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.