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.