Friday, February 9, 2018

8-FEB Bracket Projections: Kansas And Their Streaks

2/9 12:15 EDIT: Please note an incomplete bracket was attached earlier.  The version included was littered with conference affiliation errors, rematches, etc.  It has been corrected in the image below.  Apologies for the mistake.

Kansas receives a deserved amount of adulation for their remarkable conference championship streak which may be in some peril this year, but another impressive feat doesn’t garner as much fanfare.  The Jayhawks possess the longest active consecutive NCAA Tournament streak at 28 appearances in a row, and will make it 29 this year.  For perspective, there are 33 schools who were in Division I when Kansas last missed the field who have not made the tournament at all in that time frame.  The Jayhawks were on probation in 1989, Roy Williams’s first year after Larry Brown won the title the year previous and left Kansas.

No one else is all that close, and only a handful are within twenty active years of the run.  Duke (22) and Michigan State (20) are second and third on the last, and also are safely in the 2018 field.  We have a tie for now for fourth place, but that looks to breaking this year.  Gonzaga and Wisconsin are sitting at 19 years in a row, and while the Zags are comfortably in, the Badgers will need a run in New York City to preserve their streak.
The rest of the top ten is a mixed bag.  North Carolina and Cincinnati have made seven consecutive appearances, and should make it eight, while VCU will need some Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament magic to make their eighth dance.  Tied for ninth are Iowa State (nope) and Wichita State (yup) at six in a row.

Teams With A Zero
Heartbreak for Delaware State this week, as they battled first place North Carolina A&T on the road Monday.  After a competitive first half, the game still hung in the balance late in the game.  The Hornets had the ball down one point with less than a minute to go, and missed three chances to gain a late lead.  The Aggies hit a couple free throws and prevailed 54-51 and dropped the Hornets to 0-23.  Delaware State will get the weekend off before getting back in action next Monday.  There are definite opportunities on the horizon for Delaware State to move off this list.

One way to avoid a heartbreaking loss is to immediately seal your fate.  I mentioned in the last blog that Chicago State has went in over 100 minutes of game action without holding a lead.  Well, tack on another forty.  Chicago State may have reached their nadir against the Utah Valley falling 97-57.  This Saturday is their penultimate home game when they host Seattle, and their final home game isn’t for another three weeks.  I’ll take the Redhawks 79-69, but I’m almost more interested to see if Chicago State can grab a lead.

Notable Games (predictions in italics, 1-4 last week ouch…, 52-28 overall)
This weekend's top five as I see them:
#5 Saturday, Virginia Tech at Virginia- Virginia 72, Virginia Tech 67
#4 Saturday, Grand Canyon at New Mexico State- New Mexico State 69, Grand Canyon 67
#3 Saturday, Xavier at Creighton- Creighton 81, Xavier 78
#2 Saturday, Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s- Saint Mary’s 74, Gonzaga 73
#1 Saturday, Purdue at Michigan State- Michigan State 75, Purdue 72

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