Sunday, January 28, 2018

28-JAN Bracket Projections: SEC Wins Challenge, Loses Two Teams In Field

Bracket Updates
The SEC trashed my predictions this weekend.  Admittedly I went 8-2, but I lost a couple of swing games so my 6-4 Big XII post reciprocated into a 6-4 SEC win.  I swear it’s not out of spite, but even despite the win over the nation’s premier conference, I have two teams falling out of my bracket.  

The Missouri Tigers lost to Ben Howland’s Mississippi State squad by twelve on the road, and the loss is the third in a row for Mizzu, as well as now four losses in the last five games. 

Also taking a tumble out for me is Texas A&M.  This has less to do with the loss at Kansas as that’s beyond understandable, but TAMU now has only two wins in their last nine games (one of those is the aforementioned Missouri, the other was Ole Miss and both came in College Station).  If a team is able to put together a solid run in the SEC they will easily work their way back into things, but the flip side is the improved conference has robbed a few token wins off the schedule.

Those departed slots have been bequeathed to the Big East and the Pac Twelve conferences.  Butler joins the field, and as I mentioned in a comment on my last post, beating St. John’s shouldn’t earn anyone a tournament spot (although I certainly appreciate their cooperation in keeping my Rush The Court survivor streak going).  That said a 25 point conference win is a good data point, and they now are a game over .500 in the Big East.  They have a nice surprise win at home against Villanova, and the neutral overtime win against Ohio State.  But I’m still watching closely.  Their Quadrant I resume is those two wins and seven other losses.  They have plenty of landmines which I think could prove difficult, with Wednesday night at Marquette being the first and then a huge home stand with five out of six at home that they’ll need to perform well.

UCLA gets the other nod, and are my fourth PAC 12 team.  Washington is a team popping up in a few other brackets, but UCLA is the better team to me, and also has the 19 point win over the Huskies at Pauley.  This invite is also a tenuous one, as their remaining schedule has maybe one slam dunk on it (Oregon State at home) with the other seven being coin flips at best.

Teams With A Zero
Let’s hear it for Mississippi Valley State.  Losers of their last 21 games stretching back to last season’s SWAC tournament.  In addition they were coming off a somewhat disheartening loss given it came on their best shooting night of the year, at 58.6 eFG%.  But they parlayed that into their new season high, 60.2% against Jackson State, while also getting to the line at the highest FTR (63.6) all year.  Which was good, because their turnover% was the second worst of the year for them.  Add it all up, it was good enough to keep them relevant against a JSU team playing with Paris Collins for the fourth consecutive game.  When MVSU finished the last five minutes on a 14-5 run, it resulted in a 72-67 Delta Devil victory. 

I picked the wrong horse to back last post.  Delaware State came out of the gates hot for a bit, but not enough firepower to keep up with a Horace Broadnax offense dropping a 106-86 decision and falling to 0-21 against Division I competition.  They will enjoy a week off, before traveling to North Carolina Central next weekend

Chicago State was in that situation last week, parlayed that rest into a lead…for about two media time outs.  UT Rio Grande Valley kept the cougars at arm’s length and took this WAC battle 87-81.  They now hit the road for two straight, beginning with a trip to Bakersfield.  The forecast looks bleak, and I’ll predict Cal State Bakersfield 77-66.

Winless (against Division I) teams (3): Chicago State and Delaware State.

Quadrant 1 Wins (Home vs Top 30 RPI, Neutral vs Top 50 RPI, Road vs Top 75 RPI)
Of the Bracket Matrix teams I’d consider bubble teams (teams in the field but not on 10% or more of brackets, plus the first four out), below are the quadrant 1 wins.  The below ten teams would be vying for six spots.  Bracket Matrix seed shown in parenthesis:
(11) Houston 3-1, .750
(F4O) Washington 3-3
(10) Kansas State 2-3, (11) SMU 2-3, .400
(11) Missouri 3-6, (F4O) Notre Dame 2-4, (F4O) Virginia Tech 2-4, (F4O) Western Kentucky 1-2, .333
(11) Syracuse 1-3, .250
(11) Boise State 0-3 .000

Not pictured is a charging North Carolina State who is 4-4 against Quadrant 1. 

NCAA Q1 Win Leaders
(6)- Purdue, Kansas, Oklahoma, Virginia
(5)- Clemson, Florida, Auburn, Florida State, Villanova
(4)- West Virginia, Cincinnati, Texas, Duke, Seton Hall, Gonzaga, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Xavier
(3)- 16 teams

Notable Games (predictions in italics, 3-2 last week, 1-0 from St. Mary pending last week, 44-21 overall)
This week's top five as I see them:
#5 Wednesday, Maryland at Purdue- Purdue 77, Maryland 68
#4 Tuesday, North Carolina at Clemson- Clemson 75, North Carolina 72
#3 Monday, Kansas at Kansas State- Kansas State 75, Kansas 73
#2 Wednesday, Houston at Cincinnati- Cincinnati 73, Houston 66
#1 Thursday, Creighton at Villanova- Villanova 82, Creighton 76


  1. I would be interested in your hearing your thoughts on how Penn State is in the first four out but not Nebraska.

  2. Both teams have one real nice win with Nebraska beating Michigan at home, and Penn State winning at Ohio State. Advantage Penn State.

    In overall Quadrant I games, Penn State is 1-3, while Nebraska is 0-5.

    And Penn State beat Nebraska. This will change, as Nebraska should beat PSU at home in the season finale, but for now that's the case in my mind.

  3. Why are you the lone holdout in the bracket matrix for NM State coming out of the WAC?? Grand Canyon has no notable wins while NMSU has beaten Davidson, Illinois, UC Irvine, Colorado State, New Mexico twice and then undefeated and 5th ranked Miami. Not to mention beating GCU at their place rather easily. GCU has no business being in the tourney as their current record stands.

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  5. Mostly because I don't subscribe to listing the one bid leagues #1 team as a rule. I have my conference tournament picks in, and will update as that changes, or that team is eliminated.

    New Mexico State has the clear better resume, team and the head-to-head win. But that doesn't guarantee wins in Las Vegas.