Sunday, December 30, 2018

30-DEC Bracket Projections: UC Santa Barbara rises, Louisville drops.


Teams with a Zero
Another team has fallen from perfection.  St. John’s controlled their conference road opener at Seton Hall, and looked to have won the game on a late defensive plan on an inbounds.  However, an inadvertent whistle led to a second opportunity which the Pirates kicked out for a game winning three pointer to sink the Red Storm.  Four teams remain unbeaten.

All four teams will have a game this upcoming week, and while three will have conference games all four games will be on the home floor of the undefeated team.  Virginia has Marshall on Monday.  Houston (Tulsa) and Nevada (Utah State) will play on Wednesday, with the latter matchup looking absolutely great on paper.  Finally, on Thursday Michigan will have Penn State to remain perfect.

None of the winless teams managed a Division I win over the weekend, although Coppin State had a serious run at Notre Dame, which means we’re still at ten programs.  Don’t expect much movement in this category as seven of the ten won’t have a game until this weekend.  UNC Asheville is at Vanderbilt and fresh off a loss to Division II Fayetteville State, so that doesn’t bode as promising.  Monmouth does has two games this week, but both are on the road (at Penn and at Iona).  Perhaps the best chance is South Carolina State who are hosting Presbyterian on Wednesday.  I think the Blue Hose will squeak by, but perhaps the Bulldog can notch win number one.


Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (4-1 last week, 49-21 overall):
#5 Saint Mary’s at San Francisco, Thu – San Francisco 73, Saint Mary’s 73
#4 Oklahoma at Kansas, Wed – Kansas 74, Oklahoma 71
#3 Marquette at St. John’s, Tue – St. John’s 75, Marquette 73
#2 Nebraska at Maryland, Wed –Nebraska 71, Maryland 70
#1 Utah State at Nevada, Wed – Nevada 76, Utah State 73


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  Currently, the weighting is 99% this season’s results and 1% last year/pre-season.  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. 

Six automatic bids are being swapped out in this update. 
Big South- Gardner Webb (Radford)
CUSA- North Texas (Old Dominion)
MEAC- Norfolk State (Howard)
Atlantic Sun- Liberty (Lipscomb)
Ivy- Brown (Penn)
Southern- Wofford (Furman)

As for the at large teams, swapping out three after last weekend’s games.  Florida, Syracuse, and Saint Mary’s are in.  Butler, Miami FL, and Kansas State are out. 

My latest bracket has three bids going to first timers, with Grambling State, Gardner Webb and Abilene Christian taking a spot.  Wichita State (7), Villanova (6), Arizona (6), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4), Butler (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, Brown, Rider, and Texas State would be ending droughts of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.  Toledo and San Francisco I have securing an at large bid, would be snapping a drought of 38 and 20 years, respectively.  



Wednesday, December 26, 2018

26-DEC Bracket Projections: Iowa State rises, North Carolina, Kansas drops.


Teams with a Zero
We are down to five undefeated teams, as three teams lost road games.  Buffalo ran into a red hot Markus Howard at Marquette and suffered their first defeat 103-85.  LSU missed a chance a few games back to give a program (Houston) its first loss, but the Tigers sent Furman home with a 75-57 defeat.  Finally, Kansas fell from the ranks of the unbeatens with an 80-76 loss at Arizona State.  

As for the remaining teams, Virginia will be off until Monday.  Michigan is a big favorite at home against Binghamton, while Houston is also at home and favored against NJIT.  The other two schools are on the road.  Nevada will go to Utah for a road test, but the Wolf Pack should prevail.  St. John’s will have an even tougher out when they go to Seton Hall for a Big East conference game.

Two programs earned their first win over the weekend.  La Salle knocked off fellow winless Alabama A&M on Friday in a quick four team tournament.  The Bulldogs then used the consolation bracket to knock off Tulane 67-59 for their first win.  Tulane led that game by seven late second half prior to Alabama A&M making their comeback.  Ten programs are still searching for their first Division I win.

Alcorn State, Alabama State, UNC Asheville, Monmouth, and South Carolina State are all idle or playing non-Division I programs this weekend.  North Alabama is finding their first year in D1 challenging, and will hope to find their first win in a weekend road trip that swings through Spokane, WA on Friday prior to a game at Eastern Illinois Sunday.  The EIU game is winnable, although that’s some brutal travel.  If the Lions can’t get it done, we will probably remain at ten teams on this list.  Coppin State (Notre Dame), Maryland Eastern Shore (Virginia Tech), Southern (Marquette), and New Hampshire (Dartmouth) are all on the road and sizable underdogs.


Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (3-2 last week, 45-20 overall):
#5 Belmont at Purdue, Sat – Purdue 79, Belmont 76
#4 BYU at Mississippi State, Sat – Mississippi State 78, BYU 73
#3 Lipscomb at Clemson, Sun – Clemson 75, Lipscomb 73
#2 Butler at Florida, Sat –Florida 68, Butler 67
#1 Kentucky at Louisville, Sat – Louisville 76, Kentucky 74


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  Currently, the weighting is 98% this season’s results and 2% last year/pre-season.  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. 

Nine automatic bids are being swapped out in this update. 
NEC- LIU Brooklyn (Sacred Heart)
Big South- Radford (Gardner Webb)
CUSA- Old Dominion (North Texas)
Atlantic 10- Dayton (Rhode Island)
MEAC- Howard (Morgan State)
Big West- UC Santa Barbara (UC Irvine)
Patriot- Lehigh (Colgate)
Atlantic Sun- Lipscomb (Liberty)
American East- Stony Brook (Vermont)

As for the at large teams, swapping out four after last week’s games.  Marquette, Iowa, Miami FL, and Fresno State are in.  Oregon, Saint Mary’s, Connecticut and Akron are out.

My latest bracket has two bids going to first timers, with Grambling State and Abilene Christian taking a spot.  Wichita State (7), Villanova (6), Arizona (6), 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.  Grambling State, Furman, Howard, Rider, and Texas State would be ending droughts of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.  Toledo and San Francisco I have securing an at large bid, would be snapping a drought of 38 and 20 years, respectively.  



Thursday, December 20, 2018

20-DEC Bracket Projections: LSU, TCU rise, Arkansas drops.


Teams with a Zero
Texas Tech lost to Duke tonight, suffering their first loss of the season and reducing our unbeaten teams from nine to eight.  Kansas, Virginia, and St. John’s cruised in their games earlier this week.  Buffalo won an important tilt at Syracuse, while Houston also scored an impressive home win against Utah State.  Michigan, Furman, and Nevada were all idle.

The remaining eight unblemished teams are in action this weekend with a number of tough road games on the schedule.   Furman will have the toughest match-up, in terms of remaining undefeated, with a road game at LSU.  The Paladins will be underdogs.  Buffalo will be a slight underdog for the second straight game, this time getting a point or two from Marquette.  Kansas looks like it will be a favorite on the road at Arizona State, but this could be a slog against a sneaky ASU and a PAC 12 conference that desperately needs some good publicity.  Nevada is home, against Akron, and despite this being in Reno I think could also be scrappier than the spread might indicate.  Michigan (Air Force), Houston (Coppin State) and St. John’s (Sacred Heart) are all home and heavy favorites to remain undefeated. 

Delaware State just needed an instate rival to get right in the win column (and 48% three point shooting) as the Hornets of Newark knocked off Delaware 73-71 for their first Division I win.  Mount St. Mary’s had no such luck with the shooting stroke in their game against American in which both teams shot poorly and mustered less than one point per possession.  However the Mountaineers kept more possessions alive rebounding nearly half of their misses, wringing out just enough to take a 56-55 win. 

This leaves twelve teams remaining teams looking for that first Division I win.  Monmouth, UNC Asheville, and Southern are all either idle this weekend, or welcoming in non-Division I teams in for a game.  Alabama A&M and La Salle will square off in a game so big only Atlantic City could showcase it.  The loser of this match-up will get the loser of Tulane and Towson the next day for a chance at instant retribution.    North Alabama will also have a good shot at a victory with a game at VMI, and probably expect to be a one point or so underdog.  New Hampshire is home, and won’t be as much of a toss-up like North Alabama, but the Wildcats are probably a 2-5 point dog and a reasonable team to keep an eye on if you're looking for teams that could drop off this list.  Alabama State will be hard pressed to find a win this weekend when they get Liberty in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Alcorn State (South Florida), South Carolina State (Cincinnati), and Maryland Eastern Shore (American) will all be big road dogs.  Coppin State will throw quantity at the problem with games at Louisiana Monroe and Houston, and likely two more losses for Juan Dixon's squad.  In total, we’ll absolutely whittle down by one, and a reasonable chance we could hit single digits for both undefeated and winless teams this weekend. 


Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (5-0 last week, 42-18 overall):
#5 Vanderbilt at Kansas State, Sat – Kansas State 71, Vanderbilt 69
#4 Buffalo at Marquette, Fri – Marquette 73, Buffalo 72
#3 Akron at Nevada, Sat – Nevada 75, Akron 70
#2 Oklahoma at Northwestern, Fri –Northwestern 71, Oklahoma 67
#1 North Carolina vs Kentucky, Sat – North Carolina 82, Kentucky 79


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  Currently, the weighting is 95% this season’s results and 5% last year/pre-season.  This bracket (as well as my previous brackets) are a projection of where I think the teams will be as of Selection Sunday based off the schedules remaining.  

Five automatic bids are being swapped out in this update. 
NEC- Sacred Heart (St. Francis NY) reversal of the last update.
Big South- Gardner Webb (Radford)
CUSA- North Texas (Old Dominion)
Atlantic 10- Rhode Island (Davidson)
MEAC- Morgan State (Howard)

As for the at large teams I'm swapping out three after this week’s games.  Purdue, Northwestern, and Akron are in.  Arizona State, Texas, and UCLA are out.  I’m skeptical about Akron’s inclusion, but they’ve dominated in their wins and their four losses are by a combined 12 points.  Their projecting to do nearly as much damage as Buffalo and Toledo in conference, and the MAC is currently grading out as the 9th best conference.  We’ll find out more this weekend with their trip to Nevada, or this might be a short stay in the brackets for the Zips. 

My latest bracket has four bids going to first timers, with Grambling State, Sacred Heart, Gardner Webb, and Abilene Christian taking a spot.  Wichita State (7), Villanova (6), Arizona (6), 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, Furman, Rider, Colgate, and Texas State would be ending droughts of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.  Toledo and San Francisco I have securing an at large bid, would be snapping a drought of 38 and 20 years, respectively.  



Sunday, December 16, 2018

16-DEC Bracket Projections: Oklahoma rises, Murray State drops.


Teams with a Zero
Michigan, Kansas, Nevada, and Houston faced major resistance but were able to make enough plays to maintain their undefeated status and preserve all nine unbeaten teams into mid-December.  Furman, Michigan, and Nevada will take a few days, but six of the nine will have games this week.  Kansas and St. John’s might have the easiest path, as they will have South Dakota and St. Francis NY at home, respectively.  Virginia will be on the road to take on South Carolina, and will be a road favorite.  Houston will have their hands full with Utah State at home, but project to be a small favorite.  Buffalo heads into Syracuse, almost a year to the day where they lost at the Orange last season.  The final game will be an absolute banger, when Texas Tech battles Duke at Madison Square Garden.  It’s a near virtual certainty we are going to pare down the undefeated teams this week.    

Kennesaw State came close in the previous write-up, but this weekend against Tennessee Tech they maintained control nearly the entire game en route to a 73-68 victory.  Fourteen winless teams remain.  La Salle and Coppin State are both off until Friday, but the other twelve will have a game this week.  Alcorn State (UAB), North Alabama (Jacksonville State), Delaware State (Delaware), Mount St. Mary’s (American), Maryland Eastern Shore (Winthrop), Alabama A&M (South Alabama), and South Carolina State (Miami OH) will likely be double digit road underdogs.  Alabama State (Sam Houston State) and UNC Asheville (Stetson) are also on the road, but expected to be a much closer game, and thus some potential to mark a win finally.  The final three programs all have games at home, but none look to be a favorite.  Monmouth will host Yale, Southern will host Division I rookie Cal Baptist, and New Hampshire will welcome Marist.


Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (4-1 last week, 37-18 overall):
#5 Buffalo at Syracuse, Tue – Buffalo 72, Syracuse 71
#4 UCLA at Cincinnati, Wed – Cincinnati 73, UCLA 68
#3 Utah State at Houston, Thu – Houston 72, Utah State 71
#2 Auburn at North Carolina State, Wed –North Carolina State 77, Auburn 71
#1 Texas Tech vs Duke, Thu – Duke 72, Texas Tech 71

Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  Currently, the weighting is 91% this season’s results and 9% last year/pre-season.  This bracket (as well as my previous brackets) are a projection of where I think the teams will be as of Selection Sunday based off their play year-to-date.  In other words, it includes their future schedule, for better or for worse. 

Four automatic bids are being swapped out in this update. 
NEC- St. Francis NY (Sacred Heart).
Big West- UC Irvine (UC Santa Barbara)
Big Sky- Montana (Northern Colorado)
Patriot- Colgate (Bucknell)

As for the at large teams, swapping out five after this weekend’s games.  Texas, Mississippi, Connecticut, St. John’s, and Toledo are in.  Arizona, Syracuse, Purdue, Villanova, and BYU are out. 

This bracket has three bids going to first timers, with Grambling State, St. Francis NY, and Abilene Christian taking a spot.  The Terriers have been around since the first NCAA tournament and are one of the four schools who are zero for eighty years (Army, The Citadel, and William & Mary).  Wichita State (7), Villanova (6), Arizona (6), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4), Purdue (4), Seton Hall (3), Miami FL (3) and Iona (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.  Aside from St. Francis NY, the programs of Grambling State, Furman, Howard, Rider, Colgate, and Texas State would be ending droughts of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.  Toledo and San Francisco by securing an at large bid, would be snap a drought of 38 and 20 years, respectively.   




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

Bracket
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


Bracket
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


Bracket
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


Bracket
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

Bracket
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. 


Bracket
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

Bracket
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

Bracket
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


Bracket
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.   


Futility
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

Bracket
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.

Futility
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. 

Drought
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.





















Futility
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.

Drought
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.

Futility
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.

Drought
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