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

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.  


  1. It would have to be an epic collapse to have FSU at 10 and UF at 9. Do you actually pay attention to basketball or do you throw darts at a board?

  2. NC State as a 1 seed out or the ACC. Do you expect them to somehow only lose 2-3 conference games?

    1. That's precisely what it is. With just one ACC game in the book, the projections for conference play are likely a little wonky. Maybe NC State and Virginia Tech finish up with Duke and Virginia, and maybe they falter. Florida State is a similar story, I may have them underrated (projected 8-10 in conference, whereas Kenpom has 11-7).