The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 7, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For March 7, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:08 am

Saturday’s Games

 

Home

Visitor

Spread

Alabama A&M

Jackson St.

-3.9

Alabama St.

Grambling

-0.1

Alcorn St.

Texas Southern

-0.8

Arizona

Washington

10.0

Arizona St.

Washington St.

9.9

Arkansas Pine Bluff

Mississippi Valley St.

8.3

Belmont

Murray St.

2.9

Bradley

Drake

3.0

Cal St. Fullerton

Long Beach St.

4.1

Cal St. Northridge

Hawaii

1.4

Central Arkansas

Northwestern St.

4.7

Cincinnati

Temple

9.8

Creighton

Seton Hall

3.0

Dartmouth

Brown

5.2

Dayton

George Washington

23.8

Drexel

UNC Wilmington

3.1

Duke

North Carolina

12.5

East Tennessee St.

VMI

13.9

Eastern Washington

Weber St.

12.0

Elon

James Madison

1.0

Florida

Kentucky

2.7

Florida Intl.

Western Kentucky

-0.4

Florida St.

Boston College

17.8

Fordham

George Mason

-2.1

Furman

Wofford

6.3

Georgetown

Villanova

-2.2

Grand Canyon

Cal St. Bakersfield

3.0

Hartford

UMass Lowell

3.0

Harvard

Yale

-1.6

Idaho

Idaho St.

-1.0

Incarnate Word

Abilene Christian

-11.7

Indiana

Wisconsin

2.1

Kansas St.

Iowa St.

2.1

Lamar

McNeese

3.5

Louisiana

Arkansas St.

1.7

Louisiana Tech

Charlotte

9.1

LSU

Georgia

8.8

Massachusetts

Rhode Island

-5.2

Mercer

Western Carolina

-2.2

Miami (Fla.)

Syracuse

-0.5

Middle Tennessee

Southern Miss.

2.6

Mississippi St.

Ole Miss

5.3

Missouri

Alabama

-0.8

Missouri St.

Valparaiso

2.1

Montana

Southern Utah

4.2

Montana St.

Northern Colorado

-5.8

New Orleans

Southeastern Louisiana

5.4

North Dakota St.

Denver

11.7

Northwestern

Penn St.

-8.2

Notre Dame

Virginia Tech

6.1

Oregon

Stanford

7.0

Oregon St.

California

9.6

Pacific

San Francisco

-3.4

Penn

Columbia

12.2

Portland St.

Sacramento St.

3.8

Princeton

Cornell

10.9

Providence

DePaul

7.9

Purdue

Rutgers

4.5

Rice

UTEP

2.3

Robert Morris

Long Island

5.0

Saint Joseph’s

La Salle

-3.4

Saint Louis

St. Bonaventure

6.3

Saint Mary’s

Pepperdine

8.5

San Diego St.

Utah St.

5.2

South Dakota St.

Purdue Fort Wayne

9.9

South Florida

SMU

0.6

Southern

Prairie View

0.1

St. Francis (PA)

Sacred Heart

4.6

St. John’s

Marquette

-1.6

Stephen F. Austin

Sam Houston

10.0

Stony Brook

Albany

9.0

TCU

Oklahoma

-0.7

Tennessee

Auburn

1.1

Texas

Oklahoma St.

4.1

Texas A&M

Arkansas

-4.5

Texas A&M-CC

Houston Baptist

9.8

Texas Tech

Kansas

-4.0

UAB

Old Dominion

1.2

UC Santa Barbara

Cal Poly

13.2

UMBC

New Hampshire

2.2

UNC Greensboro

Chattanooga

5.9

USC

UCLA

3.8

UT Rio Grande Valley

California Baptist

-0.9

UT-Arlington

Coastal Carolina

6.8

Utah

Colorado

-4.8

UTSA

Marshall

-0.4

Vanderbilt

South Carolina

-5.1

Vermont

Maine

20.3

Virginia

Louisville

-2.3

West Virginia

Baylor

0.4

Xavier

Butler

1.4

 

Saturday’s Key Games on TV

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

12:00 PM

ESPN

Indiana

Wisconsin

12:00 PM

ESPN2

Tennessee

Auburn

12:00 PM

ESPN3

St. Francis (PA)

Sacred Heart

1:00 PM

CBS

Florida

Kentucky

1:00 PM

ESPN+

West Virginia

Baylor

2:00 PM

ESPN

Texas Tech

Kansas

2:00 PM

ESPN3

Robert Morris

Long Island

2:30 PM

Fox

Creighton

Seton Hall

3:15 PM

CBS

USC

UCLA

3:35 PM

CBSSN

Bradley

Drake

4:00 PM

ESPN

Virginia

Louisville

5:30 PM

CBS

San Diego St.

Utah St.

5:30 PM

ESPN3

Stephen F. Austin

Sam Houston St.

6:00 PM

ESPN+

Penn

Columbia

6:00 PM

ESPN+

Princeton

Cornell

6:00 PM

ESPN2

TCU

Oklahoma

6:05 PM

CBSSN

Missouri St.

Valparaiso

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Harvard

Yale

8:00 PM

ESPN2

Belmont

Murray St.

8:30 PM

ESPN+

UNC Greensboro

Chattanooga

8:30 PM

FS1

Xavier

Butler

11:00 PM

FS1

Oregon

Stanford

12:00 AM

ESPN2

Saint Mary’s

Pepperdine

 

CONFERENCE  TOURNAMENTS  UPDATE

 

America East Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 7

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

1 Vermont (24-7)

8 Maine (9-21)

7:00 PM

ESPN3

2 Stony Brook (19-12)

7 Albany (14-17)

7:00 PM

ESPN3

3 Hartford (16-15)

6 UMass Lowell (13-18)

5:00 PM

ESPN3

4 UMBC (15-16)

5 New Hampshire (15-14)

1:00 PM

ESPN3

Vermont is the heavy favorite to repeat as AEC Champions.  The Catamounts will host every game they play in this tournament, and while Vermont’s two conference losses did come at home, it would be a major upset if another team represented the league in the NCAA Tournament.  Vermont is certainly an upset-worthy double-digit seed in the Big Dance, while no other team in this league is talented enough to win anything other than a play-in game in Dayton.

 

 

 

Big South Tournament

Semifinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Winthrop

78

Gardner-Webb

66

Hampton

86

Radford

78

With top seed Radford losing to Hampton, Winthrop now becomes host team for Sunday’s Big South Championship Game.  The Eagles will host the surprise Hampton Pirates at 1:00 PM tomorrow in a game televised on ESPN.

 

 

 

Colonial Athletic Tournament

1st Round

March 7

Washington, D.C. (Entertainment & Sports Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

8 Drexel (13-18)

9 UNC Wilmington (10-21)

4:00 PM

FloHoops (Subscrip.)

7 Elon (11-20)

10 James Madison (9-20)

6:30 PM

FloHoops (Subscrip.)

 

Five CAA Teams finished with double-digit conference wins, and none of them play today, as they received byes to the quarterfinals.  We don’t expect any of today’s combatants to be around by the semifinals.  

The #’s 5 & 6 seeds in this tournament, Delaware and Northeastern, are the two dark horses that could create some havoc during the the next few days.  Hofstra and William and Mary are the top two seeds, but neither is a shoo-in to make the conference championship game.

 

 

 

Missouri Valley Tournament (Arch Madness)

Quarterfinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Drake

77

Northern Iowa

56

Bradley

64

Southern Illinois

59

Valparaiso

74

Loyola (Chi.)

73 ot

Missouri St.

78

Indiana St.

51

 

Missouri Valley Tournament (Arch Madness)

Semifinals

March 7

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

4 Bradley (21-11)

8 Drake (20-13)

3:30 PM

CBSSN

6 Missouri St. (16-16)

7 Valparaiso (18-15)

6:00 PM

CBSSN

 

As we mentioned in our first preview of Arch Madness, this tournament has been won by a team coming from back in the pack as often as it has been won by the top seed.  Well, after yesterday, you can kiss the top three seeds good bye!  Northern Iowa, Loyola of Chicago, and Indiana State all went home, and we are left with a 4, 6, 7, and 8 seed.  And, the 8-seeded Drake Bulldogs looked the most impressive by far in the quarterfinal shellacking of UNI.  

Missouri State vastly played beneath the level of its talent in the regular season, so it would not be surprising to see the Bears playing for a spot in the NCAA Tournament tomorrow.  MSU coach Dana Ford comes from the Gregg Marshall coaching tree, and his team plays a similar style, which tends to bring teams to their peak performance in March.

 

 

 

Mountain West Tournament

Semifinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

San Diego St.

81

Boise St.

68

Utah St.

89

Wyoming

82

 

Mountain West Tournament

Championship

March 7

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 San Diego St. (30-1)

2 Utah St. (25-8)

5:30 PM

CBS

 

With the top two teams making it to the Championship Game, the league is now guaranteed to have two Dance tickets punched.  Utah St. has now moved off the Bubble into the safe part of the projected field.  

San Diego State started cold last night and trailed by 16 points before a barrage of three-pointers brought the Aztecs back and allowed them to tie the game at the half and then run away in the second half in a similar manner to their blowout of Iowa across town in a mid-season tournament in Vegas.  A win today could secure a number one seed for SDSU, as they are locked in a fierce battle with Dayton for the fourth number one seed as of this moment.

 

 

 

Northeast Tournament

Quarterfinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Robert Morris

59

St. Francis (NY)

58

St. Francis (PA)

87

Bryant

61

Sacred Heart

61

Mount St. Mary’s

59

Long Island

73

Fairleigh-Dickinson

72

Northeast Tournament

Semifinals

March 7

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

2 St. Francis (PA) (21-9)

3 Sacred Heart (20-12)

12:00 PM

ESPN3

1 Robert Morris (18-14)

4 Long Island (15-17)

2:00 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

Ohio Valley Tournament

Semifinals

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

Belmont

60

Eastern Kentucky

50

Murray St.

73

Austin Peay

61

 

Ohio Valley Tournament

Championship

March 7

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Belmont (25-7)

2 Murray St. (23-8)

8:00 PM

ESPN2

 

This tournament can almost schedule this game as part of its regular season package.  Belmont and Murray State have met in the OVC Title Game numerous times since the Bruins entered the league.  Last year, both teams made the NCAA Tournament and won their first games.  Neither are as strong as they were last year, but that doesn’t mean that the winner of this game must be taken lightly in the Big Dance.  The champion will receive a #14 or #15 seed in the field, and some #2 or 3 seed will be in for a real fight.

 

 

Southern Tournament

1st Round

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

VMI

96

Samford

78

Wofford

93

The Citadel

76

Southern Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 7

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

1 East Tennessee St. (27-4)

9 VMI (9-23)

12:00 PM

ESPN+

4 Mercer (17-14)

5 Western Carolina (18-11)

2:30 PM

ESPN+

2 Furman (25-6)

7 Wofford (17-15)

6:00 PM

ESPN+

3 UNC Greensboro (23-8)

6 Chattanooga (19-12)

8:30 PM

ESPN+

East Tennessee coach Steve Forbes doesn’t let his troops rest on their laurels.  When Northern Iowa was upset yesterday in the quarterfinal round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, you can bet he used this to make sure his team knew it better come ready to play against VMI today.  The Keydets can score points in a hurry, and if ETSU comes out flat thinking they can walk over VMI like Sherman marched through Atlanta, the Bucs may find themselves in a big hole.

All four of these games are worth watching.  Any of the remaining eight teams are strong enough and talented enough to win three games in the next three days.  Even the lowest remaining seed, Wofford, can cut the nets, as they did last year.  

If East Tennessee wins two games in this tournament and then loses to a Furman or UNC Greensboro, the Buccaneers could still receive an at-large bid, but it isn’t a sure thing.  The chances that two SoCon teams get bids are rather slim, which makes this tournament so exciting with eight quality teams remaining.  If you like contrasting styles of play, this is a tournament you want to watch even if you have no dog in the fight.

 

 

 

Summit Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 7 & 8

Sioux Falls, SD (Sanford Premier Center)

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

1 North Dakota St. (22-8)

8 Denver (7-23)

7:00 PM 3/7

ESPN+

4 Oral Roberts (16-13)

5 Omaha (16-15)

7:00 PM 3/8

ESPN+

2 South Dakota St. (22-9)

7 Purdue Fort Wayne (13-18)

9:30 PM 3/7

ESPN+

3 South Dakota (20-11)

6 North Dakota (13-17)

9:30 PM 3/8

ESPN+

 

Depending on which way you drive into the Denny Sanford Premier Center, you might think the building is a giant cylinder or you might think it is a long rectangular complex.  Take it from somebody that was there and mistook the building for something else because he arrived on the back side of the arena rather than the front.

This year’s Summit League Tournament may have the same feeling.  On the front side of the league, South Dakota State and North Dakota State look like potent teams destined to make the championship round.  But, on the back side of the league, teams like Omaha and Oral Roberts might look like they belong in a different league, but when the front end and back end are brought together (the venue looks like a giant barge), the tournament takes on a different style with some potentially interesting games.  Don’t put the top two seeds in the Championship Game bracket in pen.  

Having no connection to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, let me highly endorse visiting this beautiful city.  The Falls here are nothing like those in Niagara, but they are incredibly wonderful in their own way.  There is a traquilizing effect to seeing multiple falls at the level of the falls as opposed to being well above in Niagara or in the Maid of the Mist in the water.  While Niagara is a power plant of water flow, Sioux Falls has more peaceful water.  Consider Sioux Falls in a future Summer Vacation when you plan a visit to Mount Rushmore.

 

 

 

Sun Belt Tournament

1st Round

March 7

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

8 Louisiana (13-18)

9 Arkansas St. (16-15)

12:00 PM

ESPN+

7 UT-Arlington (14-17)

10 Coastal Carolina (15-16)

3:00 PM

ESPN+

 

The Sun Belt Conference plays its tournament in a similar manner to the Ohio Valley and West Coast Conferences.  The bottom four teams play in the first round with the two winners advancing to play the next two teams above them in the seed line.  Then, the two winners in the second round advance to play the next two teams above them in the seed line.  Meanwhile, the top two seeds receive byes to the Semifinal Round.

Unlike the OVC and WCC, the first three rounds are played on the home courts of the higher-seeded teams, so it really makes the regular season standings meaningful.

This format gives the top two seeds, Little Rock and South Alabama, huge advantages over the rest of the field, since they can plan to be in Le Vieux Carre while the other teams must earn their way to the Smoothie King Center.

In this tournament, the 3rd-seeded Texas State Bobcats are probably the best team, and they should make it to New Orleans to face 2nd-seed South Alabama.  If they beat the Jaguars in the semifinal round, they stand a better than 50-50 chance of knocking off Little Rock if the Trojans knock of 4th-seed Georgia Southern or an upset winner in the prior rounds.

 

 

 

West Coast Tournament

2nd Round

Winner

Score

Loser

Score

San Francisco

82

Loyola Marymount

53

Pepperdine

84

Santa Clara

73

West Coast Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 7

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

4 Pacific (23-9)

5 San Francisco (21-11)

10:00 PM

ESPN2

3 Saint Mary’s (24-7)

6 Pepperdine (16-15)

12:30 AM

ESPN2

The two winners last night looked very impressive beating teams they were favored to beat.  Now, the competition gets a little tougher, and tonight’s games should be tense and close.  Gonzaga faces the winner of the Pacific-San Francisco game, while BYU faces the winner of the SMC-Pepperdine game.  The remainder of this tournament is going to be uber interesting, and you should stay up late and catch all the action.  Hopefully, the zebras won’t become too much of a factor like last night’s Pepperdine-Santa Clara game, when they whistled more technical fouls in a three-minute stretch than most conference tournaments have in the entire meet.

 

Don’t Forget–Spring Forward Tonight Before Bedtime–Turn up your clocks one hour for daylight savings time and realize you are “losing an hour of sleep.”  I’ve heard about that thing called sleep; maybe some time, I will try it out.

March 6, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For March 6, 2020

Date

3/6/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Kansas

Gonzaga

Baylor

San Diego St.

2

Dayton

Florida St.

Villanova

Seton Hall

3

Duke

Maryland

Louisville

Michigan St.

4

Kentucky

Creighton

Oregon

Ohio St.

5

Penn St.

Auburn

Iowa

Butler

6

Wisconsin

BYU

Colorado

Michigan

7

West Virginia

Arizona

Illinois

Marquette

8

Houston

Virginia

Saint Mary’s

LSU

9

USC

Florida

Arizona St.

Providence

10

Texas Tech

Indiana

Oklahoma

Xavier

11

Rutgers

Stanford

E. Tennessee St.

Texas

UCLA

12

Yale

S. F. Austin

Liberty

Cincinnati

Utah St.

13

Vermont

Akron

North Texas

Loyola (Chi.)

14

New Mexico St.

Hofstra

Belmont

Colgate

15

Little Rock

Wright St.

UC-Irvine

S. Dakota St.

16

Montana

Radford

Prairie View

Siena

St. Francis (PA)

UNC Central

The Bubble

 

Last 4 IN: Texas, UCLA, Cincinnati, Utah St.

First 4 Out: North Carolina St., Wichita St., Richmond, Arkansas

Next 4 Out: Rhode Island, Memphis, Purdue, Saint Louis

 

Needing a miracle but probably headed to the NIT: Northern Iowa, which lost by 21 to Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference Quarterfinal Round today.

February 17, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology for February 17, 2020

Date

2/17/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Baylor

Gonzaga

Kansas

San Diego St.

2

Duke

Dayton

Maryland

Florida St.

3

Seton Hall

Penn St.

Louisville

Villanova

4

Auburn

Oregon

Creighton

West Virginia

5

Kentucky

Colorado

Butler

Michigan St.

6

Iowa

Ohio St.

Marquette

Arizona

7

LSU

Michigan

BYU

Texas Tech

8

Houston

Wisconsin

Illinois

Rutgers

9

Oklahoma

USC

Saint Mary’s

Xavier

10

Rhode Island

Florida

Arizona St.

Virginia

11

Wichita St.

Indiana

Northern Iowa

East Tennessee St.

12

Stephen F. Austin

Yale

Georgetown

Cincinnati

Purdue

Utah St.

13

Vermont

Liberty

North Texas

New Mexico St.

14

Akron

Colgate

Wright St.

Hofstra

15

Little Rock

Winthrop

UC-Irvine

Murray St.

16

South Dakota St.

Montana

Prairie View

St. Peter’s

Robert Morris

Norfolk St.

 

The Rest of the Bubble

69

Richmond

70

Arkansas

71

Stanford

72

Mississippi St.

73

North Carolina St.

74

Alabama

75

South Carolina

76

VCU

77

Syracuse

78

Minnesota

79

Furman

80

Memphis

 

A Look At The One-Bid Leagues & Their Conference Tournaments

 

America East: 8 teams with superior seed hosting every game

Vermont (11-1/21-6) has a 2 1/2 game lead over Stony Brook (8-3/17-9), and it would be a major upset if any team other than the Catamounts won this tournament. The race for third place between Albany (7-4/14-12) and Hartford (7-5/14-13) is important, because the 3rd place finisher would get to avoid Vermont until the Championship Game. Of course, second place is still up for grabs, and in the semifinals, the second place team would host the third place team if they both won their quarterfinal round games.

Atlantic Sun: 8 teams with superior seed hosting every game (North Alabama not eligible)

What looked like a cake walk to the conference championship in December has turned into anything but. Liberty (10-2/24-3) was coming off a season in which the Flames won a game in the NCAA Tournament and returned a ton of talent. But, the Flames are not currently in first place in the A-Sun. North Florida (11-2/18-10) not only has a one half game lead over LU, they beat the Flames earlier this year. The rematch is this Thursday at Liberty.

Don’t rule out the third and fourth teams in this league. Stetson (9-3/15-12) has never been to the Division 1 NCAA Tournament, but the Hatters have been in contention in recent years. Lipscomb (7-6/12-14) is the hottest team in the league, having won five of six including a 12-point victory over UNF. The Bisons still have games remaining with the top two teams before tournament play begins.

 

Big Sky: 11 teams in regular bracket at Boise, ID

There is no dominant team inside the league this year. Defending champion Montana (12-3/16-10) was supposed to have a rebuilding season after losing five of the top seven players from consecutive conference championship teams. Give Travis Decuire a lot of credit for his ability to recruit to Missoula and then teach his players to play as a team. The whole is much better than the sum of the parts, and Decuire rates high on our coaches ready to move on to Power Conference schools list, as he is close to leading the Grizzlies to their fourth conference championship in his six years at the school.

Eastern Washington (10-4/17-8) and Northern Colorado (10-4/17-8) are the next two in line in the Big Sky, but EWU has already been swept by Montana, while UNC is one of the three league teams to pin a loss on the Grizzlies. Keep an eye on 6th place Southern Utah (7-7/14-11). The Thunderbirds have been in a bit of a tailspin in the last month, but if they can pull out of it and play like they did in December, they could be a tough out for any of the top five in the league.

Big South: 11 teams. The first round is played at the home court of the higher-seeded team. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds are then played at the #1 seed’s home floor. The Championship Game is then played on the higher-seeded team’s home floor.

With first place vital in this conference, Winthrop (13-2/19-9) and Radford (12-2/17-9) have separated themselves from the pack and will most likely share the regular season title with identical 16-2 conference records. Since they split their season series with both teams winning on the road against each other, the #1 seed would be settled in a tiebreaker by looking at how these two co-champs fared against the next team in the standings and so forth until the tie is broken. Winthrop’s other conference loss was to 7-6 Gardner-Webb, while Radford’s loss was to 6-8 UNC Asheville. Radford has the advantage here, but remember that Winthrop won at Radford in the regular season, and the Eagles have the superior inside game, which tends to play more of a factor in March.

Big West: 8 teams in regular bracket. All games in Anaheim

UC-Irvine (9-2/17-10) lost some big-time talent off a team that won a game last year’s Big Dance and took Oregon to the final minutes in the Round of 32, but Coach Russ Turner has his Anteaters in first place again this year, and UCI is running away with the regular season race.

The real race is between the second through eighth place teams. First, the ninth place team does not qualify for the tournament, and at the moment, just two games separate second from ninth. Any of the eight teams other than UCI could miss out, while any of the other eight teams could end up with the number two seed. UCSB (5-5/16-9) matches up well with UCI and has a victory over the Anteaters, but they have been swept by Cal St. Northridge (6-5/11-16) and handily defeated by UC-Davis (6-5/12-15). UC-Riverside (4-7/14-13) is a team to watch if they don’t miss out and finish in ninth place. The Highlanders have a very tall lineup that can control the boards and get inside shots when they can control the pace of their games. They are capable of winning three times in three days at the Honda Center.

Colonial Athletic: 10 teams in regular bracket. All games in Washington, D.C.

This is a somewhat down year for the CAA as there are no teams that look capable of winning a second round NCAA Tournament game. The conference race is an interesting one with seven better than average teams.

Joe Mihalich led Niagara to four conference championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances before coming to Hofstra (11-3/20-7). This is his seventh season in Hempstead, and he’s won two CAA Championships thus far, inlcuding last season. This Gaels team is in line to make it number three, but Hofstra has yet to win the CAA Tournament in this time. This teams isn’t as good as last year’s, so it’s hard to say that the Gaels are big favorites to make it to the Dance for the first time since Jay Wright was coaching there in 2001.

Willliam & Mary (10-5/18-10), Delaware (9-5/19-8), and Towson (9-5/16-11) are next in line, but the potentially more dangerous teams are behind them. Charleston (9-6/15-12) and defending Conference Tournament champion Northeastern (7-7/13-13) are talented enough to steal the bid from Hofstra yet again. Charleston is probably the team to watch in the CAA Tournament.

Conference USA: 12 teams in regular bracket. All games in Frisco, TX.

This is a really unique way to host a conference tournament in the Dallas Cowboys practice facility. The league places two playing floors separated by a curtain, and it is possible to sit in such a way that you can see two games at once.

There is quite an advantage here, as the tournament takes place in the backyard of North Texas (12-2/18-9), the current league leader. The Mean Green are undefeated in conference play on their home floor, and they would have to be considered the prohibitive favorite to claim the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Western Kentucky (11-3/18-8) defeated UNT in Bowling Green earlier this year, but the Hilltoppers suffered a crippling blow when sure NBA Draft choice big man Charles Bassey’s season ended with a leg injury.

Louisiana Tech (10-4/19-7) plays tough defense, handles the ball well, and they frequently get extra scoring opportunities, so the Bulldogs are a top contender in the conference tournament. If any other team should sneak through and cut the nets at Jerryworld Headquarters, they would most likely be looking at a 16-seed and possible trip to Dayton.

Horizon: 10 teams. The first two rounds are played at the higher-seeded teams’ home courts. Also, after every round, this league re-seeds its remaining teams like the NFL Playoffs. The final two rounds will then be played in Indianapolis, and the top two teams receive byes to the semifinal round, so finishing first or second is extremely important.

Like they have in recent years, this has been a two-team race, and it’s almost a sure thing that Wright St. (13-2/23-5) and Northern Kentucky (11-4/19-8) will be the top two teams. Wright St. is enjoying its best season in their 14-year run as the class of the Horizon League. However, the Raiders did not have a strong out-of-conference schedule, and we would be shocked if they were to win a game in the NCAA Tournament.

Northern Kentucky is transitioning with a new coach, and the Norse are not as strong as they were under former coach John Brannen, who took NKU to two NCAA Tournaments in his final three years.

Ivy: 4 teams in regular bracket. Games will be played at Harvard.

The Ivy League probably has the correct format for a smaller conference. Only the top four teams qualify for the conference tournament, meaning the champion is at least one of the league’s deserving teams.

As of today, the interesting part of this league is that five teams are competing for four spots. All tied for third with 5-3 conference records and six games to go are Harvard (16-7), Penn (13-8), and Brown (12-9).

Yale (6-2/18-6) and Princeton (6-2/11-10) are only a game ahead of the other three, and both teams must finish their regular season playing four road games and two home games. So, one of the co-leaders could easily fall to 8-6 or 7-7 in league play and finish fifth.

Harvard hosts the tournament, and the Crimson have four home games and just two road games remaining. But, those four home games are versus the other four contenders.

Dartmouth (2-6/9-14) is three games behind the contenders, but the Mean Green have the perfect remaining schedule with four home games, while their two road games are against the two weakest teams in the league. It isn’t impossible for Dartmouth to finish 7-7, and then hope that two of those 5-3 teams come back to the pack.

Metro Atlantic: 11 teams in regular bracket. Games will be played in Atlantic City, NJ

What we have here is an almost sure trip to Dayton for the Conference Tournament champion. The MAAC is quite weak this year, and the automatic bid will go to a team that will immediately become an underdog in a first round play-in game unless some 20-loss team pulls off a conference tournament upset.

Saint Peter’s (10-5/13-11) has gone 8-2 in their last ten games. Former Seton Hall star Shaheen Holloway is in his second year with the Peacocks, and his team is the best in the league in defense and rebounding. As hot as the Peacocks have been, there is one team even hotter. Siena (9-5/13-10) has won six of their last seven games, and the six wins were by an average of more than 16 points per game. The Saints have been on a three-point shooting tear in this winning streak, hitting 40 of 103 from behind the arc, while limiting opponents to just 29-106.

Mid-American: 12 teams in regular bracket. First round games at higher-seeded teams. Remaining rounds in Cleveland.

This is not a particularly strong year for some Maction. This is a definite one-bid league, while in past years multiple teams have made the Field.
This is also the only league that continues to divide its teams into divisions. At the present time, the East is a bit stronger than the West, as it has the top four teams in the league. Bowling Green (10-3/19-7) has a slim half-game edge over Akron (9-3/19-6), while Kent St. (7-5/17-8) and defending MAC Champ Buffalo (7-5/15-9) are right behind.

In the West, Northern Illinois (8-5/15-11) leads Ball St. (7-5/14-11) by a half-game with Central Michigan (6-5/13-11) another half-game back, with all three teams tied in the loss column.

Akron and Kent St. have played stronger schedules than the rest of these teams, but neither has pulled off a big win. The Zips probably give this league its best chance to compete as a double-digit seed in the second round of the Dance.

Mideastern Athletic: 10 teams in regular bracket. All games will be played in Norfolk, VA

North Carolina Central (8-2/12-12) and Nofolk St. (8-2/12-13) hold slim leads over North Carolina A&T (8-3/12-14) and Florida A&M (8-4/10-13), but FAMU is not eligible this year. This is a league where past history showing the #1 seed winning the conference tournament over half the time, and teams finishing fourth or fifth tending to win most of the other times.

There are three teams in contention for fifth place where a 9-7 conference mark should be sufficient to qualify as that dark horse contender. They are: Morgan St. (7-5/13-14), Bethune-Cookman (6-5/12-13), and South Carolina St, (6-5/11-12).
Should either of the top three teams run the table in the league and the conference tournament, there is a chance they could avoid a play-in game in Dayton.

Missouri Valley: 10 teams in regular bracket. All games will be played in St. Louis (Arch Madness)

This is one of two leagues where the regular season champion could still get an at-large bid if it loses in the conference tournament. Northern Iowa (11-3/22-4) has worked its way up the ladder where if they win out, the Panthers could earn a single-digit seed in the Field of 68. If UNI were to lose in the Valley Championship Game and finish the regular season at 28-5, they will probably steal an at-large bid away from a big league like the Big Ten, ACC, SEC, or Big 12.

Loyola of Chicago (10-4/18-9) isn’t nearly as strong as they were two years ago when they surprised the nation with a Final Four run, but the Ramblers are good enough to beat UNI in the Conference Tournament if they handle the ball well and play tough defense. Both of their regular season games with the Panthers went to overtime, with the teams splitting the two games.

Bradley (9-5/18-9) did not match up well with the two teams above the Braves in the MVC standings, while Southern Illinois (9-5/15-12) lacks the offensive firepower to win three games in three days in March.

Keep an eye on a team coming from off the pace to challenge UNI in the MVC Tournament. Drake, Indiana State, Valparaiso, and Missouri State are all tied at 7-7 in the league. It might be advantageous to finish 6th and avoid UNI until a potential championship game. While Arch Madness is usually won by one of the top two seeds, it has been won from the middle of the pack before.

Northeast: 8 teams in regular bracket. All games will be played at higher-seeds’ home courts. Merrimack is ineligible during their transition to D1, while the bottom two teams of the remaining 10 will be eliminated from the tournament.

The rule forcing transitioning teams to be ineligible for the NCAA Tournament is just plain stupid. The NEC has a dominating team in Merrimack (12-2/18-9), who should at least get a chance to prove themselves with an NIT bid. If a team is good enough to win their conference championship and conference tournament, why punish the team and their league? Merrimack doesn’t have an advantage moving up in classification. It’s understandable that a team moving down might should be punished with ineligibility until all of its former Division 1 players have graduated, but this is a team moving up to D1.

The eventual tournament champion is a sure bet for banishment to Dayton and the play-in game. The contenders are all quite weak and none of these teams should be expected to compete against more athletic play-in opponents. The best of the rest include Robert Morris (11-3/15-12), Saint Francis (PA) (10-4/17-8), and Sacred Heart (9-5/16-11). With a five-game winning streak and the best offense in the league, SFPA should be considered the team to beat.

Ohio Valley: 8 teams playing in a special format in Evansville, IN. The OVC brackets their tournament in a method similar to the finals of the Professional Bowlers Association. First, only the top eight of the 12 league teams qualify for the tournament. In the first round, teams 5-8 play, with the two winners advancing to the quarterfinals to play teams 3-4. The two teams that win this round then advance to the semfinals to play teams 1 and 2, so finishing in the top two gets you a two-round bye to the semifinals.

There are four teams in contention for those two double byes, and this league is strong at the top, but not strong enough to sneak a second team into the field like last year.

Murray St. (12-2/19-7) and Austin Peay (12-2/18-9) have been tough rivals for years in the OVC and have enjoyed their share of success in the NCAA Tournament. Belmont (11-3/20-7) beat Temple in the NCAA Tournament last year, but the Bruins have nearly beaten top-rated teams in the NCAA Tournament before, like when a last second shot nearly missed that would have knocked out Duke. Fourth place Eastern Kentucky (10-4/13-14) has averaged 83.5 points per game in their last nine games, using a pressure defense to come up with a lot of steals and fast break points. The Colonels don’t have the same talent as the other three contenders, but they are likely to come with a reckless abandon attitude, while the others might be a bit tight.

If a team from the back of the pack has a chance, it might be Tennessee State (8-6/16-11). The Tigers have the talent to put it together and as a 5-seed, beat the numbers 8, 4, and 1-seed to get to the Championship Game.

Patriot: 8 teams playing in a regular bracket with the higher seeds hosting all games.

Colgate (11-3/20-7) looked like the class of the field until yesterday, when the Raiders fell second division Loyola of Maryland (5-9/13-14). Colgate also lost twice to Lafayette (8-6/16-9). Second place Boston U (10-4/16-11) has won six of seven, but the Terriers lost twice to Colgate. American (9-5/13-12) is in third, while the aforementioned Lafayette rests in fourth place, which probably irritates Colgate, because that would put the Leopards and Raiders on the same side of the Conference Tournament bracket.

Southern: 10 teams playing in a regular bracket with all games played in Asheville, NC.

This is the other league besides the Missouri Valley where a second team could earn an at-large bid. This league is dangerously good at the top of the standings. East Tennessee (12-2/23-4) won at LSU by double digits. Furman (12-2/22-5) lost in overtime at Auburn. UNC Greensboro (11-3/21-6) has road wins against Georgetown and Vermont as well as a close loss at Kansas. Plus, UNCG plays a very unorthodox defense that is difficult to face the first time. Additionally, the fourth through seventh place teams, all with records of 8-6 or 7-7 in league play (Western Carolina, Wofford, Chattanooga, and Mercer) are strong enough to probably win other Mid-Major leagues like the NEC, Patriot, and Big Sky).

If the two championship game participants include ETSU and either Furman or UNCG, the loser of this game deserves an at-large bid, especially if it is at the expense of a power conference team with a losing conference record.

Southland: 8 teams playing in a regular bracket with all games played in Katy, TX, and the bottom five teams in the standings eliminated from the tournament.

Stephen F. Austin (13-1/22-3) will not get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament if they do not win the automatic bid, even though the Lumberjacks won at Duke. The rest of their schedule has not been strong enough to allow them this pass. Should they lose in the SLC Tournament, SFA will actually be a team capable of winning the NIT,but that’s not what they want.

Who could possibly upset SFA in the Conference Tournament? The team to watch would be Nicholls State (11-4/17-9). The Colonels full court press the entire game, and nobody wants to face that pressure in pressure-packed games. At 10 steals per game out of 73 possessions, it leaves little room for error for the team that commits a few too many additional turnovers. Opponents turn the ball over better than one out of every four possessions.

Southwest Athletic: 8 teams playing in a regular bracket with first round games at the higher seeded teams’ home courts and all the final two rounds in Birmingham, AL.

If you follow this incredible conference steeped in great history, you are in for quite a treat at this year’s SWAC Tournament, because as many as seven teams have the ability to come through and get the automatic bid. This might be the most exciting tournament from game one to the Championship Game!

Prairie View (9-2/13-11) and Texas Southern (8-3/11-13) lead the pack at the present time. Both teams have played some very good games on the road against heavy favorites, and both have won games that prove they could contend and maybe scare a heavily-ranked team if one of these teams could sneak into a 15-seed.

After the top two, there are five teams tied for third at 7-5 (Grambling, Alcorn St., Jackson St., Southern, and Alabama St.). We believe that Texas Southern gives the SWAC its best chance to win a play-in game as a 16-seed, while Prairie View is the only team capable of sneaking up to a 15-seed.

Summit: 9 teams playing in a regular bracket with all games played in Sioux Falls, SD.

When your conference tournament is played inside the state where two of your league’s top three teams play, the odds are stacked in the favor of the two in-state teams. South Dakota St. (11-2/20-8) has basically become the Kentucky of the Summit League. The Championship comes through Brookings and then Sioux Falls becomes Frost Arena II, where the Jackrabbits have won five of the last eight Summit League Tournaments.

North Dakota State (10-2/19-7) finished behind SDSU last year in the Summit League race, but then the Bison won the Summit Championship, then won their play-in game in the NCAA First Round, and then stayed within single digits of Duke for 30 minutes in the Second Round.

Don’t forget South Dakota (9-4/19-9) or Oral Roberts (7-6/14-12). Both teams can score a lot of points, and a hot streak by either team could see them cutting down the nets.

Sun Belt: 10 teams playing in a special bracket. The first three rounds will be played at the higher-seeded teams’ home courts, while the semifinals and finals will be played in New Orleans. Teams 7-10 only will play in the first round. The two winners will then play at seeds 5-6 in the second round, and the two winners in that round will play at seeds 3-4 in the third round. The top two seeds get byes to the semifinals in New Orleans, so the regular season conference race will be a mad dash to the finish.

The SBC plays a 20-game conference schedule, and with four games to go, Little Rock (12-4/18-9) holds a slim lead over (Georgia St. (11-5/18-9). Texas St. (10-6/17-10) and Georgia Southern (10-6/17-11). Two other teams, South Alabama and Appalachian St., are 9-7 in the league and still in the race for second place.

All these teams have had nights where they played a good Power Conference team close in a loss, but none of these teams have a big win this year. The champion of this league is likely looking at a quick second round exit as a 15-seed.

Western Athletic: 8 teams playing in regular bracket with all games played in Las Vegas. California Baptist is ineligible.

New Mexico State (12-0/21-6) is such a heavy favorite that it would be a bigger upset if they lost in the WAC Tournament than if the New York Knicks won this year’s NBA Championship. The Aggies have won this league three years in a row and seven times in the last eight seasons.

With second place Cal Baptist (7-3/18-7) not eligible, the next best team is Grand Canyon (7-4/12-13) with Texas Rio Grande Valley next at (7-5/11-14).

August 11, 2019

2019 Mountain West Conference Football Preview

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Championship Game Winner
None Chosen

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

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

 

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

 

MWC Averages 93.0 94.7 93.1 93.6

 

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

 

Predicted Won-Loss Records

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

*

 

Utah State picked to win MWC Championship Game

 

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

 

Alternate Bowl
Cheez-it Hawaii
 

 

Also Bowl Eligible
Nevada
Wyoming

 

Coaches That Could Move to Power 5 Conferences

Bryan Harsin, Boise St.

Craig Bohl, Wyoming

Nick Rolovich, Hawaii

Jay Norvell, Nevada

 

Coaches On The Hot Seat

Mike Bobo, Colorado St.

Bob Davie, New Mexico

Brent Brennan, San Jose St.

Tony Sanchez, UNLV

 

Top Quarterbacks

Jordan Love, Utah St.

Cole McDonald, Hawaii

Armani Rogers, UNLV

 

Best Offense

Utah St.

Boise St.

Hawaii

 

Best Defense

Utah St.

Boise St.

Fresno St.

 

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

 

 

 

 

March 22, 2019

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament For Friday, March 22, 2019

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Cincinnati

110.8

1.5

Iowa

111.1

1.2

Ole Miss

110.3

0.0

Oklahoma

110.7

-0.4

Texas Tech

117.8

0.0

Northern Kentucky

104.5

13.3

Kansas St.

112.7

0.0

UC-Irvine

106.2

6.5

Tennessee

118.3

0.0

Colgate

102.8

15.5

Gardner-Webb

99.5

1.0

Virginia

121.1

-20.6

Buffalo

115.0

0.0

Arizona St.

107.9

7.1

Wisconsin

115.1

0.0

Oregon

109.7

5.4

Utah St.

111.3

0.0

Washington

108.8

2.5

Duke

123.1

0.0

North Dakota St.

97.9

25.2

Houston

114.8

0.0

Georgia St.

103.9

10.9

Mississippi St.

113.9

0.0

Liberty

106.7

7.2

North Carolina

121.7

0.0

Iona

97.8

23.9

Virginia Commonwealth

110.7

0.0

Central Florida

109.4

1.3

Iowa St.

114.8

0.0

Ohio St.

109.9

4.9

Virginia Tech

115.5

0.0

Saint Louis

104.1

11.4

 

Today’s Schedule

All Times EDT

TIME

MATCHUP

NETWORK

SITE

12:15 PM

(10) Iowa vs. (7) Cincinnati

CBS

Columbus 

12:40 PM

(9) Oklahoma vs. (8) Ole Miss

truTV

Columbia 

1:30 PM

(14) Northern Kentucky vs. (3) Texas Tech

TNT

Tulsa 

2 PM

(13) UC Irvine vs. (4) Kansas State

TBS

San Jose 

Approx. 3 PM

(15) Colgate vs. (2) Tennessee

CBS

Columbus 

Approx. 3:25 PM

(16) Gardner-Webb vs. (1) Virginia

truTV

Columbia 

Approx. 4:15 PM

(11) St. John’s / Arizona State vs. (6) Buffalo

TNT

Tulsa 

Approx. 4:45 PM

(12) Oregon vs. (5) Wisconsin

TBS

San Jose 

6:50 PM

(9) Washington vs. (8) Utah State

TNT

Columbus 

7:10 PM

(16) NC Central / North Dakota St. vs. (1) Duke

CBS

Columbia 

7:20 PM

(14) Georgia State vs. (3) Houston

TBS

Tulsa 

7:27 PM

(12) Liberty vs. (5) Mississippi State

truTV

San Jose 

Approx. 9:35 PM

(16) Iona vs. (1) North Carolina

TNT

Columbus 

Approx. 9:55 PM

(9) UCF vs. (8) VCU

CBS

Columbia 

Approx. 10:05 PM

(11) Ohio State vs. (6) Iowa State

TBS

Tulsa

Approx. 10:12 PM

(13) Saint Louis vs. (4) Virginia Tech

truTV

San Jose 

 

 

 

March 6, 2019

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For Wednesday, March 6, 2019

March 6, 2019

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Duke

Gonzaga

Virginia

Kentucky

2

Tennessee

Michigan

North Carolina

Michigan St.

3

Houston

LSU

Purdue

Texas Tech

4

Kansas

Marquette

Wisconsin

Florida St.

5

Kansas St.

Virginia Tech

Mississippi St.

Iowa St.

6

Maryland

Nevada

Cincinnati

Villanova

7

Buffalo

Louisville

Baylor

Auburn

8

Iowa

Wofford

Syracuse

Washington

9

Ole Miss

Virginia Commonwealth

Florida

St. John’s

10

Central Florida

Oklahoma

Minnesota

Ohio St.

11

Texas

TCU

Utah St.

Seton Hall

12

North Carolina St./Temple

Arizona St./Alabama

Belmont

Lipscomb

13

New Mexico St.

Old Dominion

Vermont

Hofstra

14

UC-irvine

Yale

South Dakota St.

Montana

15

Texas St.

Colgate

Drake

Wright St.

16

Campbell

Sam Houston St.

Norfolk St./St. Francis (PA)

Iona/Texas Southern

Last 4 In

North Carolina St.

Arizona St.

Alabama

Temple

Last 4 Bye

Texas

TCU

Utah St.

Seton Hall

First 4 Out

Clemson

Indiana

Georgetown

Furman

Next 4 Out

Murray St.

Nebraska

UNC Greensboro

Saint Mary’s

Bids By Conference

Bids

ACC

8

Big Ten

8

Big 12

8

SEC

8

AAC

4

Big East

4

MWC

2

Pac-12

2

One-Bid Leagues

24

 

 

 

 

March 4, 2019

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For Monday, March 4, 2019

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:32 am

March 4, 2019

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Duke

Gonzaga

Virginia

Kentucky

2

Tennessee

Michigan

North Carolina

Michigan St.

3

Houston

LSU

Purdue

Texas Tech

4

Kansas

Marquette

Wisconsin

Florida St.

5

Kansas St.

Virginia Tech

Nevada

Iowa St.

6

Maryland

Mississippi St.

Cincinnati

Villanova

7

Buffalo

Louisville

Baylor

Iowa

8

Auburn

Wofford

Syracuse

Washington

9

Ole Miss

Virginia Commonwealth

Florida

St. John’s

10

TCU

Texas

Central Florida

Ohio St.

11

Oklahoma

Alabama

Minnesota

Seton Hall

12

North Carolina St./Temple

Arizona St./Utah St.

Belmont

Lipscomb

13

New Mexico St.

Old Dominion

Vermont

Hofstra

14

UC-irvine

Yale

South Dakota St.

Texas St.

15

Montana

Colgate

Drake

Wright St.

16

Campbell

Sam Houston St.

Norfolk St./St. Francis (PA)

Siena/Texas Southern

 

 

Last 4 In

North Carolina St.

Arizona St.

Utah St.

Temple

Last 4 Bye

Oklahoma

Alabama

Minnesota

Seton Hall

First 4 Out

Clemson

Indiana

Georgetown

Furman

Next 4 Out

Murray St.

Nebraska

Xavier

Saint Mary’s

 

Bids By Conference

Bids

ACC

8

Big Ten

8

Big 12

8

SEC

8

AAC

4

Big East

4

MWC

2

Pac-12

2

One-Bid Leagues

24

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 13, 2019

Bubbles Are Boiling

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 2:16 pm

Five Sundays from today, the NCAA Selection Committee will choose and seed the 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament.  At the present time, the Bubble list has begun to emerge with greater clarity.  There are about three dozen teams still competing for at-large bids, and more than half will not get into the Dance.

Some of the teams under consideration will eventually receive automatic bids when they win their conference tournaments.  On the other hand, there could be a few major upsets in the power conference tournaments forcing a bubble to pierce for one of these teams.

Let’s look at the principle boiling bubbles today.  We will let you decide if their resumes warrant bids or warrant bans to the NIT.

Team

Net

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Alabama

44

2-6

6-1

4-2

3-0

Arizona State

72

3-1

4-3

3-1

6-2

Baylor

32

3-5

7-1

1-0

5-2

Belmont

60

3-1

2-1

2-2

11-0

Butler

53

1-7

6-3

4-1

3-0

Central Florida

45

0-2

4-2

7-0

6-1

Clemson

39

2-6

2-2

5-0

6-0

Creighton

57

2-9

3-2

4-0

3-0

Davidson

68

0-2

3-1

6-3

8-0

Florida

42

1-9

3-1

3-1

5-0

Hofstra

51

0-2

0-1

4-1

16-0

Indiana

49

4-8

2-3

1-0

6-0

Lipscomb

30

2-3

2-1

2-0

12-0

Minnesota

58

3-6

4-2

4-0

5-0

New Mexico St.

59

0-1

2-1

8-2

9-0

North Carolina St

37

1-6

5-0

2-1

9-0

Ohio St.

36

4-5

3-2

4-0

5-0

Oklahoma

41

3-8

5-2

7-0

0-0

Ole Miss

35

3-7

3-0

4-0

6-0

Saint Mary’s

50

1-5

1-2

6-3

7-0

San Francisco

52

0-4

1-1

5-1

11-0

Seton Hall

69

2-6

7-1

2-2

3-0

St. John’s

48

4-4

4-1

2-2

8-0

TCU

33

1-7

5-0

7-0

4-0

Temple

55

1-5

5-1

4-1

7-0

Texas

34

4-6

4-4

3-1

3-0

Toledo

54

0-1

2-0

8-3

9-0

UNC Greensboro

46

1-3

1-0

5-0

13-0

Utah State

38

1-2

2-2

4-2

10-0

VCU

43

1-3

2-2

7-1

7-0

Wofford

28

2-4

3-0

4-0

9-0

Yale

62

0-3

1-0

5-1

8-0

 

Team

EFF.

SOS

Rd/Neut

Con

Ovr

Alabama

48

17

6-7

6-5

15-9

Arizona State

63

66

5-4

7-4

16-7

Baylor

34

50

5-4

7-4

16-8

Belmont

64

160

8-3

10-2

19-4

Butler

53

25

4-8

5-7

14-11

Central Florida

50

89

6-3

7-3

17-5

Clemson

31

36

4-6

5-5

15-8

Creighton

49

12

5-6

4-7

13-11

Davidson

75

106

7-6

9-2

18-6

Florida

38

29

5-7

4-6

12-11

Hofstra

67

225

7-4

11-1

21-4

Indiana

45

37

3-7

4-9

13-11

Lipscomb

33

204

9-3

11-0

20-4

Minnesota

56

51

5-6

6-7

16-8

New Mexico St.

54

134

9-3

9-1

20-4

North Carolina St

40

194

5-4

5-6

17-7

Ohio St.

32

49

6-3

6-6

16-7

Oklahoma

42

7

7-6

3-9

15-10

Ole Miss

39

63

7-4

6-4

16-7

Saint Mary’s

44

47

3-8

6-4

15-10

San Francisco

47

121

5-5

6-4

18-6

Seton Hall

66

40

6-6

5-6

14-9

St. John’s

52

57

7-4

6-6

18-7

TCU

37

20

6-5

5-6

17-7

Temple

76

56

8-5

7-4

17-7

Texas

28

3

4-6

6-6

14-11

Toledo

51

126

9-3

8-3

20-4

UNC Greensboro

80

188

10-2

11-1

22-3

Utah State

43

115

8-5

8-3

18-6

VCU

46

54

6-5

8-2

17-6

Wofford

30

133

8-3

13-0

21-4

Yale

72

123

7-4

5-1

15-4

 

Here’s an explanation of each column

Net: This is their official NCAA NET rating, the new and improved formula that supersedes all other, like the RPI.

Q1-Q4: These are the won-loss records for each quadrant.  The Quadrants are broken up into these groups.

Quadrant #

Home

Neutral

Road

Quadrant 1

1-30

1-50

1-75

Quadrant 2

31-75

51-100

76-135

Quadrant 3

76-160

101-200

136-240

Quadrant 4

161-353

201-353

241-353

If you play the #101 team at home, this is a Quadrant 3 opponent.  If you play the #101 team on their floor, this is a Quadrant 2 opponent.  If you host the #50 team, it counts as Quadrant 2, but if you play that team on a neutral floor or on the road, it is a Quadrant 1 game.

EFF.: This is the ranking in total efficiency, which is offensive efficiency combined with defensive efficiency and adjusted for strength of schedule.

SOS: This is the ranking of strengths of schedule for each team.  Keep in mind that the difference between #1 and #50 may be minimal, while the difference between #51 and #100 may be considerably more.

Rd/Neut: This is the combined road and neutral court won-loss records

Con and Ovr: Although not used by the Committee, this is the conference and overall won-loss records for each team for you to look at and decide for yourself if a certain team belongs in the Dance.  We are not 100% convinced that committee members don’t subconsciously let this stat creep into their decision-making process.  If a team finishes four games under .500 in their league while another finishes four game over .500, that four game swing is going to count for something, even if it isn’t supposed to count.

Trying To Think Like A Committee Member

Let’s look at each school on this list.

Alabama

With wins over Kentucky and Mississippi State, the Committee might overlook losses to Northeastern and Georgia State.  Two of the Tide’s non-conference losses are to probable NCAA Tournament teams Central Florida and Baylor.  The Tide sits at 6-5 in the SEC and projects to a 10-8 or 11-7 final mark.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation with possibility of starting in Dayton.

Arizona St.

The Pac-12 surely cannot be limited to just one bid, can it?  The Committee is not supposed to look at this metric, but this is no different than when the judge tells the jury to disregard a remark from a sustained objection in a court room.  Of course, it is remembered.

Arizona State beat Kansas and Mississippi State.  This past weekend, they handed Washington their first Pac-12 loss.  The Sun Devils lost a close game to Nevada.  They also lost at home to Princeton and recently were blown out at home by Pac-12 cellar dweller Washington State by 21 points.  They also lost at SEC last place Vanderbilt by 16, and they barely beat SEC #13 Georgia.

Does the Kansas win and close loss to Nevada do enough for the Sun Devils?  Their NET rating is 72, and their strength of schedule is 66.  In their favor, Arizona State has a winning record away from Tempe.

Verdict: Sorry, nothing in the inbox but some ads for hotels near Madison Square Garden in late March that you probably won’t need.

Baylor

The Bears lost early in the season to some really weak teams in Texas Southern and Stephen F. Austin, but the TSU loss may turn out to be to a future NCAA Tournament team.  At 7-4 in the Big 12 with wins over Texas Tech, Iowa State, and TCU, plus a sweep of Oklahoma, Baylor is on the inside as of now.  We project Baylor to finish 10-8 in the league, and with this league’s strength, Coach Scott Drew can sleep peacefully when his team is eventually ousted in the Big 12 Tournament.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation and does not have to make travel arrangements to Dayton.

 

Belmont

Every year, Coach Rick Byrd has his Bruins among consideration for an NCAA Tournament bid, and this year is no different.  Belmont won at UCLA and Murray State, and they swept rival Lipscomb, who is in the top 30 and also in discussion for a potential at-large bid.  Among their losses is to Purdue in West Lafayette, but also among the losses are two to Jacksonville State.

We project Belmont to win out in the regular season to enter the OVC Tournament at 16-2 in the conference and 24-4 overall.  The Bruins will be the mild favorite to win the automatic bid, but Murray State, Austin Peay, and Jacksonville State will have shots as well.  If Belmont lost to Murray in the Championship Game and finished 26-5, the Bruins would have to be part of the at-large discussion.

Verdict: The Bruins need to win the automatic bid and then become a very game 12-seed.  Too many Bubble teams have to fold for Belmont to rise up and secure an at-large bid.  We believe as an automatic bid-winner and #12 seed, the Bruins are equipped with the talent and coaching to win their first tournament game after some near misses.

 

Butler

This Bulldogs team is not in the class with some of their recent NCAA Tournament teams.  A lone Quadrant 1 win came in a neutral contest with Florida, a team which they played a second time a month later and lost by close to 40 points.

The next most impressive victory is a home win over Ole Miss.  Butler’s NET rating of 53 is on the in-out line, but in their favor is a #25 strength of schedule

Verdict: We hear Dayton is lovely in March.  Even if it snows several inches, you will be very happy you got to visit Southwestern Ohio.  It’s an easy 2 hour drive.

 

Central Florida

The Golden Knights beat Alabama and Temple, and they lost to Houston.  UCF should get to 10 wins in the American Athletic Conference, but the Knights need to pull off one big win to solidify their at-large standing against their peers.  UCF will get that chance with games remaining with Cincinnati and Houston.  A sweep of South Florida might also be impressive enough to push them over the top.

Verdict: Hanging on to a First Four bid for now

 

Clemson

The Tigers don’t have many great wins on their schedule.  Their recent upset of Virginia Tech and an earlier win over Lipscomb are the only Quadrant 1 victories.  In their favor, they are 11-0 against Q3 and Q4 combined, so their losses have been to good or great teams.

We project CU to go 8-10 in ACC play, which in most years gets an ACC team into the field, whether it is deserved or not.  Clemson might need one more upset to complete their resume-building.  They certainly need to hold serve against the teams beneath them in the league.  A win tonight at Miami would be mighty.  We think that a win at home over Florida State, North Carolina, or Syracuse would give them all the juice they need.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation and probably not one to Dayton

 

Creighton

The Big East is top heavy with two superior teams and a half dozen good but not great teams.  At 4-7 in league play, the Blue Jays have a lot of work left to do to get onto the upper half of the Bubble.

The one thing keeping Creighton in the discussion currently is the fact that they have played 12 Quadrant 1 games so far and have a top 15 strength of schedule.  However, they are only 2-10 in those games.

Creighton’s next four games are must-win games.  The Blue Jays have to take care of Xavier tonight in Cincinnati and then beat Seton Hall, DePaul, and Georgetown to improve to 8-7 when they travel to Marquette in March.  A 6-1 finish from here would put CU at 10-8 in the league and 19-12 overall, where an opening round win in the Big East Tournament would give the Blue Jays a strong chance to get in.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation only if they meet the parameters set above.  As of today, we’d say their invitation would be to host a game in the NIT.

 

Davidson

Bob McKillop is one of the most underrated coaches in college basketball.  While Davidson has an exceptional history of greatness thanks to what legendary coach Lefty Driesell did 50 years ago, those were different times.  Driesell recruited four or five players as good as Stephen Curry, and he brought Davidson to the top five of the rankings in 1964, 1965, 1968, and 1969.  McKillop inherited a mess when he took over this program that was coming off a 24-loss season plus the transfer of their one good player.  He’s now led the Wildcats for 30 seasons!

Of course, none of this means anything to the Selection Committee.  Davidson’s resume is iffy at this point, and without an automatic bid, it looks like a slim possibility.  Their only quality win to date is a home game victory over conference co-contender Virginia Commonwealth.  This is their only win against a top 100 team, and it came at home.  Unless they face VCU in the Conference Tournament, they will face just one other top 100 team the rest of the way.  The stars just don’t align for the Wildcats this year.

Verdict: They better win the automatic bid or plan on playing in the NIT, CBI, or CIT

 

Florida

Coach Michael White is underachieving in Gainesville, and, following in the footsteps of Billy Donovan, could find his seat heating up quickly if the Gators miss out on this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Florida’s schedule is the only reason why at 4-6 in the SEC and 12-11 overall that they are still in consideration as an at-large team.  The Gators are looking at 8-10 in the league and 16-15 overall.  With that record, they will have to win at least three SEC Tournament games to even be in the final discussion.

Verdict: One of the biggest disappointments of the season does not receive an NCAA bid and may not receive an NIT bid either

 

Hofstra

Make no bones about it, Hofstra is not a real at-large candidate.  However, we wanted to list the Pride here to show you their resume.  At 21-4, the Pride has no Q1 or Q2 wins.  They are 16-0 against Q4, and their strength of schedule ranks 225.  We wanted to show them to you so you can compare them with the other Mid-major teams on this list.  We could have also shown you UC-Irvine, a team in a similar boat with Hofstra, while Wofford, UNC Greensboro, Belmont, and Lipscomb have some tiny at-large hopes.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation only if it is automatic

 

Indiana

This was supposed to be a much better year in Hoosierland, and like his brother Sean, Archie Miller has come under fire.  IU was supposed to contend with the Michigan schools and Purdue for the Big Ten title.  Instead, the Hoosiers find themselves mired in a tenth place tie in the Big Ten at 4-9/13-11.

Indiana has the bare minimum criteria to squeak in as a fortunate bubble team.  Their NET rating is just under 50, and most power league teams in the top 50 get into the field.  Their strength of schedule is 37, and this is okay for any major conference team on the bubble.  Their efficiency rating is also okay at 45, not great but adequate enough for a Big Ten team.

With 12 Quadrant 1 games and wins in four of those contests, the Hoosiers have proven they can compete at the top of the game.  Of their seven remaining games, five are against tough opponents, and Indiana needs to win two of those five games and four overall to enter the Big Ten Tournament not needing to win three games to feel comfortable about getting an at-large bid.

Verdict: At the present time, we have them as the #68 team in the field, and they would be slotted to go to Dayton, where they might have to play Butler. What a rivalry game played close enough for the fans to make the commute by car!

 

Lipscomb

The Atlantic Sun Conference is mid-major at best and borders on low-major status, but Florida Gulf Coast proved this league has the ability to send teams to the Sweet 16.

Lipscomb made its first NCAA Tournament appearance last year and scared North Carolina for a half.  This Bisons team is better than last year, and the former NAIA superpower might be talented enough to replicate what FGCU did earlier in the decade.

Lipscomb has played five Q1 games, all on the road and won twice, once against TCU.  They have no bad losses, going 14-0 against Q3 & Q4.  Among their losses is a four-pointer at Louisville.

If Lipscomb beats Liberty tonight in Nashville to complete the season sweep, they will almost assuredly win out to finish 16-0/25-4 before hosting all their conference tournament games.  It would take a lot to not be the automatic qualifier, but in the event they lost to Liberty in the finals, they would be 27-5 with a lot of positives on their resume.

Verdict: The Bisons are a very likely automatic qualifier, but if they were 27-5, it would take a lot of statistics-bending to exclude them from the at-large pool.  However, we have faith that the Selection Committee would find ways to ship Lipscomb to the NIT in favor of the ninth place team in the ACC or 10th place team in the Big Ten or even the fifth best Big East team, or even TCU who lost at home to this Lipscomb team.

 

Minnesota

Richard Pitino, Saul Phillips, Murray Bartow, and Bryce Drew know what it is like to have fathers that enjoyed long, successful careers in college basketball.  They also know what it is like to have their team’s fanatics wishing that those great coaches had created daughters rather than sons.  Pitino is on very thin ice in Minneapolis, and the Gophers must make the Big Dance if Pitino is to stay employed in the Cities in 2020.

The Gophers are in 8th place in the Big Ten with a 16-8 record overall.  This is just enough to meet the minimum for a Big Ten team.  Their NET rating is 59, which is right on the line for average lowest rating that gets in.  Three Quad 1 wins and a 5-6 record away from home gives the Gophers a decent shot at making the field.

Minnesota’s closing schedule could cinch their bid or kill their chances.  Their more winnable games are on the road, and the tougher opponents must come to Minneapolis.  Tonight’s game at Nebraska could be a bell-weather contest.  A loss might open the door for another bubble team to step up and pass the Gophers.

Verdict: For now, we believe the Selection Committee would send the Gophers an Invitation and even allow them to avoid the First Four.  However, a 3-4 finish to give UM a 9-11 mark in the league and 19-12 overall might put Minny on the wrong side of the Bubble if they lost their first Big Ten Tournament game.  Pitino loses his job if UM misses the Dance.

 

New Mexico St.

New Mexico State is not getting an at-large bid, even if the Aggies win out until the WAC Championship Game and then lose to Grand Canyon or Cal St. Bakersfield by one point in overtime.

Let’s look at their resume.  They lost at Kansas by three points, and that was their only Q1 game.  Even had they beaten Kansas by three, their resume is too thin with just one Q1 game.

NMSU is just one spot behind Minnesota in the NET Ratings, and the Aggies are 9-3 away from Las Cruces.  However, their strength of schedule rates at number 134, and we learned from the top-16 seed reveal last week just how much this year’s Committee valued strength of schedule.

Verdict: No At-large chance, but we believe this team could be 30-4 when they win the WAC’s automatic bid.  Coach Chris Jans has overcome a lot of adversity to resurrect his career.  NMSU will be a dangerous 12 or 13 seed.

 

North Carolina St.

Kevin Keatts is one of our favorite basketball coaches.  We are in high regard of his ability to evaluate talent and alter his schemes to best exploit opponent weaknesses and utilize his talent.  Even that embarrassing oops loss to Virginia Tech does not alter our opinion.  Keatts is a Final Four coach of the future, be it here or some place else.

This Wolf Pack team is not going to advance very far in the NCAA Tournament, but they will almost definitely receive a bid based on their results so far.

When an ACC team has a top 40 NET rating, they are going dancing.  NCSU is presently #39.  The Wolf Pack currently has a winning record away from Raleigh.

All is not peachy though with their resume.  Their Strength of Schedule is an unheard of for an ACC team #194, because they played six of the bottom 34 teams in Division 1, including the two weakest of all.  State only has one Q1 win all year, a home victory over Auburn which looks less impressive now than it did then.

The Pack can easily finish the regular season on a 5-2 sprint to a 10-8 regular season conference record, which gets an ACC team an at-large bid better than 95% of the time.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation as one of the last teams in that do not play in the First Four

 

Ohio St.

The Buckeyes really should not be in this discussion.  The only reason why we include them here is that they still need to avoid a total collapse.  At 6-6/16-7, if OSU goes 3-5 down the stretch, they will get into the field.

Road wins over Cincinnati, Indiana, and Creighton are impressive enough already, but we see the Buckeyes finishing no worse than 4-4 and possibly 5-3 to make their selection quite easy.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation

 

Oklahoma

Can a team that is 3-9 in their conference really be in the hunt for an at-large bid?  Oklahoma certainly hopes so, and thanks to the Big 12’s overall concentration of power, the Sooners do have a legitimate chance to get into the Field of 68 with a conference mark no better than 7-11.

In OU’s favor is a schedule that faced no Q4 teams and just seven Q3 teams.  Oklahoma went 7-0 in those games.  Their overall strength of schedule is #7, which means that a winning overall record is going to be enough to give them a chance.

Oklahoma has six games remaining prior to the league tourney, and if they go 3-3 with one of those wins coming against Kansas, and then they win their first Big 12 Tournament game, the Sooners will be in good enough shape to expect great things on March 17.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation if they go 3-3 plus one Big 12 Tournament win

 

Ole Miss

Ole Miss is 16-7, and all seven of their losses came to Q1 teams!  They have three Q1 wins, including one on the road against Mississippi State.

A 35 NET rating and 39 Efficiency rating makes their resume complete.  At this point, Ole Miss is competing for a 7 or 8 seed and not needing to worry about missing out on the Dance, unless they totally collapse.  Coach Kermit Davis has done an incredible job in his first year in Oxford.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation

 

Saint Mary’s

The Gaels have received an at-large bid in the past, but they also beat Gonzaga in the past.  This year, it appears out of reach, and a 11-5/22-12 final record (the best possible without beating Gonzaga, is most likely to fall short of the minimum needed criteria.

Verdict: SMC is going to have to beat Gonzaga to have any chance, and most likely, that win will have to come in the finals of the WCC Tournament, which would then give the Gaels the automatic bid and Gonzaga an at-large bid at the expense of another team on this list.

 

San Francisco

At one time earlier this year, USF looked like a potential at-large team.  A 13-point loss at home to Gonzaga followed by losses at Saint Mary’s and San Diego, basically necessitated winning at Gonzaga to have a real chance.  The Zags ran the Dons off the floor, ending USF’s at-large possibilities.

Verdict: No bid unless USF pulls off the upset and wins the West Coast Tournament Championship.  We cannot see USF beating Gonzaga, but if the Dons earn the #2 or #3 seed in the conference tournament, while BYU earns the #4 seed, then the Dons could hope that the Cougars upset Gonzaga, giving them a chance to knock off BYU for the automatic bid.

 

Seton Hall

Seton Hall is in a similar boat to Butler and Creighton in the up and down Big East race.  The Pirates have some pluses and some minuses in their quest to get a bid.

On the plus side are wins over Kentucky and Maryland, but countering those two great Q1 victories are losses at home to St. Louis and DePaul.  Three of their Q1 losses were by five points or less, and they have only played seven games against Q3 & Q4 teams.

With a 69 NET Rating, the Pirates need to improve their standing in the last five weeks.  The schedule is quite tough with the top two Big East teams (Villanova and Marquette) still on the schedule, and the Hall has road games with Creighton, St. John’s, and Georgetown.  We expect SHU to enter the Big East Tournament at 7-11/16-14, and the Big East is not strong enough for a team with fewer than 10 conference wins or nine with a couple of conference tournament wins to get in.

Verdict: Looks like they will be disappointed on Selection Sunday without an upset of Marquette or Villanova and a 9-9 Big East record

 

St. John’s

St. John’s is only a half-game in front of Seton Hall, but their resume might as well be 20 games ahead.  The Red Storm have played a much tougher schedule this year, and schedule strength appears to be very important, just behind NET Ratings, with the Committee.  Sweeps of Marquette and Creighton with their worst loss coming against DePaul gives SJU a strong shot at making the field.  Add a 7-4 record away from home, and the Red Storm would have to collapse to miss out this year.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation, probably an 8 or 9 seed

 

TCU

Like Ole Miss, all of TCU’s losses have come to Quadrant 1 teams.  They are 16-0 against all others.  A 33 NET rating and 20 Strength of Schedule Rating puts the Horned Frogs well up into the good graces of the Selection Committee.

TCU should be no worse than 9-9 in the Big 12, and when a league is as strong up and down as this one, the 9-9 team always gets into the field.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation

 

Temple

When a top 10 team has just one loss all year, the team that beat them gets added oomph in their resume.  Temple gave Houston their only loss so far this year.  The Owls lost their other five Q1 games to date.

Temple’s NET Rating is 55, which puts them on the Bubble for sure.  Their Strength of Schedule is 56, which is at the bottom of the allowed SOS for an at-large team.  An 8-5 record away from home (7-4 away from the City of Brotherly Love) makes their criteria smack dab in the hunt as one of the final teams in our highest teams out.

Temple can go 5-2 the rest of the regular season to finish at 12-6 in the league.  With a win in the AAC Tournament, that would give the Owls at least 23 wins, and that would leave them exactly where they are now–in the middle of the discussion between teams number 67 and 70.  A win at South Florida this weekend would really help.

 

Texas

The Longhorns have the worst record of teams that appear to be in good shape with the Selection Committee.  At 6-6/14-11, UT still has work to do just to guarantee a plus .500 record.  They have played the third toughest schedule in the nation, and they own wins over North Carolina, Purdue, Kansas, Kansas State, and Baylor.

Add a 34 NET Rating and 28 Efficiency Rating, and Texas only needs to get enough wins down the stretch to guarantee an at-large bid.  A 9-9 Big 12 record does the trick.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation

 

Toledo

The PiRate Ratings are big fans of the Mid-Major conferences that have been around for decades, and the MAC is one of those leagues.  Toledo was really good back in the late 1960’s when Steve Mix played for the Rockets prior to starting in the NBA.  Success has been limited for Toledo on the hardwoods since then.

This Toledo team has no chance of securing an at-large bid, and with a 30-point loss to Buffalo, it is hard to see them getting revenge in the championship game of the MAC Tournament.  Still, we include them in this write-up, because the MAC Tournament is always competitive, and the top-seeded team loses in it more than the average conference.

Toledo is one of three or four teams that could upset Buffalo, although this year’s Buffalo team has all the tools to sweep the regular season and conference tournament.  However, if Buffalo loses, then obviously another team must win the automatic bid, while Buffalo bursts a Bubble for another team as a certain at-large team.

A 9-3 record away from home makes this a dangerous team in Cleveland.  Toledo will waltz into Cleveland as the number one seed from the West Division, so Buffalo will have to beat two others before the Rockets will have to glare at the Bulls in a possible title game.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation only bid winning automatic bid, but Buffalo still gets in if they lose the MAC Tournament

 

UNC Greensboro

This is a team no favorite from a power conference will want to see in a potential Round of 64 NCAA Tournament game.  UNCG is a tough matchup, and the Spartans have a unique style that is hard to prepare for on a couple day’s notice.

With a 46 NET Rating, UNCG is worthy of an at-large bid if they were to win out all the way to the Socon Championship Game and lose a close one to Wofford.  The Spartans are 10-2 away from Greensboro, but their issue is a schedule that is rated 188 (which is still ahead of North Carolina State).

If UNCG is to earn enough respect to be in the at-large pool, the Spartans must win their two big games this week.  They play at Furman tonight, and then meet Wofford in Spartanburg Saturday.  If UNCG wins out but loses in the SoCon Championship Game, they will be 30-4 and in the mix for one of the last four bids.

 

Utah St.

With a 38 NET Rating and 43 Efficiency Rating, Utah State should be in the almost safe range for an at-large bid, but the Aggies are still on the outside looking in thanks to a strength of schedule rated 115.  Utah State has seven regular season games left, and if they win out, they will enter the MWC Tournament at 15-3/25-6.  Most importantly, if they win out, it will mean the Aggies beat Nevada.  The boys from Reno come to Logan on March 2.  USU almost has to win that game to have any serious at-large chances, but they also have a chance to win the automatic bid in the tough Mountain West.  Nevada won the MWC last year and failed to make the tournament title game as the number one seed, so history could repeat.

Verdict: We believe the Aggies deserve an at-large bid as of today, and for now we will give the Selection Committee the benefit of the doubt in realizing that they deserve to be in

 

Virginia Commonwealth

At the current time, we actually have VCU as the likely automatic bid winner from the Atlantic 10, ahead of Davidson, but we included the Rams here to show you how close they are to qualifying as an at-large team.

VCU has a 43 NET Rating, 54 Strength of Schedule, and 46 Efficiency Rating.  This is already better than some of the other teams thought to be among the last four in and first four out.  They have a 6-5 record away from home and won at Texas.  They suffered narrow losses to Virginia and St. John’s.

We project VCU to finish 15-3 in the A-10 and 24-7 overall in the regular season.  If they lose in the conference tournament and finish 26-8, the Rams will be in the mix for an at-large bid.

Verdict: We believe VCU has the best chance of winning the A-10 Tournament and the automatic bid, but if they lose in the Championship Game, the Rams still have a chance depending on how many Power Conferences have major upsets or if teams like Buffalo and Nevada lose in their conference tournaments

Wofford

If we told you that an anonymous team was ranked 28 in the NET Ratings with the number 30 Efficiency Rating, and with a 20-point road win at the number four team in the SEC, and with four losses all year to North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi State, and Oklahoma, you might reply that Auburn or Texas Tech will obviously make the NCAA Tournament, guessing from the information given that one of these two teams must be that anonymous team.

Mention Wofford to 99% of the general college basketball fandom public, and you are very likely to hear such fanatic tell you that they will be another one of those first round 25-point losers to some Big Ten team.

Wofford and UNC Greensboro both probably belong in the NCAA Tourmament.  Unfortunately, one of these two are likely to be team number 69, 70, 71, or 72.

Verdict: Receives an Invitation if they earn the automatic bid

 

Yale

There has never been an at-large Ivy League team, and there isn’t going to be one this year, even if Yale is probably better than a couple of teams seriously on the Bubble.

The Bulldogs’ best win is a neutral court victory over Miami of Florida.  Their resume won’t get them an at-large bid.  We project the Bulldogs to go 12-2 in the Ivy League to earn the top seed in the four-team tournament.  We also project Yale to win the Tournament to finish 24-5, where they will earn no better than a 13 seed and possible a 14 seed.  At 13, there are multiple potential 4 seeds that could be uspet by this Yale team.

 

November 16, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlays for November 16-18, 2017

After a winning week with a modest 35% return on our investment, the PiRate Rating Money Line Parlays are just a fraction below break even for the season.  We are submitting three selections this week, with the odds being a tad lower in hopes that at least two of these three will win and put us back in the black for the season.  There are numerous trap games this week, so we chose to lay off about 35 of these games that could have been used to produce parlays in the +180 to +235 range.  The problem is that in just about every case, we were split on one of the games in the possible parlay.  For instance, the Western Kentucky-Middle Tennessee game found us divided at 3 to 3.  Either way, we could have used this parlay to produce a nice fat odds in our favor, but none of us are steadfast in our belief in the team we believe will win.  You can put a ditto on Wake Forest and North Carolina St.  We were 3-3 on that game too.

What you do receive this week are three parlays in which we were 6-0 on all but one game, and 5-1 on the other (NW-Duke).

Here are our 3 selections for the week.  REMEMBER: we issue these selections only for entertainment purposes and NEVER wager real currency on these picks.  We advise you follow our lead.  If you are a professional “player” and will play regardless, please use these selections as only one source for your investing ideas.

#1 @ +136  
Must Win Must Lose
Georgia Tech Duke
West Virginia Texas
******************** ********************
#2 @ +165  
Must Win Must Lose
Northwestern Minnesota
South Alabama Georgia Southern
Missouri Vanderbilt
********************  ********************
#3 @ +122  
Must Win Must Lose
Utah St. Hawaii
Old Dominion Rice
Idaho Coastal Carolina

August 17, 2016

2016 Mountain West Conference Football Preview

In our first three previews, the races have projected to be competitive with up to four teams figuring to contend for the divisional titles. In today’s Mountain West Conference preview, there is no such competitiveness. Boise State and San Diego State are prohibitive favorites in the divisional races, so much so that the Broncos received 27 of 29 first place votes in the preseason media poll, while the Aztecs selection as number one in the West was unanimous.

The PiRate Ratings concur–Boise State and San Diego State begin the 2016 season as clear-cut favorites. In the Mountain Division, Air Force is within striking distance, less than a touchdown weaker than BSU to start the season. In the West, SDSU begins the season more than a ten points ahead of the pack.

Our Buccaneers have spotted their first surprise team in this year’s previews. UNLV, picked by the media to finish fifth in the West Division, should better that by a lot this year. The Rebels start the season with the fourth best PiRate Rating in the West, but they benefit by hosting Fresno State, Colorado State, Wyoming, and Nevada, while playing at Hawaii, and this gives second year head coach Tony Sanchez a chance to give UNLV a chance to return to a bowl for the first time in three years. Sanchez lost five games in six years as head coach of Bishop Gorman High School in suburban Las Vegas. In his first season at Sam Boyd Stadium, the Rebels finished 3-9, but it was an almost two touchdown improvement in scoring margin. A defense which figures to improve yet again should allow the Rebels to shed another 7-10 points off their points allowed, and Sanchez will mold a credible offense and guide UNLV to bowl eligibility.

The other surprise team should not be a surprise team at all. New Mexico was selected fifth in the Mountain Division after Coach Bob Davie guided the Lobos to a 7-5 regular season record, the first winning season in Albuquerque since 2007. The Lobos return almost every defensive player that contributed last year, and they also return a competent quarterback in Lamar Jordan. The PiRate believe that UNM will not only return to a bowl game again this season, they will even improve on their won-loss record of last year.

Both San Diego State and Boise State figure to contend for the automatic bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game awarded to the top team not from a Power 5 league. The winner of the MWC Championship Game might need to be undefeated this year to take that bid, because there are a couple of teams in the American Athletic Conference capable of going 12-1 this year. Check the PiRate Ratings Friday for a preview of that league.

Here is how the MWC Media Predicted The Race

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 Boise St. 27 172
2 Air Force 2 126
3 Utah St. 0 111
4 Colorado St. 0 95
5 New Mexico 0 74
6 Wyoming 0 31
       
West Divsion
# Team 1st Pl. Total
1 San Diego St. 29 174
2 Nevada 0 129
3 San Jose St. 0 122
4 Fresno St. 0 76
5 UNLV 0 73
6 Hawaii 0 35

The Media did not select an overall champion.

Here are the PiRate Ratings to begin the season.

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 104.4 105.7 106.3 105.5
Air Force 99.9 100.2 100.1 100.1
New Mexico 94.3 97.6 95.6 95.9
Utah St. 93.2 97.1 93.0 94.4
Colorado St. 88.2 90.6 89.0 89.3
Wyoming 82.5 82.5 82.6 82.6
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 104.9 102.2 108.2 105.1
Nevada 92.3 95.6 93.6 93.9
San Jose St. 91.0 91.0 91.9 91.3
UNLV 89.0 93.6 89.1 90.6
Fresno St. 82.1 87.1 81.9 83.7
Hawaii 77.0 76.5 75.7 76.4
         
MWC Averages 91.6 93.4 92.3 92.4

The PiRate Ratings are best used just to look forward to the next week game schedule.  These ratings cannot really be used to predict won-loss records, so with that caveat, here are the projected won-loss records based on the ratings alone.

Mountain West Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Mountain Division      
Boise St. 8-0 12-1 * Las Vegas
Air Force 7-1 11-1 Hawaii
New Mexico 5-3 8-4 New Mexico
Utah St. 4-4 6-6 Arizona
Colorado St. 2-6 4-8  
Wyoming 0-8 1-11  
       
West Division      
San Diego St. 8-0 11-2 Poinsettia
UNLV 5-3 7-5 Idaho Potato
Nevada 4-4 6-6 Bowl Eligible
San Jose St. 4-4 5-7  
Fresno St. 1-7 2-10  
Hawaii 0-8 2-11  
       
* Boise St. Projected to Win MWC Championship Game

Coming Tomorrow–The PiRates will release a double feature–The Independents and the American Athletic Conference. Beginning Saturday, we will commence with the Power 5 conference previews.

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