Thursday, December 13, 2018

13-DEC Bracket Projections: Kansas, Louisville rise, Purdue drops.

Teams with a Zero
As expected Texas Tech cruised this week, and Furman and LSU also picked up wins to keep the nine undefeated teams intact heading into the weekend.  Eight of the nine teams will be in action, as only Virginia will be missing as they are in the midst of a ten day break before they go to South Carolina for a game against the Gamecocks.  All eight games are at home, with Michigan (Western Michigan), Texas Tech (Abilene Christian), and St. John’s (Wagner) all anticipated to pick up wins by double digits.  Three others are favorites, but maybe by not quite as large of margin.  Those programs would beFurman (UNC Wilmington), Houston (Saint Louis), and Buffalo (Southern Illinois).  If there is some intrigue, and I think you have to squint to find some, it might be in the final two games.  Kenpom has Kansas over Villanova as a nine point game, and Nevada over South Dakota State as a sixteen(!) point game, but I feel like both have a chance to be close competitive games. 

Unlike the undefeated teams, the sixteen winless programs winnowed ever so slightly.  Al Skinner and the Kennesaw State Owls went into Boiling Springs, North Carolina and saw a thirteen point lead in the second half evaporate against Gardner Webb before ultimately dropping an 81-77 decision in overtime.  McNeese State put together a second half Kennesaw State couldn’t, and erased a halftime deficit to easily dispatch North Carolina Central for their inaugural 2018-19 win.  Fifteen teams remain.    

Coppin State, Monmouth, La Salle, Alabama A&M, Delaware State, New Hampshire, and Alcorn State are all idle this weekend   Mount St. Mary’s is in action, but against a Division III school.  As for those who are on the calendar, Maryland Eastern Shore (@Pittsburgh), UNC Asheville (@Wofford), Alabama State (@Utah State), and North Alabama (@UNC Greensboro) will probably need to look later on their schedule for the first win as all will be big underdogs.  South Carolina State (@USC Upstate) will have slightly better odds, but will still enter Saturday getting points.  If the Bulldogs are not able to spring an upset, solace may be found in Kennesaw, where the Owls are hosting Tennessee Tech, or with Southern who takes on Northwestern State on a neutral in Shreveport.  Both Kennesaw State and Southern are anticipated to be small favorites. 

Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (4-1 last week, 33-17 overall):
#5 South Dakota State at Nevada, Sat – Nevada 80, South Dakota State 76
#4 Saint Mary’s vs LSU, Sat – Saint Mary’s 74, LSU 73
#3 Indiana vs Butler, Sat – Indiana 71, Butler 70
#2 Cincinnati at Mississippi State, Sat –Mississippi State 69, Cincinnati 67
#1 Gonzaga at North Carolina, Sat – North Carolina 86, Gonzaga 82

My updated bracket can be found below.  Currently, the weighting is 85% this season’s results and 15% last year/pre-season.

Four automatic bids are being swapped out in this update. 
SWAC- Grambling State (Prairie View A&M)
Atlantic Sun- Liberty (Lipscomb)
Missouri Valley- Loyola Chicago (Southern Illinois)
MEAC- Howard (Norfolk State)

As for the at large teams, just one update on that side.  BYU is in, Connecticut has fallen out. 

My latest bracket has three bids going to first timers, with Grambling State, Sacred Heart, and Abilene Christian taking a spot.  Wichita State (7), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4) Seton Hall (3), Miami FL (3) and Iona (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.  Grambling State would be ending a 41 year drought and Furman would be ending a 38 year drought with conference automatic bids.  San Francisco, an at large selection in my current bracket, would be ending a 20 year drought. 

Edit: A disastrous attempt at the end of last night.  I've updated the image.  Previously I had Virginia twice (the second was to be Virginia Tech), and I had "Butler" instead of "Buffalo" listed. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

9-DEC Bracket Projections: Iowa State rises, Florida State, Nevada, Kansas State and Colorado fall.

Teams with a Zero
We lost two undefeated teams over the weekend. Nevada won the Friday night battle of unbeaten schools against Arizona State to remove them from the elite.  Then the Wolf Pack traveled to Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix Arizona to battle Grand Canyon on Sunday, in which the Muss Bus picked up a win their, too.  However, in the preceding game, Tennessee and Admiral Schofield earned a neutral site win over Gonzaga.  That leaves us with nine remaining teams. 

Only three of the remaining teams will play a game before the weekend, as Virginia, Michigan, Nevada, Buffalo, Kansas, and St. John’s will get a few days off.  Texas Tech should coast by Northwestern State, while Furman (Charleston Southern) and Houston (LSU) will have more difficult matchups.  All three unbeaten teams in action will be playing at home. 

Congratulations to San Jose State, Tennessee State, and Columbia who won their way off the winless team list this weekend.  There are sixteen programs remaining who have yet to win a Division I game this season.  Ten will have the week to think about it as they are off until the weekend (Alcorn State, North Alabama, New Hampshire, UNC Asheville, Delaware State, Mount St. Mary’s, Southern, Alabama A&M, La Salle, and Monmouth).  Alabama State, Kennesaw State, Maryland Eastern Shore, South Carolina State, and Coppin State all each have a game this week but will find themselves against a better team on the road.  The Cowboys of McNeese State have a home game, against North Carolina Central, in what is probably the only reasonable opportunity for a winless team to pick up a victory this week.

Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (4-1 last week, 29-16 overall):
#5 Massachusetts at Temple, Wed – Temple 75, Massachusetts 73
#4 Murray State at Southern Illinois, Wed – Southern Illinois 70, Murray State 69
#3 Lipscomb at Louisville, Wed – Louisville 78, Lipscomb 74
#2 San Diego at Oregon, Wed –Oregon 74, San Diego 70
#1 LSU at Houston, Wed – Houston 74, LSU 68

My updated bracket can be found below.  Currently, the weighting is 83% this season’s results and 17% last year/pre-season.

Five automatic bids are being swapped out in this update. 
SWAC- Prairie View A&M (Grambling State)
Atlantic Sun- Lipscomb (Liberty)
Ohio Valley- Murray State (Belmont)
Missouri Valley- Southern Illinois (Loyola Chicago)
Big Sky- Northern Colorado (Montana)

As for the at large teams, there are four updates.  TCU, UCF, LSU, and Saint Mary’s are in, while Florida, Miami FL, Toledo and Notre Dame are out. 

My latest bracket has two bids going to first timers, with Sacred Heart, and Abilene Christian taking a spot.  Wichita State (7), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4) Seton Hall (3), Miami FL (3) and Iona (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.  Furman would be ending a 38 year drought earning the automatic bid from the Southern Conference.  San Francisco, an at large selection in my current bracket, would be ending a 20 year drought. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

6-DEC Bracket Projections: Indiana, Kansas State, Colorado rises, Miami FL falls.

Teams with a Zero
Loyola Marymount suffered an 82-58 loss at Pauley Pavilion late Sunday night for their first loss of the season.  11 programs remain undefeated.  Texas Tech will remain through the weekend as they are the only of the undefeateds without a game, however we are guaranteed to at least pare this list down by one.  Nevada and Arizona State will square off in Los Angeles Friday night, and should the Wolf Pack make it past ASU they would still have to beat Grand Canyon on Sunday night.  The remaining eight programs are Virginia, Gonzaga, Michigan, Houston, Kansas, Buffalo, St. John’s and Furman.  In addition to above, many potential losses lie ahead, although I have all of the eight as at least a small favorite. 

We have 19 program still searching for their opening Division I win, with the potential for San Jose State to win their way off the this list still tonight as they host Bethune Cookman in a game that should tilt to a win.  In addition to SJSU, twelve of the remaining 18 have at least one game this weekend, with Columbia and Southern having multiple games scheduled.  Winless Tennessee State will travel to winless Coppin State to clear at least one from this list.  Columbia will host Bryant and Iona, and both are potential wins.  UNC Asheville will host Western Carolina in a virtual toss-up.  I don’t have as much optimist for New Hampshire, Southern, UNC Asheville, Delaware State, Mount St. Mary’s, South Carolina St., Alabama A&M, La Salle, or Monmouth.  Monmouth and Coppin State are tied for the worst start with 0-10, while La Salle at 0-9 is right behind them.

Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (3-2 last week, 25-15 overall):
#5 Connecticut vs Florida State, Sat – Florida State 76, Connecticut 75
#4 Notre Dame at UCLA, Sat – UCLA 77, Notre Dame 73
#3 Nevada vs Arizona State, Fri – Nevada 78, Arizona State 76
#2 Tennessee vs Gonzaga, Sun –Gonzaga 82, Tennessee 75
#1 Louisville at Indiana, Sat – Indiana 74, Louisville 71

My updated bracket can be found below.  Currently, the weighting is 76% this season’s results and 24% last year/pre-season.

A quiet set of weekdays, so I just have two auto bids to swap out.  Both are reversals from the last update. 
SWAC- Grambling St. (Prairie View A&M)
Southern- Furman (Wofford)

As for the at large teams, there are four updates.  Syracuse, Oklahoma, Connecticut and Toledo are now in.  West Virginia, TCU, Creighton, and Clemson are on the outside looking in. 

My latest bracket has three bids going to first timers, with Grambling St., Sacred Heart, and Abilene Christian taking a spot.  Wichita State (7), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4) Seton Hall (3), and Iona (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

02-DEC Bracket Projections: Tennessee rises, Creighton falls.

Teams with a Zero
Of the 353 Division I programs, 12 remain undefeated against D1 competition.  The Big Twelve and the West Coast are the only conferences that can boast multiple undefeated teams as Kansas (6-0), Texas Tech (7-0), Gonzaga (8-0) and Loyola Marymount (6-0) have yet to take a loss.  Loyola Marymount still has a game to play tonight at UCLA to maintain their place on this list.  Michigan, Virginia, St John’s, and Arizona State round out the Power 6 unbeatens.  Nevada, Houston, Buffalo, and Furman are the unbeaten teams from the remaining conferences.  Nine of the 12 will have a game this week, while Nevada, Buffalo, and Arizona State will roll into the weekend undefeated. 

As for the other side of the superlatives, 23 programs have yet to notch their first win.  The MEAC and SWAC have four such teams.  The Atlantic Sun (3), Southland (2), and American East (2) all have multiples as well accounting for 15 of the 23 mentioned above.  Only seven of the 23 teams have a game before the weekend and a chance to move off of this list; McNeese St., New Hampshire, UNC Asheville, North Alabama, Mount St. Mary’s, Coppin State, and Monmouth.  A loss by the Hawks would earn Monmouth a 0-10 start. 

Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (5-0 last week, 22-13 overall):
#5 Indiana at Penn State, Tue – Indiana 70, Penn State 69
#4 Michigan at Northwestern, Tue – Michigan 66, Northwestern 65
#3 Oklahoma vs Notre Dame, Tue – Notre Dame 73, Oklahoma 71
#2 West Virginia at Florida, Tue –West Virginia 74, Florida 73
#1 Maryland at Purdue, Thu – Purdue 75, Maryland 72

My updated bracket can be found below.  Currently, the weighting is 69% this season’s results and 31% last year/pre-season.

An eventful weekend causes quite a shakeup in this update.  Swapping out nine auto bids:
WAC- New Mexico St. (Grand Canyon), swap from the last update.
CUSA- Old Dominion (Marshall)
Patriot- Bucknell (Colgate), swap from the last update.
SWAC- Prairie View A&M (Grambling St.) swap from the last update.
Northeast- Sacred Heart (Central Connecticut)
Sun Belt- Texas State (Georgia Southern)
Big West- UC Santa Barbara (UC Irvine)
Southern- Wofford (UNC Greensboro)
Colonial- Hofstra (Charleston)

Also, swapping in five at larges this update.  West Virginia, TCU, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, and Colorado are in.  Oklahoma, Northwestern, BYU, Penn State, and UCF are out.   

Two bids are going to first time programs in this update, with Sacred Heart and Abilene Christian taking a spot.  Wichita State (7), Xavier (5), Providence (5), Seton Hall (3), and Iona (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

29-NOV Bracket Projections: Wisconsin rises, Oregon falls.

Teams with a Zero
Of the 353 Division I programs, 18 remain undefeated against D1 competition.  The only conferences with multiple teams are the Big Twelve (3- Texas Tech, Kansas State, and Kansas), WCC (3- Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, and San Francisco), and the Big Ten (2- Michigan and Iowa).  The remaining teams are Virginia, Nevada, Arizona State, St. John’s, Houston, Buffalo, Belmont, Abilene Christian, Furman, and Sacramento State.   Loyola Marymount and Sacramento State are both still in action tonight.

28 programs continue to chase their first win off the 2018-19 season.  The MEAC and SWAC each have four winless teams, and the Atlantic Sun has another three.  Chicago State, Coppin State, Monmouth are all checking in at 0-8. 

Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (4-1 last week, 17-13 overall):
#5 Northwestern at Indiana, Sat – Indiana 72, Northwestern 68
#4 Penn State at Maryland, Sat – Maryland 74, Penn State 68
#3 Oregon at Houston, Sat – Houston 75, Oregon 69
#2 Gonzaga at Creighton, Sat – Gonzaga 82, Creighton 79
#1 Purdue at Michigan, Sat – Michigan 71, Purdue 67

My updated bracket can be found below.  Right now, the weighting is 60% this season’s results and 40% last year/pre-season.

Swapping out six auto bids:
WAC- Grand Canyon (New Mexico St.), would be the Lopes first ever appearance.
CUSA- Marshall (North Texas)
Patriot- Colgate (Bucknell)
Atlantic Sun- Liberty (Lipsomb)
Atlantic 10- Davidson (Rhode Island)
SWAC- Grambling St. (Prairie View A&M), would be the Tigers first ever appearance.

Also, swapping in three at larges this update.  Oklahoma, Northwestern and Florida are in, while Baylor, USC, and Texas are out. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

25-NOV Bracket Projections: Virginia Tech rises, Florida State and Wisconsin fall.

Teams with a Zero
Of the 353 Division I programs, 28 remain undefeated against D1 competition.  The Big Ten and ACC lead the way with five teams each.  The other Power 6 conferences show the Big Twelve with three, and the Big East and Pac Twelve with one each.  The SEC doesn’t have any such teams.  The WCC, with three, and OVC with two, lead the way among the non-Power 6 conferences.   The American, Mountain West, MAC, CUSA, Sun Belt, Southern, Big Sky, and Southland all each have one undefeated team.  Miami FL (5-0) will be in action later tonight against Seton Hall.

34 programs continue to chase their first win off the 2018-19 season.  The MEAC has six winless teams, and the SWAC has another four.  Chicago State, the last team to register a D1 win last year, are thus far 0-8.  Coppin State and Monmouth are one loss behind at 0-7.  La Salle (0-6) is still in action on Sunday night and could win their way off of this list, or join the 0-7 teams. 

Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (4-1 last week, 13-12 overall):
#5 Nebraska at Clemson, Mon – Nebraska 70, Clemson 68
#4 Purdue at Florida State, Wed – Florida State 75, Purdue 74
#3 Virginia at Maryland, Wed – Maryland 68, Virginia 67
#2 Indiana at Duke, Tue – Duke 78, Indiana 73
#1 North Carolina at Michigan, Wed – Michigan 74, North Carolina 72

ACC/B1G Challenge
The annual ACC/B1G Challenge begins Monday night and runs through Wednesday.  In my top five games of the week above, I had the Big Ten holding a 3-2 advantage.  Overall, I'd project a 7-7 tie.  From the Big Ten, I have Iowa over Pittsburgh, Michigan State over Louisville, Notre Dame over Illinois, Northwestern over Georgia Tech, and Ohio State over Syracuse.  From the ACC I have BC over Minnesota, Virginia Tech over Penn State, North Carolina State over Wisconsin, and Miami over Rutgers.  Wake Forest is the lone ACC team left out, and will look to rebound from the Houston Baptist loss when it takes on Western Carolina. 

My updated bracket can be found below.  Right now, the weighting is 52% this season’s results and 48% last year/pre-season.

Swapping out five auto bids:
OVC- Belmont (Murray St.)
WAC- New Mexico State (Grand Canyon)
CUSA- North Texas (Marshall)
Colonial- Charleston (Hofstra)
Southland- Abilene Christian (Stephan F. Austin)- would be the Wildcats first ever NCAA tournament appearance. 

Also, swapping in three at larges this update.  San Francisco is back in, along with Iowa State and USC.  Oklahoma State, Saint Mary’s, and LSU fall out of the bracket to make way.    

Friday, November 23, 2018

23-NOV Bracket Projections: Miami FL, Florida State rise, Arizona falls.

Teams with a Zero
Of the 353 Division I programs, 39 remain undefeated against D1 competition.  Gonzaga, fresh off their Maui Championship, and Pittsburgh lead the way with 6-0 records.  53 programs continue to chase their first win off the 2018-19 season.  Chicago State, last year’s last team to register a D1 win, have sputtered to an 0-7 start.

Notable Games
This weekend's top five as I see them (3-2 last week, 9-11 overall):
#5 Texas vs Michigan State, Fri – Michigan State 76, Texas 70
#4 North Carolina vs UCLA, Fri – North Carolina 82, UCLA 77
#3 Tennessee vs Kansas, Fri – Kansas 75, Tennessee 74
#2 Wisconsin vs Virginia, Fri – Virginia 67, Wisconsin 63
#1 Houston at BYU, Sat – BYU 73, Houston 72

My updated bracket can be found below.  Right now, the weighting is 57% last year/pre-season and 43% results from this season.

Swapping out three auto bids:
NEC- Central Connecticut (St. Francis PA)
MAAC- Rider (Canisius)
Colonial- Hofstra (Charleston)

Also, swapping in just three at larges this update.  Oklahoma State, Creighton, and UCF are in.  USC, San Diego St. and San Francisco have fallen out of the bracket. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

18-NOV Bracket Projections: UCLA rises, Louisville drops

Teams with a Zero
We’re in double digits for both undefeated and winless teams after the weekend.  74 teams as of Sunday night (Minnesota’s game is currently underway) are undefeated against Division I competition.  Michigan, Maryland, and Pittsburgh lead the way with a 5-0 mark.  76 teams have yet to record a win.  King Rice’s Monmouth squad, who just a few years back owned the early part of the season, are the only team winless in six Division I games.

Notable Games
An underwhelming start, but three of the five games that featured a blue blood and a mid-major proved competitive, and I came within a bucket of nailing the Indiana-Arkansas score exactly.  Hopefully a sign that better results are upcoming.  Five neutral court battles this week being spotlighted.

This week's top five as I see them (2-3 last week, 6-9 overall):
#5 Tennessee vs Louisville, Wed – Louisville 72, Tennessee 71
#4 Mississippi State vs Arizona State, Mon – Arizona State 74, Mississippi State 73
#3 Saint Mary’s vs Utah State, Mon – Saint Mary’s 74, Utah State 71
#2 UCLA vs Michigan State, Thu – Michigan State 79, UCLA 75
#1 Duke vs San Diego State, Mon – Duke 78, San Diego State 74

My updated bracket can be found below.  Right now, the weighting is 68% last year/pre-season and 32% results from this season.

Swapping out five auto bids:
Sun Belt- Georgia Southern (Louisiana)
WAC- Grand Canyon (New Mexico St.)- Futility alert, would be first appearance in program history
Southern- UNC Greensboro (Furman)

The following two are effectively reversing out swaps made in the last bracket
CAA- Charleston (Northeastern)
Summit- South Dakota State (South Dakota)

Also, swapping in six at larges including Kansas St., Texas, Wisconsin, BYU, San Francisco, and Utah St.  Syracuse, West Virginia, Florida, Davidson, TCU and Utah have dropped out. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

16-NOV Bracket Projections: Multi Team Event Season

Teams with a Zero
We’re a week and a half into the season and 349 of the 353 Division I programs have played a game against D1 competition.  Three of the remaining four, Liberty, Princeton, and Howard, are in action today leaving just Sacramento State who will play their first D1 game next Tuesday.  On the flip side, ten programs have played four D1 games, with only Pittsburgh notching a perfect 4-0 start.  109 programs have yet, including the four above, have yet to experience a D1 loss.  123 teams are still searching for that first win. 

Notable Games
This weekend's top five as I see them (2-3 last week, 4-6 overall):
#5 Vermont at Louisville, Fri – Louisville 75, Vermont 69
#4 Indiana at Arkansas, Sun – Indiana 74, Arkansas 73
#3 Furman at Villanova, Sat – Villanova 78, Furman 71
#2 Louisiana at Kansas, Fri - Kansas 79, Louisiana 75
#1 Oregon State vs Old Dominion, Fri – Old Dominion 70, Oregon State 68

My updated bracket can be found below.  Right now, the weighting is 77% last year/pre-season and 23% results from this season.

Swapping out six auto bids this weekend:
Atlantic Sun- Lipscomb (Florida Gulf Coast)
CUSA- Marshall (Middle Tennessee)
Big West- UC Irvine (UC Santa Barbara)
MEAC- Norfolk State (North Carolina Central)

The following two are effectively reversing out swaps made in the last bracket
CAA- Northeastern (Charleston)
Summit- South Dakota (South Dakota State)

Also, swapping in five at larges including Florida, San Diego State, TCU, Utah, and LSU.  Marquette, Creighton, Seton Hall, Xavier, and Wichita State have dropped out.   

As mentioned a few posts back, 43 programs are chasing their first NCAA tournament appearance this season, however two are those, North Alabama and Cal Baptist, are making their transition into Division I and ineligible this season.  The full list can be found here.  None of these teams are currently in my bracket.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

11-NOV Bracket Projections: The first weekend

In what was previously the season opener, veteran's day weekend served as a continuance of the 2018-2019 season.  While the weekend lacked games of major interest or consequence, this week will make up for that.  Several pre-Thanksgiving tournaments will get under way later this week, as well as the Gavett Tipoff games between the Big East and Big Ten. 

Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (2-3 last week):
#5 Marquette at Indiana, Wed - Indiana 75, Marquette 71

#4 Ohio State at Creighton, Thur - Creighton 75, Ohio State 72
#3 Seton Hall at Nebraska, Wed - Nebraska 75, Seton Hall 71
#2 Michigan at Villanova, Wed - Villanova 74, Michigan 68
#1 Saint Mary's at New Mexico State, Wed - New Mexico State 72, Saint Mary's 69

As for my bracket this weekend, I need to repeat a lot of tropes from last week:
- This is still influenced by last season's results, however this impact reduces as we move through the season.  Right now, the weighting is 88% last year and 12% this season.
- Outliers will cause some distortion, however this will regress to the mean. Normally, this is reserved for non-conference mismatches with major programs giving out buy-games, but most notably here is the decrease from Kentucky as they work through their Champion's Classic efficiency hole.  

With that said, swapping out five auto bids this weekend:
NEC- St. Francis PA (Wagner out)
Big South- Radford (Winthrop)
CAA- Charleston (Northeastern)
Summit- South Dakota State (South Dakota)
SWAC- Prairie View A&M (Texas Southern).

Also, swapping in six at larges including Indiana, Nebraska, Syracuse, Marquette, USC and North Carolina State.

Monday, November 5, 2018

5-NOV Bracket Projections: Selection Tuesday

Basketball polls open tomorrow for the 2018-2019 season, as the sport shifts to a Tuesday opening day.  Early returns have been positive from what I have read, but if moving the Champions Classic to election day meant killing the 24 hour tipoff marathon, I am not a fan.  But majority rules, and I'm happy to have the sport back.  Just as important this means another year of Bracket Matrix, Rush The Court Survivor, Silversword, Jerome, and countless other opportunities to show how little I know but how much I care.  Most eyes, that aren't tracking election day coverage, will likely be on the precincts reporting at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.   While sure to be enjoyable, feel free to click around and explore.  Those two aren't the only fun games on the schedule, although I do recommend you cast your eyes away from the D1 v non D1 games that are all over the slate of early games (unless a potential midmajority Stendahl starts to show potential). 

This season will feature 353 Division I programs, with Cal Baptist and North Alabama joining the ranks.  Throughout the year, I'll mention those who are looking to make their first NCAA tournament (now at 43), those who haven't made the brackets in a while, and some of the longest streaks.  But the most important thing now is that over the next 24 hours we will begin accumulating data on the 2018-19 season.  

My bracket in the early part of the season will be relying heavily on previous year's result with some tweaks for coaching changes and 247 Top 100 recruiting classes.  This is temporary and these will gradually phase out completely in December, where I will then just be using current year's result.  I'll be publish once or twice a week until we hit conference tournaments where I'll update daily.  

Notable Games
This week's (through Sunday) top five as I see them:
#5 East Tennessee St. at Creighton, Sun - Creighton 76, East Tennessee St. 73 (edited: 11/6/18 7:15p)
#4 Louisiana at Tennessee, Fri - Tennessee 74, Louisiana 72
#3 Furman at Loyola Chicago, Fri - Loyola Chicago 72, Furman 69
#2 Ohio St. at Cincinnati, Wed - Cincinnati 72, Ohio St. 65
#1 Michigan St. vs Kansas, Tue - Michigan State 76, Kansas 73

Sunday, March 11, 2018

11-MAR Bracket Projections: Final Bracket

The Ivy, Sun Belt, and A10 championships have been decided.  Davidson's win will indeed cost someone a spot.  Popular opinion is that Arizona State and Louisville are battling it out for the final at large spot, but my next team out is unchanged from last night.  Kansas State will be on the outside of my bracket, joining Louisville who was already outside of my field.  I have Arizona State in Dayton with Texas, UCLA and Butler.  St. Mary's, USC, Florida State, and Saint Mary's are my 10 seeds, and the last four safe.

As I mentioned, I'm not feeling confident this is how it will play out, but it's my pick.  RIP to those 3-6 bracketmatrix points.

10-MAR Bracket Projections: An Ominous Note From a Worlock

We’re less than 24 hours from the bracket reveal, and the NCAA Media Director provided a warning for an unnamed bubble team via the tweet below.
Legitimate chance the Brothers Hurley are impacted on both sides of the equation here.  For me, however it would be Kansas State as my first team out.  The Wildcats have wins over Oklahoma, TCU (2), and Texas (2).  Arizona State has wins over Xavier, Kansas, USC, and UCLA.  I like those four a lot more than Kansas State’s five wins.  The Sun Devils also have a neutral site win over Kansas State.  I worry losing 5 of the last 6 is going to weigh heavier for ASU than I give it credence, so I’m not terribly confident in that scenario playing out as described.  Bracket Matrix has ASU already in the first four out and Louisville in the final spot in the field.  Louisville’s key wins are Florida State (2) and Virginia Tech (2).

My bracket is mostly complete. Obviously the Big West, Sun Belt, A-10, and Ivy championships may require some updates, but as for the at larges, my team is on the floor.  Thanks to BracketMatrix for including me again, and for the effort required to maintain this experience.

Grand Canyon’s run came to an end in the WAC finals tonight, as New Mexico State won their umpteenth automatic berth.  The Antelopes were the final program on the Futility list.  Of the 43 we started with, only Lipscomb managed to scrape out the NCAA Tournament bid.  We’ll begin next season with 43, however, as North Alabama will be moving up from Division II.

Congrats to the Bison.  In retrospect, had they officially blown the entirety of their thirty plus point lead to Florida Gulf Coast, it would have been a disastrous post season run for these schools. 

On a more positive note, although with similar late game management, the Marshall Thundering Herd are back in the NCAA tournament snapping a 30 year run of misses.  This was second on the Drought list only to Loyola Chicago’s 32 year run among teams that will be in the 2018 bracket.  Having seen that offense a few times over recent year, this could be a fun Tournament team if Elmore and Penava get hot.  I was critical of the D’antoni hire when it was made, and I was flat wrong.  Some good work being done down there in Huntington.

Toledo lost to Buffalo and Georgia Southern lost to Georgia State in the Sun Belt semifinals to finish off our teams on the drought list.  Aside from the two mentioned above, and Lipscomb as well, the College of Charleston and UNC Greensboro were the other two success stories this post season.  Technically we’ll stretch that to six tomorrow when Auburn gets announced as an at large team, and snapping their fourteen year NCAA drought.

Those schools will be replaced by the three following schools who are now working on their own fourteen year dry spell.  The Longwood Lancers are looking for a new coach, and once they find their person, they will be looking to get that program to the dance for the first time in its history, which only goes back to 2004 at the Division I level.  The other two are Chicago based programs who will need to look at the Loyola Chicago blueprint for snapping streaks.  Illinois Chicago and DePaul have not been in the brackets since 2004.

Notable Games (predictions in italics, 0-0 tonight, 0-0 from pending games previous night, 100-65 overall, 0 game pending from tonight)
Sunday's top five as I see them:
#5 Harvard at Penn- Penn 71, Harvard 66
#4 Georgia State vs UT Arlington – Georgia 74, UT Arlington 73
#3 Tennessee vs Kentucky – Tennessee 72, Kentucky 71
#2 Davidson vs Rhode Island- Davidson 72, Rhode Island 71
#1 Houston vs Cincinnati- Cincinnati 70, Houston 68

Saturday, March 10, 2018

9-MAR Bracket Projections: Reno Failure

Nevada was obliterated tonight in Mountain West Tournament action, and it raises some interesting scenarios.  Painfully, though, for Middle Tennessee this may have cost the Raiders a bid.  It does for now in my bracket, at least. 

The below thirteen teams are battling for eight spots.  The bottom five in red are the ones I omitted.  Nevada is listed for additional reference.

The 2017-2018 Futility list is just about settled for the season.  Grand Canyon ran away from Utah Valley early in their semifinal matchup, and the Lopes will make the final tomorrow against New Mexico State with a berth on the line.  Grand Canyon was in the most recent class of Division I teams, coming in with Incarnate Word, Abilene Christian, UMass Lowell, and the team that made it last year Northern Kentucky.  

We’ll find out tomorrow (technically Sunday morning eastern) if two teams will officially drop off, or if Lipscomb is the sole graduating member.

The Sun Belt weeded out the field today, and as a result Louisiana Monroe, Appalachian State and Texas State will tack on another year to their drought (found here).  Eastern Michigan, Nicholls State, Southern Utah and Prairie View all lost semifinal games and watch their string of NCAA misses hit 20 years.  Seattle also battled hard in the WAC, but exit in the semifinals and see their drought hit 49 years.

Toledo (1980), Marshall (1987), Georgia Southern (1992) all still in contention.

Notable Games (predictions in italics, 2-3 tonight, 0-0 from pending games previous night, 96-64 overall, 0 game pending from tonight)
Saturday's top five as I see them:
#5 Davidson vs St. Bonaventure- Davidson 73, St. Bonaventure 72
#4 North Carolina vs Virginia – Virginia 70, North Carolina 68
#3 Grand Canyon vs New Mexico State – New Mexico State 69, Grand Canyon 68
#2 West Virginia vs Kansas- West Virginia 75, Kansas 74
#1 Houston vs Wichita State- Houston 74, Wichita State 73

Friday, March 9, 2018

8-MAR Bracket Projections: Stuck In The Middle

Will the Conference USA get two teams in?  I wouldn’t have thought so, but in my first bracket since the Blue Raiders were upset, I have them in utilizing one of the final spots.  Here’s how they stack up as of Thursday night with just a few games remaining in a couple of the notable metrics.

The below thirteen teams are battling for eight spots.  The bottom five are the ones I omitted.

If that 3-3 Quadrant 1 record holds up for MTSU (those borderline teams are going to be crucial for so many schools), that RPI might supplement the wins and give them just enough.  Of course, a few more conference tournament upsets might make this all moot in the next three days should additional bids get stolen.  As it stands though, I’m keeping MTSU in for another bracket.

We lost over half of the remaining teams on the Futility list on this very busy Thursday.  The only two schools left are from the WAC, and neither are top seed New Mexico State.  Utah Valley and Grand Canyon will meet up Friday and be the last bastion of hope.  Chicago State, UT Rio Grande Valley and UMKC were all defeated on Thursday in the WAC.  UC Riverside lost a close one to top seed UC Davis.  Savannah State’s magical turnaround came to a sudden end in their first post season game of the MEAC Tournament.  Lastly Central Arkansas lost in the Southland quarterfinals to make it twelve years without an NCAA Tournament.

Duquense dropped their inaugural post season game today, and 1977 will remain their final NCAA appearance for at least another season.  Idaho ran into the Gem State killers Southern Utah, who had knocked off Idaho State the day before, and the Vandals will see their drought hit 28 years.  Louisiana Tech, East Carolina, Tulane, TCU, and Ball State also saw the end to their 2018 run.

Of the top 100 teams listed on the Drought link, 12 remain in contention in their conference tournaments.  One of those teams is Seattle, who is still alive in the WAC and looking for their first trip to the dance since 1969.

Conference Tournaments
The Sun Belt returns after a one day hiatus.  The Texas State Bobcats will be looking to upset top seeded Louisiana Lafayette for a trip to the semifinals and an opportunity to return to the brackets for the first time since 1997.  Appalachian State will follow that game, and have Texas Arlington in the quarterfinals.  The Mountaineers have not made the field since 2000.  The final quarterfinal matchup comprises two programs looking to snap a drought.  Louisiana Monroe’s last visit was in 1996, while Georgia Southern hasn’t returned since 1992.

The SWAC semifinals are Friday.  Prairie View A&M is the two seed, and will get Mike Davis and his Texas Southern squad.  The Panthers last NCAA trip was in 1998.

The Southland semfinals are tomorrow and Nicholls State will take the floor for the first time.  The Colonels have not made the NCAA Tournament since 1998.  They get the perennial Southland powerhouse Stephen F. Austin. 

MAC semifinals feature an all East and all West Matchup.  In the latter it’s Toledo vs Eastern Michigan.  Toledo hasn’t made the NCAA Tourament since 1980, which is currently the 20th longest active drought.  Eastern is also on the list, but their last trip came in 1998.  The winner will get either Kent State or Buffalo who have combined for the last three MAC Championships.

The Conference USA semifinals lost top seed Middle Tennessee which opens opportunities for the rest of the league.  Marshall was the only league team to beat the Raiders in the regular season, which they did twice, and now they get the team who knocked out Middle Teenessee in the postseason.  If the Thundering Herd can get past Southern Miss, they will be forty minutes away from their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1987.

The Big Sky semifinals could end up going to either Montana or Eastern Washington yet again, however, Southern Utah has knocked out the seven and two seeds, and now has their sights set on the three seed EWU.  The Thunderbirds have not made the NCAA field since 2001.

The Atlantic 10, AAC, and SEC have hit the quarterfinal rounds.  The MEAC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Mountain West, Big West, WAC and PAC 12 are in the semifinals.  No championship games tomorrow, but they will monopolize the schedule this weekend.

Notable Games (predictions in italics, 5-0 tonight, 0-0 from pending games previous night, 94-61 overall, 0 game pending from tonight)
Friday's top five as I see them:
#5 Old Dominion vs Western Kentucky- Old Dominion 72, Western Kentucky 71
#4 Clemson vs Virginia – Virginia 66, Clemson 63
#3 San Diego State vs Nevada – Nevada 75, San Diego State 74
#2 North Carolina vs Duke- Duke 79, North Carolina 76
#1 West Virginia vs Texas Tech- West Virginia 72, Texas Tech 71

Thursday, March 8, 2018

7-MAR Bracket Projections: Previewing the Most Exciting Day of the Year

Tomorrow is peak college basketball. The Thursday before Selection Sunday is the most underrated day of the season.  It begins around noon eastern time and is typically non-stop drama for about 14 straight hours.  It’s the most active day of the two weeks of Conference Tournaments, and most of the larger leagues have weeded out the weaker teams to present a formidable set of neutral site games.  The NCAA Tournament is always awesome, but the quantity of games tomorrow brings it.  Enjoy the day.

Bethune Cookman was upset in the MEAC quarterfinals on Wednesday by Morgan State.  It will now mean the Wildcats have zero appearances in the 38 years since they joined Division I.  Eight teams are still active in their conference tournaments and looking to move off the Futility list.  Thus far, only Lipscomb has managed to secure such a feat.  Central Arkansas was the only other team in action today from this grouping, and they live to see another Southland day.

Fordham was eliminated in the opening round of Atlantic 10 Tournament play tonight, and the Rams have now tallied a 26 year drought as a result.  FIU’s misery will hit year 23, as they dropped out of CUSA postseason play tonight.  Coming in right behind FIU will be both Colgate and San Jose State in much different circumstances.  Colgate lost in the Patriot Finals tonight (by a metric ton), taking the hope that nourished in the previous tournament rounds and just amplifying the torment.  San Jose State garnered no such hope.  They came in as the bottom seed, and got ran off the court by middle of the pack Wyoming in the opening round action in the Mountain West.  Arkansas State’s last NCAA Tournament team will remain the 1999 squad, as they lost in Sun Belt play today.  Lastly, Florida Atlantic also was eliminated in CUSA action tonight.

Of the top 100 teams listed on the Drought link, 23 remain in contention in their conference tournaments.

Conference Tournaments
Fifteen conference tournaments will have games tomorrow.  There are no championship games scheduled, and three are in their opening rounds.  It will be the busiest day of games for the week before whittling away the field with each passing day.

The American Athletic Conference has four first round games.  East Carolina has not been to the tournament since 1993, and will take on UCF in their backyard.  Mike Dunleavy will be trying to get Tulane back into the dance for the first time since 1995.  The Green Wave have drawn Temple. 

The Big West’s first round will feature eighth seeded UC Riverside.  The Highlanders have been Division I since 2001, but have never earned an invite.  They will need to get past UC Davis to make that possible this year. 

The Western Athletic Conference eight team tournament is the remaining new tournament beginning tomorrow. Five teams have never made the NCAA field.  The lone matchup featuring two such teams is third seeded Grand Canyon (Division I since 2013) and UMKC (Division I since 1987).  Second seeded Utah Valley are in their fifteenth year, and will be looking to get past Cal State Bakersfield to setup an all-Futility semifinal with the winner above.  Chicago State is fresh off their first Division I win and hoping to parlay that into three additional wins for their first appearance after missing the field in their last 33 tries.  However, the longest mark belongs to what is now called UT Rio Grande Valley.  Over their existence and various names, the Vaqueros have not made the dance since their debut in 1969.  Their opponent tomorrow has 11 appearances, but the last was also in 1969 when Seattle made the Tournament.

The MAC is back with quarterfinal games in Cleveland.  Toledo is the second seed and has the longest drought in the conference missing the last 37 NCAA Tournaments, and will play Miami OH.  Eastern Michigan is looking to avoid seeing their drought hit 20 years, and they get the team and the coach who have both owned this Tournament on their own separate merits.  Akron is an eleven seed, but nothing would surprise me here given John Groce's track record in March with Ohio.  Ball State is the four seed and gets the defending tournament champions Kent State.  The Cardinals have not made the field since 2000. 

The Big Sky also returns with four quarterfinal games.  Idaho secured the two seed, and are looking to snap 27 years of tournament misses.  The Vandals have Southern Utah on the schedule.  The Thunderbirds meanwhile are looking to establish a postseason winning streak and ultimately return to the brackets for the first time since 2001.

We have two quarterfinal matchups in the Southland, one of which is more relevant here.  Central Arkansas survived Lamar on Wednesday and will now take on the three seed Stephen F. Austin.  The Bears have never made an NCAA Tournament. 

The Atlantic 10 has four second round games on Thursday.  Keith Dambrot has brought some additional energy to Duquense, but they faded to a ten seed in the latter half of the season.  They get Richmond in the evening session as they try and snap the 16th longest active drought with misses in the last 40 NCAA Tournaments.

The MEAC concludes their quarterfinals tomorrow with the final two games in those brackets.  Savannah State will take the court for the first time, and after reports surfaced where they received an APR waiver and are eligible for post season they surged to qualify for the three seed.  The Tigers joined Division in 2002, and have announced their intention to move to Division II for financial reasons.  They have never made the NCAA tournament and their final opportunities are this season and next.  Savannah State gets North Carolina Central tomorrow.

Conference USA has four quarterfinal games on Thursday.  Marshall will take on UTSA in the 4/5 seed matchup.  The Thundering Herd have not made the NCAA Tournament since 1987.  Louisiana Tech upset North Texas and now gets second seeded Old Dominion.  The Bulldogs drought goes back to 1991. 

The Mountain West has four quarterfinal games tomorrow, including fringe bubble team Boise State.  Same goes for the Big Twelve, and TCU will begin quarterfinal action on the day against Kansas State.  The Horned Frogs own the league’s longest active drought.  Their last appearance came in 1998.  The SEC will have four second round games, while the Big East, ACC and Pacific 12 will have 4 quarterfinal games.

Notable Games (predictions in italics, 1-4 tonight, 0-0 from pending games previous night, 89-61 overall, 0 game pending from tonight)
Thursday's top five as I see them:
#5 Louisville vs Virginia- Virginia 68, Louisville 64
#4 Notre Dame vs Duke- Duke 76, Notre Dame 72
#3 UAB vs Western Kentucky- Western Kentucky 74, UAB 73
#2 San Diego State vs Fresno State- San Diego State 73, Fresno State 72
#1 North Carolina vs Miami FL- North Carolina 75, Miami FL 74

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

6-MAR Bracket Projections: The Big Ominous Sky

Three additional programs failed to secure the automatic bid tonight and instead notched another tick mark on the Futility list.  South Dakota State won the Summit League invite by knocking off South Dakota.  The Coyotes will now see their tenth season of Division I go by without that first NCAA appearance. 

In the American East, Hartford was eliminated by UMBC in semifinal action tonight.  This will be the 34th year of play for the Hawks at this level, and none of them have come with a tournament berth.  Sacramento State also failed to navigate past Portland State in the Big Sky, and their 22nd season of Division I basketball will end without an NCAA invite.

Nine schools are left to with their fates undecided.

Most of the carnage on the lists tonight came with the Drought teams, and in addition to Sacramento State the Big Sky was a killjoy all day long.  Idaho State was upset in first round, and will now miss 31 consecutive NCAA Tournaments.  Also in conference Montana State started the day in Reno and built up a large lead over North Dakota, only to see it fritter away with contributions coming from a half court heave by Geno Crandall and another late bucket in the final seconds of the second half to seal the UND win.  This is now 22 in a row for the Bobcats.  Not to be left out, last place Northern Arizona got obliterated by Northern Colorado.  The Lumberjacks made their last NCAA appearance in 2000.

Howard was eliminated in MEAC play, and the Bison have not made the dance since 1992.  Alcorn was knocked out of SWAC play to ensure the Braves will miss their sixteenth tournament in a row.

On a positive note, however, the College of Charleston will be the subject of many dancing puns as they were able to withstand the bombogenesis deployed by Northeastern with a late comeback and outlasting the Huskies in overtime.  This is the first trip to the dance since 1999 for the Cougars.

Conference Tournaments
We ramp up to twelve conference tournaments tomorrow, albeit just one championship game in the bunch.  Nine leagues hit the post-season floor for the first time.  The Patriot League final is our one title game.  Bucknell will be looking to repeat, while Colgate is chasing their first NCAA since 1996. 

We have two other returning brackets.  The ACC comes back tomorrow with four second round games with some integral matchups for bubble teams like Notre Dame, Syracuse, Louisville and Florida State.  The other returning bracket is the MEAC who will have two of the four quarterfinal games tomorrow.  Bethune Cookman has never made the NCAA Tournament since their Division I inception in 1980. 

The Sun Belt begins with four first round games.  Texas State is the opening game, and they have not made any of the last 20 NCAA Tournaments.  The Bobcats opponent will be Coastal Carolina.  Appalachian State and Little Rock will follow that game, and the Mountaineers have not been dancing since 2000.  In the final game of the day Louisiana Monroe will draw Arkansas State, and ULM has missed the last 21 NCAA Tournaments.  Meanwhile Arkansas State has missed the last 18.

The Mountain West Conference have arrived in Vegas, and last place San Jose State will participate in the third and final first round game tomorrow.  The Spartans have not made the NCAA Tournament since 1996, and will need to get past Wyoming to potentially change that this season.

The Atlantic 10 will hold two first round games tomorrow.  Fordham takes on George Washington.  The Rams last appearance came in 1992. 

In perhaps the biggest upset, it appears CUSA will have their games available on facebook and not behind a paywall.  This.  Is.  March.  If you’re looking for something beyond that, then your rooting interests tomorrow are Louisiana Tech who have had no tournament appearances since 1991, FIU who have not been seen since 1995, and Florida Atlantic who have not been in the dance since 2002.

The Southland Tournament starts up, using the ladder tournament approach.  Central Arkansas is the seven seed, and will be looking to move past sixth seeded Lamar and continue to push through for their first ever NCAA Tournament. 

The PAC 12 Tournament gets underway on Wednesday.  Washington State is in action tomorrow and has the longest drought in conference with their last appearance coming in 2008.  In the Big East, tenth seeded Depaul owns the longest drought just outside the top 100, but still checking in with 13 consecutive misses.  The SEC and Big Twelve will also have two first round games.

Notable Games (predictions in italics, 2-3 tonight, 0-1 from pending games previous night, 88-57 overall, 0 game pending from tonight)
Wednesday's top five as I see them:
#5 Boston College vs North Carolina State- North Carolina State 77, Boston College 74
#4 Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma- Oklahoma 79, Oklahoma State 78
#3 Syracuse vs North Carolina- North Carolina 73, Syracuse 70
#2 Louisville vs Florida State- Florida State 75, Louisville 74
#1 Notre Dame vs Virginia Tech- Virginia Tech 73, Notre Dame 72

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

5-MAR Bracket Projections: No Rule of Eighty

Cue sad horn.  William & Mary was eliminated in the Colonial semifinals tonight and ensures the Tribe will go eighty years without an NCAA Tournament appearance.  They will join The Citadel, Army, and St. Francis NY atop this list for yet another season.  Good luck in 2019, gents.

The Denver Pioneers were defeated in the Summit League semifinals, and Maryland Eastern Shore went out in the first round of the MEAC Tournament.  We have 12 programs still eligible for history.

It was a fairly modest drought, but congratulations to UNC Greensboro who secured the Southern Conference automatic bid tonight.  It ends a sixteen year drought for the Spartans.

Difficult night for the homonym conferences tonight.  Fairfield could not solve the Tim Cluess MAAC riddle, losing to the Gaels in the conference final and pushing the drought out to 21 years.  In the slightly more efficiently named MAC Northern Illinois lost on a buzzer beater to Kent State to stretch their disappointment to a 22nd season.  Neither though have amassed the misery that has been Bowling Green basketball.  The Falcons now owns a fifty year NCAA tournament drought, longer than the previous two schools combined.  In fact they move into a tie with Columbia for the 8th longest active drought, taking their place behind the Futile Four as well as Dartmouth (59 years), Maine (56 years) and Tennessee Tech (55 years). 

San Francisco (20 years) also was eliminated from the 2018 NCAA Tournament this evening. 

Conference Tournaments
Ten brackets in play tomorrow including five championship games and three leagues starting postseason play for the first time.  The Northeast finals will feature the Wagner Seahawks, the top seed, looking to get past the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds for their first Selection Sunday mention since 2003.  College of Charleston and Northeastern will vie for the Colonial Automatic Bid.  The Cougars last appearance was in 1999.  The Summit League Championship will be an all Mount Rushmore state affair, as South Dakota will be looking for their first NCAA appearance in school history against Mike Daum and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.  Speaking of stair affairs, it’s an all Ohio battle in Detroit when Cleveland State and Wright State compete for the Horizon League title.  Gonzaga will be in the WCC title game, and will take on the Saint Mary’s and BYU winner that is currently underway.

The American East returns with the semifinal rounds.  Hartford is chasing their first ever NCAA appearance and will be at UMBC.  Stony Brook is at Vermont in the other side of the bracket. 

The MEAC is back for day two, but we’re still in first round games for this event.  Howard has missed 25 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, and will have their first chance to begin avenging that mark with a game against Florida A&M tomorrow.  South Carolina State’s last trip was in 2003, and they will be in action tomorrow against Morgan State.

The SWAC initiates with four quarter final games at campus sites.  Prairie View A&M possesses the league’s longest streak of NCAA misses, with their last appearance coming in 1998.  They are the two seed and will host Alcorn State.  The Braves are second on that list, with 15 misses.

The Big Sky is in the “biggest little city in the world” with four first round games scheduled in Reno.  Sacramento State is the 11 seed, and will be looking to get past Portland State and advance their opportunity for their first trip to the dance.  Idaho State has the leagues longest active draught, missing the last 30 NCAA Tournaments.  The seventh seeded Vandals draw Southern Utah.  Those Thunderbirds are also fairly hungry, missing the last 16 brackets.  The Bobcats of Montana State are the 9 seed, and haven’t made a trip to the Tournament since 1996.  Last note, the bottom seed Northern Arizona has missed the last seventeen NCAAs.

The ACC Tournament begins tomorrow, and despite Pittsburgh’s best effort to epitomize Futility, no schools has any noteworthy appearance droughts of any significance.  Boston College has missed the last eight, which is the longest of the 15 constituents.  That said, very necessary games for teams like Syracuse and Notre Dame on the docket tomorrow. 

Notable Games (predictions in italics, 3-1 tonight, 0-0 from pending games previous night, 86-53 overall, 1 game pending from tonight)
Tuesday's top five as I see them:
#5 LIU Brooklyn at Wagner- Wagner 77, LIU Brooklyn 71
#4 Hartford at UMBC- UMBC 73, Hartford 69
#3 Northeastern vs College of Charleston- Northeastern 71, College of Charleston 70
#2 South Dakota vs South Dakota State- South Dakota 77, South Dakota State 76
#1 Gonzaga vs Saint Mary’s- Gonzaga 73, Saint Mary’s 72  (or Gonzaga 75, BYU 70 if necessary)