Sunday, March 11, 2018

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



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