The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 14, 2017

Starting Times For NCAA Tournament Second Round Games

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 12:36 pm
Day Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
Thursday, March 16 12:15 PM CBS Notre Dame vs. Princeton
Thursday, March 16 12:40 PM truTV Virginia vs. UNC-Wilmington
Thursday, March 16 1:30 PM TNT Butler vs. Winthrop
Thursday, March 16 2:00 PM TBS Gonzaga vs. South Dakota St.
Thursday, March 16 2:45 PM CBS West Virginia vs. Bucknell
Thursday, March 16 3:10 PM truTV Florida vs. East Tennessee St.
Thursday, March 16 4:00 PM TNT Minnesota vs. Middle Tennessee
Thursday, March 16 4:30 PM TBS Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt
Thursday, March 16 6:50 PM TNT Maryland vs. Xavier
Thursday, March 16 7:10 PM CBS Villanova vs. Mt. St. Marys/UNO
Thursday, March 16 7:20 PM TBS Saint Mary’s vs. VCU
Thursday, March 16 7:27 PM truTV Purdue vs. Vermont
Thursday, March 16 9:20 PM TNT Florida St. vs. Florida Gulf Coast
Thursday, March 16 9:40 PM CBS Wisconsin vs. Virginia Tech
Thursday, March 16 9:50 PM TBS Arizona vs. North Dakota
Thursday, March 16 9:57 PM truTV Iowa St. vs. Nevada
Friday, March 17 12:15 PM CBS Michigan vs. Oklahoma St.
Friday, March 17 12:40 PM truTV Baylor vs. New Mexico St.
Friday, March 17 1:30 PM TNT Arkansas vs. Seton Hall
Friday, March 17 2:00 PM TBS Oregon vs. Iona
Friday, March 17 2:45 PM CBS Louisville vs. Jacksonville St.
Friday, March 17 3:10 PM truTV SMU vs. Providence/USC
Friday, March 17 4:00 PM TNT North Carolina vs. Texas Southern
Friday, March 17 4:30 PM TBS Creighton vs. Rhode Island
Friday, March 17 6:50 PM TNT Kansas vs. UNC-Cent./UC-Davis
Friday, March 17 7:10 PM CBS Dayton vs. Wichita St.
Friday, March 17 7:20 PM TBS Duke vs. Troy
Friday, March 17 7:27 PM truTV Cincinnati vs. Kan. St./Wake Forest
Friday, March 17 9:20 PM TNT Miami (Fla.) vs. Michigan St.
Friday, March 17 9:40 PM CBS Kentucky vs. Northern Kentucky
Friday, March 17 9:50 PM TBS South Carolina vs. Marquette
Friday, March 17 9:57 PM truTV UCLA vs. Kent St.

March 10, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Friday, March 10, 2017

Bubble Update

Iowa, Illinois, and Utah clinched bids yesterday, but it’s to the junior prom rather than the senior prom.  The trio are NIT-bound.  USC lost a close one to rival UCLA last night, but we believe the Trojans are rather safe for now.

Some interesting upsets has made it a nerve-wracking day for a few teams that thought they were on the good side of the Bubble.  Let’s take a look at those teams that received Bubble invitations Thursday.

A. TCU–The Horned Frogs pulled the big upset over Kansas, although the Jayhawks were missing a key player due to suspension.  Kansas will remain a #1 seed, but they could move down to the fourth top-seed.  Meanwhile, Jamie Dixon is looking like a genius, taking a program that has been down for a long time and bringing it to the precipice of NCAA Tournament membership.  A Frog win today over Iowa State would give TCU 20 wins with a better than average schedule strength.  It would be mighty impressive on a resume, and the Committee would probably move that piece of paper up into the “accepted pile.”

B. Kansas State–The surprises kept coming in Kansas City, as the Wildcats knocked off Baylor in the nightcap of the Big 12 Quarterfinals.  At this point, K-State may have done enough to earn a bid, so this is probably the end of the line for Illinois State, and it could put a Friday Bubble loser in jeopardy.

C. Indiana demolished Iowa yesterday, and the Hoosiers looked more like the team they were suppose to be this year.  If IU drops Wisconsin today, the Hoosier will have a chance to make the field.  However, the Committee does not seem to favor the Big Ten this year, and it would be difficult to substantiate Indiana making the field if they do not advance to the Championship Game.  Purdue may be fortunate to become a 4-seed, and with Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan, and Michigan State all expected to make the field, an eighth Big Ten team would have to be very impressive in the next couple of days in order to make the field.  The interesting plot line here is that IU can win this tournament if they continue to play like they did yesterday, and then it would almost be a given that the Big Ten sent eight teams.  That would definitely burst a Bubble down the line.

D. Xavier had played itself down to the Bubble prior to Big East Tournament play, but the Musketeers moved back to the safe zone with their win over Butler Thursday.  XU will get a bid even if Creighton tops them tonight.

Bubblelicious Games on Friday

If your favorite team is still in that gray area,  and another upset or two makes the Committee order more ice cream, it could be a nervous 48 hours if your team loses today.  Here are the teams that should consider today must win games, even if some Bracketologists consider these teams to be in the field.  The key is that our 13 Bracketology Gurus are not unanimous in their beliefs that these teams are safe even with a loss today.

A. Vanderbilt:  The Commodores made it three for three over Texas A&M, and they bombed away from the perimeter to bury the Aggies with a second half barrage of threes.  Vandy must now do the same thing to the highly-ranked Florida Gators today to become a safe Bubble team.  A loss would leave the Commodores at 18-15, and that would give VU two negatives.  No 15-loss team has ever received and at-large bid, and almost all at-large teams have won four more games than they have lost.  19-15 improves Vandy’s chances by leaps and bounds over 18-15.

B. Houston: The Cougars still need more than one win to have any chance to make the Field.  They must beat UConn today, and then they will need an upset of Cincinnati tomorrow to even move into serious consideration.  Of course, that means Cinti must win their game against Tulsa.

C. Rhode Island is in the same boat with Houston.  Not only must the Rams take out St. Bonaventure today to have a shot at the Dance, they also must upset Dayton tomorrow and thus need Dayton to beat Davidson to set up that game.

D. TCU will move into the Field with a win over Iowa State today.  Of course, it will be a probationary invitation, because they could then be leapfrogged if a team like Indiana or Alabama should win an automatic bid.

E. Speaking of Indiana, the Hoosiers will become an official Bubbler today if they beat Wisconsin.

F. All four SEC games today have Bubble Implications.  We already told you about Vanderbilt.  Georgia has a chance to make some noise if the Bulldogs can find a way to upset Kentucky.  UGA came close to sweeping the Wildcats in the regular season only to lose two heartbreakers.  If UK wants to win this tournament, they will waltz through with three double-digit wins, but if the players are already thinking about the NBA Draft and don’t want to jeopardize their chances by giving their all and risking injury, then any team left in the field can beat the Wildcats.

G. Ole Miss has 20 wins, and a win today over Arkansas, followed by a possible win tomorrow over Florida (if UF beat Vandy), could move the Rebels into contention for a bid.

H. Alabama is the forgotton team in the SEC Tournament.  The Crimson Tide have the potential to play with any league member when they take smart shots.  Coach Avery Johnson knows how to prepare his team to compete, and it all comes down to FG% for the Tide.  Until somebody beats the Crimson, they cannot be overlooked–even if they are.  If the Tide beats South Carolina today and then gets a semifinal game with Kentucky tomorrow, a win over the Wildcats would have to make ‘Bama a serious contender.

I. The three Mid-Major Players: Middle Tennessee, Nevada, and Texas-Arlington are still alive in the at-large race, but the way the trio is playing, they will really have to lay an egg to lose in their conference tournaments.  MTSU faces the one team that beat them in conference play today, and we expect the Blue Raiders to punish UTEP with a blowout win.

Nevada faces a somewhat tougher task facing Fresno State, and if the men from Reno win, they are no guarantee in the Championship against either Colorado State or San Diego State.  In fact, the way the Aztecs played yesterday, they looked similar to all their past teams that advanced into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.  This is possibly the best tournament to watch tonight if you are a basketball junkie from another league.

UT-Arlington is the least likely of the three in this group to get an at-large bid if they fail to win their conference tournament, but they do own the one victory over Saint Mary’s other than the three Gonzaga pinned on the Gaels.  There isn’t a lot to add to their schedule strength, so UTA really needs to win the Sun Belt title.

Friday’s Schedule

Conference Tournament Schedule–All Times Eastern Standard
American Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 SMU 27-4 vs. 9 East Carolina 15-17 12:00 PM ESPN2
4 Central Florida 20-10 vs. 5 Memphis 19-12 2:00 PM ESPN2
2 Cincinnati 27-4 vs. 7 Tulsa 15-16 7:00 PM ESPNU
3 Houston 21-9 vs. 6 Connecticut 15-16 9:00 PM ESPNU
                 
Atlantic Coast Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 North Carolina 27-6 vs. 5 Duke 25-8 7:00 PM ESPN
2 Florida St. 25-7 vs. 3 Notre Dame 24-8 9:00 PM ESPN
                 
Atlantic 10 Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Dayton 24-6 vs. 9 Davidson 16-14 12:00 PM NBCSN
4 Rhode Island 21-9 vs. 5 St. Bonaventure 20-11 2:30 PM NBCSN
2 VCU 24-7 vs. 7 George Mason 20-12 6:00 PM NBCSN
3 Richmond 19-11 vs. 6 George Washington 19-13 8:30 PM NBCSN
                 
Big 12 Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8 TCU 19-14 vs. 4 Iowa St. 21-10 7:00 PM ESPN2
2 West Virginia 25-7 vs. 6 Kansas St. 20-12 9:00 PM ESPN2
                 
Big East Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Villanova 29-3 vs. 5 Seton Hall 21-10 6:30 PM FS1
7 Xavier 21-12 vs. 6 Creighton 24-8 9:00 PM FS1
                 
Big Sky Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 North Dakota 20-9 vs. 4 Idaho 18-12 8:35 PM Big Sky
2 Eastern Washington 22-10 vs. 3 Weber St. 18-12 11:05 PM Big Sky
                 
Big Ten Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Purdue 25-6 vs. 8 Michigan 21-11 12:00 PM ESPN
4 Minnesota 23-8 vs. 5 Michigan St. 19-13 2:20 PM ESPN
2 Wisconsin 23-8 vs. 10 Indiana 18-14 6:30 PM BTN
3 Maryland 24-7 vs. 6 Northwestern 22-10 8:50 PM BTN
                 
Big West Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
2 UC-Davis 20-12 vs. 3 Cal St. Fullerton 17-13 9:30 PM ESPN3
1 UC-Irvine 20-13 vs. 4 Long Beach St. 15-18 12:00 AM ESPN3
                 
Conference USA
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Middle Tennessee 28-4 vs. 4 UTEP 15-16 12:30 PM CBSSN
2 Louisiana Tech 23-9 vs. 6 Marshall 19-14 3:00 PM CBSSN
                 
Mid-American Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Akron 25-7 vs. 4 Ball St. 21-11 5:30 PM CBSSN
2 Ohio U 20-10 vs. 6 Kent St. 20-13 8:00 PM CBSSN
                 
Mideastern Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UNC-Central 23-8 vs. 5 Md.–Eastern Shore 13-19 6:00 PM ESPN3
2 Norfolk St. 16-15 vs. 11 Howard 10-23 8:00 PM ESPN3
                 
Mountain West Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Nevada 26-6 vs. 4 Fresno St. 20-11 10:00 PM CBSSN
2 Colorado St. 22-10 vs. 6 San Diego St. 20-13 12:30 AM CBSSN
                 
Pac-12 Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Oregon 28-4 vs. 5 California 21-11 9:00 PM P12 Net.
2 Arizona 28-4 vs. 3 UCLA 29-3 11:30 PM ESPN
                 
Southeastern Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Kentucky 26-5 vs. 8 Georgia 19-13 1:00 PM SECN
4 South Carolina 22-9 vs. 5 Alabama 18-13 3:20 PM SECN
2 Florida 24-7 vs. 7 Vanderbilt 18-14 7:00 PM SECN
3 Arkansas 23-8 vs. 6 Ole Miss 20-12 9:20 PM SECN
                 
Southland Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 New Orleans 18-11 vs. 5 Sam Houston St. 21-12 6:00 PM ESPN3
2 Texas A&M-CC 19-10 vs. 3 Stephen F. Austin 18-13 8:30 PM ESPN3
                 
Southwestern Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Texas Southern 21-11 vs. 5 Grambling 16-16 3:30 PM None
2 Alcorn St. * 17-13 vs. 3 Southern 15-17 9:30 PM None
                 
*Alcorn St. is ineligible for postseason play due to low APR scores.
If the Braves win the tourney, Texas Sou. wins the bid.
                 
Sun Belt Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UT-Arlington 24-7 vs. 8 Coastal Carolina 16-16 1:30 PM ESPN3
4 Texas St. 18-12 vs. 12 Louisiana-Monroe 9-23 3:00 PM ESPN3
2 Georgia St. 19-11 vs. 7 Louisiana-Lafayette 21-11 6:00 PM ESPN3
3 Georgia Southern 18-13 vs. 6 Troy 19-14 8:30 PM ESPN3
                 
Western Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Cal St. Bakersfield 21-8 vs. 4 Utah Valley 15-15 9:00 PM ESPN3
2 New Mexico St. 26-5 vs. 3 Missouri-KC 17-15 11:30 PM ESPN3

NOTE: We are getting several inquiries about our Red-White-Blue ratings and why we do not post them for every game.  The computing of these ratings are quite laborious; it takes upwards of 7 to 8 minutes to do just one game, and even with five or six people retrieving the stats, it limits us to once per week and just the Power Conference games.  We are not issuing any this weekend, as we are spending all our extra time getting this information for the teams that have clinched bids and finished regular season play.

We will issue picks for all NCAA Tournament games, commencing with the First Four at Dayton.  We hope to have the First Four previews on this site by Monday Night Eastern Daylight Time.  

 

March 7, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Sunday, March 7, 2017

New Dance Partners

UNC-Wilmington won the Colonial Athletic Association once again, and the Seahawks seem to have recovered from their February swoon that saw them lose four times.  UNCW will be a formidable seed, be it from the 11, 12, or 13 hole.  Coach Kevin Keatts has established himself as a future star in the business, destined to end up at a power conference school.

 

Steve Forbes is quickly developing into a top-flight coach as well.  The former assistant at Tennessee under Bruce Pearl guided his East Tennessee State Buccaneers to the Southern Conference title last night, and this ETSU team has a lot of the traits that the Volunteers possessed when Pearl and Forbes were in Knoxville.  The Bucs will be a hard team for a 3 or 4-seed to get past in the second round.

 

Iona repeats as conference champions, as the Gaels fought off Siena in a close game to win the MAAC title on the loser’s home court.  The Gaels will be a 14 or 15-seed, but they look like a one and done team this year.

Tickets Punched So Far

Ohio Valley Conference: JACKSONVILLE ST. (20-14)
Big South Conference: WINTHROP (26-6)
Missouri Valley Conference: WICHITA ST. (30-4)
Atlantic Sun Conference: FLORIDA GULF COAST (26-7)
Colonial Athletic Association: UNC-WILMINGTON (29-5)
Southern Conference: EAST TENNESSEE ST. (27-7)
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: IONA (22-12)

 

Surprise Surprise–Last Place Team One Win Away From Dancing

The Horizon League had a couple of worthy teams this year that could have won an opening game in the NCAA Tournament.  Valparaiso looked like a Sweet 16 dark horse in early February, but the Crusaders lost a couple of games and then lost their version of Lebron and quickly exited the tournament in the opening game.  Oakland appeared to have an easy road to the Horizon championship, but the Grizzlies fell to a feisty Youngstown State team in their first game.

What’s left for the title game tonight?  Last-place and 23-loss Milwaukee has advanced to the championship game to face a Northern Kentucky team that picked the right time to play its best ball of the year.  The Norse ended the regular season on a roll and have parlayed that into where they are now one win away from making their first ever NCAA Tournament berth at the Division 1 level.  They were a dominant Division II team for more than a dozen years before moving up to the big time.

 

Today’s Tournament Schedule

Championship Games–NCAA Bid on the Line

Time (ET) Network Conference Team vs. Team
7:00 PM ESPN Horizon Northern Kentucky vs. Milwaukee
7:00 PM ESPN2 Northeast Mount St. Mary’s vs. St. Francis (PA)
9:00 PM ESPN2 Summit South Dakota St. vs. Omaha
9:00 PM ESPN West Coast Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s

Other Tournament Games

Time (ET) Network Conference Team vs. Team
12:00 PM ESPN2 ACC Clemson vs. North Carolina St.
2:00 PM ESPN2 ACC Wake Forest vs. Boston College
4:00 PM ESPN3 MEAC Delaware St. vs. Bethune-Cookman
5:35 PM Watch Big Sky Big Sky Portland St. vs. Northern Arizona
6:00 PM ESPN3 MEAC South Carolina St. vs. Florida A&M
7:00 PM ESPNU ACC Georgia Tech vs. Pittsburgh
7:00 PM Radio Only SWAC Alcorn St. * vs. Mississippi Valley
8:30 PM Radio Only SWAC Texas Southern vs. Alabama St.
8:30 PM Radio Only SWAC Southern vs. Jackson St.
8:35 PM Watch Big Sky Big Sky Sacramento St. vs. Idaho St.
9:00 PM Radio Only SWAC Prairie View A&M vs. Grambling
11:05 PM Watch Big Sky Big Sky Montana St. vs. Southern Utah

* Alcorn State is ineligible for postseason play, and if the Braves win the SWAC Tournament, regular season champion Texas Southern will get the automatic bid.

 

The Bubble

Keep an eye on the ACC Tournament opening round in Brooklyn.  All three games involve teams on the Bubble–Clemson plays in the first game, Wake Forest plays in the second game, and Georgia Tech plays in the third game.  All three must win today to stay on the Bubble, but a win will not get any of the three into the field.  They all need multiple wins to earn at-large bids.

 

Game of the Night

Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s face off for a third time tonight, when the two Pacific powers meet in the West Coast Conference Tournament Championship Game yet again.  Gonzaga has not looked like a Final Four team since losing to BYU in their regular season finale, while SMC looks like a team ready to make a long run in the NCAA Tournament with a stifling defense and improving offense.  If SMC pulls the upset tonight, Gonzaga could fall to a 2-seed, allowing Kentucky or Oregon to move up to a 1-seed.  SMC could move up to a 5 or even 4-seed with a win tongiht.

 

 

 

March 4, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Saturday, March 4, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 6:03 am

One #1 Seed Falls

Regular season Ohio Valley Conference Champion Belmont has become the first number one seed to fall in their conference tournament, relegating the Bruins to the NIT with an automatic bid.  Jacksonville State, picked to finish dead last in the OVC this year, has shocked many under first-year head coach Ray Harper, who previously guided Western Kentucky to consecutive NCAA Tournament berths.  JSU upset Belmont in Nashville last night to set up a championship game with UT-Martin.  By 10:30 PM EST tonight the winner of this game will become the first official team in the Big Dance.

The Ivy League Tournament Situation

Princeton secured the regular season Ivy League Championship last night, when the Tigers completed a sweep of Harvard.  The Crimson are set in the number two slot, while Yale has clinched the third of the four conference tournament seeds.

The fourth and final spot up for grabs in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament to be played in the Palestra in Philadelphia is still to be decided with three of the remaining five teams still in the race with tonight’s games remaining.  Let’s look at the possible scenarios.

First, at the moment, Penn and Columbia are tied with 5-8 league records.  Dartmouth and Brown are tied at 4-9, but Brown has been eliminated from qualifying on all possible outcomes.  So, we are talking Penn, Columbia, and Dartmouth still with a chance to earn the number four seed.

  1. If Penn beats Harvard and Yale beats Columbia, then Penn gets the #4 seed
  2. If Columbia beats Yale and Harvard beats Penn, then Columbia gets the #4 seed
  3. If Both Penn and Columbia win tonight, and Brown and Dartmouth both win, then Penn gets the #4 Seed
  4. If Both Penn and Columbia lose tonight, and Dartmouth beats Princeton, then Dartmouth gets the #4 Seed
  5. If Both Penn and Columbia lose tonight and Brown beats Cornell, then Columbia gets the #4 Seed

Today’s Conference Tournament Games–Times–TV

Time Network Conference Team vs. Team
12:00 PM Comcast SN Colonial UNC-Wilmington vs. Delaware
2:30 PM Comcast SN Colonial William & Mary vs. Elon
6:00 PM Comcast SN Colonial College of Charleston vs. James Madison
8:30 PM Comcast SN Colonial Towson St. vs. Northeastern
5:30 PM ESPN3 Horizon Oakland vs. Youngstown St.
8:00 PM ESPN3 Horizon Valparaiso vs. MIlwaukee
7:00 PM ESPN3 MAAC Iona vs. Rider
9:30 PM ESPN3 MAAC Siena vs. Fairfield
3:30 PM CBSSN MVC Illinois St. vs. Southern Illinois
6:00 PM CBSSN MVC Wichita St. vs. Missouri St.
12:00 PM MSG/FCS NEC Wagner vs. St. Francis (PA)
2:00 PM MSG/FCS NEC Mount St. Mary’s vs. Robert Morris
8:00 PM ESPN2 OVC–TITLE UT-Martin vs. Jacksonville St.
12:00 PM ESPN3 SoCon UNC-Greensboro vs. The Citadel
2:30 PM ESPN3 SoCon Chattanooga vs. Wofford
6:00 PM ESPN3 SoCon Furman vs. Samford
8:30 PM ESPN3 SoCon East Tennessee St. vs. Mercer
7:00 PM ESPN3 Summit South Dakota vs. Western Illinois
9:30 PM ESPN3 Summit North Dakota St. vs. IUPUI
4:00 PM BYUtv WCC BYU vs. Loyola Marymount
6:00 PM BYUtv WCC Santa Clara vs. San Francisco
10:00 PM ESPN2 WCC Gonzaga vs. Pacific
12:00 AM ESPN2 WCC Saint Mary’s vs. Portland

Schedule By Tip-off Time

Time Network Conference Team vs. Team
12:00 PM Comcast SN Colonial UNC-Wilmington vs. Delaware
12:00 PM MSG/FCS NEC Wagner vs. St. Francis (PA)
12:00 PM ESPN3 SoCon UNC-Greensboro vs. The Citadel
2:00 PM MSG/FCS NEC Mount St. Mary’s vs. Robert Morris
2:30 PM Comcast SN Colonial William & Mary vs. Elon
2:30 PM ESPN3 SoCon Chattanooga vs. Wofford
3:30 PM CBSSN MVC Illinois St. vs. Southern Illinois
4:00 PM BYUtv WCC BYU vs. Loyola Marymount
5:30 PM ESPN3 Horizon Oakland vs. Youngstown St.
6:00 PM Comcast SN Colonial College of Charleston vs. James Madison
6:00 PM CBSSN MVC Wichita St. vs. Missouri St.
6:00 PM ESPN3 SoCon Furman vs. Samford
6:00 PM BYUtv WCC Santa Clara vs. San Francisco
7:00 PM ESPN3 MAAC Iona vs. Rider
7:00 PM ESPN3 Summit South Dakota vs. Western Illinois
8:00 PM ESPN3 Horizon Valparaiso vs. MIlwaukee
8:00 PM ESPN2 OVC–TITLE UT-Martin vs. Jacksonville St.
8:30 PM Comcast SN Colonial Towson St. vs. Northeastern
8:30 PM ESPN3 SoCon East Tennessee St. vs. Mercer
9:30 PM ESPN3 MAAC Siena vs. Fairfield
9:30 PM ESPN3 Summit North Dakota St. vs. IUPUI
10:00 PM ESPN2 WCC Gonzaga vs. Pacific
12:00 AM ESPN2 WCC Saint Mary’s vs. Portland

 

March 7, 2016

NCAA Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament Update: 3/7/16

The appetizer has been served, and now it is time for the main courses to begin.  Five teams have punched tickets to the NCAA Tournament, and three more will receive automatic bids tonight.  A handful of conference tournaments start today as well.

 

These are the teams that have earned automatic bids to date.

Teams Earning Automatic Bids
Ohio Valley: Austin Peay (18-17)
Ivy League: Yale (22-6)
Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast (20-13)
Big South: UNC-Asheville (22-11)
Missouri Valley: Northern Iowa (22-12)

 

We have broken the action down into parts.  Let’s take a look first at the tournaments that will conclude tonight by crowning a champion.

 

Automatic Bids Awarded Today
Colonial Athletic: 7:00 PM on NBC Sports Network
#1 Hofstra (24-8) vs. #2 UNC-Wilmington (24-7)
 
Metro Atlantic: 7:00 PM on ESPN
#1 Monmouth (27-6) vs. #2 Iona (21-10)
 
Southern Conference: 9:00 PM on ESPN2
#1 Chattanooga (28-5) vs. #2 East Tennessee (23-10)

 

These are the tournaments that will continue to play non-championship rounds today.

Tournaments In Action Today
 
America East
Semifinal Round
#7 Hartford (10-22) @ #1 Stony Brook (24-6)
#4 New Hampshire (19-11) @ #3 Vermont (20-12)
 
Horizon League
Semifinal Round
#4 Green Bay (21-12) vs. #1 Valparaiso (26-5)
#3 Wright St. (21-12) vs. #2 Oakland (21-10)
 
Mid-American
1st Round
G1:#9 Toledo (17-14) at #8 Eastern Michigan (17-14)
G2: #12 Bowling Green (14-17) at #5 Kent St. (19-12)
G3: #10 Western Michigan (13-18) at #7 Northern Illinois (20-11)
G4: #11 Miami (O) (12-19) at #6 Ball St. (19-12)
 
Mid-eastern Athletic
1st Round
G1: #5 Savannah St. (14-14) vs. #12 Delaware St. (7-24)
G2: #6 North Carolina A&T (10-21) vs. #11 Coppin St. (8-21)
 
West Coast
Semifinal Round
#1 Saint Mary’s (25-4) vs. #4 Pepperdine (18-12)
#2 Gonzaga (24-7) vs. #3 BYU (23-9)

 

These are the brackets for the tournaments that will begin later this week.

American Athletic Conference Tournament
Site: Orlando
 
1st Round
Thursday, March 10
G1: #8 East Carolina (12-19) vs. #9 South Florida (7-24)
G2: #7 Central Florida (12-17) vs. #10 Tulane (10-21)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3: G1 Winner vs. #1 Temple (20-10)
G4: #4 Cincinnati (22-9) vs. #5 Connecticut (21-10)
G5: G2 Winner vs. #2 Houston (22-8)
G6: #3 Tulsa (20-10) vs. #6 Memphis (17-14)
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
3:15 PM on ESPN
 
 
Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Sites: Washington, DC
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #12 North Carolina St. (15-16) vs. #13 Wake Forest (11-19)
G2: #11 Florida St. (18-12) vs. #14 Boston College (7-24)
 
2nd Round
Wednesday, March 9
G3: #8 Pittsburgh (20-10) vs. #9 Syracuse (19-12)
G4: #5 Duke (22-9) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #7 Clemson (17-13) vs. #10 Georgia Tech (18-13)
G6: #6 Virginia Tech (18-13) vs. G2 Winner
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G7: #1 North Carolina (25-6) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #4 Notre Dame (20-10) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #2 Virginia (24-6) vs. G5 Winner
G10: #3 Miami (24-6) vs. G6 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
G9 Winner vs. G10 Winner
 
Championship Round
Saturday, March 12
9:00 PM on ESPN
 
Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Site: Brooklyn
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #12 George Mason (11-20) vs. #13 St. Louis (10-20)
G2: #11 Duquesne (16-15) vs. #14 LaSalle (8-21)
 
2nd Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #8 Fordham (17-12) vs. #9 Richmond (15-15)
G4: #5 George Washington (22-9) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #7 Rhode Island (17-14) vs. #10 U Mass (13-17)
G6: #6 Davidson (18-11) vs. G2 Winner
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G7: #1 Dayton (24-6) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #4 St. Joseph’s (24-7) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #2 VCU (22-9) vs. G5 Winner
G10: #3 St. Bonaventure (22-7) vs. G6 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
G9 Winner vs. G10 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
12:30 PM on CBS
 
 
Big 12 Conference Tournament
Site: Kansas City
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Kansas St. (16-15) vs. #9 Oklahoma St. (12-19)
G2: #7 Texas Tech (19-11) vs. #10 TCU (11-20)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #4 Texas (20-11) vs. #5 Baylor (21-10)
G4: #1 Kansas (27-4) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #2 West Virginia (24-7) vs. G2 Winner
G6: #3 Oklahoma (24-6) vs. #6 Iowa St. (21-10)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
 
Championship Game
Saturday, March 12
6:00 PM on ESPN
 
 
Big East Conference Tournament
Site: New York
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Georgetown (14-17) vs. #9 DePaul (9-21)
G2: #7 Marquette (19-12) vs. #10 St. John’s (8-23)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #1 Villanova (27-4) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #4 Providence (22-9) vs. #5 Butler (21-9)
G5: #2 Xavier (26-4) vs. G2 Winner
G6: #3 Seton Hall (22-8) vs. #6 Creighton (18-13)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
 
Championship Round
Saturday, March 12
5:30 PM on Fox
 
 
Big Sky Conference Tournament
Site: Reno, NV
 
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #8 Portland St. (12-17) vs. #9 Northern Colorado (10-20)
G2: #5 North Dakota (15-14) vs. #12 Southern Utah (5-23)
G3: #7 Montana St. (14-16) vs. #10 Sacramento St. (13-16)
G4: #6 Eastern Washington (16-14) vs. #11 Northern Arizona (5-24)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G5: #1 Weber St. (23-8) vs. G1 Winner
G6: #4 Idaho St. (16-14) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #2 Montana (19-10) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #3 Idaho (20-11) vs. G4 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
8:45 PM on ESPNU
 
 
Big Ten Conference Tournament
Site: Indianapolis
 
First Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #12 Illinois (13-18) vs. #13 Minnesota (8-22)
G2: #11 Nebraska (14-17) vs. #14 Rutgers (7-24)
 
Second Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #8 Michigan (20-11) vs. #9 Northwestern (20-11)
G4: #5 Iowa (21-9) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #7 Ohio St. (19-12) vs. #10 Penn St. (16-15)
G6: #6 Wisconsin (20-11) vs. G2 Winner
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G7: #1 Indiana (25-6) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #4 Purdue (24-7) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #2 Michigan St. (26-5) vs. G5 Winner
G10: #3 Maryland (24-7) vs. G6 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
G7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner
G9 Winner vs. G10 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
3:30 PM on CBS
 
 
Big West Conference Tournament
Site: Anaheim
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
#4 UCSB (17-12) vs. #5 UC Davis (10-18)
#1 Hawaii (24-5) vs. #8 Cal St. Fullerton (10-19)
#2 UC-Irvine (24-8) vs. #7 Cal Poly (10-19)
#3 Long Beach St. (18-13) vs. #6 UC Riverside (14-18)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed
2nd Highest Remaining Seed vs. 3rd Highest Remaining Seed
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
11:30 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Conference USA Tournament
Site: Birmingham
 
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #12 Florida Atlantic (7-24) vs. #13 UTSA (5-26)
 
2nd Round
Wednesday, March 9
G2: #8 Western Kentucky (16-15) vs. #9 North Texas (12-19)
G3: #5 Old Dominion (19-12) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #7 Charlotte (13-18) vs. #10 Rice (12-19)
G5: #6 UTEP (18-13) vs. #11 Florida Int’l (13-18)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G6: #1 UAB (26-5) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #4 Louisiana Tech (23-8) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #2 Middle Tennessee (21-9) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #3 Marshall (16-15) vs. G5 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
2:30 PM on Fox Sports 1
 
 
Pac-12 Conference Tournament
Site: Las Vegas
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Washington (17-13) vs. #9 Stanford (15-14)
G2: #5 Colorado (21-10) vs. #12 Washington St. (9-21)
G3: #7 USC (20-11) vs. #10 UCLA (15-16)
G4: #6 Oregon St. (18-11) vs. #11 Arizona St. (15-16)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G5: #1 Oregon (25-6) vs. G1 Winner
G6: #4 Arizona (24-7) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #2 Utah (24-7) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #3 California (22-9) vs. G4 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
10:15 PM on FS1
 
 
Southeastern Conference Tournament
Site: Nashville
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #12 Tennessee (13-18) vs. #13 Auburn (11-19)
 
2nd Round
Thursday, March 10
G2: #8 Florida (18-13) vs. #9 Arkansas (16-15)
G3: #5 Vanderbilt (19-12) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #7 Ole Miss (20-11) vs. #10 Alabama (17-13)
G5: #6 Georgia (17-12) vs. #11 Mississippi St. (14-16)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G6: #1 Texas A&M (24-7) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #4 LSU (18-13) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #2 Kentucky (23-8) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #3 South Carolina (24-7) vs. G5 Winnerr
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
G8 Winner vs. G9 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
2:00 PM on ESPN
 
 
Southland Conference Tournament
Site: Katy, TX
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #5 Southeastern Louisiana (11-20) vs. #8 New Orleans (10-19)
G2: #6 McNeese St. (9-19) vs. #7 Nicholls St. (10-22)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #4 Houston Baptist (16-15) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #3 Sam Houston (17-14) vs. G2 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
#1 Stephen F. Austin (25-5) vs. G3 Winner
#2 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (24-6) vs. G4 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
9:30 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
Site: Houston
 
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #7 Mississippi Valley St. (6-26) vs. #10 Grambling (7-23)
G2: #8 Alabama A&M (10-17) vs. #9 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (8-24)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Wedneday, March 9
G3: #2 Alcorn St. (15-14) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #1 Texas Southern (17-13) vs. G2 Winner
 
Thursday, March 10
G5: #3 Jackson St. (17-14) vs. #6 Prairie View A&M (7-23)
G6; #4 Southern (19-12) vs. #5 Alabama St. (14-16)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3 Winner vs. G5 Winner
G4 Winner vs. G6 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
6:30 PM on ESPNU
 
 
Summit League Tournament
Site: Sioux Falls, SD
 
Quarterfinal Round
Saturday, March 5
G1: #1 IPFW (23-8) vs. #8 South Dakota (14-17)
G2: #2 South Dakota St. (23-7) vs. #7 Oral Roberts (14-16)
 
Sunday, March 6
G3: #4 IUPUI (13-18) vs. #5 North Dakota St. (18-12)
G4: #3 Omaha (18-12) vs. #6 Denver (15-14)
 
Semifinal Round
Monday, March 7
G5: G1 Winner vs. G3 Winner
G6: G2 Winner vs. G4 Winner
 
Championship
Tuesday, March 8
9:00 PM on ESPN2
 
Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Site: New Orleans
 
1st Round
Thursday, March 10
G1: #5 Georgia Southern (14-16) vs. #8 South Alabama (13-18)
G2: #6 Georgia St. (16-13) vs. #7 Texas St. (14-15)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3: #4 UL-Lafayette (16-13) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #3 UT-Arlington (22-9) vs. G2 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
#1 UALR (27-4) vs. G3 Winner
#2 UL-Monroe (19-12) vs. G4 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
1:00 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Site: Las Vegas
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G1: #4 Utah Valley (12-17) vs. #5 Missouri-KC (11-18)
G2: #2 Cal St. Bakersfield (21-8) vs. #7 Chicago St. (4-27)
G3: #3 Seattle (13-15) vs. #6 UT-Rio Grande Valley (8-21)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
#1 New Mexico St. (22-9) vs. G1 Winner
G2 Winner vs. G3 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
11:00 PM on ESPNU

 

In case you missed it, here are how the concluded tournaments finished.

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Score
Site: Campus Sites @ Higher Seeds  
Quarterfinal Round  
Tuesday, March 1  
G1: #8 USC-Upstate (10-21) @ #1 North Florida (21-10) 69-92
G2: #5 Kennesaw St. (11-19) @ #4 Florida Gulf Coast (17-13) 64-74
G3: #7 Stetson (10-21) @ #2 NJIT (17-13) 82-67
G4: #6 Lipscomb (11-20) @ #3 Jacksonville (16-15) 92-89
   
Semifinal Round  
Thursday, March 3  
#4 Florida Gulf Coast (18-13) @ #1 North Florida (22-10) 89-56
#7 Stetson (11-21) @ #6 Lipscomb (12-20) 96-75
   
Championship  
Sunday, March 6 12:30 PM on ESPN2  
#7 Stetson (12-21) @ #4 Florida Gulf Coast (19-13) 78-80
   
   
Big South Conference Tournament  
Site: Buies Creek, NC (Campbell)  
   
1st Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G1: #8 Longwood (9-22) vs. #9 Charleston Southern (9-20) 75-69
G2: #7 Radford (16-14) vs. #10 Presbyterian (10-19) 64-65
G3: #6 Gardner-Webb (15-15) vs. #11 Campbell (12-17) 79-69
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G4: #1 High Point (20-9) vs. #8 Longwood (10-22) 89-78
G5: #4 UNC-Asheville (19-11) vs. #5 Liberty (13-18) 80-49
G6: #2 Winthrop (21-8) vs. #10 Presbyterian (11-19) 67-53
G7: #3 Coastal Carolina (18-10) vs. #6 Gardner-Webb (16-15) 65-69
   
Semifinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
#1 High Point (21-9) vs. #4 UNC-Asheville (20-11) 69-80
#2 Winthrop (22-8) vs. #6 Gardner-Webb (17-15) 82-69
   
Championship  
Sunday, March 6  
#2 Winthrop (23-8) vs. #4 UNC-Asheville (21-11) 68-77
   
   
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament  
Site: St. Louis  
   
1st Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G1: #8 Loyola (Chi.) (14-16) vs. #9 Bradley (5-26) 74-66
G2: #7 MIssouri St. (12-18) vs. #10 Drake (7-23) 69-67
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G3: #1 Wichita St. (23-7) vs. #8 Loyola (Chi.) (15-16) 66-58
G4: #4 Northern Iowa (19-12) vs. #5 Southern Illinois (22-9) 66-60
G5: #2 Evansville (23-8) vs. #7 Missouri St. (13-18) 66-56
G6: #3 Illinois St. (18-13) vs. #6 Indiana St. (14-16) 57-65
   
Semifinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
#1 Wichita St. (24-7) vs. #4 Northern Iowa (20-12) 52-57
#2 Evansville (24-8) vs. #6 Indiana St. (15-16) 68-42
   
Championship Game  
Sunday, March 6  
#2 Evansville (25-8) vs. #4 Northern Iowa (21-12) 54-56
   
   
Ohio Valley Conference Tournament  
Site: Nashville  
   
1st Round  
Wednesday, March 2  
G1: #5 Tennessee Tech (19-10) vs. #8 Austin Peay (14-17) 72-92
G2: #6 Murray St. (16-13) vs. #7 Eastern Illinois (13-16) 78-62
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G3: #4 Tennessee St. (20-9) vs. #8 Austin Peay (15-17) 72-74
G4: #3 Morehead St. (18-11) vs. #6 Murray St. (17-13) 75-66
   
Semifinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G5: #1 Belmont (20-10) vs. #8 Austin Peay (16-17) 96-97
G6: #2 UT-Martin (18-13) vs. #3 Morehead St. (19-11) 83-70
   
Championship  
Saturday, March 5 6:00 PM on ESPN2  
#2 UT-Martin (19-13) vs. #8 Austin Peay (17-17) 73-83

 

America’s Most Accurate Bracketology Report

Our 32 expert bracketologists are now starting to agree on about 66 teams, and the bubble has shrunk to a small pop.  So far, one bubble has burst from among the at-large pool, as our gurus say that Wichita State will still get into the NCAA Tournament after losing the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in a semifinal round game against eventual champion Northern Iowa.

 

The Metro Atlantic Championship Game and West Coast Conference semifinals should be quite interesting tonight.  If Monmouth loses in the MAAC, that will most likely pop another bubble, because the Hawks have a resume strong enough to receive an at-large bid.  St. Mary’s in the WCC might lose out if they lose a third time to Pepperdine, but if the Gaels win tonight and then lose to either Gonzaga or BYU in the WCC Championship Game, then they could also receive an at-large bid.

 

As the big power conferences prepare to start their tournaments in the next couple of days, there are a handful of teams that could fall out of the at-large picture if they suffer quick exits.  Among these teams are: Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Temple, Cincinnati, St. Joseph’s, Pittsburgh, and Tulsa.

 

There are teams that can still get into the at-large picture if they make runs to the Championship Game of their tournament but come up a bit short.  These include: Virginia Commonwealth, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, and George Washington.

 

Here is the current bracketology, updated this morning.

Seed Team Auto.
1 Virginia  
1 Kansas  
1 Villanova  
1 North Carolina  
2 Oklahoma  
2 Oregon  
2 Michigan St.  
2 Xavier  
3 West Virginia  
3 Miami (Fla.)  
3 Utah  
3 Maryland  
4 Indiana  
4 Kentucky  
4 Duke  
4 Texas A&M  
5 Purdue  
5 Arizona  
5 Iowa St.  
5 Iowa  
6 California  
6 Texas  
6 Baylor  
6 Dayton  
7 Notre Dame  
7 Texas Tech  
7 Seton Hall  
7 Wisconsin  
8 Providence  
8 Butler  
8 Colorado  
8 USC  
9 Connecticut  
9 Oregon St.  
9 South Carolina  
9 Pittsburgh  
10 Syracuse  
10 Vanderbilt  
10 Wichita St.  
10 San Diego St.  
11 St. Mary’s  
11 Temple  
11 Valparaiso  
11 St. Bonaventure  
11 Cincinnati  
12 Monmouth  
12 UALR  
12 Yale IVY
12 St. Joseph’s  
12 Tulsa  
13 Akron  
13 Northern Iowa MVC
13 Hofstra  
13 South Dakota St.  
14 Chattanooga  
14 Stony Brook  
14 UAB  
14 Stephen F. Austin  
15 Hawaii  
15 UNC-Asheville Big South
15 New Mexico St.  
15 Weber State  
16 Florida Gulf Coast A-Sun
16 Hampton  
16 Wagner  
16 Austin Peay OVC
16 Lehigh  
16 Texas Southern  

 

 

 

 

March 6, 2016

NCAA Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament Update: 3/6/16

Teams Earning Automatic Bids
Ohio Valley: Austin Peay (18-17)
Ivy League: Yale (22-6)

 

Automatic Bids To Be Awarded Today
Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast vs. Stetson 12:30 PM ESPN2 *
Stetson is ineligible for the postseason. North Florida will go if the Hatters win.
 
Big South: Winthrop vs. UNC-Asheville 2:30 PM ESPN2
 
Missouri Valley: Evansville vs. Northern Iowa 2:00 PM on CBS

 

Results of Tournaments Played To Date

America East Conference Tournament Score
Site: Campus Sites @ Higher Seeds  
Quarterfinal Round  
Wednesday, March 2  
#8 UMBC (7-24) @ #1 Stony Brook (23-6) 76-86
#7 Hartford (9-22) @ #2 Albany (24-7) 68-59
#6 Maine (8-21) @ #3 Vermont (19-12) 82-99
#5 Binghamton (8-21) @ #4 New Hampshire (18-11) 51-56
   
Semifinal Round  
Monday, March 7  
#7 Hartford (10-22) @ #1 Stony Brook (24-6)  
#4 New Hampshire (19-11) @ #3 Vermont (20-12)  
   
Championship  
Saturday, March 12  
11:00 AM EST on ESPN2  
   
   
Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament  
Site: Campus Sites @ Higher Seeds  
Quarterfinal Round  
Tuesday, March 1  
G1: #8 USC-Upstate (10-21) @ #1 North Florida (21-10) 69-92
G2: #5 Kennesaw St. (11-19) @ #4 Florida Gulf Coast (17-13) 64-74
G3: #7 Stetson (10-21) @ #2 NJIT (17-13) 82-67
G4: #6 Lipscomb (11-20) @ #3 Jacksonville (16-15) 92-89
   
Semifinal Round  
Thursday, March 3  
#4 Florida Gulf Coast (18-13) @ #1 North Florida (22-10) 89-56
#7 Stetson (11-21) @ #6 Lipscomb (12-20) 96-75
   
Championship  
Sunday, March 6 12:30 PM on ESPN2  
#7 Stetson (12-21) @ #4 Florida Gulf Coast (19-13)  
   
Note: If Stetson wins the tournament, then North Florida will  
represent the A-Sun in the NCAA Tournament due to Stetson  
being ineligible for the postseason.  
   
   
Big South Conference Tournament  
Site: Buies Creek, NC (Campbell)  
   
1st Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G1: #8 Longwood (9-22) vs. #9 Charleston Southern (9-20) 75-69
G2: #7 Radford (16-14) vs. #10 Presbyterian (10-19) 64-65
G3: #6 Gardner-Webb (15-15) vs. #11 Campbell (12-17) 79-69
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G4: #1 High Point (20-9) vs. #8 Longwood (10-22) 89-78
G5: #4 UNC-Asheville (19-11) vs. #5 Liberty (13-18) 80-49
G6: #2 Winthrop (21-8) vs. #10 Presbyterian (11-19) 67-53
G7: #3 Coastal Carolina (18-10) vs. #6 Gardner-Webb (16-15) 65-69
   
Semifinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
#1 High Point (21-9) vs. #4 UNC-Asheville (20-11) 69-80
#2 Winthrop (22-8) vs. #6 Gardner-Webb (17-15) 82-69
   
Championship  
Sunday, March 6  
#2 Winthrop (23-8) vs. #4 UNC-Asheville (21-11)  
   
   
Colonial Athletic Association Tournament  
Site: Baltimore  
   
1st Round  
Friday, March 4  
G1: #8 Elon (16-15) vs. #9 Drexel (5-24) 56-57
G2: #7 Charleston (16-13) vs. #10 Delaware (7-22) 67-63
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
G3: #1 Hofstra (22-8) vs. #9 Drexel (6-24) 80-67
G4: #4 James Madison (21-10) vs. #5 William & Mary (19-10) 64-79
G5: #2 UNC-Wilmington (22-7) vs. #7 Charleston (17-13) 66-64
G6: #3 Towson (20-11) vs. #6 Northeastern (17-14) 60-71
   
Semifinal Round  
Sunday, March 6  
#1 Hofstra (23-8) vs. #5 William & Mary (20-10)  
#2 UNC-Wilmington (23-7) vs. #6 Northeastern (18-14)  
   
Championship  
Monday, March 7  
7:00 PM on NBC Sports Network  
   
   
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament  
Site: Albany (Siena)  
   
1st Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G1: #8 Rider (12-19) vs. #9 Quinnipiac (9-20) 60-57
G2: #7 Canisius (13-18) vs. #10 Niagara (7-24) 102-97
G3: #6 Manhattan (12-17) vs. #11 Marist (7-22) 81-63
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G4: #1 Monmouth (25-6) vs. #8 Rider (13-19) 59-48
G6: #2 Iona (19-10) vs. #7 Canisius (14-18) 71-55
   
Saturday, March 5  
G5: #4 Saint Peter’s (14-15) vs. #5 Fairfield (18-12) 64-55
G7: #3 Siena (20-11) vs. #6 Manhattan (13-17) 89-76
   
Semifinal Round  
Sunday, March 6  
#1 Monmouth (26-6) vs. #4 Saint Peter’s (15-15)  
#2 Iona (20-10) vs. #3 Siena (21-11)  
   
Championship Round  
Monday, March 7  
7:00 PM on ESPN  
   
   
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament  
Site: St. Louis  
   
1st Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G1: #8 Loyola (Chi.) (14-16) vs. #9 Bradley (5-26) 74-66
G2: #7 MIssouri St. (12-18) vs. #10 Drake (7-23) 69-67
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G3: #1 Wichita St. (23-7) vs. #8 Loyola (Chi.) (15-16) 66-58
G4: #4 Northern Iowa (19-12) vs. #5 Southern Illinois (22-9) 66-60
G5: #2 Evansville (23-8) vs. #7 Missouri St. (13-18) 66-56
G6: #3 Illinois St. (18-13) vs. #6 Indiana St. (14-16) 57-65
   
Semifinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
#1 Wichita St. (24-7) vs. #4 Northern Iowa (20-12) 52-57
#2 Evansville (24-8) vs. #6 Indiana St. (15-16) 68-42
   
Championship Game  
Sunday, March 6  
#2 Evansville (25-8) vs. #4 Northern Iowa (21-12)  
   
   
Northeast Conference  
Site: Campus Sites @ Higher Seeds  
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Wednesday, March 2  
G1: #8 Robert Morris (10-21) @ #1 Wagner (20-9) 50-59
G2: #5 Mount St. Mary’s (13-18) @ #4 St. Francis (Bklyn) (15-16) 60-51
G3: #7 St. Francis (Pa.) (13-16) @ #2 Fairleigh Dickinson (15-14) 72-74
G4: #6 Long Island (15-14) @ #3 Sacred Heart (12-17) 84-76
   
Semifinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
#6 Long Island (16-14) @ #1 Wagner (21-9) 65-81
#5 Mount St. Mary’s (14-18) @ #2 Fairleigh Dickinson (16-14) 75-80
   
Championship  
Tuesday, March 8  
#2 Fairleigh Dickinson (17-14) at @1 Wagner (22-9)  
   
   
Ohio Valley Conference Tournament  
Site: Nashville  
   
1st Round  
Wednesday, March 2  
G1: #5 Tennessee Tech (19-10) vs. #8 Austin Peay (14-17) 72-92
G2: #6 Murray St. (16-13) vs. #7 Eastern Illinois (13-16) 78-62
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Thursday, March 3  
G3: #4 Tennessee St. (20-9) vs. #8 Austin Peay (15-17) 72-74
G4: #3 Morehead St. (18-11) vs. #6 Murray St. (17-13) 75-66
   
Semifinal Round  
Friday, March 4  
G5: #1 Belmont (20-10) vs. #8 Austin Peay (16-17) 96-97
G6: #2 UT-Martin (18-13) vs. #3 Morehead St. (19-11) 83-70
   
Championship  
Saturday, March 5 6:00 PM on ESPN2  
#2 UT-Martin (19-13) vs. #8 Austin Peay (17-17) 73-83
   
   
Patriot League Tournament  
Site: Campus Sites @ Higher Seeds  
   
1st Round  
Monday, March 1  
G1: #9 Holy Cross (10-19) @ #8 Loyola (Md.) (9-20) 72-67
G2: #10 Lafayette (6-23) @ #7 Navy (18-13) 70-78
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Wednesday, March 3  
G3: #9 Holy Cross (11-19) @ #1 Bucknell (17-12) 77-72
G4: #5 Colgate (13-16) @ #4 Army (18-12) 69-82
G5: #6 American (11-18) @ #3 Boston U (18-13) 69-64
G6: #7 Navy (19-13) @ #2 Lehigh (15-14) 63-65
   
Semifinal Round  
Sunday, March 6  
#9 Holy Cross (12-19) @ #4 Army (19-12)  
#6 American (12-18) @ #2 Lehigh (16-14)  
   
Championship  
Wednesday, March 9 @ Higher Seed  
7:30 PM on CBS Sports Network  
   
   
Southern Conference  
Site: Asheville, NC  
   
1st Round  
Friday, March 4  
G1: #8 Samford (13-18) vs. #9 VMI (9-20) 92-85
G2: #7 Mercer (18-13) vs. #10 Citadel (10-21) 71-69
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
G3: #1 Chattanooga (26-5) vs. #8 Samford (14-18) 59-54
G4: #4 Wofford (15-16) vs. #5 Western Carolina (15-16) 83-88
G5: #2 East Tennessee (21-10) Vs. Mercer (19-13) 81-65
G6: #3 Furman (17-14) vs. #6 UNC-Greensboro (14-17) 80-64
   
Semifinal Round  
Sunday, March 6  
#1 Chattanooga (27-5) vs. #5 Western Carolina (16-16)  
#2 East Tennessee (22-10) vs. #3 Furman (18-14)  
   
Championship  
Monday, March 7  
9:00 PM on ESPN2  
   
   
West Coast Conference Tournament  
Site: Las Vegas  
   
1st Round  
Friday, March 4  
G1: #8 Loyola Marymount (13-16) vs. #9 San Diego (9-20) 64-61
   
Quarterfinal Round  
Saturday, March 5  
G2: #3 BYU (22-9) vs. #6 Santa Clara (11-19) 72-60
G3: #4 Pepperdine (17-12) vs. #5 San Francisco (15-14) 90-86
G4: #1 Saint Mary’s (24-4) vs. #8 Loyola Marymount (14-16) 60-48
G5: #2 Gonzaga (23-7) vs. #7 Portland (12-19) 92-67
   
Semifinal Round  
Monday, March 7  
#1 Saint Mary’s (25-4) vs. #4 Pepperdine (18-12)  
#2 Gonzaga (24-7) vs. #3 BYU (23-9)  
   
Championship  
Tuesday, March 8  
9:00 PM on ESPN  

 

Brackets For Tournaments Not Yet Underway

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Sites: Washington, DC
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #12 North Carolina St. (15-16) vs. #13 Wake Forest (11-19)
G2: #11 Florida St. (18-12) vs. #14 Boston College (7-24)
 
2nd Round
Wednesday, March 9
G3: #8 Pittsburgh (20-10) vs. #9 Syracuse (19-12)
G4: #5 Duke (22-9) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #7 Clemson (17-13) vs. #10 Georgia Tech (18-13)
G6: #6 Virginia Tech (18-13) vs. G2 Winner
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G7: #1 North Carolina (25-6) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #4 Notre Dame (20-10) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #2 Virginia (24-6) vs. G5 Winner
G10: #3 Miami (24-6) vs. G6 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
G9 Winner vs. G10 Winner
 
Championship Round
Saturday, March 12
9:00 PM on ESPN
 
Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Site: Brooklyn
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #12 George Mason (11-20) vs. #13 St. Louis (10-20)
G2: #11 Duquesne (16-15) vs. #14 LaSalle (8-21)
 
2nd Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #8 Fordham (17-12) vs. #9 Richmond (15-15)
G4: #5 George Washington (22-9) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #7 Rhode Island (17-14) vs. #10 U Mass (13-17)
G6: #6 Davidson (18-11) vs. G2 Winner
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G7: #1 Dayton (24-6) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #4 St. Joseph’s (24-7) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #2 VCU (22-9) vs. G5 Winner
G10: #3 St. Bonaventure (22-7) vs. G6 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
G9 Winner vs. G10 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
12:30 PM on CBS
 
 
Big 12 Conference Tournament
Site: Kansas City
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Kansas St. (16-15) vs. #9 Oklahoma St. (12-19)
G2: #7 Texas Tech (19-11) vs. #10 TCU (11-20)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #4 Texas (20-11) vs. #5 Baylor (21-10)
G4: #1 Kansas (27-4) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #2 West Virginia (24-7) vs. G2 Winner
G6: #3 Oklahoma (24-6) vs. #6 Iowa St. (21-10)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
 
Championship Game
Saturday, March 12
6:00 PM on ESPN
 
 
Big East Conference Tournament
Site: New York
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Georgetown (14-17) vs. #9 DePaul (9-21)
G2: #7 Marquette (19-12) vs. #10 St. John’s (8-23)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #1 Villanova (27-4) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #4 Providence (22-9) vs. #5 Butler (21-9)
G5: #2 Xavier (26-4) vs. G2 Winner
G6: #3 Seton Hall (22-8) vs. #6 Creighton (18-13)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
 
Championship Round
Saturday, March 12
5:30 PM on Fox
 
 
Big Sky Conference Tournament
Site: Reno, NV
 
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #8 Portland St. (12-17) vs. #9 Northern Colorado (10-20)
G2: #5 North Dakota (15-14) vs. #12 Southern Utah (5-23)
G3: #7 Montana St. (14-16) vs. #10 Sacramento St. (13-16)
G4: #6 Eastern Washington (16-14) vs. #11 Northern Arizona (5-24)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G5: #1 Weber St. (23-8) vs. G1 Winner
G6: #4 Idaho St. (16-14) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #2 Montana (19-10) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #3 Idaho (20-11) vs. G4 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
8:45 PM on ESPNU
 
 
Big West Conference Tournament
Site: Anaheim
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
#4 UCSB (17-12) vs. #5 UC Davis (10-18)
#1 Hawaii (24-5) vs. #8 Cal St. Fullerton (10-19)
#2 UC-Irvine (24-8) vs. #7 Cal Poly (10-19)
#3 Long Beach St. (18-13) vs. #6 UC Riverside (14-18)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed
2nd Highest Remaining Seed vs. 3rd Highest Remaining Seed
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
11:30 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Conference USA Tournament
Site: Birmingham
 
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #12 Florida Atlantic (7-24) vs. #13 UTSA (5-26)
 
2nd Round
Wednesday, March 9
G2: #8 Western Kentucky (16-15) vs. #9 North Texas (12-19)
G3: #5 Old Dominion (19-12) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #7 Charlotte (13-18) vs. #10 Rice (12-19)
G5: #6 UTEP (18-13) vs. #11 Florida Int’l (13-18)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G6: #1 UAB (26-5) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #4 Louisiana Tech (23-8) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #2 Middle Tennessee (21-9) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #3 Marshall (16-15) vs. G5 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
2:30 PM on Fox Sports 1
 
 
Horizon League Tournament
Site: Detroit
 
1st Round
Saturday, March 5
G1: #4 Green Bay (19-12) vs. #9 Cleveland St. (9-22)
G2: #5 Milwaukee (19-12) vs. #8 Northern Kentucky (9-20)
G3: #3 Wright St. (19-12) vs. #10 Illinois-Chicago (5-24)
G4: #6 Detroit (15-14) vs. #7 Youngstown St. (11-20)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Sunday, March 6
G5: G1 Winner vs. G2 Winner
G6: G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Monday, March 7
G5 Winner vs. #1 Valparaiso (26-5)
G6 Winner vs. #2 Oakland (21-10)
 
Championship
Tuesday, March 8
7:00 PM on ESPN
 
 
Mid-American Conference Tournament
Site: Cleveland, 1st Round at Higher Seed
 
1st Round
Monday, March 7
G1:#9 Toledo (17-14) at #8 Eastern Michigan (17-14)
G2: #12 Bowling Green (14-17) at #5 Kent St. (19-12)
G3: #10 Western Michigan (13-18) at #7 Northern Illinois (20-11)
G4: #11 Miami (O) (12-19) at #6 Ball St. (19-12)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G5: #1 Akron (24-7) vs. G1 Winner
G6: #4 Central Michigan (17-14) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #2 Ohio (20-10) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #3 Buffalo (17-14) vs. G4 Winner
 
Semfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
 
Championship Round
Saturday, March 12
7:30 PM on ESPN
 
 
Mid-eastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Site: Norfolk, VA
 
1st Round
Monday, March 7
G1: #5 Savannah St. (14-14) vs. #12 Delaware St. (7-24)
G2: #6 North Carolina A&T (10-21) vs. #11 Coppin St. (8-21)
 
Tuesday, March 8
G3: #8 UM-Eastern Shore (10-21) vs. #9 Morgan St. (8-21)
G4: #7 UNC-Central (12-18) vs. #10 Howard (12-19)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Wednesday, March 9
G5: #1 Hampton (18-10) vs. G3 Winner
G6: #2 Norfolk St. (16-15) vs. G4 Winner
 
Thursday, March 10
G7: #3 South Carolina St. (17-13) vs. G2 Winner
G8: #4 Bethune-Cookman (14-17) vs. G1 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G5 Winner vs. G8 Winner
G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
 
Championship Game
Saturday, March 12
1:00 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Mountain West Conference Tournament
Site: Las Vegas
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Wyoming (14-17) vs. #9 Utah St. (15-14)
G2: #7 UNLV (17-14) vs. #10 Air Force (14-17)
G3: #6 Colorado St. (16-15) vs. #11 San Jose St. (9-21)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G4: #1 San Diego St. (23-8) vs. G1 Winner
G5: #4 New Mexico (17-14) vs. #5 Nevada (18-12)
G6: #2 Fresno St. (22-9) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #3 Boise St. (20-11) vs. G3 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G4 Winner vs. G5 Winner
G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
5:00 PM on CBS
 
 
Pac-12 Conference Tournament
Site: Las Vegas
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #8 Washington (17-13) vs. #9 Stanford (15-14)
G2: #5 Colorado (21-10) vs. #12 Washington St. (9-21)
G3: #7 USC (20-11) vs. #10 UCLA (15-16)
G4: #6 Oregon St. (18-11) vs. #11 Arizona St. (15-16)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G5: #1 Oregon (25-6) vs. G1 Winner
G6: #4 Arizona (24-7) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #2 Utah (24-7) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #3 California (22-9) vs. G4 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G5 Winner vs. G6 Winner
G7 Winner vs. G8 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
10:15 PM on FS1
 
 
Southeastern Conference Tournament
Site: Nashville
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #12 Tennessee (13-18) vs. #13 Auburn (11-19)
 
2nd Round
Thursday, March 10
G2: #8 Florida (18-13) vs. #9 Arkansas (16-15)
G3: #5 Vanderbilt (19-12) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #7 Ole Miss (20-11) vs. #10 Alabama (17-13)
G5: #6 Georgia (17-12) vs. #11 Mississippi St. (14-16)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G6: #1 Texas A&M (24-7) vs. G2 Winner
G7: #4 LSU (18-13) vs. G3 Winner
G8: #2 Kentucky (23-8) vs. G4 Winner
G9: #3 South Carolina (24-7) vs. G5 Winnerr
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
G6 Winner vs. G7 Winner
G8 Winner vs. G9 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
2:00 PM on ESPN
 
 
Southland Conference Tournament
Site: Katy, TX
 
1st Round
Wednesday, March 9
G1: #5 Southeastern Louisiana (11-20) vs. #8 New Orleans (10-19)
G2: #6 McNeese St. (9-19) vs. #7 Nicholls St. (10-22)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G3: #4 Houston Baptist (16-15) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #3 Sam Houston (17-14) vs. G2 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
#1 Stephen F. Austin (25-5) vs. G3 Winner
#2 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (24-6) vs. G4 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
9:30 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
Site: Houston
 
1st Round
Tuesday, March 8
G1: #7 Mississippi Valley St. (6-26) vs. #10 Grambling (7-23)
G2: #8 Alabama A&M (10-17) vs. #9 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (8-24)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Wedneday, March 9
G3: #2 Alcorn St. (15-14) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #1 Texas Southern (17-13) vs. G2 Winner
 
Thursday, March 10
G5: #3 Jackson St. (17-14) vs. #6 Prairie View A&M (7-23)
G6; #4 Southern (19-12) vs. #5 Alabama St. (14-16)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3 Winner vs. G5 Winner
G4 Winner vs. G6 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
6:30 PM on ESPNU
 
 
Summit League Tournament
Site: Sioux Falls, SD
 
Quarterfinal Round
Saturday, March 5
G1: #1 IPFW (23-8) vs. #8 South Dakota (14-17)
G2: #2 South Dakota St. (23-7) vs. #7 Oral Roberts (14-16)
 
Sunday, March 6
G3: #4 IUPUI (13-18) vs. #5 North Dakota St. (18-12)
G4: #3 Omaha (18-12) vs. #6 Denver (15-14)
 
Semifinal Round
Monday, March 7
G5: G1 Winner vs. G3 Winner
G6: G2 Winner vs. G4 Winner
 
Championship
Tuesday, March 8
9:00 PM on ESPN2
 
Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Site: New Orleans
 
1st Round
Thursday, March 10
G1: #5 Georgia Southern (14-16) vs. #8 South Alabama (13-18)
G2: #6 Georgia St. (16-13) vs. #7 Texas St. (14-15)
 
Quarterfinal Round
Friday, March 11
G3: #4 UL-Lafayette (16-13) vs. G1 Winner
G4: #3 UT-Arlington (22-9) vs. G2 Winner
 
Semifinal Round
Saturday, March 12
#1 UALR (27-4) vs. G3 Winner
#2 UL-Monroe (19-12) vs. G4 Winner
 
Championship
Sunday, March 13
1:00 PM on ESPN2
 
 
Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Site: Las Vegas
 
Quarterfinal Round
Thursday, March 10
G1: #4 Utah Valley (12-17) vs. #5 Missouri-KC (11-18)
G2: #2 Cal St. Bakersfield (21-8) vs. #7 Chicago St. (4-27)
G3: #3 Seattle (13-15) vs. #6 UT-Rio Grande Valley (8-21)
 
Semifinal Round
Friday, March 11
#1 New Mexico St. (22-9) vs. G1 Winner
G2 Winner vs. G3 Winner
 
Championship
Saturday, March 12
11:00 PM on ESPNU

 

The American Athletic Conference and Big Ten Conference brackets will be determined later today after their regular season schedules conclude.

 

 

 

 

March 25, 2015

Sweet 16 Preview

It hasn’t been the best year for our methodology, as we have just 11 teams remaining in the Sweet 16, while we have six teams still alive in our Elite 8 predictions, and three of the Final Four.  At least, our two finalists are still alive.

If you get to pick games anew with each round, here is the updated review of our bracketnomics 505 selection method.  If you need a primer on what the data means, please refer back to the previous article titled, “Bracketnomics 505–The Advanced Level Course in Bracket Picking,”  published on March 16.

Sweet 16 Schedule–All Times Listed are Eastern Daylight Time
Region Seed Team W-L Seed Team W-L Day Time TV
Midwest 3 Notre Dame 31-5 7 Wichita St. 30-4 Thursday 7:15 PM CBS
West 1 Wisconsin 33-3 4 North Carolina 26-11 Thursday 7:47 PM TBS
Midwest 1 Kentucky 36-0 5 West Virginia 25-9 Thursday 9:45 PM CBS
West 2 Arizona 33-3 6 Xavier 23-13 Thursday 10:17 PM TBS
South 2 Gonzaga 34-2 11 UCLA 22-13 Friday 7:15 PM CBS
East 4 Louisville 26-8 8 North Carolina St. 22-13 Friday 7:37 PM TBS
South 1 Duke 31-4 5 Utah 26-8 Friday 9:45 PM CBS
East 3 Oklahoma 24-10 7 Michigan St. 25-11 Friday 10:07 PM TBS

OFFENSE STATS

Team FG FGA 3pt 3pta FT FTa OR DR TO Stl
Arizona 963 1971 184 508 655 925 398 946 401 261
Duke 1008 1989 266 683 531 771 415 890 391 251
Gonzaga 1035 1966 259 611 534 775 365 991 379 220
Kentucky 931 1999 192 554 636 881 464 923 381 237
Louisville 828 1930 191 621 491 736 432 844 394 272
Michigan St. 944 2009 269 693 417 662 402 946 410 193
N. C. St. 872 1994 227 641 489 713 424 909 368 135
North Carolina 1073 2253 176 501 559 796 517 996 477 248
Notre Dame 994 1951 289 742 539 728 294 877 339 247
Oklahoma 865 1980 232 671 481 652 375 919 412 235
UCLA 904 2032 220 593 500 739 428 900 423 234
Utah 828 1700 260 638 523 745 304 864 392 200
West Virginia 859 2084 225 704 560 844 562 678 440 372
Wichita St. 834 1868 236 652 486 696 400 809 320 244
Wisconsin 915 1905 255 713 517 679 344 869 267 162
Xavier 934 1960 231 649 553 759 356 895 435 216
DEFENSE STATS
Team FG FGA 3pt 3pta FT FTa OR DR TO Stl
Arizona 730 1855 191 580 472 681 273 740 502 168
Duke 872 2055 179 566 346 498 382 706 434 200
Gonzaga 794 2031 206 625 421 637 382 705 419 198
Kentucky 688 1958 162 600 404 618 425 696 503 172
Louisville 718 1838 171 580 406 618 379 800 487 198
Michigan St. 764 1935 214 674 531 738 342 790 393 200
N. C. St. 800 1998 209 631 483 685 395 818 344 186
North Carolina 863 2176 240 801 571 820 448 767 463 252
Notre Dame 895 2102 220 671 351 494 410 768 407 186
Oklahoma 772 2000 216 683 374 569 417 824 463 223
UCLA 828 1987 278 771 445 641 353 830 433 223
Utah 684 1787 166 528 402 591 304 864 394 189
West Virginia 738 1576 187 508 597 871 301 824 668 193
Wichita St. 661 1667 178 512 427 619 298 747 453 138
Wisconsin 796 1888 185 503 268 391 273 728 353 146
Xavier 864 1981 254 734 442 659 335 776 456 236

FOUR FACTORS

Team EFG DEFG OR% DOR% TO% DTU% FT* DFT*
Arizona 53.5 44.5 35.0 22.4 16.6 20.9 27.1 19.6
Duke 57.4 46.8 37.0 30.0 16.8 18.5 22.8 14.8
Gonzaga 59.2 44.2 34.1 27.8 16.1 17.7 22.7 17.8
Kentucky 51.4 39.3 40.0 31.5 16.3 21.6 27.2 17.3
Louisville 47.8 43.7 35.1 31.0 17.6 21.7 21.9 18.1
Michigan St. 53.7 45.0 33.7 26.6 17.6 16.8 17.9 22.7
N. C. St. 49.4 45.3 34.1 30.3 16.2 15.1 21.5 21.3
North Carolina 51.5 45.2 40.3 31.0 18.4 17.9 21.6 22.1
Notre Dame 58.4 47.8 27.7 31.9 14.5 17.4 23.0 15.0
Oklahoma 49.5 44.0 31.3 31.2 17.7 20.0 20.7 16.1
UCLA 49.9 48.7 34.0 28.2 17.8 18.3 21.0 18.8
Utah 56.4 42.9 26.0 26.0 18.3 18.3 24.4 18.6
West Virginia 46.6 52.8 40.5 30.7 18.6 28.3 23.7 25.3
Wichita St. 51.0 45.0 34.9 26.9 15.1 21.4 22.9 20.2
Wisconsin 54.7 47.1 32.1 23.9 12.4 16.4 24.0 12.4
Xavier 53.5 50.0 31.4 27.2 18.1 18.9 23.0 18.3

PiRate Ratings Criteria

Team PPG D PPG Mar. FG-M Rb-M TO-M R+T WLRd W-L SOS Poss.
Arizona 76.8 59.0 17.8 9.5 9.2 2.8 26.2 10-3 33-3 58.1 67.0
Duke 80.4 64.8 15.5 8.2 6.2 1.2 17.5 12-2 31-4 61.3 66.6
Gonzaga 79.5 61.5 18.0 13.6 7.5 1.1 19.6 15-1 34-2 55.8 65.2
Kentucky 74.7 53.9 20.8 11.4 7.4 3.4 22.7 16-0 36-0 58.2 64.8
Louisville 68.8 59.2 9.6 3.8 2.9 2.7 12.6 10-3 26-8 66.3 65.9
Michigan St. 71.5 63.1 8.4 7.5 6.0 -0.5 14.7 11-6 25-11 66.2 64.8
N. C. St. 70.3 65.5 4.8 3.7 3.4 -0.7 8.8 9-9 22-13 67.5 65.0
North Carolina 77.9 68.6 9.3 8.0 8.1 -0.4 18.3 13-5 26-11 69.3 70.0
Notre Dame 78.2 65.6 12.6 8.4 -0.2 1.9 5.8 13-2 31-5 61.9 65.1
Oklahoma 71.9 62.8 9.1 5.1 1.6 1.5 7.5 8-7 24-10 66.4 68.4
UCLA 72.2 68.0 4.3 2.8 4.1 0.3 11.5 6-12 22-13 66.1 67.9
Utah 71.7 56.9 14.8 10.4 0.0 0.1 3.4 10-7 26-8 59.6 63.0
West Virginia 73.6 66.5 7.1 -5.6 3.4 6.7 19.3 13-6 25-9 65.4 69.5
Wichita St. 70.3 56.7 13.6 5.0 4.8 3.9 19.1 15-4 30-4 56.7 62.3
Wisconsin 72.3 56.8 15.5 5.9 5.9 2.4 18.4 18-2 33-3 60.2 59.7
Xavier 73.7 67.3 6.3 4.0 3.9 0.6 10.8 10-10 23-13 65.6 66.7

The PiRate Ratings

Team Team Red White Blue
Notre Dame Wichita St. 1 1 4
Wisconsin North Carolina 6 4 2
Kentucky West Virginia 13 11 12
Arizona Xavier 11 9 14
Gonzaga UCLA 10 8 5
Louisville North Carolina St. 4 2 -2
Duke Utah 3 3 9
Oklahoma Michigan St. 1 1 -2

Predicted Elite 8 Games

East: Michigan St. over Louisville

South: Duke over Gonzaga

Midwest: Kentucky over Notre Dame

West: Arizona over Wisconsin

Predicted Final 4 Games

Duke over Michigan St.

Kentucky over Arizona

Predicted National Championship Game

Kentucky over Duke

March 21, 2015

NCAA 3rd Round Preview, March 21, 2015

A couple of 14-seeds have not spoiled our brackets for the most part as 14 of our 16 teams picked to make it to the Sweet 16 are still around in the Round of 32, and all 8 of our Elite 8 teams are playing today or tomorrow.  Without further adieu, here is our look at the 3rd Round.

All times given are Eastern Daylight

Saturday, March 21

12:10 PM on CBS

#11 UCLA vs. #14 UAB

Four Factors+ PiRate Criteria: UCLA has decided R+T and Strength of Schedule advantages as well as advantages in rebounding and turnovers.

PiRate Red: UCLA by 10

PiRate White: UCLA by 6

PiRate Blue: UCLA by 4

Prediction: UCLA 71  UAB 65

2:40 PM on CBS

#1 Kentucky vs. #8 Cincinnati

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: Kentucky has the advantage in every category except schedule strength, but the Bearcats’ advantage here is slim.

PiRate Red: Kentucky by 14

PiRate White: Kentucky by 14

PiRate Blue: Kentucky by 14

Prediction: Kentucky 68  Cincinnati 54

5:15 PM on CBS

#2 Arizona vs. #10 Ohio St.

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: Arizona has a considerable rebounding advantage in this game, leading to a better R+T rating, but all other factors are close enough to be considered a wash.

PiRate Red: Arizona by 7

PiRate White: Arizona by 9

PiRate Blue: Arizona by 12

Prediction: Arizona 74  Ohio St. 65

6:10 PM on TNT

#6 Xavier vs. #14 Georgia St.

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria:The biggest discrepancy between these two teams is schedule strength, where the Musketeers’ schedule is about 13 points per game more difficult.  Georgia State’s only real advantage and where the Panthers can exploit XU is in turnover rate.  GSU must try to force Xavier into mistakes and then capitalize on points off turnovers, or Coach Ron Hunter will be wheeling himself home for his postponed surgery.

PiRate Red: Xavier by 8

PiRate White: Xavier by 5

PiRate Blue: Xavier by 9

Prediction: Xavier 68  Georga St. 61

7:10 PM on TBS

#1 Villanova vs. #8 North Carolina St.

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: This game could be closer than expected for longer than expected.  Villanova’s E FG%, TO Rate, and R+T ratings are plainly better than the Wolf Pack’s, but NC State’s schedule strength neutralizes a lot of these advantages.  This is the shakiest of the #1 seeds for the weekend, even though we expect the Wildcats to eventually win by double digits.

PiRate Red: Villanova by 11

PiRate White: Villanova by 10

PiRate Blue: Villanova by 13

Prediction: Villanova 76  North Carolina St. 65

7:45 PM on CBS

#4 Georgetown vs. #5 Utah

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: The criteria forecasts a tight game with Utah having a 52% chance of winning this game.  Georgetown’s schedule strength advantage makes Utah’s statistical advantages disappear, so this one comes down to R+T rating, which the Utes have a small advantage

PiRate Red: Utah by 3

PiRate White: Utah by 3

PiRate Blue: Utah by 4

Prediction: Utah 60  Georgetown 57

8:40 PM on TNT

#4 North Carolina vs. #5 Arkansas

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: The key stats here are that UNC should fare quite well against the Arkansas pressure defense, and the Tar Heels will dominate on the glass.  Sure, there will be a couple extra turnovers, but the Tar Heels will also benefit with extra layup opportunities.

PiRate Red: North Carolina by 2

PiRate White: North Carolina by 3

PiRate Blue: North Carolina by 7

Prediction: North Carolina 75  Arkansas 71

9:40 PM on TBS

#3 Notre Dame vs. #6 Butler

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: Remember that our criteria does not factor into the equation any possible intangibles such as in-state rivalries (same will go for KU-Wichita).  So, adjust your personal predictions as you see fit.  Notre Dame has the most efficient field goal shooting team in the tournament, but their defense is not in the upper half, so the Irish can become vulnerable if their shots don’t fall.  It hasn’t happened in several weeks.  Butler has the clear rebounding advantage in this game, so once again the key is whether or not Notre Dame will give the Bulldogs many opportunities to rebound missed shots.

PiRate Red: Notre Dame by 2

PiRate White: Notre Dame by 3

PiRate Blue: Notre Dame by 5

Prediction: Notre Dame 74  Butler 71

Sunday, March 22, 2015

12:10 PM on CBS

#2 Virginia vs. #7 Michigan St.

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: Michigan State’s perpetual rebounding dominance will face a stern test from an almost equally competent rebounding squad in the Cavaliers.  This is going to be an exciting, albeit slow-paced game.  UVA’s only clear advantage here is in TO rate, so Sparty has a fighting chance at an upset.

PiRate Red: Virginia by 7

PiRate White: Virginia by 4

PiRate Blue: Virginia by 6

Prediction: Virginia 66  Michigan St. 60

2:40 PM on CBS

#1 Duke vs. #8 San Diego St.

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: Duke can hold the Aztecs under 40% shooting and then retrieve a majority of the missed shots, and SDSU cannot really force the Blue Devils out of their comfort zone, so this game looks like an easy victory for Coach K and co.

PiRate Red: Duke by 9

PiRate White: Duke by 8

PiRate Blue: Duke by 12

Prediction: Duke 71  San Diego St. 61

5:15 PM on CBS

#2 Kansas vs. #7 Wichita St.

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: Unfortunately, neither team is as strong as they once were, but this should still be the most exciting game of the round.  The most glaring statistic for this game is that KU has the toughest schedule strength in the Dance, while Wichita’s is near the bottom of the remaining teams.  Thus, the Jayhawks’ stats were compiled against teams that were on average about a dozen points per game better than the opponents the Shockers played.  If Wichita State is to pull off the upset, they will have to win the turnover battle by 3 or more, and Ron Baker will have to rediscover his shooting accuracy in a hurry.

PiRate Red: Kansas by 1

PiRate White: Kansas by 1

PiRate Blue: Kansas by 5

Prediction: Kansas 70  Wichita St. 68

6:10 PM on TNT

#3 Oklahoma vs. #11 Dayton

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria:  An aside to the criteria for a moment.  This is a great example of how the pace of the college game has slowed and become dull compared to how the game was played in the past.  Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger has been leading college teams since the 1980’s, when he started at Pan American.  Kruger’s philosophy of the game was handed to him by his college coach Jack Hartman, who demanded tough man-to-man defense and deliberate patterned offense.  Kruger’s teams have played the same consistent style of ball throughout his 30+ year career.  When he started out, his teams were considered slow-paced compared to the rest of college basketball, but now this same style of play is near the top in pace!  68 possessions per game represented the bottom 10% then, and it now represents the top 10%.

As for this game, both teams are similar with similar positives and negatives.  For instance, both teams are rather strong on the boards and not so strong forcing turnovers.  Only the Sooners’ superior strength of schedule gives them an overall advantage, and we are a little leery of the Big 12 after Baylor, Iowa State, Texas, and Oklahoma State all lost with superior schedule strengths.  And, it is hard to discount a Miller brother in the Big Dance.

PiRate Red: Oklahoma by 3

PiRate White: Oklahoma by 5

PiRate Blue: Oklahoma by 3

Prediction: Oklahoma 79  Dayton 76

7:10 PM on TBS

#2 Gonzaga vs. #7 Iowa

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: The so-called experts believe that Gonzaga is a “paper lion” and very vulnerable to exiting the tournament in the opening weekend once again.  We do not buy into that argument this season, as the Bulldogs are solid and deep, much deserving of their seed.  Yes, the Hawkeyes dismantled Davidson like they were Kentucky, but consistency has not been a descriptive term for this year’s team.  Gonzaga holds a decisive E FG% advantage in this game, and Iowa does not have enough R+T (cheap basket opportunities) to counter this superiority.

PiRate Red: Gonzaga by 10

PiRate White: Gonzaga by 5

PiRate Blue: Gonzaga by 10

Prediction: Gonzaga 78  Iowa 70

7:45 PM on truTV

#1 Wisconsin vs. #8 Oregon

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: If you watched the Pac-12 Tournament Championship Game between Oregon and Arizona, then you saw the Ducks’ main liability.  Arizona was too strong inside for Oregon to stop, while the Ducks did not get too many easy looks at their basket.  Wisconsin is similar to Arizona, and the same advantages apply here.  The Badgers should have little trouble advancing to the Sweet 16, but the Pac-12 did go 4-0 in the second round.

PiRate Red: Wisconsin by 12

PiRate White: Wisconsin by 9

PiRate Blue: Wisconsin by 8

Prediction: Wisconsin 73  Oregon 63

8:40 PM on TNT

#4 Maryland vs. #5 West Virginia

Note: This is a rivalry game so intangibles should be considered when you select your winner.  These teams have not played each other in more than 10 years, but they have a long history.  The players might not feel it, but the fans certainly will.

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: It’s all about the press for the Mountaineers.  If the opponent has difficulty getting into their offense or turns the ball over, then WVU exploits the miscue for points.  When the opponent defeats the press for either an easy score or to the point where they can run their offense, then Huggy Bear’s team does not fare well.  Maryland appears to be the type of team that can withstand the pressure and get decent shots thanks to a couple of stars.  However, the criteria here shows a split decision.

PiRate Red: West Virginia by 1

PiRate White: West Virginia by 2

PiRate Blue: Maryland by 2

Prediction: West Virginia 74  Maryland 73 ot

9:40 PM on TBS

#4 Louisville vs. #5 Northern Iowa

Four Factors + PiRate Criteria: Louisville is going to have up to a half dozen extra scoring opportunities in this game thanks to rebounding and turnover rate edges, but the Cardinals are not all that accurate shooting, while NIU is rather competent here.  The Panthers will not be intimidated by the Cardinals, and UL is missing key parts of their machinery.  Again, this is a split decision in the criteria and ratings.

PiRate Red: Northern Iowa by 1

PiRate White: Northern Iowa by 2

PiRate Blue: Louisville by 3

Prediction: Northern Iowa 55  Louisville 54

March 17, 2015

The PiRate Bracketnomics Bracket-Picking Guide: Rounds One & Two

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:38 am

We hope you read yesterday’s tutorial on how the PiRate Ratings select their brackets and pick winners in each round of the NCCC Tournament.  If not, here is a link to that informative post:

https://piratings.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/bracketnomics-505-the-advanced-level-course-in-bracket-picking/

Once you have familiarized yourself with the “Four Factors” and the “PiRate Bracketnomics” Criteria, then everything you read here will be easily understood.

Today, we will look first at the Opening Round games in Dayton played tonight and tomorrow.  Then, we will break down the 32 games Thursday in Friday in the Second Round.  We will then choose our bracket the rest of the way for those looking to fill out their bracket all at once.

Finally, since hundreds of you recently discovered this page for the first time, we will bring up two controversial subjects we have discussed in the past–how to bring more excitement back to the college game, and how to change the NCAA Tournament so that great low and mid-major teams (like Murray State this year) cannot be eliminated by a major upset after going undefeated in their league.

Just another friendly reminder: See yesterday’s post for all the pertinent stats discussed in today’s preview.

All times listed are Eastern Daylight Time

OPENING ROUND–Dayton, OH

Tuesday, March 17

#16 Hampton (16-17) vs. #16 Manhattan (19-13)

Tip Time: 6:40 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

Manhattan enjoys a small edge in E FG%, as Hampton’s opponents enjoyed a better rate than they did.  Hampton has the edge in rebound rate, while Manhattan has a decided advantage in turnover rate, as their defense forces more turnovers per 100 possessions than average.  Free throw rate is a wash.

PiRate Criteria

In the early rounds, strength of schedule tends to play a more important role than in later rounds, and the reason is obvious.  If a team gets to the Elite 8, they belong there regardless of schedule strength.

Manhattan enjoys a huge edge in strength of schedule; the Jaspers’ schedule was about nine points per game stronger.

Scoring Margin was not a strong factor for either team, but Hampton was actually outscored, which is a bad sign for making it past the opening round.

Neither team performed well in any of the other PiRate Criteria categories, as they both have negative field goal percentage margins; neither rebound the ball well; and both had losing records away from home.

Hampton only bests Manhattan in one category, but it is a big one–R+T.  Thanks to a lot of steals, the Pirates get extra opportunities to score.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Manhattan by 7

White: Manhattan by 6

Blue: Manhattan by 10

Bracketnomics Selection: Manhattan wins this one.  One big factor hurting Hampton is the health of their top player.  Dwight Meikle is nursing an injury to his ankle, and if he can play, he will not be 100%.

#11 BYU (25-9) vs. #11 Ole Miss (20-12)

Tip Time: 9:10 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

Give Ole Miss a slight advantage in E FG%, but not enough to mean much.  Likewise, BYU enjoys an equally slight Rebound Rate advantage, while Turnover Rate is virtually identical both offensively and defensively.  BYU has a small Free Throw Rate advantage, but we heavily discount this factor in the NCAA Tournament.

PiRate Criteria

Ole Miss had a more than six points per game more difficult schedule, which is considerable in this round, so BYU needs to have considerably better criteria grades to emerge as a favorite.

Scoring margin is a tie.  The Cougars have a slight advantage in field goal percentage margin, a little stronger advantage in rebound margin, no advantage in turnover margin, and only a slight R+T advantage.  Both teams were good but not great away from home, even though both saved their best for the toughest road game.  Ole Miss came the closest to knocking off Kentucky at Rupp Arena, while BYU won at Gonzaga.

PiRate Ratings

Red: BYU by 1

White: BYU by 2

Blue: Ole Miss by 1

Bracketnomics Selection: It’s close, but we will take BYU because Ole Miss ended the season in a swoon.

Wednesday, March 18

#16 North Florida (23-11) vs. #16 Robert Morris (19-14)

Tip Time: 6:40 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

North Florida enjoys decided advantages in E FG% and Free Throw Rate and smaller advantages in Rebound Rate and Turnover Rate.

PiRate Criteria

There is not much difference in schedule strength in this game.  North Florida’s Four Factor dominance is confirmed in all PiRate Criteria, and most importantly, RMU has a negative R+T.  Rule number one in PiRate Bracketonomics is to immediately eliminate any team with a negative R+T–‘nuf ced.

PiRate Ratings

Red: N. Florida by 9

White: N. Florida by 5

Blue: N. Florida by 11

Bracketnomics Selection: North Florida looks to be a prohibitive favorite in this game, but we believe it will be closer than our criteria makes this game out to be. We will go with the Ospreys, but by single digits.

#11 Boise St. (25-8) AT #11 Dayton (25-8)

Tip Time: 9:10 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

E FG% and Turnover Rate are close to equal between the two combatants.  Boise State has a considerable Rebound Rate advantage, while Dayton has the clear Free Throw Rate advantage, which is not enough to offset BSU’s Rebound Rate Advantage.  However, this game has one unique feature: Dayton has a huge Home Court Advantage.

PiRate Criteria

Boise State would be the clear favorite in this game if it were not in Dayton, but the Broncos have to travel more than 1,650 air miles across multiple time zones, while DU’s players will sleep in their own beds.

The Broncos have a double digit scoring margin, while Dayton has a respectable 7.3 margin.  FG% margin is the same.  BSU enjoys the edge in rebounding margin, as the Flyers are -1.1 here.  While TO Margin is equal, BSU has a nice 11.6 R+T rating to Dayton’s mediocre 4.2.

What tilts the game the other way is Dayton’s home court advantage as well as a nearly 8 points per game advantage in schedule strength.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Dayton by 6

White: Dayton by 5

Blue: Dayton by 7

Bracketnomics Selection: Kudos should go to Boise State coach Leon Rice, a Mark Few disciple, for far exceeding expectations in this football oasis.  Greener pastures are in his future should he decide to move up.

The Broncos did not deserve this fate, but they must take it.  Unfortunately for Rice and company, Dayton will take this game and advance on to the East Region and the Second Round.

SECOND ROUND

Thursday, March 19, 2015 & Friday, March 20, 2015

East Region

#1 Villanova (32-2) vs. #16 Lafayette (20-12)

Tip Time: Thursday, 6:50 PM

TV: TBS

4 Factors

Lafayette has no chance in this game, but we will include all the stats to show you why.  The Leopards’ defense is porous, and Villanova has one of the most efficient offenses in the nation.  This ‘Nova team is not a terror on the boards, but it is better than previous additions, while Lafayette is not a factor in this factor.  Villanova’s defensive Turnover Rate is much superior to Lafayette’s, while the Wildcats blow the Leopards out of the water in Free Throw Rate.

PiRate Criteria

Again, we probably do not need to bother showing you the differences here, but just in case you wanted to know, Villanova dominates here as well.  The Wildcats’ PiRate Criteria us Final Four worthy and Elite 8 favoring with a scoring margin of more than 15 points per game, a field goal percentage margin of 6.5%, a rebounding margin of 2.3, a turnover margin of 3.4, an R+T of 12.1, a road W-L record of 15-2, and a very respectable strength of schedule.

Lafayette has a negative R+T, so this one looks like it will be over between the first and second TV timeout.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Villanova by 32

White: Villanova by 27

Blue: Villanova by 28

Bracketnomics Selection: Villanova with a 99.9% chance of winning

#8 North Carolina St. (20-13) vs. #9 LSU (22-10)

Tip Time: Thursday, 9:10 PM

TV: TBS

4 Factors

This shapes up to be an interesting game as all 8-9 seed games should be.  LSU ever so slightly enjoys a minor E FG% advantage, while the same can be said about North Carolina State’s Rebound Rate advantage.  Turnover Rate and Free Throw Rate are pushes.  A favorite cannot be found here.

PiRate Criteria

The Wolf Pack enjoys a tiny strength of schedule advantage of about three points per game.  That said, the rest of the criteria is a mixed bag.  Scoring margin is about the same.  LSU has a tiny field goal percentage margin edge.  NCSU returns the favor in rebounding margin.  Both teams have small negative turnover margins, while State has a small R+T edge.  LSU went 8-5 away from home, while the Wolf Pack suffered through a 7-9 record outside of Raleigh.

PiRate Ratings

Red: North Carolina St. by 1

White: North Carolina St. by 1

Blue: North Carolina St. by 2

Bracketnomics Selection: It is close, but North Carolina State gets the edge.  It doesn’t hurt that the Wolf Pack has the better backcourt.

#5 Northern Iowa (30-3) vs. #12 Wyoming (25-9)

Tip Time: Friday, 1:40 PM

TV: TBS

4 Factors

This game will trudge along at a snail’s pace, as neither team believes in pressing the tempo.  Thus, advantages will not be as great with the pace probably below 60 possessions for both teams.

Give a small edge in E FG% to NIU.  Because Wyoming is weak on the offensive glass, Northern Iowa gets the edge here as well.  Turnover Margin is close to equal, but the Panthers have the slight edge here.  Normally, we would heavily discount Free Throw Rate, but Northern Iowa is the best in the nation at defensive FT*.  They are the only team in the tournament with a Rate in single digits.  They commit few fouls, and when they do send an opposing player to the line, it is usually a player with a weak shooting percentage.

PiRate Criteria

Normally, a mid-major team’s downfall is a weak strength of schedule.  While UNI does not have a schedule strength of Iowa State, the Panthers’ SOS is still above the norm.  In this game, it is several points better than Wyoming’s SOS.

Northern Iowa’s criteria resume looks very Sweet 16 worthy if not Elite 8 worthy.  The Panthers enjoy a scoring margin of 15.5 points, a FG% margin of 9.1%, a rebounding margin of 2.4, a turnover margin of 0.8, and an R+T of 9.5.  Throw in a road record of 12-3, and Northern Iowa is the clear favorite in this game, as Wyoming has pedestrian numbers across the board and a mediocre 9-8 record away from Laramie.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Northern Iowa by 15

White: Northern Iowa by 13

Blue: Northern Iowa by 16

Bracketnomics Selection: Northern Iowa is one 5-seed that will keep a 12-seed from pulling off an upset.  The Panthers should be a 3 or 4-seed.

#4 Louisville (24-8) vs. #13 UC-Irvine (21-12)

Tip Time: Friday, 4:10 PM

TV: TBS

4 Factors

Before delving into each factor, there is a large difference in schedule strength in this game, so large that the individual statistical components must be adjusted by about 17 points to compare the two teams.

UC-Irvine shoots the ball efficiently when they face opponents like UC-Santa Barbara.  Against the likes of Louisville, expect the Anteaters to struggle to get good looks for large parts of this game.  Thus, the E FG% goes to the Cardinals.

UL has a prohibitive advantage in Rebound Rate, even with UC-Irvine having 7 foot 6 inch titan Mamadou Ndiaye in the lineup.  Ndiaye plays less than 20 minutes per game and seldom gets into proper rebounding position, so UL will dominate the boards in this game.

While this is not Rick Pitino’s typically outstanding full court pressing team, Louisville has the big edge in Turnover Margin.  Ditto that for Free Throw Rate as well, so this looks to be a laugher.

PiRate Criteria

This area confirms the previous area.  UL dominates in scoring margin, rebounding margin, turnover margin, R+T, and winning percentage away from home.  While it does not look favorable for the Cardinals to make it to Indianapolis, they have an easy opening game this year.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Louisville by 17

White: Louisville by 14

Blue: Louisville by 22

Bracketnomics Selection: Louisville’s power game wears UCI down and leads to a double-digit win.

#6 Providence (22-11) vs. #11 Boise State or Dayton

Note: This preview includes Dayton as the winner on Wednesday

Tip Time: Friday, 9:57 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

Providence has an Achilles Heel that can be exploited by good teams, and the tournament is full of good teams.  The Friars are not an exceptionally talented shooting team with a weak E FG% of 48.6%.  They do not make up for this weakness with a terrific defensive E FG%, so this must be a game to look at the strength of the underdog.

Assuming Dayton wins on their home floor to advance to this game, the Flyers are definitely better in E FG%, which means they have a chance to pull off the upset.  Looking past this factor, Providence is going to enjoy a nice edge in Rebound Rate, but Dayton will offset a lot of that with the advantage in Turnover Rate as well as a little help in Free Throw Rate.

PiRate Criteria

Providence has one distinct advantage here, and that is schedule strength.  While Dayton has a strong schedule, Providence has one of the toughest in the tournament (5th best in the Dance).

Dayton’s rebounding margin liability will most likely prevent the Flyers from winning, unless Providence lays a total egg in field goal percentage.  Throw in a decided R+T advantage, and PU will benefit from something like 9 extra legitimate scoring opportunities.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Dayton by 1 (if Boise State wins, then Providence by 4)

White: Providence by 3 (if Boise State wins, then Providence by 4)

Blue: Providence by 2 (if Boise State wins, then Providence by 5)

Bracketnomics Selection: We will take Providence, but we are not strong in our belief.  Dayton coach Archie Miller took the Flyers a lot farther than where they were supposed to go last year.

#3 Oklahoma (22-10) vs. #14 Albany (24-8)

Tip Time: Friday, 7:27 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

Like Providence, Oklahoma is not a particularly efficient shooting team, but unlike Providence, any Lon Kruger-coached team is going to be tough on the defensive side.  Albany is a little soft in this factor, so the Sooners enjoy a major advantage in the most important spot.

Rebounding Rate should not be a major decider in this game.  OU is not great here, while Albany is rather good for their level of play, but not for the Big Dance.  You can scratch off Turnover Rate here as well, not because both teams are weak, but because both are about average.  Albany has a liability in Free Throw Rate, as they give up too many points per 100 possessions here.  Oklahoma is not dominant here, but the Sooners should get to the line a little more than an average NCAA Tournament team gets to the line.

PiRate Criteria

There is a major advantage for Oklahoma in schedule strength of about 18 points.  Albany should probably be a 15-seed, but the bottom of the field is considerably weaker than average.

Factoring schedule strength into the other criteria areas, Albany has no advantage where they can exploit a Sooner weakness.  In other words, forget any possibility of an upset in this game, not the OU will get too much farther.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Oklahoma by 18

White: Oklahoma by 16

Blue: Oklahoma by 19

Bracketnomics Selection: Boomer Sooner–Oklahoma will win this in something close to a blowout, but don’t expect OU to make it too far this year.  They can get to the Sweet 16, but that may be their ceiling for 2015.

#7 Michigan State (23-11) vs. #10 Georgia (21-11)

Tip Time: Friday, 12:40 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

E FG% tilts in Michigan State’s favor, and when Sparty enjoys this advantage during the Tom Izzo era, they win most of the time, because MSU is always going to dominate the glass against good but not great opponents, of which Georgia is one.  Even though the Bulldogs are tough in Rebound Rate, the Spartans are better by a large margin.

Georgia cannot compensate for the rebounding advantage with superior Turnover Rate advantage, because MSU actually is a little better here as well.  Only in Free Throw Rate does Georgia really dominate in this game, and you know how we feel about this factor in the NCAA Tournament.

PiRate Criteria

The PiRate Criteria for this game does not exactly corroborate the Four Factors above, but Michigan State still has the advantage in every category but one.  Georgia’s schedule strength is modestly better, mostly because the Bulldogs faced Kentucky twice.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Michigan St. by 4

White: Michigan St. by 6

Blue: Michigan St. by 8

Bracketnomics Selection: Georgia will not be intimidated by Michigan State’s power game, because they faced the best power game in college basketball twice and did not blink.  However, when the game is on the line, we like the Spartans chances in this one.  We will take Michigan State to set up a fantastic game on Sunday.

#2 Virginia (29-3) vs. #15 Belmont (22-10)

Tip Time: Friday, 3:10 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

Belmont is one of the most efficient shooting teams in the nation, albeit against much weaker competition than the likes of Virginia.  The Cavaliers fall only behind Kentucky in defensive field goal efficiency.  Turning the tables, Virginia is a better than average field goal efficiency team on offense, while Belmont is plain bad defensively in this important area.

The Rebound Rate advantage exceeds the Field Goal Efficiency advantage for the Cavaliers, while Belmont’s error-prone attack leads to a terrible Turnover Rate for a team in this field.

PiRate Criteria

The strength of schedule difference in this game is huge.  UVa has an advantage of about 15 points per game.  Add into the equation a resume that looks like a typical Final Four team, and the Cavs look to roll in this one.  Virginia is one of just four teams in this field that has double digit scoring and FG% margins.  Their R+T is 20.5, one of just four in this stat as well.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Virginia by 31

White: Virginia by 23

Blue: Virginia by 28

Bracketnomics Selection: There is no suspense for this game.  Virginia could hold Belmont under 40 points and win by as many as 30-35 points.  The big question mark is how healthy is star forward Justin Anderson?  If he can return to something close to his old form, UVa could go all the way to Indianapolis.

South Region

#1 Duke (29-4) vs. #16 North Florida or Robert Morris

This preview includes North Florida as the winner on Wednesday

Tip Time: Friday, 7:10 PM

TV: CBS

4 Factors

Duke has had a scare as a heavy favorite in their first NCAA Tournament game in the not too distant past.  The Blue Devils survived a one-point nail-biter against Belmont.  Can history repeat itself?  Remember, this is a 1-16 game, and no 16-seed has ever defeated a 1-seed.  Princeton almost beat Georgetown in 1989, losing when a last-second shot was blocked and a foul was not called.

Duke should not have much to worry about in this game, but North Florida could make this game interesting for a short time.  Duke’s biggest advantage is in Rebound Rate, where North Florida is weak on the glass.

PiRate Criteria

Does Duke have a Final Four resume here?  Compared to Final Four teams in the 21st Century, the Blue Devils look similar.  Their scoring margin is 15.0; their FG% margin is 7.3%; their rebound margin is 6.2; their turnover margin is 1.3, and their R+T is 17.7.  Add a 10-2 record outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium and a strong schedule strength, and Coach K has a potential Final Four team.  The only real weakness for the Dukies is that they are only very good in these criteria areas and not completely dominant in any.  In a year, where another team is completely dominant, it may be their downfall.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Duke by 30

White: Duke by 23

Blue: Duke by 27

Bracketnomics Selection: Duke will win this game with ease and then advance to the Sweet 16 with another relatively easy game on Sunday.

#8 San Diego St. (26-8) vs. #9 St. John’s (21-11)

Tip Time: Friday, 9:40 PM

TV: CBS

4 Factors

The numbers here predict an ugly game with a low score.  Neither team can throw the ball in the ocean at times.  St. John’s is a little better offensively, but San Diego State is much better defensively.

Rebounding Rate is the next most important factor, and the Aztecs figure to own the glass in this game, partly due to their acumen and partly due to the Red Storm’s lack thereof.

The other two factors are a wash here.

PiRate Criteria

St. John’s has a slightly stronger strength of schedule, just enough that it matters.  This is about the only area where the Red Storm enjoys a decided advantage.  SDSU gets the checkmark on their side of the ledger in scoring margin, FG% margin, rebounding margin, R+T, and road winning percentage.

PiRate Ratings

Red: San Diego St. by 1

White: San Diego St. by 1

Blue: San Diego St. by 5

Bracketnomics Selection: We are going to add one out of criteria factor as our reason to pick San Diego State.  St. John’s coach Steve Lavin comes from the Gene Keady coaching tree.  Keady has been a St. John’s assistant under his student.  Keady, and his coaching tree, is famous for greatly underachieving in the NCAA Tournament.  This includes Matt Painter, Bruce Weber, and Kevin Stallings among others.  These coaches do not choke; it’s just that their style of play goes against the grain and opposes the PiRate Criteria–not that these coaches deliberately attack us, but it is that we discovered that power teams that do not rely on finesse of assists and free throws are the teams that go deep in the tournament.  It does not hurt that Steve Fisher has cut the nets down before, and his teams are the epitome of power basketball.  SDSU wins this game, but they will not make it to the Sweet 16.

#5 Utah (24-8) vs. #12 Stephen F. Austin (29-4)

Tip Time: Thursday, 7:27 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

SFA pulled off a big upset last year by dispensing with VCU, but the Lumberjacks drew a team that can neutralize their assets.  Utah is a little better in offensive shooting efficiency and much better on the defensive side.  The Utes can prevent SFA’s major asset, Rebound Rate, from being all that effective, because Utah is rather strong there as well.  SFA forces a lot of turnovers, but Utah is not all that sloppy with the ball.  Because Utah’s schedule was about 10-12 points per game stronger, the Utes have the tools to keep this 12-seed from pulling off the upset.

PiRate Criteria

This is the only game in the second round where both teams enjoy scoring margins of more than 14 points.  Utah also has a double digit FG% margin.  The only area where the Lumberjacks have a clear advantage is road winning percentage.  Utah was only 8-7 outside of SLC, while SFA went 14-3.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Utah by 8

White: Utah by 7

Blue: Utah by 10

Bracketnomics Selection: Stephen F. Austin might beat other 5-seeds and even a couple of 4-seeds, but the Selection Committee chose the perfect foe for the Lumberjacks, almost as tough as if they selected paper versus rock instead of scissors versus rock.  Utah wins.

#4 Georgetown (21-10) vs. #13 Eastern Washington (26-8)

Tip Time: Thursday, 9:57 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

Georgetown’s E FG% on both offense and defense are about average, or slightly below average among the teams in this field.  Eastern Washington has a high offensive E FG%, but their defensive rate is horrible.  Georgetown’s Rebound Rate is about average, while EWU’s is weak.  Neither team is exceptionally competent in Turnover Rate or Free Throw Rate.

PiRate Criteria

In recent years, Georgetown did not cut the mustard in R+T rating, and they were the easy choice to lose early in the tournament.  The Hoyas are better off this year, as this GU edition more closely resembles a GU team from the 1980’s than the 2010’s.  Georgetown has credible numbers across the board here, with their only weak spot being winning percentage away from home.  At 7-5, the Hoyas are not going to make it to Indianapolis, but they will not go home after one game.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Georgetown by 17

White: Georgetown by 14

Blue: Georgetown by 14

Bracketnomics Selection: Finally, John Thompson III gets a win in the Dance.

#6 SMU (27-6) vs. #11 UCLA (20-13)

Tip Time: 3:10 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

UCLA took the brunt of the criticism for making the tournament without possessing the proper credentials, but the Four Factors show the Bruins to be worthy of the Big Dance.  However, SMU’s credentials are plainly better.  Typically, Steve Alford’s teams play smart, finesse basketball, but this team does neither.  The Bruins play more power basketball, which is what you look for in the NCAA Tournament, but they do not play it well enough to advance far.

SMU has a clear edge in E FG% and Rebound Rate, a minor advantage in FT Rate, while the teams are even in TO Rate.

PiRate Criteria

The PiRate Criteria depicts UCLA as more of a NIT-worthy team.  The Bruins were 4-12 away from Pauley Pavilion.  SMU was 10-4 outside of Dallas.  The Mustangs are close to being one of our surprise picks to contend for a Final Four berth.  Their scoring margin is 9.7, and their FG% margin is 10.0%.  Add a rebounding margin of 6.9, and an R+T of 16.8, and Coach Larry Brown’s squad only lacks in turnover margin, which is still positive at 0.2

PiRate Ratings

Red: SMU by 6

White: SMU by 7

Blue: SMU by 9

Bracketnomics Selection: SMU only has to worry about UCLA’s players playing over their heads due to the negative criticism from the so-called experts.  We’ll take the Mustangs.

#3 Iowa St. (25-8) vs. #14 UAB (19-15)

Tip Time: Thursday, 12:40 PM

TV: truTV

4 Factors

Iowa State looks like a heavy favorite based on these factors, but what will happen if they do not trail by double digits in the first half?  They are so accustomed to spotting a 10-15-point lead and then coming from behind, that they could literally panic if they have to play from the front.

The Cyclones are plainly better than UAB in offensive E FG% and somewhat better defensively.  Their main issue is Rebound Rate, where opponents fared better than ISU.  However, UAB cannot exploit this weakness.  Turnover Rate favors the Cyclones, while FT Rate is close to even.

PiRate Criteria

Iowa State looks more like a dominant team in this game when you look at these criteria.  Scoring margin is not close, as ISU enjoys a margin close to 10, while UAB is just barely positive.  FG% margin tilts the scale in ISU’s favor.  Rebound margin is about even, while ISU  dusts the Blazers in turnover margin, thanks to UAB having a negative number.  UAB was just 3-8 away from home, while Iowa State was 7-5.

PiRate Ratings

Red:  Iowa St. by 18

White: Iowa St. by 18

Blue: Iowa St. by 16

Bracketnomics Selection: Iowa State should win this game quickly and hopefully learn that you can win by leading for close to 40 minutes rather than trail by 10 or more for 20.

#7 Iowa (21-11) vs. #10 Davidson (24-7)

Tip Time: Thursday, 7:20 PM

TV: TNT

4 Factors

Keep an eye on this game, as the underdog here has better numbers.  Davidson enjoys a considerable E FG% offensively, but Iowa returns the favor defensively.  The Hawkeyes have a slight Rebound Rate advantage, and Davidson has an even slighter Turnover Rate advantage.  Iowa enjoys a large FT Rate advantage, but remember that we do not place much weight on this factor, and our criteria tells us to turn this to a negative if a team relies too much on free throw shooting, because referees call fewer fouls in the NCAA Tournament.

PiRate Criteria

The criteria herein show this game to be a near tossup.  Iowa wins the schedule strength battle but not by much.  Davidson takes the scoring margin battle, but Iowa is rather strong here as well.  Iowa has the rebounding margin advantage, while Davidson has the turnover margin edge.  The Hawkeyes have a better R+T, but Davidson has a better road winning percentage.  It is the closest game in this round when looking at just this section.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Davidson by 1

White: Iowa by 1

Blue: Davidson by 1

Bracketnomics Selection: If you read yesterday’s post, you saw that we never use assist to turnover ratio and discount three-point shooting and excessive free throw shooting.  Well…all three of these stats to ignore come into play here.  Davidson can shoot lights out from behind the arc and enjoys an incredible assist to turnover ratio, while Iowa is the epitome of a get to the foul line and win with free throws team.  If we were asked to select one game that could go to overtime, this is the game we would select.  We are only going with Davidson because the need to get to the foul line is drastically challenged in this tournament.

#2 Gonzaga (32-2) vs. #15 North Dakota St. (23-9)

Tip Time: Friday, 9:50 PM

TV: TNT

4 Factors

Gonzaga leads the nation in offensive E FG%, and they do it by getting a lot of easy two-point shots.  Defensively, the Bulldogs are almost the equal of their terrific offense.  North Dakota State is rather weak on both sides in this factor.

Gonzaga’s Rebound Rate is not as overpowering as the above factor, but it is still quite strong.  The Bison Rebound Rate is their top factor, but it is not the equal of the Zags.  The remaining two factors are not all that much of a factor in this game.

PiRate Criteria

If you compare Gonzaga’s criteria with Kentucky’s, the Bulldogs are not that far behind the most dominant team in 20 years.  Take a look:

Scoring margin–18.2; FG% margin–14.0%; Rebound margin–7.2; Turnover margin–1.1; R+T–19.0; Road W-L–13-1.

North Dakota State is not that bad for a low-major team, but they drew an impossible assignment in Gonzaga.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Gonzaga by 30

White: Gonzaga by 28

Blue: Gonzaga by 24

Bracketnomics Selection: Gonzaga has taken a bad wrap for not advancing past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament in recent years.  That could change this year.  Gonzaga wins this game and empties the bench.

Midwest Region

#1 Kentucky (34-0) vs. #16 Hampton or Manhattan

This review includes Manhattan winning Tuesday

Tip Time: Thursday, 9:40 PM

TV: CBS

Four Factors

This is an obvious blowout game, so let’s focus on the Wildcats and their pursuit of history.  We really cannot compare the Four Factors of Kentucky with those of San Francisco of 1956, UCLA of 1964, 1967, 1972, and 1973, or Indiana of 1976, because there were no three-point shots for those past seasons, and we do not have exact rebounding splits or turnovers.

Kentucky’s E FG% is just average.  The Wildcats do not win games by shooting lights out.  However, their defensive E FG% is just plain scary.  It is below 40%.

UK’s Rebound Rate is not what it probably should be.  It is not the best in the tournament, and it is not even the best in the Midwest Region, as West Virginia has a better total rate.

The Wildcats have a spectacular Turnover Rate, but again West Virginia’s is better.

How many times have we told you to discount FT Rate?  Well, forget that for Kentucky.  They have the second best offensive FT Rate in the tournament, and there is reason to believe this statistic will actually mean something, as opponents will continue to foul their wide open shooters out of desperation.

What about Manhattan?  The Jaspers have poor Rebound and Turnover Rates, and Kentucky will get about 15 to 20 additional scoring opportunities, as if they need them against this team.

PiRate Criteria

Unlike the Four Factors, we can compare Kentucky’s PiRate Criteria to the crucial parts of the criteria of the past undefeated champions.  Since there is no real need to compare it to Manhattan, let’s look at those incredible champs from the past and see how John Calipari’s crew stacks up.

Scoring Margin:  Kentucky’s is 20.9.  Entering the tournaments, 1976 Indiana’s was 19.1; 1973 UCLA’s was 22.1; 1972 UCLA’s was 32.2; 1967 UCLA’s was 26.2; 1964 UCLA’s was 20.5; 1957 North Carolina’s was 14.7; and 1956 San Francisco’s was 18.0.

FG% Margin: Kentucky’s is 11.4%, which is definitely National Championship-worthy.  Of the undefeated champs from the past, only the 1972 and 1973 UCLA teams bested this with marks just over 12%.

Rebounding Margin: Kentucky outrebounds its opponents by 7.4 per game.  This is better than 1976 Indiana’s 6.0, but below all the other undefeated champions, even the 1964 UCLA team with no starter over 6′-05″.  This statistic is where the Alcindor (Jabbar) and Walton teams at UCLA dominated with huge margins, and where the Bill Russell USF team won the battle by more than 17 per game.  If Kentucky is to face defeat, their opponent will have to be able to rebound.

UK’s turnover margin is a very respectable 3.4.  We do not have turnover margins for the other teams, but from memory, we remember that UCLA forced a lot of turnovers and picked up a lot of steals from their vaunted 2-2-1 zone press, but they also committed more turnovers than average due to full-time up-tempo play.  For instance, the 1972 squad played at a pace of about 90 possessions per game, whereas Kentucky today averages less than 65 possessions per game (unfortunately, this is a sign of the times, as college basketball on average sees 25% less action than it did in the first half of the 1970s.

The Cats’ R+T is 22.9, second best in this tournament.  Obviously, they have an undefeated record away from Rupp Arena, and many would say they played better on the road than at home.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Kentucky by 34

White: Kentucky by 28

Blue: Kentucy by 32

Bracketnomics Selection: In Las Vegas, Kentucky is Even Money to win the tournament, and that could be an underlay.  In horse racing parlance, they should have 1-9 odds on the tote board.  What is scary is that the gaudy statistics they compiled do not show just how strong this team can be.  The players actually underperformed for a good part of the year, as if they were saving their energy for now.  This team has talent good enough to beat the New York Knicks in a best of seven tournament.

It may surprise you, but this will not be the first team with five starters that will start in the NBA.  It has happened before, and both schools made the Final Four during the time the NBA players were starting.  All five of 1976 Indiana’s starters (Scott May, Kent Benson, Tom Abernathy, Bobby Wilkerson, and Quinn Buckner) started games in the NBA.  6th man Wayne Radford also played for pay for a season.

Ohio State’s starting five in 1960 (Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, Larry Siegfried, Mel Nowell, and Joe Roberts) pulled off the feat as well.  Lucas and Havlicek are Hall of Famers.

Both Indiana and Ohio State won the title.  This bodes well for Kentucky.

#8 Cincinnati (22-10) vs. #9 Purdue (21-12)

Tip Time: Thursday, 7:10 PM

TV: CBS

Four Factors

It’s one thing for 8-9 games to be close, but this is ridiculous.  These teams mirror each other in offensive and defensive E FG%, Rebound Rate, and Turnover Rate.  Cincinnati does not foul much, but in the Big Dance, the zebras will not whistle Purdue for many fouls either.  No favorite can be picked on this criteria.

PiRate Criteria

The results here are mixed as well.  Purdue has the better strength of schedule by about 5 points per game.  Cinti enjoys the advantage in scoring margin, FG% margin, and rebound margin, but not by a large amount.  Both teams have negative turnover margins and mediocre records away from home, so whoever wins Thursday will be a double digit loser on Saturday.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Purdue by 2

White: Cincinnati by 3

Blue: Cincinnati by 1

Bracketnomics Selection: Matt Painter is a Keady disciple, but this Purdue team is not pure finesse relying on assists and foul shooting opportunities to win.  However, the team is not fantastic in the power game.

Cincinnati has had issues this year with their coach sidelined for health reasons.  They have been playing for Mick Cronin all year, even though Larry Davis is the coach on the sidelines.  A visit from Cronin should pump the Bearcats up a little.

Both teams play tough defense, and the winner of this game could be the first to 55 points.  We’ll go with Cincinnati to win in a 55-53 type game.

#5 West Virginia (23-9) vs. #12 Buffalo (23-9)

Tip Time: Friday, 2:10 PM

TV: TNT

Four Factors

On paper, this looks like the game with the most chance of a 12-seed upsetting a 5-seed, but at the same time, this also looks like the team most capable of putting a scare into Kentucky in a Sweet 16 game.

West Virginia might be 27-5 or 28-4 if the Mountaineers could shoot straight.  Their E FG% is the worst in the field.  Buffalo is weak on the offensive side of this factor, but the Bulls are stronger on the defensive side.

Shooting aside, WVU is scary good elsewhere, which is why Coach Bob Huggins has guided his Alma Mater back into the field.  WVU’s Rebound Rates are 40.9 on offense and 30.9 on defense, and their TO rates are 18.7 on offense and 28.2 on defense.  In other words, they may not shoot straight and give up too many easy shots, but they will get so many more opportunities to score than their opponent, they can still win.

Buffalo can neutralize West Virginia’s top assets, because the Bulls are quite good in Rebound and TO rates too.

PiRate Criteria

The good ole PiRate Criteria shows this game to be a lot closer than most fans realize.  Don’t discount Buffalo’s chances.  Remember, this team actually led Kentucky at halftime at Rupp Arena.  The Bulls will not be intimidated.

WVU has a slim schedule strength advantage and even slimmer scoring margin advantage.  Buffalo stampeded the Mountaineers in FG% margin, as WVU has a -5.7% rate, something that foretells a short stay this year.

Rebound and TO margins tilt in favor of WVU, but not by all that much, as Buffalo has good numbers here.  WVU’s exceptional R+T number of 19.4 is a result of their excellent “On the line and up the line” pressure defense that produces 7 steals per game and causes opponents to rush shots before they have established proper offensive rebounding angles.

PiRate Ratings

Red: West Virginia by 5

White: West Virginia by 5

Blue: West Virginia by 4

Bracketnomics Selection: If you are going to pick a 12-seed in your bracket to win, this is probably your best shot.  However, the criteria says that West Virginia has about a 70% chance of winning this game.  The Mountaineers have a lot of flaws and will not make it to the Final Four, but they are the wildcard team that can force Kentucky out of its normal pace of play.  Unlike Arkansas that caused the Cats some trouble with their “40 minutes of Hell,” WVU can play volleyball on the backboard and keep Kentucky from dominating on the boards, while still forcing turnovers.  Keep an eye on a possible Sweet 16 game between these two teams, but WVU is certainly no sure thing to make it that far.  Just one God-awful shooting night will doom the Mountaineers back to the mountains.

#4 Maryland (27-6) vs. #13 Valparaiso (28-5)

Tip Time: 4:40 PM

TV: TNT

Four Factors

The criteria for this game indicates a possible upset, as Valpo is a lot better than a typical 13-seed.  Maryland has not danced in five seasons, but the Terrapins have enough talent to make it to a second week in the tournament.  It should be an entertaining game according to these factors.

Both teams are better than average in E FG%, with 50%+ offensive and 45% defensive percentages.  Maryland is not an exceptional rebounding team, which is proven by their negative Rebound Rate (29.2 Offense and 30.4 Defense), while Valpo is quite competent on the boards, albeit against weaker competition.

Neither squad receives stars for Turnover Rate.

PiRate Criteria

Strength of schedule is where Maryland gets a huge advantage.  The Terps schedule was about 12 points per game tougher than the Crusaders.  This is probably enough to make UM a big enough favorite in this game, but Valpo is talented enough to have a chance here.  If the Crusaders’ turnover margin wasn’t negative (as is Maryland’s), we would actually come out and pick Valpo to win this game, but the SOS tilts too heavily in UM’s favor.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Maryland by 7

White: Maryland by 5

Blue: Maryland by 7

Bracketnomics Selection: We have to take the Big Ten runnerup here, even though we feel Valparaiso has a fighting chance at the upset.

#6 Butler (22-10) vs. #11 Texas (20-13)

Tip Time: Thursday, 2:45 PM

TV: CBS

Four Factors

Don’t confuse this Butler team with the squads that advanced to the National Championship Game two consecutive seasons, but don’t confuse this Texas team for most of Rick Barnes’ past great Longhorn squads.  These two teams look like fodder for the victor’s opponent in the next round.

Neither team shoots the ball all that well, and unlike West Virginia, they only dominate in one of the extra opportunity factors.  Both teams are very good on the glass, but neither team forces turnovers or limits them on their offensive side of the ball.  Texas has the advantage in defensive E FG%, while Butler neutralizes it with better Rebound Rates.

PiRate Criteria

Unlike many of these early games, strength of schedule will not be a factor in this game, as they are roughly the same.  Scoring margins are close.  Texas has better FG% and rebounding margins, but Butler returns the favor with better turnover margin and R+T, as UT has a -3.7 TO margin (tied for worst in the Tournament).  Butler went 7-4 outside of Indianapolis, while Texas was just 6-8 away from Austin.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Butler by 2

White: Texas by 1

Blue: Butler by 4

Bracketnomics Selection: Technically, this is the double digit seed with the best chance of winning their first game, but we like the Bulldogs chances in this game.  Our selection is Butler.

#3 Notre Dame (29-5) vs. #14 Northeastern (23-11)

Tip Time: Thursday, 12:15 PM (the first game of the Field of 64)

TV: CBS

Four Factors

Notre Dame has the second best offensive E FG% in the Dance, just narrowly falling below Gonzaga.  Northeastern is no slouch, shooting well from inside and outside.

Northeastern could actually win the rebounding war in this game, but Notre Dame will exploit Northeastern’s liability of committing too many turnovers.

PiRate Criteria

Beginning with schedule strength, Notre Dame starts this game 8 points better, and the Huskies do not have enough talent to overcome that number.  The Irish’s scoring margin of 13.2 and FG% margin of 8.3make for a strong combination when you factor in their tough schedule.  Their R+T of just 6.5 will be their downfall later in the tournament, but they will get by rather easily in this game.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Notre Dame by 18

White: Notre Dame by 17

Blue: Notre Dame by 19

Bracketnomics Selection: The Fighting Irish have been underachievers in the NCAA Tournament for more than two decades.  They have not advanced to the Sweet 16 in a dozen seasons, and they have not appeared in the Final Four in 36 years.

In 1974, their best ever team, the squad that ended UCLA’s 88-game winning streak, was upset by a weaker Michigan team.  So, this affliction spreads out over decades.

This Irish team has the talent to at least advance to the Sweet 16, and if Notre Dame does not get there, Coach Mike Brey is going to be blamed for something much more infectious than he caused.  At least Notre Dame will win their opening game, which is better than the Irish fared last year.

#7 Wichita State (28-4) vs. Indiana (20-13)

Tip Time: Friday, 2:45 PM

TV: CBS

Four Factors

This is not the Wichita State team of last year or the year before, but the Shockers must not be discounted.  Their resume resembles a Final Four team’s resume.  On the other hand, Indiana’s resume looks more like a NIT team than a NCAA Tournament team.

Wichita State has exemplary offensive and defensive E FG% numbers, while Indiana has exceptional offensive and horrible defensive numbers.  If the Shockers take away the Hoosiers’ fast break and early offense opportunities with their “play angry” style, IU will have a tough time scoring enough points to win this game, because the Hoosiers will give up too many easy baskets.

Indiana has credible Rebound Rates on both sides of the ball, but their Turnover Rate is not strong.  The Shockers enjoy large advantages in both factors.

PiRate Criteria

Across the board, Wichita State bests Indiana in all PiRate Criteria save one–schedule strength.  And, that advantage is small.  Wichita State is one of a handful of teams with a 20 or better R+T rating, and when you combine that with high-quality defense and a good road record (13-4), you have a team capable of getting hot and going on a run.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Wichita State by 8

White: Wichita State by 8

Blue: Wichita State by 6

Bracketnomics Selection: Wichita State will limit Indiana’s ability to get open looks from outside and prevent the Hoosiers from utilizing their greatest strength.  For seniors Tekele Cotton and Darius Carter and juniors Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, this is a tourney experienced roster with a chips on its shoulders.  Watch out for Wichita State.  They do have a huge axe to grind with a particular undefeated team that spoiled their undefeated season last year.

#2 Kansas (26-8) vs. #15 New Mexico State (23-10)

Tip Time: Friday, 12:15 PM (first game of the day)

TV: CBS

Four Factors

Kansas is limping into this tournament.  The Jayhawks are not really deserving of a 2-seed, as Iowa State should have jumped them.  Lucky for Coach Bill Self and his troops, KU gets a patsy in their first game, and the Jayhawks hope to use it as a bounce back opportunity.

The overwhelming statistic that shows up here is the most lopsided difference in schedule strength, giving KU a 20-point cushion to start.  NMSU has decent numbers, especially in Rebound and Turnover Rate, but their weak schedule strength gives the Aggies little credibility.

PiRate Criteria

The results here mimic the Four Factor results.  Kansas has pedestrian PiRate Criteria with average scoring and field goal margins, decent rebounding margin, and a poor, negative turnover margin.  New Mexico State’s criteria numbers looks better, but the SOS is too weak for it to matter.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Kansas by 18

White: Kansas by 16

Blue: Kansas by 18

Bracketnomics Selection: If Kansas loses this game, it will be a bigger upset than when the Jayhawks lost to Northern Iowa, but not as big as when the Jayhawks lost to Bucknell.  On second thought, a KU loss would not be totally shocking.  Still, we will play the chalk and pick KU to breeze in this game, setting up a round of 32 match they do not want to face.

West Region

#1 Wisconsin (31-3) vs. #16 Coastal Carolina (24-9)

Tip Time: Friday, 9:20 PM

TV: TBS

Four Factors

Wisconsin is solid across the board with E FG% of 54.6 offensively and 46.7 defensively; Rebound Rates of 31.9 offensively and 23.7 defensively; and Turnover Rates of 12.4 offensively and 16.7 defensively.  Additionally, they are the second best team in this field at avoiding fouls, so the Badgers are not a team that will beat themselves.

Coastal Carolina is typical of a Cliff Ellis coached team.  At Auburn, Clemson, South Alabama, and even tiny Cumberland College, his teams have won by dominating on the boards, sometimes finding athletic players lacking shooting acumen.  This CCU team is not a first-class shooting outfit, but they are not inept.

The difference in schedule strength is a little too much to overcome, but if CCU can limit turnovers and have a better than typical shooting night, this game could be uncomfortably close for a longer than expected time.

PiRate Criteria

The numbers here validate our belief that this game could be closer than expected.  UW’s scoring margin is 15.8, but CCU’s is 10.0.  Wisconsin enjoys a tiny FG% margin advantage, but Coastal has the advantage in rebound margin.  The Badgers make hay with their gaudy won-loss record away from the Kohl Center, where UW is 16-2 outside of Madtown.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Wisconsin by 14

White: Wisconsin by 17

Blue: Wisconsin by 12

Bracketnomics Selection:  Last year, Coastal Carolina led Virginia by five points at the half, and they outrebounded the Cavs for the game, falling by 11 points.  We believe the Chanticleers might get behind early and then mount a furious comeback to make this game interesting, before UW pulls away in the last quarter of the game.  Wisconsin will win, but Badger fans might fret for a few minutes.

#8 Oregon (25-9) vs. #9 Oklahoma State (18-13)

Tip Time: Friday, 6:50 PM

TV: TBS

Four Factors

Talk about two teams just happy to be dancing, we are not enthused with either squad in this game and expect the victor to be easy pickings for Wisconsin on Sunday.

Oregon wins ugly in the baseball vernacular.  The Ducks are not pretty and have serious flaws that can be exploited by muscular teams.  Oklahoma State got their invitation solely on the basis of playing in the strongest conference this year.

E FG%  is even in this game.  Rebound Rate goes to Oregon only because the Cowboys cannot rebound, while OSU gets the TO Rate advantage because Oregon does not force many turnovers.

PiRate Criteria

There is no need to delve too deeply here, because Oklahoma State has a negative R+T rating, which immediately eliminates the Cowboys.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Oregon by 1

White: Oregon by 1

Blue: Oregon by 3

Bracketnomics Selection:  We automatically rule out any team with a negative R+T rating except in the rare instance when both teams in a game have negative R+Ts.  Oregon wins, and it helps our belief that the Ducks enter this tournament playing their best ball of the year, while OSU limps into the Dance.

#5 Arkansas (26-8) vs. #12 Wofford (28-6)

Tip Time: Thursday, 9:50 PM

TV: TNT

Four Factors

The factors here do not give Arkansas all that big of an advantage, but as you will read below, we expect the Hogs to muddy up the Terriers Thursday night.

Arky has one of the best TO rates in the nation with their 94-foot defense that stresses getting into passing lanes.  This is the only factor where Arkansas has a decided advantage in this game.

PiRate Criteria

The PiRate Criteria is close to even with the exception of schedule strength, where the Razorbacks enjoy the edge by about 10 points.  Remember that Wofford won at North Carolina State earlier this year.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Arkansas by 12

White: Arkansas by 11

Blue: Arkansas by 15

Bracketnomics Selection:  Here is the real key in this game: Wofford does not handle full-court pressure well when applied by teams that routinely press and know what they are doing.  The Terriers faced the other great pressing team in this field, West Virginia, earlier this season and wilted under the pressure, committing 21 turnovers and watching WVU pick up 12 steals.  Arkansas will tighten the screws the moment Wofford turns the ball over the first time against the press, and Arkansas will run away quickly with a 10-point or more spurt.  Give the Razorbacks a win to set up a much tougher third round game.

#4 North Carolina (24-11) vs. #13 Harvard (22-7)

Tip Time: Thursday, 7:20 PM

TV: TNT

Four Factors

North Carolina enjoys healthy E FG% and Rebound rate advantages here, and Harvard barely gets the TO Rate advantage.  Because the Tar Heels strength of schedule is about 12 points better than Harvard’s, UNC has little to worry about.

PiRate Criteria

To say that this great program could sneak up and surprise in this tournament sounds odd, but North Carolina has the horses to compete for a Final Four berth.  Their scoring margin is 9.5, just barely missing out on double digits.  They enjoy a FG% margin of 7.7 and a rebound margin of 8.2 with a nice 18.7 R+T and a 11-5 record outside of the Dean Dome.

Harvard has won games in the last two tournaments, and North Carolina once lost as the top seed in a region to an Ivy League team (Penn in 1979), but history will not repeat this year.

PiRate Ratings

Red: North Carolina by 14

White: North Carolina by 16

Blue: North Carolina by 15

Bracketnomics Selection:  North Carolina used to make it a habit of always getting to the Sweet 16.  Habits have a way of returning, and this one will this year.

#6 Xavier (21-13) vs. #11 BYU or Ole Miss

This one is tricky.  BYU is only a slight pick to knock off Ole Miss in Dayton, and the outcome of the next game changes based on which team faces Xavier.  If Ole Miss wins, we select Xavier to defeat the Rebels in this game, but if BYU wins in Dayton, the Cougars are our choice over the Musketeers in this game.  We are not going to show the results for both possibilities and only preview a Xavier-BYU contest.  Remember, should Ole Miss beat BYU, then take Xavier in this game.

Tip Time: Thursday, 4:10 PM

TV: TBS

Four Factors

We will cut to the chase here.  Xavier’s transition defense is suspect, and BYU is the best team in the nation to exploit that liability.  While the Musketeers are rather strong offensively in E FG%, they are porous defensively, and BYU has the tools to hurt Xavier in this category.

Rebound and Turnover Rates are close to equal, so this game figures to be interesting.

PiRate Criteria

Xavier wins the schedule strength battle but not by enough points to annount the Musketeers the winner.  BYU tops XU in winning percentage away from home (73-44%), and remember that the Cougars won at Gonzaga.

PiRate Ratings

Red: BYU by 1

White: BYU by 3

Blue: BYU by 2

Bracketnomics Selection: This game should be played at the fastest pace of any West Region game, as both teams get about 70 possessions.  If any game tops 160 total points in this round, it will be this one, and we expect BYU to come out on top.

#3 Baylor (24-9) vs. #14 Georgia State (24-9)

Tip Time: Thursday, 1:40 PM

TV: TBS

Four Factors

The schedule strength difference is too much for the underdog to overcome, and this game will be as dull as the BYU-Xavier game will be exciting.  Baylor’s zone defense will allow Georgia State to get hot from outside and make this game close or throw up bricks and make it a quick blowout.

GSU has three players capable of competing in the Big 12, two of whom have Power 6 Conference playing time, and one of whom has Final Four playing experience.  They will not be intimidated, but overall, the talent is not there to pull off the upset.

BU will wipe the backboard clean in this game, as the large Rebound Rate discrepancy means the Bears will get at least a dozen extra scoring chances.

The Panthers rely on Turnover Rate to even out their poor Rebound Rate, but Baylor is not prone to get sloppy with the ball.  The Bears went 3-0 against West Virginia and their pressure defense.

PiRate Criteria

More of the same from above, Baylor’s rebound margin is 8.0, while GSU has a negative margin.  BU’s R+T of 19.2 and SOS in the top 20 in the nation makes the Bears capable of making it to the Elite 8.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Baylor by 12

White: Baylor by 10

Blue: Baylor by15

Bracketnomics Selection:  Baylor will win this game, and it will be messy with a final score in the 60-45 range.

#7 VCU (26-9) vs. #10 Ohio State (23-10)

Tip Time: Thursday, 4:40 PM

TV: TNT

Four Factors

Okay, so you just have to pick an underdog to win a second round game?  Well, you found it here my friend, because Ohio State should be the 7-seed and VCU should be the 11-seed.  The numbers just don’t show how the Rams can win.

VCU is the only 1 through 8 seed in the tournament with a weaker offensive E FG% than their defensive E FG%.  Since the object of the game is to put the ball in the basket, and generally the better shooting team wins when you get to tournament time, we fail to see how the Rams can advance very far when their defense may not cause much panic.

Ohio State is above average in both offensive and defensive E FG%.  The Buckeyes are better in Rebound Rate and not that far behind VCU in TO Rate.

PiRate Criteria

Strength of schedule is exactly equal, so the rest of the criteria here tells a lot.  Scoring margin favors Ohio State (13.5 to 7.0).  The Buckeyes clean up in FG% margin, as VCU’s is negative, while OSU’s is 8.0.  Additionally, VCU has a negative rebounding margin, while the Buckeyes have a +3 margin.  The only part of this criteria where VCU is better is in road won-loss percentage.  VCU went 14-5, while Ohio State was just 5-8.  Of course, playing on the road in the Big Ten is quite a bit harder than playing on the road in the A-10.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Ohio State by 4

White: Ohio State by 5

Blue: Ohio State by 7

Bracketnomics Selection:  When Urban Meyer was the Florida football coach, the Gators won both the football and basketball national title in the same school year.  Meyer just won the football championship at Ohio State.  Can history repeat itself?  Sorry Buckeye fans, it isn’t going to happen this year, but 66 other teams can say the same thing if they do not wear blue and white with the letters “U” and “K” on their ball caps.  Ohio State wins this game, and it isn’t an upset in our mind.  Now, if the Buckeyes can make it to the Sweet 16, that will be one incredible upset.

#2 Arizona (31-3) vs. #15 Texas Southern (22-12)

Tip Time: Thursday, 2:10 PM

TV: TNT

Four Factors

Can a top 10 team not be given enough respect?  Definitely, because Arizona is our real number two team in the nation.

The Wildcats look like a Final Four team in our eyes and statistical fog.  Their E FG% are 53.6 (O) and 44.3 (D).  Their Rebound Rate of 34.1 (O) and 22.3 (D) tops Michigan State.  Their Turnover Rate is not that much behind Arkansas, so this team is solid across the board.

Texas Southern should be glad to be here and  fortunate not to be forced into making a stop in Dayton first.  The Tigers have no chance of winning this game with weak numbers and an equally weak schedule strength.

PiRate Criteria

Let’s focus on Arizona’s Criteria numbers versus Wisconsin and Kentucky, since this game could be a 40-point blowout if ‘Zona chooses to run up the score.

First, the SOS of the three behemoths are about equal, all good but not great (but then, they lose some by not being able to play themselves).

Arizona’s scoring margin is 17.8 ( UW 15.8/UK 20.9). Their FG% margin is 9.8 (UW 6.1/UK 11.4).  Their Rebound margin is 8.8 (UW 6.0/UK 7.4).  Their TO margin is 2.9 (UW 2.6/UK 3.4), and their R+T is 25.4 (UW 18.8/UK 22.0).  Coach Sean Miller’s Wildcats are the top contender to Kentucky, and we will have to closely peruse the data should the two teams meet.

PiRate Ratings

Red: Arizona by 42

White: Arizona by 35

Blue: Arizona by 51

Bracketnomics Selection:  It has been a long time since a Pac-12 team made it to the Final Four (UCLA in 2008).  Arizona lost a close Elite 8 game last year to Wisconsin, and the Wildcats could get their revenge before the Badgers get that opportunity to do the same to Kentucky.

The Rest of the Bracket 

You have our second round winners.  Now, let’s take it all the way to the end.

Third Round

Villanova over North Carolina St.

Northern Iowa over Louisville

Oklahoma over Providence

Virginia over Michigan State

Duke over San Diego State

Utah over Georgetown

Iowa State over SMU

Gonzaga over Iowa

Kentucky over Cincinnati

West Virginia over Maryland

Notre Dame over Butler

Wichita State over Kansas

Wisconsin over Oregon

North Carolina over Arkansas

Baylor over BYU

Arizona over Ohio State

Sweet 16

Villanova over Northern Iowa

Virginia over Oklahoma

Duke over Utah

Gonzaga over Iowa State

Kentucky over West Virginia

Wichita State over Notre Dame

Wisconsin over North Carolina

Arizona over Baylor

Elite 8

Virginia over Villanova

Duke over Gonzaga

Kentucky over Wichita State

Arizona over Wisconsin

Final 4

Duke over Virginia

Kentucky over Arizona

Championship

Kentucky goes 40-0

A Proposal To Change The NCAA Tournament Format

Murray State was one of many teams that dominated their conference during the season and then lost when all the marbles were on the line.  The Racers would have been a formidable 12-seed had they defeated Belmont in the Ohio Valley Conferent Tournament Championship.  Belmont figures to be out of the tournament with a quick blowout loss to Virginia.

It isn’t the best way to feature the low and mid-major conferences, where one bid is all they will receive.  What if there was a better way to host the NCAA Tournament, where the Murray State’s of the world got their chance, and where teams like Colorado State also had a chance to prove they belong in the Dance?

We have solved this riddle.  Our proposal is to expand the field to 80 teams but at the same time, divide the early rounds into two tournaments.

The first division would include 48 teams from the top 8 conferences, which can almost always be the same 8 every year (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Mountain West, Pac-12, SEC, and either the AAC, A-10 or MVC).

The second division would include 32 teams from the remaining conferences with automatic bids awarded to their conference tournament champions and tat-large bids awarded to the 10 or so best remaining low and mid-major teams.  Thus Murray State, UNC Central, and St. Francis (NY) would still get in after being upset in their league tournament.

The 32 low and mid-majors would be seeded into four, eight team regions and play four rounds from 32 to 16 to 8 to 4 remaining teams.  Each of these four would then advance to the Sweet 16.

The 48 Power teams would be seeded into four, 12-team regions and play three rounds from 48 to 24 to 12 remaining teams.  Each of these 12 would also advance to the Sweet 16, at which point the tournament would continue as it does now.

This proposal allows the top low and mid-major teams to get hot and show up in the Sweet 16 with momentum without penalizing the teams from the power conferences.

What do you think?  If you like this idea, call in your favorite Sports Talk Shows and let them know.

Fixing The Boredom Issue

As we alluded to this fact earlier, college basketball has seen a reduction of about 25% of total possessions since the early 1970s.  In the early 1970’s most teams averaged 85 to 90 possessions per game, whereas that average is down to about 60 to 65 today.

College football has become so exciting because the game is more wide open today than it has ever been with teams  averaging 75 to 100 plays per game compared to 55 to 65 plays per game 50 years ago.

We have heard numerous basketball fans admit they cannot watch full games any more, because the marathon of dribbling for no apparent reason has ruined the experience for them.  This dribbling has been referred to as “false offense,” because while one player dribbles for 10 seconds, the other four players act like totem poles and do not move.  And for this, you delve out $30 to $50 for a ticket to see 25% less action?

This can be fixed by getting rid of that 10 seconds of dribbling.  The NIT is experimenting with a 30-second shot clock, but this will only add about five more possessions.  Institute a 24-second shot clock, and watch that 10 seconds of dribbling disappear.  Teams are already running their offenses in 24-second blocks once they have finished showing off their dribbling skills.

Additionally, a 24-second clock would lead to more coaches realizing that full court pressure would be an excellent strategy.  If it did not produce a turnover, it would leave the opponents about 16 seconds to get a shot off.  This rules change will bring up-tempo basketball back to the college game where teams average 80-100 points per game rather than 50-70.

March 4, 2014

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Report for March 5, 2014

March 5, 2014 Update

Georgetown picks up a big win over Creighton

Florida State wins at Boston College

Providence wins a double OT thriller against Marquette

Oregon looks strong in win over Arizona State.

 

The Bubbler

The higher up each team is on this bubble list, the better.  As of today, the cut-off line to get into the Dance is #15, with teams listed at #12 through #15 as the opening round, last four in.  Teams listed at 16 and lower are not in the tournament, with teams listed #16 through #19 as the first four out.  As conference tournament upsets occur, the bubble line will move up from 15 to a lower number.

 

1. S M U

2. George Washington

3. Stanford

4. Oklahoma St.

5. Baylor

6. St. Joseph’s

7. Pittsburgh

8. Arkansas

9. Xavier

10. Oregon

11. Colorado

—————————

12. California

13. B Y U

14. Dayton

15. Minnesota

—————————

16. Providence

17. Missouri

18. Florida St.

19. Georgetown

—————————

20. Tennessee

21. Nebraska

22. St. John’s

23. Utah

 

Games Affecting The Bubble Tonight

Dayton @ St. Louis (A Dayton win moves them out of first round/A Loss moves them out of tourney)

Nebraska @ Indiana (Hoosiers can move into the discussion with a win/Huskers must win to stay)

Tennessee @ Auburn (Tennessee must win this road game/A loss moves them too far down)

Texas A&M @ Missouri (A Missouri loss probably puts the Tigers into the NIT)

Ole Miss @ Arkansas (An Arky win moves them to safely in)

St. Joseph’s @ George Washington (Winner moves to safely in/Loser still high on bubble)

Colorado @ Stanford (Winner moves to safely in/Loser could fall to last four in or first four out)

Utah @ California (Any chance for Utah to get in mandates a road win here)

 

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

Tournaments Playing Today

Big South—Opening Round

Northeast—Quarterfinal Round

Ohio Valley—Opening Round

Patriot—Quarterfinal Round

 

Schedules & Results

 

All times are Eastern Standard

 

America East Conference

Location—SEFCU Arena, Albany, NY

 

Quarterfinal Round—Saturday, March 8

G1: #1 Vermont (15-1/21-9) vs. #8 New Hampshire (4-12/6-23)—12 Noon on ESPN3

G2: #4 Albany (9-7/15-14) vs. #5 UMBC (5-11/9-20)—2:20 PM on ESPN3

G3: #2 Stony Brook (13-3/21-9) vs. #7 Maine (4-12/6-22)—6:00 PM on ESPN3

G4: #3 Hartford (10-6/16-15) vs. #6 Binghamton (4-12/7-22)—8:20 PM on ESPN3

 

Semifinal Round—Sunday, March 9

G5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner—5:00 PM on ESPN3

G6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner—7:20 PM on ESPN3

 

Championship Game—Saturday, March 15

Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner—11:30 AM on ESPN2

 

 

Atlantic Sun Conference

Location—All Games Played on Campus Sites of Higher Seed

 

Quarterfinal Round—Tuesday, March 4

G1: #1 Florida Gulf Coast 77  #8 Stetson 55

G2: #4 East Tennessee 89  #5 Lipscomb 88 2ot

G3: #2 Mercer 85  #7 Jacksonville 64

G4: #3 USC-Upstate 80  #6 North Florida 74

 

Semifinal Round—Thursday, March 6

G5: #1 Florida Gulf Coast (14-4/21-11) vs. #4 East Tennessee (10-8/18-14)—6:30 PM on CSS/ESPN3

G6: #2 Mercer (14-4/24-8) vs. #3 USC-Upstate (11-7/19-13)—8:30 PM on CSS/ESPN3

 

Championship Game—Sunday, March 9

Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner at higher seed—2:00 PM on ESPN2

 

Big South Conference

Location—The HTC Center, Conway, SC (Myrtle Beach)

 

Opening Round—Wednesday, March 5

G1: #4S Winthrop (10-6/17-12) vs. #5N Liberty (5-11/11-20)—12 Noon on Big South Network

G2: #3N Radford (10-6/20-11) vs. #6S Presbyterian (2-14/6-25)—2:00 PM on Big South Network

G3: #4N Campbell (6-10/12-19) vs. #5S Chas. Southern (6-10/12-17)—6:00 PM on Big South Network

G4: #3S Gardner-Webb (10-6/17-14) vs. #6N Longwood (3-13/8-23)—8:00 PM on Big South Network

 

Quarterfinal Round—Friday, March 7

G5: #1N High Point (12-4/16-13) vs. Game 1 winner—12 Noon on EPSN3

G6: #2S UNC-Asheville (10-6/16-14) vs. Game 2 winner—2:00 PM on ESPN3

G7: #1S Coastal Carolina (11-5/18-12) vs. Game 3 winner—6:00 PM on ESPN3

G8: #2N VMI (11-5/18-11) vs. Game 4 winner—8:00 PM on ESPN3

 

Semifinal Round—Saturday, March 8

G9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner—12 Noon on ESPN3

G10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner—2:00 PM on ESPN3

 

Championship Game—Sunday, March 9

Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner—12 Noon on ESPN2

 

Colonial Athletic Association

Location—Baltimore Arena, Baltimore

 

Opening Round—Friday, March 7

G1: #8 Hofstra (5-11/9-22) vs. #9 UNC-Wilmington (3-13/9-22)—7:00 PM on CAA.TV

 

Quarterfinal Round—Saturday, March 8

G2: #1 Delaware (14-2/22-9) vs. Game 1 winner—12 Noon on Comcast Sports Net/CSS

G3: #4 Drexel (8-8/16-13) vs. #5 Northeastern (7-9/10-20)—2:30 PM on Comcast Sports Net/CSS

G4: #2 Towson (13-3/22-9) vs. #7 James Madison (6-10/11-19)—6:00 PM on Comcast Sports Net/CSS

G5: #3 Wm. & Mary (10-6/18-11) vs. #6 Charleston (6-10/14-17)—8:30 PM on Comcast Sports Net/CSS

 

Semifinal Round—Sunday, March 9

G6: Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner—2:30 PM on NBCSN

G7: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner—5:00 PM on NBCSN

 

Championship Game—Monday, March 10

Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner—7:00 PM on NBCSN

 

Horizon League

Location—First Round Games played at the higher seed.  The quarterfinal and semifinal round games will be played at Green Bay, and the championship game will be played at the higher seed.

 

Opening Round—Tuesday, March 4

G1: #5 Milwaukee 83  #8 Detroit 73

G2: #4 Valparaiso 73  #9 Illinois-Chicago 63

G3: #6 Oakland 96  #7 Youngstown St. 92 ot

 

Quarterfinal Round—Friday, March 7

G4: #3 Wright St. (10-6/18-13) vs. #6 Oakland (7-9/13-19)—7:00 PM on Horizon League Network

G5: #5 Milwaukee (7-9/18-13) vs. #4 Valparaiso (9-7/18-14)—9:30 PM on Horizon League Network

 

Semifinal Round—Saturday, March 8

G6: #2 Cleveland St. (12-4/21-10) vs. Game 4 winner—7:00 PM on ESPNU at 11:30 PM taped

G7: #1 Green Bay (14-2/24-5) vs. Game 5 winner—9:30 PM on ESPNU

 

Championship Game—Tuesday, March 11

Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner—7:00 PM on ESPN

 

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Location—Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA

 

Opening Round—Thursday, March 6 (No TV for this round)

G1: #8 Rider (9-11/13-16) vs. #9 Monmouth (5-15/11-20)—5:00 PM

G2: #7 St. Peter’s (9-11/13-16) vs. #10 Fairfield (4-16/7-24)—7:00 PM

G3: #6 Marist (9-11/12-18) vs. #11 Niagara (3-17/6-25)—9:00 PM

 

Quarterfinal Round—Saturday, March 8

G4: #1 Iona (17-3/20-9) vs. Game 1 winner—12 Noon on ESPN3

G5: #4 Canisius (14-6/20-11) vs. #5 Siena (11-9/15-16)—2:30 PM on ESPN3

G6: #2 Manhattan (15-5/22-7) vs. Game 2 winner—6:30 PM on ESPN3

G7: #3 Quinnipiac (14-6/19-10) vs. Game 3 winner—9:00 PM on ESPN3

 

Semifinal Round—Sunday, March 9

G8: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner—4:30 PM on ESPN3

G9: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner—7:00 PM on ESPN3

 

Championship Game—Monday, March 10

Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner—7:00 PM on ESPN2

 

Missouri Valley Conference (Arch Madness)

Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis

 

All Games until the Championship on MVC TV Network

 

Opening Round—Thursday, March 6

G1: #8 Drake (6-12/15-15) vs. #9 Evansville (6-12/13-18)—7:05 PM

G2: #7 Bradley (7-11/12-19) vs. #10 Loyola (Chi) (4-14/9-21)—9:35 PM

 

Quarterfinal Round—Friday, March 7

G3: #1 Wichita St. (18-0/31-0) vs. Game 1 winner—1:05 PM

G4: #4 Missouri St. (9-9/19-11) vs. #5 Illinois St. (9-9/16-14)—3:35 PM

G5: #2 Indiana St. (12-6/21-9) vs. Game 2 winner—7:05 PM

G6: #3 Northern Iowa (10-8/16-14) vs. #6 Southern Illinois (9-9/13-18)—9:35 PM

 

Semifinal Round—Saturday, March 8

G7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner—2:35 PM

G8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner—5:05 PM

 

Championship Game—Sunday, March 9

Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner—2:05 PM on CBS

 

Northeast Conference

Location—All Games Played On Campus Sites of Higher Seeds

Tournament Re-seeds teams after quarterfinal round (like NFL Playoffs)

 

Quarterfinal Round—Wednesday, March 5 (All Games at 7:00 PM)

G1: #1 Robert Morris (14-2/19-12) vs. #8 Fairleigh-Dickinson (6-10/10-20)—No TV

G2: #2 Wagner (12-4/18-11) vs. #7 Central Connecticut (7-9/11-18)—No TV

G3: #3 Bryant (10-6/18-13) vs. #6 St. Francis (PA) (7-9/9-20)—No TV

G4: #4 St. Francis (NY) (9-7/18-13) vs. #5 Mt. St. Mary’s (9-7/13-16)—on MSG+2, FCS, Root

 

Semifinal Round—Saturday, March 8

G5: Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed—12 Noon or 2:00 PM on MSG+/FCS

G6: 2nd Highest Remaining Seed vs. 3rd Highest Remaining Seed—12 Noon or 2:00 PM on MSG+/FCS

 

Championship Game—Tuesday, March 11

Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner—7:00 PM on ESPN or ESPN2

 

Ohio Valley Conference

Location—Municipal Auditorium, Nashville

 

Opening Round—Wednesday, March 5

G1: #5 Tennessee Tech (9-7/16-15) vs. #8 SIU-Edwards. (7-9/11-19)—7:00 PM on OVC Digital Network

G2: #6 Southeast Missouri (8-8/17-13) vs. #7 E. Illinois (7-9/11-18)—9:00 PM on OVC Digital Network

 

Quarterfinal Round—Thursday, March 6

G3: #4 Morehead St. (10-6/19-12) vs. Game 1 winner—7:00 PM on OVC Digital Network

G4: #3 Eastern Kentucky (11-5/21-9) vs. Game 2 winner—9:00 PM on OVC Digital Network

 

Semifinal Round—Friday, March 7

G5: #1 Belmont (14-2/23-8) vs. Game 3 winner—7:30 PM on ESPNU

G6: #2 Murray St. (13-3/18-10) vs. Game 4 winner—10:00 PM on ESPNU

 

Championship Game—Saturday, March 8

Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner—7:00 PM on ESPN2

 

Patriot League

Location—All Games Played on Campus Sites at Higher Seed

 

Opening Round—Monday, March 3

G1: #9 Lafayette 84  #8 Loyola (MD) 71

G2: #7 Colgate  #10 Navy 51

 

Quarterfinal Round—Wednesday, March 5

G3: #1 Boston U. (15-3/22-9) vs. #9 Lafayette (6-12/11-19)—7:00 PM on Patriot League Network

G4: #4 Bucknell (11-7/16-13) vs. #5 Army (10-8/14-15)—7:00 PM on Patriot League Network

G5: #3 Holy Cross (12-6/18-12) vs. #6 Lehigh (7-11/14-17)—7:00 PM on Patriot League Network

G6: #2 American (13-5/17-12) vs. #7 Colgate (6-12/13-17)—7:00 PM on Patriot League Network

 

Semifinal Round—Saturday, March 8

G7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner—Time TBD on CBS SN

G8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner—Time TBD on CBS SN

 

Championship Game—Wednesday, March 12

Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner—7:30 PM on CBS SN

 

Southern Conference

Location—U.S. Cellular Center, Asheville, NC

 

Opening Round—Friday, March 7

G1: #8 Samford (6-10/12-19) vs. #9 Appalachian St. (5-11/9-20)—11:00 AM on ESPN3

G2: #7 Georgia Southern (6-10/13-18) vs. #10 Furman (3-13/9-20)—1:30 PM on ESPN3

G3: #6 UNCG (7-9/14-17) vs. #11 Citadel (2-14/6-25)—4:00 PM on ESPN3

 

Quarterfinal Round—Saturday, March 8

G4: #1 Davidson (15-1/19-11) vs. Game 1 winner—12 Noon on ESPN3

G5: #4 Elon (11-5/18-13) vs. #5 Western Carolina (10-6/17-14)—2:30 PM on ESPN3

G6: #2 Chattanooga (12-4/18-13) vs. Game 2 winner—6:00 PM on ESPN3

G7: #3 Wofford (11-5/17-12) vs. Game 3 winner—8:30 PM on ESPN3

 

Semifinal Round—Sunday, March 9

G8: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner—6:00 PM on ESPN3/CSS

G9: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner—8:30 PM on ESPN3/CSS

 

Championship Game—Monday, March 10

Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner—9:00 PM on ESPN2

 

Summit League

Location—Sioux Falls Arena, Sioux Falls, SD

 

Quarterfinal Round—Saturday, March 8 & Sunday, March 9

G1: #2 IPFW (10-4/22-9) vs. #7 IUPUI (1-13/6-25)—3/8 7:00 PM on MidcoSN & FCS

G2: #4 Denver (8-6/15-14) vs. #5 S. Dakota (6-8/12-17)—3/9 7:00 PM on MidcoSN & FCS

G3: #3 S. Dakota St. (10-4/18-11) vs. #6 W. Illinois (4-10/10-19)—3/9 9:30 PM on MidcoSN & FCS

 

Semifinal Round—Monday, March 10

G4: #1 N. Dakota St. (12-2/23-6) vs. Game 2 winner—7:00 PM on MidcoSN & FCS

G5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner—9:30 PM on MidcoSN & FCS

 

Championship Game—Tuesday, March 11

Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner—9:00 PM on ESPN2

 

West Coast Conference

Location—Orleans Arena, Las Vegas

 

Opening Round—Thursday, March 6

G1: #7 Portland (7-11/15-15) vs. #10 Loyola Marymount (4-14/12-18)—9:00 PM no TV

G2: #8 Pacific (6-12/15-14) vs. #9 Santa Clara (6-12/13-18)—11:00 PM no TV

 

Quarterfinal Round—Saturday, March 8

G3: #3 San Francisco (13-5/20-10) vs. #6 San Diego (7-11/16-15)—3:00 PM on BYU-TV

G4: #2 B Y U (13-5/21-10) vs. Game 1 winner—5:00 PM on BYU-TV

G5: #1 Gonzaga (15-3/25-6) vs. Game 2 winner—9:00 PM on ESPN2

G6: #4 St. Mary’s (11-7/21-10) vs. #5 Pepperdine (8-10/15-15)—11:00 PM on ESPN2

 

Semifinal Round—Monday, March 10

G7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner—Time TBD on ESPN or ESPN2

G8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner—Time TBD on ESPN or ESPN2

 

Championship Game—Tuesday, March 11

Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner—9:00 PM on ESPN

 

Ivy League Regular Season Championship Details

Harvard (11-1/24-4) currently leads Yale (9-3/15-11) by two games with two games left for both teams.  On Friday, March 7, Harvard plays at Yale (Yale won at Harvard), and if the Crimson beat the Bulldogs, they will be Ivy League champions.  If Yale wins, then the Saturday night outcomes will determine whether Harvard wins or a playoff must be played.  On Saturday, Harvard plays at Brown (7-5/15-11), while Yale hosts Dartmouth (3-9/10-16).  If Harvard and Yale tie at 11-3, even though Yale would have swept Harvard, the Ivy League mandates that the teams face in a playoff game.  Harvard had a tough time beating Brown at home, so this weekend’s ending road trip could be tricky, and it is not impossible that the two arch-rivals may play a third time for the Ivy crown.

 

 

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