemson125.3126.5129.2127.0ACC
3Alabama122.0123.2123.9123.0SEC-W
4Penn St.122.2121.0122.8122.0BTen-E
5Wisconsin122.5119.9123.3121.9BTen-W
6Georgia121.8120.3122.5121.5SEC-E
7Florida120.6120.0121.4120.7SEC-E
8Notre Dame120.6119.9120.7120.4ACC
9L S U119.6118.8122.0120.1SEC-W
10Oregon119.5117.9119.3118.9P12-N
11Auburn118.7117.3118.7118.2SEC-W
12Oklahoma115.2114.8115.2115.1B12
13U S C116.2113.5115.2115.0P12-S
14Texas115.0113.5114.9114.5B12
15Texas A&M114.0114.0113.9114.0SEC-W
16UCF113.2113.9114.5113.9AAC
17Minnesota112.3113.2114.4113.3BTen-W
18N. Carolina112.5113.2113.9113.2ACC
19Iowa112.3112.0114.1112.8BTen-W
20Oklahoma St.113.1112.3112.9112.8B12
21Michigan112.3111.6114.2112.7BTen-E
22Virginia Tech111.0111.3113.1111.8ACC
23Miss. St.111.2110.7113.1111.7SEC-W
24Kentucky110.8111.0111.9111.2SEC-E
25Tennessee110.5110.3111.1110.6SEC-E
26Miami (Fla.)109.4112.1109.9110.5ACC
27Indiana109.4110.0111.8110.4BTen-E
28Baylor110.0110.2110.3110.2B12
29BYU110.5109.6110.2110.1Ind.
30Washington110.2108.9110.9110.0P12-N
31Cincinnati110.2109.3109.9109.8AAC
32Utah109.3108.9110.0109.4P12-S
33Memphis109.6108.5108.8109.0AAC
34Nebraska108.0107.6109.5108.4BTen-W
35S. Carolina109.3107.1108.6108.3SEC-E
36Iowa St.108.6107.6108.4108.2B12
37Virginia108.1108.0108.0108.1ACC
38California107.5107.7107.8107.7P12-N
39Arizona St.107.8107.4107.8107.6P12-S
40Louisville107.7108.0106.5107.4ACC
41Boise St.107.3107.1106.8107.1MWC-M
42Kansas St.107.3106.1107.4106.9B12
43Purdue105.9106.8107.2106.6BTen-W
44Pittsburgh105.0106.8105.3105.7ACC
45Louisiana105.1104.5104.8104.8SUN-W
46Washington St.104.8103.5105.9104.7P12-N
47T C U105.5103.0105.4104.7B12
48Ole Miss104.9103.5104.9104.4SEC-W
49Northwestern103.5103.4106.1104.4BTen-W
50Illinois104.1103.5105.1104.2BTen-W
51Stanford105.0102.5104.2103.9P12-N
52Houston105.0103.1103.4103.8AAC
53Michigan St.102.9102.7103.4103.0BTen-E
54Oregon St.103.0103.3101.8102.7P12-N
55SMU102.5102.3101.9102.3AAC
56Appal. St.102.3101.2103.0102.2SUN-E
57W. Virginia101.9101.8102.0101.9B12
58Boston Coll.101.6101.3101.4101.4ACC
59Florida St.101.8100.1101.4101.1ACC
60U C L A102.2100.7100.3101.1P12-S
61Arizona101.499.7100.4100.5P12-S
62Marshall100.9100.5100.0100.4CUSA
63Missouri100.0100.1101.2100.4SEC-E
64Air Force99.7100.799.9100.1MWC-M
65Texas Tech99.798.4100.199.4B12
66Wake Forest98.499.098.198.5ACC
67Duke98.698.697.698.2ACC
68Tulsa99.697.597.598.2AAC
69Tulane98.598.297.498.0AAC
70Wyoming97.098.698.498.0MWC-M
71Navy99.197.197.197.8AAC
72Colorado97.899.195.797.5P12-S
73Buffalo96.797.397.697.2MAC-E
74Arkansas St.96.397.796.296.7SUN-W
75San Diego St.95.997.296.896.6MWC-W
76Temple96.597.295.896.5AAC
77Syracuse95.597.196.196.3ACC
78U A B95.896.495.595.9CUSA
79Georgia Tech96.295.395.095.5ACC
80Rutgers96.494.994.495.2BTen-E
81Vanderbilt95.795.294.595.2SEC-E
82Ohio94.395.196.095.1MAC-E
83W. Kentucky94.695.595.295.1CUSA
84Florida Int’l.95.194.895.495.1CUSA
85Arkansas95.296.193.094.8SEC-W
86Maryland95.194.993.694.5BTen-E
87NC State94.494.494.694.5ACC
88Hawaii94.894.793.894.4MWC-W
89Georgia Sou.93.794.595.094.4SUN-E
90Army93.495.293.594.1Ind.
91Miami (O)94.793.294.093.9MAC-E
92Fresno St.93.393.792.993.3MWC-W
93Utah St.93.593.092.993.1MWC-M
94Central Mich.93.292.793.393.1MAC-W
95Coastal Car.92.492.792.792.6SUN-E
96Ball St.92.691.993.092.5MAC-W
97E. Carolina92.792.991.492.3AAC
98Colorado St.91.192.191.291.5MWC-M
99Nevada90.691.191.191.0MWC-W
100Liberty89.692.490.490.8Ind.
101USF91.890.189.790.5AAC
102Western Mich.89.191.290.490.2MAC-W
103Kent St.90.189.489.589.7MAC-E
104San Jose St.89.291.088.589.6MWC-W
105Georgia St.89.789.389.789.6SUN-E
106Toledo88.589.788.088.7MAC-W
107Troy88.089.488.488.6SUN-E
108La. Tech87.388.688.488.1CUSA
109Charlotte87.087.087.487.2CUSA
110Rice86.884.386.185.7CUSA
111Kansas86.085.884.585.5B12
112Southern Miss.84.284.482.983.8CUSA
113U N L V83.585.083.083.8MWC-W
114S. Alabama83.684.683.083.7SUN-W
115N. Illinois82.884.683.283.6MAC-W
116New Mexico83.684.382.483.4MWC-M
117Eastern Mich.82.484.582.883.2MAC-W
118Fla. Atlantic81.983.181.982.3CUSA
119Texas St.81.882.580.581.6SUN-W
120Miami (O)80.781.180.280.7CUSA
121North Texas77.978.577.878.1CUSA
122U T S A77.978.077.577.8CUSA
123UL-Monroe75.275.073.374.5SUN-W
124Bowling Green74.476.170.673.7MAC-E
125Akron73.175.571.573.4MAC-E
126U T E P68.370.967.969.0CUSA
127Mass.64.171.262.065.8Ind.

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
UCF113.2113.9114.5113.9
Cincinnati110.2109.3109.9109.8
Memphis109.6108.5108.8109.0
Houston105.0103.1103.4103.8
SMU102.5102.3101.9102.3
Tulsa99.697.597.598.2
Tulane98.598.297.498.0
Navy99.197.197.197.8
Temple96.597.295.896.5
E. Carolina92.792.991.492.3
USF91.890.189.790.5
AAC Avg.101.7100.9100.7101.1
Atlantic Coast Conference
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Clemson125.3126.5129.2127.0
Notre Dame120.6119.9120.7120.4
N. Carolina112.5113.2113.9113.2
Virginia Tech111.0111.3113.1111.8
Miami (Fla.)109.4112.1109.9110.5
Virginia108.1108.0108.0108.1
Louisville107.7108.0106.5107.4
Pittsburgh105.0106.8105.3105.7
Boston Coll.101.6101.3101.4101.4
Florida St.101.8100.1101.4101.1
Wake Forest98.499.098.198.5
Duke98.698.697.698.2
Syracuse95.597.196.196.3
Georgia Tech96.295.395.095.5
NC State94.494.494.694.5
ACC Avg.105.7106.1106.0106.0
Big 12 Conference
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Oklahoma115.2114.8115.2115.1
Texas115.0113.5114.9114.5
Oklahoma St.113.1112.3112.9112.8
Baylor110.0110.2110.3110.2
Iowa St.108.6107.6108.4108.2
Kansas St.107.3106.1107.4106.9
T C U105.5103.0105.4104.7
W. Virginia101.9101.8102.0101.9
Texas Tech99.798.4100.199.4
Kansas86.085.884.585.5
Big 12 Avg.106.2105.4106.1105.9
Big Ten Conference
East Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
Ohio St.131.3130.0134.3131.9
Penn St.122.2121.0122.8122.0
Michigan112.3111.6114.2112.7
Indiana109.4110.0111.8110.4
Michigan St.102.9102.7103.4103.0
Rutgers96.494.994.495.2
Maryland95.194.993.694.5
West Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
Wisconsin122.5119.9123.3121.9
Minnesota112.3113.2114.4113.3
Iowa112.3112.0114.1112.8
Nebraska108.0107.6109.5108.4
Purdue105.9106.8107.2106.6
Northwestern103.5103.4106.1104.4
Illinois104.1103.5105.1104.2
Big Ten Avg.109.9109.4111.0110.1
Conference USA
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Marshall100.9100.5100.0100.4
U A B95.896.495.595.9
W. Kentucky94.695.595.295.1
Florida Int’l.95.194.895.495.1
La. Tech87.388.688.488.1
Charlotte87.087.087.487.2
Rice86.884.386.185.7
Southern Miss.84.284.482.983.8
Fla. Atlantic81.983.181.982.3
Middle Tenn.80.781.180.280.7
North Texas77.978.577.878.1
U T S A77.978.077.577.8
U T E P68.370.967.969.0
CUSA Avg.86.086.485.986.1
FBS Independents
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
BYU110.5109.6110.2110.1
Army93.495.293.594.1
Liberty89.692.490.490.8
Mass.64.171.262.065.8
Ind. Avg.89.492.189.090.2
Mid-American Conference
East Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Buffalo96.797.397.697.2
Ohio94.395.196.095.1
Miami (O)94.793.294.093.9
Kent St.90.189.489.589.7
Bowling Green74.476.170.673.7
Akron73.175.571.573.4
West Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Central Mich.93.292.793.393.1
Ball St.92.691.993.092.5
Western Mich.89.191.290.490.2
Toledo88.589.788.088.7
N. Illinois82.884.683.283.6
Eastern Mich.82.484.582.883.2
MAC Avg.87.688.487.587.9
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Boise St.107.3107.1106.8107.1
Air Force99.7100.799.9100.1
Wyoming97.098.698.498.0
Utah St.93.593.092.993.1
Colorado St.91.192.191.291.5
New Mexico83.684.382.483.4
West Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
San Diego St.95.997.296.896.6
Hawaii94.894.793.894.4
Fresno St.93.393.792.993.3
Nevada90.691.191.191.0
San Jose St.89.291.088.589.6
U N L V83.585.083.083.8
MWC Avg.93.394.093.193.5
Pac-12 Conference
North Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Oregon119.5117.9119.3118.9
Washington110.2108.9110.9110.0
California107.5107.7107.8107.7
Washington St.104.8103.5105.9104.7
Stanford105.0102.5104.2103.9
Oregon St.103.0103.3101.8102.7
South Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
U S C116.2113.5115.2115.0
Utah109.3108.9110.0109.4
Arizona St.107.8107.4107.8107.6
U C L A102.2100.7100.3101.1
Arizona101.499.7100.4100.5
Colorado97.899.195.797.5
P12 Avg.107.1106.1106.6106.6
Southeastern Conference
East Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Georgia121.8120.3122.5121.5
Florida120.6120.0121.4120.7
Kentucky110.8111.0111.9111.2
Tennessee110.5110.3111.1110.6
S. Carolina109.3107.1108.6108.3
Missouri100.0100.1101.2100.4
Vanderbilt95.795.294.595.2
West Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Alabama122.0123.2123.9123.0
L S U119.6118.8122.0120.1
Auburn118.7117.3118.7118.2
Texas A&M114.0114.0113.9114.0
Miss. St.111.2110.7113.1111.7
Ole Miss104.9103.5104.9104.4
Arkansas95.296.193.094.8
SEC Avg.111.0110.5111.5111.0
Sunbelt Conference
East Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Appal. St.102.3101.2103.0102.2
Georgia Sou.93.794.595.094.4
Coastal Car.92.492.792.792.6
Georgia St.89.789.389.789.6
Troy88.089.488.488.6
West Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAvg
Louisiana105.1104.5104.8104.8
Arkansas St.96.397.796.296.7
S. Alabama83.684.683.083.7
Texas St.81.882.580.581.6
UL-Monroe75.275.073.374.5
Sun Avg.90.891.190.790.9

Conference Ratings

#LeagueAvg
1SEC111.0
2BTen110.1
3P12106.6
4ACC106.0
5B12105.9
6AAC101.1
7MWC93.5
8Sun90.9
9Ind.90.2
10MAC87.9
11CUSA86.1

This Week’s College TV Schedule

Friday, October 2
Time ETNetworkHomeVisitorsEntertainment Value
7:00 PMACCNWake ForestCampbellNot Much reason to watch unless you just must
9:00 PMESPN2BYULa. TechTwo undefeated teams that can move the ball
Saturday, October 3
Time ETNetworkHomeVisitorsEntertainment Value
12:00 PMESPN2Coastal CarolinaArkansas St.Ak St. beat the team that beat Oklahoma
12:00 PMABCWest VirginiaBaylorBig 12 needs big team to step up–Can BU be it?
12:00 PMESPNUGeorgia St.East CarolinaShould be a competitive game with lots of offense
12:00 PMSECNTennesseeMissouriVols looking to build on momentum
12:00 PMACCNPittsburghNC StatePanthers looking to go 3-0 for the 1st time since 2014
12:00 PMESPNFloridaS. CarolinaGators’ offense looked great, but D not so much
12:00 PMFoxTexasTCUHorns escaped with miracle win. Need to convince.
12:30 PMStadiumUABUTSABlazers clearly the better team
1:30 PMCBSSNArmyAbilene Chr.Black Knights could rush for 400+
3:30 PMESPN2SMUMemphisA sneaky great game could see 80+ total points
3:30 PMABCBoston CollegeNorth CarolinaMaybe the best of the daytime games
3:30 PMESPNKansasOklahoma St.If Cowboys don’t win convincingly, Big 12 is sick
3:30 PMCBSAlabamaTexas A&MBoth teams held back last game to reserve for this one
3:30 PMFS1Kansas St.Texas TechInteresting game–Big winner vs. Tragic loser
4:00 PMESPNUFla. AtlanticCharlotteOne of the more dull games this week
4:00 PMSECNKentuckyOle MissLoser in big hole at 0-2–should be hard-fought game
4:00 PMACCNDukeVirginia TechTech won missing 23 players incl. #1 QB
6:00 PMCBSSNAir ForceNavyAlways a great game. AFA only MWC team to play
7:30 PMSECN-AMiss. StateArkansasAir Leach could hang half a hundred on Arky
7:30 PMESPNGeorgiaAuburnBest overall game of the day–who is #2 in SEC?
7:30 PMSECNVanderbiltLSULSU defense will be much improved this week
7:30 PMABCIowa St.OklahomaLustre knocked off this game as both teams have a loss
7:30 PMESPN2UCFTulsaUCF tries to remain top G5 team
7:30 PMStadiumNorth TexasSouthern Miss.Weakest game on the TV slate this week
8:00 PMESPNUS.AlabamaTroyNot much reason to watch outside of Alabama
8:00 PMACCNClemsonVirginiaCU should win by 17 or more, but UVa is not a pushover

College PiRate Ratings DELAYED

The Reinstatement of the Pac-12, Mountain West, and Mid-American Conferences, as well as Independent UMass, has caused a somewhat lengthy delay in our college football ratings update for this coming week.

Because the PiRate Ratings use an algorithm with a cumulative par rating of 100.0 for the PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings, we cannot simply place the original August ratings for the teams that decided in the last week to play football. Doing so would throw the cumulative par well below 100.0.

We cannot simply add the necessary amount needed per team to raise the par values to 100.0 for multiple reasons. First, the amount needed to be added to each of the three ratings would be totally different. Why would a team all of a sudden become .2 points better in the Mean, but .4 points better in the Bias? Actually, some teams might gain points in one rating and lose points in another. That would not be just or accurate.

Second, why would you reward a team with points that is obviously struggling at the present time, while at the same time punish a team that hasn’t played yet by keeping their rating where it was when everybody was 0-0?

When the Big Ten returned, we had to raise some ratings and lower others to keep the overall par at 100.0 for our three different algorithms, and to be quite frank, we had to use some one-time extracurricular data to come to a conclusion.

The need to reincorporate the teams is vital thanks to the Navy-Air Force game this weekend. The Mountain West is looking to return at the end of October, but the Air Force Academy is scheduled to play Navy this Saturday as part of the Commander-in-Chief Trophy series. We cannot issue power ratings for Air Force until we have done the work to reincorporate all the teams that will return to play in 2020.

As of this writing, the Pac-12, Mountain West, and Mid-American Conferences are on board with a late October or early November re-start. UMass plans to attempt to find some teams to play and hopefully get in six games. Old Dominion, New Mexico State, and Connecticut still plan to take off this season, but New Mexico State hopes to play a half-dozen games in the Spring against FCS, Division II, and possibly Connecticut with a remote possibility that they could play UMass.

As an aside to this, keep an eye on New Mexico State basketball coach Chris Jans. The Aggies are not completely sure their basketball team will be able to play in 2020-2021. If the Aggies cancel their basketball season, expect multiple Power Conference schools to move Jans up high on their lists of potential head coaches if they have a vacancy. If you follow our college basketball coverage, you know that we rate coaches by their ability to improve their teams’ offensive efficiency, while weakening their opponents’ offensive efficiencies. In the Winter of 2020, our analysis rated Jans as number one overall among Mid-Major and Low-Major coaches in his ability to improve the talent on his roster above the norm. In 2019, we named Eric Musselman, then of Nevada, as number one and predicted that a Power Conference school would hire him and not regret it. Arkansas was that fortunate school to hire Muss, and Muss has the Razorbacks moving forward toward a top 20 program quickly. It is our opinion that Jans has the competency to do for a Power Conference school what Musselman has done for Arkansas. If NMSU does not play basketball this season, we believe Jans will take another job for 2021-2022.

March 2, 2020

PiRate Ratings Basketball Conference Tournament Update: March 2, 2020

Championship Fortnight is 24 hours away!  Can you believe it is Meteorological Spring already?  Some of you reading this may be saying that it has been Spring where you live for most of Winter, and if you are like us on the PiRate Ship in Nashville, we wonder if we need to get those instructions for building an ark.  The Captain’s back yard has a new little lake that has developed and basically stayed there since November.  It figures to increase in size this week as severe thunderstorms return.

With the weather being so wet, it just makes it easier to stay indoors and watch basketball until one can close his or her eyes and still see the ball bouncing up and down.

Starting Tuesday night, four conferences begin tournament play.  Three more conferences start on Wednesday, two more begin on Thursday, and one begins on Friday.  Four conferences wait until Saturday to begin.

Let’s take a look at the pairings for the tournaments that start between Tuesday and Friday (Saturday’s tournament information will be published Friday.

Every day there is conference tournament action, there will be a publication here with updated results and schedules.

 

TOURNAMENTS STARTING TUESDAY, MARCH 3

Atlantic Sun Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 3

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

1 Liberty (27-4)

8 NJIT (9-20)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

4 Stetson (15-16)

5 North Alabama (13-16)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

3 Lipscomb (14-15)

6 Florida Gulf Coast (10-21)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

2 North Florida (20-11)

7 Jacksonville (14-17)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 5

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

Liberty/NJIT

Stetson/North Alabama

TBA

ESPN+

N Florida/Jacksonville

Lipscomb/FGCU

TBA

ESPN+

 

 

 

Championship

March 8

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

3:00 PM

ESPN

 

Liberty can move up to as high as a #11 seed if they win this tournament, but the Flames are most likely NIT-bound if they lose in this tournament.

North Florida split with Liberty during the regular season, while Lipscomb enters this tournament as the hottest team.

 

Big South Tournament

1st Round

March 3

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

7 USC Upstate (12-19)

10 High Point (9-22)

7:00 PM

ESPN3

6 UNC-Asheville (14-15)

11 Campbell (15-15)

7:00 PM

ESPN3

8 Charleston Sou. (13-17)

9 Presbyterian (10-21)

7:00 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 5

at #1 Seed Radford

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

2 Winthrop (21-10)

USC-U/High Point

12:00 PM

ESPN3

3 Gardner-Webb (15-15)

UNCA/Campbell

2:00 PM

ESPN3

1 Radford (20-10)

Chas Sou./Presbyterian

6:00 PM

ESPN3

4 Longwood (14-17)

5 Hampton (13-18)

8:00 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 6

at #1 Seed Radford

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

2/7/10 Seed

3/6/11 Seed

6:00 PM

ESPN+

1/8/9 Seed

4/5 Seed

8:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Championship

March 8

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1:00 PM

ESPN

Radford and Winthrop split their two regular season games with both teams winning on the other team’s home floor.  It would be a major surprise if these two teams failed to meet up in the Championship Game.

Number three seed Gardner-Webb and number four seed Longwood ended the season on four-game winning streaks, and in GWU’s winning streak was a road upset of Radford.

 

 

Horizon League Tournament

1st Round

March 3

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

4 Illinois Chicago (14-17)

9 IUPUI (7-24)

8:00 PM

ESPN+

5 Youngstown (17-14)

8 Milwaukee (12-18)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

6 Oakland (13-18)

7 Cleveland St. (11-20)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 5

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

3 Green Bay (16-15)

Lowest Remaining

8:00 PM

ESPN+

Highest Remaining

Second Lowest Remaining

7:00 or 8:00 PM 

ESPN+

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 9

Indianapolis

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Wright St. (25-6)

Lowest Remaining

7:00 PM

ESPNU

2 Northern Kentucky (21-9)

Highest Remaining

9:30 PM

ESPN2

 

 

 

CHAMPIONSHIP

March 10

Indianapolis

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

7:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

 

Wright State and Northern Kentucky have been alternating as regular season and conference tournament champion for three years.  The last team other than these two to win the Horizon League Tournament was Green Bay in 2016.  The Phoenix are the number three seed in this year’s tournament, but the top two appear to be far more talented than the rest of the league, and a WSU-NKU championship game would be a good one for the league.

If one of the top two teams wins this tournament, they could move up to a 14-seed if there are some mid-major upsets, but they are most likely looking at a 15-seed.

 

 

Patriot League Tournament

1st Round

March 3

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

7 Bucknell (12-19)

10 Holy Cross (3-28)

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

8 Lehigh (10-20)

9 Loyola (MD) (15-16)

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 5

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

2 American (16-13)

Bucknell/Holy Cross

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

3 Boston U (18-13)

6 Navy (14-15)

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

4 Army (15-14)

5 Lafayette (18-11)

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

1 Colgate (23-8)

Lehigh/Loyola (MD)

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 8

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

American/Bucknell/HCU

Boston/Navy

12 or 2 PM

CBSSN

Colgate/Lehigh/Loyola

Army/Lafayette

12 or 2 PM

CBSSN

 

 

 

Championship

March 11

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

Higher Seed

Lower Seed

7:30 PM

CBSSN

 

This figures to be a wide-open affair.  Colgate will get to host every game they play in the Patriot League Tournament, but the Raiders are not overpowering.  Having to play a possible quarterfinal game with fourth-seeded Lafayette will be quite interesting as the Leopards swept the Raiders in two close games.

There is one caveat to the above statements: Colgate was a little weaker in 2019 than they were this year, and the Raiders romped to the Patriot League Championship with three double-digit wins in the tournament.  They followed that up by taking number one Tennessee to the last few minutes in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

 

 

TOURNAMENTS STARTING WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4

 

Mountain West Tournament

1st Round

March 4

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

8 Fresno St. (11-18)

9 Air Force (11-19)

3:00 PM

Mountain West Net.

7 New Mexico (18-13)

10 San Jose St. (7-23)

5:30 PM

Mountain West Net.

6 Colorado St. (20-11)

11 Wyoming (7-23)

8:00 PM

Mountain West Net.

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 5

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 San Diego St. (28-1)

Fresno St./Air Force

2:30 PM

CBSSN

4 UNLV (17-14)

5 Boise St. (19-11)

5:00 PM

CBSSN

2 Utah St. (23-8)

New Mexico/San Jose St.

9:00 PM

CBSSN

3 Nevada (19-11)

Colorado St./Wyoming

11:30 PM

CBSSN

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 6

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

SDST/Fresno/Air Force

UNLV/Boise St.

9:00 PM

CBSSN

Utah St./N. Mexico/S J St.

Nevada/Col St/Wyoming

11:30 PM

CBSSN

 

 

 

Championship

March 7

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

5:30 PM

CBS

 

San Diego St. most likely secured a one-seed by finishing 17-1 in the league and 28-1 overall in the regular season.  Utah St. is squarely on the Bubble, and the Aggies need to get to the Championship Game to lock up an at-large bid.

Nevada, UNLV, Boise State, and Colorado State have enough talent to make a run in this tournament, but the Aztecs look like a near lock to cut the nets.

 

 

Northeast Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 4

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

1 Robert Morris (17-14)

8 St. Francis (NY) (13-17)

7:00 PM

http://necfrontrow.com/

2 St. Francis (PA) (20-9)

7 Bryant (15-16)

7:00 PM

http://necfrontrow.com/

3 Sacred Heart (19-12)

6 Mount St. Mary’s (11-20)

7:00 PM

http://necfrontrow.com/

4 Long Island (14-17)

5 Fairleigh-Dickinson (11-18)

7:00 PM

http://necfrontrow.com/

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 7

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

Highest Remaining Seed

Lowest Remaining Seed

12 or 2 PM

ESPN3

2nd Highest Remaining Seed

3rd Highest Remaining Seed

12 or 2PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

Championship

March 10

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

Higher Remaining Seed

Lower Remaining Seed

7:00 PM

ESPN2 or ESPN3

 

This is one of the most wide open tournaments of the season.  Unfortunately, the best team in this league is not eligible for the NCAA Tournament (or NIT) and will not play in this conference tournament.  First-year Division 1 member Merrimack became the first team ever to move from Division 2 to Division 1 and win their conference in the first season.  The Warrior will be allowed to play in the CIT Tournament.

So, which team is the second best team in the NEC?  St. Francis of Pennsylvania finished tied for second place with Robert Morris, with RMU winning the tiebreaker.  Number three seed Sacred Heart and number five seed Fairleigh-Dickinson finished the season on three-game winning streaks.  FDU beat Robert Morris twice, but they didn’t show up against SF (PA) or Long Island.

No matter which team wins this tournament, they will be a 16-seed in the NCAA Tournament, and barring some big upsets in other mid-major conferences, the NEC Champion will probably be faced in a play-in game in Dayton. 

 

 

Ohio Valley Tournament

1st Round

March 4

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

5 Tennessee St. (17-14)

8 Morehead St. (13-18)

7:30 PM

ESPN+

6 Eastern Illinois (16-14)

7 Jacksonville St. (13-18)

9:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 5

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

4 Eastern Kentucky (15-16)

Tenn St./Morehead St.

7:30 PM

ESPN+

3 Austin Peay (20-11)

E. Illinois/Jacksonville St.

9:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 6

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Belmont (24-7)

EKU/Tenn St./Morehead St.

8:00 PM

ESPNU

2 Murray St. (22-8)

APSU/E. Ill./Jax St.

10:00 PM

ESPNU

 

 

 

Championship

March 7

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

8:00 PM

ESPN2

 

The OVC has become something of a little ACC.  Murray State plays the role of North Carolina.  Belmont is the league’s Duke, and Austin Peay is the league’s Virginia.  Murray is the long-time dominant team in this league, while Belmont is the more recent dominant team.  Austin Peay found a great coach a few years ago and plays excellent defense and smart offense.

So, which one of these three teams will win the conference tournament?  Most likely, it will be either Belmont or Murray State, because the OVC’s tournament format gives the top two seeds byes to the semifinals.

Belmont must be considered the odds-on favorite to win the tournament, as the Bruins have won 10 games in a row by an average score of 79-67.

A potential second night match between Eastern Illinois and Austin Peay might be the best game of the tournament.  The Panthers have the best inside game in the league, and if the Governors don’t hit from the outside, EIU could be the surprise team in the semifinals.  EIU beat Murray State and Austin Peay down the stretch to give Belmont the OVC Championship.

 

 

TOURNAMENTS STARTING THURSDAY, MARCH 5

 

Missouri Valley Tournament (Arch Madness)

1st Round

March 5

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

8 Drake (18-13)

9 Illinois St. (10-20)

7:00 PM

MVC TV Network

7 Valparaiso (16-15)

10 Evansville (9-22)

9:30 PM

MVC TV Network

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 6

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Northern Iowa (25-5)

Drake/Illinois St.

1:00 PM

MVC TV Network

4 Bradley (20-11)

5 Southern Illinois (16-15)

3:30 PM

MVC TV Network

2 Loyola (Chi.) (21-10)

Valpo/Evansville

7:00 PM

MVC TV Network

3 Indiana St. (18-11)

6 Missouri St. (15-16)

9:30 PM

MVC TV Network

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 7

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

UNI/Drake/Ill St.

Bradley/Southern Illinois

3:30 PM

CBSSN

Loyola/Valpo/Evansville

Indiana St./Missouri St.

6:00 PM

CBSSN

 

 

 

Championship

March 8

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

2:10 PM

CBS

 

Arch Madness has ended with Cinderella cutting down the nets quite often in the last several years.  Bradley won the Tournament last year after going 9-9 in regular season conference play.

Northern Iowa has played a tough enough schedule so that three more wins in St. Louis could boost the Panthers up to as high as a number 10 seed.  Yet, at the same time UNI is not an overwhelming favorite to win the tournament, and if another team can pull off the upset, The Missouri Valley could get two teams into the Dance at the expense of a Bubble team.

Keep an eye on Indiana State.  The Sycamores won eight of their final 11 games, including wins over the top two seeds.  ISU played a tough out-of-conference schedule, including games against Dayton, Louisville, and Wright State.  They narrowly lost to Dayton and beat Wright State, so this team has the firepower to win three games in three days.

Missouri State is the mystery team in this league.  The Bears can dominate inside and control the glass at both ends, but they disappear for long stretches at a time.  They were blown away twice by Northern Iowa, but in a tournament scenario on a neutral floor, don’t count them out until they are.

 

 

West Coast Tournament

1st Round

March 5

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

8 Loyola Marymount (10-20)

9 San Diego (9-22)

9:00 PM

BYUtv

7 Santa Clara (19-12)

10 Portland (9-22)

11:30 PM

BYUtv

 

 

 

2nd Round

March 6

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

5 San Francisco (20-11)

Loyola Marymount/San Diego

9:00 PM

BYUtv

6 Pepperdine (15-15)

Santa Clara/Portland

11:30 PM

BYUtv

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 7

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

4 Pacific (23-9)

USF/LMU/San Diego

10:00 PM

ESPN2

3 Saint Mary’s (24-7)

Pepperdine/Santa Clara/Portland

12:30 AM

ESPN2

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 9

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Gonzaga (29-2)

Pac/USF/LMU/USD

9:00 PM

ESPN

2 BYU (24-7)

SMC.Pepp/SCU/Portland

11:30 PM

ESPN2

 

 

 

Championship

March 10

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

9:00 PM

ESPN

Gonzaga could lose this tournament and still be the number one seed in the West or at worst the East.  The news in this year’s WCC get-together will be whether or not three league teams can receive bids to the Dance.

BYU is squarely in the Field, but Saint Mary’s is vulnerable.  The Gaels need to definitely win their first tournament game, and they might need to knock off BYU to be guaranteed a spot in the field.  

Fourth-seeded Pacific and fifth-seeded San Francisco must be considered dark horses to contend for the Conference Tournament Championship.  They are likely going to meet in the quarterfinal round with the winner advancing to meet Gonzaga.  The Bulldogs handled both with relative ease during the season, but USF was a pest in their two games.

 

 

TOURNAMENT STARTING FRIDAY, MARCH 6

 

Southern Tournament

1st Round

March 6

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

8 Samford (10-22)

9 VMI (8-23)

5:00 PM

ESPN+

7 Wofford (16-15)

10 The Citadel (6-23)

7:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 7

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

1 East Tennessee St. (27-4)

Samford/VMI

12:00 PM

ESPN+

4 Mercer (17-14)

5 Western Carolina (18-11)

2:30 PM

ESPN+

2 Furman (25-6)

Wofford/The Citadel

6:00 PM

ESPN+

3 UNC Greensboro (23-8)

6 Chattanooga (19-12)

8:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 8

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

ETSU/Samford/VMI

Mercer/Western Carolina

4:00 PM

ESPN+

Furman/Wofford/Citadel

UNCG/Chattanooga

6:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Championship

March 9

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

7:00 PM

ESPN

 

Of the early tournament starting this week, The SoCon may be the deepest.  Six teams are talented enough to win this tournament.  There are two shelves here.  East Tennessee State, Furman, and UNC Greensboro are the upper crust, while Mercer, Western Carolina, and Chattanooga are the second tier of the top six.

If East Tennessee wins the tournament championship, the Buccaneers could move up to a single-digit seed.  ETSU enters this tournament riding a nine-game winning streak, and the Bucs have wins against LSU and Little Rock out of conference.

Western Carolina just lost by a point at East Tennessee after being up double digits in the first half.  The Catamounts might be a tough out in a potential semifinal game against ETSU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 11, 2019

2019 Mountain West Conference Football Preview

In the first decade of the 21st Century, the Mountain West Conference was without a doubt the best of the non power leagues.  Slowly, some of the best programs left the league.  Utah went to the Pac-12; TCU left for the Big 12; Brigham Young copied the Notre Dame formula and went independent in football, while joining the West Coast Conference in other sports.  Boise State joined when BYU left, but the Broncos’ best teams were in the old Western Athletic Conference.

You can see this league beginning to reload.  Boise State has begun to recruit like they did in Chris Peterson’s era at the Field of Blue.  Under former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, Fresno State has returned to prominence.  Utah State, Wyoming, San Diego State, Hawaii, and Nevada have gotten a bit stronger in recent years.  Air Force has been down in the last couple of years, but the Falcons have the experience to rebound this year.

With the new strength in so many locations, the unfortunate reality is that it is highly unlikely that any one team will dominate the others and make a run for the New Year’s Six Bowl that goes to the top-rated Group of Five Conference team.

Both divisions should see competitive races this year, and when November comes,  at least five teams should still have a legitimate chance to make the conference championship game.

 

Here is how the Mountain West Conference media voted in the preseason poll

Mountain West Conference Media Poll
Mountain Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Boise St. 15 120
2 Utah St. 6 108
3 Air Force 0 73
4 Wyoming 0 66
5 Colorado St. 0 52
6 New Mexico 0 22
 

 

West Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Fresno St. 17 122
2 San Diego St. 3 106
3 Nevada 0 74
4 Hawaii 1 67
5 UNLV 0 51
6 San Jose St. 0 21
 

 

Championship Game Winner
None Chosen

The PiRate Ratings offer a little bit of a variation from the Media Poll.

Preseason PiRate Ratings–Mountain West
Mountain Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Utah St. 105.4 104.3 106.8 105.5
Boise St. 105.0 104.3 105.3 104.9
Air Force 96.5 98.0 97.3 97.3
Wyoming 94.4 96.6 95.2 95.4
New Mexico 83.0 86.3 82.4 83.9
Colorado St. 79.2 84.2 79.3 80.9
 

 

West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Fresno St. 99.8 100.2 100.6 100.2
Hawaii 95.5 97.7 94.8 96.0
San Diego St. 94.4 96.2 94.1 94.9
Nevada 92.9 93.9 92.5 93.1
U N L V 85.8 88.9 85.9 86.9
San Jose St. 83.6 86.0 82.7 84.1
 

 

MWC Averages 93.0 94.7 93.1 93.6

 

Note:  These preseason ratings are accurate as of August 1, 2019, and subject to change before the first week of the season due to personnel changes prior to the first week of the season.

 

Predicted Won-Loss Records

The PiRate Ratings were not created to forecast won-loss records like other ratings might attempt.  Our ratings are valid for just the next game on the teams’ schedules, and we have pre-set adjustments built into our ratings on many teams.  For instance, if a team has exceptional starting talent but little depth, their rating has a pre-set reduction per week of the season, so that even if they win or lose a game by the exact expected margin, they will lose some of their power rating due to their depth issues.

If a team has exceptional, but inexperienced talent, their rating will have a pre-set addition per week of the season, and even if their performance may be exactly what was expected, their power rating will rise.

What you see in these predicted won-loss records are our opinion and not calculated from the ratings.  These are the estimated records based on a vote, with the Captain having 50% of the vote and the crew having the other 50%.  The Captain then rounded up or down those teams picked to have an average wins that were not whole numbers.

 

PiRate Members Predicted Won-Loss
Mountain Division
Pos Team Conference Overall
1 Utah St. 7-1 10-3*
2 Boise St. 7-1 9-3
3 Air Force 5-3 7-5
4 Wyoming 4-4 6-6
5 New Mexico 1-7 3-9
6 Colorado St. 0-8 1-11
 

 

West Division
Pos Team Conference Overall
1 Hawaii 6-2 9-5
2 Fresno St. 6-2 8-4
3 San Diego St. 5-3 7-5
4 Nevada 4-4 6-6
5 UNLV 2-6 3-9
6 San Jose St. 1-7 2-10
 

*

 

Utah State picked to win MWC Championship Game

 

Bowl Predictions
Las Vegas Utah St.
Arizona Fresno St.
Armed Forces Boise St.
Idaho Potato Air Force
New Mexico San Diego St.
 

 

Alternate Bowl
Cheez-it Hawaii
 

 

Also Bowl Eligible
Nevada
Wyoming

 

Coaches That Could Move to Power 5 Conferences

Bryan Harsin, Boise St.

Craig Bohl, Wyoming

Nick Rolovich, Hawaii

Jay Norvell, Nevada

 

Coaches On The Hot Seat

Mike Bobo, Colorado St.

Bob Davie, New Mexico

Brent Brennan, San Jose St.

Tony Sanchez, UNLV

 

Top Quarterbacks

Jordan Love, Utah St.

Cole McDonald, Hawaii

Armani Rogers, UNLV

 

Best Offense

Utah St.

Boise St.

Hawaii

 

Best Defense

Utah St.

Boise St.

Fresno St.

 

Coming Tomorrow: The FBS Independents, including Notre Dame and BYU.

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2019

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:29 pm

Wednesday’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

George Washington

93.3

0.0

Massachusetts

97.5

-4.2

Fordham

95.2

1.0

Richmond

99.0

-2.8

North Carolina St.

112.9

0.0

Clemson

112.2

0.7

Virginia Tech

116.5

0.0

Miami (Fla.)

107.5

9.0

Louisville

114.0

0.0

Notre Dame

105.9

8.1

Syracuse

111.3

0.0

Pittsburgh

105.1

6.2

TCU

110.0

0.0

Oklahoma St.

104.8

5.2

Oklahoma

111.3

0.0

West Virginia

104.9

6.4

Providence

106.7

0.0

Butler

108.2

-1.5

St. John’s

107.8

1.5

DePaul

104.9

4.4

Northern Arizona

92.1

0.0

Sacramento St.

94.2

-2.1

Idaho St.

90.7

1.0

Southern Utah

93.0

-1.3

Idaho

85.0

1.0

Montana St.

95.2

-9.2

Rutgers

106

0.0

Nebraska

110.5

-4.5

Illinois

106.2

0.0

Northwestern

107.2

-1.0

Louisiana Tech

101.8

0.0

Florida Atlantic

98.7

3.1

UAB

100.1

0.0

Middle Tennessee

95.2

4.9

North Texas

100.9

1.5

Florida Int’l.

97.4

5.0

Marshall

99.7

0.0

Rice

94.3

5.4

North Carolina A&T

92.2

0.0

Coppin St.

84.9

7.3

Norfolk St.

95.1

1.5

South Carolina St.

87.3

9.3

Colorado St.

99.2

0.0

Boise St.

102.6

-3.4

New Mexico

99.3

0.0

Wyoming

90.3

9.0

Air Force

94.8

0.0

San Jose St.

85.4

9.4

USC

105.7

0.0

Arizona

105.9

-0.2

Colorado

107.0

0.0

California

95.0

12.0

UCLA

104.9

0.0

Stanford

103.9

1.0

Oregon

109.3

0.0

Washington St.

101.6

7.7

Colgate

102.1

2.5

Bucknell

102.0

2.6

Lamar

98.0

0.0

Houston Baptist

93.3

4.7

Texas A&M CC

93.7

0.0

Central Arkansas

91.6

2.1

Missouri

106.1

0.0

Georgia

103.5

2.6

Vanderbilt

102

1.0

Texas A&M

105.4

-2.4

 

Conference Tournaments Update

America East Conference

All games at home floor of higher seeds

Semifinals–Tuesday, March 12

Vermont

84

Binghamton

51

Md.-Baltimore Co.

90

Hartford

85 2ot

*** Championship Game–Saturday, March 16 ***

Seed

Home

Seed

Visitor

1

Vermont (26-6)

3

Maryland-Baltimore Co. (21-12)

 

Atlantic 10 Conference

Site: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

First Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

12

George Washington (8-23)

13

Massachusetts (11-20)

11

Richmond (12-19)

14

Fordham (12-19)

 

 

Atlantic Coast Conference

Site: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

First Round–Tuesday, March 12

Miami (Fla.)

79

Wake Forest

71

Notre Dame

78

Georgia Tech

71

Pittsburgh

80

Boston College

70

 

Second Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

8

North Carolina St. (21-10)

9

Clemson (19-12)

5

Virginia Tech (23-7)

12

Miami (Fla) (14-17)

7

Louisville (19-12)

15

Notre Dame (14-18)

6

Syracuse (19-12)

14

Pittsburgh (14-18)

 

 

Big 12 Conference

Site: Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

First Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

8

TCU (19-12)

9

Oklahoma St. (12-19)

7

Oklahoma (19-12)

10

West Virginia (12-19)

 

 

Big East Conference

Site: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

First Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

8

Providence (17-14)

9

Butler (16-15)

7

St. John’s (20-11)

10

DePaul (15-13)

 

 

Big Sky Conference

Site: Century Link Arena, Boise, ID

First Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

8

Northern Arizona (10-20)

9

Sacramento St. (14-15)

7

Southern Utah (14-15)

10

Idaho St. (11-18)

6

Montana St. (14-16)

11

Idaho (5-26)

 

 

Big Ten Conference

Site: United Center, Chicago, IL

First Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

12

Rutgers (14-16)

13

Nebraska (16-15)

11

Illinois (11-20)

14

Northwestern (13-18)

 

 

Colonial Athletic Association

Site: North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, SC

Championship Game–Tuesday, March 12

Northeastern

82

Hofstra

74

Champion: Northeastern  (23-10)

 

 

Conference USA

Site: Ford Center, Frisco, TX

First Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

8

Louisiana Tech (19-12)

9

Florida Atlantic (17-14)

5

UAB (18-13)

12

Middle Tennessee (11-20)

7

Florida Int’l. (19-12)

10

North Texas (20-11)

6

Marshall (18-13)

11

Rice (13-18)

 

 

Horizon League (Motor City Madness)

Site: Higher Seed and Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI

Championship Game–Tuesday, March 12

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

1

Wright St. (21-12)

2

Northern Kentucky (25-8)

Champion: Northern Kentucky  (26-8)

 

 

Mideastern Athletic Conference

Site: Scope Arena, Norfolk, VA

First Round–Tuesday, March 12

Coppin St.

81

Morgan St.

71

South Carolina St.

63

Md. Eastern Shore

54

 

Quarterfinals–Wednesday, March 13 & Thursday, March 14

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

2 (wed)

North Carolina A&T (18-12)

7

Coppin St. (8-24)

3 (thu)

North Carolina Central (15-15)

11

Delaware St. (6-24)

1 (wed)

Norfolk St. (19-12)

9

South Carolina St. (8-25)

4 (thu)

Howard (16-15)

5

Bethune-Cookman

 

 

Mountain West Conference

Site: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV

First Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

8

Colorado St. (12-19)

9

Boise St. (12-19)

7

New Mexico (13-17)

10

Wyoming (8-23)

6

Air Force (13-17)

11

San Jose St. (4-26)

 

 

Northeast Conference

All games at home floor of higher seeds

Championship Game–Tuesday, March 12

Fairleigh-Dickinson

85

St. Francis (PA)

76

Champion: Fairleigh-Dickinson  (20-13)

 

 

Pac-12 Conference

Site: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

First Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

8

USC (15-16)

9

Arizona (17-14)

5

Colorado (19-11)

12

California (8-22)

7

UCLA (16-15)

10

Stanford (15-15)

6

Oregon (19-12)

11

Washington St. (11-20)

 

 

Patriot League

Played at Colgate

Championship Game–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Home

Seed

Visitor

1

Colgate (23-10)

2

Bucknell (21-10)

 

 

Southland Conference

Site: Leonard E. Merrell Center, Katy, TX

First Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

5

Lamar (19-12)

8

Houston Baptist (12-17)

6

Texas A&M CC (14-17)

7

Central Arkansas (13-18)

 

 

Southeastern Conference

Site: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

First Round–Wednesday, March 13

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

12

Missouri (14-16)

13

Georgia (11-20)

11

Texas A&M (13-17)

14

Vanderbilt (9-22)

 

 

Summit League

Site: Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, SD

Championship Game–Tuesday, March12

North Dakota St.

73

Omaha

63

Champion: North Dakota St. (18-15)

 

 

Sun Belt Conference

Site: 1st Rd at Higher Seed, Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, LA

First Round–Tuesday, March 12

Louisiana Monroe

89

Appalachian St.

80

South Alabama

75

Arkansas St.

67

 

Second Round–Thursday, March 14

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

6

Coastal Carolina (15-15)

7

Louisiana Monroe (17-14)

5

Louisiana (19-12)

8

South Alabama (16-16)

 

 

Southwestern Athletic Conference

Site: at Higher Seeds

Quarterfinals–Tuesday, March 12

Prairie View A&M

86

Alcorn St.

66

Grambling

59

Arkansas Pine Bluff

52

Alabama St.

58

Jackson St.

49

Texas Southern

80

Southern

70

 

Semifinals–Friday, March 15

Seed

Team

Seed

Team

1

Prairie View A&M (21-12)

4

Grambling (17-15)

2

Texas Southern (20-12)

6

Alabama St. (12-18)

 

 

West Coast Conference

Site: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Championship Game–Tuesday, March 12

Saint Mary’s

60

Gonzaga

47

Champion: Saint Mary’s  (22-11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 15, 2018

2018 NCAA Division 1 Conference Tournament Schedule

Here is a look at the 32 Division 1 conferences’ tournament schedules.  A few league still have “to be announced starting times.”

America East Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
Tournament Re-seeded after quarterfinals
Top 8 Teams
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 #8 ESPN3
TBA #4 #5 ESPN3
TBA #2 #7 ESPN3
TBA #3 #6 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 6
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining ESPN3
TBA 2nd Highest 3rd Highest ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA Higher Lower ESPN2

Vermont (11-0/21-5) has won 14 games in a row and should be the overwhelming favorite to return to the NCAA Tournament.  The Catamounts are one of the better shooting teams from behind the arc, and they are sneaking good on the boards.  They will not be an easy out for a favored power conference team in the first round.

American Athletic Conference Tournament
Orlando, FL
First 3 Rounds EST/Championship EDT
       
First Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM # 8 #9 ESPNU
2:30 PM #5 #12 ESPNU
6:00 PM #7 #10 ESPNU
8:30 PM #6 #11 ESPNU
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN2
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPNU
8:30 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPNU
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 CBS
3:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 CBS
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

Cincinnati (12-0/23-2) faces three tough regular season  games on their schedule before the AAC Tournament begins.  The Bearcats play at Houston (9-3/19-5) tonight in a game you can see on CBSSN at 7 PM Eastern.  UC looks like a national championship contender.  The Bearcats are number one in the nation in field goal percentage defense and in scoring margin.  The team is one of the quickest teams we have seen in many years, and they plug defensive holes fast enough to give up many decent shots.  Coach Mick Cronin’s forces are better offensively this year, because they just may be the best passing team in college basketball.  The ball moves much quicker through the air than by the dribble, and combining fast player movement with crisp passing makes it hard to contain.  The only question is whether the Bearcats have played a tough enough schedule.  Road games at Houston and Wichita State will give us the answer.

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Washington, DC
First 4 Rounds EST/Championship EDT
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #12 #13  
8:30 PM #11 #14  
       
Second Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 NBCSN
2:30 PM #5 12 or 13 NBCSN
6:00 PM #7 #10 NBCSN
8:30 PM #6 11 or 14 NBCSN
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 NBCSN
2:30 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 NBCSN
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 NBCSN
8:30 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 NBCSN
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 CBSSN
3:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, 11, or 14 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

Rhode Island (13-0/21-3) has secured a bid to the NCAA Tournament with or without the automatic bid.  Should somebody upset the Rams in the A-10 Tournament, there will be an extra A-10 team dancing, which means one bubble will pop.  URI has a 16-game winning streak, and Danny Hurley will become a hot commodity in the coaching wars in late March and April.

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Brooklyn
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #12 #13 ESPN2
2:00 PM #10 #15 ESPN2
7:00 PM #11 #14 ESPNU
       
Second Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN
2:00 PM #5 12 or 13 ESPN
7:00 PM #7 10 or 15 ESPN2
9:00 PM #6 11 or 14 ESPN2
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN
2:00 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 ESPN
7:00 PM #2 7, 10, or 15 ESPN
9:00 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 ESPN
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 TBA
9:00 PM 2, 7, 10, or 15 3, 6, 11, or 14 TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM     ESPN

Virginia (13-1/24-2) lost at home to rival Virginia Tech (7-6/18-8), placing the Hokies many places higher on the Bubble.  This tournament should be up for grabs, because there are many quality teams.  One will get hot and play its best basketball of the season, and that team will earn the automatic bid.  Keep an eye on North Carolina State (7-6/17-9).  First year coach Kevin Keatts proved to be one of the best tournament coaches when he was at UNCW, and his players have played well above their talent levels for him.  Just a tad more improvement, and the Wolf Pack could be dangerous in the Barclay’s Center.

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
       
Quarterfinals–February 26
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 Florida Gulf Coast #8 ESPN3
TBA #4 #5 ESPN3
TBA #2 #7 ESPN3
TBA #3 #6 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA 1 or 8 4 or 5 ESPN3
TBA 2 or 7 3 or 6 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA     ESPN

Florida Gulf Coast (11-0/20-8) has already secured the top seed and will host every game it plays in the A-Sun Tournament.  This Eagles team is not as strong as the great dunking 2013 team that advanced to the Sweet 16, but it will be a major upset if FGCU loses.

Big 12 Conference Tournament
Kansas City
All Times CST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 ESPNU
8:00 PM #7 #10 ESPNU
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #4 #5 ESPN2
1:30 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPNU
8:00 PM #3 #6 ESPNU
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN2
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN2
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPN

This will be one interesting and exciting tournament.  Except for Iowa State, any of the other nine teams has the ability to win this tournament.  It will be important to finish in the top six to avoid having to play an extra game to win the thing, but even the 7 through 9 seeds will have chances to win four games in four days.  Baylor (6-7/16-10) has won four straight games to move from the cellar to a fifth place tie.  The Bears are the hot team, and their wins at Oklahoma State and Texas plus a home win over Kansas proves that they are good enough to keep winning.  Saturday’s game against front-runner Texas Tech (10-3/22-4) should be one of the best of the weekend.

Big East Conference Tournament
New York City
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #8 #9 FS1
9:30 PM #7 #10 FS1
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 FS1
2:30 PM #4 #5 FS1
7:00 PM #2 7 or 10 FS1
9:30 PM #3 #6 FS1
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM 1, 8,or 9 4 or 5 FS1
9:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 FS1
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM     Fox

Villanova (10-3/23-3) dropped from the top of the polls and then dropped from the top of the conference.  Xavier (12-2/24-3) is the hot team, but the Musketeers have eeked out a lot of their wins this year.  Teams that pick up many close wins seldom advance to the Final Four, but it is not impossible.  Xavier pinned one of the losses on Cincinnati, and it is slightly possible that the Final Four could have two teams from the Queen City.

After losing 11 games in a row, St. John’s (3-11/14-13) has won four in a row, including two over top five teams (Duke and Villanova).  Seldom does the last place team look capable of winning a power conference tournament, but there is precedence.  Virginia won the ACC after finishing last in the standings one season in the 1970’s.

Big Sky Conference Tournament
Reno, NV
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 Pluto tv
2:30 PM #5 #12 Pluto tv
5:30 PM #7 #10 Pluto tv
8:00 PM #6 #11 Pluto tv
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Pluto tv
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 Pluto tv
5:30 PM #2 7 or 10 Pluto tv
8:00 PM #3 6 or 11 Pluto tv
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 Pluto tv
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 Pluto tv
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPNU

Three teams have put it together in the month of February, and one of the three should win the tournament.  Montana (13-0/20-5) has won 13 games in a row; Weber St. (10-2/17-7) has won 7 in a row; and Idaho (9-3/17-7) has won 4 in a row.  Montana plays at Idaho on Saturday.

Big South Conference Tournament
1st Round & Championship Game at Higher Seeds
Quarterfinals and Semfinals at #1 Seed
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 27
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #7 #10 BSN
7:00 PM #8 #9 BSN
BSN TV at http://bigsouthsports.com    
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
3:30 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
7:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 2
Time Home Visitors TV
6:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN3
8:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM     ESPN

UNC-Asheville (11-3/18-9) was the preseason pick to win the Big South, but the Bulldogs underachieved through early January.  Since then, UNCA has passed four teams to move to the top of the standings, riding a 7-game winning streak.  Keep an eye on eighth place Charleston Southern (6-8/11-14).  The Buccaneers have won four of five games, and they could easily be 9-9 by the time the tournament starts.  Many of CSU’s losses have been close, including road losses against the top part of the league.  The Bucs are peaking at the right time.

Big Ten Conference Tournament
New York City
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 28
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM #12 #13 Big Ten
7:45 PM #11 #14 Big Ten
       
Second Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 Big Ten
2:15 PM #5 12 or 13 Big Ten
6:30 PM #7 #10 Big Ten
8:45 PM #6 11 or 14 Big Ten
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Big Ten
2:15 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 Big Ten
6:30 PM #2 7 or 10 Big Ten
8:45 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 Big Ten
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 CBS
4:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, 11, or 14 CBS
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:30 PM     CBS

The Big Ten season is ending early this year so the league can stage its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.  MSG also hosts the Big East Tournament.

The top three teams (Ohio St. 13-1/22-5), Michigan St. (13-2/25-3), and Purdue (12-2/23-4) have separated themselves from the rest of the field and are all safely in the Dance.  Michigan (10-5/21-7) is close to a lock.  There are three or four other teams that will begin the tournament needing multiple wins to have a chance to get into the field.  Nebraska (11-4/20-8) is a victim of the new way of picking at-large teams.  In past years, the Cornhuskers would be a near lock with an 11-4 record in the Big Ten.  With the new quadrant system being used, Nebraska does not have a Quadrant 1 win and not enough Quadrant 2 wins.  The Huskers have three winnable conference games and could be 14-4 in the league and still back on the Bubble, so NU will need to do some damage in the Big Apple.

Big West Conference Tournament
Anaheim, CA
Top 8 Teams Qualify & Tournament Re-seeds for Semifinals
All Times PST
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #2 #7 FSWest
2:30 PM #3 #6 FSWest
6:00 PM #1 #8 FSWest
8:30 PM #4 #5 FSWest
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining TBA
9:00 PM 2nd Highest 3rd Highest TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

UC-Santa Barbara (8-2/19-5), UC-Irvine (8-3/13-14), UC-Davis (7-4/16-9), Cal State Fullerton (7-4/14-9), and Long Beach St. (7-4/13-14) have stayed bunched together all season, and no team has a great edge over any other.  With the game at the Honda Center in Anaheim, there are basically three home teams in UCI, CSF, and LBSU.  This one is up for grabs.

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
North Charleston, SC
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 CAA TV
8:30 PM #7 #10 CAA TV
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Comcast
2:30 PM #4 #5 Comcast
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 Comcast
8:30 PM #3 #6 Comcast
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 CBSSN
8:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     CBSSN

In the late 1990’s John Kresse took College of Charleston to multiple NCAA Tournaments.  The Cougars (11-3/20-6) have not been to the Big Dance since, but this looks like the most promising year this century for C of C.  The Cougars are strong in the backcourt and have a beefy forward in Jarrell Brantley.

Conference USA Tournament
Frisco, TX
Top 12 Teams Qualify
All Times CST
       
Note: This facility splits into two separate courts until the semifinals
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 TBA
6:30 PM #5 #12 TBA
8:30 PM #7 #10 TBA
9:00 PM #6 #11 TBA
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Stadium
6:30 PM #4 5 or 12 Stadium
8:30 PM #2 7 or 10 Stadium
9:00 PM #3 6 or 11 Stadium
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 CBSSN
3:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:30 PM     CBSSN

Middle Tennessee (12-1/20-5) will be the favorite, but the Blue Raiders will not waltz to an easy three-peat in CUSA.  The tournament has been moved to the North Dallas suburbs, where it will be played on the Cowboys’ practice facility.  The football field will be split into two courts so that two games can be played at a time (women’s tournament will also be there simultaneously).

The next three best teams, Western Kentucky (10-2/18-7), Old Dominion (10-2/19-5), and Marshall (8-4/17-8) have very little chance of sniffing an at-large bid.  WKU may have a slight chance, but realistically the Hilltoppers need to win out in the regular season and make it to the finals before their at-large hopes would be legitimate.

It’s the tier below these top four that should concern Middle Tennessee the most.  North Texas (7-5/14-11) is virtually a home team in the conference tournament.  UTSA (7-5/14-11) has improved by 10 points since December.  UAB (7-6/16-10) has not yet played up to its talent level, which means the Blazers could peak at tournament time.

Horizon League Tournament
Detroit (Motor City Madness)
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
8:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
5:30 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
8:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
       
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
7:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPNU
9:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPNU
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     TBA

Northern Kentucky (12-2/19-7) and Wright St. (11-3/19-8) have flip-flopped between first and second place all year.  Northern Kentucky is the defending conference champions, and the Norse were the overwhelming favorite to repeat this year.

There are a couple more teams to consider in this tournament.  UIC (10-4/15-12) has quietly moved into third following a 7-game winning streak, and the top two teams still must visit UIC Pavilion.  Oakland (8-6/16-11) has a powerful, up-tempo offense, which is not all that consistent.  When consistent, the Golden Grizzlies have the ability to beat any league opponent.  Oakland won by 13 at NKU.

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

Penn (7-1/17-7) and Harvard (7-1/12-11) have secured half of the spots in the field of four that will square off at the Palestra.  The Quakers will have the home court advantage.

The other two spots are still very much up for grabs with five teams competing and six conference games remaining.  This is a down year for the Ivy, and the winner of the tournament will most likely face a #1 seed in the first round if not forced to go to Dayton for the First Four.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Albany, NY
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM # 8 #9 ESPN3
7:00 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
9:00 PM #6 #11 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
9:30 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN3
9:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     TBA

This is a league in transition, as its previous top teams have settled back in the pack.  The current top three in the standings are the three teams playing their best ball in February, and we would tend to believe that one of the trio will win the automatic bid.  Those three teams are: Rider (12-2/19-7), Canisius (12-2/18-9), and Niagara (10-4/17-10).  For Rider and Canisius, it was the mid 1990’s when they were in the NCAA Tournament, while Niagara went in 2007.

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Cleveland (First Round at Higher Seeds)
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 5
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #8 #9 TBA
TBA #5 #12 TBA
TBA #7 #10 TBA
TBA #6 #11 TBA
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 ESPN3
6:30 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
9:00 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 CBSSN
9:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 See *
* This game will be available at cbssports.com
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

Buffalo (11-2/19-7) looked like the clear-cut favorite until the last week or so, and now the Bulls have stiff competition from Toledo (11-2/19-7).  However, historically, the MAC Tournament has seen an abnormally large number of surprises.  We don’t expect it to be any different this year.  Central Michigan (5-8/16-10) has disappointed this year, as their talent level is better than their results so far.  The Chippewas are a very longshot to win the tournament, but it would not surprise us if CMU looks much stronger in Cleveland–if they get there.

Mideastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Norfolk, VA
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #4 #13 ESPN3
9:00 PM #5 #12 ESPN3
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN3
6:30 PM #6 #11 ESPN3
9:00 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
8:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
8:00 PM 4 or 13 5 or 12 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 ESPN3
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2

The winner of this conference may be forced to go to the First Four round in Dayton, but there is one team from this league that no other 16-seed wants to see in Dayton.  Savannah State (10-1/13-13) is the most up-tempo team in Division 1.  Watching the Tigers play is the closest thing to watching UNLV play in the 1970’s (not like Loyola Marymount under Paul Westhead.)  Former Georgetown great Horace Broadnax has had a total change in coaching paradigm in the last two years.  He used to coach like his mentor John Thompson, emphasizing defense and patient offense.  Now, Broadnax’s Tigers play like a Mike D’Antoni-coached team.  There is little need for a shot-clock in SSU games.  The Tigers average better than 84 possessions per game.  They take more than 73 field goal attempts per game.  They force more than 18 turnovers per game and average close to 10 steals per game, and they score 86.5 points per game.  If it weren’t for an inability to rebound, we would have SSU on our list of low majors with a legitimate chance to upset a power team in the Round of 64.  If they get to the NCAA Tournament and advance past the First Four, they will be forced to play somebody like Virginia, Villanova, or Cincinnati, and they don’t have the muscle to pull off the biggest upset in the history of the Dance.  However, if they get there, you will want to watch them play.

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
St. Louis (Arch Madness)
All Times CST
       
First Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 MVC TV
8:30 PM #7 #10 MVC TV
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 MVC TV
2:30 PM #4 #5 MVC TV
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 MVC TV
8:30 PM #3 #6 MVC TV
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 CBSSN
5:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

With Wichita State now in the AAC, it figured that the Valley race would be wide open.  While it still may be so, it sure looks like Loyola (Chi.) (12-3/22-5) is doing its best to return to glory.  The Ramblers won it all in 1963, and they have only been back to the NCAA Tournament one time since legendary coach George Ireland retired in the late 1960’s.  Southern Illinois (10-5/18-10) was a national joke a few years ago when Coach Barry Hinson went on one of the most famous rants in coaching history, and ESPN featured it for two days.  Hinson has never taken a team to the NCAA Tournament in 17 years as a head coach.

Mountain West Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:00 AM # 8 #9 Stadium
1:30 PM #7 #10 Stadium
4:00 PM #6 #11 Stadium
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 CBSSN
2:30 PM #4 #5 CBSSN
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 CBSSN
8:30 PM #3 6 or 11 CBSSN
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 CBSSN
8:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

In our opinion, Eric Musselman should be the National Coach of the Year.  His Nevada Wolfpack (11-2/22-5) has 10 transfers on the roster.  Musselman inherited a 22-game loser in Reno when he arrived three years ago and immediately turned the program around, going 24-14 and winning the CBI Tournament.  He won both the regular season and conference tournament last year, but Nevada quickly got behind by double digits against Iowa State in the first round and went home after one game.

This year, Nevada has the tools to do some damage in the tournament.  They are most likely going back as an at-large team if they do not win the automatic bid.

Boise State (10-4/20-6) is worthy of making the tournament even if the Broncos cannot top Nevada for the conference tournament title.  Former Mark Few assistant Leon Rice has built the BSU program up to where it is now on par with the football program.  Rice could be in line for a pay raise and a relocation to a power conference school.

Northeast Conference Tournament
All Games at Higher Seed
Top 8 Teams Qualify and Tournament Re-seeds after Quarterfinals
All Times EST
       
Quarterfinals–February 28
Time Home Team Visitors TV
TBA #1 #8 NEC *
TBA #2 #7 NEC *
TBA #3 #6 NEC *
TBA #4 #5 NEC *
* NEC Front Row at http://necfrontrow.com/
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Home Team Visitors TV
12:00 PM Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining ESPN3
2:00 PM 2nd Highest 3rd Highest ESPN3
       
Championship–March 6
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

The NEC is a candidate for placing its automatic qualifier in a First Four game.  No league team this year has enough force to do any damage in the NCAA Tournament.  First place Wagner (11-3/18-7) is not much of a favorite to win the NEC Tournament.  The Seahawks’ three conference losses came to teams in the lower half of the standings.

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
Evansville, IN
Top 8 Teams Qualify, Southeast Missouri ineligible due to low APR Scores
All Times CST
       
First Round–February 28
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #5 #8 OVC
8:30 PM #6 #7 OVC
OVC Network at http://www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com/watch
       
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #4 5 or 8 OVC
8:30 PM #3 6 or 7 OVC
       
Semifinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 4, 5, or 8 ESPNU
9:00 PM #2 3, 6, or 7 ESPNU
       
Championship–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

The Ohio Valley Conference Tournament is set up so that the top two seeds have large advantages over the rest of the field.  The top two start in the semifinals and only have to win twice to earn the automatic bid.

It also severely handicaps the rest of the field when the top two are considerably better than the rest of the field.  Murray State (12-2/20-5) and Belmont (12-2/20-7) have dominated the league for years, and both are capable of knocking off a favored opponent in the opening round.

The tournament has moved away from Nashville to Evansville, Indiana, so Belmont will not have a home town advantage.  Murray, Kentucky, is an easy drive from Evansville, but then so is Nashville.  It should make for a grand finale if the Racers and Bruins meet for all the marbles.

Pacific 12 Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM # 8 #9 Pac12
2:30 PM #5 #12 Pac12
6:00 PM #7 #10 Pac12
8:30 PM #6 #11 Pac12
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Pac12
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 Pac12
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 Pac12
8:30 PM #3 6 or 11 FS1
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 Pac12
8:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 FS1
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     FS1

The Pac-12 may not be the best conference in the West this year.  The best four teams, maybe five teams, out West are not from the Pac-12.  Arizona (10-3/20-6) may not be as strong as Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, Nevada, Boise State, and maybe New Mexico State.  So, it figures that the league will send a minimum number of teams to the Big Dance, maybe just two or three.

Arizona State (7-6/19-6) was once a lock for the NCAA Tournament, and the Sun Devils will most likely make it into the field because of the new criteria, where the way a team ends the season is not considered at all.  Wins over Kansas, Kansas State, and Xavier should be enough to get Bobby Hurley’s team into the field, where you can bet they will be placed in position to play Rhode Island in the first or second game, and the Committee will claim it was purely coincidental.

The Arizona rivals face off in Tempe tonight, and it should be one worth watching.  Tune in to ESPN at 9:00 PM Eastern.

USC, Oregon, and Washington still have work to do to make it into the field, while Utah, Colorado, and Stanford are probably looking at only an automatic bid as a means of Dancing.

Patriot League Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 27
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #7 #10 Stadium
TBA #8 #9 Stadium
       
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 Bucknell 8 or 9 Stadium
TBA #4 #5 Stadium
TBA #2 7 or 10 Stadium
TBA #3 #6 Stadium
       
Semifinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA 1 or 8 4 or 5 CBSSN
TBA 2 or 7 3 or 6 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA     CBSSN

Bucknell (13-2/19-9) secured the top seed this past weekend, so the Bison will host any game they play in the Pat Tourney.  One of their two league defeats came at home, so it is possible that they could be upset, but not very likely.

Southeastern Conference Tournament
St. Louis
First 4 Rounds CST, Championship Game CDT
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #12 #13 SECTV
8:30 PM #11 #14 SECTV
       
Second Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 SECTV
2:30 PM #5 12 or 13 SECTV
6:00 PM #7 #10 SECTV
8:30 PM #6 11 or 14 SECTV
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN
2:30 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 ESPN
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 SECTV
8:30 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 SECTV
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 ESPN
2:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, 11, or 14 ESPN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM     ESPN

There will be a double dose of Arch Madness this year, as the SEC moves its tournament to St. Louis.  It happens to coincide with the return to power of Missouri (8-5/18-8), and the Tigers’ fans may rival those from the Bluegrass.  Coach Cuonzo Martin was born just across the river, and he will have a loyal following as Mizzou has to be considered a co-favorite to win the conference tournament.  Now, if Michael Porter can suit up and play any amount of meaningful minutes, Missouri will become the odds-on favorite to win the tournament.

Auburn (11-2/23-3) will win the regular season title, while Tennessee (9-4/19-6) will most likely finish second, but the PiRates do not believe either team’s style of play and talent can win three games in three days.  If Missouri doesn’t win the tournament, it could be Alabama (8-5/17-9), a team with tough defense and enough offense to win three times in three days.

Of course, there are Florida (8-5/17-9) and Kentucky (6-7/17-9).  Who would ever count out either team with the incredible talent on both rosters?  It would not be a surprise if one or both peaked at the right time.

Southern Conference Tournament
Asheville, NC
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN3
7:30 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN3
6:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

This looks like a two-team race.  East Tennessee (13-1/22-5) was cruising along with the nation’s best winning streak at 16, before they crashed and burned at UNC-Greensboro (11-2/20-6).  If anybody else wins the automatic bid, it is going to be a quick one and done.  Both ETSU and UNCG have the talent to win an opening round game.  ETSU has the strong front court, while UNCG has a fantastic press defense.

Southland Conference Tournament
Katy, TX
Top 8 Teams Qualify
All Times CST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #5 #8 ESPN3
7:30 PM #6 #7 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #4 5 or 8 ESPN3
7:30 PM #3 6 or 7 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #1 4, 5, or 8 ESPN3
7:30 PM #2 3, 6, or 7 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2

This is no longer Stephen F. Austin (10-3/21-5) and the 7 Dwarfs.  The Lumberjacks may very well win the conference tournament again this year, but they won’t just show up and receive the trophy.

Nicholls State (11-2/17-9) and Southeast Louisiana (11-3/17-10) rank ahead of SFA at the moment, and Sam Houston State (10-4/16-11) and New Orleans (10-4/13-12) are bunched up in a tight race.  None of the contenders have exceptionally strong resumes, so this league could be staring at a 16-seed in the tourney.

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
First Round at Higher Seed, Semifinal and Final Round in Houston
Grambling and Alabama A&M are ineligible due to low APR Scores
All Times CST
       
Quarterfinals–March 6
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 #8 TBA
TBA #4 #5 TBA
TBA #2 #7 TBA
TBA #3 #6 TBA
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:30 PM 1 or 8 4 or 5 TBA
8:30 PM 2 or 7 3 or 6 TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     ESPN2

It hurts that the best team, Grambling (10-3/14-12) in the league is ineligible to play in the NCAA Tournament.  The other nine teams have losing records, so the winner of this conference tournament will almost assuredly be playing in Dayton in the First Four round.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (9-4/9-18) went 0-14 outside of the SWAC, yet the Lions could be the favorite to win the tournament.  Southern (8-5/12-14) and Alabama St. (6-6/6-18) are actually the two hottest teams at the moment.

Summit League Tournament
Sioux Falls, MS
All Times CST
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 #8 MidcoSN
8:30 PM #2 #7 MidcoSN
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #4 #5 MidcoSN
8:30 PM #3 #6 MidcoSN
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1 or 8 4 or 5 MidcoSN
8:30 PM 2 or 7 3 or 6 MidcoSN
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2

The top two teams will send a lot of fans to Sioux Falls to make their games feel like home games.  South Dakota State (10-1/22-6) and South Dakota (10-2/23-6) have to be considered prohibitive co-favorites, but we will keep a careful eye on Fort Wayne (6-6/17-12).  The Mastodons are like the Boston Red Sox during the Ted Williams days.  You know they are going to score, score, score with a powerful offense, but you never know if they are going to give up too many to the opponent.  If you saw the second half of Fort Wayne’s two-point loss at SDSU, you know that when this team puts it all together, they can beat any team in the Summit.  Indiana coach Archie Miller will tell you how talented these guys are.  The question is, will they ever put it all together for three consecutive days?

Sun Belt Conference Tournament
New Orleans
First 3 Rounds CST, Championship Game CDT
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM # 8 #9 ESPN3
2:00 PM #5 #12 ESPN3
5:00 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
7:30 PM #6 #11 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
2:00 PM #4 5 or 12 ESPN3
5:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
7:30 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 ESPN3
2:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2

A month ago, this tournament looked like a mere formality where the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (11-1/21-4) would party in New Orleans.  As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friends.”  From almost out of nowhere, Georgia State (10-3/19-7).  A recent 10-game winning streak, which included a 14-point trouncing of ULL, brought GSU to within a game of first place.

West Coast Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 The W
8:00 PM #7 #10 The W
The W at: http://www.wccsports.com/ot/upcoming-events.html
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #3 #6 The W
3:00 PM #4 #5 The W
7:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN2
9:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN2
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN2
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM     ESPN

We know about the top two teams, as they are always in contention for an NCAA bid every year.  Gonzaga (13-1/23-4) is no longer a mid-major team.  Once you make it to within a couple minutes of a national championship, you deserve the ranks to join teams from the past like UNLV, Marquette, Jacksonville, and UTEP that came to national prominence from out of nowhere.

Saint Mary’s (13-1/24-3) is not that far behind Gonzaga.  With Jock Londale in the post, they may have the top center in the nation.  SMU should get into the Dance as an at-large if they do not win the automatic bid.

Now, the question is can a third team earn a bubble-busting spot by beating both of the league powers?  BYU (9-5/20-7) certainly has the talent to get hot and run the table at Orleans Arena.  The Cougars can be tough to match up with, especially when they get their running game going.

Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Home Visitors TV
12:00 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
2:30 PM #2 #7 ESPN3
6:00 PM #1 #8 ESPN3
8:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 3 or 6 2 or 7 ESPN3
8:30 PM 1 or 8 4 or 5 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPNU

This is a league with one really good team and three or four average teams that have the capability to sneak into the tournament title.  It would be ashamed for this league if New Mexico State (9-0/22-3) were to be upset in the tournament and end up as a 1-seed in the NIT.  The Aggies may have their best team in Las Cruces since Lou Henson took the 1970 team to the Final Four.  Coach Chris Jans has been rebuilding his reputation, and after a stint as Gregg Marshall’s assistant at Wichita State, he has made a strong comeback in his first year at NMSU.  He may be able to set up a long dynasty in the WAC.

Before you think that the Aggies will go through the motions and win the league title, there are four other decent teams that can beat them.  Seattle (6-3/17-9) and Utah Valley (6-3/17-8) are tied for second, but we believe that Grand Canyon (6-4/17-9) may be the team that best has the tools to upset NMSU.  The Antelopes are coached by former NBA tough man, Dan Majerle, and his teams are an extension of his hustle.

 

August 17, 2017

2017 Mountain West Conference Preview

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 2:37 am

In past years, the Mountain West Conference preview has come several days later.  We preview the conferences in reverse order of their overall power rating, and the MWC starts the 2017 season at its lowest rank in many years.  Part of that reason is that the one power program, Boise State, is not so powerful these days.  The Broncos are still very much a contender to win the Mountain Division and play in the league championship game, but they are not a prohibitive favorite, nor are they the regular favorite.

Last year, five teams competed for the Mountain Division title, while San Diego State cruised to the West Division title with no competition.  It should be more of the same formula this year, as the MWC Championship Game is starting to look like the Aztec Invitational Tournament.

Here is how the MWC Media picked the races in the preseason.

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 Boise St. 21 161
2 Colorado St. 6 135
3 Wyoming 1 114
4 Air Force 0 82
5 New Mexico 0 68
6 Utah St. 0 28
       
West Divsion
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 San Diego St. 28 168
2 Hawaii 0 135
3 UNLV 0 105
4 Nevada 0 79
5 San Jose St. 0 54
6 Fresno St. 0 47

The Preseason PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings agree with SDSU being the clear cut favorite in the West, but they do not agree with the Mountain Division pick.  It looks like a three-team race in this division.

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Colo. State 101.3 100.5 101.2 101.0
Wyoming 99.0 96.4 97.8 97.7
Boise St. 98.4 96.6 97.6 97.5
New Mexico 92.8 93.3 93.7 93.3
Air Force 91.5 92.2 91.8 91.8
Utah St. 87.7 86.7 86.9 87.1
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 99.7 100.7 101.3 100.6
Hawaii 88.8 90.8 88.6 89.4
U N L V 85.3 88.5 85.7 86.5
San Jose St. 86.2 85.5 85.5 85.7
Fresno St. 85.6 84.2 85.7 85.2
Nevada 83.0 86.9 85.3 85.0
         
MWC Averages 91.6 91.9 91.8 91.7

This is our not-so-scientific look at the projected standings and bowl projections.

Mountain West Conference Projected Standings
       
Mountain Division Conference Overall Bowl
Wyoming 7-1 9-4 Idaho Potato
Colorado St. 7-1 9-3 Hawaii
Boise St. 6-2 8-4 Arizona
New Mexico 4-4 6-6 New Mexico
Air Force 3-5 5-7  
Utah St. 1-7 2-10  
       
West Division Conference Overall Bowl
San Diego St. 6-2 9-4 Las Vegas
Hawaii 3-5 5-7  
UNLV 3-5 4-8  
Nevada 2-6 3-9  
Fresno St. 2-6 3-9  
San Jose St. 2-6 3-10  
       
San Diego St. to Win MWC Championship Game

Coming tomorrow: The Sun Belt Conference had always been the lowest rated league each preseason since its inception, but we thought that had changed this year.  Not only did we believe that the SBC moved out of the basement, they climbed up to second best Group of 5 conference.  At first, we believed it was due to a trio of exceptionally strong teams, but then we realized what happened.  It was our mistake.  We forgot to divide the total rating by 12 and divided by 11.  Coastal Carolina joined the league as a full member, and our people did not change the formula until it was too late to change the order of the previews.  We apologize for the error.

 

To make up for this, here is a fun, two-part trivia question for you.  The answers will come in the following previews.

A. Name the four pairs of FBS football schools that play their home games in stadiums less than 10 miles apart.

B. Name the three pairs of FBS football schools  that play their home games in stadiums less than 15 miles apart and are also conference rivals.

Remember, these are FBS schools only.  One hint–there will be one fewer pair that qualify after this season.

October 6, 2015

41st FBS Bowl Now Official

Since we last posted our college preview for the week, it has come to our attention that the on-again, off-again Arizona Bowl is now on-again.  Nova Home Loans has signed on as the title game sponsor, and the game is set for December 29 at 5:30 PM Mountain Standard Time.  While the television particulars are still being worked out, this game will be the first bowl game to be streamed live at Campus Insider.

The Bowl will feature teams from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA, and the Sun Belt will be the first alternate should either the MWC or CUSA not have enough eligible teams to meet their bowl obligations.

Beginning next week, we will add the Arizona Bowl to our Bowl Projections.  As of this week, we would speculate that Conference USA would not have enough teams available, and a team like Texas State from the SBC would be the fill-in replacement.  The MWC could have a tough time coming up with another bowl eligible team, and if Boise State somehow winds up in a New Year’s Six Bowl, the MWC definitely will not have enough bowl eligible teams.

There now must be 80 bowl eligible teams out of 128 FBS teams in total.  There is a chance that there will not be 80 bowl eligible teams.  The Mid-American Conference is likely to have that 80th bowl eligible team if 80 make it, so a Ball State, Buffalo, or Central Michigan at 6-6 might be headed to the desert in December.

August 13, 2015

2015 Mountain West Conference Preview

There was a time when the Mountain West Conference graded out to be a little stronger than the old Big East Conference and was clearly stronger overall than today’s American Conference.  There were a couple seasons where the league was on par with the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Of course, there was a time when both TCU and Boise State were members of this conference, and there was a time that BYU was a member as well.

In 2015, the MWC may be a bit too weak for the champion to get into the playoff mix, but we believe the champion of this league stands an excellent chance to be 13-0 when the committee decides who is in and who is out.  If two of the Big Six conferences produce two or even three-loss champions, there will be a small chance that a 13-0 MWC team could be a surprise #4 seed.

It’s been five seasons since Boise State last finished the year undefeated.  In 2009, The Broncos defeated Oregon at the start of the year and 12-0 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl at the end of the year to finish fourth in the nation overall.  This was the second time the Broncos finished undefeated, having first pulled it of in 2006 when once again, BSU won the Fiesta Bowl in a thrilling finish over Oklahoma.  The 2006 team defeated Oregon State early in the season.

This year, Boise State opens at home against Washington.  In week two, they play at BYU.  An October 16 game at Utah State is the only other possible bump in the 2015 road, but this team is considerably stronger than the 12-2 team that won another Fiesta Bowl last year.  The Broncos were the first of the lone guaranteed non-Big Six conference team to be selected to a Big Six Bowl.  Could they become the first non-Big Six school to earn a playoff spot?

We don’t believe the selection committee will take the Broncos, but we do believe Boise will run the table for the third time in a decade and probably be rewarded with yet another trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

There is only one fly in the ointment.  Boise State is loaded on both sides of the ball, but the one place that is a question mark is at quarterback.  Ryan Finley isn’t totally raw, having seen brief action as a Freshman last year, but 27 career passes is not enough to make a case that he might be the next Kellen Moore.

Utah State has gone bowling the last four years, two under former coach Gary Andersen and two under current coach Matt Wells.  Who knows how good this program could have been if quarterback Chuckie Keeton could have finished a season.  He has suffered numerous injuries in his time in Logan, and he has never played a full schedule.  He returns for one final try, and if he can stay on the field, the Aggies pose the only legitimate threat to Boise State.  The loss of Jo Jo Natson may hamper their chances, but USU still has Hunter Sharp at Wide Receiver and LaJuan Hunt at running back, so there is talent at the skill positions.  Inside linebacker Nick Vigil has all the tools, and he will anchor the division’s top defense.

After the top two, the drop to number three is steep.  Colorado State lost the top quarterback in the league in Garrett Grayson; one of the top running backs in Dee Hart; and two of the top defensive players in the league in Aaron Davis and Max Morgan.  Oh, and they lost all-American coach Jim McElwain to Florida.  New coach Mike Bobo comes from the SEC just like his predecessor.  As the long time offensive coordinator at Georgia, Bobo’s Bulldog offenses were balanced with power running games and vertical passing games.  In his first year in Ft. Collins, he inherits talent not all that equipped to suit his style.  He will not see a Nick Chubb or Aaron Murray on the field at Hughes Stadium.  He also will not see his team playing on the field after November 28.  The Rams draw San Diego State and Fresno State out of the Pacific Division, and it looks like a drop under .500 this year.

Air Force has been up and down in recent years for Coach Troy Calhoun.  The Falcons were up last year, winning 10 games, including an upset of Boise State.  This year, the Falcons will be down due to a rebuilding defense and an offense that must break in a new quarterback.  Down won’t be a total disappointment, as we believe the Falcons will find a way to break even and earn a bowl bid.

Our pick for surprise team in the league this year is New Mexico.  The Lobos have been down and out since former coach Rocky Long was let go in 2008.  Following three consecutive 1-11 seasons that included a loss to Sam Houston, former Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie was brought to Albuquerque to right the ship.  This is his fourth season following 4-9, 3-9, and 4-8 seasons where the Lobos ran the ball better than any team in the league, topping 300 yards per game all three years.  This year, Davie has experienced talent throughout the roster, and with just a little improvement on the defensive side of the ball, New Mexico could win the close games and earn its first bowl bid since 2007.

There was a time when Wyoming was the class of the Rockies.  The Cowboys were the western Cradle of Coaches for years producing the likes of Bob Devaney, Pat Dye, Fred Akers, Joe Tiller, and Bowden Wyatt, all of whom ascended to big time programs and took teams to conference championships and New Year’s Day Bowls.  As of late, the pickings have been slim in Laramie.  Joe Glenn and Dave Christensen both had great promise but neither turned the tide.  Craig Bohl brought a similar resume to the Rockies as Glenn, having won big at North Dakota State, but his first year in Laramie was no different than recent editions.  This year’s team may make last year’s 4-8 team look like a success as graduation has taken a heavy toll.

The Pacific Division race should be a little more competitive than the Mountain Division.  Four teams have realistic chances to compete for the division title, while a fifth has the potential to get into the race.  It’s not that this side of the league is powerful; the parity is owed more to sub-par rosters than anything else.

San Diego State has been flirting with a division title for five years, and this looks like the year where the Aztecs are the favorite to finally get over the hump.  Coach Rocky Long’s defense is the best in the division and maybe the best in the entire league, and he returns 14 of his top 18 tacklers from last year.  If his offense can maintain the competency of recent years, SDSU could win double digit games for the first time since 1977.

Nevada exploded with a 13-1 record in 2010 and has since returned to mediocrity with three 7-6 seasons wrapped around a 4-8 season.  Third year coach Brian Polian must polish a new quarterback to replace Cody Fajardo, who led the Wolf Pack in addition to his passing skills, led the Wolf Pack in rushing.  The secondary must be rebuilt as well, and in a pass-happy league, a weak secondary can be a recipe for disaster.  However, both sides of the line of scrimmage are stocked with quality brutes, so we believe Nevada will stay in the hunt for another bowl bid.

Fresno State is in a similar boat as Nevada.  Coach Tim DeRuyter must replace his starting quarterback for the second consecutive season, but replacing Brian Burrell will be easier than replacing Derek Carr.  There is a question at the moment concerning the possible starting quarterback this year.  Former West Virginia signal caller Ford Childress is the most talented QB on the roster and should be the starter, but there are questions concerning his eligiblity status.  He is currently practicing with the squad, but there is a chance he will not be eligible to play until the second week of the season.  If Childress is okayed to play, the Bulldogs immediately move up a notch as SDSU’s top contender.  Without him, FSU may have to rely on a freshman or less talented sophomore.

San Jose State fell back in the pack last year, suffering through a 3-9 season which included a season-ending six game losing streak.  Third year coach Ron Carragher returns 10 starters on offense, but the attack troops suffered a mighty blow when freshman phenom and expected starting wide receiver Kanya Bell was dismissed following his arrest on domestic battery charges.  Many of his teammates disagreed with the dismissal, citing that there could be more to the story, and this sounds like it created possible dissension within the ranks.  If so, Carragher faces a tough uphill climb to keep the team believing in his leadership.  If the season heads south early, Carragher could find himself on a hot seat in San Jose.

If there is to be a surprise team in the Pacific Division, we believe it will be Hawaii.  Fourth year coach Norm Chow welcomes the best new quarterback in the league.  Former USC Trojan Max Wittek could be the missing ingredient Chow has needed to run his complicated offense.  The Warriors failed to complete 50% of their passes last year, and Wittek is a major upgrade.  The UH defense was vastly improved last year, and if the offense can improve in the same manner, then Hawaii could compete for that elusive seventh win and get a 14th game in December in Honolulu.  Road games in September at Ohio State and Wisconsin are the big issues.  Not that Hawaii has a chance of upsetting either team, but if injuries in those games prevent the roster from being near full strength in November, when the Warriors have a very favorable schedule, there will be no chance to get to 7-6.

What do you do if you are a first year college head coach, and you inherit a 2-11 team that gave up more than 500 yards per game and barely beat Northern Colorado by a point the year before?  What do you do when said team was decimated by graduation losses and appears to be considerably weaker than the 2-11 team you inherited?  That’s what first year UNLV coach Tony Sanchez faces in Las Vegas.  Sanchez has zero head coaching experience in college football.  He only has one year of any college football experience, and that came a generation ago when he was a graduate assistant at New Mexico State.  Sanchez has been the Knute Rockne of high school coaches in the Silver State.  He never lost a conference game at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, and his annual won-loss records were 15-0, 13-2, 16-0, 13-1, 13-2, and 15-0, winning the Nevada State Championship every year.  Those five losses in six seasons will be eclipsed in little more than half a season this year, because that Gorman team had more future FBS all-star players than this UNLV team, and Sanchez cannot play rising high school junior Tate Martell at quarterback.

Let’s take a look at how the MWC Media predicted the standings for this season.

Mountain West Conference Media Poll
Pos. Team 1st Place Total
Mountain Division
1 Boise St. 28 177
2 Utah St. 2 150
3 Colorado St. 0 108
4 Air Force 0 90
5 Wyoming 0 64
6 New Mexico 0 41
West Division
1 San Diego St. 27 177
2 Fresno St. 3 141
3 Nevada 0 113
4 San Jose St. 0 91
5 Hawaii 0 70
6 UNLV 0 38

Here is the Media’s preseason All-MWS team.

Conference USA Preseason All-Conference Team
Offense Player School
Quarterback Chuckie Keeton Utah St.
Running Back Donnel Pumphrey San Diego St.
Running Back Martez Waller Fresno St.
Wide Receiver Rashard Higgins Colorado St.
Wide Receiver Devonte Boyd UNLV
Tight End Steven Walker Colorado St.
Offensive Line Marcus Henry Boise St.
Offensive Line Rees Odhiambo Boise St.
Offensive Line Alex Fifita Fresno St.
Offensive Line Ben Clarke Hawaii
Offensive Line Pearce Slater San Diego St.
Defense Player School
Defensive Line Eddie Yarbrough Wyoming
Defensive Line Alex Hansen Air Force
Defensive Line Kamalei Correa Boise St.
Defensive Line Ian Seau Nevada
Linebacker Tanner Vallejo Boise St.
Linebacker Kyler Fackrell Utah St.
Linebacker Nick Vigil Utah St.
Defensive Back Weston Steelhammer Air Force
Defensive Back Donte Deayon Boise St.
Defensive Back Darian Thompson Boise St.
Defensive Back Damontae Kazee San Diego St.
Special Teams Player School
Punter Alex Boy Nevada
Kicker Donny Hageman San Diego St.
Return Specialist Carols Wiggins New Mexico

Here are the Preseason PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings along with the averages of the three.

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 114.5 108.6 114.1 112.4
Utah St. 99.7 98.9 100.0 99.5
Colorado St. 95.4 92.9 93.4 93.9
Air Force 91.1 96.6 90.1 92.6
New Mexico 90.7 91.8 90.2 90.9
Wyoming 84.3 86.6 82.5 84.5
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 96.3 102.6 98.0 99.0
Nevada 91.7 96.6 91.0 93.1
Fresno St. 89.3 98.1 88.7 92.0
San Jose St. 89.3 92.9 89.2 90.5
Hawaii 87.4 91.6 87.7 88.9
UNLV 76.7 79.6 76.5 77.6
MWC Averages 92.2 94.7 91.8 92.9

And, here are the PiRate Ratings Won-Loss predictions and bowl projections.

PiRate Ratings Predicted Records
Pos Team Conf. Overall Bowl
Mountain Division
1 Boise St. 8-0 13-0 * Big Six
2 Utah St. 6-2 8-4 Las Vegas
3 New Mexico 4-4 7-5 New Mexico
4 Air Force 4-4 6-6 Arizona #
5 Colorado St. 3-5 5-7 None
6 Wyoming 1-7 3-9 None
West Division
1 San Diego St. 7-1 9-4 ^ Poinsettia
2 Nevada 5-3 7-5 Idaho Potato
3 Fresno St. 4-4 5-7 None
4 Hawaii 3-5 5-8 None
5 San Jose St. 3-5 4-8 None
6 UNLV 0-8 1-11 None
* Wins Title Game
^ Loses Title Game
# The Arizona Bowl does not have a sponsor and may be postponed

Coming Next: The American Athletic Conference

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