The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 14, 2021

PiRate Ratings Final Bracketology Prediction

Date3/14/2021FINAL
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1GonzagaBaylorIllinoisMichigan
2Ohio St.AlabamaIowaHouston
3Oklahoma St.ArkansasKansasTexas
4West VirginiaPurdueVirginiaFlorida St.
5TennesseeVillanovaCreightonTexas Tech
6ColoradoUSCLSUMissouri
7BYUOklahomaOregonClemson
8ConnecticutSan Diego St.WisconsinFlorida
9Virginia TechLoyola (Chi.)Georgia TechNorth Carolina
10RutgersSt. BonaventureMarylandVCU
11LouisvilleMichigan St.UCLASyracuseUtah St.Drake
12Oregon St.GeorgetownNorth TexasWinthrop
13Ohio ULibertyUNCGUCSB
14ColgateMorehead St.Abilene ChristianE. Washington
15Cleveland St.DrexelGrand CanyonIona
16Oral RobertsHartfordNorfolk St.Mount St. Mary’sTexas SouthernAppalachian St.

1st Four Out

69Wichita St.
70Colorado St.
71Saint Louis
72Boise St.

1st 4 Games

11 UCLA vs. 11 Drake

11 Syracuse vs. 11 Utah St.

16 Norfolk St. vs. 16 Mount St. Mary’s

16 Texas Southern vs. 16 Appalachian St.

Sunday Morning Bracketology

Preliminary to Final Prediction

The PiRates have been busy these last 12 hours rearranging the seed lines and replacing unfortunate at-large teams that were bumped twice yesterday, as Georgetown and Oregon State crashed the Dance party with impressive wins.

Five games remain to be played before the regular season comes to an end, and all five games could affect the final seed lines:

In the first game today, if Colgate beats Loyola of Maryland, the Raiders could move up one line, but the bigger possibility is the movement of more than a dozen seeds if Loyola pulls the upset. Colgate figures to be a 13 or 14 seed, but Loyola would be a 16 seed with a win. Colgate is somewhat of another issue, because the Raiders are a Top 10 team according to the NET Ratings, but they did so by facing no serious competition from top 100 teams. We believe the Committee will overrule their own criteria and send Colgate down the seed line.

In game two, St. Bonaventure faces VCU for the Atlantic 10 Championship. We believe both teams are locks to get into the Dance, but the winner and loser could be one seed apart. Or, the Committee might decide that this game doesn’t really matter and keep the two teams where they have them today. This is highly likely, and we are using that belief in our second to last seeding prediction. The Committee will be faced with an afternoon headache, where many teams will have to be shifted to accommodate a potential bid-thief. In fact, they will have two different brackets and keep one depending on what happens later in the day.

LSU and Alabama face off in what brings up memories of the Game of the Year in football, but this is the SEC Basketball Championship Game. Alabama has a sliver of hope to move to the 1-seed line with an impressive win and an Illinois loss in the Big Ten, but we believe they are probably locked in at the 2-seed line. However, should LSU pull off the upset, the Tigers might move up one line and knock somebody back a line.

The big mover and shaker game is the American Athletic Conference Championship Game this afternoon. Cincinnati could steal a bid away with an upset of Houston, and at the same time knock the Cougars down a spot in the seedings. If Houston wins, then everything is copacetic.

Because it will be the last game of the day, and both teams are rather secure in their destinies, we believe the Big Ten Conference Championship Game will be meaningless toward the final seedings. Illinois has done the work to earn a 1-seed, while Ohio State has worked their way back to a 2-seed. The Committee will not have time to alter their brackets at this point, so they will choose to ignore this game.

The important news then is who are the teams on the Bubble? Rather than announce 68 teams like in other years, the Committee will announce 72 teams, the regular 68 plus four alternates in case teams like Virginia and Kansas cannot field rosters for the tournament.

As we see it this morning, Drake is the last team in the field, currently an 11-seed looking at a First Four game against possibly UCLA. Should Cincinnati upset Houston today, the Bearcats would be looking at a 12 or 13-seed, and Drake would be dropped to the alternate pool, while Boise St. or Saint Louis would be dropped from the alternate pool to the NIT. Other teams just on the thin line include Utah State and Syracuse, two teams we show in the First Four, and Wichita State and Colorado State, two teams we show in the alternate list.

The First Four seedings moved from 12 to 11 last night when Georgetown and Oregon State kicked through the Dance hall door. The Hoyas and Beavers cannot be 11 seeds. We slotted them both on the 12-seed line, but we are not totally convinced yet that they will remain there. Doing a little research, the last time a power conference team with a similar record crashed the party like this, Georgia earned a 14-seed. Because teams like Colgate, Winthrop, UNCG, and UCSB are capable of moving up a line, there is a chance for chaos if Cincinnati wins today, because the Bearcats are not deserving of a 12-seed and maybe not even a 13-seed.

Here is how our field looks this morning with Cincinnati not in the Tournament.

Date3/14/2021Morning Edition
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1GonzagaBaylorIllinoisMichigan
2Ohio St.AlabamaIowaHouston
3Oklahoma St.ArkansasKansasTexas
4West VirginiaPurdueFlorida St.Virginia
5TennesseeVillanovaCreightonUSC
6ColoradoTexas TechLSUMissouri
7BYUOklahomaOregonConnecticut
8ClemsonSan Diego St.WisconsinFlorida
9Virginia TechLoyola (Chi.)RutgersNorth Carolina
10Georgia TechSt. BonaventureMarylandVCU
11LouisvilleMichigan St.UCLASyracuseUtah St.Drake
12Oregon St.GeorgetownUCSBWinthrop
13Ohio ULibertyUNCGNorth Texas
14ColgateMorehead St.Abilene ChristianE. Washington
15Cleveland St.DrexelGrand CanyonIona
16Oral RobertsHartfordNorfolk St.Mount St. Mary’sTexas SouthernAppalachian St.

Four Alternates

69Wichita St.
70Colorado St.
71Saint Louis
72Boise St.

Note: We have already begun putting our

Bracketnomics Data into a spreadsheet, and we will

have it completed late tonight. We will then spend

Monday looking at the data and be ready to reveal

our opinions on the field on Tuesday. Look for our

annually most read post to publish

Tuesday afternoon, approximately 3 PM Eastern

Daylight Time, giving you plenty of time to read and

then fill out the brackets in your competitions.

March 13, 2021

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:43 am
Date3/13/2021
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1GonzagaBaylorMichiganIllinois
2Ohio St.AlabamaIowaOklahoma St.
3HoustonArkansasKansasTexas
4Florida St.PurdueWest VirginiaVirginia
5TennesseeCreightonColoradoVillanova
6OregonUSCTexas TechMissouri
7LSUOklahomaWisconsinClemson
8BYUFloridaLoyola (Chi.)North Carolina
9RutgersSan Diego St.Virginia TechConnecticut
10St. BonaventureGeorgia TechVCUMaryland
11Wichita St.Michigan St.UCLALouisville
12Western Ky.WinthropSyracuseDrakeUtah St.Ole Miss
13UCSBLibertyUNCGColgate
14BuffaloMorehead St.Abilene ChristianE. Washington
15Cleveland St.Grand CanyonOral RobertsDrexel
16IonaMount St. Mary’sAppalachian St.HartfordNorfolk St.Prairie View A&M

First Four Out–Alternates

69 Saint Louis

70 Colorado St.

71 Boise St.

72 Xavier

Potential Bubble Busters: Memphis. Georgetown, and Oregon St.

February 28, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:58 am

Sunday, February 28, 2021

HomeVisitorSpread
CincinnatiMemphis-4.1
HoustonSouth Florida18.8
NC StatePittsburgh3.3
New HampshireUMass Lowell0.8
HartfordAlbany2.8
ButlerVillanova-10.7
IdahoMontana St.-13.0
MarylandMichigan St.4.4
Ohio St.Iowa0.1
UTEPCharlotte5.0
Western KentuckyFlorida Intl.16.3
MaristQuinnipiac2.4
Delaware St.Coppin St.-5.8
South Carolina St.Florida A&M-10.4
Utah St.Nevada6.8
ArmyBoston University7.0
NavyLoyola (MD)6.4
AmericanBucknell1.2
LehighLafayette-4.2
Oral RobertsWestern Illinois10.3
South DakotaNorth Dakota St.0.9

Coming Monday–Updated ratings and Bracketology plus a first look at early conference tournament action, including some preliminary “Bracketnomics” data.

February 8, 2021

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 12:30 pm
Date2/8/2021
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1BaylorGonzagaMichiganVillanova
2HoustonOhio St.IllinoisMissouri
3VirginiaOklahomaTexas TechAlabama
4TexasIowaVirginia TechWest Virginia
5WisconsinTennesseeCreightonPurdue
6Florida St.Oklahoma St.FloridaUSC
7LouisvilleUCLAXavierRutgers
8OregonColoradoMinnesotaKansas
9ClemsonBYUNorth CarolinaDrake
10IndianaColorado St.San Diego St.St. Bonaventure
11ArkansasLoyola (Chi.)LSUStanford
12ToledoBelmontBoise St.ConnecticutUtah St.Richmond
13WinthropUNCGUABStephen F. Austin
14Texas St.South DakotaLibertySiena
15UC-IrvineCleveland St.Grand CanyonNavy
16UMBCNortheasternBryantSouthern UtahN. C. A&TPrairie View

Bubble

VCU
Seton Hall
Saint Louis
SMU
Maryland
St. John’s
Syracuse
Western Ky.

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 

 

 

 

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