The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 20, 2019

20 Basketball Coaches Ready For Prime Time

Every year, as fans and administrators grieve over the fact that their school’s basketball team is in the middle of a crash and burn, attention turns to possible replacement candidates. When a team was expected to be better than the year before or even turn things around, but said team does not show the improvement or even takes a step back, media, fans, and administrators begin wondering if a coaching change is on the horizon.
We are sure there are readers here that fall into this category.


If you are a UCLA fan, you already have a coaching search underway. Fans at Wake Forest and Washington State may experience a coaching search in March. There can be somewhat unexpected coaching changes when a new athletics director comes in and want’s “his man” in the position. All it takes is a bad February and March for an unexpected change to be made. Then, there are always the unexpected dismissals, retirements, and lateral moves leaving power conference jobs open.


To become the head coach at a major power conference school, most of the time, the new coach must have head coaching experience at the college level. On the rare occasion, a top assistant can be the hire, but this usually happens when said assistant replaces a retiring sucessful coach, like when Chris Holtmann replaced Brandon Miller, who had replaced Brad Stevens at Butler.


At the present time, there are a couple dozen excellent potential candidates to move up to power conference schools if there is a job opening. By power conference, I refer to AAC, ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC. That comes to 87 schools.
Today, the PiRate Ratings list 20 excellent coaches that we believe could take over a power conference basketball team and make it a successful choice. We set some criteria to make this list, so if a coach you think is deserving is not on this list, it could be that we did not include him because he failed to meet our criteria.

1. Age–We limited this list to coaches that will be under 50 years old on March 15, 2019. Yes, older coaches can still make a move upward past the age of 50. The PiRate Captain (me) is pushing 60, and I am not ready to be put out to pasture just yet. Still, most coaches that are going to move from low or mid-major schools to the Big Ten, Big 12, or ACC are going to be under the age of 50.

2. Past Division 1 head coaching experience or considered one of the three best power conference assistants–even if the coach is an assistant coach this year, he must have been a head coach in Division 1, unless he is considered to be the top in his class. We have included just one assistant with no previous college head coaching experience.

3. I must have seen him coach in person or on TV to see that this guy knows what he is doing. That means his team was prepared to win the game from the start, and the coach made adjustments that increased his team’s chances of winning more than the guy on the other bench.

4. He needs to have some sort of pedigree from a successful program other than his own.

5. Or, he needs to be a former power conference head coach that has been in the NBA and now needs a job.

With this criteria, here are the 20 best candidates to be given big pay raises to become power conference head coaches in 2019-20. We graded each coach on a scale of 1-100, and they had to earn a score of 90 or better to make this list. The #1 pick is not that far ahead of the #20 pick; all these men get A’s for coaching. They are presented in order of #20 to #1.


20. Jon Scheyer, Duke Associate Head Coach

Scheyer is one of two assistant coaches to make this list, because he is one of the top three assistants in college basketball. Scheyer combines top-flight recruiting ability along with the Duke system. He has more years in the Duke system than just about anybody other than Coach K himself, and he is ready to take over a program. He’s just 31, and more than likely, he will have to begin a few rungs down from the big-time. A short sojourn in the Colonial Athletic Association, Southern Conference, or Big South might be all he needs to end up at a big-time program, maybe even Duke when Coach K decides to do something else or nothing else. He still rates an A Grade on this list.

19. Mike Rhoades, Virginia Commonwealth

Rhoades has done something rarely done in modern basketball. He won at Rice. Prior to Rhoades, the Owls had won three CUSA games in two seasons with just nine overall wins. Rhoades won 12 games both of his first two years at Rice, and then his final Owls’ team won 23 games. The previous 23- win season was 1954. Since he left Houston, Rice has gone 14-36 through this weekend.

Rhoades comes from the Shaka Smart coaching tree, and his teams play a harassing defense, forcing turnovers and bad shots from the field. The Rams are 13-5 this year, giving up just 62.6 points per game, the lowest mark since Smart’s 2012 team gave up 60 with a 35-second shot clock instead of 30-second shot clock now. Rhoades will eventually become the next VCU coach to move up to a bigger program. It probably won’t be after this season, but give him time to put together a couple of 23-win seasons at VCU, and somebody will come calling.

18. Jeff Boals, Stony Brook

Steve Pikiell built up the Stony Brook program into a competitive winner, and it took Boals a couple of years to bring in an entirely new plan and four new starters from the best team in Seawolves history. Stony Brook was expected to finish in the lower half of the standings in Boals’ first year in Long Island, but the Seawolves surprised with a second place finish. After a down year last year, the Seawolves are back. They are 4-0 in the America East Conference and 16-3 overall, locked in a tight race with Vermont.
Boals comes from the Thad Matta coaching tree plus the Keith Dambrot (Akron) coaching tree. As an Akron assistant, he contributed to three 20-win seasons. Then, when he moved to Ohio State, the Buckeyes enjoyed their best years of the Matta era, including the Final Four, an Elite 8, and two Sweet 16 appearances in four seasons. Boals will probably need a year or two more to prove himself, but he is 46 and will fall off our criteria list in four years.

17. Casey Alexander, Lipscomb

Alexander is not well known outside of Nashville. He was a 16-year assistant at his alma mater to Coach Rick Byrd at Belmont, and he has followed in Byrd’s footsteps coaching down the street at Belmont’s arch-rival Lipscomb.

After guiding Lipscomb to their first ever NCAA Tournament last year, Alexander’s 2019 team is better. The Bisons have won at SMU and at TCU and have a narrow miss at Louisville. At 4-0 in the Atlantic Sun and 13-4 overall, the Bisons are the co-favorites along with Liberty to win the ASUN regular season and conference tournament championship.

Alexander is 46 years old, so his time is probably now if he is going to move up to a power conference school. The one big feather in his cap is that his Lipscomb team ranks among the nation’s leaders in tempo. Lipscomb averages 77 possessions per game.

16. Russ Turner, UC-Irvine

Turner has a very impressive coaching tree resume. He has assisted Dave Odom, Mike Montgomery, and the legendary Don Nelson (who comes from the Red Auerbach tree). Turner has excellent NBA contacts from his time with the Golden State Warriors, and he has shown in a short time in Irvine that he can organize and run a successful college program.

UCI had never been to the NCAA Tournament until Turner became head coach. The program had wallowed in mediocrity for eight years. After two seasons of putting the wheels in motion, the Anteaters began winning consistently and have won for seven consecutive years. Included in that streak is the school’s first ever NCAA Tournament bid where UCI did everything but upset Louisville in a two-point loss that saw many 50-50 calls go Louisville’s way.

This year, the Anteaters are 3-1 in the Big West and 15-5 overall. Like all of Turners’ teams, UCI plays tough defense and patient but smart offense. Turner gets more out of his talent than an average coach and his in-game adjustments frequently lead to the Anteaters winning toss-up games. Including in this year’s victims are Texas A&M and Saint Mary’s, both of whom fell to UCI on their home floors. Turner is ready to make that next move, and this could be the year. It doesn’t have to be a West Coast school.

15. Travis DeCuire, Montana

In baseball, the great Willie Mays was called a “5-tool player,” which meant he could hit, hit with power, run, field, and throw expertly. In basketball, I like to call a team that can do everything well a 5-tool team. That means, they can shoot, defend the shot, rebound on both ends of the floor, and force more turnovers than they commit. When a team enjoys an advantage in all five categories over its opposition, it becomes hard to beat them on a consistent basis.

Travis DeCuire’s teams are 5-tool teams. His current Montana Grizzlies squad shoots the ball well from inside and outside the arc and prevent the opposition from doing so. Montana wins the battle of the boards, and they force more turnovers than they commit. Because this current Grizzlies squad is quite experienced, look for Montana to be a force to be reckoned with in March. UM is 12-6 this year, one game behind leader Weber State in the Big Sky Conference. If Montana wins the automatic bid to the Big Dance, DeCuire might do the two-step to a bigger program like his predecessor Wayne Tinkle, who is doing a great job at Oregon State.

DeCuire has an excellent pedigree. Like Turner, he assisted Mike Montgomery. His tenure with Motgomery came at UC-Berkeley, when Cal enjoyed its best run of years since Pete Newell led the Bears to the Title. Additionally, DeCuire helped guide Old Dominion to success during the Blaine Taylor years.

14. Matt McMahon, Murray St.

We almost had to reconsider his resume, only because in the past McMahon had spent most of his years as an assistant to Buzz Peterson, who did not have a stellar coaching career. Throw in one year with Michael White at Louisiana Tech, and it only increased his resume by a little, as White has not yet proven he is capable of succeeding at Florida. However, it’s his four years as an assistant here at Murray State that elevates McMahon onto the A grade coaches list. He was an assistant to Steve Prohm, who has proven himself to be one of the top 20 head coaches in college basketball, and that makes McMahon’s pedigree excellent.

As a head coach at Murray State, McMahon is proving that he is ready to take over a big time program. The Racers are the class of the league again this year after winning the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament last year. Murray sports a 6-0/15-2 record this year after going 26-6 last year. McMahon is ready to coach in the big time next year, and he could be in the mix at a Big Ten, Big 12, or SEC job. He rates an A grade, but he is not the top commodity in the Commonwealth. Read on to find out who rates ahead of him.

13. Chris Jans, New Mexico St.

This selection might be considered a tad controversial, but a man deserves a second chance when he has proven that he can defeat the demons of alcohol. If not for the past issue, Jans might be in the top three in this list. Before looking at the rest of his resume, I will mention that he was caught on video inebriated in a bar patting a woman on her rear end and using a bad word to describe another woman that tried to scold him for his actions. It cost him his job as a head coach at Bowling Green.

Let’s look at the rest of Jans’ resume. As an assistant coach, he worked with Gregg Marshall at Wichita State both before and after his incident at Bowling Green. He received Marshall’s endorsement when NMSU was considering him for its opening. He also worked under current Loyola Coach Porter Moser, when Moser was the head man at Illinois State.

Now for his results. Jans has been a head coach for eight prior seasons at multiple levels. At four different schools below D1, he went 159-45 in six seasons winning 22 or more games every year and winning more than 30 games twice. In his one year at Bowling Green, he led the Falcons to 21 wins and a third place finish in the MAC East Division.
Last year, in his first season in Las Cruces, Jans guided the Aggies to the WAC regular season and tournament championships and a 28-6 record. They are 15-4 so far this season, and a half-game back of the leaders at 4-1 in the WAC. Under Jans, NMSU plays a style similar to Wichita State. The Aggies almost always win the hustle points over their opponents, and to date they are +7.4 in rebounding margin and +2.2 in turnover margin (2.2 less than opponents). If you are familiar with the PiRate R+T rating, the Aggies current R+T is 13.9, which is good enough to get a WAC team to the Sweet 16.

If a school is willing to overlook the past, Jans could coach a big time program to a Final Four.

12. Joe Pasternack, UC-Santa Barbara

Pasternack proved his worth as an excellent tactician and game-preparation success, when he was the head coach at the University of New Orleans, when the Privateers were de-emphasizing their program following Hurricane Katrina. With players jumping off the ship continually to go to schools that were guaranteed to field a team the following year, Pasternack still produced competitive teams.

Following his tenure in the Crescent City, Pasternack was an assistant to Sean Miller at Arizona, the years in which the Wildcats won three Pac-12 Championships in four years. Before going to UNO, Pasternack was on Ben Braun’s staff at Cal, when the Bears went to multiple NCAA Tournaments.

As head coach at UCSB, Pasternack inherited a team that had finished 6-22 the year before. The change in the squad was incredible. In the previous year, UCSB finished at the bottom of the nation in field goal percentage at less than 38% and in three-point percentage at 29%. Pasternack’s team increased their field goal percentage and three-point percentage by almost 10%, and the Gauchos improved from 6-22 to 23-9.

UCSB is 14-3 so far this season, including a perfect 3-0 in the Big West. Their shooting percentages have taken a slight upward turn, but this year, their defense is fantastic, and the Gauchos will fight UC-Irvine for the title.

Pasternack is certainly ready to take over a major program. Tulane might become available, and I am sure there are people in New Orleans that would like to have Pasternack back in town.

11. Nathan Davis, Bucknell

Davis has an interesting coaching pedigree. His first division 1 assistant job found him serving under Don Devoe at Navy at the end of Devoe’s long tenure in college basketball. He was an assistant here at Bucknell for five years under Pat Flannery, and the Bison went to the NCAA Tournament a couple of times, including the team that upset Kansas.
Davis has won big as a head coach, first at Division 2 Randolph-Macon, and now at Bucknell.


At RMU, he won 141 games in six years and put teams in the D2 NCAA Tournament every season, one of which included a Final Four trip. At Bucknell, he is three for three in winning the conference championship, and his team is in first place this year as well. In road games against the big schools, his Bison teams have not backed down from NCAA Tournament teams. In 2017, Bucknell won at Vanderbilt. Last year, they came close at North Carolina and Maryland. In NCAA play, Bucknell came close to pulling off upsets of West Virginia and Michigan St. They led Ohio State in Columbus into the second half this year before losing by two.

Davis has shown he can take lesser talent and go toe-to-toe with big time programs. He’s ready to show his stuff at a big time program.

10. Earl Grant, Charleston

Seven years as an assistant to Gregg Marshall at both Winthrop and Wichita State are enough to make Grant a hot commodity. Add a few years under Brad Brownell at Clemson, and it makes Grant’s pedigree excellent. Throw in his recruiting results, and you have a potential superstar in the making before he ever serves as a head coach.

Now, let’s look at Grant’s results as a head coach. Grant took over a program that had been 14-18 the year before, and his first season was a rough one, as the Cougars had a tough adjustment to an all-out assault man-to-man defense. Charleston finished just 9-24. In year two, the players began to gel in the system, and Charleston improved to 17-14. Their two-point loss in the CAA Tournament Semifinals to eventual champion UNC-Wilmington was a heart-breaker, as they blew a double-digit lead in the second half to the tournament favorite.

In 2017, Charleston gave UNCW a run for their money in both the conference and tournament races. A 25-10 record included a trip to the NIT. Last year, Charleston broke through with both a conference and tournament championship. In the NCAA Tournament, they took Auburn to the final seconds before Auburn could secure the four-point victory, holding the Tigers to less than 36% shooting.

This year, Charleston is 14-6 with wins over Virginia Commonwealth and Memphis. The CAA is stacked at the top with good teams, so if the Cougars can win the tournament again and play well in the Big Dance, Grant could be in line for a bigger job, especially with his ability to recruit.

9. Luke Yaklich, Michigan assistant

This is the other top assistant that should get a head coaching offer soon. Yaklich is the reason Michigan’s defense improved by leaps and bounds. Previous John Beilein teams were all about beating opponents with three-point shooting and fast break scoring, but the Wolverines made it to the National Championship Game last year with their defense leading the way, and they have remained a defensive force this year with their fantastic start. When they finally lost this weekend at Wisconsin, it was their offense that let them down. The defense was still outstanding.

Yaklich will bring an intensity to any program, and his reputation should help him land enough talent to win as a major college head coach. Yaklich also had two years of assistant coaching experience under Mike Davis at Indiana.

8. Kyle Smith, San Francisco

Smith may be an unknown name to basketball fans outside of the Bay Area of San Francisco, but he has an impressive resume to date and should get the opportunity to either turn USF into the power it twice was or move to a big time program.
Smith got his coaching start under former UCLA star Brad Holland, when Holland coached at the University of San Diego. After a season as an assistant at Air Force under former Princeton starter Joe Scott, he served for a decade as an assistant to Randy Bennett at Saint Mary’s.

Smith’s first head coaching job was at one of the ten toughest places to win in Division 1. He took over the Columbia University program in 2010, the Lions had not enjoyed a winning season in Ivy League play for 18 years. He won immediately in upper Manhattan, guiding the program to a winning season in his first year. When he won 21 games in 2014, it was the first time since 1970 (when the program had its best ever player in future Laker all-star Jim McMillan) that a Columbia team had won 20 games. In his final year with the Lions, he set a record at the school with 25 wins plus the College Insiders Tournament Championship. Since Smith left Columbia, the Lions have returned to the bottom half of the Ivy League.

Smith has done a remarkable job at USF. He won 20 games his first year and 22 last year, both teams making appearances in the CBI tournament. This year, the Dons are 16-3 with losses to Buffalo, UCSB, and Gonzaga and wins over Stanford, Cal, Saint Mary’s, and BYU. The Dons could earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament if they can win at Saint Mary’s or at Gonzaga or make it to the WCC Championship Game with only two more losses.

Smith is more than ready to guide a major program, and it could be any location. He’s won in the East, and he’s won in the West. Or, he could choose to stay by the Bay and bring USF back to the land of powerhouse basketball teams.

7. Steve Forbes, East Tennessee St.

Like Chris Jans at New Mexico State, Forbes has a little baggage in that he was on Bruce Pearl’s staff at Tennessee that was punished with infractions, leading to Pearl receiving a show-cause order to coach for a few years.
Like Jans, Forbes spent a few years getting back into the NCAA’s good graces as an assistant to Gregg Marshall at Wichita State. Before that, he simply won 91% of his games as head coach at a junior college in Florida.

Forbes brought the offensive genius and the full-court press of Pearl to Johnson City, combined with the pressure man-to-man defense of Marshall at Wichita State. The Buccaneers immediately improved when Forbes took over the program after Murray Bartow was forced out. ETSU improved from 16-14 to 24-12 and a second place Socon finish and near miss in the conference championship game. In year two, the Bucs went 27-8 and won the conference regular season and tournament, making a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Last year, ETSU finished 25-9 and runner-up to UNC-Greensboro. The Bucs are 16-5 so far this season, but UNCG just knocked them off in Johnson City.


6. John Brannen, Northern Kentucky

Some of you may be asking who in the you know what is John Brannen? Brannen is the best coach in the Commonwealth not coaching at Rupp Arena. Brannen served as a top assistant to Anthony Grant at Virginia Commonwealth and Alabama, and he actually coached the two NIT games for the Crimson Tide in 2015 once Grant was dismissed. The Tide played its best game of the season under Brannen’s direction against Illinois in the NIT.

Brannen took the Northern Kentucky job after the Tide were knocked out in the following NIT round, and he quickly built the program in its infancy as a Division 1 program. In his second year with the Norse, NKU enjoyed its first ever winning season in D1. Brannen guided NKU to a 12-6 Horizon League record and third place finish, and then the Norse won the conference tournament, advancing to the NCAA Tournament . As a #15 seed, the Selection Committee placed them against #2 Kentucky, the big brother of the Commonwealth. Brannen’s team faced the heavily favored Wildcats without fear and stayed within contention for most of the night before losing by just nine points.
Last year, NKU had a better team, and the Norse won the Horizon League Championship with a 15-3 record, but they were upset in the conference tournament by a Cleveland State team they had blown out twice during the season.

This year, NKU looks even better yet. The Norse are currently leading the Horizon with a 6-1 record and are 16-4 overall. If Brannen sweeps the regular season and conference tournament titles, and then NKU has a decent showing against a heavily favored opponent, he could get a chance to become a power conference coach. He’s ready.


5. Ron Sanchez, Charlotte

How can I have somebody in his first year as a head coach so high? There are extenuating circumstances. Sanchez would have made this list last year as one of the top three assistants. Sanchez was the top assistant to Tony Bennett at Virginia and Washington State and Tony’s dad Dick also at Washington State. He knows the Pack-line defense as well as any other coach in America not named Bennett.

In his first head coaching job at Charlotte, the 49ers have only a 5-12 won-loss record and a 2-4 Conference USA mark. Again, this looks bad on the surface, but it is anything but. To implement a change in systems from what Charlotte used last year to what they are using this year, it is like Mike Leach and his Air Raid offense leaving Washington State’s football program and replaced by Army’s Jeff Monken and his triple option offense.
Sanchez has the 49ers running the new defense with rather good results, and Charlotte is getting better every game. They have won two of their last three games, and the two wins came against conference foes in the upper half of the league standings. Included in recent losses is a one-pointer to league leader Marshall.  Having watched the 49ers play, it is easy enough to see that with just a little more talent, Charlotte is going to become a force in CUSA.

Sanchez almost assuredly will not get any offers to coach a Power Conference team next year, but if there is a school out there that has some talent but seems to be needing better defensive structure, Sanchez would be an excellent dark horse candidate. He gets a coveted A+ grade here.


4. Fred Hoiberg, recently fired coach of the Chicago Bulls

There are always rumors that Brad Stevens will leave the Boston Celtics to come back to college ball or that Billy Donovan is just waiting for the right college job to open up, but we believe the next NBA guy to return to college will be the one that was just fired by the Bulls.

Hoiberg won big at Iowa State, going 99-40 in his final four seasons with four NCAA Tournament appearances at his alma mater. The Iowa State job will not be available in March, unless Steve Prohm takes an even more prestigious job. Hoiberg has already been rumored to be a front-runner for the UCLA job, and in my opinion, he deserves an A+ grade for the work he did at Iowa State.


3. Nate Oats, Buffalo

Oats isn’t just maintaining the success that former coach Bobby Hurley enjoyed in Buffalo. He’s taken the Bulls program and made it better with his own style. Oats comes from an interesting background. As an assistant at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, he worked for two intelligent long-time Wisconsin greats in Dave Vander Muelen and Pat Miller. Miller won the National Championship there. In Oats’ basketball DNA are traits of Dick Bennett’s defense which we now know as the Pack-line, and Bo Ryan’s offense and defense, as many coaches in Wisconsin use the same type of offense and defense. When you see a quality coach from Wisconsin, you know his teams will play excellent man-to-man defense, run a patient offense that uses a lot of screens, rebounds on the defensive end better than most, and takes care of the ball.

Oats’ Buffalo teams play at a quicker pace than the teams coached by Wisconsin coaches. The Bulls average 74 possessions per game, and they are exciting to watch at both ends of the floor. Oats has proven he can coach and has enjoyed success when Buffalo has played big name opponents. This year, Buffalo has wins at Syracuse and West Virginia.
Oats becomes the first of what I call the A++ grade coaches. He is a hot commodity, and he might be able to be a bit selective about where he wants to go, especially if Buffalo makes a run at 30 wins this year.


2. Wes Miller, UNC-Greensboro

The reason Steve Forbes is not higher on this list is because Miller is. The reason Miller isn’t even higher is that his pedigree only qualifies due to his college coach. Miller played for Roy Williams at North Carolina, and one of his three years as an assistant was under former Tar Heel Scott Cherry.

Miller did not really earn his position as head coach at UNCG. He became the acting head coach when Mike Dement was forced to resign in mid-season. Miller was only going to have the job until the end of the season. When he took over, UNCG was 0-3 in the conference and 2-8 overall. Under Miller, the team was totally different, and as they began to win in conference play, it became apparent that Miller might get the job. Win, Miller did, and when UNCG won seven games in a row, the Spartans went from last place to first place in the Southern Conference’s North Division.

Miller did not turn the program around overnight once he was named full time coach. Three rebuilding years finally led to the first real success in 2016, as UNCG went 10-8 in the league for a fifth place tie. The last three seasons have produced excellent results. The Spartans finished in a first place tie in 2017 with a 14-4 conference mark and then won the league outright last year at 15-3. Additionally, the Spartans won the Socon Tournament last year to advance to their first NCAA Tournament bid in 17 years. A furious second half comeback brought the Spartans within a whisker of upsetting Gonzaga in the Big Dance.

This year, Miller has solidified UNCG’s dominance in the Southern Conference. The Spartans are 6-1 in the league and 17-3 overall, which includes an impressive win at East Tennessee. Two of the losses were at Kentucky and at LSU, two NCAA Tournament worthy teams. UNCG led Kentucky in the second half of that game.
Miller is just 35 years old, and he has been rumored to be a leading contender to take over at his Alma Mater if Coach Williams retires. He rates as an A++ candidate.


1. Eric Musselman, Nevada

And now to the best coach in college basketball today, a coach in a league by himself. Yes, I say the best coach. He’s better than Coach K, better than John Calipari, better than Roy Williams, and better than Jay Wright.

Eric Musselman will win a national championship at a big time school like Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, or maybe UCLA if he ever gets one of these jobs. He could take a power conference team like Illinois or Wake Forest to the Final Four.
When you combine his ability to evaluate talent and recruit rare gems, his ability to prepare his team in advance to play, and his incredible ability to make in-game adjustments, you have the best overall head basketball coach in college since Dean Smith retired.

Let’s look at his pedigree. First, he was born to a father that was a successful, albeit controversial head coach in college and the NBA.  Eric was the head coach at Golden State and Sacramento in the NBA, doing better than he got credit for under difficult circumstances.

He spent two years at Arizona State under Herb Sendek, and the Sun Devils won 43 games in those two years. A year as an assistant at LSU was the lone year that former coach Johnny Jones guided the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament, even though Jones had Ben Simmons the following year.

At Nevada, Musselman has brought in a lot of castoffs from other teams along with some fine recruits, and the Wolf Pack have been dominant from the start.
Taking over following a 10th place MWC finish and 9-22 record, Mussleman did a 180-degree turn in his first year and took Nevada to 24-14 record and fourth place finish in the league. The Wolf Pack earned an invitation to the CBI Tournament and won the event beating Morehead State.

In year two, Nevada won both the regular season and conference tournament championships, earning a trip to the Big Dance. Several times during the season, Nevada came from behind to beat teams with better overall talent.

Last year, the Wolf Pack won the regular season title again, but they were upset by San Diego State in the conference tournament. At 27-7, they earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Musselman guided the Wolf Pack to a comeback win over Texas in overtime in the opening game. Then, after trailing big favorite Cincinnati by 22 points midway through the second half, Nevada took total control of the game at both ends of the floor and posted one of the greatest comeback wins in tournament history. As good as Musselman was, he could not beat Sister Jean’s power, and the Wolf Pack lost to Loyola of Chicago in the Sweet 16 round.

This year, Nevada is one of the top two teams in the West. The Wolf Pack are 18-1 and ranked in the top 10. Nevada has joined Gonzaga and Buffalo as the three top teams not in a power conference.

Musselman has been rumored to be in the mix for the vacant UCLA job, but the big money names in Los Angeles will probably force AD Dan Guerrero to go after a bigger name, which will be a big mistake. If the Bruins want to return to the top of the West, they need to hire Musselman. If they don’t, then some other school will exploit yet another bad move in Westwood and gobble up a potential national champion coach.


Coming Monday, January 21: An updated PiRate Ratings and an updated Bracketology report.  There was quite a bit of change over the weekend.


November 14, 2018

PiRate Ratings Selections for November 14-19, 2018

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:05 am

Call it a rebound week.  After a few weeks of mediocrity, our five Land Sharps went a combined 15-6 last week, and four of the five experts enjoyed highly profitable weeks.

Buckeye Michelle and Stewed Meat were both undefeated in their picks at 3-0 apiece.  Cal Gal Tiffany went 5-2, and Dean615 went 2-1.  Friday Dog 13, stuck with a lot of favorites and like so many in “No Fave November,” he finished 2-3.  The week left three of our five Sharps with double digit percentage returns on investment.  The best news is that with two weeks remaining in the regular season, all five of our experts have winning records.  Friends, that is an incredible feat.  To go an entire college football season with a winning record is more rare a feat than beating the S&P 500 returns for a decade.  Few ever do it, so when five out of five here have winning records, it is incredible.

Now, let’s hope this isn’t the kiss of death.  Here are our Land Sharp picks for this week.  All the Land Sharps were on the same page this week; each of the five selected five games each.

1.) Dean 615:  Season 26-18-2 59.1%  Return on Investment 13.5%

Baylor -2 vs. TCU

Nebraska +2.5 vs. Michigan St.

West Virginia -4.5 vs. Oklahoma St.

Purdue -4.5 vs. Wisconsin

Ole Miss +3 vs. Vanderbilt


2 tie) Cal Gal Tiffany: Season 34-24-0 58.6%  Return on Investment  13.1%

Tennessee +7 vs. Missouri

UCLA +3.5 vs. USC

Virginia +7 vs. Georgia Tech

Virginia Tech +5.5 vs. Miami (Fla.)

California +2.5 vs. Stanford


2 tie) Stewed Meat: Season 34-24-0 58.6%  Return on Investment  13.1%

North Texas -3.5 vs. Florida Atlantic

Colgate +11 vs. Army

UL-Monroe +8 vs. Arkansas St.

Wyoming -2 vs. Air Force

UTEP +7 vs. Western Kentucky


4.) Buckeye Michelle:  Season 26-20-1  56.5%  Return on Investment  8.5%

Buffalo +2.5 vs. Ohio

Miami (O) +7.5 vs. Northern Illinois

SMU +9 vs. Memphis

Indiana +28.5 vs. Michigan

Iowa St. +3 vs. Texas


5.) Friday Dog 13: Season 29-24-1  54.7%  Return on Investment  4.8%

Washington St. -9.5 vs. Arizona

Cincinnati +7.5 vs. Central Florida

Nevada -14.5 vs. San Jose St.

UTEP +7 vs. Western Kentucky

Arkansas +21.5 vs. Mississippi St.


The PiRate Ratings’ Goofy Parlays

We sure hope you heed our weekly warning to never wager real money on our just for fun selections.  We are not professionals at this, and even though one of the Land Sharps is a professional, Stewed never publishes the actual selections played for real, because Stewed is selfish about keeping the line where Stewed wants it to be.  She knows that if all of you reading this played the same selections, the line might move by a half-point.  This was said tongue-in-cheek, but in actuality, we know that a certain few of you reading this in the Caribbean, and in places like Reno, Las Vegas, and Tahoe, that you do look at our actual computer ratings before you make your weekly investment.

Just remember that we have never placed $1 on any of these goofy picks we publish.  It’s just for fun.  We are math nerds and have no relationship with any of the MIT and Cal Tech math geniuses that create advanced algorithmic equations to beat the spread.  Of course, all of those geniuses are looking up at the PiRate Ratings in both college and pro against the spread this season, as we are currently in first place at the Prediction Tracker against the College and the NFL Spread.  A wise man once said that a broken clock is accurate twice a day, and this season is one of those times for us.

Now, here are our goofy plays this week.  Have a good laugh but laugh all the way to the bank when you DON’T wager on these games.

10-point Teaser 3-team Parlays @11-10
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Houston Tulane Pk Houston
Memphis SMU 19 SMU
Boise St. New Mexico 9.5 Boise St.
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Kentucky Middle Tennessee 6 Kentucky
TCU Baylor 8 Baylor
Wake Forest Pittsburgh 3 Pittsburgh
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Ohio St. Maryland 4 Ohio St.
Michigan St. Nebraska 8 Nebraska
Minnesota Northwestern 7.5 Northwestern
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Temple USF 4 Temple
Utah Colorado 17 Colorado
Notre Dame Syracuse 20.5 Syracuse
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Arkansas St. UL-Monroe 18 UL-Monroe
Missouri Tennessee 16 Tennessee
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Texas Tech Kansas St. 16 Kansas St.
Florida St. Boston College 8.5 Boston College
Georgia Tech Virginia 16.5 Virginia
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Michigan Indiana 38.5 Indiana
Air Force Wyoming 7.5 Wyoming
Nevada San Jose St. 4.5 Nevada
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Vanderbilt Ole Miss 13 Ole Miss
Stanford California 12.5 California
Western Kentucky UTEP 17 UTEP


Special Parlay using 5 Dimes
20-point Teaser 15 games @12-10
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Memphis SMU 29 SMU
Alabama The Citadel 32 Alabama
Kentucky Middle Tennessee 36 Middle Tenn.
TCU Baylor 18 Baylor
Michigan St. Nebraska 22.5 Nebraska
Northwestern Minnesota 22 Minnesota
Florida Idaho 20 Florida
Marshall UTSA 47 UTSA
Florida St. Boston College 18.5 Boston College
Georgia Tech Virginia 27 Virginia
Miami (Fla.) Virginia Tech 25.5 Virginia Tech
Air Force Wyoming 17.5 Wyoming
Vanderbilt Ole Miss 22.5 Ole Miss
Western Kentucky UTEP 27 UTEP
Arizona Washington St. 10.5 Washington St.


10-Point Teasers 3 Team Parlays @11-10
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Green Bay Seattle 7.5 Seattle
Tennessee Indianapolis 8 Indianapolis
Atlanta Dallas 13.5 Dallas
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Tampa Bay N.Y. Giants 9 N.Y. Giants
Houston Washington 13 Washington
Jacksonville Pittsburgh 4 Pittsburgh
Favorite Underdog Spread Pick
Denver L.A. Chargers 3 L.A. Chargers
Philadelphia New Orleans 1 New Orleans
Minnesota Chicago 7.5 Chicago
Team Team Total Pick
Seattle Green Bay 59 Under
Atlanta Dallas 38 Over
N.Y. Giants Tampa Bay 42 Over




March 9, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 9 , 2018

Today’s PiRate Ratings Spreads For Conference Tournament Games

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

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

Teams Already In The Field of 68

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

Conference Tournaments In Action On Friday

All Times are Eastern Standard

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

March 8, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 8 , 2018

Thursday’s PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament Spreads

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Connecticut SMU -5.7
Memphis South Florida 7.4
Temple Tulane 5.7
Central Florida East Carolina 13.2
VCU Dayton 1.3
George Mason Massachusetts -0.8
Richmond Duquesne 0.9
St. Louis George Washington 3.3
Virginia Louisville 6.9
Clemson Boston College 5.6
Duke Notre Dame 9.3
Miami (Fla.) North Carolina -6.4
Kansas St. TCU -3.4
Kansas Oklahoma St. 5.4
Texas Tech Texas 4.7
West Virginia Baylor 4.0
Xavier St. John’s 7.4
Creighton Providence 5.2
Villanova Marquette 11.1
Seton Hall Butler -0.4
Montana North Dakota 11.5
Weber St. Northern Colorado -2.0
Idaho Southern Utah 9.4
Eastern Washington Portland St. 1.6
UC-Davis UC-Riverside 9.0
Cal St. Fullerton Long Beach St. 1.6
UC-Irvine Hawaii 4.5
UCSB Cal Poly 12.4
Middle Tennessee Southern Miss. 13.5
Marshall UTSA 3.2
Old Dominion Louisiana Tech 7.0
Western Kentucky UAB 3.5
Buffalo Central Michigan 7.1
Ball St. Kent St. 3.2
Toledo Miami (O) 5.6
Eastern Michigan Akron 6.8
Savannah St. UNC-Central -1.8
North Carolina A&T Norfolk St. -0.1
Nevada UNLV 8.8
Fresno St. San Diego St. -1.4
Boise St. Utah St. 7.4
New Mexico Wyoming 0.1
Arizona Colorado 8.3
UCLA Stanford 3.9
USC Oregon St. 4.7
Utah Oregon 0.4
Texas A&M Alabama 2.3
Missouri Georgia 2.4
Mississippi St. LSU -0.5
Arkansas South Carolina 4.2
Sam Houston St. New Orleans 2.0
Stephen F. Austin Central Arkansas 5.3
Grand Canyon UMKC 11.1
Utah Valley Cal St. Bakersfield 10.2
New Mexico St. Chicago St. 25.4
Seattle Texas-Rio Grande Valley 3.4

One Team Earned An Automatic NCAA Tournament Bid on Wednesday

Patriot League Tournament
Bucknell 83 Colgate 54

No Automatic NCAA Tournament Bids Will Be Issued on Thursday

Teams That Have Earned An Automatic NCAA Tournament Bid

Team Bid Conf. W-L
Bucknell AUTO Patriot 25-9
Charleston AUTO CAA 26-7
Gonzaga AUTO WCC 30-4
Iona AUTO MAAC 20-13
Lipscomb AUTO A-SUN 23-9
Long Island AUTO NEC 18-16
Loyola (Chi.) AUTO MVC 28-5
Michigan AUTO BTen 28-7
Murray St. AUTO OVC 26-5
Radford AUTO B-South 22-12
South Dakota St. AUTO Summit 28-6
UNC-Greensboro AUTO SoCon 27-7
Wright St. AUTO Horizon 25-9

Conference Tournaments Beginning Today

American Athletic Conference Tournament
Orlando, FL
First 3 Rounds EST/Championship EDT
First Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Connecticut #9 SMU ESPNU
2:30 PM #5 Memphis #12 South Florida ESPNU
6:00 PM #7 Temple #10 Tulane ESPNU
8:30 PM #6 Central Florida #11 East Carolina ESPNU
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Cincinnati UConn or SMU ESPN2
2:30 PM #4 Tulsa Memphis or USF ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 Wichita St. Temple or Tulane ESPNU
8:30 PM #3 Houston UCF or ECU ESPNU
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM Cin/UConn/SMU Tulsa/Mem/USF CBS
3:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 Hou/UCF/ECU CBS
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

The top three seeds have NCAA bids guaranteed at this point, so it will take a 4-seed or lower for a bid to be stolen from this league.  Tulsa has promise.  On a given day, they can compete with the top three.  However, in order to win the conference tournament, Tulsa will have to have three solid given days and wins most likely over Memphis, Cincinnati, and Wichita St.  It isn’t very likely to happen.

On a neutral floor, Cincinnati’s great defense and Wichita State’s great offense should be adequate in stopping the rest of the league, and a rubber game between the top two teams is highly likely.



Big West Conference Tournament
Anaheim, CA
Top 8 Teams Qualify & Tournament Re-seeds for Semifinals
All Times PST
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 UC-Davis #8 UC-Riverside FSWest
2:30 PM #4 Cal St. Fullerton #5 Long Beach St. FSWest
6:00 PM #3 UC-Irvine #6 Hawaii FSWest
8:30 PM #2 UCSB #7 Cal Poly FSWest
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining ESPN3
9:00 PM 2nd Highest 3rd Highest ESPN3
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

In a one-bid league, the action is always exciting, as one slip up means curtains for any team.  In the Big West this year, no team has stepped up to become dominant over the rest of the league, and that should mean this tournament will be extremely exciting.

UC-Davis won its final five games of the regular season, but the Aggies won two of those games in overtime and another by just a point.  They were swept by 4th-seed Cal State Fullerton, a team that UCD would probably face again in the semifinals.

UCSB may have the best overall talent.  The Gauchos handle the ball better than any other team in the league, but they seldom force their opponents into mistakes.  They would need to be hot from the field to win the tournament.


Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Home Visitors TV
12:00 PM #3 Grand Canyon #6 UMKC ESPN3
2:30 PM #2 Utah Valley #7 Cal St. Bakersfield ESPN3
6:00 PM #1 New Mexico St. #8 Chicago St. ESPN3
8:30 PM #4 Seattle #5 Texas-Rio Grande Valley ESPN3
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM NMSU or CSU Seattle or TRGV ESPN3
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPNU

Sometimes, it’s the little known conference tournaments that provide both the most intrigue and excitement.  We here on the PiRate ship may be a little loopy from recent rough waters, but in our opinion, this might be the best conference tournament of all!

Start with New Mexico St.  The Aggies looked unbeatable in conference action earlier in the season.  Easy double digit wins over the top three contenders made the WAC race look insignificant after January.  Then, something changed.  Seattle, Grand Canyon, and Utah Valley started to hit their stride.  The race tightened in February, and NMSU lost back-to-back games against Utah Valley and Seattle, after narrowly beating Grand Canyon at home.

NMSU beat Miami and almost beat USC in Hawaii in November.  They still enter this tournament as the team to beat with exceptional offensive and defensive competence.  However, one cold shooting streak or maybe a hot perimeter streak by an opponent could be enough to turn one game around.

Grand Canyon is the hot team entering the conference tournament.  The Antelopes are an extension of Coach Dan Majerle.  Thunder Dan saved his best for the NBA Playoffs, and GCU will most likely be ready to play from the get-go.

If you are looking for a league tourney other than your favorite team’s league tourney, or just want to have some great late night entertainment, tune into the WAC Tournament.

Conference Tournaments Continuing Today

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Second Round–March 8–Times EST 
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 VCU #9 Dayton NBCSN
2:30 PM #5 George Mason #13 Massachusetts NBCSN
6:00 PM #7 Richmond #10 Duquesne NBCSN
8:30 PM #6 St. Louis #11 George Washington NBCSN
Quarterfinals–March 9 EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Rhode Island VCU or Dayton NBCSN
2:30 PM #4 St. Joseph’s GMU/UMass NBCSN
6:00 PM #2 St. Bonaventure Richmond or Duquesne NBCSN
8:30 PM #3 Davidson St. Louis or GWU NBCSN
Semifinals–March 10 EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM URI/VCU/Dayton StJo/GMU/LaSalle/UMass CBSSN
3:30 PM StBon/Rich/Duq Dav/Stl/GWU/Fordham CBSSN
Championship–March 11  EDT
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS


Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8  EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Virginia #9 Louisville ESPN
2:00 PM #4 Clemson #12 Boston College ESPN
7:00 PM #2 Duke #10 Notre Dame ESPN
9:00 PM #3 Miami (Fla.) #6 North Carolina ESPN
Semifinals–March 9   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM Virginia or Louisville Clemson or Boston Coll. TBA
9:00 PM Duke or Notre Dame Miami or North Carolina TBA
Championship–March 10   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM     ESPN


Big 12 Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8  CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #4 Kansas St. #5 TCU ESPN2
1:30 PM #1 Kansas #8 Oklahoma St. ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 Texas Tech #7 Texas ESPNU
8:00 PM #3 West Virginia #6 Baylor ESPNU
Semifinals–March 9  CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Kansas or Okla. St. Kan St. or TCU ESPN2
8:00 PM Texas Tech or Texas WVU or Baylor ESPN2
Championship–March 10  CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPN


Big East Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8  EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Xavier #9 St. John’s FS1
2:30 PM #4 Creighton #5 Providence FS1
7:00 PM #2 Villanova #7 Marquette FS1
9:30 PM #3 Seton Hall #6 Butler FS1
Semifinals–March 9   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Xavier or St. John’s Creighton or Providence FS1
9:00 PM Villanova or Marquette S. Hall or Butler FS1
Championship–March 10  EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM     Fox


Big Sky Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8  PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Montana #8 North Dakota Pluto tv
2:30 PM #4 Weber St. #5 Northern Colorado Pluto tv
5:30 PM #2 Idaho #10 Southern Utah Pluto tv
8:00 PM #3 Eastern Washington #6 Portland St. Pluto tv
Semifinals–March 9   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM Mont/UND Weber/N. Colorado Pluto tv
8:00 PM Idaho/S.Utah E.Washington/Portland St. Pluto tv
Championship–March 10   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPNU


Conference USA Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Middle Tennessee #9 Southern Miss. Stadium
6:30 PM #4 Marshall #5 UTSA Stadium
8:30 PM #2 Old Dominion #10 Louisiana Tech Stadium
9:00 PM #3 Western Kentucky #6 UAB Stadium
Semifinals–March 9   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM MTSU or Southern Miss Marshall or UTSA CBSSN
3:00 PM ODU or La. Tech Western Ky. or UAB CBSSN
Championship–March 10   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:30 PM     CBSSN


Mid-American Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Buffalo #8 Central Michigan ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 Ball St. #5 Kent St. ESPN3
6:30 PM #2 Toledo #7 Miami (O) ESPN3
9:00 PM #3 Eastern Michigan #11 Akron ESPN3
Semifinals–March 9   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Buff/CMU Ball/Kent CBSSN
9:00 PM Tol/Mia EMU/Akron See *
* This game will be available at
Championship–March 10   EST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2


Mideastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #3 Savannah St. #6 UNC-Central ESPN3
8:00 PM #4 North Carolina A&T #5 Norfolk St. ESPN3
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Hampton NCAT/Norfolk St ESPN3
8:00 PM #7 Morgan St. Sav/UNCC ESPN3
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2


Mountain West Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Nevada #8 UNLV CBSSN
2:30 PM #4 Fresno St. #5 San Diego St. CBSSN
6:00 PM #2 Boise St. #7 Utah St. CBSSN
8:30 PM #3 New Mexico #6 Wyoming CBSSN
Semifinals–March 9   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Nevada or UNLV FSU or SDSU CBSSN
8:30 PM Boise St. or Utah St. New Mexico or Wyoming CBSSN
Championship–March 10   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS


Pacific 12 Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Arizona #8 Colorado Pac12
2:30 PM #4 UCLA #5 Stanford Pac12
6:00 PM #2 USC #10 Oregon St. Pac12
8:30 PM #3 Utah #6 Oregon FS1
Semifinals–March 9   PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Arizona or Colorado UCLA or Stanford Pac12
8:30 PM USC or Oregon St. Utah or Oregon FS1
Championship–March 10  PST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     FS1


Southeastern Conference Tournament
Second Round–March 8  CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Texas A&M #9 Alabama SECTV
2:30 PM #5 Missouri #12 Georgia SECTV
6:00 PM #7 Mississippi St. #10 LSU SECTV
8:30 PM #6 Arkansas #11 South Carolina SECTV
Quarterfinals–March 9   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Auburn A&M or Alabama ESPN
2:30 PM #4 Kentucky Missouri or Georgia ESPN
6:00 PM #2 Tennessee Miss St. or LSU SECTV
8:30 PM #3 Florida Arkansas or S. Carolina SECTV
Semifinals–March 10   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM Aub/A&M/Alabama UK/MO/GA ESPN
Championship–March 4   CDT
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM     ESPN


Southland Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 8   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #4 Sam Houston St. #5 New Orleans ESPN3
7:30 PM #3 Stephen F. Austin #7 Central Arkansas ESPN3
Semifinals–March 9   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #1 SE Louisiana Sam Houston or UNO ESPN3
7:30 PM #2 Nicholls St. SF Austin or Cent. Ark. ESPN3
Championship–March 10   CST
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2








March 5, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for March 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

ACC: Syracuse and Louisville

Big East: Marquette

Big 12: Oklahoma St.

Mountain West: Boise St.

Pac-12: Utah and Washington

SEC: LSU, Georgia, and Mississippi St.

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

Big 12: Baylor, Kansas St., and Texas

Big East: Providence

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

SEC: Alabama

West Coast: Saint Mary’s

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

American: Tulsa

Atlantic 10: Davidson

ACC: Notre Dame

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

Big East: St. John’s

Pac-12: Stanford

SEC: South Carolina

West Coast: BYU

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

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

The First Four in Dayton

USC vs. Baylor

Alabama vs. Kansas St.

Radford vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff

Hampton vs. Nicholls St.


Top 4 Out 

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

Multiple Bid Leagues

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

There are currently 23, one-bid leagues.




February 12, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for February 12, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

What Are The Quadrants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quadrant 1: 0-6

Quadrant 2: 3-2

Quadrant 3: 7-0

Quadrant 4: 9-0

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

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

This Week’s Bracketology Gurus Field of 68

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

First Four Games in Dayton

Louisville vs. Kansas St.

Syracuse vs. North Carolina St.

Harvard vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Southeast Louisiana vs. North Carolina A&T

Last Four Byes



Virginia Tech




February 9, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 9-11, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:00 am

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Note–We add one Friday night game to Include Rhode Island in our coverage.

Friday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Rhode Island Davidson 6.1
Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
South Florida Temple -12.5
Wichita St. Connecticut 18.6
North Carolina St. North Carolina -4.7
Boston College Miami (Fla.) -2.6
Notre Dame Florida St. 1.5
Virginia Virginia Tech 12.4
West Virginia Oklahoma St. 11.8
Baylor Kansas -2.6
Iowa St. Oklahoma -4.6
TCU Texas 5.5
Kansas St. Texas Tech -2.5
Villanova Butler 12.5
St. John’s Marquette 1.0
Creighton Xavier 1.8
Georgetown Seton Hall -4.6
Providence DePaul 8.9
Maryland Northwestern 6.6
Michigan St. Purdue 1.6
Nebraska Rutgers 9.9
Ohio St. Iowa 12.3
Air Force New Mexico -6.4
Colorado St. San Jose St. 8.9
Nevada San Diego St. 7.6
UNLV Wyoming 7.8
Utah St. Boise St. -4.3
Arizona St. UCLA 5.9
Utah California 14.4
Oregon St. Washington 0.3
Arizona USC 6.6
South Carolina Florida -1.7
Missouri Mississippi St. 5.9
Georgia Auburn -6.2
LSU Ole Miss 4.6
Alabama Tennessee -2.6
Texas A&M Kentucky 3.6
Arkansas Vanderbilt 8.4
BYU San Francisco 12.0
Santa Clara San Diego -7.0
Loyola Marymount Pepperdine 7.2
Saint Mary’s Gonzaga 3.4
Pacific Portland 9.4
Middle Tennessee North Texas 14.3
New Mexico St. Grand Canyon 8.6
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
SMU Cincinnati -5.3
Memphis Central Florida -0.9
Houston Tulane 13.8
Pittsburgh Louisville -12.0
Syracuse Wake Forest 6.8
Georgia Tech Duke -13.5
Wisconsin Michigan -2.6
Illinois Penn St. -1.3
Colorado Stanford 1.7
Oregon Washington St. 13.1

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 121.4 BIGE
2 Purdue 120.3 BTEN
3 Virginia 119.9 ACC
4 Duke 119.4 ACC
5 Michigan St. 118.4 BTEN
6 Cincinnati 117.8 AAC
7 Kansas 116.7 B12
8 West Virginia 115.8 B12
9 North Carolina 115.7 ACC
10 Auburn 115.6 SEC
11 Tennessee 115.2 SEC
12 Xavier 115.1 BIGE
13 Texas Tech 115.1 B12
14 Gonzaga 114.9 WCC
15 Saint Mary’s 114.8 WCC
16 Wichita St. 114.6 AAC
17 Ohio St. 113.9 BTEN
18 Creighton 113.4 BIGE
19 Clemson 113.2 ACC
20 Florida St. 112.7 ACC
21 Oklahoma 112.6 B12
22 TCU 112.5 B12
23 Butler 112.4 BIGE
24 Arizona 112.4 PAC12
25 Nevada 111.6 MWC

This week, we add three highly-ranked Mid-Major teams that are good enough to receive at-large bids if they fail to win their conference’s automatic bids.  In most likelihood, these three teams would need to at least make the semifinals of their conference tournament.

Team PiRate Conf.
Rhode Island 111.1 A-10
New Mexico St. 109.0 WAC
Middle Tennessee 108.8 CUSA

PiRate Ratings By Power Conferences

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 117.8 AAC
Wichita St. 114.6 AAC
Houston 110.6 AAC
SMU 109.0 AAC
Temple 105.4 AAC
UCF 103.6 AAC
Tulsa 102.4 AAC
Tulane 100.3 AAC
Connecticut 99.5 AAC
Memphis 99.2 AAC
East Carolina 91.1 AAC
South Florida 89.9 AAC
Virginia 119.9 ACC
Duke 119.4 ACC
North Carolina 115.7 ACC
Clemson 113.2 ACC
Florida St. 112.7 ACC
Miami FL 111.6 ACC
Louisville 111.4 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.5 ACC
Notre Dame 110.2 ACC
Syracuse 108.6 ACC
North Carolina St. 108.0 ACC
Boston College 105.5 ACC
Wake Forest 105.3 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.9 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.4 ACC
Kansas 116.7 B12
West Virginia 115.8 B12
Texas Tech 115.1 B12
Oklahoma 112.6 B12
TCU 112.5 B12
Baylor 110.6 B12
Texas 110.5 B12
Kansas St. 109.1 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.5 B12
Iowa St. 104.5 B12
Villanova 121.4 BIGE
Xavier 115.1 BIGE
Creighton 113.4 BIGE
Butler 112.4 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.5 BIGE
Marquette 109.2 BIGE
Providence 107.9 BIGE
St. John’s 106.7 BIGE
Georgetown 103.9 BIGE
DePaul 102.5 BIGE
Purdue 120.3 BTEN
Michigan St. 118.4 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.9 BTEN
Michigan 111.6 BTEN
Maryland 110.4 BTEN
Penn St. 109.9 BTEN
Northwestern 107.8 BTEN
Nebraska 107.6 BTEN
Indiana 106.1 BTEN
Minnesota 106.1 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.5 BTEN
Illinois 105.1 BTEN
Iowa 105.1 BTEN
Rutgers 101.2 BTEN
Nevada 111.6 MWC
Boise St. 108.6 MWC
San Diego St. 107.5 MWC
UNLV 106.4 MWC
Fresno St. 106.1 MWC
New Mexico 102.2 MWC
Wyoming 102.1 MWC
Utah St. 100.8 MWC
Colorado St. 96.0 MWC
Air Force 92.8 MWC
San Jose St. 90.6 MWC
Arizona 112.4 PAC12
Arizona St. 111.0 PAC12
USC 109.3 PAC12
UCLA 108.6 PAC12
Oregon 107.1 PAC12
Utah 106.5 PAC12
Washington 104.8 PAC12
Stanford 104.6 PAC12
Colorado 102.8 PAC12
Oregon St. 102.1 PAC12
Washington St. 97.5 PAC12
California 95.6 PAC12
Auburn 115.6 SEC
Tennessee 115.2 SEC
Texas A&M 111.6 SEC
Kentucky 111.5 SEC
Florida 110.9 SEC
Missouri 110.5 SEC
Arkansas 110.3 SEC
Alabama 109.1 SEC
Mississippi St. 108.1 SEC
LSU 106.7 SEC
Georgia 106.4 SEC
South Carolina 105.7 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.4 SEC
Mississippi 105.1 SEC
Gonzaga 114.9 WCC
Saint Mary’s 114.8 WCC
BYU 107.8 WCC
San Diego 101.9 WCC
Pacific 99.6 WCC
San Francisco 99.3 WCC
Portland 93.2 WCC
Loyola Marymount 93.1 WCC
Santa Clara 91.9 WCC
Pepperdine 88.9 WCC

Conference Tournaments Less Than 3 Weeks Away

It seems to have crept up on us this year.  In our environs, it has been a much colder and much wetter winter, the type that makes you feel it will last for a year.  So, it surprised us this morning when one of our followers asked us when we would post the conference tournament schedules like we do every year.

We will get to work on that this week and hopefully will have this in next Friday’s report or in a separate one midweek.

For now, here is a list of the conference tournaments with the dates.  The first action begins in just 17 days.

Atlantic Sun Feb. 26-Mar. 4 Higher Seed
Big South Feb. 27, Mar. 1-4 Higher Seed
Patriot Feb. 27, Mar. 1, 4, & 7 Higher Seed
Big Ten Feb. 28-Mar. 4 New York City
Ohio Valley Feb. 28, Mar. 1-3 San Antonio
Northeast Feb. 28, March 3 & 6 Higher Seed
Missouri Valley Mar. 1-4 St. Louis
Metro Atlantic Mar. 1-5 Albany, NY
Southern Mar. 1-5 Asheville, NC
West Coast Mar. 1-6 Las Vegas
Ivy Mar. 10-11 Philadelphia
Big West Mar. 12-14 Anaheim
Horizon Mar. 2-6 Detroit
Colonial Athletic Mar. 3-6 N. Charleson, SC
Summit Mar. 3-6 Sioux Falls, SD
America East Mar. 3, 6 & 10 Higher Seed
Mideastern Athletic Mar. 5-10 Norfolk, VA
Mid-American Mar. 5, 7-10 Higher Seed/Cleveland
Atlantic Coast Mar. 6-10 Brooklyn
Big Sky Mar. 6, 8-10 Reno, NV
Southwestern Athletic Mar. 6, 9-10 Houston
Big East Mar. 7-10 New York City
Big 12 Mar. 7-10 Kansas City
Conference USA Mar. 7-10 Frisco, TX
Mountain West Mar. 7-10 Las Vegas
Pac-12 Mar. 7-10 Las Vegas
Western Athletic Mar. 7-10 Las Vegas
Atlantic 10 Mar. 7-11 Washington, DC
Southeastern Mar. 7-11 St. Louis
Southland Mar. 7-11 Katy, TX
Sun Belt Mar. 7-11 New Orleans
American Athletic Mar. 8-11 Orlando











January 26, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for January 27-28, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:16 am

Spreads For Major Conference Games This Weekend

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Memphis Cincinnati -13.8
North Carolina North Carolina St. 12.2
Duke Virginia 5.0
Florida St. Miami (Fla.) 3.8
Pittsburgh Syracuse -9.6
Notre Dame Virginia Tech 4.8
Louisville Wake Forest 9.8
South Carolina Texas Tech -4.2
Florida Baylor 5.4
Texas Ole Miss 7.4
Kansas St. Georgia 7.8
Alabama Oklahoma -1.7
Iowa St. Tennessee -5.2
Vanderbilt TCU -4.9
Kansas Texas A&M 10.0
Arkansas Oklahoma St. 7.4
West Virginia Kentucky 8.8
Butler St. John’s 8.5
Creighton Georgetown 14.5
Penn St. Rutgers 9.0
Nebraska Iowa 4.7
San Jose St. Wyoming -9.7
Fresno St. Utah St. 7.6
New Mexico Colorado St. 9.4
Air Force Boise St. -13.2
UNLV San Diego St. 0.2
Arizona Utah 10.2
Arizona St. Colorado 12.1
Oregon Oregon St. 7.9
UCLA Stanford 7.5
Auburn LSU 9.5
Mississippi St. Missouri -1.0
Loyola Marymount San Diego -3.9
Pepperdine Santa Clara 1.4
Gonzaga San Francisco 20.0
BYU Pacific 12.7
Saint Mary’s Portland 23.0
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
SMU East Carolina 22.6
Houston South Florida 24.1
Wichita St. Tulsa 16.1
Temple Connecticut 7.1
Georgia Tech Clemson -6.9
Marquette Villanova -9.0
DePaul Seton Hall -5.0
Maryland Michigan St. -5.4
Indiana Purdue -13.6
USC California 17.9
Washington Washington St. 6.4

The PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 122.2 BIGE
2 Purdue 121.7 BTEN
3 Duke 120.0 ACC
4 Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
5 Virginia 119.0 ACC
6 Cincinnati 117.2 AAC
7 Kansas 117.0 B12
8 Gonzaga 116.7 WCC
9 West Virginia 116.2 B12
10 North Carolina 115.9 ACC
11 Xavier 115.4 BIGE
12 Texas Tech 114.5 B12
13 Wichita St. 114.4 AAC
14 Auburn 114.0 SEC
15 Creighton 114.0 BIGE
16 Oklahoma 113.5 B12
17 Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
18 Tennessee 113.4 SEC
19 TCU 113.1 B12
20 Arizona 112.9 PAC12
21 Clemson 112.8 ACC
22 Florida St. 112.6 ACC
23 Saint Mary’s 112.5 WCC
24 Nevada 112.3 MWC
25 Florida 112.3 SEC

Note: Rhode Island from the Atlantic 10 Conference is #27, but no other A-10 team is in line for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.  Thus, the A-10 stays as a one-bid league if URI wins the automatic bid by winning the A-10 Tournament title.  If a second team should make it into serious Bubble contention, then we will commence with A-10 expanded coverage.

Also, the Mountain West Conference is in danger of being removed from this list.  While Nevada remains in the top 25 and looks like a near lock to make the NCAA Tournament with or without an automatic bid, the Wolfpack’s nearest competition, Boise State and San Diego State, have fallen back enough to be remote at-large candidates.  Should the Broncos and Aztecs fall off that Bubble, we will remove the Mountain West Conference as a Major.

PiRate Ratings by Major Conference 

Cincinnati 117.2 AAC
Wichita St. 114.4 AAC
Houston 110.3 AAC
SMU 109.9 AAC
UCF 104.4 AAC
Temple 104.2 AAC
Tulsa 101.8 AAC
Tulane 100.7 AAC
Connecticut 100.6 AAC
Memphis 99.9 AAC
East Carolina 90.8 AAC
South Florida 89.7 AAC
Duke 120.0 ACC
Virginia 119.0 ACC
North Carolina 115.9 ACC
Clemson 112.8 ACC
Florida St. 112.6 ACC
Miami FL 111.8 ACC
Notre Dame 111.6 ACC
Louisville 111.3 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.3 ACC
Syracuse 108.8 ACC
North Carolina St. 106.7 ACC
Boston College 105.6 ACC
Wake Forest 105.0 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.9 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.2 ACC
Kansas 117.0 B12
West Virginia 116.2 B12
Texas Tech 114.5 B12
Oklahoma 113.5 B12
TCU 113.1 B12
Kansas St. 110.7 B12
Baylor 110.4 B12
Texas 110.2 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.6 B12
Iowa St. 104.7 B12
Villanova 122.2 BIGE
Xavier 115.4 BIGE
Creighton 114.0 BIGE
Butler 110.9 BIGE
Seton Hall 110.9 BIGE
Marquette 109.7 BIGE
Providence 108.2 BIGE
St. John’s 105.9 BIGE
Georgetown 103.0 BIGE
DePaul 102.9 BIGE
Purdue 121.7 BTEN
Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
Michigan 112.3 BTEN
Maryland 110.4 BTEN
Penn St. 108.6 BTEN
Northwestern 107.0 BTEN
Nebraska 106.5 BTEN
Minnesota 106.5 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.7 BTEN
Iowa 105.3 BTEN
Indiana 105.1 BTEN
Illinois 104.3 BTEN
Rutgers 102.6 BTEN
Nevada 112.3 MWC
Boise St. 109.0 MWC
San Diego St. 108.3 MWC
UNLV 105.5 MWC
Fresno St. 105.3 MWC
Wyoming 102.4 MWC
New Mexico 102.4 MWC
Utah St. 100.7 MWC
Colorado St. 96.5 MWC
Air Force 92.8 MWC
San Jose St. 89.7 MWC
Arizona 112.9 PAC12
Arizona St. 111.3 PAC12
USC 109.6 PAC12
UCLA 107.8 PAC12
Oregon 107.6 PAC12
Utah 106.2 PAC12
Stanford 103.8 PAC12
Washington 103.1 PAC12
Colorado 102.7 PAC12
Oregon St. 102.7 PAC12
Washington St. 99.7 PAC12
California 95.2 PAC12
Auburn 114.0 SEC
Tennessee 113.4 SEC
Florida 112.3 SEC
Kentucky 111.4 SEC
Arkansas 111.0 SEC
Texas A&M 111.0 SEC
Missouri 109.9 SEC
Alabama 108.3 SEC
LSU 108.0 SEC
South Carolina 106.8 SEC
Georgia 106.4 SEC
Mississippi 106.3 SEC
Mississippi St. 105.9 SEC
Vanderbilt 104.7 SEC
Gonzaga 116.7 WCC
Saint Mary’s 112.5 WCC
BYU 107.7 WCC
San Diego 101.2 WCC
San Francisco 99.7 WCC
Pacific 98.5 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.3 WCC
Portland 92.5 WCC
Santa Clara 92.3 WCC
Pepperdine 90.7 WCC

PiRate Ratings Take on the Current 68

Beginning next week, we hope to commence with our 2018 March Madness Bracket Gurus report.  We have received the go ahead from 11 of our 12 gurus saying they will be ready to send us their selections on Monday or Tuesday each week for the rest of the season.  We have not been able to establish contact with Guru #12 this year, so we are in the market for a 12th Guru.  We have feelers sent out to a couple of reputable bracketologists hoping to get back to a dozen.

Until then, here is our personal take on 68 teams.

America East–1: Vermont 7-0/17-5

AAC–4: Cincinnati 7-0/18-2, Wichita St. 6-2/16-4, Houston 5-2/15-4, SMU 4-4/14-7

Atlantic 10–1: Rhode Island 8-0/16-3

ACC–8: Virginia 8-0/19-1, Duke 6-2/18-2, North Carolina 5-3/16-5, Clemson 5-3/16-4, Louisville 5-2/15-5, Miami (Fla.) 4-3/15-4, Florida St. 4-4/15-5, Notre Dame 3-4/13-7

Atlantic Sun–1: Florida Gulf Coast 6-0/15-8

Big 12–7: Kansas 6-2/16-4, Oklahoma 5-3/15-4, West Virginia 5-3/16-4, Texas Tech 5-3/16-4, Kansas St. 5-3/15-5, TCU 3-5/15-5, Texas 4-4/13-7

Big East–7: Villanova 6-1/19-1, Xavier 7-2/19-3, Creighton 6-3/16-5, Seton Hall 4-3/15-5, Butler 4-4/14-7, Providence 5-3/14-7, Marquette 4-4/13-7

Big Sky–1: Montana 8-0/15-5

Big South–1: Radford 7-2/14-8

Big Ten–4: Purdue 9-0/20-2, Michigan St. 6-2/18-3, Ohio St. 9-1/18-5, Michigan 6-4/17-6

Big West–1: Hawaii 4-1/13-5

Colonial–1: Northeastern 7-2/14-7

Conference USA–1: Middle Tennessee 7-1/15-5

Horizon–1: Northern Kentucky 7-1/14-6

Ivy–1: Penn 3-0/12-6

MAAC–1: Canisius 7-1/13-8

MAC–1: Buffalo 7-0/15-5

MEAC–1: Bethune-Cookman 5-0/11-9

Missouri Valley–1: Loyola (Chi.) 7-2/17-4

Mountain West–2: Nevada 7-1/18-4, Boise St. 7-2/17-4

Northeast–1: Wagner 6-2/13-6

Ohio Valley–1: Belmont 8-1/16-6

Pac-12–3: Arizona 7-1/17-4, Arizona St. 3-5/15-5, USC 7-2/16-6

Patriot–1: Bucknell 8-1/14-8

SEC–8: Auburn 6-1/18-2, Tennessee 5-3/14-5, Florida 6-2/14-6, Kentucky 5-3/15-5, Alabama 5-3/13-7, Arkansas 4-4/14-6, Missouri 3-4/13-7, Texas A&M 2-6/13-7

Southern–1: East Tennessee 8-0/17-4

Southland–1: Stephen F. Austin 5-2/16-4

SWAC–1: Arkansas-Pine Bluff 7-0/7-14

Summit–1: South Dakota 6-1/18-5

Sun Belt–1: Louisiana-LaFayette 8-0/18-3

West Coast–2: Saint Mary’s 9-0/20-2, Gonzaga 8-1/18-4

WAC–1: New Mexico St. 5-0/17-3

Last 4 In (headed to Dayton in a First 4 Game)

Notre Dame vs. Boise St.

Kansas St. vs. USC

#16 Seeds headed to Dayton in a First 4 Game

Wagner vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Penn vs. Radford

5 Double Digit Mid-Major Seeds No Single Digit Seed Wants to Play 

New Mexico St.

Middle Tennessee or Western Kentucky


East Tennessee St.



5 Final Four Dark Horses (lower than 4 seed)


Wichita St.

Saint Mary’s



The Bubble On the Outside Looking In

69 Syracuse

70 Georgia

71 Washington

72 Western Kentucky (or Middle Tennessee if WKU wins automatic bid)

73 Baylor

74 Maryland

75 North Carolina St.

76 Oklahoma St.




January 12, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for January 13-14, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 1:20 pm

This Weekend’s PiRate Ratings Spreads of Major Conference Games

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Tulane Connecticut 3.8
Temple Memphis 10.2
South Florida Cincinnati -22.9
Tulsa Wichita St. -11.6
Duke Wake Forest 17.3
Florida St. Syracuse 7.6
Pittsburgh Georgia Tech -2.8
Clemson Miami (Fla.) 4.4
Louisville Virginia Tech 3.9
Notre Dame North Carolina 0.5
Kansas Kansas St. 12.0
Oklahoma TCU 5.6
Texas Tech West Virginia 4.8
Iowa St. Baylor -4.1
Oklahoma St. Texas 0.0
Seton Hall Georgetown 11.6
Xavier Creighton 2.2
St. John’s Villanova -12.5
Michigan St. Michigan 10.2
Minnesota Purdue -8.3
Wyoming Colorado St. 8.2
San Jose St. Air Force 0.8
Fresno St. New Mexico 5.9
Nevada Utah St. 14.6
Boise St. San Diego St. 3.3
Arizona Oregon 8.9
Washington St. California 5.6
Arizona St. Oregon St. 15.3
Washington Stanford 4.5
UCLA Colorado 10.5
Ole Miss Florida -5.0
Georgia South Carolina 4.9
Mississippi St. Auburn -3.3
Vanderbilt Kentucky -4.1
Tennessee Texas A&M 4.7
Arkansas Missouri 4.9
LSU Alabama 3.8
Pepperdine Saint Mary’s -17.3
San Francisco Gonzaga -13.5
Santa Clara BYU -10.4
San Diego Loyola Marymount 11.2
Portland Pacific -2.5
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
East Carolina Houston -17.2
Virginia North Carolina St. 14.7
Indiana Northwestern 0.6
Rutgers Ohio St. -6.0
USC Utah 5.6

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 121.1 BIGE
2 Purdue 120.0 BTEN
3 Duke 119.7 ACC
4 Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
5 Kansas 117.6 B12
6 Virginia 117.5 ACC
7 Gonzaga 117.2 WCC
8 Texas Tech 116.9 B12
9 North Carolina 116.2 ACC
10 Cincinnati 116.0 AAC
11 Wichita St. 116.0 AAC
12 West Virginia 115.6 B12
13 Creighton 115.0 BIGE
14 Oklahoma 114.8 B12
15 Xavier 113.7 BIGE
16 Tennessee 113.2 SEC
17 Arizona 113.2 PAC12
18 Arizona St. 113.2 PAC12
19 Clemson 112.9 ACC
20 Notre Dame 112.7 ACC
21 TCU 112.7 B12
22 Florida 112.7 SEC
23 Florida St. 112.5 ACC
24 Auburn 112.4 SEC
25 Michigan 112.1 BTEN

PiRate Ratings By Major Conference

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 116.0 AAC
Wichita St. 116.0 AAC
SMU 110.2 AAC
Houston 110.0 AAC
UCF 105.4 AAC
Temple 105.3 AAC
Tulsa 101.4 AAC
Tulane 101.3 AAC
Connecticut 100.5 AAC
Memphis 98.6 AAC
South Florida 90.1 AAC
East Carolina 89.8 AAC
Duke 119.7 ACC
Virginia 117.5 ACC
North Carolina 116.2 ACC
Clemson 112.9 ACC
Notre Dame 112.7 ACC
Florida St. 112.5 ACC
Miami FL 112.0 ACC
Louisville 110.5 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.1 ACC
Syracuse 108.4 ACC
North Carolina St. 106.8 ACC
Wake Forest 105.4 ACC
Boston College 105.4 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.3 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.5 ACC
Kansas 117.6 B12
Texas Tech 116.9 B12
West Virginia 115.6 B12
Oklahoma 114.8 B12
TCU 112.7 B12
Baylor 110.9 B12
Texas 110.8 B12
Kansas St. 108.6 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.8 B12
Iowa St. 103.8 B12
Villanova 121.1 BIGE
Creighton 115.0 BIGE
Xavier 113.7 BIGE
Seton Hall 112.0 BIGE
Butler 110.3 BIGE
Marquette 110.0 BIGE
Providence 106.8 BIGE
St. John’s 105.6 BIGE
Georgetown 103.9 BIGE
DePaul 103.6 BIGE
Purdue 120.0 BTEN
Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
Michigan 112.1 BTEN
Ohio St. 112.1 BTEN
Maryland 110.7 BTEN
Penn St. 109.8 BTEN
Minnesota 108.2 BTEN
Northwestern 107.6 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.9 BTEN
Iowa 105.4 BTEN
Illinois 105.4 BTEN
Indiana 104.7 BTEN
Nebraska 104.7 BTEN
Rutgers 103.1 BTEN
Nevada 111.8 MWC
San Diego St. 109.1 MWC
Boise St. 108.9 MWC
UNLV 105.9 MWC
Fresno St. 104.3 MWC
Wyoming 101.9 MWC
New Mexico 101.4 MWC
Utah St. 100.7 MWC
Colorado St. 96.7 MWC
Air Force 92.1 MWC
San Jose St. 89.9 MWC
Arizona 113.2 PAC12
Arizona St. 113.2 PAC12
UCLA 108.7 PAC12
USC 108.7 PAC12
Oregon 107.8 PAC12
Utah 106.6 PAC12
Washington 102.7 PAC12
Colorado 102.2 PAC12
Stanford 101.7 PAC12
Oregon St. 101.4 PAC12
Washington St. 99.0 PAC12
California 96.4 PAC12
Tennessee 113.2 SEC
Florida 112.7 SEC
Auburn 112.4 SEC
Texas A&M 112.0 SEC
Kentucky 112.0 SEC
Arkansas 111.8 SEC
Missouri 110.4 SEC
LSU 108.6 SEC
Alabama 108.3 SEC
Georgia 107.0 SEC
Mississippi St. 105.6 SEC
South Carolina 105.1 SEC
Vanderbilt 104.9 SEC
Mississippi 104.2 SEC
Gonzaga 117.2 WCC
Saint Mary’s 111.3 WCC
BYU 106.5 WCC
San Diego 102.6 WCC
San Francisco 100.7 WCC
Pacific 97.0 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.4 WCC
Santa Clara 92.6 WCC
Portland 91.5 WCC
Pepperdine 91.0 WCC

10 Mid-Major Teams That Have The Talent And Coaching To Make The Sweet 16
(listed alphabetically)

East Tennessee St.
Current Won-Loss Records– 4-0/13-4
Head Coach–Steve Forbes
Family Tree–Bruce Pearl & Gregg Marshall

With the Buccaneers’ win over UNC-Greensboro last night, ETSU remains in a 1st place tie with Furman in the SoCon. ETSU stayed close in their NCAA Tournament game with Florida last year, and this year’s team is a bit better. The Bucs came close to pulling off the upset win at #10 Xavier earlier this season, and they didn’t get embarrassed against Kentucky at Rupp Arena. The Bucs have won 11 of their last 12 with an average scoring margin of 81-64. ETSU plays at Furman next Thursday night.

Middle Tennessee St.
Conference–Conference USA
Current Won-Loss Records–4-0/12-4
Head Coach–Kermit Davis, Jr.
Family Tree–Bob Boyd & Tim Floyd

It should come as no surprise to most basketball fans, especially those in the Big Ten, that the Blue Raiders are a force to be reckoned with. MTSU has won back-to-back second round NCAA Tournament games over Michigan State and Minnesota, before falling in the Round of 32 to strong teams. The Blue Raiders have at times this year played like a top 20 team. In December, they swept Florida Gulf Coast in a rare, back-to-back home and home series; then they won at neighborhood SEC rival Vanderbilt; then they blew Ole Miss off the floor in a home game; before losing close to Auburn in Birmingham in a game where they made a furious comeback to have a chance to win. Then, in Hawaii, they lost close games to USC and Miami. Star forward Nick King has five double-doubles so far, while Giddy Potts is the glue that keeps this team together. His defensive pressure can take opponents out of their offensive game plans.

Next week, MTSU plays on the road at the two toughest venues outside of their own Murphy Athletic Center. On Thursday night, the Blue Raiders visit Marshall, and on Saturday, they face off against chief rival Western Kentucky. If MTSU splits those two games, then they should secure another CUSA regular season title.

Missouri St.
Conference–Missouri Valley
Current Won-Loss Records–3-2/13-5
Head Coach–Paul Lusk
Family Tree–Gene Keady & Matt Painter

With Wichita State moving up to the American Athletic Conference, Missouri State becomes one of multiple contenders for the top spot in the Valley. Under Coach Paul Lusk, a former Purdue assistant, MSU has become a defensive force, especially inside, where the Bears have the best frontcourt in the league, led by top big man Alize Johnson. Johnson currently averages 15.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. This team can go eight deep with talented depth, and when their supporting cast is knocking down threes, this team can compete against anybody. MSU has a key game coming up at Drake a week from tomorrow. The winner of that game should be looking down at the rest of the league in the standings into February.

New Mexico St.
Conference–Western Athletic
Current Won-Loss Records–2-0/14-3
Head Coach–Chris Jans
Family Tree–Gregg Marshall

The Aggies might be strong enough to make a Cinderella run into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, and even consider themselves a possible Final Four contender. If you think this is impossible, it actually would not be a first in Las Cruces. NMSU has been in the Final Four, and it was no fluke back in 1970 when then coach Lou Henson guided the Aggies to a number three ranking in the polls.

This NMSU team has already made a name for itself with wins over Illinois in a not-so-neutral site game in Chicago and against Miami of Florida in Hawaii. After besting conference rival Grand Canyon by 11 last night, NMSU could run the table in the WAC this year and enter the NCAA Tournament as high as an 11th seed.

The Aggies are undersized and need to rely on pressure man-to-man defense with the occasional full-court press, but they play taller than they are and usually win the rebounding war, where they have a plus 8.7 margin presently.

Northern Kentucky
Current Won-Loss Records–4-1/11-6
Head Coach–John Brannen
Family Tree–John Kresse & Anthony Grant

Until losing at home to Wright State last night, NKU looked like an almost sure thing to return to the NCAA Tournament this year after making their first appearance last year.

The Norse return the three stars that kept the team in the game against Kentucky in the Second Round last year, and it figures that NKU could win a second and even third round game this year, but they have to get there first. With Wright State looking like they could soon make this list, who knows if they will get another shot?

Old Dominion
Conference–Conference USA
Current Won-Loss Records–3-1/12-4
Head Coach–Jeff Jones
Family Tree–Terry Holland

With an ACC championship at Virginia and four Colonial Athletic championships at American, Jeff Jones knows how to win. Old Dominion is one of four talented contenders for the CUSA crown, and most likely just one CUSA will get an invitation. So, it figures that ODU has about a 25% chance of going dancing this year. If they do get there, the Monarchs have the talent to stay around awhile.

ODU wins with its defense, where the Monarchs hold opponents to under 40% shooting from the field and then have a 5.6 rebounding margin and 3.9 turnover margin. At +9.5 in the hustle points, the opponent must shoot lights out or force ODU to shoot around 35% or worse to beat the Monarchs. Keep an eye on 6-10 post man Trey Porter, who appears to be on the cusp of breaking out into a star. In the last 5 games, he has averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 62% from the field.

If you are a fan of seeing a great offense go up against a great defense, you may want to tune into tomorrow’s ODU-Marshall game to see how the Monarchs’ defend the D’Antoni seven-second offense.

Rhode Island
Conference–Atlantic 10
Current Won-Loss Records–4-0/12-3
Head Coach–Dan Hurley
Family Tree–Bob Wenzel (student of former Duke coach Bill Foster)

Before Rams’ fans get on our case that URI should be considered a Major and not Mid-Major team, and that they should move up into an at-large proability, we actually agree with you. And, if the Rams continue to win and make it obvious that they are a definite at-large team, we will move the A-10 up into the Major Conference grouping and rank the teams in this league like we are doing for the Mountain West and West Coast Conferences.

Dan Hurley is not getting all the publicity that his little brother has been getting at Arizona State, but the older of the two brothers is doing a smashup job at Rhode Island.
The Rams’ three losses have come to Nevada in Reno, Virginia in Brooklyn, and Alabama in Tuscaloosa. They have wins against Seton Hall, Providence, and Florida Gulf Coast, and they get a chance to pick up another key win tomorrow when they host St. Bonaventure.

URI came close to making the Sweet 16 last year, beating Creighton before losing a heartbreaker to Oregon in the NCAA Tournament.

St. Bonaventure
Conference–Atlantic 10
Current Won-Loss Records–2-2/12-4
Head Coach–Mark Schmidt
Family Tree–Bruce Parkhill and Skip Prosser

The Bonnies have been close to making the Big Dance the last two years, coming up a game or two short. This may be their best team since 1978. With wins over over Maryland and Syracuse, St. Bonaventure has already shown that big time teams do not intimidate this group. A couple of senior leaders, Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams, make a great one-two punch for the Bonnies, as the two combine to average 35.5 points per game. Earlier this season against UMass, the two combined for 60 points and 9 of 16 from behind the arc. If a dance opponent or two catches the pair this hot, SBU can get to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Of course, they still must earn their way into the dance, and losing back-to-back road games against Dayton and St. Joe’s damaged their at-large chances.

Their game with Rhode Island tomorrow morning is a real test to see if they are tournament worthy.

Conference–America East
Current Won-Loss Records–2-0/12-5
Head Coach–John Becker
Family Tree–Mike Lonergan (who was a Gary Williams disciple)

Vermont has become the Villanova of the America East Conference. The Catamounts were overwhelming favorites to win the league this year after returning most of the team that won the league last year and led Purdue for a bit in their NCAA Tournament loss to the Boilermakers.

VU’s most impressive game this year was its opener at Kentucky, where the Catamounts made a furious comeback before falling by four points. Expect the Catamounts to extend their current five-game winning streak well into double digits, and it would not surprise us if VU wins out from here to enter the NCAA Tournament at 29-5.

Forward Anthony Lamb has averaged 22.5 points per game since New Year’s Day, and if guard Ernie Duncan can become more consistent, the Catamounts can make it to the Sweet 16.

Western Kentucky
Conference–Conference USA
Current Won-Loss Records–4-0/12-5
Head Coach–Rick Stansbury
Family Tree–Lake Kelly and Richard Williams

It should be no surprise to long-time basketball fans that Western Kentucky has a team capable of becoming a Sweet 16 entrant in the NCAA Tournament. The Hilltoppers have been there before multiple times, even earning a Final Four berth in 1971, where WKU fell in overtime to Villanova.

This Hilltopper team is not going to remind the old-timers of the Clem Haskins or Jim McDaniel days. However, if you saw this team play in the Battle for Atlantis, they narrowly lost to top-ranked Villanova and then bested Purdue and SMU.
More importantly, WKU went on the road this past week and topped two of the three rivals they must defeat to win the CUSA Championship. The Hilltoppers beat Marshall 112-87 and Old Dominion 75-68, which leaves them currently tied for first with their arch-rival, Middle Tennessee.

In other years, CUSA might qualify two teams for the NCAA Tournament coming from the four teams that on any given night, could knock off a Big Ten or SEC opponent. However, unless one team runs the table in the regular season and then finished runner-up in the CUSA Tournament, it isn’t likely that the league will get an at-large bid.
WKU wins games because they have an incredible number of accurate shooters who know how to get open. All 5 starters average double figure scoring, and Coach Stansbury has a trio of competent rebounders and a duo of great playmakers.

Saturday, January 20, and Thursday, March 1 are the dates when WKU and Middle face off. The first game will be in Bowling Green, so WKU should be a slight favorite.





December 29, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads For December 30-31, 2017

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:56 am
Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Connecticut Wichita St. -10.0
Houston Temple 8.6
North Carolina Wake Forest 14.0
Duke Florida St. 10.6
Virginia Boston College 16.2
Notre Dame Georgia Tech 16.5
Pittsburgh Miami (Fla.) -11.8
Clemson N. C. State 8.5
TCU Oklahoma 1.4
Xavier DePaul 16.1
Butler Villanova -7.9
Marquette Georgetown 8.3
Nevada New Mexico 15.7
San Diego St. Utah St. 10.1
UNLV Boise St. 4.0
Arizona Arizona St. 2.5
Stanford California 7.1
Arkansas Tennessee 5.2
Florida Vanderbilt 9.1
Alabama Texas A&M -4.1
BYU Saint Mary’s 0.2
Gonzaga Santa Clara 25.2
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Tulane Tulsa 2.0
Cincinnati Memphis 20.1
East Carolina Central Florida -10.9
SMU South Florida 22.3
Syracuse Virginia Tech 0.1
Creighton Providence 10.2
Seton Hall St. John’s 8.1
Oregon St. Utah -4.0
UCLA Washington 9.0
USC Washington St. 14.1
Oregon Colorado 11.4
Kentucky Georgia 9.8
Ole Miss South Carolina 2.0



Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at