Sunday, March 17, 2019

17-MAR Bracket Projections: Championship Fortnight Day 14


Teams Left
Harvard, Tennessee, St. Bonaventure, UT Arlington and Houston have all been eliminated from conference tournament action on Sunday.  The Michigan/Michigan State loser will going this list as the field is whittled down to a final 32 teams.  My 36 at large guesses are listed below to build the field back up to 68.




Bracket

One automatic bid being updated with this post. 
Atlantic 10- Saint Louis (St. Bonaventure)

One at large update.  After final vetting of my selections, I am pulling St. John’s and adding in Florida.  More details on both schools profile can be found below, but the largest factor is the low difference in NET and kenpom for both programs.  Florida is top 35 in both, while St. John’s is sub-70 in both.  The Red Storm have the preferable Q1 and Q1/Q2 record, but I don’t think it’s enough for the committee to get them in the field.  I would have given this to Indiana or Texas but the losses I think will keep them off the committee’s bracket. 


The At Larges
Now that we know the automatic bid, a quick bit of rationale on my at large selections.  First, I think it’s reasonable to assume the following 20 schools are locks: Virginia, Gonzaga, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan/Michigan State, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, Purdue, LSU, Florida State, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Kansas, Kansas State, Houston, Maryland, Marquette, Oklahoma, and Iowa.  Each of those programs meet the following qualifications entering Sunday:

-          Top 43 in NET
-          At least 4 Quadrant 1 wins
-          A 29% or better Q1 winning percentage
-          At least 10 Q1/Q2 wins
-          A 46% or better Q1/Q2 winning percentage
-          1 or fewer bad losses (Q3/Q4)

Those metrics are not as arbitrary as they seem.  When removing the automatic bid schools, teams that met those parameters were in the top 36 in each of those categories.  When handing out 36 bids, that seems like a reasonable measuring stick to start with. 
So what about the remaining 16 bids.  The candidates:

Louisville: 22nd NET, 4 Q1 wins, 9 Q1/Q2 wins, 1 bad loss.  17th in kenpom, elite wins over Michigan State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech.  Sub-50 losses to Pittsburgh and Boston College.  Projection: In.

Seton Hall: 7 Q1 wins, 47% Q1 winning percentage, 14 Q1/Q2 wins.  55th in kenpom, elite wins over Kentucky, Maryland.  Sub-50 losses to Saint Louis, DePaul, DePaul, Providence, Butler, Xavier, St. John’s, Georgetown.  Projection: In

Nevada: 23rd NET, 50% Q1 winning percentage, 80% Q1/Q2 winning percentage.  25th in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to New Mexico, San Diego State, and San Diego State.  Projection: In.

UCF: 30th NET, 53% Q1/Q2 winning percentage, 1 bad loss.  46th in kenpom, elite wins over Houston.  Sub-50 losses to Florida Atlantic, Missouri, Wichita State, Memphis, Memphis, and Temple.  Projection: In.

VCU: 34th NET, 50% Q1 wins, 56% Q1/Q2 winning percentage.  37th in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to St. John’s, Old Dominion, Charleston, Davidson, Rhode Island, and Rhode Island.  Projection: In.

Minnesota: 5 Q1 wins, 33% Q1 winning percentage, 12 Q1/Q2 wins, 1 bad loss.  47th in kenpom, elite wins over Wisconsin, Purdue and Purdue.  Sub-50 losses to Boston College, Illinois, Rutgers.  Projection: In.

Baylor: 39th NET, 4 Q1 wins, 31% Q1 winning percentage, 12 Q1/Q2 wins, 55% Q1/Q2 winning percentage.  41st in kenpom, elite wins over Iowa State, Iowa State, and Texas Tech.  Sub-50 losses to Texas Southern, Wichita State, Stephen F. Austin, and Oklahoma State.  Projection: In.

TCU: 3 Q1 wins, 9 Q1/Q2 wins, no bad losses.  48th in kenpom, elite wins over Iowa State and Iowa State.  Sub-50 losses to Lipscomb, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia.  Projection: In.

Arizona State: 3 Q1 wins, 50% Q1 winning percentage, 11 Q1/Q2 wins, 65% Q1/Q2 winning percentage.  61st in kenpom, elite wins over Mississippi State and Kansas.  Sub-50 losses to Vanderbilt, Princeton, Utah, Stanford, USC, Washington State, and Colorado.  Projection: In.

Mississippi: 36th NET, 4 Q1 wins, 0 bad losses.  45th in kenpom, elite wins over Auburn, Auburn, and Mississippi State.  Sub-50 losses to Butler, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Alabama. Projection: In.

Temple: 50% Q1/Q2 winning percentage, one bad loss.  76th in kenpom, elite win over Houston.  Sub-50 losses to Penn, Tulsa, Memphis, and Wichita State.  Projection: In.

Syracuse: 42nd NET, 3 Q1 wins.  34th in kenpom, elite wins over Duke and Louisville.  Sub-50 losses to Connecticut, Old Dominion, and Georgia Tech.  Projection: In.

Florida: 31st NET, 4 Q1 wins.  28th in kenpom, elite wins over LSU and LSU.  Sub-50 losses to Butler, South Carolina, and Georgia.  15 losses.  Projection: In.

North Carolina State: 33rd NET, 3 Q1 wins, 47% Q1/Q2 winning percentage.  32nd in kenpom, elite wins over Auburn.  Sub-50 losses to Wake Forest, Georgia Tech.  Projection: In.

Washington: 45th NET, 33% Q1 winning percentage, 10 Q1/Q2 wins, 59% Q1/Q2 winning percentage, 1 bad loss.  51st in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Arizona State and California.  Projection: In.

Ohio State: 4 Q1 wins, 9 Q1/Q2 wins, 1 bad loss.  44th in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Rutgers, Illinois, and Northwestern.  Projection: In.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saint John’s: 5 Q1 wins, 42% Q1 winning percentage, 10 Q1/Q2 wins, 50% Q1/Q2 winning percentage.  79th in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Seton Hall, DePaul, DePaul, Butler, Georgetown, Providence, Providence, Xavier, and Xavier.  Projection: Out.

Indiana: 6 Q1 wins, 40% Q1 winning percentage, no bad losses.  42nd in kenpom, elite wins over Louisville, Michigan State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin.  Sub-50 losses to Arkansas, Northwestern and Rutgers.  15 losses.  Projection: Out.

Texas: 38th NET, 5 Q1 wins, 33% Q1 winning percentage, 9 Q1/Q2 wins, one bad loss.  30th in kenpom, elite wins over North Carolina, Purdue, Kansas State, Kansas, and Iowa State.  Sub-50 losses to Radford, Providence, Oklahoma State, and Georgia.  16 losses.  Projection: Out.

Creighton: 3 Q1 wins, 9 Q1/Q2 wins, no bad losses.  50th in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Butler, St. John’s, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Seton Hall, Xavier, and Xavier.  Projection: Out.

Alabama: 3 Q1 wins, 10 Q1/Q2 wins, 44% Q1/Q2 winning percentage.  60th in kenpom, elite wins over Kentucky.  Sub-50 losses to Northeastern, Georgia State, Texas A&M, Texas A&M, and Arkansas.  15 losses.  Projection: Out.

Belmont: 47th NET, 50% Q1 winning percentage, 63% Q1/Q2 winning percentage.  54th in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Green Bay, Jacksonville State, Jacksonville State, and Murray State.  Projection: Out.

Clemson: 35th NET, no bad losses.  29th in kenpom, elite wins over Virginia Tech.  Sub-50 losses to Miami FL.  Projection: Out.

Georgetown: 5 Q1 wins, 46% Q1 winning percentage, 11 Q1/Q2 wins, 50% Q1/Q2 winning percentage.  91st in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Loyola Marymount, SMU, St. John’s, Xavier, Butler, Seton Hall, Seton Hall, and DePaul.  Projection: Out.

UNCG: No bad losses.  81st in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Furman. Projection: Out.

Butler: 9 Q1/Q2 wins, one bad loss.  68th in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Dayton, Saint Louis, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Xavier, St. John’s, Providence, Providence, and Providence.  16 losses.  Projection: Out.

Toledo: 67% Q1/Q2 winning percentage.  58th in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Wright State, Ball State, Kent State, Eastern Michigan, and Northern Illinois.  Projection: Out.

Lipscomb: 40% Q1 winning percentage, one bad loss.  53rd in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Belmont, Belmont, Liberty, Liberty and Florida Gulf Coast. Projection: Out.

Memphis: 46th NET, one bad loss.  62nd in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to Oklahoma State, Charleston, Temple, Tulsa, and South Florida.  Projection: Out.

Nebraska: 48th NET, 3 Q1 wins, 9 Q1/Q2 wins, no bad losses.  39th in kenpom, elite wins over Maryland.  Sub-50 losses to Rutgers and Illinois.  16 losses.  Projection: Out.

Furman: 41st NET, one bad loss.  56th in kenpom, elite wins over nobody.  Sub-50 losses to East Tennessee State, UNC Greensboro, Samford, and UNC Greensboro.  Projection: Out.



16-MAR Bracket Projections: Championship Fortnight Day 13


Teams Left
The class of 2013 of Division I members is looking rather strong in hindsight.  Northern Kentucky will be making it’s second NCAA tournament appearance after winning the Horizon League tournament earlier this week.  Abilene Christian made history in Katy, TX tonight by knocking off New Orleans for the program’s first ever trip to the dance.  Grand Canyon, also in that same class, made it to the WAC finals tonight, but the Aggies, as they seem to do time after time, proved too much to overcome in the second half.  While it looks like the Antelopes are inching closer to their first ever tournament, perhaps this also bodes well in the future for Incarnate Word and UMass Lowell as the remaining 2013 transition schools. 

We began the year with 43, and Gardner Webb and Abilene Christian won their way off of this list.  Savannah State’s status on this list will go dormant, and maybe we will see you again down the road should the Tigers see it fit to return to Division I.  It looks like this list will be a 40 school list going into 2019-2020. 

UMBC, Penn, Florida, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Norfolk St., Princeton, Minnesota, Memphis, Davidson, Kentucky, Texas St., Wichita St., Kansas, San Diego St., Texas Southern, Georgia Southern, Seton Hall, Bowling Green, Eastern Washington, Western Kentucky, Florida St., New Orleans, Washington and Cal State Fullerton were all eliminated from conference tournaments on Saturday. 

38 teams remain. 


Notable Games
Tomorrow’s top five as I see them (5-0 tonight, 152-73 overall):
#5 Harvard at Yale – Yale 73, Harvard 71
#4 Saint Louis vs St. Bonaventure – St. Bonaventure 66, Saint Louis 65
#3 Cincinnati vs Houston – Houston 69, Cincinnati 66
#2 Auburn vs Tennessee – Tennessee 75, Auburn 73
#1 Michigan vs Michigan State – Michigan State 69, Michigan 68


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  This bracket (as well as my previous brackets) are a projection of where I think the teams will be as of Selection Sunday.  In other words, it includes their future schedule, for better or for worse. 

Three automatic bids being updated with this post. 
Atlantic 10- St. Bonaventure (Davidson)
Sun Belt- Georgia State (Georgia Southern)
MEAC- North Carolina Central (Norfolk State)

No at large updates. 



Saturday, March 16, 2019

15-MAR Bracket Projections: Championship Fortnight Day 12


Teams Left
Three more Futility schools have been eliminated, leaving just two vying for a championship bid on Saturday.  Grambling State was knocked by top seeded Prairie View A&M, eliminated the Tigers.  The WAC also saw UT Rio Grande Valley and Utah Valley knocked out in separate semifinals.  Grand Canyon did advance at the expense of the aforementioned WAC schools, and will take on New Mexico State in the title game Saturday.  Abilene Christian also advanced to the Southland Conference championship, and if they are able to make it by the Privateers of New Orleans then ACU will secure its first ever NCAA trip. 

Connecticut, VCU, Ohio St., LSU, UAB, UCF, George Mason, Nebraska, South Carolina, Southern Miss, South Alabama, Sam Houston St., Saint Joseph’s, Howard, Central Michigan, Xavier, SMU, Purdue, Kansas St, Alabama, Virginia, Weber St., Louisiana Monroe, Southeastern Louisiana, Dayton, North Carolina A&T, Nevada, Northern Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, Mississippi St., Long Beach St., North Carolina, Temple, West Virginia, Southern Utah, Alabama St, Marquette, Fresno St., UC Santa Barbara, and Arizona St. were all eliminated from conference tournaments on Friday. 

64 teams remain. 


Conference Tournaments
The Ivy League begins play on Saturday with semifinal action at Palestra.  All eight teams have made an NCAA tournament, but only half of the conference makes the conference bracket.  Several teams have notable droughts (Dartmouth, Columbia, and Brown), however none of those programs qualified for the Ivy League Tournament.  #3 Princeton has the most total NCAA trips, with 25.  #4 Penn is right on their heels, with 24. 

The American East, American Athletic, MAC, Big East, Atlantic 10, Big Twelve, Big Ten, SEC, Mountain West, Big Sky, Southland, CUSA, SWAC, Pac-12, MEAC, ACC, WAC, Big West and Sun Belt all continue play tomorrow. 


Notable Games
Tomorrow’s top five as I see them (4-1 tonight, 147-73 overall):
#5 Florida vs Auburn – Auburn 71, Florida 68
#4 Wisconsin vs Michigan State – Michigan State 70, Wisconsin 67
#3 Florida State vs Duke – Duke 75, Florida State 71
#2 Iowa State vs Kansas – Iowa State 73, Kansas 72
#1 Tennessee vs Kentucky – Tennessee 73, Kentucky 72


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  This bracket (as well as my previous brackets) are a projection of where I think the teams will be as of Selection Sunday.  In other words, it includes their future schedule, for better or for worse. 

Several automatic bids being updated with this post. 
Atlantic 10- Davidson (VCU)
CUSA- Old Dominion (Southern Miss)
Pac-12- Oregon (Washington)

VCU and Washington remain in the field as at large bids.  Texas and Indiana were displaced. 

My latest bracket has two bids going to a first timer, headlined with Gardner Webb securing their automatic berth.  I also have Abilene Christian winning the Southland.  Wichita State (7), Arizona (6), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4), Butler (4), and Miami FL (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.  Georgia Southern, Colgate, and Prairie View A&M would be ending a drought of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.



Friday, March 15, 2019

14-MAR Bracket Projections: Championship Fortnight Day 11


Teams Left
Thursday was a fairly brutal day for the Futility teams which saw over half of the remaining teams in contention ousted.  Sacramento St., Chicago St., Bethune Cookman, Central Arkansas, UC Riverside and UMKC were all knocked out of their respective tournaments.  We are left with five teams still in the brackets found in three conference tournament semifinals.  The WAC will see 75% of the remaining teams on this list, with Utah Valley, Grand Canyon, and UT Rio Grande Valley still alive.  However, New Mexico State is a prohibitive favorite in that league.  Abilene Christian has yet to play a game, but received a bye into the Southland semifinals.  Grambling State is the last remaining team, and will resume semifinal action on Friday after picking up a quarterfinal win on Tuesday. 

Washington State (from last night), Akron, La Salle, Providence, Baylor, North Carolina St., Indiana, Arkansas, South Florida, George Washington, Creighton, Kent St., Cal St. Northridge, TCU, USC, Boise St., Virginia Tech, Maryland, Missouri, Tulane, Portland St., Cal St. Bakersfield, UNLV, Oregon St., Delaware St., UC Davis, Louisiana, Lamar, Duquesne, Toledo, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi, Louisville, St. John’s, Texas Tech, Northern Colorado, Penn St., UTSA, Tulsa, Coastal Carolina, Richmond, Ball St., UCLA, Texas A&M, New Mexico, North Texas, Syracuse, Georgetown, Texas, Marshall, Illinois, Montana St., East Carolina, Seattle, Air Force, Hawaii, and Utah were all eliminated from bracket play.

108 teams remain. 


Conference Tournaments
No new tournaments will begin on Friday.  Only the Ivy League Tournament is yet to tip, as that will begin on Saturday.

The American Athletic, MAC, Big East, Atlantic 10, Big Twelve, Big Ten, SEC, Mountain West, Big Sky, Southland, CUSA, SWAC, Pac-12, MEAC, ACC, WAC, Big West and Sun Belt all continue play tomorrow. 


Notable Games
Tomorrow’s top five as I see them (4-1 tonight, 143-72 overall):
#5 UCF at Memphis – Memphis 74, UCF 72
#4 Iowa State vs Kansas State – Iowa State 68, Kansas State 67
#3 Florida State vs Virginia – Virginia 69, Florida State 64
#2 Mississippi State vs Tennessee – Tennessee 75, Mississippi State 72
#1 Duke vs North Carolina – Duke 78, North Carolina 77


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  This bracket (as well as my previous brackets) are a projection of where I think the teams will be as of Selection Sunday.  In other words, it includes their future schedule, for better or for worse. 

No automatic bids being updated with this post. 

One at large update, though.  Ohio State moves back in, Creighton falls out. 

My latest bracket has two bids going to a first timer, headlined with Gardner Webb securing their automatic berth.  I also have Abilene Christian winning the Southland.  Wichita State (7), Arizona (6), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4), Butler (4), and Miami FL (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.  Georgia Southern, Colgate, and Prairie View A&M would be ending a drought of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.



Thursday, March 14, 2019

13-MAR Bracket Projections: Championship Fortnight Day 10


Teams Left
A short respite on the Futility list, as Sacramento State and Central Arkansas were the only teams in action and both survived and advanced.  We remain at 11 in contention. 

Northern Arizona, Clemson, Massachusetts, Colorado St., Idaho St., Miami FL, Arizona, Fordham, Idaho, Wyoming, California, Houston Baptist, South Carolina St., Rutgers, San Jose St., Notre Dame, Florida Atlantic, Oklahoma St, Butler, Georgia, Middle Tennessee, Bucknell, Texas A&M Corpus-Christi, Coppin St., Stanford, Northwestern, FIU, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Vanderbilt, DePaul, and Rice were all eliminated from brackets on Wednesday. 

171 teams remain. 


Conference Tournaments
The American Athletic will begin play on Thursday with four first round games in Memphis, TN.  All current members have made the NCAA at least once.  #11 East Carolina and #12 Tulane have the longest active droughts.  The Pirates second of two trips came back in 1993, while the Green Wave last danced in 1995.  #9 Connecticut has the most NCAA appearances with 33, however that lead is slim.  Both #2 Cincinnati and #3 Temple have 32 and look poised to add another this year, meaning the Huskies will likely need to make a run in Memphis to maintain the outright lead.

The WAC crowds into Vegas with the PAC 12 and Mountain West for four quarterfinal games on Thursday.  In addition to Cal Baptist who wasn’t permitted into the conference tournament bracket, several member programs have had it with New Mexico State taking all the automatic bids.  #2 Utah Valley, # 3 Grand Canyon, #4 UT Rio Grande Valley, #7 UMKC, and #8 Chicago State have never made an NCAA trip.  #6 Seattle has a leg up on those programs, with 11 NCAA appearances, however, none of those have come since 1969.  #1 New Mexico State is the only other league member with double digit NCAA trips, and the Aggies have made 24 in total. 

Finally, the Big West begins play with quarterfinal action in Anaheim, CA.  #8 UC Riverside is the only league member without a trip to the dance.  Parity reigns supreme in the Big West, as no other member has a tournament drought that has hit double digit years.  #7 Cal State Northridge may soon break that streak, as their last trip came in 2009.  It also stands to reason that with the apparent parity, no school has double digit appearances.  #5 Long Beach State could change that with a run this weekend, as the 49ers have 9 total trips.

The MAC, Big East, Atlantic 10, Big Twelve, Big Ten, SEC, Mountain West, Big Sky, Southland, CUSA, Pac-12, MEAC, ACC, and Sun Belt all continue play tomorrow. 


Notable Games
Tomorrow’s top five as I see them (4-1 tonight, 139-71 overall):
#5 Syracuse vs Duke – Duke 74, Syracuse 68
#4 Texas vs Kansas – Kansas 71, Texas 70
#3 North Carolina State vs Virginia – Virginia 71, North Carolina State 67
#2 Virginia Tech vs Florida State – Virginia Tech 70, Florida State 68
#1 Louisville vs North Carolina – North Carolina 76, Louisville 73


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  This bracket (as well as my previous brackets) are a projection of where I think the teams will be as of Selection Sunday.  In other words, it includes their future schedule, for better or for worse. 

One automatic bid being updated with this post. 
Patriot- Colgate (Bucknell)

No at large updates with this post. 

My latest bracket has two bids going to a first timer, headlined with Gardner Webb securing their automatic berth.  I also have Abilene Christian winning the Southland.  Wichita State (7), Arizona (6), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4), Butler (4), and Miami FL (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.  Georgia Southern, Colgate, and Prairie View A&M would be ending a drought of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

12-MAR Bracket Projections: Championship Fortnight Day 9

Teams Left
Three more futility schools were knocked out of contention on Tuesday night.  Nebraska Omaha made it all the way to the Summit League final, but fourth seeded North Dakota State proved to be too much for the Mavericks to overcome.  Hartford’s loss was equally as heart-breaking for the Hawks, falling in double overtime on the road to last year’s Cinderella and American East Tournament Champion UMBC.  Maryland Eastern Shore also fell in first round MEAC action.  11 Futility teams remain in contention. 

Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Binghamton, St. Francis PA, Wright St., Hofstra, Boston College, Appalachian St, Arkansas St., Southern, Coppin St., Alcorn State, Arkansas Pine Bluff and Jackson State were all eliminated from brackets on Tuesday.

203 teams remain. 


Conference Tournaments
As you can tell from the length, things are about to get quite busy over the next couple of days...

The Big Sky Tournament begins play with three first round games in Boise, ID on Wednesday.  #9 Sacramento State will be in the first game, played at 9:30 am local time, and is the only conference member to have not make an NCAA trip.  Gem state schools, #10 Idaho State and #11 Idaho, may appreciate being able to stay in state and will be attempting to do something they haven’t done in quite some time.  The Bengals last NCAA trip (of 11 total!) was in 1987, whereas the Vandals last made the tournament in 1990.  #6 Montana State’s most recent appearance isn’t quite as far back, however was still over twenty years ago, coming in 1996.  Part of the potential reason from some of these droughts is the success of the teams at the top.  #4 Weber State has made 16 NCAA appearances, and #1 Montana has made 11. 

The Atlantic 10 Tournament will hold two first round games in Brooklyn, NY.  While all teams have made at least four NCAA appearances, two currently retain long absences.  The last of #7 Duquesne’s five total appearances came back in 1977.  #14 Fordham’s last of four trips was in 1992.  #10 Saint Joseph leads the way with 21 total trips to the tournament.  #3 Dayton and #1 VCU are next with 18 and 16 appearances, respectively. 

Las Vegas will host the Mountain West Tournament, and begin with three first round games.  The final of those will feature bottom seed, #11 San Jose State.  The Spartans last trip to the brackets was in 1996.  Two schools are currently tied for most total NCAA’s, with #2 Utah State and #5 UNLV both having been 20 times.  While neither have made a trip in the past few years, Utah State looks to have the upper hand in breaking that tie this year. 

The Pac-12 Tournament will have four first round games, also in Las Vegas, with all four held hostage on the Pac12 network.  All teams in the conference of champions have made the NCAA, and no team really has all that significant of a drought.  #11 Washington State’s drought is the longest, with their last appearance coming in 2008.  The Cougars are the only team with single digit trips total, with 6 after they went back to back in 2007 and aforementioned 2008 season.  The blue bloods unsurprisingly hold the most total trips.  #7 UCLA has made 49 total NCAA trips, while #9 Arizona has made 35.  #3 Utah, is third, with 29.

The Southland Conference Tournament is back in Katy, Texas with another ladder style bracket.  #2 Abilene Christian and #7 Central Arkansas will be seeking their first trip to the dance.  Incarnate Word did not make the field, and also a Futility member.  #8 Houston Baptist’s last, and only, NCAA appearance came in 1984, but much of the interim was not spent in Division I.  Nicholls State also holds a fairly long drought, but like Incarnate Word, did not qualify for this year’s post season tournament.  No team has made double digit NCAA trips.  #5 Lamar is first, with 6 total, while #4 New Orleans is one behind the Cardinals with 5.

Conference USA will be in Frisco, TX with four first round games, with concurrent games in AAU style presentation.  Despite this chicanery, the league is formidable enough to boast that all member schools have made at least one NCAA trip.  #11 Rice has the 12 longest drought in all of NCAA basketball, with their last NCAA appearance in 1970.  Two other programs have not made a trip in over 20 years.  #8 Louisiana Tech made the 1991 field, while FIU only trip came in 1995. #2 Western Kentucky has the most total trips with 23.  #5 UAB (15) and #1 Old Dominion (11) are also in double digits with a chance to add to that total with a championship.  UTEP and Rice are also in double digits, 17 for the Miners and 11 for the 49ers, but neither qualified for the 2019 field. 

The Big Ten has two first round games in Chicago, IL to start tournament play.  Courtesy of the Northwestern run two seasons ago, all teams have made an NCAA appearance. #12 Rutgers owns the longest NCAA drought among the Power 5/Power 6 programs.  The Scarlet Knights last made the NCAA in 1991.  No other conference program has a drought longer than 7 years (#10 Penn St.).  #9 Indiana leads the way with 39 total NCAA appearances.  #1 Michigan State and #8 Ohio State are tied for second with 32.

The SEC tournament will have two first round games in Nashville, TN.  All teams have made the NCAA, and do so in regular fashion.  Only #6 Mississippi State has a drought pre-dating 2015, as the Bulldogs last trip was in 2009.  It looks like the Bulldogs will be able to hit reset on that this year.  #2 Kentucky has the most trips in all of college basketball, with 58, 9 more than North Carolina and UCLA.  #9 Arkansas is second in the conference with 32 trips, four more than #12 Missouri in third. 

The Big East will have two first round games at the preeminent Madison Square Garden.  All programs have made an NCAA tournament.  In fact, all programs have made at least a dozen NCAA tournaments.  #10 DePaul has the longest drought, having not made an NCAA trip since 2004.  All other programs have participated in a tournament since at least 2015.  #1 Villanova has the most total trips, with 38.  #2 Marquette is second with 32, and the #6 Georgetown Hoyas are third with 30.

Finally, the Big Twelve tournament will get underway, again with two first round games.  The Sprint Center is Kansas City, MO is the site of the uber-competitive league.  There are no significant droughts, as the three programs who didn’t make last year’s tournament all made it the year before.  #8 TCU is the only program with fewer than ten NCAA trips, having just 8 total.  #3 Kansas has the most with 47, good for fourth overall in all of NCAA.  Their quarterfinal opponent, #6 Texas, is second with 34.  #7 Oklahoma is third on the list with 31 times in the bracket.

The MEAC, ACC, and Patriot all continue play tomorrow. 


Notable Games
Tomorrow’s top five as I see them (3-2 tonight, 135-70 overall):
#5 Pittsburgh vs Syracuse – Syracuse 69, Pittsburgh 67
#4 Arizona vs USC – USC 72, Arizona 71
#3 Butler vs Providence – Butler 70, Providence 69
#2 Miami FL vs Virginia Tech – Virginia Tech 73, Miami FL 67
#1 Clemson vs North Carolina State – North Carolina State 72, Clemson 70


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  This bracket (as well as my previous brackets) are a projection of where I think the teams will be as of Selection Sunday.  In other words, it includes their future schedule, for better or for worse. 

Three automatic bids being updated with this post. 
Summit- North Dakota State (Nebraska Omaha)
Colonial- Northeastern (Hofstra)
West Coast- Saint Mary’s (Gonzaga)

One at large update with this post.  Gonzaga now requires an at large with their WCC tournament final loss, and it bumps Clemson out of the field on my bracket.

My latest bracket has two bids going to a first timer, headlined with Gardner Webb securing their automatic berth.  I also have Abilene Christian winning the Southland.  Wichita State (7), Arizona (6), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4), Butler (4), and Miami FL (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.  Georgia Southern and Prairie View A&M would be ending a drought of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.



Tuesday, March 12, 2019

11-MAR Bracket Projections: Championship Fortnight Day 8


Teams Left
Three more futility schools were knocked out of contention on Monday night.  Savannah State is perhaps more disappointing than the usual note in this space as there is not a next year for the Tigers.  They will be moving from Division I down to Division II, and saw their final game in D1 end with an upset by Delaware State in the 6 v 11 matchup in first round MEAC play.  The Summit League knocked out both Western Illinois and Purdue Fort Wayne.  The Leathernecks have been chasing that first bid since 1981.  The good news is the league did secure Nebraska Omaha a trip to the finals.  The Mavericks are looking to join Gardner Webb as a Futility list graduate in 2019.  14 schools remain on the list and still in action. 

Delaware, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, UNC Greensboro, Miami OH, Pepperdine, Monmouth, Charleston, Ohio, Oakland, Green Bay, and San Diego were all eliminated from brackets on Monday.

221 teams remain. 


Conference Tournaments
Three new conference tournaments will begin play on Tuesday.  The first action will be in Charlotte, NC where the ACC will tip off with three first round games.  The longest droughts in this conference belong to #11 Boston College, without a trip since 2009, and #10 Georgia Tech, without a trip since 2010.  #2 North Carolina leads the way with 50 NCAA appearances.  #3 Duke and #7 Louisville hold down a tie for second with 42.  #5 Virginia Tech and #12 Miami FL own the fewest NCAA trips, with 10 each. 

The Sun Belt triple ladder will see two first round games in New Orleans, LA.  While every team has made at least one trip to the NCAAs, several have not seen that glory in quite some time.  #3 Georgia Southern has the longest drought, with their last trip in 1992.  #7 Louisiana Monroe’s last trip came a few years later, in 1996.  Finally, #4 Texas State also has a two decade long dry spell, last seen in the brackets in 1997.  #5 Louisiana, has the most total trips, and is the only one in double digits, with 10. 

The SWAC has a more traditional bracket, and will see four quarterfinal games held at campus sites on Tuesday.  #4 Grambling State is the only league member without a trip to the dance.  The Tigers have been a Division I member dating back to 1977. The next longest streak is owned by top seeded Prairie View A&M, which saw it’s only appearance in 1998.  #7 Southern has the most total appearances with 9, while #2 Texas Southern is just one behind them, with 8.

The MEAC, Horizon, Colonial, American East, Northeast, Summit, and West Coast all continue play tomorrow. 


Notable Games
Tomorrow’s top five as I see them (4-1 tonight, 132-68 overall):
#5 Pittsburgh vs Boston College – Pittsburgh 70, Boston College 69
#4 Notre Dame vs Georgia Tech – Notre Dame 67, Georgia Tech 66
#3 Northern Kentucky vs Wright State – Northern Kentucky 73, Wright State 71
#2 Northeastern vs Hofstra – Hofstra 75, Northeastern 73
#1 Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga – Gonzaga 77, Saint Mary’s 69


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  This bracket (as well as my previous brackets) are a projection of where I think the teams will be as of Selection Sunday.  In other words, it includes their future schedule, for better or for worse. 

No automatic or at large updates with this post.

My latest bracket has three bids going to a first timer, headlined with Gardner Webb securing their automatic berth.  I also have Abilene Christian winning the Southland and Nebraska Omaha winning the Summit League.  Wichita State (7), Arizona (6), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4), Butler (4), and Miami FL (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.  Georgia Southern would be ending a drought of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.